Monthly Archives

October 2014

Going Out! Happy days Reviews The Kao Kids

Superheroes unite! – A different kind of Halloween partying

October 29, 2014

Halloween isn’t something that’s celebrated in the Kao household but it’s certainly something we cannot escape from knowing that it is celebrated everywhere else. I had hoped I wouldn’t need to explain much about Halloween to the kids but the commercialisation of this celebration seems to be getting stronger, keener and fiercer year after year.

Case in point: the FairPrice supermarket we go to week after week tells us what we should be buying and celebrating. When we see the pumpkins, ghoulish masks and pitchforks, we know for sure, that Halloween is here. Everywhere we go, we see black and orange themed decor – in the malls and in shops. The devil’s horns go for sale as headbands to be worn vaingloriously this time of the month, and these days they come illuminated and flashing too at crazy prices and worn on many a kiddo’s head.

Another case in point: I also received an invitation to attend a Halloween spa party recently which I had to politely decline because like I said, I’m not going to be partying to Halloween; I  am certainly not the type who would dress up with ketchup on my lips and chalk dust on my face to make spooky on horror night. Hurhurhur. 

But when one of my favourite places in Singapore invited the kids and me to a Halloween party, I couldn’t say no. Before you judge me as a cheapo mother who would grab any free invite, let me explain.

The Halloween party that was organised by Port of Lost Wonder in Sentosa was not the typical spooky night out that we adults associate Halloween partying to be. It was really just a massively fun costume party. And because we’re talking about Port of Lost Wonder (which my kids love!), we were happy to just turn up, wander around and get ourselves wet.

But the best part for us all was that the premise of having our presence was that a scientist’s experiment had gone really wrong and monsters have invaded it, and we’re all supposed to come as superheroes to save the day.

And because my boys are into superheroes anyway – I’m sure you’ve met Spiderman on this blog lately – and because my girl has been Queen Elsa for the longest time, the Kao kids couldn’t wait to get into some superhero action.

Practising hero moves!

Practising hero moves!

Ready to save the Port!

Ready to defend the Port!

And so to Spooky Jr. Heroes Unite we went last Saturday evening, and it was our first (and best!) Halloween party we’ve ever attended.

The Kao Superheroes met their clones...

The Kao Superheroes met their clones…

Batman also had to work hard to fly over a city and rescue a princess from a dragon

Batman also had to work hard to fly over a city and rescue a princess from a dragon

We also caught up with more teammates

We also caught up with more teammates

And gathered with more Superheroes who would be working hard to save the Port!

And gathered with more Superheroes who would be working hard to save the Port!

Then we caught up with Spiderman friend and Robot Boy friend - check out Leroy's DIY Robot Gear

Then we caught up with Spiderman friend and Robot Boy friend – check out Leroy‘s DIY Robot Gear!

So wholesome. So fun. So different. With so much memories to remember for a long time.

The kids are still talking about the party until now, I tell you. That’s how much they enjoyed being superheroes that night, and being with others like them.

And what did they have to do to save the port? Three simple things, really.

First, navigate a tricky maze...

First, navigate a tricky maze…

Next, shoot monsters with slime...

Next, shoot monsters with slime…

Slime fight!

Slime fight!

And then exterminate the remaining ones with our golden arrows!

And then exterminate the remaining ones with our golden arrows!

The rest of the time was spent going around getting pictures with everyone else in costume, eating and pigging out, licking cotton candy and getting glitter-tattooed.

Getting glitter tattooed

Getting glitter tattooed

Plus lots of bubble fun too!

Plus lots of bubble fun too!

And then change out of superhero costumes – no overtime for these kids – when their job was done to enjoy the pirate ship all on their own.

Halloween is now known as just another occasion for more wholesome fun, and we are so going to be ok with that!

More details:

Spooky Jr. – Heroes Unite! is happening again this Saturday at Port of Lost Wonder from 6.30 to 10pm. Creative costumes stand to win prizes up to $3,000 including Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, Wii, hotel stays on Sentosa at Siloso Beach Resort and Amara Sanctuary, and many more.

Spooky-Junior_Online-Banner_581x298px_FA

Save the port and win great prizes – the perfect family Halloween fun! Tickets go for SGD39.90 per kid and SGD10 for the adult.

Disclosure: We were invited to save the port. All opinions, hard work and rewards are our own. 

