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April 2016

We had a great start to April, because we went for a short holiday in Penang, and had a wonderful time just spending time together as a family. I asked C if it was our babymoon, and he said, “You can call it whatever you want. To me, it’s a holiday.” *rolls eyes*

Anyway, we didn’t do much in Penang, apart from hanging out at the beach and hotel pool, but that was exactly what we wanted, so it was the perfect holiday. When we got back, I started working on beach-related activities with Noah, since he was so into the whole beach thing, and I think I’m going to try being more organised and doing theme-based activities with Noah, because it makes more sense this way. TRY, okay, TRY.

My favourite photo of us in Penang


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One of our beach-related crafts


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While we were away in Penang, Noah’s class had their Chinese Learning Festival, and I was rather bummed that we had to miss it, because I wanted to see what Noah had been learning in school. He seems to be able to understand more Chinese phrases, and loves singing this Chinese song, “小兔子乖乖”. There were another two classes having their Chinese Learning Festival after we returned, and thankfully, his teacher was very accommodating, and allowed us to join another class for it. I loved watching Noah speak in Mandarin at the different stations, even though his pronunciation isn’t very accurate, because it’s already an improvement from last year. There were five stations in total: dressing up as a bear and serving “大,中,小” food items to me, “buying” food from a market stall, dressing up as a rabbit, acting out the “小兔子乖乖” story, and singing it (of course), going through three obstacle courses to “拔萝卜”, and lastly, doing the “盖房子” craft for the “三只小猪” story.

With his “盖房子” craft


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I’ve been reading more Chinese books at home with Noah, and he sometimes even picks out Chinese books on his own for me to read, which makes me really happy. However, now that I’m pregnant, I don’t know how much time and energy I’ll have to nurture his interest in the language. Since he has been showing more of an interest in Chinese, we decided to capitalise on it, and sent him for a trial class at Berries. Honestly, we never wanted to send him for any enrichment classes at his age, but we acknowledge that Chinese is an area that we really neglect at home, so we want to give him more exposure to the language, and hopefully, he will grow to love it more.

He was quite happy to go for the trial class, although he was a tad worried that I wouldn’t pick him up after that. I don’t know why he would even think of that, since I’ve always picked him up from school on time! Anyway, I was all prepared to convince him to continue with his classes there, but he surprised me by saying that he liked the session, and I promptly signed him up for a term. So far, I’m happy with the progress that he has made, in that he is actually able to recognise some Chinese words, and tries to use some Chinese words when he talks to us at times. Most importantly, he runs into class happily, and willingly does his “revision” at home during the week, and that is good enough for us.

Going for his trial class


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C also bought Noah his first tennis racket from Queensway Shopping Centre, because Noah has been asking to play tennis with him. He got him the smallest kid-sized racket we could find, as well as some big tennis balls, also meant for young children, and so far, Noah seems to like the sport quite a bit. I think he just likes being able to hit the balls around, even though his technique still isn’t quite right, and he often hits the ball the way he plays hockey. At least he doesn’t get discouraged when C corrects him, and is always eager to go “play tennis” with C on the weekends. I think it’s good that the two of them have bonded over sports, because I get to have a bit of a break when they head out to play ball/hockey/tennis together.

First tennis session with C


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All sweaty after tennis


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Noah came down with a sudden bout of stomach flu in the middle of the month, and I freaked out a little because I am TERRIFIED of people puking. Even when I had really bad nausea during my first trimester, I tried my best not to puke, even though C kept telling me that I would feel better after that, because I really have a huge phobia of vomiting. Thankfully, Noah threw up only on the first day, when C was home to help with the mess, but boy was it a horrible day/night. I kept a bucket near Noah after his second round of puking, and luckily, he managed to get to the bucket in time when he threw up for the third time. Hopefully, this will be the first and last time he gets the stomach flu!

Napping with the bucket placed strategically near him


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Noah has been sleeping on his own mattress on the floor since March, and although I know it’s for the better, it still bothers me when he keeps walking around instead of sleeping. One night, I heard him talking in his sleep (he got that from C for sure), and when I looked at the mattress to check on him, he wasn’t there! I sat up and woke C up quickly, because I saw Noah walking towards C’s side of the bed. To his credit, C woke up really quickly, and grabbed Noah, because he wasn’t sure what was going on, just that he knew that Noah shouldn’t be there. He tried asking Noah where he was going, and what he wanted, but Noah didn’t respond, and C put Noah on our bed to let him sleep there for a while, before transferring him back to his own mattress. It was quite a scary experience, and it’s a good thing I’m a light sleeper, because who knows where Noah was going, and what he was going to do! We asked him about it in the morning, and he had absolutely no recollection of walking around at night, and laughed when we told him what had happened. Thankfully, it seems to have been a one-off thing, though I still wake up whenever Noah talks or sits up in his sleep, just to make sure he goes back to sleep again.

