Monday, 26 September 2016

Managing our child care centre

Let me put it upfront - I really like our child care centre. It's spacious, with its own outdoor space that has a trampoline, a playground, a road safety area, a water play area. Each class has its own space and sometimes its own room. The two adjacent buildings are old but they are kept clean. Most importantly, the teachers are nice and the boys seem to enjoy their time there.

But perhaps it's a relatively new setup compared to the major chains out there so its administration gets a bit frustrating sometimes.

I just had time to look at the term 4 newsletters and saw the upcoming centre closure days, including public holidays. And I found that the original date of 25 November is missing. Instead, there are now two upcoming closure days on Monday, 31 October and Saturday, 24 December, listed as for Deepavali and school closure respectively.

Now, centres can close for seven days a year, including three half-days on the eve of any major festivals such as Christmas, New Year, LNY, Hari Raya and Deepavali etc. Lucky if the three half-days are on the eve of Christmas, New Year and LNY, since most office people work half day on those eves; not so lucky if they fall on other festivals... Anyway, my centre has closed for 4.5 this year already so 25 November should be the last closure day.

But (1) Deepavali is on Saturday, 29 October, which means no automatic public holiday on the following Monday, and (2) it is not clear that 24 December is replacing 25 November though I know that if Christmas or New Year falls on a Sunday, centres are supposed to operate normal on the preceding Saturday unless they utilise one of the 5.5 days of centre closure. So I have written an email to the principal to seek clarifications. If they really change 25 November to 24 December, Sito could cancel his leave on 25 November.

Just a couple of months back, they informed all parents that 30 December would be half-day closure, apparently coz 31 December, a typical half day, falls on a Saturday this year so they brought the half day to Friday *.* I confirmed with ECDA that centres cannot bring forward half-days! So after some messaging with the principal, she said that they would not close on 30 December anymore but there was no follow-up on the mass email to all parents or other mention on school closure days until the newsletter came around.

And in the middle of this year, I was busy the day of Parent-Teacher Conference. I knew the teachers from PG onwards would be tied up with the PTC so the plan was to go for the PTC in the morning then get them home for a nap so that I could get some work in. But somehow, ZK's teacher missed out on his reply slip and by the time I realised ZK didn't have a timing, it was too late to schedule the boys at a similar timing in the morning. We ended up with 1 plus pm, which meant that I had to go on my own while the boys napped, i.e. I must work in the morning. Sito happened to have reservist those two weeks and we didn't know whether he had to stay over the weekend yet.

So I needed to send the boys to school in the morning so that I could work. I informed the principal and was surprised at her reply that there would be no child care on PTC days. I had previously put one or both boys in on a past PTC day, before the current principal and the current management, and the infant carers helped out. But in any case, I sought good old ECDA's confirmation - yes, centres must continue to provide child care on PTC days unless they utilise one of the 5.5 days of centre closure.

And in the very early days when ZK was in infant care, I had events on many Saturdays. When I first told the centre, then under a different management and a different principal, they told me ok, just pick up before 1 pm. Various bells rang at the back of my head - I had done marriage and parenthood policy before, including child care, and I remembered vividly the stipulated child care centre timings. I didn't need to ask anyone - a simple search verified that centres have to open until 2 pm for half days.

I have highlighted the key points from my experience above, but the main lesson for parents is this - child care centres may not know everything. If in doubt, always check ECDA website; if the website is not clear, e.g. in the PTC case, ask ECDA directly.

The seven permitted days of closure already utilises most if not all of the six days of child care leave of one parent. If both parents can take turns to take leave, it's great! But some parents may find it more difficult to take leave than others so not both parents can take leave easily. And sometimes, one parent is not enough *.* Add HFMD to the equation - oh the scary HFMD! - and parents can get really tight on leave. I'm lucky to have many days of annual leave but most parents don't have this many.

Update 27 Sep 2016

The principal clarified with me this morning. I forgot to count the three half-days for eve of public holiday. So they're lumping the Christmas eve and New Year eve into one closure day on Christmas eve, and 25 November is still a closure day. But the Deepavali closure is a mistake.

Last major date night for a while...

Sito and I had a nice dinner at Morton's on Friday. We had wanted to try Cut but the only available timing was too late for us. Anyway, Morton's is always good :) After that, we had some ice cream in bed - too full for the chocolate lava cake at Morton's earlier!