Going Out! Reading fun The Kao Kids

We met the Gruffalo!

October 25, 2014

We’ve not read Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo yet, simply because I know my kids are terrified of monsters. I know it’s a clever story, and I know it’s a story about a clever mouse more than anything else, really. But I don’t intend to have my kids worry about a terrifying creature while I’m reading them the story, so our favourite Julia Donaldson books for now are The Snail and the Whale and Room on a Broom.

Yet I couldn’t say no to the organisers of KidsFest 2015 when they invited the Kao kids for an interactive story-telling session of The Gruffalo, and to meet and greet him last week.

Because?

Because I haven’t really been able to carve out time to read to them these days, and mom guilt dictates that I bring them to the Volvo showroom for an afternoon of storytelling and fun.

And met the Gruffalo we did.

He wasn’t scary at all. To Ben, at least. He loved the story, and knew that at the end of it all, it’s Mouse who’s the hero in the book.

So the Gruffalo was this friendly creature who would pose for a picture with us whenever we requested!

So the Gruffalo was this friendly creature who would pose for a picture with us whenever we requested!

Becks was somewhat terrified and was unwilling to go near the “creature”. Nat was taking his nap when the story started so he missed seeing the Gruffalo-man. Till now, he thinks we’ve met “The Buffalo”.

I’ll just leave it as that till the younger ones are ready to handle a little bit more monstrous fun in their lives, and make it up with candy floss if they were frightened a wee bit by this encounter.

