Saturday, December 29, 2007

God's way of ......

..... saying:

"Have a nice day!"

Have a great weekend, and be ready for the New Year!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 in Review

2007 has been a very busy and blessed year for us.

The year started with Little D starting Nursery 1. What a tumultous first term for me when she cried every day of that 10 weeks, except Day 1. However, she eventually got used to the idea of going to school, and has loved it since. Thanks a great deal to her wonderful teacher, Mrs Geeta Singh.

This year also saw my son changing schools to be in the same school as his older sister. This change resulted in me having a chance to sleep in late while hubby sent both kids to school. It also meant that hubby could enjoy his lunch hour whilst I did the duty of picking the kids home from school. (Previously, both of us would leave together in the mornings, each going in a different direction, sending a child to school. Dismissal time meant both of us waiting at their respective schools to pick them home.)

January also saw the birth of my new baby, this blog. It has made me new friends and kept me busy and occupied. It also gave me a chance to destress via a different means.

This year also saw us holidaying in Malaysia. We had not done it for more than 8 years. We spent a week in Penang during the June hols, where we enjoyed the sun, sand and sea! We made another trip in December, but it was for a more serious matter - chess.

We did not entertain as much at home this year, due to the children's school and chess workload getting increasingly heavy. However, what we did do for ourselves and the kids was to have many, many Bar-be-ques at home. The children really enjoy the BBQs, the best part being the toasted marshmallows at the end!

Hubby and I tried our best to have "our own" time during the year. This mainly comprised some wonderful meals with good friends, good food and good wine. Maybe next year, we can try to holiday without the kids!! (Wishful thinking, I think!)

There was a wake-up call for me health-wise when my health review showed that my cholesterol level was high. After keeping a close watch on my diet, and changing it towards a heathier one, with more vegetables and fruits, I am glad that I am now able to enjoy my little food indulgences without much worry!

I was fortunate that I was able to meet up a couple of times with my friends, both from school and work, during the year. All this was made possible, courtesy of my very gracious mother-in-law, who took care of the baby-sitting each time I went for a girls night out!

Towards the end of the academic school year, our children rewarded us with good grades. It made us please to know that all the effort that we put in to help them during the year did not go to waste, including all that home-made chicken essence Grandma made for them!

The year-end saw us holidaying in Perth, where the kids had a good time catching up with their cousin who moved there in January this year. It also saw the first time Little D had a sleep-over, without needing me to be lurking around near-by!

The children also joined in hubby's office christmas party for the 1st time. I thought it was such a wonderful gesture to invite the families. The kids have been by hubby's office, but never really going in. So they were thrilled when they could swivel in his chair, enjoy the view of the CBD from his window, and the best part for them was seeing the number of computer screens on his desk, an unbelievable 8 in total!! They were like - wow! can play 8 different computer games at the same time!

How time flies, and how fast the children grow. Another year is almost over. We thank God for all his blessings on us and the family during the past year. We look forward to another God-Blessed year in 2008.

May you be filled with God's Blessings in the coming New Year!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On Christmas Morning ....

This was the scene at my home early on Christmas morning. And, Boy! Were they up early. This was despite the late night we had at our annual Christmas Eve Dinner Party.

(Sing to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing down the stairs,
Still in their pyjamas
Wondering what they got
For Chrismas Presents

Ripping Wrappers
Opening Boxes
What fun it is to find out
What they got this time

Oh! Open here, Open there
Open all the gifts
Oh what fun, it is to find
What presents they got!

I usually restrict the children's opening of Christmas (and even birthday) presents to just one or two a day. That way, I thought, they would appreciate all the thought and effort that went into the buying of the specially selected gifts. And, every gift would get a fair chance of being enjoyed. Also, it prolonged the fun of the celebration and the opening of presents. I felt that by opening all the presents at once, the kids would just zoom in on the one that they really liked, and all the rest would be "neglected" or just chucked aside. People call me a killjoy for doing that. Well, this year, it was no holds barred. Guess what? All the presents were opened in less than half an hour, and now, there are piles of "less favoured" gifts just sitting around. Maybe, I should go back to my "old" rules. What do you think?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Hope all your shoppings done,
Presents bought,
House cleaned,
Christmas Decorations are up,
And you are ready for all the



That come your way.

May the true meaning of Christmas remain the central theme for all your Christmas celebrations.

And May you and your Loved ones have a meaningful and Blessed Christmas!

My other half...

...celebrates his birthday today! Yes, so many celebrations here in December.

I told Little D this morning that it was Papa's birthday today, and she was to give him a big hug when he came home from work. (yes, the poor dear has to work on his birthday, as the auditors want a meeting!). And she said: I will say Happy Birthday then I will give him a big Kiss.

Awww... how sweet of her.

My son N, bought his dad ... no, I shouldn't post it now, coz hubby reads my blog too! Will post a photo of it after he opens his present.

As for daughter S, I am not sure what she has for her Papi. For being the apple of her Papi's eye, I sure hope she has something nice for him!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis the season to go shopping

The weather was beautiful this morning. The sun was up, and I was feeling a bit better, so we went down to town. The queue to go into the car park was already there, and it was just 10.05am. Looks like lots of others have decided to do the same, to start shopping early. As for me, I have no choice, coz Little D needs to take a nap, and if I dont start off early, I will not be able to get any shopping done.

Our 1st stop was the bookstore. Oooh! I love visiting bookstores - Kino, Borders, MPH. I like them in that order. Sent MIL to the cookbook section to look for her / my favourite cookbooks. Look at what we ended up with.

