Wednesday, 30 January 2008

CNY Preview

Last Sunday evening it rained cats and dogs. We usually go out for dinners on Sundays but because of the rain, Mike called his brother to just buy back some noodles over to our place. To our surprise, there was more than noodles.


Mmm... Always so delicious.

* In case you have not heard of this, it's a Chinese kind of salad that comprises mainly of dried or pickled vegetables (cucumber, ginger, pomelo), a bunch or fresh carrots and radish, some other herbs, some crispy flour bits and raw fish/jellyfish. All these are to be tossed in a sweet and sour plum sauce with some pepper, cinnamon and sesame seeds. Everyone is to do the tossing together, symbolising a fellowship/ partnership we share (i.e. to be involved with each other).
Can check it out on Wikipedia too!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

For the Love of Words

I did a spring cleaning at my mom's today.

It's actually because mom had to do an emergency renovation to one of the bedroom - the tiles on the floor cracked. And since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, she panicked and asked the repair man to do a quick job for her. In order to re-do all the tiles, we had to remove all the furniture. The bad news for us is that this is the room that my older sister and I still store our stuff. yeah, the married girls leave their childhood memories and mementos in their Mum's house. Literally!

So I had to cart back 4 bundles of files and 3 bags of all sorts of odds and ends. The odds and ends include an old pencil case with some stationery inside, a box with some odd trinkets, a pressed flower, and school badges and name tags. There were bunches of stickers and all sorts of bookmarks and cards from friends in school. There were old photos, a couple of cups, some things you'd put up for decorations, but are now too dusty or have faded through time. (If you know of "The Great Expectation", I think these would have looked great as props in Ms Havisham's house.)

The thing That caught me by surprised, actually I should have known better, was the big stack of letter writing materials. I had loved corresponding and hence I was always drawn towards letter-writing sets. There were really nice and fancy ones and there were cute cuddly nears and kitties, and some even had matching stickers as seals. It's a whole box that my mom stacked up and most I had thought were lost. Now I just wonder where to put them and if I'll ever find the time to use them up...or shall I keep them for my daughters (if we have any)...

The Files were the ones I had a hard time sorting out. They were all my undergrad as well as my MA stuff. I did literature, so you can imagine how much text and notes plus assignments there were that involved lots and lots of words. They were a passion, a pleasure. I kept everything because I really enjoyed them and also I had thought I would find materials within my hand's reach for when I teach. Well, I never got around to teaching beyond my tutoring days (for now anyway) and so I had to make a critical decision for my future. I picked out a few pieces of my favourites and the rest were sent for recycling - extra copies of the same stuff, lecture notes, tutorial notes, my graded assignments, notes from the library, notes from friends, my former students' uncollected assignments, exam papers. I had actually kept everything.

After sorting out most of the stuff, I ended up with 4 bags of letter-writing materials, plus color papers and greeting cards, and ONE arch file of my literature stuff (pat myself on the back).

The problem is I still don't know how to store them here in my already chaotic house.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Missing: Max!

While we were all at daddy's cousin sister's 21st birthday celebration, Max went missing and the whole house panicked!

It was a big party with lots and lots of relatives and quite a few friend. We have seen the same bunch of friends of our cousins in previous birthday celebrations and festive seasons. In a way everyone was somewhat familiar.

The boys were about the youngest around and somehow they were magnets to lots of the youngsters around, especially some of the girls who kept taking their photos and trying to talk and play with them. After getting the kids and Daddy fed, Mommy and Daddy sat down to just take a break and chatted while keeping an eye on the boys running around. After a while, we felt the need to go home (yes, we are getting old. It was only 10pm and we were tired already).

"Where's Max?" Daddy asked, and suddenly we realised that Micah is the only one running around. We tried not to panic, but it was hard, given the fact that all the doors and the main gate were opened.

If a stranger had walked in I wonder if anyone would have noticed. If Max had wondered out I think a relative would have stopped him and alerted us (although I think not likely, given that it's dark and it's a strange place, and I think Max is not all that brave to wonder out without an adult he feels safe with).

We checked with the grandparents and they did not have him. No Max.

In the kitchen: No Max.

In the garden: No Max.

In the back with their pet rabbit: No Max.

The host family help to do a search.
Our uncle was especially concerned about the fish pond: No Max.

A cousin brother went upstairs then said he is there.

Mommy rushed upstairs and opened the study door (the kids usually play here if they were to be upstairs): NO MAX!

