Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Survived!!

We survived!! Yes we managed to pull through the two weeks without Ani! Although it was a little challenging but I am proud to announce that everyone got by without any major problem.

One of my earlier concerns was how Isaac will react to Ani missing. Will he be asking for her constantly? As he sleeps with Ani every night will he cry for her for the whole two weeks? In the end I am pleased that all my concerns and worries were unfounded. Not only did Isaac adapt excellently, he never once asks for Ani during bedtime.

There were a couple of occasions when he would ask where was Ani and he seemed satisfied with our reply that Ani went home. We are not sure if he understands by ‘home’ we meant her own home in Indonesia or he thought she was at our home waiting for him. Sometimes he will forget that Ani is not around and he will run out of our room calling out to her for sweets, biscuits or Milo. He never kick up any fuss when we said she went home so long as we got what he wanted for him.

As for the twins they are too young to really notice her missing. Perhaps they are only too happy to be seeing their dad more each day for this dad showered them each morning. Naturally I like to think that was the case.

These two weeks would not have been so smooth if we did not get the support from my parents and my sister’s maid. All of them chipped in whenever they could and since the Mrs and I could not be there all the time we are really grateful for that.

Here is a picture of all the kids having their milk around 5pm.


In the morning I need help feeding the twins and putting them to sleep for I had to run out to pick Isaac from school. We will have the Mrs back each afternoon which was great for the most challenging part of the day was between 3 to 8pm. This period is when all 3 of them will be up and about and they are really a handful.

After this experience we truly appreciate Ani more for we now understand much better what she has to go through on a daily basis.

Take a look at my bruises (different legs) from handling the kids.




Not only that I actually developed sore throat towards the end of the two weeks from the constant screaming and shouting at the kids. So much so that Isaac can mimick after me now. Some of my favourite phases are:

Don’t run!

Too near! (when the kids stood right in front of the TV)

Children come! (this is what Isaac will say these days whenever he calls for his siblings)

Come in! (whenever he ventured out to the balcony and play with the broom and pebbles)

We actually asked Ani to make sure she drinks honey water regularly since her return. God knows she needs it.

Another challenging aspect of caring for the kids are the 2 weekends. We cannot stay at home for we will certainly be driven mad so we need to plan outings that included my parents. Thankfully being the doting grandparents that they are they gracefully accepted overtime ‘work’ and went out with us.

Below are videos and pictures that we captured during our outings which include Marina Square, West Coast Park and Terminal 3.
Here is a video of Hayley smelling a flower which was given to her. One fine day we brought the twins to the Botanic Gardens for a morning picnic after dropping Isaac off in school. A nice lady taking a liking to the twins gave Hayley a flower and she surprised us all by holding it to her nose and took a sniff at it. Who taught her that?!?!?!

video

Here is a video of Luke falling asleep at Marina Square and we were trying very hard to prevent him from sleeping. The reason was because it was almost 7pm and we were worried if he slept then he will not be able to sleep when we got home.
video

For the record we failed and he had a good nap in the car but thankfully it was only a rather short one which did not really disrupt his bedtime when we got home.
Below are pictures that we took of Isaac having fun at West Coast Park. Unfortunately his siblings could not join him for they are too young and more importantly Hayley’s dislike of the sand.



This was taken at Terminal 3. See how small Isaac is standing next to the XC60.

video
Notice how Hayley will spread her legs to prevent from touching the sand?

After these two weeks the Mrs really felt sorry for what Ani has to go through each day and in all fairness she did not sign up for this in the beginning so we are now considering employing another maid but that is a topic I will save for later.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Helpless

How time flies for Ani has recently finished her contract with us and has signed another 2 year deal with a pay increment. We are happy that she has decided to stay for she certainly didn’t sign up to take care of 3 babies in the beginning. When she arrived we only had Isaac but along the way you can say that her workload has increased by 3 folds. So deep down the Mrs and I were a little concerned that she may want to see her contract out and look for something perhaps a little less hectic.

So she will be heading home for her well deserved 2 weeks break and unlike her we are certainly not looking forward to it at all. Over the 2 years we are spoilt by her for we need not have to worry about preparing the kids and packing the necessary stuffs whenever we plan to go out. All we had to do was inform her of our plans and give her about half an hour and we will be good to go.

Changing the kids is the easy part hence we do it ourselves. It is the huge bags that we bring out that are very challenging. You cannot imagine the different kinds of stuffs that she packs in there in anticipation of the kids (well mainly Isaac’s) demand. Some examples besides the necessities such as milk powder, diapers, change of clothes, hot water etc; are sweets like the gummy bears, biscuits, packets Milo as well as this yogurt drink and some other stuffs that I cannot think of now. All I know is whenever Isaac demanded for something more often than not she will have it in those big bags. When the twins get really cranky in the car she will also have the right snacks to pacify them.

Now with her gone for 2 weeks, I believe we will be at a lost to a certain degree and won’t be surprised that we will miss out on an item or two.

There are other issues as well. Since we learned that the Mrs was pregnant with the twins Isaac has been sleeping with Ani for obvious reason. Now we are taking turns to put him to sleep each night. The really good thing here is he doesn’t have to be put to bed by Ani which means we can do it but we need to know his bedtime habits too.

