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Asher didn’t have school on Friday because the K2 kids were going to have a sleepover in school (how fun right?) Since Asher had been asking to go ice-skating again I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring him. With Ellery in school I could focus my attention on Asher and help him become more confident on the ice.

So off we went to JCube. After a warming lunch of katsu curry (he said he wanted his body to warm up so he wouldn’t feel cold on the ice), we went ice-skating, just him and me. Alyssa was with Eni.

It was really special for Asher and I. I seldom ever get the chance to be with just him, even when there were just 2 kids. With 3 it’s even tougher. This was our first time, and he was so happy.

We were pleasantly surprised to bump into his two classmates there. They had been wanting to go back after the Frozen party too. It was great! He became a lot steadier on the ice and could move a little more smoothly, though still far from what I’d call skating. Still more like walking, or shuffling. But he was not afraid. And he was happy :)

I didn’t realise that the Rink had fixed timeslots for skating and we missed about 30mins of the 2 hour slot, but I made a promise to him, so I kept it. And it was so worth it.

With his classmates on the ice

With his classmates on the ice

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We had a small celebration in school for Asher.  The group was quite small cos many of his friends were away that week.  Still, he enjoyed his little cake cutting session.  No prizes for guessing what picture the cake was….He selected it almost a month before!  Like last year we ordered an agar-agar cake cos it’s tasty and his friends who can’t take dairy can eat it too.  In the end the children were divvying up the dinosaurs among themselves, some asking for the head, some the legs, some the body.  One child who’s vegetarian asked for a tree though :)

Look who's happy

Before

After

 

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Teacher’s Day

So how Teacher’s Day in Asher’s school works is like this: the teachers rest, the parents take over.  Me and a couple of other mummies planned an adventure for the kids to rescue a raccoon!  We went on a raft, then into some range rovers, over the mountain, and to the hedge where raccoon was stuck.  After the activity, we mummies agreed that it’s amazing how the teachers keep the kids engaged and paying attention all the time by themselves!  There were 3 of us, and we were all over the place trying to get the kids together :)

Ah well, it seems like the kids had fun anyway, and the raccoon was a big hit :)

In their 'range rovers'

Going over the mountain

Getting ready to rescue the raccoon

Raccoon staying out of reach from the kids

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I had a perfect day :)  Let me share it with you.

First, We got to school on time.  You don’t know how difficult that can be.  It was particularly important that day cos Asher had a performance!  There were National Day celebrations in school and all the classes were putting up an item.

Second, Asher actually performed, and performed well too!  The last time there was a performance he was so upset at being separated from me he ended up staying backstage and didn’t come out to perform.

Third, he ate a good lunch.  The school provided nasi lemak which he likes.  He ate, and had fun running around with his friends on the stage after the performance.

Fourth, we had fun playing games.  There were interesting games that the teachers had set up, including tikam and pin-the-tail-on-the-merlion :)

Fifth, Asher was perfectly behaved when I brought him for lunch with some friends at Forty Hands.  The day before I was thinking of leaving him in school to nap and picking him up again after.  But when I told him the plan he said he wanted to follow me.  I gave him the condition that he had to be well behaved, and he more than delivered!  He was beaming from ear-to-ear when I was praising him after lunch on the way back to the car.

Sixth, he took his nap with no protests whatsoever.  Normally he’d need lots of cajoling.

Seventh, Ellery also napped well but woke up earlier.  I then got to spend some quality time with him before Asher woke up.

Eighth, both boys ate a good dinner.

Ninth, the entire bedtime routine went smoothly and the boys were in bed by 845pm!

Now, is that perfect or what? :O)

We were all decked out in red and white

On stage!  I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the video of his performance :)

Tikam tikam!

