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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni Pinyin Song Lyrics and Video

They are teaching the classic Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni Chinese New Year song at my daughter's kindy. However, during those times when they were singing it, I noticed that my girl was not singing along. (Because she doesn't understand Mandarin and she is new at the school, the others had learned it before).

So what does a Mandarin Character Illiterate Computer Geek Mom do to help her daughter? Well, she searches the internet of course. Lol! And this is what I found. A YouTube Video of the Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni song. Its like singing karaoke with cute little animations. Chinese Character Song Lyrics as well as an English translation of the lyrics is included. You can go here for the Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni Pinyin Song Lyrics.

The kids love it. They listen to it over and over and over again and laugh at the animations. Well, you don't have to be a Chinese Character illiterate like me to enjoy this Chinese New Year classic song with your kids. Just press play and enjoy! Warning: It may sound a little irritating after playing it over and over and over again about 10 times or more. Lol!

2016 is Year of the Monkey.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Creating Memories during Festival Periods

One of the periods that we parents can create fun, excitement and good memories for our kids is during festivals. For example, for the coming Chinese New Year we have an opportunity to create wonderful memories for our children.

Doing certain activities like buying new clothes together (not just buying for them but taking the kids to try and buy TOGETHER even though it may take longer and is probably more stressful for us), decorating the house together, eating certain foods etc will create many happy memories for your child.

I know this very well because my own mother passed away when I was 10. I don't remember much about her but I do remember all those activities we did together during festivals. I remember the foods she used to cook during the festivals too.

I recall that during CNY she used to make steamed nian koh rolled in coconut and we kids would wait around with our forks ready and eat them almost before they came out of the steamers! Lol! Sometimes she dipped them in batter and fried them and we loved that too. I remember she used to make bak chang (glutininous rice dumplings) during the bak chang festival and we would sit around trying to learn how to wrap them with her.

All these activities leave a deep impression in my mind and I want to leave the same kind of impression and happy memories for my children. I don't know how to bake or cook as well as my mum but I'll make sure I get the kuih bangkit and kuih kapit and enjoy eating them with my kids. After just one or two years of eating the kuih bangkit they are looking forward to eating the little white animal cookies this year.

Special Family Routines and Activities help create wonderful memories for our children.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fickle Minded Boy

"Mummy I want to go out."

"Mummy, I don't want to go home."

"Mummy, I want to go somewhere else."

"Mummy, too fast. I don't want to go home yet. I want to go somewhere else."

These days my boy likes to go out a lot. I often here the above requests from him. However that request can quickly change the moment, we buy a new toy or book or tupperware or whatever for him. Then it becomes.....

"Mummy, I want to go home now."

"Mummy, why so long one?"

"Mummy, I'm tired. I want to go home."

"Mummy, I'm hungy (hungry). I want to go home."

"Mummy, I can't wait already. I want to go home."

Kids! They drive you crazy. But we still love them like crazy. Lol!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Staggered bedtime or sleep at the same time?

"I was wondering if anyone has to deal having a 7 and 10 year old and whether they have different bed times for each. This is causing a big problem for me right now as the 10 year old stays up til 9 at his mom's while the 7 year old is supposed to be in bed by 8. When the 10 year old is over this causes a big problem as the 7 year old starts screaming and crying that it's not fair. any ideas?"

This is my reply to the reader:

This sounds really tough. I'm afraid I am in no position to comment because my 3 and 5 year old go to bed at 10-11pm. I'd really like to know how you get them to bed by 8 or 9pm! Lol. I can only think of letting them go to bed at the same time which means bringing up the 7 year old's bedtime till later and the 10 year's old earlier or allowing the 10 year old to bed only after the 7 year old is sound asleep. Perhaps make them go to bed only when they are very sleepy otherwise they get very restless if they have to stay in bed too long. Is your 7 year old woken up by the 10 year old or still awake by 9pm? If so, the 7 year old may be resting in bed too long (an hour) which explains the cries and complains. I will put your question for discussion on my other blog which usually draws more comments so perhaps we can find some solutions for you. :)

To everyone:

Can you give some better suggestions or help to the reader?
Do you practise staggered bedtime or does all your kids go to bed at the same time?

Note: I've always practised the same bedtime for my kids. I guess its easier because their ages are only 2 years apart and it was easy during the early days because I would breastfeed the baby while reading to the toddler then everyone goes to sleep. I feel that allowing them to sleep at the same time makes my bedtime routine easier to handle. But thats just me. Others may feel differently. What do you feel?

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Balloon Sculpturing Kit

Suzette asked me to post up pictures of the balloon sculpturing kit I used to make the balloon sculptures I posted recently, so here it is.

This is the balloon kit which I bought for RM19.90 at MPH. It comes in a can/box and includes a 48 page activity book plus 32 balloons and a balloon pump. (I think I took the last can). So if you are interested in it but can't find it anymore, don't despair. Go to the last paragraph of this post to get some tips on how to make your own balloon sculptures.

Here's whats inside the can, a "Create balloon animals" book plus the balloons and a pump. The balloons are the long thin type.

And heres and example or a page from the balloon activity book. As you can see, the pump is a cheap plastic pump.

Tips on how to make your own balloon scultures: (Or rather tips on where to find the materials and instructions you need to make your own balloon sculptures). You can find this type of pump and the balloons in most bakery or cake shops in the corner where they sell balloons, party hats and kits. I'm not sure of the cost but it should be a lot cheaper than the balloon kit. You can easily find instructions to make easy balloon sculptures from the internet on webpages or on YouTube. Happy Creating!

Pssst. The images are a bit blur. Looks like I know how to make balloon sculptures but I either have to upgrade my camera or improve on my photo taking skills. Lol!

