Monthly Archives

May 2013

Becks Kao Ben Kao The darndest kid quotes and antics

My new mum and dad

May 31, 2013

Did I mention that recently, two kind souls adopted me as their child? They are both 4 and (almost) 3 respectively, and they are parenting me in a whole new way.


One morning during breakfast, Ben and Becks announced they were no longer, well, Ben and Becks. They are now Mummy and Daddy, and I had to address them as such.

Becks: (to me) We’re Mummy and Daddy, ok, Mama?

Me: Um, I guess. Ok.

Becks: Na, eat your breakfast ah. Finish everything.

Me: Waa, Becks, you’re so rude huh! What happened to ‘Good morning, Mama, here’s your breakfast’?

Becks: I’m Mummy now. I’m not Becks! Daddy and me will go to work now!

Ben: (to Becks) Ya! Let’s go now, dear!


On the bus one morning, on our way to school, I suggested that we all find our seats quickly and drink some water. The heat’s been so crazy in the mornings. I think Ben and Becks took their water bottles out and took a sip after they settled; I didn’t check or ask. Some minutes later, I whipped out my bottle and started gulping away.

Ben: (to me) Do you know you’re NOT allowed to eat or drink in the bus?

Me: Mmm. Uh. Ok.

Ben: You continue doing that and the bus driver will scold you.

Me: I think water’s ok. Didn’t you drink too?

Ben: Ya, I did but that’s because YOU asked me to and I was obeying you. But I think you should OBEY the sign, you know.

Me: *speechless*

By the way, the last I checked, I didn’t see the ‘No Eating or Drinking’ sign on the bus. I think he must have confused it with the MRT. Just saying.


Just yesterday, I fell down the stairs. I missed a step and tumbled, and twisted my left ankle. If you really must know, I was checking my phone.

Becks: What happened, huh, tell me. Why you put bandage?

Me: It’s an ankle guard. I fell and my ankle’s swollen.

Becks: Ok, next time please be careful and don’t hurt yourself lah!

Me: Um, ok.

Becks: Remember: BE CAREFUL!

Yes, Mummy Becks. I will remember your words of wisdom. Thank you so much. What happened to good ol’ sayang sayang, love?


Can I have my children back, please?

Playground fun

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao The darndest kid quotes and antics

Call me, I’ll be waiting

May 30, 2013


One of the greatest thrills in motherhood is to hear your babbling baby finally associate the word “Ma” to your face, and to hear him call out, “Mama”.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to experience this thrill the third time yet. At 15 months, Nat has called out to the birds at the park, the cars on the road, and even those Moove Media cows in the fields.

He’s called his father…

Nat and Dada

He’s said “Ah Ma“…

Nat and Ah Ma

He’s called Gong Gong…

Nat and Gong Gong

We’ve even heard him say Che Che twice with Becks…

Nat calling Che Che

He’s called Ben “Kor Kor” (one of the first few words he’s said) and says it like a hundred times a day. They are best buds now, and hang out together ever so often.

Nat calling Korkor

But when I ask him to say, “Mama”, he either gives me the silent treatment or goes korkorkorkor on me.  -_-

I hope Mama’s still your favourite person, Nat! Call me soon, ok?

Nat and Mama

Going Out!

Jammin’ the arty way at Museo

May 28, 2013

Museo_At Sentosa Cove

Over the Vesak Day weekend, the kids and I were invited to Museo, a new boutique restaurant at Sentosa Cove’s Quayside Isle. The swanky fine dining restuarant, with its seamlessly integrated bar concept and painting studio, is by the same people behind Arteastiq Boutique Tea House at Mandarin Gallery, known for their luxury high tea and social painting.

We were invited for an art jamming session in the afternoon, as well as to have tea on the house. Problem is, the only jamming I know involves either music or traffic. What exactly is art jamming?

The concept of art jamming is pretty new in Singapore. Art jamming – which is about being in a relaxing and conducive studio environment and taking time out from the busyness life to a place of creativity and self-expression through art making – is beginning to be quite a hit here.

And here at Museo, it’s impossible NOT to relax. The stunning view from the restaurant overlooking the tranquil quayside and marina area provided the perfect backdrop to chill, with a capital C. And CHILL, we did.

Add to that, a comfy, luxurious daybed to sprawl and people-watch, funky acid jazz playing in the background, and their extensive selection of Specialty Tea Sets, I almost forgot we were there to paint!


