Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back to school blues

Come this Friday, Xuan will be going back to school. She is going to K2. I'm not very excited about it, neither is Xuan for obvious reasons! She has been having so much fun at home that she has completely forgotten about school! I have to prepare her psychologically for school in advance before she whines about it when the time comes. But each time I reminded her, she'd give me that "back to school blues" look.

For me, I haven't get rid of my paranoid self. Back to school spells of many sick episodes for the kids and distressing moments for me. Oh especially stressful during the festive season. I had to keep my fingers and legs crossed so that the kids don't fall sick on CNY. I still remember having to ban Xuan from school when CNY draws near and getting really uptight over her falling sick.

I hope there's fewer sick episodes in 2009. *fingers, toes and eyes crossed; mouth twitched... hahaha* SIOW LIAO!

Here's wishing everyone a great year of happiness, good health and prosperity!
Happy New Year!
May all sentient beings be well and happy.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Fiasco parenting

No parents would like to admit themselves as failure... I just feel like giving myself a good bashing.

When it comes to grading, I believe parenting also has a few: successful; average - just made the grade; and fiasco parents.

I always grade myself as a fiasco case (until one day if I can see a reversal in the following):

  • Other kids sit at the table for their meals; mine run all over the house to be fed.

  • Other kids sleep on their own; mine have to be carried and rocked until they sleep.

  • Other kids eat all kinds of food; mine refuse all new food.

  • Other kids finish their meals within 30 minutes; mine have to be fed for 3 hours.

  • Other kids are chubby at their right weight; mine are skinny and severely underweight.

I really envy those successful parents who are able to sit their kids at the dining table for their meals, who do not even dare to turn their heads to catch a glimpse of their favourite TV programme. And those parents whose kids are adverturous to try out any food without having to force feed. As well as parents whose kids are well-fed and growing simultaneously with their age and height. And those parents whose kids automatically climb into their bunk when they are tired and fall soundly asleep until the next morning.

I know all kids are different... but a large part is habitual and it all boils down to how I parent my kids. These bad habits are inculcated since young... and it seems like too late to reverse them now. Sad to say, I gave in to TV temptations when they refused to eat. I let them do anything they like so that they'd be distracted and open their mouth. You must be shaking your head in disapproval by now. That's okay... I only blame myself for being such a failure!

While people triumphed over what they have achieved for the year, I just hate to give myself this kind of "End of Year Bash"! Well, so you can see - my new year resolution for 2009 is obvious...

Recently, a kind mommy blogger shared with me her own stories on how I can reverse the situation with lots of persistence and consistent good parental discipline. I'm grateful to her for all the invaluable advise. Thanks a lot Food4tots :)

I hope it won't be long before I can update her on some positive progress. Wish me luck!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Season of gifts and giving

"Stories about gifts are always fascinating because they are essentially stories within stories. We become involved not only with the plot but also with what's inside the box. Giving is a symbolic gesture and, by extension, so is the gift. A giver thinks hard about giving a meaningful gift, and the receiver ponders the meaning of the gift she receives." - Robb Report

I'm not a Christian, so is the entire family. But we started the culture of gift-giving on Christmas few years back when my sis-in-laws became Christians. They gave presents to the kids and so to reciprocate, we also buy them gifts... that's how the culture of gift-exchanging got kicked off. Since then, we also buy presents to surprise our own kids every Christmas. As a result, Xuan looks forward to Christmas every year when she'd receive all kinds of lovely presents from family members. On Christmas Eve, I will place my present for Xuan beside her bed after she has slept so that she'd be greeted by the Christmas gift in the morning.

This year, the same practice rules. Xuan was exhilarated when she saw the present beside her on Christmas day. She came to me after opening her present (when I was still half-asleep) to thank me.

Xuan: "Thank you for the present mummy!" (*smile*)
Tin: "You are welcome!" (*smile*)
Xuan: "I'm happy about you." (she looks touched)
Tin: ??? (*puzzled*) "Do you like it?"
Xuan: "Yes, the present is better than anybody else..."

That was very sweet of her. I thought. But I'm quite surprised when she said that... cos' the present I bought was no more than an ordinary dress and a small activity book. So I guess the phrase "I'm happy about you" is the kiddo version of "it's the thought that counts..." *laugh*

I'm glad she's so appreciative :)
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tom and Jerry

Xuan is currently obessed with Tom and Jerry - the old series of animated theatrical shorts that are centered on a never-ending rivalry between a housecat and a mouse whose chases and battles often involved comic violence.

On one hand, this shows that she has grown and her appetite for TV programs has changed. But I certainly don't approve watching too much of such cartoons, which promote violence and are not educational. Sorry kids, only limit to the most two episodes a day.

The siblings are too capable of all kinds of imitations. It is no wonder I seem to have a Tom and a Jerry tearing the house apart now!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Running and chasing

Xuan and Kai have been running, chasing and screaming - threatening to tear the house apart. Unbearable noise. My repeated screams and pleas won't help. Extreme madness. I suppose this is the not-so-pleasant side of being a SAHM. Below is a clip taken after they have settled down.

video

video
This is madness. Pls mute the speaker.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cars' craze

Kai's craze for cars is ultimate! I know boys love cars but not to his extent. Now I have the phobia of bringing him out for shopping. Whenever he sees cars, his jaws drop... "CARS!!!! CARS!!!! CARS!!!!", and started hauling all kinds of automobiles from the shelves and racks... so in the end we have to grab one, pay for it and hurry off before he yell for more cars.

Yesterday, when we brought him out, we try to avoid all the shops that sell cars. But somehow he has the ability to spot cars from afar. Arrggghhh... too late... He started shouting for cars and kept pointing to the direction where the cars were, nudging and shoving us towards the shop! We refused to oblige and he started to bawl until we reach home. *sigh*

Kai's ultimate craze for cars is not totally bad. It has at least brought out a new milestone in him when he uttered the phrase "BUY CAR!!!!" yesterday! As this boy is pretty slow in speech compared to tots of his age, this milestone to put together words into phrase is something I ought to rave about.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Season's greetings

I couldn't believe I'd come to terms with the crotchets and minims, and the A-B-C-D-E-F-G keys on the piano one day!!! Now I've learned to appreciate the musical notes and self-taught a "Jingle Bell" just in time for Christmas!!! Hee... but hey, shouldn't it be the two piano enthusiastists to be performing this?!??

Watch the funny clips and listen carefully... hahaha
(tune down the volume, can be quite loud)

video

Xuan helping to tape the clip using my HP. Listen to her ... and did u notice the two funny potties in the background? Haaha..


video

This version was taken by Xuan as well. And look at how helpful Kai is in disrupting!

video

Finally, a self-taped clip when no one is around... heee...

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Do lizards lay eggs?

These are the most horrible creatures that have ever scared the hell out of my life! My knees went jerky and my whole body weak when I see one. I even had bad dreams about how my entire house was filled with lizards and I had to stand on a stool, watching the pool of crawling creatures in horrid! I know nothing about them except knowing that they are the most slimy yucky crawly mini reptiles that fell on people's shoulders. And I also never bother to find out about them until recently when Xuan started talking about how she saw two lizards' eggs in a container in her ma-ma house. "Don't bluff me, how can lizards lay eggs???" I exclaimed when she told me about the eggs.

A childhood encounter with lizards made me hates them and remembers them for the rest of my life. One hateful night, I was playing with my siblings when I started gigling and everybody thought I was having too much fun. The giggles turned into cries when I started shaking my clothes and a slimy fat lizard dropped out and scampered off to safety. My whole body was trembling in fear after the incident...

