A special edition - these were taken by Richard when we were at Punggol Park sometime ago (before it started to rain every single day).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas contentment

The past two weeks were a blur. Richard and I were on leave for a week which coincided nicely with a 3-day visit from the family from Malaysia. Unfortunately, as always seems to happen when we get together, someone fell sick. This time, the victims were Richard and I. We had a horrible flu, which kept our noses leaking and our energy down. Thankfully and amazingly, Ryan escaped unscathed, but it was so very tiring keeping up with a two year old when we didn’t even have the energy to lift a toothbrush.

Ryan was so sweet - he made me a flower arrangement, which lifted my spirits.

Anyway, the worst is over. We had a good time catching up with the family and we're already thinking of our next reunion over Chinese New Year.

It has been raining so much this past week that each day seems to be a repeat of the last. All the days blend into each other until I lose track of what day it is. As I told Richard, the world feels soggy. I’m yearning for the smell of sunshine and Ryan hasn’t been to the playground for ages (although he’s still happy because there are so many puddles for him to stomp in).

On a more cheery note, Christmas is just around the corner! The thought of Christmas helps me to see through and above all this wetness. As miserable as the weather has been, knowing that it's the Christmas season, we are feeling quiet and contented, and unwilling to disturb the peace and tranquillity that we feel. Everytime we hear about the overwhelming crowds in the malls rushing to buy Christmas gifts, we feel less and less desire to be out there pushing and shoving. Everytime we hear about the bleak economic outlook for next year, we want even more to stay inside our little happy cocoon. Everytime it rains, we use it as an excuse to procrastinate and to put off errands.

So it’s definitely going to be a mellow Christmas and New Year for us. We aren’t entertaining at home this year and we’ve not planned anything special. We’ve already distributed most of our gifts and met up with family and some friends - we’re sort of spreading Christmas out this year - it’s a series of quiet and small gatherings instead of big hearty parties.

We’ve put up a few Christmas decorations at home and have been spending the past few days tidying up around the house. We decided we didn't have the space for a tree but what's Christmas without a tree right? So Richard bought these decals, which included two winter-y looking trees and a whole lotta snowflakes.

Definitely put us in the yuletide mood! Hope your Christmas is looking good too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Julia Gabriel Edudrama

Ryan finished off Edudrama at Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning a few weeks back. As I have mentioned before on this blog, we've decided that we won't be continuing next term.

Apart from the fact that the English and Mandarin classes will be held at separate locations from next term, we are not keen for a few other reasons.

For the English class, we feel that, in certain aspects, Ryan is too advanced, although he is the youngest in his class. According to Teacher Alexis, the main focus of the class now is to introduce the letter sounds and to familiarise the children with the alphabet. Ryan is more than familiar with the alphabet and letter sounds. I'd mentioned before that, at the start of the class, when all the names of the children are on the white board, Teacher Alexis will point to the first letter of each name and ask what's this? Ryan is the only one who identifies the letters (he shouts them out!). He is also the only one who can read his name. When Teacher Alexis points to Ryan's name (without saying it aloud), Ryan doesn't say anything - instead, he crawls over to the front of the classroom to acknowledge his name!

Another reason is that the class is not focusing on speech and drama at this stage and that was the area that we were targeting when we signed Ryan up. Teacher Alexis said that, at this stage, it is good enough for Ryan to have the courage and the confidence to get up and go to the front of the classroom to present the show-and-tell (and he does do this), even if he ends up not saying anything.

Actually, Teacher Alexis said that Ryan is doing fine. However, the fact that Ryan is doing well actually supports our decision to pull him out, because we feel that he doesn't need the class (at this point). We might consider enrolling him again when he's older, when the programme focuses more on speech and drama (this is when the children reach kindergarten age).

For the Mandarin class, we think it's not enough to help Ryan. Whatever is introduced in the weekly class is wasted because we don't practise it at home, so it's really pointless for us. Richard is seriously thinking of enrolling Ryan in a Mandarin pre-school!

Be that as it may, I think Ryan definitely had a lot of fun in the programme so the last day of class was a pretty sad one. Thank you JG! Ryan had a wonderful 1.5 years under your care!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The hunt for Ryan's pre-school (Part 6)

Richard and I were surprised to receive this in our email inboxes a few days ago.

Dear Parents

We are pleased to inform you that we have a vacancy for your child for 2012 Pre-Nursery session 1(8.15am to 11.15am) at Harding Campus

Attached is the letter for payment for the book fee and school bus form (for transport please reply asap).

You are also required to pay the term 1 school fee for 2012 Pre-Nursery Playgroup which is $1284 together with the book fee amount of $749.

Payment can be made either by cash or by cheque. You may post the cheque.

Please make payment to St. James' Church Kindergarten by 19 December 2011 in order to confirm your Child's place.

If we do not receive any reply by 19 December 2011, we will assume that you are not taking up the vacancy and will remove your child's name from the wait list.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require more information.

