Archive for October, 2010

Birthday Magic

Popped by the Mok’s place to celebrate Joe’s birthday.  Been a really long time since we saw Jo Claire, so it was great that the two kiddos got to play together for a while.  Discovered that though they haven’t met recently, she’s very familiar with Asher cos she hears about him almost everyday.  Her grandma reads to her a storybook which has a picture showing a set of parents, two sets of grandparents, and two children – one male one female.  So her grandma would say that the little girl is Jo Claire, and for lack of another boy, that Asher is the little boy :)  So she was more than familiar with his name, and just needed to match the face to it.  By the end of the night, ask her who Asher was and she could point him out :)

Was super happy that Asher ate well there too!  He’s been going through a phase where he doesn’t want to eat much of anything.  All the food he normally likes to eat he’ll shun.  The only things he eats kind-of regularly are fruit and some veg (carrots esp).  Even then, it’s not a given that he will eat the fruit/veg offered to him.  He’s been losing weight, and has lost his little paunch.  And it can be very frustrating and worrying for me.

But by some miracle, Asher asked to eat 2 bananas, and happily gobbled down some briyani (“colourful rice”) and white rice, and slurped up some of the soup that Jo Claire was also drinking, which was a power-packed bowl of veg, dried scallops, soy beans, and ikan bilis.  What a vast improvement from the day before where he only had 2 biscuits for breakfast, about 1 tablespoon of bee hoon for lunch, and a handful (his hand, not mine) of blueberries which garnished his Grandpa’s birthday cake.  He had also refused to drink his pre-bedtime cup of milk.  Oh, the joy of seeing him eat!

Hanging out in the play area
Being a cheeky boy and making a soft-toy dolphin dive onto Jo Claire’s head again, and again and again :/  She was very sweet about the whole thing and didn’t banish him from her play area.

Where’s Asher?? 
Taking a kangaroo’s hat to wear during the cake-cutting :)

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To celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday we went to a fairly new establishment called Artichoke at Sculpture Square along Middle Road.  The place is immediately inviting, and the smells emanating from the kitchen are mouth-watering.  The place serves my kind of food – Moroccan & Middle-Eastern influenced with fresh ingredients.  We ordered way too much, but what fun to try the many dishes!  The menu there changes frequently to keep things interesting, and often the best dishes are written on the wall.  Loved the lamb short ribs cooked with chermoula spices – so well cooked the meat just comes off the bone; the hummus and babaganoush with bread were what they are meant to be – flavourful and comforting; the beef stew was excellent – robust, rich, extremely tender, but not stodgey; the moussaka was lovely – light with a lingering flavour; the leg of lamb served with seven veg couscous was perfectly done; and the popcorn chicken was a fried food indulgence that lived up to it’s name – it really comes with popcorn :)

One of the few pics I had a chance to snap.  Beetroot with feta and a sprinkling of nuts.

Their offering reminded me very much of Mecca Bah in Melbourne, and I was quite pleased to have a place to go to in Singapore for something similar.  I would have taken pictures of everything if my hands weren’t so tied up with Asher – he was fussing and not wanting to eat even though ordinarily, he’d eat everything on that table!  In the end I only took pics of the first dishes that arrived.

Anyway, the place serves brunch too, so might pop by there another day to try it.  But we’ll definitely be coming back again some time!

 Drawing for the first 1 min of the meal.  
There was essentially no meal for him since he didn’t eat dinner per se…

He only had some fruit garnishing Grandpa’s cake

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We were all finally out of our feverish phase after hibernating indoors for about 2 weeks collectively.  So decided we deserved a little family outing.  Trotted down to Alexandra Firestation for a station visit so that Asher could get a chance to see fire engines upclose.  It was a simple visit, but fun and fulfilled its intention.  We got to see and sit in most of the vehicles – several types of large fire engines, firefly 2-seater, red rhinos, paramedic motorcycle, etc.  Asher got to help out spraying some trees with the fire hose too :) 

