Archive for July, 2012


It’s been a while since I posted an update on our tadpoles.  All of the first batch have now become froglets!

These last few weeks I’ve enjoyed looking at the little guys everyday, several times a day actually, just to see what they’re up to, how they’re developing, etc.  I think I’ve taken more pleasure out of this than the kids.  I really do think the froglets are handsome, yes, handsome.  Every single person I’ve said this to has taken issue with my choice of word.  I guess I was expecting them to look like slimy little ugly things, but discovering they were tree frogs, albeit common ones, and seeing their lovely stripes and angular heads, that word just couldn’t help but pop into my mind.  Or perhaps I’ve simply grown attached to them.

The other thought in my head these few weeks was how the development of frogs is similar to the development of children.  There are the fast ones, the majority, and the late bloomers.  Out of our remaining 9 tadpoles from the first batch (gave away 3), the first froglet crawled out of the water on 9 Jul, followed closely on 11 Jul by another.  The rest then followed one-by-one, and by 18 Jul, all except for one were froglets.  That last one hadn’t even grown back legs!  The last tadpole continued to grow and grow in size, and finally little sprouts of back legs started to appear.  Then it was another eternity before front legs arrived.  Then several days more before it tried to crawl out of the water.  It finally became a proper froglet on 29 Jul, a good 20 days after the first one, and more than a week after the rest.  The interesting thing is, it is larger than all the other froglets.  Significantly so.  I guess in the animal world, being the largest kind of makes you the alpha?  So perhaps being slow isn’t so bad afterall.

Batch 1, wk 7, 9 Jul: First froglet

Batch 1, wk 7, 9 Jul: Froglet climbed higher than the day before

Batch1, wk7, 11 Jul: Froglet number 2 crawled out.  The fairly long tail disappears overnight!

Batch 1, wk 7, 13 Jul: Two mini frogs

Batch1, 13 Jul: Most of the tadpoles have grown back legs, and several have front legs too.

Batch1, wk8, 19Jul: Meeting on how to escape

Batch1, wk8, 19Jul: The late bloomer!
Batch2: 4 little tadpoles wondering who the big fellow is

Batch1, 25Jul: Tubefax worm feast


Batch1, 30Jul: The late bloomer is the biggest one on the rock

The boys have enjoyed having them around, but it’s not a constant attraction, more like moments of excitement before they move on to play with other things, which is fine.  I think that’s pretty normal for kids.  Both of them have helped with cleaning of the tanks, helping to scoop the tadpoles from one tank to another.  And they’ve helped with the froglets too.  Asher totally loved playing with the little froglets, and at one point we had several hopping around our kitchen floor :)  He was soooo amused when they hopped onto his arm, and was laughing away merrily when they didn’t want to let go of his fingers when he tried to put them back into the tank.  Ellery too showed no fear of the little froglets and gamely let them sit on his fingers and arms.

They continue to live in a tank on our dining table (which initially irked my husband but he’s grown used to their presence).  They’ve even had an upgrade of living quarters.  From a small tank to a medium sized one.  They just looked so cramped especially since they could easily hop from one wall to another in the small tank.

I’m not sure how long more we’ll keep them.  They’re still really small and unobstrusive so I guess they’ll be with us for a while more.

A new giant frog in the tank??

As for the second batch, I guess like with second kids, they’ve not been getting as much attention hahaa.  From almost 180 tadpoles (or more), I gave away all but 2.  20 were sent to Asher’s school but I think all except for 2 have died (though at the point of writing this, I’m not actually sure about the status of those remaining two).  It seems tadpoles don’t take too well to migration.  I’ve heard from so many mothers that their tadpoles didn’t make it.  I really wonder how many of the tadpoles are still alive and swimming.

Batch2, 30Jul: Left with two

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Now that Ellery can say more words, he also can express his views which can sometimes be contrary to what I want him to do.  Case in point…


At lunchtime

Me: “You want some more?  Enough?”

E: “Enuff”

Me: “Okay, so go and wash up now.  Then go and nap.”

E: “No!” (I thought that was the end of it, then he added) “PLAY!”


I foresee many more such conversations to come…

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I Don’t Know

More on Ellery’s funny words.

His favourite phrase these last two days has been “I doh no”, said with a big cheeky grin on his face.

A typical conversation will go something like this:

While looking at a picture of our family…

Me: (pointing at Asher) Who is this?

E: Kor Kor!

Me: (pointing at Ellery) Who is this?

E: Eh-luh-ree!

Me: (pointing at Jon) Who is this?

E: Daddy!

Me: (pointing at myself)  And who is this?

E: *pause*…BIG GRIN….”I doh no!”

