Thursday, January 29, 2009

Xuan turns 6 today!

Xuan officially turns six today! (in case you are wondering, the last post I wrote was for her Chinese birthday)

Usually the celebration for her "English birthday" is more elaborate than the Chinese one. So here comes the first surprise for her.












Decorated wall that greeted Xuan in the morning.

Next, we prepared her for school, and set off with a birthday cake and a few packs of sweets for her PCF mates. Yup, that is the birthday celebration culture at her PCF! Xuan was excited about celebrating her birthday with all her friends. Yesterday, she has already told her teacher that today is her birthday!

















The birthday celebration in school was a close-door event so I didn't join in. Anyway, I could sense her excitment after school when she told me all about it! Everybody sang the BD song for her, and she made a wish and blew the candles. Again, she told me her wish, despite the last time when I said a wish once disclosed will not come true! This time her wish was slightly different, but still as thoughtful and sensible. She said, "I wish everybody will be friends forever!" Then she remembered the wish-disclosure-belief and giggled jokingly, "so if I wish for Tom & Jerry and don't tell anybody, then Tom and Jerry will appear is it???"

In the evening, we will have a simple cake cutting ceremony. If I'm not wrong, that will be the fourth birthday cake she cuts this year!
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Photos taken in the evening.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lunar new year photos














Chinese New Year eve - Xuan and Kai at ma-ma house. Xuan's mouth is still full of porridge... cannot smile properly. *sigh! takes forever to swallow!*





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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Absentism

Did I say I banned Xuan from school a few days before CNY was dued last year? This year again, she was banned from school for almost a week. This is so that we can all celebrate the lunar new year in peace. Hooray! And of course, she was more than happy to stay at home!

But I think when she goes to Primary One, she won't get to enjoy the same luxury of absentism anymore. If she were to miss one week of lessons in P1, she'd not be able to catch up with the whole class, and may feel despondent as a result. *sigh* Thanks to the reality of the education system and the pace of life once she steps into formal education. Meanwhile, as long as informal education is concerned, I'd just lax whenever I can.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gluttonous feasting

I love bak kwa to core. I've bought a kilo of the sinful barbequed pork for the coming CNY, but have started feasting way before the Ox makes its first appearance.

As I nibbled away every bit of the bak kwa including the "chao tar" portion, I find my left brain and right brain talking to each other.


Left brain: Those "chao tar" are going into your intestines, accumulating and residing there... One day, the big chunk of black residue will become cancerous.

Right brain: Nevermind, everyone has to die. There must be a way for people to die.

Left brain: I think you are right, if we don't enjoy now, when are we going to enjoy?

Ohh... can you see how ugly greed is? Although sometimes I consciously pick out the seriously "chao tar" portion, but for the majority, I just gulped them up closing both eyes. After gobbling the bak kwa, I looked at my bulged-out tummy and started feeling guilty. At this point, both left and right brain started asking all at once, "Are you really prepared to sacrifice health for sinful gluttony???"

Anyway, Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

But please don't glut like me :(
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Birthday wish















It was Xuan's Chinese Birthday yesterday. She officially turned six on the Chinese calendar. We only bought her a cake and sang her a birthday song. But she was thrilled!

At the make-a-wish part, she took especially long ... to make that wish.

At one part, she closed her eyes, then opened and said "wait har..." (seems like she hasn't thought of the wish). Then she closed her eyes again...

After blowing out the candles and cutting the cake, she was eager to tell us her wish.

But I told her to keep it to herself, as the wish if disclosed will not come true... (hee... this is what the family believes).

Anyway, she insisted and whispered into my ears "I wish my family will be a very happy family!"

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A way overdued milestone

My 5-year old girl is finally feeding herself!

Before she turns SIX in a few days' time, I thought I better put it down on paper that she has achieved this milestone at age FIVE!!! Otherwise it will be SOOOOO embarrassing to mention it at all!

I know feeding herself only at age 5 is bad enough! But better late than never right??? (SShhhh... just don't tell too many people).

Although she is feeding and eating her meals all by herself (without play and TV), she eats soooo frustratingly slow!!! She takes 3 hours in all to finish one pitifully small portion of rice or porridge. Even my constant chanting of "Eat faster! Move your mouth! Chew! Swallow!" doesn't make things better. It may shorten her meal time by half-an-hour but hasten my heartbeat by zillion times! It was such as torture to keep nagging at her!

