Something my daughter wrote last year

Haven't updated in yonks. Here's something Erin wrote last year.

Just wanna share....

"I am six years old.

I am slim and tall. I am the only girl in the family. I have no brothers and sisters. My parents love me very much, but I still feel lonely at times.

I like to play with my friends at school, but I must listen to teacher when I am having lessons.

I like to do many things with my friends when we don't have school. I love to sing and dance very much. I like to see interesting animals do different things.

I am happy that we are good people, because if we are not good people, we might be sent to jail."

My daughter surprises me every day...

We were watching "2012", and as scene after scene of mass destruction unfolded -- buildings collapsing like cakes without yeast, expressways breaking up like kit-kat bars, terrible explosions, blinding storms and 10-storey high tsunamis --- my daughter turned to my wife and pronounced, "This makes me feel so good to be alive!"

And we're off to New Zealand for 2 weeks! To live, to laugh, to love...and to feel alive again.

See you all soon!

Care Package

Sent a care package to Eleanor a few weeks back. I was worried I wouldn't be able to fill it up, but thankfully, I managed to stuff it with quite a lot of things.


It reached her safe and sound. Coincidentally, a coursemate of hers received a box of a similar size, and it contained one right shoe! Apparently, he left for NY in such a hurry he packed two left shoes!

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Five Minutes

I was walking with Erin to buy breakfast. As we crossed the courtyard (which is really a bare patch of concrete dotted with some young shrubs and trees), Erin stopped, and turned to a nearby bench.

Erin called out, "Daddy, come sit with me!"

I glanced at the darkening sky, and replied, "Erin, it might rain very soon. We need to buy our breakfast now!"

Erin had already sat on the bench. She patted the space next to her and repeated, "We're always rushing around. Daddy, come sit with me."

I capitulated, thinking it wouldn't take more than five minutes.

As soon as I joined her, she clasped her hand in mine and leaned close.

"Isn't this nice? Daddy, let's enjoy the day!"

I leaned back, stretched out my legs and smiled.

Erin looked around her, and pointed, "Look Daddy! There are some beautiful flowers and trees!" She ran to the shrubs, and chased a butterfly which just happened to fly past. Then, she plucked a flower and gave it to me.

I hazarded a guess, "I think it's called a hibiscus, dear."

(Actually it was a peacock flower.)

Erin cocked her head, and said quizzically, "Hi-biscuit? It's not a hi-biscuit!"

I laughed, "No darling. A hibiscus."

Erin dashed to the shrubs again and gingerly placed the flower on the leaves.

"Daddy, come and find the hibiscus! I hid it!"

I went over, and pointed to the flower. Erin and I shared a laugh, and we went on our way.

It was the best five minutes I ever spent with Erin.

Why I Need A New Mattress

Published in the June issue of Motherhood!

"Come and experience 2 hours of exhilarating fun swinging from tree to tree five metres above the ground!"

The website says.

Five metres above ground? Hmph, I swear my 5-year-old daughter Erin jumps that high when she watches Kung Fu Panda and reenacts the fight scenes on the family bed! I have a concave mattress to prove it.

Swinging from tree to tree? I snorted at the computer screen. Must be a figure of speech, because photos show children wearing helmets and safety harnesses, instead swinging on vines ala Tarzan.

What I was most attracted to was "2 hours of exhilarating fun". Yup, Erin will be occupied for 2 blissful hours while I sit down and lim ko pi. After all that exhilaration, she'll probably need some rest, which gives me another 2 hours to do whatever I want. Sounds good, no?

In no time at all, I was on my way to Bedok Reservoir Park with Erin.

It was rather easy to find, but what the guide books don't tell you is that you need to walk another 300m from the nearest car park to the actual venue. Erin and I enjoyed the walk nonetheless, thanks to the cool afternoon breeze.

When we finally reached the site, we saw an intricate suspension of boards, planks, ropes connecting one tree to another. And although we were there on a weekday afternoon, we saw quite a few kids carefully negotiating their way from one tree to the next. My heart skipped a beat when I didn't see any nets, but then each kid was wearing a harness and secured to a safety line.