Pegging the Merlion’s tail much too high :)

At Forty Hands

I have to comment on Forty Hands though.  It is totally not a baby friendly place.  There are no child seats, the walkways are narrow, and the hot coffee machine is located at the narrowest part of the walkway.   I wish the staff were more flexible about how they do things too.  I had gone to order a cake from the counter while carrying Ellery, then the guy I ordered from pointed me to another colleague who was just a few feet from him.  I was thinking, why couldn’t he walk over to key in my order instead of pointing me to another colleague?  He wasn’t even busy.  Then after I had ordered they said I had to pay there and then, but my wallet was back at the table.  So I asked whether I could run a tab and pay altogether at my table, cos I didn’t want to have to keep squeezing past the hot coffee machine with Ellery.  But no, they said I had to pay now.  They weren’t even willing to let me pay from my table, saving me one trip back to the counter!  And there were 3 idle staff at that moment!  Yes, even if your concept was never intended to cater to families, at least show some flexibility and initiative when people with kids do turn up!

But all that was a small thing.  I certainly didn’t let it spoil my perfect day! :)

On that note, Asher’s behaviour has been improving.  He still says I don’t want for some things, but he doesn’t push the issue of the parking, and is better at doing what he says he will do.  I found that pre-emptive praise worked well.  When he was about to say something about parking at one of the lower floors, I told him how proud I was of him for being okay with parking downstairs. That stopped any complaint he was going to make.  Since then he remembers that he did not argue about where to park.  For a few other things too, if he seems like he is about to be contrary about something, I quickly pop in a pre-emptive praise of how happy I am with him for being good, even though the good behaviour hasn’t happened yet.  He then lives up to that good behaviour after the praise.  But that doesn’t work for everything.  For some things, a challenge gets him in the mood to obey.  Like when he knocked over something and didn’t want to pick it up, I said with a cheeky tone, “I’m not sure you’re tall enough to put it back up”.  He then promptly picked up the object while saying with a laugh, “I am!”  I guess this is a form of reverse psychology :)

So it’s been happier days.  Hope it stays that way!

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Family Day

It was Family Day in Asher’s school and the kids and parents turned up in yellow.  We could help them with their art activity that day which was decorating a butterfly cut out.  Then Asher and his friend wanted to stick the butterfly on their backs like wings.  That led to the entire class becoming butterflies :)  Then laoshi  launched into a butterfly song.  The butterfly mania was an unplanned, impromptu thing, and I loved that the parents and teachers were game enough to follow the children’s lead.

In the end the kids were butterflies throughout the outdoor games portion too.  It was adorable to spy first this one, then that flapping their wings like butterflies every now and then :)

Butterfly Asher

Asher declared that he was hu die lao shi

A kaleidoscope of butterflies

 

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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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Ladies Man

This is what I saw one day after school :)

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There was a CNY celebration in school and the kids were requested to come in CNY garb.  We borrowed a set from Aidan, and Asher practised some kungfu moves in it.  He was actually pretending to be the squirrel in Ice Age 3 fighting off the pirahnnas trying to get the acorn :)

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I think I may never get around to updating everything, so I’ll just ramble off some of the things that have been happening in the last couple of weeks.

We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary by running some errands and doing Christmas shopping.  Our aim was to finish all our shopping before I deliver.  It may be an everyday thing for a lot of people, but having a whole day to hang out, just the two of us, is something Jon and I don’t get to do that often.  It turned out that our anniversary took on an ‘old school’ theme by accident.  It started with lunch at Wishbone, a restaurant that’s been around since I was a little girl.  My Mum had a cooked food stall opposite, and between plucking tao gay and picking tau suan, my brother and I would hop over to buy ice-cream from Happy Kappy, their dessert arm. 

Dinner was at Shashlik, a Russian restaurant at Far East Shopping Centre.  It’s a place with special meaning for us cos Jon once brought me there for a surprise dinner.  It was one of those times that he really really managed to surprise me :)  Things haven’t changed at all in the intervening nine years.  The place looks the same, and the food was just as good.  The Borsch was heavenly and the Shashlik, of course, was great too.  As for dessert, we just couldn’t resist ordering the ever indulgent baked Alaska.  How things have changed for us personally though.  We’re now married with one kid, and one more on the way!

Day 2 of our wedding anniversay (our wedding was spread over 2 days, so we have an excuse to celebrate more!), we had lunch at the chicken rice stall on the top floor of Far East Plaza – another old school joint.  Somewhere we both went to as students. 

