Dinner, Music, Art and Ninja Skills

We went out for dinner, slightly unusual for a Sunday night, but because it was the school holidays.

cajun chicken rice

It is really hard finding suitable food for El. As a picky eater, he stopped eating the mac and cheese after tasting mushrooms.

mac and cheese

He ended eating some fish and chips, plus shared banana split with me and ended up with a tummy ache later.
fish and chips

I went into a music shop to look for manuscript book for children. His teacher wanted to give him some practices as he seemed to be very weak in note recognition for the bass cleft, but did not have one for children. I could not find one at Popular bookstore after I promised him one for his music compositions.

manuscript book

Apparently, while waiting, he started playing a song that he had learnt recently on one of the pianos. I was quite surprised by his initiative. He had refused to touch the piano earlier at his grandparents’ place.

Perhaps I do need to get an upright piano. The prices ranged from 4 digits to 5 digits. If we were to get one, we would get a white one, so that it could blend in with our decor in the living room. I am not sure whether there is sufficient space in the designated room, and whether his interest could be sustained. He is currently practising on a keyboard at home. Just as to signal the end of his wait, Gar rushed to a piano and banged on the keys. We beat a hasty retreat.

We met my friend with her family and realized how much her daughter had grown.

Gar was running around a shop and we could not get him to stop. He was fast and had ninja skills in dodging us. El joined in the fun and I was utterly embarrassed. We quickly made our getaway.

Actually, our main objective was to get some art supplies. El was interested in doing more art and craft.

He wanted water colours and I bought some paintbrushes. There was a big packet of brushes but I was worried that the brush hair would keep dropping out. Hence I got him a smaller packet and some glitter too.

art supplies

El wanted Geronimo Stilton books after watching a performance the day before. It was pretty expensive, but all the pages were in colour. The last time I let him read one as I was given a free book by a vendor, he complained that map of New York was wrong.

I spotted Kipper, a character he used to read in nursery. He picked it up and finished the book about time. Gar saw him and wanted a book of his own too. We had just bought a lot of cheap books from the flea market!

While I was searching for the art supplies, El was flipping through an assessment book for kindergarten children with dinosaurs on the cover. He went on to complain the book was wrong about dinosaurs. There were factual errors. I told him to put the book back.

When we were making our payment, Gar, the joker, was excited by the beeping sound from the handle scanner.

Beep went the reader.
“Ti,” said Gar, as he giggled non stop and continued imitating the scanner two more times.

As we left, Gar insisted it was too dark to read in the car and wanted the light to be switched on. We told him no. El soon drifted to sleep.

The Day El Came Home On His Own

I was reading my book in the room, when I heard El shouting, “open the door”. Thank goodness my bedroom door was open, if not I may not have heard him. When I looked out of the peephole, he was alone and I saw that he had climbed the gate to try to reach the doorbell. He was quite upset when I opened the door.

El and Gar had gone down earlier with their grandparents to play at our little estate. They were playing at the playground, and then the fitness corner. Apparently, Gar hit and pushed El, he lost his temper, and he ran away from them. His grandparents could not chase him in time.

Rare occasion when they are not fighting with each other

Rare occasion when they are not fighting with each other

I first thought that he was smart enough to come home on his own. He knew how to get home. My place is guarded and there are only about 600 households, mainly families. Many (older) children go down to play by themselves. I am not worried about safety, and there are occasions when I leave my door unlocked. However, it was only hours later, (my reaction time is pretty slow), then I realised the potential dangers.

The four-and-a-half-year-old had climbed up the gate, which had swung out, to try to press the doorbell. Right beside it would be a parapet, where there are no grills, and any slips would be disastrous. Thank goodness the doorbell was near the door, unlike the old doorbell that is near the parapet. I told him very sternly that he should not do that. His father demonstrated to him how climbing the gate was dangerous, which he had actually taught him not too long ago how to climb it to press the doorbell. Duh!

This is Singapore, and most parents are extremely concerned about their children’s safety. They keep an eye on them all the time. My parents were like that. I had never gone out with my friends until I was 12, and even then, it was only to a nearby coffee shop, just a few hundred metres away.

When I go to the playground with my children, I watch the younger one most of the time, because I know he will attempt some stunts and may just decide to jump off the from the spiral ladder.

There was a wave of fear not too long ago, when people posted on Facebook, how some strangers tried to snatch their children away. Hence, we generally keep a very close eye on our children. Even though our country has a very low crime rate, the police warn ‘low crime doesn’t mean no crime’. Even when I take El to the washroom and leave him outside the cubicles, I will constantly ask him questions to check that he is still there and has not run away. After all, we do hear of cases where criminals do unthinkable things to children in the washroom.

People I spoke to were divided on this issue. Friends were mainly worried about strangers snatching him away. Older relatives were totally shocked. However, I had one friend who is currently residing in Germany who said that if he knew his way, and it is a safe place, there should be no problem.

I feel we should teach children survival skills.

I feel we should let children gain independence.

I feel we should not molly-coddle them.

I feel we should teach them to protect themselves from danger.

My friend brought up a very good point, which should be the main point of discussion. The main thing here is how El should handle the situation, when his younger brother makes him angry. It is important to tell him that it is okay to be angry, but he should not take rash actions.

He was scolded by his grandparents for running away.

The bottom line is I should be glad that this overly cautious boy knows how to come home on his own. He should handle his emotions better, and not run off without telling anybody, because his current reckless nature has caused him to run into a railing which caused him to get six stitches on his forehead two days later.

El and Gar’s Photo Shoot

This photo shoot was totally random and a spontaneous decision, sort of. Gar and I were walking around the building, waiting for El to finish his art lesson. A guy stopped us and told us about his photo studio, and the head photographer from Australia was here for a day only to take pictures. I was sort of interested, as I had been thinking about getting professional photos for the two boys for a very long time.

After that, we walked past the studio, and we went in when the Australian photographer beckoned us in. I thought Gar would not be interested, and would not be cooperative, but she said she had a way with children. True to her words, she was really able to engage the children.

She asked Gar to stand on a box. I was pretty afraid that he would run away, but he just stood there shyly.

Gar 4

In the end, it was the first guy who took the pictures, while she entertained Gar. She used a ball to play with him, and he smiled. She tickled him, while the photographer took the pictures.

Gar 2

I was quite amazed with how interested Gar was, as he posed for the pictures. He gamely did everything the lady asked him to do, such as sitting on a chair, standing, crawling and more. Despite the numerous flashes, he was fine.


Gar 3 Gar 5

Then, she asked us to wait for a while while she edited the photos. We walked around, but when we came back, there was another customer. It was time to pick up El from his class, so we went to get him.

I asked El whether he wanted to get his photos taken, and he said yes. We went back to the studio, and I expected to pay double for the shoot, but the head photographer said she would just add on to the package.

El 1

El went in to pose, and she took a few photos, before Gar ran in and wanted to take more of his own photos. She switched tactics, and got them to pose together.


Now, these two children would be like Tom and Jerry on most occasions. They would chase each other, jostle for attention, scream and cry, and Gar would bite his brother. However, they turned into the most loving brothers under her instructions.
They posed together, smiled together, held hands and had their pictures taken. This was really great.


She then finally asked El to take some photos alone.

El2Someone pointed out that the biggest difference between the two were their eyes. Never noticed that! The round light was reflected in their eyes.

Their father was very pleased with the results, and perhaps we might just get some acrylic photos done for decoration. I think these photos were more natural compared to those makeover photos I had spent lots of money on when I was a student.

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