Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As adults, we mark milestones as important points in time when we achieved something we set out to do, or attained significant goals and/or memorable events.

For Mayenne, milestones are set everyday, and Mummy and Papa cannot be prouder.

Given that it is already the end of 2008, it may be good to take stock of the wonderful things that Mayenne can do now, at 19 months:
  • identify all her upper case alphabets, A-Z
  • identify 50% of lower case alphabets (eg still need more work to explain to her that letter "l" is not number "1")
  • know numbers 1-10
  • can arrange in 1, 2, 3 in order
  • can group colours together, eg lime green and leaf green
  • can identify shapes, like circle, square, triangle, star eg
  • recognises at least 150 songs and find the words to the song in the correct song book
  • toilet trained (except for bedtime)
  • take simple instructions, like give something to someone, keep a toy, bring your shoes here etc
  • can do a forward roll on her bed

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Power Talk

Nope.... not promoting any telco mobile phone package.

I'm referring to the "5-minute Impression", which The Shichida Method advocates. They say that you just need to spend 5 minutes to talk to your kid, right after (yes after) they have fallen asleep.

The Shichida Method aims to develop a child's right brain via flashcards, imaging etc. Research has shown that in the first few minutes after a person drifts into dreamland, while the physical body is totally resting, the mind is still active. Just like how coma patients cry when they hear voices of their loved ones around them. And messages conveyed during this time are said to be the most well received as there are little disruption and the mind is 100% focused.

You can talk to your child about anything, but it is most effective if you encourage/praise them in words of the things they have done well and tell them to work towards achieving certain things that you would like them to do, eg if a kid refuses to give up his pacifier, tell him he is a big boy and will not need his pacifier anymore; or if the child is not feeling well, tell her that her body is fighting the viruses/germs and she will feel a whole lot better the next morning. While it is unlikely that we can see results immediately, but it is believed that there will be some improvements, even just after a few sessions. Allow me to tell you our personal experiences.

We use the "5-minute impression" with Mayenne and we were surprised with the success we had: we weaned Mayenne from her pacifier at 16/17 months without much trouble; she started to walk after we encouraged her (she was crawling and cruising for quite a few months) etc.

Due to work commitments, this exercise was kind of forgotten, until recently, Mayenne starting drinking a lot less milk (for no obvious reasons), and has been waking up in the middle of the night, wailing (sometimes sounded frightened, sometimes angry and frustrated). Chester then reminded me to revisit the "5-minute impression" again.

So one night, I told Mayenne how great a kid she is, and how Mummy and Papa is so proud of her. I added that (1) it is important for her to rest well, and as such, she will need to sleep through the night without waking up. (2) If she needs to wake up in the middle of the night because she's hungry, then all she needs to do is to drink more milk before she sleeps. (3) She will not fuss too much, trying too hard to fall asleep, but instead will doze off within 5 minutes after being tucked in bed.

The first night, she slept through and I had to wake her up for breakfast at 7.30am. The following night, she emptied her milk bottle. On the 3rd night, she tossed and turned a bit when I laid her down, but then a quick turn to her side, and she's zzzz, all within 5 minutes straight.

Coincidence? I don't think so. Some people may think this is all baloney, but I am a believer that it works and it is a powerful avenue for parents to connect with their children.

Why don't you give it a try? If it doesn't work, you don't lose anything, but if it works, it will do both your child and you good all round.

P.S. apparently this works for adults too, so ladies, after your hubbies hit the sack tonight, go up to his ear and whisper to him how great a hubby he is and tell him what you want for Christmas. May be, just may be, he will finally buy you a gift that you like.

Good luck.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Photos - Mayenne's, of course!

Papa has uploaded photos of Mayenne on his blog, and given the lazy, I mean busy, person I am, you are invited to view what Mayenne has been up to recently.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Memory & Melody

There must be at least 300 songs in the stack of CDs (in English and Mandarin) we bought for Mayenne to listen to. These CDs were bought at different times but they all each come with a book containing the lyrics to the songs and some descriptive pictures.

We rotate the playlist everyday (at my mum's) so as to give her variety and hope that she won't get too bored with one particular CD. 

Now, if you were to play any track from any CD, Mayenne would be able to pick the matching book, flip to the right page for the song, and she's so confident that she's gotten the right answer that she will point/stab at that page till you say "well done!".

Can't wait for her to start singing .....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do you understand?

Last Thursday was our 7th year wedding anniversary, and my mum has kindly agreed to take Mayenne that night so that Ches and I can try recall what happened over the last 7 years over a nice dinner by the river.

So starting from last Monday, I explained to Mayenne on our way to Popo's house in the morning, that she'll have to stay at Popo's house on Thursday. I did the same on Tuesday, explaining that one day has pass and it's 2 more days before the sleepover. She looked like she was listening to me but I was quite sure she didn't understand me cos there are so many new words and concepts, like Monday, Tuesday..., staying over etc.

On Monday to Wednesday, just like any other morning, she will eagerly want to get out of the car and into Popo's arms. On Thursday, I told her one last time in the car that the day we spoke about has arrived. After the car stopped, she simply refused to get out of her car seat and turned away from Popo and resisted her attempts to carry her. We had no choice but to force carry her and that led to some degree of wailing, but she cooled down after a while.

Looks like she did understand me after all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day I Found Happiness

Tomorrow marks the 8th year I married my most wonderful hubby, Chester.

Can't really believe it has been 8 years (well, technically it's 7 cos we registered our marriage in 2000 but had our customary a year later). But like what they say, time flies when you are having fun!

Happy Anniversary Darling! xoxoxox

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Hole-iest Question

Why do guys like to wear their socks till there are holes in them, and continue to wear them until they are taken away by force (usually by someone who cannot stand it anymore)?

Some say they are comfortable. But are they really? It's quite hard to imagine sections that are thinned out from abrasion with the shoes being comfortable, and won't your toes stick out of those holes?

My dear hubby was guilty of it. I used to dump those socks which were comparable to swiss cheese (in terms of the number of holes, not the smell!!). But in some dark corner of the drawer, you can find a pair or two snuggly stashed away, hoping that I won't find them. But that was in the past. With my routine checks, I'll ensure that my man has new fresh socks to wear every time.

I found more conclusive evidence that men like to wear holey socks: in 2 separate client meetings I had, I was joined by 2 different male colleagues for each of the meetings. You know how some offices require you to remove your shoes before entering? Well, these 2 customers of mine happen to have this requirement.

Taxi fare to customer's place : S$12.60
Facility amount to be discussed : S$5m
The look on your colleague's face when he knows he needs to remove his shoes when he has holey socks : Priceless

Both of them kept on apologising profusely to me, saying if they knew, they would have worn "their good pair". At the end, one of them made me look the other way and removed his socks altogether; the other one was more creative: he tried to pinch the material surrounding the hole, and tried to hold the hole between his toes. I think he suffered toe cramps thereafter.

Enough said about this w-hole issue.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GPS - Good Position for Sleeping

When Mayenne was born, we placed her cot against the wall which is nearest to the door, for the ease of attending to her promptly for those night feeds and soils, so as to save those few extra steps walking to the cot should it be placed further into the room. In case you are wondering, those savings may have saved my sanity.

After Mayenne turned one, we shifted her cot to be against another wall in the room furthest away from the door, so as to avoid disturbing her sleep when we watch TV, and besides, it makes her room look more spacious.

As she got older, it got more and more challenging for her to go to sleep. Gone were the days where she will just turn to her side and doze off. Now, she has to go through this routine of making these "AAAAAAAAAHH!!" loud sounds repeatedly, toss and turn, flip pillows all over, sit up and whimper, crash her face onto the bed with a pillow in front of her face a couple of times, before her eyelids get heavy and she finally sleeps.

It's not as though she is not sleepy: I put her to bed at about 9.30pm cos she will be yawning non-stop. I don't let her sleep in aircon, but I do cool the room down (with aircon) and switching it off (and on the fan) once she's asleep. And I stay in the room with her till she slept.

The situation is very different at my Mum's, on nights when Mum takes her. Apparently after her night feed, she will just turn to her side and remain rather motionless, even though she's not sleeping, and before you know it, she's conked out!