For me it felt like we were dating all over again, and it was just sweet and romantic in an everyday, ordinary way :)

Now that we’re both on leave too, we’ve been settling stuff in the day while Asher’s at school.  We haven’t had so many afternoons out together since we were students!  So we caught Narnia, and I’m hoping to catch the sneak of Gulliver’s Travels tomorrow.

As for Asher, he’s settled very well into his new school.  Although initially he’d protest a bit when I left, now he walks off to join his friends and blows us kisses as we head off :)  He always seems to happy when we pick him up, and I love how he runs to us to greet us with a big big hug :)  Things really took a turn for the better when Jon started dropping off and picking up Asher together with me.  I think that helped him adjust more quickly.  I was worried that if I continued to drop/pick Asher alone, when Baby comes Asher would feel abandoned or neglected if I suddenly stopped sending him to school.  So these last 2 weeks we’ve been doing it together, and it has come to the point where Asher’s ok even if Jon picked him up by himself. 

Jon’s been more hands on these last two weeks at home, and that has helped me lots, and is great for Asher.  From helping with laundry to bathing Asher when I need a rest.  Asher’s now even closer to Jon, and it’s evidenced by requests from Asher for Daddy to read to him, even though storytime is usually done by Mummy.  I’m really happy to see them bonding :)

Asher’s also eating SO much better.  I was reading up on picky eating sometime last month, and found that kids who are not pressured to eat end up getting all the nutrients they need anyway.  I think that perhaps in my anxiety about his weight loss and his poor food in-take, I was unconsciously making meal times stressful for him.  I decided to let go, to not press for him to “take another bite”, to just offer him a wide variety of healthy options and let him pick when he wants to eat from that selection.  I decided to let him be in charge of his intake, afterall they say breastfed kids know how to regulate their food intake well.  And the results were quick and satisfying.  Within a day or two he was eating more, and he started drinking milk again (yes, he had rejected even that!  At it’s worst, he could go an entire day with less than 200ml of milk and just 2 tablespoons of rice!).  He now generally eats heartily, even though there are some meals where he just picks at the food.  But that’s ok.  I’ve come to be very zen about it, especially cos I now adopt the mindset that it’s just one of many meals in a week.  He’s still more of a vegetarian/fruitarian, not liking to eat meat that much, but I’ve found a pretty decent list of almost full-proof food that he’ll take, some of these he ate even during his picky phase.  Some things are, well, fast-food, but I’ve also come to think that if he will eat it, let him be.  It’s still food afterall.  At home offer him the healthier stuff, outside, close one eye. 

So here’s the list: all fruits, veg (esp carrots and corn), my bolognaise sauce, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, egg tofu, rice (esp if he helped to cook it), roti prata, tortillas, eggs (in one form or another – but you must give it to him in the form he wants or he won’t eat it), and the KFC breakfast platter (he esp likes the biscuits).  Besides these, the cuisine that seems to work almost all the time is Indian food.  So far, he has without fail (to my memory at least) eaten well whenever we have Indian food.  Roti prata is one case in point.  He will happily munch on egg prata, and sometimes even dips it into the curry.  He loves briyani rice, he eats dahl curry, has munched up palak paneer (a mild spinach and cheese curry) with gusto, likes vegetable korma, eats dosai and apun jala (pancakes which look like spider webs), and enjoys papadum no end.  I think he likes their stronger flavours, and I’m not surprised, given how much Indian and Malay food I ate when I was pregnant and breastfeeding.

So it was a very happy Selena tonight as we left Samy’s curry.  He ate very well, eating half a good sized piece of dry curried fish (he actually ate fish without me having to sneak it in!), dahl with briyani, papadum, and a cup of mixed fruit (this is something I didn’t know they offered until today!).  I have always liked going to Samy’s curry, and we’ve brought him there before, but tonight I left thinking, “I love Samy’s!”.  The staff are always so friendly to him, saying hi as they walk by.  He likes having his own banana leaf to eat off, free flow of papadum and dahl, fab lime juice, and now there’s  even fruits to end the meal!!  And for the parents – great teh tarik too :) 

We weighed him tonight, and I was very surprised and happy to see that he’s finally broken 12!  He’s 12.4 kg!!  What a vast improvement from a month ago when he fell back into the 10 range! 

