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Monday, 29 August 2011

Finger Painting

I have been wanting to try finger painting with Adrienne for a long time now, mostly because I loved it as a kid and would probably still love it now if I found/created the opportunity to try it. I had been searching for finger paints in Singapore for awhile with no success, but read on-line that you can make edible paint that is great for toddlers. So this past rainy Saturday, we whipped together some of this 'paint' using flour, water, and food-coloring. It was actually great hands-on fun. And a mess. But mostly fun. I thought we could dip her hands in the paint and make some nice hand-prints to send to the grandparents or something. However, Adrienne had different ideas about how things were to go. You can see from her facial expressions that she takes her art very seriously. (If you read THIS post, you will agree with me that she is probably just misunderstood. This happens alot to artists). I think Adrienne thought that dipping her hands in the paints was more exciting than the actual painting part. We called the session to an end when all of the paint colors turned to brown and I marked it as a success. The next time we try it, however, I think we will take advantage of Singapore's tropical weather and paint sans clothes (since I think that pink shirt will never be pink again). 

Update: Adrienne did LOVE the finger painting! So much so that she wanted to do it again the very next day (If she looks like she has been crying, its because Mommy is so dense that she couldn't figure out that Adrienne wanted to paint again. Even though she kept running and pointing to the cabinet where the food coloring is kept). This time I learned my lesson and stripped both the highchair and my daughter to their core. At the end, everything went into the shower. I would definitely recommend these improvements.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Karmic Justice

This picture just tickles me. As if we needed further evidence that mother nature has a sense of humor (Just look at the anteater, or example. Or giraffe, for that matter. Or a hoard of other animals as examples). Perhaps it's partly poetic justice that this picture was taken at the zoo, where mother nature's funniest creatures are found. You must remember THIS post, where I explained my huband's unique talent of ruining the majority of pictures we take together. And my final question about whether this could possibly be a genetic trait? Well, today was a father-daughter outing to the Singapore Zoo. My hubby wrangled someone into taking their photo and thought he had a winner for sure. You know, one he could print out and keep on his desk at work or something. So when he downloaded the photos and exclaimed, "Oh No! She has her eyes closed!", I was totally empathetic after having been on the receiving side of these eye-closed photos countless times before.... OK, no, not really. That's what I would like to tell you that I felt, but in reality was thinking: PAYBACKS, Sucka! It surely must be karmic justice to have your daughter ruining your photos now with her eyes closed. What was even funnier is when I went to look at the photo. Now, Regis swears he has his eyes open in this photo but I present it here and will let you come to your own conclusion. If you ask me, this photo just proves one thing: that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.   

In my opinion, however, I should point out that all is not lost. I *LOVE* the photo. I may print it out and put it at my desk at work, since every time I look at it I smile. I am seriously crazy about these two closed-eyed goofballs!  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Stuffed Sanctuary

Everybody should have a corner like this: an area of bright and happy faces full of love and silent approval. No wonder this is one of Adrienne's favorite places to hang out.  

Monday, 22 August 2011

3rd Trimester

Last week we welcomed the start of the third trimester. It rolled in with leg cramps and panic dreams (like last night I just forgot my baby boy somewhere during my day. When I finally remembered that I had forgot him, I had to retrace my steps in a panic and had apparently visited some very strange places during my dream-day). I can't quite believe that we are already at the beginning of the end (of the beginning). When I announced to my husband that, horray!, we have made it to the 3rd trimester, he tells me, "Oh, I'm not looking forward to all that labor business again; that was really hard last time." Yes, you have read that correctly. HE told ME that the labor part was hard and HE is not looking forward to it again.

