Archive | May 2009

This week in the Wonderbee household…

This week in the Wonderbee household

DS climbed up two flights of stairs in grandpa’s home…and he hasn’t stopped repeating the feat since! I am so proud of him.

A couple of weeks ago, he went on a nursing strike and has not returned to direct latching but has demonstrated a clear preference for the bottle and even more so, for his solids meals.  It was a tough time for me, as I looked up and applied every single tip and recommendation I found on kellymom and the La Leche League International websites.

Finally on Friday, we went to see a lactation consultant who observed DS for an hour and surmised that nine months old being a milestone in itself, it would appear he has discovered a whole new world out there such that nursing is no longer attractive because it requires him to stay still (and he won’t!!)

Oh well.  So I am down to exclusive pumping, as I still want to try and achieve my target of providing him milk till he is 12 months old.  It was also a major milestone for me as a mother, to cherish the very last time he nursed as a memory of our nursing relationship and a marker of his first step towards realizing his independence as a separate individual.

DD went down the curvy playground slide on her own.  And the swings.  Previously she always wanted me or DH to go with her as I think she felt the height was daunting. This weekend, she totally surprised us when she climbed up all on her own, and slid down laughing gleefully all the way, and repeating it for another four times before it was time to go home.  She refused the kiddy swing and wanted to go on the regular adult ones instead. On her own.   When previously she would have nothing whatsoever to do with the swings.

This week was the second week that I left her on her own for her Cradle Roll Sunday School class.  She didn’t even blink when I said bye and that I’d be just outside if she wanted to look for me.  Me and my indecisive hanging around…the teacher was probably thinking, “Go, already!”  Talk about the mommy being the one with the separation anxiety!

 So many memorable milestones in a week.  All that change, it’s all we can do to try and keep up, give them roots and then watch them fly…

Making a Picture Collage

Do this craft if…

…for sheer fun and laughter, peace and joy; you’re curious to find out what your toddler’s level of patience is.
…you’re totally in full blown thrill-seeking mode to find out what your level of patience with your toddler’s level of patience is.

You have been forewarned. (!!!)  😉

You will need: Scissors, old magazines, artblock sheet, crayons, colour pencils, glue.

Cut several tiny squares of different coloured paper from your old magazines.   I asked DD what colours she would like and she helped me pick up the pieces and put into a box as I cut them. Set aside.

Squares for collage

Draw a picture of anything you fancy.  I started by drawing a house and a path and windows,  then a pond, DD wanted a mama and papa duck, I added some flowers and  a tree, she asked for a bird and we agreed a sun would be nice.  Oh and an itsy-bitsy spider climbing up, please!  😀

Collage picture

Have your toddler colour the picture as she pleases.  Apply glue on the various parts that you want to collage. Let the fun begin!

It’s interesting the things you find out from a simple collage exercise. For instance, I learnt today that DD hated having glue and paper stuck to her fingers.  The more she tried to get them off, the more pieces got stuck, because her fingers had glue from the artblock sheet where she had started sticking the first few squares. She got so irritated to the point of tears and pleas for mommy to help get it off.  Wow. Never saw such a reaction ever.  In the end, we washed the glue and papers off her hands and she was happy just to pick up the colours I called out and let me be the one to get my hands dirty doing the pasting. 

I also learnt that it’s probably quite a massive expectation to have a 27 month old try to complete a collage with this level of complexity patiently. And that I still have a lot more to go in developing patience with my child, especially when she lost interest and started freaking out over the mess on her fingers.  As much as it would have been a great idea for combining different art elements, mediums and techniques, it would probably be better to do something like this at a later juncture.   [Hopefully she would have gotten over the whole ‘glue-stuck-to-fingers-and-papers-stuck-to-glue’  episode by then.]   

Oh well. For what it’s worth, here’s the finished product.  DH says it turned out pretty good, although the perfectionist in me is itching to finish it but for now, that’s as much as DD will have to do with it.   🙂 

Finished Collage

When push comes to shove

DD has always had a gentle and slightly shy disposition when playing with other children. In a roomful of toys, if the one she wants is taken by another child, she will usually go look for something else peaceably. Unless the other child happens to be her cousin. Then familiarity is the differentiating factor and they fight like any normal toddlers would over toys.
Previously, her reaction would be to run to an adult to mediate and help retrieve a toy that had been snatched out of her hands. Lately, she has been doing a lot more reactive shoving back, when her cousin pushes her or tries to wrestle a toy away.

I will be honest here. Although on one hand, we teach her to play nicely and come to us for help, in less than a year’s time when she starts attending preschool, I also want her to be able to within reasonable limits, defend her own interests amongst other children.  So nowadays if she doesn’t call for help, I try to observe from the sidelines how she manages the situation, and I don’t step in unless things are getting out of hand between the kids. This is a big internal struggle for me, because as a parent, I just want to take the immediate short route of jumping in to save my kid from the other one who isn’t playing nicely!

