Friday, December 26, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

For our last "sweetness" post of 2014, here's the four of us wishing you all things sweet and wonderful for the coming new year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We spent Christmas morning in church, followed by lunch at home (Richard cooked coq an vin!). The afternoon was about opening presents, and as usual, we still hadn't opened all of them by the end of the day. Ryan was especially pleased that Santa granted his request of a set of Alphabet Robots and spent a good part of the day playing with them before he considered opening another present. Something funny - one of his presents was a Hot Wheels track set, which I didn't want him to start setting up (it was near bedtime). So I asked him to open another present, which turned out to be ... yes, you guessed it ... another Hot Wheels track set! Hahaha!

It was a quiet Christmas - there were tentative plans to meet up with friends but nobody made the initiative to confirm the details, which we took as a sign that everyone really just wanted to spend Christmas at home with their families.

Babydoll wore her hanbok to church. This time we managed to convince her to wear the little jacket (jeogori) and she looked very convincing! A few people asked if we were Korean and some even greeted us in Korean!

It was a good Christmas - over too soon, as always. Have a blessed Christmas, everyone! May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

Popping in to share some sweetness! It's been a while, I know. I'm usually a little quiet on the blog in December - usually because I'm reflecting - this year, it's because I'm so so so busy!

Anyway, it's less than a week to Christmas - are you feeling festive? Our Christmas tree is up in the living room - always a good way to add some festive cheer. The tree looks a little crazy in the daytime but when the night falls and the twinkly lights come on, it looks pretty magical. We've got some presents already but they're not under the tree yet - we want to keep Santa alive and Santa only arrives the night before Christmas, yeah?

Ok, so here are the two rascals in a short Youtube video. Ryan is directing babydoll in a "Freeze! Go!" game and, around these parts, when we say "Go!", we mean, "Dance!" (Bonus point for you if you can guess where this was filmed!)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

Our routines have not run smoothly this week and things have been thrown off rhythm. Hopefully we can get everything and everyone back on keel next week. It's been a good week despite, or perhaps because of, the departure from the norm. Let's catch up next week, yeah? Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just vogue

Over the weekend, I had a few messages come through on my whatsapp groups on children getting their hands stuck in elevator doors. Scary stuff.

Our littles are quite good in the elevators. The only mischief they get up to is to squabble over who gets to press the buttons. The scariest thing that has ever happened is that babydoll once ran ahead into the lift on her own (so that she could get to press the buttons) and the doors closed, sending her alone to the ground floor. This was at our condo. Normally she would have been able to open the door on her own but not in our condo's elevator, because the open/close buttons are too high for her. 

We weren't very alarmed, to be honest, because this happened in a "controlled space" - our condo - and we could predict what would happen. I was sure that she went to the ground floor because she would have pressed "1" and, once she reached the ground floor, she would not have been able to exit the elevator lobby because she would need an access card to do so. She also would not have wanted to - she'd probably either stay in the elevator or come out on the ground floor and wait for us. The only variable was if anyone got into the elevator in between so I raced down to the ground floor via the stairs while Richard followed in the elevator, checking every floor. 

I found babydoll on the ground floor, outside the elevator, which had gone up to ferry Richard and Ryan. She was in tears, yelling at the elevator and pounding on its doors. I can honestly say that it was not a typical scenario for us; we are usually careful about elevators and the children usually do wait for us. Ryan, especially, will not even press the button for the elevator to come up to our floor unless everyone is together, waiting in front of the elevator. Also, this would never have happened outside our home - it was the familiarity of the scene that encouraged babydoll to rush into the lift.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I wanted to share something that we do when the kids are inside the elevator to keep their hands safe and to keep them from touching stuff. So, if they are in a crowded elevator, I sometimes ask them to put "fingers on noses". This helps them to keep their hands to themselves, away from people and certainly, out of danger. This works when you want to shut the car door too! 

Last weekend, Richard came up with a game that works to the same effect. He got them to strike a funny pose, and to hold the pose till the doors open again (it was just us in the lift). So here you see the two of them, vogue-ing away! He was playing the game with Ryan at first, but on the second time around, babydoll got right into it as well. It was really funny!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

The weekend is almost here! Five weekends to go before Christmas! Woohoo! Here's some sweetness while you get started on your Christmas to-do's - have a look at babydoll modelling this outfit that I sewed for her Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub class last week. The theme was "silver" so I couldn't resist!

I made the cardigan and the shorts which she is wearing. I also made a silver dress (with a tulle skirt!), which I thought she would pick to wear, but as you can see, she has a mind of her own.

