Monday, 26 October 2009

Ill!!!

Last week had been very hard on the Mrs. Luke came down with a fever on Monday and only recovered from it on Wednesday. During the first night his temperature reached as high as 39 degrees. Instead of sponging him the Mrs put him in the bathtub and left him soaked in there playing with some toys for 15 minutes. It worked and the temperature never reached that high again. Needless to say we had to wake up regularly to check his temperature throughout the next two nights.

The Mrs took leave the whole 3 days to take care of him. This was the first time that she had to care for a sick baby all on her own. Our kids had the usual cough and running nose here and there, now and then but never this ‘serious’.

We’re all lucky in that Isaac only really fell ill after he turned 1 and even then he was no where near half as cranky as Luke. He will just have his medication and sleep with the occasional waking up in the middle of the night crying. It was all manageable. As for Hayley she is only having the occasional running nose but that’s about it (knock on wood).

Luke refused to be put down when he was ill this time. He demanded to be carried almost all the time. Even when he was being carried he will be cranky at times too. So in order not to disturb Isaac and Hayley we sent them along with Ani to my parents’ place as usual and the Mrs stayed at home to care for Luke alone. As for me, I had to attend an international conference so I was not able to help out for all 3 days until the evenings when I'm back.

Even though Luke was sleepy he simply refused to be put down on his bed for naps. The Mrs had to carry him in her arms and let him sleep on her chest. All this while she was not able to get up and do anything. Luckily for her she had her iPhone next to her to she was able to catch up on the news, visit Facebook and serve the internet.

Coincidentally there were a number of Cantonese serial DVDs at home so she was able to catch up with those while Luke lay on her chest sleeping. She even had to skip lunch in order not to wake him up. Between going hungry and having to carry a crying and cranky baby for another few hours, the choice is obvious.

Through this experience the Mrs may have to rethink about being a stay-at-home mum. I honestly believe she now has another level of new found respect for all you SAHM. It is really not easy caring for a sick child. Some of you SAHM even have to take care of your sick child together with a healthy one all by yourself. That to me is a truly remarkable feat. I have not tried it but judging from the exhausted look on the Mrs’s face each evening I don’t think I will be too eager to volunteer my service anytime soon.

I know I have been lagging in posting new pictures of the children so here they are. I have also posted more on my Facebook photo album. Enjoy!




 



 

 

Friday, 16 October 2009

Frustration!!!

Isaac has just completed his first term of his weekly enrichment class. I am proud to say that within the few weeks of attending he is already mimicking the Zoo-phonics action. He is able to do or at least attempt to do about 98% of the action. The only one he has not really caught on is for Umber Umbrella Bird. He even finishes with the “and we all wake up” action after Zeke Zebra.

We are reciting this with him on a daily basis not because we want him to top the class but because he truly enjoys it. He will always smile when doing the action.

These days he has even improved further by making the sounds for Catina Cat, Kayo Kangaroo and Pee Wee Penguin.

Since he is enjoying himself so much hence we thought of getting the actual Zoo-phonics material so he can try and do the matching watch the CD as well. Now comes the frustrating part.

I’m sure most of you readers know that one cannot get the Zoo-phonics training material unless you enroll your kids with the Zoo-phonics school or Growing Up Gifted. I wasn’t convinced for it does not make sense not to sell a product that you have so I called up and the answer I got was ambiguous. First the lady asked if Isaac is attending any of the 2 schools and when I said no she told me they only sell to those students who are. Then she went on to say that I may have to buy the Deluxe set but she is unable to tell me the difference in these 2 sets and also the price. All she wanted me to do was email her director and wait for him to reply. It was been weeks now and nothing.

The Mrs knows I do not take such poor service kindly so she volunteered to call and follow up instead. This time it seems they’re more apologetic and said someone will definitely call her after 2 days but it has been a further 2 days and yet still nothing.

This led me to write an email to feedback to the main Zoo-phonics office in the States. Besides expressing my frustration I am also looking if I can buy the material from either their office or anywhere else that is close to Singapore.



There are 2 things that I do not agree with here. Firstly, why should a company that developed a good and proven training material limit its use to only students of certain schools? I would think as an Educator they should look at the broader picture. I am not asking them to give it away free or sell it cheaper or even the same price. A better business model would be for us to buy it at a higher price if our kids are not enrolled in their school.

The second thing that I have issue with is who on earth runs a business and do not respond to their prospective clients’ emails, enquires and feedback? I am not sure if this Singapore office is a franchise or a distributor for the main one from the States but whichever it is I am definitely not impressed. Perhaps from my email they know that I only wanted to buy the material hence they ignore me. Maybe if I write to the same person but this time expressing my interest in enrolling my 3 kids as well as my niece in their school he might reply within a heart beat.

This whole “not selling to children who are not our students” thing is silly because in case Mr Businessman does not realize I can always borrow the flash cards from friends and family to photocopy and laminate them. I believe I can also burn a copy of the CD for Isaac. I am trying to do the proper thing here by buying original when almost the entire basic set can be duplicated and yet these people are making it so much harder. In all honesty it is really much easier and cheaper to duplicate it on my own.

