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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post-dated Posts

It's been busy, busy, busy. There are so many stuff I meant to post, but hard to find lone spurts of at least 30 min.

Here are the post-dated stuff I've been posting. Will add on till I get current.

Pri 1 Registration
Short Get-Away to Bangkok... Kids-Free!
Tokyo (21 Mar - 1 April 2010)
Roadtrip to Desaru

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

recess time

To Cavan, empowerment comes in a form of a school recess time.

Till primary one, he's never had money in his hands, with the freedom to buy anything he loves, without Mommy hovering over him, saying 'no' to this and that.

For his first week at school, I didn't know what to expect, so I gave him $1.50 on top of packing ham sandwiches for him.

On the first day, I watched him from a distance at the school canteen. He ate his sandwiches and drank from his water bottle. Then he got up from his seat and walked around, in fact two rounds, the school canteen. Then he queued up at the drinks stall.

He returned to his seat with one siew mai.

When he was done, he threw the waste away and disappeared into another part of the canteen, hidden from where I was standing. He didn't appear for quite some time, and I was getting restless.

Then he emerged with a bowl of noodles.

I looked at my watch and panicked. There were 5 more minutes before recess time was over.

I caught his eyes and signalled him to hurry up. By then, the teacher was making announcements and students started streaming into the school hall. I was relieved when he managed to finish his bowl of noodles just as the bell rang.

That evening, I asked whether he was hungry. Why did he buy so much food and kept walking around the canteen?

His reply, "I haven't tried all the food yet!"

I was very amused by his reply. I told him that recess time is not buffet time. It's not for him to try out all the stalls.

* * * * * * * * * *

That week, he kept having noodles for recess. I was getting concerned that he was overeating. Just one week into school he was gaining.

So I told him no more noodles.

One day, he proudly told me after school that he didn't buy noodles. I was pleased until he said,

"I bought rice."

Faint.

* * * * * * * * * *

He lost his scissors at school. So I decided to punish him to teach him about being responsible for his own belongings. The punishment had to correspond to the nature of the deed, so I told him that he would not get pocket money for 2 days and the money will be used to buy a new pair of scissors.

It was a heavy sentence. To him.

He broke down and cried and said how sorry he was and he would never lose his things again. I felt sorry for him but punishment had to be meted out. He had to learn consequences.

So I consoled him that we would still pack food for him to eat. He would not go hungry.

Later he found his scissors and was very very glad.

Still, I decided to take away his pocket money and discussed with him.

My explanation was that he went to school after lunch and he would have dinner after school. He won't starve. We'd pack him stuff to eat in school.

He agreed. I was relieved.

At least a step to check that weight gain.

Maybe he was not ready for that 'empowerment'. Well, perhaps gradually. He still got pocket money when he had CCA and he could eat whatever he liked.

I was ok with this. Afterall, it was only once a week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sticky

Among the three, Vesper is the stickiest to me. I mean, the other two stuck to their father even as babies. Clem would rock and carry them to sleep and they loved being cradled by daddy.

Not Vesper. As a newborn, she would scream and cry for hours when Clem carried her. The surprising part was he was her main caregiver during confinement. He bathed her, changed her. The only thing I did was to breastfeed her (as I did with the other two). But this gal simply won't let me go.

At night, I would let Clem rock her to sleep and they would struggle for hours and I slept. Clem never gave up. One night, I awoke to still hear her screaming and two hours had passed! I quickly took over and instantly, Vesper became silent and fell asleep.

One night, in between the struggle between babe and dad, Clem joked that it must be my "smell". Un-amused, I threw Clem a piece of unwashed top that I wore. He put it on his shoulder and placed screaming Vesper on it.

Quiet. Instantly.

We were both so amazed at what happened and we broke into laughter. Then, Clem insisted that I keep a piece of unwashed top every night.

Whenever I am around, Vesper only wants me. As Clem said, Vesper can enjoy the whole day with him but once I reach home, everyone else around her is oblivious to her. She only wants me.

