And the baby's full term...

It's been a long while since I blogged and I thought that I should just pen a few thoughts before I deliver little Alex. After all, I'm 37 weeks this week... and for the last pregnancy, I was warded immediately after my 37th week appointment with my gynae. Who knows for sure what will happen this time? And who knows when I'll have time and energy to turn on the comp? :P

This pregnancy was not a smooth sailing one from the beginning, starting from the fact that it was an unplanned one. There were lots of unhappy thoughts and I was just full of apprehension of how I was going to cope with Alicia with a big tummy and all the pregnancy woes. Then there was spotting in the early weeks and the unsatisfactory Down's Syndrome test (which turned out ok at the end) and the low lying placenta detected during the 5th month detailed scan (which has thankfully moved up).

Fast forward and at 37 weeks now and I'm still doing well, being able to take good care of my little princess and hubby, doing regular marketing and cooking dinners and bringing my princess to the nearby pool for regular dips despite my huge belly - which just freaks my mum out thinking how I can possibly make it to the market: and I didn't even mention the swimming. All I can say is thank God for the energy and good health I've been blessed with.

Now that I'm so close to delivery, I feel so overwhelmed by memories of the days when I just gave birth to Alicia and the confinement month. I had a terrible time and I'm really hoping that things would be much better for me this time round. I hope that I can get my privacy and personal space and time to bond with my little family - I really think it's important for us to have quiet time to spend as a small family unit, to adjust and welcome a little baby into our lives. I just wonder if that's too much to ask for.

I'll be tandem nursing this time - little Alex will get his milk immediately since his sister is still latching on. It's such an exciting thought, nursing both my darlings. I do hope that nursing them together will bring as much joy to them and ease any jealousy on Alicia's part. And I so hope that little Alex will know how to latch on, unlike his sister who only learnt to do so after the first month!

Anyway, I never imagined that I would breastfeed Alicia for so long but I guess anyone who managed to overcome the problems I did with breastfeeding her would have made the same choice. There are far too many critics of extended breastfeeding out there and so probably tandem nursing would be just too much for those people to accept. I'd probably have to put up with lots of nonsense from ignorant 'well-meaning' people but seriously, I don't give a damn. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and tandem breastfeeding is not only my choice, but also Alicia's. People ought to respect that.

So much lies ahead and will take place so very very soon. In my anxious moments, I was much comforted when my friend told me, 'God will provide' - I'm sure that includes a supportive hubby who keeps reassuring me that everything will be fine :)


Simply Mommie's Facebook page

I haven't been able to sit down much at the computer to update my blog as I've been busy... and tired...

I've resorted to uploading photos and status updates on Simply Mommie's facebook page so that I can still share what I've been doing with my girl. Do join the page if you're interested in getting small snippets of ideas instead of reading long-drawn blog posts which I have not much time for these days! :) It's drawing nearer to my EDD so I guess I'll have even less time to blog in future... :P


Activities to go with The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle

It's been quite awhile since I've found time and energy to blog... this is such an overdue post!

The good thing though is that The very hungry caterpillar is a classic so it's never too late to share what we did for the reading of this story.

I made this learning aid from here:

There are a couple of missing pieces though but it still works rather fine.

I got her to match the pieces to what she could see on the pages to practise counting:

and instead of a 'story stick' (which is how the learning aid is supposed to be made), I gave her a piece of yarn for her to thread the pieces together, following the sequence of the story:

And so it's killing two birds with one stone: getting her to practise fine motor skills as well as learning to sequence according to the story line. She did really well with the sequencing after awhile such that by the time she watched the performance put up by Act 3 in mid July, she could tell exactly what was coming up next :)

After threading all the cards, just tie a ribbon and she gets a necklace - which made the vain little one very happy. This activity can be done over and over again - something that your preschooler would request to do!

And we chose a day to make egg carton caterpillars:

My girl loves all things small and cute so instead of making 3 long caterpillars, we had 5 short ones. 

Painting the egg carton was quite a highlight as it was a new experience.

After the paint has dried, just draw and cut out eyes for the caterpillars (or use googly eyes), draw a smile, pierce two holes at the top of the caterpillars' heads (to be done by an adult) and poke the pipe cleaners in.
Do you notice that there's one female caterpillar? :) 
Hint: the one with the eyelashes

We made a symmetrical painting by first folding a piece of drawing block in half then squeezing paint randomly on it. Once that is done, press the drawing block together and you will get a symmetrical painting. After you have done the first fold, you can unfold it and press the other side of the drawing block together and repeat the process. :)

After the paint has dried, draw a butterfly and cut it out:

We did this counting activity which you can download here:

Alicia wasn't very interested in this activity compared to the rest of the activities but you can always give it a shot. 

