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Archive for January, 2015

I’m really a dog person, but CATS the musical brings back fond memories of the time I first watched CATS with my mum in 1993 when Singapore’s own Jacinta Abisheganaden took the role of Grizabella. So it was really special to be able to bring Asher to watch CATS this time around. I wonder if he’ll remember it when he grows up.

CATS is quite accessible for young audiences as the story is simple. Based on the book of poems “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” (1939) by T.S. Eliot, CATS tells the imaginative tale of a tribe of Jellicle Cats as they gather together for the annual Jellicle Ball, and one by one tell their stories for the amusement of Old Deuteronomy, who must choose one of the Cats to journey to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn into a new life.

Old Deuteronomy and the Jelicle Cats

Old Deuteronomy and the Jelicle Cats

If you want to introduce your kid to Andrew Lloyd Webber and his musicals, CATS is a good way to start. Afterall, it holds the record for one of the longest-running musicals in West End history, playing for 21 years.

Asher especially liked the story of Gus the Theatre Cat (played by Richard Woodford) and his reenactment of the time he acted as Growltiger. Asher loved the battle scene and how Gus was made to walk the plank. I liked Gus’ story too and thought it was one of the more poignant ones. Jellylorum (played by Angela Kilian) also did a great job presenting his story, and it was one of the clearest presentations in the show.

Gus and Jellylorum

Gus and Jellylorum

For his favourite cat, Asher chose Mr. Mistoffelees. With a catchy song, impressive dance moves, and *magic*, it’s easy to see why Mr. Mistoffelees appealed to him.

Magical Mr Mistoffelees

Magical Mr Mistoffelees

The other bunch of cats I really liked were Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser. What a funny story they had! Such cheery, playful, happy-go-lucky cats. I can just imagine their family getting so exasperated with them, but finding them lovable all the same. Here’s an interesting little nugget of information about Dominique Hamilton who played Rumpleteaser. Her mother played the same character 29 years ago!

Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser

Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser

To me CATS is more about the singing. Individually they have strong and unique voices, and I really loved how beautifully their voices blended when the cast sang as a company. The ‘formal choral’ bit in Jelicle Songs for Jelicle Cats was very impressive. The musical shows it’s 80s influence very strongly, from the music to the leg warmers. But knowing the context of the musical – how it’s based on a book and first produced in the 80s – helps you appreciate the musical more. There are some slow bits, particularly in the first act, but there is much more dynamism in the second half. It was also great how the cast interacted with the audience at many points throughout the show, making the show more intimate.

Beautiful singing

Beautiful singing

Bustopher Jones

Bustopher Jones

Jennyanydots the Old Gumbie Cat

Jennyanydots the Old Gumbie Cat

Grizabella the Glamour Cat

Grizabella the Glamour Cat

Rum Tum Tugger!

The very flamboyant Rum Tum Tugger!

Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat

Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat

Overall, it was a lovely way to spend the evening, and Asher still says a few days later how much he liked watching CATS. I left singing Mr Mistoffelees’ song all the way home!

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CATS is produced in Singapore by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Base Entertainment Asia in association with The Really Useful Group.

CATS is showing at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands until 1 Feb 2015. There aren’t many days left, so hurry to book your tickets. Tickets are available via the SISTIC website or SISTIC hotline (+65 6688 8826).

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All photos courtesy of BASE Entertainment.

We received complimentary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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The Biscuit

This was one of the sweetest things Asher has done for Ellery, in my opinion at least. Asher knew that Ellery wasn’t going for CATS with us, and Ellery had made known his extreme disappointment. So that morning Asher promised that he’d get something special for Ellery.

That evening, he came home and excitedly told Ellery, “I bought something for you during recess!!” And he pulled out this packet of biscuits that he bought with his savings from his allowance :) He told Ellery, “I remembered you during recess, and I bought you this packet of biscuits because I promised to get you something, so I did!”

How sweet!

xxx

Asher’s gesture of love

Unfortunately Ellery was beyond consoling and still cried when we left the house. But the next day, he was very happy to have the biscuits for his teatime snack :)

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We are fans of the annual KidsFest! and have caught more than a few productions since it started in 2012. Kidsfest! prides itself on bringing in world-class theatre for young people. In the past few years they have brought in high quality stage adaptations of famous children’s stories, and this year’s offerings include the ever popular Gruffalo, The Snail and the Whale, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. There are also five new shows for the 2015 season – Vile Victorians, Barmy Britain (Part 2), Hugless Douglas, The Princess and the Pea, and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo.

