Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Saturday

On Saturday, we attended a wedding of an ex-colleague of Richard's. The ceremony was followed by an eight-course Chinese sit-down lunch at the Marriott. It was a lovely affair.

Listening to the sermon
This the second wedding that Ryan has attended and, although it was during his naptime, he was well-behaved and happy. He was a little restless during the sermon so I let him run about outside the ballroom when the pastor was about two-thirds through. Ryan was pleased to be able to stretch his legs - he got up on the couch in the reception area and jumped up and down, shouting "hop! hop! hop!"

There was a father there with his son who was also jumping up and down on the couch and when he saw Ryan, yes, he told his son to watch out, don't bump into "mei mei" (little girl). Sigh. Even in such a boyish outfit?? Come on!

When lunch was finally served, Ryan tasted the first few courses but soon had enough and grew restless again. I let him play along the walkway to the stage where there were rose petals strewn on the floor. He had tons of fun gathering them and tossing them in the air!

I must say that I am horrified by children who run amok at Chinese dinners as they inconvenience others and make a nuisance of themselves, but Ryan was not in anyone's way and he was not making any sort of commotion, he was just playing quietly away from the tables, so I figured it was all right. Plus, I figured that this was as close as we would get to playing in a freshly-raked pile of dry leaves. It is by no means an adequate substitute, but it is certainly better than nothing.

There was a little girl, probably in primary school, who came up to Ryan a few times to tell him not to play with the rose petals because "people will scold". She kept trying to tidy up the "mess". She even came up to me to ask me to tell Ryan to stop it. It made me feel a little sad to think that this little girl had lost a little bit of that childhood magic. And yes, she referred to Ryan as a girl too.

The ceremony was in Mandarin with a translation into English (both the worship service and the sermon), so it took a little longer than usual. We had to get to Playclub at 2 pm so we stayed only for about half of the lunch.

Ryan had a blast at PlayClub this week. This is Ryan's third term and he's become quite the "senior" now, as many of the older children have graduated. This week he was the one to take down the letter of the week from the wall, something he's never bothered to do before. In previous terms, the older children always rushed to the wall first, and Ryan just let them. I think he figured, so long as someone gets the letter, it's ok. This term, most of the children are new and nobody is rushing to the wall at all, so Ryan must be thinking, oh all right, I'll do it. He still doesn't bother to rush to the wall though. He just stands in front, a short distance away and just points at the letter until Safina carries him to the wall to take it down. Haha!

Putting the toys away
According to his teacher Safina, Ryan can "graduate" from PlayClub when he is 2.5 years old (although the programme does allow for children to stay on until they are 3.5 years old). A full PlayClub cycle is four terms - at the end of four terms, the children would have been introduced to the whole alphabet (and the letter sounds), basic numbers, all the common shapes and colours plus some key Chinese words (it's just an introduction, I don't think that the topics can be ingrained by spending just a few minutes once a week on each topic). In any event, we are not concerned about learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes and colours at PlayClub because Ryan already knows all that from learning at home. Our interest in PlayClub is in the other aspects - learning to work together, learning to follow someone's lead, self-expression, etc. and I'm pleased to note that Ryan is getting on very well in these areas.

Marching along to the "Clean Up" song!
After PlayClub, we went home for a rest. We came out to Ngee Ann City for some shopping and for dinner and got home pretty late (about 11.30pm). It was a good Saturday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm ready for Ryan's haircut

Ryan's curls always elicit amazement - people always ask if the curls are natural (do I look like someone who would send my baby for a perm?? haha!). Yes, they're completely natural, a genetic gift from me.

As you can expect, his curls have caused much confusion about his gender. People assume he is a girl, they call him "mei mei" or "girl girl" all the time. When he was an infant, there was still enough "boy" there for people to be unsure and they did ask whether he was a boy or a girl. As Ryan got older, the curls started to take over and there were less and less people who asked, and more and more people who just assumed he was a girl. When he started walking independently and his curls grew past his shoulders, there were no more questions. People just concluded he was a girl. He can be wearing the most boyish outfit possible, it doesn't make a jot of difference. The curls win every time. I guess they don't expect that a two-year old boy would be sporting curly long hair. Their logical brain tells them this little one must be a girl.