The only logical reason I can think of is that she sleeps with my Mum on her queen-sized bed. Perhaps it's more comfortable. May be she wants someone to lie next to her, which are all not possible when she's home when her bed is a cot.

Then I remembered how well she slept before she turned 1...... and the next thing I found myself do was shifting her bed to the previous position. May be I need to consider the fengshui aspects, you know, harmonising with your surroundings and environment, having balance stuff.

So Mayenne came into her room this evening, looked around and realised that her room is not the same as before, but she didn't say anything and subsequentlywalked out. When it was bedtime, I laid her down and gave her her milk. She continued lying there, still did some tossing and turning, but she didn't make much noise this time. Within 5-7 mins, she's in dreamland.

Believe it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No talk, all action

I have been monitoring Mayenne's progress in terms of her linguistic skills. After all, studies have shown that girls tend to be stronger in that area compared to boys.

When she uttered her first proper word "Papa"at a tender age of 9 months or so, we were getting all geared up for the endless chattering and noise to come. However, that was not the case. To date, Mayenne can say less than 20 words, some of the clearer ones include Papa (no 'Mummy' yet), bye bye, nen nen (for milk), and less clear ones like 'aam' (for 'same'), 'geen' (for 'green') and 'zzzzzz' (for the letter 'Z').

She can fully understand us, but she refuses to speak when asked. May be Mummy talks too much, stifling her chances to speak. Or perhaps Mummy doesn't give her enough time to put her answer together before offering our answer. Why I say that is because sometimes when she's alone, she will babble some sounds, perhaps in an attempt to say something.

When it comes to this kind of things, you can't really rush it. I will continue to introduce her to more words and let her take her time to be ready to speak single words, then 2-syllabic phrases, then in sentences. While that may take a while, Mummy will always to here to guide Mayenne.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

From CRT to LCD

I have visited a handful of housewarmings - and have also swooned over other people's plasmas and LCD TVs. Admittedly, I wanted one for myself, but for some reason (or reasons), I haven't got the chance to evaluate my options, given the hundreds of models and prices that come in thousands.

Actually, I love my current CRT TV. It has accompanied me on my loneliest nights, made me laughed so hard that I cried, made me cried so hard that I've ran out of tissues, taught me things that I never knew, and showed me the world that I could have never seen on my own.

We had it since we moved into our love nest 8 years ago, and it has never failed me. As it was a Sony TV, I thought the audio quality was pretty good too. However, for the sake of Mayenne, Chester has decided to buy an LCD TV, due to the low frequency at which the images are screened and the high frequency sound that a CRT emits, both which we concluded are not good for our kid.

After checking out some bargains, Chester bought a new LCD TV at Courts yesterday, and will be delivered tomorrow.

Come tomorrow evening, my Can Really Tong TV will finally make way for the new LCD TV. I feel a little sentimental but am also excited about the new addition!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


When I was younger, I always dreamed of going to Hokkaido for a vacation. Everyone who has been there tells me it's such a beautiful place, with great fresh produce that will leave you yearning for more and you'll fall in love with the place given the unique romanticism that that place exudes.

Well, my dream came true last week.

Actually, it started out more like a nightmare: I was suffering from abdominal cramps so severe, that I broke into cold sweat and threw up on the 2nd day of the trip. My stomach was still convulsing from the puking that nite, into the 3rd and 4th day. Nonetheless, I told myself that I'm not gonna let anything spoil my long awaited Hokkaido vacation and thankfully, I also started to feel better as the trip progressed, which allowed me to enjoy the rest of the journey.

Rather than giving you a narration of the trip, you will have a pretty good idea by taking a look at the pictures Chester took with his SLR posted in his blog http://musicphotolife.blogspot.com/ and http://photosg.com/v/hokkaido/.

I must give kudos to Chester - he lugged a camera that weighed a few kgs (plus lens and all) everywhere we went. But because of his love for photography, he didn't mind it at all. And all thanks to him, we have such beautiful pictures that we can remind ourselves of the trip in the future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


You know how sometimes when you get a bit bored, you will have a song in your head and you'll start humming or singing? The song can be a favourite tune, or some new catchy pop song.

Today, I was sitting in a cafe waiting for Chester to join me for dinner. While twiddling my thumbs and twirling my hair, the first song that hit me and came out of my mouth was .......

Little Peter Rabbit.

And I even have to consciously hold my hands down to prevent them from doing all the bunny actions!

That's it...... I've been thoroughly Mummy-fied!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Winning in Weaning

It's official - Mayenne is completely weaned from her pacifier, in her 17th month.

Actually it happened much earlier cos she doesn't look for it or fuss when she was trying to sleep. But she still had that sucking action with her lips and mouth when she has her eyes closed, as though she's sucking on an imaginary dummy. But this evening, I noticed she doesn't do that anymore -- hence I mark today as the milestone.

The process hasn't been too long, less than a month. I didn't use the methods some of friends used, eg snip the head of the pacifier off such that the kid doesn't feel shiok sucking on a headless dummy (cos it keeps dropping out of his mouth).

I went cold turkey, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results and I achieved my silent goal of weaning her off the dummy before 18 months . Good job Mayenne! Mummy is so proud of you!

Nonetheless I'm not gonna risk it by accidentally leaving a pacifier on her table or bed!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bikes and Skirts

We were on our way home on the CTE, when I noticed something flapping at the back of a motorcycle, about 10 metres in front of us.

I didn't think too much about it, until I saw the entire right leg of the pillion rider (cos our car was on the right side of the bike) ie from the hip to thigh and foot -- and then it struck me: the thing that was flapping wasn't some scarf or bandanna; it was the back portion of a skirt.

Problem was, I think they were in a hurry, and they picked up speed. The skirt just flapped harder and higher. Soon, they were way ahead and then our view was blocked by other vehicles in front. Sorry, couldn't get any pictures.

Couldn't also understand one thing -- won't the person feel the flapping? I mean, the skirt was going to as high as her head!!! And the flapping would form some resistance against the wind -- I'm sure you can feel some tugging at the back???!!!

So ladies, if you have to wear a skirt while riding a bike, please please please sweep your skirt below your butt and sit on it. If not, at least put on some nice underwear, not grannies.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cold Turkey - Day V

After a nice seafood dinner at Sin Hoi San (Tiong Bahru) in celebration of my mum's birthday, we headed home.

Mayenne was fussing a bit after her milk feed, and wanting me to carry her. Ches tried to help out as I was busy washing up her bottles and dinner containers, but she was giving him a hard time as nothing he did seems to give her comfort.

After I was done, I brought her into my room (the weather tonight was tremendously stuffy), and I think the cooler temperature (aircon was on) may have calmed her somewhat. She began flipping some mags and gave some baby hugs [she does it by bringing her face to the thing she likes in the magazine (sometimes a little too fast and too hard) - like giving them a kiss].

I was pretty tired myself, so I was just lying on the bed and watching her go through the mags. Then I realised I was dozing off, so I brought her to lie next to me. Sometimes she will just get up and fuss again, but tonight, she laid very still on the pillow we share, but her eyes were roving. At that point it felt like Mum and Daughter were sharing some ESP messages cos our heads were so close to each other.

I dozed off again, then I jumped up, startled at the fact that I have fallen asleep and not watching Mayenne. But there she was, lying asleep right next to me.

May be Mummy's zzzzz bugs did reach Mayenne via ESP afterall.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cold Turkey - Day Three (Day of heartaches)

Mum said Mayenne couldn't really nap well this afternoon -- was irritable and started redecorating her bed by repositioning her pillows, continuously. But soon after, she did fall asleep due to tiredness and slept almost 3.5 hours thereafter. Mum had to wake her up for her milk so that it will not affect her dinner schedule.

Night time was worse. As usual we fed her her last feed of the day (milk) at 9.30pm and started to coax her to sleep. But tonight, she was not just fussing - she was clearly upset, irritated, agitated, as she cried for non-stop for almost half an hour. During that time, she choked on her saliva, coughed really hard, and had a blocked nose from all the crying.

