All in the months of Term 1

They say the children grows up really fast. And it is so true.

I always nag at my oldest boy: “You are already so ‘old’; you should know better than to do this (naughty behaviour/act).”

Then the next Facebook “moment flashbacks” reminded me that he was so small, so cute, so chubby, so mischievous before!

I guess this dilemma of wanting them to “grow up” and yet “don’t grow up too fast” will always remain a tussle in Mummy’s heart.


I am now a primary school kid’s mother. Aged. Promoted. Open-mouthed smile

Xi En eased in pretty well in primary school. We only knew that we were going to this school mid December last year and so there was a little rush to buy the uniforms and school books.

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First day of school – “mandatory photo”. Smile

The school is a 20-25 mins drive from our place. And that kind of made the school bus option undesirable. The school bus operator initially said they don’t ply our area and later said they can do special arrangements at $150 to $180 (one way trip!).

Cutting the story short, I join the ranks of many parents to be the “designated chauffeur”. 4 times a day, to and fro, I drove. It isn’t the driving that drove me mad at times. It is other drivers and the traffic. When you get impatient, zombie-like and running-late parents zipping around the school area, tempers rise and people flout traffic rules. That is my main grouse – driving into unreasonable drivers and also facing the madding morning traffic jams.

Awaiting keys to our new place so we can cut the journey shorter…..

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Dislike morning traffic jams

Get past the above, I enjoy the rides with my boy. It is those times that we chat about anything and everything.

We discussed about the new developments in Bidadari area; told him it was a cemetery; Mummy used to attend school near there; Bidadari meant “fairy” or “angel” in Malay. “What’s a cemetery?” It goes on… And many other questions like: “why the clouds looked so near yet so far?”

He is entertaining on most days. Smile

If you ran out of questions to ask your kids after school, this is a good guide. My favourite leading question will always be “anything interesting happened today?”


Term 1 in school ended easy with him making some new friends and enjoying school. Save that one occasion when I forgotten to pick him up from school, all went well.

It was early dismissal day, but this mother clearly forgotten so and was late by 1 hour.

Thankfully, I think God knows. Just a day before that, we went through what he should do if Mummy is ever late to pick him up. And the secret password that we set up in the event that he is approached by strangers who said they are there to pick him up. That fateful day Mummy was an hour late, he waited till the school gate was closed and asked a teacher to help to call me (I ignored the call because I was working!). Failing to reach me, he went to the general office and asked the kind receptionists to call me again. I was in a frantic when I received the call and realised it was early dismissal day. It was only the 2nd week of school when this happened. Mummy saved the day with a Mcdonald’s lunch treat. Open-mouthed smile

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Guilty Mummy’s treat

From then on, I followed a friend’s suggestion to set alarms on my phone to pick him up.

So much for a chauffeur’s day of work. Smile with tongue out


Now I understand why my friends said that primary one is a honeymoon. It is. At least term 1 was.

It helped that his kindergarten already started with some simple spelling and Ting Xie; coupled with the additional Chinese help he needed at an enrichment centre.

But his handwriting is horrible and he doesn’t seemed to think it is anything important. Daddy thinks that maybe he just has the handwriting of a doctor.

We started a reward chart for good behaviours and pro-activeness. It still worked for his age. His rewards range from buying an automatic sharpener to a tornado/spinning mop (he liked that innovation!) to an 1 hr usage of iPad to the newest Snap Circuit. So far, we do not have enough stars to buy a mop yet. Working on it.

We just had the first Parents-Teachers-Meeting (PTM). All good except he could probably work on socialising more with his friends.

His favourite recess food is noodles soup. Because there are fish balls and salty soup. Confused smile

It’s a consolation that at least he picks healthy drinks such as Milo or Yakult Active.

We have done away with homemade bentos and snacks. Not because his Mummy is lazy. But because he prefers hot food and the portions he eat are frightening small. So to save me from the heartache of throwing away left-over home cooked wonders, he decided that canteen food is good for him.

So much for me trying to score some Bento-Making-Mummy cookie points. *_*

p.s: thank you to all my friends who suggested where I can buy different kind of lunch boxes. I found good varieties in Sistema and Toyogo if you are looking. Smile

He gets $2 a day for recess time; an amount recommended by the school. For the records, it is sufficent to buy a meal + a drink. Most meals will cost between $1 to $1.50. Technically he only gets $1.90 per day. Thanks to intelligent mummies’ blogs, I sorted out his weekly pocket money in a box with a “SHARE” and a “SAVINGS” category. Initially, the “share” category was “tithe” but he didn’t quite grasp the concept of tithing yet. After reading an article in the newspaper, I realised “share” is easier to explain to young children. Now he set aside 10 cents per day for sharing with others such as the church, needy, the blind music busker he saw at the hawker centre and etc.

