The Perfect / Imperfect Child

PerfectI have three perfect children.

They are healthy, funny, smart, witty kids. They have a great sense of humour, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to where their imagination can take them.

Jayvon is creative and artistic. His mind speeds at 300km per hour, as he imagines what his next art work will be, or his next building in Minecraft will look like. He loves his siblings fiercely, giving them hugs and kisses freely and is always ready to make a funny face or say something funny and cause them to buckle over in laughter. He is brilliant with Maths, and while it might seem a strange thing to do, he absolutely loves it when we go through Maths questions on the go. I can imagine how it might be like to someone passing us by, and hearing me ask Jay, “What is 3,000 + 6,000?”  or “What is 40,000 + 50,000?” What a typical Asian Tiger Mom I must seem! But nah, he enjoys it more than I enjoy giving it! Haha!

Xavier is adorable. Charming. He has a way to get people (*coughcoughthefather*) to do what he wants, and really, it’s hard to resist his big puppy dog eyes, and he’s (mostly) understood the “soft” approach works way, way better than the whining and tantrum-throwing. He loves his siblings fiercely, insists on crawling up to the upper bunk of their bed to sleep in the same bed as Jayvon every night, holds on to Zoie’s hands in childcare when we drop them off to give her reassurance. He is a sweet-natured boy, and often finds himself having to give in to his older and younger sibling, but he is easily placated.

Zoie is coming to her own. She has found her voice – very literally. She gave me a earache when she let out a piercing shout just the day before. For no particular reason, cos she was screeching and smiling at our reactions. She is musical, and sings songs and dances, and is particularly pleased when I can make out the song she is singing. The alphabet song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Rain Rain Go Away… she has about 10 songs in her repertoire, and growing. When left to her own devices, she loves to go and raid Jayvon’s art supplies, to pour out the crayons and markers and start drawing on the paper. Jayvon loves it, and draws with her and is happy to share.

30 April 2015

I have three imperfect children.

They whinge, whine, quarrel, argue, fight, spit, nudge, elbow, poke, annoy, frustrate, irritate and they do this to each other, to us and to other people.

They play together, and after five minutes, start screaming at each other.

They sleep on the same bed and after an hour, we can still hear them talking and discussing about Minecraft.

They share some art supplies, and then argue when they both want the same one.

They kick a ball in the field, and whine when one kicks it too far off.

No one wants to bathe first. And no one wants to bathe second. And everyone wants to be the third to bathe, except when it’s time for the third kid to bathe.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

Engage your child with “Ariel and Her Honesty Pig” by MandarinaKids (Plus Giveaway & a 25% Discount Code)

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This post is the 5th of a 5-part blog train on 5 ways to engage our children using Bilingual English/Mandarin book, “Ariel and Her Honesty Pig” book. Other contributors to this train include The Wacky Duo, BubbaMama, The Chill Mom and Beverly’s Net.

Life in Australia can be pretty interesting, as we immerse ourselves in a different country, culture, and take on new lingo and slangs. Each time we FaceTime family back in Singapore, or we send short video clips of their antics over Whatsapp, the inadvertent remark seems to be “What are they talking about?” or “Gosh, such an Aussie accent!” and I guess this is part and parcel of living overseas for the last two years. McDonald’s used to be “Macs” back in Singapore… and we call it “Maccas” now. “Sports shoes” are called “runners”, “trackpants” (which we seldom wear in humid Singapore) is de rigueur here in Australia, especially with the onset of the colder weather – and fondly renamed as “trackies”.

The kids’ level of conversational English has always been pretty good, cos I am usually anal, and when they pronounce a word wrongly, I cannot help myself but to correct them – and the conversation comes to a standstill till they repeat the word correctly. Xavier has recently taken to using the past tense and he uses it well too, which I am glad – except for the fact he overemphasizes on the “-ed” ending, which irks me no end. Haha! Well, at least he recognizes that it is the right usage.

Jayvon enjoys writing long, long mini essays, and almost every day in class, the teacher gets them to write on a variety of topics, and he has improved by leaps and bounds – from someone who could hardly read 3-letter words, his reading and spelling and writing has improved greatly in the last 2 years.

And so, the only thorn in my flesh…

Is Chinese.

