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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sharing an ice cream

Even though it has been one of the worst weeks of my life, the moments of joy and bonding with my twins heal me. 

I don't believe I have been happier despite all the gloom swirling about me, when I shared an ice cream cone with the twins this afternoon at IKEA. I sat on the railing so I was eye level with them and they each took bites out of the cone, And then tried to lick it. Twin A had ice cream smeared all over her mouth literally  and I was glad for once she was willing to at least try something different. Twin B was of course game to lick the ice cream but once again I noticed the difference between the twins that comes naturally - Twin B would share and make sure the giver takes some too while Twin A would only receive like a child would. Twin B has a sense of awareness, of giving, and I love this dear child of mine so much. I look at her black hair and white cheeks and I think, I always think - I know motherhood, I know love because of you. 

She is the child who will lay her head on your shoulder as you carry her, and lay for many moments against your chest as you sit. You could smell her sweet hair, feel her soft skin, breathe the essence of childhood when you hold her. I try to hold twin A too but she struggles so hard to be free - her moments of affection last but a second before she gets restless while with Twin B, she allows you to soak in the moments. Oh how I adore my little girl. She once said to myCEB and I "I make everybody laugh" and it couldn't be more true - she's a little bundle of happiness that makes one's heart sing with joy. The rest of the world falls way when I am with her. 

I don't want to be careful about loving her too much and I don't have to - why should any mother have restrictions placed upon them on how they love a child? Only God knows how much time I have with the twins so I have to make it count. Whether or not they remember, it doesn't matter. It's how they grow day to day, how confident they feel in my love in this large uncertain world that matters.

Do I want another child? Yes, I am struck by baby fever but will I have another child? It is most unlikely. There is too much uncertainty on too many fronts and I cannot make myself go through the whole process again from scratch. I don't want the third child to have any less than what I have given the twins but because of some work changes, I don't think I can. 

I think all the roads i have taken have led me to the twins. If all i was born for, was to have the twins and to provide for them , not just materially but developmentally, I truely am content. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Almost 29 months (almost 2 and a half)

What with 2016 coming up, I have been trying to do for the twins what they cannot do for themselves - plan their schedule. 

I intend to let 1 helper go - when or before her contract ends is still up in the air. She has straightened out her act a fair bit but there isn't anything for her to do around the house if the twins are in full day from 8.45am to 5.30pm when I pick them up. I don't really want the twins to have to deal with 2 major disruption simultaneously, being a new school and then the loss of a very familiar face. So, I guess there has to be a transition period and the only question is the length of that time needed. In the mean time, it would be paying $3000 a month for full day childcare and the cost of an extra helper at $800 (salary, levy and food). 

I'll be honest that I hate the word budget and until I was asked to fill in a worksheet at an assessment session by a preschool, I didn't realize how much I was spending on the twins' enrichment classes. It worked out to at least $500 per child so that's $1000 for the two of them on Kumon, Sparkanauts and MLG. The only class I really resent the spending of monies on would be MLG but I'd committed for a full year of lessons for a 12% discount and it's within walking distance from my house so I have to continue with it for another two months. I have seen a big improvement in their ability to count, sit still and use a pencil so I intend to continue with Kumon, As for Sparkanauts, given their boundless energy and enjoyment of the classes, I am happy for them to continue until year end when the package I paid for expires.

Right now, I'm waiting on a place with Berries which will be settled in a couple of weeks. At a recent complimentary trial class, the twins were able to pick the days of the week correctly in English - not a single mistake - but both of them had every single word wrong when it came to Chinese. It's not funny. Every single day of the week they messed up. That's how bad it is. I'm desperate for Berries to make a major change. And I think I will speak to them in Chinese more often. Not sure what the playgroup is going to do for them but if I am paying premium fees for this pre school which boasts of a bilingual curriculum, then hopefully there will be an improvement of sorts.

I had not been willing to spend a cent at all on English because I have been using Glen Doman cards since they were 6 months and we speak English at home. I have also been using the Peter and Jane cards to teach them the first 100 words which should enable them to read the first few books in the series, and that has been a semi success because E2 can read independently the first few books - books I have never read to her before and so she can't memorize the contents of (that little girl can really memorize). I picked up 3b yesterday and she could read most of it. E1 is silent or just copies by sound whatever E2 says hence I say, a semi success. E2 woke up from her nap yesterday on my bed and said while pointing to the pile of books on my window ledge "Let's read a book". It stopped me short - like a slap to the face, and I remember staring at her thinking...what did you just say, my little girl? E1 on the other hand prefers to just walk around, fiddle at things and not even try. Even for Kumon, she has fallen 20 worksheets behind E1. I don't want to speculate why because it would involve measuring her against E2, And while that's inevitable, I don't think it's right o measure her against just one other child as opposed to a group of children of the same age. 

