10 February 2017, by Joel Chng

I survived this LNY!

Where did my long weekend go?

Before I could take a breather, my five-day Lunar New Year (LNY) break ended and I am now back to work.

‘Tiring but fulfilling’ describes parenting to a tee, and this phrase perfectly sums up my LNY long weekend (even more so, when compared to last year’s LNY).

For starters, Ezra is no longer the five-month-old who only needs breastmilk to survive. At 16-months-old, he is his own little person who walks and talks! This little person exclaims, “ball!” when he sees Mandarin oranges, and when handed one, never fails to throw it onto the floor. I guess Ezra’s elders will have to wait another year to receive Mandarin oranges from him!

LNY is a time of happy reunions among family and friends. This is the second year that we managed to attend two reunion dinners on the eve of LNY. My wife Petrina and I started this tradition so that Ezra can enjoy both sides of the family. This year, the reunion dinner at Petrina’s side was special because a cousin who lives in Australia returned to Singapore with her family for their first LNY in a decade.

Going to reunions and getting from house to house, can get a little busy because, Ezra is easily bored and dislikes being restrained to his car seat. Our solution to that? Lots of snacks (apple slices, blueberries, raisins, yogurt)! We also play children’s songs in the car and sing along to keep him entertained. Ezra eats a wide variety of food and some LNY snacks, I also prepare easy-to-eat items like pasta, quiches and meatballs (all homemade; see recipes below) in case he gets hungry while travelling between houses.

The cool weather made LNY more awesome this year! Ezra perspires easily and I was worried that he would be uncomfortable in his new outfit. To beat the heat, I brought Ezra for his fifth haircut a few days before the LNY. Tip: salons charge a premium for haircuts from a month before the LNY, so it’s best to get your child’s hair cut early. Ezra’s haircut usually costs $10 but this time there was a surcharge so we paid $16.

New haircut!

Here comes the topic of money, specifically red packets. Petrina and I have, for the sixth year now, stamped our monogram onto the back of every red packet – so our recipients know which one is from us. We also find it useful to write our recipients’ names on the red packet to prevent missing someone out, especially at large family gatherings.

The highlight of my long weekend was when Ezra woke up at 11 a.m. and decided that he wanted to say “daddy” for the first time! I have enjoyed spending time with Ezra over the LNY break, so this surprise really warmed my heart. For the record, it was not one-off; Ezra called me “daddy” many times throughout the day! It was a surprise because Petrina and I do not ‘drill’ words into Ezra; we prefer to let him speak at his own pace.

Compared to last year’s LNY where Ezra was a five-month-old who had yet to crawl, much less walk, this LNY saw Ezra interacting well with our relatives and friends. Petrina and I also relished the pockets of break that we got, where we did not have to worry about where Ezra was or what he was doing, as we were among trusted family and friends who were always eager to help babysit!

On a more personal note, those five days were meaningful to me because of the many father-and-son moments I had with Ezra – verbal communication, developing common interests, even boisterous play!

And really, hearing Ezra call me “daddy” at the end of those five days was the icing on the cake.

Happy Lunar New Year, dear readers!

As promised, here are the recipes:

Roasted Vegetables Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:
– 500g cherry tomatoes
– 300g white mushrooms
– 2 yellow capsicums
– 1 eggplant
– 1 onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– A handful of fresh Italian basil
– A pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1) Toss the ingredients in extra virgin olive oil
2) Roast at 180 degrees for 20 minutes
3) Blend, portion and freeze

Quiche

Ingredients:
– 500g minced chicken
– 2 yellow capsicums
– 1 broccoli
– 1 onion
– 150g mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1) Stir-fry ingredients
2) Portion into cupcake/muffin trays
3) Beat eggs and pour into trays as desired
4) Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes
5) Portion and freeze

Note: baking and roasting timings may differ from oven to oven.

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