Four years after being a mum for the first time we welcomed Ian into our lives as our second baby. The experience with him is totally different from what we experienced with Isaac. One of the things I wondered during my pregnancy was how Ian looked like because he’d turn away every time we did the ultrasound. But I thought to myself, how different can he be from Isaac right? After all, they are both from the same “factory”. Boy, was I wrong. I saw no resemblance in the two of them the moment we met Ian.
Looks aside, Isaac was an easy to manage baby. He is probably the perfect baby anyone would wish for. He was smiley, his cries were soft and best of all, from when he was over a month old, he slept through the night without waking up for milk. When I say through the night, I mean from 8ish pm to almost 7am the next morning.
I always thought how lucky we were that Isaac was so easy to handle and was hoping Ian would be somewhat similar but of cos, all babies are different.
The first month with Ian was extremely challenging. He had a huge appetite and we were feeding him every 2 hours instead of the recommended 3hrs. I find myself with almost no sleep because feeding him and putting him back to sleep took about an hour and a half. This also means it was almost time for him to feed again. With no confinement lady, the hubs and I took turns to watch him through the night. However, even on nights that the hubs took the night shift, I will still have to get up to express the milk so there is enough supply for Ian and also to avoid engorgement. Many nights I find myself questioning when this situation will get better.
When Ian was 18 days old, he got hospitalised for close to a week because he came down with fever. After admission, his blood test revealed that he had bacterial infection in his blood. It was a major heartache for me seeing him with the plug on his little hand and later, lumbar puncture was also done to check if the infection went to his brain. We spent the long nights together being woken up by the nurses to have his temperature taken every hour. Thankfully, he got better and finally discharged from the hospital.
After a month of having the hubs at home, he finally went back to work. The first week of being home with just Isaac and Ian was trying. I tried to juggle between the household chores and the kids’ demands and I kept telling myself that I can do this and I did. I managed to plan the day according to Ian’s sleeping timing. Every time he took a nap, I would attend to Isaac, cook lunch (dinner on some days) and have some house chores done. Some days I’ll take them out too. On days that I am tired from the broken sleep, I will just cook lunch and watch over the kids. After all, the kids’ and my well being is more important than the housework. I did not want to suffer from a burnout myself so I can continue to look after them. The housework can wait.
To be honest, I am surprised myself at the confidence I have to manage them on my own and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to. The nights are long but the years are short. I shall cherish every moment with my babies.
Since my first experience with Cirque du Soleil a couple of years back, I have been to every performance they hold in Singapore. The first time I brought my toddler was when he was 2. Now that he is slightly older, he starts to share what he thinks about the performance and I must say, 4 years old is a great age to start bringing your child if he/she likes such performances.
Last week when I told him that we will be going to watch Kurios, he has been asking me every day how many more days to the event. He could not contain his excitement when the day finally came. He napped for 2 hours in the noon so he could stay up for the show without being tired and cranky. In fact, he got up even without me asking him to.
When we arrived, we took some mandatory photos at the entrance and he immediately ran in to check out all the merchandise.
We could not stop laughing when the artists teased the audience while waiting for the show to begin.
We entered the cabinet of curiosities at 11:11 and the little one was impressed by the colourful costumes and make up the performers had on. It took him a while to realise that music and singing was done by a live band. When he did, he was in awe. I asked him if he could sing like the singer, he said “Her voice is so beautiful. If I sing, later they laugh at me you know.” But a couple of times during the show, he mimicked her by clasping his hands together in front of his chest and pretended to mouth her singing.
In order to enjoy the show thoroughly, we barely took photos unless he said “Take a photo of this, I want to show daddy.” since daddy did not join us.
There are 13 acts in total for Kurios and my two favourites were the Acro Net and Upside Down World. Acro Net is when the artists performed acrobatic moves while bouncing to such great heights on a huge net which Isaac said was to catch fish because it looked like a gigantic fishing net. Upside Down World is an upside-down and a right-side up performance featuring two acrobats balancing on a series of chairs.