I couldn't agree better with "it is a mystery how the miniaturised dragons often target those who hate them the most". I continue to be haunted by lizards even after I grew up. One bad lizard encounter I had a few years back was when I was driving in a car when I suddenly saw a big one on the windshield. Luckily it was on the outside, but still I watched in horrid fascination as it perched still on the wiper, inches from my face. I couldn't concentrate on driving. Later it vanished from the windshield, but I was scared stiff to get out of the car when I reached my destination. It must have crawled up just above the driver’s door, poised to fall on me! I thought. There was no one to help me. I could only psycho myself. After a few moments of calming thoughts, I quickily hopped out of the car, slammed the door hard and scamper off (just like a lizard, I hate to admit).

Anyway, I googled "Do lizards lay eggs" and found that THEY DO!!! Depends on the breed, some are live bearers and some lay eggs!

But I don't care whether they lay eggs or not, I only want to find the answer so that I don't mislead Xuan in any way.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crotchets and minims

These are musical terms I learn from Xuan's piano workbooks. Crotchet is a quarter note or short note or one-beat note, while minim is a half note or long note or two-beat note. These two terms come in handy when I needed to explain certain things to Xuan.

I was driving the car and Xuan was sitting next to me, listening to songs from the car CD player.

Xuan: Mummy how do I switch off the music?

Me: You just "press and hold" the off button.

Xuan: What is "press and hold"?

Me: You press and count "1-2" before letting go.

Xuan: Oh... just like playing the minim note.

Me: Yes, exactly! Just press the button like the minim note - press and count "1-2", and when you want to switch on the CD, you press like a crotchet!

Xuan: Now I know!!!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thining hair

My hair didn't thin without reasons. Kai's terror act of pulling my hair with all his might is the real culprit. Hair drop everywhere...

Huh, whose hair are these? So many here???!!! I exclaimed each time I found more than 20 strands of hair scattered all over the floor. I'm not kidding, it's really scary. I'm terrified of Kai. I've tried being stern with him, warning him not to pull my hair -- all futile. The more he hear me scream in pain, the harder he'd pull. By the time he stop, there's already a bunch of hair in his fist. It's painful, not from the pulling, but from witnessing my thining hair day after day. I don't want to go bald yet. HELP!!!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Superstar Virgo

Just came back (yesterday) from the 3D2N cruise to nowhere. Dead tired. It has reaffirmed my philosophy of not bringing kids under four for any trips. No more traveling for the next three years! I'm determined. Xuan has no problem on the cruise but not for Kai. It was nothing but a suffering trip.

Taxi
Kai was quiet. First time in motor vehicle driven by someone other than his mom and dad. Timid. Sat quietly on my lap. Behaved terribly well for the first time.

Boarding
Blur. Almost boarded the boat to Batam. So embarassing. Don't laugh!

Embarkment
Boarded the correct cruise at around 6.30pm. Decided to go for dinner. Lifts packed with people. No difference from MRT peak hours' mess. Squashed. Long queue at restaurant. Frustrated. Got a Q number to return at 7.30pm. Went back to cabin. Tm and I thought we should disembark.
Just a thought. We stayed in the end.

For the rest of the cruise, it was nothing but a "back to cabin" and "go to restaurants" affair. Entirely boring but that's because we don't have energy and mood to try out other things.

Kai wanted to be carried all the time. My arms already ached on the first day. In restaurants, he was extremely restless. Brought along his toy cars but no use. Simply refused to sit still, wanted me to carry him out of the restaurants. Refused to eat anything but drink milk. So Tm and I took turns to eat and carry him around. Our meals were rushed through. While rushing through, we also have to get food for Xuan and keep nagging at her, making sure she moved her mouth and swallowed her food! Sometimes, after we have just taken our seats in the restaurants, Xuan would complain of stomach aches and wanted to go back to cabin to do her business!

Back to cabin. The two jumped on the bed, played with cupboards and the safe box, and ran around the tiny and cramped cabin. We had to follow Kai closely so that he won't bang into walls and edges. Still, we discovered he suffered a few bruises on his legs when we came back from the cruise.

The worst of the cruise was during night time when Kai would suddenly wake up and cry non-stop, closing his eyes tight! Night-terror? We believed he was having some bad dreams. We executed all means to wake him up but failed. At loss... After an hour long of crying, he finally opened his eyes! Then he would start to play until he is tired and sleep. By then, it would be 6am in the morning.

You could not have imagined. It was a torture.
The happiest moment was waiting for disembarkment.
Yeah! We have reached Singapore! Our miseries are over!!!
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Friday, December 5, 2008

He likes to bare himself

Strange habit indeed. Kai has been tugging and pulling off his diapers of late. He likes to parade around the house with his naked bottom. I suppose it is the airy feel and lack of the 'heavy burden' that is making him do that. He certainly knows how to make himself feel comfy.

Each time he does that, I'd call him "脱裤城" (rhymes with 郭富城... Aaron Kwok's fans, no offend please) and he LOVES it! *giggles*
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Growing taller

Kai has grown to a height where he is able to reach things not meant for him. Patronisng my dressing mirror ledge every now and then to seize all kinds of girly stuff like hand lotion, lip moisturiser, tweezers, comb...etc. This means he is also able to reach for things on the dining table including piping hot water and steaming dishes. This is no joke. I've heard of stories of how toddlers pull off boiling kettles from stove and burnt themselves badly. So, this highly active Kai has to be under strict survellience at all times. I'm always exerting my lung power on him whenever he reaches for things on the dining table. It's scary. You bet. I'm not into reasoning with him as yet (although I've attempted at times). Those rational messages are too 'chim' to get into his little head. Yelling is the most efficient, instant solution and the best antidote so far. Usually he'd backed off a few steps whenever I exert my lung power!

Sigh! So you see, his growing big isn't so fun after all.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Knowledgeable aunties

The other day in the foodcourt, I sat with two aunties (I mean the two women were in their 50s'. I used to define aunties as women in their 30's when I was much younger... pardon me... but now I define aunties as women in their 50s' as I myself is now in the 30s' age group and going to 40 pretty soon, so please let me insist on my definition... haha).

Well, these two aunties were talking about stocks. They were discussing about their investments in U.S. citibank shares, saying it is worth buying blah blah blah... Soon they turned to me and included me in their chit chat. They asked if I read the papers that day. I shook my head. Then they kindly informed me that the Japan has entered into recession... and so is Hong Kong. Then they go on to talk about credit cards, housing loans, etc. etc.

I appeared lost in their ramblings... the aunties nowadays are really knowledgeable! After becoming a stay-at-home mom, my world simply revolves around the two kids and the 'home affairs'... think I need to buck up and keep up with the current affairs now, so that I can be an equally knowledgeable auntie next time :)

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Over reaction is better than no reaction

"A bone stuck in my throat!!!" Xuan weeped, clutching her throat!
I jumped up and rushed to her. Heart thumping hard and fast.
"Where? What?" I panicked (although she already declared clearly in her first statement the where and what!!!)

Quickly I handed her a cup of water.
"Drink this, gush down the bone!!!"

Slowly, the weeping stop, but tears still rolling down her cheeks...
"Are you OK? "
She nodded.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Something stuck in my throat, something hard, I can't swallow... but I think it's not a bone... I don't want to die..."

She's fine.
I heaved a big relieve.