But if I don't and she takes 3 hours to eat, then she'd spend 6 hours on food everyday, leaving only 2 hours of free time for herself! (Maths: considering she returns home from school at 12pm and sleep at 10pm, she has 10 hours of waking time. So 10 hours minus away 2 hours of afternoon nap, and 6 hours for two meals, then she's left with 2 hours of free time.)

Ok ok.., I know my nagging only contributes to 1 extra hour of free time for her. So, I'm actually contemplating on doing away with the nagging and cutting down on her already-miserable-small portion of rice.

To Xuan, eating is such a chore! You should see how she looks when there's food in front of her! MISERABLE.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chinese joke (笑话)

Mom: 老师今天教什么?
Daughter: 一月、二月、三月、四月、五月、六月 and七月.
Mom: 什么是一月?
Daughter: "one moon" ah!!!
Mom: ??!!! *slap forehead*

That's my girl!
I've said many times how "terok" Xuan's Chinese is.
Now you know, it is this bad.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Impermanence

A poem to share.
Written by Fanon Thomas.

Water gently laps the shore
footprints fade
Erased
Their traces carried out to sea
left to fall on some distant land
where no footprints have been before

感言:
世事无常
凡是不要执着
活在当下
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Poor cars

KAI LOVES CARS ...
... but doesn't know how to treasure them.
The poor cars were at his mercy.
A number of them suffered tragic endings in his hands.
Many lost their wheels while others had damaged doors or broken boot.




These two were the most tragic victims.


Race car with flew-apart doors, lost wheels, and a seriously damaged boot under adverse repair (using scotch-tape).
Oh, I almost forgot about the broken headlights, missing seats and the lost steering wheel !!!




Poor Thomas without eyes. I doubt Kai has dug them out. He may have banged Thomas too hard till the eyes dropped out. *sigh*
That goes to show how much he LOVES his CARS!!!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

My maids

Some called them helpers. They can be of great help if they are good. At the same time, it can turn out to be nightmares if they are bad. Personally, I don't like the idea of having maids. I prefer to do things myself if I have the ability. But being a full-time working mum then, the only option left for me was to hire one to help look after the kids when I leave them with my in-laws.

My first maid came shortly after Xuan turned one month old. That was when the confinement nanny left (the confinement nanny is another story in itself). The maid, if I remembered correctly was called Triyah. She mistakened that she was the employer and I was the maid. I have to constantly remind her to finish work which are often left undone. If not, she'd just sit in a corner to read her books or watch the television. More often than not, she'd slammed the fridge door or banged cooking utensils to show her disagreement. I thought I had enough of her temper and changed her after a few months. Maybe our astrological signs clashed. She may be better off with another employer.

The second one was much better. She was hardworking, efficient and proactive. It was second time lucky. Her name was Suparti. She stayed with us for 2 years and further extended her contract. However she left for a fatter pay in Taiwan or Hong Kong after she has learnt the ropes and became proficient in Mandarin and other dialects which she picked up during her stay with us. She didn't fulfil her extended contract. She told us that her father was sick and she wanted to go home. We let her. But she betrayed our trust. We found some of our valuables missing after she had left and some missing items in her room.

The third was a Burmese. We thought since the Indonesian helpers were not so pleasant, we should try one from Myanmar, who were often touted as kind, soft-spoken and patient. Anyway, her name was Kyi. The often touted traits of a Burmese maid was so true! She was extremely patient... to the extent of being SOOOOO SLOWWW... She lacked the initiatives, which I needed badly. I felt bad having to hurry her in many chores and kept nagging at her. I concluded she was not suited to work in a family with kids. She would be better off looking after the aged. We also learnt that her training in her country was specifically targetted at looking after the elderly. Another problem was the language barrier between her and my in-laws. So we changed her, also after a few months.

The fourth we hired was back to an Indonesian again. When the maid first came, we had a shock. We thought the agency had sent us a wrong one! She did not the least resembled the one in the photo! She had quite an evil look... I know I shouldn't judge her by her cover. But later her weird actions speak for herself. She stoled evil glances at me when she was doing her ironing (according to my hb's testimony), pacing in the house strangely, hid money in her shoes, wanted us to address her as "ibu" (which means "mother" in Malay), etc. I was a bit terrified of her behaviour. I wasn't sure if she was in the right state of mind. Every night, we had to lock up our bedrooms before we went to bed. Sometimes I had wild imagination that she could dash into our rooms with a chopper. To prevent any disaster from taking place, we ended her stint after two weeks!!!

