Terrible Tohs

Because 4 is better than 1

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Back to School

School term has officially ended, and all the kids do in school now are play and practise their dance for the upcoming concert.

No lessons and learning at all – not like the kids are complaining though.

Weirdos at school

Back to the topic of school, it’s been 3 months since Zavier boy went to school and almost 3 years since Summer first joined as a clingy 22 month baby. How time flies! She’s now a 55 month clingy baby.

Thanks to the teachers who no doubt played a massive role in making the kids adapt to school, both of them do not cry when going to school, which really is ad big achievement for us, having lived through the times when Summer cried for 9 months.

So what they do now is say their goodbyes at the door, give us a quick hug, wash their hands as per the school rules, and quickly rush to the window to say goodbye again.

All sweet and nice

This week has unfortunately been a very busy week for me at work, with work spilling over 7pm almost everyday. 

Of course I tried not to disrupt my family time by taking some conference calls from home, but that does not allow me to give undivided attention to the kids. And there are times when I just had to stay late in the office.

So on the way home from work on the taxi late last night (late in my terms), I did a bit of mental calculation of how much time I spend with the kids every weekday.

– Between 6.50am to 7.30am when they wake up and go to school: 40 minutes

And assuming we leave work on time at 6pm or so and reach home at 7pm..

– Between 7pm to 10pm when Summer finally falls asleep usually: 3 hours

So there you have it, a pathetic 3 hours 40 minutes of family time, which I’m sure is much less for many others who work late on am daily basis.

Which made me wonder, would I be ok to stay late everyday for more money and progression (which a lot of banking folks do)? 

And miss times like these?

Made it in time last night before the kids slept

Bed time madness

It is a firm no for me.

No doubt to Mama Toh’s disappointment! Haha.

Snippets of Perth

Been slightly more than a week since we returned from Perth, and due to Mama Toh’s overly enthusiastic shopping of kids clothes, we still have 2 big bags of new clothes lying in the living room untouched.

Inertia makes me want to just give them away as Christmas presents instead of washing, ironing and then making space in the wardrobes for them.

Guess who looked after the kids when Mama Toh was shopping

Anyhow, some general points about our extended family trip to Perth which comprised 8 adults and 3 kids.

The gang

– Perth is most suited to driving masochists who enjoy speeding down expressways for hours, enjoying the thrill and freedom it gives. I am not one of these fools. Unfortunately I was the sole driver of one of 2 cars, and can only sigh in envy when the rest of the car takes a midday snooze after a heavy lunch.

Special shout out to my FIL who had to entertain the kids whenever they were awake

– Spotify is an excellent way to keep the kids entertained, albeit you have to be prepared to listen to the same songs over and over again. My FIL, never a music person, probably now knows the chorus to Fight Song.

– Be it rain or shine, the only umbrellas sighted in the entirety of Perth belongs to our family. My mum, my MIL and occasionally Mama Toh.

Here is proof

– When and where did Summer learnt how to use chopsticks?! During one dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Summer announced that she wanted to use chopsticks and promptly finished her bowl of rice with them. Kids are really amazing at learning new things.

What….

– Zavier has an inherent fear of animals. We visited some wildlife parks which allowed us to feed and pat various animals like kangaroos, sheep etc. Summer relished the chance, whilst Zavier boy balked and wanted to view from far.

Summer and her new friends

Zavier with a very cautious view

I am very slightly concerned how Zavier boy is going to survive NS in future.

– The breweries in Margaret River are amazing. For both the views and the beer’s ability to numb me from my kids constant demands.

Brewery hopping

– Zavier somehow revealed his hidden talent of making funny faces. Not a lot of things can make me laugh out loud, but this is definitely one of them. 

Sausage lips

Most importantly, as always, very glad to have a successful trip with both Mama Toh and my families!

Always blessed when both sets of parents can hang out together.

Back With a Bang

A very long hiatus from blogging! 2 weeks without any new posts must be painful for the 10 or so faithful readers of this blog, 80% of whom are probably family members I see frequently.

