Wednesday, 3 June 2020

A break from the usual 3 June

It was also a Wednesday 11 years ago :)

Mr and Mrs Sito :) - from the eyes of Yang

Put on the happy birthday tag, heh - lovely red velvet cake that even Kai ate (albeit only a bit)

We used to go for a good meal on this day. For this year, coz our Legoland passes are expiring next week, we had wanted to go to Legoland 3-6 June - we could still have our good meal after a day at Legoland! But with COVID-19, that was not to be. 

So we thought we could head out somewhere but we are exiting the circuit breaker in phases and at this early stage, (a) there's no dining out, and more importantly, (b) the kids are still home this week!

Jumbo! Still had crab, yummy!

So apart from the crab and the cake, it felt very much like a weekend coz we spent it with the kids. It happened that Sito bought a new mini Lego set so now we have a mini theme park - my 抓娃娃机,some drop down thrill ride, and the new aeroplane ride!

My boys piecing the aeroplane ride together, together :)

Three for three! But no, they didn't rotate among themselves *.*

And so here we are, 11 years and days are ordinary, ordinary and good :)

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Are we ready for school??

The kids saw their friends wear masks before the circuit breaker. Or at least Kai did but the younger ones know about masks. The teachers did a damn good job - Yu spaced out our water bottles the other day, saying social distancing, social distancing!

And I've been trying new masks on them here and there. And telling them about wearing masks - when do they put it on, when do they take it off. And oh how cute they look!

Out for the first time in weeks!

Let Kao wear a mask with shortened straps - I had stitched up 2 cm on each side in order to add rubber bands for Sito but this mask doesn't fit Sito well. Just nice for Kai!

Brought Kai to cut his hair today. There was no one. The staff said it was more crowded yesterday; no one today probably coz of news about a COVID-19 case being at the NTUC three floors now four days ago... I had wanted to bring Yang tmr and Yu on Saturday but they couldn't wait another day when they saw their brother botak! And since the barber was empty and had two staff, I brought them to cut their hair too after collecting masks from the government.

Trying on the new masks - need to adjust the straps...

So I think we should have no problem getting them to put on their marks. I wasn't so sure about them keeping them on but after today, I think they should be fine, especially when other kids are wearing too...

At the child care centre, the kids will remove their masks during meal times and nap time. Still no shower time. In school, Kai will remove their masks during PE and meal times. I'll have Kai fold his mask properly to keep in his pocket but for his brothers, I need more ziplocks to store their masks for later use.

The government gave us four disposable masks per household and two batches of one reusable mask per person. Mum gave us a number of reusable masks for both adults and children, and N disposable masks. I bought 10 reusable grey masks for the kids a few weeks ago and threw them into the wash.

Over the weekend, I found that we lost five of grey kiddy masks to the washing machine! I dug one out from the filter, and two more surfaced, all broken, after I did a drum wash. The other two might have disintegrated!!

I had intended to buy more anyway, coz I need to give each of them two each day - one to wear and one (or two) as spare. So I put in an order for 30 more to cater for missing masks - if they can lose pants, they can lose masks, label or no label. But there's a problem with the app so I could buy only 10 at one go. Luckily there's time before they go to school, and they can use the N disposable masks.

Also bought two more thermometers coz Kai has to take temperature in school every day. His first issued thermometer died after one year and I had to give him my 10yo thermometer which had helped in tracking my basal temperature when conceiving him, ha! But 10yo, I thought I'd better buy more to stand by.

I think that's about all the prep needed apart from packing their bags. So to answer my own question - yes, we are ready for school!

Oh wait - maybe the kids aren't ready to not stay at home and play all day? Too bad! :p

Not much change for Sito and I. Sito will go back to office according to a schedule. I'll continue to work from home except that I'll also have to send Kai to school - no more nua-ing in PJ pants!

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Small yeah for last week of circuit breaker

Small yeah coz I was looking to SCHOOL but they're staggering the kids' return to school. Only Yang can go back next week so I have decided to keep him home with his brothers for one more week. And also coz Kai still has HBL on alternate weeks - but at least he won't be distracted by his brothers.

