Archive for May, 2013

Bye Bye Baby Toys

May 28, 2013

Today, I sold another bunch of his old toys that he rarely plays with. Gone are his Thomas the train and Tidmouth Sheds, together with the lovely Tolo musical shape sorter, wooden wagon and blocks that Calvin likes to dump, wooden peg puzzles, little boy and dog figurines that was meant for pretend play, hammering toy that was hammered with the hands and the hammer used to hammer everything else, little safari set with lots of animals that was never a real hit except for the jeep that came with it…  With that, we said farewell to most of his toddler toys that he has outgrown. Most of those actually came all the way from Singapore with us in our luggage.

At first, I marveled at the extra space I suddenly have in the living room when I boxed up all the toys I’ve marked to be sold. The room just looked much neater and manageable. (I’m sure the fact that we scavenged a new shelf from the neighborhood from leaving graduates help too) Then when all the toys finally went out of the door today and I had the money in my hand, I kinda rejoiced that I managed to recoup some of the money we spent. And then when I was telling Johnny about which toys are out of our lives, I was hit with panic — what will I tell Calvin when he asks about those toys? After some rehearsing, we decided on telling him the truth in that he has outgrown those toys and so they went to a little baby girl so she can play with them. I guess being a natural hoarder type who keeps little bits of string around ‘just in case’, it’s difficult to try and be minimalistic. In fact, if we didn’t move, I would never have purged anything from my own wardrobes. We would still have those tatty t-shirts that we love from more than 10 years ago. I guess moving often is a good thing for me since it forces me to throw out the things that are just kept because I haven’t the heart to throw them away. At least it gives me some impetus to actually throw things out or give them away.

I turn 32

May 27, 2013

I’m not sure if I feel as old as that but I certainly don’t young anymore. Not when there is white hair creeping out from under the rest of my blacks.

Today, in a lapse of indulgence, I decided to bake myself a chocolate cake. But being the hippy health conscious cook that I am, I decided to give the black bean version another go. Yes, it’s a cake made without flour but black beans in its place. It turned out surprisingly fluffy and rich even though it looks ugly – the center collapsed as all my cakes tend to do >.< and it was rather crumbly and some parts were not mixed well so I could even taste the acrid baking soda taste. (I blame this on 1. My laziness because I wanted everything mixed in my blender to minimize washing and 2. My teeny tiny blender that just couldn’t handle all the ingredients.)

This was the recipe

1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cup black beans or 1 canned, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
juice & zest from half an orange
pinch of salt
1/2 cup baking chocolate

Mix everything in a blender except chocolate chunks. Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes. (Mine took another 10 mins and still didn’t pass the toothpick test…. that might explain why it collapsed?)

With all the chocolate and sugar added, I’m sure it’s still as sinful as ever. Hey at least there wasn’t more oil or butter in there. What’s more I used up that bag of black beans that I had defrosted and couldn’t decide on how to use it up before we go on vacation. :p

Little Gym & Swimming

May 25, 2013

Today he went for his 4th session at Little Gym. He managed a donkey kick successfully and even managed to climb up the wall a little. Looks like his little arms are getting stronger. As I’ve said before, he is surprisingly receptive to the new things they do there – hands holding a bar and climbing up a wall, donkey kick, rolling down a ramp and bouncing on an air mat. One of the worries we have constantly is that he does not even try out new things. Like when things look too hard for him to do, he would just run away and refuse to even start but somehow Little Gym was different for him. Maybe it’s because there are other children around and the teachers would guide him on what to do instead of us. When he is with us, he is undeniably more dependent — probably because we are such hardcore hover-craft parents who cater to his every need.

Maybe the new experiences are starting to give him confidence in his body. Yesterday, he had loads of fun with his papa at the swimming pool. He even lowered his head into the water by himself and blew bubbles out in the water. I thought it would take him a little while to get used to the water and I was pleasantly surprised to find him experimenting in the water without any prompting.

Almost summer

May 18, 2013

It’s almost summer here and we’ve now enjoyed a grand total of two strawberries from our little plants! It’s such a strange feeling to be eating up sun warm berries that has just been picked less than 1 meter away. We are planning to go to s strawberry farm soon and hopefully have lots of fun berry picking.

School is almost over for Calvin and he has indeed grown so much over the year. Yesterday, we were at the new family picnic and Calvin gamely climbed up the tire ‘stairs’ which he never wanted to climb. Initially I helped to hold him but he tried a couple more times and can get up with minimal help at the end. He even went down a couple of the smaller slides multiple times though the taller ones still intimidate him. Last year, he won’t even climb up a playground without one of us holding his hands to go up. He is still learning how to socialize with other kids. I have to remind myself that the ability to observe and join into an activity is not an easy thing to do. In fact, many of the older kids are still incapable of that because it means having to predict other people’s feelings and thoughts. Most kids have their world’s revolve around themselves – like the big C who’s been literally stalking Calvin, trying to befriend him and wanting him to play some character in a TV show. I’m surprised at how many of the boys know about star wars at 5 years old. That’s definitely not something I would show a little kid.

Last week, Calvin went to the swimming pool at AFC for the first time. It seems that he’s not tall enough to stand in the water there so he’s been clinging on for dear life to his papa. He seems to have forgotten about the Bedok swimming pool where he had so much fun last time. I guess that was a more shallow pool where he can just walk around inside. Hopefully with more time he will gain more confidence.

Meanwhile, he’s been having lots of fun at his little gym classes. His forward rolls are getting better. He would even let me do a wheelbarrow on him. One of his favorites in class is to roll down a ramp and also just run around. Usually he gets distracted so easily that he would run to the other group after he’s done his own round and will have to be called back by the teacher. At least he tries everything that the teachers tell him to do.

Making Friends and Gym

May 8, 2013

Calvin has been making some headway in making some friends in school. Apart from the playdate with Aditya, he also played with Jude at the Penn park playground twice, albeit for short periods. The first time, Calvin waited and waited for Jude who was on his tricycle so he could ask him to race with him. It was almost time for them to go home but they managed to have a ‘race’ in which Calvin ran off halfway through. He followed Jude up the playground, walking around obstacles that the other boy climbed over. And then they were at the slide and Calvin didn’t want to go down so I went down with him instead. (secretly, I’m also afraid of the sensation of sliding down, but I bravely endured it for Calvin’s sake >.<)

The second time, we played tag together even though the two little ones doesn’t have a very good sense of the rules for tag yet. Jude had to go shortly after because he has T ball practice with one of the other parents as coach. We watched and I think it did Calvin good to see the other kids practicing how to play.

Last Friday, I saw Calvin walk out holding cooper’s hand. Apparently, Cooper really likes playing with Calvin and they had a good time playing pretend house at the playground before. I was told that Cooper kept asking about when they could have a playdate together. Last time, Cooper was trying to hug/ jiggle Calvin and he fell down so I’m glad they are hitting it off now.

On the other front, Calvin really enjoyed his Little Gym experience. Johnny said that he was okay participating in the class all by himself and following the teacher and other children in the activities. So we are going to sign him up for classes from now till end of summer. Hopefully it will help him gain more confidence in his physical abilities. Apparently, I have to eat my own words when I thought I would never send him to classes as ‘absurd’ as these kids gym stuff :p