Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Kai!

He is officially 6 today.
He weighs only 17kg.
I wonder how he is going to manage a 10kg schoolbag in 6 months' time...
Well, somehow or another, he has to manage.

He is still as cheeky, fun-loving and playful.
He likes to tell nonsensical jokes to everyone in the house.
We laugh..., not at his jokes, but at his cheeky and funny expressions.

He is easy-going.
When we changed plan and said "another day", he said "OK".
When we decided that he has too many toys, he agreed and said "Don't need to buy."

He is a perfectionist.
He has to make sure every letters/characters he writes is straight and nice - cannot be too big, too small, too high or too low.. and this often makes him too sloooow in his work and he gets easily frustrated. He has to erase and erase until the he got the letter/character/drawing finished to his standard of perfection!

He talks a lot, almost non-stop... (unfortunately) while doing work.
He needs EITHER - (1) praises - lots of praises OR (2) a taste of the rod and some crying - to get his work done. Either way - both work.

He likes to chant various lines from CARS:
"Oh those two are perfect for each other..."
"Hey I know you, you were the girl from the party last night, do you want to do our date right now?"
"Morning sleeping beauty!!"
He can "play" the entire CARS (both 1 and 2) movie from start to end - complete with sound effects and accent. Not kidding.

He appears to be tough and rough while playing his cars. But deep inside, I know he has a (what I called) "marshmallow heart." He is sweet and kind. He offers his favourite food to us all. He lets us have the last piece on the plate. He gives jiejie a larger share of the goodies he got back from school. He goes to the library not to read, but to help straighten the messy books on the shelves.

On and off, he'd flash us that "handsome" look - "like that handsome right???" he grinned, wiggling his brows up and down.

He is one funny little fellow.
He's forever our sweet little darling.
Happy Sixth Birthday, HANDSOME!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This June holidays

This holiday we didn't do much.
Most activities were in-house.

Lots of stories and reading - The Minpins, The Magic Finger, Danny the Champion of the World, Esio Trot, The BFG, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda - all by Roald Dahl. Xuan has developed keen interest for all Roald Dahl's books. "His stories are very interesting and creative. He is a good author." Kai commented after I read The Minpins to him. I'm glad he enjoyed his books too.

Lots of writing for Kai.
Teachers in school have labelled him as "slow coach"
There is no better time to train him to write faster than THIS time.
When the momentum is there, he can DO IT without a problem.
But finding that momentum is a big problem.

And ... lots and lots of cars-playing deep into the nights
for them all

We did manage a few outdoors'
- swimming, fun@playground
and that's all.
Oh yes, we also played a not-so-bouncy red durian ball at the basketball court.
We don't have a real basketball
Nevermind about the stares and all
There was so much fun
throwing, catching, and running after the red durian ball!
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Mindfulness meditation

I am a Buddhist. I joined the NUS Buddhist Society when I was an undergraduate. Although I have taken refuge in the Triple Gem, I was never a hardcore devotee. I adore Buddhism for its philosophy. I remembered going for meditation classes in the campus, but would without fail, fall into deep deep meditative state sleep, almost instantly upon shutting my eyes. At the end of it, while my comrades woke up to the bliss and peace of the divine, I woke up to blurriness and to that indisputable i-need-more-sleep state of awakening. But as I grew older to be more mature, I've learnt to appreciate meditation more. Oh, and the knowledge that meditation can be practised while lying down, certainly helps.

Ok, jokes aside. I've always believe in the importance of mindfulness. So I'm pretty sure that mindfulness meditation is useful in our everyday life. The husband, who has more depth and is more profound than I am, recently shared with me an article about meditation. He doesn't really meditates, he hasn't taken refuge, but he seems to have attained a certain level of perfection... or perhaps I'm just too shallow.

Anyway, if you'd like to try out some meditation, here's the "Eight steps to having peace of mind," which I'm sure is useful to me and everyone. Below are the steps for quick reference:

1. Sit comfortably in an upright position with both feet positioned firmly on the ground and hands resting lightly on your lap. Adjust yourself to find the most comfortable and suitable position. (Can also be practised lying down.)

2. Spend several moments noticing the different sounds around you. These may include the sound of the traffic outside, of leaves rustling in the wind, of the clock ticking, or the air-conditioning or even of your own breathing.