Hopefully this small act will teach him more on sharing and giving.

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Xi En’s weekly pocket money box

So far so good.

That’s for me and him. We have kind of assimilated to primary school life with adjustments to go along the way of course.

Looking forward to teenage-hood?! Open-mouthed smile

How was your Primary One schoolers’ term 1?

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Lunch treat at a cafe on our last day of Term 1.
I might draw this at home – for me; not him.

My Gym @ Buona Vista (Review)

Recently, I had been carting Eizac to gym classes at My Gym (Buona Vista). My youngest had yet to start preschool as I felt that we can afford to “play” a little longer; “roam” a while more.

At 3 years old, he is engaging in longer sentences and gaining independence wherever his legs allow him to roam! But no doubt, he is still building on his fine and gross motor skills daily and gaining confidence as he discover new ideas on how to complete tasks.

And so it was just appropriate when My Gym invited us to join them for a term of lessons. Eizac isn’t quite ready for independent lessons due to separation anxiety. So we joined the “Gymster” gym class which is tailored for 18 months to 3 years old. This is a parent-accompanied class. Age-wise I think he would be more suitable in the “Terrific Tots” class (3 to 5 years old), but he is too clingy to be on his own just yet.

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The entrance area of My Gym @ Buona Vista. Ample of space with small toys to entertain the little ones. Drinks and coffee available for sale while parents wait.

Here are some brief sharing of how a typical class goes:

We attended the first lesson during the Chinese New Year season and the theme for that day was centric on CNY.

It started with what I call a “Circle Time” where the main teacher for the day will lead a “Hi Hi Hi How do you do” welcome song. It is a catchy tune which the children can hum to it by the 2nd or 3rd lesson.

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Teacher leading the gym class for the first lesson we attended

Thereafter is a round of self-introduction of each child by their names. Eizac, being the oldest in the group, can whisper his own name when being called upon. Smile  All the other kids in the same class are much younger than Eizac, but you can see that most of the children do enjoy the attention being on them for the brief moment of introduction. This self awareness introduction is very healthy in my opinion. There are always at least 3 teachers in the class of 10 children + adults that we attended. The teachers also introduced themselves with much enthusiasm and bright smiles.

I enjoyed that next sit-down segment which involved imaginary fruits! The teacher would be “hungry” and ask one of the children what fruits would they like. Eizac always liked watermelon or bananas! Followed which, the teachers will lead us in action songs such as “peel banana, peel, peel,” “smash banana, smash, smash” and then we “eat them up! Open-mouthed smile Once again, the tunes are really catchy and the actions fun! Eizac re-enacted it at home several times!

After all the “high” songs, we will proceed to a floor or gym exercise with floor mats, loops or the likes.

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Eizac working on his back muscles and balancing while being pulled via a hula-hoop

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Teacher guiding Eizac on a tippy toes walk while he held on to just 1 finger. This is for balancing as well.

For each lesson, there will be some floor exercises, object learning, exercises on balancing beams and one of the children’s favourite – swings!

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Eizac loved the little swings which were hung from the ceiling structures.

Some of the balancing and core muscles exercises we did:

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Building on arm and core muscles while swinging from “monkey bars”.

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Teacher widened the mats’ gap for Eizac as he is much older than his course mates. He jumped over with 2 legs successfully and ended with a gymnast poise!

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Walking up a plank within a busy “airport”

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Teachers helping Eizac with hanging onto a rope. He went home telling him Daddy he was a monkey that day. Smile with tongue out

After all that gym works and etc, there will normally be an object learning session and/or a “quiet” time of colouring or “separation” time where we were not supposed to be near the children so that they can work on separation anxiety. This was kind of new to me! I have never experienced such a segment in other parents-accompanied classes. For a moment, I didn’t quite understand why all the parents/helpers sat far away while the children played with toys on a mat!  >_<

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Colouring to the Chinese New Year theme

Each lesson will normally end with a dressed-up teacher in a mascot or a short skit. During the first week, we had a monkey mascot which gave out red packets filled with chocolates! Eizac was a little upset that there weren’t anymore Mr Monkey giving out chocolates on subsequent weeks! hahaa! We met Ladybug and Henry the Octopus on other weeks. Smile

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Ms ladybug looking for a little child to land on & tickle his tummy! Open-mouthed smile

And the Top 5 things we liked about My Gym

1) The Teachers

The lively and engaging teachers are key to enjoying the lessons at My Gym. I was really impressed the teachers at the Buona Vista branch. Not only that they have to keep up with their energy level, they interact with the children very well. The teachers are encouraging and always cheered each child along the learning journey. For the “astray” ones who might not want to follow the lesson plans, some of the teachers will persuade them to participate or give them a little space when needed. For instance, Eizac wasn’t very keen in a rolling forward with a big hoop activity. Somehow he has a small fear of not being able to grasp anything when he rolled forward. The teachers encouraged him gently and assured that they will hold on to him. He tried once and wasn’t too keen for a second round. The teachers didn’t force nor condemn the reluctance; the whole “encouraging” culture was overall positive. It is also a plus that the teachers made the effort to remember each child’s name!