It was a good date night for us. At 36 weeks, with me growing bigger and my pubic bone throbbing on and off, it's just difficult for us to go far. So this was our last date night that needed travelling. From next week, we'll do local. Luck for us, there are plenty of options downstairs.

And then, it would be no date night for quite a while...

I like our date nights. It's a time for ourselves, like dating days. Sure, the kids are home and sometimes I'll have a moment of panic of leaving them alone with the helper. But thankfully, I'm just being paranoid.

So Friday, besides the kids, we talked about compartmentalising our work and life, job and money issues etc.

We are people who keep bringing work home. His new role in the same company has seen him taking night calls almost every week night. It's bad enough that we're working at home almost every night. There's really no need for work to creep into our life, our conversations, affecting our mood at home. So I asked him to compartmentalise his work and life earlier this week. But Friday, I realised that this advice would apply to me as well.

Our situations are somewhat different - he tends to get frustrated at the job, at its progress, at some co-workers; I tend to get frustrated at the sheer amount of work and I find it hard to not think about work waiting for me to finish... So while he needs to stop talking about his work when he's not working, I need to stop thinking about my work when I'm not working.

We also wondered at our financial stability, especially if he were to lose his job. He wondered if he was needlessly worried. Perhaps coz I never seemed worried? :p But ya, I'm not so worried. My laogong has enough credentials while I have a steady job that - last I heard - still wants me. I also wondered, cannot be that all the private sector people are all hung up about job security right? That's a lot of people *.*

As we walked back from the carpark, Sito asked if we should get a car after moving to Bukit Panjang. Nope, child care is hopefully just downstairs - I've signed up at ECDA website! - and if we really need to ferry the kids for primary school, it might be cheaper to hire a cab regularly and/or sign up for car-share for the odd trip to less accessible places. I'm also ready to go part-time if need be to give myself some flexibility, although that this kind of part-time sure lugi one - part-time pay for full-time work, tmd! Perhaps flexi-time la, since I'm already working from home a lot...

Anyway, we didn't take pictures that day. Morton's is always too dark for nice pictures. But I found a picture from early September when we went to Ajisen at Junction 8. We used to go to Ajisen at Takashimaya on our Tuesday date nights before we got married! Since then, there have been so many new and better ramen places that we seldom go to Ajisen. Also, the kids didn't seem to like Ajisen much. So it was very nostalgic for us :)

Like we were in our 20s again :)

We have planned for the next two date nights - xiao long bao and Indian food! After that, well, we shall see if there's a chance for another date night before monkey comes out...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Kiddy updates

ZK did something quite out of character today - he saw his friend C from the car and when we stopped, he quickly got out, ran to greet her. I've never seen him so enthusiastic to see a friend before, not even H! C graduated a couple of months back from K2 and is in elementary school now. She came along with her younger brother who is in ZK's class. Maybe he's into older girls hoho!

Anyway, plenty of cute shots for September...

All geared up for H's birthday party!

My happy boys :)

ZK having baked cheesy pasta! I'm making it one of these days..

The 4yos were very excited over the big Frozen cake, Frozen with a big F of course...

Did a home activity with ZY - flowers to hand back to the school for the President's Challenge

Two Sundays ago, I brought ZK out after his Sunday nap to buy shoes but ended up with only slippers. And juice :)

I cannot understand this letting the train run thing...

ZY holding the brush properly!

ZK could hold a pen very well at two years old, probably coz he held his spoon very well quite early. ZY, on the other hand, is just grabbing his spoon. But style aside, ZK doesn't like to feed him or write, while ZY would feed himself and loves to write and paint!

Making cut-out food from playdough

And of course ZK gets the rolling pin and press machine...

I'm taller than you!

I carry Mama's leg!

School updated FB late - ZY's National Day snack :)

ZY's breakfast - should have been mine...

ZK making mooncakes in school - but he didn't eat it when he brought it home

ZY also made but never ate *.*

Mama, I poopoo and weewee in the potty! (So big!)

I haven't bring (sic) my dinosaur baby to school for a long time...

It wasn't that long ago, my ZK baby... Bought a clock and tried teaching him time but he wasn't interested. ZY was more interested, hmmm... But ZK has been learning addition in school. Shall see if I can help a bit later today...

