Creativity 521 #101 - Halloween DIY Cobweb

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.10.16
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So, we are back at home and the baby is recovering well, much thanks to all of you who sent in your well wishes!

Life has gotten very busy once again because aside from looking after the three kids, I'm also trying to declutter the house, pack some belongings, shop for new furniture and meet up with a handful of sponsors for our new nest. I can't wait to see how the house will turn out, but till then, it's one step at a time and I believe I'm in for quite a hectic period since the hubby rarely has any pocket of free time to help with the packing.

Nonetheless, I'm still trying to squeeze in time to do some simple crafts with the girls and keep the Creativity 521 series going. I was going through some of my craft supplies, which amounts to several boxes full, and found so many balls of yarn which have been accumulated over the years. So, now that Halloween is coming, I reckon we could do some simple and fun-filled crafts just to spice up the house a little. In today's post, I'll be sharing about our DIY Halloween Cobwebs!


1) Yarn
2) Paper plates
3) Scissors
4) Hole puncher
5) Spider toys

Firstly, cut out a round circle in the middle of the paper plate to make a hole.

Using the single hole puncher, make holes along the border and keep them evenly spaced.

Take one end of the yarn and start to weave! Basically, just go in and out, making sure that the yarn goes across the middle of the plate, to build up your cobweb.

I initially thought this was as easy as could be and we would take just 10 minutes or so to complete. It ended up that we spent over half an hour because the girls would entangle their yarn, or themselves, or get confused about whether to go in or out of each hole, so I had to step in to help free them up and guide them. Well, that's the point about doing all these crafts right? To have a bonding session with my kids while we learn and laugh at the same time. I honestly thought this was a good craft to teach my big girl about being patient too!

Once you have used up all the holes and are happy with your cobweb (remember, there's no right or wrong, no pretty or ugly), tie the end to a yarn beside it and make sure the web is secure. Make a loop of yarn at one end if you are planning to hang it up.

For the final touch, add in a spider toy to make it more real (I used sticky tape to keep the spideys in place)!

And we are all done! Ta-dah! Not too bad for 30 minutes of crafting, right? The girls insisted that we have five cobwebs and five spiders, so that there's one for each of us, including Papa and Didi, which I thought was rather sweet of them.

So yes, the girls are thrilled to be sleeping in a room with spiders and colourful cobwebs for now and I've a feeling we're gonna have fun playing pretend in their room tonight. Till the next Creativity 521 where I'll be sharing more about an upcoming birthday celebration for the girls!

Right brain training starts from young {Review of Heguru Education Centre Part I}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 14.10.16

Are you left brained or right brained?

I'm sure you've wondered about this question at some point in your life, or even did online tests just to find out which side of the brain you are more oriented towards. Generally, it is said that people who are right-brained are more creative, spontaneous and intuitive, while those who are left-brained are more logical, objective and analytical.

Image source: Heguru Education Centre

The left brain is so called the “reasoning” brain. It controls the conscious mind, logic and reasoning abilities, as well as processes information systematically and in small quantities. The right brain is the "visualisation” brain. It controls the subconscious mind, imaging abilities and creativity, and processes massive amounts of information quickly.

Did you know? Recent studies have shown that neither side of the brain can be concluded as more dominant than its counterpart. Instead, both left and right hemispheres of the brain work together hand in hand and should therefore be trained and developed equally.

All excited for our first Heguru lesson (#02-07, Waterway Point, Punggol)
Today, I'm sharing with you our review of Heguru Education Centre, a global leader in right brain education, where the girls have been faithfully attending classes for the past half a year. We are currently attending lessons in the Waterway Point outlet and Heguru Education runs centres in One KM, Sengkang and Tampines too. When we first began, it took a bit of persuading for the big girl as her class was not parent-accompanied and she was initially feeling apprehensive. I convinced her to just try it out and if she really didn't enjoy it at all, we would discontinue. After just one lesson, she walked out with a smile and told me "Mummy, I like my Heguru class. Let's come again next week!" As for the toddler, who is no stranger to right brain training, she found it all very fun and engaging, and best of all was that Mama could participate in the activities with her. "I love Heguru!" was a statement that she would say often in the past few months.

This journey has been quite a fulfilling one for us and in this post, I'll be sharing with you our thoughts and experience, including a breakdown of the lesson content, so that you can better understand what right brain training is all about.


Introduction to Heguru Right Brain Education 

Originated from Japan and developed by Hirotada and Ruiko Henmi, Heguru is an effective early childhood education method which is supported by more than three decades of extensive scientific research and practicum. 

With a kid who has started primary school, it is hard to disagree that our current education system does not allow much room for right brain development. Most of the subjects they learn in school, including the way in which lessons are taught and presented, are more for enhancing left brain functions such as speech and computation.

