Monthly Archives: April 2007

The Wonders of A Humble Cardboard Box

Over the weekend, we helped to babysit a pair of twins.

Faced with the prospect of 4 boisterous preschoolers (plus one baby), I did the most sensible thing I could think of – I kicked them outdoors. Everyone wore their grubbiest clothes, and armed with paint and two large cardboard boxes courtesy of our neighbourhood NTUC Fairprice, we set about creating whatever they felt like, which as it turned out, was a Bendy Bus. We even managed to find some old paper bowls and stuck them on as headlights.

Pictures below. But first, let me highly recommend the humble Cardboard Box as a most wonderful plaything for young children. All kids love to have large surfaces on which to paint, colour, draw, or stick things. If an adult is on hand, some judicious work with scissors and tape can transform boxes into any number of creations. Even without the dressing up, a child’s imagination can turn a simple box into trains and boats, castles and treasure chests, tunnels and ramps. And the best part is that the boxes come free. Any grocery store will be happy to let you take a few for free. The only question is how long us parents are willing to put up with what will eventually turn into mangy eyesores 🙂

So back to our Bendy Bus – here are pictures of the finished oeuvre: Continue reading

The Many Uses of A Chopstick

Yesterday as I was having lunch, Aramis signalled that he wanted to hold my chopsticks.

I obliged, curious as to what creative uses his exploring one-year-old mind would come up with. Would he roll it? Use it as a drumstick?

How limited is my imagination. The Very First Thing he did with said chopstick was this: Continue reading

Why Parenting Just Got Harder

A few days ago, I came across a reference to I’d never heard of it so I went to check it out – turns out it’s a sort of online SMS/instant messenger service but instead of one-to-one, your thoughts go out one-to-many. A way, I guess, for people to feel a sense of connection to others, though I couldn’t quite understand why you’d want to do this when you could just talk to a real person.

(Of course, there was a time I didn’t understand SMS or blogging either!)

That same day, I read the latest issue of Time. Serendipitously, it contained a great article that mentioned Twitter, and this crazy, always-on, always-connected world that we now live in. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading

John G Saxe: The Blind Men and the Elephant

A few nights ago, I told Athos and Porthos the story of the six blind men of Hindustan. It made an impression on Athos because he asked me to tell him the story again today. And midway through the story, I suddenly remembered that there’s a poetic version. It’s a fun one for kids because it is both accessible and wise. So here it is for your enjoyment: Continue reading

The Unfathomable Mind Of A 6-Year-Old Boy


Earlier this week, Athos had a nosebleed. After it was over, he started to pick his nose and pulled out a slimy, blood-encrusted piece. He held it up to me, awed and delighted, and said, “Look Mommy…

bak kua booger!”

Parenting Talk: Competence Beyond Studies

St Andrew’s Lifestreams, the counselling arm of the Anglican Church in Singapore, is organising a parenting talk:

Title: Competence Beyond Studies

Date: Sat 2 June, 10am-12:30pm

Venue: St Andrew’s Cathedral (Underground Sanctuary)

Cost: $22

The speaker is Dr Melvin Wong, a practicing clinical psychologist from California. I have it on good account that he’s an experienced counselor and good speaker, connects to real-life experiences, and has a lively and humorous delivery. Apparently Cantonese which may account for the last bit. 🙂 This is his fourth trip to Singapore.

The topics he’ll cover are:

  • A child’s world – the importance of early attachment with caregivers
  • Parent’s attachment style, parenting style and emotional expressions
  • The importance of emotional competence in relationships and learning
  • Steps to help your child develop emotional competence
  • Overcoming computer addiction (I couldn’t help wondering if this refers to the child or the parent!)

The talk is targeted at parents with children between 4-15 years, as well as teachers. You can get the registration form at the St Andrew’s Lifestreams website here. Closing date is 15 May 2007.

In Praise of Taxation

A gentle reminder to Singaporean readers: Deadline for filing your taxes is tomorrow! And 18 April if you’re e-filing.

Now I dislike taxes as much as anybody. So if I’m going to have to pay it, the process had better be as painless as possible.

And here I must pause to heap praise upon the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) – and you can go ahead and call me a dork. I’ve just filed my taxes online, and the process took me 10 minutes! It was so easy it was over before I was even warmed up with my documents, papers and calculator. They’ve linked up with employers, CPF, even the Central Depository, and they had all my details. All I had to do was update the system with any change in my status in the past 12 months (the birth of Aramis), and that was IT. No rifling through papers in search of elusive numbers. Nothing. I could even nurse while filing!

Times like these I find myself quite partial to the Big Brother.

Why I Am Weaning

Last week, Grandma gave Aramis aka Suckzilla his first ever bottle of formula, and so began the process of weaning.


I hadn’t really been thinking about weaning, except that 11-month-old Suckzilla, who usually nurses like so:


…last week decided to adopt this position: Continue reading

Biscuit Briefs

The other day, Porthos had a biscuit for tea – one of those round digestives. He took one bite on the left, one bite on the right, held it up and said:


“Hey look, underwear!”

A Tale of Two Brothers

I’m always amused – and often appalled – by the clearly different personalities of Athos (aged almost 6) and Porthos (4 1/2). One story here. And another as follows:

A friend has come to visit from New Zealand. She bears gifts for our three boys. Taking two and putting them behind her back, she asks Athos:

Friend: Left or right hand?

Athos: Left.

Said friend gives Athos his gift.  She takes up the remaining gift, puts her hands behind her back again. Then she addresses Porthos.

Friend : Left or right hand?

Porthos: Both.

Diary Confusion

And proof once again that children hear and remember everything –

Athos: Mommy what are you doing?

Pilgrim Mom: I’m reading my diary.

Athos: What’s a diary?

Pilgrim Mom: It’s where I write about things I’ve done, or what I’m thinking about.

Athos: But the doctor said “no diary”!

Pilgrim Mom: No dear, that’s “no dairy”.