Entertainment

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Ethan has taken a strong liking to the computer.  He frequently asks to use the “peter, peter, peter!” (Nope, he is NOT calling his Daddy by name; that’s how he calls the “computer” for short!)

Most of the time, we’ll tell him we’ll let him play on the computer AFTER he has had his dinner, or AFTER he has taken his shower.  Seems to work some of the time. :)

Previously when we allowed him to play, he would need our assistance to click on the mouse, but he has since mastered how to do that all by himself.  We normally allow him to surf the Playhouse Disney on Disney Online site, because most of the characters he loves are there.

Check out how he performs the left-click on the mouse in the snippet below.  In this video I took, he is doing some digital coloring on the My Friends Tigger & Pooh section of the site.  See how Ethan drags the numbered honey pots to the corresponding number on the picture and clicks the mouse to fill the picture with color.  And look at how jubilant he is when he finished the activity!

Last night, he asked for the computer again.  I told him he would get just 30 minutes before it was time for his bed. 

And he said, “Okay Mom!” :)

I extended the 30 minutes to 45 minutes because he was so well-behaved, and when it was time to shut down the PC, I told him that was all for the night, and he obediently helped me shut down.  He got his bedtime books ready (one for Ethan, one for Mommy and one for Daddy), scooted into the room, and before long he was in dreamland.

That’s my boy! :D

Pete and I had a special surprise in the form of a Christmas present for Ethan, but we did not bring it along on our trip.  So the morning after we reached home, after he had showered and got dressed, we told him we had a surprise for him, that we were giving him a present.

Boy, if you could only see his face light up, as he smiled and said, “Present!”

 

And then as he tore the wrapper bit by bit, his anticipation and curiosity became joy and happiness as he discovered that he was gonna have a new toy: a 71-piece Lego-Duplo set!  He immediately started playing with it (and so did his Daddy!), and before long Ethan was already building stuff!

 

Check out that giraffe structure, which he did all on his own!

 

Now he would tell us, “I built a house!” and show us his very colorful house which is usually the tallest tower he can construct… or he would build a truck, or an airplane…oh ooops…sorry…the airplane was built by Daddy for Ethan!

It’s definitely THE perfect gift for Ethan to hone his creativity and imagination, and next up, we are eyeing the expansion pack…heh…cuz frankly 71 pieces ain’t enough to go around! :D

We had planned on spending the day at Gilroy Gardens during the Thanksgiving holidays, but we found out that the theme park was gonna be closed temporarily then.  So we decided to go the weekend before Thanksgiving, and boy, we sure had a blast!

 

Gilroy Gardens is a family theme park, complete with rides for the kids and beautiful landscaped surroundings.  It’s like a mini Disneyland, except well…it doesn’t have all those Disney characters.  But still, it’s a very fun place to spend the day and unlike the 4-5 hour drive to Disneyland, this one only takes about an hour.

 

Kids and adults are bound to have endless fun here, and it was also a good way to bond with nature.  As you can see, fall has lent a warm and colorful touch to the foliage here, and the trees and plants are all so well-groomed.

 

One of the things I noticed in Gilroy Gardens was the existence of many weird-looking trees.  This was the first group of trees that caught my eye:

 

But there were even more weirder ones to come:

 

And look at this one, growing in a zig-zag manner!  It even has a pear-shaped fruit hanging from one of its branches!

 

Anyway, enough about trees already!  Let’s move on to what we did at the park…

 

We wanted Ethan to have a go at as many rides as possible.  Some of the rides were not suitable for him because he had not reached the minimum height requirement, whereas some of the rides required that he ride with a chaperone.

The first ride Ethan got on was the mini carousel.  He appeared very happy when he saw that he could ride on a horse.  These were all really small horses, so don’t expect adults to sit on them!  Ethan was happily strapped on, but as soon as the carousel started to move, he began to panic and screamed to be let down.  I think he figured Daddy and Mommy were not around, so he got worried, the poor dear.

 

So off we went to try a different ride, this time with a chaperone.  We chose the Apple & Worm ride, and I rode with him. 

 

At first he was happily posing for pictures, but when we started to move, he realized that his Daddy was not around, and he wanted to climb out!  The lady manning the ride had to stop the ride to let us out.

So we figured we had to start with a ride that both Daddy and Mommy can ride on with him.  And we ended up queueing up for the train ride. 

 

Here he is, waiting anxiously to get on.

 

When it came to our turn, Ethan obediently sat in his seat, put on his seat belt and held on to the safety bar.  Anxiety turned into curiosity and excitement, and then….HAPPINESS :)

 

Oh, how he enjoyed that ride.  And we were really pleased.

There was another train ride that ran all around the theme park, and as soon as we found the station, we got in line too.  Look at Ethan, he can’t even wait to get on the train now, and he wanted to climb through the gates!  He kept saying, “Open door, open door!”

 

But he was a good boy and didn’t put up much of a fuss.  When the train came, we got on and the look of happiness on Ethan’s face was simply priceless.