The fifth was also an Indonesian. The reason for hiring Indonesians was because they knew Malay and could communicate with my in-laws who knew a bit of their language. Her name was Nur. She was good, just like the second one we had. She was fast, efficient and had initiatives. She could manage the kids as well. But when we got out of her sight, she did funny things. Once I saw her picking her toes while tending to Kai, despite my numerous attempts to ask her to be clean! It was a very clear instance of when there's no law, there'll be chaos. So I had never left maids alone with the kids. When I was at work, I'd bring them together with the kids to my in-laws house. Nur came to our house immediately after the second day of her wedding in Indonesia. As a newly wed, it was natural that she missed her husband. So she kept pestering us to let her go home after one year. We let her.

The sixth, also the current one and the last was Dahlia. She is also good - full of initiatives. I have no complains. But like any worker, when the employer is out of sight (not out of the house), something's bound to happen behind his back. I am a clean freak, so I couldn't stand any unsightly picking of nose without washing hands, scratching of legs and feeding the kids, etc. No matter how good, there is no perfect maid. I also came to a realisation that the danger of having a maid is that we became too dependent on them, which is very scary. They tidied up the whole house, especially the kitchen, to the point that I don't even know the whereabouts of all the utensils, the kids' toys, our letters, etc. Isn't that scary?

I've already declared - if I have the ability, I will take care of the kids and household chores myself! Dahlia's contract is ending in September this year. Now that I have became a stay-at-home mum, I am pleased to announce that she will be our LAST maid!

Before she leaves, I still have some time to catch up with some freelance work at home and earn some pocket money. I hope I will thrive without a maid :)
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Strike lottery?

Xuan is sick on the first week of school. Yesterday she started to have fever. And that is only the fourth day! *sigh! sigh! sigh!*

I wish striking lottery can be that easy!
No, I don't bet on lottery.
That wish is for my parents and in-laws, ha!
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ugliness

The other day I was at Chinatown. Thought I should go before the place gets really crowded nearer the festive season... and I'm wrong! The bustling crowd was no lesser than the usual week before CNY.

Various types of food and ware were out in display.
Something caught my attention.
There was this particular stall where bags of peanuts were laid out for one to try and buy.
And there was this group of shameless men who took not one or two but a handful.
They distributed the peanuts in the group.
Chatting and munching without any meager intention to buy.
After they have finished, they took yet another handful.
They munched and threw, munched and threw...
For the time I stood to observe, I think they took more than worth a kilo.

I couldn't apprehend the hideous behaviour behind their seemingly sane and decent outer shell. They took advantage of the situation to their own convenience. The ultimate part is they do it so openly! They have no sense of guilt or shame. The world is ugly because these selfish people exist!
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kai's new bedtime routine

I'm glad all of Kai's bad habits like taking off his diaper to show off his butt, and spitting saliva all over the floor are short-lived. I also don't have to rock him to sleep at night now!!! *fingers crossed* He'd toss and turn and touch down on every corner of the bed before dozing off. Yeah, I'm happy even though he takes an hour to soothe himself to sleep!

Now this is his nightly routine:
10pm - I change him into his pajamas and hint that he is going to bed.

10.05pm - He quickly summons his "kakis" (dad and sis) who are still watching the TV to go to his room (also my room, cos' Kai still co-sleep with me)

10.15pm - The two little monkeys start jumping on the bed and get a little wild (tsk tsk tsk, this is bad - books say I must establish some simple bedtime routine with soothing and calming activities). Ok ok, this is actually part of his bedtime ritual; without this step, he'd go bonkers.

10.20pm - I start chasing Xuan and her dad out of our territory. They know the trick. So they quickly scamper off to their room and pretend to sleep.

10.22pm - Kai's visit to his dad and sis's room to find the two sleeping "soundly". Then he'd quietly lie his head on my shoulder as I carry him back to our room.

10.26pm - Kai toss and turn and finally dozes off to slumberland after half to an hour.... zzzZ Z Z Z

Good night rest??? Errr... not so soon, he still wakes up in the middle of the night performing the same tossing and turning until he sleeps again.

Anyway, I'm glad. No more rocking and carrying in the middle of the nights. At least for now :-)
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reflections

2008 saw a turning point in my life -- the transition from a FTWM to a SAHM. There is no turning back and I don't have the desire to look back. I relish in the choice I made. Without a doubt. Staying home to guide the kids is much more meaningful (despite the throat-hurting screams and heart-aching lectures I have to render the kids everyday) than slogging at the work desk without recognition. Although there are many many ups and downs in the process, I think they are worthwhile. Parenting is a untiring learning journey... every step I take - I learn and I reflect.

