Friday, April 30, 2010 ;
8:56 AM
1 Apr

ds1 had no school cos of a sports carnival for the upper primary. So I happily arranged to bring him out with my sis and her kids.

Since my niece has school in the morning too, it was a perfect chance for a getaway.
I naively thought dd would be good in the car. So this was my first time driving a long distance with her. I also thought there was ds1, so it should be fine.

With all HDB apartments, especially the not so new ones like mine, we have to walk a distance to the carpark to retrieve the car, so I had to either bring everything with me to the carpark, and climb many storeys to get to the car, or do the easy but perhaps risky thing of leaving dd with ds1 till I retrieved the car and drove to my block.

In the end, I decided on a compromise. I pushed dd in the stroller which was packed with my bag and other stuff, while ds1 carried the infant car seat (fortunately he's present) and we walked all the way to the ground level of the multi-storey car park.

I made ds1 wait with dd and all the stuff (too much to carry up so many levels) and walked all the way up to get the car. The previous night we had returned from Bible class late, so had to park at one of the higher levels.

I asked ds1 to pat dd and make her happy. I rushed and drove the car at rather high speed all the way down. Phew, dd wasn't crying. And both had not been kidnapped.

I loaded up the car and we set off.

Well, the journey there was still bearable. Dd slept for a while along AYE and only woke towards Alexandra and started to cry. ds1 tried to pacify her but she's that kind, won't stop until she gets to nurse.

So I had to bear with the screaming till we reached my sis' house and I nursed her at the car park. Then we set off for Great World City. She screamed again but my sis was around, and had only Elias to take care of then, so it was manageable.

At GWC, it was an enjoyable time cos after I nursed her to sleep, we had lunch at Cz-zar and managed to browse. That was when my sis bought the Monopoly for the boys.

Then it was time to pick Eva up so I drove to Kay Siang Rd. This time both Elias and dd were screaming away. I thought it was deafening but we still made it. While waiting for my sis to pick Eva up at her school, I nursed dd yet again.

Here comes the winner...
Kay Siang Rd is a tiny street (but for 2-way traffic!) lined with bushes and trees. It's not like typical Singapore. It's more like a countryside lane somewhere in the USA boondocks or maybe Australia outback. Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but you don't see anything but trees until you reach Eva's school.

And the school was converted from a bungalow, so the driveway is for single direction actually. Yet, it was pick up time and there were 3-4 cars waiting there. Then more taxis fetching expats came in and the driveway was jam packed with cars. It was a dead end as well so all the cars trying to leave had to do many point turn to get out.

Now, we all know how taxi drivers are. So this cab had the passenger alight and she probably told him to wait while she picks her child up. He wanted to turn around first, but right in my alley. So there was some more space behind me, and he gestured that I should reverse so he has more space to turn around.

I have a fear of offending taxi drivers, especially such burly looking ones. I read about road rage incidents in the papers... I was nursing dd remember?
She finally had her eyes close already and I was loathe to unlatch her for fear she would scream again, once I put her down in the car seat. But then this cabbie wanted me to move the car NOW.

So how?

I did the unthinkable. I was driving my mil's manual gearshift car, remember?
So left foot depress clutch, left hand shift into reverse gear, right hand holding dd nursing away, eyes check rear view mirror. Right foot depress accelerator, left hand quickly leaves gear shift stick to maneuver the steering wheel. RIght hand still holding dd.

It was nerve wrecking trying not to bang any other cars or people, nor crash into the school building, trying not to wake dd and keep her latched on, plus trying to get the clutch and accelerator balanced... I think I never multitasked more than this before.

dd and I survived but I will not do it again.

After that, we made our way to Ikea. We let them play at the kids section and also had a snack at the cafe. Eva still can't get into the playroom so we decided ds1 would not enter as well.

When the kids had enough, I went to pay for my stuff and we left. The nightmare started here. Eva, Elias and dd cried, all together, and screamed as well. It was normally not a long distance from Ikea in Alexandra back to my sis' place in Queenstown/ Strathmore, but oh man, I couldn't take the noise.

Still, my sis was around to control the situation.

The fun began when my sis alighted at her place and went home. Good, now I have a tired ds1 and a cranky dd. I thought I should let her sleep before trying to drive home, which was a much longer distance now. So I nursed her once, tried to put her back into the car seat really carefully, but no, she woke up. So I nursed her again, she finally closed her eyes and I tried to put her back again, nope, the eyes fluttered open at once.

Tired, and frustrated at the time, because it inched nearer and nearer the dismissal time of ds2 and he would be back from school to my home at 3.45pm. It was already 3.10pm. Ok, maybe I will try carrying her, swaying back and forth and walking around the playground area below the block where my sis lives.

After walking for 10min, she finally slept once again. ds1 can be a witness, I put her down with minimal movement. I even held my breath and strained not to hae any unnecessary muscle movement, I didn't blink my eye, I think my heart even stopped beating for a sec. I laid her down.

