Monday, April 27, 2015

Conquering the Snooze Button

I am now on my next step to transforming myself into an early riser. I am trying to conquer the snooze button!

And it has been surprisingly easy. For three days in a row, I have managed to wake up without snoozing.

But three days is early days still. It took me more than a year to consistently wake up at 6 am in the morning. So it may take a while more before I can confidently say that I can just wake up in an instant.

Still. It feels wonderful.

As usual, I wake up a little grumpy. I tell myself mentally: "Don’t sit down on a coach. Don’t sit down on a coach. Don’t sit down on a coach." Because I know that if I just sit down on a coach, I might just laze there forever.

Ditto to surfing the facebook or the internet. It just goes on forever, and suddenly half of my precious morning will be gone just like that.

Just with that sheer willpower, I managed to do it for three days in a row. I am sooooo proud of myself. J

Photo credit: Flickr

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Learning to read

My four-and-a-half year gal is starting to learn to read.

She picked it up all on her own. We did not use any flash cards or teaching materials to encourage her to pick up reading. She did so naturally, all by her own.

The only thing we helped to facilitate the process was by reading tonnes of books to her night after night.

The bedtime reading is a real pleasure. Kids’ books are just so much fun! The storylines are usually very simple. Yet, at the same time, they are so heartwarming and humorous. The best children’s book is a fun read for both the parent and child, and we can read them over and over and still not feel tired of it.

It is also a great bonding time for the parent and child. I love to put the little one on my lap, with his sister crowding in near us. We will then read through the two to three books that they have selected on the bed. It feels so nice and cosy.

This has become so much of a bedtime ritual that if I dare to suggest to temporarily stop it for one night (maybe because we were so late getting into bed, or I was dog tired from a day of work), there will be howls of protest. In the end, it was faster to just give in to their request to read a few short books.

Now the ritual is starting to reap its benefits.

The first time my gal started to read a word or two, it came as a surprise.

“Wow, you can read this word!” I exclaimed as she interrupted me in my bedtime reading. Ever since then, she has been surprising us more and more. Now she can read through a simple book all by herself. We show off her skills by asking her to read to her grandparents, aunties and uncles.

Now we are proceeding to the next stage of buying more age-appropriate books to let her practice her reading.

Very soon, she will be able to read on her own. Then we will still continue the ritual of bedtime reading, but I will have a “covering officer” when I am too tired to read to the little ones.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Creative Mornings

Good morning, everyone! At 6:30 am in the morning, this is my half an hour of free time to be as creative as I want to be!

As my favourite cartoonist, Scott Adams, says in his latest book “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, everyone should have a system for getting what he wants in life. For me, I hit upon the idea of creative mornings.

For a few times a week, I will wake up early in the morning, and just sweat it out in front of the laptop, until something decent comes out.

Is this system working for me? Haha, I am still trying to perfect the part where I try to get up earlier in the morning. But I think slowly and surely, I am getting the hang of it.

By the way,
CreativeMornings is a term that has already been coined by someone else. I typed the words “Creative Mornings” into my trusty google, and out comes this link. Apparently, CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Ooh, and there’s a chapter in Singapore as well!

Getting back to the topic of creativity, there are tonnes of articles out there that supports the theory that we are most creative in the morning. According to the lifehacker, a scientific study of brain circuits confirmed that creative activity is highest during and immediately after sleep, while the analytical parts of the brain become more active as the day goes by.

See anything in these cheeem brain scans above?

Good for me! As I am a morning person by nature, these articles confirm that this new routine that I am trying to establish is the best routine for everyone.

Even my dearest night owl (aka my hubby), is trying to convert himself to an early riser. He just put on his running shoes and got out of the door at 7 am in the morning. Wow, I managed to influence someone without me trying at all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Discipline and Habit

My husband was remarking the other day that successful people he admire are rarely fat and flabby.