In view of this, Heguru Education Centre strives to stimulate children's brain development and realise its untapped potential. Through a burst of activities which takes place at a positively fast pace, the right brain is stimulated effectively through memory, numeracy, visualisation, music and speed related tasks. The aim is to help young children strengthen their right brain functions, including:

  • Photographic Memory
  • Concept Comprehension
  • Mental Concentration
  • Rhythm Processing
  • Spatial Recognition
  • Visual Imagination

Tailored to the Singapore curriculum, it also seeks to help enhance the left brain capabilities at the higher level classes as the children prepare for formal schooling. This is in the hope of teaching children to strike a balance between the left and right brain and setting up a solid foundation to realise their brain potential to the fullest.

Why do we need to start from young?

Kids are only young once, as fellow parents, I'm sure you have heard of and know that fact just too well. Research has shown that the brain develops fastest from birth up to six years of age, therefore this makes it a crucial period for right brain training to be most effective. Exposing a young child to quality stimuli will allow him/her to accumulate a vast library of knowledge in the subconscious mind. According to Heguru, if the right brain of your child is left untrained during this time frame, the rapid rate of learning decreases and your child’s innate right brain abilities becomes dormant beyond the age of six.

Program Overview

At Heguru Education Centre, there are four courses which cater to babies and children aged from 6 months old up till 12 years old.

Infant and Toddler Course -> 6 months old to 4 years old -> 60 minutes per lesson
Preschool I Course -> 5 years old -> 70 minutes per lesson
Preschool II Course -> 6 years old -> 90 minutes per lesson
Primary Course -> 7 to 12 years old -> 90 minutes per lesson

Ariel has been attending the Infant and Toddler Course while Angel has been attending the Preschool II Course. For the Infant and Toddler Course, it is parent accompanied, consists of 40-50 activities which are targeted for right brain stimulation. For the Preschool Course, students are to attend independently and there are over 60 activities aimed at right brain stimulation and left brain enhancement.

I know, that's a lot of activities in such a short time, right? A friend of mine was asking how do kids even learn when everything takes place at such an unbelievably swift pace and when the syllabus might be hard even for adults. Well, the thing is that Heguru believes that the objective is not understanding, but the inputting of data at a large volume and fast speed in order to increase the learning capacity.

Having observed the classes for the past few months, I find that while the Preschool Course is more hectic and comprises of more puzzles, knowledge and memory games, and logical skill training, the gist of the activities is similar to that of the Infant and Toddler Course and works in the same way to stimulate the brain. For both of these classes, there are two teachers each - one is the main teacher and the other is the assistant who hands over the materials, ensures the smooth flow of the activities and provide personal guidance to the children when needed.

While it is not very possible to share in depth about every single activity we do in Heguru, I think these activities can be broadly categorised and here is a list of them below, followed by our thoughts and views.

Activity Highlights

1) Memory games

To help improve memory, a series of different memory games are conducted in each class. In Link Memory, you are tasked to memorise over 40 picture cards by linking them up with a story. It can be something very random and illogical, for instance "The prawn wore a tuxedo to the lighthouse to ride on the roller coaster". What I like is how each child is given the opportunity to memorise at least 4 cards individually and he/she will have to say it out loud when the turn comes. For the rest of the cards, the whole class can participate together. This helps to ensure that they are attentive and also boosts their sense of confidence too.

Link Memory - Memorise words by linking them together through a story

In Peg Memory, every word is pegged to another word, for instance the elephant is wearing a dress. By making mental association between two different objects, this aids the children in memorisation.

Peg Memory - Make mental associations between a pair of words

To help in Photographic Memory, one of the activities is where you are shown a picture for approximately five seconds in order to memorise the positions of the different items. The number of items gradually increases, starting from three and one will be added each week till you reach six, therefore the difficulty increases accordingly. You can be arranging shoes on a shoe rack, animals on a tree or buildings on a map.

Photographic Memory - Memorise the positions of different items within seconds

Another activity to improve photographic memory is the Mandala, where the children will be shown a mandala symbol and they have to memorise the different colours by seeing it for a few seconds, fill in the colours accordingly with crayons and then learn how to draw it. I have to tell you that this is very tough and Ariel can rarely remember all of the colours, much less draw the puzzle on her own after seeing it for just a few seconds. For Angel, she actually enjoys the Mandala activity and although she can't draw it well, she surprised me by commenting that "It's not hard to remember all of the colours, I can do it!".

After observing it for a few seconds, you will be tasked to colour in a blank Mandala by making short strokes with crayons

What we feel: The memory games work in different ways and I find that they are fun, engaging and challenging too. For parents like me who don't do enough of such memory games at home, I find that these weekly classes help a lot in strengthening their memory. For instance, I was teaching Ariel some Chinese words recently and she surprised me by being able to remember at least 7 of the 10 cards I showed her, which I think is definitely a great start. As for Angel, she has been getting high scores for all her spelling tests and tells me that she can remember the words quite quickly. I honestly hope this good memory of hers can last!

