Tag Archives: family

A letter to 8-year old C

<This started as letter to C for her 8th birthday, and for some reason, it was not posted.> 

Dear C,

Time flies, and in a blink of an eye you’ve turned 8. Ever since you’ve started primary school, the clock hands seemed to turn even faster. It’s a mad rush everyday… 5am mornings, homework, music practice, bedtime. With all the activities going on, it’s easy to miss how quickly my little girl has grown.

The change was gradual… then one day, you complained that your uniform was getting too short and you couldn’t fit in most of your pants(!) It was then that I realized that it had been quite a while since I had restocked your wardrobe. I guess that subconsciously, to me, you always remained that little girl who fit into the smallest sized uniform. 

Then, there was the day when you came up to me, proudly showing off your neatly tied ponytail (you had practiced for days by yourself).

I teared. My little girl had grown up. 

You still believe in magic, but I’m starting to sense some skepticism about the existence of a tooth fairy (“Why does she have the same handwriting as you, mummy?”). You used to say that everyone is your friend, but now in our daily chats about school and friends, the word “enemy” has popped up. You ask about world affairs, and have found that google is a way to learn new things. You’ve started the habit of keeping a diary (“a real diary, mummy, no one else is supposed to read it.”) We discuss my work at the office.

I’m trying to cope with the changes. On some days, it certainly feels like you are eight-turning-eighteen.

Yet, with all these changes, you remain a pure-hearted, generous, kind-hearted soul. Your tenacity and perseverance never fails to amaze me. I hope these qualities will remain constants as you continue to bloom.

I’ll always be proud of you, my dear daughter.

With lots of love,


8-year old C




Happy 4th birthday, G!

Dearest G,

In a blink of an eye, you’ve turned 4!

I must say that the journey the past year has been a roller-coaster ride.

Truth be told, I had never really experienced the “terrible-threes” with your sister, so when other mums spoke of it, I could only nod in sympathy. Now, I can proudly say that I am a survivor of full-blown tantrums, one that only a toddler going through the terrible-three phase is capable of.

I’ve sat with you for an entire hour outside the classroom, because you decided that you didn’t want to go in (you were excited about the class, until the moment you stepped through the door). I have held you when you had major crying fits, because things didn’t go the way you wanted (the zip wouldn’t work, the blue crayon did not colour red, the teacher looked at you in class). Yes, we survived that together, my strong-willed little boy.

Thankfully, the tantrums tapered off as you grew in eloquence and maturity. You are no longer the shy little boy who hides behind my legs when you meet strangers. Now, you proudly announce your name, age and “this is my mummy” to complete strangers. You are no longer hesitant to belt out bthe entire, extended version of  “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” at the top of your voice in public.

Your ability to express yourself has improved by leaps and bounds over the past year. I’m already starting to miss your “I so much to see you!” (This has been replaced with a grammatically correct “I miss you so much, Mummy”) I’m always amused to see you narrate your own stories – where the 3 little pigs ride off in a car leaving big bad wolf in the dust, or where Dora is helped by the Paw Patrol in the forest when she falls down, or where Jack climbs the beanstalk at Old MacDonald’s Farm. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me.

Yet, you still remain the sensitive and loving little boy who showers hugs and kisses to all near and dear. I love it when you picked up my hand and started kissing it during our class at Heguru (much to the amusement of the teachers), when you give great big hugs when I return from work, and when you say “I love you, Mummy” at random moments. You’re the one who asks if I’m tired, or upset, and tries to cheer me up by offering your toys or a sweet.

You are such a happy little boy, who never fails to make me smile with your cheeky grin, even when you are up to mischief. Your beautiful soul is reflected in your colourful doodles… and this latest self portrait is one of my favourites because it reflects exactly who you are, complete with a big, wide smile on his face.

Self-portrait by G (29May2015)

Self-portrait by G (29May2015)

I pray that you will always keep this rainbow inside your heart. Happy birthday my little boy. I love you lots!


Cheeky G

Cheeky G

Happy 7th birthday C!

C turned 7 on the 14th of July.

Dear C,

You’ve been looking forward to your birthday celebrations since the beginning of the year, counting down first by the number of months, then weeks, and finally by the number of days. Not because of the presents or party, but because you’ve been waiting to take that teeny-tiny step towards adulthood.

The day has arrived, and you are now officially a 7-year old. “Almost an adult,” you declare, proudly showing off the gaps in your teeth where two adult teeth have started to show. You can’t wait to grow up, but I wish for time to slow down, just a little.