But the Terribletohs are now back!

With a vengeance!

Ok probably over-dramatising it slightly.

But the past 2 weeks have indeed been pretty busy, which kinda feebly explains the lack of posts.

We just came back from a week’s trip from Perth, and the week before that was spent packing every night in preparation for the trip and clearing work in the office to prepare for 2 weeks away.

Forgive us!

Packing for the trip probably gave me some indication of the headache that was to come. 

I tried to delegate some responsibility to Summer by requesting her to pack her own hand carry bag. Extremely excited, she disappeared into her room for a good 15 minutes before coming out with a bulging haversack, hollering her achievement.

I took a closer look and I lo and behold:

– 3 teddy bears
– 2 bracelets 
– 2 books
– Nail Polish
– Snacks
– Nerf gun

Basically enough useless stuff to keep you entertained in times of war. 

Kill me. Now.

Half the stuff from this haversack was removed before leaving house

More updates to follow so hang in there!

Taking Things For Granted

The past week has been pretty hectic, both on the work and home side of things. But more at home to be honest.

My Mum didn’t feel too well and the doctor advised, or rather instructed her that she is not to carry any heavy load (i.e her grandchildren) for a considerable period of time.

Probably the worst offender based on size

While it doesn’t change the daily routine too much for is given that both our kids spend most of their day in school, some interim changes were still required.

And that’s when you pause to appreciate how lucky you are, or were, with the support rendered by family on your kids.

Never a quiet time with these two

I have always maintained that I am very fortunate in that aspect, given that both sides of the family are always ready to help out with the kids whenever such situations arise and both Mama Toh and me cannot take leave due to work.

1. My Mum is a full time care giver to my kids.

2. My Dad often volunteers to take leave to care for the kids whenever we are unable to do so.

3. Mama Toh’s Dad picks the kids up from school and to my parents’ place everyday.

4. Mama Toh’s Mum, though not 100% confident of herself, still volunteers to take care of the kids if nobody else is available. 

5. When (4) happens, Mama Toh’s sisters will also offer to help. 

Which was what happened last week

It’s the small things that we usually take for granted – we have to take a step back aad recognize that our kids are ultimately our responsibilities, nobody else is obliged to help out.

To my family who are reading this – thank you for everything and we love all of you!

The Lee sisters who are often at the mercy of my kids (and Mama Toh)

The Toh family who bear the brunt of my kids every single day

Family is gold!

The Legend of the Pissy Females

For some unbeknown reason, the females in my family share a common trait. Unfortunately for me, it is the very undesirable trait of getting angry very often, usually over the smallest things.

Let’s take a look at the usual suspects:

1. Papa Toh’s Mum

The first person who smashed my notion that females are supposed to be docile when I was just a kid. Cross her path and you might find your eye twitching the whole day – that’s because she has been complaining about you to no end.

Did not hesitate to cane me relentlessly when I misbehaved or fared poorly in school. I think this might have been the catalyst of my chronic lack of ambition in adulthood.

I dare you to stare at those eyes for more than 30 seconds (Left)

Nonetheless gave us and her grandchildren all she has without asking anything in return. Everyone loves her.

I might have typed the above out of fear.

2. Mama Toh

Next up, the woman I married half suspecting that there is a very high probability of her evolving into my mother’s temper in later years.

6 years of marriage on, I have to say my gut feeling is awesome.

If you dare to undercook my meat I will rip you apart

Granted, her temper has kinda evolved from princessy fits when we were dating as university students (‘Tsk so hot! I don’t want to eat here! You want you eat yourself!’), to more mature adult rages (‘Summer you still want to throw tantrum??? You want Mama to beat you right!!’). 

There is a very strong irony, in case nobody noticed, whenever she says that sentence to the kids because it always seems to me that her tantrum at that time is much bigger than that of the kids.

Also known to be quite needy at times, lamenting that I don’t spend enough time with her alone. But when quizzed what happens to the kids then, keeps mum.

