Monday, 3 August 2020

Rediscovering 相声

Kel introduced me to 德云社 and gosh, what a gem!

I recall watching 相声 on TV when I was very young. Remember 马季 and  赵炎?For a while, I think I didn't watch TV too much - busy studying hoho! But in JC, I came across 相声 in CLDDS again;I think we had that in the variety show in the first year. I don't think I heard it again since then.

Over 20 years!!!

He sent me a few videos and I went on to find a few more, and read about the various 相声演员. I was laughing so hard at a show in Adelaide that the kids rushed over to ask why!

And even though I was expecting all talk, there was music too. And this 探清水河 was the first I heard. Also read the story behind it and heard a few versions of the song!

Attached this version: 看着、听着、看评论都有所感触,把人弄哭了!😭


And there are many more songs! I like #6 :) #3 is funny!


As I read more, I realised that I have seen 郭麒麟 in a drama previously - it was quite a memorable role. In fact, I'm now reading the novel on which the drama was based, and I always imagine his face whenever this character comes up!

But where are the 相声 videos?

Actually, they are mostly quite long so I watched a few minutes here and there every clip. Here's the clip where I laughed out out. 

Go to 16:50 - though whole thing is quite funny


This is a short clip - easy to watch and funny too


Hope to watch more!

Is CPF poorly misunderstood?

Caveat - busy working mama of three has no time to dig into policies in detail. Just agak agak google.

Most of my reading on current affairs happens on Facebook, thanks to friends sharing various articles. I also read comments to see what other people say about the articles. Often, I see people asking for CPF to be returned in full at age 55. I don’t agree with that, not before and most definitely not after a recent knowledge came to me.

Before

I was at first quite bo chup. Then hub and I were calculating our needs for retirement a couple of years ago, and read more about CPF life. 

Honestly, I’ve never bothered to find out more about it earlier coz hello, still young and far from CPF life age right?

I was glad I found out!

With CPF life and us being quite low maintenance, we only need to have enough money for the kids’ education, contingency and some discretionary spending before we can retire. Or at least retire from siong work. We don't mind working but the hours are really no good for family life. It's better for me now with part-time; I hope to never return to full-time work so that I can be with the kids after school. But there's still plenty room for improvement for Sito's hours.. 

The recent knowledge

On 8 June, my siblings and I each received a letter from the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents (CMP). Our father had made a claim against us.

We had a long whatsapp discussion during which I learnt that while I haven't seen him for maybe 15 years, my siblings had been giving him money to get him off their back, even paying off loan sharks a few years back so that he wouldn’t show up in front of Mother. 

I couldn’t help thinking of 房似锦 in 安家 hoho!

Long story short, we signed the maintenance agreement by 16 June. Chop chop formalise all our payments to him, divided equally among the three of us.

What's this got to do with CPF? Ah.... 

We were given a PDF of his bank book in the process. He had over $700 in deposit in the first 10 days of June. This included a sum of close to $400 from CPF. The CMP officer mentioned it had ended, which was an impetus for the claim, but it was still in the June statement so we supposed it was ending. $400 is not a lot of money but it is enough to feed one person - $4 each for lunch and dinner every day = $248 for a 31-day month, with enough left over for bread and spread for breakfast, 3-in-1 beverages, utilities for a rental flat and the occasional MRT/bus trip. My siblings have been paying rental and town council fees directly, and this arrangement would continue as part of the maintenance agreement - no chance for cash for rent to be drunk or smoked away! 

Digress a bit: Goodness knows what happened in eight days but he called on 18 June coz he ran out of money, i.e. $700 was gone in eight days! Now, my household of three adults and three kids spend about $600-$700 a month on regular groceries for all meals except weekend dinners. Regular groceries exclude the many pints of B&J ice cream which I fully intend to quit for health and waist *.*

Now back to CPF.

Retirement Sum Scheme

My father was in an old CPF scheme - the Retirement Sum Scheme, I think. Based on the website, he had to set aside some minimum in the Retirement Account before he could withdraw the remaining CPF money at age 55. 

Now, he withdrew all that he could at 55yo, just before the divorce. He gave each of his kids maybe $4k or so each - I can only vaguely remember the range now. The rest, he lost in no time - apparently he was cheated by some woman. I’m sure that’s not a trivial amount if he could give us that much - this is the same man who proposed to give a total of $200 a month in maintenance to his three children and ex-wife, which was thrown back by his own LAB lawyer. (Quite unfortunately, I was at the court hearing and out-of-court discussions...)

