Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fun with Splattoid

The boys (including Ed) had loads of fun with this little tomato, very aptly called Splattoid (Sean's present from Hsien). The three boys took turns splatting the tomato against the wall all of last night to see who could flatten it the most. Sean was the undisputed champ.

At 10pm last night, Brian and Sean were still playing with it, and would have continued if it hadn't gotten stuck on the ceiling. Their attempts at making it drop by throwing things at it only served to flatten it more. They woke up this morning and looked up in disappointment to see that the tomato was still stubbornly hanging on, as if for dear life (probably fearing further torture).

Splattoid finally dropped at 5pm today, after 19 hours, must have been too exhausted. Sean was the first to spot it and has been gleefully playing with it since.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Celestial coins

Sean finds a Singapore one-dollar coin and a UK five-pence coin, brings them to me, and says, "Mummy, I'm pretending this is Pluto and this is Charon."

He actually held the coins in such a way that they overlapped; I had asked him to pose with the coins held apart.

A while later, I asked him why he had placed the coins so close together earlier. He replied, "I read it in my book last week and it showed Pluto and Charon like that."

I found the picture he was talking about. Here it is.

And from Wikipedia, an artist's impression of Pluto and Charon.

* Did you know?: Charon (the ch is pronounced like in chaos) was discovered in 1978 when photographs of Pluto showed a "bump" on one side. Excerpts from Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything about this discovery, "This was actually somewhat of a blow to Pluto's status as a planet, which had never been terribly robust anyway. Since previously the space occupied by the moon and the space occupied by Pluto were thought to be one and the same, it meant that Pluto was much smaller than anyone had supposed -- smaller even than Mercury. Indeed, seven moons in the solar system including our own, are larger."

In August 2006, the status of Pluto was downgraded to that of a "dwarf planet" by The International Astronomical Union (IAU). There are therefore now 8 planets and 3 dwarf planets (the other two being Ceres and Xena/Eris) in the solar system.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Season's greetings from Malacca

This cute Christmas card arrived in the mail today...all the way from my family in Malacca. It's actually a Christmas tree made entirely out of little Santa Clauses. Adorable.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day at the Museum

Fellow SQ wife Hsien and I brought our boys to the Natural History and Science Museums today. Hsien's always game for such outings; Stephen's a really lucky kid. For Brian and Sean however, today's outing was a big deal cos mummy's usually too busy (read: lazy) to bring them anywhere.

Well, needless to say, the boys had an excellent time. I enjoyed myself too. This is actually the perfect time to visit these free museums, cos there aren't that many people so you don't feel like you're jostling through a mob all the time.

We later had crepes at a smallish restaurant near the museums. We then walked to South Kensington tube station to catch our train home. Near the station, the boys spotted Tintin books* and a giant Tintin jigsaw puzzle at a bookshop's window display, and got very excited. I balked when I saw a Snowy soft toy going for almost 20 pounds. Thankfully, the shop was still closed for the Christmas hols, phew!

*The book in the window display, Tintin in the Congo, is one of only two (the other being Tintin in the Land of Soviets) stories not featured in the Tintin DVD series we have. Wikipedia says Tintin in the Congo is excluded from many reprints of the The Adventures of Tintin series because of its controversial nature; it was criticised for its racist and colonial views. This colour English edition was only published in 2005. I'm gonna get hold of the book to see what the controversy's all about.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boxing Day 2006

Giant Christmas tree at Whiteley's, where we bought some post-Christmas presents for ourselves. A Zara sweatshirt each for the boys. Also, a Tintin DVD set for the boys, Ricky Gervais' Extras Season 1 DVD, The Office Season 2, The Office Christmas Special (all heavily discounted at HMV) for myself. Ed had earlier in the day braved the insane Boxing day crowd to buy himself a shirt and pair of pants from Massimo Dutti. So, we're a happy bunch today.

We checked out of our gorgeous suite at about 5pm. Funnily enough, Ed later discovered that we now have some hot water in the house, well, not as hot as I would like it to be, but good enough to shower with. So weird cos there wasn't a bit of hot water (honest!) for the past couple of days, which in retrospect was a blessing in disguise, cos how else would we have had the chance to enjoy such a luxurious Christmas break (on the landlord's or rather developer's account some more yay). HE really does work in mysterious ways.

Monday, December 25, 2006

So here it is Merry Christmas....

...Everybody's having fun...Look to the future now...It's only just begun...

Our Christmas has not been half-bad at all. Opening the door to our hotel suite last night was like unwrapping a gorgeous Christmas present. We all ooh-ed and aah-ed when we saw the three huge rooms (one of them had an exercise bike), the generous fruit basket, the lindt chocolates placed thoughtfully on the extra bed and the big jacuzzi in the bathroom. Brian said he wouldn't mind bathing if there was a jacuzzi in our house. Yeah, I wouldn't either.

This morning, after the boys unwrapped their presents and we had our breakfast, we headed out for a drive towards East London. We hardly venture beyond Bayswater/Chinatown as traffic in London is pretty horrific. Today, we got as far as Canary Wharf.

