Asher's Bedtime Story

The evening routine is pretty arduous here at the moment. After a week of evening stuff happening (friend's birthday dinners, Diwali, etc) Asher hasn't been going to sleep til around 9pm and it's taking it's toll. Particularly the two nights last week where Sanj wasn't home - all I wanted was to get the kid to sleep so I could sit down with the TV and a glass of wine. Anyhow, a new evening routine is emerging. Bath, dinner, desert (often a smoothy, a.k.a shaky), teeth, toilet, night nappy, books, story then sleep. I've been keeping Kiran in with us while I read books, then telling the same story that Asher always asks for: the hare and the tortoise. Yesterday he asked me if I wanted him to tell me the princess story and, not having told him any stories with princesses I was very interested. It went something like this:

Once upon a time the princess forgot her glass shoe. She left it on the step. But it was broken, so she took it inside and put it in the bin and it made a big noise. A really big noise. And then they lived happily ever after.

Tonight's story had a "really big puffer fish" a shark and a golden seagull, but I couldn't follow it enough to write it down. I really love the blend of inventiveness and the everyday - his stories remind me of the tales Tim used to tell as a similar age. He had a whole series about a sausage who lived in a biscuit tin!


I think I'm ready to Move On

Nah, not giving up blogging, getting divorced or quitting my job, just ready to get the worm farm going again. Back at our old house we had a worm farm for a while. It lived on our balcony for a bit then, during summer when we had no shade for it, we moved it to the garage. Sometime during that hot summer all our worms died. The cause, I'm pretty sure, was dehydration. I felt so bad about it that I couldn't even look at the damn worm farm for ages - those little wrigglies were in my care and I LET THEM DIE! Ugh. I still feel bad about it. Luckily their decomposed little bodies went into the garden when we moved house. So, that was maybe three years ago now and I think I'm ready to start again. I've located the plastic worm farm tubs we had (they were sent to my mothers' garage because I couldn't face looking at them) and they are being delivered next week. I'm back to checking out vermicomposting sites and forums (I learnt heaps from them last time, the hottest tip was to leave a light on for the first few nights so they don't all try and escape from your worm farm - it worked a treat) and planning where it's going to live (just outside the apartment on the kitchen side. Must get a piece of old carpet to put over them to protect them from the summer sun. Wetting it down will be like aircon for the little fellas). Wish me luck - I'll report back when I have something to actually report.

Also, for future reference, do not put metal things in the microwave. Even if that metal is just a tiny bit of aluminium on the top of a bottle from the bottom of the crown seal. If you do you will scare yourself so much that you aren't quite sure whether you got an electric shock turning the microwave off because you are so freaked, wired and jumpy. You would think that was something I wouldn't have needed to learn the hard way, wouldn't you?


Finger lickin' good?

So, I didn't manage to get the neighbours over for cake - I cooked delicious little pear cakes but when I went over they weren't home. I could have prevented this problem by inviting them before I wanted them to actually come over, but embarrassingly I was too shy. Ugh. Maybe this weekend...

Our little Kiz has found his fingers in a big way. He loves them! He loves having such fun wriggly things tangling themselves up in his mouth (they probably taste sweaty too!) and he delights in the wet slurping that he can feel from the hand end. So much fun! He's also started getting into having toys about. I use the term 'toys' quite loosely - anything that he can grab at and perhaps get to his mouth. The favourite would be the play gym thing that we got for Asher at a similar age but really anything that stays in his hands reasonably well will do. Asher is still really lovely with him and roll-plays lots with his baby doll. I don't think I have anything to worry about in the jealousy department until Kiran gets mobile and starts wanting to play with whatever Asher has in his hands. That will be interesting.


