#127 – Where Has My Daughter Gone?

L is usually a darling sweetheart who is loved by everyone she meets. But this day, she seemed to be a different person. She ran into the lift without waiting for me and when I admonished her, she did not ant to have any eye contact with me.

Before entering the house, I wanted to “settle the unfinished business” with her but she kept running away. To avoid creating a scene outside, I got her into the house to talk some sense into her. And it continues…

Not only did she run away from me, she kept humming tunes to “shut my voice” out. It was so annoying! When I held onto her, she even talked back at me! I couldn’t believe my ears and I was utterly shocked at her defiance. I smacked her hand twice but she didn’t seem to be afraid of the punishment. When it happened again, I smacked the back of her hand really hard and that’s when she started crying. I also then got to know that she lied to me regarding finishing the worksheet that I asked her to do the night before.

I was really disappointed and at the same time, furious. I threw the worksheets out of the front door and asked her to finish it outside before coming back in. She was wailing by then. I allowed her to come in but only at the doorstep. She had to finish it there. Let me qualify why I did what I did: I would be totally fine if she had told me that she needed more time to complete the worksheet. I got really upset cos of her lie and bad behavior. To me, that’s totally unacceptable.

When S came home at that time, he started another round of scolding and L, crying. Another punishment for her; she was not allowed to play with her toys until we said so. S also did not bring her out for a promised bus ride. He did not want to bring her out for dinner with my family and not allow her to sleep with us that night. Upon advice from my sister who’s a specialist in early childhood, we took her to dinner as that’s bonding time with family. We also allowed her to sleep with us cos we took the opportunity to revisit what happened that day and to “right” her from wrong.

#126 – Lucky Star Shines On Me Again

I was driving home after dropping S off at work and around the bend, this cabby signaled right and dashed out immediately. I stepped hard on the brake and luckily managed to stop in time. However, I heard some metal collision noise. Then he turned right before the traffic light and pulled over into the receded bay in the opposite direction. So I followed suit as I thought he wanted to inspect the potential damage on both cars. I got out of my car wanting to check on the damage but when I realized that he was about to drive off; I walked straight to him. Then I sensed that he merely intended to make an illegal U-turn, with no intention of stopping to check on the cars! So I gestured for him to get out of the car, which he did so reluctantly. And then his attitude was that of nonchalance and said he knew he didn’t hit my car. I told him that he shouldn’t have dashed out without looking and expect me to slow down or stop in an emergency. He then uttered something like he was just making a living and got back into his car and drove off.

I shared the incident with my family and I decided to inform the taxi company about the incident. To help with their investigation, I shared with them the video recording. To my surprise, they got back to me within a couple of days and informed me that they’ve counseled him, given him a stern warning, put him on a 3-month performance assessment period and included this incident in his P-file. I’m happy with their prompt action and I just hope that this cabby will not drive recklessly from now on. All road users ought to drive responsibly and not endanger other’s life.

#125 – Lucky Star

It was Saturday and I wanted to bring the kids to Jacob Ballas (kids version of Botanic Gardens). As it turns out, S was tired and decided to take an afternoon nap. So I brought them out on my own. When I reached Jacob Ballas, I was disappointed as its façade were boarded up. I asked the guard if it was still open and thank goodness, he said yes. I was already making plans to visit the nearby Botanic Gardens instead if it was indeed closed for renovation.

It was bright and sunny and L was happily building her sand castle. Then suddenly, I felt a few drops of rain and I quickly asked L to pack up and put her sandals back on while I put Baby A back into the stroller. As I was doing all these, other parents and kids had already started running for shelter as the downpour was sudden and didn’t appear like it would stop anytime soon.

Everything happened very quickly and L was caught by surprise and didn’t know how to react. She asked me to help her with her sandals and I just quickly put them on (I would usually make her do it herself). I grabbed her and her toys and started running, with the stroller in tow, to the nearest shelter. Before the outing, L was instructed to be obedient as I would need her help to “look after” her little brother. She was co-operative and held onto the stroller as we ran.

Despite that, we were totally drenched by the time we reached the shelter. Many other parents and kids were in the same state. When I looked around, I think Baby A was the youngest of them all. After all, he’s just an infant of 9 months! I quickly wiped them dry and with the kind staff’s help, pack them into the car and drove back. I called home to instruct my helper to meet me downstairs in 15 minutes and at the same time, prepare hot bath water for them.

When I reached the shelter, she was nowhere to be seen. In fact, she sashayed to me 5 minutes later. By which time, I was fuming mad. I asked her why she was late and that she shouldn’t compromise on my kids’ health since they were drenched in rain and needed to change out quickly. She was quick to cover up, citing that the clock at home was 5 minutes late. I took all the clocks and showed her that I know she was just making an excuse. Then she said that she was frying eggs, another excuse in my opinion. Sigh, I don’t know what to say.

