Thoughts: Reflecting 3rd Quarter 2016

Did the 3rd quarter of 2016 just pass by? How time moves when there is so much on your plate. We are into the last leg of 2016, yet I don’t see myself fulfilling much of the goals I set out since the beginning of 2016! Still we shouldn’t just quit, but continue to reflect and remind ourselves to keep to it.

  • Eat Healthily and Exercise More
    I cannot believe I actually put on 2 kg in the past one month. So much to eating healthily. I guess I have been snacking a little too much in office. I started on a no rice diet (there are still some carbs here and there) for lunch 3 times a week. And I told myself no more snacking in office and to bring fruits for tea break. Let see how it goes.
    As for exercising, my chronic back pain was back due to too much “sleeping” while I was nursing a stomach flu. As a result I couldn’t really go for jogging, it hurts after the “run”. However, I did manage to go for a swim, participate in a Captain’s Ball game in office, went ice skating with the kids once and cycle at West Coast Park. I’m thinking of 5 minutes Pilates on weekday and 15 minutes on weekend morning to strengthen my back muscle. And adding swimming to my exercise list as they will have less impact on my back. The boy’s classmates’ Mummies are also asking me to join them in the GE 5Km run. I’m still deliberating.

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    The ice-skating session we had with the kids. I can’t skate but I’m sure my muscles had a good work out that day.
  • More Communication and Patience
    I guess this is coming along rather well. I’m making a conscious effort to stop myself before I lash out. Today I just learn a phrase that is to add in “think” before you act. So “Feel – Think – Act“. I’m going to apply it not only to the kids but also to everything I do.

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    What I found written on my drinks after a little incident happened and I decide to “let it go”. So think before act not only make your day but also someone else’s.
  • Spend More Time with The Littlest
    Indeed with the new job I have more time with the littlest. Especially on days where I reach home earlier and the elder two are not back yet. I can really have a good one-to-one time with him. However, there is still have a lot I want to. With three kids, it’s really tough. I’m going to define it further by trying 1 activity and 1 reading everyday with him.
  • More One-To-One Time with the Elder Two
    Totally fail in this. We didn’t have any one-to-one time this quarter. How sad. I need to make this more achievable. Any ideas?
  • More Consistent Teaching
    A month back, we attended a seminar by Pamela Lim, talking about raising a child gifted. Although there was nothing new about the concepts that she shared, but I walked away with something very clear in my mind. Academic result is only one aspect of learning and life. And the two most basic skill a child need for learning is in reading and numerals. The rest are built on them.
    With that, I changed our curriculum a little. I halved the pages of “assessment books” they need to do and focus more on reading. Be it them reading to me (recognizing words for the girl case) or me reading to them. The reading here are not fiction reading but more on facts and knowledge. I have subscribed to the NatGeo kids for this purpose. However, parent-teacher-meet and the kids Chinese class feedback shows that they still need to read more Chinese books. So I am adding more reading in Chinese for the coming months.

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    The boy saw this seed at the playground one day. He asked me what kind of “nut” that is. I told him is a seed but not sure from what tree. He explored ways and means to crack it open and finally did it. He was disappointed to see just “black stuff” inside. But we proceed to continue searching on Mr Google and we finally know its the seed of a Pong Pong fruit (Mummy is poor at science ). And we learned about “Pong Pong” fruit that day and also the boy learned how to crack open a “nut”. Learning can take place anywhere and in any form.

For personal reading wise, I completed “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. It’s so nice to be reading about Harry Potter again. I really like this book and still thinking whether I should do a blog post about it. LOL. But reading with the kids have slowed down, we need to pick up speed on that.

As for the blog, thoughts of closing it down for the past month has been popping up in my head again.Last month I have a post that generated some interest but it didn’t translate to more consistent readership. I guess also partly because I have been lazy in blogging. I happen to talk to fellow Mummy blogger Christy this morning. She suggest I rethink and find a focus on my blog. Find something I love to write about. Well, I may give it a try but it is not easy for me. Maybe I just have too many things I wanted to do. I need to remind myself I set to FOCUS in 2016.

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Development: TT @ 20 Months

Milestone chart from Baby Centre.

Mastered Skills

  • Will pretend to feed a doll
    Yes, though he likes to feed us and himself more.
  • Can take off own clothes with help
    Not really. He will pull up his shirt but can’t really do anything more than that. For pants, he could barely pull it down.
  • Will throw away an object such as rubbish in imitation
    I’m very sure he didn’t just threw away rubbish.

Emerging Skills

  • Learn words at a rate of ten or more a day
    He is definitely speaking more now. However, lazy Mommy has not been teaching him much. So I doubt he is at this rate at the present moment.
  • Can walk up (but probably not down) stairs
    Yes, but he still need to hold on to the side railings for guidance. Same for going down.
  • Searches for hidden objects
    Yes. He loves wearing GorGor shoes these days. So I have to hide it somewhere. And he will observe and try to find where I hide the shoes.