I walked, talked, sang, rocked, carried, ignored, but nothing worked. My arms ached from carrying Mayenne, but my heart ached more to see her feeling so terrible. She then started to cool down after I walked to my kitchen window, where some cars parking downstairs distracted her. Shortly after, I brought her back to my room (cos I have the air con on, and doors closed, to avoid disturbing the neighbours with her cries). Although she started to cry again, but this time it was more muted, and then she fell asleep with her head on my lap.

This was Day 3.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cold Turkey - Day One

Today, we have stopped giving Mayenne the pacifier, dummy, jid jid, tuu tuu..... or whatever you call it.

According to my mum, Mayenne fell asleep rather quickly during her afternoon nap without the pacifier. I then decided to kickstart the weaning process by not giving it to her tonight.

She fussed quite a bit, not the crying sort, but "EHHH.... EHHH!" sort. I refused to give in, and it took her almost an hour to fall asleep (I thought it was pretty fast already). But she looked so cute when she was trying to pretend to suck and she was pouting her lips and making the sucking sounds, without the pacifier.

Tomorrow, Day Two. *ding ding!*

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pine Gardens - I'll be back for more!

I was really happy with the positive comments and good feedback I've received on Mayenne's birthday cakes, both from Pine Gardens (AMK Ave 10).

So good, I've recommended my friends to order cakes from Pine Gardens for their own kids 1st birthdays and the results were the same.... all their guests enjoyed the cakes too. I will also be ordering a 3-tier wedding cake from them as a gift to a couple getting married soon.

So when my colleagues talked about Pine Gardens having the CMK durian cakes, I was really excited -- CMK stands for Cat Mountain King aka Mao Shan Wang, the creme de la creme of all types of durians (which I love), and Pine Gardens (I love their cakes too). The perfect combi.

I was assigned the task of ordering/buying the cake as the shop is near my place. The cake would also form part of the mini birthday celebrations for the birthday boy and girl in my work team born in September.

So after a long day of photoshoot with Chester last Sunday, we rushed back to pick up the cake before the shop closes. Next morning, I brought it to the office and stored it in the pantry's fridge. When the time came for the birthday celebration, we took the cake out, sang the birthday song and distributed the cake all round.

"The cake....."
"It's um...."

Yup, although the cake tastes fresh, the layers of durian flesh between the sponge cakes, were indeed sour.

How can this be? I've only collected it yesterday and stored it as recommended. Feeling disappointed, confused, angry, betrayed (cos I had so much faith in Pine's cakes), I called Pine Gardens up for an explanation (and hopefully, compensation).

The person at the end of the line was very polite and carefully asked about my storage conditions. Then she made a statement "... but we never had any complaints about our durian cakes before". I thought "that's it... she's gonna blame me on not storing properly and shrug away from all responsibilities". Then she offered to send someone to pick up the spoilt cake from my office and they will look into the matter and decide the next course of action.

The delivery guy came within 10mins (should be in the vicinity) and took the cake away. Then, about half an hour later, Pine Garden called. While holding my breath, they explained that they suspect it's the durian that has gone into the cake, was bad (ie durian supplier ought to be shot), and since it is rather unlikely for them to taste every single durian before making the cake, it was unfortunate that we got that bad one.

They promptly then offered to replace the durian cake and send it back to my office, and even asked if I needed the same wordings on the cake plus number of candles required. When I collected the package from the same delivery guy who came earlier, I saw 2 boxes in the plastic bag. Out of goodwill, Pine Gardens threw in 20 complimentary pieces of bite-sized brownies and cheesecakes. And the replacement durian cake was fantastic.

I applaud Pine Garden for their speed in handling the situation, their gesture to replace and send the cake back to me (usually they charge at least $15 for delivery), and giving some complimentary confectionery.

Perhaps they still do think that it's my (the customer's) fault in not storing the cake properly, but everything they have done has made me feel that they treasure their customers; and they have definitely retained this customer (me), and I will definitely continue to buy cakes from them.

Moral of the story? Never buy your own birthday cake. =P

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Roseola - ola - ola

In one of my earlier blogs a couple of weeks ago, I reported how Mayenne came down with high fever after her MMR jab, and I was certain then that it was her reaction to the vaccine.

She had high fever >38.5 degrees over about 4 days (with her temperature occasionally easing to the 37 degrees range before shooting up to > 38 degrees again). On Day 4, I couldn't allow my baby to suffer anymore, we rushed to KK Child A&E even before the dawn breaks, as she was very hot to the touch and her throat was so sore that she couldn't even drink her milk.

Fortunately, the A&E was not crowded and Mayenne was attended by the doctor on duty. They took some blood from Mayenne for testing and the results were all negative except for a hint of viral infection. So the doctor sent us home and asked us to continue to give her the medication we got from the GPs we saw a few days before.

It was as though the trip to the A&E has zapped all her viruses away, cos by the end of the day, Mayenne was less lethargic and her appetite got better. I thank God for that and was relieved to see her recover from her sore throat and runny nose.

Before I could even say "She's okay now!", my mum called me to tell me that Mayenne started having tiny red spots on her back, legs, sole and face. Without any delay, I told Mum to bring her to the GP for a quick check. They came back with the diagnosis: heat rash and gave us calamine lotion.

What heat rash??!?! Those few days leading to the day the rashes were spotted were filled with rain and more rain, so the weather was extremely cool. And given a layman like me, I was very sure those are not heat rashes.

Good thing was the rashes were not itchy and they don't seem to bother Mayenne at all (no fever, diarrhoea, nausea etc). So then I inferred that it could be measles as some literature explained that some babies catch it, as the MMR vaccine is putting small doses of live viruses into the body so that the body can build its immunity against these viruses.

In view that Mayenne was behaving normally, I didn't worry that much. Slowly the rashes faded and totally cleared within 3 days.

It was only after sharing Mayenne's symptoms to a close friend of mine that what Mayenne had could be Roseola. Symptons include high fever for a couple of days, coupled with sore throat and runny nose. After the fever has subsided, the spots will appear, usually non-itchy. If you need more information on Roseola, you can refer to this website: http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/commoninfections/a/roseola.htm

Everything that Mayenne went through fit the description - she had Roseola. This is probably what the old folks refer to as "fake measles".

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lost in Translation

We subscribed to the Disney Channel (CH34) on Cable TV as we wanted Mayenne to watch programs that are specially designed for children.

She has many favourite programs - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Pocoyo and Thomas and Friends just to name a few, and she also likes short clips like Danny & Daddy and Ooh & Aah (the red and blue monkeys that bring in the next show).

Recently we swopped our old cable box to the new digital recordable one (and of course signed up a new package for the recording capability). It is rather useful as we can set timings to record her favourite programs, and playback whenever we want to, like the repeat of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. I'm probably one of the very few who has missed the live telecast, and I'm glad that I've recorded the 4-hr long event as I was able to catch it and it was indeed as grand and spectacular as reported.

Anyway, coming back to Disney Channel, Chester was fiddling with some of the clips he recorded on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and it was only then I realised Mickey and his gang can actually speak Mandarin - with the press of the dual sound button.

I have used that button before, for Japan Hour, and some other programs which were filmed in foreign languages but Starhub offers the show in say, English or Mandarin. The Mickey Mouse I grew up with spoke English, so it never occurred to me to use that button at all.

So for Mums and Dads out there who may have missed this point like me, do try it out.

One thing to note though: the lyrics of some of the songs may not be a direct translation of the original English version. But one word of caution, the Mandarin version can be quite bizarre.

Example, for those who are familiar with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, there is this HotDog Dance at the end of every show -- you may not want your kid learn the first stanza of the song, cos it's not such a great idea if he repeats that the first thing in the morning or when Grandma is playing Mahjong.

Go check it out.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Many friends have been asking, "How come there isn't any photos of Mayenne on your blog lately?"

Guilty. Din have the time to configure the photos we've taken of her. Here's some captured over the last 2 months or so.

"Where are the rest of my classmates?"
(Mayenne sitting quietly for Shichida class to start; that's my Mum and maid behind)

"Cool-ness Highness...."

The MCC (Mong Cha Cha) look
(just woke up mah)

"Hey, give back Mummy's straw!"

Mayenne has been toilet trained since she was 11 months old
(we have upgraded her from potty to WC; and it really helps that she makes 2 distinct sounds to differentiate between "big" and "small" business)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good Intentions

"Eat your vegetables! They are good for you!"

