Her Latest 3-syllable Words at the Age of 20 Months


Last night, while I was drinking a TCM drink called “lengyang”, my little cupcake asked me what was that and she skilfully and accurately repeated the word after me.

Grandma said she might not understand “lengyang”.  So we told her the English name instead: Antelope Horn Drink.  She went “An Te Lope!”  Pause.  “Horn!”  Pause.  “Drink!”   So cute!

As I am writing this… I just realised… she would not understand what Antelope Horn Drink is either!!!! Haha!!!


She has been able to refer to strawberries for a few months now.  But it was never a complete nor well spoken word.  She used to say “aw…. bewwy”.  Now she can say “strawberry” albeit the “str” sound still seems a slightly inaccurate.

Hey Diddle Diddle

These aren’t a 3-syllable word but I wanna pen it down still cos she says it so adorably!!!  And she loves to repeat and repeat (when she wants to).

Whenever she wants me to read this rhyme to her, she will hold my face, look into my eyes and go “hey diddle diddle”.  Then she will scoot to get the book of nursery rhymes while chanting “diddle diddle. diddle diddle. diddle diddle… ”  Sigh…. so cute.


Ok… to be precise….. she can’t really say this word yet.  But she will say “eh phant” when she sees an elephant.  Still thrilling to me nonetheless.


Now, let’s talk a little bit about her mastery of the Teochew language.  Unfortunately, this dept is moving rather slowly cos Ah Mah and Ah Gong still use baby language with her.

  • bor (could say this with open swinging palms since she could sit up)
  • wu (have)
  • pak pak (beat beat)
  • pai pai (naughty)
  • bang sai (pass motion)
  • guai guai (good girl)
  • jiak (eat)
  • dak (stick on an anti mosquito patch)
  • gak (throw away)
  • mai (don’t want – used abundantly like the English word “no”)

She still uses a lot of English with them.  I think Ah Mah and Ah Gong are learning more English from her than she is learning Teochew from them.

How about Mandarin?  Well… this one still got a loooOOOOooong way to go cos I’m super lousy with this language too.  Her most accurate now is “hao chi ma?” (is this nice to eat?)

Of Pink Dots and White Shirts (in Singapore)

NOTE: I was not triggered to write this because of the Pink Dot itself or the Wear White movement itself (which by themselves are peaceful things).  I was compelled by the online angry remarks I saw that resulted from those 2 movements.

When the Singapore Govt announced the building of big time casinos in Singapore, and when activists stood up to voice their views, I chimed in.  Casinos were clearly harmful to heartlanders and I did not see my stand as being politically incorrect nor socially insensitive.  I saw the government’s decision as an economically driven one and knew that it was unlikely to be dropped.  But it was still ok to stand up for what I believed in to strengthen a voice that hopefully would be heeded.  It did not look likely to turn into a civil war.

Now comes the ping-pong game between the LGBT community, those who support their choice of the unconventional partner and those who don’t… and I stay silent.  Well… not quite since I’m writing this blog.  But “silent” as in I do not go around involving myself in obviously anger-driven self-righteous debates.

Now… why do I stay “silent”?  Think about it… where is all this angered debates leading to?  More unity or more division?  More resentment or more mutual respect and understanding?  More inner peace or turbulence?  They probably lead to greater fears which lead to actions that cause greater anger, unhappiness and maybe even hatred.  And of course… probably more fractures in this already-small and fragile society.

Some* LGBTs want to be heard because they fear that they may not be truly accepted or be truly free – and they are fighting for that freedom.  Well… with all these heated debates, I think they are causing others to have more fear of them.  (*I say some cos I’m sure some are not interested in any of these ping pong stuff and just wanna live life.)

Those who want the LGBTs to quieten down do so because they fear that their children will get influenced.  Well… with all these heated debates, I think the children are getting more influenced by and exposed to the LGBT community in a negative way.