 

In fact, he loved the red train ride so much, we went for a second round!

Next, we made a stop at the beautiful Bonfante Falls.  They are really just mini waterfalls but intriguing, nonetheless. 

 

There was a section where we had to walk right under the falling waters, and of course, get wet.  That was fun, but extremely cold once we got out of there.  Good thing Ethan’s jacket had a hood.  LOL.

 

We also had fun in the Rock Maze, which is a confusing maze that is bound to get anyone lost.  Our boy sportingly walked in with us, that lil adventurer!

 

Oh, I also put on gloves for Ethan for the very first time, since it got pretty chilly in the late afternoon.

 

But although he kept them on for a spell, he decided to go without them after that.  I do so think the gloves suit him so, don’t you?

 

And finally, of course we had to make a pitstop at the children’s play structure where Ethan had a really fun time playing on the slides and the steps and the mini bridge, among others.

 

So much fun had he, that we had to carry him kicking and screaming away from the play area, because it was getting late and we had to head for home.

We certainly had great fun at Gilroy Gardens that day, and although the park is closed now, I believe they have something special planned for December.  Well, time can only tell if we’ll make a trip there again, but the memories we had will definitely stay with us forever.

 

…be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…

***

…so says the song.  But of course, we didn’t have any flowers in our hair that day.  Hehe..

Instead of heading out to the malls last Sunday, we decided to take a leisurely drive to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco instead.  I had been telling Ethan about the sealions there, and I was sure he would be fascinated by them.

The weather is kinda chilly now, so I dressed Ethan up in long sleeves, long pants and put on his new pair of Osh Kosh shoes.  By the way, the shoes only cost $13.60 (at 60% off) - is that a bargain or what? 

 

Anyway, they make him look rather big boy, don’t you think?  Look at how eager he is to go “kai kai” :P

 

As we buckled him up in his car seat, I put the hood of his jacket over his head, and surprise of all surprises, he didn’t remove the hood immediately.  So we had a picture taken.

 

The trip to Pier 39 took only about 45 minutes to an hour, so it was not that tiring.  Once we arrived, Ethan was all excited.  He wanted to run all around, so we had to keep a close eye on him.

There were many street musicians around too, some playing the drums and the rhythmic tunes really intrigued Ethan!

 

He saw this statue of a giant sealion, and a couple of kids were climbing it.  Of course, our boy had to join in the fun too.  Oh yes, we definitely had trouble prying him away from that one!

 

There were many shops and attractions at Pier 39, in fact, there were escalators too!  So Ethan definitely had to get on those!  We also saw a bungee-trampoline, where kids can be strapped onto a bungee rope and bounce off a trampoline.  It was for older kids though, but Ethan wanted in on the fun too.  He even tried to climb over the fence to get in.

 

The view was amazing, and from where we were, we could see the Island of Alcatraz.  Tried to get a good picture of it in the background (and at the same time, ensure that the people in the foreground looked good too), but it was really difficult!

 

Our next stop was of course the sealions!  Ethan was very happy to see them and stood there for a very, very long time.  He giggled when we imitated the sounds the sealions made and laughed when some of the sealions fell into the water.

 

Well, we definitely had fun that day.  And to cap it all off, we all sat down for a nice meal of clam chowder.  Ethan enjoyed the chowder tremendously!  In fact, I think we should have ordered a separate bowl for him!

Will we be coming back again?  You bet!  And I really hope so!


Scrap Credits
Berrylicious kit from A work in progress
 

Accesorizing definitely has its advantages. In addition to giving my outfit added pizazz, I found out that accessories can double up as items to occupy a toddler’s fidgety hands.

A few weeks ago, when we attended BIL’s wedding dinner in Sungai Petani, I wore a black tube dress and a shawl, and as an afterthought, I threw in my 12 silver bangles, bought aeons ago at that place called Isetan. Pssssstttt…this is THE place for accessories, people, because despite the long period of time these bangles have been hibernating in my drawer, not one of them were discolored. Every one of them was as good as new.

So wore them I did. Little did I know that Ethan would be so very fascinated with them. At our dinner table, when he had finished all his snacks, he suddenly spotted my bangles and reached for them. He would remove them from my arm one by one and put them on his arm. Then when he was done with all of the 12 bangles, he would jiggle his arm up and down, creating a nice jingly sound. Then he would take them out one by one again and put them back on my arm, and then repeat the entire process.

When I wore a simple chunky bangle the following night, he also grabbed hold of it and pretended it was a tambourine. I know that’s what he was thinking, cos he was shaking it very much like how we would play a tambourine, and he had been watching Baby Einstein’s Meet the Orchestra a lot.

So is it any wonder why I am so into accessorizing these days? But be careful though, if you are wearing those delicate dangling earrings. Just be sure your toddler doesn’t yank them off!