Some little things we learnt were that ambulances and paramedic bikes are also co-located at firestations for quick response, and when the siren sounds the firemen/paramedic team have to leave the station within 1 minute!  It happened that we and several other families were sitting in one of the fire trucks when the siren went off, so we were hurriedly asked to come off while the firemen pulled on their firesuits.  We quickly exchanged places, and they were off in a jiffy!  Quite exciting :)  Asher was particularly pleased when he saw the fire engine come back and park in its original spot.  There was also an ambulance which responded to a call while we were there.  Apparently on average they get about 3-4 calls a day, so we were quite lucky to see the men in action :) 

But that also meant that some of the manpower was tied up, so we didn’t get to ride on their rescue cherry-picker, which they sometimes let the public try.  Maybe next time!  I’d love to do that! :) 

The visit is fun for kids, and free!  All SCDF firestations are open to the public every Saturday from 9-11am (except Jurong Island).  Find out more here.  The next one we might check out is the Hill Street Central Firestation, cos that one has a museum with several old-style fire engines that Asher (and us heh heh) can climb into :)  As you can see, I think I’m as much or more of a monkey than my little boy, even with a bulging belly! :O)

Showing us the equipment in the truck

Their latest recruit getting comfy behind the wheel
Responding to a call.  That’s the same truck we were just sitting in!

On to the bikes.  This paramedic bike is for quick response, and mainly to provide initial medical care and psychological aid to affected people while waiting for the bigger vehicles to arrive.  Especially useful if there’s a high traffic situation. 
A team of 3 kid fire fighters!  Asher, Otto & Bruno :)

Playing with the hose.  The jet is really quite powerful, and at one point the kids pulled the lever too much and the guy had difficulty holding the hose :)

The fireman looks like he’s having as much fun as the kids :)

Asher and his new friend Otto
There are actually a few other pics like Asher in the firemen’s hat, but I was too lazy to upload everything :) 

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Baking Up A Storm

It’s been a while since we did some baking, and thought it’d be a nice way to occupy him at home one afternoon.  The last time we baked was about a month-and-a-half ago where we made blueberry muffins.  This time around, I was gonna bake some banana bread together with him.

There was a funny moment when he stirred too vigourously and flicked some batter onto his arm, the table, and the floor.  And he proceeded to melt into a gush of giggles :)  It was sweet that he wanted to help me clean up after, and tried to wipe up the specks of flour and dough that he had flicked onto the floor.  I say tried, cos he was essentially pushing all the flour and dough around on the floor :)  But it’s the thought that counts heh.

I think this was the first time that he was really able to do most of the stuff himself.  I basically just helped with measuring and maybe the final stir to check that the flour was mixed in properly.  But he did the rest of the pouring and mixing on his own.  So I told him that “Mummy helped Asher”, instead of “Asher helped Mummy”.  

It was also nice to have the kitchen to ourselves.  I enjoy the freedom of not being ‘watched’ (for lack of a better word) in my own home, which was something I often felt when our helper was around.  Left the real cleaning till after his bedtime so that I could just spend the entire afternoon with him.  
Dinner was a muffin, and breakfast the next morning too :)
Creaming the butter and sugar

Beating the eggs

Looking at the speck of batter on his arm

Giggling away

Scooping the batter into the muffin tray

Going, “WHOA!” each time he dumped a scoop of batter into the loaf tin

Cleaning under his chair :)
 Ta da!

 Eating & giggling while remembering how he flicked the batter around :)

Brekkie the next day

Being silly and squashing his face with the container cover :)

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Down By the River

Had some free time on my hands a couple of weeks ago and brought Asher to see the Singapore River and check out the Merlion up-close (this was after our helper left, so I was quite pleased to be keeping up his activities).  We’ve seen the Merlion from the Esplanade on several occasions, but he’s not seen the fish-lion in his spitty, scale-y glory.

