Let’s file this under “better late than never.”
Family & Tree photo
Let’s file this under “better late than never.”
Family & Tree photo
A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with Claire. We were teaching Elanor the holiday song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” I whispered that it was all I could do not to sing the version we sang as kids, with the modified lyrics.
Modified Lyrics (bits in parentheses are sang in the breath taken between the regular lyrics)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (reindeer)
Had a very shiny nose (like a light bulb!)
And if you ever saw it (saw it)
You would even say it glows (like a light bulb)
All of the other Reindeer (reindeer)
Used to laugh and call him names (like Pinocchio)
They never let poor Rudolph (rudolph)
Join in any reindeer games (like monopoly)
Then one foggy Christmas eve, santa came to say, Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight
Then how the reindeer loved him (loved him)
And they shouted out with glee (yipee)
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer (reindeer)
You’ll go down in history (like George Washington!)
This led to a conversation about how as kids we sang “alternative” lyrics to traditional songs. Some I remember
Jingle bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg. The batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker got away
–We 3 kings
We 3 kings of orient are, smoking on a rubber cigar, it was loaded and exploded
So we decided that it would be fun to ask you all to share some alternative lyrics you and your friends used to sing as kids. Please leave in the comments and we’ll try to compile a list in time for the holiday.
By alternative, I don’t mean stuff like the alternative different versions of the 12 days of xmas (like this one) but specifically the songs you sang as a kid. Please share the tune (example “to the tune of rudolph” and then your lyrics, and home country)
My darling Ellie,
Happy fourth birthday. May you always embrace the world as fearlessly and with as big a heart as you do today.
PS-Stop calling me mother-it’s freaking me out.
Filed under: Asia, Australia, Boston, DC, Holidays (Not Singaporean), Hong Kong, Maine, North America, Pictures, Random Stuff, Sydney, Third Culture Kids, Tourist Destinations, Travel by Continent, Country, US, Video | 4 Comments »
Woodlands was insane, as usual. We actually got there much later than planned (8pm) and most houses were out of candy and closing up. But for two 3 going on 4 year olds, the excitement of getting just a few houses of candy coupled with being out late and dressed up with tons of other people dressed up was more than enough.
Happy Halloween Everyone!
One of the most common questions American Expats have this time of year is “Is there trick or treating in Singapore?” or “Where can I go trick or treating in Singapore?”
Yes, there is trick or treating.
On Halloween (Oct 31), take a CAB to the Singapore American School in Woodlands starting around 7. DO NOT drive yourself-there is no parking.
You will see giant hordes of people trick or treating on the streets adjacent to SAS. The police block off the streets to make them a pedestrian zone. People will be at their gates handing out candy (see above).
We went last year and it was an absolute blast. E got a lot of candy (as well as a temp tattoo-which in her world was the best thing ever). Americans, Singaporeans, everyone is welcome.
Ellie will be going as a Pirate Princess (complete with hat and sword) and Rhiannon will be her pirate first mate (yes there will be pictures). If you still need a costume, there are some options at the more “expat” Cold Storages (Jelita, Great World City and United Square all have a few, with Jelita having the best selection) and some Toys R Us have a selection (if I recall the one at Forum had a reasonable display). Don’t expect the kind of selection you get in the US, but with a little creativity you’ll do just fine.
***UPDATED TO ADD***
In case you skip comments, I wanted to share the following…
Just wanted to let all your readers know that this event is completely privately-funded and supplied by the generous (mostly American) families in Woodlands. The residents themselves pool their money together to hire security to keep the kids safe on the streets, and file the necessary forms to block the streets off for pedestrian traffic only. Each house hands out up to 4,000 pieces of candy Halloween night. So please, everyone, appreciate the efforts of a small group of people to let others share in our Halloween fun. If you don’t know how to donate funds to help out in maintaining security, or donate a bag of candy to offset the large demand, it would be great if those of us who don’t live in Woodlands (myself included) helped support their charity cause: Caring for Cambodia. Bring along some new toothbrushes, and when you see a sign announcing the house is a drop-off point, the SAS student organization will ensure that your toothbrushes are delivered to chilren in need in Cambodia. Thanks for listening. From an American parent (and former 6 year Cambridge resident!) who doesn’t live in the Woodlands herself but really admires their generosity and sense of fun!
