Monday, February 28, 2011

Swimming

Sunday began with Ryan's swimming lesson as usual. I was happy to see that new and slightly advanced exercises were introduced, because it means that Ryan has made enough progress to do more challenging stuff.

The short swims were lengthened - previously the parents stood in a small circle around the coach and the children swam a short sprint from the coach back to their parent. Now the parents stand in a line along the side of the pool and the children swim a slightly longer distance from the middle of the pool back to the parent.







The "dive in" or "jump in" exercise also had a longer swim time. Previously, the children just jumped/dove into the pool and the parents picked them up straightaway. Now the children have to dive in and swim a little further to get to the parent. Ryan was so excited at this new game and was busy yabbering on and pointing at the other children diving in. He was particularly interested to watch one boy who backed up as far as he could, ran all the way to the pool and literally leapt into the air before landing feet first in the water. Fun!

This is the first time we are trying this and the children are not yet used to swimming forward once they hit the water. They still expect to be picked up and so they don't move. So there is a heart-stopping moment when they go underwater, before they start moving. Some children do the flying leap into the water and go in feet first like a diver - they end up going straight down and sink deeper into the water which makes it harder to start swimming forward. They spend a little bit longer underwater, so the parent usually panics and rushes forward to grab them instead of waiting (and waiting and waiting... those few seconds when a child is underwater can be unbearable). Ryan dives in head and arms first, like a swimmer, so he's already in a swimming position when he hits the water. I just have to get him to understand that he has to swim to me.

Here's another of Ryan's favourites - the aeroplane. Coach always asks him, "Big one or small one?" Ryan never answers him. Coach used to give him a big aeroplane (Coach literally throws Ryan into the air) but lately, he has been giving him a small one (hardly any lift-off at all), because Ryan hasn't been wearing his suit and it can be painful to land on the water bare-skinned.







There are also more exercises focusing on arm movement, some rudimentary breast stroke and free style. Not easy! Ryan definitely needs more water time to build up that muscle memory. As planned, I did bring him down to our pool at home last Friday, after we got back from the clinic, but it was just too cold for me! Cold water is one thing, there was a cold breeze as well, which put an end to my idea of doing any exercises. We ended up just playing with Ryan's toys in the tiny children's pool (which is like a wading pool for adults). I'll try again, fingers crossed that the weather will be kinder.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Visit to the PD and other updates

Hello dearies. I have been falling behind on my posts and I do have quite a bit to update. It's been sort of a struggling week for me - I've had a few family issues to sort out, which has been very draining on me mentally. I'm looking forward to life getting back to normal next week.

Anyway, some updates on our adventures.

On Friday morning, I brought Ryan and my mum to NAFA Arts Kindergarten for a tour. Looks good. I'll do a separate post on our visit.

In the afternoon, I brought Ryan to the paediatrician to get his vaccinations up to date. His regular paediatrician, Dr Ngiam, was on leave so we consulted Dr William Yip instead, at the same clinic. Dr Yip has attended to Ryan a few times before (including when Ryan was born), so we are quite familiar with him.

As usual Ryan took both his jabs well, with no fussing or crying. Dr Yip was amazed and said that he was so brave. Dr Yip also did a wellness check for Ryan and certified his development as normal. Ryan is 10.6 kg and 83 cm. (There was no post-jab fever.)

I took the opportunity to ask Dr Yip about weaning Ryan off breast milk. I also mentioned that Ryan isn't always keen on his solids. Dr Yip said that it's fine if Ryan prefers breast milk as breast milk has plenty of nutrients and calories (Dr Yip was very impressed (shocked, even) that we were still breastfeeding!). He said that, if I do wean Ryan off the breast, the real substitute for breast milk is solid food, not formula or milk, and he said that it's perfectly fine if I choose not to give Ryan formula or milk. His point is that there is no rule that Ryan's nutrition must be delivered through formula or milk, and formula/milk is just another form of food. Of course, if I do want to provide a milk substitute, he said there are a variety to choose from - soy milk, cow's milk, etc. So Dr Yip basically gave me the same advice as Dr Ngiam did.

For dinner that evening, we went to the buffet at AquaMarine, Marina Mandarin Hotel. Wrapped up the day with a movie on DVD.

The next day, Saturday, we had a simple lunch at Beach Road Prawn Noodle, at East Coast Road.

Enjoying the jumbo prawn noodle, while Richard is having the pork ribs noodle.
Don't be misled by the photo - Ryan isn't able to handle the chopsticks yet. Nevertheless he always wants a pair for himself and we do let him hold them and do what he likes with them. He does know that they must always stay in a pair and he is always very careful to keep them that way.

In the afternoon, there was PlayClub and this week was Daddies' Week. As usual, we were asked to come in similar father-and-son outfits. We brought out the shirts that Richard and Ryan wore for Daddies' Week two terms ago. Looks like Ryan can still fit into his, although the label states that it's for 12 months.

