Cute times with X

#1. I was fetching X from school. As we took the lift down from level 8, the lift opened at one of the levels. Suddenly, a man appeared at the lift door. X was stunned and uttered, “People!”

The man and I laughed at his reaction. Thereafter, X was so embarrassed that he buried his head into my skirt. 

#2. There were so many heavy downpours in December. When X got into the car, the rain was only a drizzle. X stared at the car’s body and asked, “Daddy, did you wash your car?” 😂

What a cute perspective of a toddler!

#3. I was making a photobook about our earlier holiday. When X saw the snow clad mountain of Tateyama, he piqued, “I want to go there.”

I said we were going to see snow.

He immediately replied, “I want to build snowman!”

Psyched about the holidays #postdated

At the point of recording this, we were 10 days to the departure date. 

The itinerary was confirmed in June. I had purchased the USJ express pass in September and the Disney Park tickets in October.

It was so far back that I had to recap what I had booked, revisited the navigation plans and took the chance to file the documentation. I also showed the kids videos of kids skiing to get them excited and mentally prepared about a snowy holiday.

Meanwhile, this was our travel itinerary in a nutshell.

17th Dec – head to the airport 

18th Dec – Osaka

19th Dec – USJ

20th Dec – Osaka city 

21st Dec – Tomamu resort, Hokkaido

22nd Dec – Tomamu

23rd Dec – Tomamu

24th Dec – Rusutsu resort 

25th Dec – Rusutsu 

26th Dec – Rusutsu 

27th Dec – Otaru

28th Dec – Tokyo 

29th Dec – Fuji-Q

30th Dec – Disneyland

31st Dec – Tokyo

1st Jan – Odaiba

2nd Jan – Shopping

3rd Jan – Home sweet home!

Last Preschool PTM for Z

Given everyone’s busy schedule, we had to split the PTM into 2 parts. We did the first session with the English teacher and had to arrange for a separate session with the Chinese teacher.

We used http://www.littlelives.com to check on Z’s progress. Basically, he was already at the tail end of preschool and he was able to accomplish everything on the list. There was hardly any surprises there.

The teacher covered his progress in English & Math. Generally, he understood the basic concepts for Grammar but had to work on his composition writing. He was unable to extend stories on his own. I hoped that reading Enid Blyton would help him. His Math was generally good so no issues too.

However, what surprised us was when we heard he had behaved in a surprising manner in school. He was aggressive to a classmate, the resident bully, who had picked on him. While one wrong did not right a wrong, it made me wonder how boys of that age should stand up for themselves in tricky situations likes this.

To be honest, Z had stayed away from the boy and told the boy not to do certain things. Unfortunately, the bully persisted on, as he did not see a problem with his own behaviour. It did bring to mind the unfairness of the situation that people only noticed you for irregularities you did, and not the constant thing you were known for – such as consistently bullying others or consistently taking care of others.

The second session with the Chinese teacher materialized a week later. She commended him on his love for the language and the enthusiasm shown. We hoped he would continue to enjoy the language and embrace the learning of Chinese.

She noted that he was still unable to write a short story at this point but it was only a requirement when they hit P2. My guess was other children who went to Chinese enrichment classes were probably savvy in doing so.

I also asked her about some of Z’s random or overly sensitive behavior. She attributed part of it was because of how he was so used to be in the center of everyone’s attention. Another part was that going to primary school was a major transition in their lives and we ought to be more patient and supportive.

She noted that he was already thinking at a mature level and shown deeper level of analysis of situations.

With a snap, I was going to miss Z the preschooler very much.

Changing Faces of Z

Thanks to technology, Z’s preschool had captured the daily ‘Check in/Check out’ photos.

After a very long while, I got round to downloading all the pictures. I saw how my son shed his baby looks to the sharp, angular face he sported today in a span of 2 years. I had not realized the drastic changes till I saw the photos. No wonder everyone kept telling that they thought Z lost weight.