Filed under: Expat to Expat Advice, Holidays (Not Singaporean), Singapore, With Kids | Tagged: american holidays, Asia, costumes, expat, Halloween, Singapore, singapore american school, southeat asia, Trick or Treating | 9 Comments »
My darling Rhiannon
You are now one year old!
This time last year we were still in the hospital, both of us still recovering from your unexpectedly early arrival into the world. You were constantly cuddled close to me, skin to skin, as we got to know each other. I hated putting you into the bassinet, and only did so when absolutely necessary. We were learning to breastfeed, and I was fervently hoping we’d make it to six months. You were a tiny little doll, but even then your gorgeous big brown eyes tried to take in everything (even though you couldn’t see very far with any clarity).
Living with a newborn was both familiar and completely new all over again. I remembered, vaguely, that I got up a lot with a newborn. Nothing really could prepare me for waking up that frequently, and still needing to be a present parent for my older child (instead of just sleeping whenever you did–although I did as much of that as I could). Breastfeeding was also very new to me, as was trying to figure out how to breastfeed on the go.
You were a bit fragile at the start-getting hospitalized twice-one at a month of age with gastroenteritis and once with RSV at two months of age. Luckily, since then you’ve been quite resilient, although you’ve had the full complement of head colds your sister has brought home from pre-school (as have I).
You were both louder and calmer than your sister. When you want something, your shrieks spiral up into decibel levels we’d never experienced before, earning you the nickname of ‘the banshee’. However, those moments are fairly rare (and usually have to do with wanting a diaper change or food faster than I am capable of delivering either). In general you are the calmest, happiest baby I’ve ever encountered. You are easily pleased–a cuddle is your most common request, and one everyone is happy to give you.
You are adored wherever you go. When we drop off or pick up Elanor, the teachers of the school all know you by name, and often pass you around to adore and cuddle you. They’re a group of aunties to you, who are just as excited by the news that you had learned to sit up or crawl as we were. In crowded elevators you draw smiles and waves. Even in the US, where babies aren’t as universally adored as in Asia, you were smiled at and adored. You look at the world as a place full of people who love you and are happy to see you…so you move through the world with an equal amount of love and happiness to share with them.
However, there are few people you adore as much as your big sister. The two of you have a mutual adoration society I’ve written about elsewhere. She gets some of your biggest smiles, and you are her favorite person most days as well. I have loved watching the two of you develop your relationship–it is a source of smiles and a great source of comedy (she defines “sharing” as she gets to play with your toys, for example).
You are already very well traveled, having flown to the US twice and to Australia once. I would argue that you are not the biggest fan of flying, but the reality is that we won’t really get a sense of what sort of traveler you are until you’re a bit older. It’s awfully hard to sit still for that long as an adult–it’s clearly so frustrating to sit still when you’ve just learned to crawl!
You love food. You were a big fan of breastmilk from the start. For a short time, we were able to give you the occasional (maybe once a week) bottle of formula if you were with your dad and I wasn’t around, but you soon wised up and flat out refused, occasionally deigning to accept apple juice if absolutely necessary. Jarred food was not a big hit, but once you learned about table food, you immediately began to demand it, squawking loudly in anger if we didn’t feed you fast enough or share all the food you felt it important for us to share.
Your favorite foods are blueberry yogurt, ice cream of any flavor, french fries, toast with strawberry jam. You eat with far more enthusiasm and interest than we’d ever seen before (your sister being an eat to live kind of child, whereas you live to eat). However, you are very petite–you’re about 14 lbs–almost triple your birth weight, and still quite teeny (for which my back is very grateful).
I love that I have let myself have the luxury of enjoying where you are now, rather than worrying about what was next.
Your sister was so ill just after birth, and her personality was always so driven to do the next thing now now now that we were always focused on what would happen next with her.
With you, we accepted your changes as they’ve happened, but not worried about if they had happened yet or why they weren’t happening faster. Personally, I was thrilled that your teeth didn’t come in until about 11 months and am very happy you’ve not started walking yet. If I’m being honest, I’m probably much more present and calm with you because I’m not so stressed about potential medical hiccups. I probably have allowed myself to be calmer and more in the moment with you…and that’s been a wonderful luxury.