Interestingly, children around Ryan's age know, without hesitation, that Ryan is a boy. The curls and the length of the hair don't matter, little children just know. I have witnessed this over and over again, they always know and they never have to ask. Their intuition is still so strong and they are still so in tune with it, they don't let our worldly stereotypes get in the way.

Recently, however, I have been thinking seriously about getting that haircut. Ryan's hair is really getting in the way now as it grows longer and as he is getting more and more active. I see him frequently brushing his hair off his face (which is really funny!). Sometimes, he lets us tie his hair up in a ponytail, but this is not often.

Of course, I have never had the heart to let Ryan get a haircut, so he's never ever had one (except for a trim in front to keep the hair out of his eyes). The biggest reason is that I love these soft and springy curls. I can't get enough of them. I love running my fingers through them, burying my face in them, wrapping them round my fingers and watching them spring back into place. 

A secondary reason is that these curls have, in a way, become Ryan's trademark - people identify him a mile away by his curls and in a very complimentary way. There have been so many people who have begged me to never cut his hair. So I didn't want to take away his "special" thing. 

But I also remember an occasion, quite some time ago, when Ryan was less than a year old and not yet walking. We were going to Shichida class and I carried him into the lift to go up to the 8th floor where our class was. A lady followed us into the lift, with her toddler son. When the lift door closed and the lift started moving, she caught sight of Ryan and immediately she went "wow". It was not a small "wow", it was a loud and hearty expression of amazement (actually she gave me a small shock! haha!). She was so enamoured with Ryan's looks - she said he was so good-looking! She praised all his facial features, she said that his eyes and eye lashes were beautiful and his mouth and nose were just perfect. She asked me whether he was Japanese or Korean or mixed (she was very surprised to find out he was Chinese and that I was his mother - bleargh!). She kept going on and on until we reached our floor and we got off. She just seemed so amazed to have seen Ryan. (By the way, she knew, without asking, that Ryan is a boy).

Now I've received compliments on Ryan before and I know which are genuine and which to take with a pinch of salt. I believe that lady was completely genuine for the following reasons - She was a complete stranger (and I never met her again). She was a mother of a son herself. Her response was immediate. She didn't, not even once, use the word "cute".

I've never told anyone (apart from Richard) about that encounter. The reason I'm reminding myself of it now is because that lady did not mention Ryan's curls at all. She went on and on and on about his facial features but there was not a single comment on his hair. To her, Ryan was already "special". Curls not required.

So, I realise that, as he grows older, Ryan's hair detracts from what and who he is. People get so distracted by his hair that they don't notice other things about him. Of course, I do love it when Ryan receives compliments on his hair and on his curls but, more and more, I find myself wishing that the compliments were more "well-rounded". I want to tell them, yes his hair is beautiful, have you seen his latest piece of art? or, yes, his curls are amazing, come and check out his new dance!

So, I think I'm ready for that haircut now. Whoever that lady was, I thank her for reminding me that my son has much much more to offer than a mass of curls. Although, I still love those curls!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Ryan was blessed with many many presents on his birthday. He's been discovering them slowly, to date he's opened about four or five out of about thirty to forty presents.

One of the presents we've opened is a tub of wooden fruits and vegetables, with a wooden knife and cutting board to cut them up. This was a present from Kim. I was so excited about the present that I introduced it to Ryan the night I brought it home (Monday). We sat on the carpet in the living room and chopped away. Ryan could handle the cutting but I don't think he enjoyed it that much and I knew it was because he didn't truly understand what we were doing. So today, after dinner, I asked Richard to sit next to Ryan and cut apples for our dessert and I set out the wooden fruits and veggies for Ryan so he could "join in". This way, Ryan would be able to relate what he was doing to real life.

As you can see from the photos, Ryan really enjoyed it!

"Oh I get it now!"
"Chopping" up the wooden carrot.
(As you can see from the background, we have not said goodbye to Christmas yet.)
Yeah! This is fun!
Enjoying the "fruits" of their labour - har har har!
You can see all the unopened birthday presents
in the background (where our bay window is),  
Can't tell which is the real thing, eh?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time passes and we're still the same

I always hear parents going, "Wow, my son/daughter is xx years old now, how time flies!" I completely agree. I definitely feel that way sometimes.