Originally the Mrs wanted to take a 2 week break from work so the both of us can try and take care of them ourselves but her boss wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. Then the alternative was to look for a part-time babysitter to help out at my parents’ place every day until our return after work. The Mrs went to the various forums to search for recommended nannies and agencies. We actually interviewed a couple of them even. The cost for this arrangement will maybe set us back by about one grand easy. Not too many nannies are too keen to take up the position as well once they learned that we have 3 kids even though we promised them that my parents and to a certain extend I will be there to help out. We assured them that they will not be the only one to take care of all 3 of them at any one time but they are still worried and I can also understand why. One agency was even crazy (or stupid) enough to propose charging us 3 times the cost for having 3 babies to which we responded wouldn’t it make more sense then for us to hire 3 nannies?!?! For the company’s sake I seriously hope she is not the owner.

In the end after much thinking, planning and discussion with my parents we have decided against hiring outside help. One thing is my parents are not too crazy about the idea of having a stranger over at their place and more importantly the kids may not take to her at all.

So here’s the plan. I will send Isaac and the Mrs to school and work every morning and I will then head back to my parents’ place to bath and feed the twins. My parents and I will take care of them until the Mrs come home from work around 2pm. Her boss has compromised with her taking half day everyday for the 2 weeks. In between I will also be going to pick Isaac from school. Since I am working from home and my work allows me certain flexibility I will arrange for my appointments and meetings to the late afternoon when the Mrs can take over from me.

On paper it certainly looked very doable but I know we (the Mrs and I) will probably be in for some shock when the time comes. I truly believe that this little experience will make us appreciate more what Ani and my parents have to do on a daily basis.

It will certainly be a very tiring 2 weeks for we have to wake up much earlier to get Isaac changed, fed and dressed for school. We will also have to feed the twins before leaving the house. Putting them to sleep will not be so easy as well for currently we take one kid each at night but this will not be possible then.

Planning on what to do and where to bring them during the weekends will also not be easy. We definitely cannot stay at home the entire weekend with the kids for we, the parents will probably go mad. However to bring them out will require much work, planning and execution. To care for all 3 kids who are now running (Isaac), walking briskly (Luke) and unsteadily (Hayley) will be tough. The twins are at the stage where they do not want to be carried or be left sitting in the stroller. They will be repeating “walk walk” non-stop and struggling.

If you would like to volunteer your time in helping or have any suggestions at all you know how to reach me.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Lessons!!

As most of you know parenthood is new to the Mrs and I hence there are many lessons to be learnt. Although we have 3 kids but as their age difference is small our experience is really limited to how we handled Isaac. However as we all know every child is special and unique in their own way handling them requires very different technique.

Recently we learnt 2 very important lessons and those of you who are on Facebook with me will probably know of it by now.

The most important one is: Never trust your thermometer 100%.

We are very blessed in that up until about 3 weeks ago we have never had to bring any of our children to the emergency ward of any hospital. We usually let them ride out their sickness and until they turn 1 we abstain from administering any form of medication. Like our PD always says, medicines really just remove the symptoms but it is not the cure. Even when they have fever we will sponge them and watch their mood before we decide whether or not to administer medicine. Watching their mood and appetite is the key thing.

About 3 weeks ago Isaac had fever and Ani was taking his temperature every few hourly and since he is already past 2 years old we are more relaxed on giving him medicine. Unfortunately his fever never really quite subsided and in fact got higher. In the evening when we got home from work the readings were around 39 degree with the highest for that day being 39.5. We could also tell that he is not his usually cheerful self although he wasn’t cranky just a little more “manja” then usual.

We decided to bring him to KK emergency ward and we were shocked that the readings the nurse doctor took was around 40.5 degree because we brought our own thermometer and along the way and while waiting for our turn we were frequently taking his temperature and it never passed the 40 degree mark.

Now the weird thing here was when I took my temperature with our own and then with theirs the readings match. But when it comes to Isaac the difference is about 2 degrees.

After the entire episode I went down to the manufacturer and got them to check the thermometer for me they advise me that sometimes even a faulty one can take accurate readings up to about 38 degree but anything higher it won’t be accurate anymore.

When they checked the thermometer they found out that the area around the sensor was dirty and a little rusty. That was the cause for the inaccurate readings and after cleaning it thoroughly it worked fine and readings above 40 degree was measured accurately as well.

Looking back it was a rather scary experience for this meant that Isaac was probably at about 41.5 degree at one time for the highest recorded was 39.5.

I hope you learn from our experience and get another thermometer to be kept at home and should the reading be above 38 degree then have a second reading with the spare one just to be sure.

Now on a lighter side of things, I learnt another lesson and this time it was thanks to Luke.

The funny lesson: Always cover the toilet bowl!

The children have a habit of using our iPhones to play and watch the many Apps that we got for them. In fact Isaac is so good with it he knows how to launch the YouTube and look for his favourite videos. This by the way was learnt all on his own. Before he turned 1 he already know how to slide to unlock the phone and he could do it upside down as well.

Anyway back to Luke. One morning as I was washing up in the bathroom the twins were just walking around messing things up in the wardrobe area. After a while they were trying to come into the bathroom with me. I used my leg to block Hayley from coming in while the door was half closed but little did I know Luke has silently open the door and walked in. Next I heard him say “Throw!” and before I knew it I heard something dropped into the toilet bowl and to my horror it was the Mrs’s iPhone.

I shouted “Oh No!!” and the Mrs came running in thinking that one of the twins had hurt themselves. When she saw Luke in the bathroom she thought what happened to him and carried him right away. I honestly believed that my instant reaction saved him for when the Mrs learned that he is fine then everything else is secondary including her iPhone. Plus I knew she wanted to change it long ago due to the many scratches and teeth marks but as it was in perfect operational condition she cannot have it changed.

Now I know many of you readers are iPhone owners and in case you’re not aware, when under warranty your Telco will replace your iPhone free if the problem is not caused by water. In our case where clearly it is due to water then the cost will be S$350 when under warranty.