Came back home to Kew Gardens to get a new set of clothes and also for me to prepare dinner. Ed and the boys are watching Cecil B DeMille's The Ten Commandments on DVD now. The show was made half a century ago, and it's still pretty watchable.

After dinner, we're off to Oxford Street to see the Christmas light decorations. It's then back to the hotel for a nice hot bath and warm comfy sleep. An early day tomorrow for Ed to catch the Boxing Day sales in the city.

Our hot water woes


5 Dec 2006 (Tue):
- Boiler breaks down. No heating, no hot water. Only realised this in the night.
6 Dec 2006 (Wed):
- Contact landlord. Meanwhile, boil pots of water and improvise bathing method (see photo).
7 Dec 2006 (Thur):
- 1st electrician arrives at 1pm. Fixes fuse box. Says boiler guy needs to see to boiler.
- Boiler guy arrives at 930pm. Oh no, it's the same guy who took 5 visits to repair said boiler in February 2006. I say, "Oh, it's you." He whines, "That's not a very nice way to greet me."
- Boiler guy says part needs replacing, available earliest Monday or Tuesday.
8 Dec 2006 (Fri):
- Landlord demands part be couriered down. Boiler guy arrives at night with part. Fails to fix boiler. Says another part needed.
9 Dec 2006 (Sat):
- We check into hotel. I sprain Sean's elbow. Frantic weekend ensues, boiler last thing on my mind.
12 Dec 2006 (Tue):
- Boiler guy fixes boiler. Heating back to normal. Hot water so-so.
15 Dec 2006 (Fri):
- I email landlord informing him about sub-optimal hot water performance.
20 Dec 2006 (Wed):
- Water turns icy-cold in mid-stream and is hardly ever hot, at best lukewarm. Boiler guy arrives. Now says regulator needs to be changed. Will come by tomorrow.
21 Dec 2006 (Thur):
- Boiler guy doesn't turn up.
22 Dec 2006 (Fri):
- Boiler guy arrives. Changes regulator. Says he'll come again tomorrow to change sensor. Omits to inform me that things are now worse than before he came by.
- At night, we realise water entirely icy-cold, now I'm pining for lukewarm water.
23 Dec 2006 (Sat):
- We wake up & realise heating's out too.
- Boiler guy arrives at 5pm. Changes sensor. Says everything's fixed, "though you can never be 100% sure." Boiler guy leaves, flying off for a 10-day holiday.
- Heating's back on.
24 Dec 2006 (Sun):
- Still no hot water. Leong family checking into hotel in a bit.

If this entire episode weren't so infuriating, it would be quite funny. Especially since boiler guy never fails to expose his butt crack each time he visits. Would have taken a photo of that revolting sight for this post but didn't want him getting any funny ideas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Shopping at Sainsbury's

This afternoon, we spent 35 pounds at Sainsbury's for a week's supply of grub. They forgot to charge us for the cheeky little monkey in the trolley.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Science at home 2

Last week, the boys learnt that whether an object floats or sinks depends on its density. For example, oil is less dense than water, hence it floats in water. Corn syrup meanwhile, is more dense than water, hence it sinks in water. Different liquids have different densities.

Today, we conducted an experiment to show that you can change the density of a liquid.

(See photos above, left to right then down)
1. Two similiar cups of warm water. Drop a sliced carrot into the first cup. Carrot sinks cos it's more dense than water.
2. Drop the same carrot into the second cup of warm water. Carrot sinks again.
3. Add salt into the first cup of water. Stir well so that the salt dissolves. (Note: We had to add 7-8 tsps of salt before the carrot floated).
4. Drop carrot into the first cup. Carrot floats! cos it's less dense than the salt water.

Explanation: When salt is dissolved in the water, the weight of the water is increased by the weight of the salt. 1 cubic cm of salt water weighs more than 1 cubic cm of plain water, ie salt water is more dense than plain water. Think of the Dead Sea, the saltiest body of water on Earth with a salinity of about 30%, about 8.6 times greater than the average ocean salinity. Anyone can easily float in the Dead Sea because of its high density.

Dead Sea trivia:
Brian just told me this, "I know why the Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea; because it's so salty that nothing can live in it."
I checked Wikipedia to be sure; here's what it says, "The sea is called "dead" because its high salinity means no fish or macroscopic aquatic organisms can live in it, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present."


Brian's schoolmate Ivan came over for a playdate today. He was supposed to join us two days ago to watch Happy Feet but was down with stomach flu. The boys had a fun time playing Destination London, a board game that Ivan had brought along. Players are cab drivers taking passengers to all the famous London sights. They then watched Tintin while I made them hamburgers for lunch. After lunch, computer games and during the last half hour before Ivan's mum Laura came to pick him up, they had a whopping good time playing the inane x-box game Tom & Jerry.