Isaac’s favourite act is Rola Bola. In his words “the pilot who flew the plane until the propeller stopped working”. That is a balancing performance on tubes while being suspended in the air. I recall holding my breath through out the aviator’s performance. Did not manage to capture a picture since my eyes were glued to the stage. When I asked Isaac why was he not afraid if the pilot will lose his balance, he said to me “Why are you afraid? He practiced very hard and is very good at this. He is not afraid of heights like my daddy and daddy pig (from peppa pig)”. ROFL. Is he really a 4 year old or a 40 year old?
He also enjoyed the Invisible Circus and had a good laugh when the invisible lion ran away.
I also heard him gasped when he saw the human pyramids as he whispered to me “wah so soft the bones”.
When the show ended, he asked if we can watch again tomorrow.
I went home with a very happy aviator last night.
While I thought he would have gotten over the excitement after last night, I was so wrong. This morning he asked if we can watch the show with daddy again tonight. When I explained to him that it is expensive to watch it again he said “I have money in the bank remember? I can buy tickets for you, daddy and myself”. Well, I guess the Kurios experience was that fantastic to him that it is worth his every penny.
The show has not even ended and we are already looking forward to the next Cirque du Soleil in 2020!
For those who have little picky eaters at home, you are not alone. Our little one is quite consistent with his preference of food. Daily meals consist of either porridge or rice accompanied by soup and a steamed dish. Not that we taught him to eat this way, it is just the way he is. Yes, like an old man, I know. How then do we encourage him to try something out of the ordinary (for him at least)?
We let him help out with preparing his own meal.
This may seem like a simple action but the result of it is satisfying. That sense of pride Isaac had in preparing his own meal was really beyond words. It was like how he prepared his own burger when we visited Kidzania. He felt that his burger tasted nicer than the other burgers he had eaten before. This is really just the same logic. That being said, it really depends how ready your child is and how comfortable you are with letting them help. If you are afraid of letting your child near the stove, you can let them help with the washing of rice/noodles.
I picked a simple to cook recipe so there is less mess – Spaghetti with meatballs. I did not let him help with the frying in case the oil splattered onto him. This was how it went after I stir fried the beef balls and onions.
After which, I cooked the spaghetti in the sauce for a bit so it can soak up the flavour of the sauce.
Someone was so proud of the spaghetti he had helped with and finished the whole portion that was given to him. He even asked that we saved some of his cooking for daddy. 🙂
When I asked him what shall we have for lunch tomorrow, he answered “Spaghetti and meatballs because I can cook it and it is so yummy in my tummy!”.
Earlier this week, Isaac received his belated 4th birthday present from his aunt – a visit to Kidzania! I have always wanted to bring him to Kidzania but I am aware that most activities are suitable for kids aged 3 onwards so we waited till he is of age. Our first visit to Kidzania was a really good one because we went on a weekday and there was no crowd. As it was our first time here, apart from knowing that Kidzania is a huge indoor theme park which teaches children the value of money through role-playing, we really did not know what to expect. Upon purchasing our tickets, we were given boarding passes, a bank card and 20 kidzos (Kidzania currency).
No crowd means less waiting time and we will be able to complete more stations that day. Just how lucky did we get? Very, very lucky! We completed 10 stations that day. 😀
The first thing we did was activate the bank card so all the money Isaac made from “working” can be deposited into his bank account.
If you started working without setting up your bank account or did not provide the company with your bank card before the start of the activity, do not worry, you can still be paid in cash (kidzos of course). All you have to do is go to the bank to deposit the money thereafter.
As adults are not allowed to enter most of the activity zones with the little ones, I tried my best to snap as many clear photos of Isaac as possible. I personally think it is good as it encourages him to be more independent to complete the activities without my help.