All mums would have said the above to their kid(s) some point in their lives. Being a kid before (hard to believe, but yes have been one), I remember asking myself how can something that tastes so strange be ever good for you? But we trust our parents to know best and they are there to protect us.

As we grow up, through our life paths, we experience new things, face new challenges and we learn to know what is good and bad (or at least what we think is good and bad).

Sometimes our judgment can be clouded, like how some people don't apologise even when they know they are in the wrong, because it involves pride; or when people are so determined to do something that they are passionate about or love, and don't consider the severity of consequences of their actions.

So sometimes, when we think a person cannot make any logical and rational decisions because of this cloudiness, we make the decision that overrides all decisions, for what we think is for the good of all (again can be subjective). The overruled party will inevitable be disappointed, angry, and may even ignore the advices and stick to their own plans.

It is scarily fascinating to note how two persons can have completely different views on the same situation, how one can take things so lightly when the other thinks it is a matter of life and death.

Call me a paranoid, over-reacting, pessimistic, selfish party pooper, but when it comes to protecting people and things I love, I can't be more selfish, can I?

I just hope for understanding and trust, and I still eat my vegetables today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Time Is It?

I was walking towards the MRT station one evening, on my way to meet Chester in town.

While going down the escalator, I looked ahead and I saw a young girl, probably between 16-17 years old, holding some pieces of paper and talking to a bunch of people.

When I was about to walk past her to get to another escalator, she came towards me and asked, "Do you have the time? My watch has stopped."

Then I realised the bunch of people she was with has moved on and she was kinda sticking her watch in my face, trying to show that her watch was indeed not showing the right time (her watch was showing 1.25am/pm when it was close to 7pm then).

Being the kind soul I am, I volunteered to show her my watch and said, "It's almost 7pm now."

"WRONG!" she exclaimed, "IT'S TIME FOR CHARITY!!!"

Sigh. If she had asked nicely, I would have made my donation. I think the bunch of people ahead of me din appreciate her sense of humour too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Mum, Bad Mum

Mayenne just had her MMR vaccination yesterday. The doctor told us that usually, should the baby spot a fever, it will come after 7 days of the jab. Before Mayenne could reach back home, she was already feverish.

I went back to the office after the PD's appointment, so it was my mum who told me about it and she was a little flustered cos she doesn't have the thermometer with her (it was at my place) and she wasn't sure how high Mayenne's temperature was. Good thing we brought back a bottle of Neurofen from the PD which helps bring higher temperatures down. My mum tried to feed Mayenne the medicine with a syringe, only to welcome a huge gush of puke.

After a while, Mum fed her some milk as Mayenne is not suppose to eat porridge or rice related products (old wives' tale that we have abided for generations). She then slept and Mum called me later to tell me that her temperature has gone down somewhat.

A quick check on the thermometer showed 38.8 degrees in the evening, after I went home to grab the digital thermometer. It has risen again, and she looked so pitiful: listless eyes, also red from crying, blocked nose from crying. Mum offered (or more like instructed) to keep Mayenne overnight with her, so that she can take care of her (with the maid's help) and that I can have the energy for work the next day.

Mayenne looked better the next morning, even laughed a bit and waved goodbye when Papa and Mummy left for work. I called up the PD to check whether if there is any cause for concern that Mayenne started her fever so immediately after the jab. He advised that the fever was likely not due to the jab but something else, so asked me to monitor her fever and if it's still high, I would need to make a trip to his clinic to follow up. That didn't settle me a bit.

Then I suddenly remembered that she was having a flu just about 1.5 weeks before the jab. Being the bad mum I am, I have totally forgotten that this could be important and we should have delayed the MMR jab for another 2 weeks or so. May be the fever was some "leftovers" from the previous flu bout which was 'reactivated' after the invasive injection.

When I checked on the net to find out more about the symptoms for fever after MMR jabs, to my horror, I found so many websites, forums, discussions that suggest MMR may cause autism and some mental impairment. How come I never check on this before sending Mayenne for the MMR? Will Mayenne suffer due to my ignorance? I am blaming myself for such stupidity and if anything happens to Mayenne, I will never forgive myself.

Then again, will I still have proceeded with the vaccination if I knew, cos these allegations are all not proven? And risk her contracting measles, mumps or rubella which have medically proven to be fatal?

I don't know, I really don't know.... but like what Chester said, it's already administered, and the benefits certainly outweigh the risks.

I can only pray that Mayenne will get well soon and back to her old self again. Please.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life and How to Survive It

Attached below is Adrian Tan's speech at the NTU Convocation 2008. A friend sent it to me and I thought it is a rather interesting read. It's pretty long, but do take the time to read it - may inspire you to do things differently going forward.

Life and How to Survive It

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It's a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable. Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you've already won her heart, you don't need to win every argument. Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You're done learning.
You've probably been told the big lie that "Learning is a lifelong process" and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters' degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don't you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning,
after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they're wrong.

The bad news is that you don't need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You're in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I'm here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in
those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There's very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup.
Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you'll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper. Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they're 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn't meet their life expectancy.

I'm here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy. After all, it's calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family . You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much. That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don't need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life's a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don't expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term "Karoshi", which means death from overwork. That's the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there's nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There's a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are "making a living". No, they're not. They're dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan "Arbeit macht frei" was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway. Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn't do that, I would've been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction ? probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don't imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I'll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don't, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I'm not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating.

There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence. In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires
great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated. It's not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet
every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it's often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one's own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role.
There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn't say "be loved". That requires too much compromise. If one changes one's looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone. Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We've taken a
microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work ? the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul. Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn't happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart. You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don't, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don't work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

You're going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there's no life expectancy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is Silence really Golden?

I sent some of my laundry to my mum's place for my maid to wash, and included in there was one of my favourite pair of grey pants, which has been with me for a while.

My mum told me a couple of days later that there was a run in the seam and she has sent it to the tailor to stitch it up. Initially I didn't think too much about it, until she mentioned that the seam was the one that runs down the middle of my butt, and my head went a-spinnin':

When did I last wore these pants?
Did I meet a client in them?
Was it that day that I took the MRT to meet Chester in town instead of him coming to pick me at my office (to save ERP and petrol)?

Quick... think.. THINK.....

Damn..... it must be that day when I thot people on the streets appear to be extra friendly, giving that nod or smile when there was eye contact.

Was it because they saw what they didn't expect to see and they feel sorry for me? Or are they laughing at me because they think I'm an exhibitionist?

If someone (guy or gal) have come up to me and tell me (preferably softly) that I'm showing more than I should, I would have been eternally grateful. Of course it is embarrassing for a stranger to tell you you have "ran light" (zhao geng), but this is nothing compared to having thousands of people starring down your butt as they stand/walk behind you as you strut down Raffles Place or Orchard Road.

Are Singaporeans too polite to approach someone under such circumstances? Or are they afraid that they will get a earful for being a busybody? Or worse, get questioned why you were looking at her butt in the first place?

I have previously helped (or at least I thought I did) a couple of ladies in less than desirable situations. I remember this time when I was at Marina Square, and there was this lady with a knee length skirt. Presumably after a trip to the restroom, and she didn't check if everything was ok -- a section of the hem of the skirt was caught in her undie, and she was walking in Marina Square with her skirt raised behind her. When I saw her I quickly walked behind her to shield her from any more embarrassment and told her the situation. She quickly adjusted her skirt and her face was all red, but she looked so grateful and managed to whisper "thank you" before scurrying off from the scene.

What I've described above can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere (guys - no skirts but there are zip flies). But you were to ever see me (God forbid) in such a situation, do come up to me and tell me to switch of my lights. Thank you, in advance.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mayenne Played a Little Tune

Mayenne definitely has Papa's genes.

This evening, after we reached home after picking Mayenne from my mum's, my little darling headed straight for her song-cum-piano book (a book with a little electronic piano attached), and played the first 7 notes to the song: Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Slowly, not exactly to the beat, but steadily she played...... mi-re-do-re-mi-mi-mi.

Fluke or not, that was the best piece of music I've ever heard.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shhhhoooo Shhhickkkk

I have finally succumbed to it.

