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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Parenting Times

One of the things that I like to do best is search for cute tools for my blog. Well, at least that is something that I used to do when I first started blogging but now I don't have much time to play around on my blog anymore. I only have time to pound on the keyboard to write. Haha.

Anyway, its good that 123 greetings now allows you to embed its e-cards on your blogs. However the card is a bit senget (crooked from not enough space) as you can see. There is a snowman on the right but he is hidden behind my sidebar. Hahaha. Hope you enjoy the card and your Christmas anyway.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Craft: Making Pop-Up Christmas Cards

Today the kids made pop-up Christmas cards for their aunts. Just for the aunts and none for the uncles as somehow ladies seem to appreciate these things more than the men.

We made two types of cards. The first is a pop-up origami tree card. The second is a pop-up cut-out Christmas tree card.

If you are interested, here are the step-by step instructions on how to make the pop-up origami Christmas tree card.

And here is a step-by-step instruction on how to make the cut-out or pop up Christmas tree card using the Robert Sabuda Method. By the way, I found many other interesting and simple pop-ups to try with the kids on RobertSabuda.com You should check it out too.

For both types of cards, I helped the kids to make the frames and the pop-ups, the cutting and the glueing (because Christmas is almost here so we need speed. lol) and then got them to decorate it in any way they wish. I gave them stickers, glitter pens, color pens etc to use for decorations.

The girl drew presents under the tree, stars, candy canes, snowflakes. The boys decorated his with stars and sesame street stickers, drew in cars (his favourite), and various shapes, hearts, diamonds, etc. We're not quite done yet but I couldn't wait to post up the pictures. :P


Extension of Contest Period

Remember this contest? If you don't, or if this is the first time you are reading about it, please check the link to find out more about the contest.

Well, I have good news for those of you who wanted to enter the contest but could not because you just didn't have the time earlier on.

The contest period has been extended to Jan 5, 2009. Results will be announced on Jan 12, 2009.

The first batch of participants are receiving a belt worth RM30 for their little ones courtesy of Domii. This consolation prize is exclusive to those participants who entered the contest prior to the extension period.

However, all contestants stand a chance to win the a RM88 cash voucher plus a 1 year free membership worth RM10 from DOMII which entitles you to a discount of 10% on all regular items for the entire year. Please note that the voucher can only be used at Domii's flagship store at The Curve.

So, if you missed out earlier on, here's your chance now. Here is your chance to Clad Your Lads in Style.

Domii specialises in clothing for boys aged 1 to 14.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Because I love You

The Little One wanted me to feed him and he said....

"Mummy, do you know why I want you to feed me?........... Because I love You!"

Bad mommy told him that "if you love me then you will feed yourself" to which mini teacher added....

"Yah, if you love mummy, you will feed yourself, so that mummy has more time."

This is something that I tell mini teacher all the time because usually it is her who requests to be fed while the little one eats all by himself. Haha.

In another unrelated incident, mini teacher had persuaded daddy to buy her a new hair grip with flowers on it. She wanted to wear it to aunty's house for the coming Christmas party.

The little one wanted to wear the Santa's hat that I had gotten out of the toy box from last year.

I overheard her persuading her little brother not to wear the Santa's hat.

"Baby, you should not wear the Santa's hat you know. You must gel up your hair now you know. You must gel up your hair everyday now."

The little one fell for it. He said....

"Must I do it myself?"

And she replied....

"Yes, baby, you must gel up your hair everyday now."

And then she went on telling him about how he should have a different look now but I can't remember her exact words now.

Ah... thats mini teacher using the power of persuasion to get her brother to do what she wants. *rolls eyes*

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Online Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary

My daughter and I are now learning the final 800 words from my daughter's Preschool Chinese Reading Series from Odonata Publishing that was recommended by other bloggers.

I become frustrated at the difficulty in searching for words in our printed Chinese-English Dictionaries. We have two at home. Its difficult to search for compound characters. Chinese Characters are so complex (to me), they take a whole new meaning when you put two different characters one after another. Searching for the Chinese characters individually just won't do.

I was taking so long searching for the words in my printed Chinese-English Dictionaries that I turned online to search. Usually I use Mandarintools.com. I like it because it is simple and easy to use. There is another dictionary at Zhongwen.com but I find that one a bit complicated.

However, I still had trouble searching for the compound characters.......until I found the Chinese-English Dictionary at Nciku. I am really excited about this dictionary. So excited that I must share it with you.

I know that there are many other mothers like me who do not know Chinese but who wish to guide their child who is learning Chinese in school. I think this is perfect for us. It is easy to search. I like to use the search in Pinyin. I searched for the compound words by typing in pinyin. You can even do a search in handwriting using your mouse with the Handwriting Recognition tool.

When I used the dictionary last night, the page was slow to load and the handwriting tool didn't work very well but this morning it is fine. (Maybe its just my lousy internet connection). When you write the characters in, the dictionary will show you a list of the characters it thinks you are trying to look for even as you write.

You can listen to the words you look up because text is translated to speech so you can check your pronunciation. You can check your stroke order too. You can view the definition of each character using the Collins Chinese-English Dictionary, the Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary or the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary with lots and lots of examples and you are able to listen to the sentences. Sometimes there is even a picture to go with the definition. The auto complete tool when searching for words is extremely useful too. And I like the fact that you can search for idioms too. Chinese writing is full of idioms and I can't find it in regular dictionaries.

You can even save the word you looked up in your own vocab list for easy reference later on. And.... take memorization tests to see how well you have learned the word. It is amazing. I love it. I am definitely going to bookmark this dictionary right here.

The dictionary which is in Beta, has the tag line "More than a dictionary". I think its very appropriate. Its certainly more than a dictionary for me. Its a Chinese Learning tool and dictionary all rolled up into one.

I won't make this post too long and descriptive. The best way for you to find out more about the dictionary is to go over to the dictionary and explore it yourself. I just signed up for an account myself and have yet to explore all the things I can do with it to help me learn Chinese. There is a help center for learners or users but I have not managed to check it out thoroughly yet.

So far, I find this dictionary the best dictionary for English speaking users who are trying to learn Chinese. I don't use other dictionaries like iciba.com or Dict.cn because they are filled with Chinese words which I don't understand.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Clad Your Lad in Style

I have a boy and a girl but right from the beginning, I have found that gender differences happen not only in their temperaments but also in the clothing I can find for them.

I remember, soon after delivering my girl and I was home recuperating, my husband would return every weekend with a new cute outfit for the girl each time he went grocery shopping. I chided him for spoiling my joy of shopping for my girl but he couldn't help it. There were so many cute little outfits for his little girl!

Even now that she is a little bit older at age 6, we find it so easy to shop for her outfits. Whenever we take her out to buy clothes for an event or festival, my husband would hold up a piece from afar, raise his head for acknowledgement from me and I'd usually gush and nod back a yes while holding up another for him to see.

There are so many lovely fairytale, sweet clothes for our princess.... but what about our little prince? Its not that way for our boy. We'd walk around from store to store with hardly a good find. They all look the same ole, same ole.... oh well, boys clothing can be so boring!

So, I am very glad to have met Linda online. Linda is one of the partners of the DOMII trademark for boys clothing. DOMII has striking shirts for boys in eye-catching colors. They're not in the boring old blues or browns you usually see in boys shirts. Instead, you will find hues of yellows, greens and other bright primary colours for their casual shirts.

If you want to dress your boy up for an occasion, you can also check out DOMII's collection of long sleeved shirts (just like daddy's grown up working shirts!). He'll look like a mini adult, one fun and cool little guy. Your boy will look absolutely adorable dressed up in one of those. Dress your son in one of these together with matching formal pants for a more formal occasion or with jeans or slacks for a smart but more casual look. Either way, your boy will be creating a fashion statement and his outfit will be the talk of the day, not his sister's or the girl sitting next to him.