We open Monday to Friday. ( except on Public Holidays)
Time: 9am to 4pm (during school term)
Time : 9am to 12 noon (during school holiday)


Ruth Henry
St James' Church Kindergarten
Tel : 6476 6026

I remembered that, while we were still living in River Valley, we made a visit to SJCK in April 2010 and, since we had made the effort to visit, we thought we might as well put Ryan's name down on the waiting list. Looks like Ryan has now got a place in the morning session at the Harding campus, which was apparently the most popular and coveted slot.

When we visited in April 2010, we were told that the Harding campus will have to move out in 2012 (possibly 2013 if they get a one-year extension on their lease), but they did not know where to. I assume this means that they'll be sticking around till 2013.

It didn't take us long to decide that we will not be taking up the spot. There are several reasons. First, now that we are living in the east, it does not make sense for Ryan to travel the distance to Dempsey everyday. Ryan goes swimming every weekend at the Aquaducks swimming pool which is adjacent to the pre-school so we are very familiar with the route and the distance. I am also uncomfortable with the uncertainty that the pre-school will have to move out from its present location after 2013 (although I have not followed up on this to check if this is still the case. Edit: The school has confirmed that the children born in 2009 will be able to finish their pre-school years in Harding Road).

Second, we are sticking to our decision to keep Ryan out of pre-school until he is four years old, at the earliest, which will be 2013. We do not see any added benefit to sending him to SJCK at this stage. At the moment, he is doing so well, he continues to amaze us all. (Last week, his nanny told us that he wrote his name out on a sheet of paper, unprompted and unguided.)

Third, there are so many better pre-schools in the east. When we visited SJCK in April 2010, it was the first pre-school we visited and we didn't have anything to compare with. Since then, we've visited a few which we feel are much better and have more to offer. So although SJCK was the first we saw, it is not our first choice. SJCK seems to us to be an average pre-school, offering all the usual things. Nothing specifically bad or great about it, nothing particularly worrying, nothing particularly impressive. A general all-rounder, I would say. Good enough, but nothing special.
I did say in my April 2010 post that the staff at SJCK didn't seem very warm or welcoming when we visited them then. I have to say that this email from them is certainly far from warm or welcoming. I would have appreciated a short sentence or two saying how much they look forward to having Ryan join them or something like that. Instead, it's just - 'pay up or we'll kick you out'! I guess it doesn't matter to parents who have been waiting anxiously for a spot. For parents like us, who are less than half-hearted about the pre-school, it's a teeny bit of a turn-off. Never mind the sloppy grammar and punctuation.

We received it on 14 December so we were given 5 days to respond, never mind that the pre-school is closed on two of the five days. I would have appreciated a telephone call? Somehow I get the feeling that they're not that bothered.

Ok, don't get me wrong, SJCK is a decent pre-school and I'm not bothered about the friendliness or unfriendliness of the office staff.  It's just not right for us or Ryan at this point in time, so we're going to pass.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cardboard Box Challenge Part 2

It occurred to me that I had not followed up on our Cardboard Box Challenge! Back in May, I issued a challenge to Richard to make something using at least one used cardboard box. Read this post to see his entry.

My response was the ugliest playhouse you could imagine.

I fashioned it out of two cardboard boxes and plastered it with masking tape. What it lacked in style, it fully made up in substance. It had walls and a roof plus windows and a skylight. It was large enough to house Ryan and Richard, yet still small enough to be cozy.  

They stayed inside, read books by torchlight, shared little-boy jokes, played their secret games, pretended they were camping under the moonlight, and just hid away from the world.

There was a door, which could open and close. And just as it should be for all good playhouses, membership was very exclusive - not everyone had the right of entry.

"Who goes there? What's the password?"

Oh yes, it had a mailbox too.

We played with it for a couple of days, carting it upstairs and downstairs.

I did try to beautify it a little (see the green wall with the yellow stripe) but Ryan didn't seem to care so I didn't bother to continue. It wasn't at all sturdy so it didn't last. Still, Ryan got a huge kick out of it while it was alive.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A different point of view

Here's 10 from Richard's phone. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recent creations

Ryan did this piece with poster colours. He said it's a tree! 

More poster colour work.

This series was designed by Richard for Ryan to experiment with mixing colours. Richard selected the colours for Ryan to paint with.

These were done with acrylics.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Yet more randomness

I'm not quite ready to come back yet, maybe
another week or two, but the longer I stay
away, the more I'm looking forward to coming
back. I've missed this space! Bear with me ok?

I have been receiving some lovely emails from
readers - always wonderful and always brings a
smile to my day. Thanks for dropping by the blog!

In the meantime, here are some bits and pieces of
our recent adventures.

- Ryan has been watching this series called
"Word World" on DVD and he absolutely
loves it. I mentioned before that he's presently
into words and letters (and numbers)
and this series introduces new words and how to
spell them, so he can't get enough of it.

