Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's Birthday

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Lazy Eye

Taken when she wore her
spectacles for the first time

Perhaps because both my husband and I started wearing glasses since P3 and P2 respectively and have endured the various inconveniences of needing eyewear for the most part of our lives, I wanted to give my children a fighting chance at having perfect eyesight. 

I have reduced screen time to nearly zero, installed sufficient lightings around the house, taught the children the importance of looking after their eyesight, told them my own cautionary tale and made sure they develop good reading and writing habits with plenty of outdoor activities. The environmental factors were almost completely eliminated. 

However, I could not fight the hereditary factor: Jayna has amblyiopia, commonly known as lazy eye. My brother has that condition and that's where the gene came from. It has never been noticed because she had all along been relying on the perfect vision of the right eye and thus the left one had been left unused and untreated. By the time it was detected, she was already 5 years old, a little too old to completely cure it.

Still, I harboured hope that it might actually improve over time. I was also terribly disappointed with the need for her to wear glasses despite all my efforts and I have been in a state of denial over this issue. That is why I've not blogged about it till now, when the reality of her wearing spectacles for life has finally sunk in. 

I had been very diligent in making her wear her spectacles at all times and putting the eye patch on her right eye for 3 hours each day faithfully to stimulate the usage of the lazy eye. Yet, after 4 months, there was no improvement. Patching for 3 hours a day became 4 hours. Initially I made her wear the patch only when at home to reduce the chances of her esteem taking a hit due to insensitive remarks from others but I decided to let her patch her eye during school hours when the lazy eye is forced to do more near-work. To prevent her classmates from teasing her, I drew pictures on it so that the focus will be on the drawings instead. Thankfully, there was some improvement but the doctor did say that the lazy eye will likely remain far-sighted. 

Recently, my eldest has developed myopia and needs glasses to read the words on the projector screen in school. I threw my hands up in utter defeat. I did notice that he started developing the bad habit of reading books while lying down ever since he entered primary school and I warned him countless times that it would spoil his eyesight. I guess there is only so much a parent can do to safeguard her child. Makes me wonder if my younger two will eventually need glasses too. Then we'll indeed become a "four-eyed" family... *facepalm*

She loves asking me to draw
the different ponies from MLP...

... and Hello Kitty in different costumes and poses

I did some in keeping with the festive moods...

... and even one to go along with her
Show and Tell about skeletons.

Yet other 'hungry' times, she
asked for pictures of food! LOL

Friday, April 17, 2015

Enjoying Beginner's Ballet

When the eldest child was in K2, he asked to participate in the Speech and Drama class which most of his classmates attended. I thought that it was a good way to help him overcome his shyness and aid in the intervention for his dyslexia since they also taught phonics. Thus, I signed him up for it. It was a great investment because he thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and they benefited him tremendously. Watching him perform so confidently on stage at his preschool graduation made me so proud!

Jayna asked me back then if she could also join the class but to be fair to the brother, I told her she could only join any class of her choice when she reaches K2 too. This year, she was delighted when the timing of the ballet class in our community center fits our schedule and she can attend it!

The teacher was very surprised that it was Jayna's first attempt learning ballet since she could follow very well the instructions and moved accordingly. You should have seen the glee on my sweet girl's face. When we got home, she was so eager to show off to the entire family the dance steps she practiced in class. I'm so glad she loves it so much. She even says that her favourite day of the week is the day she has ballet class!

After one term of lessons, her ballet class had a mini performance for the parents. Here's a short clip of that to enjoy:

Whether or not Jayna eventually perseveres in this art form and does well in it is not important to me. I'm happy enough that my children get to try their hand at their choice of interest, something which I couldn't do no matter how much I wished for it as a child due to my own family's financial constrains.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blessed Second Birthday, Joram!

Totally dig these vehicle candles!

To celebrate Joram's two-year old birthday, we took the older kids out of school on a weekday to be able to enjoy unlimited playtime at an indoor playground instead of the 2 hours allowed on weekends. This is because Joram takes a very long time to warm up to a new place and it would be very disappointing for him if we have to leave just when he starts to have fun. 

We started the day off with a breakfast treat at McDonald's. The kids totally love the hot cakes and orange juice there! Perhaps it was because there were very few customers on a weekday morning, they actually felt that the air-conditioning was too strong and decided to put on their jackets.

Having fun moving the butter
portion around like a vehicle

We arrived at The Polliwogs @ Suntec 10 min before their opening hour and so the kids had fun with the colourful game carpets outside. The boys looked so cool with their matching Superman jackets!

Playing hopscotch

And it's open! First customers of the day.

Getting a kick out of seeing
their shoes lined up together...

As I have predicted, Joram spent the first two hours getting used to the place in Daddy's arms while the older ones disappeared into the jungle of play equipment the moment they stepped in. At the end of the second hour, he was willing to come down from Daddy's arms but was contented to simply watch his older siblings at play.