You’ve grown so much over the past year. Sometimes, I forget that you are only 7.

There were the times when I was impressed by the maturity of your speech and actions. Did I tell you that I was extremely proud to hear that you stood up to the bully to protect your friend? Or how comforted I felt when you offered to keep your brother busy when you saw that I was tired so that I could rest?

Then there were the times when I’m reminded that you are still a little girl, one who still believes that the tooth fairy and book fairy is real. I try my best to keep that belief alive, by staying up late to write that note on behalf of the fairies, so that you are not disappointed when you wake. That sparkle in your eye when you see the letter is worth it. I hope that you will always believe that magic exists, in one form or other.

It was not so long ago that I woke up at 5am for your morning feeds. Just the two of us awake, you suckling quietly at my breast. You were a tiny baby then, dependent on me for your every need.

Now, 5am mornings are part of our daily routine again. Just the two of us awake, getting ready for school. But now, you do not need me to brush your teeth, or get changed – you can do that yourself. Then you sit quietly, sleepy and blurry-eyed, while I tie your hair.

You’ve been asking me to teach you how to bundle your hair in a ponytail. I’ve seen you standing in front of the mirror, trying to figure out how to do it properly. I will teach you, and you will keep on practicing till you get it right, just like how you learnt to button your own shirt and how you learnt to feed yourself.

Have patience, my dear daughter. I know that you can’t wait to grow up, to be fully independent. But before you get there, there are so many things that I hope you will learn. Not only to tie your own hair, but to learn from mistakes, to act with grace and humility, to be a person with integrity.

In the meantime, I will put off teaching you how to tie your hair for a little longer. I know that I will miss doing this little task for you, just like I miss the times when I helped you put on your socks, or when I fed you your rice cereal. So, I’m holding back, I want to keep tying my little girl’s hair for a little while longer.

Happy birthday, C!



Happy 3rd Birthday G!

G turned 3 on 31st May, so this post is almost 2 months late (gasp! Where did the time go??)

Dear G,
Last year flew by in a blur. You’ve grown so much over the past year. Your verbal skills have improved by leaps and bounds, and you’re able to express yourself well, be it narrating your own story, recounting your day in preschool, or complaining about your sis :p 

You love to sing, and I would hear you humming to yourself while playing. Your favourite songs? Eensy-Weensy Spider, Alphabet song, and of course, “Let It Go” from Frozen. You’ve also started to learn to play the piano, and your best (and only piece) is Hot Cross Buns. I hope that you will always enjoy music, and be able to sing your heart out whenever you feel like it (like you do when you start belting out Let It Go at midnight in the dark)

You show an affinity for the written word. I would catch you pointing out words in books and street signs, and you love learning how to spell (magnetic letters are one of your favourite toys now). You’ve learnt to spell your name, and simple words like milk, toy, dog. I would often catch you “reading” to your toys at bedtime 😉

G reading

G reading

You’ve progressed from a little boy who was afraid of going up the trampoline, hesitant to jump into a ball-pit or even try the balance-beam, to a little daredevil who leaps off into the ball-pit (or off the bed) if given half a chance. Although mummy is so proud that you’ve come so far, try not to give me too many heart-attacks, ok?


Leaping in with wild abandon

You’re such an affectionate little boy, giving us warm hugs when you sense that we are upset. I love it when I get home from work every evening, to see you running to me shouting “Mummy, you’re home! I miss you!” I miss you too, everyday at work.

You really look up to your elder sis, parroting her words and imitating all her actions. I’m so glad that you are such a loving little brother, missing your sister when she is not around, giving her hugs when she is upset, offering to share your sweets with her whenever you get some. Always, always remember this bond that the two of you share.

Sharing a special bond

Sharing a special bond

Of course, there are the tantrums. Terrible twos and threes were not named by chance. You have a stubborn streak in you that drives me up the wall sometimes, yet I can’t stay upset for long. All it takes is “I’m sorry, mummy. Are you still angry?” and a big hug from you. And who could resist that cheeky grin? Please grow out of this phase soon, though. It’s really no fun. I have the proof on video, and I promise to show it to you when you are older.

I know that it’s not easy being the second child, and you have limited time alone with mummy because she has to work and spend time with your older sis for her school work. As a result, you’ve grown up to be more independent, playing quietly by yourself when everyone else is busy. Sorry my dear G, I will try to spend more time with you. And take lots more photos and videos.

Happy birthday my dear G, mummy loves you lots. Stay happy and healthy. Laugh lots, and I hope you never lose that twinkle in your eyes 🙂

Happy birthday G!

