MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Olive’s Finger Painted Masterpiece

Take a piece of paper, draw some branches, get your little one to dip their fingers in some paint, and paint away!


And there you have it! Our masterpiece, the ‘Hanami’.IMG_7863

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Proud of her work.

If you look at the artwork closely, you would notice 2 styles of painting. The neat and structured, almost boring thumb-printing by me, and the uninhibited generous strokes by Olive which brought this cherry blossom tree painting to life.

As astoundingly beautiful as cherry blossoms are, their peak of bloom lasts only about a week. Life is fleeting. Life’s too short for us to be confined by a perceived set of rules, norms, and structures. Through this activity, I was reminded by Olive not to be neat and structured. But to be messy and bold. To think out of the box like I used to.

I remembered the time when my favorite high school teacher did an activity with the class. She started by asking the class to draw a box, followed by some other objects. At the end of the exercise, when everyone revealed their drawings, only one other classmate and I, out of thirty over students, drew fancy boxes that weren’t in the shape of a square. When our teacher asked who drew their boxes as squares, I was beaming inside knowing that I did not fall into the “trap” of what she had intended to prove i.e. most of us not being able to think out of the box. Who says a box has to be a square?

Life’s also too short for us too contemplate and hesitate over things we want to do but are scared of doing. It is too short for us to worry over problems that aren’t really problems, especially first world problems. Here’s hoping that Olive and I will learn to seize and enjoy every fleeting moment, and make them count. And I hope I will be able to inspire her to live a lot, laugh a lot, and to love a whole lot more!

 


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No Palate for Colours

By 17 months, Olive was able to recite her numbers from 1 to 10 and a little more, in 3 different languages, and also a third of the alphabets but colours aren’t quite her thing yet. When asked the colour of an object, Olive’s favourite answer is blue, sometimes purple.

So I tried a little colour-sorting activity with her. Drew some boxes and labelled each box a different colour so that we could place objects we find in the house in their corresponding colours.

Looks like fun?

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Nope, not at all for her. She got bored real quick and made her point by introducing other play activities for us instead, all the time pretending that this DIY activity sheet was covered by an invisibility cloak.

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Olive 1 : Mama 0

Looks like mama has to come up with better ideas.


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Baking 101

Truth is, I’m not the domesticated wife/mama who can whip up fancy dishes or bake up a storm and God knows, so He surrounded me with people who excel in either one or both.

To give you some perspective of how “well” I cook, here’s possibly my best dish so far, prepared together with Oska. Behold the stir fried beef noodles:

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Over stirred broken noodles. In my defence, it tasted quite yummy. Uglily yummy.

There was also the ‘Crab in the bag’ dish which I really should not claim much credit for. My brother, the aspiring chef, did most of the work and I just replicated the second batch. Heck it! I need to claim a tad bit of credit or at least an A for effort, right?

 

So if I can’t cook or bake for nuts but want to impart some important life skills to Olive, what do I do? I outsource, of course!

My sister, who bakes like an artist, did a baking 101 session for Olive and I, and I am documenting it below for future reference.

Baking for Dummies: Sugar Cookies

Recipe:
3.5 cups of plain flour (450g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 egg
2 sticks of butter (or 1 block of butter; 227g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
*optional

Step 1: Give your teacher the cheekiest face so she will be lenient on you. Also, get mama to preheat the oven at 170°C.IMG_0340Step 2: Beat butter and sugar together, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract until just combined. Add egg and mix until well combined.

Step 3: Mix in flour and knead the dough. Ask for help if you refuse to get your hands dirty, but get your hands dirty anyway.IMG_0351Step 4: Roll the dough as evenly as you can. If this 17 months toddler can do it better than her mama, so can you!

Step 5: Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the most dramatic way, just to show how good you are at cutting out shapes.

Step 6: Bake your cookies at 170°C. Leave out to cool for a bit. Coat them with icing and decorate them with your assortment of sprinkles and TA-DA!

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Can you spot Olive’s naked bear? Hurray to Olive’s first bake and first cookie at 17 months small!