Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Big 5 Birthday, Jamie!

Birthday girl did not take her nap this afternoon so she knocked out at 9.30pm just now. Pity that this year I could not spend this special day with her, unlike last year. But I believe things will get better next year.

Sweet little girl asked me why didn't I buy a bigger cake today so that everyone can eat. I told her this hello kitty mini cake is exclusive to her... 

Nevertheless, sweet sister Jamie still shared her cake with Didi... 

As I browsed through her photos from 0 mths to 5 years old looking for nice photos for her birthday e-collage, I noticed that Jamie seemed to grow faster after Didi was born.

When I say 'grow faster', it means she looks more mature these days. 

I think most friends know that I am more attached to Jamie than James. Afterall there were only two of us during a large part of my pregnancy and the first 7 mths after Jamie was born. I enjoyed my life as a stay-home-mum from April 2009-July 2010 and inevitably Jamie and I are more bonded since. 

Whereas I was a full time working mother when I had James and went back to work after 16 weeks of my maternity leave. In addition, my helper (Pyone) was obessed with James since he was born. Hahaha... So she was very on the ball taking care of James since the day I returned from hospital. 

Other reasons why I am more attached to Jamie includes: 

1. She is more sensible and cooperative. Of coz there were times she was not obedient but we didn't need to use too much effort to talk sense with her. We know she is more sensible and mature than her peers. She understands reasoning at a young age from 6 months...

2. I feel guilty towards Jamie. Since I returned to the workforce in July 2010, I missed a lot of her milestones. Even after I switched to a 8-5 job in Mar 2011, it didn't help very much too. When I had James, the pregnancy was unstable, hence I had to stop carrying Jamie. She was only 2.5 years old then and didn't know why Mummy cannot carry her. 

Though she was not a child who needs lots of hugs, she still felt the sense of loss. But she was sensitive and could see that I was not well as I was bedridden very often. So she obliged to whatever she was asked not to do. It was then she became more independent.

Being the more independent child, she was also often neglected compared to the less cooperative Didi. I want to make it up for her. I want to assure her that I love her very much, if not more...

3. She is a very sensitive child and can sense when I need her company or reassurance. She will then use her own ways to assure me eg keeping me company and telling me she loves me. She is like me who needs a lot of reassurance. But I don't want her to grow up like me. I want her to be a self-sufficient and happy child. I don't want her to need others to reassure her. But from what I see, she lacks in self esteem and confidence too. Maybe because she was the year end child. She used to hide at a corner of the old classroom and cried when she could not do what her peers can do. She was especially slower in her gross motor and fine motor development. But since K1, she has showed a great improvement in her gross motor development. We are all proud of her. And now it's the struggle with her literacy. We are not sure if she needs more help with reading and she is still under review but I will be there for her no matter what happens. This is something I didn't have during and since my childhood (to know there is always someone standing by me and having faith in my capabilities). I will make sure she has it. 

4. Jamie is a selfless child. She loves to share even if it's her favorite toys. But because of this, she has developed a selfish Didi Hahahahaha...

But of coz she still has rooms for improvement. She is still at the not so sure what is right or wrong age and hence may pick up the wrong habits or thinks that if she grows up faster, she can do naughty things. So this is where we need to stay a look out and nurture her accordingly, to ensure she knows what's right and wrong. And what's a socially desirable action and what's not... 

Didi is another type of person altogether and it is really fun to watch the two children interact. 

All to All, I feel blessed with two lovely different children and this allows me to enjoy the diverse kind of parenting and parenthood. 

Let's enjoy the collages of Jamie's growing up.. See how my 2.75kg tiny boyish baby grows into a 18kg toned and pretty young girl... 

Her First Year
See my little mermaid and boyish looking baby. Most people thought she is a boy even when I dressed her in pink dresses, socks, shoes and hair accessories. And now Didi is mistaken as a girl.. Hahaha...

I have to say she was an easy baby. As a stay-home-mum, I was not always at home. I would lug her wherever I go, be it window shopping, meet my friends and attending birthday parties. Laogong was doing his masters since our wedding, so I was really 'alone' with Jamie. Maybe that's why she understands me and my instructions since 3-4 mths old...

1-2 years old
I was blessed that she never had her terrible two. She was cooperative from young, though cheeky at times...
Like said she was an easy child, we can bring her everywhere we go.. We go on many road trips to Msia when she was young. With Pyone joining the family, it was a blissful period for us. 

2-3 years old 
This is when things get a little tougher especially I was spotting very badly during Pyone's two month home visit during to pregnancy with Didi. Jamie was insecure and unsure why Mummy was always sick. She started to be more sticky but yet cooperative when told to listen to instructions. It was a great two months with Jamie though and we really feel we have each other once again..