Fortunately SingTel decided to replace mine for free and it was due to my monthly bill otherwise we all know who will be paying for the replacement.............Luke!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Updates!

Wow! I believe this is the longest period for not updating this blog. I think I really need to put in more effort before all you remaining readers disappear as well. There is however a very good reason for not updating this time and that is due to some changes at the work front. Due to a change of company I have been very busy with all the usual handover and getting things ready for the new environment.

My new role as a consultant allow me to work a lot from home. Since this is a one man show for now so my work hours are very flexible which means I can take care of more household and children stuffs. Take fetching Isaac home from school for example, I certainly have been doing more of that lately. Running around brining Ani for her medical, collecting free diapers and exchanging shoes for the right size are examples of things on my “to-do” list.
Below is a video clip of Isaac (1st kid on the right with a pink toy hanging from his bag) being led from his class to the pickup point. This is how it is done on a daily basis when they move to and from their classes. The children are made to stand two by two and there is this ropewith rings in the middle for them to hold onto.

video

Before you all get excited and think that I am now a part-time SAHD I should clarify that the children are still going to their grandparents as usual. Not sure about your kids but I will not be able to do much work with them around for the moment they see me fire up the laptop they will all come running and stumbling (the twins) over much like moths being drawn to the flame. They will want to hammer away on the keyboard or poke at the LCD screen. Besides, I am still going out on an almost daily basis for my customers’ visits.

There are certainly new developments since my last post about the Mrs going away for her Japan trip. Isaac I believed has entered the much talked about “Terrible Two” stage but personally I think either he is the mild type or what we read about were much exaggerated. I would like to think that for Isaac’s case it is the former rather than the latter. He is much more vocal these days especially about the things that he doesn’t want so it is not uncommon to hear him say “No!”, “I don’t want” and “我不要”. It is rather fun teasing and irritating him sometimes but insisting “Yes” and “要” only to wait for his repeated response. I know it is probably not right but surely a parent can have some fun at his kids' expense right?

His behaviour seems to rubbing off on Luke for he is also saying “No” whenever he doesn’t want something and if we insist he will actually say “don’t want” although it is not that clear.

Since attending Nursery Isaac’s vocabulary has expanded by leaps and bounds. We can hear new words or phrases coming out of him on an almost daily basis. Some of the most recent ones are:

- Daddy come
- Daddy follow me
- Step by step
- See, cute baby

The twins are now walking about unassisted and my biggest fear is they may fall off our bed. They like to climb onto our bed and walk about but as they are still not that steady and strong they may just topple and fall off the bed. Although our bed is rather low, we recently changed it with them in mind, we’re still weary of the damage such a fall can bring.

Seeing the twins walking side by side unsteadily is rather amusing so I will try and find a chance to capture it on video and post it here so be sure to check back here. I only noticed they look rather amusing last Saturday when they insisted on getting on the floor during dinner at this famous steamboat place near Golden Mile. They were so insistent that even though we did not have shoes for them we let them walked about bare footed. We pick a quieter walkway of course. They were wearing rather matching outfits that day and it made them look rather cute.

Oh I have always wanted to mention that toddlers are similar to zombies that we see in movies. Like the zombies these toddlers are always trying to put your finger in their mouths to bite. If you are carrying them you have to beware that they may just take a chunk off your shoulders too (just experienced that last evening with Hayley). Even when it comes to walking they stumble around with their arms bent and raised in front of them just like the zombies too. If you don’t believe me grab the nearest toddler next to you and observe. A little make-up will greatly enhance the effect too.

We have found a family activity that we will be sticking to almost every Sunday except when it rains and that is to bring them to the pool. I like bringing them to the Singapore Poly Guild House pool for there is a very shallow part for the twins to walk and crawl on. At first the twins did not enjoy the water much and it required about half an hour for them to like being in the water but these days they have no problem soaking in it. Isaac especially is loving it. I enjoyed it so much that I went out to get some water gun for us while my dad contributed the rubber duckies for the twins.
Here are some pictures of the kids having fun!


His trademark cheeky smile!


This is the reason why we are heading back every weekend.

Isaac and his water gun.

See how happy he is!


Of all the 3 kids Luke takes to water the best.


The twins and their rubber duckies!


Anyone looking for housekeeper? Cute right?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Volunteers?

In the past before we were parents the Mrs would bring her parents to nearby countries for short vacations every once in a while. She was always guilty that she was unable to spend more time with them so she will take them to short getaways while they are still mobile.


Ever since we became parents she has stopped this practice due to obvious reason but I know deep down she would very much like to continue. It is not easy trying to be a wife, mother and good daughter at the same time.


The past two years have not been very nice as we witnessed the passing of our friends’ parents. Friends who are actually about the same age as us which means their parents are probably around the same age as our parents as well. Early this year we learned of another friend whose mum was diagnosed with cancer and it was at the advanced stage already. Instead of opting to go through the chemo therapy she decided to live out her remaining days happy and she started off by visiting Japan first.


I believed that incident triggered something within the Mrs and she discussed with me if it is alright for her to bring her folks for a holiday. What started out to be a trip to Taiwan has now morphed into a trip to see the cherry blossom in Japan. So come this Saturday she will bring her parents to Hokkaido for a week. There will only be the three of them so it is not exactly a holiday for the Mrs for she will be taking care of the old folks but I believe seeing them enjoy themselves is reward enough.


So starting this weekend it will be just Ani and I taking care of the three kids. There are minimum changes in the day since I have always been involved in preparing the kids to go to their grandparents place and Isaac to school. Small changes are instead of having the Mrs bring Isaac to the teachers at his school I will have to part my car and run in. Rest of the days will be pretty same-o same-o for they will be at my parents place until I come back for them in the early evening.