Scrap Credits
Romantic’s kit from happy-scrap
Polka dotted arrow from Dúnia
Lil Ladybug kit freebie from LorieM Designs

It all happened one fine day a couple of months back, when I was keeping a baby audio CD in our TV drawer cabinet.  I opened the drawer and lo and behold, the kay-poh-chi Ethan came over, peered over my shoulder and saw a Barney DVD set.  He took it out and asked me to play the DVD for him.  His Aunty Pauline was the one who had bought this DVD set so many many moons ago, but at that time, Ethan was very disinterested in it, that’s why we kept it away.

Anyway, I took out one of the DVDs and played it.  Ethan was … transfixed.  He didn’t finish watching it, but he was definitely enjoying himself.  By and by, he began to participate in the activities and action songs in the DVD.  In fact, it is through Barney DVDs that he learnt the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and One Two Buckle My Shoe song, just to name a few.  He can now watch the entire 45 minute to an hour Barney show without interruption.

That’s not all, he sometimes will request for his Barney soft toy too.  This toy was also a present from his Kor Kor but it had been in his cot, untouched for such a long time.  See, here he is posing with Barney, when he was a wee little baby of 5 months’ old:

 

Looks like Barney mania has hit him.  There’s a clip of a Barney live performance in one of the DVDs that Ethan can repeatedly watch over and over again.  He even imitates the way Barney walks (big steps) sometimes.  You know, I still don’t understand the fascination of kids with Barney, but when it causes Ethan to give me a loving adorable kiss on the cheeks after the “I Love You” song, nothing can be sweeter.

 

When Daddy came back from India, you bet I was happy!  It had been days that I had not had a bout of wrestling with him, so I was definitely looking forward to that.  No fun wrestling with Mommy ma…always must let her win. :P

Anyway, a couple of days after Daddy came back, he presented me with a surprise: a new toy!  Boy, was I excited!  Upon first glance, it looked similar to the Fridge Phonics toy I got for Christmas last year. Same color scheme and there were also plenty of alphabets.  There was also the very familiar red musical note button that played the alphabet song, only that it was a different singer.

I soon discovered that this toy is called the Word Whammer, and it is a rather advanced version of the first Fridge Phonics set I have.  Che-wah…Daddy thinks I advanced liao…don play play lo…. With this Word Whammer, I can make many many three letter words.  They have also included two alphabets of certain letters, like “d” and “m”, for example, just so I can make “dad” and “mom”.  I haven’t quite figured out how yet though.

Just the other day, while I was playing with my new toy, I made the word “hoi”, which I think is a very Malaysian word.  How many times have you heard or seen people using it?  Ha…..


Scrap Credits
XOXO template V2,  rayoflight prints and solids & aking hardin alphas, all from fei-fei’s stuff

It all started one day when I decided to get my hair done.  I checked with the salon and my hairdresser told me that a haircut and treatment would take approximately an hour and a half.  It was impossible to ask Ethan to wait around for me for that long a time, so I very sweetly requested Pete to take Ethan for some male bonding time at the mall, while I had some me-time.

And Pete told me that ever since that outing, Ethan has taken a fancy to the flowing water decorations on display at a particular shop in the mall.  Ethan has never noticed these before.  You know what I am referring to?  Yup, those electrically operated pieces of decoration, some with rotating lighted balls, some with mini waterfalls and pretty rocks.  Now, each time we pass this shop that sells them, Ethan would stop and stare, without fail.

I wonder what’s going through his mind when he looks and giggles at these pieces of decorations.  Wait ah Ethan….when we move to a house, we can ask Daddy to get you one, okay?

Last Saturday, after months of procrastination, we finally took Ethan for the free trial parent-toddler class at The Learning Garden in York House in Penang.  We attended the 11:00a.m. session and it lasted for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.  As an afterthought, it probably would have been better had we gone for the earlier class…you’ll see why later…

At first Ethan was quite shy when we first entered the playroom.  The teacher was very friendly and encouraged Ethan to make himself comfortable, and very soon, he was busying himself with the giant lego blocks.  He also found a wooden hammer which resembled the one he had back home, so I suppose he was happy.

The parent-toddler class is broken up into several sessions of activity, the first of which is a freestyle play with toys indoors.  After that, all the kids adjourned to a shaded play area with various activity stations, such as the artist area (complete with easels, paints and paintbrushes), sand pit (scoops, sand toys and lots of sand), a creative corner (with play-doh, glue and paper cutouts), mini-slides, mini houses and a water station.  Much to my surprise, Ethan enjoyed being an artist, complete with the artist apron.  He didn’t seem too keen on paints and brushes when we had the Little Artists playgroup before… When he moved to the sand pit, he was a little apprehensive at first, perhaps because he had not touched sand before.  But soon he was so engrossed with scooping up the sand that he had to forgo the water station, because the time had come for everyone to move on to the next activity.

After we washed his hands (by the way, I absolutely love the taps that were installed for the kids: just the right height!), all the kids moved to the outdoor playground.  I love the special soft padded rubberized surface the playground was built on.  Kids can play around barefooted without hurting their feet.  Ethan immediately grabbed the basketball and held on to it for dear life.  That’s why most of the photos have him holding on to the basketball.  He refused to let go of it even while he was sliding down the slide.  Oh by the way, he also enjoyed doing some slam dunks on the mini basketball net!  How cute is that!?  Future MVP, perhaps?