Well, after all the routine in the first month, I'm ready to end this!! So hard to keep them to routine!

I'll miss seeing them in action though! And they have a lot of action...

Yu is enjoying this activity book, bought in Kai's time and not used much!

A picture that is up for interpretation

This was supposed to be a maths activity - first, next, last or first, second, third. But in his second round, Yu gave me not cracked, cracking and already cracked - English! I shared this on Facebook and Yan said B gave her egg, dinosaur egg and bird egg - science!

I don't know they suddenly wanted to play with this set of blocks - easier than Lego to build it that high?

I took this picture while squashed between Yang's bed and the window coz I was trying to mop up water seeping up from the parquet after a heavy rain, sighs...

Yu saw me in glasses so :)

Kai taught Yu how to play Super Mario Kart - good luck! I don't even know how, hoho!

Swopped places with Sito last Friday coz I had to present something

The kids ended up banging on the door and the balcony window! But I had noise-cancelling earphones on :p Which means my colleagues heard them and I could hardly!

I like this kind of afternoon :)

So hard!

Let's check when the pizza is coming...

Yu in Kai's usual position!

Every boy had their own dominos that afternoon

Trying to make buildings for King Kong (aka Yu's monkey) to destroy!

I love his house!

I'm happily typing away while they're watching a DVD from the library. We have a few library items - hope I can find them all by the time the libraries reopen!!

I think I have been too slack lately coz it's really tiring to not have a break between work and kids. I have no break from the time I wake until the kids go to bed - that's a solid 14 hours. But I can't take things lying around so this week, I started packing things when I can. 

Last night while Sito was working, I packed our bedside table (which is not by the side by right behind us but there's no word for that?) and threw out an oil burner that I stopped using for some time. Also cleared the books there which ended up lonely and untouched. And just now, I pulled out a few ziplocks and labelled them to put masks for the kids when they go back to school. Now I'm waiting for a day with no laundry and lots of sunlight to clean up some beanies!

Feeling industrious!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

About teeth and baby stories

The other day, we watched a few clips of fathers tying a string to a stubborn baby tooth and ripping it out by all sorts of methods. After the ultimate method of using a real helicopter, Yang turned to me and asked, “Is it last time they don’t have dentist so..”

I couldn’t even finish hearing him coz I was laughing!! Had to explain to him that baby teeth were easy enough and might not need a dentist. But thinking about it now, maybe it’s due to (US) lack of insurance or (UK) difficulty in getting appointments!

And the clip with the real helicopter mentioned a $100 note from the tooth fairy. That got Kai all excited coz he got a $1 coin per tooth! I couldn’t explain too clearly to him without letting the cat out of the bag for his brothers! Let them have some tooth fairy fun next time too...

I have been looking quite closely at Yang lately, just before I wake him after nap time. Can't believe he is almost six! He still feels like such a baby! I don't remember Kai being so baby at six.

Yang seems more independent. Maybe it's a middle child thing? I try to give him more attention, especially at bed time. While Kai always tries to tickle me at bedtime and Yu tends to roll around, Yang would lie down next to me when it's his turn, quite happy to chat a bit.

Some weeks back, he told me a bedtime story :) Sometimes I ask for bedtime stories :p And I ask for Chinese bedtime stories! Yang is usually willing to indulge me. "Long long time ago, ..."

So that story was about a sheep and a man. He had props - he used my his meh meh and the Ikea bear. So the sheep was taken away by a bad man - can't remember which toy. When the police caught the bad man, they threw him into the river!

Mama: Huh? How can the police do such a thing? They should send him to jail!
Yang: Last time can!
Mama: Oh ok ok...!

Yang used to recite whole short stories from school - in Chinese. When he forgot them, he started telling me his own stories. Typically, such stories ended up in the toilet somehow. I should be glad they weren't just poo poo and pee pee stuff. I don't understand why the kids find toilet jokes hilarious...