Without the Mrs I can be home earlier actually which is not necessary a good thing. This automatically means I will be bringing them home earlier also and once home Ani will proceed with her daily chores of cleaning up the place and it will be them versus me for about 2 to 3 hours before they turn in.


Hmmmm….. maybe I should get Ani to deprive them their afternoon naps so they will retire earlier in the evening. Muhahahahaha!!!! Just kidding Darling.


Honestly I am not at all worried about sending Isaac to school on my own or tackling them alone in the evening. Ani has proven to be of great help and my kids are nice to us for they all sleep by 9pm which leaves me with a lot of ‘me’ time. With the Mrs in Japan I think it is time to buy another one or two Xbox game. Woohoo!!!


Where I need help my readers are what to do and where to go this weekend. Usually with the Mrs around it is already not easy bringing the 3 of them out. Somehow we always managed but with only Ani and I, going out is not such a good idea at all.


Recently I noticed we are attracting a lot of stares and attention whenever we eat out. The fact that the waiters have to remove 3 normal chairs and replace them with 3 highchairs will already arouse people’s curiosity. When they see us walking in and taking our seats I can almost sense their stares and gossips. They will discuss amongst themselves if all 3 kids are ours and seeing the twins they will have more questions; if they’re twins and the age gap between Isaac and the twins. Once they determined that they are all ours you can definitely sense their astonishment. “I wonder how they cope” and “What were they thinking” are probably the general sentiment.


Back to the dining table, Isaac will be demanding to feed himself and will want this and that before he decides it is time to explore the restaurant. The twins will usually be good and quiet so long as we continue to stuff food in their mouths. Come to think of it maybe their mouths are too full to make any noise. However even they have their off days sometime and with the 3 of them behaving the way they do these people are probably taking pity on us.


With the Mrs away I can assure you that we will not be eating out and if we do it will surely involve my parents. My main concern is what to do with them in the day? Where can I bring them to burn off their energy? Places like Polliwogs are no good because while Isaac can enjoy with me chasing after him Ani will be left to watch after the twins alone.


Staying at home the entire weekend is also a terrible idea for tackling them for 2 to 3 hours is tiring enough I can’t imagine having to manage them for so many hours. They will still stick to their daily nap routine but it still leaves us with a good 4 to 5 hours of activities to keep them occupied.


My bro, Mike was kind enough to invite us to hang around with him and his family this weekend for he said they can help us take care of the twins. Now that is a friend indeed.


So now the question is do I have another good friend in you my readers? Any volunteers to help babysit this weekend?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Favourite

From the moment we brought the twins home we were asked time and again if we have a favourite amongst the 3 kids. Who do we prefer more? Frankly speaking I did question if I will ever have a favourite since it is only human to like something or someone more than others.

There were some concerns from Isaac’s Godma and Grandma that he may be neglected now that he has 2 younger siblings and I am still not sure if we managed to dismiss their unfounded concern after so many months.

My mum’s love and favouritism shown towards Isaac is still unmatched. Everyone can tell that Isaac is clearly her favourite grandchild. We have to monitor though in case things get out of hand. An example happened the other day when Isaac snatched Hayley’s toy causing her to cry and my mum immediately gave another toy to Hayley to try and pacify her. When I saw this I corrected her and returned the original toy to Hayley and told Isaac off. I explained to my mum that Hayley should not have to settle for another toy just because Isaac wanted the first one.

Don’t get me wrong though for Isaac is not the bully at home. He loves his siblings and is ever ready to kiss, hug and sayang them. It is just that when it comes to sharing toys he is not quite there yet. The twins do not fare any better as well and this is an area that we are monitoring and working on. Isaac is still a toddler after all so sometimes he doesn’t understand the full extend of the things that he should not do.

I made him a promise when we know he will be a ‘big’ brother at a young age that he will not miss out on anything from being a toddler. I have always reframed from imposing the responsibilities of an elder brother on him. He is still a big baby to me and he knows that. When I ask him where is daddy’s big baby, he will point to his own head and say “nai”. I want him to grow up at his own pace without having to worry about being a big brother to the twins. Perhaps in another couple of years then he will take on the role gradually.

When the twins were younger they were not showing much of their personalities and characters so there wasn’t much to compare between the 3 children. Some of you readers may not agree to us comparing but I like to think that it is a very natural thing to do. We compare things like the stages of motor skills development to how fast their teeth grow, to their speech development and of course their character and temper. We even compare how much milk they take and at what pace too. The way they sleep and at what time they sleep and how long their nap last.

Now that the twins are a little older the comparison is getting more interesting because their personalities are beginning to show. Take Hayley for example. She has always been the quiet and demure one while Luke is always very demanding and Isaac is well ……… Isaac. Then we begin to wonder if there is any truth to the theory that having more than one hair whorl means a person is “naughtier”. You see, 妹妹 is the only one in the family with 2 hair whorls. But the theory may have some truth after all for these days 妹妹 is certainly no push over. When her brothers take her toys she will scream at them and will try and get them back. Very often her scream is way louder and we can see from her face just how angry they made her. I can already see this girl standing toe to toe against any boy bully in her life.

I have also heard stories that being the middle child in the family is not good. They are often neglected and they grow up aloof and weird in some cases. I personally do not have this experience because people around me are either the eldest or youngest. I don’t believe I have too many friends who are the middle child. So any input from you guys will be helpful.

Note: By Input I do not mean scare so please do not scare us for in case you forgot we have a middle child in Luke! Thank you!