Having said that, two days ago we saw you stand alone for a second as you picked a toy off the couch. Then you realized you weren’t holding on and immediately sat down. It was only a second, but both your Dad and I were so thrilled to see you growing and changing before our eyes.
You are still sleeping in a crib next to my side of the bed, and wake to nurse once or twice per night. I am definitely looking forward to sleeping the whole night through again (some day) but I really love those quiet moments at 4 am when the world is dark, your Dad is asleep next to us, and we just cuddle and breastfeed.
You sign “milk”–which can mean you want milk…and it can also mean “mama.” I guess it does make sense that the two are interchangeable for you. We have made it to one year of breastfeeding…and while part of me is thinking about weaning, I’m pretty confident that we’ll taper off naturally. You primarily nurse at night these days–maybe once during the day, but for the most part your waking hours are filled with an interest in food, not mama’s milk.
You say dada, mama, heeeeeeey (to mimic us) and are a pretty chatty baby in general. I can’t wait to hear you add more words to your vocabulary.
You view the world with great amusement. I can practically see your eyes gleam when you know you’re getting us to do what you want. You’ve started to play the drop something on the floor to see you pick it up for me. You know how to wave bye-bye but prefer to watch us wave and dance for you before deigning to gift us with a wave back.
There are days when it is tough. When I get frustrated at trying to balance two children, or feel frustrated on your behalf because I have to wake you early from a nap just to go fetch/take Ellie somewhere instead of letting you sleep. But I can’t imagine our family with you in it.
Happiest of birthdays, my darling.
A full set of pictures from Rhi’s birthday can be found here.
Happy Birthday to my best friend, my partner in crime, and the best father I could imagine for my children.
I love you and I apologize that unlike the girls, you don’t get a special birthday video, although you are pretty awesome. If it’s a consolation, here’s the Father’s Day video I made for you this year…
Once upon a time, October was MY birthday month. Me me me me me. My grandmother’s birthday was Halloween, and I thought that it was cool that we all celebrated her birthday with a truly vomit-worthy volume of candy. She also wasn’t that into celebrating her birthday, and exerted a lot of the effort to make October about me.
Then when I met Ravi, I was torn between excitement and shock that we shared a birthday month. Our birthdays are 12 days apart. However, we were able to still celebrate both independently and still have our special days.
That detente lasted three years.
Then Elanor hijacked my 30th birthday.
I had a regular doctor’s appointment scheduled in the early afternoon, leaving plenty of time to go home, take a shower, rest and meet our friends at Finale for molten chocolate cake and other assorted dessert-y goodness. I had a headache and felt a bit off, but figured I just hadn’t slept well the night before (at 37 weeks, no one sleeps all that well). Then they took my blood pressure and after a pregnancy of low blood pressure, it had shot up into the range associated with preeclampsia. Before I fully knew what was happening, I was in labor and delivery triage hooked up to a bunch of monitors, and getting denied food and water.
“Saddle up mentally-you could be having this baby today,” the doctor on duty told me right before he dashed out of my corner of the room.
“But it’s my birthday—” I remember saying to Ravi. As if that changed anything.
We sent out texts (and possibly updated facebook) saying I wasn’t feeling well and that the party was cancelled.
About eight hours later, it was decided that while I might be developing preeclampsia, the baby did not need to be delivered that day. Hours past my party, starving, reeling from the emotional roller coaster of the day, Ravi offered to take me anywhere I wanted for food. I requested Panda Express (I KNOW–it’s so not real chinese food–I KNOW) and then JP Licks. My dear friend Curt lived about a block away from JP Licks and joined us.
Nine days later, Elanor was born. It’s a good thing she’s so cute.
My birthday was getting a bit crowded. Suddenly every weekend for three weeks straight was a birthday. It seemed a bit silly to have people come to our house for multiple birthday events. Ravi was somewhat amused, but felt comfortable that his birthday was safe as the lead-in event for the birthday season.
Guess what happened next. I got pregnant with a due date of mid-November. Stuff started to point to preeclampsia, and suddenly we were talking about what day of the week I was giving birth, as I was not going to be allowed to go un-checked over the weekend. It came down to the day of or the day after Ravi’s birthday.
