Colours of a Rainbow

Prancing around in rainbow-coloured pants must be one of the best things about being a kid!

I inwardly squeal with delight when I see this particular pair on this particular bub :)

Happy Monday, folks!!!

The Breakfast Show

Did you know that you can watch a free show at the Jurong Bird Park?

We discovered it by chance last weekend while deciding on a family outing. They do The Early Bird Breakfast Show, where you  get to watch a couple of birds perform while having your breakfast. Park admission tickets are not required, and you are allowed in as long as you purchase a Hawk's Cafe breakfast item.

Breakfast starts at 8.30am, and the Show at 9.15am.
After the show, you'll get a chance to take photographs of and with the birds, and can choose to get your fortunes predicted by a card-picking bird.

Our plan was to just stay for breakfast and the show, and then let Bubbles roam around outside the Park. There's a little pond with fishes, ducks and swans. However, after seeing how Bubbles was so intrigued by the colourful birds, we paid to enter the park and stayed for half a day!

Anyway I thought I'll share about the show because the chap you see in the photo told us that hardly anyone goes for it! I think it makes for a very pleasant morning outing!

Bubbles & her Fwend

This is Bubbles and her dear friend. She says her name and that she is her fwend.

They are so sweet together, sharing their books and things, and taking turns to hold each other's hands as they trail behind their mommas.

Her fwend's mummy and I are delighted that they get along so well. Their dads grew up together. As boys, they had many joint family holidays and recall carefree days playing on beaches along with their brothers.

Looking at the girls' friendly interactions, perhaps we can continue the family holiday tradition in this new generation. I'll look forward very much to that!

I know what THAT is!

Hug! Cold (Bottle)

My lil Bubbles just turned 14 months yesterday. We have been told that she's an early talker. I didn't quite know this for sure as she's the first baby of her generation on both sides of the family. I've only watched one other kid grow from birth and he is a boy who hit all his physical milestones way earlier than Bubbles and when he started speaking he said everything at once.

In this past 2 weeks however, I'm beginning to realise that we may really have a little wordsmith in the house. I tried to email my in-laws my regular update on Bubbles' development and found it quite difficult to include every single thing she now says. She's learning new words so fast and furiously by being game to repeat whatever we say, and having the ability to connect meanings to the words. I'm now in the process of writing down all that she now knows, just for memories' sake!

Friends have asked me what I have been doing to have enabled her to learn so many words so quickly. I think back and would say that besides regularly reading to her, I simply go about my day talking to her about what we are doing. It  is mostly mundane things like "Mummy is putting on my shoes now" or "You're having brown rice with carrot and spinach and salmon" or "Uncle is sweeping the floor" or "Look, the bird is hopping!". I do make it a point to keep her involved by always speaking to her, describing everything around us and what we are doing.

There's a flipside to talking to her about everything I do though:
Last Saturday, we walked by a lingerie shop when my little girl stopped, pointed to a mannequin and shouted BRA!

Roboman turned to me and gave me THE LOOK.

Read other Bubbles' Speak entries!

Rad Hair

I was doing my usual "photo therapy" and came across this one from the weekend.

Doesn't my baby really rock this look?

Her hairband fell off after she bounced around testing out mattresses at a furniture shop. Instead of asking me to put it back on for her, she gamely did it herself, with this stylish result ;)

Mother-Child Bonding on Keppel Island

During one of my recent days off from work, I bundled Bubbles into the car and drove to Keppel Island.

We spent the morning strolling around looking at boats and other random things. She was particularly intrigued by the large concrete 'balls' that wouldn't move (she tried very hard to 'roll' them), and an orange float that hung near the jetty.

As we both already had our breakfasts, I didn't bother sitting at the cafe, although we did walk in to have a look at the selection of breads and cakes.

At close to 14 months of age, Bubbles and I can now take simple pleasure in each other's company. Just the both of us exploring the world - pointing out interesting things, saying hello to strangers, holding hands with each taking turns to lead the other, and occasionally giving each other assuring mummy-baby hugs. It is a special relationship we now share, and I pray so hard that this will be a relationship that blossoms as she grows to be her own independent person.

Marriage after Baby

View from OC taken at our recent date night

These few weeks, I've had friends who went off on holidays sans kids/babies. Childcare arrangements were made and the couples took off for romantic getaways. One mother was still breastfeeding, and lugged her breastpump along to prevent engorgement. All the couples reported that they had a wonderful time, and although they did miss their kids, most felt that the getaway was worth it.

In contrast, a colleague shared that her husband and her have never gone on a date since their 1st child was born. (He's now 7!) They did try once - they made reservations at a restaurant and arranged for the Gramps to babysit. However, on the way to dinner, they felt so bad for leaving their boy behind that they turned back to pick him up. In response to my (kaypoh) question, she said both her husband and her feel the same about this, and have since not made arrangements to go on dates.

The recency of these related experiences made me think about my own marriage to Roboman. Certainly things are not the same since the arrival of Bubbles, and I don't think it is reasonable to think that it should be.

The focus of our marriage now is undoubtedly Bubbles. For her, our lifestyle has dramatically changed - we now have most dinners in, plan weekends around her, keep our socials to baby-acceptable standards, moved furniture to ensure her safety etc. Basically, we enjoy personal and couple time only when she is being taken care of by the grandparents, or is asleep. I've realised that this change in lifestyle is what scares many people from choosing to have kids.

