Terrible Tohs

Because 4 is better than 1

Author: terribletohs (page 4 of 7)

The End Of A Very Long Week

It’s quite amazing how often and easily kids fall sick. The paediatrician whom we frequent can now recite our kids names by just looking at me or Mama Toh’s face. ‘Is this visit for Summer or Zavier?’. 

On a side note, looking at the snaking queues daily outside the clinic and the charges for each visit, I am convinced that should my kids ever become doctors, they MUST specialise in paediatrics. 

Back to the original topic, both kids were sick last week. Yes, both of them.

Why always us?

So on Wednesday, we got a WhatsApp message from my mum that Zavier has a runny nose and Summer, more worryingly, had a fever. Worrying, because there has been a HFMD outbreak at her school, with a confirmed case in her class.

Mama Toh, in her usual panicky demeanour, rushed the kids down to the paediatrician whom very very thankfully after 10 minutes, diagnosed both kids with common flu and throat inflammation with zero signs of HFMD. Phew. Not so phew at the $218 medical bills thereafter.

Mental note: My kids must REALLY become paediatricians.

Yes! Going on the right path Zavier boy!

Next, Mama Toh, in her usual panicky demeanour, determined that Summer will be best kept away from school until the following week.

6 months ago that would not have been a problem. My Mum could very well take care of both kids (and put her very limited patience to further test), or we could drop Summer at my in-laws where she can have unlimited freedom and fun for the day. For everyone’s interest, we usually choose the latter.

However all this has changed with the arrival of Chloe on my family’s end and Arthur at Mama Toh’s family. Both our very capable mothers now have to tend to young babies and basically have no more bandwidth (in corporate speak) to take care of our kids. 

And so me and Mama Toh and Yeye Toh (my Dad who very very kindly volunteered) took turns taking leave across 2 days to take care of them. 

Here are some takeaways:

1. Do not ever take the help you have for granted. Many of us have parental support or helpers, but that doesn’t mean that we can always ask them for help in taking care of our kids while we enjoy ourselves outside. 

They, like the billions of humans out there, have their own limit and need rest as well. Plus, your kids are your responsibility.

Yeye Toh: I would rather be at work…

2. Staying at home is much tougher than being at work. For one of those days I actually split the kids as I suspected Summer had a bout of stomach flu, so I ended up taking care of Summer the whole day while my Mum took care of Zavier.

Oh man. Where do I start. I had to cook, entertain her, pat her to sleep, feed her medicine, explain to her that a lollipop does not actually contain vitamins which will make her feel better, and why indoor playgrounds are not the best place to go when you are home recovering from illness.

I have to say this is 10 times harder than facing a computer at work, but most probably 20 times more rewarding (not in financial terms). 

Enjoying the porridge I cooked (this photo was not forced)

And polishing it off entirely (no gagging occurred)

3. Kids are really our everything. 

When the kids were all lethargic and cranky and puking all over (yes it happened with Summer), Mama Toh was depressive and moody. 

One day later, the kids got significantly better. And so did Mama Toh’s mood. 

All better and happy!

Bottomline: Happy family time > Couple alone time > ‘Me’ time > Time with Chanel bags

The Weekend in Summary

Snippets of how our weekend went. 

1. Most significant of all was of course the arrival of me and Mama Toh’s nephew, baby Arthur! Grow up happy and healthy, little boy!

Born on Sunday, he is also Summer and Zavier’s second cousin in 4 months. Yes, we have very productive families on both sides.

With that, let us also fawn upon the formation of a new super group, one of the most devastating in recent history-the Fearsome Foursome. 

Top: Adventurous Arthur. Bottom (L-R): ZOMG Zavier, Sensational Summer & Cherubic Chloe

I am quite convinced that the motives of this group are to collectively:

– Rid the world of peace and serenity
– Push the human limits of patience to greater heights
– Fool the world of their mis-doings by giving angelic looks

As much as everyone loves them, let us observe a moment of silence for our ears and sanity for the foreseeable future.

2. For what seems like the longest time to me, Summer finally learned how to cycle on her own.

Gong Gong bought her a kiddo bicycle more than a year ago (it’s kinda disintegrated now due to wear and tear from neglect), and I try to make her ride every 2 weeks or so. I admit that there is a slight competitive streak in me trying to get her to learn cycling because:

– Some of my friends who have kids at that age are already cycling independently. 
– I have always wanted to cycle alongside my kids.