Monkey business

My monkey is a very active little boy. So active I'm sore a lot of the time. This past week, I would be walking and minding my own business when he gave a squirm inside and my left hip left stiff from the soreness *.* My pubic bone hurt like mad the past two days too, even though all I did was to sit there and work!

Well, like the doc said, it would be over very soon - we're 36 weeks already, yeah!

Friday, 16 Sep 2016 - 35w

Had a little shock early in the morning - found a tinge of red when I wiped! Went back in bed to seek Dr Google's advice. Many people saw blood at this point. If it's the mucous plug, labour may take place within hours or weeks - very helpful *.*

Anyway, nothing happened. Monkey continued to play kickboxing inside.

Thursday, 22 Sep 2016 - 35w5d

So I weighed in at 77.8kg - that's a 2+kg gain in two weeks when monkey gained only max 400g!! He's between 2.8kg and 3kg now. But when I asked, Dr Wong said that's accurate +/- 20%. That's quite a large variance! Still, more accurate than "the old days where they shook your belly with magic hands and gave you a number"!

Baby too close to surface - can hardly see his face

Anyway, I blamed my weight on the big breakfast. We shall see next week - yep, weekly from now, exciting!

So this visit, we did a vaginal swab to test for Strep B. Doc wasn't concerned about the bid of red coz I had some white blood cells in my urine so I might have had an infection. And he went through the birth details with me too, despite this being my third. I like that he's meticulous in explaining things, even though it sounded scary at some points. Last time I never asked and Dr Chan isn't the kind to offer information unless you ask - he's the 包在我身上 type... Good and bad... So, key points:
  • No routine episiotomy. Since I had delivered naturally twice, he'll monitor and if I look like I might tear, he'll make a little snip to let it tear in that direction *.*
  • If baby is threatened or I can't push out and need forceps, he'll make a bigger cut.
  • The remaining epidural post delivery will see me through the most painful six hours of the tear and sewing.
  • If I see enough blood, have water roll down my legs or have contractions, go straight in - don't wait! Coz the two talking monkeys took all of three hours to go from 3 cm to 10 cm. Yes, I want my epidural...
  • I'll be strapped in to monitor baby heartbeat and contractions, and charted for progress. If I don't progress to full dilation within 10-12 hours, no need to wait, just cut. But I could be given oxytocin somewhere in between to see if I progress too - I'm quite sure I will with oxytocin.
  • If baby or mama is threatened at any point in time, no discussion - just cut.
  • But most likely, things will be fine :)
And he's guessing I might go earlier than last time. Shucks, work not handed over yet! Baby stuff not all settled yet! Ok, better be prepared...

Today, 36w1d

This morning, I was on my way to the supermarket when an old grandma walking towards me suddenly exclaimed - that's a boy! And went on to explain she could tell from my pointed belly... This was the nth time I got this... Indeed, my belly tends to go front than to the sides. But it also struck me that this was probably how it was before ultrasound, people guessing gender by the shape of the belly.

A significant development today is that for the first time in some two weeks, I did not have to strain to poop! Hope this means my constipation is somehow clearing up.

So there, I'm very excited that for the first time, I'll be waiting for labour to start instead of being induced.

Today, I shall let my nesting instinct take over - off to pack things now!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

My cute little ZY

I realised I don't really write exclusively on ZY... Well, when there are more kids...

So I just found a note in my phone that says:
  • ZY kissed me on 26 Sep 2015 (yes 2015!); and I also found an upper tooth that week
  • ZY could say his name on 4 Oct 2015, "two", "elephant" and "star"
  • ZY tried the potty for the first time on 30 Oct 2015
  • ZY said "nice" and "share" on 6 Dec 2015
  • ZY said "where papa?" on 9 Jan 2015
I can't help but feel a little guilty that I haven't been tracking his growth as much as I did for ZK.

And he's so cute!!!

And cheeky!

We started some form of potty training lately as I mentioned (I think) and this evening, he decided to go to the potty. N didn't give him a diaper after that since he just peed and would shower soon. But he started saying "my wee wee painful!" Think those particular pants weren't too comfortable so he took them off - oh yes, he can put on and take off his pants now!

I dug out a pair of underwear that ZK had outgrown. Um, both boys and the underwear is still quite new, not gross at all :p When ZY saw that, he went "waterplay!" just like he did when we first introduced the pull-up diapers. Well, he wore the underwear and found it more comfortable. Underwear-donning boy continued his dinner.... Think I'll start him on underwear proper over the next long weekend.