We have also found out what it means when people say 'marriage is hard work'. Because it can be, and especially so when you have children. You have to work to pay the bills, get by with little sleep, deal with baby related challenges, sacrifice personal time and enjoyment, and constantly make decisions for the sake of someone else. Having a kid also opens up a whole new area in a marriage that includes a change of relationship with parents and in-laws, and the surfacing of deep-rooted, sometimes subconscious beliefs and expectations that each of us hold.

Roboman reminds me that our kid(s) will grow up and leave home to lead their own lives and therefore I should remember to have a life apart from Bubbles. I remind him that I still need to be romanced even though I am now a mother and only have pockets of time to spare. We take time to have deep conversations, to pray together, to work on our differences, and consciously take steps to strengthen our marriage in this season of life. Some things we manage to change straightaway, some, we acknowledge that we may take a whole lifetime to perfect. We work on appreciating each other more, and train our hearts and minds to see the positives that each of us bring to the marriage and family.

For some of us, taking steps to protect and strengthen the marriage may mean date nights or child-free holidays too, or not. Whatever it may be, press on, for a strong marriage is the best home for children.

Jay Chou, you have a new fan

Yesterday, Bubbles was rummaging through our DVD collection when this caught her eye.

She held the case tight and ran to show it to me.

Hat! she says, giggling with excitement
Hat! she repeats, as she dramatically pats her head, her face beaming

Today, I saw her pick out this DVD again, mumbling Hat! to herself before giving Jay a kiss.

Well, she has come a long way since our very 1st hat game!

Doggy Stickers

A friend gave Bubbles a sheet of Dog and Cat stickers from the Animal Lovers League after reading about how she seems to like dogs as you will recall from the posts here and here.

I stuck a couple of dog stickers around her cot. (the purple one in the middle is a random wall tile sticker and not one of the nice doggy ones)

She likes them and I've seen her waving to and kissing the dogs when she wakes up from her naps :)

A Photo to keep me going

I have a whole store of photos of Bubbles on my phone. I flip through them when I need a little something to perk up my mood.

This photo in particular has put a smile on my face this PMS-filled week. It shows a jubilant Bubbles after purchasing a loaf of bread from a vending machine.

A bread vending machine through the eyes of my Bub is a very interesting and attractive contraption. The exciting machine allows her to drop in coins, press buttons, watch a loaf get pushed outwards and drop, and use both hands (and all her might) to pull out the chosen loaf. Upon retrieving the loaf of bread, she will make gleeful sounds and hug it protectively all the way home.

This has now become an enjoyable little weekly ritual for us. (Her grandpa has been known to let her do this more often by purchasing small cake rolls that we usually would not choose to eat =P)

It is impossible for me not to smile when I remember my baby and her loaf of bread!

Baking Cakes!

We're expecting a number of visitors at home this week so besides curry puffs, I decided to make my usual carrot cake.

Although I used the SAME non-stick silicone cake pan, one cake stuck rather badly to the bottom of the new pan. It is rather disappointing as I bought the same cake pan because I thought it worked quite well.

As this is the 2nd time I'm using it to similar cake-sticking results, I think I got a lemon. Boo

We had fun baking though! I parked Bubbles in her highchair next to me in the kitchen. She got to see how I cracked the eggs and shouted Boom! with glee each time an egg plopped into the mixing bowl. I even let her hold the wooden spoon for a bit to help with the mixing. She saw the mixture turn colour with each new ingredient added. She was later given a little bowl and a measuring spoon to do her own 'mixing' as I completed the rest of the cake making.

For safety reasons, I took her out of the kitchen before the cake was put into the pre-heated oven. When the cake started to rise, I carried her back in to see the cake through the oven's window. She excitedly pointed to it and demanded Open! Open! (which in reality sounds more like Ah Pen! Ah Pen!) I had to explain to her that we could not open the oven door until the cake was cooked. Thankfully, she graciously accepted my refusal to Ah Pen after just a few tries.

So Happee it was!

I am so glad to read how wonderful Happee Day went!

We were there in the morning to drop off the Activity Kits and I was blown away by the sheer number of enthusiastic helpers buzzing around! I particularly liked the colour-coordinated balloons that matched so well with the Happee Day logo. We couldn't stay, but it is heartwarming to read Daphne's post about how well it all went.

Thank you dear friends who joined me in making the kits possible! Thanks Yuling, PTeo, GLee, JLee, RKoh, LohLL, and SLau. Thanks too to all the others who offered to help pack. In the end it was easier for me to do it late at night when Bubbles was asleep and chores were done. I actually had 2 pregnant friends who offered manual labour! (You know who you are!)

Donations to the Children's Cancer Foundation will still be open till 7 November 2010. Click the button at the end of this post to make your donation.

Flowers in my hair

A friend crocheted an assortment of flower hair-ties for Bubbles.

They're really pretty and I like them on Bubbles' hair. She gets curious about them and often pulls them off to have a good look. Once satisfied that she doesn't mind them, she'll attempt to place them back on her head again before turning to me to ask for help!