Before the kids and I art-jammed, we decided to try their Mezzanine Set ($39) that comes highly recommended by all the people I know who’s been there. Museo does a twist on conventional fine dining by serving food in a cup, and the Mezzanine Set allows you to customise 4 out of 12 entrées to your liking.

It was hard to make a decision because all the food sounded so delicious just by reading their names on the menu. I loved it that all the items on the menu were named after famous artwork by great artists. In the end, I ordered The Great Wave (tuna tataki), Picasso’s Blues (deep fried prawns flavoured with lavender), Smile of Mona Lisa (deep fried camembert cheese served with cranberry sauce), and Joys of Life (smoked roast pork belly served with hot sauce), and a French Rose tea set. Fatherkao went with a smoked salmon salad and a cup of cappuccino for himself.

Museo_Food & Drinks

My favourite has got to be the deep fried prawns with the most delicious and fragrant lavender flavoured dip. Ben loved it too and devoured almost all the prawns, leaving me and fatherkao to try only one each.

Being a meat lover, Becks, my little girl, loved the crackling roast pork belly best. She didn’t have it with the hot sauce; she loved the cranberry dip so much that she licked it clean with every bite of the pork. The deep fried cheese was great but it was a pity I had to eat it without the cranberry dip, thanks to her.

Museo_Chow time

Museo_Tuna & SaladThe tuna tataki was freshness in a glass, dressed just right, but quite forgettable, really. The smoked salmon came wrapped in asparagus and was dressed lightly with a generous serving of microgreens. The honey mustard dressing was sweet and I must say, pretty refreshing.

When it was time to get down to art jamming, we were given two canvases, a set of paintbrushes and an iPad to choose any picture we would like to paint. The folks at Museo will print the picture for you in a jiffy, and you can head on to the social painting space and spend as long as you like there and let your creativity explode on canvas.

We started with one canvas first and my grand plan was to paint a picture of the sunset with the kids. Hurhurhur. I haven’t the slightest artistic vein in me, so I wasn’t sure if I would end up drawing an egg yolk instead. My plan was to draw it out and palette the paint first, then have the kids take turn to hold the brush with my guidance. Very ambitious, I know.

Museo_Art Jamming

Halfway through my sketching, the kids got restless waiting for so long (I am not Picasso huh, deal with it, kids!) and started to monkey around as usual. When we finally started painting, they were upset that they had to wait for their turn and started their usual “hey-when-is-it-my-turn-why-am-I-waiting” bickering with me and each other. When they sat on my lap, they started to ruin the canvas by adding colours not meant for the picture and basically going abstract on me.

Museo_Art jamming with kids

Now, I can get pretty task-oriented. Upon seeing my masterpiece go down the drain, getting upset was quite an understatement.

So I decided to let them to go free expression on the second canvas, and that kept them laughing and happy for a long while.

Museo_2nd canvas

Until they couldn’t agree on what colour to paint their canvas. Becks had decided to paint it almost black, and Ben obviously got quite distraught that his portion got swallowed up in darkness.

That was when I decided, heck my masterpiece. I gave my canvas up to Ben who finally stopped sulking, and watched the two of them go impressionist, then surreal, then abstract, all in one sitting.


I’m glad that towards the end, they had some fun finally. They got very, very dirty, and very, very messy but it didn’t matter. They painted their masterpieces without their mother breathing down their necks. And I was honestly quite happy I didn’t have to wait for the canvases, probably layered thirty times over, to dry, or to bring them back (you have to pay an additional $20 if you want to per canvas).

Museo_Art jamming experience completedNow that was our art jamming experience.

Methinks art jamming is excellent for parent-child bonding but probably more suitable for older children who are able to follow instructions, appreciate art, and WANT TO paint something decent on the canvas.

More details:
  • Museo is located at Quayside Isle (Next to W Hotel), 31 Ocean Way, #01-22, Sentosa Cove, Singapore 098375.
  • You can get a free canvas for art jamming if you spend a minimum of $20 in your dining bill. Connect with them on their Facebook page for updates and specials.

Disclosure: We were invited to an art jamming session at Museo. We were given a complimentary drink and a passport with F&B discounts. All opinions and text here are Motherkao’s own.