For the LGBT who feels discriminated and don’t feel free… hey… I think you have it pretty good in Singapore already (can walk on the streets without getting assaulted, can get jobs, can buy house, can have straight friends like me ;p ).  The feeling of freedom is up to you – within you – and how you interact with people.  No need to play ping-pong and get all angry and upset.  And don’t play it up so much till you end up doing the exact thing you originally wanted to take down – i.e. discrimination against people with different views and taking away their freedom!

Everybody faces discrimination some how…. discriminated cos of gender, race, religion, age, even physical stature, intellect, wealthy/poor, pretty/handsome.  We all face discrimination in some form or other.  What I’m trying to say is… LGBTs are not a specially targeted group… cos everybody is targeted somehow.  So I don’t like it when some LGBTs exhibit the victim mentality when they are so much better off than the poor and suffering, the human-trafficked-for-sex-trade and more.

I’ve read remarks from both sides.  I get what the pro white shirts want.  I also get what the pro pink dots are saying.  But I think the problem is that they are not listening to each other correctly and getting all heated up instead!!!  Those having heated debates are seeing through tainted (red) eyes!  I see it as LGBTs just want to be less discriminated.  Those who stand by conservative values just want to protect their children.  That’s it!!! All sounds harmless enough.  Instead of forcing one way through, shouldn’t we be trying to figure out how to have both desires met?  Maybe society has to go through all these to-ing and fro-ing before reaching equilibrium.  Maybe.

At the end of the day, I still want to live in a harmonious Singapore with Singaporeans who love one another regardless of race, language or religion … and may I add… sexual orientation.



P.S.1: To Christians who might view my choice to stay “silent” as “not making a stand for God”: “How about your children?” you might ask.  Well, my children will be taught the values and beliefs I have, including being resilient to their changing surroundings.  Do your best.  Live the way God wants you to live.  Suffer trials and tribulations if you must (including being discriminated because you are someone with “outdated” values).  Always be ready to help others understand your point of view, if they are willing and ready.  Have a quiet & listening spirit and leave the rest to God.  Be peace makers; choose your battles wisely.  Live and let live.


P.S.2: To those curious as to what my stand is after saying so much: As a Christian, I stand by God’s Word that marriage is between a man and a woman.  The definition of a man, to me, is one born with male genitals.  The definition of a woman, is one born with female genitals.  And for those who were born with both genitals or other abnormalities, life (e.g. parents or doctors) could have already made that choice for them while they were still infants (or they could choose when they grow up).  It doesn’t matter whether a man is sissy or a girl is tomboy.  The man is still a man and the girl is still a girl.  There are men who don’t mind marrying manly women and there are women who don’t mind marrying effeminate men.  And there are the “typical” fine men and women who choose not to marry or never met the right person of the opposite sex – they fill their lives with family and good friends and activities like tennis, swimming, soccer… or pigging out!!!  Without the responsibilities of family, some devote it to helping the needy.

That’s my definition of the world of genders, marriage, and single-hood.


P.S.3: I’m not against movements like the Wear White and Pink Dot movements.  If not for feminist movements, women today would probably still be a lot more oppressed in many places around the world.  If not for Martin Luther King, slavery could have lasted much longer.  But, as a Christian who believes that godly life principles are the best, I believe in having limits to certain things.  True freedom is when there are still some boundaries in place.  Having no boundaries is slavery and dangerous.

There are movements that arise because of fear, pain, oppression or perceptions of inequality.  We should hear them and see how things could be worked out.  If 2 seemingly opposing movements arise (as in our current case of pink and white), we have to be careful… cos both groups are in pain.

Then there are those that arise to overthrow existing power out of greed, fame and power… which… well… is another thought for another day.

Parenting Without Workshops

Been recommended to parenting programmes or groups a few times.  These recommendations did not appeal to me and here’s why…

I was a teacher for young children and youths, and later became a trainer for adults.  Now, I am a Learning Designer in an institute of higher education.  These roles have many common areas.  One of the common areas is to begin your lesson design with the end in mind.  We start designing the lesson/course by first asking ourselves what we want the learners to take away from the course (i.e., we develop what is sometimes called the “Learning Objectives” or “Learning Outcomes”).  From there, we plan the types of learning activities or teaching methods to use, then we sequence them and add the necessary transition instructions into them so that learners can flow along and have the opportunity to assimilate new ideas into their current schema.