But he's a big boy alright. Apart from taking almost two hours to finish his dinner if no one feeds him, he is showing me that he's almost ready to navigate the school system. Doing all these home activities with him, I learnt that he can reason pretty well. He can also do simple maths now. Maybe he's learning a lot from Kai too. Like infinity :p

Though I must say, this, he didn't learn from Kai. For one of his first home activities, he had to write the word "breakfast". I asked him whether he knew how to spell it. He very quickly said he knew! And walked over to the fridge where the timetable was - breakfast was the first thing on the timetable :)

Yang doing work

So what would Kai do when he needs to spell a word? Ask me. I'd tell him to try. He tries - I think he is better than Yang at phonics - and checks with me. Usually I get good tries. But my next step is to get him to try without asking me first.

As for Yu, he's starting to speak really well now - I mean, I can understand almost all he's saying now! :p Looking forward to hearing him speak more Mandarin.

Looking forward to my boys growing well! :)

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

School holidays, Boys' Day and Mothers' Day

It's school holidays!

Cannot call it June holidays this time :p

But there's still work of all sorts during the holidays, especially when the primary school kid did not do a lot of his Chinese offline work during HBL!!!

Last day of HBL - on google meet

I only discovered his - I'm sure quite unintentionally - omissions when his Chinese teacher sent a checklist of offline work. So much work not done *.* He either didn't listen to the audio instructions on SLS or he didn't understand *.* And when I went in and happened to clicked on an English assignment, I realised he was supposed to do exercises in a book which he had probably left in school *.*

A lot of *.* discoveries in the past week.

But he's been very interested in big numbers in the past couple of weeks or more!

He asked Siri for thirty times sixteen billion six hundred sixty seven million eight hundred sixty nine thousand one hundred and eight four - was fun to watch the number show up!

Yang asked and Siri delivered - a yummy cookie reply!

Yu decided to do some art and craft one evening

"It's a fire helicopter!"

Yu had home activities last week but none this week - I'm not complaining!! Yang continues to have home activities this week though. I will contiune to do them with him since the teachers are so on and they are quite manageable.

The new iPad is a good investment - the kids have been reading narrated stories on their own before bedtime. I just think they're too easy for Kai. Must find more books to interest him in. But he would read only English books on his own.

These days, I read a Chinese composition or two with him right after I stopped work. Couple of days ago, I even showed him a fight scene in 庆余年! He wasn't too interested after that but today, he asked for it on his own! Yes, my evil plan is to get him hooked on 武侠剧 to help his Chinese, mwahahaha!

Kai reads a narrated book but he doesn't like pure audio books...

Yu likes it too!

I didn't realise it was Vesak Day last week. So it was a pleasant surprise - end of HBL plus short week, woohoo! It was a very pleasant day - TV, nap, Lego :)

 What are they building?

Sito presented it to me that night - my Mothers' Day present!

So fun, so cute! The kids had fun with it the next day too but gosh, they were destroying it fast!! I kept it away from their prying eyes and hands after that.. MINE!

But that set off a new wave of Lego play that's still going on now :)

Yu took this photo of me tickling Yang - I love it!

He also took a photo of Kai and Papa building another Lego set

Wait - it's not Lego; it's some random brand of mini blocks. But super nice! And  the kids said that since the toy catcher is mine, this second set must be theirs!

Yu plays with the theme park ride - it's falling apart, hoho!

This year, we forgot to take our annual picture with the koi streamers coz we didn't pass by the door as a family. The kids have been in for so long that they don't even venture near the door. When I asked them, they were quite happy to be home!

Lonely kois...

Saturday, Sito made carnations!

While the kids played with the ribbons

Blue ninja!

Pink ninja!

From left to right: From Sito, Kai, Yang and Yu - all made by Papa :)

The last flower was made by me. And I went on to make two more. Adding on the sample from the box from Sito's office, I pulled the bunch into an ugly bouquet.

The first bouquet I made :)

But Mothers' Day is just like any other weekend - mothering continues :)

But sometimes he mothers me - Yu pretends to be a teacher, reading to me :)

Found Yu using the iPad this morning when I was on a call

His brothers were playing Nintendo. He can't watch them play for an hour so he always asks for the iPad. He'll read a narrated book, play the Chinese game or play Unblock Me. He and his brothers used to use this Reading Eggs app for English and Maths but the free trial ended last week :p

Kai did up his holiday assignment today. He's now left with a Chinese weather report to do from tomorrow to Sunday. And we can enjoy the holidays!