He doesn't seem to have his full set of milk teeth yet but he's already brushing his teeth on his own. We just let him play around with the toothbrush and a controlled amount of kiddy toothpaste. Think the school will start them brushing some time next year...

Like ZK, he loves watching video, sighs... Sometimes, he wants to see YY - that means photos and videos on my phone :) It's quite cute to see him do that - he'll call out each person and keep rewatching the videos.

And speaking of calling us, he sometimes call ZK by his name instead of GeGe! We're trying to tell him that ZK is the DaGeGe and he's the XiaoGeGe once monkey arrives :)

Like his brother, ZY likes to be big and strong :p

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Of tears, sore muscles and so much joy

So tired now I'm just vegetating in bed. It's 8.26 pm.

It was a usual Sunday. But ZY puked after his bedtime milk. And what a spectacular puke - milk and blueberry covered half the floor and splashed onto ZK's bed as well! Lucky for us, N was working today. So while she cleaned up the room, I cleaned up the boy in the shower - all that squatting and holding on to a moving boy was rough for me.

ZY ended up playing Sito's Devastator with ZK for a while after that as we waited for the room to be ready. Just glad that ZY wasn't showing signs of illness. Hope no repeat tonight or ever again!

Sito brought out the robots upon ZK's request yesterday

I can't remember very well but I think this might be the first time he puked randomly; the very first time he puked was probably that time after he fell off the bed at about 15 months. ZK also puked randomly like this around this age or younger, but in the middle of the night and in a much less spectacular way, though there was one night when he puked until we ran out of bedsheets and just plonked him over a clean baby mat!

Anyway so I also ended up putting ZY to bed tonight. He asked for N after showering. But after the vomit, I was pleasantly surprised that he let me send him in, read a bit, sing a bit. We even came back out to make some milk. He saw N but still let me bring him in. It was so nice :)

And what a far cry from just yesterday, when we had a sad evening. He refused to stop watching video after showering so Sito took it away and had me send him to bed instead of N. Actually we both think N gives in to him too much, even rocking him to sleep, massaging him on demand or without being asked. ZY was struggling against this decision. He came out after N and Sito carried him back in. When ZY opened the door to find N, he found Sito standing at the door. Then he could only stand in the room near his bed and cried to me about wanting N.

Needless to say,  I started to cry too. He looked at me through his tears, as though he was wondering why I was crying. I told him between sobs that I love him a lot and was sad that he didn't want me. We both cried for a while until he said he wanted to sleep. Even as he got in bed with his milk, he was sobbing a little and asking for N. But he was calmer after the milk and some singing. He didn't sleep straight away but asked where ZK and N were. Then he fell asleep.

I hope tonight meant that he was starting to allow me to send him to bed again. It was tough for me to get up from the floor after he slept, what with my sore pelvic area and near-constant foetal movements in the evenings, but I think I'll try to send him to bed whenever I can from now. He should have a parent do this for him too, like his brother, who asked for both of us to sit with him for a short while every evening. Love my boys so much!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Feel like becoming a SAHM, sometimes...

Wrote about the pains of this pregnancy. But at least the pain will pass when monkey comes out. I think the job is the bigger killer - it is tough now and will still be there after maternity leave.

Sometimes I wonder at my insanity, trading a job with good work-life balance but which I don't believe in, with a job that is more fulfilling but is crazy demanding. I log on just about every weeknight (except Friday, our date night, and tonight coz log-in failed!) to do work after settling ZK in bed. I also catch up on work on Saturday mornings when I don't have anything else, which pretty much means mostly work.

I'm really tired sometimes. Whether it is because of the pregnancy or because of the workload, I can't tell. But it sure makes me feel like becoming a SAHM! This feeling became especially strong in the past few months...

Some time towards end of last year, I was very busy and outsourced settling ZY for bedtime to N so that I could push forward dinner and shower to before settling ZK (who was easy by then) so that I could start work right after ZK. Then I just kept being busy. Then morning sickness hit. And then I found that ZY no longer wanted me at bedtime :( He also wouldn't find me when he woke at night :( I can't help but feel sad :(

I've made peace with the fact that we would never have a daughter. And the other day, I was thinking, perhaps it was fate - years back, I thought that if I were to keep a pet, it would have to be a cat rather than a dog as the former wouldn't need as much attention from me. In the same vein, a boy is less clingy right? With my work like this, a daughter would be very poor thing, ya?