They even have a Lil' Prince Package appropriately named "My first Tuxedo Shirt" for one month old babies. Its made of the finest cotton fabric and will be just right to dress up your baby for his full moon party. Hey, its never too young to start being fashionable!

You can also find tuxedos and formal pants and suit sets together with matching bow ties and other accessories for boys aged 1 through 14. These are perfect for a formal dinner or wedding. I am sure that all mother's of boys will agree that when it comes to these formal occasions, its even harder to find suitable outfits for your boys so the next time you have a formal occasion, you know you where you can head on to.

You can head over to DOMII, the fashion outlet exclusively for boys, Crafted by Mothers and Created by Designers. You can also check out DOMII for their Chinese New Year Collection With Chinese New Year just around the corner in about two months, its not too early to start shopping to avoid the crowds.

For more information, you can visit or contact Linda at

Lot 172B First Floor, The Curve, Mutiara Damansara
Tel +603 7726 8566 Fax +603 5161 6788
Email: lindaysp@gmail.com

Apart from The Curve, 4 stores in Malaysia and Singapore also carries the DOMII label in their collection including Metrojaya MidValley. You can view the latest DOMII collection in Facebook under: DOMII group or domiiboyswear. It is updated daily with latest promotions and new collections.

DOMII also ships internationally worldwide.

Contest for Bloggers

Bloggers may like to take note that DOMII is currently running a writing contest for Bloggers. Here are the rules:

Write a post of about 100 words describing DOMII's Chinese New Year Kungfu shirt. (Imagine that you are writing a sponsored post).

  • Please reference and link to this post.

  • You are also required to link to www.domii.co.uk/ with the keyword "boy's clothing". (The website is currently under construction. If you have trouble viewing the website and wish to receive a brochure in pdf format, please drop me a comment. Thank you.)

  • Please post one of the above pictures of the Chinese New Year Kungfu shirt in your post.

  • When you're done, please come back here and leave your link in the comment's section. All participant's links will be displayed within this post to give even more exposure to your writings and for the judge's easy reference.

  • What are you waiting for? Lets get writing! May the best post win ........ a RM88 cash voucher plus a 1 year free membership worth RM10 from DOMII which entitles you to a discount of 10% on all regular items for the entire year. Please note that the voucher can only be used at Domii's flagship store at The Curve.

  • Closing Date for the contest is 12 noon (local time) 20th December 2008. Updated: The closing period has been extended to 5th Jan 2008. Results will be announced on 12th Jan 2008.

  • This contest is open to Malaysians and Singaporeans only.

This post has been specially brought to you by DOMII, the creators of boys fashion.

List of Contestants:

ChanelWong with Busy Searching for Children's Clothes....

Family First with Chinese Kungfu Shirt

Ann with Dressing Up Christmas

Mummy to QiQi with Ang Pow for CNY Clothes

Sting with Kungfu Zen

Sasha with Tong Tong Chiang!

Magic Tree with Drooling over DOMII'S CNY Kungfu Shirt

How to Make Paper Snowflakes

Here is a step by step instruction on how we made our paper snowflakes for our Christmas Scene Craft

1. Cut out a square piece of paper. You can use white for white paper snowflakes but my kids like coloured ones. :)

2. Fold the paper into two

3. Then fold the paper into two again forming a small folded square

4. Next, draw a curved line on the outer part of the square

5. Then cut along those lines so that when you open the paper you will get a circle

6. Finally make snips all over the paper while it is still folded. You can fold it further to make more snips as well

7. Lastly, unfold your paper and voila you got yourself a paper snowflake

Later on I found out why my paper snowflake didn't look that good. Because they were all round! If you want to learn how to make a more authentic looking paper snowflake. Check this out. Its got steps by steps instructions too and the paper snowflakes look much better than mine. :)

Christmas Craft: Christmas Trees & Snowflakes Scene

Its been awhile since we did a proper craft on this blog. Since, its the school holidays and Christmas is round the corner, we decided to make a Christmas Craft. This one is a Christmas Snow Scene with Paper Snowflakes and Christmas Trees.

First, here is the picture of our finished or almost finished craft (We haven't put the finishing touches of decorations on the tree but I was impatient.) :P

This is the boy's picture. Notice the little car on the right?

This is what we used to make our Christmas Craft.

  • White Paper, Glue, Scissors
  • Coloured Paper to make the Christmas tree cutouts and the Snowflakes
  • Paint
  • Star Stickers
  • Glitter Pens

Its really simple. The picture is almost self explanatory.

  1. First we make cutouts of the Christmas trees and some paper snowflakes
  2. Then we divided the paper into two and painted the top portion blue
  3. Next we glued our Christmas trees and paper snowflakes onto the picture. We made one small tree and one bigger one for proportion and glued the smaller one behind the bigger one. The picture looks nicer this way.
  4. Then the kids finger painted the snow in using white paint
  5. Then the girl wanted to stick a star sticker on top of the trees
  6. Then its time to decorate the tree with baubles and candy canes, gingerbread men and presents. We drew those in with glitter pens

This is the girl's picture. Notice the pink snowflake?

Coming up next: Step by Step Instructions on how to make a paper snowflake

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mini Teacher

Overheard during a car ride...

My Boy: Kakak is dotty.

My Girl: No baby, Its naughty, not dotty. Say Naughty. Noooooottty.

My Boy: Nooooootttty.

My Girl: Yes. Yes. Say slowly. Nooooootttty. Then fast fast. Notty. Naughty.

My Boy: Noooootttty. Notty. Naughty.

My Girl: Mummy, baby so clever already, can say "Naughty."

Looks like I have a mini teacher so I can relax now. Lol.

My Girl has said a few times that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. The other day she changed her mind and said she wanted to be an artist.

As for my boy, he wants to be a postman when he grows up. Must be the influence of Postman Pat. Haha.

I wonder what they will want to be next month.

How to Handle the First Week of School?

Next year, I have a kid starting primary school and another starting kindy. So now I have a headache wondering how I should handle the first week of school.

Hubby was telling me to just drop the boy in kindy and then accompany the girl for the first week. The reason is because the boy is very used to the kindy by now since he is always accompanying me to send and pick his sister there. Quite often, we would hang around there for quite a long time too, watching the kids practising for their concert, taking photographs etc so the school is not new to him.

However, it is HIS first time going to the kindy so I would like to accompany him the way I accompanied the girl to get him off to a good start. So I was thinking of letting him skip the first week (since its mostly a crying week ie the kids will be crying most of the time in kindy), then I can accompany the girl for the first week and accompany the boy for the second week.

But will this be fair to him? Will he miss out anything during the first week? (Apart from the crying). I really don't know what to do. What do you all think?

Smart Alec and Spoil Sport

Everyday when I finish bathing my boy, he would run off as soon as I drape the towel over him to dry. He would then run dripping to a spot between the window and the bed and hide there giggling. When I ask him to come to me so I could dress him, he would continue giggling away happily.

Even when I eventually catch him, he would not stand still to be changed. He would do a dance, turn around or jump up and down when I am dressing him. I feel like such a spoil sport for not playing along with him when he looks so naturally happy.

One day, I asked him to "Come here" as usual and he replied "I can't, mummy." When I asked him "Why not?", he said "Because my legs are pulling me away." Then off he ran giggling again.