With Luke nicknamed “Blur” didn’t really help the matter too. In his defense he is actually much better now. He smiles a lot more and has many expressions as well but just not in front of the camera. I have posted the below clip to support my case and to help him get rid of that nickname.

video

Now back to age old question of whether or not we have a favourite all I can say is that an experiment I conducted not too long ago probably summed it all up for us.

Back in September the Mrs and I went to Hong Kong for a short getaway without the kids and I remembered wondering out loud to the Mrs if we could find out who we miss more during the trip. I guess I thought if we know who we miss more then that will probably mean we favour that child more. Frankly I am a little surprised but very pleased with the outcome.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Chinese New Year

I have never quite enjoyed Chinese New Year and I believe it is due to the fact that I hate to make small talks. When I was younger the topic will always revolve around schools and studies and when I started working it will be about the job of course. Thankfully I don't think I have very much experience on the "So when are you getting married" bit but I believe it was because I got married at a rather young age. Then of course we won't be spared on the "So when are you having babies" question.

My dad's side of the family is small so each year we only need to go to one place and spend about 2 hours there. If we meet all the relatives then fine if not better luck next year. This arrangement suits me just nice for I will always be free from the afternoon of the 1st day onwards and it will usually be movies and mahjong from then on! Woohoo!

Then along came the Mrs. Her family and extended families are huge and they will all gather at her mum's place on the 2nd day. Being the boyfriend I will of course go over and hang around but I will be "let off" after a couple of hours to meet my mahjong kakis. This arrangement lasted until we got married of course. Once I am family the duration of my stay was automatically lengthened (I believe it was amongst the fine prints on the wedding certificate along with the "I cannot sleep before her" clause). Although there were some years when my dad needed me to fill in for their mahjong session hence I was able to make an early departure.

Now that I am a parent the Chinese New Year (CNY) has brought a different set of joy but I still feel the same set of pain. No, actually come to think of it, it is worse!

Let us begin with the pre CNY days! One has to admire the Mrs's genuine joy and excitement for the CNY. She will always bug me to go with her to Chinatown to shop for the New Year decorations and goodies. I must add that being pregnant, be it with Isaac or the twins never dampen her spirit. She will still want to go. This year was even better for she decided that the 3 kids should not miss out on such nice festive mood so Ani and I were ordered to gear up and bring all the kids along. Needless to say it wasn't easy but honestly it wasn't that bad either. However I dare not imagine how are we going to cope with all 3 of them next year for the twins will definitely be able to run around and I am positive the Mrs will still want to continue her little tradition of going to enjoy the festive mood.

Seeing the kids dressed up in their chi-na clothing is probably the highlight for me. For this I have to thank the Mrs for her last minute scrambling through the online as well as actual retail shops for the cutest little clothing for all 3 of them. Searching for one is already hard as some you will no doubt testify to but to scrounge around for three is something else altogether. We should probably start earlier next year.

One of the differences is unlike previous years we have to wait for the relatives to come so they can take a look at the kids. For those who could not make it we will have to go to their place to visit. I guess I should be happy that these people are taking such an interest in my kids and maybe I will in years to come but by then I’m rather sure their interest would have diminished.

The most tiring and hardest part was the running around after my kids at the relatives' place to make sure they don't damage anything or injure themselves. Isaac was climbing up and down the sofas, opening cupboard doors and even rearranging some of the furniture to his own liking. Luke for now at least was restricted to crawling around but that did not stop him from getting up and reaching for the drinks and goodies that were laid out on the coffee table.

Then there was Hayley who didn't fancy strangers holding her especially in our presence. Unfortunately for her being the only girl in the family and also the only grand daughter available all the other relatives wanted to hold her for a while. Besides watching over the boys I had to constantly look out for her to make sure she was not too traumatised by all the passing around. I'm certain it wasn't very pleasant at all for her and thank goodness the boys are generally alright with strangers carrying them.

From the many status updates and comments I saw on Facebook during that period I am sure I was not the only one who found it tough. In fact there were a number of people who were pleased that the CNY was over and stressing on how tired they were. I cannot imagine how an ex-neighbour of mine managed to bring her kids for visitings during the entire 15 days.

Having 3 kids also has this funny little effect on us. We will try and avoid giving red packets to strangers with children in the same room for we actually felt bad that should we give them one they will have to return us with three. As a result we will just shake on it and wished each other well. I could have sworn I saw a certain sense of relief on their face (kidding). I'm sorry friends, there is no running away for you guys so if you want to breakeven then you know there is really only one thing to do.

Here are some of the pictures that I have selected for this post. I will upload the rest of the pictures on my Facebook at a later date when I can find the time.
 
Isaac still with a little of blue black just under his eye.
 
 
For once Luke was not paying attention to the camera. Otherwise he will not have expression again.
 
 
Hayley with her usual big and round eyes.
 
 
Our pride and joy!
 
 
The traditional potrait taken during CNY at Godma's place!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Twins' 1st Birthday

It's official! I'm considered old and it is not because of the New Year or this being my year (Tiger). There was a recent study done and it has been found that the younger generation's interest in blogging and twittering has dropped over the years. These days they are more into "micro-blogging" like status updating on Facebook. The reason I took so long to blog was because I was struggling within if I should continue to blog and be deemed as "Out" and "so 2006" or should I remain with the "In" crowd and only update my FB status. In the end I decided to remain true to my age.

Seriously, with the Twins' birthday celebration, the Chinese New Year as well as work, we have been really busy. Furthermore I had to wait for about 2 weeks to receive the thumb stick with all the photographs from the photographer that we engaged, no thanks to the air show where he had to do some work there. This is the real reason why it took me so long to have this post up.

