Sunday, 27 July 2014

Disciplining - Enough said

Being home, almost 24/7 with the kids, I'm confessing that my most dealt with battle is dealing with sibling fights, the sudden combats that would break out during peaceful activities or even in situations that you never thought an argument could break out. This annoys me totally, especially the need to abandon tasks, to play mediator. Thankful for situations that no one's hurt, but in some, things or person gets hurt. Sounds violent, but factual that parenting is no bed of roses.

As much as we constantly advocate about sharing, caring and loving your brother and sister, it always seem that our words have fallen on deaf ears or that words don't serve good reminders. One of the terrible incident was when Jazz threw Jare's toy in fit of anger, and it broke. The transformer that he hearts very much was beyond repair. Sure she got a good reprimanding from me. In midst of my chiding, I got exasperated with repeating my chants again and again. Nothing works!

This time, I made sure she paid a memorable price for the anger that was displayed wrongly. I took $20 from her piggy bank to deposit into her brother's elephanty. It's fair that little brother can now buy a new one with that money. She was already given a big discount, that toy costs more. We told Jare to save it up instead.

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The little banks and broken toy

Jazz was really upset about the whole episode, she cried and kept apologizing. I felt for her, and I knew she was regretful for that act. Being soft-hearted is always my worst parenting trait, I was tempted to cave in, by letting her off without any penalty, but I knew I had to sit firm. And while she took some time out at the thinking corner, I wanted her to zoom in and out of the situation to address the feelings of little brother and people around her, how they felt at that point of argument. I hope the understanding of different perspectives helps during conflicts. With that, I got her to draw what she thinks about that incident. 

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She said they were both heart-broken

Jazz drew many toys and described her drawing as both being broken-hearted. She lost $20 painfully, and Jare on the other hand, lost his favourite toy. Well, we can't fix what's broken, but I hope we can learn some good values out of it.

A second incident broke out just within weeks! They were squabbling and snatching over toys, and Jazz raised her hand to hit Jare. I was so mad! Again, I got her to draw. I won't know how many more times I have do this with their crayons and papers, but at least it calms us during the drawing process. Her emotions got regulated as she drew and related the feeling of the victim. While I tried to tone my pitches and avoid the physical punishments.

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Sharing is caring!

I use this as their reminder now, saving me on words. Effectively, there was once when Jare wouldn't share his toy with Jazz, despite my coaxing. He saw this drawing and went, "You're right jie jie, I share my car with you, and you'll share you lollipop with me." Aww... he melted my heart, and surrendered his toy. "Hey kids! Mama really dislike chiding and smacking on you. We all love peaceful mediation."

I know it's extremely challenging for us. Js are spending the same 24/7 time, as mine. They write, play, eat and sleep together. The only time apart is when big sister does her drama and ballet classes. For that bulk amount of time spent together, I tried to comfort myself that it was parental decision that they are kept this way and sure, probability of conflicts is much higher. Yet I think we will learn something valuable each time, or at least an improved drawing skill.

Do you have some effective or interesting disciplinary methods to share too?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Activities for the go

Do your kids get ants in their pants whenever out, waiting for meals? Or do they get totally restless when you require patience? Mine do! Instead of turning to our last resort of techy gadgets for peace, we work with little prepared resources, in hope to get their bottoms still. Here are our easy and instant ideas:

1. We bring crayons and papers! I reused a plastic box after emptying a bunch of dental flosses, to house their crayons. Clipped some pieces of quartered cut papers and carry along, for doodles.

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Crayons and papers

2. Also for doodling and writing. Notepads and pens! Interesting to see what birthed on the first and grew to the last page.

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Thank you little S.L for that cute little notepad

3.  Small and light weighted books! Jazz loves reading and Jare loves flipping through illustrations. Rotate the titles, so they don't get tiresome of the repeats.

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Different titles for rotation

4. Small little travel activities which we are much in love with and easy to carry around. We got them in the states, but I guess they can be easily purchased on Amazon, local toy or book stores.

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 From Melissa and Doug, and Brain quest

5. And if all else fail, tablets and smart phones always work perfect for mine. Positively, there are plenty of educational apps that you may download for them to point and drag. It's limited time they can engage from starting a game to the arrival of dishes. Pretty much controlled.

I love it when they engage in their own little activity in a restaurant, while I look through the menu almost uninterrupted. So yeap, no more diapers and milk bottles in my bag, but with such little gadgets almost permanently residing in. However, on good days, such stuffs get into the kids' carry out bags, with their own responsibility throughout. It's definitely some weight lifted off mine.