Even though I see Ryan growing up everyday, it doesn't occur to me that he is actually growing up everyday, if you know what I mean. It's only when there is a special occasion, like a birthday or when something happens, like he breaks out in a dance or counts from 1 to 10, that I have these "wow" moments. Suddenly I see him with fresh eyes and then it strikes me that my little munchkin has "graduated" to the next stage of his life. That, I think, is why time seems to fly by. While I'm still thinking he's my baby, he's sneakily growing up under my nose. Sigh, another example of me not living in the present.

On the flip side, although I feel like it's just been a blip since Ryan was born, I also feel like I've been a parent for a long time.

Sometimes, you get to know someone and you get along so well that you feel like you've known them forever, even though you've just met. You know that feeling? Well, it's similar to how I feel about being a parent.

I feel I've been a parent for a long time. It feels natural, as if I've been doing it forever. As if I've never not been a parent.

It seems a lifetime ago when Richard and I were DINKs, partying and working hard. Our student days are even more removed and are the stuff of stories that I will tell my grandchildren one day. Oh how I loved those days. Now I'm a parent and oh how I love it too. Is there a difference between then and now? Well yes there is.

When we were studying, we were always looking out for the next test, the next exam, the next scholarship, the next paper qualification. When we were starting out in our careers, we were always looking to learn more, to achieve more, to take on more responsibility, to climb the ladder, to earn the accolades, to win the awards, to earn the right to do whatever people at the top do. We were incomplete, still striving towards a destination, a definable goal.

Being a parent, on the other hand, is completely different. We became parents the moment Ryan was born. If there is supposed to be a destination, we're already there. We have the right to do everything a parent can do - to care for another human being, to feed and clothe him, to bear responsibility for his education, to guide him as he grows up, to kiss away his bumps and bruises, to share his laughter and to enjoy his joy.

And the amazing thing is that, without any training or preparation, it comes naturally. Parents just know what to do. Oh, there certainly are a lot of (good) parenting books (and I have a small library of them), but I'm pretty sure that most parents (even those who bother to read those books/attend parenting courses) just wing it and just do what comes naturally and logically. That's definitely our parenting style, we just do what comes naturally and logically. 

I should add that although we can't imagine not being parents, Richard and I certainly do not have baby on the brain all the time. Richard and I haven't changed. We're still Richard and Leona. We're parents of course, but we're not JUST parents. We're not just Ryan's daddy and Ryan's mummy and we work hard to maintain and look after those aspects that aren't strictly related to being a parent.

I remember a company dinner I attended about two Christmasses ago, when my colleagues at my table started talking about being parents. And one of them explained something to the rest of us which I completely agree with. He said that, it is generally true that, as compared to fathers, mothers have relatively more problems with their daughters-in-law. This is because, once the son is born, the mother gives the son precedence over her husband and herself. All she does revolves around the son. The marriage becomes a tri-partite affair. Sometimes even the husband is relegated to a lesser status in his own marriage as his views are disregarded and the mother insists that she, and not the father, knows what's best for the son. This sort of mother has no other identity other than being her son's mother. Apart from the problems it creates in the marriage, it also gives rise to problems when her son finds a wife. The mother is lost, she finds it difficult to let go and finds it difficult to accept that her daughter-in-law is "more important" than her and, in many ways, has taken her place. She insists on continuing to mother him and on making decisions for him. This causes friction with her daughter-in-law and sometimes, the problem is worsened because the son allows his mother to interfere (and the son's marriage also becomes a tri-partite affair).

Of course, my colleague made a generalisation, but I do agree with the message and the point of the observation, which is that, parents are not just parents and they should not just be parents, as otherwise they will do more harm than good, not only to themselves but to others.

Although parenthood is a huge part of who Richard and I are now, we still find ways to be ourselves, to be husband and wife, to be friends with our friends, to be family to our family. That's another reason why being a parent doesn't seem unnatural, difficult or stressful - we didn't have to do anything life changing. Of course, we made changes to our lifestyle, but we didn't make any changes to our lives. Hope you know what I mean. Being a parent is like putting on our favourite jacket over an outfit. The jacket improves our outfit and completes the look, but it can never be worn on its own. We have to have our own identity, an outfit, instead of relying on our children, our jackets, to give us an identity.

