Monthly Archives: May 2011

Testing Times

Max is going through a phase at the moment, its the ” I’ll try my best to drive my mother up the wall” phase. He is clingy, whiny and about 5 other miserable dwarfs all lumped into one. It started a few days ago and escalated yesterday. Nothing was right yesterday, he cried over every thing. Shoes weren’t put on properly, cry, had to wait for his meal, cry, you name it, he cried.

Naps and bedtimes are the worst, the boy who used to sleep all by himself now screams and cries anywhere from 5 minutes to 1.5 hours. Yes, 1.5 hours! Thankfully dear Ally can sleep with his screaming, I have no idea how she does it. The rest of us plug in our headphones and wait till he falls asleep.  We have determined that he’s not sick, at least not physically but is definitely threading on very thin ice. He was put in the naughty corner last night and will keep being sent there as long as he keeps this up. It’s a battle of wills to see who breaks first, him or us. In the meantime I shall provide you with pictures of a rather innocent and sweet looking Max taken at his last shoot.

Don't be deceived by his angelic look, the boy sure has a big set of lungs


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School Issues

It’s the end of the school term and thank goodness for that. In the last few weeks, we have been dealing with some school issues. There is a child in Ally’s class who seems to lack the social skills appropriate for her age. She smacks the other children, pushes them when they are in her way…etc. Unfortunately, Ally has been on the receiving end more than once. The first time it happened we thought it was a one off incident, Ally shrugged it off as well. I did point it out to the teacher though. Then it happened several more times, enough for us to become concern. I sent an email to Ally’s teacher to let her know about the situation. To the school’s credit, they did take action immediately. We noticed that the assistant teacher would often sit next to the child at times when she was most likely to strike the other children.

But recently, Ally has come home from school rather upset. I honestly think she has had enough of being pushed/hit and she’s finally expressed that unhappiness to us. The best part of a small school, I feel, is that it’s truly a close knit community. Her principal knows the names of all the children and we see her on a daily basis. She’s not just some figure whom we know sits in an office far away. We had a talk with Ally’s teacher as well as the principal to see what could be done. In the meantime, the school was also in contact with the child’s mother.

As a mother, it pains me to see Ally being picked on and coming home upset, school should be a happy place for her. I know the school has to remain neutral about the whole situation, but at times I really feel like speaking to the child’s mom to let her know how her child’s actions have affected mine.

The holidays will be a good break for all the children to come back and start anew. We can see that the child is trying to make friends with the children in the class. Unfortunately, no one wants to play with her since they know what she tends to do. This has made her frustrated and causes her to hit out even more. It’s a vicious cycle. I feel that this child needs help that is beyond what the school can provide. She needs to learn what are appropriate social skills with a qualified behavior therapist in order for her to integrate in the classroom better. I have suggested this to the teacher but I’m not sure how open the child’s parents will be to the idea. There is still this whole stigma attached to the word “therapy”. One always assumes that something must be seriously wrong for a child to seek the help of a therapist. I have always been very open with the fact that Ally sees a speech therapist on a regular basis and I’ve had some people ask point blank ” what’s wrong with her that she needs one?”  I always explain that there is nothing wrong with her, she just needs help to be clear in her speech. I never want Ally to feel that there is something “wrong” with her because there isn’t. Her therapy sessions consist of a lot of learning through play and that’s what I say to her each time we have to go. I usually say to her, ” Ally, we’re going to meet with Ms X today to play some games and she wants to hear how well you can speak”

I truly hope that the parents will work with this child throughout the holidays, I hate to see the situation escalate and turn into something ugly. This child is physically bigger than the rest of the children and could hurt them quite badly even though that might not have been her intention. We have decided to give it some time, to give the school and the child’s parents a chance to work things through. But if she lays a hand on Ally again, you can be sure I’ll be asking for a parents/teacher conference with that child’s parents.

Matt and I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue as you can imagine and we both realised the benefits of being able to drop and pick up Ally from school instead of putting her on the school bus. Luckily for us we have our own transport and I have the time to ferry her back and forth. This has allowed me to stay in regular contact with her teachers and the principal. we’ve built up an open channel of communication through our daily interactions. When this situation happened, there was no awkwardness when we went in to speak to them. It also allows me to see who Ally’s friends are at school and what the classroom dynamics are like. In a way, it has provided a good insight into her school life which has helped us in dealing with this situation. Things like this are bound to happen in the course of her school life, maybe it’s good that it has happened now where the classroom is still a rather intimate setting and the teachers can keep a close watch on the children. I hope Ally learns to deal with this and regain some of her confidence.


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Ally’s School Report

It’s nearly the end of the term and I have a parent/teacher conference with Ally’s teacher on Monday. I didn’t even realise that they give out reports for Pre-K! Don’t think we had those in my time.

Ally is doing well in school, socially she has made friends and is able to share with others. I’m really please that they complimented her on her good manners as well. True to herself, she likes to stick to a particular routine and her teacher noted that she needs to be encouraged to try out new things.