During dinner, Sean named all his koko's friends who had been over to our place, and did so in correct chronological order, "Cristobal was first, Edward was second, William was third, Ivan was last." Edward, a new boy in school, only ever came by once and that was more than 2 months ago. Sean stores funny things in his memory.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bloggin' bout the doggone fog

London's been bogged down by the fog for 3 days, flights have been cancelled and Christmas plans thwarted. Our Christmas plans remain intact though,...because....we have NO plans! Genius...What great foresight!

Got the 2 preggie ladies Kat & Sarah over for lunch. The cold depressing foggy weather was perfect for indulging in a hearty warm meal of chicken curry and prata, to remind us of hot Singapore (heard it's been cold and wet lately back home though). Kat came with a chocolate cake and longans (which Brian & I devoured like they were the last longans in the world) while Sarah brought a New York cheesecake. Thanks a lot ladies, just what I need, another 2 inches to my waistline. Hey, unlike these two, I don't have an excuse to get fat, so please, no more cakes!

I uploaded step-by-step instructions for Coca-cola charsiew pork ribs, which I cooked for dinner tonight.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Feet, Happy Boys

Brought the boys (Brian, Sean & Brian's friend William) to Richmond's Odeon to watch Happy Feet. We all loved the show. Oh, Sean had his moments, cried at the scary parts. The animation was splendid, so real, almost like watching March of the Penguins, yes, it was that realistic. There was a sombre lesson at the end as well, about conservation and the environment. Robin Williams voiced two roles, and was hilarious in both (much much better than the manic genie he played in Aladdin).

It was then off to Pizza Express (yes, again, but I have young boys with me, so...). Among us, we had 2 pizzas, a lasagne, a dough ball, 3 soft drinks, a fudge sundae, a vanilla ice-cream and a chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream. Came back home and the boys continued playing x-box before William's mum came to pick him up.

Oh, saw some promising movies in the trailers. There's Miss Potter, if you loved "Finding Neverland" (I did), this show would probably appeal to you, it's about Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit series. Renee Zellweger (she looks terrible in this movie) plays the lead, but the attraction for me is Ewan McGregor, who plays her love interest, he's always a joy to watch.

Another show that I may want to watch is Night at the Museum. Am sure it'd be inane, and the special effects looked Jumanji-ish, but the lead is Ben Stiller, and he's always such a hoot to watch. Loads of cameos, significantly Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams and Owen Wilson. Stiller's a museum security guard and the museum exhibits come to life at night. I was bored out of my mind with Jumanji, not expecting much with Museum, will need to watch with very low expectations. Stiller may be making Zoolander 2, now that I'm really looking forward to.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stop arguing!

Last night, Eddie & I argued through dinner about some stockmarket-related matter. I thought I had won the argument when I showed him some calculations that proved I was right (he still owes me 100 pounds from the bet).

This morning, he went back to his old premise, which really got me riled up, and as I tried explaining again in my sore-throaty voice, inevitably my voice escalated. While I was huffing and puffing, and Eddie adamantly sticking to his guns, I saw the boys running into their room, then giggling as they ran out to the living room and pasted the post-it notes on each of us, then ran off giggling again. That shut us up quickly!

Oh, when Brian read the above, he reminded me that he also pasted another post-it on me after everything, that said, "You're right!" and one on Eddie that said, "Mummy's right!" Hee hee, that's my boy! Couldn't take a photo of those post-its cos we think Eddie threw his in the bin.

From Killer Sudoku to Kakuro

I was hooked on Killer Sudoku for a couple of months and reached difficulty level Hard. Now I'm hooked on Kakuro. Doing Hard puzzles too. But it's taking up way too much of my time, and my neck's aching from all the clicking...ouch. I need intervention!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Nissan Micra likey...

I've always been partial towards cute compact cars like the Beetle, Mini and my all-time favourite Smart-car. If I had just one kid to ferry around, I would have bought a Smart car when we first came to London. With Smart, I'd be able to reverse park everywhere in London (can't parallel park to save my life).

Speaking of cute compact cars, check out the Nissan Micra C+C I saw parked outside Sakura (Japanese restaurant) today. Very girly I know, could well belong to Jordan. Mine would be either bright yellow or rich light beige, much like the colour of melted coffee-flavoured Haagen-Dazs. Dreaming....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday London scene

In Bayswater, we saw this group of foreign students clowning around by squeezing into a phonebooth. Kodak moment!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A fishy tale

Was very happy to find that Tesco Express now sells seabass, with head, scales and insides removed. I no longer need to buy frozen seabass from the chinese supermarket. Cooked Steamed Seabass Hongkong Style for dinner. So easy. Only for the boys cos Ed was gonna be back late.

Good news from our visit to the fracture clinic this morning. Dr said no problemo, all A-okay, sorry so many cliches, me very happy, Thank You GOD! Lisa called to ask how Sean was, thought that was really nice of her. She herself fractured her hand terribly some months ago, still considering whether to go for surgery or not.

Ed went to work after lunch of instant noodles. I had two packets of Indomie Goreng myself, mixed it with Kee's tomyam paste. Mahvelous!


Ed came back with his own takeaway dinner of Singapore Hor Fun at 10pm (he reaches home at this time most days; on good days, he makes it back by 830pm). Overheard him baby-talking to Sean, only to be told off, hee.