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No, Thank You

Ellery’s quite polite.

When he receives something from someone and you ask, “what must you say?” he’ll respond, “thank you!”

If he did something wrong and needs to apologise, he’ll say “sorry Gor Gor” (usually that’s the recepient of the apology) in the cutest voice.

Then he learned “no, thank you” and when to use it.  You’ll hear it when he doesn’t want to give up a toy, when he doesn’t want to eat or drink something you’ve offered, etc.

One night he woke up yelling and kicking a giant fuss.  I tried to sooth him with gentle shushing, patted him, rubbed his belly.  Nothing worked.

I finally said sternly, “Ellery!  Stop crying!”

The response?


Irritated as I was a moment before I suddenly found myself laughing!  How could I not? :)

Hiyah…that’s what makes kids worth it :)

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Samy’s Curry

I’ve ever briefly mentioned how much we like Samy’s Curry at Dempsey, but I’ve never really given the full low-down of the place.  As part of the series that Sandra is running on kid-friendly eateries, I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon and share why we think Samy’s is great for kids, ours at least!

Our kids know it as the peacock restaurant

For starters, what makes a place kid-friendly?  There are probably many factors you would consider.  These could include having highchairs, kid-friendly food, friendly staff, a space for within sight for the kids to roam if necessary, and the kids must enjoy the meal.

Samy’s checks all the factors I’ve listed, but with one additional quality – the food is great for the adults too!  How many times have you been to a ‘kid-friendly’ establishment, only to have to eat kiddy food you’d rather not be eating?  When we want some hearty comfort food, we retreat to the lush surroundings of Samy’s at Dempsey and satisfy all our bellies – big and small.

The wide selection of dishes

There are non-spicy food options for the kids.  Briyani rice itself is not spicy and usually goes down very well with children, but if you want, white rice is available too.  There is also the option of naan, an Indian flatbread.  Everyday there are two vegetable curries that are served with the rice, and usually one of them is cabbage dahl which is not spicy.  We’ve ever tried a non-spicy pumpkin curry that was sweet and yummy too.  As for whether the other curries are spicy, you’ll have to try it yourself.  The rice and vegetable curries are free flow, so if your kid likes them, you can ask for more!  We’ve ever asked for up to three refills of cabbage dahl cos the kids liked it so much – great way to up the veggie intake!

Addictive briyani

All this is served on a banana leaf, which is something most kids here don’t eat from on an everyday basis.  That alone will fascinate your child for a while.

Fantastic lunch on a leaf

Non-spicy main dishes include the chicken korma which is a creamy, rich and flavourful curry, fish tikka, a dry curried fish with succulent meat (if you find the curried powder too spicy you can dig out the flesh inside which will be non-spicy – we’ve done that for our kids), and palak paneer which is a curry made from pureed spinach served with cubes of paneer, a type of Indian cheese (if your child finds the curry too spicy, you can just serve the cheese).  I guess the main thing is that you have to try it first and determine whether it is suitable for your child.  And for all you know, your child might surprise you with what he is able to tolerate!  I’d also suggest that if the first time your child finds the food too spicy, on the second trip you might find she is more ready to accept the spiciness.

Chicken korma

Palak paneer

The all time kid favourite will definitely be the papadums, a crunchy Indian cracker served alongside the rice.  And they’re free flow too!  So if all else fails, your child can eat briyani, dahl, and papadums – a very decent meal – and be very content.

Papadums to keep the kids quiet heh heh

In the meantime, you parents can be eating all this!

The Mysore mutton is fantastic – a must try if you like spicy food.  Fish bergedil is another must try.  It’s the best bergedil around!  You can tell they put a lot of fish inside, and the balance of spices and flavours is wonderful.  If you are with a larger group, the fish head curry is also very good.

Mysore mutton

Kick-ass bergedil

The Samy’s experience will not be complete without sampling their mango lassi, a yoghurt drink which the kids will enjoy, and lime juice.  And as a perfect end to the meal, order a cup of teh tarik or teh halia (ginger tea) to wash everything down.

Excellent mango lassi

Yummy teh halia

If I’m not wrong they also serve cups of fruit, so you can order some as dessert for the kids.

The staff are very friendly.  As they walk past they’ll wave to the kids, sometimes even stopping for some banter.  They are easy-going and don’t mind a mess which inevitably happens when there are young kids around.

Outside there’s an open space with a small water feature on the left of the restaurant.  We like to sit at one of the tables just next to that space so that the kids can roam if they get antsy – though usually they are too busy eating papadums to get antsy during the meal.  It is when we halt the flow of papadums and linger to enjoy our teh that they get fidgety and we release them to wander.  It’s entirely within sight, so you can relax with your tea while watching over your kids.