But still the chioest wife/mother around

3. Summer Toh

Last but not least is the youngest, but not any less feisty female.

The legend of Starlearners who threw tantrums and cried daily for the first 9 months of nursery. 

Thankfully that has tapered off, but little Summer is still susceptible to very regular pissy fits, especially when she doesn’t get her way.

Oi, kua simi?!

Also known to be quite needy at times, lamenting that I don’t spend enough time with her. But when pointed to the fact that I come straight home everyday to be with her, keeps mum.
Must be the genes.

Quite a few people know that I enjoy more beers than I should over the weekends, but none of them know the reason why.

Here you have it! 3 very good reasons!

Back With a Bang

Finally having recovered from their flu and fever, the kids smashed the past weekend with unrelenting gusto. 

Which left me and Mama Toh smashed with fatigue.

First up, Summer requested to have paper thosai for breakfast at 7a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning, when sane people are mostly found still huddling under their blankets and sleeping. Sane people like Mama Toh and Zavier (not sure of pretending or genuine though), so guess who had to bring Summer to the coffee shop to satisfy her craving?

It all started when Summer saw someone order it a day before, and couldn’t stop raving about it and requesting to try. Can’t say no to such enthusiasm and zest, me thinks.

So here we were, at 7 a.m.

Enjoying a crispy piece of paper thosai

Which very expectedly, ended up with me eating most of it after Summer lost interest after about 5 bites. 

This is classic Summer.

This behavior was again put in place 4 hours later when she decided on the spot that she did not want to sign up for a new semester of ballet classes and wanted to learn something new instead, like swimming and drawing.

Granted, we did tell her that she could stop anytime she wanted, given that our initial motive was just to allow our kids to explore everything available so that they could have a good grasp of the various interests they want to develop themselves further in.

But it was still nonetheless slightly disappointing to hear, given that she was (seemingly) quite good at it from the various times she performed for us.

No more sights like this anymore I guess

But a promise is a promise, and we accepted it. My mother-in-law didn’t take it that well though, her shrieking ‘Huh why???’ almost brought the house down.

Next up… Gong Gong’s shop!

So the kids kinda like going to my father-in-law’s shop, given the many things to do, and more importantly many surrounding shops to buy random snacks from.

They also enjoy playing with the stray cat that is permanently residing outside the shop, much to Mama Toh’s utmost dismay.

It was event after event and following Summer’s make up class at I Can Read due to missing the class last week from falling sick, we were enroute to a Korean BBQ dinner with both sides of the parents.

Incidentally also an event pushed back from last week due to Summer and Mama Toh’s fever and flu.

I’m guessing everyone enjoyed

Just look at Mama Toh’s face full of joy here

All in all a very great weekend spent with family.

That’s what quality family time should be like!

A Literal Long Weekend

The past week has been a flurry of doctor visits, medicine feeds and fever patches.

Summer and Mama Toh both succumbed to quite serious bouts of flu and fever, each visiting the doctor twice over the past week.

Spirits still quite high when waiting for the doctor

Both of them went to school and work intermittently (slackers) and most of our weekend was spent self-quarantined at home. Not like the kids minded though, they must have watched like millions of hours worth of cartoons.

Also, I’m quite impressed by the durability of our thermometer given that we probably tested it more than a thousand times over the past week.

Teet. No fever. 

How can it be? Summer still feels hot.

Proceed to test temperature on multiple parts of her body until there is a warm reading.

Fall into a self-induced state of worry and feed Summer with paracetamol. 

If warm temperature cannot be found anywhere, proclaim that the thermometer is faulty.

The above, by the way, is Mama Toh’s logic.

Even Zavier boy knows that it’s crazy logic

Very thankfully, Summer was fine on Friday, which allowed her to go to school for her half-day Children’s Day celebration, together with her beloved Zavier.