I thought the flu jab I took years ago was the ultimate vaccine, cos I din fall sick (well, at least not to flu) for almost 2 years, even when I was pregnant.

When my colleague Alice reported to work one day with a pretty serious flu, I withstood any contagions and survived the week without a sniffle.

I guess the last straw was when my boss caught the flu bug, cos I was hanging around him quite a bit, for customer meetings and discussions. And Tamiflu had to expire on one of those days....

Here I am, trying to type with tissue paper in one hand and the other holding my head.

Not wanting Mayenne to catch it from me, I've "deposited" her with my mum for an overnight stay yesterday, but today I feel worse (just took the medicine from the doctor's - takes time to kick in). So Mum asked me to keep Mayenne with her for another night. You're the greatest, Mum!!!

I refrained from carrying Mayenne, afraid that the she will catch the bug from me. But she needed Mummy's comfort and warmth, so she cried and cried, arms outstretched, wanting me to carry her. Breaks my heart.

Mum had to carry her into the bedroom and asked us to quickly leave the house, or else she will keep looking for us and refuse to sleep. We had to quietly and quickly make my exit, and my mum told me the next morning that Mayenne actually slept well last night, which was great.


Excuse me, gotta go and rest.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Love Conquers All

I wrote down this as my favourite quote under my profile in Facebook, because I truly believe in it.

In this time of age, many things have come to challenge this - fame, power, wealth etc, for which some people are willing to sacrifice love, to achieve.

Love comes in so many types - parental love, love between family members, love between friends etc, but the greatest love of all - is unconditional, selfless love.

Yesterday, I got to know about a story of a friend's journey in becoming a Mummy and how it exemplifies true unconditional love.

I remember visiting my fren's YM's house for a gathering the year before, and I was expecting Mayenne then. YM was newly married then, and she told me that she would love to start a family soon, just like Chester and I. Shortly after Mayenne was born, we heard the great news from her that she was expecting!

Due to our own busy schedules and taking care of Lil' Princess Mayenne, I didn't really follow up (regretfully) with YM on her developments, and only found out that she has given birth in Mar08, after she posted some photos of her and her baby on the FB.

I wrote to her to congratulate on the new addition into the family. She replied and asked me to visit her blog for Little Baby Vera. It was then I found out that Baby Vera has Trisomy 18, a very serious, and usually fatal condition. Every blogpost I read, I cried. By the time I've finished reading her last post, my eyes were so swollen (they still are), that I couldn't really open them.

I don't want to take away what YM has written about her journey by trying to paraphrase it here, cos it's her personal story to tell. What truly stands out to me was how her strong love for Baby Vera, has conquered all her fears, uncertainties, tiredness, emotions, to allow her to focus on the most important thing - Baby Vera. It is undeniably tough, and YM is unlikely to be doing this, without the love and support of her husband and family too. Most importantly, Baby's Vera love for her parents and love for life, which makes her the fighter she is, is beating the odds and against the medical statistics.

Love..... really conquers all.

If anyone of you knows of any mummies in Singapore who has living babies/kids with Trisomy 18, do drop me a note, as YM is looking to reach out to these mummies.

Thank you.

YM, I will pray for Baby Vera and you. Stay strong, cos Baby Vera is a fighter!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Gramps!

Celebrated Chester's Dad's birthday over the weekend. Here she is trying to sing the birthday song.....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Once our Baby, Always our Baby

Over the last month, Mayenne has grown so much: she's taller and stronger now; she can walk rather steadily and even master stair climbing; has teeth to bite and chew food; and she can identify more than half of the alphabets and at least 40-50 things, from body parts to animals, and household items to people.

As her Mummy, I must admit I'm very happy and proud that Mayenne has completed her first milestone, from baby to toddler. But most importantly, she is a happy kid with loads of ideas and "patterns" up her sleeves, and she never fails to put a smile on our faces.

So fast she's grown, I've actually forgotten how fragile she can be.

This evening we went over to my Mum's for dinner as usual, and Mayenne would watch her a bit of TV while we quickly finish our dinner and get her ready to go home. While she was watching, she got excited and found herself lying down on her tummy, but her left hand and a part of her lower arm were caught between her body and the floor. Not knowing how to release her trapped hand, she tried tugging and jerking it out, and before we can stop her, she twisted her wrist and some fingers.

That was followed by a loud painful wail and she was inconsolable. What almost killed me was when I saw her arm: all limp, red and swollen. And when we tried to rub her hand, she let out another shriek in pain. I thought to myself: why did I left my Baby suffer!

We tried to soothe her down: tried to give her some water as I think she must be feeling so afraid, but she refused. Fortunately, her favourite TV program called "Danny & Daddy" came on, and she started to calm down a little and then she smiled.

Then gently we tried to rub her fingers and wrist again and this time she didn't resist (was probably distracted by the TV). Shortly after, we gave her her favourite toy to hold in her left hand. Slowly she reached out and curl her fingers round the toy.

She's gonna be alright. Thank God for that.

I guess this is the dilemma for all parents -- learning to let go so that the baby can explore with her new found mobility, but at the same time is constantly worried about safety and accidents.

But I guess that's part and parcel of parenting, but such worries would seem so minute and negligible, as they are nothing compared to the joys to derive from our kids - it's immeasurable.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

From Crawling to Walking

Mayenne is officially walking! She is so thrilled with her new found skill that she just keeps walking and walking and walking - in a straight line, in a circle (eg round some furniture), sideways (actually she's trying to get her balance and walking at the same time) etc. Sometimes, she can get so confident that she'll even do some running instead!

Mummy will be getting her long overdue exercises - cos she has to run after Mayenne now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Washing My Blues Away

My 7-year-old Whirlpool washing machine has finally conked. I was beginning to wonder when it will ever happen.

Actually, it still washes fine, and still does what it's suppose to do. The only thing is that water leaks from the bottom at the end of every cycle. Thinking that it lasted longer than I imagined, I thought I'd invest in a new washer.

I only had 1.5 hours to shop for a washing machine on a Saturday- the time being Mayenne having her Shichida class and Papa is accompanying her in the class instead of me. I popped into Courts at Toa Payoh, and headed straight to the washer/dryer department.

I was greeted by a saleman who seemed to know everything about washing machines. He then recommended Electrolux, for which he had a model which was only on sale for those 2 days ($300 off usual price). I remembered my MIL's washer was an Electrolux and she has been using it for the last 15 years (or so she claimed). Though they don't make things the way they used to be, but I believe there should be some consistency in terms of the quality of the hardware.

But what I liked about this model is that there is a pause function which allows you stop the machine to load additional clothings which you may have forgotten to include in the wash (the water will be stored in the drum below, and the same water will be "reloaded" once you start the machine again, hence saving water!). The detergent tray also looked a little different whereby the softener compartment actually holds the softener until it is ready to be used (for my old washer, I need to wait till the wash cycle reaches the final rinse and then I add the softener. If I were to add it at the same time as the detergent, it would have flowed down together with the detergent at the beginning of the wash).

What sold me the washer was that there is a quick wash function which finishes a good wash for slightly/normal soiled clothings in 45 mins (other washers usually takes 75mins to 90 mins). And this white equipment is not white at all - it looks all-so-futuristic in metallic silver.

The mean-looking piece of equipment was surprisingly quiet. Even at a high spin speed of 850 revolutions per minute. The only thing I don't like about is the loud clicking sound when the machine locks and releases the door when the cycle starts and ends.

Generally, I'm pleased with my investment and I am looking forward to a full laundry basket now!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Beginnings

Today marks my first day at my new work place. Didn't exactly sleep well last night as Mayenne was up a couple of times and I had to tug her back in bed in the wee hours in the morning.

Nonetheless, I woke up, feeling slightly nervous, but mostly excited. It's a familiar feeling, then I remembered this is how I felt when I report for school at the beginning of each new year, as I move to a higher level eg P4 to P5, Sec 2 to Sec 3.

I was supposed to report at the HR department, which is located in a different building from where my office is. We left home slightly earlier then usual, as Mayenne didn't poopoo this morning (which takes us a little longer to get ready) and traffic was smooth.

