When Mummy is Away…

With a trip planned and for the first time I’ll be away from my family in couple weeks time, I started preparing my girls towards the week without Mummy. So last night I asked if they will be ok if Mummy is away. And this was how it went…

M: Ayra will you be alright if Mummy is not at home for one week? One week is very long you know?

A: (thinks for a while and nodded)

M: Are you sure? Mummy won’t be here to put you to bed at night you know? And only Ayah will be home to look after you and Meimei.

A: Yup!

M: Meimei will you be ok with Ayah without Mummy around?

Z: (blank stare)

M: You want to go stay with Ah Ma and Ah Gong? Or stay here with Ayah and Jiejie?

A: Meimei go stay with Ah Ma. I stay with Ayah alone.

M: Oh why? Won’t you miss Meimei too if she’s not here?

A: Nope. I can play my games on iPad. (Indirectly saying there won’t be anyone to snatch the iPad from her!)

M: … …

And then today after school, Ayra came home with this drawing she did.

IMG_0150

Here’s her story as shared with Ayah.

This is Ayra and Ah Yah at home. Mummy goes to work and Meimei is at Ah Ma house. When Mummy come back from work, Meimei will come back too.

I was stunned like vegetables. 

See you soon.

One City
A World of Flavours

Ayra The Funtastic Four

Everyday I look at you, with 100% focus, I see a different you. You have grown so so much and I am asking myself where has my little Ayra gone. Your words, your actions, the way you scream and cry, the way you interact with your toys bringing them to life and how you can transform from a 3+ year old to like a 7 year old instantly; you are always amusing me.

I have been treating you rather unfairly lately, wanting you to behave like a big girl and stop crying and screaming for little things every day, just because you are turning four. How silly of me to do that! You are ONLY four!! And I must admit you have been doing very very well already.

You have learned to give-in to your younger sister at play, you will off the TV, pack your toys and switch off the lights and fan when its time for bed, you let me explain to you why things should be done the right way and the one-thousand-and-one reasons why you need to listen to your parents. You know when to give in and accept that you are wrong.

Ayra, my darling 4 year old, you really have been growing up well and Mummy is very proud of you.

We do of course still have our many days of unnecessary melt-down, screaming and angry moments, creating too much blue and red memory balls in our long-term memory. All these will one day be gone and forgotten and those which ended up into our core memory will serve as a reminder of how and why we do things the way we are. It is ok to cry when we are sad, but screaming just because you cannot get what you want or due to the lack of rest is really not acceptable, Mummy will help you get over this phase so you know how to better control your emotions.

I love it when you wake up with a big smile and jumping out of bed on your own. I love it when you “lecture” me for not doing things I promised to do and you really sounded like an adult, just like how I would say the same to you too! (insert sweet voice of Ayra) “Mummy you know right, you are always working working working, you must remember to cut my nails ok. You must remember you promise to play with me and bring Meimei go out you know. Mummy you know?“.

Thank you for being such a lovable, smart, outspoken (when with me) and understanding 4 year old. Together we will do more happy things, we will guide and teach one another the many joyful things in life, we will share and create many many yellow memory balls and we will share our emotions and cry if we have to. Mummy promise you I will do my best to provide you with the best I can and love you 101%, and also will always remember to give you and Zara 100% focus everyday, even if its just for that short 30 minutes.

Happy 4th Birthday my darling girl!

Stay curious, keep smiling and fill our family with your love. Please try to be less shy when surrounded by family members and friends, Mummy know you can be the way you are even in big groups too. You just need to pretend everyone you don’t recognise as invisible and they cannot see you. LOVE LOVE LOVE you very much Ayra. Happy birthday darling!

Lunch Date with Daughter with Pizza and Fries

I am such a lousy mum! After a great lunch date with Ayra in Oct 2014, I haven’t been able to do another one for almost a year. I promised myself that I need to do it more often, but work and appointments took over almost every available lunch hours over the past year and more in the coming months. But still, its better to have a once-a-blue-moon opportunity than to never have any. So when we had a chance to go out on a mother-elder-daughter only date few weeks ago, we pampered ourselves a little with a nice slow lunch. No rushing, no feeding just good yummilicious lunch with my girl.

See that face when she truffle fries was served? Never mind its not that healthy, that smile and giggle makes all worries go away. Just eat and enjoy!