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo is a particularly interesting offering this year as it is not based on a familiar children’s book. It is a unique performance that allows dinosaur-crazed children to get upclose and personal with an amazing array of creatures from bygone eras, from cute baby dinos to some of the largest carnivores and herbivores that have ever walked the planet! Children will be able to experience these creatures ‘live’ on stage. Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo promises to be a fun and educational performance where children can learn how to feed and interact with Erth’s dinosaurs, and connect with the real science of palaeontology.

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Get up close with the dinosaurs!

I know this is a show that will definitely appeal to the boys, and to any kid curious about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.

**Giveaway**

Just for readers of Unlikely Lady of Leisure, I have a family package of 4 top category tickets up for grabs for Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo on Thursday, 29 Jan, 7.15pm, at SOTA Drama Theatre. The show is recommended for children aged 5 and above.

To qualify for this giveaway, please do the following by 23 Jan, 6pm.
Leave your email address and a comment below stating:
1. The titles of two shows in Kidsfest! 2015
2. Your favourite dinosaur!

RAARR!

The winning entry will be selected at random from all qualifying entries and the winner will be announced here in the comments section of this post, and will be contacted via email.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond, failing which another winner will be selected. Tickets will be available for collection on the day itself at the performance venue.

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There is one perk of being in the afternoon session I suppose – morning outings.

We managed to have a quick outing to East Coast Park before lunch on Wednesday, and it was a lovely time outdoors with good weather and exercise. I read in Asher’s P1 health pamphlet that kids should be outdoors 1 hour per day. That’s tough to achieve, honestly. So at least for that morning we managed to hit the outdoor quota! These past few days it has simply been too scorching in the afternoon to go outdoors. So I was grateful for the morning we had.

Great day to be out! Alyssa looking melted

Great day to be out! Alyssa was starting to melt though :)

Home for a good lunch, hurry to change, then off to school! Morning outings still mean a mad rush to be on time for school.

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It has finally arrived. Asher is in primary school!

Actually, I thought I’d feel more awed and emotional about it, but surprisingly it’s been ok. Maybe I’m becoming less emotional and sentimental? I thought I’d get emotional about his K2 graduation too, but I didn’t. Maybe there’s just been so many things going on that this became just one of many things, rather than the BIG thing.

Anyway, perhaps it rubbed off or something, but Asher has adjusted pretty well to primary school too. He mentioned a few days before starting that he was excited and a bit nervous. But he was calm on the first day, and has been enjoying his time so far.

As he’s in the afternoon session, on the morning of his first day we all went for a quick walk to East Coast Park to chill out. For lunch I arranged for a surprise of beef noodles. We had eaten a fabulous bowl of beef noodles one morning in Hong Kong and he’s been asking for it every since. He happily slurped up every bit of it before changing and heading down to wait for the school bus.

Enjoying his beef noddles

Enjoying his beef noddles

I wondered how’d he take to the new school bus, worrying a little that he’d not want to get on it. But when the bus came he just flipped me a wave and called over his shoulder, “Bye! See you later!” I guess he knew we would be meeting him in school. But still.

While waiting for the bus

While waiting for the bus

Off to school, no sweat

Off to school, no sweat

In the end we didn’t get a chance to see him before the briefing, but met him at  recess time. I had to convince him to buy something from the ‘proper’ food stalls rather than the snack stall. When we came for the pre-orientation in December he had bought some biscuits from the snack stall, so he assumed that’s where he’d get his food from. I told him he shouldn’t buy things from the snack stall too often, and he replied matter-of-factly, “But I haven’t gone there too often”. Har har. I wasn’t about to let him get away with snacks on day 1.

In the end he bought a bao (chinese bun with filling), and has been eating bao every single day since! But that’s better than biscuits and other snacks.

His current favourite stall

His current favourite stall

It’s not his second week of school. Most days he has been very good about getting ready (even if he needs a bit of nagging to get moving), but there was one morning where he said he wished he could stay home, mainly because he wanted to keep on playing. So we have tried to fit in more play time on the weekend, and I keep reminding him that when he gets home he should quickly do his work so that he’s free to play. Afternoon sessions can be a real pain in this sense, because all the free time is split into two. There isn’t a nice long stretch of free time, instead there’s just a bit in the morning, and a bit in the evening provided his homework is done.