Mother later withdrew all the CPF money he gave us to pay him so that she could keep the flat. Of course that was gone swiftly coz the monthly maintenance was not forthcoming even from the beginning.

Anyway, the point is, I think his CPF would bring him far into retirement if he had been prudent, even though he did not earn much. He earned only about $1k a month in my primary school years before he was retrenched and started driving a taxi - I saw his payslips as I filled in the forms to apply for bursary awards. I don't think he was otherwise employed before age 55. Yet, the flat was fully paid up using CPF money. I don't know when though. But it was likely before he was 55yo coz there was no mention of that during the divorce.

And after he withdrew a significant amount at age 55, he had a monthly payout of almost $400 every month since age 65 at the latest - I don't know if it was 65 back then. He is now 77yo so at least 12 years.

It looks like a pretty good deal to me. Whatever is lacking after CPF payouts and any of the person's own retirement funds should be covered by the family. Those with no savings and no family support should be eligible for government support.

CPF Life

While the Retirement Sum Scheme will run out of money at some point, CPF Life is, as the name suggests, for life. Under the standard plan, someone aged 65 in 2030 will get $750-$810 a month until he dies. I think that's sufficient to get by, based on 10% yoy inflation and my $700 a month on groceries for 3A3C. I mean, retirement doesn't mean you go into enjoy mode and splurge on lifestyle and travel etc right?!

If we take out CPF in cash at 55yo, can the amount last until we die? I don't know, especially for those who use CPF for housing.

So, why do people complain about not being able to withdraw CPF in full at age 55? Why do you need a lump sum at age 55? If it's to splurge, see negative example above, and I worry for their retirement. If it's to pay back debts, I also worry for their retirement. If it's to alleviate hardship, I again worry for their retirement after alleviating current hardship for which there are support measures. If it's to just guai guai keep in the bank, kena scam how? If it's to invest, CPF interest rates are very good too.

What about people with no CPF? Then the debate of whether they can withdrew everything at age 55 does not apply to them. Like Mother but she has the three of us. There are programmes to help low-income with no savings and no family support.

***

Sito and I love to talk about retirement, be it planning for it or what we would do then (read whole day in bed!) and in between. Recent talks centre more on cash planning. CPF is, I guess, our insurance, and it looks like a darn good one :)

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Parent-teacher meetings

The mid-year parent-teachers meetings are over for all three kids. I'm happy to hear that they are all doing well though in varying degrees for both academic and social.

Unlike last year, I booked slots with only four of Kai's teachers instead of all. I forgot about it until his Chinese teacher called me, oops... All of them said Kai is a happy boy in school - am I glad to hear that! Coz he can be triggered at home - we're trying to address that so maybe talk more about it later..
  • Very happy to hear that he's a good example in Chinese class! We both agreed that building up his vocabulary would help him. I'm working in the right direction woohoo!
  • He's doing very well in Maths. I expressed concerns over his problem sums so his teacher gave me some tips - will work through with him!
  • He can work better with instructions in English class now, and has neat handwriting like Sito, but he tends to make careless mistakes. I'm glad I've already starting to look into his comprehension. His teacher also noted that he is quite selective about his friends, hmm...
  • He remains not very well coordinated, according to his PE teacher :p But he isn't bothered by whether he did well. When I checked in with him, I realised that they were all doing individual exercises during PE now due to COVID-19. So there's no win-lose situation. When team sports resume, I'll check on him again...
  • His PE teacher also observed that he could not occupy himself before assembly instead of disturbing others *.* He did tell me before that he liked drawing in the morning.
So we did had our first online art lesson a couple of weeks ago :)


Yang had raving reviews from his teachers. In short, he's ready for primary one! In long:
  • He can read long sentences now :) But his handwriting is not nice, like mine!
  • He's very good in Maths too!
  • He can speak a lot of Mandarin with his Chinese teacher and has good pronunciation! Yes, he recited short stories to me sometimes :)
  • He's super rowdy with three other boys in his class *.* But great, it's easy for him to make friends!
  • He is picky about food and can take a long time to finish his food. I told his teacher to just clear his plate at the end of lunch time if he still hasn't finished, AND be sure to not give him extra serving of tea later. Have to take the same stance at home and in school. 
He's been coming home with drawings and little notes in Chinese, like this - awww...