The kids, they do tire me sometimes (I can tell you that its really tiring when you have a 101 things on your mind and 101 things to do and you have to chase a little boy all over the room just to dress him). The kids they tire me but I love them dearly. I love them so much.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How to get your kids involved in Arts & Crafts

The kids love to do Arts and Crafts. We have designated Friday as Arts & Crafts Day this school holiday.

I did make a lot of effort to introduce Art & Craft to them and get them involved to bring out their creativity when they were younger. However, ever since the girl started kindy, we have less time to do them. I haven't updated the Arts and Crafts category on this blog for a long time.

We still have a useful stock of art supplies though. I find it really useful to have Arts and Craft Supplies readily available so we can use them whenever we need.

We have the following in our Arts and Crafts Cupboard:
  • Scissors
  • Glues
  • All sorts of construction papers, colored, cardboard, crepe, thick, thin, transparent
  • All sorts of colored pens and pencils and glitter glue and pens
  • Stickers
  • Glitter dust'
  • Ribbons and papers from old hampers
  • Recycled wrapping paper
  • Play Doh
  • Paints and Palletes
  • Origami books and papers
  • Paper plane books and papers
  • Balloon Art pump and balloons plus instructions
  • Pencil, rubber, ruler
  • Drawing Block

With these basic supply, we can sit down for an arts and crafts project anytime. Today we're making a homemade story book. So we took out our manila cardboard for the cover, folded and cut out the pages of the book and stapled the pages together with the cover to make the book and the rest is up to their imagination.

The girl has been given a project to make a story book called "My School Holidays" and the boy is to make a book called "My ABC 123 Book". The rest is up to their imagination and its wonderful what they can come up with sometimes. I tell them to write, draw, color and decorate with stickers, anything they feel like doing.

I give them a book as an example for what to put on the cover. Eg: Title and Author and how the book should look like. The girl would often call out to me on how to spell a word that she wants to put in her story. Its a fun way of learning instead of asking her to do spelling. This way she learns on her own initiative.

For ideas, sometimes I look at kids' contests, or newspaper pages for kids and of course, the world wide web. Last night the girl couldn't wait for Arts and Crafts Friday so she started her project to draw firemen on a rescue mission, an idea I stole from the newspapers.

Doing Arts and Crafts is a fun way for the kids to learn, keeps them occupied and away from the tv. :)

I wrote this post last week but now its Friday again and time for another Arts & Crafts project! My goodness. Time flies. For today's project, we are going to paint pictures and frame them up in the colourful frames I bought from IKEA about 2 weeks ago. It'll be fun plus it'll make a nice decoration for their playroom.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Are boys lazier than girls?

I'm wondering if boys are lazier than girls. I've had no problems teaching my girl. She loves learning and she soaks up information like a sponge. She has a photographic memory and can often remember shows or books that she reads word for word. Its amazing.

She learned her ABCs almost by herself. I taught her a couple of times and then she would practise by herself and soon she knew them all. We have the whole set of Peter and Jane books and when I teach her to read using them, we would go through book after book till she completed all in the series almost without turning back.

Even now that she is older, she loves home lessons. I can give her some instructions and she would do the work eagerly. All she needs is some reward stickers to make her happy.

Its a different story with my boy though. Whenever I teach him, sometimes he would grumble and say "Tired...." He's learning to read the Peter and Jane books but we can't move on. We keep on going back to books 1 and 2 over and over again because he can't remember.

Last night he threw two of the books that we were currently reading down the bed when I was not looking. I found them because he and his sister were looking under the bed at the numerous toys and other stuff that he threw in there.

When I asked him why he threw the book under his bed, he said he didn't want to read them. So he threw them in there so I couldn't find them! When I told his dad about that, his dad said "Smart boy". Hmmm...... and he is the one who is always asking me to give more attention to the boy and make sure that he is not left behind in his lessons compared to his sister.

What to do now? I don't want to turn him off learning. His dad said he should be pushed a little so that he doesn't take it easy all the time. He hasn't outgrown his mirror image writing so we want to make sure that we spend time teaching him but he is lazy to learn. He is going to be 5 in April 2009. To me he is still a baby and I shouldn't be worried but his paeditrician had wanted to have him screened for dyslexia some months ago when we visited her. Eventually she agreed to wait a few months till he starts school to see his progress. I guess that is why his dad is always asking me to push him a little but I don't want to punish or scold him if he is lazy to learn. I don't want him to learn because he HAS to, I want him to learn because he WANTS to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back to School Shopping

This is the first year that I am involved in Back to School Shopping. I am a bit blur.

I saw some school uniforms going for around RM20.90 (just for the pinafore) and got my girl to try it but the material didn't look very fantastic. Then I went to another shop which had very nice cotton material and had better workmanship but that cost RM34.90. Wow! Quite a big price difference. The white blouse cost RM21.90.

Everyone advised us to get bigger sizes so in the end, the girl looks a bit sloppy but we got the big sets anyway hoping that she will grow into them. We got 3 sets each. Hope that will be enough turnover time for it to be washed, dried and ironed daily.

Then we got shoes and socks for both the boy and the girl. We sure had a hard time deciding on the right size as well. However the girl and the boy had a good time prancing around the shoe store. The shoes cost about RM25 each and the socks around RM6 each. *Seeing money flying out the window*

We got the boy a tumbler since the girl already has one. We haven't got them stationaries yet. Will probably get those cheap sets that comes in bulk since they keep on losing them! Sigh! No matter how much I scold, nag, persuade, inform, teach, tell my girl. She still comes home with missing pencils and erasers.

Then I went to have a look at the school bags. Now this is a area that I am blur upon. I keep reading that the books are very heavy so I see the kids having this pull along roller bags like the ones you take for long distance travelling in an airport. Should I get one of those? It'll surely be hard to navigate along stairways wouldn't it? I saw those pink pink Princess, Dora types and it cost RM130! *faints*

Do the schools allow children to carry those? Can the children carry anything they like or are there some rules and regulations they must follow when it comes to school bags? What if it becomes the envy of friends etc? So many issues to think about. In the end, I left the bags because I didn't know what to buy. Can any experienced mums please share?

Throughout kindy, I let my girl carry the schoolbag provided by the kindy. Some of her friends carried fancy bags but I didn't get her one. I got her to do some of her own name tags etc to decorate her own bag and she was fine with that. Now the school does not provide bags so I have to get her one of her own but I don't know what to buy. Please help?

Have you done your back to school shopping yet? I decided to do mine early so that I don't have to rush as soon we will need to do Christmas Gift shopping and then Chinese New Year Shopping for new clothing. Is there any back to school items that I have left out?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The School Holidays so far

What we did for the school holidays so far.

Day 1 - Visit Dentist and Watch a Movie
Day 2 - Put up Bookcase and get the kids to pack their books
Day 3 - Get the kids to pack their bedside drawers *
Day 4 - Grandpa came over
Day 5 - Art & Craft Project

* The kids are allowed to put some toys and books in their own bedside drawers and its really convenient to ask them to "Keep everything away in your drawers" at bedtime to get rid of clutter in the bedroom. I have to check the drawers periodically though otherwise it will explode. The little one has stuffed so many toys and books into it that it almost broke!

So they have to pack their own drawers once in a while to decide what they would like to keep in there. I would bring their drawers in the playroom, empty it then ask them to sort them and put them in the respective toy boxes eg: cars, animals, blocks, party toys etc and then they get to choose new ones. This way the kids get to be responsible for their own things and they help mummy to pack as well. Its a great activity and something to occupy them.

These are very simple activities but they enjoy it and its much better than watching tv all the time.

Our home lesson plans will start a bit more seriously next week. Will probably start by going through the girl's test papers with her. Afterall, whats the point of doing tests if you don't do a review to explain the results.

