Archive for May, 2011

Disney Junior Hatched

After catching Under the Baobab Tree, Del invited us to go check out a Disney Junior event at Hatched, the all day breakfast place.  Honestly, I don’t have subscription to the channel simply because we’re not home most of the time.  But I know that Asher watches TV at our neighbour’s house, his cousin’s place and at my parent’s house.  The one time I had the chance to really check out the programmes was when we changed our Starhub box and had access to all the channels for 2 days while they configured the new box.  Those 2 days, Asher got to watch a lot of TV in the evening, and I distinctly remember thinking that a lot of what was showing on the various kids channels wasn’t very good.  It seemed as if there were no good programmes available for his age group in the evening at all.  Whatever was showing was…well…lets just say it didn’t compel me to subscribe to the channel.

I’m always interested to know what he watches.  And I’m the kind who’d rather my kid not watch any TV at all than watch bad TV.  So it was good to hear Nancy Kanter, VP for the new Disney Junior brand worldwide, acknowledge that there was a need to make programming more appropriate for preschool children, and to provide such programming outside of the morning hours – which is when kids are at preschool anyway.  The new Disney Junior channel replaces Playhouse Disney, and has expanded it’s target audience to 2 to 7 year olds.

It’s amazing how Disney has created characters that appeal to kids, and I’ve thought on more than one occasion that these people certainly know what they’re doing.  Even without the channel at home Asher is familiar with Mickey Mouse and his friends, Chuggington, and Little Einsteins.  There are new programmes in the works like Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but for the moment Asher is still most familiar with Mickey.  Throughout the presentation while Nancy showed snippets of the new programmes, Asher kept saying, “I want to watch Mickey!”

Getting acquainted with Handy Manny

Waiting for the event to start. 

Our table overrun with kids!  The organisers had kindly given the kids drawing/sticker sets to occupy them while waiting.

Anyway, we couldn’t stay to the end of the event.  They were providing lunch but we needed to rush back cos Ellery was at my in-law’s place and I needed to get back to him.  And just as well we left, Ellery was boycotting the bottle still, and had waited for me to drink and take a nap…

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The cousins went to catch Under the Baobab Tree together.

Things I learned: 1) Baobab is pronounced bay-oh-bab; 2) Singapore’s kid’s theatre scene must be quite small.  Two of the actors were the same as in Gingerbread man (altho for some reason the female cast was replaced that day); 3) Puppetry is all the rage in the kids theatre scene.  Gingerbread man, Ugly Duckling and this all used some form of puppetry.  Is it the Avenue Q effect?

I thought that it was an okay performance.  It would have been good if the demarcations between tales was made a little clearer.  Sometimes one tale turns out not to be a tale but just the lead up to another tale…or so I think…or maybe it was actually part of the tale… ??  On the other hand, sometimes it wasn’t clear the actual tale was already being told.  So it’s like the punch line not having it’s punch when you finally realise that you’ve come to the end of the story already and what was going on was actually the tale itself!   It would also have been good if more stories were told, and more memorable stories were chosen.

Still, there were parts where it was clear Asher enjoyed – when he giggled, laughed and announced “it’s so funny” :O)

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The boys woke up early and it was a beautiful day so we decided to head for the RSAF Open House 2011 after church.  Went for the early service then drove to Eunos MRT to park our car.  We were planning to take the shuttle bus there since the advert said there’d be limited parking around the airbase.  But a kind man offered us a free ride in a taxi to the airbase.  He had dropped his family off directly before going back to Eunos to park.  He saw that we had kids and thought it’d be easier for us to take a cab – he has young kids too.  He was so generous he insisted on paying for the entire cab fare since he would have taken it anyway.

It was my first time going for the airshow too.  I always wondered why people bother to go for these things cos it’d be hot and crowded, and it’s troublesome to get to.  But you know what, now I’m one of those people…and you know what, I’m so going to go back again.  It’s fun!

Asher had a blast looking at all his beloved airplanes and helicopters upclose, getting to touch them, and even went inside one of them!  We managed to see the armouring of the Apache (my personal favourite helicopter since young!), took pics upclose with F15s, F16s, C-130s among others, went onboard the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker – the largest plane there, and saw planes and helicopters taking off from the runway.