Oh well... I made a mental note to take care of monkey myself, like I did with ZK even after getting a helper when he was 15 months; I would have kept sending ZK to bed if not for morning sickness with ZY.

Lately, as this time bomb in my belly keeps ticking, I find myself looking forward more and more to maternity leave. I think I'm very used to having work at the back of my mind. When putting ZK to bed at night, I can't help thinking about doing it quickly so that I can get down to work so that I can rest. Feel so guilty about it.

During maternity leave, there is no work, which means I can be fully present when with the kids! Perhaps this is too naive coz I seem to have forgot about the newborn monkey demanding my attention... But well, thinking of another kid is better than thinking of work, right?

Of course maternity leave doesn't last forever. I really dread going back to work after that - imagine having to spend time pumping at work, washing pump parts, losing work time, which means I need to bring work home! But with a young baby, it is unlikely I'll have the time or energy to do work at night. Or I'll just end up very, very tired. The SAHM thought is creeping up even as I type this...

But I must be practical. It's not possible for me to be a SAHM. I have a morbid fear of depriving my kids due to lack of financial means, a remnant fear from my childhood, no doubt. (I deprive them of material goods on principles but that's a story for another day.) Loss of income aside, I think I'll go crazy with only child care day in, day out, even with a helper around, which means child care is still needed for at least half the time, which ties back to finances and my fear. Hopefully, with both of us working hard now, we can afford to take it a little easier later on... Perhaps I can even change jobs...?

Sito and I discussed this a while back - that we should take a kid out of Saturday child care once a month to bring him for some activities somewhere, just Papa, Mama and the kid, so that each will have his special time with us. We'll also get to spend more time with them, and learn more about them when they're on their own without their brothers.

Impact? Less time for me to catch up on work, less time for Sito to sleep in. But just thinking about it makes me happy :) And perhaps, ZY would want me at bedtime again?

Monday, 12 September 2016

Singing and sleeping

I've been meaning to write this for a while but I keep forgetting...

I sang a lot to ZK in his first two years - on the way to school, in bed, doing random things... In fact, I used to sing until he fell asleep. Or I fell asleep. It didn't matter coz he would just lie there quietly, asleep or awake. I could sleep next to him and he would eventually sleep. He would sing in the day but it was a lot of input with little output when it was all dark.

On the other hand, ZY gave me output all the time. Since he was verbal, he would sing along happily if I sang to him in bed - no sign of sleepiness!! So recently, all I sang was the sleeping song I made up. He often asked for repeats. Just now, he made me sing it some five times. I thought that was it but I was wrong - he launched into song by himself! He sang the 12345 song two or three times, with actions...

Taken while ZY was still having his cute voice

(just ignore my tak glam look...)

It was super cute but I was fretting that he still wasn't sleeping at 8.30 pm! But then I recalled a few recent instances when he would be singing loudly one moment and dozing off the next, and I got hopeful... Indeed, he started to drift off! But before I could scream a silent YEAH, ZK came into the room and ZY bolted into a sitting position, argh!

I wonder how monkey will be like when it comes to lullabies. Would be nice to have a baby who sleeps to my voice like ZK (though that might be bad when I nag??!) but also fun to hear him sing excitedly like ZY :)

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Big fat monkey?

Today, 33w6d, I weighed in at 75.1 kg - that's lower than two weeks ago! The Macs must have been the cause last time! Now I'm cautiously optimistic that I might still keep under 80 kg...

Monkey, on the other hand, had grown 400g to 2577g. At the rate he's going, i.e. 400 g per two weeks, I'm looking at a 3.7 kg baby at 40 weeks! I like him big - easier to care for in the early days. But gosh, I need to eat more to have the strength to push him out :p

Dr Wong was spreading out the gel on my belly when he commented that I had no stretch marks despite all these pregnancies. I said I was fat before - really, I looked like five months pregnant with the second child at one point in Oxford! - but he said fat people get stretch marks too. I must be lucky. I only used a proper stretch mark oil for ZK. I don't think I applied any for ZY. I applied some on-off now coz it can get itchy with the stretching skin..