Today is Art & Craft Friday in our timetable but I will write about that next week as this post is getting long. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Year End School Holiday Program

Its the school holidays again and as usual the kids look forward to their "Home School Holiday Program" or "Home Lessons". "When can we start our home lessons?" they ask eagerly.

To start off our "Home Lessons" we had to first set up our room. Hehe. We had gotten a new shelf for their books which had grown so much it was exploding our own shelves. I think its the "Billy" bookcase from Ikea. I put it together on the 2nd day of the school holidays and I was taken aback to find that the back of the bookcase was made of cardboard! Hmmm..... Cardboard! A thin piece of wood would have sufficed but cardboard! I hadn't noticed it when I saw the shelf at the store. It had looked so nice then. Hmmm...

Anyway, we put it up and I got the kids to sort their books ie which books belong to whom. There were 3 shelves. I designated a shelf for each of them and the last was a shared one. Then I got them to put their own books on their own shelves and to decorate it a little bit. They were more than eager to help. Finally we put their name label stickers on the shelves to stake ownership. Hahaha.

In the evening, we drew up their school holiday program timetable. There would be daily reading in Chinese for the Girl and English for the boy. The girl wanted to have two mornings dedicated to Arts and Craft but I managed to negotiate it to just one morning. Then we included English, Malay, Science, Moral and Maths Lesson plus another morning for "Computer Lessons" and we were done.

Each day goes something like this: Breakfast, Lesson, Lesson, Lunch, Reading, Nap, Dinner, Playtime. Then the girl decorated the timetable with glitters and hearts and we stuck it on the whiteboard with magnets.

OMG! I think I've been overly ambitious. Now, I won't have time for anything else. Help! Hahaha.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Madagascar 2 : Not a Review

The first day of the school holidays saw us heading towards the cinema to watch Madagascar 2.

The kids had been looking forward to this (going to the cinema) for so long. Ever since their first time in the cinema for Kungfu Panda, they've been waiting to go again. Previously we went last minute so we only managed to get really lousy tickets on the 2nd front row. Ouch! My neck!

This time we made sure we got better tickets. We also promised the kids some snacks. Its just so thrilling to be able to watch and snack at the same time. They decided to go for coke and cheezels.

I think they enjoyed the coke and cheezels more than the show. Hahaha. They were busy munching and drinking away and when my hand dipped into the boy's bag of cheezels, he protested loudly.......

"Mummy, why you eat so much, I eat so little, you eat so much, afterwards I no more already!"

Hahaha. So whats the verdict: The kids agreed that they enjoyed Kungfu Panda more.

So, in the end, the kids enjoyed their coke and cheezels, Mr MG and I enjoyed the kids and I think the maid enjoyed the show most of all as I could hear her laughing in many scenes. lol. Its her first time to a cinema and she has a really delicious sense of humour. Anything can set her going. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A farewell gift for teacher

Today is the last day of kindy for my girl. I feel a bit sad that she won't be seeing her friends anymore. The kids don't seem a bit sad though. They were all busy laughing, playing and enjoying their end of school class party.

My girl wanted to make a card for her teacher and friends but yesterday we were a bit rushed. We didn't have time to make a homemade card, so we bought her a gift and card for teacher instead. We bought her a flower mug and a thank you card. My girl wrote on it....

"Dear teacher. Thank you for being my teacher. I love you."

Then she wrote "Got some more at the back" (Haha. Meaning Please Turn Over). She also drew in balloons, a cake and a heart shape.

At the back of the card she wrote...

"DALLING Teacher. I hope you remember me after your present."

Lol. She had wanted to buy her teacher flowers but we told her that flowers will wilt and be forgotten. We told her that whenever her teacher drinks from her mug, she will think of her. So I guess thats why she wrote what she did.

Ah.. the innocence of children. :)

Teaching the kids to joy and meaning of gift giving is a wonderful thing. By allowing them to write freely on their own, they also learn new things. For example, in composing her message, the girl asked me "How to spell "your"? and "What is the meaning of "Dear" and why do people put it in letters?" However, I think that the fact that she misspelled her "darling" is a rather sweet thing. I hope her teacher likes her gift.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Her First Kindy Progress Report

I've collected the girl's kindy progress report. For record purposes:

Last Term: A very keen and vocal learner. Generates answers and questions during discussion.
This Term: Inquisitive and has a lot of questions to ask
Score: 96%

Bahasa Malaysia
Last Term: She can associate sounds of letters to words introduced
This Term: Able to follow the lessons well
Score: 97%

Mandarin Chinese
Last Term: Shows keen interest to learn Mandarin
This Term: Has shown immense improvement. Keep it up!
Score: 83%

Last Term: Manages well with guidance
This Term: Has shown improvement
Score: 98%

Last Term: Has contributed suggestions & views & able to differentiate & describe too
This Term: Shows delight in new discovery
Score: 91% (Science); 83% (Moral)

Art & Craft
Last Term: She tries her best to complete her work independantly
This Term: Eager to participate in art & craft projects

Behaviour & Attitude in Class
Last Term: Has carried out her responsibilities well in class
This Term: A friendly and helpful girl. She has formed good relationship with classmates.

Music & Movement
Last Term: Shows interest in music & movement
This Term: Able to clap the rythm

Teacher says that her handwriting for Chinese and other languages is poor so she needs to improve in those areas. She is talkative and a bit kaypoh in class. Talks during lessons (Teacher says she just can't seem to help herself!) and example of kaypoh: she is always trying to tell others when they have done something in the wrong way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My kids' babysitter

My kids' babysitter is rather square but she has a way with kids. She is very loud but sometimes when I am around, she will be softer. She can really make the kids laugh too. They love her. She can really capture their attention. Sometimes she sings and sometimes she tells stories and jokes. Did I say that the kids love her? Well, they do.

They love to listen to her and watch her. She is really quite useful to have around especially when I am very busy. She has a way of keeping the kids very quiet. I guess it is because they are so enraptured by her.

They are so captivated by her that sometimes they even ask for her when I am around. Sometimes they want to see her again and again even when they've just seen her. In fact, she's here, entertaining the kids again, even as I write this. I can hear her singing again in her loud voice and the kids are singing along with her, singing and clapping too!

Well, I guess they've been with her long enough today, so I have to go and turn her off now. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Little Emcee

My girl was the English Emcee for her kindy concert. Preparation for this role began during the last week before the middle or last term school holidays began. After the school holidays, she had to stay back in school 3 times a week to practise. It was like having a free speech and drama class. Haha.

She had five pages of text to memorize. Even though she was the English Emcee, she also had Chinese and Malay speaking parts too. The words used were really bombastic and difficult to pronounce. I wish they wouldn't do that but I guess the kindy wanted to show how "good" the kids were.

We practised really hard for months. First she had to memorise her part, then she had to learn how to pronounce the words, then she had to practise some hand gestures and expressions, then I had to explain to her what those big, big words meant. As suggested by the principal, we even got her a mike to practise getting used to speaking with one. Then we had to build her confidence by giving her lots and lots of positive talk, love, support and encouragement.

We were afraid that she would be afraid on the concert day and instead of boosting her confidence it would put a dent in it. Daddy couldn't sleep the night before from worry. Haha. But although she was afraid (she said so), it didn't show. She spoke with confidence to a crowd of 300 plus adults and really enjoyed herself on that day. Phew! We're glad thats over. After the concert, she got lots of treats and goodies from daddy to reward her for working so hard and being so brave. Hehe.

Congratulations sweetie pie. You did well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My little exercise coach

My boy at 4 is still a super glue.

At bedtime, he holds my hand, places in over him, then puts his bolster and carefully arranges his blanket over my hand then asks me....

"Mummy, do you know why I put your hand like that?"