Candy floss happiness at the Volvo Showroom last Saturday

Candy floss happiness at the Volvo Showroom last Saturday

~~~

KidsFest is happening from 21 January 2015 to March 2015 (check schedule here), and tickets are on sale now from Sistic.

Expect an exciting festival for the whole family where compelling characters from stories are brought to life on stage as world-class theatre folks come to Singapore to bring world-class theatre to our young ones! I hear the Princess and her Pea, the Snail and the Whale, Hugless Douglas will all be coming. The Tiger‘s also coming for Tea, and so are the Ville Victorians and the Barmy Brits from Horrible Histories, together with some dinosaurs from Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, as well as the Gruffalo himself!

Back for the 4th year: world-class theatre for the young ones Image source: http://www.kidsfest.com.sg/the-shows/

Back for the 4th year: world-class theatre for the young ones
Image source: http://www.kidsfest.com.sg/the-shows/

It’s going to be an exciting KidsFest next year!

I can't categorise such entries Nat Kao What to Expect... As a Mother

Cast Away!

October 24, 2014

It was finally time to remove the fibreglass cast on Nat’s right arm last week.

He’s had his arm wrapped in one for two weeks ever since he fell and cracked the humerus on his right arm. We’ve been making sure it didn’t get wet – it was really such a chore given how he loves to eat with his hands – and when it did on two occasions we had to use a hair-dryer (turned to the ‘cool’ function) to keep it dry.

During the two weeks when he had his cast, he lugged markers around, and collected enough autographs and drawings to fill up the cast from people who wished him well.

Graffitised and autographed

Graffitised and autographed

And when the time came to visit the orthopaedic specialist at his clinic, this boy looked a little sad that he was going to say goodbye to his armour which he has grown to like a lot.

I said, "Nat, this is the last time you're gonna lift up your arm with the cast, k?" and he looked like he couldn't part with it.

I said, “Nat, this is the last time you’re gonna lift up your arm with the cast, k?” and he looked like he couldn’t part with it.

But the time has come.

And goodbye it was.

Sitting still and not flinching a single bit when the cast saw came to him a-roaring. Becks is pictured here behind him covering her ears!

Nat sitting still and not flinching a single bit when the cast saw came to him a-roaring. Becks is pictured here behind him covering her ears.

So it's a hard, hard thing, this cast - and Dr Wong had to spend some time sawing it off

So it’s a hard, hard thing, this cast – and Dr Wong had to spend some time sawing it off

More cast sawing

More cast sawing

And wala! We are done!

And wala! We are done!

We witnessed the entire cast removal as a family, and when Dr Wong was done and this picture was taken, we were like, Good to have your arm back, Nat, and to be able to feel your skin instead of having you whack us all with your fibreglass cast when you had it.

We all suffered quite a bit of bruising and soreness, as you can tell from our happiness.

But I think the little boy doesn’t feel this way.

The look on his face says it all. He misses it, and misses the power (of bashing someone) that came with it.

Excuse me, son. Don’t start getting ideas now of how to get a cast back on your arm again, thank you very much.

(Self) Examination Family life as we know it The Kao Kids

Loving, small human beings called children

October 22, 2014

Years ago back when I was in secondary school, at a personality profiling workshop, I surprised myself with my own results. While my friends and peers had a mix of different personality traits, mine came from only one dimension, with nary a hint of variety.

I don’t think you need to guess hard whether I was an all D or I or S or C.

Image captured from https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/overview/

Image captured from https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/overview/

Yea, I was one-track mind and one dimensional then back in school. I was a ‘D’, which means I demonstrated my emotions based on the ‘Dominance’ behaviour type. As a ‘D’, I’m task-oriented, opinionated and pushy.  As a ‘D’, my to-do list is more important than anything else in the world.

I am pretty sure I still am all that the profiling assessed me to be, even till this day.

Which makes me a really big a**hole on most days nowadays because my to-do list is almost ten miles long and my natural tendency is to put tasks before relationships and get things done at any cost, and my greatest satisfaction is to have checked something off that ten-mile long to-do list.

Which means I would ignore my kids when they come to me, whether with genuine needs or not, because I.am.so.going.to.finish.up.writing.this.curriculum.unit

AND I.so.need.to.complete.all.the.frigging.administrative.paper.work

AND I.don’t.care.what.just.handle.the.problem.on.your.own.for.crying.out.loud

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On most days, I don’t just only ignore them. I holler at them for disturbing me. I scream at them for making me lose my train of thought. I yell at them from afar to stop fighting/whining/complaining/playing a fool/acting like monkeys. I sometimes shut myself in the room for a long time so I can work.

Someone please tell me how do I make this work-at-home-motherhood gig work?  This is more insane than I thought.

But despite me being the greatest jerk of a mom these days because we’re at the final lap of ironing out the kinks of the business (and there’s just so, so, so much to do), my children – my lovely children – are still making so much room in their hearts for this domineering, dominating, overbearing task-oriented mother.

Every day they send little drawings and notes my way to tell me how much I am loved.

From Ben to Mama

From Ben to Mama

Becks says we should all be happily playing at home

Becks says we should all be happily playing at home

Nat can't write yet but he made sure the helper held his hand to make me this

Nat can’t write yet but he made sure the helper held his hand to make me this

These are beautiful children with so much to give in their hearts.

It’s amazing how a person who’s all ‘D’ married someone who is so balanced (Fatherkao is more ‘I’ but has bits of ‘D’, ‘S’ and ‘C’) and gave birth to children who are so giving and forgiving.

I think God gave us children to teach and remind us that it is in them we find balance in life.

And God gave me these angels from heaven to tell me that I am loved, and that the way to find the balance back in my life is to love them back with all that I have.

My three lovely babies

My three lovely babies