Dont tell her, but this will be her christmas present.

Meanwhile, I went with the kids to the Childrens section. I found quite a few books, by Little D's favourite author, which we did not have. So into the basket it went. That takes care of Little D's christmas present.

I also found something for S, but I am not posting it here, coz I know she reads my blog. Ssshhh.

Then it was off to get some lunch, and then we headed home. Three down, and many more to go. Hope I have enough days to shop before Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And my son said...

... to me this morning:

"Mum I am glad you are sick. Maybe you are pregnant. This time please have twins. I want 2 brothers!"

Me:" No way!"

Daughter, S interjected: Yes, no way.


Daughter S: "We dont want any more boys. 2 more girls would be fun!"


Monday, December 17, 2007

After the adrenalin rush ....

...I am down with a bad cold.

Yes, after all those travelling and chess tournaments, when I am free from all the stress and hectic days, I am down. Looks like my body cannot take down time. It happens every time. Just when I thought I would have time on my hands to do some shopping, maybe a visit to the spa, and have some "ME" time, my body decides to play tricks on my. My throat is sore, my head is heavy and my nose drips like a leaky faucet.

There goes all my plans for christmas shopping too! Tried the panadol remedy for colds and flus but it is not working. Tried sleeping it off, but it is not working either. Doesnt help when you have bored kids at home irritating each other every 10 minutes - sure doesnt help my throat at all!!

Hmmm, maybe I will try traditional chinese medicine (TCM). Hope it works! Anyone has suggestions on what will work?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Christmas Tree is finally up!!

Yes, our christmas tree is finally up.

The last two years, we only had a small singing christmas tree put up. Did not want the hassle of putting up and taking down the Christmas tree. Not with three kids to look after. Now that little D is a little older, we decided that we will put up a regular sized christmas tree.

After all those chess competitions, we finally managed to find the time to go down to the nursery to look for a tree, last Thursday. We were deciding between buying one of those Norwegian Fir trees or to buy a real pine tree (to plant it in the garden and to string outdoor lights on it). That would be environmentally friendly decision - or to put up a fake tree. My son claims to be allergic to the fir trees as he does not like the smell. But that was the lure for me, having had real trees in our apartment for Christmas when we lived in New York.

So we went home, without getting a tree as we could not agree on what to get. The Norwegian firs that were unsold, were either lob-sided or a little bald (the good ones having already been sold). There were also very few real pine trees for sale. Looks like we have no choice, but to buy one of those fake ones, having thrown away our previous one when we moved house some 3 years ago.

The children were all excited - they wanted one of those fiber optic ones which glowed. But, I thought there were other types that were nicer. Again, we could not agree. People tell me to only let the kids make the decision when they are paying. With only 10 days to christmas, time was running short. If we want to put up one, it had to be this weekend, or not at all, I thought.

Guess what! A christmas tree was delivered to our door step this afternoon. No more decisions to make as to the type, size or height. It was from a delivery company and the best part was that it came with all the decorations on it, and it was FREE!

The kids are happy with the tree, and so am I. Looks like we can delay our decision on the tree to buy to next year. Hopefully by then the children will be more agreeable to my taste.

To love and to cherish....

"... to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do us part."

Yes, those were the words that formed part of my wedding vows. It was 17 years ago on this day, that I took those vows, and I still live by them.

On this road through life,
Hubby and I have been caught in many traffic jams,
We have also sped through road bumps and hit many a potholes.
There were a few punctures and breakdowns.
But nothing we could not fix.
Uncle Sam was also waiting to catch us when we were speeding.
We managed to see many sunrises and sunsets,
and beautiful scenery along the way,
We even went on auto-pilot on some roads,
We have come so far together on this journey
May we be blessed with a long smooth ride for the rest of the journey!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ear Piercing

Little D had been bugging me to let her get her ears pierced. So this morning, we trotted off to the shop for her to get it done.

First, the lady applied some gel on her ears. This was meant to numb the ears. She told us to go take a walk and be back in 10 minutes. Little D was so excited she did not want to leave the shop. Instead we spent the 10 minutes browsing through the shop, and selecting her ear-rings. After that, the lady marked Little D's ears with a marker - to indicate the spot where the ear piercing would be. The ear-rings came in a sterile pre-pack, and were affixed to a device that looked like a stapler to me.

The lady then used the device and "stapled" little D's ears. Little D cried aloud for like 2 seconds and then stopped. Her brother and sister ran away when it happened. Then the lady did the other ear, and Little D gave another short shout.

And, Little D went home proudly wearing her new ear-rings.

My older Daughter S, refused to have her ears pierced.

National Age Groups

The National Age groups concluded yesterday.

My daughter did fairly well by finishing 3rd. She started off as being the 5th highest ranked in her age group. She drew her game with a WFM (woman fide master) and even beat one of the "big guns" but unfortunately fumbled against a weaker opponent in the 2nd last game. If not, she would have finished joint 1st for her age group. Well, nevertheless, we are still proud of her.

My son did well too by finishing 5th. He started off ranked 7th, and in a field of 62very competitive boys, he managed to hold off some really tough opponents. Finishing within the top 5 is quite an achievement, considering he played many opponents who were almost 2 years older than him.

Now, it is 2 rest days before the Singapore-Malaysia games - an annual event between Singapore and Malaysia. This year the games will be played in Singapore. It will also mark the last of this year's chess competitions for my children - no, they are not playing in the 4th Singapore International Chess Convention 2007 Masters/Challengers Open. They need a break from Chess - and I do too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Missing Bloggers

Many bloggers have gone missing
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
I believe they've gone shopping
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Why dont they update their blogs
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
They must be so busy now
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Dont forget to buy my present
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
I will be happy, if you remember
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
(Sing to the tune of Deck the Halls)

Chocolates Galore

Grandpa kindly helped his friend design his garden, and he was rewarded with this.