Speaking of Photographers, blogging does have its advantages. Take you all for example, amongst you readers there are already a couple of you who are in the photography business. The few that I had contacted and considered were also very kind to offer me discounts. Maybe you appreciate the financial strain in having to raise 3 kids through reading my blog. In the end due to the clash of schedules we were not able to engage the one that we wanted but this reader was very nice to recommend her associate to us.

Just like Isaac's birthday we kept this party to a small group of friends and families only. As a matter of fact the people that we invited are probably more or less the same. Another similarity with Isaac's party is that the theme is also ice cream but instead of Ben & Jerry's we held it this time at Swensen's @ ION. Since we were celebrating 2 birthdays we figured we could not offer only a single scope of ice cream to our guests. We need an ice cream buffet for them!

Typically being the hosts we did not have much opportunity to truly enjoy the ice cream buffet. We were busy going around mingling and making sure that our guests were comfortable and enjoying themselves. I only managed one round of ice cream and only 2 scoops at that. I believe I will try and go back for a proper experience. Besides the many flavours, there were also many different kinds of toppings as well as fondues, waffle and many other ways of having your ice cream.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who made it to celebrate this joyous occasion with us. Below are just a handful of the pictures that were taken on that day. For the rest of it you know where to find them. Guess I'm not so "Out" after all huh?!

Meet the birthday girl!


Meet the birthday boy!


Meet the big brother!


Meet the family!


The Cake!


These were the souvenirs that we gave to all our guests on that day.
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What were they exactly?
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M&M's chocolates printed with the twins' faces!
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These were the wordings that we chose to be printed on the M&M's.


Picture of Luke printed on the M&M's!


Picture of Hayley printed on the M&M's!


Don't they look good enough to eat?

Thursday, 28 January 2010

From PM to AM

I mentioned in an earlier post that this year will bring many changes for Isaac but I wasn’t counting on two things. Firstly Isaac had to re-experience another learning environment so soon after starting school and secondly, I had to wake up before 7 each morning from now on.

This week is like another new school term for Isaac because we had switched him to a morning class. We were all along hoping to get into the morning session but at the time of application for this school we were already on the waitlist so there was no need to even discuss which session we preferred. When they called us to tell us that they were opening new classes we happy to be have Isaac enrolled even if he was assigned to the afternoon session.

Then came the call last Thursday. I was offered the chance to move Isaac to the morning session. I told the lady I need to discuss this with the Mrs, Ani and my parents before getting back to them. After all it involves a number of people when it comes to sending and picking him up from school.

Surprisingly everyone agreed that it is a good move although my mum was a little reluctant. Like me she was concerned about Isaac having to readapt to another class and teachers. He has just gotten used to the original class as well as the teachers, he would even say goodbye to my dad when entering the classroom, and we have to move him now.

He being in the morning session is good for everyone because this way the Mrs and I get to drop him off at the school each morning while my dad only has to pick him up at 11am. This compared to when he was in the afternoon session and my dad had to send and pick him. I believe deep down we all know this is a better arrangement even though we know Isaac might have to “suffer” a little during the first week or so. Better now then when he is really comfortable months later right?

This Monday was a little trying for all of us. We used to be able to sleep till about 7.30 each morning but we have to wake up like latest by 7 each morning. In order not to be late we will have to organize our own things each night.

As expected Isaac was not too happy when he was introduced to his new classroom and teachers. He actually turned cranky and cried a little when we handed him over to the new form teacher.

Oh I forgot to add that because most of the students in this new class are rather settled down, the teacher has decided to allow the kids to stay for the entire 3 hours. Parents who are concerned can choose to still pick up their kids half way. When I was given the option last week I had already decided to let him stay for the full 3 hours. I had an agreement with the teacher though, I will be on standby somewhere and if she finds that Isaac cannot last the 3 hours she is to call me and I will pick him up. Hence I was on childcare leave on Monday.

Besides getting a little cranky for the first 2 mornings when we led him to his class Isaac actually did quite well. He lasted the 3 hours and was seen having fun in class. The next two days he fared even better for he isn’t as cranky. There is however still this little issue that we have to sort out. He doesn’t like us to put on the socks and shoes for him. This has been the case since day 2 of the term. Each time someone puts on the socks and shoes for him he will refuse and cry.

Initially we thought that perhaps the shoes were tight so he was uncomfortable so the Mrs and I went out one evening to buy him bigger size shoes. Isaac is wearing size 6 now so we wanted to get size 7 but with a little silver on the side. They only had size 8 for that so I told the Mrs to buy it and pick another one in size 7. My rationale is he will be wearing it eventually anyway. At least this saves me the trouble of having to search in the future.


His current size 6



His new size 7 shoes on standby.



His size 8 shoes for the future!



Can you tell the difference?

The best part is we realized after we got home that actually his size 6 shoes are still alright. It might be another few more weeks before he needs to change them. So now we are back at where we started. Why doesn’t he like us to put the socks and shoes on? Some might say it could be psychological as in he doesn’t want to go to school but if that is the case then he should have cried each morning when Ani puts on the uniform for him. Any suggestions or advice from you experience parents will be appreciated.

Speaking of socks, something happened many months ago and I thought I should share with you for I find it quite funny.

I bought myself a few pairs of socks to wear with my snickers and when the Mrs saw it for the first time she remarked:


Notice the 'L' on the sock?

Mrs (a little proud and a little mockingly at the same time): Wah someone has to wear size “L” socks now ah?

Me (a little worried and walking hurriedly over): Sure or not? Can’t be right? Thought they are all free size?