Yu is also a dear in school. But the one thing that stuck with me right now is that his English teacher of almost two years is leaving this month :( He told me he likes the new teacher after three days with her, so ok la... Kids are heartless and will forget people soon enough - our of sight, out of mind!
  • He knows his phonics and ABC, and can say long sentences :)
  • His Chinese teacher started with him only from this year and with the circuit breaker, she didn't have much opportunity to observe him. But he's speaking Mandarin with her, which is great!
  • He has a group of friends - all girls, three of them, hoho!
  • He's not picky about food, takes green bean soup and even yam cake! My local baby :)
We made this card for his teacher - nice?


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Self care day

Took leave today for self care.

After sending Kai to school, I bought coffee from the coffee shop nearby before going home. Yang and Yu were already on their way to school - missed them on a day when I was free to sayang them more...

First thing I did was to repair Yang's pink panther - a seam had opened up for a week but I had no free time to repair it during the term break.

Then I curled up in bed in my PJs, with an ebook and my coffee - still hot!


It is a very long book. I don't even know if I'm halfway through! It's very interesting though - I didn't get out of bed until almost 11 am, when I felt like going to collect the NDP fun pack. At first I wasn't going to but hey, they're all produced already right? And I had a bigger target in mind - the Singapore flag!

Finally put up the flag in our home!


It flapped about for a while. When I turned back again, I found that the flag had ended up between the glass and the grilles. Idea!

(Yes, those plants are dying...)

Took a picture before I kept the bag


I should really clean my mirror, oops...

The staff at the CC were very nice and asked me to pick any design I wanted, just that I couldn't open up the pack. I selected a blue bag coz I thought it's quite a sturdy bag for the boys to bring files etc to school. Yu is fine with red now but Kai and sometimes Yang complain about pink being "girlfriend", whatever that means...

Tried to get a foot massage after collecting the pack but no slots. So I went shopping for some toiletries and went back to put away stuff and down an onigiri. I felt only the slightest hunger but I thought I should eat something so that I could have some output later, hoho! My stomach is still feeling a little weird now, sighs...

Next was a scheduled scalp treatment. The head and shoulder massage was a good replacement for the foot massage, and I fell asleep during the heat treatment! But I think I won't extend the package when it's done - I'll try to DIY using my peppermint essential oil!

It's only half a day as it's time with Kai in the afternoon but it was a good break. All this WFH means no down time between work and child student care so need to take time from work to rest properly. Looking forward to the next self care day as I have plenty of leave from last year to clear!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Boring term break

I kind of forgot about the term break until it was too late to plan for anything. But Kai is quite the homely sort so he is ok if I just play with him. But I had to work until 2 pm except Tuesday when I took the PM off.

A couple of weeks ago, Kai's nth version of his yankee doodle song included mention of char kway teow. I asked if he knew what that was. Of course he didn't though now that I think about it, he tried it some time ago at the coffeeshop nearby.

So on Tuesday, I brought him to the foodcourt to try it. But it was a bad choice. The auntie was unfriendly. She took my order and went in to cook. 10 seconds later, I went in to tell her mai hum. When the dish arrived and we tried it, I realised I should have told her mai hiam too! But why she also never asked *.*

Kai had chicken rice instead; the CKT was too spicy and not nice at all!


Made it up with gui ling gao which he chose - my boy has adult taste when it comes to non-ice cream dessert :p


Kai often asked me what to do in the day. Of course I suggested reading - reading used to occupy me for hours when I was a kid. But he doesn't like reading T.T So I told him to find something he would like and could occupy him. He has to learn. 

I found him folding his nth origami boomerang on Wednesday


But his wait for worthwhile coz instead of our usual comprehension for Wednesday, we headed out for Yakun! He likes Yakun kaya toast :) But that was before his dental visit, heh heh :p 

So satisfied!


I think he last saw a dentist last year in school. This year, there was no mention and COVID-19 hit. His upper incisors had stubborn brown streaks. I wondered if it was coz they were old milk teeth - he's eight and the two incisors finally started shaking just a few days before his appointment.