Alternatively I can get my friends who are sending their kids to the “preferred” school to help me buy a set. This way it is perfectly legal and it is very simple to carry out too. Surely they can’t be this anal and refuse to sell a second set to one of their student right?

I am not sure if the email to the head office will yield any result but it is certainly a good way to vent my frustration. I will surely keep you posted on the outcome. In the meantime please buy original.

On a lighter note, below is the video of Isaac mimicking a rhyme that was taught in class. He has only did it twice and at weeks apart but it has left enough an impression. Enjoy!

video

Thursday, 8 October 2009

10th!!

How time flies and this time I am not referring to my kids growing up. I am actually talking about being married for 10 whole years!!

19th Sept 2009 marked the 10th year that the Mrs and I exchanged our vows at The Lawn at Raffles Hotel which by the way is no longer there. That’s one thing that our love has outlasted.

We marked the occasion by shopping and getting drunk in Hong Kong. This trip was not planned for this occasion actually. If we were to plan then surely we would have headed to a country further away to mark this little milestone. This Hong Kong trip was actually postponed twice. It was meant to be a little getaway last year but just before we were to depart we found out that we were pregnant with the twins. Hence we postponed it till a few months later as Dr N was not comfortable with us flying so early into the pregnancy. Not sure if you read or remembered but the Mrs had this major bleeding issue and had to be hospitalized? Well, this happened to be around the time that we were supposed to head to Hong Kong after our initial postponement. I was at a lost then with everything that was going on hence dates were really the last thing on my mind. However I was told by the airline that I have to give them a date there and then in order to activate the postponement so the Mrs just asked me to postpone it to a year later.

We were the only ones going initially but in the end my bro, Mike and his wife decided to come along. For them it was a last minute thing too and they had no idea that we will be spending our anniversary there. The Mrs doesn’t like attention hence she insisted that we just spend it like any normal day.

The last time I was in Hong Kong must have been at least 2 years ago and I noticed that they have really done well in the language department. With the influx of Chinese tourists they have brushed up their Mandarin really well. Not only do we hear the service staff speak Mandarin in retail shops, we also heard the waiters try in the eateries normally patronized by the locals. Their command of English has also improved by leaps and bounds. This, I believed is all down to practice and a funny encounter at their airport highlights this. This guy, presumably the Manager at the Popeyes Chicken & Biscuit stall insisted on replying to me in English even though I spoke to him in Cantonese. After a few exchanges I gave up and spoke to him in English. Looking back now I should have stuck to Cantonese and it would have made a very interesting conversation for those behind me.

For those of you who noticed, yes I caved! After having 3 days of nothing but Chinese food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I really craved for other variety so when we were at the airport having our dinner, the choice was really obvious! We came back at different time and airline so imagine my surprise when I learned that Mike had the same thing too at the airport.

Although the trip was only for 4 days but it was already rather long for us. The Mrs really dislikes inconveniencing others so to leave our 3 kids with my parents was really uncomfortable for her. Especially when they are all babies and this being the first time, no one knows how they will react. Naturally phone calls were made to check on things on a daily basis (twice a day).

When we found out that all 3 babies did not sleep well the first night they were at their grandparents place, it sort of ruin the trip for the Mrs. She felt so apologetic towards my parents and Ani for they did not get much sleep at all. Thankfully they got better with the second and third nights.

The first night for us was rather interesting for upon touching down we met up with them and headed to Macau, a promise to Mike. We were there from about midnight and did not return to our hotel till about 6 the next morning. We were about S$200 poorer while my bro won around S$1,500.

The rest of the time we were just behaving like the commercial for visiting Hong Kong because we were really shopping and eating the entire trip. Every once in a while us guys will normally asked to stop and sit down for a cuppa or some light snacks or desserts.

We went to Lan Kwai Fong for some drinks on our last night. Within the 3 hours we were there my bro and I had the following:

1) 1 x Jello shot

2) A huge glass of Hoegaarden beer

3) 1 x Tequila Sunrise cocktail

4) 1 x Sex on the beach cocktail

5) 2 x Tequila Sunrise shot

6) 1 x Sex on the beach shot

7) 1 x Kamikazes shot

8) 1 x Zombie shot

9) 1 x Bourbon Coke

It had been a very long time since I had this much alcohol and thankfully I did not “merlion” and had no hangover the next morning. We managed to meet up bright and early for breakfast and then continued with our shopping before parting.

From this little experience I learned something interesting. Before departing we were just wondering which kid we will miss most and I thought I will miss Isaac the most since he is the most interactive one now. I am happy to announce that at the end of the trip we miss all 3 kids equal for their various reasons. The Mrs was watching their videos on her iPhone on the way to the airport and on the plane.

I believe it will be a few more years before we will embark on another trip without the kids. Then again it might be even longer for us to go on holiday with the kids due to the cost involved. Hahahaha