The pattern for the cardigan is the Greenpoint Cardigan by Hey June, minus the buttons. The shorts are the Kid Shorts by Dana Made It. The fabric is a slinky, semi-sheer knit from Spotlight. The cardigan was quite a hit - the first time she put it on (which was the night before), she refused to take it off and even went to sleep in it. Plus, Ryan says he wants one too!

Enjoy the rest of the photos!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

To preschool or not to preschool

I mentioned in an earlier post that babydoll is raring to go to preschool. She has been bugging me almost everyday, and especially in the morning when her brother goes off to preschool. We are thinking of starting her off in January next year, in N1 (Nursery 1).

Is she ready for preschool? I recall our paediatrician advising us to keep the littles home until around 4 years old if possible because preschool is a prime avenue for children to fall sick. Certainly, with Ryan, our target was four years old and that was what happened - we enrolled him at N2 (Nursery 2) (he was 3.5 years old, to be exact). Our target for babydoll was the same - N2 - and, if truth be told, we have asked for a place to be reserved for her at N2. We did not ask for a place at N1 because we did not expect to enrol her in N1.

Last week, babydoll was with me when I picked Ryan up from preschool (this is not usually the case). We were a little early and, from outside the classroom door, I could see that all the students were still in class, enjoying a storytelling session. Babydoll wasted no time - she sat down outside the door and started taking off her shoes and, as she was taking them off, she waved at me and said, "Bye bye, mummy."


This little patootie was so happy! She obviously thought that I was bringing her to join in the class. Finally! finally! she could go inside the classroom and be part of the fun! Well, what else could I do except to open the door for her? She trotted inside without hesitation and looked for a place to sit among the students. Her brother exclaimed, "Hey! That's my sister, Rachel!" He sat her down and put his arm around her while the class finished the storytelling session.

After that, the students dispersed to go home. Ryan was delighted to have babydoll in his classroom and showed her off to his friends and showed her around the classroom. The two of them ended up at the books corner where they grabbed some books and sat down. Ryan's Chinese teacher sat with them and read a Chinese book to the two of them. By this time, the classroom was empty but they didn't want to leave.

Babydoll didn't look at/for me at all. Of course, she was with her brother but, the way things were going, I suspect that she would have been fine on her own too. I waited for them to finish the book, had a short chat with the Chinese teacher and then I managed to get the kids to leave.

I ask babydoll (almost) everyday now if she wants to go to school. The answer is a firm yes. I even tell her that I won't be there, and the answer is still yes. I even video-recorded it. Heh heh.

So, what do you think? Is babydoll ready for preschool? I think she is - mentally and emotionally. Despite being less than 2.5 years old, she is conversing well, unafraid to voice her opinions and needs. She is socially curious, always joining in the play of other kids. She is intelligent and thirsty to learn. She is also quite independent - I don't think she'll have issues separating from me. There is still the concern about health of course. In that respect, experience offers great reassurance - Ryan has not fallen sick from school before. I think it's a combination of luck and strong genes, so hopefully babydoll has the same luck and the same strong genes?

I feel so bad disappointing babydoll every time she asks to "go class", but now that the decision is made to enrol her, I'm looking forward to seeing how happy she is when she puts on her uniform and runs off to join the other kids!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Married at the playground

Every day after preschool, I will ask Ryan about his day. Interestingly, he usually starts by telling me what he ate for lunch! After we talk about pasta and chicken and noodles and fruit, I make a point to ask him three things: whether he feels happy, what he did in class, and who he played with that day. At the moment, he seems to be hanging out regularly with two girls called Audrey and Ayana.

Richard says that, when he dropped Ryan off at preschool a few days ago, Ayana rushed up to Ryan and hugged and kissed him! Then Audrey appeared and did the same thing! It reminds me of when Ryan started preschool in 2012. Back then, he was the object of attention of two girls as well, Katie and Kriti, both kissing and hugging and tugging him east and west.

Anyway, a few days ago when I picked him up from preschool, Ryan told me that he played with Audrey and Ayana, which didn't surprise me. Until he said, "Audrey and I got married."

Me: "Audrey and you got married???"
Ryan: "Yes."
Me: "When did this happen?"
Ryan: "When we were in the playground."
Me: "Did Audrey ask you to marry her?"
Ryan: "Yes."
Me: "How did the two of you get married?"
Ryan: "We leaned on each other. That's how we get married. We lean on each other."
Me: "Oh. Err. Ok."