There was a birthday celebration in class today so there was cake for everyone.


Outdoor activity was sandplay. I get the feeling that this is not one of Ryan's favourite outdoor activities (or maybe that's me), so I'm glad that he gives it a go anyway.



While Ryan's class was finishing up their sand play to go into the classroom for music, the other PlayClub class came outdoors for swimming. The Mandarin teachers in the other PlayClub (Ryan's ex-teachers) called out to Ryan and tried to lure him to the swimming pool. It was very amusing because Ryan's Mandarin teacher then tried to entice him to go back inside for music, so they were literally fighting over him! Of course, the swimming won in the end. Ryan walked over to the pool area (Ryan's ex-teacher was delighted to open the gate for him and take his hand) and he even tried to climb into the pool! Haha!

In the evening before dinner, we hung out at Parkway Parade for a little while. Ryan got into this coin-operated ride (a hot dog truck) and discovered for the first time ever, that it actually moves! There were some children in the front of the truck and their parents put a coin into the ride while Ryan climbed into the back. He was quite intrigued when it started moving and he sat quietly at the back for the entire ride. After that, we felt obliged to put in a coin (to contribute our share) so Ryan got to go again!


I think he thought that the child in front was really "driving" the truck - when the ride ended, and the "driver" got off, he got up and walked to the front and called for another driver, and when another child boarded the truck, he quickly sat back down at the back! Hahaha!

Ryan fell asleep on the way home, which was about 7.30 pm. Amazingly, he slept until 9.30 am the following morning! He must have been completely wiped out. While he slept, Richard, my mum and I had a barbeque dinner on our upstairs terrace.




Will post our Sunday update next!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Haircut

I know, I know.  As much as I hope that Ryan's other features and traits will be given due notice, Ryan's hair is still so significant that even I dedicate entire posts to it.

So, yes, as you can see from the recent posts, Ryan got a haircut. We did it on the Sunday before Chinese New Year (30 Jan) at Little Red Dot at Forum the Shopping Mall. This is where Ryan usually gets his fringe trimmed when it grows past his eyes.


I have heard some traumatic stories of children getting their hair cut. What works for us is having Ryan in our laps (this time it was Richard's lap) instead of letting him sit by himself. We have always done it this way, right from his very first visit to the salon, and we find this to be the best way to keep him stress-free. This doesn't mean that he keeps still - sometimes he stands up in our laps, sometimes he turns around and faces backwards. We don't hold him down or restrict his movement, we're just there for reassurance. We also do without the smock provided by the salon, because Ryan doesn't like having it on him. This time, as he was getting more than a trim, we took off his shirt as well.


It was done in under 5 minutes, no fuss, no stress.


And yes, all the curls were still there.




I do like his new look but it took me some time to get used to it, all the while wondering if we'd done the right thing.

That evening, we went for dinner at Robert Timms at Wheelock Place. The manager looked at Ryan and said to him, "Hello boy! Such beautiful eyes!"

I wanted to tell him, "Sir, you just made my day."


Well, it's been nearly four weeks since then and his hair is growing back fast and the curls are as strong as ever. We've had lots of feedback on The Haircut - basically there have been mixed reactions. Some people think he looks even more girly and yes, some people still refer to him as "little girl" (no matter what he's wearing). Somebody even said he looks like Betty Boop! I guess we just have to grin and bear it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Frogs in a row

Something simple to share today - a colour sorting activity that I did with Ryan a few months ago. I know now that Ryan knows his colours, but back then, I wasn't sure because he kept saying "purple" a lot. Of course, at first I thought he was referring to the colour purple but when I showed him other colours, he still went, "purple!" so I wasn't sure whether he meant to say "purple" or some other word. His word for "circle" is "kurkur", so who knows.


I used every opportunity to point out and name colours for him - look at the red butterfly! the banana is a nice yellow! Elmo is red! Ryan didn't acknowledge any of it. At the back of my mind, I was curious as to whether he might be colour blind. 

Anyway, one night we were playing together on the floor and I started slowly sorting these plastic hoppers by their colours while saying their colours out loud. We bought these hoppers when Ryan was less than a year old and he loves pressing on their butts to make them hop.


Ryan was not interested in what I was doing. He was climbing on and over me, blabbering about something else and completely ignoring what I was saying. He was literally trying to get me to stop. After a while of trying to get him interested and after I had sorted about two rows, I gave up and I let out a big sigh. 

Ryan suddenly froze, stopped his climbing and blabbering, picked up the rest of the hoppers (about 8 of them) and finished up the sorting without any prompting or help. He took less than 10 seconds. He then continued his climbing and blabbering, as if nothing had happened. I, like the idiot I was, was too stunned to react.

That little guy knew his colours all along. No big deal, mummy.