I love carrying her. I think among the three, I carried her the most. Her petite size is a plus point so my arms don't ache as much.

She kept me really busy. In the past, whenever we went out, I could eat and shop. This time, I couldn't cos I HAD to carry her. Clem sniggered to me and said it was to pay back for the 1st two.

Not funny.

Vesper at 11 days old

Beauty


Since young, Verity receives compliments as people gush over her, say how pretty she is and how good she looks in that dress/ blouse/ skirt. As a mom, I take pride and praise God that even I, ordinary looking creature, can pop a beautiful being.

As she grows, Clem and I try to impart to her that outer appearance is not everything. We were concerned that people's praises centred around her looks, not virtues or abilities. Moreover, she often gets chided (by me) for clumsiness, for tripping over herself, for spilling, for dropping whatever is in her hands. It seems she can't get anything right. Everything she holds drops to the ground.

These events, put together, may give her the impression that beauty is her only merit.

"Mommy, if I don't have ear rings, am I still pretty?"

This question jolted me. For a three-year-old then to ask me this shows how much worth she sees in herself.

"Darling, you are pretty even without ear rings, make-up, or nail polish. God has made you beautiful that you don't need all these things. What's important is your heart. If you have a beautiful heart, you are even more beautiful."

I started observing and thinking about the good traits she has.

Like how she is a generous and sharing person. She does not keep good things to herself and shares freely. When she goes out and we get something for her, she always thinks of her brother. Even she is left with the last piece of her favourite snack, she would still offer it to people.

Like how she is independant and cleans up her own mess. She would do her painting and by the time she is done and I enter the room, the brushes and bowls are washed and dried, the newspapers thrown away, the floor cleaned. All these done without an instruction from me.

Like how she has the smarts. She used to give excuses for not doing certain things because she doesn't know how to. So we build up her confidence by leading her. Many times, she surprises us with how much she actually knows and we will tell her that she has good brains. Like how we were surprised that she can converse rather well in Mandarin. So we commended her for her language abilities. Like how she surprised us with her mathematical abilities and we affirmed her analytical mind.

We have become more conscious about praising her for good behaviour and thoughts. Of
course, we will still say she looks nice in a certain outfit but our response towards good behaviour and good looks have to be balanced. Emphasis should be placed on what is important. Sometimes we forget and make a great deal over how pretty she looks. Sometimes I can't help but gaze at her for a long time and admire her.

Really, it's hard to resist all these behavior myself. Just need to keep my mouth shut and focus on her qualities!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pri 1 Registration

This three words. So potent. Mention them to any parent with 4-5 year-olds, and they send hearts palpitating.

Many parents start to scramble and look for "good" schools around their area. Not good schools? Shift to a new place. To increase chances, dig for their primary school report books, do volunteer work... whatever. As long as it guarantees a place in that school.

I am more the bochap parent. My expectations are simple:
1. Must be co-ed. What to do, I have kids of both gender.
2. Must be near home. I think in terms of convience of sending and fetching. And to consider CCA.

Too bad, both Clem's and my primary schools closed down. So we will go the traditional track - go by proximity and cross our fingers that it doesn't require balloting.

The next question put us in a dilemma. So should we consider a school near our CURRENT home or our FUTURE home (which will be ready in 2-3 years' time)? Whichever school Cavan goes to will determine our lives for the next 12 years!

Unfortunately, our property developer decided to be reaaaaally conservative and gave a late TOP. Which means we won't qualify for the school near our future home. We are just one quarter short.

Clem suggested doing parent volunteer. This, I'm dead against. I'm not going to pump in 40 hours or more to get my kids into a school! There are so many schools in Singapore, I don't believe there isn't a school my child can get into? It's just not worth my time. If I want to volunteer, I will, after my child has gotten into the school because I want to give back to the school. Not "volunteering" with an ulterior motive. That isn't "volunteering" anymore, just "buying" a place in the school with our time. What's worse, some schools have bad ethics - take in more volunteers than they have places for. Some parents did volunteer work and ended up being balloted out! Good grief!