2) High Speed Learning

One main highlight of every Heguru class is the Super Flash, where kids are shown a series of flashcards with different themes, let me just say that it doesn't just happen fast, it happens very fast. How fast, I hear you ask? Well, in every lesson, the kids are exposed to 450 flashcards. Yes, you read right and I typed right. 450!

Do the kids understand every word? No. Does that mean it serves no purpose? No. What this does is to continuously stimulate and activate the right brain during class and just so you know, kids can process images at a speed much faster than adults and they are learning more than that you think they are learning.

What we feel: It never fails to amaze me just how quickly the teachers have to say the words in order to keep up the speed. Okay, they do get tongue-tied at times but they recover so swiftly and I think they do a very good job of ensuring that things go smoothly, efficiently and swiftly. Credit also has to be given to the assistant teacher too. I initially thought that the kids might find it dull because that is one huge pile of flashcards to go through, but it's precisely because of the fact that the pace is so rapid and there is not a moment of rest, that it makes you feel more attentive than bored. Remember, right brain training is more about input, not output.

3) Numeracy

In every lesson, the kids get to practise their arithmetics and learn about numbers through activities such as the Dots Bar, Nummer Kaisten, abacus, counting, songs as well as fun games. They are not just exposed to addition and subtraction problems, but even simple multiplication and division too.

At first, I thought it might be a little too advanced for Ariel, especially when it involved two digit sum or more complex questions like division. To make it even harder, the pace of the activities is, as usual, very fast. However, I realise that as time went by, she was able to learn and with the help of using imaging or counting objects, she began to comprehend more of the mathematical concepts.

Learning to count from 1 to 100 using the abacus

Doing simple subtraction sums by counting objects - in this case, cups

Understanding the division concept by giving out equal amount of cookies to each bird

Learning to count money by pretending to be the customer and ordering items from the Kids Menu

Answering as many addition sums as she could within the time limit

As for Angel, the Preschooler II Course is more challenging as expected and the children have to complete a set of activity sheets in each lesson. There will be a few pages which test their numeracy skills and they have to complete as many questions as they can within a time limit - usually under one minute.

What we feel: It makes me relieved to know that they are exposed to numeracy skills training in their Heguru class because I tend to focus more on languages when I teach them at home. Mathematics has always, always been my favourite subject but it's just not that easy to make it interesting for the kids. Thus, I love how Heguru teaches arithmetic concepts in a very fun-filled, light-hearted and interesting way.

4) Intellectual Development

Puzzles are a great way to train up your kid's IQ. In every Heguru class, there will be hands on session where kids can get down to solve puzzles which help to stimulate their brain and improve their problem solving skills. Puzzle activities include Tangram and Iroita for the Infant and Toddler Class, and expands to involve others like Kamoshika and Pelican puzzles for the Preschooler Class.

Fitting pieces of the tangram to form a specific shape as shown.

Picking out shapes of the iroita puzzle and putting them into the correct places

What we feel: We welcome activities that are hands on because it gives the child a sense of participation. In the case of puzzle solving, parents also step in to help their child in the Infant and Toddler Class so I love that opportunity for us to bond and learn. While the girls both find these activities very fun and look forward to them, they have difficulties in completing the tasks within the given time so we're trying to work on their speed for now. It's good that all of these puzzles can be directly purchased from Heguru so that parents and their children can learn and practise at home too!

5) Linguistic Development

To aid in their linguistic development, kids are also exposed to weekly proverbs, chinese poetry, foreign language, phonics and storytelling. I was secretly delighted that they were able to learn some verses of the 三字经 too because we try to get the girls to recite it and instill the values in them since young too.  

Learning about Tang poem 春夜喜雨 by 杜甫

Learning about numbers, colours and animals in foreign languages like French, Italian and Spanish

What we feel: Since the time spent on every activity is so short, I wasn't sure how much the girls would learn from these language-related activities. That was until I heard them reciting the numbers 1 to 10 in Spanish one day and I was so impressed, asking them where they learnt it from. The said "Mummy, from Heguru!" They would even attempt to sing the foreign language songs and even though I'm sure they didn't get all of the words correct, it just goes to show that they made an impact in their minds.

6) Motor Skills

Now, this has to be one of the most fun parts that the kids look forward to! There will be activities and games designed to help them work on their fine and gross motor skills. We like the fact that the kids get a short break in the middle of the lesson and they get to participate in one short activity outside the classroom, be it throwing a ball and catching it, crawling through a tunnel, hitting a golf ball, balancing a bean bag and so on. This helps the kids to re-focus once they get back to class. For me, I really like the activities that test their fine motor skills and help improve their dexterity.