Notes:
Well, sometimes this little daughter over-reacted to a lot of things. When eyelashes get into her eyes, she'd scream, cry, and jump up and down over the little discomfort, which is uncalled for. When Kai poked her legs a little, she'd weep loudly as well. I was quite upset over her cries and screams everyday.

I don't mean she has over-reacted in the above. But I'm happy if she really did. Her little tolerance for things was put to some good use for once, as it could be disastrous if she just kept mum... PHEW! (Still trembling as I wrote this...)
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Non-stop spitting

Watch out! Don't trip! There're puddle of of saliva everywhere in the house!

Kai picked up this naughty bad habit of spitting his saliva everywhere! Nothing can stop him. I've exhausted all means. Being stern doesn't help. Ignoring him also doesn't make him spit any lesser.

After getting so impatient and frustrated over his act... I came to realised that his spitting action might be due to his erupting molars. His molar might be the reason for the excessive salivating, which is why on many occasions, he'd gurgle the mouthful of saliva before throwing them out.

---------------------------
29 Nov 2008 (Saturday)
Soon after I wrote the above. Kai changed his habit slightly. Doesn't spit on the floor. Instead, hold out my palm and spew his saliva on it... :(
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lousy cook

Kai is an extremely fussy eater. He's a no-veg, no-fruits, no-many-types-of-food boy. Could have inherited the gene from me. New food that went into his mouth will get spitted out. Feeding him is a nightmare. I'm in deep trouble.

Googled 'recipes for fussy eater' - hoping for miracle. Found this Food for tots blog, which is simply great! Thought it could be my lifesaver. Decided to try out one interesting dish featured in it yesterday -- Scrambled eggs with cauliflower

The recipe goes:
Ingredients:
70g chicken thigh/ breast – shredded and marinated with light soya sauce, sugar and cornflour.
170g cauliflower – cut into small pieces and blanched
35g carrot – shredded
½ potato – boiled and diced (optional – This is the leftover from my pumpkin soup)
½ red onion - sliced2 eggs – mixed with pinch of salt and pepper and beaten lightly

Note: You can substitute chicken with fresh prawn or 2 tbsp dried shrimp .

Seasonings:
1 tbsp – oyster sauce
1 tsp light soya sauce
Dash of pepper

Methods:
1) Heat up oil and stir-fry chicken until cooked.
Dish up and set aside.
2) Add in onion and sauté until fragrant.
3) Add in carrot and stir-fry. Add in cauliflower, potato, cooked chicken and seasoning, and mix well. If it is too dry, add in 1-2 tbsp water.
4) Add in eggs. Stir fry until the eggs are cooked.
Dish up and serve.

Immediately, I got all ingredients ready and set right into the kitchen. Follow by an eventful one-hour cooking.

Put oil first. Oops! Jumping oil! Quickly take cover. Buried face under the T-shirt I'm wearing. Shielded. No joke. Jumping oil will disfigure face. Retrieve wok cover to act as shield. More robust. Safe now. Phew!

Next, throw in prawns (to substitute chicken). Loud noise from wok. Prawns stick to wok. Not enough oil. Pour in more oil. Oops, too much! Scope up a little. Just right now. Stir. Prawns seem cooked. Dish up, set aside.

Next, fry onion. Spatter onion into wok. Not enough oil again. Pour in more oil. Stir. Throw in shredded carrots. Stir. Throw in blanched cauliflower. Oops, cauliflower not blanched yet. Off stove. Don't know what is blanched. Googled for 'blanched' earlier. Should be like this. Take out pot. Put water. Bring cauliflower to boil. Sieve out cauliflower. Continue to reheat wok. Throw in blanched cauliflower. Throw in boiled and diced potatoes. Stir. Hands tired by now. Oh dear portion seems too big. Should be eating leftovers tomorrow. Stir again. Too dry. Add more oil. Add light soy sauce. Stir. Oops forget to add oyster sauce. Quickly retrieve sauce from fridge. Shake it into wok. Stuck! Doesn't come out. Shake harder. OK, should be just right now. Not sure if it's one tbsp though. Nevermind. Continue to stir. Pour in the prawns. Stir again. Perspiring. Check recipe... final step, stir in eggs.Yippee! Dish up everything. Serve.

End results - Messy kitchen. Sweaty cook. No mood to take photo of dish.

Effect on kids - Xuan ate them; Kai spitted out as usual. Dish doesn't work on him. Failed. Disappointed.

Conclusion - This dish too many steps. Will try a simpler one next time.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New member in the family

Let's welcome a new member to the family - a brand new shiny black 'Pearl River' piano from Christofori!

Well, we decided to buy Xuan a piano for her to practice at home since her interest in piano seems genuine. So this implies we have to make room in the karang guni house for this black and clumsy block of wood (sorry... rather negative here, cos' it means more shifting and cleaning on my part). But overall, I'm still happy to welcome this new member.

The dad is afraid that Xuan would lose her interest ultimately. So he too decided to take up piano lessons. He has already signed up for the adult course last Sunday! Gee.. this way, money invested in piano will not go into the drain... Actually, that's a good excuse to fulfil his childhood dreams!

So, here I am eagerly waiting to hear lovely pieces from the piano soon.



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Monday, November 24, 2008

Artistic endeavours

Recently, I dug out my art portfolio at my mum's place and found a whole series of fashion illustration plates and portriat drawings which I did in my old school days. I couldn't bear to throw them away, so have kept them at my mum's (karang guni) house for the time being until I manage to find a spot for them to reside in my own karung guni house :)

Before they disappear someday, I think I'd better keep a digital backup here :)
video
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Horrible Twos

I've almost forgotten how terrible Xuan was when she was two, until Kai mirrored the terrible two's image recently...

When he couldn't get the things he wanted (such as tuning to his favourite TV channel), he'd start to jump up and down, throw his upper torso backwards (u must be wondering what this means... read this and you'll know), dash towards the wall (luckily not to bang his head but to hit it with his bare hands), or simply do silly things to the extent of hurting himself! He sure has a way and is absolutely good at manipulating us! Sometimes I really have no idea what this little boy wants. Frankly I don't wish to give in to his whims and fancies all the time as I'm worried he'd be spoilt. But at the same time, I also don't want him to get hurt. This hot-headed boy is capable of doing anything to hurt himself just to get things done his way.

I wonder what should be the best way to deal with this horrible two's behaviour!

Any advise please?
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Overcoming lightning fear

Xuan used to be so scared of thunder and lightning... I think most kids do, even the adults do... ha ha... I mean I do.

Recently, she seems to have overcame the fear. When lightning struck, she didn't cry and run to me anymore! I remembered having to tell her that 'the lightning is actually the camera's flash and that the sky is taking a photo of her'... haa... yah all those nonsense...

Anyway when I asked her why she has been so brave, she revealed a secret of how she overcame the lightning fear. She said that when the lightning strikes, all she needs to do is to count "One Supersleuth, two Superleuth, three Supersleuth..." and stop when she hears the thunder! Well, she learnt that from Winnie the Pooh on Playhouse Disney.

I think I must give it a try next time.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Siblings' photos: then and now













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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Effectively billingual?

Definitely NOT!

After our experience with Xuan, we decided to start Kai on both languages when he is still young. We are introducing him to both English and Chinese at the same time. Now for most words that he speak, he'd repeat it in its Chinese equivalent.