Mrs (teasingly): You see. (Pointing the L on my sock)


Notice the 'R'?

Me (relieved and proudly): Aiya no lah! Hello! “L” is for left! See! (Picking up the other sock)

Mrs: hahahahaha (I could have sworn I could almost sense the disappointment in her)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

First week in school

Do you all remember how it all went down during your very first day of school? I for one remembered mine very clearly for some strange reason. It was not as if it was very traumatic in the first place.

Like most of you (I imagine we are all about the same age right?) I did not attend any playschool or nursery so my first year was straight to kindergarten and I attended the good old neighbourhood PAP ones.

From what I can recalled my Mum was asking me if I would cry in school and I assured her that I would not but I was affected by the other crying kids (really it’s true) and ended up crying too. What happened next was very interesting. I remembered that there was this dark kitchen in the PAP facility and the teachers were taking the crying kids, one at a time, into the kitchen area only to return without them. Suddenly alarm bells started going off in my mind. I probably thought that the teachers brought the noisy kids in to be slaughtered so I stopped crying there and then. As I got older I learned that the teachers brought the cry babies to their parents through the backdoor.

That was about my experience but guess you weren’t here for that right? What you really want to know is how Isaac fared during his first week in school. Not how his old man went through all those years ago.

You will be glad to know that Isaac did extremely well on his first day. You can tell he was excited and he even posed for some photo taking. He was also excited to be carrying his own bag and tumbler. When we arrived he was quietly observing everything that was happening around him and wasn’t cranky at all. He walked quietly besides my dad and was led into his classroom unknowingly. Since we opted not to remain in class we left the classroom as soon as he was in. The poor fellow didn’t even know what hit him. He probably turned around and no one was there anymore.

He was alright in the beginning sitting down at the same table while a mum was reading to her child. He then got bored and wandered around on his own. However he soon started to miss us and wanted to go to the main door and that was when the teacher picked him up but he continued to point at the door. She then carried him to all the different corners of the classroom to try and distract him but we could see that he was pouting and his eyes were red and teary but full credit to him for he did not cry (yes, to this father, tearing and crying are two different things). Not wanting to risk being spotted by him, kids know to look at the glass panel on the doors; we left to do our own things only to come back about 15 minutes before his classes finishes to pick him.

When we came back we were glad to see that he was all settled down and looked to be having fun although he wasn’t smiling. He was one of the first few to be released and to see the bright and cheeky smile certainly helped us, the parents and grandparents overcome our anxiety. It is also good to learn that my boy does not bare grudges and yes you read right, Isaac was indeed escorted by 4 adults on his first day of school.

The feedback from his teacher was he only cried when she asked him to eat his meal. We forgot to mention to her in the beginning that he is not too big on eating so let him be if he chooses not to eat. Hence without knowing the teacher tried to get him to eat time and again which Isaac must have felt like being forced to eat hence he cried. He apparently returned to his usual self once meal time was over.

On his second day we could sense that something was wrong because he refused to put on the uniform and when we put on his white shoes he cried. I was worried that he would remembered his 1st day in school and not be as cooperative for the coming days and my worry came through but only to a certain extend.

Thankfully he was only a little cranky when putting on his uniform and he was alright during the journey to school. He only acted up again when I carried him into the hall leading to his class. By the time we entered his classroom he was crying already. I did what I was supposed to do and that was to simply hand him to the teacher and left the classroom with him crying.

During the next 10 minutes or so we were playing hide and seek by the glass panel trying to catch a glimpse to see if he had stopped or was he still miserable. I am proud to say that he stopped crying within 5 minutes of me leaving him. Since his class was only for 1.15 hours during this 1st month we waited in school and we made regular visits to take a peek at how he was doing.

The same continued for the 3rd day and we saw improvement on Thursday and Friday for my dad reported that although he turned cranky at home when they changed him, he did not cry in school at all.

That ended our very nervous first week of Isaac attending school. I am truly grateful that he did not cry and wailed like some of the other kids. Looking at the parents’ body language and apologetic look, I almost wanted to go over and tell them that it was okay and as fellow parents, we understand.


Fussing over and getting him ready for his 1st day in school.


Waiting in line to be brought to his class. Looked kind of lost ya?


His cheeky self before school!

Friday, 8 January 2010

'Motherly' Father

This week I have seen the Mrs sniggered and roll her eyes at me countless times. Looking back now it is also possibly the one week that I feel most maternal. I was so stressed up by Isaac going to school that there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t check, double and triple check with the Mrs on the things that we need to prepare.

There were times that I deliberately added in some stuff just to get on her nerve for rolling her eyes at me.

Me: Oh! Have we washed his uniform?

Mrs: (gave me the ‘here-we-go-again’ smile) Don’t know.

Me: Oh! We have to prepare the fruit too.

Mrs: (didn’t even bother to reply. Just continued with her ‘smile’)

Me: What about his tumbler? We need to replace this one since he can’t open or close on his own.

Mrs: (again no response. Not even a smile now. Just continued reading her magazine)

Me: (a little irritated by now) Hey! We have not even prepared his pencil case and stationery.

Mrs: (very irritated by now. Rolled her eyes) Ai yo! He doesn’t need pencil and stationery yet!

Me: (with a smug look) I know!

I can’t really blame her but at the same time it is also not really my fault. I was merely thinking out loud while driving. Plus the fact is we really have not gotten some of the stuff ready till today.

We actually got him a new tumbler some months back but we learned later that he is not able to open and close the catch on his own for it is very tight. Guess we’ll have to bring him along this weekend to pick another one.