Daddy: You ate fishy-wishy tonight ya?
Sean: Not fishy-wishy! FISH! (Gosh he's getting bossy!)
Daddy: Fish ya...okay... (and muttered yaya papaya under his breath to me).
Sean: No, it's not okay! (as he storms off to his room).

We keep indulging his bossiness, cos he's a charmer and has us eating out of his little hands when he flashes his cheeky smile. I know I'm supposed to start disciplining the little imp soon. Cos the last thing I want is to be one of those parents who laughs nervously as their spoilt brat shouts at them in public* (shudder).

*Something's not quite right with the last sentence. I'm talking about 'one of those parents', hence I use 'laughs', yet I continue with 'their' and 'them' cos I find it odd using 'his/her' and 'him/her'. If anyone knows a better way to phrase this, let me know. And do correct me if you spot the (I'm sure) numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes I've made. Leave the Singlish be. Kam siah lots.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Science at home 1

Conducted this experiment with the boys. Party pooper Brian had already read about this experiment in dunno which book so had to warn him not to spoil it for Sean.

Okay, in general, we expect heavier objects to sink and lighter ones to float, right?

(See photos above, left to right then down)
1. Showed Sean an Ikea plastic clip and a pestle. Asked him which is heavier. Pestle. Correct. Asked him which he thought would float and which would sink. Clip floats, pestle sinks. Good boy.
2. Two similiar lemons.
3. Whole lemon weighs 171g.
4. Peeled lemon weighs 99g. Asked Sean which lemon is heavier. Whole lemon. Correct. Which would sink and which would float. Whole sinks peeled floats. Okay let's see if you're right.
5. Hey! The whole lemon floats and the peeled lemon sinks! Boys giggle. Explanation: Tiny holes in the peel of a lemon contain air bubbles. The air makes the lemon float in water. But if you peel a lemon, it sinks!
6. To conclude, wrapped the peeled lemon back into its rind, ta daa, it floats again.


Whether an object sinks or floats is not dependent on its weight but on its density. An object will float if it is less dense than water and sink if it has a higher density. Density is a measure of how much weight there is in a certain volume. Tiny holes in the peel of a lemon contain air bubbles, thus making it less dense and makes it float in water. When you peel the lemon, it becomes more dense than water and sinks.

Globe in the loo

Sean did something utterly gross today. So gross I had to quickly get rid of the evidence, so no photos here.

As usual, I was on my PC, Brian was reading in the living room and Sean was in his bedroom reading (Tintin I presumed but he later told me he was reading a book on Jupiter). But he had been awfully quiet for a long time, more than an hour. He must have dozed off, I thought.

Got my butt off my chair and went to peep, hmm, no one in the bedroom. Then I saw that he was standing by the toilet bowl taking a leak. But there was no trickling sound, so my first thought was he may be throwing stuff into the toilet bowl, which would mean BIG trouble for him. I peeked through the narrow gap between the door and the wall.

He continued to stare down for some time, then said "Countries." and turned around to leave the toilet. He went to the living room to look for me. On the toilet seat were about 4-5 droplets of pee (different sizes). I called for him, pointed to the offending droplets and asked why he dirtied the toilet seat. He smiled and said, "These are countries. The toilet bowl is the world."

Eeeeyeeewwww, Peeeeyeeeewwww! Warned him to NEVER, EVER, EVER try that stunt again, OR ELSE!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jam & Bread vs Bread & Jam

Me: Sean, do you want to have Bread & Jam?
Sean: No, I want Jam & Bread.
Me: It's the same.
Sean: No, it's NOT! Jam & Bread is jam in between two slices of bread. Bread & Jam is bread in between two slices of jam. So make me some jam & bread.
Me: ???
Brian: Tee hee.

By the way, the brand of strawberry jam in the photo is our favourite. It's the same one that Original Maids of Honour serves with their scones.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grrr...The cold finally got to me!

Living without heating over the past week finally got to me and I was sick like a dog today. Went to bed early, warning the boys to be quiet and not disturb me. Head splitting, body aching.

Well, the good thing is the boiler's been fixed. Last night we stayed at a family room in Chiswick Moran, here's Sean striking a pose at the hotel. The room was decorated in a retro-chic style, we loved it. Sean really knows how to appreciate the good life, he said he wanted to live there and never leave.

In the photo, Sean's sling was off but he couldn't really move his hand much. But by the end of the day, he was moving it quite freely. So I think he's on the road to full recovery, thank God. Brought the boys to Maids of Honour for steak pie and tea/scones/eclair, together with Sarah & Katherine. We had a good time there.

I was comforted after Sarah assured me that if at all Sean suffered even a tiny hairline crack, the pain would be so great he wouldn't be able to move his arm one bit. Anyway, it's been a very good learning experience (and a nightmarish one too) for me. I've always been quite rough with the boys, need to be a bit more gentle from now on.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Our one-armed myrrh-bearing wise king

Sean made it to his nativity concert after all. We just couldn't let the other cast members down, after all, Sean has such a big role you know, he he. The concert was held inside the school so it was a tight squeeze for the audience. We got a good seat though.