As much as she tries her best, in all our attempts at getting her to cycle always ends up with the same result- she cannot complete more than 2 revolutions and inevitably pedals backwards.

And my slight frustration coupled with her disappointment usually ends up with her giving up and scurrying to do something else. 

I had initially half given up on this endeavour, but when we made a trip to Decathlon over the weekend, I encouraged her to try riding one of the numerous kiddo bikes on sale there, just for the fun of it.

Amazingly, she managed to travel quite a distance! Well done! I think she was mightily proud of herself as well, given that we had to physically stop her from cycling beforw she crashed into the counter.

Now to get this little boy started

3. As my in-laws were busy prepping for Arthur’s arrival, we didn’t visit as we usually would, and honestly it gave us quite a bit of excess time to burn off between the 4 of us.

We didn’t really plan much, apart from visiting Sentosa so that Summer can say her goodbyes to her Little Ponies who were ending their exhibition event there.

Second time in a week…

But we discovered the best by-product of this visit- the amazing skyline and grass patch for the kids to roam!

What a view

2 acting chio, 1 acting cool

We then decided to take a short walk/cycle around our neighbourhood and the kids had loads of fun, as usual.

Zavier boy doesn’t seem too impressed with my muscular arms

While Summer loves to pluck wild flowers for Mama Toh

Fact- the act of making kids happy does not always involve money. It only involves your time. 

A Not-Too-Relaxing Staycation

As per our last post, we went to Sentosa for a 3D2N staycation for Mama Toh’s birthday celebration. I had a good corporate rate for the hotel so please do not automatically assume that I have money to throw around. 

Also, it is still more than 50% cheaper than buying Mama Toh and extravagant present which she only uses less than 5 times a year. Plus everyone in the family could have fun, so I was very okay with a 2 night staycation.

The notion of a staycation usually invokes feelings of serenity and relaxation, but this staycation was anything but that. Thanks to these 2 kiddos.

‘Can we go swimming?’ -repeated every hour

The kids were very much more excited than we were, obviously, but that also came with a few downsides. Such as:

– Waking up at 6.15 a.m everyday requesting to start the day’s activities.

Yup… this was at 6.20 a.m.

– Asking to go down to the pool every hour (see first photo)

– Refusing to come out of their nightly bubble bath in the bathtub even when their fingers have gone all crinkly. Obviously a photo of that will not be shared here.

– Only managing to sit down for a good 10 minutes everyday at breakfast before announcing that they are full and it’s time for a swim.

The rare good times during breakfast

But what took the cake was probably Mama Toh’s birthday dinner, at a semi-atas steakhouse.

Cranky from a a shorter than usual nap which was incidentally caused by… the kids wanting to swim in the afternoon (surprise!), they were already quite unwilling to go down to the restaurant for dinner.

But hey, it’s Mama Toh’s birthday right? And this was the restaurant of her choice so we all went there- 2 willingly, 2 not so.

And it was like what we expected- Zavier boy giving off random cranky screams, Summer requesting to be carried (at 4 years old and at a restaurant which provides comfortable seating). All in all, whilst the food was excellent, we were not 100% in the mood to enjoy it.

In fact, I was surprised we didn’t get any dirty looks from the fellow diners. Well at least we managed a half decent shot.

Told you it was half decent

After dinner, Mama Toh and me heaved a sigh of relief as we exited the restaurant and walked to the nearby supermarket where I grabbed a very deserved beer. And then we mutually agreed that such semi-atas meals will henceforth be enjoyed without kids, and only when we are on leave and only for lunch (we are still psycho parents who feel bad leaving kids at their grandparents’ in the evenings while we go out ourselves).

Miraculously the kids’ moods improved drastically when we went for our walk where they could roam freely.

Note the change in pose for Summer compared to the last photo

Ah well, that’s parenthood for you!

It’s the kids enjoyment which matters the most!

To Mama Toh!

It is Mama Toh’s birthday today! We’re all at Sentosa for a birthday staycation and the kids and Mama Toh are still in bed sleeping (deservedly so since it’s only 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning) while I type this.

Looking at all of them sleeping, or rather squeezing altogether on the same bed makes me feel like the most fortunate person. A big part of which is only made possible by the efforts of Mama Toh.

One of 3754 birthday celebrations for Mama Toh

As much as I like to grouse about Mama Toh being an impatient, short-tempered social media addict who shops online too much (all of them true by the way), it is also a fact that she cares for this family more than anything else. Such as:

– Taking last minute leave/time off to send the kids to the doctor whenever they are sick.