“It boils down to discipline,” he said. “To be successful, you have to be disciplined. It is the same with exercising. If you always make excuses for yourself, you will not exercise. So successful people are able to discipline themselves to exercise. It is the same principle that makes them successful in the first place.”

While I buy into this argument, there is something about the word “discipline” that I don’t like. It brings to mind caning, military training and other negative images.

I countered, “Well, exercise takes discipline at the initial start. But after a while, you form the habit of exercising. Then it doesn’t feel so onerous after all. Because it becomes a part of you."

This conversation came to mind as I think about what to blog.I am now still at the initial starting phase of blogging. So it is hard now. Because it is not yet a habit.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to blog at least once a week. However, whenever I sat down to blog, I found excuses for myself. I had no time, I didn’t know what to blog, why was I blogging in the first place?? On and on the yaddering in my head went.

Even now, I am struggling.

What I found is that it becomes easier over time. Slowly and surely, it will become easier to sit down in front of a computer, and hammer out a full blog entry that makes sense.

Perseverance is at the heart of success.

Monday, April 13, 2015

They grow up so fast

Marshmallow baby
All chubby cheeks and big fat toes
With a toothless grin
That can melt your heart
I love to hug you so

Marshmallow baby
Loses some of her fat
Starts to walk on wobbly legs
Babbles and coos her first baby words
And I love to hug you still

Marshmallow baby
Now she runs so fast
with her short little legs
Comes back all sweaty and dirty
The more I want to hug you still

NB. A silly, nonsensical poem to my little gal. It popped into my head early in the morning. To my little son, sorry! Will write another one with you in mind some other day.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Day at the Beach

“Life's a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” - Danny Kaye.

This thought ran through my head as I watched the three little kids play with the sand. They were surrounded by beach toys. Spades, pails and old jam jars. It was a wonderful day.

I looked up and saw the people around me. Lots of families here today as it was the Easter Day holiday.

One group was flying a kite, or attempting to fly a kite. The darned thing just refused to take off. Another was preparing food. But most of them were just laying around, chit chatting, or doing nothing whatsoever.

My sister and brother in law had set up a huge tent in the middle of the grass patch. We were not planning to camp overnight here. No sir! We love our beds too much! It was just for the kids to run in and out, and pretend they were camping.

In front of the tent, we spread three big mats, and loaded it with lots of food. My mum cooked fried noodles, my hubby bought delicious chicken wings, satay and rojak from the nearby hawker centre, and I made salad.

My sister was the best. She found this instant bbq pit from Giants, an A3 size box filled with charcoal and a wire-mesh to put on top of the box. She then bought some hot dogs, shitake mushroom and fishballs, and we had a mini-bbq by the beach.

It was picnic Singapore-style!

The day was turning into night really fast. There was no big orange sun in front of us. But who cares? We were too busy devouring the food in front of us.

Sometimes, life really is perfect. We just have to pause and appreciate the little things in life.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


We are at crossroads of our life all the time. We have the power to change our path. As such, any point in your life is a crossroad.

That said, sometimes the crossroads are prompted by life changes. Take for example, the birth of a child. It might prompt you to think. Do I want to be a full-time mum, a career woman or something in between? Death is another great bearer of change.

I have a colleague who is at her crossroads. She has chosen to apply for a one-year sabbatical leave. What is she going to do during the sabbatical? I am not so close to her that she will choose to divulge it to me. When I ask her this question, she just tells me that she will be going on long vacations to exotic countries, and will also spend time tinkering on some ideas that she has. It’s all very vague to me.

Nevertheless, I wish her the best of luck.

It is always exciting to witness people at the cusp of changing directions. First, there will be this great inertia. Then comes the voices in the head. Either you just get lost in this phase and gradually learn to shut those voices out, or you come out of the voices with a resolution to change. If you do come out of the fog with a conviction that change is needed, then I think we should give the person the courage to forge ahead.

Success can be defined any number of ways.  Why is there a need to define success the conventional way? Let success be whatever your “version” of it is. Have courage, take heart, seize the day.