So here we are. Two people who have been parents for two years, who feel that they have been parents forever. I don't really know the reason why, but I suspect it's because we wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chillout Sunday

We spent Sunday just chilling out. Ryan had his swimming class in the morning and his Shichida class in the afternoon. In between, we brought Richard's dad and sister shopping at Raffles City shopping centre, before dropping them off at the airport for their flight home.

At Raffles City, we picked up some clothes for Ryan for Chinese New Year. Ryan wasn't too interested in the shopping - he was more keen on the window display! He climbed into the window display and investigated all the decorations there! The shoppers passing by outside were quite amused to see a "live" mannequin!

Posing as part of the window display at Gingersnaps
After Shichida class, we popped into Carrefour to pick up some sundries. Here's Ryan doing his part, helping to carry our baguette.

Yes he's wearing his favourite Hi-5 jacket again!
Quality check!
Up till fairly recently, we thought that Ryan didn't like bread because he wasn't keen on the usual sandwich bread. On Christmas eve, we had dinner at Sarah's place and she served warm baguette bread with mushroom soup. Ryan took a piece of that bread and literally hung onto it the whole night, slowly munching away at it. Since then, we've offered him crunchy bread on other occasions and he's been quite receptive. So we realised that he will take bread, but only if it is crunchy! In general, Ryan is fairly particular about the texture of his food and he does seem to prefer food that is hard and crunchy instead of mushy and soft.

In the evening, we went for a walk along the park connector near our home. After weeks of rain, it was lovely to get out in the evening air and walk about. Took the opportunity to point out different types of plants and flowers to Ryan and he saw different types of dogs, cats and birds. Explained all the different activities the people were doing - jogging, cycling, rollerblading. He even got to practise his alphabet by checking out the signs along the walk. Good stuff.

Dinner was another homecooked meal, just a simple soup (ABC soup) and a minced pork omelette with rice. The rest of the night was spent mainly on Ryan's play and learning activities, before we turned in for the night.

It was a wonderfully relaxing and fulfilling Sunday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Come on let's party!

As you know, Ryan turned two yesterday, and we had a PARTY! It took quite a bit of planning, but I'm glad that we went ahead because Ryan (and we) had a blast!

I think I started planning this too early (about three weeks before) because the more time I had, the more ideas I came up with! I had to keep telling myself to keep it simple, keep it simple! And so, yes, we kept it simple. We rented the hall at Hort Park. Catered food for the adults. Rented toys for the children. Ordered a birthday cake. Put together some simple goodie bags. Bought balloons for the children. Hired a photographer.

We had no theme, no clowns, mascots, balloon artists, magicians, face painters or jugglers. Not that I didn't want any, I actually considered all these options but when I told the service providers that the children were mostly two year olds, I was advised that clowns, mascots, etc., are not really suitable for children under the age of 3 and that, even 3-year olds will usually only enjoy this sort of entertainment if there are older children in the group whom they can take the lead from.

We therefore had to come up with alternatives to keep the children entertained and occupied - we decided to turn half of the hall into a big playroom! We rented some toys, including an indoor bouncy castle and a slide, and we also brought some of Ryan's own toys to add to the mix. The room came with a projector so Richard screened some Hi-5 DVDs on the huge screen, which helped to put the children in the mood and gave the party the right feel - come on let's party!

It was amazing to see how all the children naturally gravitated towards the toys and the great thing was that most of them were happy to play without their parents near them, which left their parents free to relax and chat and eat. All the children yelling and screaming and laughing and having fun made the party so lively, which added to Ryan's excitement. Ryan had such a fantastic time, he didn't even need his nap!

Everything went smoothly, everything was delivered on time (the food, the balloons, the toys, the cake) and, from the feedback received, the food and the cake were delicious.