Her fine motor skills has improved, she is more willing to write and often at home, will ask me for paper to draw. What a difference 4 months has made.  Academically, Maths seems to be her strongest subject at this point, as for her mandarin, she’s doing way better than I thought. Her teacher is pleased with her progress and I was shocked she actually could count to ten since we don’t speak mandarin to her at all.

Her report confirms everything we already know about her, I’m glad to see that she has settled into school so well. Most importantly, she looks forward to going and is keen to learn.

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A New Playscape

We headed over to T3 to check out a new play area at the basement. I can’t remember what it’s called but it looked interesting.

The play items had lots of lights and different features, Max wasn't quite sure about the water beneath the slide

The spinning tunnel

The place was brightly lit and looked whimsical, Max was very wary of everything while Ally jumped straight in with gusto.

She loved the climbing frame

The funny merry go round thing

It’s a small area and Ally got bored after about an hour, Max was just starting to warm though so we stayed a little while more. I can imagine the place can get pretty chaotic on the weekends when there are more kids. The ball pit area is rather small and the younger ones like Max, can get quite badly hurt if no one watches them. That’s easier said then done cos I was in the ball pit with two other moms and it already felt cramp.

Still unsure about the whole place

Finally enjoying himself

Showing Max how its done

He found falling down just as fun as trying to jump

Would I take the kids back again? Maybe not unless its a special treat. It cost us $36 for the 3 of us for two hours of play and frankly at their ages, they will never last a full 2 hours. There are lots of playscapes that are more affordable. I personally feel the modular playscapes offers the children a lot more fun. The play area at T3 was definitely alright for a one off visit but they really should consider lowering their entrance fees in order to stay competitive.


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Mama Made

I’ve been busy sewing some clothes for the kids, thanks to Bonnie at Fishsticks Design , I decided to try and sew a T-shirt for Max. I have to say it turned out better than I expected and I’m really pleased. It didn’t take too long as well, an hour tops.

I made Max a pair of pants, complete with pockets using Bonnie’s inside out pocket pattern. I’ve yet to master the hidden pockets yet, my first two attempts were a disaster so we shall leave that for another day.

Max in his "Mama Made" outfit, the pants cost less than $2 to make

Ally is into a really girly phase at the moment, she loves twirly skirts and dresses so I bought a pattern from Mccalls to try and sew a dress for her. I’ve always had a phobia of these traditional patterns, they always seem extremely complicated. True enough it was, first of all I had to print out 25 pages of patterns and try to piece the entire thing together like a jigsaw puzzle. Then I had to figure out which patterns were needed for her dress. I chose the smallest size, US 3. It took me about 4 hours but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Ally's attempt at posing for me

Testing out her twirly dress

And again

What you can’t see from the picture are the safety pins that are holding the back of the dress. It turned out WAY too big, at least 5 inches too big in the bodice area. I’m not inclined to alter the dress so she’ll just have to grow into it. In the meantime I might make her another one which fits her better. I love the fabric, not even sure where it’s from since I took it from my mom’s stash. Pity I don’t have enough left to make her a smaller version.


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Sink or Swim

Ally is no doubt a water baby, she loves swimming and if you ask her what she wants to do in the afternoon, she’ll say ” swim!” But she didn’t start off like that.

I love the water and always wanted the kids to learn to be water safe. Ally started lessons at around 18 months, we didn’t do it any earlier because of her various ENT issues. In the beginning, she was the child that was always crying. She loved the water but lacked the confidence. She would cry and scream and no doubt people around us thought we were torturing her. We perservered with lessons and thankfully her coach has the patience of a saint. On top of her regular swimming lessons, we took her to the pool as often as we could. We would just let her play in the baby pool and never forced her to put her head under if she didn’t feel like it.

Those early days are but a distant memory, at the moment Ally loves the water and is a very confident little swimmer. She has been learning basic strokes and techniques and though she has a long way to go, she loves swimming which is great.

She is always eager to start her lessons

Surfacing after diving down to retrieve the dive sticks

Getting ready to swim to her coach

Despite her ENT issues, she's made remarkable progress

Ally is extremely determined and yes, competitive as well. Though she can’t hold her breath as long as her other friends, she tries very hard. I guess with her nasal passages always blocked, it’s hard for her to really hold her breath for a long time.  But we’ve seen improvement and I’ve no doubt she’ll catch up soon.

Introduction to Freestyle

Max on the other hand, started swimming lessons at 4 months. He was fearless and took to it like a fish, he could swim underwater for short periods of time and it didn’t faze him. As he got older, he became more cautious , we took a 6 month break from swim classes to settle Ally into school and by the time we started again, he became hesitant. But we continued to take him to the pool on a regular basis and he’s slowly gaining his confidence. Since we went through a similar experience with Ally, we know that he’ll get there eventually.

Happy to be splashing

Cheeky boy trying to splash mama

When he's pushed out of his comfort zone, this is what happens

Taken 8 months ago, he was much more confident then

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It’s Too Darn Hot!

The heat has really been getting to all of us, Max looks like he perpetually just had a shower and everyone has been just that little bit more irritable.

Ally had the day off school so we decided to pack up and find somewhere to cool down. We decided to head to our favourite park which had a water area for the kids to play in.