See how fast my little toddler grows up from this stage onwards.. 

3-4 years old 
The arrival of Didi means loss of attention from her Aunty Pyone. In replacement, I tried to give her more attention. 

But Didi was not easy, hence we don't get to go out as much during Didi first year. 

See how lovely she is as a little big sister. She started to blossom into a pretty young girl too...

4-5 years old 
This year she grew up a lot.. See the photos. She poses very well these days when taking photos. She is more sociable and enjoys pairs and group activities (compared to 90% solitary play when she was below 4 years old). These days, she has the initiatives to walk over to a stranger and make friends with the children.

She even looks more mature and garang. She now believes certain things she can do it and certain thing she wants to do it. It's the negotiation and moral suasion stage now, to get her to buy in our ideas and values willingly. So far so good though I forsee more challenges because she is very outspoken and thinks a lot. So we can't talk to her at her level. We are trying to talk to her as if she is an older kid. 

As much as we hope she grows up slowly, what's important is really that we try to equip her with the skills and values to get her ready for the tough years ahead.. 

I believe if the child is resilient, even if life don't sail smooth, he/she will survive the waves and storms.. And enjoy the fruits of his/her labour..

Jiayou my Princess! You can do it! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jamie's 5th Party (Part 2) - FunDay @ POLW

I always feel that fun time ends faster..,

But of coz I still hope every weekends is full of fun, be it with my family or friends. 

Thank you all the guests who celebrated Jamie's big 5 birthday at POLW! 

I also had lots of fun going down the slides with my two babies ^^ 

Weather turned out to be great!! We checked the weather forcast the night before and it started there will be thunderstorm islandwide. But there was not a drop of rain in Sentosa throughout the party! Instead, it was kind of hot and it was cooling (not too cold) to be in the water! Lucky us! 

But because the weather was hot, the day started off with two cranky children in the car. They were getting hot and uncomfy in their party clothes and stuck in the car for 1hr plus, because we had to set off early to have lunch, pick up the cake, then head to Sentosa. 

Setting off 

Happy Birthday Girl

But problem solver Laogong never fails to save the day. After turning on the classical music for 10-15min, both children fell asleep in the car. We decided to leave them in the car and started the deco first. 

My other savior is Godma Yvonne who never fails to stand by me, give me realistic advices and lend her helping hand, whenever I have to coordinate events. Like she always did, she was the first to reach Port Belly restaurant to help with the setup. We reached at 2plus and there were still lingering lunch crowd. Nevertheless we found few unoccupied table and set up one for the goodie bags and cake. 

Princess Jamie came shortly after. 

Simple Party Setup

Guests started to arrive from 2.45pm and by then we were lucky enough to get more tables for the guests. 

It was so cute watching Jamie received her guests! All the kids were so excited to be invited and Jamie was really a good host! See how thrilled she looked!! This year she even insisted to invite two of her closer classmates! 

Jamie receiving her guests 

Of coz, there are also some adult guests who are my closer friends and have watched Jamie grew from a tiny baby to a pretty young child. 

Last but not least, my parents, Brother, 
Da Sao and Jamie's favorite cousin Claris and cousin Clarence came too! 

The kids were going wow wow wow when they saw the pretty birthday cake! Even Mummy Me herself loves the Barbie mermaid doll! Hahaha... 

So I giving myself a pat on my shoulder! Great choice to match the birthday theme! 

Excited children 

Blow candles 

Cut Cake 

Did u notice I even dress according to the theme? Sometimes I feel organising Jamie's parties are like granting my childhood wishes..

Life isn't easy for our parents when I was young, so we never had such luxurious birthday celebrations. But it was never the expensive parties or beautiful cakes I wished for. I simply wished I get to meet my cousins more frequently.. And sometimes holding birthday parties is one of the bonding activities to get people together... 

Now that I am a grown up, I tried to mend the lost kinships with some closer cousins and their spouses. I treasure these "newfound" kinships and family support, hence I also want to help Laogong to mainstain his kinships with his cousins. I wish to pass down this practice and belief to Jamie and James.  At the same time, I hope Jamie learns to be more sociable and more resilient, through interaction with her cousins and friends. 

Back to me and my mermaid! Really love it! 

After the cake cutting, we served food and the kids just can't wait to jump into the water. 

We didn't take photos during the water play because it was meant be just fun fun fun!!! Anyway, once Jamie got into the pirate ship, she can hardly be found!

I think she really enjoyed herself coz she knocked out when she was on the way home!!!! 

And I think I learnt a lot too from this party so I can do a better job the next time if I want to do similar party again! 