Status Update

A few days ago, it must have been Tuesday, I was pottering around the house and heard what sounded to me like our neighbors moving house. I was dissapointed and angry at myself for not inviting them around - they brought us cake when we moved in, flowers at Kiran's birth and have been just lovely but we haven't got around to having them over. The next day I realised that it was the neighbors on the other side, who we don't know at all, who may have been moving - it certainly wasn't the lovely people from number 46! So, realising that I was really angry at myself for not making an effort I decided that this weekend we would invite them over for cake in the afternoon. I am generally really crap with my good intentions - all plan, no follow-through so I'm putting it our here so I do it.

Anyone who isn't interested in micro-detail regarding my kids can stop reading now!

Last week, at three months and one day Kiran flung himself over (front-to-back) he's also noticably turned from an air breathing foetus into a baby - he's more alert, he sleeps for longer stretches and he startles more easily. He also smiles whenever anyone talks to him and vocalises lovely little magpie noises, which are sometimes quite loud and assertive, when he has something important to say. I'm sad to say I've only just noticed him sleeping for longer stretches during the day because it's only this week that I have put him down for a morning sleep in his bed, rather than getting him up and carting him all over the place. I think I'm going to have to have more at-home time built into our week to let the poor kid sleep a bit more. Poor second child!

Watching him find his hands and be able to get them (and sometimes whatever they are holding, if he's lucky) into his mouth has been lovely - first he waves both hands about and then, when they find each other he clings on for dear life, you can almost see the knuckles going white with the effort. Then he brings them up to his mouth and fits as much of the 'double fist' in as he can. Once they are in there he anjoys the dual sensation - the feel of the cool fingery things writhing around in his mouth and the lovely warm sucking sensation that he feels radiating up from the ends of his arms. He can amuse himself this way for significant periods of time now, allowing me to potter about and get a few things done.

Asher is also coming along in leaps and bounds - I think I mentioned that he can use cutlery, holding his fork still while he cuts with his knife? Well, the other day he also surprised me by peddalling his trike around the back deck. This doesn't seem like much of an achievement for a three year old, but the erganomics (is that the right word?) of the trike are such that it actually looks really difficult to pedal - he needs both co-ordination and quite a lot of strength. After having a go on another kid's learner bike (with training wheels) he came home and could suddenly manage his own trike. He's also been being really good (sporadically). Tuesday we spent a lot of time together at home without anyone else around which is often a recipe for both of us to get irritated, but there wasn't so much as a raised voise all day! And by the time Sanj got home both kids were bathed! I'm kinda proud of both of us for that!


Singapore Trip roundup

Flight over:
Possibly for the first time ever both Sanjay and I were ready almost half an hour before we needed to leave. It was only because we had the time wrong and the minibus was due half an hour after we thought it was coming. So we, with kids and luggage, was ready and waiting when the minibus arrived. We then went and picked up Emma, Brendan and baby Maddie and headed off to the airport.
Ready to go!

The flight was easier than expected. I was all super-mum prepared with little surprises for Asher in labelled brown paper bags (clever internet people suggest wrapped gifts, I'm not super-mum enough to wrap things, but I can arrange brown paper bags and some sticky tape) and NOT ONE of my carefully prepared treats got used. To help keep the kids ears from hurting we gave Asher a lollipop on take-off which he was only allowed to open when we were in the air and Emma and I breastfed the babies as soon as we felt the urge to pop our own ears. I had made the mistake previously of taking the suggestion to breastfeed 'on take-off' too literally and I wasn't caught out this time.

We landed in Singapore about 8:30 and there was a driver waiting for us who took us to Tim and Jen's place while the others went to their hotel. Asher went straight to sleep while we had a gin and tonic before heading to bed.

We all got up early and met Emma, Brenden and Maddie at Singapore Zoo and had 'Breakfast with the Orang Utans' which was just awesome. Big hotel-style buffet breakfast with the Orang Utans sitting only metres away, with a talk about the animals and a photo op. We spent the rest of the morning at the zoo and we were all really impressed, despite being regular visitors to Taronga - the animals look happy and well cared for (lots of interesting things for them to play with, like Taronga) but the really cool part was how well the enclosures were designed, making me feel like I was walking through the jungle encountering animals.