100 pieces of chocolates from one of the top hotels in Singapore

Like all Grandpas, he generously shared them with the kids, much to their delight.

Anyone else needs a landscape designer??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Tradition has it that wedding anniversary gifts should follow a certain format according to the number of years of marriage.

Traditional Anniversary Gifts by Year
1st - Paper
2nd - Cotton
3rd - Leather
4th - Fruit/Flowers
5th - Wood
6th - Candy or Iron
7th - Wool or Copper
8th - Bronze or Pottery
9th - Pottery
10th - Tin

There are also modern equivalents.
1st - Clocks
2nd - China
3rd - Crystal/ Glass
4th - Appliances
5th - Silver ware
6th - Wood
7th - Desk sets
8th - Leather
9th - Lace / linen
10th - Diamond

Looks like the modern is more generous, huh?

According to the modern equivalent, I should be receiving furniture/watch this year. Imagine, receiving furniture from my hubby as a wedding anniversary present?!? Where would I put it? Too much clutter around the house already.

If I could choose, what piece of furniture would I want? Hmmm, maybe one of those massage chairs, since I do not have much time to go to the spa for a massage. But - ditch the furniture, and give me *bling*. Anytime. Needs little space, and I can always find some place to put it. (No, this post is not a hint to my hubby!)

Coincidentally, hubby got me a watch just last week. And it was not an anniversary gift. Or at least I dont think it was meant to be or he would have kept it until the day to give it to me.

So, what would you be getting (or did you get) this year?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Gift from God (part 3)

Many questions kept swirling round the wife’s mind. Will her precious daughter be able to accept her physical disability when she grows up? How will she look after herself in old age, should she suffer from a severe form of OI? How much will she need to pay for her medical care in future? Will her siblings be willing to take care of her when her parents leave this world? Will she be ridiculed by her friends when she starts school? Will she be able to even start school? All these questions could not be answered at that time.

Fortunately, the baby did not suffer any fractures during that fall (mentioned in the previous post). The mother observed that this baby had a very high tolerance level for pain. (The baby never cried after each vaccination.) But, she also noticed that this baby hardly smiled. She wondered why? Was her poor baby in so much pain that she could not even smile? No one knew.

At about one year of age, they noticed that the child had very bow legs and was pigeon toed. A visit to the specialist indicated that her left leg was shorter than the right by about one to two cm. They were told that the child could end up walking with a limb if this difference increased significantly. If it was a small difference, special shoes could correct the difference. With this, the Mum started a series of leg massages for the child every day. Not certain that it would work, but praying that whatever little they did could help the bow in her legs straighten out.

They tried to introduce the child to a diet high in calcium - lots of fish bone soup. However, this child, with highly sophisticated taste buds, refused a common baby diet - no porridge, no rice cereals, no same food for two consecutive meals!! She wanted what everyone else was eating or she would not open her mouth. And, at 9 months!! The parents knew they had a difficult child on hand, even without the medical problems!

At 2 years, the child went for a bone mineral (BM) density test. Whilst there are no data on what the BM level of a two year old should be, the test indicated that the child's BM was not alarming low. Phew! It was a relief for the parents.

Whilst they are not able to buy any insurance for this child, you would be pleased to know, that the doctors have now concluded that she probably suffers from a mild form of OI. And, they are really relieved, coz this little girl, simply loves doing all things dangerous - jumping from stairs, sliding down from sofas, jumping on beds, etc.(just like her brother). She does not demonstrate any other symptoms of OI and goes to school and is disciplined like the other children. And, her femur has since straightened out, and her two legs are now of the same length! Now, she even goes on the slide!! You will be happy to know that she now smiles a lot!

She has brought lots of joy and laughter to her home with her constant singing, incessant talking and laughter. She has taught the family how to be thankful for all the simple joys in life, and to count their blessings.

However, the parents are still constantly monitoring the child, and on the look out for any signs that may indicate that life has handed them another screw ball.

After 3 years, her mother is now able to talk about it a little, without getting too emotional. However, there is one BIG question that is still constantly on her mind: Could it have been a wrong diagnosis?? No one knows. But the poor child will be branded for life as suffering from OI, and will always live with the uncertainty of when OI will rear its ugly head again.

This Gift from God turns 3 today! May God continue to pour his Blessings on her!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Asean + Youth Team championships

Just got back from the above tournament in Shah Alam Malaysia, yesterday.

It was a tiring 7 days for the kids and the parents too!

We got off to s shaky start. The malaysian tour bus driver that brought us from Singapore to Malaysia told us that he had never heard of Concorde Hotel, Shah alam - the venue of the tournament. We landed up at Concorde KL, and were told we were at the wrong place, but the bus had already left after dropping us!! So it took us another hour to get him back (the traffic jam was bad!!). By the time we got to Concorde Shah Alam, it was 5.30pm, which meant that the children had been on the road for a good 9 hours, all in high spirits but really tired.

The next day, when the tournament was starting, the parents found out that they had to be team captains. Originally each child from a team was appointed as captain, but we discovered that all the Malaysian teams had a parent / teacher to captain their team. Not wanting our kids to be disadvantaged, we quickly assigned duties to the few parents there, as the teachers had other responsibilities.