Here were 23 photos tracing Z from Feb 2014 to Dec 2015.

Sunday at Sports Hub

After lunch at the nearby La Barca, we headed to Singapore Sports Muesum which was outside the main entrance of Kallang Wave Mall and the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It was free entry for Singaporeans. ✌🏻️

Kids at the entrance

Striking a pose

Wall of fame
  
  

An old sailboat  

Polo
  

Past medals   

Recalling YOG 2010

On a swing    

The old stadium’s benches where I also learnt that it was built in 1973 and hosted the SEAP games 

The mascot in various sports, not unlike the modern day Nila in different poses    

Winning spoons instead of medals

I never knew motor racing had been legal in Singapore!    

All in all, I thought the exhibits were good. I liked how they explained the history of sports, of the National Stadium I had grown up with and later torn down and the contributions of past sportsmen. 

When we visited the museum, it coincided with the opening weekend of Para Games.

Street performance 

Caught Nila at the stadium while watching the athletic heats and finals   
Three boys clapped, cheered and chatted on their own   
  

Rowing activity  

Z liked it so much that he tried it thrice!

X was flipping the tyre
  

We made our own certificate where X learned to make his name with sign language.  

Proudly showing their certificates 
 

It was a memorable day, even for me, as I saw the visually disabled athletes competed in 100-200m. The running guide shad to be as proficient as the athletes. There was a great deal of synchronization and trust. These athletes set an inspiring role model for the kids.

Booking ski lessons

Booking a ski trip during peak season not only meant we had to pay through the nose for ski lessons, it was also very difficult to secure ski classes. It was no thanks to the rigid nature of their customer service. In person, Japanese service was great. Over email, the customer service became non-existent.

I started hounding the hotel over ski lessons’ booking since Jun 2015. However, they kept saying the schedule was not out. After repeated reminders, they finally replied to say that the website was opened for booking. However, it was only available in Japanese. To rub salt to the wound, the system was buggy.

I ended up without a private lesson…

I had to call them directly at this point (and incurring international call charges!!!), kicked up a fuss over email and eventually had a favourable response from them.

Lesson learnt: Just pick up the phone and call.

Though on the other hand, I had perfect support via email from another resort. 

Getting a Data Sim Card for Japan

JAPAN LTE DATA SIM 5GB (2) Qty: 2 @ ¥5,300 = ¥10,600

Fri Dec 18 2015 – Sat Jan 2 2016 (16 Days)

In May 2015, I tried a basic sim card at ¥1,900 which offered 7 days * 100MB a day due to this ‘Fair Usage Policy’. Once you exceeded the first 100Mb of the day, the speed be reduced to nearly non existent. I could barely upload much pictures or blog on the go. While there was wifi in the hotels, there were some places which did not provide wifi.

In Sept 2015, I tried the portable wifi router which cost ¥920 per day and offered 1GB for every 3 days. After which, the ‘Fair Usage Policy’ kicked in. Another painful part was that the battery of the router would drain alongside with the phone. I could conserve its battery turning on only when I needed to use it but the boot-up time was annoying. Sometimes, things got critical when you only wanted to check the maps.

Given that we would be going in winter, I was sure that the cold weather would drain battery very fast, given how the Tateyama trip drained my power bank before my phone battery was even dead. What was the point of a power bank? On hindsight, I should have tried to keep it warm.

Furthermore, having sim cards instead of a shared router meant Mr H & I could split up at theme parks for queuing and not worry about being unable to find each other.

It was apparent that I preferred a sim card to a router. My friend did the homework and found this Sakura Mobile sim card. There was a promotion of 20% more data for usage in Dec-15 & Jan-16.

There were 3Gb, 5GB & 7GB options. We picked the 5GB each because we knew we probably had to share with the kids, partly because the price difference between 3GB & 5GB was only ¥1000. It seemed like a pretty decent deal. That being said, if only Singtel had a similar product like M1 Passport, that would have been much more awesome.