Archive | June 2010

Kids Say: Give up. Lah.

Overheard in the playroom the other night…

DD: Whoa-aa, can sing one ah!

And I peeked in to find DD giving an audience to her brother standing and singing some tune he’d made up himself while pretending his train was a microphone.

You try your best to avoid them picking up Singlish colloquialisms.

And then…

Sigh…give up. Lah.  *resigned*  🙂

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Sand

Make

Write

Draw

Pour

🙂

Daddy’s home

Impromptu trips to the beach…

Lots of sandplay!

Evenings at the playground.

Drawing and doodling together.

Life’s great fun when Daddy’s on leave.  🙂

Alphabet Wall: Making…z for zacchaeus

My brain is deep-fried this week. There are so many things going on and so many tasks to get over the line.   😛

But I’m still trying to maintain the momentum on the weekly alphabet craft…just because I think it’s good to keep to the discipline.

So, we’re going back to the basic of basics. No prior prep, simple and extremely easy to execute, but don’t let the simplicity discount its ability to achieve the objective of the lesson.   🙂

Only need a very short list of materials: Artblock sheet, markers, crayons, colour pencils.

1. With a black marker, draw a picture of Zacchaeus in a tree, and Jesus standing at the foot of the tree, looking up at him.

2. Zacchaeus’s coat is intentionally drawn in a z shape with stripes, to serve as introductory writing practice for the letter z. (Anatomically inaccurate, I know, but then it wasn’t intended to be a biology lesson!)  😉

3. Colour the rest of the picture.

Sorry, this all took place so quickly I didn’t have time to take pictures of the steps!

Zacchaeus’s story is found in Luke 19:1-10.

Kids Say: When you weren’t expecting it…

We’d just loaded the stroller and reached the entrance of Jurong Bird Park last week.  All three kids’ attention (DD, DS and our nephew) was riveted on the ducks and swans in the pond to the left of the admissions counter. 

But in the midst of all the excited questions and exclamations, my 22-month-old son paused, turned to me and said, “Thank you mummy, for going to Bird Park!”

A brief moment froze in time…as I reacted to the entirely unexpected appreciation…and managed a speechless, watery smile in return.

Awwww, son.


I will bring you, ten times ten thousand times all over again!!

Fun with paints

There’s nothing that our kids love more than art time.   

It’s kinda funny because we, their parents, are not particularly artsy craftsy in a big manner, but ah well…  🙂

Anyway. I’ve realised that if I am able to provide them a designated corner to beaver away at art (read: license to create a mess within a limited area), they can stay quietly occupied for a good half hour; which frees up time for me to sit down with a cup of tea and the newspapers, or get some quick chores out of the way.  🙂

Today after dinner, they requested to paint a giraffe and horse (DD) and a tiger and alligator (DS).  I let DD do her own thing while I worked with DS on his since he is currently learning to recognise colours.

It’s honestly interesting for me to observe the kids’ incremental development in painting skills.   Especially when I leave them well alone to figure it out themselves.

How when they first start, the results of a painting session are usually one big grey or brown mass on the artblock sheet because all the colours on the palette have just gotten mish-mashed together…

And then how that progresses to dabs and dobs as they experiment different brush strokes or techniques.

And subsequently reach the stage when they can paint within the lines and keep the different colours fairly discrete from each other. 

I don’t know that I had the time to explore in this manner during my own childhood, but I sure am glad that they do.  🙂

Travel Cherating

Chatting to friends after the camp, we realised that for many of us, it was our first time driving to the eastern side of the Peninsular Malaysia.

Which is a bit of a shame. Because the east is really very pleasantly rustic and peaceful. Or maybe it’s just Cherating itself, ha!

People go about their daily activities without the rush and bustle we’re so accustomed to in the city. And life in general just slows down to the pace of a lazy stroll along the beach.

DH is already talking about a return trip. 🙂

*****

We split our drive to Cherating into two parts – Day 1: Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, and Day 2: Kuala Lumpur to Cherating.