As a teacher myself, I prefer to deliver a lesson based on my personal beliefs and personality.  When the lesson goes live, I adapt the lesson on my feet according to the class’ “personality”.  Hence, when I became a Learning Designer working with university faculty to design their lessons, I take into consideration each faculty’s personality and beliefs as well and do not bulldoze my way through even if some techniques are proven as best practices for anyone with any personality.

It ain’t too different for parenting.

I’m no perfect parent cos I’m not a perfect and flawless human being in the first place.  But considering the hectic lifestyle we have in Singapore, I have to choose if it is worth my time attending and reading parenting programmes.

I chose not to attend (but I do read a little) because many a times, the methods may or may not work on my child.  In the end, it is about what I believe about child development (taking into consideration but despite what research says), and it is also about what I want my children to grow up to be and the kind of relationships they have with us parents (akin to “Learning Outcomes”).  From there, I decide what methods I will use to guide her.  And as I go along, I learn about her personality and adapt accordingly.

There are 3 main things as to how I want my child to grow up. (1) Strong and healthy, (2) safe and sound and (3) beautiful on the inside and on the outside.

The first would lead me to guide her to eat a variety of foods and minimise her intake of junk foods; I would also try to make sure she gets to go outdoors once every day to get active and get some sun and fresh air – it’s also good for her eyes/other senses.

For the second, we teach her to avoid unsafe behaviour (e.g. climbing onto tables and jumping off from there).  Of course, if she were to go into tougher sports in future (e.g. unarmed combat), she may do so but have to bear in mind safety measures.  We also teach her to be buckled up in the car.  As she grows older, we would probably provide her with tips for travelling overseas and such.  In fact, soon, when she is able to understand more, we will teach her “good touch” and “bad touch” and to not trust strangers too easily.

For the 3rd… I rely a lot on prayer because more than 50% of her waking hours are with others and not with us.  Teaching your child to be beautiful takes opportunities… which means I must be around when the opportunity arises so that I could talk about an event with her.  For e.g. when someone you are playing with falls, what do you do?  You  help check if he/she is ok and help if necessary.  The less I spend time with her, the fewer such opportunities I have.  Being a full time working professional, such time isn’t much.  Even if I had the time, I sometimes didn’t have the energy or may not be in the right frame of mind to do it.  Hence, the reliance on God.

There are people who think quality time is what matters, not quantity time.  But for my husband and I, we both agree that without quantity time, there cannot be quality time.  Quantity has to come first.

Without quantity time, there cannot be quality time.

There is one very important aspect in our parent-child relationship I hope to have all the days of our lives together on this earth… that we have open communication no matter what our difference in views are and no matter which stage of life we are in or where we are located… that we know and understand each other well… and always feel at home with one another.

There is no plan to “teach” this because living it out teaches best… we live it out between husband and wife… and of course want to raise our children such that they will still come to us to talk about their most intimate things (e.g. a crush, a career decision or some trouble they got themselves into) even after they are all grown up.

With the “Learning Outcomes” as my guiding light and God and His Word as our pillar… my husband and I work out plans along the way… food plans, discipline plans, communication plans… very customised.  Hence, I don’t see a need for the programmes… at least not for now.

Her First Intelligible Words At The Age of 13 Months

It delights a mother when she can understand her child and I’m sure a child feels happy when understood.