When I say...

"No. Why?"

He goes on to say....

"So that your hand will be stuck so when you move, I will wake up and know. Heheh."

lol. Well, usually I move and sleep on the mattress on the floor beside him and last night, he fell on me. He whined a bit but when I carried him back and put him back on his bed, he continued to whine a little and then went right back to sleep. Hehe.

This morning when I was doing some exercises, he asks me not to follow the one on the tv screen but to follow him.... and so I did. I jumped about the way he directed me to and later on when it came time to stretch he coached me to lie down on the floor, stretch and yawn. (We yawned upon his suggestion) Hahaha. After that he turned towards me, put his hand on my face and say "Must sayang face" then he hugs me and says "Must hug hug." In turn I must sayang his face and hug hug him too. Then we stretched and yawned some more and he asked me "Are you tired?"

When I replied "Yes." he said he was tired too so he suggested that we go and drink some orange juice, his favourite. Hahaha.

Usually I just let him play his computer game when I exercise so he can be near enough for me to watch him. Today, he was playing his blocks, cars and digger so he decided to join me in exercising instead and then he decided to be the exercise coach. Hehe. And what a wonderful little coach he turned out to be. Great exercise therapy. You should try it too with your kids. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Caring Boy

I have written about how affectionate my little boy is and this is another example of it.

One night I was really sleepy but the kids were still wide awake (from having had too good an afternoon nap). So I gave them a sticker book each and asked them to sit on my bed with me to play because I was too tired to chat with or read to them.

My boy wanted me to help him stick his marvel characters which he couldn't find so I sleepily found and stuck them for him. Stick. Stick. Stick. He hugged me tight and said......

"Are you okay mummy? Nevermind mummy, I hug hug you."

Then we stuck a few more marvel bad guys. Stick. Stick. Stick. I started to yawn till my eyes filled with tears. He wiped my eyes and said........

"Nevermind mummy, I wipe your eyes for you."

Then we stuck some marvel good guys. Stick. Stick. Stick. I yawned some more. He clamped my mouth close together and said....

"Nevermind mummy, I close your mouth for you."


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When daddy is left alone with the kids

To my dearest sweetie pie and cutie pie,
(Thats what mommy used to call you both)

Kids, this post is for you to help you remember what silly things your dad used to do together with you when mommy is not around.

  • The elephant bath - Daddy taught you both how to do the elephant dance in the shower. First, you put water in the mouth, gargle, then spew out the water as far as you can just like an elephant would with his trunk. Thats why daddy calls it the elephant bath. This never fails to delight you both especially when daddy praises how far you can shoot out the water. If mommy is around, daddy will ask you to shoot the water at mommy! As a result, mommy's bathroom floor and sink is always wet! (Because sometimes you both like to practise your elephant bath gargle at the sink too!)
  • The zebra dance - Daddy taught you both to do the zebra dance when washing your feet. He would spray the shower onto your feet and ask you both to put one feet over the other to make sure that they are both clean. He named this the zebra dance.
  • Tickles - Daddy is very good at tickling. Both of you would always ask to be tickled. Daddy would stand up, count to 3 and pretend like he was going to pounce on you both sending you both shrieking in delighted anticipation. If mommy is in, sometimes daddy asks you both to tickle mommy as well.
  • Milo Ais in a bowl - When mommy is out, instead of making you both milk in your bottles, daddy would make a big bowl of iced milo, then give you both straws and ask you both to drink from it. Then he would sing this song while you are both drinking...."When mummy is out, we drink Milo, then we don't tell mummy!" But you always tell mommy in the end. Hehe.
  • Reading Books - Daddy is not very good at reading books to you. (Because he is usually tired from work and goes to sleep early). He bought this book of 365 stories for a story a day but he has only used it 2-3 times this year. Hahaha. Anyway, when daddy does read you a story, I can always hear both of you laughing as daddy makes funny actions to go with the story. Sometimes you even get out of bed to do the actions together.
  • Fierce Daddy - Daddy can be very fierce when he is scolding you. That is because he loves you both and wants to make sure that both of you learn what is right and wrong. When he scolds, mummy never interferes because he would always hug you both and tell you that he loves you, a little time after the scolding. This is not like mummy who scolds you all day long. Haha. But then mummy is with you all day long and you both do quarrel, and fight, and pester mummy all day long.
  • At the supermarket with daddy - Daddy is the fun man or the funny man so when its time to go out for fun you like to look for daddy. In the supermarket, you both always prefer daddy to mommy because daddy will stop to show you the fruits and vegetables and put the cold cans of drinks we bought on your cheeks to tease you. If mommy is nearby, mommy may sometimes get a shock from the cold canned drinks too. Mommy doesn't do any of that at the supermarket. She is always rushing around and asking you not to tear up her vegetables! You both prefer daddy when going out but back home its always mommy again, especially at bed time. :)
  • At the mall with daddy - Daddy plays catching with you at the malls. He lets you run, then he chases after you and you all end up laughing and sitting on the floor .... like it is your home! Daddy - oh, daddy. Sometimes mommy is made to wear her running shoes and has to sit on the mall floor too! Sometimes the loser in the mall running race would cry but daddy would soothe you and say its ok because mommy is last again! Mommy does not like you to run around very much because she can't catch up with you.
  • Daddy the teacher - Dad teaches you both Math and ABC usually in very creative ways. You like him to teach you but at the same time sometimes you are scared too because daddy can be very stern. ;)

So, kids. Though you often ask for mommy because mommy is at home all day with you teaching with you, napping with you, reading and singing with you, these are the fun things you do with daddy. You see, daddy and mommy love you but we show our love differently. You have fun with daddy and you are comforted by mommy. And mommy hopes that when you are adults you will be able to remember this stuff that daddy used to do with you when you are little especially when daddy scolds you for not studying, staying out too late with friends, etc etc and all those other things that big kids do. :)



Exam is over. Hurrah!

Today the girl is dressed in her "princess socks" (white socks with lace), pink heart shaped barbie digital watch with pretty pink ribbons in her hair.

She has brought along stickers and little note pad papers decorated with stickers by her and personalized with her friend's names also by her to school to share with her friends.

And all because...........tests are over!

Yes, she is right. It IS fun to be a kid.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Exam Stress of a 6 year old kid

"Mummy, I'm scared teacher will scold me."
Its okay sweetie, you just do your best.

"Mummy, I'm afraid I don't know how to answer."
You have studied very hard. I am sure you will know some answers. Don't worry about those you don't know ok?

"Mummy, teacher scolded me because I showed my answer to my friend."
You can't do that. In a test, you are not supposed to look at your friend's answer and you can't show them your answers either alright?

Poor kid! Haha. Anyway, I explained to my girl that this test is just an introduction to them on what to expect in a real test in big school in the future.

In this kindy test, the teacher arranged the chairs and tables like in a real test. There is a syllabus and the kids are evaluated on 6 subjects. English, Malay, Chinese, Math, Moral and Science. The teacher gives them guidance if she sees that they have trouble or need help during the test. According to my girl, they can also ask the teacher questions if they are not sure about something.

And there is no time limit to finish the paper. The kids get to take their time to complete all the questions. If they can't finish it, they can even continue after tea break. Hahaha. My girl told me she was the second to complete her English paper and the second last to finish her Chinese paper. (I had to wait more than half an hour after school for her to finish her Chinese test paper.) lol. I had to remind her that speed does not mean good and vice versa.

Well test is over now and school is out in 2 weeks time. Whats ahead? School trip, Maths Competition, Piano Recital (with mommy), Class Party. Isn't it fun to be a kid? Just the other day my girl told me that its fun to be a kid. I agreed with her and said that I wanted to be a kid too. Hahaha.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Her first test

Today my girl is sitting for her very first kindy assessment test or evaluation. She is rather excited about it.