From the looks of it, they enjoyed themselves

We bought cupcakes for the whole school and then quickly sneaked back home for some quality couple time watching a downloaded copy of Suicide Squad with dubious resolution. 

Still satisfying nonetheless. 

That was then followed by a merry-go-round of travelling, parking and walking whereby Mama Toh wanted to eat at Cafe Melba but changed her mind due to the rain when we reached, thereafter suggesting we eat sharks fin at Indoor Stadium but requested me not to park there due to the rain, and when we parked at Kallang Wave, did not managed to find the restaurant after 15 minutes walk.

Whereby I promptly sat myself down at Brewerkz and put a stop to the circus.

Which wasn’t too bad!

Anything rainbow is good

That pretty much spells the highlight of our long weekend, because the next 2 days were all homebound due to Summer’s fever coming back and Mama Toh’s flu which never went away.

Haha. The running nose which stayed. 

Ok bad joke.

Birds of the Feather Flock Together

And with everyone in the family now fully recovered, it gave me the peace of mind to proceed with meeting my friends on Friday night.

Which incidentally, is my first evening away from the kids in about 8 months. Just give me the Dad of The Year award already.

Oh wait I got it already

Anyhow, I always look forward to meeting this bunch of friends and very very rarely miss a gathering. Haters will say that I only have one group of friends and you know what?

They are probably right.

I am a firm believer that one only needs a small group of very close friends, rather than having a gazillion different friends whom you mostly only say hi and bye to.

Which is why I have stuck to this bunch of fools for the past 20 years.

The best bunch though

Collectively between the 10 of us we have 13 kids with another one on the way so all of us are pretty much alike in thinking.

Which is probably why, kind of unanimously, we decided that we should all leave our BBQ and beers behind at 9.30pm to go back to our wives and kids.

For many people, a night out which ends at 9.30p.m can barely be termed as a proper gathering, but for us we know that our families are waiting- and that we have a responsibility to them.

Ok that sounds a bit too sombre. You might have noticed that I am very big on parenting- by assimilation it’s only natural that my closest friends display similar nature. After all, birds of the same feather flock together.

It’s also true for these 2 gluttons

If you scale down the logic one level to that of our kids, it’s probably worth thinking that we should be cognizant of the people whom they interact with most frequently.

Summer has an on/off best friend in school (yes, it seems the concept of frenemies exist among toddlers as well) who, to our displeasure, taught her to:

– Dislike eating vegetables

– Chew her nails

– Turn her nose at dark colors

Ok maybe the last one was a bit out of point but you get the idea. 

We’ve needed to make conscious effort to get her to unlearn all those bad habits and biases, out of which only the chewing of nails is the only problem now.

Can you imagine what will happen if the kids go to secondary school and mix with the wrong crowd?

Luckily still an angel with a halo for now

The nagging and fears of our parents back then are now becoming very real.

Still a docile little boy. Just kidding, he is so not.

By the way, out of curiosity, are there any laws prohibiting homeschooling kids forever?

Puke and Poop Fest

Some sort of virus seems to have hit us the past week, starting on Thursday when Zavier boy puked once in the evening while drinking milk.

And then another 4 more times throughout the night, which must be some sort of record. It became some sort of a vicious cycle, whereby he will puke whenever we fed him, but if we stopped him, he cried the sort of cry which wakes the whole family up.

Which is how the 4 of us only managed to get undisrupted sleep at 3 a.m. when Zavier boy finally got too exhausted to continue with this cycle.

The next day Zavier decided to purge everything out in one sweep via his bowels, which resulted in the LARGEST amount of poop me and Mama Toh has ever seen. Let’s just leave it there.

Listless faces the next morning

I thought that was it, until Sunday morning when I woke up with an extremely bloated feeling. 

I assume this is how women feel like when they are PMS-ing or pregnant. If I am right, I never want to be reincarnated as a woman because this feeling sucks.

Sucky enough for me to just take nibbles of food throughout the day and more ultimately, reject drinking a beer. What has the world come to?