Found a dentist at BPP. It's quite costly but for a child, they recommended seeing a hygienist so that was cheaper. Though at almost $70, it was only slightly cheaper than my orthodontist who has been charging $80 for the past few years. Yang's visit cost $50 at the B9 at Buona Vista in June - gotta travel and I realised I wasn't sure if he had polishing done, as his teeth were still yellow. So I decided to go more local.

Anyway, we were happy with the result!


The hygienist did a great job! And he said the stains were probably due to food, and told Kai to brush after dinner too. So Kai had been brushing after dinner, finally! Though it hasn't been too consistent coz he forgets. But it's a good start :)

Took two hours of leave on Friday morning to bring Kai for breakfast. I had wanted to take the PM off but there was a meeting so I shifted the time to morning. Benefits of part-time and flexibility! And Kai wanted Yakun again. Just as well. The eggs I had were gentle on my tongue ulcer and lasted a long long while...

I thought of ending the term break with something sweet so made jelly on Sunday. But to my horror, it didn't set! I think I used too much water *.* Should have measured properly... Poured the liquid into popsicle moulds instead and they were an amazing motivation at dinner time today - Yang looked like he couldn't finish his dinner in time but for the popsicle, he finished his last bite with 10 seconds to go, yeah!

Yu was very happy when Kai announced he didn't want the popsicle anymore - Yu didn't mind any saliva haha!


Poser, this one :p Really, it wasn't a candid shot!


Poser said the head was like the single eye of a minion....


Kai also wanted to pose


Yu added on to posing by pretending to be minion on top and Vector on the bottom - they always pull their pants up high when referring to Vector, I don't know why....


But I digress from term break! Hope to plan better for September!

Stay-home, slimming weekend

After a weekend out there, we stayed in again last weekend coz kiasi.

Some time during the day on Saturday, Sito read about a new cluster linked to the bus interchange downstairs. So we decided to stay home coz the boys always anyhow touch surfaces outside. Sito went to pack dinner from BPP and the nearby coffeeshop for the weekend. Lunch was as usual, porridge on Saturday and pizza on Sunday. 

Nowadays, I make salami instead of ham pizza - this was a trial run to make sure Yu was ok with the salami


I must add that the pizza this time was super fluffy! Coz I had time for the dough to proof a little longer than usual. I wonder if that's why Yu finished all but one little square of pizza when he gave up four to six squares before... Or maybe he was just hungry - he had close to two bowls of porridge on Saturday!

Just as well coz I could hardly eat. My tongue ulcer came back with a vengeance on Friday. I had mostly beverages on Friday until Sito came home with 舌尖尖 for dinner. Thanks to Yu, I had maybe three spoons of porridge on Saturday, my first meal of the day.

Then, as luck would have it, I had a major tummy ache on Saturday night around. Had to wake Sito to get me meds. For the whole of Sunday, my tummy was slightly painful. I finally felt better about 9 pm. I wonder what it was - couldn't be food poisoning coz I had just about the same as everyone else and if it were stomach flu, where did it come from?! Blame it on my lousy digestive system...

The good thing is, I didn't feel my painful tongue for most of Sunday; tummy was worse *.* And I lost some weight from the lack of food and snacks :)

Some photos from the weekend to end this off:

Sword play with fancy markers


Watching Transformers - love to see them lie on Sito :)


Yang was on my legs - he loves lying on me :)


Yu likes to feed us our vitamins! This time with a pizza crust in his mouth :p


Yang and Yu were chatting away when I started typing. I just realised they're quiet now.. Hope they're asleep already!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Dinner with the kids every day

For many years, I had a proper breakfast, a proper lunch and a proper dinner every day. Then, some years back, a proper dinner with rice and three dishes started getting too heavy for me so I stopped having rice. 

When Kai started primary school last year, I didn't have time for breakfast at home before sending Kai to school and going to office from there. I also hated wasting time queueing to buy lunch at the coffeeshop. Since I ate in front of my laptop anyway (coz eating with others just took too much time), I might as well change my eating habits and save time.

So every Tuesday to Friday, I brought dinner from the day before in a glass box to heat up in office and eat it while going through emails. Monday breakfast was usually something heavy as well from the eateries near the office. I skipped lunch totally. Surprisingly, I might not even get hungry at dinner time so I gave up dinner totally, drinking only soup if there was any.

The past few months, I often felt hungry from mid afternoon, coz this helper gave me less rice for my breakfast. I thought I would try to lose some weight but nah, I ate when I got hungry :p

And I started wondering whether the kids were not eating well - picky, whine, slow, messy - coz they didn't see me eat dinner!