Now, to be fair, it's true that the labor was hard and my hubby was an excellent birthing partner. For some various reasons, all of which I can't even remember now, I wanted to attempt a 'natural' birth with Adrienne (A.K.A. sans epidural). I have heard that some people who take epidurals are able to watch movies and such while laboring. This sounds so foreign from our laboring experience that I may want to give it a try the next time. Without an epidural, I depended a great deal on Regis to help me out, to jump at my every whim and need. Neither of us really knew what we were getting into prior to this day. So when they moved me to the active labor ward at 7:30 in the morning, my hubby probably wished he had stopped to get breakfast, or at the very least coffee. The fact that he had to forgo coffee on this day probably is a good testament to how hard it was for him. And of course we labored right on through lunch, by which time I certainly wouldn't let him leave me for a second. I'm not even sure I let him go to the bathroom. I did have him walk me to the bathroom several times, but I don't recall there being a men's toilet. But of course nobody really cares about the comfort of their birthing partners while in the middle of labor, right? As we progressed, I was literally dependent on him to tell me to breathe, since my natural reaction was to hold my breath and push (against the strict advice of the labor nurse, who had warned us that we were not to the pushing phase yet). I know I couldn't have done it without him. My husband has also had the good sense to never teased me about the ridiculous things I was saying while in labor. For example, at 8 cm I decided I was in fact ready for my epidural and was informed that we were way past the therapeutic window. So I asked the nurse to kindly pack me up, because my due date was not for another 3 weeks, and we would come back in 3 weeks where I would smartly take my epidural right away. I remember believing this could actually be done and feeling somewhat frustrated that they were not complying with my simple request. I also distinctly remember telling Regis that we were going to adopt any future kids. As I write this, number 2 is kicking me in the ribs. How quickly we forget. He also knew exactly when to lie during labor, like telling me I was lovely, that I was doing a good job, and that there was very little blood (even though I could tell from his face that the whole things was over-whelming and disgusting).  Except for the beautiful baby part. I suppose that's why we find ourselves in the situation again. That being said, I need no reminding of how difficult labor was. I list a few reasons here why my hubby is entitled to feel that labor was hard, but you will just have to trust me when I tell you that I did the lion's share of the work that day. 

Speaking of lion's shares, a colleague of mine recently reminded me that after Adrienne was born, my hubby was telling people that the hardest part of having a baby was the naming. The NAMING. I remember being totally surprised by this at the time, since 'choosing a name' wouldn't even make the top 10 list of difficult things about having a baby for me. Ha! I wish the hardest part was the naming, not the morning sickness, weight gain, heartburn, labor and birth, etc...  This just goes to show how ridiculously skewed the workload scales are in the female's direction when it comes to reproduction. However, one must be careful for what one wishes. There is a good chance that choosing baby boy's name will be even worse than the entire pregnancy and labor this round for me. It might just be the influence of the hormones and I generally leave these feelings of paranoia to my hubby, but I sometimes I think my husband might be purposely trying to drive me crazy with this issue. And there is a small chance it might be working...

So, dear son, I would advice you to get comfy and stay put till the very end of this trimester. Mommy and Daddy still have a lot of debating to do!

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Regis and I recently had a text conversation that went something like this:

R: Even though blogging is something I generally frown on, I think you are a good writer.

T: Thanks! I appreciate that.

R: Your welcome.

T: I might invite you to guest blog for me someday.

R: After we are done blogging, we can go to the star trek convention

I would like to submit this conversation as further evidence that 'R' doesn't actually know what blogging is (As mentioned HERE)

This is a totally irrelevant picture, I just thought this post deserves something nerdy.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dinner Date

Recently, my hubby had made plans to catch up with a friend over dinner and so I decided to take Adrienne out for a dinner date. We went to a local hamburger restaurant because Adrienne's little brother craves hamburgers and Adrienne LOVES sausages. Now should you ever be lucky enough to have a date with Adrienne, there is a warning I must give you: you CANNOT be the jealous type. This is the case because Adrienne commands all sorts of attention wherever she goes. On the plus side, while Adrienne is flirting with all the tables around you, you will be able to finish your entire meal while sitting down and without stuffing your face like some starved lunatic. As an added bonus, you won't need to take photos  of your date because the table next to you will do that for you and email them to you later. Just don't expect to be in any of the photos.  

 Photo courtesy of our new friends, the diners to our left.  

Monday, 15 August 2011

Why We Travel

Lets be frank here: traveling with kids is a pain in the butt. (I can think of other adjectives but this is a family-friendly blog, folks). Traveling from Singapore comes with its own unique set of hurdles when when it comes to traveling with children. I mean, all you parents know what it's like to travel with young kids: the gear, the short attention spans, the tantrums, the lack of sleep and quality meals. Of course, we have those things but with a few additional complications.