The little afternoon outing started with an amusing detour – chasing sparrows at square outside Raffles Place MRT.  He did this hilarious little slow creep-cum-tai-chi walk to creep up on the birds before running full-speed ahead.  Yes, he was oblivious to the office people looking on, and amused them with his antics for a while :)  In the end, most of the sparrows escaped from him by perching on top of the entrace to the MRT.

Next, my favourite bridge in Singapore – Cavenagh Bridge.  Besides the bridge, I had brought him there to take a look at the kuching.  He liked those and kept asking to see them after we’d walked away.  We also saw the sculpture of the water buffalo, which he somehow found very amusing and kept laughing whenever he looked at it (??), and also saw the sculpture of children jumping into the water.

It was a scorching day, so we walked to the Merlion by going through the Fullerton underpass, and paused by the fish pond for a little snack/water break to cool down and enjoy the air-con.  We then finished our round by walking under the Fullerton bridge and headed back home by the train again.  Tourists in Singapore :)

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Shoes For A Cause

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Pass It On

We’re playing an unpleasant game of pass on the germs at home.  Jon came back from his trip feeling under the weather, and was down for the next 3-4 days.  He had really high fever, chills, bad cough (worsened by the haze), and a cold. 

Then just as he was getting well, I caught it!  My fever has gone as high as 39.9 degrees!  My face turned red and swelled from the heat.  The first time that happened it took hours to get it below 39 degrees.  Read that if the temperature goes above 38.8 I should call the gynae immediately.  When I did, I was told I should actually try to get the temperature below 38 degrees!!  But again my temperature soared to 39.5 and again it took hours to get it anywhere near 38 degrees even though I had taken panadol (can’t take anything stronger), and was sponging myself non-stop.  To give myself some comfort, I ice-packed my belly, but not sure if that really helps cool down baby.

In hope of preventing Asher from catching the potent germs, my parents offered to help watch him yesterday night.  But this morning they called and said he’s feverish :(  Poor boy!  If he caught our germs, it gonna be several days of high fever for him!  I want to manja him and take care of him myself, but as Jon rightly points out, I should take care of myself first.  Afterall, other people can help look after Asher, but only I can look after baby inside me…  But I miss Asher already, he was so sweet yesterday.  When I was knocked out in bed getting some rest and Jon was going to bring him out for a while, he kept asking me to come along.  I tried to tell him I was ill and had a fever, and reminded him about how he sometimes had fevers too.  He looked a little sad, and kept wanting me to go along, tugging at my hand, which I thought was very sweet.  Later in the evening when my parents came to pick him up, he again wanted me to go along.  I said that they missed him and wanted to play with him.  I didn’t want him to think that because I was sick I didn’t want him around. 

But now that he’s ill, and I’m still ill, and Jon isn’t even fully recovered himself, my parents have offered to watch him another night.  While I’m honestly grateful, and the rational part of me knows that’s the best for all of us, me and baby in particular, cos I can get rest and hopefully recover quickly, the emotional part of me just wants Asher back now!  I don’t want him to think that cos he’s sick, I don’t want him around.  Maybe I’m over-thinking things, but I hope he doesn’t think that way.  Mummy’s sick, she doesn’t want to come out with me and Daddy.  Mummy’s sick, I go to Gong Gong and Por Por’s house.  I’m sick, I’m still away from Mummy/Mummy doesn’t want me back.

Maybe he doesn’t think like that.  I hope.

Anyway, went for a gynae check-up his morning to make sure baby’s ok.  So far, things look fine and baby is still growing well.  Please pray that I’ll recover quickly, that the fevers can be controlled below 38 degrees, and baby continues to be protected.  Also pray that Asher will not get it so bad and recover quickly.  And also for Jon too!

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An unexpected development on the home front.  We sent our helper home.  Our instincts proved right.  Won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say it was definitely a right decision and we’re glad Asher’s safe and the house is intact.  It all happened in the span of an afternoon.  So we suddenly found ourselves without help for cooking and other household chores – her areas of responsibility.