So I changed my eating habits again from yesterday. I had bread for breakfast, nothing for lunch, and together with them, rice with three dishes for dinner.

Unfortunately, helper made chicken wings yesterday so the kids were super slow. But I hope over time, they would learn to eat properly.

PS: Yu had two chicken wings and after a poop, finished his rice too. Then he told me he was very full. SO instead of jumping around on my bed after dinner, he aligned the books to make a triangle. 

I asked him to use his hands to show me his creation :p


Square! But in a different form from the triangle :p


But he managed to make a diamond!


Monday, 20 July 2020

Clan Sito finally went out together!

Clan Sito finally stepped out as a family last weekend!

Let's start with Friday - date night. After Polling Day, this was our second date night out in a while. This time, instead of BPP, we headed to Beauty World. 

I bought a big box of mini muffins from the old-school confectionery next to the massage place while waiting for Sito. The kids like these muffins. A few times, I woke up on Saturday morning to find them all gone! This time, I bought a lot. I don't find it especially nice but somehow they're popular with them so I get some whenever we go there.

Date night started with foot massage - gosh, how we missed that! Then we finally had the Korean BBQ - it was always crowded but it was quite late by the time we got there that day. The food was ok considering the low price for quite a lot of food. Doubt we will return!

On Saturday, Kai asked to go to Ikea as he didn't get to go over his birthday weekend. We agreed and left the house early to beat the crowds. I even packed our bag with hand sanitiser and a towel to dry hands after washing hands outside. But we barely walked through the mall when we realised it was a bad idea.

The kids had gone out only a few times since the start of the circuit breaker - one haircut for each, one playground trip for Kai, birthday trips for Kai and Yang, two supermarket trips for Yu, one supermarket trip for Yang just that morning. And none of these involved three of them together. So suffice to say they were uncontrollable on Saturday - Kai and Yang were running ahead of us; Yu was trying to follow. 

Sito and I were like, what were we thinking?! We stopped them just outside Macs. Since they didn't stay close and ran about instead, we would not go to Ikea. We brought them to collect the two bigger bikes and Yu's scooter, and headed for Level 5 instead.

Happy Yu!


Pretending to nap


The rest finally joined us at the playground - they were riding their bikes at the other end. And they biked around, scooted around, climbed all over. It was clear that they weren't as nimble on the climb structure as before. But they looked like they had fun!

Yang looks like he's getting too big for this!


Plucked off the kids' masks so they could breathe better when running about; we sedentary folks kept masks on


We haven't spent this much time at the playground before, I think. Good - exhaust them, heh! Just like two Sundays ago when we went back to the pool for the first time in a while - they were tired enough to sleep without jumping around too much :p

They still love the pool and dare to jump in!


Yang did some colouring while waiting for udon


Yu also did some colouring though he kept asking me to help *.*


Kai was stoning - staring at others and pining for his udon


Then he got interested in Papa's game


Big boy eats straight from the bowl instead of using a baby bowl - coz he felt paiseh to ask for a baby bowl!


We had wanted to go to the BPP playground but it was still closed. So we let them have some fun at the kiddy rides - no coins required :p

Like real!


Since we stayed in the neighbourhood on Saturday, Sunday became the real test - we headed to Mum's place! But after Saturday's disappointment, they seemed better behaved.

Standard - must play game on the way to HV!


They still ran to knock on the door!


They were their usual playful selves except that they seemed to have forgotten about going to the playground in the latter part of the afternoon. I didn't remind them :p

What I didn't plan for was pre-bedtime. Yang had to sit on the toilet for 10 minutes, and both Kai and Yu wanted to poop! Kai only told me about him pooping very near home so I had very little time to plan but luckily, Sito and I were talking toilet not many days before. So....

It was pretty hectic as A was having her first rest day in over three months. I had to usher Kai into our bathroom, show him where to place his street clothes, remind him not to wet the whole place, pull the baby potty out to the door frame of the kids' bathroom coz Yu doesn't like to smell Yang's poop (!), and help the younger ones unbutton their polo tops so that they could get on their business stark naked (habit :p). 