Car... che
Ball...qiu
Hair... ah fa
Eyebrow... ah mao
Sleep... ah jiao
Umbrella... ah shan
Aeroplane... eh ji
(Haha, he still couldn't get his two-syllable pronunciation right)

Anyway, I doubt he knows which is English and which is Chinese. So there might be a scenario in future when he'd say "I want ah jiao"!

Hmmm... that's not so smart afterall, isn't it?
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cutting Kai's hair

Cutting Kai's hair was a torment. It was easier when he was a few months' old, but not after he learnt about things. He was scared when he saw his hair dropped all over the floor and refused to get his hair cut.

So I can only cut his hair when he sleeps. I have to turn his head to the left to cut his right-side hair and vice versa. Hair drops all over the bed, on his face and into his ears. I have to tediously tape up the hair bit by bit using scotchtape, making sure he don't wake up to the ticklish taping on his face, neck and ears... This sleeping hair-cut usually ends up with a holy hairstyle... (I mean "holely"... little holes here and there). He didn't look fantastically handsome after that :(

Lately, I tried to ease his fear by introducing him to the hair cutting equipment. Then I sit him in front of the TV and tell him I'm going to cut his hair. I snipped a little by little before getting more aggressive. But I made sure his hair didn't drop to the floor. I folded a paper square box to contain his cut hair. Soon, he was okay with the hair cut. However, with this method, I couldn't cut his hair freely. I could only hold up a few strands of hair with my fingers at one time before cutting and putting them into the box.

I had wanted to cut his hair freely with a comb and scissor like what the hairdresser does. I don't feel great cutting his hair with my fingers and scissors. Hmmm... so yesterday I cracked my head a little and had an inspiration!

Instead of a square box, I folded a deep rectangular box and taped it to the comb! With that I could comb and cut his hair freely without worrying that the hair would drop to the floor. All hair now dropped into the improvised paper container! I was so happy!

He he...take a look at the haircut set and my proud invention!

This is the children haircut set which I use religiously on Xuan's and Kai's hair.

Farlin Safety Haircut Set for Children ($23.80)













The square box which I used to contain the cut hair. Made from any A4 size paper or simply tear off a page from any used magazine to fold the box.









The newly improvised deep rectangular box. Fold it with your imagination.












Finally, tap it to the edge of the comb.

















And you are all ready!!!















Get ready the scotch tape, as well as the square box for other free style cutting. This is the complete hair cutting set for Kai.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now is Kai's turn

The strict infection control doesn't work this time. Kai is down with flu. He has finally caught the virus from his sis! I guess the month-long observations of strict hygiene has tired everyone out... it is afterall not easy to maintain that kind of energy to observe all the infection control rules.

Kai ran a high fever for 3 days - 72 hours to be precise! His temperature shot up to 40.5 deg yesterday and I was so stressed and worried. There's no way we could force any medicine down his throat. So the paracetamol and voltaren suppositories were like god-send. At one stage, even the voltaren (for high fever >39) suppositories didn't work! I thought he might be having bacteria infection for his fever to be so high... so I attempted to give him the Augmentin (antibiotics) prescribed by his PD. I put the medicine into Milo to make him drink, but it didn't work. Then I put it into milk, it didn't work either! I was very desperate then as his fever has gone up to over 40 deg!

Quickly, I rang up the pediatrician for help! I pleaded for any Augmentin suppositories but the nurse said there's no such thing! (Please, if you are a apothecary, druggist, or pharmacist reading this, please help devise a suppository for Augmentin!!!) Anyway, the PD advised us to give him both voltaren and paracetamol suppositories at the same time to double up the effect! The other advise is we have to give him Augmentin by hook or by crook! That is when I started squeezing syringes of Augmentin into his mouth. The struggle was bad! He cried and kicked. The medicine got into his mouth but not down his throat, he spitted them all out! In the end, only half of the prescribed dosage got in. After that I have to pray that he keep the medicine in his stomach and not vomit them out! Hmmm... I guess this explains why I was so neurotic about Kai falling sick and tough on the infection control.

Thank goodness, he is feeling much better today. But I still need to give him the Augmentin for another 6 days!!! Please pray for me to survive the squeezing ordeal! Or please tell me if there're any better tricks for Kai to take his medicine!

Thank you!
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Xuan's CPU is infected with virus!

Not only is she down with the flu virus, her little CPU is also infected with virus! Xuan's paranoid now, just like me... :(

Her brain is processing the word VIRUS and reproducing it everywhere. Yesterday morning she said to the piano teacher when she "coughed" once, "You don't pass your VIRUS to me, I already have a VIRUS!"

The teacher had to explain that she only choked, not coughed!

Should I congratulate myself for imparting her the knowledge about virus? Or should I hit my head and said "See what you've done to the kid?!!"
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another bout of flu

Xuan has yet to recover fully from her previous cough... yet now she's down with another! I'm really scared to repeat that strict infection control all over again! I also have a hunch that we'd not be able to go on the Virgo cruise which we booked. Sigh... it's all happening again!

Everyday before she steps into her class, my mouth automatically sends out a routine reminder, "Don't get another new virus har! Stay away from people who cough and sneeze!" And each time, she'd nod her head.

Then after school, my irritating questioning continues, "Did anybody cough or sneeze near you?" If she answered yes, I'd pursue, "Did you quickly cover your nose and mouth? Did you go away?" Most of the time, her answer is "Yes..." but her body language gave her away! I look at her and repeat the question again and she'd said "No..., please don't be mad at me..."

Yes, she tell lies to pacify me! Thanks to myself! I have imposed too much on her. The truth is, no matter how many reminders I sent out, Xuan will still catch the virus! She's just a child! And there's no way to prevent it. She also doesn't want to be sick!

I need someone to knock some sense into me, "Hey hey mom, loosen up! It's normal for a child to be sick!"

Alright, alright, digress a bit:
Her greatest fear of being sick is "Will I still be able to go to the piano lesson on Sunday?"





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Friday, November 7, 2008

Over-anxious mum

Yesterday evening, Xuan complained of a headache. I didn't take much of a notice as she was perpetually complaining of pains here and there.

Later at night, she told me again about the headache. We felt her head and it was burning! She was running a high fever! Suddenly, all sorts of things came to my head... could it be meningitis? I quickly flipped through the "What to Expect the First Year" bible, although Xuan is far beyond the age to consult the book. I read that the prevention for meningitis is the immunization for Hib, which she already had. Phew, that was a relieve! Then I go on to check on other illnesses that has symptoms of high fever and headaches...ENCEPHALITIS!!!

"Oh dear, what now? This is an emergency case!" I thought to myself.
"Should we send her to the A&E?"
"Could she be having dengue.... she told me of pains in her legs and hands as well the day before..."

Anyway, it was already late into the night, we have already given her ibuprofen and tucked her in bed. We put cold towel over her forehead... her temperature was monitored through the night.

Luckily this morning, her temperature came down... now she's at the pediatrician with her Dad.

Now some truths about headaches in children, which I just found from the WWW:

"Headache is very common in older children"
(well, I didn't know that, all I knew was children shouldn't have headaches as they have serious neurological implications)

"Fever causes headaches. With a fever the blood vessels in the whole body dilate (get wider). Dilated blood vessels in the scalp and around the brain cause pain - headache."
(OK, now that I know, I will not over-react if a child has headache unless accompanied by other symptoms!)

"It is common for a headache to accompany an upper respiratory tract infection, such as the common cold, flu, sore throat"
(errr... yah, Xuan is still having her cough, and seems that her cough has gone worst this time, so I guess it is another flu virus... sigh!!!)
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Save money with abbott milk powder

There's a little something to share with parents ... some ways to save money.

