Saturday, November 21, 2015

a stressful award

Jo gets a certificate from school for doing well.

* The award ceremony and the mamarazzi

Is it a joyous occasion for celebration? Party time? Laughter and applause?

Nope. It’s terribly stressful.

As Jo goes through her usual hour-long getting-ready ritual at home, I joyfully flit around her, telling her how I’ll let loose a couple of wolf-whistles when she walks onto stage.

She bites back: You sound like a monkey, mama. If I were you I’d just clap and give me a thumbs up.

(apparently this is the time when they find most of what their parents do highly embarrassing)

She scrutinizes herself in the mirror: You know what I hate, mama? This stupid crooked name tag. You sewed it CROOKED, mama. (turns and walks away while tossing out a sulky waiver) But thanks for sewing it for me anyway.

(It’s really hard trying to sew on slippery nylon-ish  material)

* Name tag: Crooked meh?

She puts on her shoes: You didn’t even polish my shoes, mama.

(I never do)

In school, while receiving the certificate and book voucher in the school hall in front of an audience, the voucher slips out and drops on the floor. Jo quickly picks it up.

* After she picked it up

Thereafter her face is BLACK. I snap away, giving her a thumbs up, grinning like a mad monkey, she frowns even harder.


Later she tells me: I want to tear up this certificate, mama. I hate it. I don’t want to remember that my voucher dropped on the floor. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

last day of school

School’s over. Day says goodbye to Primary 5 forever, Jo to Primary 3 and Lu to Primary 1.

In summary:

The supposedly nightmare Primary 5 year was not as bad as I thought it would be. I'm not sure why. Perhaps he gets a bunch of teachers who are relatively relaxed and he sort of adapts to the workload.

Jo bids farewell to five of her classmates who get into the Gifted Education Programme, she is pissed she didn’t get in, and she’s pissed that her marks in P3 are numerically less than those she scored in P2.

Lu has had to deal with a lot of “If you friend her I won’t friend you” in a class of very mature classmates who pull her one way and the other, on top of some academic adjustment, but I think she’s fine.

What the girls will miss most – they go “oh no!” when I point it out to them – are shared recesses.

It’s a special circumstance made possible by the fact that I have two daughters who are in the same single-session school; recess has been a special time for the girls to meet up right between the first and second halves of school, to queue up for and eat exactly the same things, and for Jo to fuss over Lu, give her moral support if she needs it and help her find her Primary 1 feet.

They will never share recess again for the rest of their primary school days (and I doubt they will end up in the same secondary school), unless the school changes its configuration of which level eats at what time.

Lu shares a recess with Day next year, but well, he won’t bother.

I pop by with small butter cakes for the girls to celebrate their Last Shared Recess.

* The typical recess set-up. Jo and Lu stick together, and their respective best friends who decide to join in

* Jo with best friend Emilyn

* Lu with best friend Kallie, and her usual recess meal of plain white rice with a chicken nugget cut into slivers

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

liyen’s water play

Liyen is two, and the time has come for her to do naughty things and shriek in delight.

One of her faves is grabbing the garden hose and creating havoc. Day, the boy who has great childhood memories of garden hoses, is her delighted accomplice.

* Day: Liyen, do you want to have some fun?

* Day: You see that Auntie there with the camera? Shoot her!


Sunday, November 15, 2015


This is how I tried to capture some sort of expression off the girls which isn't a prim tight-lipped smile, like so:


I told them to act and this is what they (gamely and thankfully) did when I commanded them to look…





















And for good measure...


Friday, November 13, 2015

lap cheong army

What I discovered after I left Jo for 10 minutes with instructions to slice lap cheong.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

comparing results

Results are out, and it is as it is.

But as the three report books are all piled up, opened up for me to sign, the kids spot an opportunity: Hey! We can compare all our Primary 1 results! (since Lu has completed Primary 1)


The numbers are laid side by side. And it’s not something I ever saw, or ever thought about, because I think about each child in silo.

But because of someone’s bright idea, we ALL see that there is a definite clear order in the numbers which is unerring in precision.

Jo takes the lead in every subject, followed by Day, followed by Lu.