As I have mentioned before, Singapore is a tiny island and if you go more than 20 miles in any direction, you will need to carry a passport and go through an immigration checkpoint of some sort. This requires passports and your long-term passes and, depending on destination, visa purchases. In our pre-kid days, it seemed exciting: another stamp in the ol' passport, another country on the list of places you had been. I had all my passport info memorized so I could fill out my immigration forms and departure cards in less than a minute. This often happened mid-flight while indulging in a ridiculous romantic comedy and a mini-bottle of complimentary wine. Now it takes me 45 minutes to fill out 3 immigration forms while trying to chase down a pre-two-year-old and stay in eye contact of my husband who is dragging some 14 odd bags that we brought for a quick weekend getaway. I have heard that Singapore has enacted a policy to expedite the immigration process for residents by providing a finger-print scanning machine. So if you can remember your residence pass and your finger, you can fly through immigration in 5 minutes.  I wouldn't know about this because I happen to have a child who is under 6. For parents of young children, you must line up with all the other tourists and business travelers and Asia-backpackers in the slow lane and have someone manually check your passes. Meanwhile you wait and stare enviously at the next-to-non-existant line under the "Residents Only" sign (while your child likely opens your suitcase and starts displaying your dirty clothes for those around you).

Another twist to traveling with young children in Singapore, at least in our case, is that we are totally reliant on public transportation for all travels since we do not own a private vehicle. So we need to utilize cabs, trains, buses, planes, tuk-tuks, or boats to reach our destination. We often do in fact utilize all these modes of transportation getting to a single destination. Again, this was fun and exciting when we were a backpack-traveling duo. Now it takes 15 minutes just to load all our crap into each new mode of transportation, and each change increases the risk that we will forget or lose something along the way. So when you start with 14 odd pieces of luggage for your trip, you will likely arrive with only 10. And you most certainly will forget the plastic shopping bag with your only change of underwear, toothbrush, and clean T-shirt that you packed 5 minutes before you walked out the door, while you have somehow managed to remember all of your daughter's stuffed animals. I mean, there are necessities and then there are NECESSITIES.

Once you finally arrive at whatever planned destination, somebody is bound to be haggard, tired, hungry, and prone to throwing a fit. When there was just 2 of us, that somebody was likely to be me. Now of course the torch has been passed on to a much more dramatic and volatile little one. So sometimes in the middle of the chaos, I ask myself WHY we are doing this instead of being home, where Adrienne would surely be sleeping by now and we could be curled up on the couch in our pajamas doing a cross-word puzzle and eating ice-cream straight from the tub.

But then, like we did this weekend, you realize that its easier to reach your inner child while digging in the sand. You realize that your soul needed to unplug and enjoy the natural quiet. You realize that your daughter took her first real swim in the ocean, destroyed several sand castles, and found it hilarious to get burried in the sand. You realize that there are some moments that just won't happen unless you are willing go somewhere.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Smell the Flowers

Adrienne has this adorable way of 'smelling' things, where she scruntches up her nose and loudly blows air out through her nose on whatever it is we are trying to convince her to smell. I think she adopted this strategy because she thinks all things smell bad and warrant an exaggerated "PEEEE EEEWWWW". I believe the history of this stems from a smell-your-feet-game for which we can thank Aunt Kelly for introducing. Adrienne thinks it's hilarious. The down side is that if you put your nose  anywhere within a legs-radius of Adrienne's foot, you will likely have a small dirty sole shoved in your face. Let me tell you now that even though 20 month old feet are small and adorable, those puppies can still bark. I would advise you to attempt Adrienne's "sniff out" policy should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. 

