Days of being young and stupid

My mum passed me a bag of books the other day. She was moving and needed to get rid of “my things”. When I finally found the time to sift through the pile of dusty books, lo and behold, I found an old diary that I kept when I was in my 20s.

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Opening the diary brought back a flood of memories. Writing was (and still is) my coping mechanism and back in those days before the internet (and blogging), I used to scribble my thoughts furiously. More often than not, my scribbling was about emotional pain, or “my crumpled heart”, as I wrote so cleverly (hur hur). I remember tears between those paper pages. I asked myself questions, I questioned the Universe (!), and wow, I even found poems. Yes, I wrote poems.

Very drama mama.

I couldn’t bring myself to read the entries in its entirety because they bring me back to days of an unsettled heart that was constantly searching and hurting. Some people say that your 20s are the best times of your life.

Not for me.

In my 20s, I was uncertain, unsure and…clueless. I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted in the love department which led me to dating quite a few “wrong” boys. You name it, I’ve probably dated one. (If you’re reading this Mum, I’m sorry. Hehehe).

In fact, after I found the diary, I texted the BFF:

Found my old diary. Sheesh, I was so whiny and needy. Amazed you didn’t slap me. 

She still jokes (or maybe she’s serious, I don’t know for sure) that I still owe her therapy and counselling fees.

I am so so glad that those angsty days are over. I much prefer being in my 30s, thank you very much.

I pondered over what I should do with the diary.

Keep it? (For what?)
Burn it? (Not good for the environment)
Shred it? (Maybe)

For the record, I threw placed it in the wardrobe and maybe one day, I’d take it out and read it again in its entirety. Just to remind myself that we were all young and stupid once.

Note to Elliott – 28

Dear Elliott,

I find myself forgetting how many months you are these days. When people ask: “Oh, how old is Elliott?” I go: “Oh, he’s 27 months…or 28. Erm, he’s about 2 and a half years old.” It’s not that I don’t care anymore but the months are whizzing by so fast, I am finding it hard to  keep up.

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At 28 months, you suddenly discovered the power of the word “no”. Everything is “no”.

Shall we take a shower? No.
Do you want to wear these shoes? No.
Put on pyjamas? No.
Read a book? No.
Go to school? No.

The other day, you were playing with some toy trains and when another boy came by and tried to play together, you pushed his arm away and went “NO!”. Your mother here was rather horrified, to say the least. That is not nice, I said firmly. Thankfully, you did (grudgingly) offer one train to the other boy after I asked you nicely. That, is very nice of you.

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I try not to interfere when you interact with kids your age because I think you need to stand your own ground and find your way around this Scary Big World but sometimes, I forget and step in to remind you to play nice.

In my note to you last month, I gleefully wrote that you finally stopped crying at school drop off. I would now like to state for the record that all that unraveled because after I went away on a work trip for 7 days, you suffered from separation anxiety at school drop-offs again. It was truly heartbreaking to see you throw yourself on the floor, and clinging onto me for dear life with big fat tears streaming down your face.

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I must have looked like a terrible mother, just throwing you at school and walking away but your lovely teacher kept me updated that you always stopped crying the moment I am out of sight! Thankfully, there were (very) bad days and there were good days where you’d happily do the health check and wave goodbye (!!). School drop-offs started to normalise again after a few days when you realised that Mummy and Daddy were not going away without you.

On the eating front, you are a leeeeetle bit more adventurous these days. You’d ask: “Mummy, eat rice please?” if you want some food. And yes, you are STILL loving your carbohydrates like me. You prefer noodles over rice, and even when you’ve had a proper dinner, you’d ask for spoonfuls of noodles if we are having some.

You’re still loving your swim classes and it warms my heart to see your progress each week. These days, you bravely leap into the water with zero fear and I hope that you don’t wake up one day and decide that you hate swimming (as I have heard from many friends).

You still enjoy reading time before bed and these days, you’d pick a book that you want. Your current favourite is ‘The Ultimate Book of Vehicles‘ that we must read at least twice every night. And yes, you are still in his vehicles phase. Less trains, more cars. Oh actually, you’re really big on “car transporters”. You LOVE them!

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Ah, 28 months. It’s been quite a ride!

Love you lots,
Mummy xoxo

Flying solo

Last month, I travelled to South Korea for a work trip. Before each trip, I am always apprehensive about leaving Elliott behind. To make things a little more complicated, the boy was flying out the same evening I arrive, also for work. We both rarely travel for work so talk about Murphy’s Law! Our flights would literally arrive and take off 5 minutes away from each other. Thankfully (or not), his epic flight to New York (via Frankfurt) was delayed for 4 hours so we managed to catch up with each other very briefly at the airport over drinks.

Each evening, we’d FaceTime (a big yeay to technology) and whenever Elliott go: “Mummy come, Mummy no go airplane“, my heart would ache for a bit. However, during the day when we were going about the tour, it felt nice to break out of routine.