Here are some DIY portable ideas A Pancake Princess does for her boys. Let me know too, if you have ideas on keeping little butts down when eating out or in need of their patience. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Round The Moon Blue The Sky

Just yesterday, we caught the theatrical show Round the moon Blue the sky. A theatre play where we journeyed with smallest dragon's ever curious questions on Why, How and What? She pokes her nose into things and is curious about the world. One night she sees the moon, and wonders why it is the shape that is. Fascinated, she sets off to find other round things, discovering the many other important shapes too. As she explores new things with her friends, Leaf and Twiglet, she also discovers the wonder of colours!

It's all about exploring and discovering my little ones, not Mummy or Daddy for answers!

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Photo credit: itheatre
The show not only engaged black light magic, which showed beautiful props when lights were off, it was also highly interactive. Little audiences were really responsive to their questions. There was a moment when they asked for 2 audience volunteers to explore shapes with them, creating something out of shapes. Under my Mum's pressure, Jazz went forward to volunteer. OMG! When did she become this courageous?!! It was a memorable sight to watch her in limelight for a while.

The characters demonstrated how they convinced their friend on the many other round things around them, like bubbles. Not just the moon. They showed that leaf isn't always green, fallen leaves are brown and that there are many more blue things, not just the sky. It definitely moved little minds into the mode of thinking.

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Photo credit: itheatre
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Photo credit: itheatre
The whole show was played with very little actual conversations between the characters, only important key words or sentences were spoken. It's a joint collaboration between, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore artists. So yeap, that explained the different foreign accents heard. In addition to the focus given on shapes and colours, the show might be a little slow playing. Which I thought might be better for the really little ones, maybe below six.
The show lasted about 45 minutes and Jare didn't get enough of it, he asked for more! Jazz on the other hand, left contented and happy. I bet they learned and gained something out of the show. They yakked non-stop about it during our journey to lunch and till home. Gosh, spare my ears!

There are more plays upcoming by itheatre, which we are all excitedly looking forward to. For only this week, Round The Moon Blue the sky is showing at The Alliance Francaise theatre from 21st to 27th July 2014. Don't miss your chance to purchase tickets at sistic.

Event Date
Mon, 21 - Sun, 27 Jul 2014
Mon - Wed: 10am & 2pm
Thu - Fri: 10am, 2pm & 4pm
Sat & Sun: 10.30am & 2pm

Ticket Pricing

(Exclude Booking Fee)
Standard: S$30 
(Infant in arms do need a tickety too)

Disclaimers: We had the opportunity to catch this play with sponsored tickets by itheatre. All opinions are solely our own.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Children's Garden - Gardens by the bay

Many new attractions have budded during the time we were away. It's exciting to be back in homeland with many new family friendly places to visit. Trying to conquer as many as we can. 

We have recently visited the Far East Organization Children's Garden at Gardens by the bay. An outdoor play area that combines both play and nature. As outdoor suggests, the best time to enjoy that tan, would be early morning or late evening, when our lovely sun isn't that blazing. 

The children's garden consists of both water playground and sandy adventure playground. It's probably wiser to sweat it out at the dry playground, before cooling off at the water ground, followed by a clean shower. Oh, so cooling! Most attractive of all is that, admission is free. 

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Water playground
It consists of 2 areas, the smaller one for little toddlers and the other bigger one for older kids, where more craziness and running take place. The water play features aren't exactly exciting or fanciful, but good enough to ignite simple little joy. It was nothing more than water sprouting and spraying. Jare had tremendous fun though, almost like playing in the rain. Jazz, after playing awhile, came to me and said it was boring. "No slides", she said. Her perception changed totally when her bestie arrived to join her for play. Companionship makes a difference!

There were some safety personnel on duty to ensure safe play. There's also locker and shower facilities. Everyone can join in the fun!

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Floating with joy!
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Jazz said the big toothbrushes were not exciting

Adventure playground
A jungle liked adventure within canopy of trees. There are tall tree house and little trails to explore. Other play features include a spider net, hill climbing ropes and spinner bowls. Lots of climbing and some strategy planning to clear their play obstacles. 