My birthday present to Ravi last year was not giving birth until 24 hours later.
With the birth of Rhiannon, we suddenly have a 22 day filled birthday-palooza (PLUS Halloween!). Friday kicks us off with Ravi’s birthday. Saturday we’ll celebrate Rhiannon’s with a small party. Two weeks later we’ll be in Hong Kong for Ellie’s (and my, to an extent) birthday. Three weeks later, Ravi and I will escort Elanor to see Fantastic Mr Fox while Rhi stays with our sitter, giving Ellie some special Mommy and Daddy time.
Because I freely admit I choose to be this crazy–I have hung 4 separate birthday banners, and will bake 4 different cakes (technically 5 as Rhi gets a cake of her very own to smash/eat/wear). I apologize in advance for all the birthday centric posting–I’ll try to squeeze some other stuff in there, too.
This year’s American Celebration of the 4th of July will happen on June 30th (the Saturday prior) at the Singapore American School. Details here.
This will be our third 4th of July in Singapore. Read about our first here, and our second here. This is the first time they’ve held it at SAS instead of the Terror Club, so I don’t know how/if that will change the experience.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to read about our experience at this event, as it conflicts with Pink Dot 2012. Pink Dot is far more important to our family, so we will be skipping the 4th of July celebration.
A very small part of me is sad, as the 4th is one of my favorite annual events we’ve done in Singapore. However, when I think about which event I’d regret missing more, without a doubt it’s Pink Dot. My daughters can connect to their cultural heritage in a thousand different ways every day of the year, but Pink Dot and a public event supporting the LGBT community in Singapore happens only once a year. I think it’s more important that we be there. I hope to see some of you there with us!
This is my 500th post at Expat Bostonians.
I began the blog on March 8th, 2010; 2 years, 2 months and 9 or 10 days (depending on how you count the time difference) ago. A blog seemed like the logical way to keep our friends back home apprised of what life here in the Lion City was like. Before I moved here, the only things I knew (or thought I knew) about Singapore was that some American kid had gotten caned here when I was in high school, and that chewing gum was illegal here.
In honor of my 500th post, I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts in chronological order.
2010–Lots of factual posts (what does the money here look like), not a ton of introspection. I think I was so busy taking in Singapore that I couldn’t really process it.
Our look see visit to Singapore — This is a favorite post because it’s my baseline. It contains my first photos and impressions of Singapore. This is a post I look back at to see how far I’ve come.
Awkward–My first post about hiring a helper.
4th of July, Singaporean Style–Our first big American holiday spent in Singapore, and a favorite memory to this day. I’ve loved the American 4th of July event both years we’ve been here, and I’m looking forward to our third in a few months.
Palawan Beach–Our first visit there, and contains some of my favorite photos.
Thailand, Part 2–Describes one of the coolest things I’ve done in Southeast Asia-the Siam Safari in Phuket. A 6 hour adventure that tried to balance eco-tourism with preserving culture, and the struggles that come with it. I’m a nerd, so learning on vacation=YAY. Also-BABY ELEPHANTS! Extremely long entry, but one of my all time favorites
Christmas out and about in Singapore–I was totally thrown by stores being open and seeing Christmas treated as just another state sanctioned holiday.
2011-I got to know more people and began to really participate in the blogging community here. I started writing posts that tried to get to the why instead of the what. WHY were things the way they were instead of a book report.
Happy (sort of ) New Years–I live tweeted the NYE special with Kirsten and this post shares some of the highlights. Sort of New Years because it was 2011 in Singapore but still 2010 in Boston.
Skin Whitening…it’s a “thing” here–One of the first posts discussing my discomfort with the way whiteness is idealized here.
Having a Maid…the bad and the ugly–Singapore practically expects you to have a maid, but few people talk about the negatives. This post explored the negatives both from the culture clash perspective and the issues within Singapore itself (the racism and abuses).
What do I do when the power goes out and other questions I forgot to ask–just when you think you’ve figured out expat life, something happens to totally upend your sense of comfort.
Hong Kong-Goldfish Market and Street Markets–On our child-free vacation in Hong Kong, Ravi and I visited the Goldfish Market in Hong Kong and it was another really memorable vacation moment.