After 5 days of competing, our Under 12 team A, came in overall 2nd, and our Under 9 team also took silver. A total of 6 of our players won individual prizes. My son N, was one of those who won an individual medal. He did not loose a single game, until the last. He played really well as he was playing either Board 1 or 2 during the whole tournament - where teams field their best players. My daughter, too played well, losing only one game. She even drew her game with the player from the Malaysian U12 National team. However, she lost her game to her fellow team-mate from her schools team A. She was a little disappointed that she did not get any medals, but we are proud of her nonetheless!!

So, its a day of rest for the kids (and us) today, and its back to more chess games,as the National Age groups start tomorrow!!.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Time for a Laugh!

If you do not like jokes with sexual connotations, please do not proceed further.
The following joke is rated M18, so if you are under 18 or feel that you are not mature enough to handle such jokes, please do not read on.







Bra Cups and Codes

AND, just a thought for all the women out there........

MENtal illness, MENstrual cramps, MENtal breakdown,

Ever notice how all of women's problems start with men?.........


When we have real trouble it's HISterectomy!!!!

A Friend Is Like A Good Bra...
Hard to Find
Always Lifts You Up
Never Lets You Down or Leaves You Hanging
And Is Always Close To Your Heart!!!

A Gift from God (part 2)

All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside the door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye....

(Excerpt from Leaving on a jet plane by John Denver)

No, I'm only going away for a week,
As a parent supporter for my kids.
They are both off to KL to represent their school
in a chess tournament organised by the
Malaysian Ministry of Education.
So, to keep you occupied when I am away
Here's another chapter of A Gift from God....
(yeah, there's more to come)
Happy Reading!

A Gift from God (part 2)

The first 2 weeks of the Baby's life was pretty normal. The couple felt terribly stressed as they still did not know what was wrong with the child. Suddenly, starting in the 3rd week of the baby's life, the baby started crying every time her diaper was changed, as well as every night from 1 to 5am. This went on for weeks. The couple did not know what was wrong! The wife was really stressed as she was up all night every night trying to soothe the baby, and during the day, her life had to go on, taking care of her other two kids. They considered hiring a night nurse, but finally decided against it as they were not used to having others take care of their children, much less a new born. A call to the paediatrician was made, and he suggested that it could be colic. Being Asians, they did not personally make a visit to the doctor as the mother was supposed to be in confinement.

Meanwhile, the gynae and paediatrician were pondering over baby's birth x-rays. The gynae's husband, who is an orthopaedic surgeon chanced upon the x-rays one day, as it lay on their study table at home. He immediately told his wife that the thigh bone was a "healing bone" i.e one that had been fractured and was now in the process of healing. The paediatrician on the other hand, forwarded the x-rays to another doctor who came up with the same diagnosis, and suggested that the x-rays be forwarded to a visiting professor.

The mother and child made visits to both the gynae and paediatrician at the end of the confinement month, and more x-rays were ordered for the Baby. That was when they found out the reason behind those crying spells. The Baby had fractured her femurs again!! (The first time was in utero.) The visiting professor responded with the answer for the fractures. The baby was diagnosed as having Osteogenesis Imperfacta (OI for short).

They were then referred to a geneticist and a professor at the university hospital. Meanwhile, the couple did their own research on OI.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI and sometimes known as Brittle Bone Disease) is a genetic bone disorder. People with OI are born without the proper protein (collagen), or the ability to make it, usually because of a deficiency of Type-I collagen. People with OI either have less collagen than normal or the quality is poorer than normal. As collagen is an important protein in bone structure, this impairment causes those with the condition to have weak or fragile bones.

As a genetic disorder, OI is an autosomal dominant defect. Most people with OI receive it from a parent but it can also be an individual (de novo or "sporadic") mutation.

Source: Wikipedia
(Here's an article on OI in yesterday's newspapers)

The more they read, the more confused and worried they got. The family had no history of OI. So they concluded that it had to be an individual gene mutation that caused it. There are many categories of OI, ranging from very mild to the very lethal, where they can die within a year from birth. Bones can even break from just a sneeze. The couple was at a lost how to treat their precious baby. They also found out that at present time, there is no cure for OI. Treatments are aimed at increasing overall bone strength to prevent fracture and maintain mobility. Physiotherapy could be used to strengthen muscles and improve motility in a gentle manner, while minimizing the risk of fracture. Alternatively, metal rods could be surgically inserted in the long bones to improve strength. But all this was not advisable at such a young age.

So began a series of visits to the specialists. Every visit to the specialists was a heart wrenching experience for the parents especially the mother. This was because she saw what could become of her precious baby - as there were a few other children with OI who had appointments at the same time. Some, as old as 10, years were going for their appointments in baby strollers, as they could not sit up. Some younger ones were carried in for appointments on mattresses, so as to minimise contact (for fear of fracturing bones). Many had to use wheelchairs to get around.

The specialists advised them to minimise any possibility of a fall. They also had to be on the look out for fractures (even if there were no falls). To observe the child carefully, for eye related problems (deteriorating eyesight and eventually blindness could result depending on severity), dental problems (poor dental health is also a major problem) as well as hearing problems (deafness could result). The list was endless. Whilst the husband tried very hard to follow the doctor's advise, almost to the extend of keeping the child in isolation and limiting those who could even carry her, the wife, wanted the child to have as normal a childhood as possible. Basically the husband was more cautious, whilst the wife was - to put it mildly - clueless as she really did not know how to handle the situation. She just wanted a normal childhood for her child.