This whole area kept them entertained, and it was almost difficult to recall the kids for dinner. Definitely a good place to expel their energy, and good plan for parents to shove them to bed early.
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My ever adventurous boy
The last part was my highlight! Food spread and wonderful company excites me. We had dinner at Satay by the bay, a very short walk from the children's garden. It's a hawker like place with a great variety of local delicacies to choose from - BBQ chicken wings, chicken rice, popiah, ngoh hiong, BBQ seafood selection, steamboat and of course, satay!

Truth to be shared, the food was only passable. Not very tasty for most, only convincingly impressed with their satay. Living up to the name of the place indeed. Our friend ordered it from the Geylang satay stall, which came really juicy and tender. The sauce to go with was great too. So delicious that the kids wolfed most of them down. Our BBQ seafood was ordered from Boon Tat seafood, which was near to being terrible. When it comes to food, my thoughts are, not only should we try to make the money paid worth, but also the calories worth. Metabolism is slowing down on me.

It was extremely crowded on the day we visited, a Saturday evening. And so, it means some strategy and courage to get seats. Our unique hawker style. And of course, if local delicacies isn't your craving that day, there are other restaurants nearby for your tummies to explore.

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Our spread of food
If you crave for local delicacies, I would think the best place that presents it all is East Coast Lagoon Food Village. Though also challenged by the humidity and seats, we thought the devouring of delicious food covers that multitude of challenges. Need to be back there soon! As for this bay, maybe once in a blue moon.

Children's Garden
Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 7pm (Last admission at 6:30pm)
Weekends and Public holidays: 9am to 9pm (Last admission at 8:30pm)
*Closed on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on the preceding Monday.
Free Admission 

Satay by the bay
Drinks stall: 24 hours
Food stalls: 8am to 10pm
Steamboat buffet stall: 5pm to 2am

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Doctor for a day - Parkway East Hospital

Some weeks ago, yeap, I'm turning time back a little, Jazz and her besties, signed up to ambitiously be a "Doctor for a day!" We were glad that it came back! It ran the Orthopaedic edition at Parkway East Hospital this round. Where little participants role played as Orthopaedic doctors, did bone surgery and knee bandages.

In line with their special edition, each child's registration fee of $25 was matched with $300 by the hospital, to sponsor knee replacement surgery for the needy elderly. It was sure great fun for little ones and worthy cause for the elderly!

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All ready in their scrubs!
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Hands washing before they embark on their roles
It was an approximately 90 minutes session with several stations to cover. Little doctors embarked on an educational journey in the different settings-like departments, Operating Theatre, Nursing room, Accident and emergency, General practitioner and Pharmacy. At each room, facilitators would share some medical knowledge and talk about the doctors' scopes. Little doctors got to role play with their fellow doctors, worked with thermometer, stethoscope and operating tools. They learned to handle cuts, wounds and bandage too! 

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In the Operating Theatre
And Jazz's favourite was also the happiest room of all, the nursing room! Where they got to care for newborns baby dolls, changed diaper, fed and sang them a tune. I'm pretty sure doctors don't do these, it was probably more for parents to decide if they're ready to help out with a new addition.

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In the nursing room
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Hush hush please
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Caught doctors chatting away
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"Yes! A successful operation"
A group photo was taken with their fellow doctors, and given to them as a lovely memento. They moved into the last room, which was the pharmacy, to collect their dose of medicine goodie bag! At the end of their educational journey, they graduated and were certified as, "Doctor for a day." They are however, now back to their young profession as adorable preschoolers.

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I wonder what they all grow up to be?
You know the verdict when Jazz says, "I want to come back, to be a doctor again!" Que sara sara, whatever will be, will be... I hope you are aspiring to be a genuine one, my darling! 

This event was catered for children between 5 to 12 years old. Parents were not allowed in the rooms, so we were like paparazzi, snapping pictures through the opened door. Jare being 3, was in the man's custody. He had balloon twisting fun at the lobby, where some pre-event activities were held.

It was an overall good experience for the little ones, to affirm their dreams and inspire their thoughts! Not sure when they might run this event again, but seats fill up really fast. You may want to follow their Facebook - PEH for updates. 

While parents ended up doing a short survey about Parkway East hospital, which they were trying to promote itself for more awareness, I was reminded of my wonderful experience with them during my dengue infected stay. Aside from the discomfort of being unwell, my stay was almost like a vacation. Oh no, I'm not saying it was the being away from kids. I was well taken care by the angel nurses, well fed and well entertained (HBO!). I highly recommend this hospital. And nope, I wouldn't want to be back there for any unfortunate reasons. Just sharing an experience.