A month ago we were given a piece of paper with the test syllabus. So I had been helping her to "study". Each time we completed a part, I would strike it off the given syllabus. Finally, we had almost completed her English, Malay, Moral, Maths, and Science Papers. Then she came to me and asked me "Mummy, how come we not yet do the Chinese?" Hahaha. "Its because mummy don't know how, thats why!" lol.

Eventually, mummy had to take the dictionary and painstakingly try to figure out what the part of the syllabus was going to be covered. Boy! That was tough. But we managed to cover it, I hope. Haha.

Last night before we went to bed, I asked her if she had any questions to ask me about the test. She had all kinds of questions including..

"Mummy, I'm afraid, I don't know."

I had to explain to her that she need not worry because she had worked very hard at studying so its ok if she didn't remember everything. Then I gave her some exam tips like
  • moving on to the next question if she does not know an answer and coming back to it later
  • checking her work if she finishes early etc

Hmmm... while helping her to study, I had forgotten to give her these tips. I think that teaching a child study tips and exam tips are equally important as just covering the syllabus. Hopefully, that can lead the way to a more independant her in the future where she won't need to study with mummy anymore.

She's still having more tests next week but she has mostly covered all the syllabus so we can relax a bit. This afternoon she wants to make a card for grandad for his birthday tomorrow and we will be having a day out with grandad and all her aunts, uncles and cousins tomorrow. I will explain to her that when you have worked hard at something, then you can have some time to enjoy and relax.

I am always telling her that there is a time for everything. A time to work hard, time to play hard, a time to eat, a time to rest, a time to sleep. So I must show her with actual examples and this is a good opportunity as any.

Good luck sweetie pie! Muaks. Mummy loves you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teaching Young Kids

I read somewhere that the best thing you can do to teach your young child is to read, read, read to them or something along those lines. I can't remember it exactly. I would like to add to that. I think that when teaching young kids, the best method is to....
  1. read, read, read and read to them
  2. talk, talk, talk and talk to them
  3. listen, listen, listen and listen to them
  4. play, play, play and play with them
  5. laugh, laugh, laugh and laugh with them
  6. sing, sing, sing and sing with them

Its not just about getting out the books and making them write their ABCs or solve problems in their activity books. When you read, talk, listen, play, laugh and sing with them, they learn too.

I think, I'm ok in the reading, talking, laughing and singing part but I am poor in the playing and listening part. I know this because I constantly get these....

"Mummy, play with us."

"Mummy, you long time never play with us already."

"Mummy, you said you will play with us yesterday, and today, you say you will play with us tomorrow!"

"Mummy, are you listening?!"

"Mummy, are you listening or are you just pretending to listen?" (lol.)

Yes, I am poor in those areas and need to improve on them. However, its really hard as my ears sort of tune off when the kids talk non-stop. I find that the kids talk in a rather descriptive manner. In order to get their point across, they can really beat around the bush! Halfway through I often tune off.

Playing is another area I need to improve on. I can't concentrate on play when my mind is always thinking of things I need to do etc. I should set aside time to sit and just play. During the time I set for playing my "job" for that moment should be to play and nothing else. The kids really love it when someone just sits there and plays with them without being distracted.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kids Activities - Keeping A Song Book

My girl loves to sing. Whenever they teach a new song at the kindy, she would come home and tell me the title of the song and ask me for the lyrics. The kindergarten which she attends has kids ranging from age 3 to 6. So normally, when they teach the kids a new song, they would not provide them with the lyrics. They would just sing the songs over and over again till the kids memorise them by heart.

So normally when my girl comes back with a song title, we would do a search for the song lyrics, then we would search YouTube for the song. Then we would copy the lyrics down into her song book and listen to the song on YouTube to learn it.

After learning the song thoroughly, my girl will walk around the house with her song book and sing from it. She enjoys this activity very much.

This activity encourages kids to appreciate music. It also improves their reading and writing skills if you allow them to copy the words or song lyrics themselves. We don't have a printer at home so we do it the hard way, copy manually. However, I must admit that sometimes I get a little impatient and I end up copying the lyrics for her. :P

Friday, October 17, 2008

How To Help A Child Overcome The Fear Of Failure

"Mummy, what if everyone laughs at me."

My girl has been practising very hard for an upcoming performance. I try to help her as much as I can by providing the props that she needs etc.

However, most important of them all, I am trying to help her build her confidence. I like this Parenting Tip on How to help Children Overcome the Fear of Failure. An excerpt from the article goes like this....

How do you teach your children to overcome fear of failure? The first step is to redefine the definition of failure. It is important to teach your kids that they fail when they are not trying. If they try to do something and fail, you should never belittle them for their failures. In fact, you should encourage and praise them, if they are really working hard. Children need to learn that they should never look for the easy way out. Redefining failure can take away the fear. You children will learn to take risks and pursue their dreams. Overcoming fear of failure will be one of the most important skills in their life.

I like the part where it says "It is important to teach your kids that they fail when they are not trying." It is also true that "Overcoming fear of failure will be one of the most important skills in their life."

So even though this is just a kindy performance, I am working very hard together with my girl to build her confidence. I believe it is a stepping stone on how she will be able to handle other things in life later on. Hubby also gives her little prep talks whenever he can.

I tell her that everyone is a little afraid of speaking in public but as long as she tries very hard she will have succeeded and I tell her that she has my unconditional love no matter what. I praise her for trying but I do not overdo my praise. I tell her that this part is good but perhaps she should try harder in that area etc.

We playfully sing Julie Andrew's "I have Confidence" song from The Sound of Music and she laughs when I tell her even Maria (Julie Andrews) is afraid. She especially likes the part when Maria says "Oh Help!"

Hopefully she can overcome her fear of failure, do well in her performance and this will give a boost to her confidence level.

As a parent, I teach my child ABCs and 123s but this is another area which I believe should not be overlooked. I believe that positive thinking is a skill that can be built and should be instilled from young. And this performance is a good opportunity for me to teach my girl.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Affectionate Boy

My boy is a very affectionate little feller. He expresses his love physically by hugging and kissing those whom he loves. Sometimes I am too tired to play with him but he would come and put his arms around me, touch my face gently and say "Never mind mummy, rest rest first." He is like a small cuddly huggy bear.

Whenever my relatives come to visit and they request a hug or a kiss, he is always very generous with it. He likes to come close to people and touch their face and hug them.

I have been bringing him to his sister's kindy to watch the kids rehearse for their concert. Theres this little Indian girl whom he likes to play with whenever we are at the kindy. They always smile at each other in a friendly manner. This morning they smiled and ran around as usual. Then he went and hugged her! I think the little girl got a surprise. Haha.

Later on, I had to tell him not to simply go round hugging people. "But why mummy, she is my friend." he said. I was at a loss for words on what to reply to him. I simply told him to reserve his hugs for his family members.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Money boxes or Piggy Banks for the kids

Recently my boy ran up excitedly to me and told me.....

"Mummy, mummy, we don't need to ask daddy for money anymore. You can just knock this thing and money will come out."

His sister had been reading a book to him about some bunnies knocking open their piggy banks to buy some stuff. Haha. If only it were that simple. I had to explain to him that "this thing" is called a piggy bank and you have to put your own money in there to save. When you have saved enough or when your piggy bank is full, then you can knock it open to buy the things that you need.

To illustrate my point, I got each of them a money box with keys. Then I gave them some coins to put in their money box. (or pinky bank as my boy calls it since he can't pronounce piggy). After that they couldn't stop bugging me with more questions...

