Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Still on five!

And the tale of the 5th birthday continues.

So, after the party in school, and despite all our intentions, we didn't have much time to do much else. From hoping to spend the whole day with Ryan, to having to settle for half a day with him, and ending up with just a few hours after lunch and before dinner (when we had to fetch his sister), we ran out of options.

So we decided to go to IKEA.

Well, yes, ordinarily it's not the most exciting place in the world. But this was no ordinary day, and in the context of things, a trip to IKEA was pretty exciting that day.

It started a few weeks earlier when I started talking to Ryan about sleeping in his own bed. It was actually on a previous trip to IKEA that Ryan mentioned that he wanted to have a "bunk bed with a green bedsheet and an ABC blanket." He said he would sleep on the top bunk and babydoll would sleep on the bottom bunk. He wasn't completely serious about it but it was a start. I started talking to him a little bit every night about sleeping in his own bed, and he warmed to the idea. So I promised him that we would get a bunk bed for him.

And so, on that special day, we went to IKEA to get him a bed. I wouldn't say that it was his birthday gift, it was just something that we were planning on doing and it was a good chance to do it.

Before we left the house, there was some action at the art corner (our dining table). That morning, Ryan had asked to do some artwork with Richard so we made that happen for him. During this time, I was sewing up a t-shirt for Ryan. I wanted to have it done in time for the party at school, just to make his special day a little extra special. As it turned out, putting the finishing touches on the tails took up so much time that I had to settle for finishing the T-shirt when we got home from the party.

After that, it was off to IKEA. First stop was the restaurant, because Richard and I hadn't had our lunch, plus Ryan hadn't eaten much in school.

There's the bed. We chose the KURA reversible bed, which is not actually a bunk bed, but it'll do. Ryan was super happy with it.

That's Ryan testing it out at the store.

We got the bed delivered and installed at our home a few days later. Ryan was so excited about it. Even before the bed came, he went around telling everyone that, "IKEA is installing my bunk bed!"

If you're curious as to whether we gave Ryan a birthday present or not, well, we did. Richard bought a set of Magna-Tiles for Ryan a few weeks before and presented them to him on his birthday. Terri helped us to buy a small set for him last year when she was in the USA (and she refused to let us reimburse her for her trouble). That set was a 32 pc set of clear tiles. Ryan loved it and played with it regularly. A few days into it, he asked if he could have the solid colours set as well (he'd checked out the product images on the box), so Richard secretly put in an order for it and that was the birthday gift. Well, in addition to half a day with us, of course. Heh heh.

So, happy birthday my little love. If you remember anything about that day, I hope it will be the feeling that you were loved and cherished beyond measure. I will remember it as the perfect day, just like it was five years ago when you were born. We love you, baby boy. To the moon and back.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birthday goodies in school

Ryan loves to pretend that he's a mouse. He will insist that I address him as a mouse, and he will squeak like a mouse to respond. It's been going on for some time now. Before this, he was a worm. I don't know why he doesn't choose more exciting animals, but there you have it. Anyway, a mouse is good. There's Mickey Mouse, Jerry the mouse (from Tom and Jerry), the mouse from the tale of The Gruffalo, etc. Plus Ryan was born in the year of the Rat, so he really is a mouse.

Anyway, one day in January, I told him that I'd make him a tail. I wasn't thinking of his mouse persona actually; I just thought that having a tail would be fun. He was very excited at the idea and so I started planning and researching on how to make it happen.

Around the same time, Richard and I were discussing how best to celebrate our little love's birthday. Initially we planned just to take the day off work/school and spend the day with him. The week before his birthday, however, his teachers asked us if we would have a celebration in school. They said that his birthday was the only one around that period and it would be lovely for the children to have a celebration together with some chocolate cake with sprinkles on top. Of course we said yes, which meant a little change to our plans was required - Ryan had to go to school after all and we had to get a big birthday cake!

We still wanted to spend the day with Ryan so we arranged with the teachers to have the celebration around noon after which Ryan would leave early with us. When I was discussing the party plans with Ryan's teacher, she told me that if I was planning on bringing goodie bags, I needed to make sure that they did not contain nuts. I told her that I had not decided to give out any goodies at all but, if I did give out any goodies, they wouldn't be sweets or nuts or anything like that. She was so grateful to hear that - so take that as a tip for parents: the school is not enthusiastic about parents distributing food, unless it's chocolate cake!