I wanted to slowly introduce the idea of helping out with the babies, and since Noah treats his Tiger like a baby, I got him some toy milk bottles from Toys R Us, so that he could “feed” Tiger. Initially, I considered getting him one of those baby dolls, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it because I find the dolls creepy somehow. Anyway, Noah has more than enough toys, and he often refers to Tiger as his baby, so he may not even like having a baby doll. He was so thrilled to be able to “feed” Tiger, and I thought it was so sweet to see him take such good care of Tiger. I gave him some baby socks that I received for the babies, and he insisted on putting them on Tiger as well, “because Tiger is cold”. I’m planning on getting him one of those toy bathtubs next, so that he can “bathe” Tiger too. Heh.

“Feeding” Tiger


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Tiger wearing his new socks


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Noah also received a huge present from Friso this month, and you should have seen how excited he was when the deliveryman appeared at our door with the Friso ride on car. He couldn’t wait for us to remove the plastic covering, and kept jumping up and down impatiently. He climbed into the car really quickly, crashed the car into our furniture umpteen times, and played the music in the car endlessly, but it was hard to get upset with him, because he was soooo happy. C brought him downstairs so that he could have more space to drive around, and I don’t know which of the two had more fun, because C was busy using the ride on car as a huge remote control car, and Noah loved being driven around as well.

His new ride


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On the home-learning front, Noah still gets to choose which activities he wants to work on daily, and I try to accommodate his requests whenever possible. We visited Playeum’s latest exhibition: Creating with Nature, where he got to explore different natural materials, and hopefully learnt more about insects too. He’s been into Toy Story recently, so I made him a Mr Potato Head activity, together with some tangram puzzles.

At Playeum


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Mr Potato Head


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Tangrams


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At C’s request, I’ve been trying to work a little on Mathematical concepts with Noah whenever possible, and I try to make it as fun as possible for him, because you know, I’m not a fan of Math. Noah asked to see how many coins he had in his super big piggy bank one day, and I took the opportunity to get him to first sort the coins according to their denomination, then to count them. Noah’s attention span for such activities isn’t great, but he managed to finish both tasks after some cajoling and help from me.

With his huge piggy bank


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Sorting slowly


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All done at last!


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I also got him this “Sweets Game” from the Scholastic catalogue that he got from school, and although I’m a tad annoyed that it seems to be targeted at girls only (all pink and the box shows two girls playing with the game), Noah likes playing with it. He still has trouble figuring out which direction to move his counter in, and we’ve only played the easier game which focuses more on colours, but I think it’s a good start.

Pleased that he won the “Sweets Game” against mummy


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Puzzles, tracing letters, and mazes are all hit-and-miss activities with Noah, because it depends on what he is in the mood for. The same goes with crafts, though if they are dinosaur or space-related, there’s a better chance of him wanting to work on them. Recently, I starting leaving activity books or materials out on his table, because I want him to take responsibility for his own learning, and choose to work on them if he wants to. I’m trying to get him to be more independent, though most of the time, he insists that I sit there with him while he works on the materials provided.

Working on some puzzles


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Tracing letters


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He generally likes mazes


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Working on a rocket craft


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Got distracted and started decorating his face instead


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“Do I look nice, mummy?”


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One thing that Noah is good at doing independently is reading, or rather, flipping through books. He still hasn’t learnt how to read, nor does he show any interest in doing so, but he can sit quietly on his own for ages, looking at the pictures in his books, and narrating them to himself or Tiger. Of course, he will ask me to read the books to him after a while, but he is also quite content to look at the books on his own when I ask him to wait.

Flipping through books on his own


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I love being able to spend time with Noah like that, and it makes me a bit sad that I won’t have as much time for him when the babies arrive. Both of us will need time to adjust to our new additions, and I pray that the twins will stay inside for another 12 more weeks, till they reach full-term, so that Noah and I can enjoy our one-on-one time for as long as possible.

I write these monthly updates to remind myself of what we’ve been doing each month, and also to keep a record for Noah, so that he can look back at these posts when he is older, and know that I spent plenty of time doing various things with him, and that I loved being able to be there for him during his growing up years. His life will change quite a bit after the babies are born, but I am determined to try my best to spend as much time as possible with him, so that he won’t feel neglected. Pray for us, okay?

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