The upside is she is learning to look out for herself. Learning to recognise and discern situations where it’s cool if she doesn’t get the toy or object she wants, and situations where it matters enough to stand her ground and defend herself. The downside is, DS is on the receiving end of some of those shove times when his curiosity gets the better of him and his sister is not amused. Throw in the fact that developmentally, DS at this point is still trying to get his land legs around manoeuvering and navigating on knees and unsteady feet…I am kept very busy!! [She is gentle 95% of the time, it’s the 5% I need to watch out for. But yes I know this is already a very fantastic ratio].

I guess this brings DH and me to the next level of complexity in parenting, to teach her it’s needful to play gently and dispense grace with younger kids like her baby brother, but also to expose her to “playground rules” so that she can learn to discern the point at which playing nicely is just not going to work anymore, how to manage a sticky situation on her own, and when’s the threshold to start escalating to an adult for help.

For her, learning independence. For us, learning the tricky balance between over-protection and exposing our child in incremental measures to the challenges of the big big world. I wonder if our parents ever thought so hard about this as I am now. Phew!

Museum-hopping, anyone?

Museum-hopping, anyone?

International Museum Day ’09 Open House Day is on 31 May 2009, this coming Sunday. A total of 13 locations are offering free admission on this day.

Apart from the Open House, there are also some activities for kids like the “See, Touch, Play!” exhibition at National Museum of Singapore which is part of its Children’s Season from 23 May to 7 June.
I’ve missed the 24 May Family Carnival, but would be certainly trying to see if we can catch the Play! art installation where kids can get an opportunity to bend “trees” and assemble foam “bushes”.
The Asian Civilisations Museum is having an Oriental Extravaganza on 30 and 31 May. It’s free admission on both days and kids can have a chance at making their very own paper lanterns, or try their hands at Chinese calligraphy, martial arts and dance.
The NUS Museum is having a Doodle Fun! workshop [hm, at this point while typing, I just had to pause to question why all the event names have exclamation marks…it almost seems as if it’s being shouted out…LOL] for parents and children. Click will show participants how random squiggling can be turned into a piece of art, and teach the basics of “collaboration doodling” to create a joint artwork with your child. I think this one costs $15 per adult and child but the activities at the National Museum and ACM are free.

Click here to get to the Singapore National Heritage Board website from which there are a whole lot more links to explore and find out more.
We’re certainly going to be checking some of the museums out (ha, no prizes for guessing which ones…) and definitely making the most of the Open House Day on Sunday. 🙂

Terminal 3 at Changi Airport

We took a quick car ride out to Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 after dinner tonight, just to get a change of scenery from being cooped up indoors all day.
We’d never explored Basement 2 before this, so we took the glass lift down, and found to our delight there were quite a number of interesting places and things to keep both parents and kids occupied.

For instance, did you know that the 7% Goods and Services Tax is absorbed at selected merchandisers and outlets in T3? I’d heard of it from one of our cell group members that Watsons was one of the participating outlets but never actually went to check it out. Cool huh?

T3 Watsons

Except that we went looking for Johnson’s Baby Top to Toe Wash, but they didn’t have it there, so in the end we bought it from the NTUC Fairprice, which is not one of the participating outlets in the GST absorption. Ah well! But if you go to any of the other outlets listed on this poster, you might be able to hopefully find some good bargains 😉


There’s also a Kopitiam foodcourt (so here’s where the cheaper food is!  😀 ). Initially I thought T3 only had all these expensive restaurants, half of which (and this is the better half, at least in my opinion!) can’t be accessed unless you are checking in for a flight. What a dumb idea by the planning department…I mean, obviously if you are putting in retail and food outlets, these should be made as accessible as possible to garner the highest chance of getting customer traffic?!

Anyways. There is a pretty water fountain with lights that enthralled the children who gathered around to try and figure out the timing pattern of the water jets.  Sorry, the photo doesn’t do it justice…you really have to go see it for yourself  😉

T3 fountain

Opposite the fountain is a fun and very busy crayon etchings station, where there are various patterns which can be etched out using the papers and crayons provided. At all times, it was fully occupied by both adults and children alike, all busy trying out the various patterns at each of the eight desks. We never got a chance to get close!

T3 Etchings Station

There is also a children’s play area, and I thought this was pretty cool because it’s not so big that you’d lose track of where your child is, and there are various activity stations around the structure that can keep a child well entertained for some time while the parents put their feet up for a brief rest at the nearby benches.