My heart was really pounding by this time. I rushed back downstairs and checked with the cousin brother again.

"He is upstairs. In my sisters' room." He led me there.

Max greeted me with a grin. He was a little sweaty.

"Max. What are you doing up here?"

"Jumping on bed." He giggled and climbed back up on to our cousin's bed and started jumping, just to demonstrate to Mommy. By this time, Micah who had tailed Mommy all over the house, was also jumping on the bed.

Our cousin sister and her friend were trying to show the boys some card tricks but they were too busy jumping on the bed.

It took us another half an hour to get them into the car.

What a night.

Thank you, Lord. We don't take anything for granted, especially the safety of our kids.

Daddy's Birthday

This year Daddy had a banquet for his birthday that lasted a whole week. It was all because we were already informed of a cousin's 21 birthday bash on the real day, 26 January. Grandma still very old fashion, said birthdays should never be celebrated late. So...

We were at Marco's Pizza on Sunday before. Just us and grandma and grandpa because his bro and wife had something else on.

We were at the Curve on Wednesday. Look at those cute cupcakes he had as a birthday cake!!
Thanks to Kurt and Trisha for a lovely dinner and the cakes. We all had a good time.

We were at a cousin's 21st birthday on the real day.

He actually had two other celebrations with his colleagues on Thursday and Friday night, so it was really a whole week of celebration.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Just a day and you're another year older! :)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Kids, FYI...

Got this from a friend and I would like it as a record for my boys.

40's and 50's/ early 60's and 70's

First, we survived with mothers
who had no maids. They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us at the same

They took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrup and
diabetes was rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever.

We had no childproof lids on
medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no

As children, we would ride
with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones in cars
with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a private
taxi was a special treat.

We drank water from the tap
and NOT from a bottle.

We would spend hours on the
fields under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about UV
rays which never seem to affect us. We go into the jungle to catch spiders
without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.

With mere 5 pebbles (stones)
would be a endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best) we boys would run
like crazy for hours.

We caught guppy in drains /
canals and when it rained we swam there.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE
actually worry about being unhygienic.

We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies,bread and real butter and
drank very sweet soft drinks, sweet coffee/ tea, ice kachang, but we
weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the
morning and play all day, till streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours repairing our old bicycles and wooden scooters out of
scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.
After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, multiple channels on
cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no
phones, no personal computers, no Internet.WE HAD FRIENDS and we went
outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued
the stunts.

We never had birthday parties till we were 21,

We rode bikes or walked to a
friend's house and just yelled for them!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

Yet this generation has produced some of the best
risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 40 years have been
an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure,
success and responsibility, and we learned


And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the
luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our
own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how
brave their parents were.

PS -The big type is because all of us have
Long-sightedness or hyperopia at our age !!!


Micah has been having bad teeth problem for the longest time. It started with bad milk bottle habit - drinking while sleeping, and then not wanting to brush, until it got to the stage that he knew he had no choice but to brush at least twice a day or risk a swollen gum or toothache.

Today we went for a scheduled dental visit. We actually have been going to the dentist a lot. More for him to be familiar with the place, get to befriend the dentist and her sons, look at her stuff and sometimes to see other people sitting under the giant lamp. We probably had 6-8 "no treatment" visits. The last big step he took before Christmas was to sit on the chair and let her have a look at his teeth. He then quickly scrambled off and she finished looking at his teeth in the waiting area.

Today, he decided he was going to be brave. Well, two days ago, Mommy already told him we were going to see the dentist, so she began psyching him up for the visit. When we got there she announced her drill was not working, so she will just check and clean his teeth. He happily sat on the dentist's chair and let her probe around his molars. He was just waiting for her to say "rinse" so that he could use the blue paper cup to rinse. Then she began scraping some of the tartar off and amazingly managed to get quite a lot of the bad teeth out. (She must be so strong!)

When he exclaimed it hurts, she said, "Ok, we'll stop here." And then she had a bit of a filling on her instrument (a sharp hook-like thingi, don't know what that's called) and we called it the toothpaste. She stuffed the hole and he howled.

That was it. It took the rest of the morning to calm him down. No one was to mention of the dentist nor his visit as it would set off the siren the fountain of tears. He fell asleep on the way home. He had been a brave boy.

At least one tooth got fixed. 5 more to go!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


I am one of those moms who really enjoy breastfeeding.