And while all were pushing poopoo, I unpacked the bag and put dragon fruit into the fridge, and tied up my long dress much to Yang and Yu's amusement. How else to shower you, my dears? When Kai had flushed (thanks for being quick!), I sent in his towel which I forgot earlier - with my eyes closed coz since his birthday, he is not supposed to be naked in front of the adults. 

Then Yu was done and gosh, it was so smelly! More like poor Yang had to smell Yu's poopoo! Showered him and sent him to wear his clothes himself coz I had to shower Yang. His 10 minutes were up and he had no poop. But he had a couple of abrasions on his right leg and couldn't bear to shower himself - I had to rain water on his leg while he whined but thankfully, he was not resistant. 

Finally, I got to shower! Sito had started Kai's phone so all was quiet... But when I was out, I realised it was late! Kai also knew it was late and quite willingly turned off his phone. And then I realised the kids' hair was a bit wet so did some drying before we finally went to bed while Sito went for a haircut.

I was exhausted by the time I left the monkeys in their bed. And I found a backache from bad positions while trying to get Yu to nap in the afternoon - I tried for over an hour; he napped for barely an hour *.*

But I'm glad we went out last weekend. This COVID-19 situation is going to be prolonged. Need to get used to the new normal. It means being as normal as possible while taking preventive measures. Sito and I have been pretty cautious. I also reminded A to bring sanitiser and not share food on her rest day. The kids are more iffy... 

But then, school has restarted for over a month now. The schools have been emphasising on COVID-19 prevention. Every child must wear a mask in school so they are familiar and acceptance of the mask. I think it's more normal to them than to us adults who have never worn masks much before this!

At home, I remind them of the rules before we go out - keep your hands to yourself, don't keep touching things outside, don't lean on the lift railings. Else, if you get COVID-19, you'll be alone in hospital with no Papa and Mama next to you!! *evil* :p

For me, I decided that I should not cold-storage my blink. Last week, I started wearing my wedding ring again (while it's Sito's turn to be lazy!) and pulled out an old pair of earrings from childhood that Mother found a few months ago. I  even wore a dress on Sunday coz I haven't worn one for ages!

Let's rock this new normal!

No flabby balloon!

I kept a list of dates in my phone:

3 June
10 June
14 June
16 June
21 June
26 June
1 July
6 July Monday

7 July Tuesday
10 July Friday
14 July Tuesday
16 July Thursday
20 July Monday

These are when Yang did a poo :p

I mentioned a new toilet routine for Yang during his birthday post. Soon after that, I started giving him five plan roasted cashew nuts at breakfast and/or dinner time as all the bananas and dragon fruit were not helping. 

And cashew nuts seem to be working so far! There are only two episodes of 4-day breaks since we started the cashew nuts. Last time, 5/6-day breaks (in red) were more common. 

Once, Yang woke late at night with a pained expression. He couldn't sleep. He woke maybe two more times before I realised that he wanted to poo but couldn't! I sat him down on the throne and massaged him etc until he finally pooped. So poor thing...

Now that he's pooping more regularly, I keep encouraging him to go sit on the toilet regularly. He's quite encouraged to hear that his "balloon", i.e. rectum, is getting smaller instead of flabby - according to the video we watched, heh!

(When Kai heard that, he said he doesn't poo every day but it's ok coz it's easy; when Yu heard that, he said his balloon is small coz he poopoos - good for you both!)

Yes, show me more of your cheeky face! No more painful tummy and bum bum, please!


Saturday, 18 July 2020

Making more Sitos

Not me :p

It was bedtime on Thursday and I was with Kai, chatting about random things in Chinese. 

I told him that when he and his brothers got married and moved out, Papa and Mama would move to a smaller house. Then he said he didn't want to move away. 

mf: Do you want to continue living here after getting married?
Kai: Yes *pout*
mf: Ok, then you may, and Papa and Mama will move away instead!
Kai: O_O

Hoho!

Somehow, the conversation took another turn..

Kai: Who is my wife? You?
mf: No, I'm Papa's wife. You will find your own wife when you grow up.
Kai: And make more Sitos?
mf: Yes, if you want 😂
Kai: What if we don't make Sitos? What if my brothers also don't make Sito? (I didn't have the chance to say anything yet...) Then no more Sitos?
mf: Yes, then the three of you will be the last Sitos.
Kai: 😟 No, I want to make Sitos!
mf: Ok!

