Saturday, July 10, 2010
Seattle is a nice little city and I arrived on the day where it is fulled of sunshine and temperature hovering above 31 deg C. The first thing I did after I checked in was to visit the Pike's Market, which was about 15 minutes walk away from the hotel. It is a really busy Farmer's Market which sold lots of fresh stuff but I did not see the "flying fish" though. After that, I walked around downtown, did some shopping and went to the Seattle Center on the monorail. There was this big amusement park there with a big fountain. Many kids and adults were playing in the fountain since it was a relatively hot Sat afternoon. This made me really homesick. I was really hoping Ry and Br were there with me. They would probably enjoyed the carousel, the rides and playing in the big fountain too.
I checked out the hotel on Sunday, 11 July. The director of NWABR organisation, JC was really nice and she kindly offered to pick me up from the hotel and drove to Pack Forest together. I would then be staying at a cabin in the Pack Forest, which was pretty near Mount Rainer for the entire week to learn about Bioethics. There were about 30 participants for the course and I had a really nice roommate, Ad, who is a half-American half-English lady. We clicked really well and we had a good time together for the whole week. The course took place from 8.30 - 5 pm from Mon to Friday, with snack breaks at 10 am and 3 pm and lunch at 12 pm. I must say I benefitted and learnt a lot about Bioethics from the course. The packed timetable helped to take away my homesickness. We also had to write a case-study during the week and so I was really stressed too since Bioethics is still a relatively new subject to me. As I had limited access to internet, I could only call home to K once a day and had no chance to skype / video chat with my boys. K was handling really well and little Br did not fuss at night and did not really look for me. So, I guess he only wants to nurse when he sees me. I'm glad both boys did really well without me around them and K could handle them alone.
We checked out of the cabins on Friday afternoon and moved back to Seattle where I stayed at the University of Washington dorm. I was really thrilled as I could access to internet and could skype with my boys, which was the first thing I did when I went to the room. Ry seemed extremely happy to see me and he chatted with me for quite a while. Baby Br seemed clueless about what was happening when he saw me on the screen but he still sweetly called me "Mummy". That was really sweet and I teared up immediately.
In my conversation with K, I asked him how was he coping in the past week. He said it was really tiring and it was really difficult to be a single parent. In the morning, he has to carry both boys to the double stroller (cos the boys were still sleeping), pushed the stroller down to the carpark, carry the boys to their car seats, drove the car over to my mil's place, carry them out of the seats into the double stroller and pushed them up to my mil's place. The whole process took him at least 25 minutes, by which we usually take about 10 minutes to finish the job together every morning. Ry was also getting cranky and a little rebellious / naughty towards the end of the week. K think that he was feeling neglected cos K was still working late most of the days and had little time to spend with him. By the time he got the boys home from my mil's place, it is almost bed time for them too. So, K was commenting that it is no wonder that there are so many problems for kids with single parent by their side only. This statement made me feel really sad. However, in the good sense, I think this short separation made K and I more appreciative of each other's contribution in our parenting process and made us treasure our family more.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
19 June 2010, Saturday, 10 am @ Safra Tampines
We went for Ryan's first parents meet teachers session last Saturday at his pre-school / child care. It was an exciting moment for us and we were really eager to hear what the teachers got to say about Ryan. We brought the two boys there and we got to meet the English teacher, Ms L and his Chinese teacher, Ms G that morning together after about waiting for 20 mins. Both of them were very patient teachers and we know that Ms G seems to like Ry a lot. Surprising though, since Ry could hardly speak and understand Mandarin.
Both teachers commented that Ry is a very well-behaved and obedient boy. They also said that he is very independent and citing examples like that he will take off and put on his clothes himself before and after bath. Ry will also know the routine very well like looking for his sippy cup of fresh milk and finish it quietly at the table, returning the cup then went to look for his mattress and pillow before plopping himself down for nap after his bath. Ms G also says that Ry is very gentleman and will hardly throw tantrums or snatch toys from his classmates. Most of the time, he will rather give up his toys when someone else want it. Whereas, K and I both interpreted it as Ry is a good target to bully since he was just bitten by his classmate a week ago only. Ms G also gave a funny recount of how Ry and the other Eurasian girl often dozed off during Chinese lessons initally as they could not understand what she was teaching but now, they have become more alert. I could totally imagine the bored and sleepy face of Ryan when she said that :>
Both the teachers say that they were extremely pleased with Ry's improvement over the months. From a quiet boy who hardly speaks till now he can express his ideas clearly in sentences. Most importantly, he will eat any food that the lunch provides as compared to the first few months, he will rather starve and go hungry than to touch the mee and bee hoon the centre provides . We are really happy about it and we think that Ry does enjoy Kinderland a lot.