Happy birthday G!



Winter comes to Singapore! 2Degree Ice Art

Who says winter does not come to Singapore?

Two weeks ago, over the weekend, we brought the kids to the 2Degree Ice Art Exhibition. Held inside a thermal-insulated hall kept at -15°C, it was the best way to beat the sweltering heat in Singapore!

The kids (especially C) were really excited about being able to experience winter for the first time. Ok, it’s not really winter, but it’s close enough. There were thick coats for rent ($5 each, including gloves), and C was really pleased to get one with pink flower buttons. We brought G’s fleece jacket, and he was relatively warmly bundled up with the fleece inside his rented winter coat.

Tip: If possible, bring ear muffs or hooded jackets for the little ones. It really does get very cold inside.


All wrapped up and ready to go!

I was amused to see that the entrance to the hall was literally a door into a freezer container. Once they ascertained that we were appropriately bundled up, they opened the door to let us enter. As we stepped into the hall, we were hit by a blast of cold air. The kids were thrilled to see their breath in puffs of steam (“Just like they described in books!” according to C).

Coloured ice-carvings were scattered around the hall, and the first to greet us was Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.

Sir Stamford Raffles

Sir Stamford Raffles

My favourite was the ‘icicle forest’ (I’m not sure if there was an actual name for this exhibit). Pretty!!!


My favourite exhibit

There were also ice-sculptures depicting various landmarks from around the world, lit by coloured LED lights.


Famous landmarks – in ice!


Recognise any of these ice sculptures?

If you asked C, the best part of the entire exhibition were the ice-slides located at the children play area. There was a big slide where we slid down sitting on a tube (which we had to lug up from the bottom of the slide) and a little one on the right. C didn’t need any encouragement – she literally ran up the steps to take the smaller slide down before we could give any instructions.

Note: It can be slippery at the top of the slide. I slipped and landed on my butt while attempting to sit down. It’s been ages since I last sat on a slide, and I think this fact was glaringly apparent, as evidenced by my clumsy descent down (video has been censored). 



Getting ready to slide down on a tube

Getting ready to slide down on a tube

There was a small area on the left of the slides, where there was real snow (instead of the usual foam that we find in tropical Singapore). The kids did not get to play there as there was a large crowd in the area, and G was too tiny to squeeze in with the adults and older kids.

After C came down the slide for the nth time, we decided to move on as G was complaining of not being able to feel his fingers (he had taken his gloves off as he couldn’t see his hand :/)

Note: It would be a good idea to bring your own pair of gloves, as the snow would make the complimentary gloves wet. Wet fingers = frozen numb fingers = no fun


More ice!

Although the hall was rather small, there was enough to see and do for us to stay there for an hour. The ice-sculptures were not that spectacular, so I thought that the tickets were a tad expensive without discounts (I got them at a discounted corporate rate). It was a good experience though, especially for the kids. I think they took to the cold pretty well, though G did complain a little towards the end. Time to plan for a ski trip!

Do you and your children enjoy the cold weather?

More Information:
2Degree Ice Art will be on till 15th May 2014.
Opening hours from 10am to 10pm
Adults – $32.00 (10% discount for MasterCard holders, and also discounted entry on weekdays)
Child – $26.00
Children below 1.2 metres or less than 9 years old get free entry with purchase of adult ticket
Winter coat rental – $5.00 each (complimentary gloves with coat rental)
Located at the Junction of Bayfront Ave and Sheares Link; Standalone building beside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and opposite the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
Parking is available onsite, but places are limited.



We survived Term 1!


Yay! We made it through term 1 of school, and it’s time to take a break. I’ve been looking forward to this week, when I can finally wake up at 7am, instead of the usual 5am routine.

I’m happy to report that all is going well in school, despite my initial worries. From waking up every morning at 5.30am, to completing her school work, to making new friends, C has coped marvellously well so far. In class, each of the students are given responsibilities, and she was proud to report that she was made the English rep of her class. I was amused to see her eyes shining as she told me how she helped to collect and carry the books during English class, and she wore the English rep badge with pride (I’m reminded that she has to wear the badge everyday and it must be in the correct place just above her name tag).

Of course, not everything was perfect. C had to learn how to stand-up for herself against bullies, taking responsibility when she forgot to hand in her work, handling disputes among friends. It was part of growing up, when she learnt that mummy will not always be around to handle unpleasant events.