Was told that we would go through the birth plan at the next visit. This would be the first time for me talking about birth plan coz last time Dr Chan would just do it his way... I like that this doc is more structured and consultative.. I'd better go prepare questions etc... Will also do a swab to check for Strep B - please don't let me have it again...

Doc and nurse said he looks like mama :)

So monkey is still down - stay there, please - but facing left instead of right. I should have known, with all those movements on my left... This time, he looked asleep with his arms near his face but he was still moving his bum and legs!!

I've been scheduling my appointments with Pilates classes. So I went for Pilates after seeing the doc today. I could hardly stay in a sitting position coz monkey kept going at the spot just above my left hip! It was painful at times. But I told myself that in just six more weeks, or less, I won't ever feel such internal movements again! Treasure this feeling.. It means a life is growing inside :)

Monday, 5 September 2016

And we survived the long weekend!

It was a long weekend for us due to child care centre closure on Friday, Saturday and Monday - the school brought the teachers to Bangkok! We started thinking about what to do since a couple of months back. Toyed with the idea of a staycation - after all, we had staycations just before ZK and ZY respectively. But I'm in pain this time and couldn't repeat what we did at Sentosa in December.... What we did in the end was fun too!

We started Friday morning with some baking. Got the kids to help a little.. First, ZK cracked the eggs into a million pieces so I took some time to fish out the shell bits... Then they took turns beating the eggs into a foamy liquid. This was the first time I made muffins with such beaten eggs - usually they are only lightly beaten. I had some yogurt that they didn't like so I threw that in and reduced the amount of oil and milk.

ZY watching the muffins

Posing while waiting for the muffins

This ZK loved the double chocolate muffins - chocolate dough with chocolate chips. While I was tending to ZY, he took a second one. Lucky I discovered it before he had bitten too much into it.. Need to ensure he could still have lunch later..

The main activity for the morning was the library! I must admit that I have been pretty slack with reading... Bedtime reading does not happen these days - ZK prefers YouTube and I don't send ZY to bed anymore... We haven't been to the library much as well. Since ZK seems to like Mum to read to him before his Sunday nap, I thought, why not try?

The boys at the entrance to the Jurong East library

This library has a much larger kids section compared to the one at Clementi where we went a few times before. Great if you're already a reader; not so great if you're like my boys.. They were so distracted by the various toys and even sturdy cushions you could jump on that they were just monkeying around!

ZY jumping on numbers

ZK playing with magnetic boards

Over lunch at JCube, I refused ZK his usual pre-lunch snack of raisins/baby bites coz he threw a styrofoam block at Mum. Somehow, ZY didn't ask for a snack as well... ZK wasn't very interested in lunch but ZY had a few chive dumplings before his noodles! So proud of him :)

After some loud singing, ZY fell quiet and dozed off in the car. Managed to keep him asleep when we got back. ZK also managed to nap. So I napped too :)

Finally got his hands on the second muffin

ZY eats like a gentleman - with a spoon instead of his hands

But still messy, especially after he spit out his milk on purpose!

Got some chicken rice for them for dinner, settled them, and went out with Sito for our usual Friday date night. We went to Popular at Bishan to get some pens and left with more than that - we also bought a set of bilingual books that come with an audio pen. The morning trip to the library certainly precipitated the decision...

We had a more experiential activity on Saturday - visiting the fire station!

ZK trying out the nozzle for the water hose

ZY had a go at it too

I find the visit more kid-friendly this time. They had various stations we could go to, including a bowling one, and they removed the visit to the office which was interesting to adults but probably not kids.

ZY had help from Papa trying to hit the bottles with the hose but failed...

He was invited to kick them down instead!

Looking like they almost got it! But no.... Sito concluded that it was him :p

While we were bowling away, there was an ambulance call. Shortly after that, there was a fire call and most of the personnel ran off and were out in under a minute - it was very exciting to watch!

Sito trying a tool that can pry open doors, with ZK lending some weight to the obstacle

Watering time! - ZK's second time :)

ZY also had fun!

Next was the fire pole - this time, they couldn't do a demo due to risk of injuries. And I thought I got a picture of ZK sliding down the pole but I didn't hit the recording button! So sad..

The boys climbed onto the carriage while Mama went trigger-happy

Finally got their chance on the various vehicles!

Hi, Mama! (Can see the top of ZY's head?)

Driving, driving in my ambulance...

Looking grouchy on a motorbike...