But anyway, we had a complimentary assessment of the twins 2 days ago at the most expensive preschool and one of the tests was a list of 20 words which required the twins to individually read at least 6 of their choice. I wasn't expecting either twin to read any because the words aren't words we are currently teaching and not in the Peter and Jane 100 words. E1 (Twin A) could read one word "dog" which surprised me because I had such low expectations but E2 read all 6 from black to mouse to bus. On her own - I was stunned. We haven't taught them phonics as yet so I wasn't expecting her to be able to master words not currently flashed to her...but somehow she got them right. Memory, maybe from the countless books we have read. Now when I take out the Kumon worksheets, she actually reads the instructions on the top of each page and point to the words, 1 by 1. It's a bit disconcerting. She's not two and a half and she is supposed to be my baby. Who is this little girl who seems so independent and self sufficient?

Who is this little girl who is always talking, questioning, observing and has a phenomenal memory. She pointed to 1 of my helper's scar (injection) and said keloid. I mean, like what?! I didn't teach her that. When I said no to going to the playground because the slide was too hot. She told me to make it cold. And when I scoffingly asked how to make it cold, she answered me matter of factly - pour cold water on it. 

What E1 lacks, she kinda makes up with attitude...she seems to try and sit down and takes instructions far better than E2. Attitude is as important if not more so than aptitude so we'll see. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not Peas in a Pod

It struck me yesterday that the twins couldn't be any more different.

We were at one of the enrichment classes (gym and flash cards) which they have been going to for slightly over a year. Having moved up one level to the 2-3yr class a couple of weeks ago, there are some variations to the elements of the class. Musical time is no longer having a xylophone brought to a child and having the child play it (with a parent holding hand). Instead, the child is asked to bow facing the class then play some notes on a small piano.

So, when the teachers asked who would like to go first, E2 said her name loudly and clearly. The teachers called her to come up and she bowed happily before playing on the piano. When it was E1's turn, she refused to stand up and walk over to the piano. When lifted over, she buckled her knees and refused to stand. When brought to the piano, she started to cry. My helper had no luck persuading her and even my threat of using the clip to clip her hand did not work. When the teachers called her the second time (after calling the other kids first), she still refused but at least she didn't cry. I dragged her roughly to the piano and dumped her down. And then persuaded her to press the notes. The teachers who were pretty much young girls look worried and terrified. I suppose I must have had a ferocious look on my face. E1 cooperated and then deigned to sit on my lap for the rest of the class instead of the helper's.

I don't know whether it is right or wrong, and I couldn't care less if I was wrong, but molly coddle a child I will not. I don't believe in letting a child get away with what has to be done because he/she throws a temper or refuses to do what has to be done (maybe because I was brought up that way). However, I wonder at my very different reactions to both E1 and E2 when they do not cooperate.

I'm not saying I am not rough with E2. E2 tests my patience sorely too - I am so very tempted to beat her on many occasions, like her stubborn refusal to swallow when I feed her, or when she refuses to swallow the very last mouthful of each meal and lets it sit in her meal for up to an hour (before spitting it out when we bathe them at the end of the day). But yet when my little girl stares at my angry face and into my eyes, my rage melts away and I can't find it in me to beat her or handle her roughly. I am filled with the most infinite love when I look at my child. Not always, not when she cries and kicks up a fuss before doing the Kumon homework. Not when she refuses to swallow her food. But for the most part, she is an affectionate, giving and happy child. I couldn't ask for more.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Smartest Kids in the World

Maths skills tended to better predict future earnings. Math had a way of predicting kids' futures. Teenagers who mastered higher level math classes were far more likely to graduate from college, even when putting aside other factors like race and income. They also earned more money after college.

Why did math matter so much? Some reasons were practical: More and more jobs required familiarity with probability, statistics, and geometry. The other reason was that math was not just math. Math is a language of logic. It is a disciplined, organized way of thinking. There is a right answer, there are rules that must be followed. More than any other subject,  math is rigor distilled. Mastering the language of logic helps to embed higher order habits in kids' minds: the ability to reason, for example, to detect patterns and make informed guesses. These kinds of skills had rising value in a world in which information was cheap and messy.