Lessons learnt 

1. Outdoor activities = At weather'a mercy
- unlike indoor parties, where you are in control (ie. Keeping guests in a confound area means easier to gather everyone for cake cutting), it's very hard to avoid everyone running off into the water and refused to come out. That's why we decided to do cake cutting before free and easy water playtime.
- I was pretty prepared for the worst when I checked the weather forecast the night before but I didn't stopped 'praying' for no rain too. 
- So it's good to have a wet weather plan in mind, or at least a sheltered holding arwa should there be rain that postponed your outdoor activities. We had the sheltered restaurant at POLW to hold the cake cutting and guests. 

2. No rain is good but too hot = impatient children. So some adjustments to schedule has to be made if necessary. 
- I noticed the children were more restless. Even my two kids were so restless after we set off. It was not easy to get the children's attention. 
- We decided to cut cake after majority of the guests and children had reached. We couldn't even wait for my parents, brother, da sao and Jamie's favorite cousins to come before we started to cut cake. I knew I had to miss them out because most of the other children were getting distracted and restless. 

3. It's not easy to get restless children's attention. So you need to be firm to get the children to listen to instructions (which includes standing straight, look at the camera and say cheese when doing cake cutting). Hahaha.. I hope I didn't sound like a discipline master though.. Maybe more like a teacher calling names of those not listening to instructions. But well, it worked so who cares as long as I get the party going ^^ 

4. It was a good decision to do cut cake then free and easy. 
- We did cake cutting first coz we knew the children will be shagged and tired after the water play. No one will have mood to eat or cut cake. True enough, I was totally shagged too after the water play. 
- Because it was a Sunday, so we expected people to leave before 6pm (when POLW closed). True enough, most left before 6pm. 
- We expected long bath queue too which would delay the cake cutting time if we did water play first. True enough there was a long bathing queue after 6pm. By the time Jamie and I left the toilet, our last guests had left. 

5. People do eat heavy refreshments. And unlimited supply of water is a MUST! 
- we were expecting less people want to eat at 3pm but it turned out more prefer to eat the refreshments than the cake. Ended up we had quite a lot of leftover pieces of cake. 
- what we didn't expected is there were guests who totally rely on water provided by us. So they had to purchase their own water after what we ordered were finished and we were both busy playing with our children in the water area. For this, we had to apologize to our guests. Water will be our top prority next time! 

6. We were lucky the lingering lunch crowd slowly walked off nearing cake cutting time. But because of this, we couldnt receive some guests who came when we were still trying to spread out the table cloth after the crowd cleared. So next time I will still prefer to do pre-booking so I don't need go down early to chop seats... 

7. Children being children will play in pairs more than threes or in a group. 
- I had hoped everyone can play together. But end up I see mostly were in pairs. Jamie was initially with her classmate and later on she decided to look for her favorite cousin Claris. But the girls were not comfortable to play in threes. That's really weird.. Anyone know why? Maybe young children still prefer undivided attention. 
- Hence, to build individual friendship, it's better to rely on frequent small groups gathering than large group activities like birthday parties ^^ I am definitely going to organise more outings for Jamie and the different groups of children! Coz I also want to born with their mummies! Hahaha! 

8. Not necessary to get themed cutleries. Yeah, themed goodie bags are good to have but themed cutleries  are not necesssary. 

On the whole, it was a very pleasant experience holding the party at POLW. The children really had fun! I 'interviewed' every child before they l eft. They all said they had fun ^^ I think ln children naturally like water play an d indoor playgrounds. Maybe I can try oholding at an indoor playground the next time! 

Last but not least, thank you everyone for the lovely presents for Jamie! 

Haha! Will start thinking about James party by end Nov 2014! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jamie's 5th Party - A Very Busy Weekends (Part 1)

The busy weekends had began since Morning!! There will be a whole series of happy events going on till the end of Sunday! 

This morning, we celebrated Jamie's birthday in school. Then we will celebrate Jamie's great grandmother 大寿 on Saturday and Jamie's home party is on Sunday!

Hahaha,we call it 'home party' because we are celebrating with her out-of-school friends and cousins. But this year, it's the first time we stepping out of our comfort zone (ie. no indoor/sheltered birthday venues such as home, chalet and condo function room) and celebrating it at an outdoor venue at Port of the Lost Wonder (POWL)! You can read more about POWL from the previous post, where we did a reccee and trial run with the party timings/duration. 

I am both excited and nervous as this is also the first time I have less 'control' over the party venue since we didn't think the party package is worth it to book nor we can make reservation at the Port Belly restaurant, where we are holding her party. But I know problem solver, Laogong, will take good care of all the unforeseen circumstances and it will still be afterall a great happy birthday celebration! 

This year, good Baba even volunteer to choose his present for Jamie himself! Yes, I know most of you will wonder "Isn't Daddy suppose to do that anyway?" Well, the cynergy at my household or the type of parenting we advocate is very different from the conventional parents. Hence, to me it was a great initiative made by Laogong this year! He was so proud of the helium tank and balloons he bought from spotlight! Yes! He deserves a good pat on his shoulders! Good job baba! 

