The Diaperbag family.

We are the Diaperbag family. There are Jordan, Evan and Dylan (also known as Muffin) and they are fondly known as JED. We are their parents. Ondine and Packrat.

This is JED

Always playing or planning and plotting to take over the world. Always up to shenanigans.

This is Jordan, our first born

Actually she's part of a twin set. She was known as Twin 1 in-utero. She loves to draw what she dreams, dances what she draws.

This is Evan, reluctantly the younger twin

He's Twin 2 by two minutes because it took the doctor that long to find him. We don't think he'll ever forgive the doctor!

This is our youngest, Dylan (also known as Muffin)

He fancies himself the Lion King. His favourite activities are to climb, jump, pounce and roar at the world. The world is his Pride Rock.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Resurrection Egg Hunt

I recently learnt that in many developed countries that Easter is celebrated, children expect the Easter bunny to bring them presents. This year, the big uproar is because Disney had not produced enough Elsa and Anna dolls and mums were wailing about how their daughters would be so upset that the Easter bunny didn't bring them dolls from Frozen.

When I eventually picked up my eyeballs that had rolled so hard they fell out of my eyes, I decided that even though I had started a tradition of doing an Easter egg hunt with JED, I was going to make sure that it at least had something to do with Easter. And no way was I going to buy them Easter bunny gifts.

So this was my way of making slightly less pagan and commercialized and slightly more Christian.

---Somewhat Christian activity to follow--

How to make an Easter Egg Hunt about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection .

1. Find 12 empty plastic eggs. (It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be because I had procrastinated and the eggs sold out. I also discovered this morning that individually wrapped chocolate easter eggs sold out too!).

2. Print out the relevant verses and the reason for the little symbols. This was a great blog guide for them.

3. Play scavenger hunt in the middle of the night round the house looking for the items from the printed verses. We had to find
a. Some palm leaves
b. A piece of bread
c. Silver Coins
d. Guaze, purple marker and something to fashion a crown from. (The remnant palm leaves twisted into a ring)
e. Something to make a whip ( I settled for an old shoe strap)
f. Tooth picks to make a cross
g. Nails (The carpentry kind)
h. Cardboard to make a sign "This is the King of Jews"
i. Sponge and another tooth pick to make a spear.
j. Spices (Cinnamon. I could have sworn I had cloves and star anise somewhere but at midnight, the effort was too great)
k. A stone

It's true. There are only items for 11 eggs here. The 12th egg was meant to be empty. And a good thing we left it so because that was the one egg that Packrat hid so well that no one found it.

4. Hide them all over the garden together with some boiled and coloured quail eggs just to mix it up a little.

5. Send the troops out to look for the eggs with specific instructions that the boys were to look for the green eggs and the girls the yellow ones. They were told that it wasn't a competition. They had to work amongst themselves to find their eggs and work together to find the 12 special ones. It meant the girls told the boys where the green eggs were and the boys gave the girls the yellow ones they found. They kept coming together to count whether they had the 12 necessary eggs to end the hunt. We called off the hunt when it was obvious that the 12th egg had disappeared like the plane in the ocean.

6. Report the finds and open the eggs, trying to explain the symbolism behind the different eggs. There were funny responses like "the palm leaves were waved by Jesus to say Hi" and the tomb was empty because "Jesus escaped". But we discovered that amongst the 5 of them, they actually had quite a bit of the Resurrection story internalised.

So, that was that. The JED kids and cousins had a lot of fun, ate some and learnt a little about the day. That, in my book was a pretty good Friday.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Change in mentality

The best thing I remember about school is not school itself but the way school made me look forward to holidays. I remember loving the idea of watching cartoons on Saturday and staying over at my cousin's during the longer vacation breaks.

While the twins were in kindergarten, they were ho-hum about holidays. "No school? Why?" Kindy was fun and they, as I was, were extremely annoyed during vacations and worse when during the times that school had to shut down because of HFMD.

The common refrain during the holidays were "I'm bored, play with me". 

Now, in primary school, it has taken a 180 degree turn. Any time off school is great and the thought of it is greeted with so much glee and joyfulness, it's hard for me not to be infected by it. Even being sick is a lot more fun than being in school. Every free moment is spent catching up with play and books, which is fine by me.

I don't think it is because they dislike school per se though there is definitely an element of that but the realisation that time and their lives are now divided school and non-school time and obviously, non school time, like non work time is more desirable.

So, while preparing for bed last night, they were nattering about how great it was that it was Friday the next day and then the weekend. Deadpan, I said "But didn't you know that tomorrow is a holiday and you have a long weekend?"

The screams of joy that erupted were ear splitting.

How they have grown up, that they now appreciate the grown up joy of not having to do what is necessary and enjoy time away from that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Triple the tantrums

I took this photograph yesterday at Sentosa. When I put it on FB, someone commented that it would be a photo to memorialize their chumminess as siblings. But as with every time someone says something good, the opposite happens. We call it tempting fate.