T3 Kids Play Area

Not bad. I’ve always loved how the architectural design of T3 marries the modern sophistication of steel and glass, whilst managing to weave in an environmentally friendly theme and feel with the corresponding use of  stone and timber…and this is reflected in the upper levels of the terminal.  But B2’s got a very down-to-earth and functional vibe, and  one gets the feeling that it’s always humming and buzzing with people and activity.  If we weren’t rushing back for the kids’ bedtime, we’d have loved to linger a little longer.  Well,  there’s always a next time!  🙂

Cheese and Potato Bread

We had quite a bit of a laugh baking this 🙂

This recipe has been in the pipeline for a while  as we’ve had much too packed a schedule over the past few weekends to find the time for grocery shopping to stock up the baking supplies.  But finally, when we got round to hunting down the ingredients…

The recipe called for Red Leicester cheese.  Being my usual lazy self, I searched round the NTUCs and Shop n Saves around my office and our housing estate…but I guess at the end of the day, to find angmoh ingredients, you really need to go to the more “angmoh-fied” supermarkets…and so we finally found it in Parkway Parade‘s Cold Storage.  But in a bid to get the freshest cheese, we reached in the back of the section and picked out what we thought to be one with a later expiry date.  When we got home, we read the label and it said Red Cheddar!!  Turns out the packaging and colouring looked pretty much similar, so we never noticed the labelling difference  😉

Then we couldn’t find our fancy metal cheese grater from Muji that our friends had given to us when we set up our first home.  So we ended up using the plastic grater (you know the kind that our mums use for grating the ingredients for popiah or achar…)  Yeah.  So much for wanting to emulate Jamie Oliver….LOL!!

Anyways, here is the finished product!

Cheese and Potato Bread

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out although I have to say the bread is very densely packed and I think it’s because it contains both cheese and potato. DD seemed to love every bit of it though I found one slice to be already really filling after I’d had my cup of milk and oatmeal.  A common challenge I face is with respect to the timing and temperature instructions on recipes.  I find that I always have to guesstimate downwards a lower duration and lower temperature, and watch the baking process like a hawk, else I’d risk getting a TOTALLY VERY brown result.   Sigh, the things we do…  🙂


2 cups self raising flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp mustard powder ( I didn’t have this so just omitted it)

125g Red Leicester cheese (grated)

175g potatoes, cooked and mashed

200ml water

1 tbsp oil

1. Lightly grease a baking tray (cookie sheet).

2. Sieve the flour, salt, and mustard powder into a mixing bowl.

3. Reserve 2 tbsp of the grated cheese and stir the rest into the bowl with the cooked and mashed potatoes.

4. Pour in the water and the oil, and stir all the ingredients together (the mixture will be wet at this stage). Mix them to make a soft dough.

5. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and shape it into a 20cm/8 inch round.

6. Place the round on the baking tray and mark it into 4 portions with a knife, without cutting through. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

7. Bake in a preheated oven, 220 deg C / 425 deg F / Gas Mark 7 for about 25-30 minutes.  (Here’s where I guesstimated it down to approximately 210 deg C for 22 mins)

8. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Precious sibling moments…

When your daughter stops in the midst of play to run over on an impulse and give her brother a hug and kiss.
When your son reaches out and grabs a handful of his sister’s hair, but she doesn’t complain because she understands that he’s still learning to be gentle.

When the sister hands her baby brother a book so that he will also have one when she takes one from the shelf to read.
When the brother chases his irritated sister all around the room just so he can have whatever is in her hand, not what she hands to him as alternatives.

When your son’s face lights up in excitement to see his sister at his cot to give him a morning cuddle.
When you rush into the room at night to the sounds of screams and cries, and find your daughter standing at the foot of your bed, sobbing, because she wanted to call and tell you that baby brother woke up crying, and couldn’t find you.

When you find your daughter teaching her little brother how to shake a rattle and passes it to him and you watch him then shake it and release it back to her, and they keep passing it back and forth to share the toy.
When your son claps his hands because his sister has successfully put together her new jigsaw puzzle.

When you hear your daughter trying to calm her upset brother in the carseat by singing all the Sunday School songs and nursery rhymes she knows.
When it works, and your son responds and stops crying, to smile and clap his hands to his sister’s singing.

When one baby-talks to the other, and they both burst out in peals of laughter…and you have no idea what it was all about because it’s just a special joke between siblings…  🙂

Precious Sibling Moments

Alphabet Wall: Making…C is for Caterpillar

I decided to have a more 3D effect with the next alphabet craft. I modeled this after Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and was quite pleased with the finished product.  😀

You will need: An egg carton, scissors, green and red paints, paintbrushes, yellow paper.