The couple worried about how their other 2 children would feel when they found out about their little sister. Would they despise her and consider her a burden? Would they be angry with her, because their parents would be devoting more time to the baby because of her physical disability? Would they be upset because family activities would in the future have to be of the non-dangerous type - ie no soccer playing, no rock-climbing, no skiing etc. Or, would they warm up to their baby sister and love her just the same, or even more.

So whilst the couple decided to keep the truth from their children (as they were unsure how severe the OI was, nor how to explain all these to their two young children), they had to tell them to be very, very careful and gentle around their little sister. They had to enforce a “no hugging" rule for fear that it could cause fractured ribs. The children were really puzzled as they couldn’t really understand what the fuss was all about! Friends and family were also discouraged from carrying the baby. Many could not understand, as the couple did not explain to them what was actually wrong with their new baby. The wife just could not get herself to talk about it. Actually, she really couldnt accept the situation. A question that keep popping up in her mind was - why is God testing me like this? Is this the cross that I have to carry?

Meanwhile, the husband plunged himself into work. He had to make sure that there would always be more than sufficient for their children, especially the precious youngest child. He needed to make sure that the unknown medical bills that they would face, could always be paid. He wanted to be able to get the best medical help around when the time came. The couple even reviewed their insurance coverage as their needs were now different.

Every turn, cough and even sneeze the baby made was observed with trepidation. It was worse when she started to learn how to crawl (at 6 months) and walk (at 10 months). They just could not risk her falling!! What if more bones broke? They were told that it would be best if she did not suffer any more fractures! Every fracture suffered would further weaken any healing bones and would indicate a more severe diagnosis of OI. They were also told that the child would in the future not be able to participate in activities like gymnastics, physical sports, playing on monkey bars, ballet, and they were even told to discourage the child from going on the slide!! The child, when she grew up, would have to depend on her brains for future employment, and any activity of a physical nature was to be ruled out.

The unthinkable happened one day when the baby was about four months old. As the wife was preparing for lunch, she put the baby in a baby carrier on the chair next to her. As she turned to get a plate, something happened. No one knew how it happened, but the child and the carrier toppled off the chair and the baby fell out of the carrier! The baby was not crying. The wife, petrified, bent slowly over, and she picked the baby up. Suddenly, the baby started crying and the mother became hysterical. Fortunately there was no blood nor bruise.

Were there any broken bones? If so, how many? How was the wife going to explain what happened to her husband??!!? be continued.....


It brought a tear to my eye when I read about the 5 dragon-boaters who died in that freak accident in Cambodia.

The lives of these 5 young men were so tragiclly snuffed out when the dragon boat they were in accidentally knocked into a pontoon, after a race. The boat tipped over, and all 22 fell over. 17 were saved, 5 very precious lives were lost. These men were from the Singapore National Dragon Boat Team. All in the prime of their life.

My heart and prayers goes out to their families. May their souls rest in peace.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spare the rod?

Got tagged by ling

She wants to know if I spare the rod?

I do use the rod. Boundaries are set and if they intentionally break it in defiance, that's when it comes out. But trying to use it less. Need to use it selectively. Only for really serious offences. Also, hoping that reason and withdrawal of priviledges will be sufficient to correct them. Should not use it when kids are too young coz they dont really understand yet. The first time you use it, it has to hurt. So that subsequently, you only need to take it out. But, we should never use it when in anger. It is difficult, coz that's when we want to use it most. We all learn. And it always hurts us more than it hurts them when we use it. Of course, they dont know that.

As the Bible tells us: "He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24)

**Start Copying Here**

Tag 5 bloggers

1st - You leave their blog and post link and add to the list below.
2nd - Let the blogger know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

1. Miche does not spare the rod.
2. Jo-N wants to be her children's best friend.
3. The New Parent spares the rod.
4. Sting most probably will not resort to spanking.
5. Ling feels very heartpain and spares the rod.
6. SAHM uses it, and it hurts her more than it hurts them.

Well, I will not be tagging anyone, but if you wish to share your views on this, please go ahead and do the tag.


3 flat tyres in 9 months. Yes! my car is not even a year old and I already had 3 flat tyres. Why?

I don't know. There are no construction areas near my home. I dont go to industrial areas. I usually drive my kids to and from school and their other classes which are in a commercial area, and to and from the market.

Where do all these nails come from?

It is such a pain coz it means the inconvenience of going to get the tyre patched or changed, and it means at least an hour of down time for me. I hate it, coz it throws my schedule out. I am sure no one has a "record" better than mine

Am I jinxed or what??!!?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Down Under

Hi! I'm back. Spent close to two weeks down under just doing nothing much. It is a place we go to almost every year - to recharge. Why do we choose to keep going back to the same place?

The kids want it!
We love the open spaces

The views

The fresh fruits

The wildlife

The chocolates

The golfing

It is child friendly
It is near (just a short flight)
Relatively inexpensive for us (accomodation is free!!!)
And, we get free baby-sitting.

But there's no place like home!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Gift from God (part 1)

Heigh ho! Heigh ho!
It's on vacation I go,
So no posting for 2 weeks
So here's a looong post.
(Sung to the tune of Heigh ho! from the movie Snow White and the 7 dwarfs)

Take care!

A Gift from God (part 1)

Husband and wife, both in their early 40s were enjoying marital bliss. They were blessed with 2 children, a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 8, when one day they were confronted with a positive result on the home pregnancy kit. There were no doubts that they would keep the child, even though their risks of a having a down syndrome child was very high.

Wife thought: Previous 2 pregnancies were a piece of cake - no morning sickness, no cravings, everything went smoothly. So this one should be the same.