I love to hold the baby close and smell him from day one. I also enjoy all the quiet times, cozy times and the times they look up to you and smile. They just look so angelic. They'll touch your face and giggle when you make funny faces at them. When they are dropping off to sleep, it's like a magical moment to see them so close up and so secure.

With Micah I nursed him till he was 14 months old. That time I was already pregnant with Max and because my skin was sensitive I developed open sores on the areolas. Not a pretty sight. The pain was also paralysing. There were days I literally just lay curled in bed, not wanting any painkillers, and wait till it became more bearable. Maybe more like till the rest of the nerves just went numb. I got scolded by my mom for not taking care of myself.

With Max I was a more careful. Some people asked me if I was traumatised by my previous experience. Well, obviously not. When I held Max the first time, I just wanted to hold him forever and nurse him. Now, at 25 months, I am just starting to wean him.

Since Micah was wean of suddenly, I never knew what the process would be like. It's not easy, especially since it had always been on demand. It was not so much his nutritional need, but it was, most of all, his comforter: Bumped himself, and he gets "nan-nan". Tired.. "nan-nan". Sleepy... "nan-nan". Missed me... "nan-nan". Bored... "nan-nan". When his brother gets his milk in a bottle... "nan-nan". In the car, in church, at my mom's, at play group, at the science centre, in restaurants, my friends' place... It was such a natural thing for us that I never thought it awkward nor embarrassing.

So now, for the last 2 weeks, Max is just getting it for sleeping time. But of course sleeping time is not just the time before he sleeps. It actually covers the timezones of while he is asleep (dreaming and crying in his dream for "nan-nan", sometimes sleep-talking, " "Nan-nan" first, Mommy, please.") and also in the near waking hours. So while it is technically just twice a day, including nap time, it is actually at least 4 times if not more, depending on his sleep pattern at night. So it's actually gonna take a while.

I have been quite successful in giving him other kinds of assurance and comforts when he hurt himself. But now I have to start working on cutting off the near-waking hours. That I plan to start end of the month.

I think I will miss nursing Max, but we have to start making way for another baby...hopefully by the end of this year. Yeah, we are working on that. :)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Fun at the Park

We had a great time at the park last weekend. I made Daddy take us and had to pull him off the couch (he was watching "Flightplan" on Astro and it was near the end. "Well, it's not like you've not seen it before. Gotta go now cos it looks like rain will be here in the next 5 minutes.")
So we drove to the park - just in case in rains. It's a good 10 minutes from our house. No sweat if the weather is good, but not so good for the kids to be in the rain for 10 minutes. So the boys got strapped into the back and we were off.

We did a bit of play at the playground area,

But the boys were more interested in playing with sand...

Then, the wonder of kids, they made friends with some other kids....

And Micah even ran a race with the two older girls.

Then the lights came on and it was cue for us to head home for dinner.

It didn't rain after all...despite huge dark clouds.

Friday, 18 January 2008


Many times I hear my kids, especially Micah, but was unable to respond due to certain situation I was in, but they amuse me non the less.

Just about a couple of hours ago, I was nursing Max who had drifted into dreamland but still drinking. Micah had refused to come to the room with us, so I thought I'd settle one boy before dealing with another. Then I heard him:
"Kung-kung (grandpa)! Come quick! It's an emergency. There's a cockroach in the room. I need you to kill it."

The other day Grandma was gutting some anchovies for a soup base and Micah and Max poked their nose into her work.
"Let me help you, Mah Mah. I need to do this first."
Grandma started telling him off, not to disturb her, etc.
"It's Ok. It's OK. Don't worry. See I can do it. It's OK. I can help you-maa."

Often when grandpa and grandma get into their bickering bit (which is like every day), Micah will yell out ,"Don't argue. Don't argue."

Occasionally when he sees a motorcycle zoom past our car, Micah will shout out, "Aiyo! So dangerous that bike! Crazy."

Once when Grandpa drove us to the shops near by and ran a red light, Micah said out loud, "Wah! Red light also go ah?!"

Out of the blue, while we were watching TV, "Mah mah, do you have babies? Where are your babies now?"

Bullets for Mommy to bite:

"Mommy! Come here right now! NOW!"

"Mommy, are you old now? Last time you were also small like me?"

"Mommy, do you have anymore babies in your womb? No more? Because Max and I came out already?"

"Am I deaf?"

This three and a half year old talks like an adult because his ever day companions are his mommy and grandparents. Max, now 2, is starting to talk. Frightfully starting to sound like Micah. I think we will have to suffer naggy children under our roof.