The Career Path Begins
The first career journey for Isaac was at the travel agency as an Assistant Travel Explorer at WTS Travel. He was a little confused at first when he was told to say the Kidzania pledge when he entered and he wondered why I did not accompany him into the office. However, he got over it very quickly as he was given instructions as to what he needs to do in order to earn his kidzos. For this activity, I was allowed to accompany him to walk around Kidzania to look for the city’s monuments and landmarks while he checks off what we have seen.
After the first exercise and having seen various landmarks like the kidzania department store, he understood that he needs to work for his own money in order to purchase what he saw in the shop.
** If you think that your child needs to warm up with you by his/her side in the beginning, you get a copy of the Kidzania map which is available at the ticket counter. In the map, you will see the list of all activities. It will also state which activities allow parents to participate with their child.
Police Officer with SPF – It was not difficult to guess what isaac would choose for his second assignment. He has always looked up to the police and it was no surprise that he would choose to be one here. He got to assist at a fire break out scene with the SCDF fire fighters by asking the crowd to stay away from a building while the fire fighters put out the fire.
Fire Fighter at SCDF – This was his favourite job according to him. In his words “Because I can save people’s lives when they are stuck in the fire”. He was really excited at this station because he got to travel on the fire engine to the scene of the crisis.
Chef at KFC – As it approached high tea time, we suggested that he tried making his own burger which costs 10 kidzos while his aunt and I took a rest and had something light to eat. Here’s presenting our little chef.
He was very pleased with his creation and insisted to bring half of it home for his dad.
Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital – After his burger, he went to work at Mount Elizabeth hospital. He also walked away with a hospital staff ID which can be used for all hospital activities like the paramedic, baby expert and radiologist.
Photojournalist at Canon’s imaging academy – Holding a camera is nothing new to him as he has his own Canon PowerShot at home. However, this is his first experience holding such a big camera. We went round Kidzania taking photos of the monuments around. He was also awarded a certificate for completing the photography course at Canon Imaging Academy.
He couldn’t stop checking the photos he took[/caption]
Pilot – The Aviation Academy is easy to miss as it is located on the second level and the entrance is really small. We walked 2 rounds and finally located it. He chose to be a pilot and parents are not allowed to enter the plane. If he had chosen to be a cabin crew, parents can actually participate by becoming the cabin passenger!
Paramedic – Another activity that he got on the ride. Here he is, sitting in an ambulance getting ready to attend to an emergency.
Isaac had wanted to work at the petrol station but he was too young. Age requirement was 6 so we moved on to the next activity.
Candy Maker at Sticky – Not exactly his favourite career as he is not a fan of candies. Still, he learnt how the candies were made and got to display little jars of candies on the shelves of the retail shop at Sticky. Walked away with a packet of candies too. Oh yes, some kidzos were also spent for this activity. He was given a discount of 1 kidzo though, for reusing his hair net and mask from previous activities.
Customer at 7-11 the convenience store – He was given the option to be either a store keeper or a customer. Kidzos will be paid to those who choose to work. As Isaac decided to be the customer, he did not get any kidzos. As a customer, he was given a list of items to look for and to put into his shopping cart. He had a lot of fun playing customer and learnt to ask for help from the store keeper by himself when he could not find what he was looking for.
There you have it, all 10 tasks he did that day.
We brought him to Kidzania’s Department Store after a long day of work only to realise that he still could not afford to buy what he wanted – a measuring tape. I gave him the option to either buy something smaller now and take a slightly longer time to save up and purchase his measuring tape or to keep his kidzos and get to buy his measuring tape sooner. He chose the latter. 😉
I certainly hope his experience at Kidzania has taught him the value of money as well as having to work hard to get what he wants. Right now, he will start accumulating his good boy credits to earn himself another visit to Kidzania soon.
Took me long enough to finally get to writing this post.
