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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Julian at 57 Months

Julian turned 57 months (4 years 9 months) on 28 February 2012.

Here are his updates:
  • He likes to reenact videos of himself.
  • He likes role-playing the shows he watches on the computer and he expects us to be able to role-play with him including getting the dialogue right.
20120228_JulianLieDown
[Cheeky-bicky]

Justin at 31 Months

Justin turned 31 months on 25 February 2012.

Here are his updates:
  • Following the example of Julian, he likes to reenact videos which we have taken of him/Julian.
  • He can remember parts of the dialogues of videos which he watches on the computer.
  • He is hooked on the Thomas & Friends theme song and can virtually sing the whole song when it is played. On his own, too, he can pretty much sing almost the whole song, just cutting short some of the longer phrases.
  • He's getting cheekier each day ;-)
  • When asked his name, he now includes his surname in his answer (Justin Cheah).
20120225_JustinPhone
[Hello?... I'm Justin Cheah...]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trapped in the Lift

During our Malacca trip, Julian had a fright of his life. He got trapped in the lift at the apartment!

First, let me state that there are two lifts servicing the apartment. We were going upstairs after dinner one night when it happened. Julian always wants to press the button to call for the lift - no problem. But the lift doors opened before the rest of us were ready to get in and instead of waiting for the rest of us, he walked straight into the lift by himself and the doors shut! We pressed the button outside the lift but the door to the other lift, which was also parked on the ground floor, opened instead. So, we asked him to press 'G' hoping the doors would open but it didn't either. We suspect that it's because the other lift was also parked at the ground floor.

Then we asked him to press '3'. Meanwhile, dad got into the other lift and headed for the 3rd floor. When we heard the lift stop at the 3rd floor we called out asking him to get out of the lift. But he didn't. By the time dad's lift arrived a little later, Julian's lift door had shut again. On the ground floor, we pressed the button to call for the lift and also perhaps since Julian had already pressed 'G' earlier (which presumably did not 'reset'), the lift came down to the ground floor again. Now that the other lift was no longer at the ground floor, Julian's lift doors opened - revealing a very frightened little boy in tears!

I'm laughing as I recall the incident, but it was far from funny (especially for Julian) at that time! :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Visit to Malacca - Part 2

Malacca visit (12-15 February 2012) continued...

On 14 Feb (Tuesday) we went to see the tourist attractions in Malacca City. Our first stop: Menara Taming Sari. This proved to be an excellent move because we could practically cover all of the attractions very easily :-) There is ample parking here (but make sure you buy the parking coupons - we were caught unaware and got a compound for it :-(!). Firstly, we went up the revolving tower to get a bird's-eye panaromic view of Malacca. Ticket price (With MyKad): RM10 (adults), RM8 (senior citizens) and RM5 (Children aged 2-12). Then we took the boys on a trishaw ride (RM20 for half an hour). This is really an excellent way to see the famous historical buildings which are actually all nearby. We were taken to the A'Famosa, then to Christ Church. At both places we got down to take photos. Then we passed by the Navy and Maritime museums en route back to Menara Taming Sari. Trishaw ride experience for the boys, no need to walk much, and no hassle trying to look for parking! Perfect especially when you bring kids :-)

20120221_TowerView
[View from the revolving tower]

20120221_AFamosa
[At A'Famosa]

20120221_ChristChurch
[At Christ Church]

We got back in time to go on the Duck Tour (adult RM38; senior citizen RM27; children 2-12 yrs RM22). This is a ride on an amphibious vehicle. It takes you through a new part of Malacca City then into the sea and back to the departure point. Julian was awed when the 'truck' drove into the sea :-) Justin enjoyed the 'boat ride' in the sea but was oblivious to the 'uniqueness' of the vehicle we were travelling in. It was an interesting experience. The only problem we found was that the commentary by the guide was done in Mandarin. We're not sure if that's because all the passengers were Chinese (only us and another couple).

20120221_DuckFront
[Front view of the amphibious vehicle]

20120221_AboardDuck
[Aboard the Duck]

20120221_DuckGoSea
[Moving from land to sea]

After the Duck Tour, we went to Jonker Street for lunch. We wanted to introduce the boys to the famous chicken rice balls. They weren't particularly interested in them... and did not quite favour the taste. After lunch we took a drive to the Portuguese Settlement, while the boys took their afternoon nap in the car. Then we headed to Ayer Keroh again because we had forgotten to check out the bullock cart ride the previous day. Unfortunately, the rides are only held on weekends and public holidays so the boys could not have that experience. From there we headed back to the apartment, stopping at a stall on the way to buy some local products. That evening, the boys went for a splash at the apartment swimming pool. Dinner was at yet another Malay eatery.