In Polish math class, they had learned tricks that had become automatic, so their brains were freed up to do the harder work. It was the difference between being fluent in language and not.

He didn't know that math could be cosmically beautiful and something he could master with hard work, time and persistence, just the way he'd mastered Chekhov.

A student's race and family income mattered but how much such things mattered varied wildly from country to country. Students from private school, did not, statistically speaking, add much value

In essence, PISA revealed what should have been obvious but was not: that spending on education did not make kids smarter. Everything - everything - depended on what teachers, parents, and students did with those investments. As in all other large organizations, from GE to the Marines, excellence depended on execution, the hardest things to get wrong.

Money did not lead to more learning either. In the education superpowers, parents were not necessarily more involved in their children's education, just differently involved. And most encouragingly, the smart kids had not always been so smart. Change, it turned out, could come within a single generation.

PISA demanded fluency in problem solving and the ability to communicate; in other words the basic skills I needed to do my job and take care of my family in a world choked with information and subject to sudden economic change.

Rigor mattered. Koreans understood that mastering difficult academic content was important. They didn't take shortcuts, especially in math. They assumed that performance was mostly a product of hard work - not God given talent. This attitude meant that all kids tried harder and it was more valuable to a country than gold or oil.

Korean schools existed for one and only one purpose: so that children could master complex academic material. US schools by contrast,were about many things, only one of which was learning This lack of focus made it easy to lose sight of what mattered most.

Other parental efforts yielded big returns, the surveys suggested. When children were young, parents who read to them every day or almost every day had kids who performed much better in reading, all around the world. What did reading to your kids mean? Done well, it meant teaching them about the world - sharing stories about faraway places, about smoking volcanoes and little boys who were sent to bed without dinner. It meant asking them questions about the book, questions that encouraged them to think for themselves. It meant sending a signal to kids about the importance of not just reading but of learning about all kinds of new things.

As kids got older, the parental involvement that seemed to matter most was different but related. All over the world, parents who discussed movies, books and current affairs with their kids had teenagers who performed better in reading. Here again, parents who engaged their kids in conversation about things larger than themselves were essentially teaching their kids to become thinking adults. Unlike volunteering in schools, those kinds of parental efforts delivered clear and convincing results, even across different countries and different income levels.

In fact, fifteen year olds whose parents talked about complicated social issues with them not only scored better on PISA but reported enjoying reading more overall. What parents did with children at home mattered more than what parents did to hep out at school.

Korean parenting, by contrast, were coaches. Coach parents cared deeply about their children too. Yet they spent less time attending school events and more time training their children at home: reading to them, quizzing them on their multiplication tables while they were cooking dinner, and pushing them to try harder. They saw education as one of their jobs.

Asian parents taught their children to add before they could read. They did it systematically and directly with a work book, not organically.

Parents who read to their children tended to raise kids who scored higher points on PISA. By Contrast, parents who regularly played with alphabet toys with their young children saw no such benefit. And at least one high impact form of parental involvement did not actually involve kids or schools at all: If parents simply read for pleasure at home on their own, their children were more likely to enjoy reading too. Kids could see what parents valued and it mattered more than what parents said.

A coddled, moon bounce of a childhood could lead to young adults who had never experienced failure or developed self control or endurance - experiences that mattered as much or more than academic schools.

Actual research on praise suggested the opposite was true. Praise that was vague, insincere or excessive tended to discourage kids from working hard and trying new things. IT had a toxic effect. To work, praise had to be specific, authentic and rare.

Adults didn't have to be stern or aloof to help kids learn. In fact, just asking children about their school days and showing genuine interest in what they were learning could have the same effect on PISA scores as hours of private tutoring. Asking serious questions about a child's book had more value than congratulating the child for finishing it, in other words.

Authoritative is a mash up of authoritarian and permissive. These parents inhabit the sweet spot between the two: they were warm, responsive and close ot their kids but as their children got older, they gave them freedom to explore and to fail and to make their own choices. Throughout their kids' upbringing, authoritative parents also had clear bright limits rules they did not negotiate.

Parents and teachers who manage to be both warm and strict seem to strike a resonance with children, gaining their trust along with their respect. Authoritative parents trained their kids to be resilient and it seemed to work.

In Korea and Finland, despite all their differences, everyone - kids, parents and teachers - saw getting an education as a serious quest, more important than sports or self esteem. Everything was more demanding through and through. Kids had more freedom too. This freedom was important and it wasn't a gift. By definition, rigorous work required failure; you simply could not do it without failing. That meant that teenagers had the freedom to fail when they were still young enough to learn how to recover. When they didn't work hard, they got worse grades. The consequences were clear and reliable.