Then I proceeded to have 3 bouts of diarrhea in a day.

The feeling is definitely much worse than having eye shadow put on me

But unfortunately, I wasn’t the worst off in the family.

Summer puked twice on Sunday night, while Mama Toh is on a 2 day mc today having puked once in the morning.

Unfortunately, this mini epidemic can only be attributed to 2 reasons:

1. We caught a gastric flu bug from Zavier boy. 

2. We caught food poisoning from a fried rice lunch on Saturday. The very pot of fried rice which I cooked from scratch. 

Either way I feel bad, given that Zavier didn’t mean for it to happen, and if it was really because of my fried rice, then I deserve to clean up all those puddles of puke without complaining. 

Oh well.

Happy kids 1 day before puke fest

Unfortunately a short post here given that not many photos were taken of all the sick folks (sickos?).

Let’s pray everyone gets well pronto!

Throwback to a happier Friday night

Back to the Past

Over the past weekend, 2 very vital appliances in our household broke down. Appliances which we took for granted and just never thought about what if it suddenly did not function one day.

But that one day, turned out to be last Saturday.

First up was the quintessential water dispenser, which we are now extremely used to instantaneously getting hot and cold water via a simple press of a button. 

So it seems like the UV light which is used to kill any germs in cold water is kinda malfunctioning on and off a little, so sometimes it doesn’t dispense cold water like we want.

Even though I’m pretty sure this UV light thingy is just a marketing spin to warrant a greater price point, nonetheless it has to be fixed for it to work again, and unfortunately the next available servicing appointment is in 2 weeks.

Zavier boy: What?? 2 weeks??

I guess that’s still okay, given that the alternative is quite easy: just dispense hot water and let it cool before putting in the fridge.

Just like 2 years ago when we lived without a water dispenser.

The next thing which broke down was the washing machine. In the middle of a wash. Full of water inside.

Too bad!

We are quite heavy users of the washing machine, given Mama Toh’s OCD insistence of changing clothes multiple times when we go out/come home/go out again on the weekends, but the current machine has served us well without any issues for the past 6 years, and like blind herd in a stock bull market, I just assumed it will continue outperforming my expectations year in year out.

But like all bull markets, things eventually come to a halt.

That’s right yo!

So when it finally stopped working, good old Mama Toh went into denial, insisting and it just needs a rest and we should leave it as it is and try again tomorrow morning, after I suggested that we should just take out all the clothes and manually wash it right away (in financial terms this is kinda like cutting your loss when trading).

But Mama Toh prevailed eventually and the next day, we ended up with a still faulty machine, with clothes soaked overnight in dirty water which now smelled a little, plus more clothes now being piled up in the dirty laundry basket.

Nice one Mama… yet again.

Note: Mama Toh should never do any trading/investment of any kind.

When faced with such a situation, there are a couple of options to attack the growing pile of clothes before the new machine is delivered.

1. Manually wash them by hand.

2. Bring them over to my parents place a few blocks away and defeatedly tell them that I am too lazy to hand-wash my clothes and need to borrow their machine.

3. Do nothing until the new washing machine is delivered, and proceed to initiate the new machine to our house by dumping get half a tonne of clothes for its first wash.

4. Keep silent and pray that your spouse hand-washes the clothes by himself.

Yup it worked alright

In a split second I knew (4) was Mama Toh’s first choice while (3) was a close second. (2) was a distant third and (1) was probably just ridiculous to her.

And so, over the course of slightly over an hour on a beautiful Sunday morning, I squatted down at the bathroom scrubbing and wringing dry 6 bamboo poles worth of clothes.

Which is frankly quite a sucky way to spend a weekend morning. I silently promised myself never to go through that again. 

Except that I did it again. Another 6 bamboo poles worth of clothes, on Monday night. 

Because the new washing machine only delivers on Wednesday!

How does my mum do it?

Guys, trust me on this. Treasure the often neglected things before it’s too late. 

Give your working washing machine a kiss tonight to show your appreciation.

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