Small garden for the kids to roam

Checking out the fountain

Although the place is non-airconditioned, there are many fans and the place is usually quite cool.  Some nights it can be quite breezy too.

I think it’s quite unusual to find a kid-friendly eatery that serves Indian food.  I’ve always loved Indian food, and it’s wonderful to have this option to bring the kids to when we want a good meal ourselves.  Oh, and last but not least…free parking!

The always happy face after a meal there

Check out some of the other eateries featured as part of the series here:

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Climb On!

Along with several other families, we went for a rock-climbing session with Beyond Academics that Pamela so kindly helped to arrange.

I spent the three days before that psyching Asher up for it.  “We’re going rock climbing on Sunday, yay!  Are you excited?  I’m sooo excited!”  He would usually reply that he was keen, and on occasion echo, “I’m so excited, Mummy!”  I was just afraid he might pull out at the last minute, which is fine, yes, but a bit of a waste.  I was very much of the opinion that the challenge would be good for him.

In preparation, he had also asked to wear his spiderman socks :)  Spidey power on his feet!

As it turns out, he agreed to climb, but on condition that he and I climbed at the same time.  I would have preferred to watch him from below so that I could encourage him along the way.  But since he stated his preference clearly, I decided to go along with it.

Scaling the wall together (thanks for the pic Del!)

I couldn’t see him at all from where as I was as he was around the corner.  So I focused on climbing the wall in the hope I could get to the top and down in time to still encourage him for the rest of his climb.  That, and hanging around too long on the wall is just plain tiring :)

It was pretty smooth going until the overhang.  I felt it like a roof over my head as I approached it from below.  When I attempted to cross the overhang I could feel my arms start to protest.  They were getting weak from the exertion.  My legs weren’t much use either!  I could see my goal, hear myself thinking of how to get there, feel myself wanting to get there, but the body was just not complying.  In the end, along with the helpful encouragement of my belayer, I had one thought in my head that kept me going – that if I tell Asher he must persevere when the going gets tough, I need to persevere too to show him it can be done.  For Asher!

Little bit more (thanks for the pic Dominique!)

When I got down my arms were wobbly and my hands were vibrating non-stop for a good few minutes.  And the next day I could feel my body aching all over.  That’s how (un)fit I am.  Just one climb and I’m spent!Asher had made it about a quarter of the way up the wall I think.  And perhaps because he saw that I was coming down, he stopped at the same time as I did.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have lingered on the wall, stayed closer to the edge and peer over to encourage him up.  Not sure if it would have made a difference, but maybe.  The good thing is that he said he had fun, and that he wants to try again next time, maybe even attempting to climb twice :)  For that day, one climb was enough for him.

I think it’s great that the wall is located in a home environment.  It’s more informal and relaxed, which is good for both the kids and the parents.  Plus the instructor, Chee Beng, has three kids of his own, so he’s good with children.

It was a positive first start for Asher, and am excited to bring him again sometime!

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I brought the boys to watch A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpiller: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle, presented by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.  This is the same company that presented last year’s Eric Carle offering.  Like last year, this year’s show presented three stories as well, of which one was the same – The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?, and Papa Please Get Me The Moon.

Asher didn’t seem to remember much about last year’s performance so The Very Hungry Caterpillar was as good as new for him.  Both the boys enjoyed the presentation very much, squealing with delight when the caterpillar flicked the fruit away, and Ellery happily trying to name them all.  They loved seeing the animals from the book Brown Bear come to life – especially liking the yellow duck and the blue horse.  There was less reaction to Papa Please Get Me the Moon, but they liked seeing the super duper long ladder.

I thought that overall last year’s performance was better, though that’s not to say this year’s wasn’t still good.  I guess the wonder and surprise of how the caterpillar ate the fruit was no longer there, but entire black light set-up still made for a visual treat.

I was also glad that Ellery was able to sit down and focus on the performance for the entire hour.  On his first encounter with theatre he was very fidgety.

Asher also impressed me with this confidence in asking a question in front of a crowd.  He was curious about how they made Papa climb up the ladder and raised his hand eagerly when they asked if anyone had questions.  Although he can be self-conscious at times, I have noticed that he can be quite outspoken in a group setting.  I hope this is something that will continue as I always feel very self-conscious when speaking in front of others.  Plus, I think men, especially, need to be confident in a crowd.

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Common Tree Frog

If you’ve not heard, we have a whole lot of tadpoles at home at the moment.  Now one of our little fellas has sprouted front legs!  One day he had none, then one, then suddenly two.  Apparently it ‘pops’ out that’s why the growth seemed to happen so fast.