Of course, it's just the girls involving him in their pretend play and nothing to worry about. Isn't it endearingly innocent? For the next few days, when I asked him about his day, I also asked him, "So, did you marry anyone today?"

Married at the playground. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life lately

Life has been nice and predictable lately. We made a conscious decision not to do any traveling as a family until December. Richard travels every week for work now so we always feel the temptation to tag along. Staying put has been very very nice, although I think the kids are almost ready for a travel top-up, so when December rolls around, we will be off again. Nowhere special, just off to see their cousins.

Ryan has been going for castings, as usual. Hopefully we can secure one more role to finish off the year, although I must say that it has been a great year, modelling-wise.

Ryan met Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton a few weeks ago at the new Kinokuniya store in Ngee Ann City. We bought a book so that he could get a photo taken and an autograph (it was stamped on). He chose "The Journey Through Time" (hardcover, special edition) and he's been reading a few pages every night before bed. I see him grinning all the time while buried in the book, so he must be enjoying it.

Ryan and I still enjoy our outdoor dates. Now that I have more time to spend with him, I try to spend more of that time outdoors.

Somehow, even though we live in tropical Singapore without four seasons, the weather seems so challenging, especially around this time of the year. If it's not the haze, it's the rain or the humidity. We just make the most of it and try to get outdoors as much as reasonably and safely permissible, even if it means just roaming around our carpark or donning raincoats and umbrellas to battle the drizzle in the pool.

We tried a new eatery last weekend. Well, new to us at least. This was BFF (battered fluffy flaps) on East Coast Road. Ryan was feeling either very happy or very hungry because he, Mr Picky, actually ate some of the pancake. Not all of it, just some, but if you know Ryan, you'd know that that's already significant.

Babydoll has much fewer food issues than her brother, as you can imagine from this photo of her with the gigantic tissue prata doused in strawberry sauce. Actually, although she requested it, she only ate a little bit of it before choosing to devour her brother's plain tissue prata.

Very often, we go for dinner at Frankel where there is a veterinary clinic with two gigantic dog figurines in the window. Babydoll always, always goes to visit them, standing outside looking in. Last weekend, she told me that she wanted to go inside to talk to them. And so she did. As you can see, she was absolutely thrilled to be able to touch the dogs (and ride them). She exclaimed that the dog was "So cute!" The receptionist kept smiling as she watched babydoll going on and on.

We attended a birthday party of one of Ryan's classmates last weekend. We usually try to find something around the house to wrap the birthday present. Sometimes I just put it in a nice bag with a ribbon. This time we used some art block paper that babydoll had used. Ryan stuck stickers on it for the birthday greeting.

There was a girl doing face painting at the party and when we got there, there was a queue of little girls all asking for the same thing - a rainbow on their arm. After the first four or five, even the painter tried to persuade them to have something else, but nope, they all wanted rainbows. Then, it was babydoll's turn and she asked for a lion. Heh heh, that's my girl.

That's all. I think we're quite up-to-date now!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A little squabble

I've mentioned that, while the littles play well together, they do quarrel as well.

Last week, the littles were playing together with the chalkboard easel. Babydoll was holding on to the eraser while Ryan wrote on the chalkboard. When Ryan wanted to erase what he'd written, babydoll refused to give up the eraser. And so they squabbled and quarreled and babydoll started crying. I was in the next room, but I could hear everything. After a bit, babydoll came running to me, in tears, with Ryan behind her, also very upset.

I asked, "What's happening?" and Ryan explained the situation ("Meimei has the eraser, but I want it."). From experience, I guessed that he'd probably tried to wrestle the eraser from babydoll so I suggested, "Well, why don't you try talking nicely to her?" And so he asked his sister nicely for the eraser, with a please and in a quiet voice, and babydoll gave the eraser to him straightaway. Babydoll does sometimes refuse his requests, however nicely put, but this time, she was quite happy to leave the game and stay with me, safe in a hug.

I told Ryan matter-of-factly, "Well, now you have the eraser, what's next? Meimei wants to stay here now". Ryan got all upset of course. He wailed, "Nooooo.... I want meimei to play together with me!" I pointed out to him, still in a matter-of-fact tone, that he wanted the chalk and the eraser and now he had the chalk and the eraser; and babydoll was not part of the game anymore. Ryan became very apologetic, and started crying his sorry to babydoll and begged her to play with him.

Well, after a bit, babydoll relented and Ryan took her hand and they both went off to play again. I think the whole thing took less than two minutes?

The next time we hugged (which was about an hour later), I told my son, "Thank you for playing together with meimei just now", as an acknowledgement that he'd done a good thing by resolving the issue. He grinned from ear to ear.