We initially decided on not having any celebration in school and only have a cosy cake cutting with the family on the actual day of Isaac’s birthday. However, things did not go quite as planned. We not only ended up celebrating his birthday in school, our cosy birthday celebration turned out to be a guest list of almost 50 pax (mostly family members). Major face-palm moment but the boy was extremely happy.
29th March 2019
Celebrated with his teachers and classmates with a How to Train your Dragon cake because he is very much into dinos and dragons now. Tried searching for the character cakes from various bakeries and realised that only Cold Stone Creamery and Swee Heng carried what we wanted . Since Swee Heng is halal certified, we decided on them. One point to note, if you are collecting the cake from the outlet in Punggol, you should place your order on their website Swee Heng 1989 instead of Swee Heng.
Of cos we had the goody bags for the children.
Goody bags from us will not contain any candies because I am not sure if most parents allow their kids to eat them. As for Isaac, he never liked sweet stuff so whatever candies he brings home in the goody bags usually end up in the bin.
Evidently, he was the happiest kid in class that day. Especially when it came to distributing the cake and goody bags.
30th March 2019
The actual day of his birthday. We had told him that we will be going swimming on his birthday and he was really excited. Little did he know it was more than just a swim date with his cousins. We had invited both his paternal and maternal family members as well as some really close friends. I thought he would be really surprised to see them but he was really alot more happy than surprised. “Zhou Zhou!” he exclaimed happily when he saw his great grandmother who was the first to arrive.
Did I ever mention that it is impossible to capture a proper photo of the 3 punggol babies?
This was probably the best photo of them together that day.
We catered peranakan food from chilli api. Pricey but worth every cent. Of all the parties we have ever hosted, this was the first time there was zero food wasted. I enjoyed every dish we selected and am glad our guests liked it as much as we did.
What took the most effort for this celebration has got to be the DIY piñata. Simply because I could not find a Dinosaur piñata and the common ones are still pretty expensive ranging from $29 – $49 excluding the candies in it. A crazy price to pay for something that is going to thrashed I feel. So here was what was made. Tadah!
One of a kind Dino for my special little boy! Thank God for a few close friends who helped out as well. Total cost to make this piñata? $2. Only paid for the crepe paper and everything else was made out of recycled cardboard. Filled it up with candies and mamee (mainly mamee for Isaac) and we are good to go!
Finally, the cake! For the third year running, I got the cake from Cloud 9 Bake Shop. This year, we customized a Dino cake with his favourite type of dinosaur on it – triceratops.
I also added some cupcakes with little “dino eggs” in case there wasn’t enough cake.
Birthday boy was without a doubt super happy.
We had a fantastic celebration and was happy that everyone made time to come spend the day with us. More celebrations to come!
The first time Isaac baked was Christmas 2017 at his Uncle Cornelius’ place. In the blink of an eye, a year went by and we were invited to go over to bake again. In fact, I think it is a great idea to make this our yearly tradition.
In my opinion, baking / cooking is a valuable skill for children to pick up because there are so many things they can learn from this.
Reading – They will realise that they have to know how to read so they can follow the recipe.
Numbers – Knowing how many eggs are required, how much batter, how much sugar, how to read the weighing scale in order to produce what he wants to create
Encourages creativity – They can decide what flavour or colour their bakes are. Decorating their cakes / packaging of their cookies is can also be fun for them.
Importance of precision – They will come to learn that how good their bakes taste is highly dependant on how precise they are with the addition of their ingredients. eg, too much sugar – cake will be too sweet.
Although he is only 3, I think this a great indoor activity to do with him especially since he does not like going out of the house.
This year, we had fun baking Rainbow Loaf Cake and Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Not so much the cookies though, since Isaac did not really like getting his hands sticky. Here are some of the photos I captured while he baked.
As he made the Rainbow Loaf, he told me how sure he was his daddy was going to love the cake. 🙂 We gave away the cookies and rainbow cakes to family and close friends and everyone said how pretty the loaf is and how delicious they tasted (credits to his Uncle Cornelius).
