Friday, July 18, 2008

A Day At The Museum

Just like the National Library , I have only good things to say about the Singapore National Museum. Especially if I compare Singapore to Malaysia. I think I won't even bother. I just have to accept the fact that Malaysia is a fine example of a mismanaged country despite the abundant resources that we have. Anyway, I digress... .

Yes, I do believe I love the National Museum. Even Sophie loves it. There was a special installment for kids as we went during the school holidays. There were special exhibits tailored for kids and a special play area designed for them too. Called Murmurs, there were lots for the kids to do, even for one as young as Sophie. Check out her happy outing:

Nothing satisfies a child more than balls, and lots of them in different colours.

Mommy and Daddy had fun exploring the museum as well. Their permanent exhibits are well-thought out and quite interesting. The building and all exhibits are well-maintained. Even the cafe had great food and great ambience. Wait, wait. I really must stop comparing M'sia and S'pore. I get depressed when I do. Stop, stop!!

Anyway, it was so much fun at the museum but we didn't have enough time to see everything so most likely we'll be heading back there sometime soon again.

Books, Books, Boooooooooks!!!

I've found my book heaven, and it's the Singapore National Library.

I've been there on average once a week or so. I started going there since end-June and I can't wait to keep gong back. I don't need to build my own library anymore (this wil only give me more moolah leftover for stuff and clothes for Sophie) and I haven't bought any books in...two months! Why would I need to when the SNL has EVERYTHING that I could possibly want to read?

Its collection is so extensive that I haven't found anything that's not on their shelves, save for a few new releases. At least if I borrow the books first and read them, I can decide which I'd rather buy to add to my collection. Too many times, I buy a book to read it to only find that it's satisfactory and not mind-blowing. Well, borrowing books from the SNL will only help me whittle out what I'd rather just read and put back on the shelf. Plus, I'm gonna be able to save $$!! Talk about whacking two birds with one stone.

No need to gush about their search system but it is totally AWESOME! I can search the catalogue online and I can find out if the book is on loan, in transit or on the shelf, as well as in which branch it's available. Oh, and reservations can be made online too.

Taking the books out of the library is as simple as inserting your library card into the CPU, waiting for a prompt and then just putting them on the pad to scan. Returning books is even easier: just drop them in the book drop where their status is updated immediately and electronically.

I LOVE the National Library!!

Here's a list of what I've borrowed so far:

  1. If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period - Gennifer Choldenko
  2. A Crooked Kind Of Perfect - Linda Urban
  3. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart
  4. Slam - Nick Hornby
  5. Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out Of A Tree - Lauren Tarshis
  6. Jumping The Scratch - Sarah Weeks
  7. So B. It Sarah Weeks
  8. An Abundance Of Katherines - John Green
  9. Forget Me Not - Isabel Wolff

There were a few more books whose titles elude me. Anyway, as I was saying, the SNL could very well be one of my favourite places in Singapore. I daresay Sophie has her share of fun crawling around the carpet in the children's area and digging into the chests of books. Sometimes she gets so excited she ends up shrieking and it takes all I have to keep her noise levels acceptable.

What's so great about the SNL is that they also have a parenting/baby room which is huge and spotlessly clean. Hardly anyone uses it and you need to get someone from customer service to open it up for you. There are two rooms for breastfeeding and a huge padded bench on which you can let your young ones crawl around on. Or feed them if you need to. I use it to change Sophie. It's perfect because it's soft and wide and because she's standing up with her hands against the wall, it's ideal. She hates lying down to be changed and she dislikes those pull-down diaper change stations. It may sound exteme but I've never failed to use that room everytime I visit the SNL.

The SNL is such a well-thought out facility and the collections are so good that it really is a veritable pleasure to drop by and spend a quiet afternoon there.

Figured Out

Looks like the problem isn't with Blogger but with my latest updated version of Firefox. So it's back to Explorer for now. Sigh...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What The @#$% Is Wrong With Blogger?

Somehow, it's locked me into html mode when I post. I can't manipulate the code for nuts and am going bonkers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting My Life Back, Bit By Bit

Time to think about hitting the dance floor again. Or rather, taking some classes first. It hardly seems fair that hubby gets to continue his gaming sessions (not that he ever stopped) while I gave up my salsa sessions after Sophie was born.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy birthday, my little monster! The little angel turns one today. How time whizzes by.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Another Outlet For Play

Sophia and I attended her first session at the play gym yesterday. We got there barely on time. The circle was already formed and we both squeezed in just as the other kids were finishing on their rattle routine.

It was an interesting 45 minutes.