Quite apart from all the presents and red packets that he received, I think Ryan was so blessed to have so many people come to celebrate his birthday, and to bring him warm wishes and goodwill. So here's a big Thank You to all our wonderful guests - hope you had a good time and thank you for being a part of Ryan's 2nd birthday!

I don't have any photographs of the party to show you yet because I didn't take any - I left that responsibility completely to the photographer! I'll post some of the shots when I get them. I've only got some shots of the goodie bags which we packed a couple of days prior. Each child got one goodie bag plus a walking animal balloon to take home.

The thank you note on the goodie bags for the boys.
The  background of the thank you note is a photo of Ryan
The goodie bags for the girls

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend update

The weekend zoomed past, we hardly had time for anything other than Ryan's classes. Richard had to put in a day at the office on Saturday so I went for Ryan's Playclub on Saturday, while Richard took him for Shichida on Sunday. Richard went for Playclub last week (which was the first lesson of the new term) so this was the first time I met all the new Playclub teachers and new students. It felt a little strange to me after the last couple of terms with the same teachers and same students. I think Ryan was all right though, after a little warming up. They had swimming for the outdoor segment, so he was happy.

Ryan just loves this Hi-5 hoodie jacket which Richard bought
- he won't take it off!
Swimming class on Sunday morning was another "new" experience. The last class we attended was at the end of last year and Ryan was the only student who turned up (everyone had gone on their year-end holiday). Ryan was a little intimidated then because he had the full attention of Coach Dave and Coach Chloe, so he didn't really have a good session. Today's lesson was the complete opposite - there were eight students in the pool! Usually there are not more than six, but I guess now that we have two coaches, the number of students can go up a little.

Ryan's Shichida classes are getting a little more "intensive" this term - he actually has "homework" to do. I will need to re-look our home practice materials and re-structure our sessions, do more linking memory exercises, more writing exercises, etc.

In other news, preparations for Ryan's birthday party are in full swing. We've booked the room at Hort Park, ordered the cake, rented some toys for the children and got the goodie bags. Now we've just got to finalise the number of guests so we can finalise the catering. Nothing much apart from that, it's going to be a fairly simple affair.

This coming week is going to be a busy one as we get closer to the party. Richard's father will be in Singapore for a medical checkup (and to attend the party), he's arriving on Thursday. Richard's second sister, Mary, will also be here over the weekend, in time for the party. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beautiful Boy

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But I guess we'll both
Just have to be patient

Cause it's a long way to go
A hard row to hoe
Yes, it's a long way to go
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand
Life is just what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy

- John Lennon

Monday, January 10, 2011

101 Muppets??

As much as I enjoyed Sesame Street when I was a child, I didn't realise that there are 101 muppets! I think I only recognise 50%! Go here to find out each of their names and little bits of trivia.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A mixed weekend

I was struck with a fever, cough and runny nose on Friday. I started my drive home from work feeling chills and by the time I got home, I had a raging fever. I spent most of the weekend in bed. It was quite unusual actually, it was the first time in a long time that I've fallen sick independently of Richard and Ryan. All those late nights must have sent my immunity levels spiralling downwards.

While I was out of action, Richard rose to the occasion, which was no mean feat. Ryan's classes started up again this weekend after the Christmas/New Year break and Richard took care of all that. He was amazing and I can't thank him enough.

We kept Ryan in the same Playclub class to maintain consistency. Unfortunately, Richard said that only one (Safina) of the four teachers from the last few terms remain and almost all of the students are new. Richard said that Ryan had fun though and, at the end of class, his Mandarin teacher from last term came over to his class to look for him to give him a hug. Isn't that sweet?

When Ryan got back from JG Bilingual Playclub, he joined me in bed and slept (from 5 pm) till half-past ten! Unfortunately, I didn't get a proper rest, because Ryan wants to nurse all the time when he is in bed. So, when Ryan woke up Richard decided to take him out for supper at McDonald's (Kallang) to let him expend some energy at its indoor playground while I got into a deep sleep. How wonderful! They had fun too - they got home about 2 am! I was surprised when Richard told me that there were quite a few children there at that hour. Ryan was squealing and shrieking away with them.