Lunch that day was at Skinny Pizza, because she requested for fries and then later pizza. I could only think of one place where I can enjoy pizza with her without having to feel that guilty since I was supposed to be avoiding eating processed carb then.

We ordered a Wild Truffled Mushroom, truffle fries and ice cold drink for me. Can you tell I had a bad craving for truffles that day? LOL!

Ayra enjoyed the crispy thin pizza crust and fries, while I had lots of wild truffled mushroom and rocket leaves.

Of course we couldn’t finish the entire pizza so we requested them to pack the left over for us. But the silly mummy left the box of pizza in the ladies and totally forgot about it! Only realized our pizza was missing in the evening when we were on our way home. Too excited about the day’s activities and little things like this are easily forgotten.

Hope we can do more of such girly date out and not just that once a year! I love seeing her so happy.

That Day When Ayra Met Our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Photo from PM Lee's Facebook Page (MCI Photo by Terence Tan)
Photo from PM Lee’s Facebook Page (MCI Photo by Terence Tan)

Because it was kind of a big deal so I just got to record this memory on the blog. The news of this once in a lifetime opportunity came on my birthday just when we were about to leave home for dinner. The lady from Capitaland called and asked if Ayra would be able to join them at the launch and present a token of appreciation to PM Lee at the Straits Time exhibition, Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, where Capitaland is the main sponsor for. The first thing that came to mind was “Oh no! Ayra? Our super shy Ayra presenting to PM Lee? Surely cannot loh! It’ll be a photo disaster!“. But of course I did not say that and politely accepted the invite. The moment the phone call ended, I started prepping Ayra immediately! Yes I am THAT kiasu although we were two weeks to the launch.

Days preceding to the day when Ayra meets our Prime Minister at the launch, I explained to her what she was going to be doing, who PM Lee is, how he is related to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew (because Ayra knows about him during the period of national mourning), what she can expect at the launch and how she should behave and smile all the time. Ayra was even told to imagine that she will be invisible that evening and only Mummy can see her, so she does not need to worry about strangers looking at her. It was quite a stressful experience for me because this is confirmed going to be published in the papers loh!

See she was all smiley and happy before dinner. Ayra you would have been such a doll if you gave that big smile when you met PM Lee that night.

Everything went well and Ayra was all set and ready for the big event that evening. We arrived at Marina Bay Sands slightly earlier to slowly set her mood and have our dinner. All was smooth and great until when we were ready to walk over to Art Science Museum (ASM) where the launch and exhibition was taking place!!!

I was almost lost for words and ran out of ideas to coax this little shy princess of mine. She refused to walk towards ASM and insisted her feet were too tired to move. There is no way we are backing out of this so I used all mighty power of imagination to help ease her anxiety and we managed to go through the whole event without any need to tame any crying girl. All these wouldn’t be possible without the great help, hospitality and patience from the ladies from Capitaland.

The all adults crowd probably intimidated the tiniest little girl there.
Keeping Ayra occupied and warmed up while waiting for PM Lee to reach our exhibit hall, which is the last in the entire exhibit.

As I had expected, Ayra was too nervous and stunned like vegetable when the huge entourage of media and photographer engulfed PM Lee, CEO of Capitaland and her during the presentation. Her feet were stuck to the ground, lips tightly sealed into a straight line and refusing to smile for the cameras. I am very very grateful and thankful for the initiative taken by PM Lee during the presentation, he taking the extra effort to ensure photos were taken for the news piece and even giving us a second chance to have some more photos taken.

Ayra in the feature in The Straits Time
PM Lee making small chats with Ayra, trying to get her to warm up. Photo taken by not-sure-who-cos-camera-passed around.

And the one most unforgettable thing he did was to reply to my posting on his Facebook page, acknowledging Ayra’s presence that night.

Besides the Past and Present, the Future and what it can be was a big part of the exhibition. Capitaland organised the…

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

If you are wondering why Ayra was invited to do this, well because she is the youngest participant of #BuildSG2065, a campaign by Capitaland.

Ayra’s art piece duplicated and now on display inside Art Science Museum together with many other creative submissions for #BuildSG2065.

Thank you again Capitaland for this memorable experience for me. As for Ayra, I think she would probably laugh at how silly she had been that evening when she sees this post and view the photos taken that night with PM Lee.

Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, at ArtScience Museum from now till 4 Oct 2015. Go check it out!

Lessons at heART Studio Singapore – What to expect

We’ve completed our first term of Little Botero programme with heART Studio. Having stayed on to observe the classes through the 10 weeks, spoken to other parents and understood more about the school from the teachers and the friendly Auntie May; here is our 101% honest review and sharing of what you can expect when you send your little ones for programme at heART Studio. You may also like to read about our previous two posts here and here.

Programme Structure and Class Size

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

Little Botero programme is conducted by Teacher Jay, the class size is kept small so that the children gets more attention and guidance from Teacher Jay. The weekly class Ayra attended only had 2 girls, and I really appreciate the attentiveness given to Ayra during lessons. Each term consists of 10 lessons which each child will get to complete 2 painting (4 lessons each) and 1 drawing (2 lessons) projects. The lessons are broken down to 4-4-2 so that new students joining the class need not wait till a complete term before they start. Each lesson is 75 minutes.

Each new project will kick off with an introduction of the topic that they will be drawing. For example, Ayra did a project on aeroplane and she learned about the different types of planes, watched videos about them, explained the different parts of a plane and then eventually learned to sketch their own planes in the first lesson. The next three lessons were then spent drawing and painting on their project which can be in form of canvas board or drawing block.

The Environment

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

I like how the classroom is refreshed for every lesson. Printed photos, sample sketches and paintings are put up around the class to fit the project theme. The classroom is bright and room temperature just nice for the class size. On raining days, its advisable to bring along a jacket for the little one.

Location of heART Studio is a little tricky to get to for those who doesn’t drive. The nearest bus stop is about 5 to 10 minutes walk. Once we took the bus and Ayra got lazy walking, carrying her up the slope towards the building where heART Studio is located left me perspiring and sweaty. We never did that again, and make sure we have our car booked every Thursday evening for her lesson.

The Teacher and Team

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

Teacher Jay is very patient with his small class, he explained and interacted with his students at every opportunity. Say when he’s mixing colours for them, he would ask what colour they can get by mixing two colours together. Or when he is drying their painting, he would have small talks to keep the children talking. After lesson, he would also share some feedback and observations of your child during class. Like how he said Ayra is getting better with controlling her strokes, how she had been too active that day in class and affecting the other girl, etc.

I didn’t get to interact much with the other teachers at heART Studio, but when I do see them, they give me a very happy and fun vibe. The lady managing the registrations and schedule, Auntie May we call her, is very nice and helpful too. She greets the children by name when we enter the studio and reminds us if there is no lesson the following week. Overall I like the team at heART Studio.

The Projects

In the term, Ayra completed 2 paintings and 1 drawing. See how proud she is with all her creation.

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

The Loving Mum Reviews heART Studio

So are we going to continue?

I had been discussing this with Ayra since the middle of our term and have gotten a mixture of “Yes” and “Don’t want”. I can tell she really did enjoy her lessons and she is super proud of the two paintings she did. This being her first extra classes outside of her class in child care, she is still not used to the extended hours every Thursday. Before and after her final lesson with Teacher Jay, her final answer was no. She did not want to continue, her reason? “Because I don’t like to draw like that… I only want to paint.

Respecting her decision, we are taking a break from extra weekly lessons for now. But I have signed up and paid for three holiday programmes for Ayra this coming June. On those three days, I’ve also planned not to send her to child care just so she can get enough rest and remain focus in the 3 hours painting class. That’s more than double of her usual painting classes, so I really hope the project will keep her motivated and stay focus! We will be going for Gingerbread Man, Shawn The Sheep and Monster In My Pocket holiday workshop in the first two weeks of June. Below’s the holiday programme available at heART Studio this June. For more details and schedule, check out their Facebook Page.

heartstudio-juneprog

heART Studio
1 Charlton Lane #01-04 , Singapore 539631
Tel: 65547563
Email: info@heartstudiosg.com
Website: www.heartstudiosg.com

*Disclosure: This is part of a series of reviews between heART Studio and The Loving Mum. Ayra is attending complimentary art lessons for the purpose of writing this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Grooming Ayra’s Interests in Art with heART Studio

It’s been almost two months now since we started Ayra with a weekly art lesson at heART Studio. Every week, this girl will look forward to Thursday after child care, she’ll finish her dinner faster than usual just so she can reach heART Studio in time for her 75 minutes of art engagement with Teacher Jay. I can see that Ayra truly enjoys her time in class.