Next up, the kids were all given some biscuits and water, given that they would definitely be hungry and thirsty by then.  Ethan boy had TWO helpings of biscuits (that’s two bowls), and finished every bit of it.  He really eats a lot but I just don’t know where the food goes.

I could tell Ethan was pretty tired then.  Pete and I were also very hungry too (that’s why we ought to have gone for the earlier class), but there was still one last activity remaining.  Everyone gathered in the music room, sang some songs and watched a video about the very hungry caterpillar (which made us even hungrier).  While most of the kids remained in the story-telling area however, busybody Ethan chose to explore the area and ventured up the stairs.

After everything was over, we all sang the goodbye song and the kids were all given stickers.  Ethan, who had to wait for his turn, was rather impatient, so he ran away at first without his sticker.  We had to take him to the teacher in the end, and she very nicely gave him a special teddy bear sticker :)

We have yet to decide if we want to enrol for the class though.  The parent-toddler class was a very good experience for Ethan and we could tell he really enjoyed himself. He’s probably ready for some good fun and mingling around with kids too now.  So we’ll wait and see.

Anyway, we had expected Ethan to fall asleep in the afternoon after all the playing around, but instead, it was Daddy who fell asleep!  Ethan only drifted off to dreamland at 6:30p.m.!!!  We had to wake him up to go out for dinner at about 8:00p.m.


Scrap Credits
Close knit-sampler from
Kim B’s Designs

Stitched heart and Stamp Cluster from Lindsay Jane Designs
Star doodle: Doodle Me Big from Mikkel Paige Originals
Into the Mystic embellishments from Wenchd Grafix

Boxed words from Chantal
Sweet Serenity Alphas from Shabby Princess Designs

Here’s another parenting tip I have learnt.  Toddlers ADORE chopsticks.  Okay, I know they might poke themselves in the eyes with it, but when push comes to shove, we just gotta let them play, be themselves and well…. just keep a watchful eye.  Anyway, a few days ago we were having our family dinner in Old Town and Ethan suddenly decided he wanted to stand up in his high chair and wouldn’t sit still.

After a bit of struggling, I offered him my pair of chopsticks, and he eagerly took them, proceeding to *play* on the table.  It really looked like a professional jamming session, I tell ya.  Check out the intensity on his face as he plays to the rhythm.  It’s no wonder he enjoys Baby Einstein’s Meet the Orchestra so much, yes… especially the Percussion section.

Yesterday evening, as Ethan and I were hanging out at home while Daddy had his futsal game, we watched American Idol. It was the first episode of the season and the program showed people attending the auditions in Philadelphia. All of a sudden, the show played the song “I Love Rock n’ Roll” - you know the song that was made popular by Joan Jett? As soon as Ethan heard the song play, he gave me a big grin, stood up and began *dancing*… he turned round and round on the floor and kicked and tapped his legs to the rhythm. And he even did all this while holding on to his Yakult bottle. Of course I spurred him on by singing the song and dancing too! Unfortunately, we were having so much fun that I only managed to capture the last bit of his dance, which was energetic but not as much as the part which was not captured on video. Apparently his love for this song is not a fluke because he was dancing again to it when they repeated the American Idol episode later that night and also when I hummed the tune to him this morning.

Everybody sing together now:
“I love rock n’ roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby!”

Today, I had the opportunity to revisit the solution to the Rubik’s cube.  I first learnt how to solve it when I was in secondary school, and have been out of touch since.  But today, because Michelle brought a miniature version of the cube to work, I decided to try and see if I could remember how to solve it.  I borrowed the cube back home to attempt solving it, and also to ask Pete if ever I got stuck… hehe…. and I am mighty pleased with myself that I have succeeded!  Yay! *pats myself on back*

Well, Ethan too was fascinated with that miniature colorful cube.  Look at how intently he is concentrating on turning the colorful sides of the cube… all except that last picture, of course!  Perhaps he too will learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube in due course, with Daddy and Mommy’s guidance, most definitely! :D

Two Saturdays ago, I received an SMS from Paik Ling who informed me that Ethan’s photo had appeared in the December issue of the Mother & Baby magazine.  Naturally I was filled with pride like any mother would and I was also anxious to get myself a copy, because I wanted to know which photo of his had been selected.  That weekend, I scoured every bookstore I came across in Penang, but unfortunately the December issue was not available yet.  The Klang Valley stores usually get their stock way faster than Penang’s, so I was resigned to wait a few more days because the magazine was still not available even on Monday.

Then on Friday, Jojo’s mommy IMed me to congratulate me because she spotted Ethan’s picture in the mag.  Apparently she had just bought her copy that very same day from a bookstore in Queensbay Mall.  I was excited because I would finally be able to get a copy that evening too, since that’s where we normally will have dinner Friday nights.