And the fact that since we ARE Chinese, we should have at least a basic understanding of the language. Plus the fact that when we go back to Singapore, the kids would be thrust into the very unforgiving world of the Singapore education system where Chinese is compulsory, and it is TOUGH.

And so we do our best, to instill into our kids as much bilingualism as we possibly can. And it is an uphill struggle. U-P-H-I-L-L. But we keep at it, and there are several things we do to help introduce Chinese into our everyday life.

And so, when I was approached to do a review of a bilingual (Chinese/English) book by MandarinaKids, you can imagine my hestitation! But nothing like giving it a go, and while I tried Chinese story books, I have not tried bilingual ones, and didn’t know what to expect.

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When the book came, the first person who was most keen, cos of the colours and bright pictures, was my little Miss, Zoie, all of 2 years old!

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I tried reading it to her, but she was more keen in lifting up flaps and pointing at objects.

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What I liked: It was an easy to read story, one with good values (talking about honesty and friendship!). The hanyu pinyin on the Chinese part helped someone like me who’s more than a little rusty to be able to read to them smoothly. Jayvon also relied heavily on the pinyin to read – though his pronunciation wasn’t spot on.

I also liked the way they incorporated the bilingual portion, by placing the English words under a “flap” under each Chinese section – as opposed to printing both on the same page. I liked it this way, so the focus when reading would be on the language, without the distraction of being able to read the English part.

There were little phrases and flaps, and the graphic of the “hair” was a nice touch, and my 2 year old could enjoy that part.

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What I would have preferred: A more stylized English translation, as in written with a better flair so that it would be enjoyable as a standalone English story book as well.

However, this book and its storyline came at a perfect time – as we were thinking of the kind of party we wanted to throw for Zoie’s second birthday party! It was enjoyable pointing through and as we read through the story, I threw her some questions about her own party:

“Do you want balloons, Zoie?”
“No.”

“How about a cake? Would you like a cake?”
“Hmm… yes.”

“Oh! And presents! Do you want to go shopping at Target?”
“Yes.”

She sure knows her mind, this little one!

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In the end, due to the horrendously rainy weather we’d been experiencing, we decided to scale down this year’s celebration, didn’t organize a party with her friends. But the childcare centre has its own in-house chef (who prepares yummy meals for the kids), and she especially prepared cupcakes for the kids, and we were invited to come down to have a mini-celebration, which we were more than happy to!

I really enjoyed reading this book, as did my guinea pigs, I mean, kids!

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Special discount for our readers

MandarinaKids is giving our readers a 25% discount off their products. The promotional discount code is MK505WU. This code expires end June 2015, so be sure to pick up your copy of Ariel and her Honesty Pig here!

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It’s Just Another Rainy Day

“Streets Flooded As Sydney Cops Drenching”

“Storm Of The Century Batters Sydney”

Just two of the headlines today, as it marks a pretty out-of-the-ordinary day for us here in Sydney, Australia.

Normally, we would be out of the house by 8.45 a.m. on a regular Wednesday morning, to drop Jayvon off at school, and Xavier and Zoie off at childcare. The relentless and seemingly unstopping rain for the past three consecutive days meant that we made a judgment call to leave the two younger kids at home (where they’d be safe, warm and dry)

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The view from our apartment, seeming calm – but missing those blue, blue skies.

So since yesterday, the pace of things are pretty different. Jayvon is still in school – while the rain has caused closures of quite a number of public schools, we are thankful to be located at an area of Sydney where it isn’t as bad. So tucked into his younger brother’s George Pig raincoat (hahaha… cos being the Mother of the Year that I am, I totally forgot to get a raincoat for him), he has been off to school to do some productive learning.

Leaving me saddled, I mean, with the two younger ones.

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Time-check: 10.24 a.m. We love Octonauts, as you can guess.

Normally I’d be having my cup of Chai Latte or doing some mid-week grocery shopping (I haven’t mastered the art of shopping for the entire week’s groceries in one single day!).

Today, the hubby was tasked to drop Jayvon off, and armed with my shopping list, is hitting the shops to gather supplies that we would need for the next few days. You know, essentials like chips and chocolates. Haha! Not really – but having the two kids with me for the whole day plus a dreadfully rainy weather means we are literally STUCK at home. And from having to just cook one dinner a day, I now have to prepare lunch AND dinner. Hurray.