As you know, milk powder are really expensive and a 1.8kg tin can finish in 2-3 weeks! If you are using abbott milk products or giving your child Pediasure, just like me, you can actually go to Abbott Family Rewards website to sign up as a member. After which you can mail in your receipts that prove your purchases of related Abbott milk powder and accumulate points! One tin of Pediasure earns you 100 points. With 1000 points, you can redeem one tin of 400g Pediasure or any other Abbott milk powder online. They'd mail you the vouchers which you can use them to redeem the free milk powder at supermarkets!

BTW, this is not an advert. Abbott didn't pay me in any way for this ... :)
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Piano lesson

Xuan started her first piano lesson at Christofori three sundays ago. It was more of her Dad's aspiration to learn piano than hers. So he decided to sign her up for piano classes to fulfill his childhood dreams... you know, when the adults are too old to fulfill a wish, they default it on the kids... haha!

Xuan appeared to be interested. I thought she'd lose interest after one or two lessons. Apparently, I have underestimted her. Hmmm... she must have inherited her Dad's interest in music. She looked foward to her piano lessons every Sunday. Each time, she come back, she'd teach her Dad the crotchets, minims, semi breves... etc. etc. As for me, I'm a complete musical idiot ... whatever minims, crotchets or semi-breves -- they all look the same "豆芽" to me, just that some are black and some are white. All the while I thought she only learnt the theory and only know about "豆芽"... so this video which her dad took of her was a complete eye-opener for me.

Last Sunday, before the teacher turned up, Xuan has some time to play with the piano herself. She asked her Dad to take out her piano book, and she placed it in front of her and played a tune... WOW, after watching the video, I started pestering Xuan on how she did it???

video

弹得似模似样,有板有眼 :)

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Friday, October 31, 2008

BPA in milk bottles

As if the melamine contamination in Chinese diary products is not enough, parents now have the BPA in bottles to worry about.

"Polycarbonate (PC) is a lightweight, tough, heat resistant and high performance plastic. It is widely used in food-contact applications such as food storage containers, kitchen appliances and baby milk bottles. PC is produced by the polymerisation of bisphenol A (BPA) and phosgene monomers. It is possible that free BPA monomers could migrate from the PC material during contact with food."

There was news that Canada prepares to take the precautionary measure of banning bottles which contain the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) used in food packaging. There were concerns that BPA may cause abnormal development in babies.

The relieve is that AVA has given the all-clear to polycarbonate baby milk bottles in Singapore, saying they are safe for use. However they advised parents to change the milk bottles every four to six months.

This ignorant mother has been using the same milk bottles since Xuan's birth till now and using them on Kai. How terrible right?!? To make things more complicated, she has been practising sterilising the bottles by boiling them after every feeds, still thinking they are the cleanest and safest bottles to drink from!!! Wouldn't this boiling make the BPA emit from the bottles at an even faster rate??? OMG, how can she?!!!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bonding time?

The other day, I saw a girl - same age as Xuan, carrying her little sister - same age as Kai, and thought how close the two siblings were. Xuan and Kai never have such bonding.

So, at home, I asked Xuan to carry Kai, and she did, but this is what she said, "Quick mummy! This thing is heavy!!!"

















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Monday, October 20, 2008

The two-year old's vocabulary

video

See how watching VCDs can do wonders... haha

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Friday, October 17, 2008

被宠坏的女佣

以下是一个被宠坏的女佣的实例。

祖母行动不便,妈只好聘请一个女佣来照顾她。妈心地善良,想必是这因素而导致女佣爬到她头上的原因。

女佣平时没做什么家务,主要是帮祖母按摩,还有午觉睡,傍晚六点就 “收工” 。起初来的时候,妈还买丰富早餐给她吃。有一天,妈给祖母买猪肠粉当早餐,自己则吃饼干,也给女佣饼干。女佣吃一两片就不吃了,埋怨道 “为什么我不跟祖母吃一样的东西?”

有一次,祖母发现餐桌很脏,便吩咐女佣抹一抹,谁知她竟说“我还没吃,怎么抹??” 祖母当时也还没吃呢!

另一晚,祖母起床上厕所三次,都叫女佣帮她,女佣就不爽,给脸色 - 祖母吃药时间到了也不拿药给她,等到祖母在几个小时后提起,她才把药拿给她。

我想女佣最高兴就是祖母进院留医那些日子。她天天都说要到那儿去陪祖母,因为在那儿没人督促,可以翘着脚,坐在医院休息室,边看电视,边和其她女佣闲聊。

这些妈都向我透露。

女佣被虐待的新闻经常上报,女佣作怪的事件也多不胜举。。。聘请女佣真的是要靠运气!
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kai sleep problems

Never expect Kai to have sleep problems like Xuan, when she was younger. He is already two plus but still doesn't sleep soundly through the nights. He co-sleep with me in the guest room.

This is our nightly routine:

10.45 pm Power on the TV in the bedroom, off the lights, sing lullaby and rock Kai to sleep. (PS: He needs some soft noise in the room, other than my voice.)

12.30 am Kai tosses in bed, search for my elbow, and my arms turned into his bolster (tried giving him the real bolster but he doesn't like!)

12.40 am Something's not right. Kai still couldn't find a comfortable position. The artificial bolster is not comfy... too skinny. Toss and turn again...

12.55 am All attempts to find a comfortable sleep position fail, Kai started to make noise.

1.00 am Quickly put Kai in his rocker and start rocking him before he makes too much noise and disturb his dad and sis in the other room.

1.30 am Kai finally rocked to ZZZ land again.

2.30 am Kai tosses again... repeats above steps all over!

4.30 am Kai tosses yet again! Repeat above steps all over!!

5.00 am Kai finally sleeps!

[in worst case scenario, he'd wake up from 4 am to 6am, repeating the above steps (tossing - rocking - carrying - rocking - carrying - tossing) at least 6-7 times altogether!!! It's simply exhausting...]

7.00 am Kai wakes up and smiles at me. I look angrily at him. This poor mummy is highly deprived of a good night sleep!

Well, somehow I read from the WWW that this inability for children to sleep through the night (defined as 7-9 hours of continuous sleep) until they reach 3-4 years of age, is perfectly normal!
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Anger management for Xuan?

I've always knew how anger can make a person lose his cool. Xuan has testified that statement every now and then. But today is the worst I've seen in her. I really don't know what got into her. She became angry with me suddenly... I'm still trying hard to recall what did I do wrong?

All I did was to ask her to go and bath after reaching mama house. Then I saw her still loitering around the house before I nagged again. Finally she obliged but went into the bathroom reluctantly. Then I heard her screaming at me from the bathroom. I went to check and demanded "Why are you so angry? What are you trying to do? ... Remember what you said in the car just now, you said you are going to eat the porridge yourself... such good girl... and now you are behaving so differently!" This statement must have hit on a raw nerve.

She finished her bath, walked past me, pointed a finger at me and screamed "You slubberfurry!!!" BTW, I had no idea what that means. All I knew was - it's some kiddy scolding words - perhaps equivalent to the adult's cursing? Before I knew it, she started to spit at me (at a distance). I was so angry and started chiding her. Demanded where she learnt that from, etc etc... Finally she broke down and cried. Before I leave the house, she asked for my forgiveness.

According to Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in anger management, some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.

People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.