Not all the 11-18 month olds did what they were supposed to. But I don't think anyone was expecting them to. While the 'trainer' dispensed activities and coordinated, one little fella would be running off there, another would be climbing the gym and yet another would be crawling into the little playhouse. So I didn't feel that bad when Sophie didn't do most of the stuff that was laid out. She was in her own little play heaven. So much to do, so many things to see, all in one place. Even the other little kids didn't detract her from getting as much play out everything there as possible. She played peek-a-boo with me at the playhouse (she didn't want to crawl in), she bit on the plastic tube, she climbed up the stairs and then slid down the slide (well, I mostly helped), she shook the rattle, played with the toy pieces and did all manner of fun things she doesn't get to do with her limited stock of toys and way too many books at home.

Her favourites though, were the swing and the bubbles. I'd bought a tub of bubble liquid from ToysRUs but never got around to using it at home. I should have. There's something about bubbles and kids: they simply LOVE them. The group of 8-10 kids simply swarmed the bubbles; it was like seeing moths gathering towards a flame. Really, they basically followed the bubbles wherever they went. It was like watching the Pied Piper of Hameln (no, I didn't spell it wrong; that's the way the Germans spell it) doing his thing, only with bubbles. It didn't matter that the kids got in each other's way; there were no fights and all they really cared about was getting their hands on those bubbles as they landed on the carpet or preferably on any parts of their little bodies. The joy and glee on those little faces were priceless.

The swing elicited as much joy and excitement from Sophie as did swimming and splashing in the pool. Shrieks and happy laughter filled her short-lived 2 minutes on the swing. Good thing she didn't all out yell and scream when it was time to take down the temporary swings from the ceiling-hung carabenas.

After the session was over, I was more tired than she was! Can't blame mom as her class was from 9:30am - 10:15am. No choice for it, the other class sessions coincide with her nap times so this was the best time to take her out.

I decided that today would be a good day to try out the open gym session at the play gym. It's basically a free-for-all for members of the play gym to bring their babies/toddlers over to use the facilities.

I had decided, yes. But Sophia overturned that decision because she'd rather nap instead. All this after we'd got on the mrt and were well on our way there to meet daddy for lunch. By the time she got up and had lunch, it was past the 1hr window we had to make it to the open gym session. Sigh, and she had so much fun yesterday. Guess we'll just have to make it to a different open gym session next week.

I'm kinda dreading the whole walking-to-the-mrt station-and-back routine as it'll take a good long walk to get from the mrt station to the play gym and vice-versa. But then again, I think I've been putting on weight recently and I suppose a good long walk would do me good. I just need to pile on the deodorant because by the time we got to the play gym yesterday, my sweat was streaming down my neck in rivulets and the pores on my back couldn't breathe for nuts as my top was glued to my back.

Next week we'll need to leave the house earlier so that we won't have to dash about in a mad rush to get to the place on time. And I don't have to look like I'd just run a marathon.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

So What If They're Kiasu? We Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Them

I was pushing Sophia along in her stroller on the sidewalk next to the main road past Clarke Quay. In the heat of the afternoon sun. She had it easy. She was fast asleep. I was sweating like a pig and hoping the searing sun and hot air wouldn't cause too much discomfort as to wake her up.

As we got closer to our destination (Clarke Quay MRT station), sounds of the road getting royally jackhammered started jarring my otherwise peaceful walk and I saw that there was a bit of roadworks right where I would be walking past. There was no way I'd be able to go around it or avoid it; the sidewalk I was on was the only through path and it would have to pass by the roadworks. I found myself hoping that the little one would sleep right through the racket.

As I neared the affected area, I could see a truck and its operator. I was about 8' or so from the area when I noticed the truck operator nod at me and then proceeded to turn off the deafening machine and let me pass by with stroller and sleeping infant. I wonder if he saw my eyes widen in surprise? I nodded back to him and smiled. He may have smiled, I'm not sure; he had a towel over his mouth and nose to keep from breathing in the dust.

After I'd walked past the area in relative quiet and was a safe distance away from the roadworks, I heard the truck/machine start up again behind me.

Of course, the wee one stayed fast asleep throughout the entire encounter.

Wow. Imagine that. Not the bit about the baby being asleep. Imagine that a roadworker (is there such a word?) actually stopped the racket to let a sleeping baby and her mother walk past undisturbed. The only other country I can see that happening is in Japan.

Courtesy in Singapore is very much alive and kicking even if they may be kiasu. Can't say I can say the same thing for us Malaysians. Would the average Malaysian hold the lift door open for you after they've gone out of the lift?Would they even let you board the lift first? Or would the average teenage Malaysian let a couple with a stroller head into a crowded lift first, even though they were waiting for it first? An old uncle offered me his seat on the MRT when he saw me standing with Sophie in my sling. Taxi drivers come out of their cabs to help load the shopping and stroller when we take a cab.

With courtesy and consideration generally abundant everywhere I go in this island state, who cares that these are a people whom the term kiasu was coined for?

There's more to these Singaporeans than being kiasu.

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