Oh man! How did babies develop such sensitivity?? She awoke and let everyone know how angry she is to be placed in the car seat. So I just shifted the gear in place and drove off. It was almost 3.30pm. How to rush back by 3.45pm?

I called my mom using speaker phone, while driving and enduring the full blast screaming of a furious baby (she can cry till her face is blue/ purple; with the mouth open wide but with no sound, then she seemed to be unable to catch her breath. after she catches back her breath, louder screams will be let off, and she can also choke and cough as if she's going to die crying. It's terrible.). Phone got through, asked my mom if she could be at my place to meet the school bus just in case I don't get back in time. Thankfully, my mom happened to be at my place!

Needless to say, after that incident till now, I still haven't tried driving alone with dd. Give me time to get over the stressful traumatic memory....

On to better experiences...

17 Apr

Mary invited us to her house for dinner. Haven't been there for a couple of years, I think!

It was lovely, the grilled dinner, and the kids had a lot of fun playing together. The adults could catch up. Of course, dd acted up a bit, but she did sleep for awhile for me to eat and enjoy myself. It's good enough. You can't ask for too much when you have a newborn.

The kids played this fun board game. It's a HABA game given to Ch by Mary's friends. It's suitable for a range of ages and is actually pretty fun for the adults to watch too. Involves frogs catching little bees flying around to get their honey.

10 Apr

I try to bring the kids to the library every week, usually Sat mornings. This particular Sat, my sis was able to bring her kids as well.

Eva loved the library and went wild taking all kinds of books to the corner where my boys were reading. Reminds me of when ds1 was a toddler. The funny thing was, she took all the Malay books! Our table was then piled up with Malay books. Had to get her to stop. Only this time, I can sit back and relax since it's my sis' job.

I still remember, with each boy, first ds1 then ds2, how I had to teach them, with each visit, when they were about 2-3, to be quiet, not to run, to take only the books they would read, and to place the books back after they are done. And then as they got older, how to borrow the books by themselves. It's not easy cos as toddlers, they are very active and they tend to talk in a normally loud voice. So after 2 rounds, I am quite tired. I've got quite a bit of time before no. 3 starts to be like that - running around and shouting.. so I'll just rest now. :-)

Of course, the kids need to let out all their energy in the playground at the library! Eva's quite the sporty gal. She looked at what the boys were doing and wanted to follow them in whatever they did. So cute.

She's able to climb very well and she can take falls well too, as long as she fell down herself. If someone pushed her, that's it, she'll scream. Kids are all like that, huh, so funny. My boys were like that too. It's the "if my brother pushed me, I must wail loudly so mommy will punish him" mentality. But if they fell down themselves, they are not sure if they'd get scolded cos they did something wrong so they will look around to make sure no one saw, and be as quiet as possible.

It's especially so for ds1 who is the reckless one. ds2 is rather timid, so he gets into less accidents cos he tries less dangerous stuff in the first place. Forgot if I mentioned this incident but ds1 was in the playground at our apartment block. I was wheeling dd in the stroller and ds2 was in the swing beside ds1. ds2 was swinging slowly. ds1 went higher and higher.

It was way too fast and high for my liking so I reminded him many times to be careful and to hold on tight. But then, once my back was turned, he tried doing something with one hand, I think it was to pretend to shoot rifle or something. And during the part of the swing where he flew up into the sky in the forward motion, his bum slipped off the wet rubber seat (it was raining before that). With only one hand holding on, it was not enough to remain on the seat, so he was flung off.

So if the kids fall cos of their own irresponsibility, it can actually be very painful, but then they somehow control themselves very hard... I heard the thud and turned back to see him on the ground. Only ds2 saw what happened, and ds2 was in shock. He didn't budge from his swing. ds1 got up at once, grabbed his arm/ elbow and rushed to hide behind me. All the while, he looked around to see if anyone saw. Can you believe it?

After I found out what happened, I was so surprised he did not cry. It looked painful to me, the bruises on his hips, and one side of the body, as well as the elbow. He's lucky he did not dislocate any joint or broke any bones cos 1. he's very light and thin, 2. the ground of the playground was padded. If it was one of those old playgrounds with concrete floor, that's it.

It did teach him a powerful lesson though. For a while he was much more careful and listened better to my instructions. I always wonder why it takes an accident or a painful experience to make them learn something better. Our advice tends to fall on deaf ears until they make a mistake and realise we were right all along. sigh... Every generation, it is the same. (I was like that too, when I was young. I only realised what my parents said was, well, generally right, only when I grew up. When I was a teen, everything they said seemed wrong and unimportant. :-))

7 Apr

My mom cooked and my sis family had dinner at my place in honour of my bil, who had his 30th bday.

We then went for Bible class, and after class, we got him a surprise cake. We sang a song together with everyone and shared the cake.

They'll be going to UK soon. My bil's going to do his Master's. I'll miss my sis and my niece/ nephew, so we should have more gatherings together now, while we can!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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