Sucking his fist as
a coping mechanism

Joram: "That looks interesting...
Perhaps I should try it myself?"

It was this lighted slide which
tempted him to take the first "plunge".

With Gor Gor & Jie Jie's
help, the rest is history!


Love this wistful look!

It was time for a nap to recharge! Because the place was largely deserted, we could put together two sofa chairs to form an impromptu bed for him. With so few kids in the large playground, it was relatively peaceful and quiet. This makes for such a comfortable environment that Joram slept more than 2 hours, a record time for a nap outside of home. In the meantime, we had our lunch...

After waking up to a milk break and 15 min to restart his "engines", it was time for the second round of non-stop fun! He enjoyed himself so much that he cried when it was time to do the birthday song at tea break. We wanted to sing it while he was still awake and alert, so there was no better time. 

Unfortunately, the cafe did not serve cakes so we had to make do with ice-cream and waffles. We coincidentally did the same for his first birthday last year, but it was due to his hypersensitive oral cavity that time. Never fear! Joram will eventually get his long-awaited cake when we do another celebration at his grandparents' place this coming Sunday. 


Sliding down butt-first! ROFL

He adored the candles!!!

Joram: "Why are my siblings
not here yet? The nice candles
are already melting..." *pout*

Yay! Everybody fall in for the birthday song!

Eating time!

First bite

Joram: "Oohh... This is really good."

Joram: "Eehhh???
Wasn't that for me?"

Must share with everybody mah...

After the celebration was done, we had a bit of time before dinner and so we stopped by the Toys"R"Us beside the playground to chill. The place was deserted too so we had a relaxing time there checking out their toys. Hee hee...

Mad about vehicles

Can't believe that he was still holding
onto a toy car while banging on the drums!

This swing was made for him!

He is very good at kicking the
soccer ball around, much
like his older brother.

Then came dinner at Kopitiam. It was unexpectedly challenging for us parents because all the kids wanted to eat different things. They even wanted drinks from OUTSIDE the food court! I spent most of the mealtime dashing all over the foodcourt getting their food and bringing them outside ONE BY ONE to choose their beverage. I didn't want to dampen the mood by saying 'no' on a special day like this and so I ended up super drained after the two hours we had dinner.

Joram is such a great blessing to us being the most obedient of the lot. I don't think I could have coped as well if not for his good nature. Sadly, Jaide's wilfulness rubbed off on him especially of late and he developed the same fussy eating habits of his older sister. Still, after having gone through the worst, he is so much easier to handle. 

Dear Joram, no matter how old you grow, you'll always be the "baby" of the family. And yet, don't let being the youngest one deter you from setting the best example in the family and exalting God in all that you do. I look forward to the day when you, too, will know your Maker personally as your Lord and Savior! Blessed birthday, my little one!

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." - Timothy 4:12

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Home Education

Colour sorting using toys

Ever since my eldest boy overcame his dyslexia and started reading on his own, he has taken over most of the reading to the younger ones. Sometime last year, Jayna started reading to her younger sister too. However, I have never once expected the two sisters to initiate "structured" home education for their younger brother!

All along, while I cook and do chores in the morning, I have overheard the three younger children participating in classroom pretend-play. But it never dawn upon me that real teaching was actually underway! I only realised it when I brought the kids out to a mall and Joram started saying the colours of the lights he saw on the ceiling with the girls correcting his pronunciation. It was then that they told me they have been teaching their brother to count from 1 to 10 and recognise colours using toys, much like the way I taught my daughters before they attended school in the past!

And there I was, wondering how Joram could have mastered speaking so many words all of the sudden through mere observation. Granted that he did learn how to keep the toys, put his bottle into the sink and throw away trash into the pedal-bin through monkey-see-monkey-do. ROFL

I'm so proud of my children! They never cease to amaze me in what they can do all by themselves...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day In A Life

I came across this blog train by Mum in the Making where each mother describes a typical day in her life. I found it so interesting that I couldn't stop reading the posts! I've never bothered to join any blog communities but I felt that I should somehow "return the favour" by writing one such post of my own. The last time I did a record of my day was back when my first-born was about a year old.

So here goes...

0600 hrs
My husband and I will wake up to our alarms. I will laze around in my bed while my loving husband gets my eldest boy to wake up and prepare for school. Hubby will get ready while kid no. 1 eats the sandwich I prepared the day before. The boy will then brush his teeth and change into his uniform.

0630 hrs
Hubby sends eldest up his school bus and goes off to work. End of my 'nua-ing' (lazing around) in bed. I will set the laundry load to wash, prepare breakfast table and bring frozen food out to thaw, followed by sweeping the floor minus the children's bedroom. I'll take the last chance to gulp down my morning milk with supplements before all hell break loose.

