Learning the Art of Drawing, Painting and more at heART Studio Singapore

Most of my relatives and friends know me for being arty and crafty, I love creating my own pieces of craft work. When Ayra was ready to use her hands for some creating work, we started pasting, cutting, scribbling and some painting fun together at home. In childcare, her teachers also shared that she is always focus when doing craft. But the mummy me cannot draw for nuts! I can doodle, I can do “abstract” painting but I just cannot draw.

Having seen how children of some friends managed to create awesome pieces at heART Studio, I decided to let Ayra give their classes a try. With the same “never ask never know” mindset, I wrote in to enquire about their classes. Fast forward a couple of weeks, Ayra attended a trial class on a Friday evening.

The none responding trial class

As expected, it was tough for Ayra to open up to a new teacher. She was alone in the class that evening and had 101% focus and attention from Teacher Jay. I sat next to her throughout the session, helping her to ease up to the new environment and teacher. Throughout the 75 minutes session, she only managed to say less than 5 words and were silent and starring at the teacher most of the time. When asked to draw some simple shapes, she was reluctant to move her hands too. I was almost going to just give up right after that lesson.

Teacher Jay was very patient and nice throughout the session. I can sense a little frustration in him when Ayra refused to response but he never once gave up on her. He tried every method and encouragement he could possibly have on hand. At the end of the trial class, he suggested we change the lesson to another day so that Ayra will have some company in class. We took up his suggestions and went back for a second time the following week on a Thursday evening. This time, there were another girl in the same age group as Ayra. And things got better, for both the girls.

Light at end of tunnel

Second lesson and I see some light at end of the tunnel, Ayra actually enjoyed herself in class this time round! There was another girl the same age as Ayra who started one project earlier alone in the class. Her mother shared that she had to stay in class with her through the first few lessons too as she didn’t want to be alone with the Teacher. But that day, with Ayra around, both the girls enjoyed the class without their mummies! Well, we did stand near the door for the first hour of the lesson, the remaining 15 minutes we managed to sit down and chat. Great improvement in both our opinion!

Ayra was able to respond better and reacted to prompts and questions from Teacher Jay. I am amazed at the great improvement in both her behaviour and work this time round. With Teacher Jay’s guidance, she created her first piece of canvas painting just like that! Mummy is super proud.

Also observed from the two sessions we had with HeART Studio, Ayra is able to work with both hands, ambidextrous perhaps? We do not correct her on purpose and let her use either hands she’s comfortable with. She started holding pencils with her left though, we shall let her progress and determine which is her better hand on her own. For now, I’m happy she’s enjoying herself in class.

This was the work-in-progress of her first canvas painting after one lesson. Pretty good for a 3+ years old who previously only managed to create a messy piece of art with all colours mixed right?

After a week’s break for Chinese New Year, Ayra is looking forward to continuing her pigeons piece this week. Will be sharing Ayra’s progress with HeART Studio as she continues her art discovery journey.

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.

Lunch Date With Daughter – OctoSchool at Fish & Co

With more flexibility in my work schedules come more opportunities for lunch outings with my love ones. Slowly but surely, we are going to try out more places together with my girls. Going to start one new section in The Loving Mum – Kids Dine Out, where we share our little dining dates with you. Starting off with our recent unplanned lunch date at Fish & Co, Bugis Junction.

A Happy Ayra = A Happy Mummy

Just happened to be at Bugis Junction earlier before we caught Hairy Maclary at NLB. With picky eater Ayra with me, I wasn’t sure where to bring her for lunch. After walking around the restaurants we entered Fish & Co, and were pleasantly surprised at the little goodies given to all kids dining that day. This sure made my lunch date with Ayra a little easier as she was excited by the cute gifts.

Though they did get our orders wrong, seeing how busy the place was and the shortage of staff, I didn’t request for a change. And Ayra would have objected to it since it was fries that was served instead of the rice I ordered for her kids meal.

If you are wondering, no she didn’t eat much from her plate. This super picky eater is super hard to please. Just a few pieces of fries, few scoops of soup and one small tiny bite of the fish fingers. And a few sips of milo!