The fundamental difference was a psychological one. The education superpowers believed in rigor. People in these countries agreed on the purpose of school: School existed to help students master complex academic material. Other things mattered too, but nothing mattered as much. The most important difference Id seen so far was the drive of students and their families. IT was viral and it mattered. Kids feed off each other. This feedback loop started in kindergarden and just grew more powerful each year, for better and for worse.

In the education superpowers, each child knew the importance of an education,

The teachers, everything is based on the teachers. We need goof teachers - well prepared and well chosen.

In an automated global economy, kids needed to be driven;; they need to know how to adapt, since they would be doing it all their lives. They needed a culture of rigor.

To give our kids the kinds of education they deserved, we had to first agree that rigor mattered most of all; that school existed to help kids learn to think, to work hard, and yes to fail. All children must learn rigorous higher order thinking to thrive in the modern world. The only way to do that is by creating a serious intellectual culture in schools.

Friday, July 10, 2015

David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you've been through the tough times and you discover they aren't so tough at all. 

The lesson of the trickster tales is the third desirable difficulty: the unexpected freedom that comes from having nothing to lose. 

Find the means to create a crisis to make...tip his hand. Play Brer Rabbit and try to get xxx to throw them in the briar patch.

We need to remember that our definition of what is right is, as often as not, simply the way that people in positions of privilege close the door on those on the outside. David has nothing to lose, and because he has nothing to lose, he has the freedom to thumb his nose at the rules set by others.

When people in authority wants the rest of us to behave, it matters how they behave. This is called the principle of legitimacy and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice - that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can't treat one group differently from another.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

>25 months

I read on the net that 3 is the sweet spot to start but having run out of teaching ideas for mathematics, I had the twins tested at one of the local kum0n centers and they were accepted into the program @ 25mths. This is the first enrichment class that they actually have homework for every day and I have to wake up earlier to catch them to practice the worksheets for ten-fifteen minutes each before they go off for their daily 2 hour montessori lessons. I have no idea what they learn at the montessori classes at all but they come back happy and wanting to go to school so I guess it can't be all too bad. 

Still, off they go to childcare next year since I have already registered a year in advance and waitlisted since I obtained their birth certs 2 years ago. While it is very important that there is lots of play during their childhood (which there will be since I am sending them to a play based nursery program), children learn the most when they are young and it is the least of my duties to give them all the opportunities that they should have. Hence, kum0n for Maths and then B@rries for Chinese next year. I probably will add in swimming lessons to the mix and maybe even H@guru but I had no idea that Kum0n is so time consuming with 2 lessons a week as well as homework every day so we will see.

My CEB and I discussed having a third child but the likelihood is very low because the twins require so much time, effort and financial resources already. I do have "baby fever" when I look at a new born baby but then the thought of those gynae checkups during the pregnancy, then the c section and the months of breastfeeding as well as all the activities I have to take the third one turn me right off. As for that happening later on down the road, it seems like a worse idea as I need to focus on my career once the twins start childcare next year so I guess we are pretty much done. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Turning 2

Tomorrow the twins will be two.

We blew balloons, cut a cake and gave them presents (two "My Little Ponies" which good old mama and I lugged back from America last week) over the weekend. Unlike their first birthday's big bash which cost over 3 grand last year, this year's birthday celebrations have been kept to a minimum. It probably will be a couple more years before we try anything bigger than immediate family and grandparents.

Twin A's disposition has improved significantly. However, she's regressed when it comes to eating and drinking milk. She used to be able to complete here meals in fifteen to thirty minutes and now she is taking up to an hour and refusing to drink her milk. I have no idea what makes her the way she is and taking away the meal doesn't seem to have any effect on her at all. It's still the same circus act when the next meal comes around. It's a great pity that she rejects the good stuff like cod fish (I give her red snapper in lieu) and avocado (she eats only plums) which Twin B eats and she still wails and screams when made to do what she doesn't like, eg, swimming without floats. I'm thankful for the small mercies though, which include her not screaming and wailing without reason like before.