After an hour long "induction" briefing, I proceeded to report at my work place. At the lift lobby, I exchanged my ID for a visit pass as my staff pass was not ready yet. Anxious to meet my boss and colleagues, I actually went to the wrong building (there were 2 Towers), and I had to make my quick exit, hoping people will not see my face, red from embarrassment.

I finally made it to the correct office, and my boss introduced me to the rest of the team. I really like where our team is located as it is away from the rest of the other teams, hence less noisy. I was also very happy to see many familiar faces, all ex-colleagues from HSBC who are here now. I don't feel that alone and anxious anymore.

It has been a good start and I really look forward to even better days ahead!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mayenne - Monet

We bought Mayenne a magnetic drawing board for her a couple of months ago, and the only thing she was keen to do with it then was to pick up the little 'stampers' (which came in various shapes like star and heart) and throw them to see them fly.

Gradually, Popo managed to teach her how the stylus and stampers are used but she was still not interested.

Then one day, Mayenne placed the board on her lap, took the stylus in her right hand and started drawing. At first she couldn't get much on the board as the angle at which she was holding the stylus was too low, ie about parallel to the board. Hence the nib was not on the board. Slowly she figured it out and she started to draw more confidently, so much so that she even reached for her favourite star stamper with her left hand (her right hand was still holding the stylus), and starting stamping.

Draw a bit, stamp a bit. She looked like she knew exactly what she wanted to draw. I have videoed the process but the clip was relatively long. So I've just enclosed the masterpiece here instead, which we named Shooting Stars.

Mayenne's First Artwork

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mayenne's 1st Haircut

After Mayenne was born, I refused to shave her head despite many "advices" from relatives and friends that a shaven head would yield a fuller set of crowning glory. I stood my ground as I have seen some of the babies whose parents have done that, and they (the babies) certainly don't look nice at all. Some of the parents even shave the baby's eyebrows (why would anyone want bushy eyebrows?), and the baby end up looking really sickly, like someone who has gone through chemo and lost their hair.

As the months went by, I began to wonder if my decision was wise. Yes, she was growing some hair, 'some' being the operative word. Thankfully, the gaps were filled (albeit slowly), and some wisps of hair (especially the fringe area) began to grow faster that the rest, and it started to irritate her forehead and eyes.

Popo has been bugging me to bring her to the hairdresser for a trim, but I still don't feel like cutting her hair, as I felt it will change Mayenne the Baby, and lose some part of the babyness in her.

On Wednesday, I had my 2nd driving refresher lesson, and by the time I reached my mum's place, the house was empty. I thought Popo brought Mayenne out to the market. When they returned and I opened the door, I saw Mayenne but didn't quite sure what was different about her. Then Popo said she brought her for a haircut. Ah.... so that was it!

Apparently, they had a hard time holding her down to have her hair cut - she was crying and squirming on my mum's lap. My mum was so afraid that Mayenne might be injured by the scissors, she stopped the hairdresser before she could finish, and they left the salon after paying $5.

I thought the haircut was badly done, may becos Mayenne was moving so much that it is impossible to have it done properly. Due to the abrupt termination of the hair cut session, some parts were not trimmed. And I think it's too short - in one morning, my daughter has become a son (see transformation below) - sigh.....



Friday, May 30, 2008


My first refresher course took place this morning at 8am. For those who avoided the AMK area thinking that I'd only be driving in AMK, boy were you wrong. I went as far as Sengkang and Punggol. And no.... whatever traffic jams you were caught in was not caused by me!!!

I was surprisingly calm and not nervous (at all!) about the refresher, which was so different from how I felt when I first tried driving in our own car a couple of months back (I was basically so freaked out that I dared not even step on the accelerator). Perhaps knowing that I'm driving someone else's car (bang also never mind) or the fact that someone with experience is sitting next to me makes all the difference.

This morning, my instructor Mr Tok picked me up in his gold Toyota Corolla at AMK MRT. When his car stopped, I hopped into the passenger seat, without even realising he was getting ready to get out of the car. Then he asked if I can take over the wheel. I thot to myself, "If I can, why did I sign up this course?"

Anyway, I politely mentioned that I've not driven for a long long time, so I would like to build up my confidence on the roads again. He then drove us to a less crowded road and stopped at the roadside for me to switch to the driver's seat.

I started slowly and stuck to the left-most lane. After 15 mins later, we went on to do changing of lanes, filtering, U-turning etc. Mr Tok was also very chatty and we talked about irresponsible driving and how we should learn from their mistakes.

We did more driving in Sengkang/Punggol, and before I know it, the 1.5 hours were almost up. I drove back to AMK MRT and confirmed with Mr Tok details for our next lesson.

I never expect myself to say this, but I am really looking forward to my next lesson next Tuesday!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Refresher Course

"Do you really need to take it? That bad ah?"
"Where will you be taking the course? I'll avoid that area for the time being..."
"I'll teach you!" (um.... this friend is currently based in Australia)

There you go.... some of the comments from my FRIENDS after they learn that I am keen to take up driving again. =P

Anyway, after getting no results from my appeal for private instructor from my FB contacts, I decided to take up the 4-lesson course from SSDC. Each lesson is abt SGD73 (for 120 mins off peak) + registration of $21. Their approach is pretty structured - including expressway driving, parking etc.

After lunch at my MIL's today, I asked Chester to drive me to SSDC. I enquired at the reception on the refresher course and was told that for a course in auto, the next available slot is in July. Gosh, and I thot I was the only one that was not confident enough to go on the roads. For learning in the manual mode, the wait is 2 weeks. By then, I would need to start work.

I previously found this IDrive, which I thot was rather expensive ($50 registration; $40/hr), and it would appear to be the next best alternative. I've completed their online enrolment form and I'll wait for them to arrange. Hopefully the instructor is not some psycho, hot-tempered ah chek.

Wish me luck.

The End to Ants

I have written about my ants woes in an earlier post. Between then and now, I'd probably swept away thousands of ants, some alive, mostly dead (from the ant poison baits we placed).

After I swept the dead ants out early this morning, I was disgusted to see many more on the kitchen floor an hour later. It's like "where the hell do they come out from and in such mysterious ways that leave no trail?

Just when I was reaching for the broom (again), I noticed some activity near the entrance to the sewage hole on the floor.... there are a handful of ants trying to make their way out to the kitchen floor. THAT'S IT! That should be the nest!

While I was excited that I've found the source of my problem, I wasn't sure what to do. Chester suggested spraying insecticide, so that the ants will not come out from the hole. I did that and the surrounding area, and what I saw next gave me goosebumps.

It looked like a scene from movies like Mummy and the now-showing Indiana Jones 4 - hundreds of ants start spewing between the gaps of my kitchen cabinet. Ok ok, I may have exaggerated, but ants were really coming out from one corner at the base of my kitchen cabinet. It appeared that the fumes were forcing them out, and they came dropping out onto the kitchen floor in masses - splat splat - creating a dead ant heap. Not sure when the massacre will end, I left it alone.

After 10 mins, I returned to clean up the mass/mess. Hopefully this is the last I'll see of them.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mayenne's 1st (uh... 2nd?) Birthday

Again I was waiting for Chester to upload all the pictures before I can put up this post.

The party was great. Other than the usual birthday fanfare, I think the highlight of the party was for Mayenne to meet her new friends. Some of them whom she may have already met earlier on, but I guess she's too young to understand then.

Mayenne is certainly not the shy kind - she will reach out to touch her newfound friends, as if to say "Good to meet you!" In one instance, 2-year-old Jonesy (Soo Poh's son) had to leave the party early. So both mummies carried our babies so that they can say goodbye. Soo Poh then asked Jones to give Mayenne a kiss on the cheek (the side without the ant bite), but instead of doing that, he leaned forward so that Mayenne could kiss him!! Haha!

We can never take a perfect picture if the picture has more than 1 kid:
One for the album:

Please go to Chester's blog for more photos.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Damn those antz

About a couple of months ago, our house was invaded by swarms of ants, of various species. In bid to eradicate them, we placed ant baits at strategic spots in the house.

While we know that it takes some time for the bait to be brought back to the ants' nest such that all ants will be poisoned, today we are still in the unwelcomed company of these six-legged creatures. We observed an interesting phenomenon: instead of staying in their nests, the ants all crawled out from the nest to die. This resulted in me having to sweep away hundreds of corpses every day. I even found a heap (I am not exaggerating) of dead ants, like a mass gravenear my window sill. Sometimes, the ants were not exactly dead but half-groggy, and I have to chase after them.