A couple of days later, I was in the playroom and I came across the chalkboard easel. This was written on it: "RACHEL I am sorry that I snatch that eraser. RYAN".

(You can see that he forgot the "t" in the word snatch, and added it in later, haha.)

So it looks like, after they went back to their happy play in the playroom, Ryan wrote his sister a proper apology and kept it advertised on the board. That was pretty great, I think.

For what it's worth, I'd like to put this out there as food for thought - what would you have done if you were the parent in this situation?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

Have a kickass weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On friendships and circumstances

Ryan turns six in about ten weeks, in January next year. Next year, some of his friends will be starting primary school and others will be making serious preparations for their turn the following year. Six year olds doing serious stuff.

Already, many of the kids I know are doing four or more enrichment classes, on top of attending kindergarten. The exact choices differ but it is almost a rule that every five year old has a combination of music, language, sport and art/dance classes. Some are doing stuff like math or phonics or some sort of brain training. It is a culture, deeply ingrained. The preschooler's version of tuition.

At this point in time, I find myself going in the opposite direction. Ryan goes for a swimming class once a week and he has golf in his preschool once a week (which I predict he will ask to drop next term). He has no other structured classes. We have, in the past, explored a few other structured classes - not many, and they are all documented on the blog. I guess we didn't feel the need to continue with those nor have we felt an urgency to pick up another class for Ryan.

Now, this is not a post about who is right and who is wrong. Each family is entitled to make their own decisions and, given the same circumstances, people may still differ in what they think is best. We can have opposing opinions and still be good friends.

No, this post is about something much less obvious to some but very real to me. It's about friendships. Inasmuch as I am comfortable being different from the rest, I sometimes wonder how it will affect our social relationships in the future.

I've mentioned the enrichment classes but it's not the only thing. Ryan leads a very different life from many of his friends and we, as his parents, sometimes make very different decisions from other parents. 

What this means is that we have little in common with most of our friends.

I'm referring to people with whom we became friends because of our kids. When our kids were younger, we had everything in common. We were all on the same journey - from sharing our birth stories to shopping for children's items to potty training. It didn't matter if some of us were older, and others were younger; some were employed and others were not; some were richer and others were poorer; or some were more educated and others were less. We had no problems bonding because we were going through the same experience.

Now, it's looking a lot different. Well, at least from my side of the street it is. Sometimes it feels like everyone else is together on the other side. Like I mentioned, their kids all do the same type of classes; they even go to the same enrichment centres. They're all part of a culture, part of the same experience. And we're not.

So what will happen next year? I don't know. Of course there will be new friendships and new experiences but what of our present friends?

I do hope that our present friendships stay alive and well, despite the different lifestyles. Even though these friendships came into existence because of our kids, I would like to think that these friendships go beyond our kids. Circumstances can make friendships but friendships need not be limited to circumstances, right? I hope that's right but I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Snippets of our weekend

Here are some snippets of the weekend just past. It isn't a complete account of what we did, just some glimpses here and there.

We started our weekend on Friday, because the nanny was on leave. It felt exactly like a weekend, except that Richard was working. He joined us for lunch though.

Here are the littles enjoying playing together. They are painting here. They do squabble and sometimes, when it seems like one is disturbing the other's work, we will offer a new activity. For example, if Ryan is focused on building his train tracks, babydoll may come along and mess things up. I usually let them try to resolve things on their own but if they can't, I sometimes offer babydoll another activity. This only works for about three seconds - Ryan will then hurry over and join in! Well, at least they know that being a duo is more fun than going solo. More and more frequently now, they manage to resolve their little squabbles on their own, because they do want to keep playing together.

Here's babydoll being babydoll. I always get asked if my children are not pure Chinese or if they are some other race/blend. I think it must be their round eyes?

There was lots of water time. I read somewhere, "If your kids are crabby, put them in water." This is very true! Not that the littles were crabby but being in water definitely has a positive effect all round.

The tide was higher than usual on Saturday morning, after the heavy downpour the day before. I didn't drain our little swimming pool after our afternoon swim and the heavy rain in the evening flooded the adjoining bedroom! 

Ryan was pleased to discover that he could do a new stunt on his scooter - riding on one front wheel (and the back wheel).

More water time.

Sitting at the sink, brushing their teeth. Up till now, we do not have a fixed teeth-brushing routine! The kids actually love to brush their teeth, they just need me to give them the signal. I must try harder to make this stick!

 Okay, that's all!

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