As the date drew nearer to the registration, I thought hard and started feeling bad. What if, for all Cavan's potential, he didn't get the opportunity to develop it because he is in a less-than-optimal system? Then Clem, in all his wisdom, said,

"God is more interested in our children's future than us."

I hung on to this revelation. It was very liberating. I let go and let God.

Since we fell short of the TOP date by one quarter, we decided to register for the school near our current home. Afterall, we have received positive comments from friends from the MOE that this school was quite good.

I didn't expect it to be THAT good. When Clem called the school, the adminstrator was confident that we could get in cos we just stayed across the street. It turned out later that there were 125 vying for 87 spots! We had to ballot!

Though I was anxious, I had peace of mind. God was in charge. Besides, I didn't have any expectations so, no pressure. At most, go the other school down the street.

The day came for the balloting. There were many PRs. They got 1 balloting slip, while the Singaporeans got 2. I must commend the principal for conducting the session so well. I felt he was very empathetic and the entire process was very transparent. I liked him very much that I really wished Cavan would get in.

The PRs were lucky. With only 1 slip, many of them still got a place. When they picked the 78th spot, it was Cavan. Thank God!

Not to be xenophobic, but I thought it was unfair to put PRs and Singaporeans together in a balloting process. Though Singaporeans received 2 balloting slips, they were still thrown in together with the PRs for the balloting.

Anyway, Cavan is going to have many multinational friends. What will happen in 1-2 years' time when we shift? I have no idea. Will leave it in God's hands.

Friday, August 12, 2011

stealing time

Once we became parents, couple time becomes non-existent. Not to mention couple time, even personal me-time is zilch. I can't eat my dinner in peace. Even when I shower or use the toilet, one kid will be there asking me to look at their painting, ipad game, writing, goodie bag from school etc. (Err... yes, I have an "open door" policy.)

Basically when we are home or with the kids, they will just clamour up to us and want every second of our time. Of course I relish all these, for when they grow up, hanging around mom and dad is no longer cool. But sometimes after a day's work, we just want to wind down, eat our dinner, talk to our spouse about our day.

We decided that we will just steal time.

When I was pregger, Clem would send me to work and fetch me home. It didn't make sense, if you see it in an economic and practical sense. His office is just 10 min's drive from home. It wastes time, petrol, ERP charges to send and fetch me from CBD area. But he didn't mind it. And because I said this was the only time we can have uninterrupted conversation, he made this a routine.

Then it got better. From car rides, we progressed to breakfast. So we enjoy our mornings together having breakfast at Amoy, Tanjong Pagar Market, Maxwell etc. I treasure these moments alot, as these are times we shared our challenges, our joys, our struggles, our aspirations.



If not for such moments, we would have missed out on each other's lives. We don't want to come to a point where when the kids grow up and have their own lives, suddenly we realise that this person sleeping next to us has become a stranger. That we have no more kids-topic to talk about and we don't know what else to say.

So we constantly look for time to steal. When the kids are in school, and we take leave. When the kids are napping and we do grocery shopping and have tea. When they are asleep and we have supper.
 Having supper holding Vesper in my arms. Not fair? At least she doesn't interrupt our conversation!

It's fun looking for time to steal. Well, of course it helped having a helper or grandparents.

Hmmm... should we catch a performance next Sunday afternoon while they are napping?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

friends

At their young age, we can already see how our kids develop friendship and what matters to them. Cavan and Verity are completely different in their approach to making friends.

Cavan thrives on having many friends. His teachers say that once he reaches school, friends start to call out to him. On the school bus, children will compete to sit next to him.

And he is also a loyal and forgiving friend. When he was in Nursery 2, there was a boy B, who said hurtful things to him. Once I saw B and remarked, "Your friend, B, fat fat one ah." Cavan got indignant and retorted, "You can't say such rude things about other people." "I thought you didn't like him?" I inquired. "Still, you cannot say bad things about him!" Two years later, he told me that B had become better and not so naughty anymore.