3. Take 10 slow, deep breaths. Try to breathe gently and slowly in a natural rhythm.

4. Focus your attention to the sensations of your lungs filling up with air and then emptying as you breathe. Notice your ribcage rising and falling with each breath. Notice the gentle rise and fall of your shoulders.

5. Focus on the thoughts entering and leaving your mind. Be gentle, non-critical and non-judgmental towards yourself as you examine them. 

Identify and catalogue your thoughts. For example:"This is a thought about what I did earlier today," or "This is a thought about when I got upset over a certain incident." 

Once you have identified the thought, gently let it go. You may do this by imagining the thought as a balloon floating up into the sky or as a leaf drifting away in a stream. 

You can do the same for feelings and physical sensations. 

6. Take 10 slow, deep breaths again. As you breathe in, tell yourself: "Breathing in, I feel relaxed." As you breathe out, tell yourself, "Breathing out, I am at peace." 

7. Spend a few moments to experience the state of calm and relaxation that you have achieved. 

8. Slowly and gently, allow yourself to be aware of your surroundings again as you open your eyes. 

Source: Dr Chan Keen Loong, a senior consultant psychiatrist at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, who attended two meditation workshops in Singapore - a five-day workshop conducted in 2009 by Professor Mark Williams from Oxford Mindfulness Centre at the University of Oxford; and a five-day retreat in March conducted by practitioners from Plum Village, a well-known meditation centre in Europe. (Mind Your Body, The Straits Times, 21 Jun 2012)
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The SKII story

Being the cheapo that I am, I would stinge on every dollar spent and never splurge on anything for myself. I am happy with This Fashion clothing and satisfied with Kao's facial foam, or whatever facial wash that seldom goes beyond $6.90. I am still using the most conventional Nokia 6300 when even the most conservative auntie in town has switched to iphone 4s. But sometimes, I would use that Nokia phone discreetly in public, just in case someone pops his head over to inquire about that tiny latest gadget I have in hand.

Basically, I am a very simple person. My mum always feel sorry that I have mistreated myself. She said I should pamper myself - go for facial, massage, and the like. But I am happy with what I am and how I am. Well, sometimes though, I do feel sorry when I look into the mirror and see lines appearing all around my eyes. I was never a skincare person. I never use a toner nor a moisturiser. The most expensive moisturiser I used around my eyes was OLAY and that was a gift from my sis. I have no time for such luxury I said. And the lines were the price I had to pay for saying that.

 So, one day, when the husband came home with a box of SK II skincare set for me, without my approval, I was like screaming my lungs out. The screaming was a display of dilemma - comprised both happiness and shock. I would never never have splurged on this kind of luxury in my entire life if I had a choice. "WHAT???!!!" my eyeballs almost popped out when I knew the price. I was thinking if he could return the set and ask for a refund. I told him it was daylight robbery. I didn't know the market for this kind of skincare product. Later that day, I deduced that I could use the $$ for 50 sets of feel good outfits from THIS and a few dozens of $6.90 facial foam. Or else, I could even buy myself an iphone or a Samsung Galaxy Note and get a good change to buy many many tubs of ice cream!

 Anyway, the husband had the good intention at heart. He felt sorry when I complained how various MRT tracks have commenced work on my face and how the Circle Lines went round and round without a final completion date. It was sweet of him to go all the way to the beauty counter in Orchard to buy a complete skincare set for me and made the beauty consultant write down all the steps involved in a proper skincare regime.

This had to be the only thing that made MAY worth living for.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Tomorrow will be better

May was a scary month - too eventful to be true.

The kids were plagued by pneumonia. First it was Kai, his fever went up and down (up to 40.1 deg) and didn't subside over 5 days. He was coughing non-stop. So he did a chest X-ray and the PD confirmed pneumonia. Then Xuan and I got it. Right now they are still coughing... but I would say they are on the road to recovery.
Then my mum was affected by thyroid nodules and is still contemplating on operation. My grandpa passed away, while two family members were on the verge of family breakdown. All of these took place in MAY.

The only way out of this was to constantly remind myself of the Buddhist concept of impermanence.
I'm so tired.
I hope tomorrow will be a better day.
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