The cod fish when served and noted to me that they have just changed the type of cod fish used in their menu and now it comes with some fine bones. I wasn’t very pleased as I thought cod usually are served boneless. But it wasn’t that bad as only 2 small pieces of bones were found in my piece of cod that day. Next time must check before ordering!

Overall the experience at Fish & Co was alright. The highlight from that lunch date was the unexpected gifts for kids. Anyone know if this is a new initiative at Fish & Co or just in month of October due to Children’s day?

Oh so cute! Where did she get the perms?

A question I get ALL the time when Ayra was between 9 to 20 months young. Whenever we bring her out and some aunties will comment how cute her curls are and asked where we brought her for the perm. My eyes were rolled too many times.  When it was long enough, we had her hair tied up most of the time as the curls get very crazy and hard to style.

Ayra in March 2013

And we just let it grow… let it grow…

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The thought of bringing her for a hair cut has been on my mind for a few months, and just as I was looking through photos from the early years I realised how cute she will look with short curls again. So one fine Friday, before getting her ready for childcare, I asked if she wanted to get her hair cut and skipped school for the day.  She agreed, and after preparing her for what to expect, off we went.

And just before the chop…

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All set and ready for her first hair cut in 3 years…

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It was a very calm and quick cut at Okinawa (wallet friendly $10 cut). Ayra set still and did not move an inch throughout the cut and when its done, she smiled and whispered “I like.” However the Mummy was all emotional and at the edge of tears watching the girl get her hair cut off. Missing her curly long hair now… oh well… it will grow back faster than we know.

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Rocking her curls once again

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For the first time in forever, Ayra finally got her hair cut! And the few days after, a question I get from her…

“Is my hair long?”

Ayra is THREE! Her first celebration at Playgroup

Three years ago, this little baby popped out of me after more than 20 hours of wait.

Ayra - Day 1 @ 14 Sep 2011

And now she’s 3! Growing up to become a very fine lady, ever so shy and gentle (except times when she’s lacking in sleep).

Fun Outing with Ayra

Her first celebration this year was with her sister’s 1st birthday gathering at home with family. Having two girls slightly two weeks apart, it’s going to be a lifelong journey of busy end-Aug to early-Sep celebration for us. And not forgetting the 10 years of school where Teacher’s Day means busy-mummy-day that happens in between the two birthdays! #notcomplaining

Continue reading “Ayra is THREE! Her first celebration at Playgroup”

Things Parents Got To Be Prepared for First Week of Playgroup

It has been almost two weeks since Ayra, our first child, enters Playgroup. This is my first experience as a parent to prepare my girl for school. And I thought it would be easy, and I was wrong. Being the first child, Ayra got a lot of attention from everyone at home. With little exposure to sharing anything or anyone with her since birth, entering a Playgroup environment is kinda intimidating for a 28 months young girl.

Here is our experience from the first seven days of school and some things to note for those who are preparing your child for their first full-day childcare.

Preparing for THE 1st day can be a long process.

I started preparing Ayra and myself for THE day a month in advance, from shopping for the necessary stuff to exposing Ayra to school related books and activities. Assuming there was no books for childcare, I bought a backpack which after the first day got “kicked” out of school. If you are wondering what a 2.5yo need to bring for a full day childcare, here is the standard list provided by myfirstskool.

  • 2 sets of clothes/ uniform
  • 6 pieces of diapers or 2 pieces of underpants for those who are toilet trained
  • Comb or hair brush
  • Milk bottle and formula milk (if necessary)
  • 1 bedsheet

Doesn’t seem a lot right? But when you put them all together, the small backpack just doesn’t hold them well. So after the first day of school, we got Ayra a new trolley bag.

[box]TIP: Get your child to pick his/her school bag. This will encourage them to want to carry/pull it to school.[/box]

Day 1: Oh-so-fun! A new playground?