But nope, we are all still in our pyjamas, and happily chilling the whole day.

And I guess this is why I love being a stay at home mom, running my businesses online. It helps me to manage my time, and there’re no leave days to apply for reasons and seasons like this.

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Toys, toys, and – wait for it – more toys!

So my house looks like the storm happened inside – just without the rainy bit. Toys, bits, bobs, this and that, all strewn on the floor. The kids huddled together to watch back-to-back movies with me (we’ve done with Planes, Big Hero 6 & Penguins of Madagascar so far).

A day in my life. Begins at 8 a.m. Ends at 1 a.m. (or later, depending on when my little princess decides to sleep). Filled with gratitude for my family being intact, safe, happy and healthy. And rain or no, that’s pretty good in itself.

This post is part of the Day in a Life blog train hosted by Mum in the Making. Click on the button to take a 24 hour peek into the lives of different mummies, or link up with your own post!


11150182_579096780407_4363656847457696089_nNext up, Ruth started out uninspired, unhappy and unmotivated. After becoming a mom, she has started living healthily and now wants to help other moms thrive as well. She decided to go back to work after being a Stay Home Mom for 1.5 years. Find out why over at her blog ruthsong.com.

The Growing Princess

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Ever so often, I get a tad emo.

Just a tad.

Call it milestone-blues, if you will. Or that feeling that the kids are growing up so fast, I can hardly believe it. Like when Jayvon started kindy here. Or when Xavier finally became toilet-trained. And with Zoie, it was not too long ago when she was still a teeny weeny little babe.

And bam! Reality kicks in like a wild horse. She’s walking. She’s running. She’s climbing stairs. She’s bullying her two older brothers. She’s singing the alphabet.

And counting effortlessly from 1 to 10. All before she turns 2 (which is the end of the month, incidentally).

So yup, the feeling of grasping at straws, as my three kids outgrow their jeans, as they exert their independent thinking, as they start enjoying time without Mummy & Daddy – just the three of them, huddled under our Dining Table as they play on the iPad.

On the one hand, I am thankful and about to yelp – YES! FREEDOM!

And on the other hand, I can’t deny my emotional response. Haha! As a blogger, I am also blessed and cursed – in that sense. Blessed to be able to document the growth of my kids, and yet also cursed to view life behind the lens, and behind the keyboard, instead of just living it with the kids. This might explain my long breaks in between posts, as I try to spend time with them. Heck, I even played Minecraft with Jayvon just the other day. And stopped after 15 minutes cos my poor brain couldn’t take it! Haha! (That is a blog post for another day haha!)

So yeah, this rush of emotions is probably due to the fact my baby is going to be baby no more, as she turns two come end April. And as the last of my “babies”, there is an air of finality to this. Baby no more. No more babies.

Be still, my heart.

A tribute to a great man

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I was born into a Singapore where Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was a man to be reckoned with. His wit, his strength of will, his brilliance – all came together in a man, who is credited to transform Singapore from a small, forgotten, city-state, young and new and abandoned by Malaysia… to the Singapore I have grown to love. Living in Sydney for the past two years has given me fresh perspective on my homeland. There is much to dislike about living in a urban city-state that is packed to its brim with people everywhere, and yet there is also much to love.

The almost magical way things work in Singapore is something I miss dearly. I use the word “magically” loosely – but I’ve had my patience stretched by the endless streams of waiting, waiting, waiting here in Australia, that when I was back in Singapore, I was a bit taken aback by how FAST everyone ELSE walked. Laidback fishing village no more. Just on our last trip, we could see new buildings being constructed, new malls, new extensions to existing malls, new condominiums, fresh coats of paint, smoothly paved roads, well-lit stretches of road even at night, work done on the existing public transport networks… I mean, everything just sparkled brand new and working well. (Okay, so there were more than a few hitches to the MRT and all) but by and large, Singapore works like a well-oiled machine. There are the occasional breakdowns, but maybe it is also because we are so used to things working SO well that we take offense when things don’t.

But no matter, my heart is heavy and with all my fellow Singaporeans, I mourn the passing of a great man. Thank you, Mr. Lee, for pouring your heart, your soul and your life into this tiny little Red Dot. Thank you for giving up and sacrificing so much, to bring us where we are now.  You are truly the Father of our nation, and you will be dearly missed and loved and respected.