Advanced Skills

  • May start exploring genitals
    Have not really seen him doing that yet.
  • Draws straighter lines
    He loves to doodle. But so far they are still quite curvy.
  • Names several body parts
    No. Lazy Mommy again.

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Dear TT,

We survived 1 month without A-Ti. Mummy is glad that you manage to adapt to our new A-Ti quite well. She seems to like you too. Carrying you when you eat or even when making milk for you.

You are also making progress in your speech this month. More words are coming out from you. Mummy thought she heard you saying “Peease MeeMee iPad/oped Door”. Mummy couldn’t make out you are trying to ask Mummy to open the door or trying to tell me my iPad is outside the door. Nonetheless its so cute.

We have also heard you say “bread”, “apple”, “fish”, etc. That day you are also in a good mood and said “谢谢” for the things we do for you. I must say MaaMaa have taught you well. Mummy only wish she has more time to read to you. And you are willing to listen to Mummy. Nowadays when Mummy tried to read to you, you just roam around ignoring Mummy. Well, Mummy just gotta try harder.

You still love your water play and bath tub time. There was a few times we setup water play at the balcony and you can play with it for a long time. Scooping water and pouring them over, making yourself entirely wet. And you always cry when we bring you out of the bath tub as you want to continue playing. The other time when we bring you to West Coast Park, you spend a long time scooping sand and pouring it out. You didn’t mind that they went onto your clothes. Mummy is happy that you are slowly adapting to sand play.

And you are such a TV kid. You can practically watch anything on the TV. Evening time when MaaMaa watches her TV you join her. And will “run” to the TV when you hear commerical breaks. Sigh, how do I get you to like reading more and TV less? Well, I guess we have to take things one step at a time.

So for now, stay happy, healthy and cute. Mummy loves you, always.

Love,
Mummy

Parenting: How to get kids to pack up

I used to struggle a lot in the past to get the kids to pack up. Until one day, I saw this billiant idea on Pinterest, and it worked for me too! It’s called “Ransom Box”.

I’m not sure about others. But for our family, before the “Ransom Box” was introduced, we always threaten the kids that the items (toys, books, etc) will be thrown away if the kids don’t keep it (there was one occassion that Chubby really threw some toys away ). However, this is not a good method as most times we just threaten, and it is not environmental and pocket friendly to be throwing toys away like that. So when I saw the idea of “Ransom”, I think it is a better option.

The “Ransom Box” works by putting items, that is left lying around by the kids, into the “Ransom Box”. And it will be held “ransom” until the kids do something to redeem it. Usually a household chore. But do note that chores within their “scope of work”, are not considered. For example, the kids don’t get to redeem items from the box if they say put their own dishes into the basin after meal, or making their own bed, etc. It has to be something extra.

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I chose a big and transaparent “Ransom Box” so that even bigger size toys can fit in and the kids can see what is inside.

If you search around the Internet, they usually put a notice on the “Ransom Box” explaining to the kids what happened. But when I started this, my kids were barely 5 and 3.5 y.o.  They couldn’t read well. So I sat them down, told them about the rules and place the ransom box in a very obvious place as a reminder (very much like red light camera on the road).

Tip: Do remember to inform all adults (including domestic helper) about it. If there is anyone who packs up for them, or unknowingly takes out the items from the box, the method will not work.

For us, the kids’ cousin come over on weekends, so the same applies to them. If they leave the items around, I would help them pack up but they will have to do a household chore at their own house in return (I make my SIL take video as proof to show me. Oh the wonders of technology. LOL). So going home doesn’t mean they get away with it.

The first week, we implemented it, the ransom box got filled quickly. The kids got around to helping me clean up their younger brother (they particularly hated cleaning his poo) and the house too. The cousins got to help bring out the dirty rubbish to the common rubbish chute. Bascially, think of chores that they will not willingly do. So after a while, they realize it’s easier to just pack up.

Nowadays, all I need to do is say “I think I need to bring out the ransom box…”, and they will rush before me to pack up their toys. There isn’t a need for constant nagging, isn’t it great? Our ransom box has been empty for about a year already. But it is still there as a reminder.

Tip: In order for younger kids to help pack, the toys must be arranged for easy packing. 

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We love these shelves as it allow us to organise the kids toys easily. Each box holds a different category of things (e.g. Peppa Pig, Cars, Poli, Musical Toys, Playdoh, Lego, board/card games, etc). The kids just need to dump them in the correct box and thats it. Something even my 3 y.o. nephew can do it easily. Ok, we don’t have the neatest or prettiest looking shelves, but it does its job and is not too messy.

So how do you get your kids to pack up after they are done?