Ever since I became a mother, it is sometimes easy to forget that pre-motherhood, we all had a life. A life that involved eating with both hands and adult conversations, amongst other things. I truly enjoyed the times when I was in South Korea, like looking at shop displays leisurely without having to keep a watch out for a tiny being running amok or the same tiny being attempting to knock over a mannequin.

As Yann writes here much more eloquently that I could have, it was nice just being me for 7 days. All said and done, I have to admit that towards the end of the work trip, I was looking forward to holding my not-so-baby-anymore baby in my arms again:)

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miss ene checks out: Calla Spa (Suntec City)

On the morning of our 7th wedding anniversary, the boy informed me that he booked me a massage session at Calla Spa located at Suntec City. It was his anniversary present to me. Awww. I remarked that Elliott has his gym class but he said that he will take him there on his own and we can meet up once I’m done with my session.

He made the appointment for 10am and was informed by the receptionist that I can turn up at 9.45am to fill up the forms and to use the Mineral Hot Pool and sauna.

I noted from their address that it is located Suntec Tower 2 and having worked at Suntec Tower 1 previously, I thought I was familiar with the place. Unfortunately (for me), Suntec has undergone quite a transformation and the mall has changed quite a bit.

I found myself at this entrance and realised, upon closer inspection, that this is the back entrance.

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There were no signs to lead me to the main entrance so I found myself wandering about aimlessly for a bit. Made my way out of the building and ah, there it was.

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When I made my way in, there was no one at the reception area except for an elderly “aunty” who looked like she was one of the cleaning crew. She invited me to sit at the waiting area to fill in the form and so I did.

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I found it a bit strange that no receptionist was on duty but as I later found out, the spa only opens at 10am which means that no one has reported for work yet (except for the technical and cleaning crew).

Tip: Arrive after 10am if you’d like the full service experience or you’d end up feeling a bit lost like me!

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As you can see from the pictures, the surroundings, i.e. hardwear, was lovely. Very zen and peaceful environment. However, for a spa that calls itself a ‘prestigious lifestyle and wellness’ spa, I found the lack of a proper welcome when I stepped in a little wanting. In fact, in their email confirmation, it specifically states:

Please do come 30 mins earlier before the treatment time, to allows us to give you a Sap Tour and Register you as our Calla Customer.

Hmm. There was no spa tour provided but never mind.

Anyway, after I was done with the form, I was asked to make my way to the ladies’ changing area. A female bathroom attendant (is that what they’re called?) passed me a locker key that came in the form of a bangle that I can wear around my wrist.

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I also found it fascinating that there was no key. Instead, it was a metal button thingy that you slot into the corresponding locker and voila, your locker is open. Very high-tech!

I was the only customer around so I took the chance to look around the huge changing area.

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Across the neatly folded white towels is a vanity table with hair-dryer, all sorts of lotions, large mirror, etc so that you can get yourself ready again to face the world after your spa session. That area at the end with the curtain is the changing cubicle where you change out of your clothes and into a cotton robe and put on their provided footwear.

I was pleasantly surprised that the footwear given to me wasn’t huge (which is usually the case) and I wasn’t swimming in the cotton robe. It doesn’t seem like much but it is nice knowing that the cotton robes and footwear catered to smaller sized females instead of a one-size-fits-all attire.

In the same (huge) changing area was also the Mineral Hot Pool that I only noticed after I was done with my massage. I did not use it because I did not want to sit in it naked and then have strangers walk in.

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Doesn’t the whole set-up remind you of an old-school sword-fighting show where the hero and heroine hide in some forsaken cave to try and heal from serious wound that they sustained from fighting with the bad guys?😉

After I was done changing, I was ushered to the massage room for my scrub and body massage. The boy booked me the $188 promotion package that includes a 45-minute body strategist scrub and 60-minute body massage. Description of each treatment is taken from Calla Spa’s website:

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The room where the massage and scrub was to take place comes with an attached bathroom so that one can simply shower to wash off the scrub granules after one is done before continuing with the massage.

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Being a relatively new entity meant that everything looked new and smelt nice and clean which was lovely. I had 2 different ladies for both treatments (both were from China).

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I had a nice chat with the lady who did the scrub treatment and it was during our conversation that I learnt that the spa only opened at 10am. I shared about my experience and she was very receptive to the feedback, saying that she will share it with management.

The second lady who did my deep tissue massage was, in a nutshell, brutal. But I mean that in a good way. She could tell that my body was extremely knotty and worked really hard to iron out the many kinks. In fact, after the massage, I felt remarkably lighter. She shared that not many customers to Calla Spa opt for these ‘hard’ massages as they prefer the soft, relaxing ones that lull them to sleep. Heh.

After I was done with both treatments, I was ushered to the dining area called Bistro. I did not realise that all customers of the spa get to enjoy a complimentary meal.

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By now, there were a few other customers and quite a few were in pairs. It was at this point that I really wished the boy was with me to enjoy the meal together!

