dimanche, septembre 30, 2012


We are preparing for winter. Living in a house, we have to stock up wood for the fireplace. The boys' grandfather had a "lobang" and one day, he came along with a family friend and unloaded 2 vans of firewood.
It was so kind of the two retirees who not only delivered the wood but stacked them neatly beside the garden shed. 

Seb is really lucky to have such a helpful father. I had seen neighbours chopping, carrying and stacking wood which were delivered just at their gates.

As the nights started to get colder, we went to buy accessories for the fireplace yesterday. We thought of starting a fire yesterday. However, the night was not that cold yesterday. Today's temperature was decent too. Well, once we start our first fire in this house, I will put up a picture. For a Singaporean like me, a fireplace is a novelty. I'm already thinking of roasting chestnuts over the fire. Yummy!

samedi, septembre 29, 2012

A2 at the Garderie (Daycare)

A2 goes to a daycare two mornings a week. It was meant for me to have some alone time. We started in the beginning of Sept and so far, I had only left him for 2.5 hours max. We started with a 10 minutes separation and gradually extended the separation time. It was not easy as A2 cried once I was out of sight. 
After 3 weeks, he still cried a bit when I was away. Last tues and thurs, I managed to do grocery shopping and run errands during that 2 hours break.
The daycare staff was hoping that A2 could stay for lunch next week. I hope he would cooperate. Normally, he should be there from 8h30 to 12h45. If all goes well, I would bring him to the daycare after I send A1 to school at 9am.

jeudi, septembre 27, 2012

Disneyland with A2

The last time I came to Disneyland, I was not a mother yet. With A1, we had only been to Disney Studio the past two times. Few months back, A1 and I went Disney Studio with our friends. The tickets I bought had a promotion where we could visit Disney for the second time in September.

With Lu's mom, we decided to visit Disneyland together in September. We fixed a date and I told A1 about our coming trip. He was not at all keen. He said he was afraid of the fire and he did not want to see Mickey. I guess the fire he remembered either came from the Motor Stunts show or the tram ride we took.

On the day itself, I asked A1 again and he rejected me. Well, I guess he is too young to know that most kids would love to have this chance to visit Disneyland. I decided to bring A2 along. This would be his first trip to Disney.

Lu was disappointed when his mom told him that A2 was coming instead of A1. The last time he saw A2 was in May and Lu played mostly with A1. In his mind, A2 was a baby. However, once we were in Disney, the two boys had fun togather. They hit off immediately. Lu realised that A2 had grown up alot and was fun to be with. When they were climbing up steps, A2 even shouted "Lu, wait!".

Due to an issue with Lu and his mom's annual Passes (it was a black out date for the Pass holders on that day), I offered to bring the two boys into Disneyland. A2 was under 3 so did not need the child ticket I had.   
The boys behaved themselves well when we were in the park. As we were there early, the queue for 'It's a small world' was not long. We took that boat ride and A2 was in awe of the moving dolls. He enjoyed the ride.
Once we finished that ride, the rest of the rides were having a long waiting time. It was not possible to queue 30mins with the 2 boys. I then found an attraction adapted to A2's age with the shortest queue. It was another boat ride called 'Au pays du contes' (Fairytale land).

We saw the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel; the castle in Little Mermaid; Peter and the wolf; the village in Beauty and the Beast; the castle and casts of the Wizard of Oz among other fairytales.

By the end of the two rides, it was time to leave the park. It was time for lunch and we had agreed to have lunch togather. Furthermore, I did not want to stay too long as it was A2's first visit. 2 hours had passed just like that.

It was really difficult to get Lu to reach the exit as he wanted to stay longer. For lunch, we settled at Rainforest Café. It was the first time we were there. We had a table just in front of the big elephant. A2 was pointing at all the animals; monkeys hanging from the trees, giant butterflies, snakes, elephants etc... Our elephant even moved once a while. It was a lovely place for the kids. While having lunch, a stimulated tropical storm could be heard. A2 was alarmed but we managed to calm him down easily. The boys run around the restaurant to look at the marine fishes at the entrance. Lu was taking good care of A2. 
We adults had a good catch up. We were pretty sure that A1 would have freak out with the deco in this restaurant. My two kids have such different characters. One is too prudent while the other is just the opposite.

mercredi, septembre 19, 2012

The firefighters

The boys had 3 plastic firemen helmets from Uncle Tim when they were in Singapore. They love the helmets so much that each evening, they play firemen with their dad.