He has another friend, who was also abusive towards him. And he gets hurt easily. I was angry with Cavan cos he still wanted to be friends despite being emotionally and physically hurt by this person. Why subject yourself to so much pain? You're asking for it.

But Cavan believes in forgiveness and believes that every person will change for the better. Whenever we arrange for them to play, Cavan would pray that he will not be hurt and that the friend will be good. Whenever he gets hurt again, he'll cry and get very upset. But in the end, he'll always say, "I forgive him." And he does notice if the person has improved. He will report to me and say that so-and-so is now a good boy, so on and so forth.

I have such an angel for a son.

Verity, on the other hand, is highly selective when it comes to friends. She is happy just to have one best friend, K. All other people do not matter.

She was at a ballet class and this girl kept calling out to her. But Verity ignored her. I asked Verity why she ignored this girl. Weren't they from the same ballet class? Verity replied that her friend is K.

When K is around, Verity will not pay much attention to other friends and sticks to K like glue. I am always amused how Verity and K will hug and kiss each other non-stop whenever they are together. To the point of being disruptive. Cos they spend more time hugging and kissing each other.

Once, in the ballet class, I asked Clem to peep into the class. He said that the children were doing their exercises around the classroom and when suddenly Verity and K bumped into each other. Then they started giggling and hugging each other and totally disregard the class activity.

In school, the same thing. Her nursery teacher shared that Verity and K will talk non-stop to each other. And Verity only talked to K. She wanted to help them build healthy relationship with others as well so she separated them in different groups and they were no longer partners. Both gals went home and "complained" to their mommies that they were very sad because of this.

Of course, it's so sweet to see her so pally with her BFF. I really pray that their friendship will blossom till teens, till adulthood. At the same time, I also worry about her social life. I mean, her BFF will make other friends and she simply doesn't care about having other friends. I worry she ends up being alone and lonely.

Sometimes, she gets very sullen for no apparent reason and says that no one plays with her. I told her that she has to learn to play with others and not get angry and sulk when her friend is not around. I pray that when she grows up and mature, she will learn to make good friends.

Here they are, my two bubbies, so different when it comes to making friends. One a popular one, the other a highly selective one.

But both, very loyal.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

(Almost) Solo Trip with Three Kids


The family had signed up for the church retreat and we looked forward to the break, especially when our close family friends were going too. We arranged to drive there, hence did not cater for church transport.

Then Clem had his knee ops scheduled 2 weeks before the retreat. Concerned, I asked if he would still be able to drive up. He was affirmative. So, I left at that.

Revelation dawned upon him after his ops. He was not supposed to go anywhere during MC, let alone go out the country. Six days before the retreat, I got an sms from him.

Him: I can't go to the retreat anymore. We'll have to cancel the trip.
I thought seriously for about 3 seconds and replied:
You cancel your trip. We'll still go. All three kids.

There, the trip was to go on. Since we paid for his share, I might as well bring Nancy along.

Since Clem was no longer going, we did not have transport. Clem checked with the Retreat Committee whether we could squeeze into one of the coaches. Nope. All full. Anyway, I couldn't imagine sitting the kids and the baby through the journey, getting up and down the coach with all of them AND the luggages.

So we decided to fly there then transfer to the hotel. One afternoon, Clem called me and said he booked Tiger Airways. What??!! How could you book through an unreliable airline? Don't you know they are known for delayed and cancelled flights? I'm not about take any chances with three kids! Haven't you noticed I've never booked a single air ticket with Tiger?

There were considerations Clem had e.g. timing. He wanted us to come back in an earlier timing as well - 7+am flight.

All was set for the trip. I guess it was tougher for Clem as he packed the whole family off.


I was really thankful as the olders were seasoned travellers. Once they knew we were on a trip, they were extremely cooperative (on top of the usual) and I could count on them to get their bags, get everything prepared and take care of their belongings. This time without daddy, I had to lay the rules clearly for them e.g. always stay close to me, no running out of sight.