Using a piece of magnet and placing it under the paper in order to move the car around the track

Using cotton buds to outline a star and determining the total count

Making a boat through origami

Picking up sponge pieces with chopsticks to 'feed' the mouse through a small opening

Balancing a bean bag and tossing it into a pail

What we feel: I find that some of these activities are very creative and never fail to bring fun and laughter to the kids. For me, I strongly believe that kids learn best through playing and thus these motor skills activities are a good time for them to relax and have fun while learning at the same time. I can tell that Ariel enjoys the crafts and motor skills activities tremendously, and taking time to have a quick stretch outside the classroom makes things worth looking forward to and helps her to re-focus when she goes into the class again.

7) Extrasensory Perception (ESP)

Just like how the left brain has senses like sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell, the right brain sense is what is called as Extrasensory Perception, or ESP in short. You can also call it intuition, and while some non-believers will say that this cannot be proven by scientific theories, it is a key aspect of right brain training and here at Heguru, the teachers will help to develop every child's ESP sense through four methods - Touch, Telepathy, Prediction, Clairvoyance.

ESP training where kids are asked to pick out, among four options, the item hidden behind the cloth

What we feel: This was one part that I was quite skeptical about, especially when I assumed that my girl was simply guessing the correct answer. Yes, my left brain was telling me that ESP is just something paranormal and it remains controversial as to whether it exists. Then, I started seeing Ariel getting some of the guesses correctly and she had this beam on her face as if saying "I did it, I got the answer". So, while I'm not sure whether she really 'felt' it as she should, but I get it now that ESP is a huge part of right brain training at Heguru and as long as it helps to stimulate the kids' brains and bring out their potential, I'm all for it.

8) Visualisation Skills

Visualisation skills are enhanced through image training, whereby the teacher acts out a story under dim light and turns it into an interactive session. This is one of the segments that I personally enjoy the most and I love how teacher brings out her dynamic side and engages the kids to join in by doing the actions and participating in the 'activity'. It could be running in a race, a visit to the zoo, having a picnic in the park and every time it happens, I can't help but join in the fun imagination with my child.

What we feel: Image training is a fun and interesting part of the lesson that most of the kids enjoy. I remember there was one class where we turned up late and missed this segment, much to the dismay of the little one. We love the way the teachers are so bubbly, animated and engaging, which greatly helps to capture the attention of the kids. It also becomes fun and interactive when the kids start to perform the actions and pretend that they are really doing the activity. It's not just a good way to train up visualisation skills, it's also a great way for you to make use of your creativity and imagination too.

9) General Knowledge

At Heguru, kids are also exposed to the arts, world heritage, literature, science and learn general knowledge in the process. Don't be surprised, they even get to learn about Pablo Picasso, Machu Picchu and elements of the Periodic Table.

Learning about the names of some musical instruments

One of the common topics between the girls is the MEP song that they have learnt in class - which changes every term. It is usually a catchy, original song that is not just fun to sing along but enables you to learn some general knowledge too - for instance we learnt about evolution of plants, three classes of levers, countries and capitals and parts of the heart.

Learning about the countries in Asia and their capital cities

What we feel: The first time I sang one of the MEP songs, I was thinking that it was not a typical song and judging by how the lyrics were hard to remember or comprehend, I wasn't sure if the girls would be interested in it. It did help that the teachers would sing and dance with actions to the song, but was that enough to pique their interest? It turned out that these two sisters sang it so often, be it in the car, in the shower and at bedtime, that I made sure I memorised the lyrics so I could sing it with them. Turning knowledge into a song can be great way to learn, right? As for being exposed to arts, heritage and literature, while it's certain that they can't remember all they've seen, I remind myself that it's all about the input of knowledge and hopefully this is all stored somewhere in their subconscious mind.

10) Moral Education

There are also songs which help to instill moral values in kids, for example taking responsibility for your belongings, learning to cooperate with your friends, turning off the TV when you eat, being nice to people around you and so on. For one, I know Ariel loves listening to these songs because she always turns over to whisper "Mummy, I like this song" when the music plays.

Singing a song about cooperation

What we feel: It may just be a short 2-3 minutes spent on the moral education song in every lesson, but I do appreciate the fact that it is included in a right brain training class. Cultivating the right values in my children from an early age is important to me and I'm only thankful when this gets reinforced in school or enrichment classes. We also love that these songs are not commonly heard and they even come with illustrations to help convey the message across more clearly to the kids.

11) Reading and Writing

While there is a fair bit of reading and writing from the Preschooler Course onwards, I find it a good thing to know that even kids in the Infant and Toddler Course are expected to complete activity sheets in the last quarter of every lesson. Angel's activity sheets are typically geared towards arithmetics, puzzles and analytical problems while Ariel's deal more with phonics, letter writing and numeracy.

Learning to write letters and matching words to the corresponding pictures

Learning to write numbers by weighing items and expressing the weight in grams

Parents are encouraged to join in, guide and bond with their children for the Infant and Toddler Course

What we feel: I must say that Ariel has improved in her letter writing and the Number Memory has greatly helped her to learn to write the numbers from 0 to 9. From needing my help to guide her hand when we first started, she now brushes my hand away and says "Mummy, I can do it". As for Angel, she doesn't have a problem with writing but she does need to improve on speed writing since every page of her workbook has to be completed within a limited time. On that, she is progressing slowly but surely and I can see how both of them have improved in this sense.