ZY happily posed for the camera while ZK ran off to find another truck!

We ended pretty early so we went to Ikea for a walk. Plonked the boys into trolleys and off we went looking at various home furnishings.

ZY wanted to wash his hands

ZY had fun with toys along the way. Glad he was ok to say bye bye to them too..

Wanted to eat at Ikea but penne wasn't ZK's thing so we went to the hotel next door for a ramen lunch. It was good but somehow, ZY didn't want it. Think I'd bring ZK back one day to eat at Ikea.. Or somewhere.. Need to expose him to more food varieties, and I think I'd have better luck if I bring him alone.

Walked back to Ikea after lunch to take a cab home. This ZY was very funny. On both cab rides, he left the cab, walked to the front passenger seat area and waved bye bye to the uncle. Both drivers were sporting enough to wave back at this random friendly kid :)

Back home, we did the usual Saturday post lunch stuff. But this time, we broke out the new book set and managed to interest ZY for more than a couple of minutes on the first two scenes. On Sunday morning, ZK asked for the book set so I set them on each side of me, and went through three scenes! So far so good... Hopefully, they will be able to sit down longer to read it on their own eventually, especially ZK.. His Chinese could do with some help *.*

And today, I was putting things away from the desk when I found some long forgotten school work, oops... ZK's Chinese worksheets were all done and I had wanted to go through with him but forgot.. I was very happy that he could tell me the names of the strokes - 点,横,竖!He had two other stacks which were not done - luckily not homework!! One was just colouring; the other was a mix of numbers and words.

But first, let's sharpen a pencil

ZY also sharpened a pencil while ZK worked on his worksheets 

ZK was ok with the numbers. I taught him how to use a ruler to draw a straight line between two dots. He also managed to trace some letters but had difficulty writing it freehand. Though I suspect he just didn't want to. By the time we got to the last page to read the words he had traced, he started crying :(

We had to head out soon so I let him calm down while I got changed. On the car, I chose to sit with him to debrief the episode. He said it was too difficult. So we agreed that he would just do whatever had to be done in school and we would just read at home until he was ready to write at home.

So, now to the main agenda of the day - we went to the SEA Aquarium! We were walking through the entrance when ZK said we were there "yesterday" - seems like he still remembers his trip there two years ago!

Posing with candies before the aquarium opened

My son sweeter la...

He was actually a little shy taking this...

Lollipops over our heads!

Mesmerised by a video of traditional Sumatran dance in the museum section

Big fish!


What are these?

Staring into the open ocean habitat

Beautiful jelly fish

But the boys were most excited to see divers

ZK finally ventured in to touch a starfish

ZY was very on from the beginning!

But ZK was scared to walk over glass...

ZK had no such fear, obviously...

We also saw other fish but the place was so dark so I didn't take too many pictures... When we got to the tank with clown fish, ZK said those weren't Nemo coz the eyes were different - um, ya, these weren't cartoon eyes! But he acknowledged the big blue Dory :p ZK was running around a lot. ZY tended to focus more on each tank. But when he ran around that one time, he bumped into a railing *.* Luckily it was a light bump.

I googled for Chinese food coz I thought ZK would want noodles but he decided on fries, hotdog and pizza!! We went to Hard Rock Cafe. No pizza but he had his hotdog and fries.

Hotdog time, with fries and lots of ketchup

I closed both eyes and let the boys feast on ketchup! ZY would only eat fries at first but we managed to hide the fish under the crispy dough stained with ketchup so he had some fish :p

The boys woke at 6.30 am. ZK got very tired after lunch but managed to get into the car himself. I was surprised ZY was more awake. But well, they both slept on the way home.

Seconds before he collapsed on N's arm

"I sleep too!" And he did within seconds...

ZK woke when we parked, as usual. But ZY managed to sleep for perhaps 30 min more. Then it was YouTube time for both while I napped next to ZY, who occasionally woke me with something interesting on the video, or snuggling cutely up to me.

The boys had some jelly for their afternoon snack and played random things like fishing and tickle tickle. I left ZK with Simba and ZY with Suria channel to get them some dinner... Managed to shower before the kids and sat down with ZY to watch colourful water balloons - so nice to be laughing with him!

And now at 8.42 pm, both are fast asleep. They must be so tired.. Hope they had fun :) It was tiring for me but it was a lot of fun to be with them too :)
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