- We've moved Ryan to a different slot for
swimming. I mentioned before that his classmates
have all progressed way ahead of him (because we
don't put him in the water often enough) so we've
switched him to a different class where the
children are still at his level. Also, it starts a little
later than his previous class, which means we
have a better chance of being on time!

- Ryan had a haircut last weekend, his shortest yet.
He sat on the (raised) seat on his own and was very

- While we were waiting for his turn at the salon,
we managed to catch a mini-musical! We were at
Forum the Shopping Mall and there was a free
performance at the atrium, which took about 30
minutes. A trio of performers expertly acted and
sang the story of The Gruffalo! Ryan knows the
story inside out and he was captivated!

- We recently introduced the bottle to Ryan at
home, although he still latches whenever he
wants to. I've stopped pumping at work and his
nanny has been giving him formula for a while
now. He still needs to latch to sleep when he's at
home though. I'll do a separate post on that soon.

- Here's a short 25-sec Youtube video of Ryan
dancing to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance.
He's actually trying to focus on eating his french
fries but the rhythm just got the better of him.
We were at McDonald's.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More randomness

I am still working hard on a little creation so please bear with me a little while longer. It's coming along slowly but, hopefully, surely. Will share soon.

In the meantime, here are some snippets from the week that was. Sorry, no pictures - I haven't been snapping, which is unusual for me - I will get back on that horse soon!

- Ryan has been repeating phrases that he picked up here and there. Sometimes, he does it at random. Driving to his nanny's place with him sitting at the back, I might hear him say, "Stand back, please!" or "I like yellow!" (his favourite colour is actually green).

- Ryan has been keeping extremely late nights lately, often getting to bed at 2 to 3 am. Last night, he was dancing and singing (screaming) from midnight till 2 am. I think we have the makings of a party animal here.

- Lately, Richard has been very involved in taking care of Ryan in the evenings after work, mainly because I've been so tired. So Richard has been doing the evening-shift, playing with Ryan while I rest. Then, when Ryan is ready to sleep, I'll take over. Ryan insists on latching to sleep and sleeping while stuck to me - and that contributes to my tiredness because he has been keeping such late nights. I usually only get to fall asleep after he falls deep into slumber and unlatches.

- Ryan told me that "A" is for "Aiyo".

- I pointed to my boob (the nipple) and asked Ryan, "What's this?"
He replied, "M-I-L-K."

- Richard set up a small basketball hoop in Ryan's room and they've been playing with it non-stop.

- Ryan had his last Edudrama class last Saturday. There was a mini-party for the English session and we brought some mini Chips Ahoy! as our contribution. Somebody brought packets of dried Japanese seaweed for the children (huh?).

- After many months of neglect, playdough made a comeback!

- We finally opened the very last of Ryan's birthday presents (yes, from January!). We've started talking, just casually, about Ryan's next birthday. The timing is a little awkward because it falls on the eve of Chinese New Year, so if we want to throw a party, we'll have to plan it carefully. But first, there's Christmas!

Hope your week was as interesting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Random updates

Yes, I know I took twice as long a break as I said I would. All in the name of good things!

Rest assured that the absence of blogging in the past two weeks translates directly to the presence of lots of hearty living. Some highlights of the past two weeks:

- I was interviewed via phone by Young Parents Magazine on my thoughts on enrichment classes for little ones. No claims to fame - I was only one of many parents interviewed. Will share when I see the article in print.

- On 7 November (which was a public holiday), we went to see the musical Jack and the Beanstalk by SRT's The Little Company (still showing up till 11 Dec 2011). Ryan enjoyed that very much.

- Ryan is getting noticeably taller and heavier so we dug out the stroller from the storeroom to see if he might have any interest in sitting in it. He never did and still doesn’t.

- Richard and I took two days off work last week and had some couple time. Spent a day running errands and the next day at the movies. We watched Hugh Jackman do his stuff in “Real Steel”.

- After missing swimming class for three weeks, Ryan finally got into the water last Sunday and he was all smiles. He’s probably the student who has made the least progress in his class but, as long as he’s flashing that dimple, who cares.

- I’ve been reading food and cooking blogs and getting inspired. We finally checked out the ToTT store at Dunearn Road last Sunday (we had lunch at the Bistro) and after walking through all that cooking and baking goodness, I’m more than inspired now.

- Artwork continues in all mediums. Looking at these two pieces, I'm starting to understand why abstract art is so valuable. As an adult, I can never paint like this. "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child" - Pablo Picasso.

- Like most children his age, Ryan is still ambidextrous. He did this using both hands simultaneously. This piece is strangely psychedelic - staring at it for a while makes me go into 3D mode.

- Ryan has also become very interested in writing – here’s something he wrote recently. Can you decipher it?

(It's the word RADIO)

- And yes, I'm making something! This little project is extremely energy-zapping! I’ll share it with you when it’s a little further along. At the moment, it looks nothing like the end-product.

Hope you've been living it up!

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