Armouring of the Apache


Checking out the weapons beneath the F15

We didn’t bother queueing to sit in the fighter jets or apaches because the queue was simply too long!  To sit in the F15, the wait was estimated to be 2 hours long!!!!  So we made do with taking photos alongside the machines and peeking into the cockpits from below, which was fine with me and the boys.  The queue for the less sexy Stratotanker snaked quite far, but because it could accomodate more people at any one time, the queue moved quickly and we were inside in about 15-20mins – that’s already the fastest moving queue.

Close enough to the F15 for us :)

The Stratotanker

 From the window of the Stratotanker

The event was well organised and managed to cater to a very large crowd.  Of course, I’m sure every year it’s this crowded, so they’ve had a lot of practice.  They even catered a nursing room!  It was airconditioned and a perfect cooling off stop for Ellery who looked like he was melting away, even though he never once complained.

We left before the start of the airshow though, because we thought it might be too loud for Ellery’s still tender ears.  We’ll be back though!

When we got back home, Asher promptly started striping his cardboard rocket of it’s wings and insisted we convert it into an Apache :O)

Can’t get enough of the Apache

Watching planes and helicopters take off and land

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Found a box of Green’s gingerbread man mix at NTUC.  It included a cookie cutter and the chocolate beads, all for around $6.  I thought it’d be great fun for Asher to try out, and since Aidan was on school holidays already, arranged a bakedate for the boys.

First though, they had a spin in the rocket before hitting the kitchen.

They were pretty good, pouring the flour, eggs, etc, rolling the dough, cutting the cookies…right up until cookie number 2 for each of them, then they proceeded to eat the toppings!  In total they ran through quite a few of the chocolate beads, 2 packets of raisins, 3 small packets of skittles, and lots of chocolate chips.

After that, they had a sugar high.  I’m not kidding.  They just laughed and laughed for no reason.  It was absolutely hilarious to watch :O)

So we had to bring them to burn off some energy.  Walked to the nearby Alexandra Canal Park which was recently renovated.  There’s now a simple waterplay area for kids to splash about in.  It’s just a shallow pool with a waterfall at one end.  But I think the kids like that there’s lots of space to run about, and no deep ends to worry about.  The tiles surrounding the pool are uneven though, and it little feet need to be careful when walking on them.  But other than that, it’s really a lot of fun.

As for the gingerbread men, the boys each chose one of their men to give to Gong Gong/Ye Ye for his birthday, and a gingerbread face as well :)

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Since we were going to catch the play Under the Baobab Tree, thought it’d be fun for Asher to check out the actual Baobab Tree in the Botanic Gardens.  I had stumbled upon it during one of my strolls with Ellery.  It’s a lot smaller than the ones in Africa though.  But it did surprise me that we even had one in the Botanic Gardens in the first place.  Called Del and Anya along, and my parents upon hearing I was headed there, and seeing the good weather, decided to join us too.

The Baobab Tree also called the Dead Rat Tree (apparently cos the pods of the tree look like rats hanging by their tails from the tree), Monkey Bread Tree (the fruit is referred to as monkey bread, apparently rich in Vit C too!), and informally the Upside Down Tree (cos it looks like the roots are sticking up in the air).  Came across a book that told of a legend of how the African Gods made a talking tree, and it complained so much they couldn’t stand it and turned it upside down and stuffed the tree into the ground :O)

Anyway, the weather held up, so it was a good stroll with the grandparents and cousins :)  Bonus: It was one of Asher’s first outing in just underwear and there were no accidents!


Meet the Baobab Tree

Puzzling over the alternate names of the tree

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My goodness!  Has it already been more than 2 months since I last updated my blog?

I’ve just been so caught up with all kinds of things.  Will update on them if I find time.  For my benefit, here’re the things we did in all that time:

30 Mar: Watched Ugly Duckling with Asher, Joanne & JC.
01 Apr: Went Merlion Hotel with the boys
09 Apr: Watched Todd the Big Green Frog with Asher, Del & Anya
17 Apr: My Mum’s belated birthday celebration @ Beng Thin Hoon Kee & post-lunch chilling out at my brother’s place.
22 Apr: Good Friday – Headed to Sentosa then crashed JJSB’s Ritz hotel room
23 Apr: Ok, might sound a bit sua ku, but Asher had his first real bubble bath and loved it
27 Apr: Ellery’s first swim
01 May: Labour Day – We went to the Istana.  Pity about the rain!
08 May: Mother’s Day – Picnic at Botanic Gardens while watching the SSO Concert
10 May: Went National Museum with Ellery to check out Biennale exhibits there
17 May: Vesak Day – Picnic at East Coast Park with church friends
18-22 May: Asher sick again!  Argh…then passed it on to Ellery! Sigh…
24 May: Asher’s first day in school with underwear!