*P.S. This is not a sponsored post. You don’t have to get the exact model of shelves or ransom box. The idea is to have a big ransom box so it can hold most of the toys. And toy storage that helps in packing.

Development: TT @ 19 Months

Mastered Skills

  • Can use a spoon and fork
    Yes. He loves to feed himself. He is not very good with them as he tends to hold it right at the end. So by the time it reaches his mouth, some will drop along the way or he needs to use other hand to help push the food in. He uses his left hand most of the time when he eats.
  • Can run
    Somewhat. This little guy is an explorer. He likes to walk around and when you try to catch him back, he will “run” away from you.
  • Can throw a ball underarm
    Nope. I see him more throwing over head. Or more of him dropping the ball from his head.

Emerging Skills

  • Half of speech may be understandable
    Nope. I have a hard time trying to make out what he says. He speaks more now, but sometimes he will be mumbling some weird stuff that we totally have no idea what he is saying.
  • Recognises when something is wrong (e.g. calling a dog a cat)
    Not so sure about this. Sometimes he does laugh when he notice that we “named” the things wrongly. But we are not sure if he really knows what he is laughing at.

Advanced Skills

  • Can wash and dry hands and brush teeth with help
    Wash hand somewhat. He knows to put soap and will rub, but he doesn’t know he has to rinse the soap off. He knows where to go to dry his hands. Brushing teeth is tricky. He loves “brushing” his teeth, but would not let us do it properly. He just love chewing onto his toothbrush.
  • Can point to picture of cat or dog when you say the word
    Nope. That day he saw a picture of a horse, he calls it a “dog”…
  • May know when she needs to urinate
    Actually, we didn’t check him out on this. I think he has a potential for early potty training, but we are too lazy so he somewhat lost his skills. When he was younger, we took off the diaper, he will stand for a while than look at himself there, and next thing, he pees. But I’m seeing less of those. Sigh lazy Mummy at fault.
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Daddy Wannabe. The littlest pretending to be Daddy, working on his laptop at his messy desk. LOL.

Dear TT,

Another wonderful month with you have passed. Every night when Mummy sees you asleep, she cannot help but think where has her little baby gone. In a few months time you will be going to school and you will be officially “two”. On one hand, Mummy wishes you to grow up and be more independent. On the other hand, Mummy wishes you to remain small and adorable. Mummy is just greedy. LOL.

Fortunately, we survived without ‘A-ti’ for two weeks already. You haven’t really call out to ‘A-ti’. Probably because there is a new ‘A-ti’ which you call ‘A-ti’ too. So we don’t really know which ‘A-ti’ are you referring to. Your old ‘A-ti’ really misses you, she messages Mummy a few times to express it. And this two weeks, you have been more cranky than ever. Not sure if it is because you are feeling less secure without one of your favourite person around. Mummy hope you can reunite with ‘A-ti’ soon.

Your love for music and dance have not diminish. Recently Mummy notice you can hum to the songs you like and even “sing” your favourite “小苹果”. When we reach the part “怎么爱你都不嫌多”, you can join us at the “爱你” part. Though maybe half a beat slower. You are so cute (Ok, Mummy is bias).

You are also getting better at getting your way. You will willingly kiss us on our lips when you want to eat something or get something. Or sometimes say “爱你” to get what you want. Well, Mummy usually melt at your adorable voice. Mummy always says, you have the “sweetest mouth” when it comes to calling people. Maybe that’s why you get away with things also.

Your favourite game now is “Where is GorGor/JieJie?”. This is a game where your GorGor or JieJie will shout out the above questions infront of you and they will run to hide. You always squeal in laughter as you run around to follow and look for them. These are moments where Mummy felt really happy seeing the play and love among you three.

Do you know your GorGor and JieJie really love you? I have never seen them throwing a tantrum at you. Even if you scream at them. They still treat you nicely and give in to your request. They also like to do silly things to make you laugh, which you will gamely do so. Encouraging them to do more. I think you love them too. You squeal into laughter and call them when they reach home from school.

Its funny how you call JieJie now. When you are upset with her, you will call her by her name though not very accurately (you call her Dee Xi). When we correct you, you will change it to JieJie. I guess its because you hear all of us call her by her name rather than “JieJie”. But nontheless, its cute, so Mummy sometimes call JieJie “Dee Xi” too. LOL.

So meanwhile, just continue to stay healthy, adorable and “sweet”. And whatever it is, Mummy and Daddy love you always.

Love,
Mummy

Book: 巴巴爸爸的诞生

One day after school, the boy came home excitedly and told me he need want to get a book called 爸爸爸爸 *my brain went…*. I clearified with him, and luckily he recognise the words and told me its “巴士的巴”, follow by Daddy. *Phew*.

The boy love to read and we have no lack of reading materials at home. But I was quite surprise he wanted a Chinese book so badly. According to him, his best friend, H, brought one of the books to school for her Chinese show and tell. And subsequently, brought more from the series for sharing. He finds the story interesting and wants to read them all.