He moved his bad arm more during the concert than he did over the entire weekend. But I could see he was struggling to get his left arm into position for some of the songs' hand movements. His sling was also supposed to rest nearer the wrist than the elbow, I think the teachers may have placed it wrongly when changing him into his costume. Watch his left arm in this video. Heart ache, wanted so much to grab him and make him stop, just pray he hasn't aggravated the injury.

Here he is in the first speaking role of his acting career. His voice is really teensy-weensy (so unSean) but if you listen carefully, at the end, he's saying, "I bring myrrh to the newborn baby."

The cheeky little monkey had the audience chuckling when he went ouch-ouch-ouch while making a rocking baby motion in this video.

I think he really did good today. Very proud of my little wise king.
More photos from Sean's nativity concert.

I'm feeling a bit better now, thanks to you guys who emailed to ask. I had forgotten and Irene reminded me that she did the same to her oldest girl Elise some years ago (yanked her arm out of position) but a sinseh put everything right again. Wish I was in Singapore now, am sure a sinseh would know what to do. UK's western doctors are confusing me more and more. Oh, the private fracture specialist will only be available next Monday! Crazy! Looks like we'll keep to our Friday appointment at the public fracture clinic. Sean's much better too, thanks all!

Our NHS experience

Today we spent more than 3 hours at West Middlesex Hospital. The doctor we saw yesterday for Sean was from Casualty Plus (a private clinic) and didn't leave us impressed. First, she backtracked on her diagnosis. Today, she called to say the radiologist now suspects there may be a crack in Sean's elbow. We were referred to West Middlesex, an NHS hospital, where we hoped to see a fracture specialist today. Casualty Plus's fracture specialist would only be available tomorrow.

The NHS is a subject of much heated debate in UK and public complaints abound. We arrived at the hospital at 3pm, and were disappointed when told that Sean would need to be checked by a paediatrician before a referral to the fracture clinic could be made.

After 1.5 hours, there was still no sign that Sean would be seen anytime soon. He was getting really cranky and his body felt warm. I told the nurse to return us Sean's x-rays as we didn't want to wait anymore. Surprisingly, instead of letting us go, the x-rays were quickly brought to the paed to be checked.

Half an hour later, we were still waiting, and I was beginning to feel like a captive. The paed finally asked for us. She said she could see no crack from the x-rays but suspected a 'pulled elbow'. She executed a manouvre to return the bone to position, Sean screamed! There was no click, which meant a) the manouvre failed, or b) it wasn't a pulled elbow in the first place! My poor Sean.

She then took Sean's temperature, which showed 40.6! Immediately, she said we can't leave. Off went Sean's shirt, into his mouth went Nurofen (lots of screaming from him). Lots of other tests were done on him, they were really thorough. She discovered Sean had an ear and throat infection and prescribed Nurofen, paracetomal and Amoxicillin, an antibiotic. We were finally allowed to go after Sean's temperature came down and received our referral letter, but the appointment was in another 5 days!

Anyway, NHS did all these checks and gave us the medications, for FREE! At the private clinic, we paid 94 pounds for the x-ray and consultation, without medicine. We may still see the private fracture specialist this week since we have insurance cover. But I must say from our experience today, NHS really doesn't deserve all the brickbats hurled at it. The system may be on the brink of bankruptcy, and the wait is terribly long, but the NHS gives good medical care to everyone, regardless of income level. And that, surely, is what a world-class standard of living should be all about.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm a bad mother

In my 9 years as a mother, I've made many mistakes and have had some regrets, but I have never thought of myself as a bad mother. That changed today.

To cut a long story short, we've been living in very cold conditions since Tuesday after our boiler broke down. After failed attempts by the repair guy to fix it, we told our landlord we weren't going without heating over the weekend and would check into a hotel on Saturday (today) at his expense.

The boys did not bathe last night and we were looking forward to a nice hot shower in the hotel before heading out for a yummy roast duck lunch. However, check-in took longer than expected. While waiting, I read "Teacher Man", Brian did Kakuro and then I hear Eddie telling me impatiently to get Sean up from the carpet. Sean was lying on his stomach, which I suppose would freak most mothers out (for hygiene reasons) but I'm not particular about such things, reasoning to Eddie that Sean would be changing out of his clothes and taking a shower soon.

I made some half-hearted effort at asking Sean to get off the carpet, he of course said NO! and started acting up. Ed then started at me again, telling me I should stop reading and start taking care of the kids (to Ed's defence, he was waiting for the check-in lady to get back to us so he couldn't do much). That got me riled up and I walked over, grabbed Sean's wrist and pulled him up.

Sean gave a scream, which shocked me a bit, and instinctively I felt something wasn't right. I quickly bent and carried him away to another side of the hotel. He continued crying terribly, pointing to his elbow the whole time. My heart sank, as he never ever cries for such a long time, even after a terrible fall, he would stop crying after a minute if I sayang him.