There was a slight delay. We were queueing for some time and the gates were not opened. I overheard others in the queue saying that the flight was delayed indefinitely and people were getting restless. I smsed Clem. He would stay at the airport till he saw the plane take off. Just in case the flight was cancelled/ delayed. At least he would be around.

We reached the hotel through transfer without a hiccup. The flight was very short. After the plane took off, we had our coffee and it was time to land. However, the queue at immigration was very long! Judging from the mass, I figured it could take us 2 hours!

Then one staff came to me, seeing that I had three kids including one infant, brought me to a special counter. That took us less than 30 min. Thank God! Then we waited for our transfer and travelled another 45 min to one hour to our hotel.

The Retreat Committee gave us a big room - with a living room, one bedroom and a kitchenette. It was great!


Cavan and Verity had a great time, as they got to spend time with their friends for 4 consecutive days. One of the days we even managed to bring all out for shopping. With all the kids, it was like a class excursion! Mealtimes were the usual challenge, getting the kids settled (they all had their preference who to sit next to), getting their food, helping them with seconds, making sure Verity ate, feeding Vesper. Thank God for kind sisters who offered to care for Vesper so we could eat.

I had a refreshing time, worshipping God and receiving of His Word. Also had a lot of reflections during this time, about my priorities, my next steps.

It was when we were preparing for the return trip that I realised we had to leave the hotel by 5.30am! That meant we had to wake up at 4.45am and get all ready! I couldn't pack in advance as I also had frozen bags of expressed breastmilk.

That morning, Murphy's Law really. All kids got up, got dressed without a fuss. But our luggage broke. There was no time to unpack. But we couldn't check in the luggage as it could not close! I quickly asked the hotel for masking as we checked out. They replied they didn't have any and offered me scotch tape.

I rolled my eyes! I insisted they gave me something stronger. And hurry, time was running out. Eventually they got me paper masking tape and we taped around the luggage. The luggage looked so bandaged. Quite a funny sight.

The kids and Nancy fell asleep in the car. I couldn't cos I needed to keep watch. Several times, the driver seemed to doze when finally he stopped by the shoulder of the road and washed his face. I knew cos he made several sharp swerves. It was harrowing!


We made it home safely. Clem was so so happy to have us back. He had never had to stay home without the entire family before. Well, we had fun. We missed him. But it was truly an adventure!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

roadtrip to desaru

I took three weeks' leave as Nancy went back home on compassionate leave. After one week of housewifery, I couldn't take it and told Clem, let's get out, go somewhere. Anything is better than staying home and do housework.

So we booked 3 nights at Lotus Desaru (2 bedroom) and drove up with my father.

The kids loved the place. There was a huge playground pool near our hotel room. Even my father couldn't resist dipping into the pool.

Vesper loved the big bed where she rumbled and tumbled about.

What Cavan and my father loved most was the buffet breakfast. Unlimited food.

We also liked the buggy rides that took us around the resort so we don't have to walk. Lazy people.

Basically, Desaru is quiet town. Not much shopping. We went to the fruit farm and that's about it. For dinners, we would drive to Penggerang for cheap and delicous seafood. We liked this place so much we had dinner every night we were there.

For me, it was not a break. I had to carry Vesper wherever we went. I stayed in the room or just sat out there with Vesper when the kids went swimming.

I must bring Nancy here the next time so I can go suntanning while she stays in the room to watch Vesper or put her to bed. Heehee.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan

My family was saddened by the host of disasters that hit Japan just last week. Because Japan is the family's fav country and we would visit every year.

My affinity to Japan started when I was in NUS. Then I had chosen to study Japanese Studies as one of my main subjects, as I was thinking, since I had to pay school fees, I might as well take a language. Then no need to pay to learn outside.

Why Japanese? So I can read Japanese menus and labels of Japanese stuff.