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Everything on the menu looked good so after studying it for a bit, I decided to go for the Wild Mushroom Soup and Grilled Salmon Steak with Hollandaise Miso. To be honest, I had very very low expectations of the food quality because this is a spa afterall, right? I would expect their massages to be good but food quality? Hmm….

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To my very pleasant surprise, the food quality was pretty darn amazing! I would be happy to pay for it! The mushroom soup was thick and flavourful and that salmon steak. It was a huge chunk of steak and despite looking like it’s a small portion, I was struggling to finish towards the end of the meal (those who know me will know that I can eat).

The meal capped off the lovely scrub and massage session and I walked out feeling light-footed with a happy belly.

When I was footing the bill, the receptionist (who has since reported for work, obviously) was extremely apologetic about the miscommunication that took place in the morning. I like that a company is willing to take constructive feedback so that they can improve the customer experience.

I’d probably make a second trip back but this time, with the boy in tow. Right – who’s up for baby-sitting Mr Bubu-Pants?

Note to Elliott – 27

Dear Elliott,

I remarked to Daddy the other day that you are at such a joyful age. I was apprehensive about you turning 2 because of the dreaded “Terrible Twos” but so far, and I say that holding my breath, you have been…manageable. I have noticed that you do go from level 10 happiness to level negative-10 frustration in 0.35 seconds so if that’s what people meant when they say “Terrible Twos”, then yes, I believe we have experienced that.

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In general, you are a happy and friendly child. You dish out hugs and kisses when asked to, and would wave goodbye enthusiastically. I love it when you cup my face in your hands before planting a kiss on my cheek (“kiss Mummy cheek“, you’d say).

You attended your last gym class last Sunday but I don’t think you were aware of that fact. You still ask to “go forward roll” (you insist on saying that despite us telling you that it is called the “gym”) but sweetie, whenever we take you to gym class, you refuse to take part in the activities, preferring to roll around the floor and yelling at no one in particular. When something catches your attention, you do it with a big happy smile but for some odd reason, when it is something that you do not enjoy, you simply lie on the floor and whine.

I have resorted to telling you to “stop whining please” and just the other day, you repeated it to me after whining in your car seat. I had to stifle a giggle. You were whining about something (too many to recall but it was something ridiculously mundane) and Mummy here was tired after day’s work. When we stopped at the lights, you suddenly went “stop whining please“, as if reading my thoughts. “Yes sweetie. Please stop whining. We are home soon“, I replied.

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We chat on our way home in the evenings and you enjoy pointing out all the vehicles that you recognise – concrete mixer, dump truck, digger, crane truck, motorcycle, sports car, etc etc. I love it when you exclaim “Mummy rook!” (mummy look) with the curious, innocent excitement of a young child. You also love tow trucks and would tell me that “tow truck tow broken car!“. You also love waving goodbye to them by yelling: Bye bye concrete mixer! SEE YOU LATER! BYEEEEE!  So darn cute to watch.

You are still very much into your construction vehicles. No, scratch that. You are into ALL sorts of vehicles. Anything with wheels, really. You can say complicated words like ‘bulldozer‘, ‘excavator‘ and ‘car transporter‘. I bought you a set of wooden vehicle magnets and you would rattle off their names as I point at them. Another favourite of yours is to play with Duplo. You play quietly on your own and I love watching you construct cars, fire trucks, etc, out of your Duplo pieces.

At 27 months, you astound me at some of the things you do and say. Just the other day, you suddenly blurted out: “Mummy drink coffee.” But, Mummy doesn’t drink coffee, and I don’t ever remember teaching you the word ‘coffee’. Maybe it is a word you picked up from school, I’m not sure. I was just…floored. You also love exclaiming: “Oh no, what happened?“, complete with pained expression, and your latest phrase – “sooo CUTE!“. I confess that you picked up both phrases from me and you repeat it in the exact same tone I say it. Hur hur.

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You have been doing very well at swim class. You can put your head underwater confidently, and swim a short distance towards us when instructed. You, my child, have no fear of the water. You walk around (dangerously) at the steps of the swimming pool and I always have my heart in my mouth because one misstep and you’re in the water. I have way too many videos of you at the pool because I am so proud of you.

I would also like to mark your 27th month but stating here for the record that from 30th May 2016, Monday, you stopped crying completely at school drop-off! Hip hip hooray! You were a happy chappy. You smiled at health-check, then walked through the gate on your own. No tears! And for the entire week, there were no tears at all. I guess (and hope) that you have finally wisened up to the school routine.

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What I am going to write about next might embarrass you when you are old enough to read but it’s too cute not to mention it so here goes: You have a cute habit of running to a quiet corner when you need to poop. Ah Ma noticed it first and we now recognise that when you stop play suddenly and run off to stand beside the living room curtains (!) or other random corners, it is poop time. Hehe. We tried to start with a bit of toilet-training and we are seeing some results so in due time, we hope to save some (big) money on diapers.

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Happy 27 month, Elliott. Please slow down on this growing-up business.My heart cannot cope.

Lots of love,
Mummy xoxo