Btw, the conversation was largely in Mandarin coz it was "Chinese day" so he said 做 Sito! I had to tell him that it should be 生 :p

Just be your own baby first, my son :)

Monday, 13 July 2020

Kai's hands are so big now

I realised I hadn't held Kai's hands for some time until recently. Usually, I don't hold his hands when we cross the road in the morning. Usually, my hands are full with Yang and Yu when we head out together. And during the circuit breaker, we were at home and there was no need to hold hands.

In the week leading to his birthday, I held his hands quite a bit.

On Monday, 6 July, I brought him along for my dental trip, since it was Youth Day school holiday. We held hands whenever we were walking :)

Sunning himself after the dentist - partly due to the chill and also, he was attracted by the riverside even before we went to the dentist!


On Thursday, I took PM leave to fetch him from school. He said he wanted roti canai, trying to test me whether I knew what that was. Prata, of course! So we had that at Balmoral Plaza. He didn't want to eat there at first but I said it was better to have some time between lunch and ice cream. Oh yes, even though he had a cone on Monday already... And the place was way less crowded than our prata shop downstairs!

Trying tissue - with some curry!


The lady boss was very nice to give him some condensed milk to dip in. I told him not to eat too much of that - so sweet! And when I had the tissue, I realised it was coated with sugar inside!!! In the end, he decided he would have my plain prata instead. 

Sundae at Swensen's!


He didn't want cone anymore, ok.... Just as well - got some wings to share since he didn't have any meat with his prata earlier.

He took a shower when we came back and decided to wear his PJs even though it was only 3.30 pm. So he did his homework in PJs before playing Nintendo. But he didn't play his usual hour as the temptation to open his birthday present was too great!

Tobot Magma Six - as requested :)


Very happy though he asked why it was mini Magma Six - um, I didn't know!


Showing Papa his new toy


More presents from the grands!


So sweet that they were working on it together :) And what's cute is how they sit - right leg bent for chin to rest on! Unfortunately, I think that's also where Kai got his rough chin from....

Happy birthday, my big boy!


Coz he doesn't like cake, I thought I'd get an ice cream cake for him. He chose this design. But he didn't like the whole thing coz there was still cream on the cake. So ice cream is ok, cream is not. I shall bear that in mind!

A photo that took quite a bit of gathering, which still didn't melt the cake


But Yu is MIA! He was nua-ing in bed after his nap, and came out to place his monkey on the table - his rep :p And check out Yang's face - he was smelling the dry ice, I think... So funny!

Only my birthday boy was facing the camera properly :) Coz he's a big boy :) And big boy is very 懂事 coz he's learning to be more accepting of circumstances... 
  • On Saturday, he asked whether he could choose his dinner on his birthday on Sunday; Sunday lunch at home is always pizza, their #1 choice. Unfortunately, no coz Mum already ordered roast duck. 
  • So he asked to go to Ikea for dinner on Saturday instead. Unfortunately, again no coz it was already 4.30 pm when he asked, which meant it would be a late dinner by the time we gathered his brothers (who were just settling down to watch TV and would be difficult to move) to leave the house etc. So he asked for udon instead. We got him that and his fave maki.
  • When Sito heard about his Ikea wish, he offered to pack food from Ikea on Sunday. But Kai declined; he would just eat what was planned.
Awww.... 儿子长大了…… 😍

I must try to hold Kai's hands more. Very soon, he will have bigger hands than me and won't want me to hold his hands anymore! 😭

PS: Oh dear, I just discovered emoticons here... 😄

Friday, 10 July 2020

Less Chinese woes, please!

I was sorting out Kai's P2 books one day late last year or early this year when he said he wasn’t looking forward to P3 coz of exams. So later I told him that he had to start speaking more Mandarin or he would fail his Chinese oral exam! 你想不及格吗?He said 不要 with this sad face. 阿娘暗笑到不行 :p

Some time during the circuit breaker, I started reading Chinese passages or short stories to Kai in the afternoon, and later got him to read as well. 

Recently, I started speaking only Mandarin to them at bedtime three times a week. I also pretend that I couldn't understand English so they must speak Mandarin to me.

The first evening I did that, I happened to lie down with Yang first. It was Yu's turn next. When I was with Yu, Kai was trying to chat with Yang. Suddenly, Kai asked, "Are you crying?" Yang was quietly lying on his bed facing down and towards the window. But Kai saw tears on his face when he went over. I got up to check on Yang who then burst into loud sobs!