I have long came to terms that Xuan is a hotheaded girl. But her temper is getting from bad to worst. She gets agitated easily and like what the psychologist said - is chronically irritable and grumpy. She gets upset when she's being corrected for minor mistakes. The only comfort is that she appeared remorseful after she has hit the roof.

Today, I've finally awaken to the reality that I must read about anger management for kids... Or should I be talking to a child psychologist?
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Infection control

This infection control at home is driving me crazy... it's absolutely soul-draining. Xuan has been infected with flu from her school and has been coughing since mid-September. We decided to practice strict infection control from the very first day of her sneezing and coughing episode, so that Kai will not catch the same hateful virus.

This is what we do:
1. Everybody in the house is instructed to keep Kai a distance away from Xuan - a minimum distance which any cough or flu virus will not be able to reach (which I found from the Net to be at least 1 metre apart). But being more kiasu, I decided we keep them at least 3 metres apart - that means they are not able to stay together in the same room at the same time.

2. Xuan is told not to play or touch Kai's toys.

3. Kai has to wash his hands whenever he lays hands on Xuan's toys accidentally.

4. All toys in the house has to be cleaned before giving to Kai.

5. Kai is not supposed to go to Xuan's previous activity spot, until after 30 minutes when hopefully the virus-laden droplets has already settled down.

6. Whoever has handled Xuan will have to wash their hands thoroughly and change their clothes whenever they switch to handle Kai.

The list goes on... This infection control has worked well thus far - Kai is protected from the cough (*fingers crossed*). But the two siblings have drifted apart since Xuan's cough started. I have to constantly "shoo" Xuan away from Kai whenever she gets near. Sometimes, when she doesn't listen, I'd get worked up and screamed at her. Many times she complained that I have hurt her feelings. It was miserable and I felt sorry for Xuan. I may have observed all infection control practices to protect Kai but have neglected the most basic humane motherly instinct to look after the sick child. Sometimes, I have secretly wished that Kai get the virus soon (if sooner or later he has to get it!) so that the family can operate normally again. Atlas! How long do I have to bear with this predicament?
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Monday, September 22, 2008

My first day as a parent volunteer

Just came back from *** ***** Primary School (asterisks to protect sch repuation). The school next to my block. We have finally decided to let Xuan get into this school, which is the most convenient, and reputation-wise..., not too bad, at least it is the most popular in Sengkang.

We were finally enrolled into their parent volunteer scheme! We were so eagerly looking forward to their confirmation letter everyday in the mailbox... until I received an sms from the school, informing me to start the volunteer today. I was supposed to mind the children who stayed back after school as their working parents were not able to fetch them. This is what they call the "Before and After School Care" (BASC). The experience was ... BAD! I had just finished the 2 hours of blood-vomiting session with the children. I'm not sure if I should really enrol Xuan in this school afterall! The 2 hours of volunteering in the BASC has changed my whole impression of the school.

There were 4 boys and a girl, all Primary Four pupils, in the BASC programme. They were too much a handful. The teacher has already warned me before the session to set the tone right, otherwise they'd climb over my head. Indeed they did! The boys were rowdy. They couldn't sit still. They rolled on the floor, climb onto tables and chairs that were stacked high up, screamed, jumped, slid, skid and shouted... one of them never stop spitting obscene vulgarities out of his mouth. I really feel like giving him a taste of my fist! My blood pressure must have shot up during these 2 hours. Those horrifying days when I first taught in Elias Primary floated to my head. I remembered how I gave up after teaching for three days. Now I feel the same. I thought I should just stop and tell the teacher I give up being a volunteer and also the chance to get into phase 2B for my daughter... I really have that urge!

Are they the worst of the pupils in the school? They are only in P4, so what about those older ones? Wouldn't they be more out of hand? Is this the result of the lack of parental guidance at home?
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kai's protesting act

He knows nothing about pain. Whenever he wants to protest, he'd do a quick high jump and land his bum on the cold hard floor. I don't think his diaper is thick enough to cushion his buttock. I was so worried he might break his own backside! The cool thing is before he does that, he'd shout "JUMP!" Not only did he not shed a tear, he will get up and repeat the same protest again!



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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Xuan's behaviour

Oh dear, I find myself searching the web for all kinds of info on 5-year old's behaviour and discipline lately. Xuan has a bad temper and is getting more and more stubborn and argumentative. She gets worked up and frustrated very easily... refuses to apologise when she is wrong, instead demands the other party to say sorry! I hope I find a way to deal with her behaviour problems soon... :(
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

I want to win

I wonder how Singaporean's Kiasuism got to her. She developed this kiasu mentality lately... everything she does, she wants to win... she doesn't want to lose.

Every time, she'd be the first to dash out of the door and hurried to the lift in order to be the first to reach the lift. Then she'd happily accord a winning status to herself.

Recently her classmates gave her a pack of those colourful sticks for the "pick sticks" game. Remember the childhood game, when each of us takes turn to hold the bunch of sticks in one hand before letting go and then picking them up one by one without moving the other sticks? The one who picks the most sticks will be the winner. Xuan wanted me to play with her and that is when I learnt of her kiasu behaviour. When it came to Xuan's turn, she would hold the sticks high up in the air and smacked them hard on the floor so that the sticks would scatter far apart and makes it easy for her to pick. If I happen to pick more sticks than her, she'd turn sulky, "You cannot win! I want to win!" While having the aspiration to win is positive, but going too extreme and having the fear of losing is called "kiasu"... That is the last I want to see in Xuan.

Are all five-year olds like that?
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Daily chants

Both Xuan and I have our daily chants. I nag the same old thing before she goes to school every morning and she chants the same old note before i go to bed every night.

Mine goes:
Remember to stay away from people who cough and sneeze!
Don't put your fingers in your mouth.
Don't touch your nose and eyes. Remember har!

I didn't realise this routine nagging has an effect on her until yesterday when we were in the lift of Gleneagles Hospital. A boy coughed. Xuan opened her eyes wide in dismay! Next she let out an "Oh NO! The boy coughed!" and quickily turned her back around, away from the boy. OMG! So embarrassing!

Hers goes:
Good night mummy!
Sweet dreams. I love you.
I love you so much.
Have a nice dream.
Have a nice sleep.
Promise to dream a dream.
What you dream today?
Ok, see you tomorrow morning!
I miss you!

This has become so routine that she chants without any emotion... :-(
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Kai's MMR vaccination

Kai was down with fever for the past two days. We suspect it was due to the MMR vaccination he went for last week. We brought him to the doctor again yesterday as the fever shot up to 39.0 in the night. Dr Ngiam confirmed that it was a throat infection and not due to the jab. He said the fever from the jab will not be so high. Anyway, it was a relieve that his temperature came down today. But the ear thermoter was irritating, sometimes it shows 37.9 and 37.0 next... it was simply confusing. The temperature seems to vary widely depending on how you place the thermometer in the ears. Anyway, anything not exceeding 37.9 should be quite safe.

Some information on the MMR vaccinations:
http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/mmr.html

Another one about how vaccinations work:
http://sgmotherhood.blogspot.com/2008/09/know-about-vaccinations-and-how-they.html
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Xuan's "little sprouts of wisdom"

Parachute Vs Hot air balloon
One day, Xuan's Dad pointed to the hot air balloon on TV and exclaimed "Look at the parachute!" (erhem, it's embarrassing, I know)

Xuan corrected, "No Daddy, that's not a parachute, it's a hot air ballon!!!"
Daddy pondered for a while...

"You see, the hot air balloon goes up, the parachute comes down one, u know??!!" Xuan explained.