12) Sing and Dance

Last but not least, this is the segment that both of my girls super love and will miss once they enter the Primary Course. Yes, it's getting up on your feet to sing and dance! You know how some kids are reserved and may not like to join in the dancing part? Well, they are the opposite and both of them can't wait to get up to boogie every time.

What we feel: The class usually ends with a song and dance, and while it might not be a nursery rhyme that the kids can relate to, it's usually a fast paced, catchy tune complete with easy to follow actions. I think that it makes it a fun way to say goodbye to their peers and the teachers, which in turn makes them all excited to return next week.


To truly exploit right brain training, first and foremost, you have to ensure that your kid enjoys going for class. I am quite sure we are on a great start with Heguru because other than looking forward to every weekly class and finding joy in many of the fun-filled activities listed above, the kids also don't find it a chore to do their Heguru homework and instead see it as a fun challenge. Think the homework is simple? Well, not really! I was amazed by the standard of homework in Angel's class and how it could pose as a challenge even to me, someone who used to excel in Mathematics, loves puzzles and enjoys problem solving. On a positive note, it gives us time to bond when we go through it together at home, doesn't it?

Example 1 of Angel's homework in Preschooler II Course - Cutting

Example 2 of Angel's homework in Preschooler II Course - Shadowgraph

For the Infant and Toddler Course, parents will be debriefed at the end of each class where the teachers will give out a parents' lecture sheet, take a few minutes to recap the main activities done, the skills picked up and give suggestions on how parents can further revise these skills with the kids at home. 

I strongly believe that when it comes to enrichment classes like Heguru, you don't see results in just one month or a term. Instead, you need to let your child embark on the journey at an early age and it needs to be long lasting through the years in order to fully reap the fruits of your labour. I'm quite certain that as long as the girls keep up their enthusiasm and positive attitude towards their class, this is going to be a beneficial and insightful journey for us.

Ariel and Teacher Jocelyn, who is the main teacher of her Infant and Toddler Class

Angel and Teacher Shi Xian who is the main teacher of her Preschooler II class
In our next review, I will share more in-depth on the girls' progress and what we have learned from the journey. I will also talk about the Primary Course which Angel will be attending, how it ties in with the school syllabus and determine if Heguru is truly beneficial for primary schoolers of her age. As for Ariel, she is at the ideal age for right brain training and we'll evaluate what she has gained from this whole experience.

Remember, right brain training has to start from young so if you are keen to help your child develop his/her potential, don't wait till the time is too late.

Disclosure: We were invited by Heguru Education Centre to review their courses and the girls attended complimentary lessons in return. All photographs and opinions are our own.

A heartfelt letter to my youngest child - Stay strong, my baby

Posted by ~Summer~ on 13.10.16
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 So, the past fortnight has really been a tough period for us. The poor baby boy unfortunately caught the measles bug and developed a high fever, a runny nose, bad cough and a terrible rash that spread to even his fingers and toes. To make matters worse, he subsequently contracted pneumonia. Yes, it all sounds quite terrible, right? As I type this post, I am watching my baby sleeping in his cot in the isolated ward at KKH Children's Hospital, where we've spent the last three days.

Do you know what's one of the worst things when your child falls sick?

It's not about feeling all worn out just looking after a fussy, whiny child who has been refusing to eat anything for a week. It's not about neglecting your other children and having to ask the hubby to look after them while you handle the sick one. It's not about spending lots of time, money and effort just to get to the root of the problem. It's not about being so sleep deprived like you feel like a walking zombie who still has to breastfeed the baby, since this is the only thing he takes in, every 1 to 2 hours. It's not about feeling guilty that you may have indirectly landed him in this state and feeling like a terrible mum (well, this one ranks close).

But, it's about watching him suffer in pain and yet you know that there is nothing you can do to ease that pain. That, I tell you, is heartbreaking and I can almost hear my heart breaking into a million pieces whenever he shrieks and wails. My baby, my little baby, what can I possibly do to make you feel better except being here with you and giving you hugs and kisses? I wish, I wish, I really wish that I was the one in torment, and not you.

Here's a heartfelt letter written to my youngest one, whom I hope will stay strong and recover soon from this ordeal.


Dear Asher,

It's our third night here in KKH and I'm watching over you as you sleep beside me. It's been a really tough time for you in the past couple of weeks, right? Even since you developed a fever 40°C fever 10 days ago, we've been rushing all over, going to a 24-hour clinic, visiting your PD not once but thrice before we eventually landed in the hospital two days ago.