– Feeding the kids who somehow prefer her to me. It might be because I expect a respectable speed of eating if I feed the kids while Mama Toh is more understanding.

– Buying clothes for the kids more than herself, so much so that the kids’ wardrobes explode every 2 months.

– Buying me clothes because I am to cheap for it.

– Allowing everyone to enjoy themselves even though it’s her birthday.

Such as this gathering of both families

And letting the kids enjoy Sentosa more than her

Much much more than her

So to Mama Toh, we appreciate everything you do for us! We love you!

One of 3754 birthday celebrations for Mama Toh

Wait… what… the kids are up at 6.15 a.m. during a staycation??

Family is Number One

It’s going to be a short work week for us, given that Wednesday is Hari Raya, and Mama Toh and myself are on leave on Thursday and Friday.

Did someone say mega long weekend?

We took leave on Friday with a plan to bring the kids to W Hotel for a staycation to celebrate Mama Toh’s 21st birthday. Then out of the blue, Summer’s school sent a notice informing us that there will be an excursion on Thursday to the movies, and parents are welcome to join.

Mama Toh and myself are quite weird people. We actually feel bad for taking leave for consecutive days unless we are going overseas for a long holiday. Well, it’s not nice to have your colleagues covering your work too often right? Quite a weird mentality, we know.

Anyhow, we relented and went back to our respective bosses to apply for one more day of leave. Partly because we don’t want Summer to look on as one of the few kids who do not have parental company for the excursion, and partly because she specifically asked ‘Papa Mama can you please come with me on my excursion to watch Finding Dory?’.

Even though tickets cost $18 each it’s hard to reject this face

My boss gave the green light to proceed, and all was well. Right up until today.

One of my colleagues became a new father just last week, and was due to return to work on Thursday. That was okay, given that we usually cover each other when we are on leave, so just nice when he comes back I go off, right?

But this colleague came… and requested to extend his leave to Thursday and Friday as well.

My immediate reaction… whaaaat…

In such situations, I will usually very humbly point out to the other person  that I booked the dates first, and hope the other person has enough conscience to know what to do. 

However in this case, my colleague has a very good reason in that he wanted to help out his wife with the kiddo, and so I as a father myself I was quite emphatic towards that. Which then led us to the dilemma of what next.

My colleague, an eternal optimist, very bravely tried to tell my boss that it was only for 2 days and nothing serious will happen, and hence he should allow both of us to go on leave together at the same time.

A very admirable kamikaze attempt which was rather swiftly shot down by my boss.

This little one is very capable of shooting you down too

To my boss’s credit, he was kinda apologetic about it, and tried to weigh who had a more valid reason to be away from the office. Of course, that was never going to work because we both had very valid reasons.

Sensing that someone’s got to give in somehow, the pacifist in me volunteered to bring my laptop home to work from home (or W Hotel for that matter) so that someone is on top of things. The last thing I want happening is a pissy boss (I already have to deal with one at home) or a strained relationship with a colleague whom I work closely with.

My boss, to his credit once again, thought about it for a moment and rejected my suggestion, stating that I was the one who booked my leave first. Yay.

But of course something still had to be done about the situation and he requested that one of us cover a day each. 

Crap… which day should I choose to spoil? The chance to join Summer for a movie with her friends, or family time at W? The lesser of 2 disappointments made me choose Thursday, and in my mind I was half rehearsing my apology to Summer for not being able to make it to the movies.

Then suddenly, to my boss’s credit for the 3rd time, without me asking for anything, he told me to work from home, and only when I finished my movie with Summer, i.e. only the 2nd half of the day.

WHAT??? How can something so nice come out from my usually nonchalant boss? 

End of the day, everyone was happy, and most importantly I didn’t have to disappoint anyone in the family.

Because family is always Number One.

Proud to say Summer didn’t trip over the steps despite wearing that pair of silly shades

Fury Of A Father

I am usually someone who very seldom gets angry at things. Mama Toh might disagree with that statement, but I believe that whilst I get rather impatient at times, getting really angry per se is something very rare for me.

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Just look at my very chill demeanor

But yesterday, I had quite an outburst, which kinda surprised my family and on reflection, myself as well.

The cause of it was simple. My princess Summer was repeatedly being bullied in school!

