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Archive for June, 2010

I was supposed to bring Asher to watch the PLAYtime performance called The Magic Ocean, but didn’t manage to get tickets (it’s a long story).  I felt bad though, cos I had been building the anticipation for a few weeks by telling Asher about the performance.  And especially that morning itself, I was promising to bring Asher to see lots of fish and sharks and jellyfish.  He kept repeating, “See shark!  See fish! See turtle!” 
So when I found that the tickets I thought I had were not to be, I was very disappointed, and was thinking of how to not disappoint Asher as well.  Thanks to a great suggestion by a colleague of mine, I decided to bring Asher to the Underwater World!  What a wonderful idea, and I duly thanked my colleague lots the next day.
Asher had a terrific time I think!  And it was more fish than I could have imagined Asher seeing.  Real ones too!  As it was a weekday it was fairly uncrowded, but we got there quite late, around 4pm, so we missed many of the shows already.  Still, we managed to catch the seal show, which he seemed to enjoy.  Not sure if he realises the seals at the underwater world are different from the ones we saw at Philip Island.  I explained the difference between fur seals and seals, but not sure if he really remembers :) 
Asher tried touching the starfish and stingrays at the touchpool, but his arms weren’t quite long enough to dip all the way into the water, and I feared that if he leaned in any more, he’d end up as part of the exhibit.  So moved on to look at the other fish on display. 
Then of course there’s the famous glass (acrylic?) tunnel enclosure that we went round and round in.  Lots of fishes!  Nurse sharks, leopard sharks, black-tipped sharks, groupers, whiptail stingrays, leopard stingrays, pirahnas, angel fish, etc etc etc! 
Other exhibits included the leafy sea dragon which I liked very much, jelly fish, and fishes found in coral reefs. 
All in all it was an excellent outing, with lots of memories for Asher.  I got the Submarine Value Package which gives you access to the oceanarium for two visits, and a discount voucher for another ticket, which I intend to use for Jon.  I’m sure Asher won’t mind going again, and maybe next time, we can bring Baby!  Baby?  Yes, another one of those things I haven’t gotten around to writing about yet :)  More info next time.

Checking out the different types of stingrays at the ray feeding area
Seal show

Leafy sea dragons
A whiptail stingray over our heads!
Humongous grouper that doesn’t quite look so big here, altho this shot looks like it wants to eat Asher, which…if he was inside I’m not sure won’t happen
Funny dugong which liked ‘standing’ on its head
Pretty jellyfish
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Brought Asher to Poliwogs at East Coast again for an afternoon runabout.  It was a rainy day and he missed his outdoor time in school, plus it had been a while since we went to the playground cos of the rain, so thought Poliwogs was a much needed treat.  He took an interest in different things this time around, but the one constant was the attraction to all the colourful balls :) 

My favourite part of the outing was after we left Poliwogs though, when we sat on a bench by the sea to enjoy the breeze.  It was so enjoyable we did that again after dinner.  The sea breeze was beautiful, the air cool, and there were plenty of things to look at – boats, ships, airplanes, bodyboard surfers (if that’s what they’re called).  He just sat on my lap, and we enjoyed the place. 
Dinner was at Waraku, and boy, was it worth it.  Not only did Asher eat quite well (we shared a ten don), the waitresses had time to play with him cos it wasn’t too crowded, AND, they gave him a couple of toys!  I had actually thought they were just lending them to us for the duration of dinner, but when I returned them they told me the toys were for Asher to keep!  Asher really likes the digger, but the red robot I’ve kept away cos it’s not really meant for his age now.  But I had some fun playing with it and reliving my childhood haha..it’s got two buttons to blow bubbles to push little rings up in the water, and the aim is to try to get the rings onto two ‘poles’.  Haven’t seen this game in the longest time.  Anyway, I don’t really buy a whole lot of toys for Asher, so it was a welcome addition to have another vehicle for him to play with :)  Waraku is super kid friendly, I’ll definitely go back again. 
As a side note, it appears Asher likes Lady Gaga.  He was bobbing to her tracks all through dinner haha :)  Looks like she’s got all age groups hooked on her music.  I recently heard an elderly person humming one of the songs from her album :)

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For one of our afternoon outings I decided to bring Asher to check out the Singapore Art Museum’s children’s exhibition.  I had asked Asher if he wanted to go to the park (Botanical Gardens) or go see a big white rabbit.  He chose the rabbit, so off we went!

It took much longer than expected to get there, and as it turns out, it was the day that the tree fell in front of the Istana, forcing the Orchard road traffic to squeeze into 1 or 2 lanes.  But we got there eventually, and it was well worth it. 

The place was empty cos it was a weekday afternoon, so we had most of the place to ourselves :)  First up, Walter’s Garden.  It’s filled with lots of green tetrahedron cushions, and Asher had a good time arranging and placing them exactly as he liked.  He was quite particular, this cushion had to sit just so, that cushion had to be at that angle.  This green here, that green there; big one here, small one there.  Touch any of them and he would protest.  Watching him made me think of an installation artist at work haha.  Maybe, maybe?  Next time?  Who knows!