When Eddie and Brian came over with the keys, I was already tearing up and shaking, saying we need to get Sean to the doctor. We went to the room and placed him on the bed. Eddie made him a sling out of a small hotel towel and carried him to the toilet very carefully when he needed to use the toilet. At one point, Sean looked at me and said, "Don't love you." That got me crying again : ( We headed out to the clinic as he seemed to still be in pain and crying everytime his elbow was moved.

Here he is waiting to be checked by the doctor.

My heart was really breaking seeing him in such pain. Eddie was really good with him. The doctor suspected it was a sprain but wanted an x-ray done to be sure. Ed went into the x-ray room with Sean. Brian and I were a few doors away but we could hear Sean's screams, probably when the metal plates were pressed onto his hand for the x-ray to be done. Brian and I prayed that all would be well.

It was some time before they came out. The doctor said we needed to bring Sean to the Pediatric unit hospital as his elbow was dislocated and there may be a fracture. My heart sank. Another chap came and very gently made a proper sling for Sean. The sling worked like magic, and Sean started playing cheerfully with Brian.

Sean's cheerfulness must have puzzled the doctor and she asked us to wait while she got another opinion. Later she came back to say there would be no need to go to the hospital after all as the other doctor who's more familiar with children orthoepaedic problems strongly felt there was no dislocation nor fracture. Moreover, if there was a dislocation, Sean wouldn't be laughing the way he was then. I thanked God.

We'll monitor Sean for the next few days. So far today, he's been okay, but would cry out sometimes. He's colouring and drawing with his one good hand and also reading lots as usual. I thank God there's no dislocation or fracture. But I'm still beating myself up over this. What was I thinking grabbing him like that? Stupid, stupid, stupid. There's no two ways about it. I'm a bad mother.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sean conducts experiment

As usual, I was surfing in the evening, Ed was still at work and Brian was either doing his holiday homework or doing Kakuro (today's the last day of school and his form teacher gave him the Murderous Math Kakuro book for Christmas, so cool of her). From the corner of my eye, I saw Sean placing cups of water on the dining table. Well, as long as that kept him busy, I was happy.

Later, when I went to clear the dining table, I saw that the cups had different levels of water in them. I asked Sean why he poured so many cups of water and if he's gonna drink the water. He then quickly got a spoon from the drawer and told me to listen as he tapped on the cups. He was showing me the different sounds made with different levels of water. His first attempt at conducting an experiment!

I don't know where he got the idea to do this from, perhaps from tv. When I asked him who taught him to do this, he replied, "Marco did." ???...Just when I thought my little baby was getting so mature, he brings me back down to earth by telling me his teddy bear taught him science...sigh.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Seen my caw-ca-late or an-te-nai?

Sean: Mummy, have you seen the other an-te-nai?
Me: What?
Sean: My other an-te-nai, have you seen it?
Me: I don't know what you're talking about, what's an-te-nai?
Sean: This one (proceeds to show me a post-it paper he had folded into a longish narrow strip, which he had stuck onto a bigger rectangular post-it).

It's actually a tv, and the long strip is the one of the tv's antennae, there were supposed to be two, but one fell off.
Me: Antenna Sean, it's pronounced antenna*.
Sean: No! An-te-nai.

(*Did you know?: Antenna is singular and antennae (or antennas) is plural? Antenna is pronounced ant-anna while antennae is pronounced ant-annie, but neither is pronounced ant-a-nigh, hee).


Sean: Mummy, where's the caw-ca-late?
Me: Huh??
Sean: The caw-ca-late?
Me: You mean coca cola?
Sean: NO! Caw-ca-late. The one where you press the numbers.
Bulb lights up above my head: Ohhh, the calculator you mean.
Sean: Yes, the caw-ca-later.

Tonight's dinner

Dawn's baked chicken wing
, stir-fried beansprouts with prawns and fried onion omelette. The chicken wing is really yummy and super easy, must try.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cheering up our little sick man

Brian stayed home yesterday and today after coming down with a cough and sore throat. He'll miss his school choral performance at a church tonight, and was disappointed by that. Decided to bring him out for lunch at Carlucio's, an Italian restaurant in Richmond. Sarah joined us. She's looking more and more pregnant.

Sarah had the baked swordfish which was pretty good. My calf liver was no match for the one I usually have at Ma Cuisine in Kew. Also ordered a side order of spinach. Brian had the kids meal of a soft drink, spaghetti ragu and ice-cream. After having the spaghetti, he was still hungry, so we ordered another kids meal, this time lasagne. His appetite is still very healthy despite the cough. That's a good sign I suppose.