"Mummy, why can't I open the money box?"
"Mummy, I want more coins."
"Mummy, can I look inside?"
"Mummy, when can I have more coins?"
"Mummy, I want to take my coins out."

Haha. Looks like we have a long way to go in our lessons on saving money.

Have you ever wondered why a savings container is called a piggy bank and is in the shape of a pig? Well, apparently, it has got nothing to do with pigs but rather in the type of material, a type of clay jars called pygg used to keep the money in during days of old. Check this link out if you are interested in the origin of the piggy bank.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Index of all games on Top 4 Kids Online Games Sites

There are some online games sites which my young children love. However, to get to the ALL Games index, they sometimes have to go through the home page, then go through several other pages before they reach the ALL Games index. There are usually several pages to the All Games index as well but my list below is linked to the "SHOW ALL GAMES" so you get ALL Games on one page.

They love the ALL games index because it allows them to quickly glance through all the games available on the site and choose games to try out. "Mummy, can you show me where is the page that shows All the games?" is a frequent request.

So okay kids, mummy is going to put the index to ALL the games to ALL your favourite sites on this page for our easy reference ok?
  • Nickjr.com index of all games - This site is regularly update with new exciting games for young kids. Its my kids' favourite. Kids browse all games by clicking right and left arrows.
  • BBC - Cbeebies index of all fun and games. There are 4 pages of games and they're all on this "SHOW ALL GAMES" page
  • Kindersite Directory of games. This one is a collection or directory of games from various sites. Clicking on those games will link you to more sites with more links to games. There is also a directory of Music & Songs, Stories, and Lullabies.
  • Sesame Street - You'd have to browse through 7 pages for all games on this site as they don't have the "SHOW ALL GAMES" on one page feature here. The new Sesame Street is still in Beta. It looks cool.
Now, all I have to do is favourite this page for my kids to explore!

Parents, you can feel free to favourite this page for your child too. :) Or if you have any good links to share, please drop me a comment. Thank you.

Disney Channel Fun & Games Index - link contributed by reader Simon
Kikki's Workshop - Great for little boys who like Construction equipment - link contributed by reader Henny
PBS Kids Index of Games. Within this link are links to music and coloring pages too - link contributed by reader blur mommy
Noggin.com Games Indes - For younger kids - link contributed by reader Vien
Uptoten - Here is the Boowa and Kwala sitemap to all the games and activities listed in alphabetical order - link contributed by reader asianmommy

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Most Favourite Toy and Unusual Playthings

The kids have lots of toys but I think the most favourite one of all has got to be their drawing board. They both love it very much. And when they draw a masterpiece on it, no one must erase it or they will get rather upset. Wouldn't you get upset too if your masterpiece was erased? ;)

Apart from the drawing board, the kids can spend hours playing with unusual playthings like fast food chilli sauce sachets, tissue paper sachets and angpow packets. They especially love chilli sauce sachets. Each of them has a set of chilli sauce satchets. They decorate them with stickers and recognise which chilli sauce belongs to whom. Then they make cars, houses, etc with it or simply let their imagination run wild. Their chilli sauce sachets can also turn into people and giants. Hahaha.

What unusual toys does your child play with?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preschool Germs leads to One Sick House

The girl has been sick the whole week. It started with a fever on last Tuesday night. At the time she was still on antibiotics for a swollen eye and a bad lingering cough. As it turned out, the swollen eye was due to her scratching rather than a bacterial infection but the antibiotics was for her lingering cough.

So I was surprised when she got a fever halfway through taking the antibiotics. The fever wouldn't come down. High low high low, it went. No other symptoms. Just the high fever. So back to the doc we went. It would seen like we are seeing the doc every week! Doc increased her fever med dosage to 10ml. The teacher said that many of the kids have been at school with high fevers. One kid was hospitalised for pneumonia.

Doc said it was a viral infection, so she just gave us more fever and cough medicine. No antibiotics. She said not to worry. Her lungs sounds clear so its not pneumonia and she doesn't think its dengue either. She said if its dengue the child will be very lethargic and spots or rashes will appear after 3-4 days.

The girl is back in school now but I think I'm sick now. My back was hurting so bad, the night before last and yesterday I had severe gastric pains and a slight fever. Blergh!

So here we go again, round and round the sick (un)merry go round. Our house or rather the occupants have been sick for months. One after another after another...... When you've got a kid in preschool, this is what you should expect...... Oh! I hate preschool germs! Grrrrrr!

Updated: The boy developed a fever a day after this post was written. :(

Monday, September 22, 2008

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween 2008 falls on 31st October 2008. If you're planning to have a party for your kids, its not too early to start planning now. Some parents are worried about their kids going trick and treating so its better to have them safe at a home party.

As with planning any other party, don't forget to prepare some halloween treats.

Kids get bored easily though so its best to prepare some party games to occupy them. Here are some that I've come across:

1. Witch Hat Hunt - Send the kids around the room to hunt for witches hats. The one with the most hats wins. Don't forget to prepare prizes for everyone for participating so that everyone "wins". :)

2. Create a Spooky Tale - Get everyone seated in a circle. The oldest child gets to start off by telling a scary story that he or she makes up instantly on the spot. The child next to him continues the story and everyone gets a chance to test their creativity skills to create a really spooky story.

3. Dress the Witch - Divide the kids into teams. Then have each team pick a person to dress up as a witch. Provide the kids with some everyday items they can use as hats, brooms etc. You can also provide makeup for the kids to "paint" the witches face with. The team with the best dressed scary witch wins.

Happy Halloween.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thinking Back, Looking Forward

It's time to go, farewell and good-bye
The clock keeps ticking, the day moves along
It's time to go, farewell and good-bye
We're saying so long with a song

You may be sad when things come to an end
But something surprising could be 'round the bend
Remember the old and welcome the new
And savor each moment whatever you do

It's time to go, farewell and good-bye
The world keeps turning, the days move along
It's time to go, farewell and good-bye
We're saying so long with a song
Saying so long with a song

Recently, the girl had her kindy school graduation photo taken. She had a fever and two missing front teeth and didn't feel like smiling. Poor sweetie. Only 2 months to go and she will have completed her kindergarten and moving on to "BIG" school.

How quickly the time has passed. As I watched her play with her friend's mortar board, (there was this Malay boy sitting beside her and she was pulling at the trails or whatever you call it of the mortar board and admiring it), I can't help but feel proud of her and yet miss the little baby, toddler and now preschooler going to enter school soon. How quickly she has grown. How quickly....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Parents too picky about kids' schools?

"I feel shock when I read about a blogger mum's long checklist on the pre-school selection, I don't really consider that when sending my girl to school. On the selection of primary school, I have made up my mind to sent her to Chinese School since day 1, the one next to my house and never thought of checking the school or school hunting or anything. Do we really need to be thinking that much??"

I received this comment on my personal site and I was going to reply to it there but I can't seem to access it this morning so I'll reply to the comment here as a blog post instead since I have much to say about this subject. (as usual) ;)

"Do we really need to be thinking that much??"

IMO, it depends. On the parents and the circumstance or situation at home and the schools or educational systems and facilities available. For example, we speak to our kids mainly in English so if we had an English medium of education here, I would not have so much headache. I would probably just check out one or two and go to the one nearest to my house. End of story. No need to think that much.

For their preschool, since, most of the medium of instruction is in English, it was very easy to decide. Location played a main factor in my decision. There are many preschools in my housing area. All of them are nearby. Still, I feel that it is necessary to at least visit the schools so that you have a better idea of whats best for your child.