Erin's eyes widened like saucers. "You mean I get to go up there?" She asked. "Yup!" I said. She promptly gave out several squeals of delight. "Quick! Quick! I wanna go! Now!"

My initial fears that Erin would back out of the course evaporated. "That's my daughter all right." I thought proudly. A friendly instructor got Erin suited up in a helmet and harness, and she was on her way, climbing up a ladder to her first challenge. Erin was to move from one tree to the next by walking on suspended planks.

The first hint of trouble came when the instructor asked Erin to stretch her arms repeatedly to touch the pulley. She's supposed to be able to push the pulley in order to move from one challenge to the next. But Erin's arms were clearly just a tad too short to do so.

The instructor looked straight at me and said, "I'm afraid I've gotta let her down. She needs to come back when she's a bit older, say, in 6 months' time."

"But, but..." I stammered, as I saw Erin's face fall.

To the instructor's credit, he was really nice about it, and told me he understood how disappointed I was, having taken time off work specially to spend time with my daughter. He also offered to let Erin down the zip line (what's more commonly known as the Flying Fox) instead of having her climb down the ladder, so that the trip wouldn't be a total waste. Finally, he offered to give me a voucher so that Erin could come back in 6 months' time for free.

I appreciated the fact that the instructor had Erin's safety in mind, but I was reluctant to let Erin give up without giving it the first challenge a try at least. The instructor agreed, so Erin got to walk to the first tree, then return to the starting point. Erin's face showed slight nervousness but she overcame it by taking one step at a time. And she made it in the end! And when she came down the zip line, she was all smiles again!

When we went to collect the voucher, the instructor praised Erin for not kicking up a fuss. Indeed, I was very proud that Erin had taken the news quite calmly, and promised to reward her with an ice-cream. Just as I was thinking these happy thoughts, I heard the instructor say, "So Erin, you have to take more vegetables and take up skipping so that you can be taller and stronger okay?" Erin nodded enthusiastically, and started jumping in agreement. "Oh no!" I thought, "I need to buy a new mattress!"

We went again 6 months after I wrote the above article. I think her smile says it all!


Erin turns 6

Erin turns 6 today.

This was what happened, as she was putting on her sandals.

I said, "Erin, you know what day it is today? It's your birthday!"

She probed, "Daddy, do I look mysterious? Do I look different?"

It took 2 full seconds before I answered, "No darling."

She was crestfallen, "You mean I'm still 5?"

I didn't quite know what to say, "You're 6, darling! You're 6!"

But I wonder.

Happy birthday, my darling!

The light of my life


I Miss My Wife

Sigh. Will be joining her in NYC on 2 Jul though.

Will stay for 3 days, head up to Boston. Will spend a couple of days there before going down to Washington DC. Then hurry back to NYC for more musical-watching, shopping and whatnot before coming home to be with Erin.

Any recommendations on what to do, where to go?

Clowning around with Gabriel

Aiya, was hurt when wife said, "XX and YY behave so lovingly together, like 老夫老妻, unlike us."

So I asked Gabriel to take photos of us as the first of my 3-part Valentine's Day present. We enjoyed our brief session tremendously; looking at the results, I couldn't be happier.

Gabriel was worried after looking at the photos he took and messaged me, "Is it okay if there are so many wacky photos of your family?" My reply, "Of course! That's us!"


My beautiful wife. She still takes my breath away

Can always count on Erin to spice up the photo!

Gabriel had a hard time finding a pic which has the three of us looking at the camera!

More beautiful photos here!

Next up, Valentine's Day dinner at our favourite restaurant of the moment, House, and weekend getaway to Bali (we might go here)!

Jacob Ballas / Oranges

Brought Erin to the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden on Sunday. Eleanor was in Bangkok, so it was just Erin and me.

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Here's an example of why I love her so:

I like oranges. So I was peeling one halfway when Erin stretched out an open palm at me and shook it, indicating that I should hand the orange over to her. I did, and she took it and started to peel it. Piece by piece. It was tough work, and she had to exert a lot of strength to finish the job. Despite my protests, she continued until the orange was peeled. Then she handed the orange to me with a smile. I thanked her, and she said two words that melted my heart yet again, "My pleasure."