Though there’s more work to do now that she’s gone, the vibe of the house feels better, and I’m feeling happier, even though more tired.  So far even though I still bring Asher for outings, I’ve managed to cook dinner still, both Asher’s and ours, and we’re managing to keep up with laundry and the house feels decently clean.  It takes a bit more planning and effort, but so far we’re ok.  I usually clean the house after Asher sleeps.  Cooking time involves Asher.  He helps to wash the rice, scoop seeds out from the papayas, etc.  When he can’t help directly, he gets to ‘mix flour’ with empty containers, and ‘chop fruit’ on a chopping board.  Laundry time also includes Asher.  He enthusiastically helps put the laundry into the machine, and helps to transport the clean, dry clothes to our bed for folding.  Found it adorable seeing him run to and fro the kitchen and bedroom carrying little piles of clothing :)  Think this is healthy for him, but I do wonder if and when the novelty will wear out for all of us. 

We have inevitably had to tweak one house rule – no entering the kitchen.  Since I now have to be in there preparing food and cooking, I can’t possibly keep an eye on him when he’s running around the living room.  So he joins me in the kichen, either munching on snacks or helping out. 

He does get a bit upset when I can’t play with him immediately cos I need to clean up a bit, but I hope he’ll get used to it, and I hope I can come up with an even more efficient way of handling things so that such times are minimised. 

The past few days have been challenging, but not unpleasant.  Jon’s overseas for a few days, so it’s just me and Asher.  Thank goodness his trip straddles the weekend, so I could take a bit of a breather from things cos we usually visit Jon’s Dad and my parents.  Even then, I had to head home on Saturday while Asher was napping to clean up the house (I just can’t stand a dusty house!).

Not sure what the plan is for when Baby number 2 comes, but in the meantime we’re looking around for a part-time cleaner who can also help with ironing (I hate ironing!!!) and perhaps a tingkat service for some of the days.  Of course if all else fails, we could always do what we used to do before we had kids – get food from the market. 

Please pray for energy, strength, ingenuity, and lots of patience!!

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Phototaking day.  Asher doesnt’t actually have his own set of the uniform, but thankfully our neighbour’s son had a set she could spare us for the day.

More “growing up” moments ;)

Doing splits on the way to school =)

 Happy in his borrowed uniform

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We arranged for an extended family outing to the Esplanade for the kids catch a PLAYtime! production called “The Kingdom Under My Bed”.  I didn’t realise that PLAYtime! productions were put up by various theatre companies.  This time around, it was Teater Ekamatra, a different group from the one which did The Magic Island.  I felt that it was not as good as The Magic Island.  The storyline was complicated, there were very many characters, the actors sometimes spoke too quickly and with poor pronunciation, and some characters (one in particular) seemed to scare plenty of the kids (they started wailing and crying when that character came out!  Aidan let known his opinion by simply raising his hand and saying, “Stop!”).  The parts that appealed more were probably when there were songs, and when they showed some shadow-puppetry.  Ironically, the character that stuck the most in Asher’s mind was the bunny rabbit, who was actually a character created to allow the backstage guy to bring props on and off the stage. 

Next time, I’ll make sure to find out who is putting up the PLAYtime! performance before deciding to go for the show.

After the performance, we had lunch together before hanging out by the bay area.  Good thing there were 6 adults, and we could take turns making sure the kids didn’t trip on the steps and tumble into the water! :)  And as it was a super hot day, and ice cold fruit slushes from Chill Out! were the perfect remedy.  I like that the slushies are made from pure fruit juice, so even though they are a little bit pricey, you feel like you’re having a healthy option while cooling down.

There’s the merlion!  (But they’re pointing in diff directions, hmm)

Making sure they don’t topple into the bay :)

The IR looming behind

Merlion in the distance

We should be paid for these series of pics!  Free advertising – endorsement by kids!
Stuck to their straws.  Anya looking very demure here :)

 Stripey Father & Son :)

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