I had a short stint in Nagoya during third year in NUS. Spent three wonderful weeks there and made many friends. When I left, I cried in the plane and I missed the place and the people terribly. I have never felt that way for a country and probably won't have the same sentiment for another.


I also dreamt of marrying a Japanese. But I was already dating Clem. Incidentally, he shared that his dream was to marry a Japanese gal. I guess, at least we marry people with the same dream.

I almost decided to go to Japan as a missionary after graduation. But a few months after grad, Clem proposed and we got married a year later. So that mission was never fulfilled.

Cavan is also in love with Japan. Food-wise. At 18 months, he had his first bowl of karaage-don and had never looked back. Whenever we asked what he'd like to have for lunch/ dinner. The answer is always Japanese Food! And Japan was the 1st place he experienced snow. So that always held a special place in his heart.

Verity loves Japan because of... Hello Kitty! It's madness but Japan's full of the merchandise. Enough to make any gal go ga-ga.

And Vesper. Well, she was made in Japan. Enough said.

Japan has given us many great memories. We continue to pray for Japan that God's mercy be upon them and the nation will restore quickly. I am sure the Japanese's steely determination will bring them through.
Gambatte ne!

Little Fashionista

Verity's sense of fashion became apparent before she even turned 2. Then she was already dictating what she wanted to wear. Going out became a constant battle as we argued about what she could and could not wear. Of course, she could wear whatever she liked but dear mommy here has internal rules about what clothes were appropriate for, say, going to the market or going to church.

Then again, it was cute to see what matches she came up with. I must say she is really creative and manages to pull stuff off.

One day, she decided to wear the skirt and complete the look with swimming cap and lego tunnel pieces as bangles.
She decided to put on this ensemble and voila! Rock Star look.
Again, her ensemble complete with Miss Lala glasses and bear necklace for a 80's disco look
She decided that Pooh's clothes look better on her as a vest
New ways to wear hairbands! As belts! There are two here: a lacy one and a bead one.
Nowadays, her tastes are more upmarket. She demands to wear dresses whenever she goes. Even to the wet market. And with her glittery nice shoes. Of course, I said no, wear shorts and slippers. Again another tussle. You just can't win.

She thinks pants are ugly and often asks us to make her pretty whenever we put on clothes for her.

Her high standards are not confined to herself. She also gives her assessment readily on others. "That auntie quite nice but a bit not nice." Why? "She doesn't have nail polish."

Ok, our little fashionista here is a perfectionist. Must complete the look.

Just yesterday, she found fault with her look. "I want to colour my hair."

Clement and I were shocked. What a thing to ask from a 3.5 year-old.

"Black is not nice." So what colour do you want? "I want to colour my hair pink. Maybe with a bit of yellow."

I am a little worried. For her age, she already places so much emphasis on appearance. Would she ask for plastic surgery when she grows up?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Short Getaway to Bangkok... Kids-Free!

Clem and I hardly have our couple trips since the kiddies came along. Just twice. Once to Bali when Cavan was 4 months old. Another time at LoveStory Retreat at Austin Hill when Cavan was 2.5 years old, when I was preg with Verity at 7 months.

During CNY, Jeslin broached the subject about going on a kids-free trip. It sounded very appealing to me. I was very tired since I started work after 2 months of maternity leave. My life revolved around the baby and breastfeeding. Felt i needed a break. But I also had logistics concerns.

I was still breastfeeding Vesper. Ok, I'm a breastmilk Nazi. I don't want to put Vesper on formula. Moreover, she was used to sleeping with us. At night, when she was hungry, I just put her to nurse directly. When I'm not around, how is she going to sleep? How to drink? My poor baby!

Nancy was my other concern. How could I abandon her with 3 kids and go gallivanting?

The kids were my final and most important concern. We had never left them behind. Wanna go on a holiday? All go. Never mind the logistics and expenses.

But the trip was really appealing. We decided to go on Fri - Sun. Not too bad. At least if the kids were tired, there was no school. Logistically not too straining on Nancy too.