We cannot wait to bake again soon!
If you would like to try baking the rainbow loaf you can refer to the recipe below.
225g unsalted French butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup full fat natural yoghurt
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
235g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
As much colour gel as you desire
Mix everything (except the colouring) in a stand mixer on medium speed until batter is just combined. Split batter evenly into several bowls and colour them accordingly. Decant batter into a greased and lined loaf tin and marble the colours together. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 35 to 40mins. Let cool completely before slicing.
On days that we are stuck indoors, I would think of ideas for the little one to still have fun even without going out. In fact, I try even harder now in order to minimise screen time. We told Isaac we will bring him out for a swim today but who would have expected the sun to go into hiding and it started to rain. After some time, the rain continued despite Isaac’s loud singing of Rain Rain Go Away. So here’s what I did to keep his spirits up – we had fun with water beads!
I purchased a water beads kit from Tickle Your Senses and got additional dehydrated water beads so Isaac can watch them grow.
It is amazing how something so simple can be of so much fun for the little one. The moment I showed him what was in the box, his face lit up and pointed immediately at the colourful water beads instead of the dinosaurs (he is a huge fan of dinos to the point that he tells me we are a dino family). I can totally understand because personally, I am just so in love with how pretty the colours are!
We had fun growing our own water beads. I told Isaac we will have to soak those tiny beads overnight so it will expand after soaking up the water to become pretty water beads. He agreed to play with the small container of water beads first until the lot we were soaking were ready for play. And… he asked me quite an amusing question – “will become a butterfly?”. Probably because of the colours, or the fact that he knows he has to wait for the caterpillar to become a butterfly. Ha!
I put in only a small amount of the beads because the husband told me that they should be able to grow up to quite big. Based on the instructions, it will be ready to play if we soaked it up to 6hrs. So I took his word for it, and imagined it to become fishball sized kinda big if I soaked it overnight (no judging please). Of cos they did not grow to that size. Anyway, we still had quite a decent number of water beads despite that little amount that I had soaked. Look, a jar full of rainbow. Gummy rainbow in Isaac’s words.
I cannot get over how pretty they are! <3
When we started to play with them, the first thing Isaac asked was if he could touch them. He claimed how slippery and gummy-like they felt to him. Then he went on to have tons of fun transferring his water beads from one container to the other with his handy scoopers.
To make things more interesting, we increased the number of water beads and played in the bathtub today. I let him put in his dinosaur figurines to stimulate imaginative play and perhaps, language skills. Besides the pterodactyl and t-rex, he learnt about the brachiosaurus today.
I enjoy watching him at play especially when he starts making up his own stories and questions. Whenever he asks me something, I’d throw the question back to him and it is interesting to see what he comes up with. For example, he asked me why does the brachiosaurus have such a long neck. To be honest, I did not know the answer. So I just said “I am not sure, what do you think?” Then he replied “maybe to eat the the leaves from the tall tall trees.”. There you go, that might just be the right answer.
Last night after dinner, we had this impromptu idea to bring Isaac fishing at Fish@Bugis+. Who would have thought that there’d be a place to catch prawns and small fishes on the roof-garden of a shopping mall?
For $15, we are given and small tank and a fishing net to fish for an hour. Children are allowed to go remove their shoes to go into the pond and catch the fishes.
Rules of fishing
Children have to be below 12 years old and able to fish without assistance
Children can only use the net to catch the fishes
Parents are not allowed to help with the fishing
Parents cannot help the children to catch the fish
No sharing of nets
As expected, in Isaac’s excitement to catch the fish, he squat and got his shorts and t-shirt wet. Fortunately, we have the habit of bringing spare clothes when ever we go out.
I had thought that it would be quite easy to catch the fishes but I was so wrong. Hence, I was so happy and proud when the little one caught his very first fish. At the end of the day, we went home with 8 fishes and a happy boy who got to keep them as pets.