Despite this association of smell = yuck, we took Adrienne out for a Stop-and-Smell-the-Flowers walk. I'm not sure she got the idea that she was supposed to be enjoying the experience.  She looks more like she is about to devour it. Well, either way, here's wishing that you get a chance to either enjoy or devour your weekend as appropriate. As an aside, thanks to everyone for making this a great birthday. All the thoughts and wishes and cards really make a girl feel special!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Bearly Nap Time

Seriously, are you getting sick of these bear puns yet?? I know they are awful; I just cannot stop myself. It's just that it's all bears all the time in the Covey household. This lovely National Day holiday in Singapore brought lots of extra excitement to Adrienne's normal Tuesday routine. So much so that napping became difficult, despite being very tired and needing to sleep. So after some failed attempts at letting her cry in her crib, we had the bright idea that she might be able to relax on the living room floor instead. Even as I write this, I am unsure of the original logic behind this idea but that is the conclusion to which we mistakenly arrived. Of course, Adrienne doesn't like to do anything without having her bear companions assisting and she most certainly does NOT sleep without her bear attendants. And so began the charade of attempting Adrienne's first and last living room floor nap. First Bear-Bear had to come, then Soft Bear, and also Travel Bear and Mini-Care Bear. Then they needed various nap time things such as blankets (placemats for the larger bears, coasters for the mini bears. Adrienne's idea. I told you she is a genius, right?), pillows, and nap time kisses. And then Adrienne also wanted a placemat blanket, despite the 85+ degree weather (OK, maybe not a genius after all). Somehow all of this preparation for nap time was just too much fun. You can see from the pictures who ended up getting a nap. Honestly, these guys probably really needed one as well by now.  

Sunday, 7 August 2011

D is for Art

Adrienne recently started a local schoolgroup. Well, I would call it more of a playgroup than schoolgroup, but it seems that things associated with 'school' are more successful than things associated with 'play' here. What I am interested in is letting Adrienne have a little social interaction, learn to play with others, and have some fun. She is only 20 months old, remember? The school tells me that the kids learn very important things such as 'Writing, Maths, English and Chinese'. And to prove that it is a real school (like all schools in Singapore), Adrienne must wear a uniform everyday. See it in the picture? She is wearing an XS uniform and swims in it. It is pretty adorable to see a bunch of toddlers in their uniforms, backpacks full of diapers, and waterbottles. It seems the school's promises and my wants are aligning well, at least insofar as Adrienne loves going to school and that makes me happy. She comes back from school with new songs, dances, and freshly-completed art projects. She is also making friends, as evidenced by the big hug she gave to another classmate we ran into later on the playground. (By the way, I love the way toddlers communicate. I will have to save that for another post).

So I will admit to being a little miffed when she brought home this:

Now there is nothing wrong with the painting, don't get me wrong.  The kids were learning about the letter 'S'. S is for Starfruit. Then they got to take starfruit, dip it in paint, and make starfruit stamps.  Great idea, great project. My consternation came at the small red numbers written at the bottom that says 5/8. Wait...seriously, is that a grade?  Did Adrienne get 5 out of 8 on this project?  Let me do my 'Maths': Yep, that is a 62.5%, or a D on this art project.  So I tell you, this enraged me. First, are you kidding me? Are you really grading my 20-month old's art project? and Second, how could she get a D on it?? I think that this painting is pretty good. I mean, she obviously had a lot of help tried very hard with this art project since here is an example of her free-style art:

But, come on! A 62%? I began looking at my schedule, trying to figure out a day I could take off work and make an appointment with Adrienne's teachers. I started planning my strategy: First I was going to demand that they tell me exactly what assessment criteria was used for the 8 points given, and why Adrienne only got 5 of these. What 3 was she missing and why? Next, I was going to point out that a real doctor with a medical degree thought Adrienne was an over-achiever. He was testing Adrienne's motor skills and asked her to stack 2 or 3 blocks. Adrienne stacked SEVEN before the eighth one crashed the stack Jinga-style, so clearly she is a genius. Did those teachers know that, huh? Thirdly, I was going to try to shame them for trying to squash my daughter's creative spirit at such a young age. What kind of people discourage a 20-month old with a dream and a starfruit paint stamp?? Finally, I was going to withdraw my daughter from school before she could flunk out, since that was clearly the direction we were heading for by getting D's in Art. I mean, I haven't even SEEN what they have given her for her grade in Chinese yet!

But then...a little voice of reason pointed out that, maybe, 5/8 is not 5 points out of 8 points but the date. You know, like the 5th of August, the day that Adrienne made the painting. Since that IS how we write the date here in Singapore (day/month/year). Right. Hmmm...could be. 