0730 hrs
The other three children wake up and make their beds. Now, this is when the war really begins. I have taken multitasking to a whole new level. Thankfully, my second-born can help to serve the breakfast food to the younger siblings to a certain extent so I have a little less to do. I will be sweeping and cleaning the children's bedroom, preparing the ingredients for cooking, bringing down the dry laundry, feeding the baby his breakfast and attending to the special requests or meltdowns of the three children in general; all at the same time!!! Don't ask me how I do it. By the grace of God, I will be zipping around the house at super-sonic speed accomplishing everything in record time. It is worse when there are spillages or accidental messes to clear...

Big sister serving cereal to the younger two.

0900 hrs
Already feeling exhausted though the day has just begun. After the children finish their breakfast, I will change the baby's diapers and usher all of them to their bedroom. I turn on the aircon and worship music and let them play by themselves in the room. I will then clear the table and start cooking both lunch and dinner in earnest. Of course, on good days, the kids only come into the kitchen on their way to the toilet and peer at what I'm doing curiously till I shoo them away. On bad days, I will be handling sibling disputes verbally while cooking at the same time. Many a time, I have to stop half-way to police the situation or handle emergencies. 

What the girls made while at play:
Christ is the strength of our hearts!

1000 hrs
Finished all the cooking for the day. Start to hang up the freshly-washed laundry and fold and keep the clean and dry clothes. Prepare the milk for baby.

1030 hrs
Give baby milk and ask the girls to keep their toys. Prepare the room for nap-time and put Joram to bed while the girls change up by themselves. Finish up the last bit of washing.

Nap-time for the youngest

1100 hrs
The girls go up their school bus. They will have lunch in their kindergarten. I will then do a "rainbow dash" around the neighbourhood running errands and buying the groceries for the day while monitoring the napping baby using the surveillance camera. *sweat*

Spotted a Painted Jezebel
emerging from its cocoon
while waiting for the bus!

1230 hrs
Get home to unpack everything and prepare the fruits tea break for the kids. Finally, I'll have some time to sit down to have my lunch and spend some time with God through bible study and prayer. 

1330 hrs
My kid no. 4 wakes up and I feed him his lunch and change his diapers. The eldest will come back at around 1.50pm from his school bus. I will play with the boys for a while before helping kid no. 1 with his schoolwork. (Though he is usually responsible enough to complete his own work and asks for my help only when he is stuck.) Sometimes, Joram becomes fussy and I will need to bring him downstairs for a walk while my P2 boy does his homework by himself at home.

Building an obstacle course
for his remote control car

1500 hrs
It's time to pick the girls up from the school bus and it's tea break for all the kids. I will need to feed baby his fruits. Kid no. 3 normally has trouble with drinking water so I can expect a battle over making her finish her water quota at around this time. I will also settle whatever parent's letter/forms/work that needs my signature. Depending on the day of the week, I'll be revising spelling or 听写 or preparing/rehearsing Show-and-Tells with the girls when they're done eating. 

Fruits for tea break

1600 hrs
Clean up after tea break. My battery is normally flat by now. If I can still force out some "chakra", I will bring the kids down to the playground or bring them to the library. If not, I will spend some time doing something simple but meaningful for each kid before telling them to play by themselves while I collapse onto my bed for a nap to recharge. Of course, my nap is hardly uninterrupted as you can imagine with 4 rowdy children in a 3-room flat! Somewhere in the middle of it all, the baby will be asking for a bottle of milk.

One of the kid's creation
while at play

1730 hrs
Hubby should be back by now if there are no night engagements. Otherwise, I will continue to fly solo till the kids are in bed. The children will pack their toys while I reheat the food for dinner. Depending on Joram's "productivity", I might have to change his diapers again. Dinnertime is usually very stressful because Joram still needs me to feed him and Jaide requires a lot of help with getting the food she wants to eat. It is especially difficult now that Joram has reached the fussy eater stage. I really look forward to the day when the kids can all eat and take food by themselves so that we can enjoy and bond over the meal through delightful conversations... *wistful*

Typical dinner fare: 3 dishes with rice
(Sometimes 4 dishes)

1900 hrs
Clean up after dinner while the kids play quietly or read or draw. After I'm done with the washing up, it's time for showering and night toothbrushing. The older two can bathe on their own. Either hubby or I will bathe the younger two.

A drawing of one of our playground time

2000 hrs
Last 5 minutes of playtime for the kids while parents shower. Kids will do a final clean-up, packing up the remnant toys lying around. There'll be lots of tickling, hugs and kisses before bedtime prayers and lights-out for the kids.

 Winding down before bedtime

Group hug!!!

After which, us parents will have our well-deserved me-time and couple-time till we turn in for the night. Favourite time of the day!