Actually I wanted to bring in the cake, do a quick song, blow out the candles, cut and eat, and get ourselves out of there to enjoy the rest of the day. I had no plans to give out any goodie bags. But our discussion got my creative juices flowing and, coupled with the tail discussion I was having with Ryan at the time, I decided to make tails for everyone!

Ryan's tail was the first one I made. It's actually the prototype but when I asked him to try it on, he absolutely loved it and refused to take it off the entire day. And of course, he calls it his "mouse tail", even though I don't know of any mouse with a tail like this.

The next few days yielded these; the last one was finished the morning of his birthday.

The children absolutely loved them! They all sat down and eagerly waited to be called upon to select a tail and, gosh, the smile on each child as his/her chosen tail was pinned on was just priceless. They even wore the tails to the canteen for lunch after the class party and I understand that some of them wore their tails for the rest of the school day. Even if the interest lasts for just one day, I'm happy at the thought of having brought one day's worth of happiness into each child's life. 

Each child had one, plus I made one extra for one of the teachers (she has a young daughter). Each tail can either be clipped on with the attached clip or pinned on with the attached safety pin.

Here're some photos of the cake ceremony. Both the cake and the cupcakes were from Le Patissier. We bought the little party hats too.

After the cake was cut, the children all sat around in a circle (tails on) and ate their cake/cupcake while sending messages to Ryan. Each one would put their hand up and when called upon, would volunteer some words like "I love you Ryan" or "Happy Birthday Ryan!". Oh, it was just so sweet.

The cake was decorated with, what else, the alphabet. Richard asked them to put Ryan's name separately on different shapes and after the party, we left the shapes in the school office for the office staff and the principal, who do a wonderful job at the school.

Let me tell you, the tails raised Ryan's social standing a few notches - Ryan was an absolute rockstar that day. We wanted to get him out of school right after the party, but the children all gathered around him and shepherded him to lunch with them at the canteen, all of them marching there with their tails on, with the other classes looking on curiously. Richard and I had to wait till lunch was done, and even then, it was tough to get Ryan out because he had to do the movie-star exit - waving to everyone, giving out hugs and kisses for all. It was an amazing day for him at school.

While we are on the topic of tails, I wanted to also share this tail that I made for Ryan's friend, Brayden. Brayden loves dinosaurs and so I thought he'd get a kick out of a dinosaur tail (in this case, a stegosaurus tail). The dino tail is constructed differently from the tails that I made for Ryan's birthday. It is a lot bigger and a lot heavier, which is just the way a dinosaur tail should be.

We met up with Brayden and family shortly before Ryan's birthday. We went to Bishan Park and after that to dinner at Thomson Plaza. Here he is, walking around with his tail at Thomson Plaza.

I guess he can use it as a cushion/bolster if he gets tired of playing with it, huh?

Tomorrow, I'll share the rest of Ryan's birthday with you. Just a teaser for now - we went to IKEA!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Ryan turned five in January. I haven't written about that important event yet so I'm dedicating this week to it.

This year, he gets it. I told him that when his birthday comes, he will be five years old and on his next birthday, he will be six, and so on, and he understood that. It's part of his identity now - when he introduces himself, he will go, "Hello, my name is Ryan and I'm five years old."

He likes to ask random people how old they are too. It's as if he discovered that everyone has something in common - an age - and so there is something that people can talk about. He has no qualms asking strangers - old ladies and young babies are equal targets. He will even follow up by comparing ages. For example, if you tell him your child is two years old, he will tell you, "Oh, my meimei is only one year old." He's quite a good conversationalist, this one.

So he's five. Let me say that again - my little love is FIVE. He's been five for three months now, and I still have to process it everytime I hear it out loud. 

Five. Still baby enough to let me kiss him in public yet mature in so many ways. Baby enough to want to fall asleep in my arms yet big brother enough to comfort his baby sister when she was pining for me (when I was in Bali). Baby enough to refuse to go to school some days, yet old enough to go for drop-off playdates.

At five, Ryan is hard at work figuring out the world. He constantly asks, where did this come from? where did you get this? where do you and daddy go when I'm in school? His question over the weekend was, "What's the difference between Andy and Sid?" Daddy was stumped for a moment until he realised that Ryan was talking about the characters in Toy Story. Ryan told him the answer too.