You know, Daddy and I are the kind of parents who don't really like to let our kids take medicine and whenever possible, we prefer for our children to fight viruses and bacterial on their own and build up a strong immunity rather than having to rely on mediciation. That was because we stayed in Scandinavia for nearly five years and in the place where we lived, doctors would tell you to let your child drink Coke or eat ice cream if he is running a fever. As long as a child is able to sit, stand, talk and play, he/she is fine. So yes, please understand this mindset and forgive us for not rushing you to A&E when you fell ill. 

That said, Mummy did bring you to Dr Tan, your paediatrician, three times over a 10-day period. During the first two visits, she didn't seem too worried about you and prescribed you with antibiotics and other usual medicine to treat your symptoms. Even when you showed up with a rash on your body during the review, she didn't think it would be too serious and perhaps it was just an allergy or a viral rash. It was only when you started displaying a shortness of breath and was grunting in the third visit that she decided to refer us to the hospital for a thorough check up. The funny thing was, even the senior doctors who first saw you here told me that it was unlikely that you had developed measles and they assumed that it was probably some other virus instead.

Well, they turned out to be wrong because your measles swab came back positive and the X-ray also confirmed that you had developed pneumonia. Uh oh. Oh gosh. Oh no. 

Whatever we need to do to get you better, we'll do it. My only wish was that you would feel better and recover soon. You were not eating, you whined incessantly, you couldn't breathe properly, you were fussy about who carried you, you hated the nebulizer and all the medicine you were forced to swallow, you dreaded the swab and blood tests, you shunned from people who were wearing a mask on their face, you would wake up in the middle of your sleep to cry and what really saddened me was that you - my usually cheerful baby with that infectious laughter - had not smiled for so many days already. I miss your bubbly self, my dear.

You know, our ward is not too bad and it feels like two of us are on a retreat as we escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. One good thing about being in an isolated ward due to a contagious disease is that we get to have our very own privacy even though we were only paying the cheapest price. Woohoo! Our very own mother and baby ward.

Last night, the doctors decided to change your course of antibiotics from ampicilin, which you were taking orally, to rocephin, which had to be given through the IV cannula. That means that the nurses had to insert a cannula, which is like a tube, into your vein so that the antibiotics can be infused into your bloodstream directly. Sob, the moment I heard, I knew you weren't going to like it. It's easy to tell myself that this is for the better, for your own good, but that doesn't help me to feel better hearing your protests, your howls, your cries for Mama when they took you from me and asked me to step out of the room.

I'm sorry, so sorry that you had to go through all of this, my dear. 

My heart broke when I saw you through the glass window and I felt every inch of your pain, and more. I cried when you cried, uncontrollably, and I tried to wash away my tears and looked brave when the doctor spoke to me. But no, inside I was tearing apart and it didn't help that daddy wasn't there to hold my hand and tell me that things were gonna be okay. I would have given anything just to ease that suffering of yours and I wish I could take your place. I wanted to shout to you and assure you that Mummy didn't leave you alone, that I was still by your side holding you up, cheering for you and loving you so so deeply.

Tomorrow will be a better day, yeah?

I believe that things happen for a reason in life and if this ordeal is one that we have to go through, let's make sure we emerge stronger at the end of it. Stronger body, stronger mindset, stronger bond, stronger you and me. You can't have a rainbow without the rain, right? 

For now, I'm really, really looking forward to our rainbow but even if the rain continues, please know that we will be standing together hand in hand until the gloomy skies are gone. No, we don't need an umbrella. All we need is you and me, and the willingness to smile and dance in the rain. Hang in there, my child, and stay strong. 


P.S. Thanks to Daddy who took leave to take care of us, running around every day to chauffeur the elder ones to and from school. We are also very blessed to have friends and family who visited us and brought so much food, balloon and well wishes. By the way, your jiejies miss you so much and I know you miss them badly too. I'm so happy they managed to sneak in to see you tonight, even if it was just for a while. That sibling love, all the the sweet touches and "I miss you"s might just be what you need to feel better tomorrow. We love you so much, baby! 

Happiness is... seizing the day

Posted by ~Summer~ on 4.10.16
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Carpe diem.

That is something I've believed in for a long time, and as best as I can, I try to make it happen. I believe that we should learn to enjoy the present instead of worrying about the future. That we need to embrace the moment and make the most of today. That it's not the number of years in your life but the life in those years. That happiness comes when you learn to seize the day.

I'm terrible at planning for the future, I must say. But in cherishing the present and making it count, I think I'm doing not too bad a job at that with the kiddos. In September's "Happiness is...", here's how we tried to live life the carpe diem way and treasured every moment as best as possible.


For the first time since Asher was born, and the first time after a good many years, I went out without the kids! For a stay-at-home mum like me who is with her kids 24/7/365, whose hubby works pretty late nearly every day, who doesn't have a third pair of hands to help her look after the kids, being able to go out with girlfriends isn't something you get to do too often. In fact, it's precisely because of how this happens once in a blue, blue, blue moon that it felt kind of liberating, even though I have to admit my heart felt so heavy at first because I was so afraid that the baby would bawl without me. And my milk.