In the week immediately following Ellery’s discharge from hospital I was pretty much glued to my computer whenever I had free time cos I discovered the joy of Sidereel!  It’s a website that has entire seasons of episodes of so many TV shows.  And to my immense joy I found Gilmore Girls.  I’m a big big fan of the series, but never got to watch beyond season 4.  Since I was cooped up in the isolation ward with Ellery and didn’t want to use the TV cos I didn’t want him watching TV all day, I ended up watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls.

Ellery took almost 6 weeks to completely recover and not sound chesty anymore.  It might have taken longer because as he was on the road to recovery, he picked up another cough from Asher who had picked it up from someone in school.  When Ellery fully recovered there was a very obvious lifting of his spirits.  He was cheerful even while he was ill, but he was deliriously happy when he recovered fully.  He was laughing at everything, smiling at anything.  He was a real joy, highly entertaining, incredibly adorable and funny.  Then he caught another cough from Asher, who again caught it from someone.  SIGH!  Why are there so many germs in pre-school?!!?

Thankfully, the bug isn’t as strong this time around, and it seems to have afflicated Asher more severly than Ellery.  Asher was home for most of last week.  So it was two boys at home simultaneously for almost a week.  It surprised me and gave me confidence that handling them both for an entire day actually isn’t that bad.  Putting Asher down for a nap was much easier than anticipated.  He was cooperative. He was loving and understanding towards Ellery, knowing when Ellery needed Mummy.  In those times, he’d play quietly by himself.  The three of us just hung out, played and read together those few days.  It was of course quite tiring for me.  I didn’t get much rest because when Asher napped, Ellery was awake so I’d handle him.  But it made me happy too cos I’d have some dedicated time with Ellery.

The arrival of this bug saw Asher’s appetite plummet again.  It’s back to those days of eating nothing.  I can serve up his favourite foods, and he’d say firmly “I do not want to eat anything”.  Initially he was really ill, so I figured he really doesn’t have the appetite.  But now that he’s well the phase has continued, much to my frustration.  I’m having to rediscover the zen I once possessed about his non-existent appetite.  On the bright side, while last week he rejected even his never-before-rejected fruits, this week he’s at least eating fruits again.  Asher is effectively vegetarian now though.  He’s never been a great fan of meat (except in bolognaise style, or shepherd’s pie), and now he’s rejecting all fish too, even the previously fail-safe fish fingers.  Actually, even veg he’s rejecting.  He used to eat any veg, even the green leafies…now only corn, carrot, peas…aka the frozen veggies.  Broccoli and cabbage are ‘usually’ foods, capsicums generally an ‘always’ food, mushrooms were an ‘always’ now downgraded to ‘usually’ food, and funnily enough celery a ‘only at por por’s house’ food.

But where his appetite leaves much to be desired, I’m so so proud of him that he’s successfully gone 2 days in school in underwear!  Only at nap time does he wear a diaper.  After he wakes it’s back into underwear again.  I’m really so happy.  It’s not been difficult toilet training him, just a long-drawn affair.  I tried when he was younger using the babysigns thing, worked for a littttttlle while, then stopped.  I decided to not bother with toilet training until he was older, esp since a new baby was on the way and he might regress.  After Ellery was born I’d let him sit on the toilet before his shower every night.  That worked.  Then one weekend several weeks back I decided to let him try wearing underwear at home since we were staying in.  He wet himself once.  But after that went the rest of the morning dry.  We tried that another 3 times.  The 2nd time he stayed dry throughout the morning, peeing in the potty when I brought him there.  The 3rd time wet himself once.  The 4th time no accidents – that was on Sunday 23 May.  I decided to just try letting him wear underwear in school.  And he’s had no accidents so far!  Yippie!  Hope it keeps up.  And then of course there’ll be the night hurdle to cross.  But that’s another milestone.

On Ellery, one very sweet thing that resulted from the hospital stay was that we bonded a lot, and he showed a clear preference for me after by being quite clingy.  There was already a mummy-preference prior to the stay, but it was really cemented after.  I could really feel the difference.  And I guess it’s to be expected since I was by his side constantly during the 4 days.  I hardly saw light of day…lost track of time since we were in the isolation ward with no windows.  When he was being poked and suctioned I was the one holding his hands.  Also, it was probably the first time that he’d had me all to himself for such a long stretch.  Normally there’s always Asher around who’ll talk my attention away from Ellery.  So even though it was an unfortunate event, I think there was something really good that came out of it.