To be truthful, I was very concerned about bullying, and was shocked to hear her saying that “someone was mean to her in school and threatened to throw her water-bottle away”. It took me a lot of self-restraint not to overreact, and to stay calm while we talked the incident through. It ended happily though, and she was able to resolve it by herself (the girls are best friends now!). That first incident gave her the courage to stand up against bullies on the school bus, to defend herself and a friend against the older girl (proud mum moment :)) It was certainly a reminder to myself to step aside and let her learn, instead of taking matters into my own hands.

Now that we’ve survived term one, it’s time to celebrate 😉 We will be bringing the kids out to have some fun. Have a great week ahead everyone!

Another year, another life lesson

Good morning, everyone!

It’s pretty quiet in here because I’ve been busy with life in general. Since C started primary school in Jan, I’ve been getting used to 5am mornings and early bedtimes. We’ve been working on brushing up C’s Chinese and G’s reading (more updates in later posts)

So, it’s been a year since I posted this list of 37 life lessons. Many things have happened along the way, and if there’s anything I’ve learnt, that’s:

38. Be prepared for change
Changes are inevitable. I can choose to accept and make the best out of it. Or I can choose to resist and be miserable. I’ve learnt that it’s ok to go with the flow (sometimes).


Have a great day everyone. I’m off to celebrate the first day as a 38-year old 🙂

Chinese New Year 2014 – 守岁

Today is the eve of the Chinese new year (除夕), when families gather for the customary reunion dinner. This year is no exception – I have just spent a few pleasant hours chatting with my family, over a sumptuous dinner prepared by my mum.

Now that dinner is over, I’m back at home, and the kids are fast asleep. I’m trying my best to stay awake past midnight (I’ve been up since 5am, so it’s quite a bit of a challenge keeping my eyes open).

Why am I not in bed? Well, I’m upholding a Chinese new year custom called “守岁” (shŏu suì) , which entails staying up on the eve of the new year. Literally translated, 守 means “to watch”, while 岁 means “year” or “age”. The origins are not very clear, but most versions involve the mythical beast called “年” (nián), which appeared at the stroke of midnight on the Chinese New Year to hunt. In order to stay alive, people stayed awake to watch for the creature, and ward off its attacks by letting off firecrackers.  年 and 岁 both mean “year” in Chinese, so the practice of watching for the beast also came to be known as “守岁”.

Of course, I’m not staying up because I think that a monster is going to attack at the stroke of midnight. Rather, the Chinese believe that when children “守岁”, it will increase the longevity of our parents. With the arrival of the Year of the Horse, I hope that my parents will be blessed with health and happiness in the coming year.

As I come to the end of this post, it has just passed midnight. I hear the fireworks going off, and it’s time for me to go to bed.  Before I go, let me wish everyone health, happiness and peace in the Year of the Horse. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!


Do you follow traditional customs?

Operation Rubber Ducky

Over the weekend, the toilet at grandma’s place got blocked. Pumping with the plunger did seem to help at first, but the next flush caused a mini flood.

<picture omitted due to graphic nature>

We had no choice but to call the plumber in last night. Industrial strength drain cleaner did not do the trick so they had to break the toilet bowl. Guess what came out with a squeak?


Grandma turned to the most likely perpetrator, 2.5 year-old G.

Grandma: Who threw the rubber ducky into the toilet?
G: (proudly) I did!

Total plumbing works and a new toilet bowl – $600.
The look on G’s face – priceless

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

What did your child throw down the toilet?

A new milestone… but I’m not ready!

All ready for primary 1!

All ready for primary 1!

The day has arrived. Come tomorrow morning, C will no longer be a pre-schooler. She will officially start her primary education on 2nd January 2014.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been busy with the preparations for this day. Uniforms were fitted, altered, washed and ironed. Books and stationery were bought and labelled. Bag was packed. Hair accessories were prepared.

There were last minute tutorials – how to tell time, how to calculate change, what to do if she misses the school bus. We did a trial run at the beginning of the week to make sure that she could wake up in time (5.30am!!)

C has been in bed since 8pm, with nary a care. In fact, I think she’s wondering what the big fuss is. I’m still taking deep breaths to calm myself. She’ll be taking the school bus for the first time tomorrow, and I’m worrying if she will fall backwards from the heavy school bag. Will she be able to buy food from the canteen? Will she finish her food in time during recess? Will she be able to cope in class? Will she make new friends?

My logical mind tells me that she is as ready as can be, that she will do just fine. Emotionally, I’m still struggling with the fact that my baby will be turning 7 this year. Why do they grow up so fast?

I’ll be in school with her tomorrow. I suspect that I’ll be the one having a panic attack, not her.

Wish me luck.