So immediately after dinner, we stopped at Borders to get ourselves a copy.  This is the first time Ethan’s photo has appeared in a magazine although I have been dilligently submitting his photos off and on.  I am so very proud of him :)  Hopefully this will be the first of many many more to come!

Turns out that Jojo’s mommy had a good reason to buy this month’s magazine too, because one of Jojo’s picture had been chosen as well!  Congratulations Jojo! :)


Scrap credits: Kit from retrodiva {designs}™, frame from Anita Designs

Last month, Mommy told me that Rinnah jie-jiehad tagged me. I asked Mommy what a tag is, and she gave me a really LONG and complicated explanation which I don’t really understand. After some time, I finally found out that all Rinnah jie-jie wanted was to get to know Mommy a little bit better. She wanted me to list down eight facts about Mommy.

  1. Mommy has given me the best nutrition ever: yummy breastmilk! I am proud to proclaim that I was exclusively breastfed for 6 months and even after I started on solids, Mommy continued breastfeeding me. I only started taking some formula milk when I was 15.5 months’ old but you know what, just between you and me, it sure doesn’t taste as good as Mommy’s milk!
  2. Mommy loves music. And it shows, because she has such a very sweet voice. I love it when she sings to me. She sings when she is dressing me up, and she sings when she is tucking me in for the night. My favorite songs are “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”, “In His Time”, “The Wheels on the Bus” and the theme song from Little Einsteins. Christmas is coming soon, and I know I am looking forward to all the Christmas carols Mommy will be singing then. Sometimes I hear Mommy and Daddy discussing something about karaokay singing. I don’t know what that is, but it appears that Mommy is pretty into that as well. Mommy can dance very well too. I hope to take after her ability one day. I learnt that Mommy performed in front of large crowds for some concert before. But I am still a beginner. For starters, I am trying to learn the Mouskadance from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I can stomp my feet very well to the rhythm and I love it when Mommy joins in too. She also likes to do the waltz and rumba with me… I can’t wait to learn other dance genres, which I hope Mommy will be teaching me soon. Oh yeah, Mommy also plays the piano! It’s too bad that we don’t have a piano here in Penang but when I visited Ah Ma and Ah Kong in Ipoh, Mommy played a few tunes on the piano there and also allowed me to have a go at it. It really made me feel like a maestro!
  3. Mommy is good in the kitchen. I have tasted her claypot chicken rice and it is sensational. Even her plain porridge tastes good. She also can make great soup. Well, everything tastes super good when Mommy cooks them and feeds it to me.
  4. Mommy smells good all the time. Sometimes I cannot tahan and I kiss her on the cheek. I like to see the marks I make on her cheek when I do that, but I don’t know why she always says “Ouch!” when I kiss her. Even her hair smells heavenly. So heavenly that I can’t resist chomping on it. I don’t know why Mommy and Daddy keep telling me “No” when I put some of Mommy’s hair in my mouth.
  5. Mommy loves shopping, and now I do too! Mommy and Daddy take me shopping every weekend. Our favorite haunt is Queensbay Mall, and I especially love it when Daddy drives us up and down the ramp leading to the multi-storey car park. Because of the uneven surface of the ramp, it makes me go “Aaaaaahhhhhh……” and I love doing so because it makes my voice vibrate as the car moves :) It’s just fun fun fun!!!
  6. Mommy has so many handbags and purses. She sometimes allows me to play with her wallet, which is a bright red Coach wallet. Red is my favorite color, so that explains why I love it so much. Inside Mommy’s wallet, there are so many cards for me to play with. There’s something about cards that make me happy. Mommy sometimes asks me to get Daddy’s credit card from him, but I don’t know which one it is yet. I’m attracted to the gold ones though.
  7. Mommy loves to watch TV. I think her favorite programs right now are Desperate Housewives and America’s Next Top Model, when she’s not watching the Playhouse Disney Channel with me. Because of Mommy’s preference for these programs, I am also drawn to these programs now. And you know, I do find them interesting because there are so many pretty girls in those shows! Heh. My eyes will light up with excitement and I will clap my hands with glee when I hear the theme songs of those two programs come on.
  8. Mommy is a very generous person. She always shares her meal with me when we go out, with the exception of Friday’s of course… at Friday’s, I get one whole plate of spaghetti all to myself (see how happy I am in that photo above? That was from our last visit to Friday’s)! One of my favorite meals is Old Town’s Chicken Hor Fun, which Mommy always orders and shares with me. I love how Mommy twirls the koay teow around the chopsticks and feeds them to me. I love how the koay teow slides down my throat when I take a mouthful of it. That’s why I hardly chew it.  Lately, I heard Mommy commenting to Daddy that she may need to order one whole bowl for me next time. Goody! Hehe… more for me to eat! But I can’t wait to taste the really authentic kai see hor fun from Mommy’s hometown, Ipoh. She tells me that that’s really, really good.