So I’m very very happy to see Asher happy at home, at school, at meals.  He’s really been a jolly fellow these few weeks with Mummy and Daddy being available to him.  I hope it keeps up when Baby comes, and when Jon goes back to work. 

Speaking of Baby, we’ve decided on the name already, but we’ll keep it under wraps until he arrives.  Asher’s been refering to Baby by his name for the last several months, and I suppose we can’t change it now else he’d be so confused when Baby is introduced with a different name.  Anyway, it’s a name we like very much, and in fact was the first name we considered many many months ago when I was about 3-4 months pregnant.  We deliberated several others in the last few months, but nothing quite sat as well with us. Anyway, I’ll elaborate more on the name when Baby arrives.

Asher’s been very sweet though.  He talks about Baby as part of the family.  A few days ago when playing with blocks he built a house for Baby.  He has also in his new school played with a baby doll, and called it by Baby’s name.  He carried the doll, brought it for a stroll around the room in a stroller, fed him milk, and included him in storytime :)  (I’ve some pics, will see if I can upload when I move to a new site.)  He says that Baby loves him, and he loves Baby.  I just hope that this good feeling keeps up! 

I’ve been getting him prepared for the arrival of the little one.  Asher chose to give a toy to Baby, and he’s picked out which toy.  He knows I’m going to be in hospital for two days, and he’ll stay with Por Por.  He knows it tiring to deliver and Mummy might be sleeping a lot after.  And the most recent piece of info I’ve introduced is that Mummy doesn’t know when Baby is coming.  Only God/Jesus knows.  I realised I had to tell him this last piece of info too in case Baby comes in the middle of the night and we’re not around in the morning when he wakes up!  Right now Asher’s not the most reliable predictor of when Baby will come.  Every time I ask him whether Baby is coming before or after Christmas the answer changes :)   

And as for Christmas, I can’t wait! :)  Where will I be celebrating it?  At home?  At a friend’s house?  In hospital?  Let’s just see how it goes!

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We celebrated Asher’s birthday in school two days early since his birthday fell on a Sunday.  Got some small party favours for his classmates which he happily shared out one-by-one, then had a simple cake cutting session at their tea time. 

I ordered an agar-agar cake because some of his classmates can’t take dairy.  With a regular cake, they’d miss out on the fun.  Thought the cake was really cute and I was a little bit afraid that Asher may not want to cut it.  He sometimes gets upset when something gets cut up or broken, and he will keep asking for it to be put back together, even though sometimes it’s utterly impossible, e.g., if you broke a cookie in half, or already sliced a fruit…how do you put it back together?  A new cookie will not do.  That broken cookie must be put back together.  Having had several run-ins with this idiosyncracy, which hits at the most unexpected times, I really was a little concerned that it’d surface in school.

BUT

Thank goodness that wasn’t the case at all.  In fact, he acted completely different from what I expected.  He happily slashed away at poor Cookie Monster!  Hacking and slashing and cutting!  I had to stop him after a while to make sure we could actually cut the cake into proper pieces to give out.  I guess the feeling of cutting agar-agar can be quite interesting – firm yet soft, smooth, and not messy at all.  And after cutting, the line seems to disappear somewhat. 

Anyway, the cake was yummy.  Not the mushy type of agar-agar.  It was firm with a slight crunch.  And very fragrant too.  Will definitely order from this lady again :) 

 C is for Cookie!
Slashing away

Not the most flattering photo for me, but it was our only family pic

Think this is the school’s usual birthday set-up.  Thought it was grand for a little boy to sit at the head of such a large table!

After everyone had their (second, third, and even fourth!) serving of cake, Asher asked to cut Cookie Monster again.  I relented and let him have a go, which resulted in Cookie Monster’s very injured eye.  My friend commented that it looked like Cookie Monster got into a gang fight!

It was simple and enjoyable.  I’m glad we did it for him :)

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