First day of school is oh-so-fun! Mummy was around and there were so much to play and explore. Ayra did well on the first day without any tears. In fact, she told me she love going to school and want to go back again. However things turned for the worst as the days passes…

Learning to play and share with others

On the second day of school, Ayra jumped out of her bed at 6am and was looking forward to go to school. She let me changed her and couldn’t wait to pull her new school bag. With Mummy around, nothing is to be afraid of, and this girl seemed all well and brave on the second day. There were few other kids who started school on the same day and were crying and throwing tantrum for 2 days even with their parents around. So comparatively, Ayra did very well. Mummy was pleased.

Day 2: When the Parent sneaked away in the middle of the day.

Expect a calmness before a major storm

Playgroup is for playing, and so she thought.

Day 2 in childcare without Mum for the second half of the day went pretty ok. Some crying when she didn’t see me after nap but eventually calmed down with distractions by the Teachers. When she saw me at the door at the end of the day, she could not hold her emotion any more and broke down immediately. She just wanted to dash into my arms and get out of school. Makes Mummy’s heart ached and that’s when my heart melted and questioned myself if this girl was ready for school.

And then came the first weekend of Ayra’s childcare days. Not a very good year to have 2 days of school and then another 2 days without. The kid has not settled into a new routine and it was broken too quickly. We were prepared to start from square one come Monday.

[box]Day 3
You woke up immediately when I told you it’s school time. And you entered the school on your own knowing your routine and ate breakfast on your own. Now mummy is outside hiding, watching you play. Be good and well my baby girl. You will love your companion in school.

The third day of school after the weekend seemed a little fresher for her and when I thought she had comfortably settled down already and had a sigh of relieve.

She survived Day 3 with some tears nevertheless but Teacher said she did well. Ayra even came home with “presents” (she called them that) from two of her classmates’ birthdays.[/box]

Day 4: With updates from the Teacher via Whatsapp

[box]Day 4 – First day without the Mum
The strong and brave girl when into hiding today. Not wanting to let mummy go and cried super loud when I left her after her morning routine check at the school entrance. Pains me to walk away like that, but she needs to learn to be alone without mummy at PG. Hope this phase passes quickly and smoothly. Mummy was feeling rather depressed.

Must be super tiring for a toddler in playgroup. Ayra KO by 7pm last night till 6am and now she KO for the day already. Hope she doesn’t pull her hourly milk stunt again tonight. Last night was tiring for me.[/box]

Not sure her tiredness came from too much playing, too little nap time or too much crying. When I saw her exhausted self laying in bed, it made my heart aches again. I silently hope she will eventually get used to the new routine and will enjoy school and treasure our home time together.

[box]Day 5 – The Shitty Day
The morning drop-off went pretty well with only a short wave of crying. Mummy left after seeing that you have settled down and in good company of your teacher. You didn’t seem like your usual self when I came to pick you. Instead of dashing to me happily, you were very calm and slow. You gave the teacher a hug before you left and when I came down to give you a big hug, I knew why you were so calm. There was poo in your diaper! I hope it wasn’t from too early of the day and no one detected it when in school.

You didn’t share much about your day in school and instead just did your own things when you’re back home. Soon you KO in bed.[/box]

[box]Day 6 – The Refusal
You refused to leave home for school. No matter what I said to you, you still refused. Told you I’ll drive you to school in Ayah’s car, you nodded and off we went. Tears started to flow again when you saw the school entrance. Sorry baby girl you have to go through this, I know it will past very soon. Hang in there and be strong Ayra! We love you! Mummy was feeling hopeless.[/box]

[box]Day 7 – Ayra’s favorite Teacher was on Leave
The morning was tough. Lots of talking and pacifying was required to get her off the bed and out of the house. She even tried to push me back down to sleep with her when I tried waking her up. And when she saw the school entrance again tantrums and tears flew.

The day went by without her trusted Teacher as she was on leave that day. No one was there to hold her hands when she needed comfort. But I’m glad she has grown to trust another teacher in school, and will give her a hug before she left school with me.[/box]

That rounded up her first 7 days in playgroup. It wasn’t as smooth sailing as I had hoped for, but we managed to survive it together and I thought Ayra was slowly getting used to our new routine. Much persuasion and reasoning was required and a lot of energy is spent just getting her out of the house. When the weekend came and gone, it was Monday again but this time our tough 7 days of initial routine was distributed and things turned rather messy and ugly.