Twin B, is starting to raise a right racket now for the smallest reason. Temper tantrums, the start of the terrible twos. She doesn't like anything that isn't blue and that includes fruits or vegetables. She's vocal about what she wants and doesn't want. She likes books more than anything and it is not uncommon to find her flipping through the books on the playmat while Twin A prefers to walk around or play with the larger toys in the playpen (see saws, playhouse). Twin B doesn't like to go to school (or rather, the 2 hour unaccompanied playgroup), especially when I am around and tells me she wants to stay in the playpen all the time. She remains very physically affectionate and will wrap her arms around my neck and lay her head on my shoulder when I carry her. It is hard not to love her but she can try my temper too and I have to literally walk away before I lose it when she refuses to swallow. No problem with the milk bit but feeding her is a torture.She takes forever to finish a meal, like Twin A, and holds the food in her mouth for the longest time. She refuses all other types of fruits except avocado which is mixed with her porridge.

I am hoping that their turning two doesn't equate to a year full of tantrums, especially since both of them are able to articulate their needs, but from the way things have been panning out, I wouldn't hold out too much hope! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Head versus heart

I like to think I am ruled by my head rather than my heart, by logic than pure emotion.

But what I like to think I am, and who I really am, well, they aren't always the same.

I have a work trip coming up to USA, business class and all, decent hotels and I am so tempted to bring 1 of the twins. However, I am just not up to the challenge of jet lag, mid noon naps, milk bottles and feeding for an hour. So my mind is saying, no, let's not bother but my heart is loathe to separate from my child. It's less than a month away, this upcoming trip, and I still haven't thought it through.

Another issue I need to decide on is My Precious. That's my car. I've driven it for 7 coming onto 8 years now, and it's in really good shape despite having me taken it places like the rough windy roads along the coast of Malaysia for my fishing trips. It hasn't let me down and despite being seriously tempted at least twice, I haven't parted with my tin can yet. Largely to do with the cost of having a car in Singapore - the same model now cost double what it cost me then so I'm only losing 5K a year on this car. And I know a car is not a necessity and is a liability, unlike my house. The question is of course, what I will be replacing this with. I know it's going to be a 7 seater because I'm thinking already of nice little short trips with the twins and a maid across the causeway. And of course, again it's a question of which. Will I be practical or go with my heart?

Going with my heart hasn't led me anywhere good. Going with my mind has served me better, if I recall.

Talking about heart, it's funny how I thought I love the twins so much when they were born but as they grow, I love them even more. I suppose Twin A loves me back in her own way, which is silently, but Twin B is so expressive about it. She holds my face in both hands and says "oh mama" with so much love in her sweet little voice. Sometimes she says spontaneously "Happy Birthday mama" or "wo ai ni", or lays her little face on my shoulder, arms around my neck. I kiss her belly button to hear her laugh, and I marvel at every inch of her. If I wanted to arrest time then with her, I want even more time with her now.

Friday, March 20, 2015

22 months today

I didn't plan on blogging today because they turned 22 month but it just happened that I had my work laptop open and my mind had wandered to the twins.

Twin A is still a challenge. She never was a easy baby to start with but I'd hoped she would outgrow the crying and screaming tantrums. She hasn't. When she doesn't get her way, she arches her back and opens her mouth wide to shriek uncontrollably. It isn't pleasant and my CEB would rather let her have what she wants than to endure an hour worth of screaming. I'm different. She understands me perfectly when I tell her exactly what I am going to do with her if she doesn't shut it, now. She pauses to assess how serious I am, and then continues with the screaming to see if I'll do as I say. Testing boundaries or just simply being stubborn or....I really don't care about the reason because it doesn't change a thing with her screaming, failing out, pulling her hair and throwing stuff everywhere. Yes, a full tantrum over simple matters like finishing her food or having the toy she wants.

Unfortunately she gets the short end of the stick when it comes to fighting with Twin B. Twin B is a biter. She has bitten Twin A twice leaving abrasions on the back and shoulder. Twin A only bit back twice. Every time there is a biting session, out comes the hair clip and the offender is duly punished and smacked. Twin A learns not to bite. Twin B still bites and as much as I don't fancy corporal punishment, Twin B has to be taught what is acceptable and talking to a wilful toddler doesn't work hence the hair clip. Now, Twin B. She has a pretty good memory and is able to complete sentences. She likes to ask "What is mama doing or what is papa doing or what is aunty m doing?" when she sees us doing something she doesn't understand. "Aiyoh" "alamak" is the equivalent of cursing at our house so she says alamak too to express hers surprise/unhappiness. Yesterday night, she said "tummy pain" and pressed her tummy, before refusing to finish the rest of her milk. She followed that with "mama bring [name] toilet pass urine" so I carried her to the washroom and sat her on the can with her pyjamas and diapers on. I squatted in front of her to support her under the arms and we looked at each other. She's grown up, my little girl. She isn't growing up, she's grown up. So far from the baby she was, yet I can see the baby that she was. 