Then of course, Jo proceeds to compare her Primary 2 and 3 results with Day, and the same equation prevails. Jo is delighted, Day is not the least bit surprised and shrugs, then comes up with a slogan: We're the smart kids! We're the smart kids! We're the smart kids! (We meaning him and Jo)

Lu is distraught: But…. But I’m the last, mama!


Monday, November 09, 2015

adult friends

Children very seldom come to our place. I think the kids think our house is boring and dirty, and they don’t like to ask their friends over.

But on occasion, adult friends (usually childless) who like to hang out with the kids drop by, and the kids are quite used to my announcing that Uncle X or Auntie Y is coming this afternoon. Namely, folks like JJ and Theresa.

Sometimes I’m not around, and the kids then have to make small talk.

Jo and Lu are quite good at this and they instinctively know what to do when there are guests. Lu complains: "Mama, Day didn’t even entertain your friends. He was just playing his computer." (she said she played the piano for them, I suppose that’s her party trick)

While I’m out, I wonder if my friends would be frightfully bored. But apparently not. They enjoy watching the kids talk, do their work, practise piano, help themselves to ice cream from the fridge, etc etc.

For people who don’t have kids, maybe it’s like watching a live documentary of some strange tribe.

The kids’ latest visitors are Uncle Lim Chun - who’s seen the kids grow up, and his wife, who meets the kids for the first time.

* Sok Wah, Lu and Chun

* Chun carrying four-month-old Lu in 2008! When I dig up this picture, Chun and Sok Wah goes Awww and Lu goes WAT?

Saturday, November 07, 2015


So KK bought a basketball, something he can play with the kids, and it’s been wholesome free fun.


Drive around until we find a court, then hit it.

The only two we are serious about it are KK and Day, really. Its Jo’s first attempt at basketball but she soon gets into the groove, relentless hounding KK as he dribbles playfully around her.


Lu wants to be good at basketball, but as I see her tripping over her own balls it gets a bit scary because of her accident record.


She is very put out that until now she’s the only one who hasn’t managed to score (no strength), and is even more put out that Jo’s ball hit her head and precisely sliced off the healing scab from the wound caused by Jo's teeth.

* Re-bleeding

Jo is truly remorseful (a rare occurrence): I’m so sorry, Lulu. I didn’t mean to give you a permanent scar. If I were you I’d be very very very angry.

But it’s Lu. After the usual "Why ME??" she forgets all about it.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

busy pa

Since he started the company, KK has never been busier and work will only get more hectic.

We don’t see very much of him these days.

He’s either away, returning late, or if he’s home he’s mired in work. 

* "Accompanying" KK

Saturdays he’s gone entirely and Sundays he still plays golf, which I have no issue with for a man needs his hobbies, a housewife needs her off-day and children need to visit grandparents.

Is it hard?

Not really. He’s passionate about civil engineering, and he’s finally able to name his own price. He certainly manages his own freelance career with a firm hand, which is more than I can say for myself after 11 years.

Me, I have to fly solo a lot more (especially on Saturdays now as I have to “take charge” the entire day, and sometimes Sundays too). But I, too, have learnt to pick jobs judiciously – only those that I like to do, are easy to do, pay well or are for people I like – and I end having a lot more free time to spend on domestic affairs which I have come to truly enjoy. That KK is bringing in a little bit more helps relieve the terror of being penniless, and I’m more willing to say no to bad jobs.

We have shifted more toward the proverbial man-takes-home-the-bacon, woman-takes-care-of-home model, but it’s not uncomfortable.

The kids do miss papa. Especially Day, who at this stage in his life needs a male figure and is more likely to ask – What time is Papa coming home?

But it’s a gradual getting-used-to, and everyone has adjusted nicely.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

last tooth


Day sheds the vestiges of baby-hood when the last of his 20 baby teeth dropped out.

Actually it didn’t so much drop as he reached his hand in and wiggled it out, as has been the standard process for all the other teeth.

Kids are supposed to lose the last of their baby teeth around age 12 or 13, so that’s about right.

The Last Drop means that he will be ready for the braces which the school dentist says he needs, and the time to do it will be After His PSLE at the end of next year.

(After the PSLE seems to be the standard timing for kids who need braces.)