I realised there are so many wonderful parents out there. Their blogs gave me the encouragement, inspirations and the kind of moral support which I need along the way... the best part is that they've let me know, "Hey I'm not alone!" It is this kind of common sharing that has given me the strength to be a good parent. My kudos to them. Below are some paras in their blog which are so well-said that I have to put them here!

Nobody is born perfect but as parent, I felt that I am suddenly expected to be perfect. I have to say the right things, do the right things and I have to constantly be self aware and conscious about the things I do and say as my child is there to watch me and to pick up the good and bad things from me. And if children are really reflections of their parents, then any bad behaviour display by them is a time for us to reflect on ourselves. It is this knowledge that makes parenthood both scary and exciting. Scary because of the responsibility and influence we have over our children, exciting because we have all the power to mold them into someone, hopefully someone better than ourselves.
- MalMal Our Inspiration

She loves to run. She loves to hide. She doesn't seek. That job is left to us."Don't Run!" "STOP RUNNING!" Commands I hate to use on her. She loves to run, as fast as her little legs can propel her, as fast as her heart desires. She smiles and laughs as she runs. The smile timeless. The laugh priceless. And I hate to be the one to kill it. No choice: Crowded malls. Busy eatery. Dangerous sidewalks!I am a city dweller. These are unavoidable places. I have to remind myself, see things from her perspective. Take time to explain to her, to reach a win-win compromise. It remains an uphill task. Because soon, as they grow, they will run slower and slower till they eventually stop running altogether, when they stepped into 'adulthood' I have forgotten how it feels to run, just run without a reason. Just run and feel the wind. Just run for the pure joy of it.So, let her run now. And, enjoy looking at her run.
- RaeFootprints

With the kind of stress and speed we are living in, we have forgotten what is like to be a little child. We have forgotten how lucky we once were to have the opportunity to play in the mud, catch the butterflies, read Tin Tin cartoons, keep spiders as pets, pick wild berries (my husband's childhood past time), etc.... I hope that when our kids grow up, they won't blame us for taking away their childhood. I thank my parents for not taking away mine and never stop me from painting. I am off to chase some butterflies, jump into the pool and have an ice cream with my babes after they wake up from their siesta. Hack the rain! If life is short, childhood is shorter.
- Mumspotting

When Will woke up, I brought him to the park and playground. Seeing him climbing up and sliding down, I feel unusually contended. We played hide-and seek at the void deck before heading home... I had a simple day. Uneventful it may seem. Nonetheless, not everyone
gets to spend a simple day like this, having neither extraordinarily happy nor sad events. My new year resolution is to have more of such simple days.

- Especially for Will

Life with children is full of ups and downs. I think all parents will totally agree with me on this one. And now that we’re finally on the very last day of the year 2008, I hope we can all find a moment to re-discover and refresh our appreciation of life with children.
To not expect them to be ‘adult-like’ and ever-understanding towards OUR needs and situations.
To keep quiet for a moment and get ourselves together as best as we can when we’re really mad at them. Rather than choosing to immediately snap back and vent out our frustrations verbally.
To listen to them more. So we can understand them better.
To refresh our love for them and be all the more loving in our approaches towards them.
- Our Everyday Things

Gave him a bottle of milk and a few tiny pieces of Pandan Cake, followed by his runny nose and cough medicine. “Mmmm….Yummy!” was his reply… and then *cough couGH COUGH AND BLEH!* He vomitted. Nothing to be alarmed. I’m used to this. Blogged so many times over this before: cough so much and so hard till he vomits! Ya…its the norm...I’m soooo lucky because he vomited in the kitchen and not on his bed. *Phew* Are you thinking I’m crazy? Anyway, I’m really glad. So no scoldings from me, the only sentence that was said with a little faster heart-beat was, “Oh! Keatkeat, you COULD have walked faster, so that you could reach the toilet before the vomits come out…” He vomitted as he head for the toilet, the spread was about 3meters, yes, he vomited as he walked. So there I am washing my kitchen floor at 3+am in the morning, nothing could be heard except the sound of me scrubbing against my mosaic floor and the singing of Keatkeat: “Mop! mop! mop! mop-pi-li mop. And we go mop! mop! mop! mop-pi-li
mop…

- All About Your Child
*This is to remind me that I don't have to get so anxious and paranoid over the kids' flu episodes* Thanks Angeline! Hehe..
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