For the rest of the day, the trio were absolute horrors.

They fought with each other, they were mean to each other, they made each other cry. On top of that, they were whiny about their poor indulgent first world lives.

"Everyone is so noisy. Our house is so small. Can we move to a bigger house? I don't like this house anymore. "

"I hate it when you scold me about my homework."

"I hate my dinner. Why do I have to eat porridge. Why can't we have yummy fried food all the time?"

They were tired so that meant they were clumsy and uncoordinated. Each one took turns to fall in some way or other and burst into loud wails and sobs.

Irritation didn't begin to describe how I felt. I vacillated between wanting to run away and cane them till they really had something to howl about. It took all my effort not to haul them all into the car and drop them off at the nearest orphanage.

It was downright exhausting; so much so that I called an afternoon time-out today, came home while they were at gym, shut the door, darkened the room and just napped into oblivion. 

On days like that, why people are hesitant to have three kids is self-explanatory.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crying Wolf

Evan had a bit of a stomach virus last week. His tummy kept cramping and he was occasionally doubled over in pain. But like labour, when there was no cramping, he was perfectly fine. So I told him that he had to still go to school but if it got bad, he could ring me and I would bring him home.

He did ring me. And I did bring him home. But I couldn't help but notice that he didn't look sick and he was extremely chirpy. Even our family doctor commented on that and then proceeded to deny him leave from school.

While I do admit that he does have a stomach bug; he wasn't liking food as much as he normally did, we didn't think it was a really bad one.

So it came as a surprise when the day after, he rings me again from school. Evidently, he had realised that he could go to the office and ask to call Mommy and no one would say no to those eyes. Unfortunately for him, it was 20 minutes before dismissal and I pragmatically told him that by the time I got to him through the school bus and parent crowds, I would get to him later than if he rode the bus home.

This happened again yesterday where he rang a total of 4 times claiming to have a tummy ache. For the first two times, I told him to just rest till his tummy ache went away and go back to class. This was once again for practical reasons; I did not want to drive down to pick him up, drive back up to pick up Jordan for swimming and drive back down again to pick up Muffin before swimming. The sheer thought of doing that made my head spin. The next two calls went to voice mail but that did get me worried enough to chuck all previous arrangements out and race down to get him. Unfortunately, after F-1ing all the way to school, I couldn't find him at the sick bay or the office. Evidently, after call number 4, he had felt well enough to go back to class and forgot to let anyone know.

It was at that point that I read him the riot act.

1. Do not call Mommy if you have just a stomach ache. Rest, go to the bathroom, wait for it to go away. Only if it doesn't go away, gets a lot worse and makes it difficult for you to talk do you call Mommy. I realise that I could easily be giving someone in labour advice as to when she ought to go to hospital.

2. Only call Mommy if you are bleeding. I decided to be specific. Only call Mommy if you are bleeding severely. So, if you have a nose bleed, don't call Mommy. Stop the nose bleed. Only call if the nose bleeds and bleeds and bleeds. 

3. Only call Mommy if you have a fever; you have a thermometer in your bag and the number must be over (37.5).

4. Only call Mommy if you are going to die. (That elicited loud guffaws)

It isn't because I don't care that he is unwell. More that, the boy's got to learn that he can't call Mommy at the slightest twinge. I am often running up and down so much, picking him up would cause more disruption and stress to an already harried day (Yesterday, I drove so much and in such a hurry, I had fumes in my fuel tank and my car told me I had 39 km to go before she wouldn't move another inch). If he were really taken ill, of course I would appear. But to jump every time he beckoned, it wasn't good for my nerves at all.

I also took the opportunity to tell him the story of The Boy who Cried Wolf. And I explained to him how when the boy really needed help, no one showed up because he had used up all his chances (benefit of doubt) before that.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Balloon Fishing

So there were some colourful water balloons already inflated and filled with water. Added to that, they had little rubber tails with loops at the end of it. Perfect for being hooked up.

As we would have it, it rained most of Saturday meaning that there were 3 restless kids in the house. And out came the balloons into Muffin's old baby bath tub.

Both Jordan and Evan wanted it competitive. So armed with a wooden chopstick and given a minute, they challenged each other; whoever could fish out the most number of balloons won the round.

Round and round they went till I lost feeling in my feet. I was squatting and smooshed against my bathroom wall. Water balloons must always be played with in an area that can be made wet.

But Muffin had the most fun with it. He revelled in getting his sleeves wet and very slowly, tried to thread the stick through the rubber band loop in the water. Refraction error and all, he managed to tell his fingers to move to where his eyes thought the loops were. Also known as practicising his hand-eye coordination.  He was very conscientious about it and counted every single one that he fished out before pouring them all back in and starting again.

I loved the balloons for their colour and hardiness. The 10 odd I brought home suffered the abuses of 3 kids without any one of them bursting. That's quite a feat.

I am dreaming up Easter egg ideas with these pretties.

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