It ended up that I hurriedly rushed back after the event ended because the hubby called me and I could hear a shrieking baby in the background. He was crying profusely and I had to find a bench to breastfeed him in public, without a nursing shawl, just so to soothe and comfort him. Poor baby. Mummy guilt? Yes. Any regrets? Not really, because I think I did enjoy that few hours of break, which in any case might take years to happen again.

So, where did I go? Yes, you saw the pics, of course! We went for Jay Chou's "地表最强" concert! I was surprised by how many of you wrote to ask me to enjoy the show and gave kind comments like how I deserved the break. Thank you thank you thank you!

Here I was, with fellow mummy bloggers from Life's Tiny Miracles, Bumble Bee Mum, So Natty, A Million Little Echoes and Amazingly Still. It didn't matter to me much that we were seated high up and tucked in a corner. or that we couldn't really hear much since the sounds were muffled, or that we couldn't even make out where Jay was at times and had to use a pair of binoculars. I enjoyed every moment of it and I sang my heart out to the oldies songs that I know and love so much! Think 稻香, 屋顶,开不了口,半岛铁盒 and more!

We visited the newly opened rooftop playground at Compass One not once, not twice, but thrice already! Yup, I even let Ariel skip school so that we could catch the grand opening and the lion dance ceremony. Hehe. Seize the day, seize the day. Not now, then when? Anyway, the kids totally love this new playground and if you haven't been there, check out our introduction to the Ninja Trail here.

The girls have been loving their art classes at heART Studio and I'm just glad to see that both of them are enjoying it. I really love what they did recently (see above) - Angel made an otter fossil out of clay while Ariel did a painting of giraffes at the zoo. The big girl has been getting compliments from her teachers and I can see that she is making steady progress as time passes too. As for the little one, I loved how she chose to paint a mummy and baby giraffe, as well as a mummy and girl who were watching at the side. Says a lot about how much she loves me, yes no?

In wanting to meet up and thank one of our sponsors personally, we hopped by Happy Kidz World fair that happened in Suntec. Yes yes, the girls are so lucky to be getting a set of ergonomic table and chair each and we can't wait to set up their study area, like finally! So far, they have been doing their work on dining tables, low height tables or just on the floor. While we did managed to survive all these years, I am so excited that they are finally going to have their own study area! Will share with you more in Dec!

We are grateful to be receiving new toys, like these that we got from Hasbro, yet at the same time we also remind ourselves to share the goodness and have been giving some to our friends, neighbours or donating to Salvation Army. Declutter, declutter! That is a word that is constantly on my mind nowadays. Still, I can't wait to play Monopoly with my kids soon!

Coming to my baby, I'm enjoying my one on one time with him in the mornings when both the girls are in school. Even though it's just a short 3-hour, it's enough for us to really bond like no other and while it's tiring that he sticks to me like superglue nowadays, I wouldn't have it any other way too. This cutie has now learnt to sit up straight, crawl and he just sprouted his first two teeth this month too! Awwww. Why does it still melt my heart every time?

One afternoon, we made a spontaneous decision to take the girls for a haircut which I'm glad they took it in their stride and didn't protest. It was a relief to see that the big girl has bangs now as her fringe was something that frustrated me recently. Why? She would forget to clip her hair, or choose not to clip, and subsequently use her hand to support the hair when she does homework or reads her books. Argghh. Glad that problem is solved for now!

We have been revamping up the toy kitchen corner and bought some wooden toys from The Better Toy Store which I feel is worth the investment. The girls now love to cook, have named their corner Rainbow Cafe and even came up with menus for us to choose from when we order. Awww, I'm so gonna miss this part of their childhood when they outgrow this kind of imaginary play.

The Eiffel Tower has this special place in my heart, you do know that is because that was where the hubby and I got engaged, right? So I can never resist anything that has to do with it and was so happy to see this love bridge and Eiffel poster in JCube when we travelled all the way to the west one day. Yes, by public transport, since the hubby wasn't with us! It turned out to be a really fun-filled and memorable day for all of us.

Since there was a week long holiday, we also managed to check out some new places of interest and playgrounds that we hadn't had the chance to visit. I don't know how we managed to squeeze out so much time but I was so glad we did!

First up, we checked out Marine Cove and the girls had a blast climbing up the rope structures. These two gutsy little ones climbed all the way to the top and reached the tallest slide, which I thought was pretty challenging as you had to keep your balance for a long distance, scale up tier after tier and walk along a narrow edge before you could get there.

We brought along their bikes and while the jiejies were busy climbing, the baby boy had a try at riding the Cruzee balance bike. Gosh, soon he will be pedaling and cycling already, my littlest baby!

Next, we explored Beary Fun Gym in Changi with friends and the kids totally enjoyed themselves playing hide and seek, whizzing down the spiral slide, rolling in the ball pool and most of all, jumping on the trampolines!