The other night, he was asking his father for some iPad time and his father said no. He kept on asking and asking, with a little whine in his voice. I let him go on until I had enough. In an attempt to break it up, I said, "What's going on, Ryan?" He explained very logically, "I asked Daddy for the iPad and he said no. So I keep trying." Well, with an answer like that, we couldn't shut him down, could we?

A mummy of one of his classmates likes to tell me the story of the first time she met Ryan. It was on the first day of K1 and she was trying to get her daughter settled into the new class by engaging her in a pretend tea party. Ryan joined them and after some tinkling of tea cups and some pretend eating of pretend biscuits, she said, ok give me a kiss, it's time for me to go. Of course she was talking to her daughter but Ryan stepped right up and kissed her without hesitation. It made such an impression on her - such an openhearted, trusting little soul.

Today, while Ryan and I were having tea, there was a man with a tattoo of a red chilli behind his ear sitting at the next table. I asked Ryan, intending to make a joke out of it, "Why does he have a picture of a red chilli behind his ear?" My wise son shrugged and told me simply without judgment, "Because he wants to be beautiful." He reminds me everyday that it is possible to think the best of others, that there is beauty and goodness everywhere.

So, yes, five. I don't know if he'll remember what it was to be five. But I'll always remember, and if he doesn't remember, I'll tell him how five was like - it was perfect.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

I'm off to Bali today on work. Richard is going to have to look after our little brood all by himself until I get back on Sunday evening. 

Richard has done this before and survived, so no worries there. However, he has really got his hands full today because there is an activity in Ryan's school today which he has to attend. Each student gets about an hour to do the activity with the parent and other than that, there is no school for the day. Last year, we sent babydoll to her nanny before we attended the activity with Ryan. After we were done at school, we sent Ryan to his nanny, went back to the office and then fetched both kids as usual after work. However, I'm not around today and, to compound matters, the nanny has taken the day off! So Richard is taking the day off as well - he will bring babydoll to school and do the activity with Ryan (while keeping babydoll with him!) and of course spend the rest of the day (and weekend!) with the two littles.

Anyway, here's your weekly sweetness! These shots were taken at the Museum of Contemporary Art a few Sundays ago. Ryan was having his swimming lesson nearby and babydoll and I took a stroll in the surrounding area. Babydoll has been to the museum before with Richard so she was less interested in the exhibits this time and more interested in playing with the things she found on the ground.

Have a good weekend, all. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter get-together

About two weeks back, I brought Ryan for a meetup with some of his friends from school. We gathered at One Amber condo poolside, which is where a couple of his friends live.

This was April 10, close to Easter, so there were the customary Easter-themed activities - decorate your own eggshell and an Easter egg (chocolate) hunt.

There was also an egg-and-spoon race. Ryan did this without any problem at all! He even did it with one hand holding a chocolate that he was eating (from the Easter egg hunt)!

The mummies had their chit-chat while the children spent most of the party in the pool. Most of the time, the kids were not playing in the kids' pool but swimming in the big pool. As I've mentioned before, I'm so glad that Ryan can swim because he can fully enjoy himself with his friends in the water and I don't have to keep fussing over him.

Ryan had a marvellous time and it was quite hard to pull him out of the water when it was time to go!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Trip to Port Dickson

This is how we spent our New Year's this year! Yes, I know it's such an outdated post, but better late than never, eh? I just managed to carve out some time to collate the photos - some of these were shot by Ryan's cousins.

We went to Port Dickson with Jimmy, Margaret and family. We were already in KL at the time, so we drove down to Port Dickson on 31 December 2013 and spent a night there before driving back to Singapore on 1 January 2014. Quick and easy trip, kids had good fun with the cousins as usual.

We drove down in separate cars and, although we left at different times from separate locations, we managed to rendezvous at a restaurant for lunch just before reaching the hotel.

We stayed at Thistle Resort & Spa. The kids loved the pool, of course.

Plus the beach!

After a day of swimming in the pool and at the beach, the two littles were tired so we put them down for a nap and they slept through dinner! Luckily they didn't sleep all the way to the next morning or they would have missed the countdown to the New Year!

Here they are, nice and rested, and preparing to go and party!

The countdown was at the hotel's beachside bar and restaurant, where the two littles had fun strutting their moves on the dancefloor with the live band before the countdown began.

Happy 2014...!

Breakfast before leaving.

A good trip, even though it was so short. Ah, every little moment that we can spend with our extended family is precious since we don't get to see them as often as we'd like to, so it was a trip to remember.

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