I think Richard only got to bed at about 4 am so swimming class was a no-go on Sunday morning. I made lunch for us - roasted rosemary chicken thighs and veggies - with some leftover for dinner. After lunch, Richard brought Ryan for Shichida. I was feeling better in the afternoon so I asked Richard to drive over to Hort Park after Shichida and I took a cab there. When I arrived, this is what greeted me - Ryan fast asleep in Richard's arms.

The room we booked for Ryan's party does seem a little small, so we will try to book a bigger one tomorrow. Ryan stayed asleep the whole time we were at Hort Park and Richard carried him throughout. I guess he was pooped from Shichida. Richard said that Ryan really enjoyed his Shichida class today, he actually clapped his hands after each activity, and in between activities, he was yabbering at sensei to hurry up with the next activity! Hahaha!

For his term report last term, his sensei wrote:

Ryan has an awesome and terrific concentration span. He could sit still throughout the lesson and able to do his activities well. Wonderful job!

I think his sensei is quite grateful for Ryan because, according to Richard, all the other students are running about in class, not really paying attention, while Ryan is sitting down throughout and even clapping his hands in appreciation, hahaha! Well done, son!

Ryan woke up as we were leaving Hort Park so we made a detour to East Coast Park for some food and an evening stroll by the beach. Ryan had a great time there!

So, although my weekend wasn't that great, I think Ryan's weekend was pretty awesome thanks to Richard!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More homecooked goodness

Today was a quiet and peaceful day. For dinner, we had another homecooked meal. Richard made us broccoli and lemon chicken with cashew nuts.

Ryan's 2nd birthday is coming up soon, and we've decided to have a small party with some friends to celebrate the occasion. We missed out on our friends last year because we celebrated his birthday in KL with our relatives, so this year is sort of like a "make-up" party. It's going to be a simple one, just food and friends, nothing fancy. We've booked a function room at Hort Park, but we haven't actually seen the room yet - I have a feeling it may be too small. We'll check it out this weekend and decide if we need a bigger room. We'll probably book the caterers as well this weekend.

One more day to the weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pleasures of home

We are starting to settle ourselves into our routine now that the moving house is done and Christmas/New Year celebrations are over. We are slowly working out the details of day-to-day life, like what time we have to get up in the mornings, how and when to attend to the various household chores, what we should do with our evenings after work, etc.

One decision we made was to eat dinner at home more often, especially on weekdays. Today we got the ball rolling - we made a simple pork and apple braise with gravy, and the three of us had an cozy, unhurried meal at our dining table. It was the first homecooked meal in our new home!

I have always loved to cook. All the women on my side of the family can cook, and some of them are really good at it. One of my aunts even bakes cakes for sale. I grew up on homecooked food and I always assumed and believed that all women can cook. Yet, somehow, people naturally assume that I don't/can't cook - maybe because I have a career? maybe because I'm not domestic enough? I don't know and it doesn't matter. It's nice to surprise them. (By the way, Richard can cook too!)

More importantly, I love the idea of my family sitting down to share a homecooked meal, sharing with each other what our day was like, relaxing and enjoying some quiet family time. My parents practiced this routine faithfully and it became more and more precious as my siblings and I grew up. We were always busy with work, school, hobbies and friends and mealtimes were virtually the only times when our family spent time together. So this is definitely something I want to put in place for little Ryan. In time to come, it may be the only time that I get to see him - in between school, homework, friends and his hobbies!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My New Year's resolution

Ryan at Old Town White Coffee restaurant (please forgive the drool on his chin)
I'm finally ready with my new year resolution.

This year, I resolve to live in the moment. Too much time is spent on the future - planning, wondering, wishing, worrying, hoping, dreaming. Too much time is also spent on the past - yearning, complaining, regretting, reminiscing. I want to live in the present, to be grateful for each day, to be content and happy, to be at peace with the past and to have confidence that tomorrow will bring only what we can handle.

On our last visit to Ryan's paediatrician, when we mentioned that Ryan was being quite sticky, Dr Ngiam explained that, at this stage, Ryan has no concept of the future. He doesn't yet understand that, if we leave his sight, we're not gone forever and we'll be back later. There is no "later", "afterwards", "wait" or "next time". There is only here and right now.