Love Actually is showing on ITV1 tonight. Watching it as I type this, Emma Thompson's just opened her Christmas present (a Jodi Mitchell cd) from her husband (Alan Rickman). Realising the jewellery she had spotted him buy earlier was meant for another, she quickly excuses herself, goes to her bedroom, tries to compose herself but some tears fall and she stoically brushes them away, holds her head high and goes back out, putting on a cheerful face as they leave for her child's nativity play. Heartwrenching...great acting. Superb show and fantastic acting all round by the cast. Hee, now the porno stand-in actors (the guy is Tim from The Office, original version) are giving each other an innocent kiss very shyly. In about 5 minutes, one of my favourite scenes, Colin Firth going to the Portuguese restaurant to propose in broken Portuguese to his gorgeous housecleaner. He had learnt the language for her, then she responds in the affirmative to his proposal, in broken English! She had learnt English for him!...Oh no, another heartwrenching moment now, Keira Knightley's admirer (her husband's best friend) using placards to express his feelings for her...As he leaves, she runs after him, gives him a kiss. He leaves and says to himself,"Enough, enough." So painful!...I'm such a sucker for such shows, they always get to me.

Did some shopping in Richmond before leaving to pick Sean up from school. Sean's nativity play is next Monday. He's one of the 3 wise men, ke ke. Over dinner, he told us he will bring baby Jesus a present and his line goes, "I bring myrrh." His classmates Jake brings baby Jesus Frankincense and Jude brings gold. Hee hee, can't wait to see him. Should be a laugh.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Homemaker extraordinaire Part 2...

I wanted to post this yesterday but the warzone that our apartment had turned into with the leakage problem took precedence especially after my landlord's visit.

Two days ago, I enthused about my squeaky clean cooker hood. Yesterday, I polished my cooker hob to near perfection! LOOK! LOOK!

Okay, so you're not impressed. But surely you would be when you see what its condition was prior to my cleaning it. This next photo was taken two weeks ago when Brian was practising his culinary skills in my kitchen. See the nasty stains near the bottom of the picture? It's all gone now. Now are you impressed?

Bear in mind, when I took over this apartment, the hob had been cleaned professionally and it wasn't as clean as it is now. It still had those burnt stains which seem impossible to remove. But remove them I did, painstakingly so, by carefully scraping the glass top first with a cutlery knife, and then with my small but sharp Henckels knife for the really stubborn stains. It was a labour of love, and my thumb hurt like hell after that, but it was well worth it.

Now those who know me would know this is totally uncharacteristic of me. After all, I couldn't even tell a hood from a hob till an hour ago, that's how bad in the kitchen I am. I really don't know what's come over me. It all seems very OCD-like, anal even. What am I turning into?! It's all very...very...strange...fade out to Twilight Zone music...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Look what the rain did!

We live in a penthouse apartment (top-floor, nothing luxurious) and right above us is the roof of the building. The building is fairly new, completed maybe 3 years ago (and is still covered by the developer's warranty), but London buildings are obviously not built to withstand torrential rain.

It had rained cats and dogs at least 3 times over the past week or so. Such torrential rains are normal in Singapore, but quite unusual in London, as it only ever drizzles here.

We found out just how unusual it was when just 3 days of Singapore-style rain led to ugly brown patches forming near our window and on one part of our living room ceiling. One evening, part of the curtain pole fell off as the nails lost their grip on the wet porous walls.

Our miser of a landlord came by today to inspect the damage. I'm not gonna get stressed over this, it's his house, not mine. But why did this have to happen AFTER we agreed to his request for a rent increase! Grrr!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Homemaker extraordinaire...

...just for today. Look at that picture, certainly a sight to behold, and something you don't see very often in our house; a bright, shiny, squeaky clean cooker hob (oops, I just realised it's called a hood, not a hob, paiseh - this amendment was posted two days later).

It's been so long since I gave the hob - erm, hood - a good clean that I'd forgotten what it should look like. When I gave it a first wipe, the dirt didn't come off and the glass looked, well, frosted. I was really puzzled for a while and tried hard to remember if it was supposed to be clear or frosted. Only when I used a strong cream cleaner did the clear glass emerge.

Cleaner on one hand, cloth on the other, and paper towel within reach, I attacked the dirt and polished the glass with a vengeance. It was really satisfying when the glass was finally restored to its original glory. Squeak to my ears.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Popsicle stick Christmas star

Brian's contribution to his school's Christmas tree decorations. Or rather my contribution. Got the idea off the internet, and hurriedly made it on Thursday night with what little craft materials we could find in the house, in time for submission on Friday (deadline!). Brian's not quite sure if it looks more like a star or a snowflake though.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas season begins

Today is probably the highlight of the year for Kew children. Kew Village, right where we live, was transformed into a hive of Christmas activity and fun. Local businesses bring fun for the family in an event called Kew Sparkle.

But before that, there was the appetiser, Brian's school Christmas Fair. The school shed was transformed into Santa's grotto and there was even a carousel on the school grounds. Lots of activities such as face-painting, lucky draw adopt-a-toy, cookie decorating that both boys, especially Sean, enjoyed. Sean had enjoyed his visit to the school yesterday and after today, I reckon he's gonna be even more excited to go to his new school next year.

After the school fair, we rushed back home for Brian to change out of his PE kit into his regular school uniform to join his school choir friends just downstairs at Kew Village for Christmas carolling.