Another activity that might interest your preschooler would be these two dot-to-dot printables which you can download here.

We took the chance to revise the Days of the Week using the learning aid my mum made for her earlier (I made the Mandarin version):

Have fun!


Activities to go with The mixed-up chameleon by Eric Carle

The mixed-up chameleon is a colourful and playful story about how a chameleon wishes to be someone else only to find out that what's best for him is really to just be himself. 

We also didn't do many activities for this story as I was trying to minimise the preparation of activities. I don't really have the time and energy to make extensive learning aids for her, and since the new baby will be arriving in about 3 months time, I have decided that we will maximise learning opportunities with minimal preparation on my part - I imagine that I should be busier with the arrival of the new baby! That said, I have implemented a more proper structure for our homeschooling recently (will share that in a later post) to make things more organised for both her learning and my planning.

(i) Colour revision

Well, it's a colourful book like I said and the chameleon on the cover is just begging you to name the colours you see! Alicia enjoyed naming the colours, even without my prompting... naming the colours in Mandarin is the difficult part for her as she refuses to answer my questions in Mandarin... *sigh*

(ii) Catch a 'fly'
adapted from here (you can find other activities from the link but those may require a lot more preparation on your part. Some of the activities are also too simple for Alicia already so I only picked what I thought would work best for us)

You need:

  • a party blower (see pic below)
  • a small piece of velcro (the hard side)
  • small pieces of felt (to simulate the fly)

The chameleon in the story loves to eat flies but I was too lazy to make a fly manipulative so I just gave her whatever small piece of felt I had on hand for this activity. It's probably quite difficult for a child to imagine how the long tongue of the chameleon works, so I think this is an interesting activity to illustrate how the chameleon catches the fly with its tongue (though it is not really exactly the same).

(iii) Make your own colourful chameleon

ok, I got this idea from somewhere but I can't remember where exactly... can't seem to find the link.

Anyway, you need:
  • colourful plastic dividers (I recycled the old ones which were lying around waiting for an opportunity to be recycled)
  • transparencies (the type used for Overhead projectors in the past) - trace the pics of the chameleon from Eric Carle's book
  • marker
  • scissors

happily playing with the cut up colourful dividers - her first encounter with them

Place the transparencies of the pictures of the chameleon around the house and get your preschooler to find them:

Can you see it? :P

Alicia loved to place the transparencies on different surfaces and kept asking me each time, "Mummy, where's the chameleon?"

To make your colourful chameleon, just randomly place the dividers on a flat surface and place the transparency of the pic of the chameleon on top.

It's a different chameleon every time and it can be done over and over again! :)

(iv) Writing practice

Discuss what the chameleon wanted to be in the story with your preschooler and ask her what she wants to be.

The little ardent swimmer that Alicia is, she naturally chose the fish. :)

As she is still unable to draw a proper fish, I drew a simple one for her. We then wrote a simple sentence about it. (I wrote the sentence for her, and she used a marker to trace the words for writing practice). We had to split this activity up into two sessions (conducted on different days) as she was unwilling to finish the sentence in one sitting.

(v) Art and craft fish + shape matching + writing practice (Mandarin)

Cut out some shapes to form a picture (I chose a fish since it tied in nicely with the above activity). 

Trace the exact shapes onto a sheet of paper to form the picture.

Get the child to place the shapes correctly on the paper first before sticking.

Get your preschooler to stick the shapes on.

Write the word you want your preschooler to trace and let her use a marker to write the word. Guide your child to write in the correct sequence of strokes if writing the chinese word. Name the strokes in Mandarin as you guide your child and get her to say the word when it's completed. 

*You can always adapt this activity to make your child practise writing in English or other languages.


Activities to go with Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Before I brought Alicia to watch Act 3's performance of Eric Carle's stories - Little Cloud, The Mixed-up Chameleon and The very hungry caterpillar - I decided to go through the books and some extension activities with her. It was after all, her first time attending a theatre performance. I thought it would be good to prep her a bit and arouse her interest so that she would enjoy the performance thoroughly.