Starting to climb out of the water

And then I was suddenly filled with worry when I had the thought, “Could these frogs be poisonous?”

It never occured to me to check, and I had no idea what species they were.  Having given away so many of these tadpoles I thought I’d better check properly and share the info.  One thing I did know was that generally, if the frog is bright and colourful it is probably poisonous.  These weren’t.  But I didn’t know whether bright and colourful frogs would also be bright and colourful as tadpoles.

Better check!!!!

So after searching and searching, starting from the unusual frothy foam egg, I’ve identified the species of frogs they are – common tree frogs, also known as four-lined tree frogs.  They are found all over Singapore, the males make a ‘quacking’ sound to attract a female when mating (there we go!  that’s confirmation of the quack!), they build foam nests (ohhh!), and lay 100-200 eggs at a time (yup!).  The tadpoles have a white spot on the snout which identifies the species (yep), and have four black stripes down their back (yes!).

From my searches so far, they are not poisonous.  But I’ve emailed someone from Wildlife Reserves Singapore to double check.

In my enquiry I also asked for advice on what to do with the fully developed frogs.  I was worried that releasing them into ponds could affect the ecosystem.  But seeing as they are “common” tree frogs, maybe that won’t be so much of a problem.  I will keep you posted.

You can read more about common tree frogs at the Wildlife Reserves page, the Wetlands publication, and Ecology Asia.  To hear their quacking call, click here.

For the record, I’m still keeping my frogs and depending on what the wildlife person recommends will evict them when they are fully developed.

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Saw this yesterday and it really made me laugh!

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Shan’s been complaining about a frog that ‘quacks’ at her house.  Seriously, she swears they do.  She’s been on a frog-hunt to get rid of the fella, but her searches come up empty.


That frog (or the partner of the frog – yep, if there are eggs there must be two frogs around!) laid eggs in her pond!  By the time I learned about them, they had become tadpoles and I was quite eager to take them home for the kids to see.  Asher was thrilled to have pets.  Then he named them all Sam.  Which makes sense to me, how are we going to tell them apart?

Batch 1 – Week 2: Still quite small

Batch 1 – Week 2: Not taking up much room in the tank yet

I was not aware of how long frogs take to grow and expected them to change much sooner.  So here we are 6 weeks on, and the tadpoles have grown hind legs.

Batch 1 – Week 6: Hind legs clearly visible!

Batch 1 – Week 6: The little legs are so cute

I thought it was great for the boys to see how a tadpole grew into a frog, it was just a pity they couldn’t observe them from the egg stage.  Then, one they when visiting Shan we found another cluster of eggs (much to her annoyance and my joy).  So those came home with me too.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen frogs eggs, but it was certainly my first time.  They were not what I expected.  I always thought they looked like the ‘frogs eggs’ you see in the rose syrup drinks.  But this was a lump of spongy looking bubbles.  I was a little skeptical that the tadpoles would really hatch from that thing, but there was no harm in waiting.

Batch 2 – Day 1: Spongy floating frog’s eggs!

Then true enough out came super tiny tadpoles, the smallest I’ve ever seen!  And if you looked very carefully you could even see the little orange-coloured gills which help them breathe in water before they develop lungs.  I did not know to look out for this until we read a book on frogs.  Since we had frogs eggs and tadpoles, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn about the lifecycle of a frog.

Batch 2 – Day 4: Hatched!

Batch 2 – Day 4: Super tiny tadpoles!

Jon was a little worried that there were too many tadpoles – what would we do with the frogs?  But it didn’t look like too many yet.  Then…the next day even more tadpoles hatched out.  Then I got worried.  There must be at least 130 baby tadpoles now!  No kidding!

Batch 2 – Day 5: Even more!!!!

So, I’m now looking for ways to distribute the tadpoles to anyone who wants to teach their child about the lifecycle of a frog.  The alternatives I’m aware of are not that appealing – throw them away or give them to a fish farm as food for the big fishes (in line with lifecycle but I rather not for now).

It actually takes quite long for a frog to grow.  According to the book we read, 30 days to hatch (ok, this was totally inaccurate for us), grow hind legs at 6 weeks, grow front legs at 10-12 weeks, tail disappears at 12-14 weeks, adult at 1 year.  So you’ll have a lot of time to decide what you want to do with your frog.  In the meantime the kids can watch firsthand how the tadpoles develop.

Yup, so anyone interested in a couple of tadpoles?  One of two frogs is very manageable, but over a hundred?  No way.  And for all you know, these frogs might ‘quack’.  How cool would that be? :)

Batch 1 Wk6 & Batch 2 Day5: Brothers & Sisters

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