Learning about colours and picking one for her painting

So far one project has been completed, Ayra’s first complete piece of canvas painting, done wholly by herself! She was super proud of her work and had to show it to her grandparents and uncle when she reached home that day (we did FaceTime).

Ayra with her very first canvas painting. This is awesome right? See how proud she was holding it for the camera!

Teacher Jay would guide her patiently on different type of strokes to create the effect needed for feathers, clouds and just simple background painting. Once he guided her, she would be left to finish the painting on her own.

An earlier lesson where Teacher Jay was guiding Ayra on using short strokes to create feather-like texture with the paint.

 

Ayra concentrating on her painting after learning the right way to create clouds from Teacher Jay.

 

It just brightens up my day watching her enjoy herself in class and learning. With just one more project to go, I may have to sign her up for a new term soon.

That smile that melted my heart.

 

For those keen, each term of 10 sessions is $400 and the child will complete two projects in the 10 sessions, using 4 sessions per project and the other 2 remaining sessions will be used to teach other techniques or skills.

heART Studio
1 Charlton Lane #01-04 , Singapore 539631
Tel: 65547563
Email: info@heartstudiosg.com
Website: www.heartstudiosg.com

*Disclosure: This is part of a series of reviews between heART Studio and The Loving Mum. Ayra is attending complimentary art lessons for the purpose of writing this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

He’s dead already. Not die.

Dear Ayra,

The past week was dark and solemn, the mood in the family (especially me) and the rest of Singapore was greatly affected due to the passing of our first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. I did not expect you to understand what he did for Singapore and who he was to many of us, especially your zhouzhou (great grandmother) and ah ma (grandmother). We did not get to tell you about him but when you saw his videos flashed on TV one evening, you pointed and said “He’s Lee Kuan Yew!” and I was dumbfounded. Thanks to the sharing in your childcare, you got to learn about this great man.

You kept asking me where he was and when I told you he is dead, you did not understand. I said he dies and is taking a very very very long sleep because he is very old and sick. And yet you insisted he is not. In your own words…

“No… Lee Kuan Yew is not die. He is sleeping. When the sun comes up he will wake up.”

For the next few days whenever you see his photo on TV, you would repeat your thoughts, arguing with me that he is not die.

On Sunday, we sat in our living room, me cuddling you, we watched as Lee Kuan Yew took his last journey around Singapore. From the start of the journey, you repeatedly asked the same question – “Where is Lee Kuan Yew? I cannot see him”, till the point I got very frustrated, unknowing how to explain what it meant to be dead. I explained that he is dead and is taking a very long sleep inside the coffin that was covered with our flag, but yet you insisted he is not there and repeated your questions. Ayah and I tried to distract your questioning by giving silly replies – “He is behind you.” “He is hiding inside your playhouse…”.

Finally, after more than 2 hours of questioning and me trying to explain to you what is dead, you gave the most amusing reply – “Lee Kuan Yew is dead. But he is not die ok. He is dead.”

When the live broadcast was over, I then reflected on your words – “Lee Kuan Yew is dead. But he is not die.” And then I too felt the same. Ayra, from your unexpected answer, Mummy came to senses that yes, Mr Lee is dead, but he will always live in our thoughts, our memories and everywhere around us. As PM Lee Hsien Loong shared in his eulogy for his father Lee Kuan Yew, “Mr Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore. To those who seek Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s monument, Singaporeans can reply proudly: ‘look around you’.”

Ayra, when you are older and wiser, you will read and learn about this great man who devoted his entire life building Singapore. You will learn to appreciate everything around you, your family, your beautiful green city and the diverse culture and people. Mummy hasn’t been a fan of history nor politics, and I have to admit I have little knowledge about these topics. But Mummy will be reading the books written by and for this great man from now on, and hopefully one day will be able to share with you more about this great man.

Mummy will also be compiling some articles and links on our little tribute page for Lee Kuan Yew, so one day when you are reading this, you will have some references.

With a very heavy heart, and a lot of love,
Mummy