(Self) Examination Parenting 101 The Kao Kids

Reflections of a frazzledyellingimpatientbusyhelicopter Mom

October 14, 2014

It’s been really busy on the work front, now that I’ve started working. You know the thing about being a work-from-home run-around-everywhere-when-you-need-to + full-time-mom-that-still-needs-to-ferry-everyone-around + run-a-business kind of mom is that she’s still a mom, and there are three little humans still needing her very much. The Kao kids are seeing me less – or rather, seeing me in front of the computer whenever I am home more, and I am trying every day to make the best of my time whenever I am with them.

This can sometimes go south very quickly, because depending on my mood (flustered, foul and jittery, usually) and the length of my to-do lists, I sometimes end up correcting behaviour and piling expectations, complete with hollering from needing to undo all the wrong behaviour and habits that they managed to pick up or slip back into whenever I am not around, instead of making good use of our time together to affirm, motivate and encourage.

Yes, yes. I have been helicopter mom (hovering, hovering, hovering) for sometime now, if you didn’t already know.

I know that if poor behaviour from my children manifests whenever I am not around, then the proper attitude was never learned in the first place. It takes lots of filling up love tanks and nurturing the relationship to get the kids to do right. And sometimes, hard-pressed for time as I am, I often choose the easier route – to scold, to blame, to instill fear through yelling – instead of bending down, looking at them in the eye, and correcting them as a loving mother should.

I’m not sure if it’s really because my kids are getting naughtier, wilder and more disobedient, or if it’s because I haven’t been pouring much to fill up their love tanks. If I were to do some reflective thinking here, it’s definitely the latter.

And as I am writing this post in the dead of the night while the whole house sleeps (which happens to be the time I start work on most days), I’m wishing that I did more things right today. As I wish for every night.

Like giving more hugs…

Saying kinder words…

Dishing out more patience…

Making more eye contact…

Having more self-control…

Being more present in every way possible…

And every night as I tuck my babies in bed and endure a full night of farts and kungfu fighting and water-cooler-turn-on-tap-nursing and talking in their sleep and sneezing and snoring and sleepwalking (yes, all of these happen!) while being in the same room as them, I sigh to these children and myself, and say:

Mama will be a better Mama for you tomorrow than today.

Motherhood quote

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao Parenting 101 The darndest kid quotes and antics What to Expect... As a Mother

Goodbye Spiderman, Hello (Cast) Iron Man

October 2, 2014

It was a busy day for me. I was out and about, on my feet and in the car, settling paper work and fixing administrative matters for the business in between ferrying children to kindergarten, picking them up, getting them ready for their piano lesson, plus squeezing in a two-hour private tutoring class for someone who urgently needed my help.

By the time I returned home for good without scooting off again, it was 7.30pm. I was greeted with restless children, and I swear I wasn’t hallucinating when I say they were so restless to the point they were climbing walls.

They didn’t get their movement fix that day. It was school, home, tv, toys and one another. The littlest (since he didn’t go to school) seemed the most deprived. They all looked like they needed to move around more freely beyond the confines of our humble five-room flat. After their father emerged from the study (he too was holed up in the room finishing up work), I told him that the kids needed to run, climb, jump and release the monkey trapped in their human bodies, and that he needed to bring them to the playground to do so.

The Kao kids and Fatherkao came home shortly after their playground play and I was instructed to prepare to go to the A&E immediately. Apparently, Spiderman happened, and Spiderman fell. And Spiderman, who would usually rebound quickly after a fall couldn’t grip anything with his right hand and had a trembling right arm. Spiderman was in pain, and we suspected he might have fractured his arm after falling from a climb.

If you know Nat, you would also have met Spiderman.

So four x-rays and two consultations with a junior A&E doctor later, we were told that he might have just sprained his arm and suffered a hairline fracture.

Sounds good, I thought. This boy would recover in no time.

Our night at the A&E ended up with Nat returning home in a sling. He only cried once when the doctor examined his arm and pressed at the place of injury!

Our night at the A&E ended up with Nat returning home in a sling. He only cried once when the doctor examined his arm and pressed at the place of injury!

Then we made an appointment to see our orthopaedic specialist the day after (who also saw Fatherkao through his multiple-fractured right leg in 2010) and he totally frightened me after examining Nat when he said he had sustained a crack on his right humerus (complete with swelling) and that he needed a cast for two weeks, and I was all ready to bawl my eyeballs out and ban anything Spiderman would be planning to do from now on in the house.

The orthopaedic specialist was impressed by how he endured what he thought would be great pain for a two-year-old. This boy is such a trooper. He didn't even wince and held his arm so still when it was being wrapped!

The orthopaedic specialist was impressed by how he endured what he thought would be great pain for a two-year-old. This boy was such a trooper. He didn’t even wince once and held his arm so still when it was being wrapped!

But this boy, apparently, has made other career plans.

With his cast (which is so, so, so hard by the way), he’s declared himself Ninja Turtle…

Ninja Turtles have hard shells, he says. And his cast is his hard shell.

Ninja Turtles have hard shells, he says. And his cast is his hard shell.

And Iron Man…

The cast is part of the Iron Man armour, and so it looks

The cast is part of the Iron Man armour, and so it looks

And hasn’t stopped for a minute to wince and moan or cry and complain about any pain or discomfort.

It’s business as usual, and nothing’s gonna stop all that climbing, jumping and bouncing. I guess what’s assuring now is that with his “armour” and “shell” on him now, I would never have to worry that he would end up breaking a bone if he fell again (on the same arm). In fact, we all have to careful of him now – because his cast can be used as a weapon which could injure all of us instead!