20120221_MelakaPoolSplash
[Splashing in the pool]

20120221_MelakaPoolFountain
[The fountain at the pool was a big hit!]

On 15 Feb (Wednesday) we left Malacca. We began our journey at about 10am. On the way, we stopped at the Turtle Information Centre in Padang Kemuning. Part of the centre is under renovation, but we got to see several hawksbill turtles and green turtles. There were also baby turtles. All the turtles we saw are kept at the centre for research and educational purposes. There were no turtle nesting/hatching/releases as it was not the season. After the Turtle centre, we took a longer than expected drive to Tanjung Tuan to see the lighthouse (Julian had been reading a story that featured a lighthouse). When we arrived, Justin was sleeping so only Julian went to see the lighthouse. Then it was lunch at a Chinese restaurant on the outskirts of Port Dickson before finally entering the highway. We stopped to stretch and have tea at Sungai Buluh, then headed straight back to Menglembu. We travelled back to Penang on 16 Feb.

20120221_BoysTurtle
[Watching the turtles]

20120221_BabyTurtles
[Baby turtles]

20120221_JulianLIghthouse
[Julian at the Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse]

It was a good holiday. When we asked the boys what they did in Malacca, their answers without hesitation were 'swimming pool' and 'beach'! To think we drove all those kilometres, and the highlight for them was something we could easily find in our own backyard! Well, I guess that's what they enjoyed (and remember) the most :-) And that's why we took photos as proof (in the future) that we've taken them on a holiday to Malacca!

Visit to Malacca - Part 1

We visited Malacca from 12-15 February 2012. Mum and Dad came with us. It was our longest road trip with the boys so far. We began our journey from Penang on 11 February and stopped in Menglembu for the night.

On 12 Feb (Sunday), we started our journey at about 9.30am. We made a pit-stop in Tapah for a toilet break, then headed for Sungai Buluh where we had lunch. After lunch, we visited an uncle (Dad's fourth brother) in Damansara before continuing our journey. The boys slept in the car. Our next stop was the highlight of the day for the boys - KLIA. We went to the viewing gallery where the boys were totally thrilled to see so many aeroplanes :-) Then we headed on to our destination - Malacca. We arrived at about 6.15pm and 'checked-in' at Angie's aunt's apartment. Dinner was at a Malay eatery nearby. We were unaware of the Sunday night market along the road to the right of the apartment. We had turned left when we went out for dinner :-( By the time we saw it after dinner, it was not convenient to go anymore :-(

20120221_KLIA
[At the KLIA viewing gallery]

On 13 Feb (Monday) we decided to take the boys to the Malacca Zoo in Ayer Keroh. Sorry, can't remember the entrance fees. Almost as soon as we entered the entrance of the zoo, there was a playground. Bad idea, Malacca Zoo! Justin, especially, was instantly attracted to the playground and didn't want to move on :-( We finally managed to coax him to move along promising a ride on the choo-choo train. However, being a weekday, the tram did not ply regularly. We had to wait for sufficient passengers before the tram moved. So we went to see the nearby exhibits and also the bird show before finally getting on the tram. It cost RM3 (adults) and RM2 (children 4 years & above). The tram is a great way to see the exhibits when you have young children or find walking difficult :-) It makes one 10-minute stop on the way so you can see the crocodiles and some birds in an aviary, which is difficult to see while on the tram. We arrived at the elephant show area (the tram's last stop) just in time for the show. After the show, we bought sugar cane (RM2 for 4 pieces) to feed the elephants and take photos with them. It was lunch time by then and we headed for the exit. Of course, we had to let the boys play at the playground before we could leave :-) After lunch we went back to the apartment to take a rest. The zoo is a good place to visit. The only snag (if you are not Malaysian) is that the animal shows were all conducted in Malay (We noticed some Westerners at the elephant show).

20120221_BoysTram
[Having a snack on the tram]

20120221_JustinTouchElephant
[Justin getting up close and personal with the elephant]

20120221_JulianFeedElephant
[Julian takes his turn feeding the elephant]

In the evening, we took the boys to the beach just opposite the apartment. They had a splashing, sandy good time there :-) Dinner was at another Malay eatery, where we sampled Roti John, which is one of Malacca's specialties.