(Self) Examination Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training

Vicious cycle, virtuous cycle

May 28, 2013

I have been running kind of low on fuel lately, largely because I’m sort of stuck in this rut of a vicious cycle:

Vicious cycle

I can’t pinpoint how this all started. Probably at Point Tired Mother. I’m still nursing the youngest at 15 months at least twice a night, picking up the bolster for her royal highness in the middle of the night whenever it rolls off the bed (lest her fits become full blown bratty tantrums), and being awakened ever so often by long conversations Ben has with himself in his sleep. These days, his dreams are also in Chinese, which is totally amusing to listen to.

Actually, I’m also sleep-deprived because I have been catching up on drama serials and reading blogs, e-magazines and articles on my fb news feed because I feel like such a total loser being out of touch with this world after stopping work for three months. After a whole day of talking to kids and doing kids’ stuff, the urge to be back in the adult world couldn’t be greater and stronger.

And something awful happens every time I clock less than 6 hours of sleep. I start to grow alligator jaws.

Then I run the household the next day snapping at everyone that annoys me and going batshitcrazy, barking and hollering at the kids from breakfast to tuck-in.

Well, I did try going Orange Rhino on myself. There’s been good days. And then there were also MANY days I failed miserably.

So, as I feel utterly defeated in this mothering endeavour, I find myself having to deal with incessant mom guilt and wanting to escape. I start shutting myself off from the kids. It’s not rocket science to know what would follow: kids running on an empty (love) tank start seeking attention from Mama who’s not available emotionally, and sometimes even mentally and physically.

The poor kids start crying out for L.O.V.E. in their worst behaviour. Kids don’t put on their best when they are deprived.

There you have it. This is how I got stuck in this rut. Is this also a good time to say “FML”?


A few days ago, I had an epiphany. What if the starting point isn’t Tired Mother? What if the starting point had all along been the fact that I wasn’t convinced that everyday the kids need 100% of me?

What if I fixed that?

What if I quit looking at the phone and iPad, give them lots of eye contact and just be with them?

I’m thinking, perhaps, just perhaps, the bad behaviour, rowdiness, restlessness and attention-seeking antics would gradually diminish into non-existence, and that may just be my way out of this rut.

Into this virtuous cycle:

Virtuous cycle

I started giving more of myself today than yesterday with Ben, Becks and Nat at breakfast, at play, while homelearning, and at tuck-in.

Today, I connected with the kids a wee bit more, instead of performing routine tasks.

Today, I held my tongue from barking and judging, and listened a little more than what I used to.

Today, I decided I will be present in their lives. To give them my 100%.

I think I should make this decision every day.

Learning fun! Reviews

Learning fun at Gymnademics – a mid term update

May 23, 2013

We’ve been attending Gymnademics for half a term now, and Nat has never been happier. At 15 months, my littlest baby is starting to babble a lot, and responding to routines. He looks forward to the fun to be had in his Pre-Fellow class every week, and I too, look forward to Friday evenings to join him in his learning, and sharing some special ‘Nat and Mama’ moments – just me and him, without the older kids.

Saying 'cheese' before class

Saying ‘cheese’ before class

After attending just five lessons, I watched how quickly Nat catches on to things taught by routine and repetition. For one, he is able to respond to the ‘Welcome Song by raising his hand and pointing to himself when we sing, “Nathanael, Nathanael, are you here?” He’s also learned the actions for the ‘Hip Hip Hooray’ part in the goodbye song, and which parts of his body to touch when we sing solfège – do (we touch our knees), re (we touch our tummies), mi (we touch our heads) – and I must say I’m pretty impressed at how much my boy absorbs and the speed he’s learning things.

The goodbye song goes, 'Hey hey hey, we learned something new today. Hip hip hooray, we learned something new today' and here's Nat jumping for the 'hip hip hooray'.

The goodbye song goes, ‘Hey hey hey, we learned something new today. Hip hip hooray, we learned something new today’ and here’s Nat jumping for the ‘hip hip hooray’.

This little one has also indicated quite clearly what activities he enjoys and what he doesn’t fancy. He loves sitting on my lap to look at the flashcards Teacher Selene shows in class. Since we started, we’ve learned a whole range of really cool stuff, from food types and food preparation methods to science concepts like magnetism and gravity. We’ve also looked at flashcards of birds of prey and all kinds of butterflies and moths. The last lesson, we met the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, the largest butterfly in the world. Bet you found that impressive, eh? Ok, I have to admit, I was impressed myself. I didn’t know that I didn’t know until I attended Gymnademics!

So this is the largest butterfly in the world...