Completing this tag means I get to find out what my other friends feel about their mommies too. So I am passing the baton on to:

Wei Xuan
Sze Yi
Charlotte


Scrap Papers and Elements from retrodiva {designs}™

This year saw Ethan owning his first lanterns for the annual Lantern Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival. Ethan’s lanterns were nothing like the ones I had as a little girl; I used to carry colorful lanterns decorated with sugar paper, fixed to a wooden stick, and lit by a solitary candle. But the lanterns of today run on batteries, is lit by a bulb and emits music. In any case, kids still love them!

Ethan got a lantern in the shape of a bear from Mrs Tan, his baby sitter and another one in the shape of a piggy from his Ipoh Ah Ma. At first he was rather disinterested in the bear lantern, but by and by, he took a liking to it. On the actual night of the Lantern Festival a week ago, I planned on taking Ethan downstairs by our apartment swimming pool to walk around with his lantern. However, my plan backfired when his bear lantern became extremely hot after we changed the batteries in it. At that time, he didn’t have his piggy lantern yet, so not wanting to disappoint him, we just went downstairs anyway and had a nice moonlit walk round the pool.

Then just last weekend, when my parents came for a visit, Ethan was thrilled to receive his piggy lantern. No worries that the festival has already passed, because Ethan simply adores the lantern. We put the lantern on our dining table, and Ethan would run to the table, place his hands on it, and tip toe and gesture for us to get the lantern for him. I personally feel this piggy lantern suits him more; the bear one looks a little big for him to handle. It has been raining for the past few nights, so we have not managed to take him downstairs to walk around with the lantern just yet. But it certainly looks like he is contented to play with it in the comfort of our home, doesn’t it?

“Let it shine, let it shine, let it….
SHINE!”

Okay, don’t shoot me because this is going to be yet another post on Friday’s.  But I don’t care what you say because we LOVE the food there.  The service is excellent and the ambience is just awesome.  Last night will go down as one of the best Friday’s outing we ever experienced.

When we arrived at the restaurant, they had this set meal promotion going on where a set of an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert costs RM39.90++.  I immediately decided on ordering this set when a quick check assured me that the mocha mud pie was one of the two dessert options available.  Well, we ended up ordering TWO sets and of course, the kid’s spaghetti for Ethan.

All I can say is the food was so good, I would literally make space in my stomach if I had to!  Hehe…I finally got a chance to taste that elusive and much-talked-about mocha mud pie!  By the time we were done, we could barely move!

Ethan, on the other hand, was very excited about the entire experience.  No sooner had he finished his meal, he began walking around and gestured for us to bring him to the washroom to wash his hands.  Over and over again.  Then he would giggle loudly when one of the servers in Friday’s played with him.  When a birthday song was sung in Friday’s, Ethan enthusiastically clapped his hands and smiled widely.  Sometimes he would shout “Aaaahhhhh….” as if he was singing too!  Sporting his new “2nd in Command After Dad” t-shirt, you could tell Ethan was very much at home there.  And when we were about to leave, he cheerfully waved buh-bye to all and sundry.  Oh, and of course we took home another balloon :D

So, you tell me, did Ethan enjoy himself?

Who would’ve thought Ethan would inherit the love for karaoke singing from Mommy? I’m referring to his amazing ability to sing to the Little Einsteins theme song. Of course, he can’t sing along to all the words in that song just yet, but it’s certainly a start. Even without the words displayed on the TV screen, he will sing along to the “Aaaaahhhhh…..” part when the theme song of Little Einsteins plays. He also does the same thing when I sing the song to him, but he prefers it now with musical accompaniment. Oh yeah, the real lyrics actually go “Rrrrrrrrrrrr….” but Ethan does it HIS way :P

We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship
Zooming through the skies, Little Einsteins
Climb aboard, get ready to explore
There’s so much to find, Little Einsteins
We’re going on a mission, start the countdown
5–4–3-2-1!
Everyone to rocket, rev it up now…….
“Rrrrrrrrrrrrr……..”

The first part of this video is his more subdued rendition of the song, followed by a livelier, extended remix, as you can hear me saying in the background :P

So Lucky!




Here’s the Toyota ad that makes Ethan laugh every time he sees it on TV. Even when he is playing with his toys or not looking at the TV screen, he will turn to look as soon as he hears the music from this ad, transfixed and paying full attention … and then he will laugh. He will giggle when the guy in the ad gets his head hit, or when the guy gets splashed with water and he will laugh at the last part when the lady smirks and says, “So lucky!”There’s something about Toyota ads that get Ethan’s attention. Could it be because we drive a Vios? Maybe…. He was also very intrigued by the Genie ad… and he also likes the Yaris, Avanza and the VVT-i ads. The only Toyota ad that he is not attracted to is the Camry one. Why? We’ll make it a point to ask him when he is older.

This settles it once and for all! When I read about the Look-alike Meter at Charlotte’s blog, I just couldn’t resist trying it out for myself too…so many people have said Ethan looks like me, especially the eyes, it seems…. but yet, a lot of people have commented he looks like his Daddy too. I don’t blame them, especially since the striking resemblance is hard to ignore.

So who is right?

Well, 3% is still a wee bit slight advantage :) Heh heh…. but the small percentage could also mean another thing:

Pete and I look alike too!