Cut out a C from a cardboard egg carton. I rounded off the edges on the left hand side just a little.
From the excess, cut out one cup for the head of the caterpillar, two long skinny rectangles for the antennae, two ovals for eyes and a smaller oval for a mouth. Cut out two oval shapes from yellow paper, slightly larger than the eyes you have cut out of the egg carton cardboard.

C for Caterpillar materials

Start by painting the C green. You will need quite a fair bit of green paint to cover the ground.

Green C

Next, paint the single egg cup red. DD was very thorough with this one, making sure practically all the area was covered, including the inside! As opposed to the green C, where after a while, she got impatient and just dumped the whole pot of paint on, LOL!!  😀

Red Caterpillar Head

Also cover the antennae, eyes and mouth with paint. For the antennae, I mixed both the green and red paints so it came out a sort of purplish reddish tone. Let it dry.

Once all the various parts are dry [an afternoon nap is handy!], apply some glue on one of the sides of the red head. Stick on the yellow oval shapes. Follow this with some glue on the yellow ovals, and stick on the green eyes.
Next stick on the mouth, and the antennae.

Apply some glue on one end of the C. Stick on the caterpillar head. Have some fun acting out the story before it goes on the alphabet wall!

C is for Caterpillar-completed

Upright C

N.B. – For parents of older children or homeschooling parents, click here for a fantastic website that has some really useful resources for printables and lesson ideas for Phonics, Math and Science!

B.C. and A.D. – Revisiting the concepts

B.C. and A.D.

My left jaw hurts. [From the bone graft surgery].
My right forehead hurts. [Ok, this is my own fault. I was creeping in the dark at 11:30pm on Wednesday night to get into bed, trying not to wake the kids; and walked straight into the pillar beside the window].
My purse hurts. Or actually my heart hurts for my purse. [But that is a side story…or did I mean sad story….ahaha…]

Ha, to go back in time to 3 B.C.* when I could just crawl into bed with a few good books and a well stocked fridge on the side and either read myself silly or crash out with nary a care if the world should crumble and fall. 😉

But this is not to be. Oh no.
DD invites me to run with her and chase the birds.
DS is intent on exploring the living room and beyond. Who cares for Peekaboo Elmo when there’s a whole new world out there?
DD wants to go upstairs to find DH and DS.
DS discovers the door to the bathroom is open. Ah ha, what new treasures lie within? Yeeks.
Urgent work calls that “must be done on the day I have medical leave, can’t be postponed till next week” have gotten scheduled within a blink of an eye.

When I finally get a chance to sit down, I find myself thinking…“Riiiiight….Didn’t the good doctor say no running, no swimming, minimize talking, eat cold foods only?” Hah, out of all those, I’ve only obeyed the no swimming and eat cold foods rule, which are a cinch to abide by anyway for a busy mom!
The pain is supposed to subside by Saturday morning.
Bravely shall I soldier on.

*B.C. – Before Children, A.D – After Dental Surgery

The Land Flowing with Milk and Money

By all accounts, this week has been a challenging one where I’ve been lamenting of my quest for the land flowing with milk and money.

I’ve had to be on a course of amoxicillin in preparation for dental surgery on a previous problem tooth that’s had a new and awful fracture and this has resulted in two things. A drop in milk supply for the nursing babe and a severe hole-in-pocket for the upcoming bone graft surgery that will set me back something to the tune of the cost of a luxury arm-chair and leg of a sofa. Bah!  5 days have never taken longer to get through as I count the number of capsules that remain in the medicine pack.  And of course, the upcoming bill is not helping the mood – it’s terribly unfunny to have to pay out for unbudgeted necessary expenses!

The one thing to brighten up an otherwise morose me is that, there’s been a strange phenomenon that I’ve noted going on.  It’s been a visibly depressing sight when I measured up the individual ounces per pump session and mentally counted up the lack in making up the necessary feeds to leave for DS when I’m away at office.  BUT. When I got home and started actually pouring out the amounts to make up the feeds, miraculously, I found that I had sufficient to make up the three that I required. And had some left over. Quite a bit of extra in fact.  😀

A strange but very happy phenomenon!  I shared this with DH, and he remarked “Of course. There must be something to the story of the two fish and five loaves* that Jesus multiplied, you know?” It is very like the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. At first look, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough, in fact to the human eye that sees the individual bottles, it’s too little.  But in God’s hands, suddenly that little grew to a lot, althought it wasn’t explained how…and after all of that, there was still lots of extra collected after everyone’s hunger was satisfied.  Hm!  So maybe the quest isn’t quite as evasive as I thought.  Literally, to God, Impossible is Nothing.  🙂

This little demonstration reminded me I really ought to have more faith in Him to provide the funds that I need to cover for this unplanned dental surgery.  And He will. But in any case, I’m already really very very thankful that He has provided for DS’s needs. Thank you Lord.  😀

* Bible passage – John 6:1-14