So this is the largest butterfly in the world…

Other activities that he loves? Balancing on a beam (and doing it very well!), the ‘Mystery box’, watching Teacher Selene teach him the actions to a new song, and oh yes, the water break!

Balancing on the beam

Balancing on the beam

Learning actions to a new song!

Learning actions to a new song!

Mystery Box - a secret revealed! (The activities are usually theme-related.)

Mystery Box – a secret revealed! (The activities are usually theme-related.)

Nat finds his bottle and gets his well-deserved water break

Nat finds his bottle and gets his well-deserved water break

So what does he not fancy? Swinging on the trapeze. He hears the music leading to the activity and starts clinging on to me and shaking his head vigorously. He’s not even willing to hi-five the trapeze bar when it’s his turn. I don’t get this part, actually. For someone who has no sense of fear at the playground, I can’t believe that I’m seeing an intensely petrified face even before he swings.

Spot the koala!

Spot the koala!

We’re going to have work on that one for the remaining weeks of the term. The reason why swinging on a trapeze is included in every lesson is because hanging from a bar increases a child’s lung capacity, which in turns allows the child to take in more oxygen, and more oxygen to the brain is always good for a child who’s constantly learning. Swinging from a bar also strengthens his grip, which is a necessary motor skill, especially for writing later on. See those children on monkey bars? These are going to be smart kids, I tell you.

Let’s hope by the end of the term, my little koala can become a confident little gibbon.

Disclosure: Nat and I were invited to attend the Pre-Fellow Class at Gymnademics for review purposes. I shared previously about our experience in a review here.  All opinions in this post are Motherkao’s own.


Homelearning fun Learning fun!

Fff-fwah! We’re learning some f-words!

May 20, 2013

This month is the month of F-words. We’re exploring things that begin with the letter F!

Homelearning: Tracing F and making Faces

We did our usual tracers from our Hands On Homeschooling curriculum, and traced the uppercase and lowercase F with our fingers and pencil. I used the pictures for words beginning with the letter F from Homeschool Creations.

We made faces and learned what’s on our face – the eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth. The printables for our cutting and pasting were from one of the pages from the Gymnademics Big Day Out activity booklet. We mixed and matched and glued the different parts of the face to make four really ugly looking faces. Ben and Becks conveniently used these faces as targets for  their ball throws. Hur hur hur.

Tracing F & Making Faces

Target ball practice
F for Fruits and Food

To learn the names of fruits we love to eat, we matched the names of fruits in a flashcard game. I laid out the pictures and had Ben match the words to each type of fruit. He guessed the words by the beginning sounds of each word mostly. For Becks, she read out what Ben matched after he completed his task. For Nat, we did a gallery walk of sorts and I read each card to him while walking down the row, something we also do at Gymnademics.

Fruit flashcard game

I repeated this game for the types of food using flashcards (I bought the Beginner Series flashcards from Wink to Learn). The kids enjoyed the game thoroughly. We also did a food matching exercise with this activity sheet.

Food flashcard game & food matching
The F words in Science

For our science lessons, we explored fruits with one seed and fruits with many seeds; why food is important for our body; the parts of a fish and the different types of fish that we can eat. I got the materials from Hooray Science for Preschoolers published by Pelangi Books from the bookstore for $3.15 per book (there are four in the series). I colour-copied and laminated them to use as big flashcards.

Fruit Food & Fish Science

We also learned the parts of a flower from this activity sheet in our Hands On Homeschooling curriculum. I learned something new, for one – that a flower that’s not yet in bloom is called a blossom. Looks like I’m also home teaching myself!

Parts of a flower
I Feel…

This month, we also learned a big f-word. FEELINGS. Feelings are so important to introduce to children. It’s crucial that they understand how they feel and describe it. I made these feelings flashcards from Kids’ Pages for Small Ages and taught Ben and Becks important feeling words like angry, hungry, tired, worried, sad and happy. Becks was also in drama mood that day we had this lesson, so she provided us with some good entertainment with her acting.


Outdoor learning: F is for freshness everywhere!

For outdoor learning, we headed down to the Farmer’s Market at PasarBella to check out fresh produce and good food.

We even saw a freak there! The kids were very disturbed by the chalked man. They couldn’t stop asking why he wasn’t moving. Guess they were freaked out by the freak!