Remember the studio photos Ethan took some time back? Yeah, the one that came with the beautifully framed photo…. Well, Mommy the procrastinator has been dilly dallying about making a short movie/presentation using all those adorable photos. Unfortunately nothing materialized thus far… up until last week! I requested Ethan’s Ah Koo (my brother Allan) to make a short movie from those photos in his spare time, because I had seen some of his work and I was impressed with them.

And would you know it, a few days later, he produced the following masterpiece. Awesome or not?

Just about a month ago, I reintroduced Baby Einstein to Ethan. I had played the DVDs for him before when he was a few months old, but all he was interested in then was the caterpillar that appeared on the screen before the show began. So last month when Charlotte’s mummy came back from the States, I saw the opportunity it presented and asked her to get me one of the Baby Einstein DVDs. I got Baby Van Gogh, which was all about colors.

When I put the DVD on for Ethan, once again he was attracted to the caterpillar, and giggled as if in recognition. And when the show began, I could tell he was completely mesmerized by the vivid colors and beautiful music. He would sit down (or sometimes stand) transfixed, watching the program. The show lasted a good 30 minutes and I was amazed that he managed to sit through most of it.

Last Friday, I brought the Baby Van Gogh DVD to share with the rest of my Mommy friends in exchange for another one, and ended up with Baby Einstein Numbers Nursery and a Baby Neptune VCD. It turns out Ethan simply LURVES both of these! He especially likes the part where there are kids being shown, and even laughs out loud when the kids are pictured in close-up! Nowadays, in the mornings before we leave for work and when we get home after work, Ethan would point and gesture to the Baby Einstein DVDs and ask us to play it for him. We used to put the DVDs on the TV cabinet, within his reach, but since he began *helping* himself to it, we moved the DVDs up to our wall shelf. Still, amazingly, he knows where it is, and motions for us to get it for him.

Yesterday, even though he was feeling slightly under the weather, even though he was coughing and had a slight fever, he still requested to watch Baby Einstein. Over and over and over again. And you know what? I think the music in that DVD will play in my head for a long, long time.

I’m getting more Baby Einstein DVDs soon :)

Last Saturday morning Ethan woke up in a kind of pensive mood. It was raining and we had breakfast at home and later went out for a quick lunch.

Ethan was soon to find out that he would be attending his very first birthday party that evening. Well, besides his own birthday party in January, that is. It was little Ching Ern’s birthday and that evening we arrived just as the guest of honor arrived. :)

Ethan wasted no time in getting acquainted with his surroundings. Almost immediately, he spotted the staircase and insisted on going up. Pete and I had to take turns attending to him while we ate.

Ching Ern’s Mommy and Daddy really went all out in making sure the party was enjoyable! There were party bags for all the kids and birthday favors in the form of chocolates too. We tried to make Ethan wear the cone-shaped party hat, but he yanked it off his head (as expected). Actually he tore the hat at first and then we managed to fix it and put it on his head, and THEN he yanked it off!

Ethan met a lot of old and new friends also, but it was definitely a challenge getting them to pose nicely for the camera.

Ethan was really enjoying himself during the party. When he wasn’t climbing up the stairs, he was walloping the whole mini box of raisins that came along with the goodie bag, or giggling loudly when we blew on the party toy…you know the kind of whistle that has a tube of paper attached to it and the tube will extend when one blows on it? That totally cracked him up big time!

And at one time, he even took a breather, just to rest his head :)

One of Ching Ern’s presents was a little ride-on car which had all the toddlers excited. It was so hard to get the kids to leave the toy alone that in the end all we could do was take photos of them playing with it! We are bloggers, after all!

And the highlight of the evening, besides the cake-cutting ceremony, was when we tried to put all the kids in a row on the couch to take a picture. I was skeptical the plan would work, but anyhow we managed to get some good shots. Well, almost… :P In the process of trying to get the kids to smile, we adults started clapping our hands joyfully. Soon, one by one, the kids all joined in the clapping extravaganza. Doesn’t Ethan look like he is totally relaxing on the sofa?

What a good time we had at the party! Happy Birthday Ching Ern!

Recently we noticed that Ethan gets easily agitated when faced with strangers, especially those in close proximity with him. It was as if he felt his personal space being invaded when these strangers come into close contact with him. Strangers to him also meant people whom he had not seen in a long while, friends and relatives included. This behavior is especially apparent when the *stranger* looks at him and starts *talking* to him. It could be just a harmless “Hello!” or “Hi!” and Ethan would retort with a sharp whine and squeal as if to say “Don’t disturb me!” Surprisingly, he is okay in the malls where there are lots of people around but when these people start interacting with him, he becomes uncomfortable. I’ve read and heard that this is a phase some toddlers go through.

So Pete and I decided that we needed to put a change to that and make him less afraid of strangers. We reckoned we could turn things around if we brought him to places where there were a lot of people who would interact with him, and vice versa. This does not just mean the malls, but gatherings and parties as well.