Sean was a laugh, kept dancing and doing conductor-like gestures and the angmohs were so amused. When he came back, he started practising Brian's choir songs, standing upright and trying to project his voice.

The teacup and formula 1 rides at the Kew Sparkle event were actually free; a guy comes around with a collection bucket for charity. Entirely voluntary, I thought that was nice and very willingly paid up for the kids' ride. Here they are waiting for their turn while eating very yummy burgers from the local organic poultry shop.

And my very own Jedi knights. Those swords cost me 4 quid each (Made in China some more!), but I was feeling generous, after all, I did promise to be less scrooge-like, and it is Christmas.

So this is Christmas in London, it's nice, I like it. Happy Christmas everybody!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Neighbourhood Superhero

Check out Kew Gardens' Superman. Saw this boy on our walk home from school. When I whipped out my camera, he very quickly started posing. Cute.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas goodies

Window display at The Original Maids of Honour, where I usually have scones and tea with the boys and some other lady friends. The food looks really attractive, but on closer inspection, nothing here really tickles my fancy. Too Englishy perhaps.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Scientist Apprentice*

*Title by Brian (who's having a sleepover at his classmate Cristobal's house tonight)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Waterstones revamp

Went to Chiswick with Sean today and discovered that Waterstones has completed its revamp. I love the kids section, those orb-seats are really comfortable and eyecatching too. Wish I had a few of these for myself.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lunch for London newcomers

We had Wilson (the new RMM) and his wife Katherine, together with Jenn Hui (Ed's new assistant), over for lunch today. They arrived in London about a month ago and with Ed soooo busy the past few weeks (yesterday was his first off day in 2 weeks plus), we were only able to invite them over today.

I woke up at 7am to start with the preparations. Boiled wintermelon soup and cooked Prima chicken rice. Also stir-fried baby pak choi with prawns. The chicken rice was a hit, all thanks to Prima. Even a cooking imbecile like me can get it right, so anyone else can do it. Prima's great.

Sean had an eventful day today. He saw his very first rainbow, or so he claims. It could be true, I'm not sure, but if so, gosh, this boy's so deprived! The sky had been really dark and gloomy when he woke up. He was so pleased to spot the rainbow that he couldn't stop talking about it.

Oh, last night I cooked salmon again. On Friday, I made a disastrous effort at being adventurous and the salmon was really 'hard to swallow'. I fared so much better doing it the Tried and Tested way, and the boys gobbled my Easy-peasy Salmon up in quick time last night.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pizza and bowling fun for Brian

Brian wanted me to post this picture of his toy aeroplane. He got it today as a party favour. It was his schoolmate William's birthday and the celebration was at Pizza Hut followed by bowling (Brian's first time trying bowling). I don't really know the birthday boy as he's from the other Year 4 class. Brian plays IT (tag) with him and some other boys during break and lunch everyday, and as a result they've become good friends. The other five boys at the party today, Harry, Theo, Max, Ivan and David, are from William's class.

After dropping him off at noon, Sean, Eddie and I had McDonald's at the bowling centre, then drove off to do Chinese Supermarket shopping. We're having guests over for lunch tomorrow so I needed to stock up on some fresh produce.

Sean kept asking for his koko the whole 2.5 hours that Brian was at the party. Yet when they get together, they start to bicker. I finally had enough of their quarrelling and Brian's incessant complaints/whining to me about his brother that they really faced my wrath this evening. They're getting along now. The peace had better last, or they'll be getting more training from me very soon.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Recipe adventure gone wrong

My attempt at being a bit more adventurous in my cooking didn't turn out very well. For dinner, I cooked baked salmon with ginger for Brian as he loves salmon. He was a sport and ate up both pieces of salmon even though I knew he didn't like it. I wouldn't have been able to finish even half a piece. It was that bad!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sean's Schonell Reading Test

I'm back at my Mac. My Mac wasn't sick after all, other Mac users also made complaints to Virgin Broadband too. Virgin's service was just excellent and they've solved my problem, so I'm happy again.

This morning, while using my old pc, I found some old journal entries about Brian. One of them went like this:

June 2001 (Brian at 3 years and 8 months).
Brian did the Schonell Reading Test and his scores were off the roof! He got 55 out of 100 words right and came in at a reading age of 10 and a half!! Some of the big words he could actually pronounce accurately were attractive, gradually, smolder, applaud, disposal, orchestra, knowledge, campaign, forfeit, plausible, prophecy, soloist, slovenly, classification, institution, pivot and adamant. I thought that was just pretty darn cool.

After reading that, I quickly got Sean to try the test, expecting the worst. He actually did quite well, at 4 years and 2 months, he got 68 words right, translating into a reading age of almost 12. A week ago, while voicing her concern about the 'huge' gap between Sean's emotional and intellectual development, his Montessori principal did mention that he was reading at 10-year old level but I didn't believe her.

Though one would need to discount the reading level results by quite a bit because Schonell doesn't really test reading, which is about comprehension; it only tests decoding (ability to sound out words). So Sean has a Decoding, not a Reading, age of about 12; we can live with that : )