Before we started booking, i had to make logistics and childcare arrangements. Called my mother-in-law. Asked if she could stay over and sleep with Vesper. Oh, very easy. When Vesper cries in the night, either she needs to drink milk or change nappy.

We didn't mention there were nights she was inconsolable for no particular reasons and cried for hours. Oops.

My mother in law agreed readily. Bravo! Brave soul!

Once this most important arrangement was confirmed, next my father. As we would leave early in the morning at 5+ am, someone needed to help bring the kids to their schoolbus.

No problem, my father said. I'll come over at 6+.

Hurray for supportive parents!

I quickly informed Jeslin and we booked the air tickets and hotel less than 48 hours after our spontaneous discussion. And off we went in a span of 2 weeks.

We parked our car at Billy and Jes', as their place was near the airport, and shared a cab. Off we went!


Hotel
Stayed at SilQ boutique hotel. Nice modern place within walking distance to the MRT. Room felt empty without the kids climbing about.



Massages
For a short 3 day trip, we went for 3 massages. The 1st night, Clem and I went for Thai massage at 11pm. The masseur really worked hard and my bones were cracking. 2nd day, B&J settled for foot massage. Clem and I didn;t like foot massage so we settled for neck, shoulder back. That night, we went for oil massage.

Think I prefer oil (Balinese- style) massage to Thai. More soothing.

Even amidst the shopping, we also stopped by for a short massage. Shiok!


Shopping
I must say the trip was too short! Only managed to go to Siam Centre, Siam Square and Platinum! Didn't shop up a storm.

Also managed to do something I didn't have time for in Singapore - haircut! Cheap and good!


Milk
That's right. I didn't forget my mothering duties even while on a holiday. I pumped when i woke up, pumped after breakfast, after lunch, during mid afternoon, after dinner, before bed. I pumped in toilets for the wheel-chaired. Sorry I know I'm being inconsiderate, but that toilet had baby changing station. So pretend I had a baby with me ok?

Siam Centre had the cleanest toilet. The wheel-chair cubicle in the Ladies had baby changing station so I was able to put my stuff there.

At Platinum, Clem would follow me to the separate toilet. When we emerge, people (esp cleaners in charge of the toilet) would stare at us as if we did something in the toilet. Afterall, we spent almost 30 min there.

I washed my stuff using bottled water. And put the milk in the hotel room's mini fridge. Since it was a short trip, I didn't need to freeze the milk. It was unbelievable I went to this extent.

It was a short trip, an enjoyable one, nonetheless. We said we would not think of the kids too much and not shop for kids stuff. But how to resist?

Maternity Clothes (Part 2)

In my previous pregnancy, people asked me where I got my clothes. So i posted a blog sharing where most my clothes were from, for I am not one who buys maternity stuff.

When expecting Vesper, I didn't grow very much in size, although I was heavier than when expecting Verity (mystery of mystery). I could still wear normal working skirts (Mango size S somemore!) For the 3rd pregnancy, i was into Korean frilly styles and dresses. Best of all, they were non-maternity so post-delivery, just wear them with belts cinched at the waist.

Now, ahem, fashion show time - again!

4 wks preg. Uniqlo spaghetti top and tights
14 wks preg. Mphosis shorts suit
 
19 wks. Pull and Bear T-shirt, Fox skirt

17 wks. Mango top, Joop skirt


22 wks. Joop dress

24 wks. Top shop top, floral skirt from Japan

25 wks. Dress from shop in Toa Payoh

27 wks. T-shirt from Forever 21, skirt from Cotton On

28 wks. T-shirt from People's Park, lacy black skirt from Japan, tights from Uniqlo

31 wks. Top from United Square, skorts from Japan

33 wks. Sequinned dress from Arthur Yen

33 wks. Dress from Bali

36 wks. shorts suit from Bali
 

Monday, March 07, 2011

firstborn

I always wonder if firstborns ever face any pressure. Pressure of living up to their parents' expectations. Pressure of being a role model to their younger siblings.