Last weekend gave us two opportunities to do so. The first was a barbecue party with Pete’s co-workers at Gold Coast. Ethan was obviously very uncomfortable among all the people there and stuck to Pete and me like glue. It was really hot too, so that did not help the situation at all. Nevertheless, Ethan was very fascinated by the swimming pool and we had to take him there several times just to make him happy. There was also a mini playground area, with a rotational tic-tac-toe board which kept him occupied for a while too. Oh, and he went topless for the second part of the evening because of the immense heat :P And because he would not let Pete or me go, we could not take any pictures to commemorate the occasion. But just imagine this: Barbecued ribs, grilled shrimp, smoky air, very HOT. ’nuff said.

Two days later on Sunday, I took Ethan to his playgroup. This time saw the most attendees ever since we started the playgroup. Ethan and I were the first to arrive at Charlotte’s house. I brought along Ethan’s toy train to be shared with the rest of the kiddies when they arrived (was I glad I did, because it was met with enthusiasm from all the kids!). Wei Xuan, Hin Lerk, Ching Ern and Sze Yi also came armed with their toys, full of energy and of course, with their Mommies.

Throughout the playgroup, Ethan was very vocal, although we could not comprehend what he was trying to say. Of course, we entertained him by responding in a manner we thought he understood. We were actually hoping that Ethan would be able to pick up a few words from Wei Xuan, but instead Xuan chose to communicate with Ethan in a language only Ethan and she could understand: baby blabbering! That was hilarious!

I really feel the playgroup is an excellent avenue for the kids to enjoy themselves and interact with other kids. It is so important to have that available for them especially at this formative age, because they can learn so many things: Sharing, imitating (good things, I hope), leadership and expressing themselves, among others. Plus, it is a good time for us mothers to chit chat too!

So we had two group interaction sessions for Ethan over the weekend, and guess what, we are already reaping the benefits. Yesterday when we were in the lift and 2 other people came in, Ethan was not that shy anymore! He did not let out a cry of disdain when they spoke to him, instead he smiled at them, lifted his arm and then leaned his head on Pete’s shoulder. This morning he did the same thing when one uncle came into the lift with us too! I definitely see progress! :)

When Ethan was hardly 2 months old, Pete went to the States for a short business trip and brought back, among others, a Fisher Price infant-to-toddler-rocker.  This little chair had a toy bar attached to it with 3 toys dangling from it: a pig, a lamb and a cow, which played Old McDonald’s when its tail was pulled.  That’s not all, it also came with a vibration mode which supposedly helps baby relax.  We loved the chair and so did Ethan… it helped him practise his batting and hitting skills (he would punch at the toys when he was lying down on the chair and excitedly play with the rattles) and I remember we were absolutely thrilled the very first time he pulled that cow’s tail and made music!  Well, this toy has certainly transcended time, and it is a really useful toy, because we still use it.  Yup….up till today….

At a few months’ old, Ethan used this chair just to relax and pass time looking and playing with the toys (this was before he learnt how to roll over):

 

Then when he could cruise, this was one of his favorite items to cruise around:

 

Sometimes (actually we still do) we put him in the chair to have a short nap:

 

Now, he has mastered the art of climbing on top of the chair all on his own and down again.  And finally he has also learnt how to enjoy the rocker function too!

Here’s to a toy that absolutely RAWKS!

Ethan ADORES music.  As mentioned in my earlier 13th month report, he would clap his hands whenever he hears any music being played.  When the TV is tuned to MTV, he would pause to look at the TV and clap his hands.  When he plays with his toys that emit music, he would clap his hands and smile.  Last night after watching American Idol, I was singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and he clapped when he heard me singing… is that awesome or what?

So far he has 2 musical intrument-like toys.  The first one given by Ethan’s Ah Koo and Ah Kim is a mini keyboard with options to choose different sounds of different musical instruments.  We can produce tunes on the keyboard itself, but there is also a shortcut button.  When the shortcut button is pressed, the toy will play one of 4 melodies.  Our boy has learnt the shortcut “key” and will press this button to get the melody and then clap his hands in glee! Pssst….. I think it was Daddy who taught him the shortcut button!

The other musical instrument toy is a banjo, presented to Ethan by Uncle Kong Aik, one of Pete’s colleagues.  Ethan hasn’t quite mastered it yet, but he certainly tries!  He still claps his hands when we play the tunes on the banjo for him though.

We decided to change our Astro subscription to include the Fun mini package, comprising Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and the ever popular Playhouse Disney Channel (PHDC).

With programs such as Barney, Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we think it would be great for Ethan in his growing up years. Right now, he would listen and watch intently as if he understands every word. But his attention span is still very short, and he will only watch for about 5 minutes tops.

For Mommy and Daddy, we added in the Movies package. Hehehe…. after all, we hardly can go to the cineplex nowadays, so it makes sense to have the Movies come to us at home.

Of course, to have these new packages, we sacrificed our Dynasty package and News, which we hardly ever watch anyway.

Here’s to Home Entertainment!

 

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