Monthly Archives: October 2015

Haze and Mid Autumn Festival

I had grand plans.

Lantern walks, tea appreciation, parks. They were marred by the haze.

The eve of Hari Raya Haji – we had to put on the masks to filter out the smoky air.   
The boys were dying to scoot, having cooped up at home due to the haze. 

Mid-scoot shopping 

X had been down with stomach flu and was on the mend when a viral infection hit Z hours later in the mall.
 On the public holiday, the haze which hovered around 200-300 PSI and 2 sick boys kept us confined at home. It was a tough day.

 We got Z to sort his 1600 pieces of Lego.  
The haze crossed the 300 marks and all primary and secondary schools were closed. It was a really bleary day. 

Hopes did not hold up for any form of lantern walks.

We were thankful that the skies cleared up on Saturday. The kids got to celebrate mid autumn festival with the neighbours during our monthly potluck dinner.

The kids were told to spread out if they wanted to play sparklers.  

Indoor activities 

After observing Z writing away in his assessment books for days, X took to colouring finally. 

When they were both done in their respective work, they poured out all the toy cars and zoomed around the house. For total immersion of their car play, they also played car stimulator games on the iPhone.

Featuring happy brothers when they did not fight over the phone

The boy who didn’t bring his bag

X was running a fever and Mr H stayed home to look after him. It was one of the rare times which we did not head out as a team of 4. 

I drove Z to school. We were about to reach the school when we realized he forgot to bring his bag. I had told him to get ready and leave the house. He usually had to carry his own bag but for some reason, perhaps distracted by the morning cartoon which had been turned on for the sick toddler, he forgot his bag.

I could have opted to run a little late for work and returned home to pick up his bag. However, I chose to be that mom who would teach her son a lesson. I had read many times online about parents who chose to let their primary school going kids go without books or materials needed for the day when they forgot to bring to school. They chose not to bring to school for the kids and let them learn to be more responsible.

In the same light, I thought to do the same though the impact was lower for a K2 child. He only missed out on showering and the inconvenience of missing a water bottle.

When I picked him up in the evening, Z declared that he was always going to be responsible for his own belongings. Let’s see how long this lesson would last. 

The F1, the 90th and the swim test

 It was the F1 weekend in Singapore. Apart from the first F1 race held in Singapore in 2008, I had not been to F1. However, the city was ablazed with F1 activities (and the haze).

F1 race video game at Metro  
I headed for facial and the 3 boys actually staked out at Sony Gallery to play more F1 race games. I joked that they had treated it like an arcade!

It was so hazy that only indoor activities were permissible. We had lunch at Jack’s Place and I was impressed with their children’s meal selection which only cost $7 for a main course! The boys were too hungry and they tucked in right away.

In the evening, we headed back to United Square for dinner at Wee Nam Kee chicken rice. The kids ended up playing with Zoo Mooving.

We also picked up the Man U kit for the boys.

Though X was only 2 years and 8 months’ old, the cutting of the Adidas Man U kit seemed to be on the small side. Hence, we got the 5-6yo size for him. It was $69 for the set but the shorts were too big for him. 

For older boys, there was no matching shorts for purchase. Given that the top cost $89 for Z, I got the 9-10yo size and paired with the 5-6yo shorts from X’s kit.

I purchased an additional pair of Adidas shorts for X at $21. Ironically, the 7-8yo sizing was small enough for X. It was an interesting titbit I learned when I used to buy Adidas apparels for Z. 

Smart boys in their Man U apparels, sponsored by Mr H


It was also a special weekend because we celebrated Mr H’s grandma’s 90th birthday!

Say yay!  

Check out X taking a photo of his great grandma’s Lana Chocolate Birthday cake  

Featuring the grandchildren (with spouses) and great grandchildren    

It was a pretty long luncheon and the kiddos ran themselves mad around the dining lounge.

Hanging out for lunch  

Post lunch, Z had to go for his swimming evaluation test. The haze, lack of practice and unprepared skills meant that Z could not clear his butterfly strokes test. It was back to the pool for more practice for this boy. 

Meanwhile, we could only pray that the haze clear up soon for more swimming practice.


Parenting shortcuts

It had been a long time since I contributed to this tag – cheatsheets. I had been creating my own version of life hacks that once the fundamentals were built, we just rolled along.

These days, we were far beyond the weaning, sleeping, eating type of problems. Being the disciplined and consistent parent I was, it made parenting easy. My children knew what to expect from me and what was deemed reasonable or unreasonable in my books.

Some aspects of parenting which we dealt with of late, a far cry from the days of weaning, sleeping and other infant-related issues.

1. Concentration & Learning

Z had been honed to the concept of working hard and playing hard. We did not skimp on play time. If anything, any free time was dedicated to play. The kids had access to sports, entertainment, touristy attractions, holidays and our attention. We explained hard work was required to support play time. On our end, we had to work when it was time to work. On their end, they had to study when it was time to study. Z had full respect and understanding of this trade off. Hence, he never uttered any forms of complaints if he had to spend 2-3 hours to complete assignments given by me. He concurred with our philosophy of clearing the week’s work in 1-2 days and played for the rest of the week. All I looked at was the integrity of the process and the final output, not the number of days used to complete the assignment.

On X’s end, he was trained on using Luk Bambino, in our bid to build his concentration and to nurture his speech. 

2. Sibling management 

I made a conscious effort to remind the boys how much they loved each other from day 1. Everyday, I told X that Z loved him and told Z that X loved him. It reinforced the positive thinking and vibes between the brothers. 

When they did something nice for each other ie giving in or sharing, I always attributed to the love for each other. If they fought, I usually explained that X was too young and unreasonable as a toddler to reason with. Z was usually agreeable to discount X’s bad behaviors such as biting. With X’s increased proficiency in speech, we had less of such issues.

I was also adamant about showing respect for each other and no one was supposed to snatch each other’s belonging. We must be mindful of each other’s feelings despite the haste. On good days, the boys would remember and approach each other with care, we had a lot lesser fights to break up.

3. Fatigue, tantrums and lack of cooperation 

This was an easy one. If we deprived the kids of sufficient rest, we were most definitely responsible and at fault. I would usually let the child win at all costs.
4. Leveraging on sports on sportsmanship and discipline 

It was difficult to help young children visualize the need to focus or instill discipline. Picking a good team sport would teach them valuable lessons such as training to improve performance, to be gracious losers (aka sportsmanship), to build up stamina and to always enjoy a spot of outdoors.

Greenery and runs aided in broadening of the children’s mindsets and maintaining a balanced mental state, instead of throwing full blown tantrums to express their frustrations 

5. Delayed gratification 

Children must learn to wait. They had to get used to the lack of instant magic and that they could not always have everything at their fingertips. Loving them did not mean that we would enslave ourselves like a genie and grant all their wishes. Magic and credit cards did not sound aligned.

6. Being considerate 

Children must learn to think for others, for something as simple as standing at the side of the lift when we entered in case someone had to push a stroller, wheelchair or shopping cart in. It was not rocket science. We needed to teach them to think for others and care for the environment. They had to think about the repercussions to others if they chose to be selfish. Was that what we wanted them to be? If they were kind to their friends and society, that would be the best contribution we could give. 

These were some of the values we hoped the boys would bring with them when they grew up. I thought to start these basics when they were young, so that they became better persons as they matured and grew up.