Next she asserted, "Sometimes my daddy and mummy don't know things!!!"

I was speechless. It was certainly embarrassing for the Dad, but how did I get dragged into the picture???!!!


Slow Lorry
I was driving Xuan home from school and there was this terribly slow-moving lorry in front of us. I couldn't help but kept "cursing" - "This lorry is SOOO SLOW!!!" Guess what Xuan said?

"Mummy, you don't scold the lorry, the lorry don't know anything, you must scold the driver!!!"


To be continued... when more little wisdom sprouts :-)
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Bits and pieces from Xuan

Rain rain go away
It was raining so I sang to Kai "Rain rain go away, come again another day..." Xuan heard it and said,"Mummy, you see, you always sing come again another day, that's why it rain now. You must sing don't come again forever..."

Trying to teach
The title of her goodnight story was "The beautiful mysterious box", so she asked,"Do you know what is mysterious?" I just kept quiet and she continued,"it means nobody knows what is inside..."

Empathy
Xuan said to her Dad on a Sunday night,"Why Pak-Pak has to work until so late on Sunday?... You are very lucky Daddy, you don't have to work on Sunday, and I am very lucky too! I don't have to go to school on Sunday!!!"

Tired tune
I was humming a gloomy tune when Xuan was having her porridge. And she reacted immediately, "Mummy your song makes me tired you know, wait I can't finish my porridge, wasted you know!!!"

Don't say "you see"
Kaka (calling the maid) you don't say "you see" - that makes me very silly, you know!!!
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Monday, August 4, 2008

The infamous rocker

This rocker forms a significant part of Xuan and Kai's sleep. It gives them the comfort, puts them to sleep but tires me out. It started out with Xuan, who has sleep problem from birth until three years old. The rocker works like a magic each time she's grouchy and couldn't fall asleep. But it needed great strength, patience and endurance to rock her, which could last for as long as 30 minutes before she fall into deep sleep.

The rocking ritual consist of Xuan in the rocker and me carrying the rocker in my arms standing and swaying the big clumsy thing from left to right and right to left. The most frustrating part is that if you stop half way while she is in the non-REM sleep, she'd kick a big fuss and the whole rocking process will start all over again.

This ritual became history after I expected Kai. I tell myself that history will not repeat itself again. I almost wanted to throw away the rocker so that I would not have to suffer the pain, but thought it would be such as waste, so I retained it, just in case it might be put to some other use... But... soon after Kai was borned, the same ritual revived! It was just too tempting to use it to soothe him to sleep.

Kai is two and I'm still using it, what a big failure am I!
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

A new phase of life

I've finally ditched "the ugly corporate jacket and unearthly court shoes" (yah, as if I wear those to work)... yesterday was my last working day, I've denounced the corporate world and now entering a new phase of life. I'm going to be a SAHM (Stay at home mom), not tai-tai unfortunately. I'm actually excited about it... my in-laws are even more excited. Yesterday, I received a call in the office from FIL asking if they can go on a cruise from 31st Aug to 4th Sep. This was the first time I gave the most affirmative answer, "YES, go head... I'm not working anymore".

I will be looking after the two kids and have all my plans laid out. I've planned for Monday, Wednesday and Friday to be family days, while Tuesday and Thursday my freelancing or relaxing days. I won't be out of job so abruptly, I will still be contributing a lil' to family income, through indexing and other freelance work. I'm glad my expertise is pretty marketable as I've got a few persons asking me to do freelance work for them. I believed it's worth turning down the headhunted job offer a year ago and heading to indexing, which has provided me the opportunity to do freelance in my free time. Most importantly it has given me the chance to spend more time with my kids.

Yesterday I told Xuan about my new plans. I told her I'd be ferrying her to school everyday and I could immediately see the beaming smile on her face. Then she started to query...

Xuan: "Are you going to promise you will come and fetch me at 12 every day, just like Daddy?"

Me: "Yes I promise"

Xuan: "Are you going to buy apple juice for me everyday just like Daddy when he comes to fetch me from school?"

Me: "Err... ok, on some days I will buy for you, not everyday... because on some days I will bring Jun Kai along, so I can't go and buy"

Xuan: " OK, but you must remember this, if it's a dirty auntie, you don't buy for me, only when it's a clean auntie then you can buy (OMG, I bet this must be from his daddy!)... but sometimes, if you don't have time, it's ok"
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are we putting too much pressure on our kids?

Recently I read this article, which is very well written and serves as a good reminder for all parents out there, including myself. Are we guilty of any of these parenting acts? Maybe it's time to reflect and ponder.

Obsession with paper qualifications has added a new dimension to parenting in Singapore. A good parent is often seen as the one who gives the best help possible to assist his child in the pursuit of academic excellence. The final goal of parenting, more often than not, is to help one's offspring obtain highly-paid jobs, preferably with social status attached to them. As a result many ambitious parents exert pressure on their children to excel in school work. They coax, demand, bribe or even threaten and thousands of dollars are spent on private tuition for young aspiring scholars... because of the importance placed on education, many parents tend to be over-concerned with their children's performance in school, thus sometimes unknowingly exerting unnecessary and even harmful pressures on them.

It is natural for parents to want the best for their children. Unfortunately, what a parent thinks is the best for his child may not be what the latter is capable of or is interested in doing....

Many parents are also guilty of intellectual snobbery. They are more concerned with the status rather than the well-being of their children. May would rather have their children fail at a university than have them sent to a technical college...

Another area of concern is related to the pressures and stress many parents exert on their children by involving them in all kinds of activities in order to have an "all round education". We are only too familiar with the laments of many parents over the tight schedule they have chauffering their children from one activity to another. For them life has become a hectic rush from school to music lession, tuition class, competitive games and martial art practice session, etc. leaving both parent and child very little time to relax. No doubt, no one can deny the values of engaging our children in such cultural activities, but need we make life so burdensome for our children? These activities are only helpful when they are tailored to the capacities of our children, allowing time for leisure and play. Children are young only once. We must allow them a break from the demands of a competitive school curriculum and the burden of so many extra-curricular activities.

There is yet another aspect of the paper chase. While those who can cope are caught up in the rat race, those who can't can cause problems to themselves and others. Many young people who are capable of high achievement along the academic road have fallen by the sideway because of their inability to cope with the pressures from school as well as from their parents. Child psychiatrists have found that neurosis in children could be caused by unrealistics parental pressures. These children develop symptoms such as nervous habits, withdrawal or aggressive behaviour...

By Esther Tan. One Voice, Jan-Mar 1984, pp 8-10
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

My baby is not drinking enough milk?

All moms are the same. They are constantly monitoring their babies milk intake, if they drink less than usual, they'd start to worry.

"Is my baby's milk intake too little?"
"How much should he be drinking at this stage?"
"How much milk are other babies at his age drinking?"

Ha.. actually, I'm speaking from my own personal experiences with both my kids! I used to record all their milk feeds on pieces of paper from birth until they reach their first birthday! Sometimes I even tend to force feed in order for them to make the 'mark'! If they used to drink 1000 ml a day, I will make sure they fulfil the 1000 mark by the end of the day, today.

I admit that I have been overly obsessed with their feeds, which doesn't make them any fatter. I have now learnt to take it lightly. I have to constantly remind myself with the message from the old and wise, that babies won't let themselves starve. When they are hungry, they will cry for milk, there is no need to force them! This is a rule of thumb that we as parents must know. Anyway, here are some readings and tips on milk feeds, if you are still so concerned:

In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts). Some breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby's age or weight between one and six months. Breastmilk intake will continue at this same level until -- sometime after six months, depending in baby's intake from other foods -- baby's milk intake begins to decrease gradually.