Worst of all, they attacked Mayenne, even though she sleeps in a high cot. Just the day before her 2nd birthday party, she had at least 7 bite marks on her body, of which one is smack right on her fair rosy cheek. Sigh.

In a fit of anger, I threw away all the baits a couple of days, as I thot it's a self-fulfilling prophecy - the more baits you place, more ants will come, and I believe there are just too many nests to tackle.

Hopefully the situation will improve and my darling Mayenne will not have to suffer anymore.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Two Strikes in a Row *ding ding*

Having it back to back is certainly thrilling and joyous! Yippee!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mayenne's 1st Birthday

We celebrated Mayenne's 1st Birthday last Sunday (1st birthday as in 1 years old and the order number one - she will have her second party this coming Sunday). Chester did a great writeup on the happenings that day, so I am not going to duplicate that. Please see his blog for more details and photos.

Just want to say a few things here:

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for organising this party (I just needed to order the cake). Mayenne was clearly happy and at her best and cutest behaviour throughout the party - she din even complain about the endless queue of people wanting to carry the birthday girl, a heavy diaper (Mummy forgot to change her in all the excitement) and a late milk feed (again Mummy was overwhelmed).

The cake was a winner as I have never seen people asking for second servings and 3kg birthday cakes being eaten till it ran out - I had to make sure that I've saved a slice for myself or else there wouldn't be any left! So it is a no brainer for me to order from the cake shop for the 2nd party.

Looking forward to the BIG DAY this coming Sunday!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers' Day Gift

Yesterday I celebrated Mothers' Day for the first time in my life, as a Mummy. I kinda missed it last year, as Mayenne was still in my tummy then.

On Mothers' Day morning, we woke up to a strong waft of the smell of poo, and later found out that Mayenne has poo-pooed and the poo has leaked out from the diaper. As she didn't make any noise after she woke up, she practically created poo art on her bed.

Chester and I quickly organised ourselves: first we washed Mayenne up, then he changed her in another bed while I attended to the war zone. As I didn't have time to wash the bed linen, we deposited them at my Mum's for the maid to help us wash, when Chester went out to buy McDonald's breakfast for me (as a Mothers' Day treat - thanks Hunny).

There is a Chinese belief that poo signifies "cai" or prosperity. All I'm going to say is that I'm Chinese and I'm a believer.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Transit

I am currently in between jobs, and loving every minute of it.

I am thankful to my ex-boss who has released me earlier than my 3 months' notice (well I did serve 1.5 months to ensure proper handover). I am also thankful to my future employer who allowed me to take a month's break before I start work at the new place.

Although I'm in transit, I'm certainly not doing any sitting around. I have planned a to-do list, and this is how it looks like (for now):
  • Organise Mayenne's parties (yes plural - one at my MIL's place and the other at my Mum's). This itself has its own long to-do list (caterer, cake, guest list, decorations etc).
  • Take a driving refresher course. Chester has been so cynical about my motivation to sign up. I'll prove him wrong (even if it means me taking just one lesson - haha). When that happens, please stay away from AMK.
  • Go for eyebrow embroidery (to end my suffering of looking like "La Bi Xiao Xin" every morning due to over-zealous drawings to balance out my brows).
  • Go for a short holiday with Chester (if I can convince him to do so).
  • Update my blog (here I am!).
  • Boost the economy by doing my duty during the GSS.
  • Spend quality time with Mayenne (when I'm not shopping - just kidding!)
I'm sure before I know it, the month is up. Notwithstanding, I will do everything I can to maximise this time as it certainly does not come by that often.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sometimes .....

Sometimes we want to look the other way and pretend it's not there, but we end up imagining more.

Sometimes we wish we knew more, but when we really do, we end up hurting more.

Sometimes it's hard to let our voices be heard, but yet there's so much to say.

Sometimes it's hard to keep the faith, but sometimes it's all we've got.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


The first time I heard of Shichida was through a friend whose friend's friend's kids attended the course.

"Suchida? Shishida? Shiwha ..?" "Really, the kids can do all that???!!!"

I did some reading on the Net to find out more about this brain development program for young children. The founder Makoto Shichida claimed to have found the way to "activate" and "develop" the right brain, something that we may use less and less as we grow, due to the way we are taught things, which primarily focuses on left brain.

Half curious, half kiasu, I went down to one of their training centres at HDB Hub at Toa Payoh In Dec08 to find out more. Before I know it, I found myself signing on the dotted line and join the waiting list to be enrolled for the next term (fingers crossed).

In Feb08, I called to check as I didn't hear from them. Thinking that I may need to wait for another term, ie 12 weeks, I was very happy and excited to hear that they have a vacancy for Mayenne in a Saturday slot. However, it wasn't my top choice in terms of timing - I preferred the morning so that we can complete the lesson and have the rest of the day for other things. They gave me 4.15pm, which was a blessing in disguise as sometimes, Chester would not be able to send us to class, I would ask my mum (and maid) to go together and the timing is just right as the maid would have finished her chores by then. Lessons will end at 5.30pm and by the time we reach home, it again perfect timing for her dinner.

I rushed down to make payment to secure the day and time slot, as I understand that there is a long waiting list (actually I'm not sure how they manage to squeeze me in so soon - I guess when they see the $$$ sign, they will make room).

I was told there is another vacancy available for Sunday classes at the same timing. I called Joan to contact them and she too got a place, after making payment.

Let's see what they can do for our babies.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mayenne @ Ten

I always wonder who created the phrase "Time Flies...", which is definitely overused but oh so true.

Mayenne turned 10 months a couple of days ago.... 10 months already! I couldn't believe it myself. I'm so glad that she has grown in every sense: physically, mentally and emotionally. While we are able to observe some of her developments on weekday evenings and weekends, it is usually PoPo who tells us what new actions Mayenne exhibited and we hope to catch her do the same stunt/trick again. (Sigh.... I wish could spend more time with her).

She is proficient in crawling now, and she is also cruising - walking sideways while holding on to the edge of the sofa or her cot for support. More often than not, she will do a "look ma, no hands" stunt and get everyone flying towards to save her from a sore bottom, or worse circumstances.

She can wave goodbye (with her right hand) when prompted or on her own eg when the MRT passes by. Her left hand does a "money-come" action (curling of fingers with palms facing up).

She loves to throw and see her pingpong balls bounce away and chase after them. When the balls rolled below a table or chair, she will go down on all fours and bend down to see where the balls are (who taught her that?!!!).

She can hold her own bottles and sit on a potty and give a good poopoo.

She will raise her arm for you to take off her top, and lift her legs when you are removing her shorts, so that her leg will come out of the leg hole. She would sometimes shake her feet so that the shorts do not hang around her ankles.

She loves to read. Whenever there is book in sight, she will grab it and either open it herself or catch our attention to read to her. When we reach her favourite part of the book, she will lean forward like to take a closer look and she will use her finger to point that page. Really cute. She can also remember the ways the flips in the flipbook uncovers (eg top-down, left-to-right) - she charges to open the flips, and don't you help her; she'll be upset!

Whenever she wants a walk, she will look for GongGong, as my mum couldn't really carry her for long due to her condition. She will look for the maid when she has poopoo-ed (the maid is the one who bathes and cleans her up). She may be in the midst of playing with my mum, but after crapping in her diaper, Mayenne will either crawl or walk to the maid in her walker, and start to pace in front of the maid. Damn funny (can imagine the look on my maid's face).

She sways to music and swings her arms in the air. This is usually also accompanied by butt shaking and bobbing.

She knows what 'No' means and if she's naughty and continue to do what she's not suppose to do, we will raise our voices a little (so sounded a little more fierce), she will look up and her eyes will start to well up, her nose will turn red and she'll pout her mouth. The whole ensemble on her face is so pitiful, that you really don't have the heart to scold her again. But one thing about Mayenne is that she recovers very fast, and she will be back to doing her own things the next second (usually not after we have given her hugs and kisses).