I visited 3. Preschool No 1 was very established. It is a montessori based. The principal mentioned that her earlier students are now bringing their kids back to the preschool. However, I am afraid that the premise and equipment were old and run down. They had not bothered to give it a face lift. Safety and security were not ideal as well. When I visited, there was no one around and the little ones opened the door for me! There were mosquitoes and the roof looks like it needed fixing. That school is out for my kids although its the nearest.

Preschool No 2 is a famous franchised one. The principal proudly proclaimed to me that their syllabus is equivalent to the primary school year 1 syllabus and all their students do well in primary school eventually. She emphasized rather proudly as well, that there is a lot of homework for the students and they have a overseas Chinese teacher to teach the kids Chinese. I asked to speak to the Chinese teacher and could not understand what she was saying as she spoke fast and didn't sound local. She also could not speak any English. The principal said that this is a good thing since the students will then be forced to speak in Chinese. Famous or otherwise, that school is out for my kids.

Preschool No 3 is in between 1 and 2. Not very famous and only a few years old. Safety wise they were ok but cleanliness wise not fantastic. There were no soaps in the toilet sinks. However, they gave me the best impression of all. Security was ok and the syllabus had just the right mix of work and play. They have cooking classes where the teachers would cook up local delicacies and the children would learn counting and following instructions by counting the number of spoons of sugar, flour etc that is required and when to mix them in. They have gardening classes where the students would plant onions etc and watch them grow. And they have gym classes, music and waterplay classes. They don't have fantastic equipment for those activities and the school is not famous, big nor beautiful but thats fine by me. I chose this preschool for my girl and she's happy and thriving there. Right from the first day. No tears.

So yes, I feel that choosing and looking around is very important. Afterall, your child will be spending most or at least half his or her day there.

As for Primary school we are faced with a dilemma.

We speak English at home but we have to send our kids to either a Malay medium or a Chinese medium school. Thus, I feel, we have to crack our heads a bit more. We are both from the Malay medium school, so we have to crack our heads even more since the Malay medium school standards are dropping and everyone wants to learn Chinese now due to the rise of China.

Why do we have to crack our heads? We want our kids to learn Chinese, naturally, since we are Chinese. However, since we are not from that system of education, we do not understand it nor will we be able to support our kids as much as we'd like to. How can we provide the support when we don't even understand the language or medium of instruction. I do not believe in tuition but it looks like it may be necessary if we cannot provide the support at home. All this adds to the dilemma and is the reason why most parents are "choosy" about schools.

I keep on hearing over and over again. "Nevermind, suffer for 6 years only." But why should anyone have to suffer to learn? I don't understand it at all, nor do I agree with it. To me, it is 6 fundamental growing years where attitudes are formed. So they are rather important 6 years. We have to make sure that our child thrives in whatever learning environment we put them in.

Another thing. I do not believe in pushing my child to be the first or top students in class but I do believe that they should excel and be ahead of their peers. Being top students brings with it the pressure of being at the top and staying at the top. If my child is naturally good, then well, thats fine. But I do not believe in pushing them and making sure they are right there at the top.

However, I do believe that they should be shown the way to be ahead of their peers so that they can develop a better self image and have the self confidence and self assurance from excelling in studies and being above average students. I do not wish for them to lack behind their peers and that is why I put so much taught on whether I should send them to a Chinese school. Not speaking Chinese at home puts them at a disadvantage and behind those whose main language is Mandarin at home. So that means they will have to put in extra effort and work extra hard to be above average and yet I cannot support them since I don't understand Mandarin. I do not wish for them to be just one of the crowd (as I want them to experience the confidence that comes with being good) and worse still, I do not wish for them to be always struggling to catch up in their studies.

That is why I think so hard about schools and I believe, rightfully so.

In searching for primary schools I visited quite a few to make sure that I can find an environment that is suitable for my child and in which she and he can blend in. I do not believe in going for the best schools and travelling an hour each day commuting just to make sure that my child is in the best school. No, that is not why I am choosy. However, I think it is important to visit the few nearby schools to view the premise and speak to the teachers and head if possible. And so, that is what I did. It gives me a better view of what to expect so I can prepare my child.

For example, when I visited a nearby National School, I was surprised to note that during recess, the kids ran out and sat on the floor to eat because there weren't enough sitting places. The school was small and did not have a school hall or field. A chinese teacher I spoke to at the school expressed surprised that I was considering National School for my kid. (Even the teachers who teach in the school have no faith in the system. Its so sad). When I asked her about the school facilities, she shrugged and said "Just look around you lah. Thats what we have. We have very little space."

Now, if I had just closed my eyes and picked the nearest school in the same kind of learning environment as I had been taught, I would have ended up in that school. I would not be able to find out and learn more from viewing the premise, observing the students and speaking to the teachers, heads, guards, cleaners, and other parents themselves. So yes, I believe we need to be thinking that much and the above are my reasons.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Board Game for Young Kids

Recently we bought a first board game for the kids. Its a very simple game called "Supermarket". Its like a simplified Monopoly for very young kids. The kids go round the board and have to do some "shopping" whenever they stop at a square with a shopping trolley on it. They must pay for the item they want and get the correct change from the bank.

When they go pass the start point, the bank pays them $20. There are some squares which are restaurants or telephone booths. Anyone who stops at these squares have to pay $5 to the bank. The game is for 2-4 players and someone acting as a banker.

At the end of the game, the one with the most value of bought items wins.

To an adult or older kid, the game may get rather boring after a while. After a while you just sort of go round and round and round in circles and you lose the objective of the game. I also feel that the instructions are not detailed enough. I have to set my own rules and objectives to finish the game!

However its good enough for little ones. They love to roll the dice, count the number of spaces, get money from the bank, and buy things. The objective is to buy expensive items but after a while, they want to buy objects to their hearts desire like cakes and icecream from the confectionary or matching skirts and tops in the Garments Shop. Hahaha.

In this game, they learn about the value of money, and some additions and subtractions ie how much change they should get in return. So I suppose it does have some educational content and the kids enjoy playing it even though the game may not be perfect.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A trilingual picture dictionary - Malay - English - Chinese

I wanted to get one of those electronic talking chinese dictionary to help me and my girl in learning Chinese Mandarin. However, those are rather expensive so I decided to wait and see. In the meantime, I was delighted to find this trilingual picture dictionary in Malay, English and Chinese at a local bookshop.

I love it because its very modern and relevant for our Malaysian kids. It is a picture dictionary in three languages for young kids. The languages are Malay, English and Chinese. The pictures are colourful and wonderfully illustrated.

There are entries on the people of Malaysia and our Festivals, our Currency and Landmarks, all in three languages. Very interesting. It has more modern words and pictures as well eg. digital cameras, atms, modems etc. You can also find out what a toll plaza, or a Touch & Go Lane is in Chinese and Malay. Or in a bank you might want to know what a queing number machine is, or a security guard or a closed circuit camera. It also contains some useful nouns, idioms, action verbs etc.

I love looking at the dictionary. I think its very relevant for primary school kids in Malaysia, especially those who will be going to Chinese school. I think it may even be relevant for some adults. For example, its relevant for me to help my girl pick up the language, not only the Chinese language but Malay too! Highly recommended by MG!

And no, this is not a sponsored post. Ini bukan satu pos berbayar. Errr... I wanted to make this message trilingual but I still don't know how to put Chinese characters in a post. Hahaha.

Oh I forgot to mention... the dictionary is from Oxford Fajar. Here is the exact title: Kamus Bergambar Generasi Baharu KBSR Edisi Keenam (Bahasa Melayu-Bahasa Inggeris-Bahasa Cina).

It serves my purpose for now and its much cheaper than an electronic talking dictionary. Its only RM12.95. I think its worthwhile for the info in contains.

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