One of our favourites was this short wall which you could climb up and then just jump down and land on the soft foam. Ariel was initially apprehensive but once she did it, she went again, and again, and AGAIN! All I needed was to help her find a sense of confidence, just once, and she never looked back in fear again.

One of the highlights during the holidays was a surprise I planned for the girls - we were going for our first ice skating session in Singapore! Yes yes, I've been wanting to do this for a long time and I'm so glad I did. What amazed me was that both of them learnt to keep their balance and could walk on the ice themselves at the end of it! Awesome! More details on the place and our experience here.

September also brought about a handful of solo parenting moments for me as the hubby had to travel or work late on many occasions. Even though that definitely brings about more fatigue, it also grants me more opportunities to seize the day with just me and my three kids, right? Positive thinking is a great way to move forward!

So we sent the hubby off at the airport and then when he returned, we wanted to surprise him by turning up even though he told us not to. We patiently waited, and waited, at the arrival gate and even when the last person left, there was still no sign of him. Panicking, I gave him a call but he didn't answer. When we finally got hold of him, he said he was already in a cab on the way home. Huhhh? Yup, it somehow happened. He said he had no luggage and so went through another gate instead because he wanted to exit quickly, and totally missed seeing us. Oh well, that ruined the surprise somewhat but as long as he was fine, that was really all we cared about at the end of the day.

In wanting to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival with the kids, I also did something a little plucky and brought them to squeeze with the crowd at Gardens by the Bay so that we could check out the lantern exhibits, watch dragon dance performance, do art and craft and basically just soak in the festive mood. My father in law probably thought I was really mad when I declared on a Saturday "We're going to the Gardens". And the hubby was not in town. He said "Wouldn't there be a lot of people?" I thought that was the whole point but replied "I think so but don't worry, we will be okay." Being the strong-willed me, I also rejected his kind offer of sending us there and instead, took our huge pram (it can carry all 3 kids!), lanterns and barang barang to travel on the MRT to and fro. We learnt about the Jade Rabbit, Chang Er, Hou Yi and more! With all the walking we did that day (we covered almost all of the displays), I think it was a pretty good workout for all of us.

Besides the lanterns, another fun part of the night was when we did what many others were doing at Food Street - make dragon breaths! Well, some of you might not know but it's actually just cracker balls dipped in liquid nitrogen. One cup of this cost $6 and they were selling like hotcakes that evening we were there! Seize the day, right? I couldn't, just couldn't, resist queuing up when my girls looked on with that burning curiosity in their eyes. Have to, have to try! Nah, take my money!

So yes, we took picture after picture, video after video just to totally make that $6 worth its while.

It was hilarious when I asked them to make monkey faces and they really made me laugh out loud at their antics. Awwww, another fond mother-and-daughters moment for me to remember for a lifetime, I hope.

My dad turned 60 this month and we held a simple celebration for him by having a dim sum lunch, a zi char dinner and a cake ceremony where the girls presented their handmade cards to their dear Ah Gong. They were the ones who took the initiative and suggested that they wanted to make cards, a gesture which greatly warmed my heart, and I'm just happy to see the effort they took to bring joy to someone they love.

Birthday parties are always something worth looking forward to, and we are thankful to have friends and families who invite us over to join in their special occasion. Check out the girls' face painting, which is something that always thrill them and they can never resist getting some colour on their faces!

Spare time is golden nowadays, but I try my best to treasure as much of the little time I have with each of the kids. I've been teaching Ariel how to write her Chinese name (see our tips here) and that is going quite well for now. I really hope she can keep up with her love for learning and always find delight in gaining new knowledge.

Friday movie nights are still happening in our household and I'm kind of getting accustomed to bringing the kids out on my own for a show. It totally shocked a friend I met at dinner when I told her that we were going to watch Storks, haha. Just so you know, I do arm myself with snacks, drinks and biscuits (especially for the baby) just so we can sit through the show. The girls don't pose any problem for now, so it's more of keeping the baby occupied and happy. We ended off our happy movie night playing at the playground and I taught my big girl how to hang upside down from the ropes, which only excited her and made her keep going and going!

Last but not least, we had a weekend getaway to LEGOLAND where the kids had a blast at the Halloween Brick-or-Treat party! Read our experience here. I was surprised, and relieved, that things went quite smoothly and we shared so much fun and laughter. I love seeing the three of them sitting side by side with wide grins on their faces, hearing the chattering and laughter in the air and feeling the warmth in my heart.

It was baby Asher's first visit and the sisters were so awesome in taking care of him and making sure he was enjoying the experience too. Awww, you lucky boy, isn't it nice to have not just one, but two sisters who dote on you and love you so much?

It's going to be a busy year end for us as we start the decluttering and packing to prepare for the move. Till more happy updates next month! Carpe diem, everyone!

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