Day 1: Singapore – Tuas – Pagoh – Ayer Keroh – Kuala Lumpur
The North-South highway up from Singapore is an easy 4.5 hour drive. Roads are well sealed, with many conveniently situated R&R stops for food, restrooms and petrol.

If you would like to take a break from preparing breakfast and try the R&R stops along the way, Yong Peng or Pagoh make good breakfast stops for local food. I personally feel that Ayer Keroh’s bridge restaurant is overrated. But in its defense, it does have an A&W restaurant (now defunct in Singapore) to satisfy those of us with root beer and coney dog cravings.

I do still bring breakfast for the kids, mostly because stopping for meals with kids really does take up a significant amount of time that we feel could be better spent mowing down the miles. That’s because we usually like to get to our destination as soon as possible, where the following await:

  1. a piping hot lunch by grandma (she always prepares their favourites)
  2. the creature comforts of a home environment (oh, to stretch our legs on a couch!)

You should bring your own tissues for restrooms as the rolls provided sometimes run out. Tissue paper is usually stocked in a single dispenser located just before the toilet stalls. There are none provided in the toilet stalls.

As for babies and young toddlers… some R&R stops do have diaper changing facilities but I’ve never actually used the rooms, preferring to change DS quickly with a changing mat on the driver’s seat. 

*****

Day 2: Kuala Lumpur – Karak – Temerloh – Maran – Gambang – Cherating
On paper, Kuala Lumpur to Cherating, does not look like a long journey. It baffles the mind of the unitiated, how it can take almost the same amount of time north from Singapore and east from KL.

But you have to see it happen to believe it. Bleah.

The KL-Karak highway, which is a necessary part of the journey, is super prone to traffic jams. At all hours of the day (why ever, escapes me…)
That stretch alone, takes up the bulk of the journey time, after which the route through Temerloh that eventually winds north after Gambang is a very happy drive.

The two biggest R&R stops along the way from KL-Kuantan are Temerloh and Gambang. We chose to stop at Gambang for lunch. Road-wise it is only a 45 minute drive further on from Temerloh but map-wise, it gives one a greater sense of achievement – we are that much closer to our destination!  😀

The Eastern highway is not as well-sealed as the main North-South, so the ride can be a tad bumpy at times.

But jumping mini-fridges seem to make good entertainment for the kids…      *shrug and smile*

By the way, Eastern food is even more spicy than what you get on the Western coast. You have been forewarned.

I like to get our holidays off to a good start, so I pack travel lunches for the kids to mitigate the risk of upset toddler stomachs. 😉    (yeah that’s me, a signature kiasu* control freak in every sense of the word…)

* N.B. kiasu = Singaporean colloquialism that means “afraid to lose out or be left behind”

*****

Kiasu Tips for Road Travel with Young Children:  (even more kiasu than the average Singaporean!!)  😛

  1. Invest in a travel potty. It’s singularly the most useful item in our car for emergencies when we’re unable to make a stop for a pee or poo break.
  2. On Malaysian highways, if you use a Touch-n-Go card for the toll payments, top up as as soon as you see a “Tambah Nilai” booth because the next one could be really really really really really really far away…
  3. Bring back-up food, snacks and water. The local spicy cuisine is great tasting but can play havoc on young stomachs or even adult stomachs not accustomed to the seasoning used.
  4. Forget the Amex, what you really need are tissues and wipes, tissues and wipes, tissues and wipes. Don’t leave home without them.
  5. Bring toys, books and music to keep occupied. Traffic congestion on the highways, when it happens, is an awful bumper-to-bumper crawling affair.
  6. Time your drive around the children’s naptime and steer clear of rush hour timings. Good planning can get children napping about midway or two-thirds through the drive and awaking close to arrival time – perfect!

Click on this link to view a map of Peninsular Malaysia and track our route.  🙂