I might have just burst a blood vessel typing the last sentence.

Summer, like Mama Toh, only throws her pissy fits at home, and for some unbeknown reason, is instead extremely kind and friendly to outsiders. Which includes her classmates.

So in school, she always tells us that her ‘best friend’ is this girl, whom for privacy reasons we shall refer to as Lanky. The inverted commas used in ‘best friend’ will be explained shortly.

We have always assumed that Lanky and Summer share quite a good friendship, and Lanky has always been quite enthusiastic in playing with me whenever I drop by at school.

But in recent times, things seem to have changed.

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It started out seemingly innocuous enough, when she said Lanky didn’t want to play with her. I think such comments happen at least 40 times daily among kids at 4 year old so I brushed it off.

And then it became more frequent.

‘I don’t want to wear slippers to school because Lanky doesn’t like people to wear the same as her!’

Okay…

‘Today Lanky said I cannot play with her because she doesn’t like me’

Which baffled me slightly because whenever I pick Summer up from school everyone is very enthusiastic and friendly in saying their goodbyes to Summer. I suppose she is quite well received in school?

‘Today Lanky tore away my drawing you know!’

WHAT.

‘Today Lanky destroyed the Lego watch I wore to school.’

THE.

And yesterday. ‘Lanky threw my notebook and pen into the dustbin. I took it back out but she snatched them and brought them home.’

FREAK!

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And at that moment, I completely lost it.

So for the rest of the night, I tried to school her into standing up for herself, which I think she finds it quite hard to do. For some reason she still regards Lanky as her good friend, until I told her;

‘Good friends don’t bully each other.’

She went silent for a while, and agreed ‘Yes, Papa’.

I was mightily pleased that I finally got the message across but of course that did not stop me from spending the next 2 hours or so basically continuing with my lecture of how she should just ignore Lanky going forward.

NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO BULLY MY KIDS.

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Well unless they bully each other

And to Lanky, if this continues I will make sure I strike fear in you every single time I see you around.

And to Summer’s future boyfriends, let this be a warning never to make my daughter sad.

Just kidding, Summer is not going to have any boyfriends. Ever.

The Father’s Day Fallacy

So Father’s Day happened over the weekend on Sunday, and judging by the number of tributes on social media (Mama Toh’s included), I came to some conclusions.

1. A mind boggling number of my friends are now parents. Where did my youth go?

2. We don’t recognise the achievements of Dads adequately enough.

3. We spend too much time on social media. (Looks at Mama Toh).

Anyhow, as much as I enjoyed Summer’s little trophy for me, which she must have been slightly coerced into making as part of her school art craft, I realized that Father’s Day as a son and Father’s Day as a Dad myself are startlingly different.

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Me with my aluminium foil wrapped gem of a trophy

Well, most importantly, being a father myself has shown me that Father’s Day festivities are overhyped. As much as I enjoyed receiving my hard-earned trophy and being woken up at 5.50 a.m. on a Sunday morning to the sounds of ‘Happy Father’s Day, Papa!’ (ok didn’t enjoy the second one that much), there are many things that my kids do on a daily basis which proves that everyday can be Father’s Day, as sickeningly cliché that might sound. Such as:

1. Zavier staggering on his unsteady steps to give me a hug at the door everyday when I come home from work.

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The little hugger

2. Summer telling me she loves me at least 3 times a day. More often whenever she wants something from me.

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Such as chocolates

3. Both my kids bugging me to play with them (one with her Little Pony toys, another with his Nerf guns) every night while Mama Toh takes her time to shower. I tend to complain that I am overwhelmed during that good 25 minutes or so, but secretly I am enjoying the attention from my kids.

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Don't mess with them yo

Thinking back, it made me do a short reflection of whether I have done enough for my own Dad in terms of appreciating what he has done.

Sure, I treat him to dinner every once in a while, but have I been giving him the required concern and attention whilst I was physically with him (which is actually almost everyday). Well, in that aspect I really could have done better.

Our parents get older by the day, and it might not be the material presents that you shower on them that matter most.

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Happy Father's Day to my dearest Daddy

Kids Know No Boundaries

The last weekend, my in-laws were overseas, Summer’s I Can Read class stopped for a week, and we had no events to attend. Much to my joy and to Mama Toh’s slight disappointment.

So we had quite a lot of time to ourselves, just the 4 of us, and we decided to take a walk around the neighbourhood, something which we had not done for an extremely long time.