But it was not to be. It wasnt only morning sickness that she suffered but also afternoon and night sickness. It would strike any time and anywhere. Her kids called her the merlion!! She could not eat, nor drink as she liked. During the ultrasound scan, they could count the baby's fingers and toes, and they knew it was going to be a girl. Based on tests done, the gynae confirmed that there was no risk of a down syndrome child. She even told them that the baby would be a big baby at birth - at least bigger than the average baby.

Everything was fine up to gestation week 28. Son was hospitalised for a chest infection. Wife subsequently came down with a nagging cough that refused to go away. Wife grew bigger and bigger. Passer-bys thought she was carrying twins! At the 32 week scan, the gynae noticed something wasn't right. The baby had curved femurs (thigh bone)!! Previous scans did not show that problem at all. Also, the amniotic fluid level was very high. They suspected that she was suffering from gestational diabetes. So a series of tests were started. But the results were all negative - she did not have diabetes - never had a history of it as well.

The gynae started doing her research on the curved femur. This is the first time she had encountered such a thing mid-way thru a pregnancy! She referred the wife to her other gynae friends for a review and opinion. No one knew what was wrong. This was a first for all of them too! They suspected dwarfism or some genetic disorder. But the couple had no family history of it, and why mid-way through the pregnancy did it rear its ugly head!

This marked the start of a series of teleconference calls between the couple and the gynae. They discussed all the possible scenarios and problems that could be ahead. The gynae suggested that the couple could change gynaes to the head of OBGYN at a governement hospital, her friend, just in case the baby faced problems at birth and required long term hospitalisation. The gynae started preparing the wife for the possible consequences, including counselling her and preparing her for the possibility of losing the child not long after birth.

The couple cried in private, but put up a brave front for their two children who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their little sister. After much consideration, they decided that they would stick with their current gynae and the unknown medical bill that they would face at the private hospital. Their fear: the bureaucracy at the Government run hospital, the long waits and the ability to mobilise specialists as and when needed. They just had to do all that they could for their unborn child. They were not going to change horses mid-stream. They just prayed for the best, and left it in God's hands.

Everywhere the wife went, people told her that she would "pop" anytime soon - but it was a good 8 weeks to Expected delivery date. Her amniotic fluid level grew and grew. The gynae advised that as soon as contractions were felt, (never mind how far apart they were) they were to proceed immediately to hospital. Her fear was that should the water bag break, with the high levels of amniotic fluid, the baby would be delivered very quickly. Also an arm or leg could be in the way, making subsequent delivery difficult and dangerous!!

The couple fretted. The hospital was right in the middle of the orchard road shopping belt and it was pre-christmas shopping season. Imagine being caught in a jam on the way to the hospital!!

At week 34, the wife felt contractions and the couple made their way to the hospital. The gynae felt it was too early for the baby to be delivered. The lungs and other organs were not fully developed, and the child could face life-long medical problems. After much consultation, they decided that they would inject the fetus with a drug that could help develop the baby's lungs, before tapping on the amniotic fluid. This tapping procedure was meant to delay labour!. But, it could also induce labour! But should that happen, at least the baby would have lungs which were better developed, and would give her a better chance of survival. The injection was given later in the evening. Miraculously, the contractions stopped. The doctor then decided against performing the procedure of tapping the amniotic fluids. The wife was issued with orders to completely rest in bed for the rest of her pregnancy, and to minimise walking.

The couple searched for a name for their soon-to-be born child. But their son insisted on a particular name. When the couple looked up the meaning of the name given by the son it meant:"A gift from God". What could be more appropriate. They decided to go with it.

At week 36, the water bag broke. Fortunately, it was at 3am in the morning. The Lord was watching over them. There were no traffic jams to contend with as the couple made their way to the hospital. However, there were no contractions. The wife was monitored as soon as she arrived in hospital. After 12 hours in hospital, at about 3pm, the gynae felt that they could not wait anymore. Doing so would endanger the baby's life. She put the wife on a contactions-inducing drug. In a fairly short time, the baby was delivered, with the paediatrician in attendance. Not long after birth, the baby was whisked off for a series of tests and x-rays.

The baby, was delivered on 10 Dec 2004. She weighed 3 kg at birth, a good birth weight despite being close to 5 weeks pre term. They could not find anything wrong with her, except for her thigh bone which did not appear normal. Would the child be handicapped for the rest of her life? What caused it? No one knew. After 2 days in hospital, both mother and child were given the green light to return to the comforts of their home, much to everyone's relief. be continued...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Insomnia is a sleeping disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep and/or the inability to remain asleep for a reasonable amount of time.
Source: Wikipedia

Recently, I have been unable to sleep as well as I used to. If I am disturbed in the middle of the night, which is fairly easy since I am a very light sleeper, I will end up being awake the rest of the night. Even with no disturbances, I find that I am up by about 4.30am most mornings. Why? I am one who loves my sleep! Am I suffering from insomnia? And, does it come with age?

I remember we used to tease my dad. He used to fall asleep as soon as he turned on the TV, never mind what time it was. I also remember that he would be awake very early in the mornings, before 5am, and he would be reading. We used to say that he slept too much in front of the TV that he was unable to sleep in, in the morning.

Now, I have a similar problem. By 9pm, I feel so tired, I just want to go to bed. Even if I go to bed late, I still wake up early. Fortunately, I am not so grumpy nowadays even though I dont sleep as much.

Many insomniacs rely on sleeping tablets and other sedatives to get rest. But I dont intend to take that route. Even after a nice glass of Moscato last Sunday evening, I was up by 5am the next day. Why? Is it old age? Or is it pay back time for making fun of my dad when I was young? Just Let me sleep!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Soccer time!