Helium tank from Spotlight

And we know Jamie will definitely love the useful and pretty gifts Baba chose for Jamie! Laogong even learnt how to make balloon sculptures via YouTube! OMG!! I am not shy to agree with Laogong this time that he is really good in doing anything and everything, if he bothers to put his heart to learning/doing new and existing skills. I wish I am as capable as him! I will catch up!!! 

Mermaid made by Baba

See the pretty mermaid he made! This is really the first time he learnt balloon sculpturing, somemore via YouTube!!! Good job Laogong!

Last few nights, Jamie had been busy helping with the goodie bags and writing her birthday invites. I can feel that she is a big girl this year because she has so much more initiatives when come to planning and preparing for her birthday parties. It's no longer something Mummy wants to do for her. It's also something she wants to do for her friends and cousins. I guess she has inherited Mummy's and Baba's event planning/coordinating skills. 

Busy writing her birthday invites

Putting stamps on each envelope

Packing Goodie Bags

After the busy preparation, today is finally Jamie's big day in school! 

Due to my work commitment, this is my first time participating in Jamie's new school's event. This is also my first time seeing the children in her new class. They are really so cute and mature ^^ 

Setting off with James to Jamie's school. See the handsome little boy... 

Jamie is so happy to see us arrived with her birthday cake and milo!!! 

Happy Birthday Girl with Handsome Didi 

See how eager Didi looks at the cake! Haha! Your turn is coming soon! 

Singing Birthday Song

When it's time to make a wish, Jamie took very long to decide what she wishes to wish for... And Heng ah, she wished for something that she will receive from Mummy and Godma on Sunday ^^ 

See Jamie's cute expressions as she pondered over her wishes...

Finally she made her wish and blow the candle!

All these while, Didi remained cool and calm... 

Cutting the hard-to-cut cake

Jamie insisted that she wants to cut the cake on her own because she is a big girl now. And yes, my little baby has grown into a big girl now! Well done Jamie! 

Victory sign! I did it! 

And yes, finally Didi gets his piece of cake! Hahaha...

Great Host Jamie started to walk around to take 'table photos' with her classmates. She is really clear about the SOPs for birthday parties! 

And of coz, Jamie has to take photos with her BFF, Stephanie! Two little sweet girls! 

Sweet little girls! No wonder Jamie knows how to pose so well these days! Haha!

Happy that my little girl has a great day today ^^ 

Though it was a simple cake and a simple celebration, I guess these days there is so much peer pressure that it is almost a MUST to do cake cutting in school. 

I used to book big and fanciful birthday cakes for Jamie previous birthday celebrations in her old school. But this year I am trying something simple. One reason is I realized that despite the cake big or small, simple or fanciful, the children are simply happy they get to celebrate with their friends. 

I know of very competitive Mummies who tried to "spoilt market" or "set the benchmark" very high when comes to school party cake or goodie bags for classmates. This indirectly will give stress to the other Mummies. 

But I also realized that these Mummies put a lot of effort into school parties mainly because it's also the only major birthday celebrations the children have every year. However, I slowly understand classmates are only part and parcel of one's life. It's like how Jamie adapted into the new school and slowly forgot about her old friends. These days when I saw Jamie's old friends, only some of them will still call me "Jamie's Mummy".

There are some classmates who will eventually become our life-long good friends. But most classmates will be just passer-bys in our lives. I believe only when we are mature enough to know what we want, then we will know which are the classmates you will wish to make an effort for, so that they become more than your classmates and remain as your BFFs for a long long time.

My Uni BFFs

We had been through thick and thin together. Arguments and Reconcilation too. I now believe arguments are tests to friendships. Only if we can sail through the arguments, then we can truly become life-long friends. 

It's really not an easy journey to this realization. Of coz there are colleagues who may become our close friends but as long as there is conflict of interest, we can only remain as colleagues. Sometimes the only way to become BFFs with colleagues, is to become ex colleagues! Hahaha.. 

My groups of ex colleagues cum BFFs

And now I am making effort to develop this group of ex colleagues into my BFFs!

Aiyoh.. Talk about Jamie's parties, can end up talking about myself! 

Haha, but what I am trying to say is.. I doubt Jamie at 5 years old, will know who she wants to be her life-long BFFs. Hence, I will wish to help her develop closer friendships with her 'outside friends' (friends who are my friends' children) and her cousins. 

Thus from now onwards, I will put in more effort in organising events for her 'outside friends' and cousins. 

So let's look forward to Saturday and Sunday, where Jamie gets to meet her cousins and 'outside friends'!!!!!