Friday, 1 May 2020

HBL is almost over

We were busy catching a funny and warm drama after the kids went to bed the past two weeks so I couldn't write much. I also cheong-ed through a Stephen King book the past week. Now, Sito is still having a call - he's been working almost the entire day :(

So I write.

Yang and Yu came home with a booklet on staying home during COVID-19. They were supposed to write about their feelings etc. I think the idea is, kids might feel stuck at home, scared, sad, etc.

Not mine *.*

The three of them are very happy to stay at home to watch TV, play with one another, not go to school. I was telling Yu that he couldn't go to the playground, swim or play scooter. He went awww....! And he added that Papa could not go out to work, Mama could not go out to work. Yes, my baby. So we want all this to end! But Yang said he doesn't want to go back to school - no way, boy!

Kai has been spending more time at home since he started primary school. For Yang and Yu, this is really quite different. So while Kai isn't much different, his brothers' weird kiddy habits are showing up. Yang would take a long time to change from and to PJs; I often found him playing, half dressed! Yu would take off his pants some time in the day coz "it's too hot!"

Yang forgetting to change

Yu, like Yang, enjoys assessment books!

JY lent me a few books for K1-K2. I let Yang and Yu do them every week or so.

This was supposed to be Yu's HBL with family but what was he doing?!

Papa joined us for Spider Man workout!

Yu had an abrasion on his chin one night :(

I sneaked into his room every night to apply ointment on his broken chin. He slept on, unaware and not pushing my hand away like in the day. This is like how he sneaks into our room every night and takes up a snug position between his parents. We sleep on, unaware until morning. Or when he kicks :)

He took this himself, to check his chin :p

Afternoons are mostly spent on Reading Eggs - Yang on laptop and Yu on the iPad. Won't be for long coz the month-long trial is coming to an end and it's quite ex to subscribe to that app.

Here, Kai was playing for Yang, and Yu was playing a Mandarin app for which I paid to unlock more lessons - he can do it really well!

The younger ones have their fair share of HBL activities. The talking ones weren't very easy to do coz they got bored easily - think it's different in school when friends are around. Two of the five activities each week are supposed to be in Chinese. The only problem is that the Chinese activities have not been very well received. In fact, I often got English in reply.

I fear that they're getting behind in Chinese so yesterday, in desperation, I made them pick up phrases from Channel 8 news and give me the meaning in English. Yang heard four phrases! And he surprised me by picking 全球 “the whole world!” Yup, I’m mighty pleased about this! Time to give him 唐诗? Haha!

Kai had some difficulty but he managed in the end. I asked him just now why he wouldn't speak Mandarin. He said it was so hard! I wonder how I can encourage and teach him...

Hands-on activities are more popular

Yu can cut! Though the direction is a bit strange...

These two weeks, Kai also started meeting teachers online and eventually having short online lessons. He wasn't too happy at some timings coz he had to miss TV but he did log on faithfully - good for you, my boy!

Initially, I didn't want such lessons. But after helping him log on and teaching him how to get there, it turned out to be quite ok - no need for him to come after me to ask me how to do his SLS stuff!

I still don't want such lessons for Yang and Yu - that would need constant handholding!

Cheerful for his first Google Meet session

So cute! We were doing left and right and I purposely made him touch him left right ears eyes cheeks etc

Papa giving them a hands-on session to screw a toy back

They played some card fighting game one evening and disregarded funny videos...

I told Yu to wait and he went ahead to dig out the tools to fix his sunglasses all by himself (but no, he didn't fix them)

But he can colour very well now!

Bonus - I found this on my phone just now

Taken by Yu, it is a common sight to see one or more boys (leaning) on me. My back, my poor back!

Kai has one last day of HBL - at least for this cycle - next Monday. But HBL for Yang and Yu continues - I already received the emails from their teachers. But at least I can choose the timing for their activities. I think I can survive May.
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