Carefully transporting the cushions to fit into his piece of installation art.  He had arranged all the cushions in the picture below.

Further refinements.  An artist’s work is never done ;)

Yes, he had so much fun I literally had to draaagg him away from the place lest we end up only seeing that bit of the exhibition.  Next, the Floribots!  These were very intriguing.  The room was filled with these paper flowers on retractable stems that grew/un-grew (if there’s such a thing) in front of your eyes.  Asher was entralled, and stood still watching the flowers in action.  Didn’t quite realise that the movements in the room affect how the flowers grew, but apparently there are motion detectors that calibrate the pattern of growth of the Floribots. 

There was a little corner with some origami paper for children to fold their own paper flowers, so we had a go at it.  I folded the paper over, and Asher helped to press down the fold to make the crease.  Here he is with his orange flower, which he clung onto for the rest of the visit :)  This boy really likes flowers.

Actually folding the flower also brought back childhood memories of how we used to fold the ‘chatterbox’, but anyway. 

We then headed to see the Enchanted Forest.  Half the room was illustrated with colourful pictures of a forest filled with characters from all sorts of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, including an appearance by the Merlion.  My favourite bit?  The dish and the spoon!  Here they were having a picnic, there they were going for a walk in the forest, it was adorable :)

Doing some colouring before we explored the forest

There’s my dish and spoon!

Asher then displayed more installation art inclinations.  This is actually one of the things he always enjoys doing when we’re at houses with stools – arranging them into some pattern or other :)  Here he goes with the IKEA stools.  The caretakers were quite amused, as was I :)  How fitting to be doing such things in an art museum heh.

Getting ready to jump ‘into’ the pond :)

But the best exhibits had to be the Funky Forest and Daisies.  I think I can safely say that those were Asher’s favourite parts of the visit, and mine too.  There were two interactive media displays that respond to the movements of visitors.  The Funky Forest was the one where if you stood along the edge of the wall, a tree would start to grow in front of the spot you were standing at.  It was fun growing trees, but that wasn’t all.  You had to keep them alive!  There was an image of a waterfall flowing down one side of a wall, then becoming a river on the ground.  You had to divert water to the trees to water them so that they would thrive.  How to do that?  It was, for lack of a better word, just so cool!  If you kick the ‘river’ in the direction of your tree, some water would flow there.  You could permanently divert the river using a ‘log’ (a cushion) to keep your tree constantly watered. 

How cool is that?  An image of a river that responds to your actions!  If you jumped on the river, there would be a splash and water would ‘splash’ outwards.  You could kick the water about to create some serious virtual water chaos.  And the most intriguing bit, I really couldn’t figure out how it was done.  There didnt appear to be visible sensors around.  The ground and wall were just regular concrete.  How did they do it??

Growing trees

See another tree just starting to sprout from where Asher’s standing?  And see how the water was diverted to the fully grown tree!  Amazing!

SPLASH!!

At the other end of the room was Daisies.  It was a bed of white flowers on the ground, but when you ran over them, they disappeared, and after a short while would start to grow back again.  It was fun running all around with Asher trying to make all the flowers disappear, but it was impossible cos the flowers grew back too quickly.  I can’t remember whether I heard it or read it there, but apparently the piece was supposed to illustrate how fragile nature is and how easily it is destroyed.  But actually, the sense I got was more of the enduring resiliance of nature.  No matter how much you trample over it, it will grow back again.  It felt hopeful.

But anyway, it was great that it was so empty cos Asher could run from Funky Forest to the Daisies over and over to his hearts content, and I didn’t have to follow him so closely.

We said our goodbyes to Walter who was visible from every floor, and headed home for a much needed dinner :) 

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Bubble Corridor

The great thing about having neighbours with kids about the same age as yours…a natural playgroup!  We’ve lately started to have bubble playing sessions in the lift lobby.  It’s great!  We can blow as many bubbles as we please without worrying about having to clean the house! :)  And more kids mean more excitement when playing with bubbles :)  So, hooray for HDB living!
Bubbles galore!  My neighbour has the automatic bubble blower thingy.

Asher trying to jump and catch the bubbles

The kids chasing the bubbles all around

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Asher wasn’t too keen on dough the first time we played with it.  Suspecting that it was because it was too wet, I tried again, this time being careful to mix just a little water each time such that the end result was quite dry. 

Helping to mix the flour and water

Kneading the dough
Shaping the dough (well, I did the shaping, he told me what to make)

Decided to bake the dough to set it so that he could paint them.  He really enjoyed this second bit.

Dog, man (was supposed to be ‘Daddy’, but it looks so unflattering I just called him ‘man’), fish, and a poor rendition of Ernie (think the ears should have been more to the side, but anyway, they fell off after a while and he became Elmo)
Master Nair at work

Getting more paint on his brush

Yellow fish

Yellow everything else.  When everything was painted, he decided to paint the newspapers!

Thoroughly engrossed in his art work

An out-of-point remark – his eyelashes are so long! *jealous*
It was a successful session I think, and when I’ve time we’ll try it again with a different colour or two :)

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