Turned out that he was afraid I wouldn't understand him forever!

My poor baby!

Now they are used to Chinese nights three times a week. Kai tries and sometimes he asks Yang for a word. But more recently, he always uses English here and there to trick me into responding to him - 哦……你懂我的英语!Grrr.... 

Yang decided he would not speak at all! Of course, that doesn't pan out most of the time - my kids can't shut up! In fact, last night, Yang told me two Chinese stories he learnt in school - he hasn't done that for a while so I was very happy to hear his little stories again!

Yu tries to use Mandarin but he usually lapses back into English until I remind him. But I must say that he has a good chance to use more of the language coz he spends the most time in a local preschool!

Watching 大圣归来 last Saturday


I watched it with Kai before. Today, Yang said he wanted to watch it again - he could even tell me a couple of funny parts in the show. Yu didn't like it much - he is still more restless than his brothers.

We're still watching Paw Patrols and Peppa Pig in Chinese after lunch on weekends. Sometimes if we have more time, we watch some Mandopop or 诗歌朗读 on Youtube. I even got Kai and Yang to sing karaoke with me - 蜗牛与黄鹂鸟!

Every little bit helps. I'm also trying to speak Mandarin to them more. But time is running out for Kai who will have exams next year. I told him that if he doesn't buck up by end of July, he can say hello to Chinese tuition! No choice - I know first hand that languages get harder to learn with age. 

This week, I decided to go into drills and went through word lists with Kai. We started with 100 words. He could read about 90%. When we got to 250 words from another list, he could read about 80%. Still not bad. In fact, he seemed quite ok with this exercise. I think knowing that he could read that many words helped boost his confidence a little :) Will continue with this but I think I'll pull out the old Chinese flashcards for Yang when he gets to primary school next year!

My dentist helps me lose some weight

Our last trip to the dentist was in Dec 2018. I totally forgot about it last year! This year, I felt something weird on my retainers and thought the glue was coming loose! So I hurriedly made an appointment for only myself. It turned out that that was the start of the circuit breaker when dentists could not do regular cleaning. My dentist saw me nonetheless to check on my retainers. Thankfully, they were fine.

But I made another appointment for cleaning anyway. It was delayed twice - from May to June and to July. And I forgot to bring Sito along.. 

Kai came along though! He couldn't sit still! And he was so naggy in the room! Coz he wanted to head to the riverside which he saw earlier. But I couldn't scold him with my mouth full of various dental stuff! But my dentist is a very friendly chap. He asked Kai about school, brushing teeth etc, and told him how long more I would take.

Well, this time, I took pretty long coz my teeth were not in good shape! I'd never seen so much blood at a routine cleaning *.*

I asked whether I should just remove my retainers since they attract plaque easily. But my teeth might move so he advised me to just keep them clean and let them be until they fall out.

(I also asked whether I should fix my upper teeth as they had moved a bit. I think I haven't worn my retainers on my upper teeth for some 10 years. I put them on that morning and gosh, it was sore!)

So I have to be more diligent! Since pregnancy, I have been quite slack when it comes to dental hygiene. I think it was since morning sickness. And then the sleepless nights, tiring nights. I just lost the energy to brush teeth every night, oops...

Recently, I had tongue ulcers. It took three weeks for the pain to go away but not totally. Even today, my tongue feels a little sore at times. And now that my retainers are so clean, my tongue can feel it even more and I have to be careful not to scrape it hard on the wire! Think if the pain, however little, continues, I'll go back to see the mouth surgeon I saw before just to rule out sinister causes.

With the ulcers, I have been using mouth rinse twice a day. And from Monday since I learnt that I could use the interdental brush between my molars, I started doing that when I brush teeth after dinner. And it was difficult and time-consuming. So since Monday, I have not snacked after brushing teeth!

I felt a flatter tummy. So last night, I pulled out the weighing machine - 63.3 kg, the lowest for a long while, woohoo! And this morning, after a pee and a breakfast of bread and coffee, I pulled out the machine again - 63 kg! I'm happy :)

Long brushing time + difficulty + need to keep clean + lazy = no snacking once I brush teeth after dinner = losing weight

Hence the title of this post :)

My 损友 husband just suggested snacks. Nooooo! I shall persevere!

PS: I suddenly remember I have been doing gua sha regularly. That could have helped too!
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