We also went to The Cajun Kings for the freshest dungeness crab, Manila clams and red prawns we’ve ever tasted. The deliciousness of fresh seafood boil eaten with bare hands and fingers, cavemen style. Ooh la la, finger licking good! Very gratifying!

The Cajun Kings

A very ffff-fulfilling month indeed, learning all about the letter F. Farewell, letter F! We’re moving on to the letter M next month. Why are we skipping letters? More on it the next time!

Going Out! Learning fun!

5 places to check out this June holidays

May 18, 2013

The kids have settled well in kindy and absolutely look forward to the routine on week days where they bus to school, go to school, then come home for more homelearning with me. The June break is approaching in two weeks. I don’t know how to break the news to them that we won’t be going to school for one whole month.

I know for sure they would miss going to kindy and being with their friends. I need to have a good range of activities to cover both indoor and outdoor learning, just so I can maintain my sanity and at the same time have them engaged in learning and expending their energy.

Staying home every day is out of the question and we would need to head outdoors, that’s for sure; and it would be best if going out wouldn’t cost a single cent!

I’ve compiled a list of places to go this June. Here are some places we would be checking out. Feel free to use my list (except for #5, I guess).

1. Learning and exploring with Playmobil: Time for a PLAYful holiday at Sentosa, 1-30 June from 11am to 7pm daily at the Imbiah Lookout

  • We’ll definitely be checking out Storytelling Comes Alive! which we missed last year. This is going to happen every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in June at 11.30am, 3pm and 5pm.
  • There’s also a special Playmobil theme Puppet Musical, which will be staged live every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11.30am and 5.30pm.

2. There’s gonna be a one-for-one admission offer at the Jurong Bird Park this school holidays. We thought since Nat is now saying the word “bird”, Becks adores penguins and Ben has been bugging us to bring him to the Bird Park, we’d make use of this offer.

  • Flash this coupon to get the buy-one-get-one-free deal from 24 May to 30 June.

3. It’s Children’s Season again at the museums, and now that the kids are a little older to start appreciating history and some social studies, we are going to be making good use of free admissions to all the 8 museums starting 18 May, all year round. First stop: the Army Museum of Singapore, since my Ah Boy Ben loves soldiers and weapons.

  • Children’s Season 2013 @ Army Museum of Singapore starts from 18 May to 30 June (10am – 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays). It costs $3 per child (6 – 12 years old) and $5 per adult to enter. Activities are free of charge, but my main gripe is that the museum is located in good ol’ Planet Jurong.

4) Another place we would try to make time for this June is the National Museum. Storytelling will be happening at the Concourse and Craft Zone every Monday and Wednesday (10am and 11.30am) and every Saturday and Sunday (10.30am and 1.30pm). What better way to intrigue the little ones with exciting and dramatic tales of Singapore’s past!

5) And we’d better be redeeming our complimentary hotel stay at MBS before it expires. I am probably the last and only person in Singapore who’s not yet been IN the infinity pool. We got this complimentary stay for buying a Philips Saeco expresso machine last year when our trusty old Saeco gave up on us. It was probably overworked making too many cups of coffee over the last few years since we had kids! We’ve been NOT wanting to do any more staycations since the last one completely exhausted us more than it refreshed us, but I guess this is one thing we have to do next month. The best part is, it’s free (infinity pool, here I come!); but I’m not sure how happy I am at the thought of being stuck in a hotel room with three children at night.

There you have it. 5 places to go this June for the Kao kids. Have you had yours planned?

Linking up with:

Motherkao loves... Motherkao's recipes

Light cream cheese pound

May 17, 2013

I crave for this ever so often and find myself needing to bake this and have it as a staple in my fridge! Ben, Becks and Nat love the deliciousness of this pound cake. It’s got a semi-dense texture that’s oh-so-yummy when served warm with a cold glass of fresh milk.

I have Gninethree to thank for her recipe. This is my modified version, all because I cannot get enough of cream cheese!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake (Recipe makes 1 huge mama in a square pan)

Getting ready for the oven


    • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 pack of Philadelphia cream cheese, 220g
    • 1/2 cup castor sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
    • Lemon or orange zest

You will also need: a square pan


1) Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Grease and line square pan.

2) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3) Whisk cream cheese and butter with an electric whisk or hand whisk until smooth.

4) Add the sugar in three additions, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy.

5) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and lemon zest and beat until incorporated.

6) Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter into the square pan and smooth the top.

7) Bake for 50 minutes and check for overbrowning.

8) Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes (this will allow the cake to set).

9)  Slice and enjoy!

Cream cheese pound cake fresh from the oven

Cream cheese pound cake

Also linking up with:

(Self) Examination Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training

Taking the Orange Rhino Challenge, well, sort of…

May 15, 2013

These days I’m yelling considerably lesser than before, and I think I have the Orange Rhino  to thank. She’s a mother of four who initiated the Orange Rhino Challenge and made a commitment to going 365 days without yelling. I think she’s already at her 461st day as I am writing this.

When I first heard about it, I said to myself, “This is not for me. I’m never going to make it past Day 1.”

I had meant to brush this impossible challenge aside like a silly joke but the image of an orange rhinoceros keeps coming back to bug me. Every day.

Then I would hear a voice in my head, saying, “Take the challenge. Surprise yourself.”

I know deep down, I want to manage the anger. I want to NOT yell. I want to be a cool, composed mother. But how is it possible not to yell? I’ve been yelling to be heard. Yelling so the kids know I mean business. Yelling to get them to do my bidding.

Now I know it’s hard to believe that a mother who loves her kids would yell on a daily basis, but trust me, when you’re with them 24/7, some snapping and verbal whacking is bound to take place.

If there’s a way out, can the orange rhino really show me the way?

So I checked out more details of the challenge online and have been very enlightened by the Orange Rhino “Yelling Meter” and inspired by the stories of mothers who have successfully stopped yelling.

And thanks to the detailed definition of yelling by the Orange Rhino, ever since a week ago, I have been consciously attempting to stay at Levels 0 to 4 everyday, using the everyday voice (0), the whisper (1), the re-direct voice (2), the firm voice (3) and if need be, the sharp, “oopsie snap” voice (4).

I’ve not actually committed to the challenge yet, with the signing up on facebook and all. I don’t even have a target. I’m not so ambitious to go yell-free for 30 days, much less for 365 days straight.

For starters, I just want to go through every day not letting myself get to Levels 5, 6 and 7, which is when things get unpleasant with the nasty snap, the yell, the raging scream.

And this is what I’ve been doing to help myself reduce yelling occurrences. Whenever I’m on the verge of getting to the nasty snap or the murderous screaming, I force myself to take a three minute time-out. While on time-out (usually in the bathroom), this is what I think about:

Timeout reflections

And when I really breathe and take a step back to think about it, most of the time, I’m the one with the problem, not the kids. Not enough sleep resulting in extreme irritability, utter lack of patience, unreasonable expectations, not scaffolding enough for learning to take place, being too much of a perfectionist and sweating the small stuff, having the raging PMS hormones and being too overwhelmed  –  these are all the real reasons why I snap. These are my triggers for yelling.

What’s amazing is, the more I tell myself these three things, the more I find myself feeling ridiculously stupid for even getting angry with my kids for whatever reasons I got angry about. The more I found myself in a state of feeling ridiculously stupid for being angry, the more I want to stop yelling. And now, whenever I find myself fuming from Level 4 to 5 to 6 to 7, I take a deep breath and say some of these things to myself:

“Hey, Motherkao. Build the relationship first before you wanna be a stickler about the rules.”

“Remember, they are children. Children think this way. Children need to be taught and trained.”

“You need to let children be children.”

“These are my kids.”

“I am here for them. I am here to help them. If I don’t, no one else would.”

I’m not quite ready to be an orange rhino yet, and there’s a lot of practising to do, but I’m taking these baby steps to staying calm and composed in these maddeningly crazy days. What I really, really want to be is to be a great mom to my kids. And I know yelling at them will never help me achieve that.

So I’ll try to yell less, one day at a time. Today’s been looking good, so far.

Going Out!

Of cars and big dreams at the Volkswagen Family Weekend

May 14, 2013

My fourth Mother’s Day was a really special one. On Sunday, we were invited by Rise and Shine, in partnership with Volkswagen Singapore, to join them at the Volkswagen Centre at Alexandra Road for the Volkswagen Family Weekend. And so, I spent this special day with my kids in a car showroom.

The fiesta had an exciting line-up of activities for the whole family, including a creative colouring corner, trike rides, golf trials and a crafting booth for Mother’s Day cards using food art. There was also a Mom’s Pampering Corner tucked at a quiet corner of the showroom, away from the noise and crowd, with cushy couches and massage equipment for tired mothers to catch some shut-eye.