The school requires him to bring an uncut fruit everyday and we hadn’t gotten that yet but in her defense it is probably better to buy them nearer Monday.

Besides the above there are other issues as well.

Me: How do you think they are going to manage bringing the kids up and down the stairs? Isaac will have problem because he needs to hold on to the side railings.

Mrs: (a little annoyed) I’m sure the school knows what to do.

Me: (picturing him and his classmates struggling at the stairs) Oh I know! I’m sure they will use the lift. They have to use the lift right since I’m sure many of the N1 kids will not be so good at climbing up and down the stairs yet.

Mrs: (shook her head)

The below happened last night on our way home from my parents’ place.

Me: Ani, have you washed Isaac’s uniform?

Mrs: (the same ‘smile’ again)

Ani: Yes. They’re washed.

Me: What is that smile for?

Mrs: (really trying hard not to laugh) No, I was playing with Luke that’s all.

Me: Eh?! I think he has not gotten the school socks yet right? It was out of stock right?

Ani: Yup. We do not have his socks yet.

Me: Then how?! (picturing him in his white shoes without socks)

Mrs: (irritated) Ai ya! We let him wear normal white socks for the first day lah!

Me: Oh ya, right! (silly smile)

Actually I may have inherited this behaviour from my mum or maybe I was the one who influenced her.

She knew I was trying to get Isaac accustomed to his bag by pinning the Mickey Mouse button and name tag. One day while she was showing Isaac his bag with the Mickey Mouse and trying to reinforce the idea into him, she went up to my dad as well and told to remember to pick up the right bag.

According to Ani the conversation went something like this.

Mum: Eh, you make sure you remember to pick up the right bag ya? The one with the Mickey Mouse button and name tag.

Dad: (finding it funny and annoying at the same time) Ya lah! I’m already in my 60’s so I’m sure I’ll know which bag is his ok?! Sheez.

The Mrs complained that it is only his Nursery 1 and I am behaving like this she can’t imagine what I will do when he attends Primary 1. However I have the feeling that I may not be so anxious because this is after all his very first day in a school. By the time he attends Primary 1 he would have four years or training in a school environment so I should be able to fare better.

Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We’ll have to see what both Isaac and I are made of first come Monday. After that I have the twins’ first day of school to handle. Will it be double the anxiousness for me?

Monday, 4 January 2010

The student, the stand and plastic cups

Many look forward to the New Year as it brings along new hope and new beginnings. For others it could mean new environment and new people in their lives. For Isaac this year will surely bring many new and exciting changes for him.

For starter he will be officially going to Nursery 1 in exactly one week’s time. Till now I am still very nervous on this behalf. I am preparing myself for his teary eyes and maybe even wails. I remembered asking a reader how did she cope sending both her daughters to school last year and she said the best thing to do is for us to simply drop them off and go for our own cuppa and be back in time to pick him up later. This is the same advice given by the Principal. She claims it is better for the child in the long run and will help him/her settle in much faster. So this is exactly what we will do. We made up our mind during the ‘meet-the-parents’ session and there is no turning back now.

People have been asking me if I have prepared Isaac for school but besides telling him I am not sure what else is there to do. I’m rather certain he does not even grasp the concept of school yet. The closest thing to school for him was the weekly enrichment class that he attended. All I can do now is perhaps to let him get used to his school bag. We were told by his form teacher to help him identify his school bag for all the kids are carrying the bags. To achieve this we have decided to add a couple of the Mickey Mouse (his favourite cartoon character for now) pin and tag on his bag.

Below are some pictures of him in his school uniform.


Yes the pants look a little to big but they are already the smallest!


Now even the shirt looks big!


Looks better sitting down, I think.



Finally a close up on his cheekyness


I really like his smile on this picture. Very natural.

I heard that it is usually harder for the fathers to let go when it comes to things like this. Is this true? The Mrs seems pretty relaxed about the whole thing so far. I believe Sunday will be a sleepless night for me.

Meanwhile the twins are making good progress of their own. They have just turned 11 months yesterday and Luke is defying all the saying about girls being faster. Up till now he is usually about a couple of weeks ahead of Hayley in terms of development.

He started to sit up first before Hayley can sit on her own a week of two later. Luke is also the first to crawl and is still crawling faster and steadier than Hayley. These days Luke is showing signs that he is ready to make his own stand, literally. He is able to stand unassisted for about 5 seconds or so. He usually helps himself up with our bed and then let go before falling on his bum. Hayley while standing assisted doesn’t look too keen on making her own stand yet.

Looking at them now we are gearing up for the chaos that they will bring once they are able to walk and run. As it is we are having a hard time caring for them alone when they decide to crawl in the opposite direction while Isaac is happily running around and climbing up and down. I do not believe anything in the world can truly prepare for what we are about to face.

I told the Mrs a couple of weeks ago that we may have to forgo eating out for the next 2 to 3 years if Isaac’s current behaviour is anything to go by. While it is easier to sit him down in the highchair when we eat, his patience will not last long.

There are usually a few things that we can do to distract him. Perhaps this might come in handy for you too.
We start off by letting him have his own cutleries and place some food on his plate and let him have his way with it. Half the times he will be succeed in feeding himself while other times we will see him spilling the food on the floor or on himself.

Once he has had enough of the food he will want to get off or will target our ice water or whatever cold drinks we have on the table. These days we have to resort to telling the waitresses not to bring us our ice water until we tell them to. Isaac has developed the habit of pouring water from one cup to another. We have resorted to bringing small plastic cups (those that the restaurants give out for ice water) out so that he can last that much longer in the highchair while we gobble down our food. The end result for his is usually Isaac wetting himself with the water in the cups.