Bad Expat (Part 1-ur doin it rong)–In which I explain all the ways I suck at being an expat.
Seth Rogen talks about Singapore–and SG isn’t happy–this was the first time I felt like I could explain and understand both sides of a US/SG critique and conflict of humor.
Things you don’t see/hear in Singapore–After a trip home, I began to realize there are some things I never see or hear in Singapore
Maids, Cultural Expectations and the Importance of Modeling (expat to expat advice)–A post that really talks about the cultural issues (small and big) that come with having a maid.
Pink Dot 2011–I was so proud to be at Pink Dot (an celebration of all love, particularly LGBT love and the only pro-gay event in Singapore) last year, when Google stepped up as the first ever corporate sponsor.
A negative experience at a doctor’s office and maybe some news–It feels strange to put such an angry post on my “favorites/top” list. However, I think it is well written and it clearly articulates an issue I’ve had repeatedly with older male doctors in Singapore-being condescended to/spoken to as if I were my 3 year old. As an expat, you have to constantly negotiate cultural issues, and, in general, it is best to learn to bend and to be flexible. However, it is also okay to have lines that you can not, under any circumstance, cross. This experience was one of them.
Our second 4th of July in Singapore-Our second, and equally memorable 4th of July in Singapore
My tale of laptop woe grows–I take my laptop to a certified apple repair center, tragic hilarity ensues
Comparing Singaporean and American Pregnancy Guides–After having a baby in the US, I wanted to read a local pregnancy guide to figure out how the approach locally was different.
My first name is not Crystalann–I like the post more because of the really interesting conversation it inspired in the comments section about names and culture.
Validation-The post I wrote after my first fiction short story acceptance
Santa Cruz Boardwalk-A wonderful day with Ellie on vacation. Ravi was sick, and I was pregnant, so it was one of our last big adventures just her and I before the baby arrived. I also love the pictures.
Why I didn’t want to be in the US on 9/11-On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I was in the US and I was reminded of many of the things I don’t like about being an American, and why we have such a bad reputation abroad.
Prenatal care in the US vs Singapore–Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I might like Singaporean prenatal care better.
Rhiannon Arcadia-I got to announce and post a picture of my newly born 2nd child. Of course it’s a favorite.
An American Halloween in Singapore–We go trick or treating!
Happy Birthday Elanor–her 3rd birthday post
Slutwalk Singapore 2011–I took the girls to slutwalk because I want to raise them to be strong independent feminists.
Oh Christmas Tree—We had a great Christmas Tree, until the cats went on the offensive
Disconnect-Firing B was not a highlight of my blog, but it was one of the most significant events, and for that reason, I need to include it.
Irresistible-The book with my short story in it was published (the short story is under a pen name, but if you read the book, you’ll be able to figure it out, trust me)
That does not mean what you think it means–English vs English FAIL
Lessons learned from my negative maid experience–I take ownership of my mistakes in the whole B debacle
What I love about Singapore that has nothing to do with my children–I had to really think about this as all my reflexive answers have to do with my kids.
Where are you from–I share a story about Ravi and wonder aloud how my 3rd culture kids are going to react to their home culture…or if they’ll even consider it their home culture
Stuff I wish I hadn’t brought to Singapore–Things that I’ve found around the house that have me wondering just what I was thinking when I brought them to Singapore
Elanor and the ACA–why health care matters–Elanor’s story (warning–possible triggers as it does graphically describe what happened to Ellie at a week of age, including how close she came to death, and includes a photo from intensive care)
When I was six–What life was like for me in small town MA as a kid in the 80′s
My misconceptions about Expat Life–Boy did I have it wrong on some things.
Ways that living in Singapore have changed me—the shallow edition
Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour–the highlight of our trip to Australia
My bank is trying to Punk Me-another absurd/hilarious tale of customer service hell
Filed under: Acts of Supreme Clumsiness, Asia, Attractions, Australia, Before the Move, Boston, Culture Shock, customs, Expat to Expat Advice, general places, headdesk moments, Helpers, Holidays (Not Singaporean), Hong Kong, Identity, medical, North America, Phuket, politics, Pregnant Expat, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand, Third Culture Kids, Travel, Travel by Continent, Country, Uniquely Singapore, US, With Kids | 4 Comments »