The eighth day at playgroup was a very stressful day for me. Didn’t help as I had just started working in a new company too and had to adjust my own routine from the long stress free maternity leave. By the time I settled down at my work desk, half of my energy were gone already.

[box]Day 8 – The broken routine
Everything we put through for the first 7 days in playgroup was crashed because of a broken routine from the morning of Day 8. It didn’t help that it was also the Monday before a weekend of fun time with the family. Ayra woke up as usual refusing to go to school. But eventually she let me change her and prep for school. Before we could do our usual routine of me explaining to you why we are sending you to school, giving you the same assurance I always give in the first 6 days of school; all these routine were broken with an unexpected visit from Grandpa that morning.

Instead of walking down together with Mummy holding your hand and you pulling your trolley bag along the way, you were carried to school. Instead of saying goodbye at the school door, you were accompanied into the school with Grandpa by your side and carrying you through breakfast. What happened thereafter I am not sure. But from what I was told, your day was totally ruined by our broken routine. Mummy was feeling super depressed since the call from Grandma and couldn’t concentrate on anything else but waited for the time to past till time to pick you up.

I had looked forward to greeting you at the school gate and giving you the thumbsup and applause when I see a smiling girl dashing towards me. But instead, Grandpa brought you back after nap time cause he said you were too traumatized in school. I blame the whole mess on our broken routine.[/box]

This broken routine is going to be a huge challenge for us in the next few days ahead. With you insisting that Mum stays with you and you refusing to go to school, I know it is going to be even harder to calm you down and is going to take an even longer period for you to finally get used to this new routine of ours.

[box type=”2Getting your kid settled in school is best done with the same routine for as long as possible, till the kid is able to enter school without any resistant. We failed at this within the first 2 weeks and the consequences is to calm a crying child every day.[/box]

After a week of school, Ayra did not seem to enjoy it as the days passes (or at least that’s how she is showing us). She used to love washing hands as she can play with water, but just today, she refused to do it and had a huge melt down just because of that. May be due to the fact that every morning after she washes her hand in school, Mummy is gone from her sight. She will keep chanting “I don’t want to go school.” and gets all emotional and clingy to me when I mention going to school.

Till the day when Ayra finally settles down 101%, I will never have a full peace of mind in whatever I do.

It’s only the 3rd week of 2014 and I’m totally burned out already. In desperate need for energy boast and lesser stress from all the negative ions in the family.

Don’t want to say goodbye

When she was just a baby, it was me who find it hard to say goodbye. And at 26 months, Ayra is having the same difficulty to say goodbye when we part. Why is this routine so hard to get used to?

When I started going back to working in an office in Feb this year, Ayra moved to stay with my mum. We visit her after work on Wednesdays and have her home with us for the weekends. She got used to this routine fairly quick and did not show any sign of unhappiness. All went well with this routine until she became a sister.

With the arrival of Zara, she stayed over with my mum at our place during the month of confinement. She was delighted as she get to spend time at our home with mummy around everyday. The first few weeks were rough as she wasn’t used to sharing her mum with someone else. She threw tantrums and had melt downs. Eventually she got better, though till today there will still be moments of jealousy when we show affection to the baby.

During the four months of maternity, I try to spend as much time as I can with Ayra. I bring her out to play, catch Christmas shows in malls and for media events. Most weekends we will spend time playing at home with her favorite toys and activities. But as I am unable to look after both girls overnight, Ayra has to go back to my parent’s place at night. These are the times when goodbye is almost never said.

Ayra started refusing to bid goodbye to us when we send her to my parent’s place. Her expression changes and the happy toddler just turned into this mature girl filled with emotions; with the look that pains my heart. She would not even want to turn back to look at us when we leave my parent’s place with her. At such a young age and she already show such emotional character, I hope this phase will past when she starts school in January 2014.

Come Monday night, our two baby girls will switch – with Zara staying over at my parent’s and Ayra back home with us. With Ayra starting Playgroup on 2 Jan and me heading back to work again soon, time with the two girls together with me is going to be rare. Every moment shared together will be so so precious.