Overall, I’m very grateful that Asher has adjusted well so far. I’m praying that when the homework starts (he’s had none so far) he’ll still enjoy school all the same!

 

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Ellery started school on 2 Jan at a new kindergarten. Previously both boys were at a childcare centre, so moving to a kindergaten was a big change for us. First, the hours are much shorter, so it’s much more challenging for me now. The class size is also bigger. There’s actually a uniform where previously the kids wore anything they wanted to school.

We ended up at this school largely because there were no spaces in any other preschool. It suited us because it was in the afternoon (when Asher would also be in school), it was much much more affordable than a childcare, not too far, and apparently had a good curriculum. It’s supposedly a sought after school, so I was surprised there was a vacancy on the day I enquired.

We’ve been prepping Ellery for the change for the last few months and he was quite excited to start school. The first day went well, though I found it strange that when he entered class my usually chatty Ellery suddenly became muted. I managed to coax a smile out of him for this photo, but he stopped smiling after I took the picture.

When we first arrived

When we first arrived

From the second day onwards I noticed that he continued to become very muted when he reached class. It’s very unusual and I still don’t know why that happens. It got worse as he started pulling me away when we reached, hiding behind a pillar outside the school building, flopping on the floor inside, and refusing to join the rest of the class. Maybe it’s him adjusting to the new environment. But it worried (and still worries) me a lot, because I’ve never seen him behave this way before. Ellery has been to two schools prior to this and at both schools I didn’t see such behaviour.

Then last week I got a shock when the Mandarin teacher claimed that the teachers there do not communicate regularly with parents, and she expressed surprise that at their previous school the teachers communicated often with us. This arose because I had simply asked how Ellery was that day given his reluctance to join the class in the morning. Jon and I agreed to talk to the teachers in the hope that we can work together to help Ellery settle. So I was really not expecting this type of response. We got so worried at this that we immediately started looking for alternative schools.

I managed to talk to the main teacher this week though and she assured me a little bit. She said that she was open to communicating with parents, and that I could raise any concerns I had with her. It was a good thing she didn’t try to defend what the other teacher said, but instead said she’d be worried if she was told something similar.

So now I have one teacher saying one thing, and the other teacher saying another thing. The main teacher said to give it 3 weeks to see how Ellery settles as it could be an adjustment thing. We’ll see.

On his part, Ellery leaves school happy. He likes the playground there and we always hang around for a bit before leaving the school premises. As a church kindergarten he also has worship time and he tells me about how they all worshipped God. It’s nice to see him talking about God and singing a new worship song he learnt in school.

I’m torn. Not sure what to do.
I suppose for now observe what happens in school while I continue looking around for better alternatives, if any.

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How time flies. Alyssa’s already 8 months old! In the midst of all the chaos of moving, I completely forgot to take a picture of Alyssa with Je M’appelle the bear when she was 7 months old.

Skipping one, here she is now! I remembered it late in the day, so I took the photo in a dim room because I didn’t want to get her too awake. But still, she got all excited anyway.

A bit too chirpy before bed

A bit too chirpy before bed

I'm not going to sleep mummy!!!

I’m not going to sleep mummy!!!

I’ve really been losing track of her milestones. Someone told me that at 8 months their kid could get to sitting position on her own and was crawling already. Alyssa isn’t. I don’t even know what she should be doing! People think that with the 3rd you know everything. On the contrary, with the 3rd you just don’t have the time to remember.

So I’m not sure if I’m carrying her too much (she gets whisked about all the time and doesn’t get to play much) but I’ve since been trying to put her on her tummy more. Just a few days ago started trying to lift her butt while on her belly. That’s a start! But she complains when she’s been on her belly for a little while. Slowly slowly she’ll get there :)

She’s been babbling more now, and it’s so adorable! I have no idea what she’s saying, it’s just a whole lot of nonsense syllables.

I’ve also discovered who makes her laugh the most. Asher and Ellery! She finds them soooo amusing. Sometimes it’s peekaboo. Sometimes it’s just random things they do that she’ll chuckle endlessly over. I find that very sweet and can’t wait for her to start being able to crawl and walk to chase them, and talk to them. Ok…I think that last sentance is one I’m going to regret when it actually happens haha. But for now, yes, that is what I hope.

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