The little man requested to give his classmates presents on his birthday because he has been receiving goody bags on their birthdays. He even told me that he wanted to have a Catboy (pj mask) themed party. I think it is great that he is opinionated and can express himself instead of us trying to figure out what he will like.
Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a PJ mask cake from the halal certified cake shops at waterway point and Isaac decided to go for a paw patrol cake in the end. We celebrated his birthday in advance and here’s what we prepared.
No candies at all. I’ve received PMs in IG asking me where I got those projection watches, I got them from qoo10. I saw the same ones on sale at the shopping mall and they were selling them at $12 each – 3 times of what I paid.
His favourite part of the party in school was probably distributing cake and good bags to his friends. It was also apparent who his favourite buddies in class are because he gave the first few slices to them. Even his teacher told me, those were his best friends.
29-31 March 2018
We did a staycation for Isaac’s birthday this year at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa. It was a surprise for him and he loved it. We blindfolded him and brought him into the room as he went “Wow!” when he saw the room, the patio (more like the bathtub) and when we opened the back door, it was the pool and jacuzzi. He was so happy that he reenacted that a few more times kept going “wow!” over and over again.
As our room had direct pool access, it was really convenient for us. Especially when Isaac can spend many hours in the pool. I just chill and watch him from the day bed while he goes to play. One of the most amazing thing about this place, is just how close we are to nature. In the mornings, we wake up to the sound of the birds. A peacock on our roof even!
“It’s my Birthday today!”
That was what Isaac kept saying from time to time after his papa and I wished him on the actual day.
He spent some time in the bathtub without knowing what awaits him that day.
Ding-Dong went the door bell and he was pleasantly surprised to see his mamagonggonguguguzhangjiejies all here!
The kids had a lot of fun in the pool and bathtub while the Isaac’s papa went to collect the cake and get lunch.
We only managed to drag all the kids out of the tub when we said they can open presents and cut the cake. Time to suit up kiddos !
We all had such a great time that day and this is why birthdays are awesome! Happy 3rd birthday my forever baby boy. May you continue to have the purest of heart and always remember that you are loved by so many!
In just a month’s time, Isaac will be turning 3. At this point in his life, I know that if there is a competition in getting things done independently regardless of time taken, he’d be winning in spades. For this strong-willed child, his desire to be independent takes precedence over everything else.
At times when he takes a long time getting something done, we’d just complete it for him so we can move on to the next activity. This would upset him and we end up waiting for him to redo what was done all over again. For example, every morning before leaving for school, he’d take his bag down from the bench at home before putting on his shoes. Previously on days that he overslept, we will bring down his bag for him so he only has to put on his shoes and we can leave. When he noticed that, he’d put his bag right back where it should be (on the bench) and take it down again. This only means we end up having to wait a longer time for him to get out of the house. Now that we have come to terms with this, we no longer try to complete tasks for him unless he wants us to.
There was a point in time when I wondered if there was such a thing as too independent? But to think of it, I personally feel that it is one of my parenting goals to raise a self-sufficient child. Even if it means having to spend more time for something to get done.
Just yesterday, when I was dressing him up for school, he told me he wanted to button his shirt by himself. I said OK, I will show him how and he can do it himself thereafter. After he struggled with the button for approximately 10mins, he let out an exclamation “Why, Oli can do it you know?”. Oli is his classmate. After some guidance, he finally managed it himself and he was really proud of himself. Well, I did mention he is very strong-willed.
Honestly though, I think there are more pros than cons to him being (too) independent. Although I have heard comments by numerous parents like “I wish my kids would stop growing“, or “don’t grow up so fast“, quite on the contrary, I don’t feel that way. I think it’s not all that bad. I love it that he is independent because I have so much freedom now YAY! everything’s just more fun now! I can’t wait to bring him on more holidays, make memories together and for him to experience life!