And Summer was more than happy to unleash her scooting skills in the open (she is usually only confined to the void deck).

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Just realized the sky looks beautiful here... in comparison to Mama Toh's chor lor walking

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Little Zavier boy is just happy to be out after recovering from fever

There is a semi-professional skate park near our house, complete with malicious looking ramps and rails.

These are usually used by the wannabe skaters/skateboarders/stunt bikers during the evenings and nights but I don’t think the average guy can handle them. I should know. I fell flat on my butt 2 years ago attempting to skateboard down one of the low slopes and never returned to this place of danger (and shame) again.

The funny thing about kids though, is that they have this very warped sense of self confidence. Summer was extremely intrigued with the various obstacles.

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Like this mountainous, death-inviting slope

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And this cursed ramp which caused my fall a few years ago

All in all, she was mightily disappointed that I did not allow her to go up any of them. Well, mainly because she didn’t wear her protective gear beforehand like I asked her to.

However, I subsequently promised her that we could return the following weekend (tomorrow actually) to try the slopes out if she dons her protective gear.

Which of course caused Mama Toh to glare and tsk at me. To which of course I pretended not to notice.

As parents, we should not transfer our own fears to our kids by scaring/cautioning them too much. Who knows they have the potential to accomplish something that we couldn’t, and we are holding them back with our overly cautious nature?

Let’s hope Summer manages to conquer the slopes (ok maybe just the low one for now) without too many falls!

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This is how disappointment looks like

OMG Being Sick Sucks

Wow it had been quite a long hiatus from blogging by my own standards… better get back to doing so before I develop a permanent procrastinating syndrome which will see this blog die a natural death.

Anyhow I have quite a good excuse for being absent the past week, which well, is predominantly what I briefly touched on last week. Which is that both Zavier and Summer fell sick.

And after repeatedly mingling with their super virus daily, unfortunately I fell quite sick myself.

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Meanwhile the germs are penetrating my nostrils while this pic was taken

I rarely fall sick to the point that I have to see a doctor, because self medication usually works for me. But this time was different, I was shivering in the office and had to drink almost boiling water the whole day to tide me through. The doctor diagnosed a high fever of 39 degrees and I knew I was down for the night.

Which of course put a strain on Mama Toh when she had to take care of both kids through the night. Which of course she did not cease to remind me the next morning.

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2 sick fellas

Oh well, been a long and painful (sometimes literally) week but just glad that the worst is over. Apart from a slight pesky sore throat for me. How long do such things take to go away fully anyway?! Must have consumed at least 50 Strepsils by now.

Terribletohs are now back at full strength and the posts will continue!

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Let's hope falling sick never happens again

Setting An Example

This week presented a timely reminder to myself to always practise what you preach to your kids.

For how many times have we asked our kids to do something which we were reticent to do ourselves?

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On the flipside, if we have to don cheesy corporate tees, so do our kids

Insisting that your kids eat their greens when you are vehemently carnivorous in eating.

Chastising your kids to quickly go to sleep while you lay beside them devouring updates on your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Lamenting that your kids don’t read enough whilst you lounge on your sofa watching the latest Korean drama.

In one point in time or another, we as parents are bound to have exemplified some form of double standards. Now the key is to be conscious of it and prevent any reoccurrence.

Easier said than done, I know.

My lesson came earlier this week when Summer (and then subsequently Zavier) fell to a bout of fever. As the fever spiked up towards the night, I asked Summer to stick a fever patch on her forehead throughout the night when she slept.

Which she dramatically said no to the point of wanting to cry.

Coming from a kid who loves cold drinks and to shower under cold water, this rejection came as quite a big surprise to me.

‘I don’t want because it is very uncomfortable. I don’t like it!’

How bad can it be, I thought. One would have assumed that a cooling gel patch on a hot night (ok it was hot outside but not in our air-conditioned bedroom…) would serve as a treat?

So after having a short verbal to-and-fro which I was gradually losing, I reluctantly offered to put on one myself to prove that it was ok.

And boy was I wrong about it being comfortable.

It was cold in an uncomfortable way, it restricts your facial movement, and it’s ugly. All at the same time.

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That's us still trying to look good

Now I will be more conscious about asking my kids to don the patch through the night. But hey at least Summer was willing to sleep through the night with it. As was I. Albeit mine was unwillingly.

So parents, think from your kids’ perspective once in a while. You are not always right…

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