Words that my child uses to communicate (besides signing)… Penning these down for memory’s sake…

- *sob* ma mee *sob sob* (mummy – cried out only when in distress)
– da dee (daddy – randomly mentioned when not in distress)
– ma ma (maternal grandma or photograph)
– ma! (paternal grandma)
– nana (banana)
– perl (apple)
– toys (toys)
– bear bear (teddy bear / care bear / any bear)
– tigger (pooh bear’s friend)
– neg neg (magnet)
– zerd (lizard)
– zing (raisins)
– mam mam (eat)
– pen dor *point at lock button* (open the child gate and let me out)
– oohhh… (I’m venturing out / on an exploration)
– pit tter pit tter pit tter pit tter (rain)
– woah woah (dog)
– woah woah (cat)
– wooong (car)
– wwooooo (vacuum cleaner)
– lao beh (3rd grand uncle)
– zie zie (jie jie [mandirin] / older sis)
– mbak (mbak [indonesian] / older sis)
– bor bor (ball / balloon)
– bor! *rotating open palms* (no more / gone / disappeared)
– op (drop)
– bay (bathe)

Quite a long list I must say. Didn’t expect it when I started listing the first word!

*a proud and happy mum*

Motherhood. IT’s CRAZY!

I originally wanted the title to say “Parenthood” but decided that it is the mother that is the crazier one and hence, changed it to “Motherhood”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my little pumpkin so much and never felt that I walked down the wrong path.  But it is nonetheless madness.

Also don’t get me wrong about my hubby.  He chips in to look after the baby and house (and me) a lot and is still the best husband in the whole world…. but… ah well.

Why am I blogging today?  Cos I had 1.5 days of vacation leave earlier and this is my 3rd day on leave.  I have had the chance to avoid the hectic workday schedule to sufficiently rest not only my body but my mind as well.  And obviously, my kid and husband are elsewhere, not needing my attention long enough for me to blog 2 posts in a row.

Why do I say that motherhood is crazy?  Cos it simply is!  People say that keeping my full time job will keep me sane.  I don’t know… i feel insane anyway!!!  There is TOTALLY no “me time”.  Totally.  At work… it’s about work.  At home, it’s about baby.  Free time?  Only when I take vacation leave and still leave my baby at parents’.  But in actual fact, most of my vacation leave is used for baby Dr visits or to catch up with housework.

What else drives me crazy? My husband’s definition of DANGER for baby is different from mine (or probably not part of his vocab at all).  He says “if everything in the whole world is dangerous” (his paraphrase of my words), our baby need not do anything in life.  He says it so coolly and matter-if-factly and with this… this… stage-presence gesture of his one arm and baby in the other arm… it drives me madder.

Please help me be my judge if my words to my dear husband are true/false:

  1. Don’t throw her up in the air in our home – she is growing taller (and getting closer to the low ceiling AND ceiling fan).
  2. Never rub your stubbly unshaven chin on her tender baby skin.  It hurts even on my old thickened skin.
  3. Never give your kids small items to play.
  4. CATCH HER if you can when she is about to fall!
  5. Don’t give her tissue paper to eat!!
  6. Never give your kids plastic bags or the likes to play with!!!  And yes, that includes pocket-sized tissue paper packets!!!!
  7. Don’t let her watch violent movies!!!!!
  8. Don’t bring her shopping for violent games!!!!!!!


Motherhood.  It’s crazy!!!!

Our Very Own

She is coming to 11 months now and has undoubtedly captured the hearts of her 4 grandparents and even our neighbours.

During the 9 months or so that she was with us, we have heard people say “sorry” or “oops” when they found out she was adopted.  We have received advice to “try for your own” cos “having your own child is different”.  Or, heard comments that people who have adopted tend to conceive biologically afterwards.  This comment is meant to be encouraging but really… it isn’t… and… unnecessary cos we are not discouraged in the first place!!!

I’ve also heard of older generation whispering to their friends and relatives that she is “carried over” (literal translation of chinese dialect for crude description of “adopted”).

The latter hurts.  Do you point and whisper to your friends and relatives when a mother with her biological child walks by?  “Hey, that one is her biological child.”  Anyway, the hurt ain’t too bad.  It just seemed really crude.

What really angers me is the former – when people indirectly say that she is not my child or think that we think the same as them (i.e. it is disappointing or shameful to not have biological kids).