Isn't that wonderful? To seize each moment of each day wholeheartedly, to have the simple faith that the future will be manageable, to have the wisdom that the past is done.

To be fair to myself, I don't spend a lot of time on the past. Sometimes I do think to myself, gosh, how fast time flies, Ryan is almost 2 years old. But I don't wish to go back to Ryan's infant days - I would miss the person he has become too much.

However, last year, I did spend a lot of time thinking about Ryan's future - whether I was putting him in the right enrichment programmes, whether I was giving him enough opportunity and exposure for optimum learning, whether I was giving him the right toys for his development, whether I should be sending him to pre-school and which pre-school that would be.

This year, instead of living so many years ahead of each day, I'm going to just focus on the moment. This moment.

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this."
Henry David Thoreau

Monday, January 3, 2011

A new chapter for Richard

My fatigue got the better of me today, I called in sick at the office and spent the day at home. Richard starts his new position tomorrow so he was home too, and we kept Ryan with us instead of sending him to his nanny. It was another quiet day, which was what we needed. I think we're finally ready for 2011.

2010 definitely set the stage for change, with us getting our keys to two new properties, moving from house to home, Richard deciding to change jobs, and lots more.

At the moment, I am most curious to see how we are all going to adapt to Richard's new job. His previous firm was located near my office and near Ryan's nanny, now he is going to be farther away, which means it may not be as convenient anymore to meet up for lunch or to go see Ryan in case of an emergency. More importantly, starting a new position can be consuming. He will probably be quite occupied and busy for the first few months, at least.

I haven't mentioned this before, but I'm really proud of him in taking up this new position, with all its challenges. He is going to be taking over the reins of an established practice. The present head is thinking of semi-retirement, and Richard is going to lead the practice in his stead. That is a major step up, and it is something that only a few people have the courage and the ability to take on.

So, my dear husband, here's to a great start to the next phase in your career! May you have many rewarding and fulfilling years in your new firm!

Always remember that I love you and that I am so proud of you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Are we ready for 2011 yet?

Today, like yesterday, was spent recuperating from the past few weeks of non-stop action. After the last two months of renovations, Tiger's bout with kidney infection, packing, the Big Move, the unpacking, the various charity initiatives, Christmas celebrations, New Year's celebrations, not to mention the usual stuff at work and at home, Richard and I are just puffed. I think we've been tired for a while, we were running on adrenaline and sheer willpower over the last few weeks. Now that everything is done and dusted, we are feeling every bit of the tiredness as the energy drains away.

Despite the tiredness I feel right now, I'm looking forward to starting the new year. In many ways, 2010 was the close of a chapter and I'm itching to see what the next chapter holds. I've also got a few things that I want to put in motion this year and I'm raring to get going.

Before that, I still have today - one last day of relaxing to enjoy. We woke up at noon again today, courtesy of another late night. We went to Liang Court for a simple lunch at the food court, then we popped in at Royce Kid's Gym for an hour. We had to literally tear Ryan away when the hour was up, he was having so much fun.

The rest of the day was spent at home, apart from having a late dinner at Hong Kong Tea House in Katong. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011

We ushered in the new year with a cozy gathering with friends at our new home. We served dinner at our outdoor terrace upstairs and watched the sunset for the last time in 2010.

Food was catered from Casa Bom Vento - deliciously spicy! Conversation flowed easily and we sat there for more than two hours before going inside to play mahjong. Later on, when the clock struck 12, we went upstairs again to pop the champagne and watch the Marina Bay fireworks. We even saw the flares from the ships at sea near the East Coast.

We played our mahjong game with a new mahjong set. As is our custom with a new set, we randomly picked four numbered tiles and Angelynn bought 4D for us the next day (today) - guess what - we struck 3rd prize plus a starter! A great omen for 2011!

The party ended after 2 am, and we were up quite late after that, cleaning and clearing up before collapsing into bed. Today we woke up at noon and we still felt like staying in bed. We dragged ourselves out of the house and drove over to the beach for a quiet lunch and a short walk before it started to rain.

Then it was off to Parkway Parade, where we bought a new computer (I'm using it now!) - our reward for finally getting our study room sorted out.

A quiet start to the new year, but a good one, I think.

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