Last evening, my 4 kids, eh, sorry, 3 kids and hubby played a soccer game. In one team was hubby and Little D, and the other team comprised my other two kids, S & N.

Hubby's team started scoring early. They were 3 goals up when the other team decided they needed a little handicap. The markers indicating the goal posts were then moved.

This was the goal hubby and Little D had to score in,

and this was the one for S&N.

Play soon resumed, and more goals were scored. At the end, despite the handicap, the score was Hubby and Little D's team: 17, S&N's team: 7.

A visit to the Gardens

We made a visit to the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden yesterday morning. It is located within the Bukit Timah Core of Singapore Botanic Gardens. It is Asia's first Children's garden, and it aims to cultivate an appreciation for plants, nature and the environment among the young through play and exploration.

Admission to the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is free and is open to children up to 12 years old. All children have to be accompanied by an adult. And adults not accompanied by children, will need to join designated viewing sessions of the park.

Some of the things that interested my children at the park were the suspension bridge, the maze, a water-play area, and a giant tree-house! There was also a party-place, a covered area where, I assume, people could book to use as a party venue.

There were also educational areas within the park such as the sensory garden, an exhibit on photosynthesis, etc. Unfortunately, my kids were only interested in the "play" parts of the park!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to a persons "...ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups." (Source: Wikipedia)

One of the measures of EI is our emotional quotient (EQ). It is believed that a large part of our success in life is based on our EQ. How we manage our emotions and the way we relate to others determines how successful and satisfied we are at work, home, and with friends. Our EQ is the ability to make and deepen connections at three levels: with ourselves (personal mastery), with another person (one-to-one), and within groups/teams.

My older daughter S, is at the age (11years) where she cannot tolerate boys. She has a little brother that constantly irritates her. She has classmates that throw tantrums, cries and disrupts the class every day!! And as many as 10 times in a 6 hour period. They are a nuisance, she says. I know every girl goes through such a period, before things change and they start to be so totally interested in boys!

We know a boy, J, aged 9, who suffers from severe eczema. He is red from the back of his ears down to his toes, as a result of the itch he suffers and his inability to stop scratching himself. J goes to a different school from my children but we have met him at chess tournaments. He has two other brothers who do not have this eczema problem. We noticed him partly because of his severe eczema.

A number of weeks ago, we were at a church carnival. J saw my daughter and approached her. With a big smile on his face, he came up and said: "Hi S. Do you know me? I have seen you at chess tournaments."

My daughter rolled her eyes and said: "Yes," turned, and was about to walk away. I interuppted and addresssed him by name: "Yes J, we know you. I did not realise that you came to this church as well. It is nice meeting you here."

He was so pleased. He beemed, said goodbye, and went off to the other carnival stalls. I thought it was so charming of him to come up and say hello. My daughter got a shelling from me for her behavoir, which I felt was totally rude.

She was so lacking in EQ, dont you think?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Breast Cancer

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Friday, November 9, 2007

He came home crying....

My son came home yesterday from the Deepavali chess tournament crying.

This tournament is an open tournament, which meant that he played with players of all age groups. We felt that he had played fairly well in the tournament, ending with 4 points out of 7 games. He even drew the game with the World Under 7 champion, and a few others who were rated much higher than him.

In fact, when I spoke to him just before the prize-giving presentation, he was in very high spirits and very happy with his performance. So, why all that drama when he came home?

Because he finished overall 4th in his age group category. He thought that since he drew with all those guys who were rated higher than him, on count back, he should have been ahead of them. Also, his sister, who finished with 3 and a half points, finished in 3rd place in her category. He felt that it was so UNFAIR! He had more points but a smaller trophy.

Sigh! Tried to explain to him that there was a bigger field of players in the boys category, and hence more competitive, so it was tougher for him, as compared to the girls. Also, a lot depended on the luck of the draw, and who you were paired to play with. We told him that at the end of the day, how he faired depended on his tournament performance rating (TPR). He scored a TPR of 200 points more than his current rating, which meant that he did very well. But the more we tried to reason with him, the louder he cried.....

Gifted Education Programme

The results of the Gifted Education Progamme (GEP) testing was released last Friday. It caused numerous parents lots of heartache, especially when they found out that their little genius did not qualify for it. The top 5% were selected from an initial round of screening. This top 5% were then put through more tests with only the top 1% selected for the GEP.

The controversy this year surrounds the preparation offered by enrichment centres for these tests. Some argued that if the child was really gifted, why the need to prepare. Also, these tests papers are not made available to all and sundry. Then how did these centres have information on what the testing methods were like. Those who invested thousands of dollars preping their kids justified their actions by saying that the preparation exposed their children to various forms of testing, and additional knowledge acquired by their kids justified their spending. I say, let people do what they want. If they want to spend that money, its their perogative. If their children can learn from it, even better.

I know of a few children, real go getters, who did not qualify. Though their parents did not openly pressure them to make it for the GEP, these kids wanted it themselves. When the results were known,and they found that they were unsuccessful, these kids could not eat and sleep, and were unusually quiet, and kept very much to themselves. They experienced "failure" for the first time. These were kids who excelled at school. For some of them, though their parents told them it was alright if they did not get in, I think, the parents' "body language" or actions may have showed otherwise, if not, I think, their kids would not feel this way. Also, why all that bitching about others that made it!

I know of parents who feel that to qualify is the "be all and end all" for their kids. Some even stopped all of their kids "other" activities for a year, just to prep them to qualify. Some even express regret when their kids did not qualify. They feel like their kids have failed.