When we show a stern face for some wrong-doings, she will look at us with her "I'm sorry" look and tries to "suck up" to us by trying to make us laugh again with her silly antics, like blowing bubbles with her saliva, giving the broadest smile she could give, poking you with her finger (I think she is trying to tickle me). It's really hard to keep that stern face.

My mum ie Popo always boasts of how Mayenne can do this, can do that, at this tiny age, which makes me wonder if my brother and I were totally stupid as toddlers, cos my mum never mentioned that we are like that. Either she couldn't remember or becos Mummy and Uncle Cedric are really duds then. Ha.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A True Blessing

She can crawl, real fast, and chases after her toys.

She waves goodbye, and doesn't have separation anxiety when we leave her with the babysitter, my mum nor Ches' mum.

She started calling "Pah-Pah!" (to the exhilaration of her Daddy - he even recorded it down on video as documentary proof). She also calls out "Mama!" but sometimes can be mixed up with "Moom Moom!" - but I guess to her it means the same thing - Mama always have and gives Moom Moom.

(note: I don't think she understands the meaning of the words yet, but just get a kick shouting them out =)

She can clap her hands and do a "gongxi gongxi" - may be that's why her angpow collections were much higher than Daddy and Mummy combined.

She holds on to the wooden panels of her bed for support to stand. Sometimes, she can get over-zealous and starts to tiptoe, shake her booty, stick one leg in the air or do a "look Ma no hands", which usually ends up with a loud wail - as she would fall over and bump her head against the bed rails.

She understands "NO" - when she touches something she's not suppose to and I say No, she will pause, look at me, but then still try her luck by sticking her hand out and prod the item with one finger - it's hard to keep a straight face when she does that.

She sings along with me to her favourite songs - in her own way by making "Mmm Mmm" sounds.

She is my daughter, Mayenne, at 9 months. A true blessing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Do I Rep - my new theme song

Today marks the start of a new period. Good bye freedom. =(

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


This Milkbar is officially closed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Matters of the Heart (Part 3)

The day came. My brother and sis-in-law picked me at 5.25am, and then we swung by to pick my dad. There was no exchanges "good mornings" nor did anyone speak. My heart felt so heavy on our way to the hospital, and I can't imagine how Mum would have been feeling, lying on the hospital bed, getting prepared for the surgery.

At 7am, she was pushed to the operating theatre. I cried so hard when the doors closed and we could not go in any further. I was so afraid that that would be the last time I see Mum. After I manage to have a grip on my emotions, we went to the canteen to have a bite, before proceeding to the waiting room, to wait for my mum to finish her surgery.

Dr Tan Ee Teing, the surgeon, advised that the surgery will take about 5 hours. We were the first at the waiting room, but soon it was filled with others who has family or friends going to surgery as well.

I was quite calm, until I saw Dr Tan walked past the waiting room. My mind went wild - what was he doing out here when my mum is suppose to be in surgery? Did something go wrong and he is looking for her family members to inform them? Is he late for the surgery? I dashed out of the waiting room, and saw my dad, who was outside the room, talking to Dr Tan. I heaved out a sigh of relief when I heard that he was running late for the surgery due to overruns in doing his rounds at the ward. So we went back into the waiting room, to wait.

Minutes passed, hours passed. We were all waiting for some news, any news on Mum's development in surgery. It was already passed the supposed 5 hours surgery time, and I was worried sick.

Then, at about 1.45pm, Dr Tan walked pass the waiting room again, already changed and was leaving. Dad and Bro were dozing off as they were so tired, so they did not take note of Dr Tan. Again, I dashed out of the waiting room to catch up with Dr Tan to ask him about Mum. I was then joined by Dad and Bro, and to our greatest relief, Dr Tan said the surgery was a success. But this is not without a scare: Dr Tan told us that towards the end of the operation, my mum's blood pressure suddenly plunged and the surgery team quickly tried to stabilise her condition. Fortunately, her BP returned to normal levels.

It took about 15 minutes before they pushed her into the ICU ward and we were asked to go and see her. To reduce the risk of infection, we can only watch her through a glass panel. Although the worst may be over, her road to recovery will be a long one. Looking at her with all kinds of tubes going into her body, to either put medication into her, or to extract waste tissues in her body post surgery. Her face was as white as sheet.

We took turns to go into the ICU ward to see her, and when she finally woke up, I felt tears rolling down my face. She's gonna be ok.

But we can tell she was in a lot of pain, and the morphine doesn't seem to be enough. She couldn't talk as she has the respiratory tube down her throat to help her breathe, but she kept shaking her head, frowning and tearing. But there was little that we can do.

On the next day, she looked much better - there was tones of redness underneath her skin, sign of good blood circulation. They also remove the breathing tube which according to her was where she was experiencing the most pain. She started to take porridge, but due to the side effects of anesthetic drugs, she kept throwing up. Even when her stomach was empty, she kept puking gastric juices, and the spasms were hurting her chest wounds. All we could do was to assure her that this would be over soon.

Mum was recovering well, and on the 2nd day post surgery, she was transferred to the high dependency ward to recuperate. She was very encouraged to find herself recovering well, but on the 4th day post surgery, the world collapsed again.

Mum was trying to change her position on the bed slightly as her back was feeling hot, so she used her left hand to hold on to the bed rail to adjust herself. Perhaps due to the exertion of strength or just a case of bad luck, Mum suddenly lost all sensation in that arm. Doctors and stroke specialists were called in to evaluate the situation. They quickly arranged to send her for a CT scan to access the severity of the stroke and where the clog may be.

We were relieved to hear that the scan results didn't show any hemorrhage or clogs in her brain. So what caused the stroke? The doctors did another scan in her neck, which yielded no negative reports too. Being a medical matter, it's sometimes hard to say what caused certain events.

Mum then blamed herself for pulling herself up, not knowing that it may have such dire circumstances. She told us that if she knew this is going to happen, she would not have opted for the operation. I then felt extreme guilt and regret as I encouraged her to go through the operation. But when I manage to clear my mind and think it through, it is the only way as without the operation, her life is in danger. If it is any consolation, the paralysis is only in her left arm, and the rest of her body still has full function. Well, at least for now.

Everyday, the occupational therapist will help my mum with simple exercises such as walking and finger movements. They have also made a special cast to hold her hand in a position such that the tendons and nerves don't shrink due to in activity in her affected arm. After a couple of days, Mum said she started to be able to feel some pain in her hand and could wriggle her pinky finger. I was so happy I cried. All the medication she's been taking and exercises she's been doing were aiding in the recovery.

Meanwhile, my brother and I were discussing what happens after she's discharged. We certainly cannot bring her home as the domestic helper has not arrived yet and it would be too much for Dad to take care of her. She also can't stay with us as we all had to work. We found out from our cousin that she knew someone who has gone through heart bypass, and admitted herself in the AMK Community Hospital after discharging from the mainstream hospital to recuperate. There they operated like a hospital, with nurses, therapists and doctors to monitor their recovery. Because of these benefits, the waiting list for admission can be relatively long as patients tend to stay for a while until they are well enough to go home.

Nonetheless, we requested to be considered for admission and requested for doctor's recommendation. A few days later, we were informed that my mum has been accepted as there were some patients who have discharged and there was a bed space available for her. We were so relieved to hear that and glad that she will receive good and specialised care which will help in her recuperation.

Her stay lasted 3 weeks at the AMK Hospital. Mum's bed was the furthest from the ward's main door, which gave more privacy and was less noisy. Mum actually said that the stay didn't feel that long as she had people to talk to in the ward, and the frequent exercises, meals, visitations helped time to pass faster. By the time of discharge, her arm has regained almost 70% of her strength and mobility. Doctors were confident of a full recovery, with home exercises and discipline (ie no carrying of heavy objects).

On 25 Nov 2008, Mum left the hospital for good and we were all very happy to bring her home. When she stepped into her house for the first time in more than 5 weeks, I could see her relief and gratefulness on her face. On the same day, we also went to pick up our maid Sunarti and introduced her to the family.

Everything is going to be fine now.

Thank you God , for the successful surgery, the caring doctors and medical staff who attended to my mum, to my in-laws and for all the people who has extended their help in one way or the other, for giving us strength to see through this period, for the good babysitter we found in the very short notice ....... for everything.