[This post also appears in our Learning at Home section]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Watering the plants

Ryan is very interested whenever I water the plants and he always insists on having a go at the watering can, although it's probably too big for him.



I showed him how to fill up the watering can with water from a pail, which he managed to do.



Whenever Ryan helps out with the chores, it takes much longer to get them done, but of course, at this stage, the point is not finishing the chores but learning how to do them and enjoying the process. It's more like water play than doing chores!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Doesn't Venice look like this?

We went sailing in a Venetian gondola on Sunday!


Well not quite, but it's nice to think that we did!

After swimming on Sunday morning, we tried to have brunch at one of our old haunts - Casa Verde. Unfortunately, the place was packed and there were already so many people waiting for seats that we decided to go elsewhere. It was also packed the last time we tried to have brunch there, which was just before Chinese New Year. We used to go there for the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, when it was never a problem finding a table and there was no pressure to finish your food and leave quickly. The last two times we dropped by, the place was so chaotic and crowded with people, I was stressed just from standing outside. I guess people have discovered our secret hideaway (good things are meant to be shared after all) so we'll have to find a new one now.

Anyway for that day, we ended up at Papparich, near our old house. The staff greeted us enthusiastically and asked us where we've been, as we hadn't been there for some time. The place was quite empty and we had quick service and a slow and easy meal.

To fill in the time before Ryan's Shichida class, we decided to check out the new ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The museum just opened for the first time the day before. We parked at Marina Square and walked over via the Youth Olympic Park and the Helix Bridge.



That's my mum!
That's me carrying Ryan and walking up to the museum.
Richard and Ryan just outside the museum.
Spent some time taking photos on and from the bridge and outside the museum, so there wasn't much time left to do a proper visit to the museum. We decided to hang around the Shoppes at Marina Bay instead, which was a good decision because we bumped into Elvis there!

The King and my mum!
Walked all the way to the Rain Oculus and was lucky to catch it in action - the water falling two storeys from the hole in the centre of the acrylic bowl. The acrylic displayed the whirlpool perfectly.


While we were admiring this amazing sight, we noticed the gondolas (actually they are sampans lah...) that were sailing underneath it so, yes, we did the cheesy tourist thing and hopped onto one! 

Our sampan man couldn't stand up because there was not enough weight
 in the small sampan to counterbalance his weight. He and I had to sit on opposite sides of the sampan.
What's that you say? Venice doesn't look like this...?
Believe it or not there was a queue for the ride.
By the time we got on, the Rain Oculus had been switched off.  
Richard was running along "on shore" snapping photos. 
I was dressed for the occasion (as a fisherwoman?), although I did not plan to.
Someone please remind me never to wear this outfit again, no matter in or out of the house.
Still can't believe that I did the most cheesy thing in Singapore - and had fun! Tickets are $5 per person, maximum of 2 passengers per sampan. Children below 2 years old are not allowed on board. Don't be misled by the green swim board that Ryan is holding - there are no safety devices on board (the water in the canal is probably just about thigh high). We bought the swim board for Ryan at one of the shops before we walked over to this area. We certainly did not buy it for this! His second favourite exercise at swimming class is using the swim board so he was so excited about having his own board that he refused to let go of it until we got back to the car. 

Ryan wanted to be carried almost the whole time we were out, so Richard and I were really puffed by the time we got back to the car at Marina Square. That boy is growing! The next time we do this, I think we'll park at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which seems to be much nearer.

Richard took Ryan for his Shichida class, while I accompanied my mum for a cool drink. Ryan did so well in his linking memory activity that, after class, his sensei asked Richard whether mummy had been practising with him at home. Of course she has! It's hard work you know! Hahaha!

After Ryan woke from his nap, we had a late dinner at Chong Qing Hot Pot. Ryan ate seven pan-fried dumplings ("woh teep"). Actually he only ate the filling, but still, seven! I think we were all tired from the day so we went home to rest after that.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What we did at swimming class

This morning, Ryan had his swimming class. He was still asleep when we arrived at the pool, so it took some time for him to wake up and process that we were going swimming but, once he did, he was all smiles. He refused to wear his neoprene wetsuit again though, so I think we may need to get a new/different one for him. 

There was a new exercise in the pool today - swimming through a tunnel.




Ryan's favourite activity is doing the jumps. He has yet to take a flying leap into the water though. Right now, it's a slow plunge off the side of the pool.






Ryan has made good progress in his swimming and he's pretty much mastered the baby exercises. In the past few months, Coach Dave has started introducing more advanced exercises and to be honest, I think that Ryan needs more water time, not just 30 minutes once a week, to master these advanced exercises, otherwise he'll be stuck at this current level for a long long time. So I'm thinking that I need to swim with Ryan during weekdays after work in our pool at home. Problem is, the water will be really cold - maybe I need to get a neoprene wetsuit for myself!

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