Tuesday, February 14, 2017


We’ve become such slobs at weekend-planning, waking up late, lying around waiting for everyone to get hungry, going out for lunch, coming back for a nap and then griping about the bother of having to eat dinner.

Choon packs his weekends with planned activities for himself and Phoebe. If something is cancelled, he actively seeks to fill up the gap with something else, just as long as the time isn't wasted.

The other day he signs up for a workshop in a quiet corner of Aljunied at a block of flats, in a space where people are encouraged to come and make their own stuff, to make a terrarium, which is a garden in a jar. He asks if we want to join in. Of course, I grab the opportunity to do something interesting.

* The space, called Make Your Own

I go with the girls and it’s it a diplomatic kerfuffle. The big mistake I made was in foolishly thinking that they could work together to make one terrarium. Jo was the big aggressor, Lu was the small state and I was the United Nations.

Actually, everything, from the putting in of the soil to transplanting the plants, was fine.


* Looking at the small state, there's some hint of things to come

Until it came to the actual landscaping - and picking out of cute little structures to dot the terrarium and "tell the story" - when the two clashed in ideas.



Lu desperately wanted a slope. Jo felt it was ridiculous. She wanted an exact horizontal.

Lu wanted to put a tiny dinosaur on the bridge. Jo felt it was completely unrealistic to have a dinosaur which would spoil the entire thing.

IMG_0570 (2)
* The rubber dinosaur Lu brought from home which could not be used

Lu really wanted to put a lying-down horse in the scene. Jo felt it was utterly stupid.

Lu wanted to get a tiny ship. Jo felt that there's no way a ship would be floating on a small pond outside a house.

In the end, Jo did all the landscaping.

* The UN, battle-scarred and fatigued, putting on a smile for the rest of the world

* The blue lake was messed up on the way home and I re-did it, to Jo's horror: "Mama it's too big! The other side of the bridge is in the lake and it doesn't make sense at all! I don't want this anymore, it's not mine."

The young couple next to us couldn’t help inadvertently snorting at the tiny war and my useless mediation efforts to give voice to Lu, who stood morosely by the side clutching her horse. At one point, the girlfriend turned to me and whispered sympathetically, “My sister was exactly like that to me,” (she meant Jo), “very OCD and controlling.”

Finally, I bought a small DIY terrarium kit for Lu to make at home, where she realized her dream.

* That brown horse on a hill of moss, the Totoro lying on its back on a lily pad, the ship, all of which Jo says are "very stupid"

Of course, when people work together in harmony, it's all good.

* Choon and Phoebe's nautical terrarium and copper lamp


Anonymous said...

looks like Jo will need lots of imagination :-) Perhaps it might help if you tell her that imagination is as important as logic when it comes to problem solving.

This is an interesting article on the importance of imagination:


(haha I am a great fan of Holmes)


Jo said...

does Lu want to hang out with E? They are pretty similiar :)

Sher said...

haiwei: yes i know u love holmes. remember u recommended anthony horowitz's sherlock holmes!

jo IS imaginative, but not when it comes to terrariums. she likes filming movies starring lu with bizarre plots, but which lu has expressly and unfortunately forbidden me to upload.

i did have a talk with jo the other day though. i was curious and had crossed into a restricted area, stepped over a metal chain-thingy, to her chagrin.

i tried to convince her tt the world's best problem-solvers did it by breaking rules and challenging convention, she argued right back. said that disrespecting metal barriers and being inventive are two completely different things.

jo: ahaha. they DO get along when E comes by! the last time they were lost in the world of blue sand...

Grace said...

Oh, Jo. I see how her need for order and perfection can be exasperating but I sometimes wish that I had been more like her when I was younger. I was a lackadaisical student and spent all my time in primary school flaffing around doing the bare minimum needed to get a PSLE score good enough for the express stream in my (affiliated) secondary school. I could have done so much better had I been as driven as she is.

Sher said...

me too. she has many excellent values which i admire, i'm ever-grateful she pushes herself far harder than i would ever push her.

its just a bit challenging trying to soften her sharp edges sometimes, because its important to me that she knows how to get along with people, or she'd have a very successful but very sad and lonely life.