Studies found that average breastmilk intake to be:
750 ml per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk in typical range of 570-900 ml per day.
875 ml per day at 7 months
550 ml per day at 11-16 months.
400-550 ml per day between 12 and 24 months
300-360 ml per day between 24 and 36 months

There is also a formula for estimating the amount of milk to offer a breastfed baby at a feed. Take your baby's weight (in pounds) and multiply by 2.5 (oz). Or take your baby's weight (in kg) and multiply by 156 ml. Divide by the average number of feedings in a 24-hour period. This will equal the amount of mother's milk per feeding. Remember that this is theoretical -- all babies are unique and have different needs.

Formula
1 pound of weight needs 2.5 oz
1 kg of weight needs 156 ml

Article also appear in sgmotherhood blog
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Are you giving your kids' too much juices?

There was a stage when my little boy has no appetite for anything. I didn't realise then that my constant feeding him with pear juice was the cause of the problem, until I read this on the Net:

Avoid fruit juice drinks because they contain a lot of sugar. Sugary drinks and juice can fill toddler's up and decrease their intake of more nutritious foods. Limit juice to about 125mL (½ cup) per day. If fruit juice is given it should be diluted with water and only in small amounts. Choose 100% fruit juice and avoid sugary fruit drinks.

Kai loves to drink Pear Juice. So I don't mind giving it to him since he doesn't like to eat other stuff, and thought that the calories in it would give him alternative energy supplement. At one stage, you can even see me happily stocking up all the Heinz Pear Juice from NTUC Fairprice. I never realise I was terribly wrong!

As I dug further into the Net, I found more articles and research that accertain the "bad juices' fact", which makes me feel even more guilty.

Juices fill kids with empty calories. Fruit juices can fill kids up so that they're not hungry at the dinner table and are too full to eat more nutritious foods. Certain juices are associated with tummy troubles. Some fruit juices -- including apple, pear, and prune -- contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring but problematic sugar alcohol. Because sorbitol is not completely absorbed in the small bowel, it makes its way to the large bowel where it ferments and produces gas. In addition, many of the juices that contain sorbitol also have an imbalance in the ratio of the sugars fructose and glucose, which may reduce fructose absorption. These factors can lead to cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite in a child. Several studies have reported this malabsorption, or incomplete digestion.

This is the culprit of Kai's loss of appetite.
Or, I should say I am the CULPRIT :-(
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

What does this sign means?

Xuan told her Dad yesterday morning, "That sign says for those people who want to "she-she" (pee) go that way!"

I almost choked! Haaa....
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My first Nuffnang Ad!

"Incoming advertisement on your blog!" - I jumped up with excitement when I saw this subject in my inbox! It reads "Congratulations! An advertiser has chosen to advertise on Singapore Motherhood & Kids." That was few days back. Two days later, I received another! I was simply thrilled! I almost couldn't believe it!

I have never maintained my Motherhood blog as enthusiastic as I maintain this. The two ads were total surprises for me! Well, anyway, the ads have yet to run, they are scheduled on certain week only. I was not informed of how much the ads were? Oh... could they be only $0.20 each??? I'm also not too sure if I have placed the banner in the right place. Perhaps I should email Nuffnang...
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Monday, July 7, 2008

To buy or not to buy?

Like most Singaporean parents, we are forced by circumstances to look for a property within one km of the primary school, which we wish to enrol Xuan in. We are now looking at new developments in Telok Kurau, which are mostly within one kilometre to Tao Nan School. But they are all so expensive - around 850-900 psf, which would add up to at least a million!!! The cheapest we can find is Palm Galleria and Blu Coral, which are 790 psf. And for a reasonably comfortable living space, we need to fork out some $900,000, which I don't think is "comfortable living" anymore if we have to struggle to pay off the debts! We are still thinking if we should buy? To what extent should we go for our kids' education? If enrolling in good schools does not mean they'd succeed later in life, why do we need to do this? I think it is the responsibility of providing them the best - even if they don't succeed, we know we have tried!

Anyway, after so many careful considerations and serious contemplations, we almost wanted to buy the property, when... we were suddenly awaken to this question: "What if we have moved and Tao Nan decided to shift to another premise??!!" Afterall the school is so old, and it's not impossible for them to have this idea..., isn't it??? Arrggghhh... another headache!
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Xuan's poetic recitals

Xuan has been reciting some Chinese poems that she learnt in school lately. Imagine her "terok" Chinese coupled with operatic actions ... it's hilarious! I can't help but laugh when she performs her recitals, but encourage her with the correct pronunciations. She doesn't know what she's reciting as she only memorises the sounds. Even then, the sounds are far from the correct words. I have a hard time figuring what's she's trying to recite. But it's a good start for her. At least she's interested and takes pride in her operatic movements!

Here's what she learnt in her K1 class.

《望庐山瀑布》 - 李白
日照香炉生紫烟, 遥看瀑布挂前川。
飞流直下三千尺, 疑是银河落九天。
Oh, I'm so glad she manages to tell me "瀑布" is a waterfall :-)
Flash
Poem appreciation

《静夜思》 - 李白
床前明月光,疑是地上霜。
举头望明月,低头思故乡。
She has introduced some dialect accent into the word "光", she pronounced as "gong"
Flash
Poem appreciation

《春晓》 - 孟浩然
春眠不觉晓,处处闻啼鸟。
夜来风雨声,花落知多少。
She also has a very funny accent for "花落", she said "hua lou(4)"
Flash
Poem appreciation
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22K bonus!!!

This is the latest bonus payout my sis gets from her company. On top of that, she gets a pay-adjustment with a $700 jump in salary. The more I think of this, the more I can justify myself for quiting my peanut-paying job.

She had chided her boss for his plans to promote a young recruit who doesn't know anything, while KIV her promotion for another year. She's really brave huh? How many of us has the guts to scold our bosses for not promoting us? Well, immediately after the chiding, she gets an adjusted pay and the 22K bonus! Isn't that wonderful?

Erhem, the moral of the story is "we must scold our bosses to get a huge bonus payout!"
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

在家全职母亲

多一个月我就会“光荣退休”,在家做个全职妈妈!哇!做个全职妈妈可不简单。我想我因该是脑袋坏了才会做出这样的决定。外人给予有全职母亲照顾的孩子的期望总是比较高 - 自然给母亲带来无限的压力。

然而,看到老公一天到晚忙着工作还得接送女儿上下学,我想我是内疚了。
看到两个孩子一天比一天廋,我想我是惭愧了。
因该是到我付出的时候了吧!

唉,这个决定会是“痛苦”的开始吗?还是会有幸福快乐的结局呢?希望我这次决定是对的,所有付出都会有收获。
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Sony Ericsson bluetooth Headset HBH-PV700

I've bought this bluetooth headset for at least 1 year now, but have never used it. There isn't the need to use this headset anyway. I find it more convenient to just hold the phone and talk. Don't ask me why I bought it in the first place. I must have been hit by some sudden splurging instinct :-( Well, this headset doesn't come in any use especially now that I have not been driving.

Trying to get rid of it at low price, but nobody seems to be interested. Sigh! I've opened the pack but other than that, everything is intact. Willing to part at $45. Here is its specifications.

If anyone of you is interested, do leave me your email under comments. Thanks!
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