Seb with his ridiculously small helmet was the fire captain. He would command his firefighters to various tasks. Beginning with exercises like jumping on a leg, swinging the arms; followed by missions to rescue cat on a tree (shelf), putting out fire on various furnitures, catching snakes etc.. I didn't realise that my husband had this hidden talent. He took his part seriously and was such a credible fire captain. The boys were in awe of him and followed his commands well. I often had to laugh out loud. 

A2's helmet was always falling off as he tilted his head high. He was often late for missions as he was so easily distracted by random toys along the way to the destination. Here was A1 trying to put out a virtual fire on A2's bed.

mardi, septembre 18, 2012

The village school

This is how A1's school looks like. There are around 95 students in total ranging from the age of 3 to 10.
At 4.30pm, A2 would be standing right in front of the school gate waiting for his brother. Sweet. I bet he could not wait to be in the same class as his brother next year.
PS: A1 is getting better. He still cries when we reach the school gate but once he is in line, he stops crying. His teacher told us that he participated in the activities and enjoyed himself each day. Phew!

mercredi, septembre 12, 2012


We had a great time in Bali. We spent 6 nights there and stayed in a 2 bedroom appartment at Novotel Nusa Dua Hotel. The kids' grandmother used the equipped kitchen to cook lunches for us on a few occasions.
Once we arrived, we headed to the swimming pool. There were floats and balls available for kids. A1 and A2 enjoyed the pool a lot.
The next days were spent at the pool and at the beach. It was a private beach so it was really clean. The sand was white and the sea was clear. Bali beaches are mainly covered in black volcanic sand. However, Nusa Dua area which is in the south of Bali has white beaches. Thus, this area is dotted with resorts and very touristy.

The boys had fun playing in the sand; building sandcastles, digging, filling the hole with water. They also went into the sea for the first time. They never wanted to touch the water whenever we visited Brittany. Maybe the hot weather and water helped this time. One afternoon, A1 was so tired that he napped on the deck chair. We had to carry him back to the hotel. 
The hotel had trees and flowers everywhere. It was a beautiful and tranquille place. Nature was just at our doorstep. It gave such a relaxing atmosphere; exactly what we were looking for.

Throughout our stay, we only did a day tour. We just wanted to relax. For the kids, there was always something to occupy them in the hotel grounds. Apart from the pool and the beach, the boys played at the mini playground or at the kids' club.
They were too young to be left alone at the kids' club. So there was always me and my mom or Seb hanging around. A2 loved to play with the toys in the  kids' club; especially basketball.
Meal wise, on the first night, we took a taxi to Bali Collection, the nearest shopping mall. It was a cluster of souvenirs shops and boutiques and restaurants targetted at tourists. We were looking for fresh vegetables but the supermarket only had fruits. We bought food for breakfast and yoghurts for the kids. We settled down at a Balinese restaurant for dinner and had a complimentary drive back to the hotel. Almost all restaurants provided this service.
After checking with the hotel staff the next day, we took a taxi out to Hardy's Supermarket and Departmental store. It was a real supermarket and the boys' grandmother did grocery shopping. We had lunch at the staff's canteen as the fast food place at Hardy's run out of food. Thanks to my mom's broken malay, we were accepted at the staff canteen. We had to explain that the fast food had sold out its fried chicken and fries. 
The dinner the night before cost us 70€ while this lunch cost us less than 5€. Of course, beverages were not included and this lunch was really simple. Still, Bali Collection was really a tourist trap. 
One evening, we had dinner at Kendi Kuning. It had a good rating with Tripadvisor. We were not disappointed. The surrounding was nice and our table was on the beach. The food was good. The owner even came to the hotel to pick us up and drop us off after dinner. 
 On our day trip, we asked our driver to bring us to a simple local eatery. Somewhat like the hawker places in Singapore. I was sick of tourist (expensive) restuarants in our neighbourhood. He was concerned that the kids might have stomach upset from these places. In the end, he brought us to an eatery in the Kuta area. It was like the coffee shop in Singapore. We had local dishes and it was really nice. No stomach upsets and no burning a big hole in our pockets. For that complete dinner, we paid 15€. Gosh. We were really ripped off at Nusa Dua. Good thing my mom cooked half the time. The kids ate healthier food and I enjoyed my mom's cooking.
Hardy's became my mom's favourite shopping place. The taxi trip was cheap so we headed there when the kids napped on the pretext that we needed to buy vegetables. We left Seb to take care of the kids. 