Notice we have 2 watering cans and 2 buckets and yet, they will still fight cos obviously one is better than the other in their eyes.

And yet at times they are so sweet to each other

Ally is always ready to dive into any pool of water while Max is still quite cautious and would rather keep his head dry

The kids had a great time cooling off while I sat on the sides boiling in the hot sun. Best part about the morning? I had two hungry and tired children who quickly finished their lunches and took a long nap. Bliss.


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Back to USS

As a special treat, I took Ally out of school for a day so we could head to Universal Studios. It started out as a plan for a girl’s day out but the boys decided to come along as well so we ended up having a fantastic family day.

Ally is a real theme park fan, she loves the rides and is actually really brave for her age. We sat the canopy flyer about 7 times at her request. Once again, little Max patiently waited while Ally went on her rides. We took turns and I was quite happy to let Matt take her on the flyer as it’s not one of my favourites. I don’t do well when there is nothing concrete beneath my legs. Ally actually said ” don’t worry Mama, I will hold your hand, it’s not scary” How embarrassing!

Max went on a couple of rides as well, we let the kids have as many sweet treats as they wanted that day since it was a special day.

We think Max bears a real resemblance to the Friar

The weather was scorching hot, and what better way to cool down then to run under the water jets. I badly wanted to join in but I’m sure someone would have called security if they saw me jumping around with the kids. It didn’t really matter actually cos I got soaked on one of the other rides.

Ally always knows how to have a good time

My two boys 🙂

Since it was just Matt and I with the kids, we took turns sitting rides that we wanted. Matt went on Battlestar which to our surprise, had no queue at all. He took both the red and the blue ride while I chickened out and took only the red one. Hanging legs and 360 turns are not my kind of thing.

Sharing an ice cream while waiting for Daddy

Ally looked a bit worried while waiting for Matt

The crowds weren’t too bad since we went on a weekday. The longest we had to wait was 40 minutes for the canopy ride but later in the afternoon the crowds started to thin out and there was hardly any queue.

My sweaty little man

Sci-Fi world, Max wasn't too scared of the stilt walkers but he was afraid of the other mascots

Finally a tamer ride, Ally and her beloved penguins

In my personal opinion, the most boring ride in the park but the kids love it.

We had dinner at the chinese restaurant in the park. I wasn’t expecting much, you know what theme park food is like. But the food honestly wasn’t too bad. Prices weren’t cheap but reasonable, or as reasonable as you can expect in a theme park. The portions were huge which was great cos we were starving. We ordered enough food for 6 people and even the waitress was concern that we had over ordered. Ally surprised her by polishing off the entire portion of Ee-Fu mee on her own. She may be small, but that child is going to eat us poor.

It was one of those fantastic family days, both kids were very well behaved and we had lots of fun hanging out together.

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Book Week

Ally’s school always has lots of fun activities lined up. Last week was ” Book Week”, the whole school went on a field trip to Ang Mo Kio Library and the week ended with a ” Come As Your Favourite Character” parade. I had prepared Ally’s penguin costume a few weeks back and she was so excited to show it off to her teachers and friends.

My little penguin!

Max was a real trooper the whole morning, entertaining himself with his toys

The teachers had set up a “runway” and each child had to walk down, show the book which their character is from and say a little something about their character.  I watched with pride as Ally walked confidently down, told everyone about her character and walked back.

She wasn't nervous at all!

Waiting for her turn

There were a bunch of other great costumes from the rest of the kids.

Willy Wonka


Max and I stayed with Ally for the entire morning since it made no sense for us to drive back and forth within an hour.

Ally was very good at sharing her snack with Max

The kids had fun in the playground, a new swing set was installed and both kids couldn’t wait to try it out.

Monkey 1

Monkey 2

Age is definitely catching up, I felt sick after sitting on the swing

Max had fun kicking the ball around. His shorts were proudly made by his mama


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T-Shirt for Max

A surprise arrived today, no it was not a Mother’s day present. The postman brought me a huge pile of fabric! Okay, I know everyone is rolling their eyes at me cos I’m getting excited over fabric. And it’s not exactly a surprise since I ordered it. Here’s the stash.

To the hubby's credit, he didn't say anything when he saw the pile

I don’t sew with knits often but I do love one simple fact, they don’t fray so there’s no need to finish your seams if you’re feeling lazy! I have been wanting to sew a T-shirt for a really long time but didn’t quite know how to get started. Thanks to Youtube I found  a video and decided to try it out. I used an existing pattern that I had bought for Max’s Pjs with some minor alterations.

It didn’t take me too long but I did make a mistake of stretching the sleeves too much while hemming. Will try a walking foot the next time to see if I get better results. And here is Max’s shirt.

In case you couldn't figure it out, that is meant to be a truck in the middle. I can't draw to save my life, enough said. Please ignore my alien looking toe in the corner and feel free not to comment about it.

The knit fabric is soft and most importantly, cool. Essential for our crazy hot weather these few days, Max was pleased but the fit wasn’t quite right. I forget how narrow his shoulders are so more alterations will be needed. Not too bad for a first try and now I know what NOT to do, we’ll try again tomorrow.

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