Twin B remains an affectionate creature, putting her head on my shoulder, rushing to hug us, and wishing us happy birthday or saying wo ai ni. She is content to lie in my arms to let me feed her milk, and to just lean her head on my chest to rest. I cannot imagine in my miserable life, what I have done to deserve this little girl. I know motherhood because I have her.

I love Twin A as my child - she has a sense of humor and is adorable when she doesn't cry but she displays little affection and is very independent. She doesn't want to be carried when fed milk, and doesn't hug us when we carry her. She wants to play and have fun. 

Twins, but so different. The swim coach remarked that it is as if they are sisters born at different times rather than twins. Twin B loves water - splashing, playing but Twin A yells her head off. She has improved somewhat though now that we have a pool in our home and I take her down for a swim every other day.

The twins have started going for 2 hours montessori playgroup this month and Twin A has settled in well after the first day. She now participates, according to the principal, who had commented she was anti social after the first day. Twin B though had a good start and then it all went downhill. She cries when she sees the uniform and we dress her in it. She cries and pulls my hair when we drop her off. She cries when we pick her up. 

In 9 months time, they start full day childcare and I certainly hope that this playgroup will help smooth the transition. We still do the enrichment classes twice a week but it is only after they turn 3 that all the serious enrichment courses will begin. Exciting times ahead.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Mama,.... Pls

Sentences. Twin B can construct sentences. Just a couple of days ago, she said to me clearly "Mama hold [Name] hand pls." Previously, it was "Mama carry [Name] up", completely with hands in the air. And when I left for work, she said "Mama go work. Bye bye Mama". Oh my little girl, I want to arrest time. I don't want you to grow up so fast and start talking back or asking a million questions. I love you completely, absolutely as you are now, with your chubby legs, spontaneous laugh, endearing little ways (like hugging us) and limited speech.

At work today, I checked in via the webcam and found my little girl twirling in circles around and around. I watched her dance, delighting in her new found ability to spin about without falling. And I wanted to be right there with her. To hold her little face, cuddle her tight, kiss her a million times, smell her hair, listen to her little voice pip up.

But I have been blessed with so many other memories of the twins. I bought a second playhouse (Step 2) which arrived on Saturday and I watched the twins play. Really play. Twin A would be in the playhouse and Twin B would shut the windows of one side and wait. Twin A would then push open the windows and Twin B would run away shrieking with pure joy and laughing before going back to the windows and closing it. Twin A would push the shutters open again and Twin B would again run away into my arms. There truly is no purer or greater happiness than that of a child, and a child doesn't need very much to make them happy.

Twin A isn't as vocal but with Twin B around, she tries to communicate her wants too by imitating Twin B. First time, she said "Mama carry [Twin B name] up" with her arms in the air and I said to her "Carry who? You want mama to carry Twin B?" She looked puzzled and then revised the sentence to "Mama carry jie jie up". Her name is four syllabus and it is only 2 days ago she has managed to somewhat say her entire name. She hasn't been able to outgrow the scream-cry phase when she wants something but I think that is because she doesn't have the ability to communicate like Twin B. Twin B can say clearly what she wants, when she wants for eg. pacifier, water bottle, hug, read book pls, go play pen". Hmmm. or maybe it is because Twin A wants what we are not prepared to give , like time out of the play pen (which has 12 panels and isn't claustrophobic) or to be carried all the time and not put down, which is an impossibility. Twin B's demands are always simple - to be read to, and she doesn't cry if she is not carried out of the playpen but picks up a book and flips through it. In that sense, she is less demanding but feeding her is a nightmare.

When it comes to adult food, she swallows the food so quickly but her latest trick is leaving the food in her mouth without swallowing. I try to give her more water to wash it all down but instead she opens her mouth and lets everything dribble out. That can be extremely annoying. And while feeding her, we give her books or lego or toys to entertain her but she tires of them easily and pushes them away saying no no no. I have to sit on my hands and not smack her when she does stuff like that.

2 weeks to 20 months and I still have not signed them up for daily classes. We only do two one hour enrichment class on Thurs and Sat to break the monotony of staying at home. With the existing playroom and each other for company, I didn't feel compelled to have to send them to school and expose them to germs and all the other associated risks with mixing with other children (biting etc). However, I think they are at the age to learn so much more so it might be time to explore other options.