It seemed that economy was bad in Bali. All taxi drivers provided day tour services and they even waited for us while we shopped at Hardy's. I had at least 5 name cards from them. Each time, I promised I would pass the name cards to friends visiting Bali.

And the poor economy could be felt in the massage salons too. My mom and I had a 30mins massage at Bali Collection on the first night. On another occasion, while the kids were sleeping, we ladies walked to a street not far from the hotel, just outside the gate checkpoint. We stopped at the first massage salon and had an hour's massage for 13€ each. It was a very special promotion said the salon's owner. Yeah, it was like 70% discount and cost 2€ more than the one we had at Bali Collection. We wished we had found this place earlier.

We really enjoyed our stay at Bali. The kids had lots of fun and Seb is now an expert on Gado Gado. He had that vegetarian dish at almost all the resturants we went to. My mom got to bond with her grandchildren and I got to relax.

mercredi, septembre 05, 2012

This is the way I go to school

A1 started school yesterday. The village school was a stone's throw away so we could all walk to school. We left as a family to send him to school. He was on his balance bicycle and always ahead of us.

School starts at 9am and the gate is open only at 8.50am. We arrived 5 mins before the gate opened. The mayor of the village was there shaking hands with parents. I assumed he was the mayor as he was the oldest man around and everyone seemed to know him. And of course, he came shaking our hands. No stranger would do that except for politicians, right?

As we expected, A1 did not want to go into the school gate. Seb had to carry him in while he struggled and cried. A2 however had no problem of such and even went into the classroom, sat on a chair and started playing with a puzzle. We introduced ourselves to the teacher and her assistant and tried to settle A1. 

A1 is in the class of Petite Section (PS) which translates to Little Section. There are about 12 students so the class is mixed with the Moyenne Section (MS) which translates to Middle Section. Thus the teacher will be taking care of 24 kids of 3 and 4 years old. We do like this idea of having a mix class. Maybe A1 can learn more advance things when the teacher is teaching the MS students.

We brought A1 around the classroom to show him the activities, toys, games, books etc... to familiarize him with his new environment. He was playing when I said goodbye to him and quickly left him. I saw him crying and his teacher trying to calm him down. That was already 9.25am by then. There were also a few kids weeping.

At 1.20pm, I decided to go do grocery shopping. Despite Seb telling me not to, the temptation was too great and I drove by the school to check out on A1. It was lunch break time and the kids were playing in the front court. I stopped at the school carpark  and from the car, I could see my boy standing in a corner with his head down. He was about 50m away from me. He seemed so sad while all the other kids were playing. A school staff came over to him and talked to him. She left when a student came to ask her something. A1 then turned to the leaving assistant and pointing at his nose. I knew that meant that he had runny nose. Did that mean he was crying? Another school staff came over to him and then fetched a piece of tissue paper for him. I assumed they both worked in the canteen as they were wearing white overalls. After that his class assistant came over and talked to him; seemingly encouraging him to go play with the kids in the sand box. I saw A1 shaking his head. The class assistant then took him into the school and I lost sight of my boy. Wow. That scene just broke my heart. Seb was right. I should not have gone peeping on my boy. But at least, I knew he was well taken care of. I left to do grocery shopping after.

At 4.25pm, we arrived at the gate waiting for A1. School ended at 4.30pm and his teacher led the class out in a file of two. We saw A1 holding hand with his classmate and looking happy and proud. He straightened up when he saw us. At the gate, the teacher presented one student at a time and called out his/her name for the parents to come get the kid. When it was A1's time, I went over and gave him a big hug. Seb asked if he had a good day and he said yes. We bombarded him with lots of questions like 'What did you eat?', 'Did you do pipi, caca?', 'What did you do?', 'Do you have many friends?' etc.... He told us what he had for lunch and that he did 5 times pipi and one caca. He did not play with friends but play with toys.

At night, I asked him what he did after lunch, he said he was calling for us. He said 'Papa... many times.' and 'Mama.... many times'. 'Mais pas là'. But we were not there. I felt so sad when he said that. He was calling for us at the school court hoping that we would come bring him home. From the feedback given by the teacher (I actually waited until she was free and asked her questions about A1), he cried a little in the morning but in the afternoon, he enjoyed himself.

Today is a wednesday and there is no school. Tomorrow will be another school day for A1. He is not looking forward to it. I will be bringing A1 to school tomorrow with A2. I hope that A1 won't be too difficult tomorrow morning.