After the zoo we were all tired and hungry and caught taxis to a nearby Indian place that Tim and Jen have eaten at before (delicious!) before heading back to the apartment(/hotel for the others) for a rest and a shower before heading out for Chilli Crab.

Monday was a public holiday in Singapore so Tim had the day off. Since Kiran had suffered a bit in the heat the day before I wanted to hit one of the big air conditioned malls that Singapore is famous for. We went to one that specialised in kids things and browsed while Tim and Jen took Asher off for a play in a big toy shop and a haircut!

In the afternoon we went to a place not far from Tim and Jen's apartment that has big tanks where one can hire a rod and fish for prawns. But that was just a side-attraction for us - we went for the 'toothless fish foot spa' where you put your feet in large tiled tanks and little fish come and nibble off the dead skin. It was hard going getting our feet in and watching the tiny fish chomp away but once they were in, if you stopped thinking about it, it was OK. There was no doubt that our feet and lower legs felt smoother afterwards.

In the later afternoon we went and had a sunset cruise on the river and took a walk near the Merlion and the 'Durian' on our way to Gluttons Bay for dinner. Unfortunately it started to rain so instead of going to Glutton's Bay we ended up going to a rather touristy pizza place. Nice pizza, beer and best of all Asher came and snuggled onto my lap and went to sleep. Because the kids were all asleep we went back to Emma and Brendan's hotel room so Emma and I could take Jen for a drink. The boys stayed with the kids and had a drink on the balcony (or would have, if baby Maddie had been more settled).

Our last full day in Singapore. breakfast at a the hawker centre near Tim and Jen's place, then an attempt at Orchard Rd shopping. Asher wasn't really into this idea and for the first time during the trip started to drive me crazy so Jen and I headed toward little India with Kirin (via Starbucks and some more browsing on Orchard Rd) and Sanj took Asher back to the apartment (via a wine shop). We ended up looking at gold in the Mustafa centre for a bit but having to head back before buying anything or getting to Little India proper. On Tuesday night we packed and then Tim and Jen prepared a lovely dinner at home for all of us.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
We headed to the ferry terminal early Wednesday morning for the boat to Bintan Island Club Med. Jen had helped us get a really good deal and it turned out to be a really awesome experience. Club Med are, perhaps obviously, really well set up for kids. If you book with a baby you get 'baby toiletries' (powder and baby oil) in your room along with a cot, sterilizer and baby bath. Because we had a preschooler as well we had an adjoining room for the little ones.

We spent the next few days jumping in the pool, hanging out at the beach bar, going for a kayak, drinking iced coffee in the panorama bar (the one with a view), sitting beside the pool drinking mocktails/cocktails, eating gigantic buffet breakfast/lunch/dinner, getting a massage and lounging in our rooms (in the aircon) reading.

Asher spent two afternoons at kids club (Petite Club Med for 2-4 year olds) which we sold to him as 'holiday kindy' and therefore, just like regular kindy, something that's just gotta happen. He cried a bit when Sanj left him the first day, but was a lot better the second day - which means the experience can't have been too bad.

All too soon it was time for the ferry back to Singapore, a visit to some family friends and then a night at the very lovely airport hotel for our 5am check in the next day.

Flight home
Again, apart from the 5am check in check in, the trip home was perfect. Asher was a better behaved than anyone can reasonably expect from a three year old on a seven hour flight - he sat quietly in his seat and listened to music, stuck stickers in his sticker book and played 'memory' with Sanjay. When we got home my brother Michael had cleaned up and brought supplies and after a quick dinner and a load of washing we all went to bed early, thinking what a fabulous trip we'd had.

We would happily travel with Emma, Brendan and Maddie again and we would all love to go to Club Med again. Singapore was also more interesting than expected and we really needed another two days there at least - to see Singapore and to hang out with Tim and Jen a bit more (I was sad I didn't get to have a beer and a chat with Tim - whenever we were together he was wrangling Asher!).

The End
(more photos, of course, on Flickr)