I have a soft spot for books and since the boy wanted so badly I decide to get it for him. I went to my favourite shopping website to search. I was happy to find the series at a reasonable price. However, the shipping was expensive (about 2.5 kg), but I think add together still reasonable for 16 books in total.

A little background about 巴巴爸爸. Its translated from French, Barbapapa, which was written in 1970s. So some of the storyline may seems “dated”, but I think the underlying messages still apply.

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The first book 巴巴爸爸的诞生, as the title suggests, covers the birth of 巴巴爸爸, the main character of the story.

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Apparently, 巴巴爸爸 was planted by a little boy in his backyard. And slowly he grew and grew, until he wasn’t able to fit into the little boy’s home anymore. For some reason, he was sent to the zoo.

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As you can see, he wasn’t happy in the zoo as he doesn’t have any freedom. He was very sad, until one day, he noticed something special about himself.

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So 巴巴爸爸 is very flexible and can take many form and shapes. However, this pose another problem.

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The zoo is no longer willing to keep him as he is not in a cage and “walks” around the zoo freely.

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He can’t fit into a hotel either. So 巴巴爸爸 is sad again. However, as with most kids stories, there is always a happy ending. Read the book to find out what happened.

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What I like about the book are the learning points that we can relate to life.

  • When we are trapped in a situation, did we think out of the box and see if there are other alternatives? Like how 巴巴爸爸 found that he can actually “squeeze” out of the cage.
  • There are social norms in our society that makes us feel out of place. Do we just continue to sulk and be sad, or embrace it? Just like how the zoo chase 巴巴爸爸 out because he is not “normal”.
  • Do we find out what we are good at and make good use of it?

All these questions may seems a little tough for a pre-schooler. However, its good way to get them to think, and hopefully help them in the days to come.

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Play@SG: Spottiswoode Park Estate

Tuck away in a corner of Outram near the old Tanjong Pagar Railway station, is the Spottiswoode Park Estate. Over there, we found a lovely playground that the kids love.

Spottiswoode Playground - Ladybug
A ladybug rocker, how adorable. And safe for toddlers.

The first thing that caught our attention was this ladybug rocker. And if one is not enough, there are two more creepy crawlies around.

I really love the look of these rockers. The only downside, they are a little tall. So younger kids may need help to get up.

Spottiswoode Playground - Slides
Apart from the curve slide, there are 3 more smaller slide for the younger kids.

One thing about this playground, we notice there are a lot of climbing structure. From the photo above, you can see the brown curve climbing structure on the left. Behind that brown curve, is a green and yellow steps with pole. If that is not enough, here are more.

They thought of the younger ones too.

A small ladder for younger kids. The littlest (1.5yo) need help to get up on this.
A small ladder for younger kids. The littlest (1.5yo) need help to get up on this.

This playground seems to be more suited for older kids. There is no simple way to get up except fo this ladder. However, having a higher profile means, the kids can run around under it.

Younger kids may be attracted to this.
Pause and check yourself out after all the running?

If that is not enough, how about a game of hop scotch?

Can you still remember how to play this game?
Can you still remember how to play this game?

This playground is located just behind the multi-story carpark (Blk 108 Spottiswoode Park Road). If you are nearby do drop by and check it out.

Play@SG is our effort to record down the free play areas in Singapore. If you have one to share or link, do let us know!

Indoor: Nickelodeon Slime Cup SG

Weekend is just round the corner, if you are looking for some activity to do this weekend, how about some Slimy Sports? Sounds disgusting, nah, its going to be interesting.  Here is why:

Fourth Year in SG
This is the fourth year Nickelodeon is holding the Slime Cup in Singapore. If it is not good, I don’t think they will be coming back for the fourth time.

Kids Favourite Meet and Greet
Which kids don’t like to see their favourite characters up close in real life? This year Make It Pop stars, SpongeBob Square Pants, Patrick Star, Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol and Leo and Donnie from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtleswill be at the event.

Sport Challenge with Slime Factors
Human Foosball, Slime Bowling and Giant Slime Slingshot just to name a few are available for play that day. I’m pretty sure we will be covered by Slime by the end of the day. So do remember to pack extra clothes!

Dress-up and Photo Station
If you have a girl (like ours) who isn’t into sports, there is a dress up station, where they can smear some slime and put on temporary tattoos. Afterwhich, take some wefie, hashtag it with  #SlimeCupSG on Instagram, your picture will be printed and you can redeem it at the photo station.

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Photo Source: Nickeldeon Slime Cup SG

So when is this happening? This Saturday (16 Jul) and Sunday (17 Jul) at City Square Mall. Do note that 16 Jul is for Singtel subscribers only. And admission is FREE. For more details check out their official website.