When I read the news later, I learned that a tall tembusu tree fell in Botanic Gardens, the same time we were at Jacob Ballas. One person was killed and 4 others injured. I heaved a sigh of relief. Had we gone there, we could have been hit by the tree. Thank god for not bringing us there!

#124 – Piano Prodigy?

So we are convinced that playing the piano is good for the right brain development and after reviewing a few music schools, we went for Aureus. L was extremely excited during the first lesson and at the same time, a tad shy. When the teacher asked her questions, she shied away and did not respond. But I must say that the teacher, although she doesn’t speak perfect English, she is able to engage L and get her to understand the intricacies of piano playing using games and activities that she can comprehend. But because I was trying to coincide her class timings so that we can have one free day in the afternoon, we did another trial class with another teacher. This teacher, although speaks well, she teaches “by the book”. Little kids like L find it dry and boring. So our choice is made. We went for the first teacher. 🙂

L is still excited to go for classes and when she saw the recital room, she said that she wanted to play on the grand piano there. And she said that after her second piano class. Hahaha!

#124 – A’s First Trip

Given A’s “cry baby” nature, I had to convince S to let me bring A along to our annual family trip to Hong Kong. S is worried that he will cry his lungs out on the flights and hence cause attract unnecessary stares from other passengers. I told him that yes, he may cry but it’s also a good chance to train him to be more sociable and get used to strangers. So I promised to train him before the trip so that he’s used to large crowds and not be so “cowardy” in terms of “stranger anxiety”.

The daily trips downstairs proved to work. I guess the constant exposure made him more comfortable of “non-threatening” strangers and now he merely stares at them instead letting it all out by crying. Mind you, his cries can be deafening and you wouldn’t want to be near him when that happens.

So he behaved well during the flights and all I can say is that I’m just so glad that it worked out fine. The only thing was that, with two babies in tow, I didn’t get to go to my usual shopping pilgrimage hunts at all. But well, all was worth it when I saw the smiles on both L’s and A’s faces at Disneyland. I can see that the kiddos and the oldies (my in-laws were on the trip too) were happy during the trip. That’s what matters most.

#123 – Aurora, Here We Come!

After a few nights of disappointment of not catching the northern lights, we were down to the final night. It’s a make it or break it kinda thing. I prayed hard that our trip would end on a high note of the light sighting. On our way up to the mountains, my heart was pounding wildly. I could literally hear my heartbeat in the silence of the wintry, snowy night.

When we got into the mountain top café, as I was removing my hood, beanie, scarf, balaclava, 2 layers of gloves etc; I told S that if we didn’t see it this trip, we will make another trip to Iceland next month in January. I was that desperate. We kept our hopes high even though the sky was overcast. We went for the 30-minute guided tour/talk on the Aurora Borealis and came back out to have a cup of cocoa.

Then suddenly, someone shouted “Aurora! Aurora!” and we quickly don the multiple pieces of apparels that we just removed minutes ago and gulped down the hot cocoa.

We dashed out of the café and trod on the shin-high snow and there we were, captivated by the beautiful dance of the aurora. It was just a slight appearance of swaying green lights but that’s enough for us at that moment. I was thrilled. S quickly asked me turn around for a quick photo snap. It was not a great picture given the conditions of dim lighting and snowing surrounding. But it was really enough for me. I was just too happy to able to tick one of the last items off my bucket list. I said a quick thank you prayer of course. Mission accomplished.

#122 – Kissed By The Wolves

The next day was equally adventurous. We went to the Polar Park and saw reindeers in person. We initially mistook the moose as reindeer. Lol! Anyway, the reindeers were allowed to roam freely and “co-exist” with us in the park. That was quite an experience on its own.

The highlight of the Park was the private visit to the wolves enclosure. Looking at them from outside the fence, they look like super large dogs with enormous jaws (not to mention sharp teeth). The rangers explained to us that the wolves will come very near to sniff us and they may even “greet” us by leaping onto our crossed yet outstretched arms. They warned us not to make any sudden moves or sounds that may startle them. The usually animal-phobic me was so terrified at that moment and I could not imagine going into the same space as the wolves. I backed out. One of the rangers told me that it’ll be an experience of my lifetime if I were able to pluck up the courage and do it. I psyched myself up and braved through, holding my breath throughout. I kept telling myself not to scream, not to move suddenly.

We were allowed into the enclosure, so it’s just us (with two rangers) and the wolves. True enough, the five of them came really close and sussed us out by sniffing our legs. Some of the leapt onto S’s arms and once S knelt on one knee, one of them went up to his face and licked him. Yikes! I can never imagine doing that, ever, not even for a million dollars.

Then the rangers started howling like them and soon after, they gathered around us and started their symphony of howls. It was really surreal, like in the movies, except that we are in the movie this time. What a haunting sound! We were so mesmerized by their howls that I had to snap out of it and quickly asked S to film it for memory. It was simply beautiful.