Volkswagen Family Weekend Golf Fun

Volkswagen Family Weekend Colouring Fun

Ben and Becks had a fun time colouring, going on a trike race and having a go at putting at the KinderGolf’s mini golf corner. The littlest one busied himself too, talking on the “phone”, and going round gesturing for – ah yes, the love of his life right now – balloons! This little pumpkin adores balls, balloons and all things round to the point of yelling for them even in his sleep, so being there on Sunday was heaven for him. Thanks to the friendly folks at Volkswagen who kept giving him balloons, that boy collected a total of 11 that day. We had to deflate all of them, much to his dismay. We wouldn’t be able to get into the car otherwise!

Volkswagen Family Weekend Trike Fun

We didn’t get to do any food art by Nutriville (the folks packed up for the other showroom at MacPherson by the time we headed over), and I didn’t get to sneak away to the pampering corner either. But I must say, the activities for the kids at the Volkswagen Family Weekend were indeed well-organized, engaging and meaningful. The food was tasty too, and thank God the organisers remembered ice cream! Ben and Becks had a few scoops that hot afternoon, complete with plenty of rainbow sprinkles to make their day.

But those weren’t the highlight of our day.

What was? Roaming about the spacious showroom, getting into cars and pretending to go on joy rides, that’s! Ben and Becks were thrilled to see so many cars, from the Golf to the Cabriolet; they climbed into each one, took turns to “drive”, navigate, and took each other to explore places unknown, and I savoured every minute being in their “journey”, entering their world of pretend play.

Ben: Ok, now I drive, so you must buckle.

Becks: Ya! If not, police will catch!

Ben: We will now go to a faraway place. Very, very far. So far nobody will know, ok!

Becks: Yay! Drive!

Ben: Vroom…. vroom… (turns to the backseat to look at me while moving the steering) Hey Mama, when I grow up, I will buy this sports car, ok?

Me: Oh wow! Yes, you do that. Can I be your passenger then?

Ben: Of course, la. I will fetch you everywhere you want.

Me: I’ll be an old woman by then. Are you sure you still want me in your sports car?

Ben: Mama, of course! I’ll just drive very, very slowly for you!

We had many of such conversations that afternoon, and the kids took me to “places” I never knew existed and worlds I could never have imagined, at the same time always assuring me that they would always want me in their car, no matter how old I grew.

Volkswagen Family Weekend Driving Fun

When it was time to test drive the Volkswagen Sharan, the kids were so exhilarated they actually thought we’d be driving it home. They went in to the spacious car, sat on the child seats, and screamed ‘Yay, new car, wohoo!‘, like it was the best day of their lives. I had some difficulties explaining the concept of test driving to them before they realized that we weren’t going to drive the Sharan home. How hilarious.

The 7-seater 2L Sharan was a testimony of German engineering genius with its powerful turbo engine, sophisticated dashboard and sleek design. The drive was smooth and comfortable, and we could definitely have three child seats in the car, one for each kid. There was a sunroof that awed the kids much, and in the evening when we test drove it, we could look up and gaze at the clouds in the sky without having to squint. But the thing with MPVs is that in order to have boot space that can fit our huge ass Graco twin stroller, we would need to fold down the back seats. This means we can never fit the helper in the car. Which is a total bummer because we would always need the extra pair of hands going out with three kids.

Volkswagen Family Weekend Test Driving the Sharan

I know, I know. We should be driving a bus. The Volkswagen Van is a tempting idea.

Still, the ‘Carrier of Kings’ (what Sharan means in Persian) was quite a breathtaking ride for the kids compared to our humble sedan, and the kids were a little sad we weren’t taking it home. Ben kept asking me if the car was a hundred dollars when I told him the car was expensive and to buy one required a lot of thought and some financial planning. A hundred dollars is like the biggest number in my boy’s mind right now, which made me laughed out so loud – if only we could all buy cars for a hundred bucks.

I wouldn’t trade Mother’s Day spent at the Volkswagen Family Weekend even for a hundred bucks. To be with my little ones, to go on some exciting make-believe adventures and to dream some very big dreams together, that’s what money cannot buy. I’m looking forward to the day I would be ferried around by Ben in his sports car. Till then, thank you, Rise and Shine, and Volkswagen Singapore, for the kind invitation to spend this special day this way.

*This story was brought to you by Rise and Shine, in partnership with Volkswagen Singapore.*