Most importantly, I find that the teachers have been very encouraging and do not overly stressed on academic performance, unlike the story I heard about a good friend, Dan and her son. Also, we are rather pleased with their accomodation and patience for Ry who has slight speech delay in the early months and we have also seen how they have accomodated other special needs kids like autistic kids in other classes as well. Most of these special needs kids stay in Kinderland for a short while until they can get a place in the special school and the principal told us that the parents usually beg them to let them enrol the kids into the childcare first while waiting for their places . The principal says she will try to accomodate less severe cases if possible. This probably explains why the teachers are less fazed about each child's progress or a child's active behaviour.
We are also given a whole file to bring back that tracks Ry's progress and perfomances in schools complete with rubrics, comments and pictures / photos of Ry. The rubric was categorised as W, P, C where W stands for "working on it", P stands for " progressing well" and C stands for "competent". As a teacher, my first instinct when I saw W, P , C was "weak", "passed" and "competent". But I guess the new definitions did make it sound better and less worrying for me as a parent like Ry does not know count well but the assessment given by his teacher was "progressing well" in his report card. In a way, I feel less pressured and worried, knowing that he is progressing well. There were few ticks in the column of "compentent" in his report card but his teachers did not make a big fuss. What was even funnier was that a good number of ticks in the column of "competent" were found in his Chinese section. K and I think that Ms G really likes Ry so that she gave him such good comments and assessment even though we all knew that Ry could not speak Chinese well at all. We were also given a file full of Ry's work and art and craft in the school. I must say I was really impressed with the wide variety and amount of work done.
I will try to update more in my blog in the coming two weeks, probably when I am in Seattle and have all the time to write.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I just realised how much Ry has grown when I went swimming with him! He even know how to take a shower first before going into the pool and he has no qualms about jumping into the pool!
I think baby Br look much more handsome with his hair gelled up!
3 April, Saturday
Ry had no idea what the instructor is doing!
Ry just stood still when the instructors were teaching them how to do catwalk!
18 April, Sunday
24 April, Saturday
The smily cheeky face!
Friday, April 2, 2010
I have already arranged with Ry's preschool teacher to have his birthday celebration on this day even though his actual birthday is supposed to be four days later because this was the only day in the first week of March that I could take leave. However, 1 March this year happens to be his lunar birthday, 正月十六, which later then I found out from my mil that it is the Monkey God's (孙悟空) birthday too. Btw, baby Br's lunar birthday on 二月初二 is 大伯公's birthday. So I got teased by my mil for being so lucky in choosing the days.
I ordered a 0.5 kg Mickey Mouse cake from Bengawan Solo and I picked it up at 930 am then went straight to the preschool. Ry was already waiting anxiously for me at the school and he even told his teacher that I'm going to bring him a Ben 10 cake. I have no idea why he kept having the idea that I am going to bring him a Ben 10 cake.
When I reached the preschool, the teachers had already arranged the table and chairs and had the kids seated properly. I distributed the party hats and the teachers got the cake ready. It was really interesting how teacher L prep the class for the birthday celebration. She asked the class questions like "Whose birthday are we celebrating today?", "Who can blow the candle only?" I guessed this was in anticipation that kids are fascintaed by blowing candles and the teachers do not want other kids to spoil the fun of the birthday child. And I must say the prepping was done wonderfully that all the kids did not try to blow the candles so Ry has all the attention he could get as a birthday boy.
14 March 2010, Saturday @ PeekaBoo
We decided to bring the boys to Kallang Leisurepark where there is an indoor playground known as "Peek - a - Boo". The admission fees are pretty reasonable as compared to the one at Downtown East. For Ryan, the charge is $12 and for baby Brendan, the charge is $8 and no admission charges for parents. For twenty bucks, we spent a whole morning at the playground. The happiest chap was definitely Ry. I guessed he missed indoor playground sorely as we have always visited My Gym when we were in Boston. He loved jumping at the trampoline and diving into the ball pool. There were not many kids there but there was a birthday party thrown by one of the Australian International School kids and so there were many Caucasian kids there. I guessed Ry must have felt the familiarity too seeing so many Caucasian kids, just like his days in Boston.
7 March 2010, Sunday - Potty Training!
We have been planning to potty train Ry for quite some time but to no success. On Sunday, I decided to try again. I did not let Ry wear diapers after he woke up from his afternoon nap. I was constantly looking out to see whether he need to go to pee. Around 5 pm, he suddenly told me he wanted to go "shee, shee" so I quickly brought him to the toilet. I made him stand at the bathroom area to pee and he managed to do it. He was so happy and proud when I praised him. I rewarded him with some cookies and constantly reminded him to do the same again. He repeated three more times throughout the evening. I'm surprised at how the potty training happened so suddenly without any struggles and any accidents. Throughout the following week, he went without diapers after he got back home from childcare and he managed to go to the toilet to pee. There was no single accident even up till today. I'm so amazed by him, so I'm going to let him go diaperless for child care from April onwards.