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Very lively teachers acting out 5 chick-a-dees song

2) The layout

We are greeted with different layout of the gym equipment every session. Though the materials are the same, the gym is set up differently each week. This creates a sense of “newness” for the children and parents alike. There is always that ball pit which every child loves to jump into and the trampoline which never fail to excite! The slides and balancing beams/mats which are positioned differently to create different angles and levels of difficulties. During the change of activities, we are free to explore the structures set up nearby. While waiting for your turn for certain exercises, the children can wander around the gym “purposefully”.

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One of the many different set ups for each week

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Trampoline! Sure to please!
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Eizac having fun in a make-shift “house” during the changing of activities

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Everything to like about a ball pit!

3) Songs and object learning

Though it is “My Gym”, they incorporated sing-a-longs, action songs, objects learning and quiet activities such as colouring. So, besides their core gymnastic strength, the children are also given time in arts and creativity, music and movement. It is not all brawns and no brains. Open-mouthed smile Eizac enjoyed the songs very much. He is always repeating the week’s songs or telling me about that ice-cream cone (object learning) that didn’t come with ice-cream! haha!

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The many dimensions of a cone! You can find a square, triangle and cone shapes. You can use it as a binoculars, a microphone or as an ice-cream cone! Smile

4) Gymnastics skills

Of course, it cannot be “My Gym” for no reason. Through FUN, My Gym provided the platform for developing those fine and gross motor skills so critical for growing up. Various gymnastic skills are emphasized such as hanging, tumbling, balancing and agility. Gymnastics had also been used as an avenue for children to instil self confidence and esteem besides building focus, strength and flexibility. I can testify to that! Every time Eizac complete a particular activity, you can see on his face that he is thrilled that he has DONE IT! He desires to be approved and encouraged that he had done well regardless whenever he succeeded in a complete tumble or he took a tumble! Open-mouthed smile Parents and care-givers’ affirmations are really important in their growing stage. And My Gym provided that platform for little ones to gain confidence as they execute gymnastics moves in a safe environment.

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5) Good timing

Lasting 1 hr session, I thought it is just about the right time span for a young child. Kudos to the teachers for changing each activity swiftly and seamlessly. I liked it that no one is kept waiting for an activity. For example, while there aren’t enough swings for all 10 children, some will be riding on Little Tikes cars and motorbikes while a teacher blew bubbles for fun! Smile

Eizac can’t wait for a ride every week!

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Eizac with one of his favourite “motor vehicle” while waiting for his turn in the swing

We are currently almost mid way through a term and Eizac is definitely enjoying himself during each lesson. It is evident in the songs he re-sung a few times at home and the recollection of the activities he did at My Gym. He will exclaim to us: “It is MY GYM; not YOUR GYM!” 0_0! We are looking forward to the rest of the term. Smile

My Gym is founded in Los Angeles, USA and works in a franchise form in Singapore. It has many accolades such as the Best of the Best Gym Singapore by ParentsWorld ( consecutive 5 years), best development play development by USA parent magazine and Parents’ Choice Award by the Parents’ Choice Foundation. It has presence in 36 countries worldwide and 6 outlets in Singapore.

As a parent, I will recommend this place for the younger ones to bond with their parents while having fun with fitness at My Gym. It is a good choice if you are looking for a fitness-centric program with snippets of cognitive and emotional development all-in!

My Gym @ Buona Vista is located at Rochester Mall which is a short walk from Buona Vista MRT Station. More information on their locations can be found here.

My Gym Singapore offers programs for children from Playgroup (18 months) through to 8 years old. School-based program with longer hours are also available at the Buona Vista branch for 18 months to 3.5 years old.

More details can be found on My Gym website and updates on their Facebook page. Check it out for promotions happening from time to time.

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N.B: This blog post is written as part of a review of lessons for My Gym @ Buona Vista. Photos and opinion remain writer’s own.

Disney on Ice 2016 (Magical Ice Festival)

Media Invite

In short, anyone who are Frozen fans has to be there!