Biological child or not, she is our very own.  Adopted or not, she is loved.

I will hug and kiss her every morning when she wakes and every evening before she sleeps and at anytime in between.  When she is naughty, I will discipline.  When she falls, I pick her up.  When she is happy, I’m elated.  When she displays new developments, I bask in the moment.  When she is dirty, I clean her up.  When she is hungry, I feed her.  When she is bored, I play with her.  Everyday, I pray for her to be strong, healthy, safe and a beautiful person.  Although I do not have a biological child to compare with, but I’m sure I would have done and felt exactly the same.

With each passing day, I take a little longer than before to recall where she came from.  I only think about it when I have to fill in forms because the adoption process is still not completed.  If not for the adoption paper work still underway, I could have forgotten already.

For those who are still “sorry” about couples who are not able to conceive or think that biological children are superior to or more loveable than adopted ones, please reconsider the meaning of family and love.

Almost One

She’s almost one.  My little baby.


Every weekend, she wakes us up with her “Ay… Ay… Ay”.  If we do not respond, she will set out on an adventure to discover the different parts of her bedroom and comments on what she sees or thinks with “da… da… da… nai… nai… nai… ma… ma… doe… doe… ge da dee ber… zzzeeppheeeezpppreee”. *spluttering of saliva*  And may I add… whatever can be destroyed, chewed or toppled… will be as such.

It’s interesting that she can speak strings of 3 to 4-syllable “words”… but cannot say “mummy”.

If we still do not respond, she will open her bedroom door herself and start… well.. screaming “AAAAAAYY!!!” (she is behind bars).  If we still ignore… her “AAYY” will start to sound nasal and slowly break into sobs.

Motor Skills

She is on the verge of successfully climbing into boxes, climbing onto coffee tables and climbing out of her walker.  She has attempted climbing out of her playpen but I think she is far from succeeding for this one (but I did spot her once trying without stepping on anything – using sheer opposing forces of arms and legs).  She also climbs window grilles and her chest of drawers.  She has already figured how to open cupboard doors and get into the cupboard or pull something out.

She knows how to slide off the sofa back-side first but still loves to go headlong most of the time.  Wonder when she will stop making my heart stop like that.

Oh… and she loves catching any ant that so fatefully marches across her path.  Fortunately for them, they get killed (by me) instead of dying a slow death (baby’s aiming for such small things still not very good and has to try and re-try).

Her general hand-to-mouth coordination is pretty good.  She makes sure she practices throughout the day, everyday, with anything and everything.  She just mastered the pincer grap only this week … perfect for grabbing food into her mouth before you can stop her.

Give and Take

If she lets you brush her teeth, she expects you to let her brush yours… with her toothbrush.


She has developed stranger anxiety in the recent months and prefers mummy and daddy to anyone else.  That invisible string she has tied to us really never fails to tug at our hearts.  Even with regular caregivers like grandparents around, she still wants daddy or mummy.  If we look at her, she will have her arms up with a face of doleful eyes.

She will say hi and bye to strangers (e.g. neighbours in the lift and grandpa’s goldfish) but would cry at or ignore family.

She can play with you but you can’t carry her.

She’s quiet and still in noisy places and really noisy and active in quiet places.  The mark of an introvert?

Hands up in the air… go… wAAAaave… wAAaaavve..

Looking back just a few months, we were filled with butterflies in our guts, afraid of the most basic thing… can we look after this little cutesie and ensure that she SURVIVES!!!  Is she breathing??? Is she consuming enough??? Is she sleeping enough?

Today… she can dance seated with her arms waving in the air (like a chimp… champ i mean).

This morning, she watched “Everyday I’m Shuffling” dance moves and laughed heartily at every move.  Maybe cos it was mummy and daddy who were shuffling.  If she could slap her forehead, she probably would have.

If I had not spent this time to reflect on all her developments, I would not have realised how much she has grown.

She’s now right here on my lap watching me type the final words of this blog.  Just not too long ago, she required support to sit like that.