21 March 2010, Sunday
We went to the zoo early in the morning at 830 am partly because K got to rush back home in the afternoon for his work. We had already decided to keep such visit short partly because the boys are small and they need their afternoon nap and partly also because SG weather is just too hot and humid for us to stay outdoor for prolonged periods of time. So for this visit, we have already decided to see the elephants which we have missed out in our previous trip and probably catch one show before moving on to the Rainforest Kidzworld where Ry could indulge in waterplay. It was a morning well-spent at the zoo. Needless to say, Ry and Br fell asleep in the car on our way back. They almost slept through the whole afternoon and I must admit I'm the happiest person because then I could catch up on doing the much neglected housework around the apt.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This month has been a really hectic and tiring month for K and me. First, we had the birthday celebrations of our two boys at the start of the month followed swiftly by them falling sick after that. Till now, Brendan is still coughing away. Doctor said we had to monitor him for asthma which could be triggered by his allery to the Singapore dusty air since he has had a few episodes of prolonged coughing since the day he stepped onto the Singapore land. We really miss the cool, clean air in Boston where baby Br was a healthy, plump baby for the first 7 months. Br has lost so much weight since we are back for 6 months.
Ryan on the other has flourished and is a happy, energetic chap with all the stimulations from his preschool, friends and loving extended family. He is undergoing a second phase of language explosion now and I'm constantly amazed by his ability to pick up grammar and new vacabulary that we never expose him to. He is also speaking in longer and complete sentences. Definitely, he is picking up Singlish bits like "this one, that one". We are also constantly amused by his theatrical "Oh man!" and his "I want don't want!" which simply just means "I don't want", by which his "don't want" convienently becomes the noun after the verb.
It is really hard and tiring to be a working mum and I'm constantly saying to my colleagues and friends how much I miss my life as a SaHM. Most nights I'm so tired that I just fell asleep while still nursing baby Br. Nowadays, we even ordered the tingkat for our dinner so that I do not have to worry about where to get dinner for K and me. Fortunately, the tingkat company that I ordered from provides quite a tasty and edible meal because I have heard of horror stories how bad can the food be.
Thinking back now, we have more or less settled into a routine after K started working in January. So, our routine runs like waking up around 545 am then leaving the house with our two boys around 630 am to bring them to my mil's place and on the road for work ten minutes later. K and I will reach Ghim Moh around 710 am followed by breakfast together. The morning ride and breakfast thus becomes our only personal time together to catch up and talk. I will usually take the train home after work around 530 pm while K will drive home much later after work at around 730 or 8 pm. Sometimes, I drive instead especially when I'm out of the office in the afternoon, which means that I could usually get home much earlier and K will then take the train home. Our rationale of working out this way is to allow me to get home asap and also to avoid the traffic jam in the evening. I will usually go straight home to cook the rice and bathe before crossing over to my mil's place to pick up the boys. By 745 pm, I will be already back home with the boys and waiting for K to come home to have dinner together. After dinner, it is almost time for the boys to be tucked into bed. Sigh! Each day, we only have about 1 - 1.5 hr of interaction time with our boys. Now, I'm beginning to wonder how this will change once I go back to school.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Ry kept saying this is his birthday and is happily humming away the birthday song. We'll be having an actual celebration for him soon next week at his preschool.
Baby Br modelling in his new set of clothes bought by my mil - his birthday present from her.
I am really happy and amazed at how quickly Br's first year has passed. It was an eventful year with the birth, moving back from US and me becoming a full time working mum again. K and I have since learnt a lot more about our kids and how each can be so different. Most importantly, we feel blessed to have 2 healthy, energetic boys.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
We were supposed to dress the boys in the traditional Chinese costumes together with my nephew, by which my mum already tailored and altered the 2 suits for them from a "mian ao" that I orignially bought for Ry 2 years ago from HK. However, we decided against it after waking up in the morning in sweltering heat, so decided to dress the boys in bright orange instead. My hubby even joked that we brought 3 oranges to "bai nian" when we carry Br, as he looked like a round mandarin orange.
Ryan putting on the traditional hat with a pigtail that belongs to my nephew and demonstrating a "wong fei hong" stance. I thought Ry has the little emperor look with the hat on. Wonder anyone agree with me?The first picture of the four cousins together. Don't think we'll have any more additional children in our family in the near future, unless one day, I decided to try again for a girl, which is highly unlikely looking at the circumstances now.