As the first child, firstborns are given undivided attention. Daddy and mummy are there to guide their every step, coach them to perfect their speech and repeat melodies to catch that perfect pitch.

When Verity came along, we would ask him to give in to her, to be a good example as she would follow his ways

I wonder if Cavan feels any pressure.

Clem says I'm stricter with Cavan. Though I beg to differ. I thought I scolded Verity more. I smack her more. Because Verity is more rebellious and stubborn.

Maybe Clem is right. Verity can get away with most wrongdoing. Because she is as stubborn as a mule. Doesn't help that she has such a cute and innocent face. And i get tired of fighting with her. (Such irony. Since when I get tired of fighting. Must be age.)

For Cavan, when he doesn't obey the first time, I get mad. Because he's so obedient and willing to please. I guess I can't accept it when he doesn't listen the first time.

One night before bedtime,

Me: Children, go and brush your teeth.
(no response)
Me: (raising my voice) Children, go and brush your teeth!
Verity: I don't want!
Me: Cavan, go and brush your teeth.
Cavan: Verity doesn't want to brush her teeth, I also...

Suddenly, he stopped and caught himself. Then he continued.

Cavan:... I will still go and brush my teeth. I will be a good example.


I was surprised by the response. I totally didn't expect it from a five-year-old child.

Of course, I praised him to no end. I'm so proud of him for doing the right thing. I don't know this is because he is aware of his "responsibilities" as the oldest child. Or simply because he's such a pleaser.

One thing I know is, Cavan is a such a perfect son. The kind of son I've always wanted.

I'm so honoured to be chosen to be his mother. It's my blessing he is chosen to be my firstborn.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lefty

Not sure if it's official, but Verity is a lefty.

We only noticed it when she went to Nursery One last year. Before that, we didn't pay much attention to which hand she used in her daily life like feeding, colouring or throwing.

Only when she went to school and did more writing and colouring that we realised she tended to use her left hand.

Thinking that there is a "right" way, I switched her to using her right hand. Afterall, kids at this age are malleable. Can train and change easily.

So I thought.

But it didn't seem "right". She applied weak strokes. I thought it was her terrible twos acting out. I became stricter and demanded her to be serious in her work. It didn't occur to me that was her weak hand.

During the parent-teacher meeting, I raised this concern to her teacher. Ms Grace was aware of Verity's preference. In class, she did not dictate which hand the child would use as at this stage the child would begin to seek out their stronger hand and preference. She told us that Verity wrote and coloured more steadily using her left hand. In any case, she asked us to decide whether we wanted Verity to switch to right hand so the teachers could also be consistent in guiding her at school.

We stopped dictating which hand Verity should use and observed her preference. She was at this awkward stage where she was caught between her natural dexterity and "social norm". So it might have somewhat become a hurdle to her as she wasn't sure which hand she should use.

As a result, she would sometimes claim that she didn't know how to scoop soup or rice. Again, it only occurred to me recently that she was fearing spillage as I was strict about mess. Nancy would encourage her to use her "strong" hand. I took the cue from Nancy. I no longer refer to "right" or "left" hand but "strong" hand.

Not using her right hand doesn't make it wrong.

I had to remind myself to be more aware of her situation and development needs and focus less on performance. I should help build up her confidence in performing tasks using her strong hand.

It was a little awkward for me as she would ask me to hold her hand to write. So I wrote in my best possible strokes using my left hand.

I have to remember to be patient if her movement using the computer mouse was not smooth and when she kept clicking on the right button instead of the left. (The mouse is designed for right handers!)

I have to remember to be patient when she cuts using scissors and her paper always ends up between the blades uncut. (Scissors are designed for right handers too!)

I have to understand that when she writes, the ink will smudge as her left hand would move from left to right. It's nothing to do with her untidiness.

My focus and perspective have changed. I have learnt to be more supportive as life skills may not come as easily for Verity, given that most equipments and instruments are designed for right handers.

Patience is a virtue I most lacked and through my daughter, I will learn to develop.

Ah, lessons God gives us through children.