I’ll end this long catch-up post with a funny quirk about the boys.  Asher continues to be on the small side.  At 2.5yrs he’s not even 13kg yet, that’s at about the 25th percentile.  When he was a baby he was quite consistently ard 5th percentile for weight.  For height he was always on the tall side.  Ellery on-the-other-hand is a hovering around 97th percentile in weight!  He lost no weight at all during his bout of pneumonia.  There’s one pair of shorts that Asher can still wear (a little tight) that Ellery can also wear (a little loose)!  Maybe they’ll be sharing a wardrobe sooner than I think!

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Had a few hours to spare and decided to head to the Science Centre.  It’s a great place to go when you’ve got some time and want to be indoors.  Lots of things for little hands to explore even if they don’t fully grasp the concepts.  Asher was very intrigued by the Tesla demonstration with it’s large zapping bolts.  The staff there were very considerate too.  Warned me that one part of the demo would be quite loud for Ellery, and directed us to stand elsewhere.

Some of the exhibits have been around a long time, but there are many new things that look really fun, like the water play area that teaches concepts related to water.  Have promised to bring Asher there soon!

If he were a cowboy

And if he were a pirate

He enjoyed picking up the headphones to listen to breast cancer survivors talk about their experience.  Of course the fun part is just the headphones haha


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Asher stayed home for almost a week cos he was down with a cough and flu.  On the way home from the doctor I found treasure!  Clean, unwanted cardboard boxes!!!  I’ve been wanting to make cardboard whatevers (boats, rockets, ships, houses, etc) for Asher since forever, but the boxes I come across look really grimy or have questionable origins.  The box I found was in pristine condition, and it’s previous contents were clean too – just plastic containers!  I was so excited!  And when the Aunty at the shop said we could take them I was almost bouncing with joy :)

Needless to say Asher was also bouncing with joy when I told him we could make anything he wanted.  In the end he settled on a rocket.  It’s hard to say who was more excited to embark on the project – him cos he’ll get to play with it, or me cos I’ll get to do some craft.

He gave instructions on the specs of his rocket, like where he wanted his windows, how big they should be, where to place the door, etc.  So here’s the finished product!

One happy adventurer

I’ve always liked that with just a little effort, cardboard boxes can become props that play a central role in imaginary adventures.

Ellery was asked to join him

This was a very cute moment.  Ellery flopped onto his lap (with my assistance of course), they both turned to look at each other, and Asher laughed and gave a cheery, “Hello!”

Closing the door so they can embark on their journey

This is just a picture from one of the days home.  Older one imitating the younger one :)

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How nice to have so many public holidays in May!

The Moks invited us to join them for a picnic at East Coast Park.  Maybe it’s cos the last few times I had a picnic at East Coast, it was more focused on the kids playing with sand.  On those occasions I just brought a mat and sand toys.  For lunch we went to Carl’s Junior or Waraku.  It’s only when you tell me ‘picnic at Botanic Gardens’ do I think of bringing food.  It totally didn’t occur to me that when they said ‘picnic’, they really meant a Botanic Gardens style picnic at East Coast!  So we were a little sheepish that we turned up with no food, and had the *gasp* audacity to eat the food others brought ;O)  Hopefully our contributing a mat helped hee…

Although later it became a really feng guang picnic, complete with a tent!!
Note to self:  Check whether picnic means picnic next time!  I know it seems really obvious, but it really didn’t occur to me!

Sand toys galore

I think this is a really sweet photo

The kids had this cute ‘under my umbrella’ moment.  It actually started with them both wanting the umbrella heh, but you can’t tell from this happy series of pictures.

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Celebrated Mother’s Day with an SSO Concert in the Park at Botanic Gardens.  I’ve always enjoyed going there for performances.  When I was a secondary school student I used to buy some bread and ham, or a pack of chips, or even just a box of honey stars and go watch the performance by myself using my haversack as a mat.  Many years on and I’ve a husband and two kids!  Never crossed my mind at the performances all those years ago that one day I’d be sitting on those same slopes with a family of my own.

Asher thought the stage looked like a fish eating the musicians

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