20120221_MelakaBeach
[Having a dip in the Straits of Malacca]

20120221_RotiJohn
[Roti John]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Justin Goes To School - An Update

Justin is now happily and eagerly going to school! Hurray! :-) :-)

Just before the Chinese New Year holidays I had a discussion with Justin's school manager about his difficulty in settling down at school. We worked out possible ways to help him settle in and it was not in vain :-) Since returning from the Chinese New Year holidays Justin has been looking forward to going to school :-)

He happily tells us his friends names (including his teacher) and is eager to wear his school uniform now. He excitedly points out his school to us when we pass by in the car. Previously he would deny it was his school (It was only ko-ko's (Julian's) school) and would not admit that he had gone to school. The only thing remaining now is meal time. He still does not want to eat lunch in school.

Julian at 56 Months

Julian turned 56 months (4 years 8 months) on 28 January 2012.

Here are his updates:
  • Julian is now complete off the diaper :-) He stopped using the night diaper since 13 January 2012. So far so good... the only 'major' wetting happened one of the nights when we were away from home during Chinese New Year. I must say that his getting off the diaper (both day and night) has been pretty 'smooth' :-)
  • When he does something which he feels is worthy of praise, he would say "Hooray! I did it! Clap for me!". Daddy taught him how to bow so sometimes he does this as well :-)
  • He's showing some interest in Mandarin.
20120128_JulianRead
[Julian enjoying a book with Gee Ee]

Justin at 30 Months

Justin turned 30 months on 25 January 2012. He went for his regular check up at the clinic on 1 February 2012. He now weighs 12.9kg and is 96cm tall.

Here are his updates:
  • He now likes to ask "Who give?" wanting to know the giver of a particular item especially when he gets something new. When we say 'Mummy/Daddy bought' or '[person] give', he would then respond "Thank you Mummy/Daddy/[person]". Another favourite question is "What that?".
  • When he sees or hears a plane in the sky, he would now ask "What name?" (copying what Julian used to do).
  • He has picked up lots of phrases from Julian. One which he particularly likes is "clap (f)or me!", after which he will bow :-)
  • Recently Mummy decided to teach him 21-29 using the calendar. After teaching him 21-23, he could continue reciting the numbers 24-29 by himself! Mummy is so proud! :-)
  • Sometimes Daddy tries to teach Justin how to pronounce words properly. This could be rewarding *clap, clap* or frustrating ;-)
    Justin: or-mas
    Daddy: No, not or-mas... THO-mas.
    Justin: or-mas
    Daddy: Justin say 'Tho'
    Justin: mas
    Daddy: No, Justin, say 'Tho'
    Justin: mas
    After a few attempts, Daddy 'gives up' ;-)
  • Although his vocabulary and language acquisition has improved a lot, his articulation is still not very clear. He gets frustrated when we can't decipher what he is trying to tell us.
  • He is now willing to sit on the potty or the toilet bowl to do his business. Very often he only tells us AFTER he has done his business. Even then, he wants to sit on the potty/toilet bowl. Previous attempts (for the past 2.5 years) have failed miserably - he would stop his business completely as soon as he is put on the potty!
20120125_JustinFedBun
[What happened to my bottle?]

20120125_JustinPotty
[Multi-tasking: Checking out a passion fruit while on the throne]

20120125_JustinBallTummy
[Justin competing with Mummy's tummy]

20120125_JustinRead
[Justin enjoying a book with Tua Ee]

Chinese New Year 2012

We ushered in the year of the Dragon on 23 January 2012. All four of us were nursing coughs of varying degrees :-(

Papa was admited to Penang Hospital a few days before the new year. So it was decided that this year's reunion dinner would be at our apartment. We were very glad that Papa was discharged on New Year's eve and could join us for the reunion dinner :-) We had steamboat. The boys didn't do too well with steamboat dinner (but of course we had anticipated this and prepared a 'kids' menu' for them). They were interested in 'fishing' the food from the pot but not very interested in eating the 'catch'!

The first day of Chinese New Year saw us visiting relatives around Penang. Aileen was able to get leave this year :-)

We went back to Menglembu on the second day of Chinese New Year. Niq & his family were there as well, so we had a reunion lunch :-) The next day, we took the boys to see aeroplanes at the Ipoh airport.

We returned to Penang on the fourth day of Chinese New Year.

Overall, it was a fairly quiet New Year, spending time with our parents and the children with their grandparents.

20120122_CNYEveReunion
[Chinese New Year Eve Reunion Dinner: Right.... Here's how we're going to tackle the coming year...]

20120122_CNYGands
[The Grands]

20120124_CNYBowling
[Bowling with Grandma]