I tell these parents, that education is a journey, and the GEP does not mark the end of that journey. In fact, it is the start of a long gruelling journey. I liken it to climbing a mountain. The others are taking a well used path up a gradual slope, whilst the GEPers are climbing it using a steeper incline. They have a tougher route up. Both end at the same place, but the journey taken is different.

So what if your kids did not get into the GEP? They could be equally gifted, if not more gifted than some of those that did. Maybe they just had a bad day on the day of the testing. It's not the end of the world. Your kids can still excel in the mainstream. They would probably get better marks than most GEPers for the PSLE, as evident from prior years results. Anyway, they all start secondary schooling again on an equal footing, since now there is no secondary GEP.

Hubby and I were talking. We said we were glad we stumbled into this unaware. We did not even know the timing of the GEP testing, and when our daughter came home and asked if she should go for the tests, we told her: "No harm trying. But no stress, ok? It doesnt matter if you make it to the second round or not." Even when she qualified after the second round testing, we asked her: "Are you very sure you want to change schools?" We were quite happy with her school then, and she was doing well. We also reckoned that since we knew little about the GEP, we couldnt really help her much, as compared to the mainstream where we are familiar with the system and syllabus. We only started our research on the GEP and started talking to people about it much later...very near the deadline for submitting our decision. In fact, my daughter made most of the decisions herself, even the school of choice. We only supported her in her actions.

The GEP programme is not a walk in the park. In the first 3 months, we felt so sorry for her. She had absolutely no time for anything except school work, and more school work. One day she told me: "Mum, The amount of homework I have done in this one week is more than the homework I had for the last 3 years!!" And in the second year, the workload is even heavier. They have numerous projects all going on simultaneously. I am not sure what the P6 year is like, because like I said, we only cross bridges when we come to it. She just has to learn and do for herself. Sometimes she gets mad at me for not helping her with her work. She claims that a lot of her friends' homework are done by their parents. We also know of parents who do their childrens' assignments for them. I tell her that if we were to do it, then she will not learn from it. We try to support her in other ways - emotionally and physically, being there with her when she needs to stay up to do her work. Just sitting around nearby so that she doesnt feel so lonely. Looking up the internet for some things she does not understand, and explaining it to her. Giving her some ideas on how to approach some projects. But never doing for her.

To be able to keep up with all these, I believe, requires diligence, peserverance and maturity, not only giftedness.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What a way to start the day!

Every morning, when little D wakes up, she will shout: "Mummy, I want you NOW!!" She calls me so she can have her bottle of milk, and the NOW is because I am usually at the computer in the study, and sometimes, only just sometimes, I can take a long while to get to her, especially when I am blogging.

This morning, after I had done my usual morning routine, I climbed into bed next to her. I could not go on the computer, coz it being a public holiday, hubby had beat me to it! As she stirred, she turned around and saw me. She gave me the biggest smile and said: "Mummy, I love you! I love you very, very much."

Tell me, what could be a better way to start the day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Deepavali!


Deepavali (or Diwali) is the Indian Festival of Lights. It is a major festival celebrated by the Hindus around the world. This festival focuses on lights and lamps, where the lights or lamps signify the uplighting of darkness and victory of good over the evil within.

Deepavali is celebrated for five consecutive days at the end of Hindu month of Kartika (purminata) or Ashwayuja (amanta). It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India. Those that celebrate it regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships.

Little D's school also celebrated Deepavali. They learnt about the festival in school and made oil lamps as well. Here's a pic of Little D in her lengah all set for the celebrations.

Little D brought some rose shaped muruku to share with her friends for their Deepavali party.

Little D was given a bindi to wear on her forehead.

Monday, November 5, 2007


The most destructive habit......................Worry

The greatest Joy...............................Giving

The greatest loss................Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work...............Helping others

The ugliest personality trait.............Selfishness

The most endangered species.........Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource...............Our youth

The greatest "shot in the arm"..........Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome.................Fear

The most effective sleeping pill........Peace of mind

The most crippling failure disease............Excuses

The most powerful force in life..................Love

The most dangerous pariah..................A gossiper

The world's most incredible computer........The brain

The worst thing to be without................... Hope

The deadliest weapon.......................The tongue

The two most power-filled words..............."I Can"

The greatest asset..............................Faith

The most worthless emotion..................Self-pity

The most beautiful attire......................SMILE!

The most prized possession................Integrity

The most powerful channel of communication.....Prayer

The most contagious spirit.................Enthusiasm

The most important thing in life..................GOD

Friday, November 2, 2007


My older daughter, S, started fixing jigsaws from the age of 2. She started off with the 4 piece Spot jigsaws, and never looked back since. She can do puzzles that are up to 2000 pieces. She loves the challenge of jigsaws and can spend days figuring them out.

My son, on the other hand, isn't as interested in jigsaw puzzles. He fixed the odd puzzle or two when young, but was never really into it.

Little D loves jigsaws too. She started fixing them at the age of two. She did not like the 4 piece puzzles, so she started with the 6 pieces. She had progressed to the 16 piece puzzles in a short time. Every time we went out, she would harrass us to buy her new puzzles. The largest that she has fixed is a 30 piece floor puzzle, and she had no problems with it.

Yesterday, Little D pulled out her sister's old 60 piece jigsaw puzzle. She started working on it on her own.

After 15 mintues, she had completed all of it (58 pieces actually as 2 pieces were missing).

We were really surprised! Quite an achievement, considering she is not even 3 yet! Well, looks like she is like me. I love jigsaws too!