I Wanna Grow Up Series: (4) I am 2 Years Old and I Wanna be 3

Swing swing swing… I’m holding to top of the swimming pool ladder in my pretty party dress and sandles and swinging 1 foot to and fro.  Swing swing swing…

Then came auntie who warned me that my sandles could fling into the pool.  No one brought their swim suits and hence, no one was going to jump into the pool to retrieve my shoes.  That is not a problem at all to me.  I’ve been into the swimming pool many times!  Retrieving it myself was not a problem so I told her, “I can get it myself!”  Then auntie told me that it was a large and deep adult pool.  “Do you know how to put your head underwater?  Do you know how to search for your sandal while your head is underwater?”  I thought for a while and I think she had a point.  So I decided that maybe I should play around the small pool instead.  Just in case aunt didn’t know what I meant, I formed a small circle with my thumbs and forefingers and showed her while I said, “I want to go to the small pool.  The small small pool.”

But alas, the small pool was blocked. Grandpa said it was under renovation.

But I’m cool with it cos I wanted to play at the staircase anyway.


“Give me a hug!” says grandpa.  “Give me a hug!” says grandaunt.  “Give me a hug!” says daddy.  “Give me a hug!” says auntie.

Aarrggh… what is with these people?  Can’t they just leave me to play alone with my toys?

I tried something new recently.  I decided to let grandpa hug me once.  I warned him that that was enough.  But he did it again and it was so maddening!  I screamed at him and grandaunt told me to apologise for that was rude.  This is so unfair!!!  I told grandpa nicely at first but he didn’t obey.  So I had to be more forceful.  That’s what these adults do to me too… they speak to me nicely at first and when I don’t obey, they talk to me forcefully but do not need apologise to me.  But I have to?  This is so not fair!!!  Hmmpph!!!


I met Mummy’s friend many times.  She has a son named Thomas.  Thomas is taller, runs a lot faster, speaks a lot better and seems to have all kinds of ideas of what to do when our mummies trap us in a room.  He is always thinking of new things to do with the toys and new places to run to and explore.  I like imitating him.  Always so fun.

I also want to always find different ways to play with the toys and let other babies copy me like that.

I want to be just like Thomas.

Disclosure (tips for my family and family friends)

One of the very common questions we get when people find  out that our daughter is adopted is… “Are you gonna tell her?”  Our resounding answer is “YES!!!”  Some respond encouragingly and some worryingly warn us against it.

Those who told us to cover up or tell her when she is grown believe that she is likely to leave us for her biological parents if we told her.  But they do not realise that it does more damage – broken trust and greater hurt/pain that takes way longer to heal in an adult than in a child… teenage years are probably the most precarious years.

For family and close friends reading this… please view this as a fact of my baby’s life that she has nothing to be ashamed of.  Start her young so that she does not get a shock later in life when the truth becomes harder to cope with.  Do not lie to her else trust between you and her will be broken and multiple lies by multiple parties will leave her confused.  Be gentle and careful with your choice of words.  Good intentions when expressed wrongly can do more harm than good.  There is no need to deliberately talk about this with her.  She could just blurt out questions to you at any time.  Keep it natural and age-appropriate.  Do not be secretive (which implies shame) but keep it private (no need to go around making declarations to Tom, Dick and Harry when they didn’t ask or need to know).  “Blood is thicker than water” is a popular saying but we all know that it is love that makes a family.  When unsure… feel free to refer her to her mummy and daddy for the answers.

She also may never bother with or be bothered by her origin.  Every person is different so we will just go with the flow.

Last but probably the most important thing of all…  love her like your very own. :)

Some terms to use or not to use…

WRONG: Mummy and daddy are not your real parents.

RIGHT: They are your Forever Mummy and Forever Daddy.

WRONG: Your real parents gave you up for adoption.

RIGHT: Your biological/natural parents had to put you up for adoption.

WRONG: Your real mother.

RIGHT: Your tummy mummy / biological mother / first mummy.