Thankfully, a disaster averted BEFORE I made a total fool of myself.    

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Photo Editing is AMAZING.

Do you remember when I was complaining about the guy who was ruining my picutre in THIS post? Well, a very talented friend from college claimed that she could edit the guy out of my picture if I sent it to her.  I admit, I had my doubts that it could be done. When I gave it a try myself, and I fully acknowledge that I know nothing about this type of thing, my picture ended up looking like there was a scary ghost standing behind Adrienne. That was WAY more distracting than the guy from the original photo. But sure enough, by morning my inbox contained the following photo.  Beautiful, right?? 

Then, as a surprise, I had two more talented friends that also managed to take the photo from my blog and provide me with very similar, clean background photos. (Thanks to Kristen, Allie, and Gracie!)  Amazing, really. I am getting ideas.  Didn't you read THIS post? Think of all the photos I can salvage! You ladies are going to regret enlightening me to your editing skills. I am thinking of the 'Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life' phrase. This may be a skill I need to master; who's up for teaching??    

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Beary Important Meeting

Have I mentioned that Adrienne has a thing for bears and for confined spaces?? She insisted on getting in this hamper to have a little clandestine meeting with her bears. You can tell from the look that she is giving me in this picture that I was not invited and that she finds my picture taking bothersome if not intrusive.

Luckily, the hamper has a hole on top which is perfect for spying.  It looks like they are having a very important meeting, probably discussing the world's problems such as 'how to have a crib-break over nap time' or 'did anyone see where Mommy hid the open bag of chips?'  

Unfortunately I would make a terrible spy and was busted by the flash on my camera. I may have to convince one of the bears to become a double-agent so I can be in the know, but what could I possibly offer a teddy-bear that would beat the love and affection of a child?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

An Olympic Triathlete

I over-heard my hubby telling my brother on the phone that I could blog about his triathlon and he could pretend to be mad about it (You know, because of his anti-blogging sentiment). So I guess I can take that as permission to both brag and poke fun at my hubby using this medium?? Its true, if you didn't hear already, my husband is an olympic triathlete. He completed the OSIM 2011 olympic triathlon this weekend with a time of 3 hr 17 min! This was a good 13 minutes under his goal. I would also like to point out that it was a very hot and windy day here in Singapore. This made the water choppy for the swim and the bike and run a bit like a competing in a convection oven. So a big pat on the back for a job well done!  

When I posted his success on facebook, I noticed that a lot of people were surprised and impressed at this athletic feat. What happened to the guy you knew, you wondered? You know, the wine-chugging, bad-food-consuming, fun-loving guy you all have a million stories about? I can write this because I think my husband would be happy to know that his reputation is still in tact at home. I would like to assure you, friends, that he is still the same guy just under a more brawny physique.

For example, before this race, my hubby tried to convince me that carbonara is a legitimate means for carbo-loading. Yes, the bacon, heavy cream, and egg yolk heart attack in a bowl.  I had to remind him about Michael Scott in the Office carbo-loading with alfredo before his race to cure rabies and how well that turned out. It briefly crossed my mind that this entire race might have been an excuse to allow him to make carbonara, since its consumption has been strictly regulated in the Covey household due to the fact that I insist he stick around to help me with the babies.  He did, on his own accord, NOT drink too much before this race. This was a lesson learned in a previous race, where in an internal battle between his fun-self and his athlete-self, Regis' fun-self won and he decided to over-indulge two days before his first sprint triathlon. Then he was surprised by how hard it was to do with a 2-day old hangover. Despite all the training he completed in preparation for this triathlon, he may very well tell you that NOT drinking before the race was the most helpful thing that he did. Finally, when I texted him to see how he was feeling the morning after the race, he messaged back: Really good! But I have also had 4 coffees this morning! I have never seen Regis use the exclamation point in writing ever, so I know the part about having so many coffees in a short amount of time was definitely true. So you see, he may have changed but he is still the same guy we all  know and love.
    Most importantly, a big congrats again to Regis!! 

    Here is Regis pre-race getting some last minute inspiration from his muse.