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“In long”, I really enjoyed this year’s Disney on Ice Present Magical Ice Festival. The show is segmented into short scenes from various crowd favourites namely –  The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Beauty & The Beast and of course, Frozen.

The summarized stories are enacted in a short musical format which will appeal to the story-lovers and yet entertaining for the action and music-goers.

Don’t miss the following highlights in each stories:

The Little Mermaid

Ariel’s acrobatic spin

Nothing to do with skating; but was a beautiful moment as Ariel twirl down the cloth rope after she exchanged her tail for legs.

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Neon lights show

Watch the underwater life come alive with captivating neon lights dancing in the night!

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Tangled

The first appearance of life-sized animal in the show: the horse!

Totally admire the coordination of 2 persons acting/skating out the mammoth-sized animal! Not an easy feat!

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Mesmerizing lanterns moment

It is one of those wow… so beautiful moments. Warm lanterns lit up, rising slowly with glowing shadow silhouettes…. Soft wows in the audience.

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Beauty & The Beast

“Be Our Guest” – Cue entry of all the cute cutlery

This is for the younger ones. Eizac was getting a little restless at this point. Daily objects brought to life helped.

When the forks and knives skated in, he was pointing out to me that “the people has fork on their head!”. Observant little fellow. Smile

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Magic show!

I didn’t expect this one. Don’t blink one bit of your eyes when Beast goes up to the staircase. Within a split second, he turned from Beast to Man!

This is a moment before he left Belle to the stairways:

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And ta-da! He transformed into a charming young man. Reminder again: Don’t blink your eyes at the magic show! Open-mouthed smile

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Frozen

Snow! Falling snow!

Besides the perennial favourite Queen Elsa, the falling snow stands a close second, I think. Snow machines around the stage created a white, dreamy scene tricking you that winter came early.

And not forgetting Sven and Olaf which are just right for the snow!

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Sisterly love

Will anyone believe if I say that I have not watch Frozen? I must be have been in ice age! I have heard the Frozen songs a million times; but have yet to watch Frozen from A to Z. Probably because I am a Mommy of 2 boys not girls! Smile with tongue out

Today I discovered the sisterly love between Anna and Elsa. How nice to have concise storylines. Smile And those Frozen songs are too unforgettable… we can’t possibly “Let it Go”! My boys are late starters but they were humming the tunes on the way home while their Mommy belted out loud and flat-sounding “the cold never bothered me anyway! >_<

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Look out for these breath-taking highlights too:

1) Amazing skating moves

It’s not a skating show for nothing! I found this year’s show boasting of more difficult and graceful moves. The ground was slippery at some parts of the show (due to the falling snow!) and caused some falls but the performers recovered almost immediately to put up a spectacular production. They made skating looked so elegant and rhythmic!

And especially so during the couples skating moments:

Those muscles!!

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2) Audience interaction at the sides

Look out for “fringe shows”. As the main show is going on at the centre of the stage, some characters can be blowing bubbles/kisses or waving on both front corners of the stage.

Gaston trying to impress the audience here:

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Olaf teasing Kristoff with bubbles on the side stage:

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3) Pyrotechnics

There is usage of pyrotechnics during the show but not that much that it will frighten the younger ones. All happened too fast for me to capture them and also while it lasted, I decided to enjoy it rather than trying to take a photo. Open-mouthed smile

Here are two nice photos from the organiser of the show:

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4) Disney all-time favourites

Don’t worry about missing some of Disney’s oldest characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy! They appeared at the beginning, the interlude between each segment and the grand finale.

You just can’t have Disney on Ice without Mickey and his friends, can you?!

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In my opinion, It was an extravaganza show! Not to be missed during this school holidays! Especially so for Frozen fans. Smile

My personal favourite is Beauty and the Beast! Smile Loved the songs and the pretty Belle! Kristoff in Frozen – the suave one – was a close second!

There is still time to buy the tickets online or at the box office at the Singapore Indoor Staduim.

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival can be purchased online via www.sportshubtix.sg.

Event details:

Dates: 11th to 20th March 2016

Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Ticket prices: start from S$25

To learn more about Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival, please visit http://www.disneyonice-asia.com/magical-ice-festival/

Souvenirs, pop-corn and food are available for sale at the premise. Do plan to reach at least 1/2 hour ahead of the start time as the security queue can be long and allow ample time to buy some souvenirs and the tub of popcorn or Elsa/Olaf slushies cups! Open-mouthed smile

Enjoy!

N.B: We were invited for a media review of the production. All opinions and photos remain writer’s own unless otherwise specified.