As I've not been particularly creative of late and have been searching for simple, fuss-free activities to do with her, we really didn't do very much for this book but after the activities, she showed much keener interest in reading (and re-reading) Little Cloud over and over again... so much so that she could even remember some lines! :)

If you don't have much time on your hands and wanna do some activities with your child, you can try these! :)

(i) cloud observation

This is the simplest activity of all! Just pick a beautiful day where you have fluffy white clouds in the brilliant blue sky and have a conversation with your preschooler about what she sees! 

Pick another day when it's about to rain and discuss how the clouds and the sky look different.

(ii) cotton ball clouds

You need: 
  • a piece of blue construction paper, 
  • fluffy white cotton balls and 
  • glue

Have the child dab glue all over the construction paper:

... and stick the cotton balls on!!! :) 
Demonstrate how to pull apart the cotton ball slightly to stretch it and make the cloud look fluffy and have your child follow suit.

and it's done! :)

(iii) Painting clouds with bubble wrap

You need:

  • drawing paper
  • blue and white paint
  • paint brush
  • (big) bubble wrap (you can use small ones too but I think the big bubbles look better as clouds)
  • sponge (to create some 'texture' in the blue sky - optional)

Get your child to paint a piece of drawing paper blue:

Dab the wet paint with a dry sponge (optional step):

Paint the bubble wrap white and press onto the blue 'sky':

You can see she had much fun painting with the bubble wrap from the big white patch of white!

If your child's painting of the cloud(s) has a semblance of any shape or animal, you can get her to write a sentence about it (for older kids). 

Other activities that you may wanna try (which I didn't have time for):

  • shaving cream clouds
  • cloud matching activity: cut out some shapes of 'clouds' (make a matching set), mix up the clouds and get your child to pair up the clouds that look the same :)

Hubby's birthday :)

Hubby's birthday's actually in June, but I've been sooo busy that I've not had the time to update my blog much...

Celebration at my mum's place a day before the actual day:

Alicia's present to daddy (made during our trip to the Peranakan Museum):

Happily presenting her gift and card (she made with my mum) to daddy:

Outing on the actual day:
On the way to the Singapore Flyer (which she calls the Big Wheel):

Waiting for our turn to board:

Asking for permission to walk around the cabin:

A moment of quiet observation:

Dinner at Swensens (singing the birthday song again):


Drop-in Wed at the Peranakan Museum (22 June 2011)

After I put up some of the photos we took at the Singapore Art Museum on my personal Facebook page, my friend left a comment that I should check out the Peranakan Museum for their drop-in Wednesday's programme for kids and I'm so glad that I did!!

As mentioned in the previous post about the Singapore Art museum, as it's Children's Season, kids below 6 have free entry. For the Peranakan Museum, it's having a special promotion where as long as you go with a male, aged between 1-100 (all men get free entry), the females get 50% off the entrance fee (of $6). Since I went with two of my friends who have boys, we all got half-priced tickets.

It was fortunate that we were kiasu and went early (the programme starts at 1pm)... we arrived just slightly before 1pm. The slots for the silkscreen painting of the T-shirt - the special programme scheduled for that day - were filling up fast and despite being one of the earliest in the crowd, we only managed to get a 3.40pm slot!

Well, after registering for the activity, we proceeded for the storytelling session at 1pm... and while waiting for the storytelling to begin, I chanced upon the machine to do the embossing for the paper kebaya:

After storytelling, we took a quick tour of part of the museum before the kids lost interest in the intricate artifacts. 

Here's Alicia with her friend on the exquisite chairs:

The spice drawers where the kids could see and smell the spices commonly used to cook Peranakan dishes:

You could also dress up as a nonya/ baba... (adults are welcomed to do so too)

but Alicia refused to wear the kebaya at the last minute, threw a tantrum...

... and contented herself with trying out the pretty beaded shoes:

rummaging for shoes that she fancies

putting on the shoes on her own

Really pretty shoes, right?

Next we went to register for the photoframe decorating activity... 
we got to decorate this small photoframe with mosaic tiles:

Then queue up to let the lady do the finishing touches of filling in the gaps:

peering inquisitively...

posing with her friend

she was so intent on smiling for the pic that she forgot to show her work..

This is the completed photoframe (which she gave her daddy as his birthday present)

Peeking at objects commonly found in a Peranakan home

Snack time with another of her friends while waiting for the T-shirt painting

After the T-shirt painting was done, she insisted on wearing the T-shirt immediately after the paint had dried and ran to pose for a photo in the room:

Here's the dragon motif T-shirt she made... :)

Gosh, I really never knew museums could be soooo much fun!! :)

*All activities are complimentary with admission.
*Drop-in Wednesdays activities are conducted from 8 May - 29 June 2011.


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