Note: This is an original post by MG of Parenting Times. If you are reading this post anywhere else, it has been copied.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The homework has begun!

I selected the kindergarden with the least homework. Lol! No, I'm just kidding. Other factors influenced my choice, location being one of them. Fortunately, there are many kindergardens in my housing area. About 4-5 of them, all quite close by.

However homework did influence my choice. When I visited one famous one and the principal proudly proclaimed that they have a lot of homework and how their syllabus was equivallent to what was being taught at Standard One in school so that the kids who come from their kindy are always ahead in school, I ticked it off my list.

So now my girl attends a less famous kindergarden with more play and less homework. Even then, the homework has begun. And so has the excuses. "Mummy, I'm tired.", "My hand is sweating/painful." etc. However she does have to finish her homework and I have to instil a good habit in her to finish it early and not procrastinate so I have to be firm and stern with her. (Meaning scold until she cries or she will never get it done. Yes, I'm a bad mommy). A young child is easily distracted and she is often chatting with her brother and singing to herself as she does her work. *rolls eyes* It takes up quite a fair bit of my time to supervise her.

However, I believe that Good habits start from young and my duty as a mother is to help instil them. And so I make her do her homework without delay, no procrastination, no excuses and after that she is free to play and if there is time, I can read to her etc or do any fun things she likes. After a few days, she is beginning to understand that the faster she does her homework, the more time she has to do fun things. And hopefully, I will need to supervise her less and less as time goes by. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Please vote for me!

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

This is an unabashed call for votes! Suddenly I feel like a politician on a campaign trail. Lol! You see, I've been nominated for the Best Parenting Blog category (amongst others) under the 2008 blogger's choice awards by Suzette who maintains a great parenting blog herself.

Gosh! What should I do now? I guess I have no choice but to burn the campaign trail or suffer the shame of no votes. Hahaha. So, guests, blogger friends, visitors, anyone out there? Would you please vote for me, please? *flutters eyelashes* Lol!

Just click on the little badge above to vote.

Thank you so much for the support and thanks again Suzette for the nomination. You just made my day, even if I end up with just your one vote. :)

Balloon Sculpturing Fun

My kids were impressed and happy with the balloon sculture a clown gave them. So kiasu mum here went out and bought a balloon sculpture kit in a can. It comes with balloons, a pump and a step-by-step instruction book on how to create balloon sculpture animals.

The first balloon animal I tried to create BURST! Haha. The second balloon sculpture looked like a poodle although it was supposed to be a mouse. Haha. Finally, the third balloon sculpture turned out beautifully. It looked like the giraffe that it was supposed to be. We're eager to try out the rest.

I think I can be a clown now. Anybody wants to hire me? Pictures for my portfolio is included below. Hahaha!

This is the second attempt. The mouse which looks like a poodle with two legs.

This is the third attempt. A perfect blue giraffe. Lol!

My later attempts were a bit more ambitious. Lol! Here's a pirate sword balloon and a balloon flower made with 3 different colors. I got the instructions for those from YouTube. Its easy to find step-by-step instructions for balloon sculturing at YouTube. Just search for balloon "flower", "dog", "sword" etc.

Psst. This balloon sculpture craft is a fun craft to do for the holidays or during birthdays and other party or celebrations. Older kids can learn to do it on their own.

This post is written by MG of Parenting Times. If you see it anywhere else. Its been stolen.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

She will not be a social pariah

My girl attending kindy has opened up a whole new world and more new things for us to chat about.

MG: So, did you make any new friends in class today? Who was sitting beside you?

My Girl: It was a Mei Mei. She had tears in her eyes so I hug hug her and she smiled at me.

As we spoke she showed me the action of putting her arms around someone's shoulder and giving it a squeeze.

Hahaha. This shy little girl of mine was actually comforting someone else in class on the second day of kindy. I am proud of her. She will be alright. And I had been worried. Worried because she was a painfully shy girl and everyone, EVERYONE I met told me that I was doing the wrong thing by keeping her at home with me. Before her little brother came along, most days, she only had me for company. She was so shy that she used to run and hide under the table and refuse to come out when my sister came to visit. She does not have many cousins her age to play with as her cousins are much older than her.

"She will be a social pariah."
"You should allow her to mix around and socialize more."
"She's at home alone with you only ah... no wonder she's so shy."

Blah blah blah.

I had been teaching her diligently (or rather quite diligently) at home in languages, maths, science etc so I was not at all worried about her being left behind in lessons but I must admit that I was worried about her social skills because EVERYONE kept on stressing about it.

To all those people who said so, this I have to say to you. NYEK! NYEK! Boy, it sure feels good to proof everyone wrong! Hahaha. Especially if you're one fighting against the tide of so called "good advice" from other parents and grandparents. I thought that grandparents would think that its not necessary to send a child to kindy so early but no, many grandparents I have met also have the view that one should send a child to kindy these days at around age 4. They must be the new age grandparents.

Well, I still think that at age 4, a child can learn a lot from being at home, just playing, running about or helping out in the household chores.

I do not think that there is anything wrong or bad with sending a child to kindy at age 3-4. Sometimes there may be no choice if both parents are working and there is no one else to help accept a maid. But at the same time there is also nothing really wrong or bad for choosing to send a child to kindy later around age 5-6 as a lot of people seem to suggest or think. My sending at age 6 seem almost unheard of these days. I don't think that sending early is bad but I do think that sending early is unnecessary especially if there is someone to look after the kids at home.

And here's her verdict for the third day..

MG: How's school today?

My Girl: A little bit nicer but real lessons have not started yet. (She's looking forward to real lessons but at the moment its just coloring and pasting etc. And she was skipping about when she got home. A sign that she's happy. She skips when she's happy.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Story of the Year (or Nian in Chinese)

Do you know the Story of they Year or Nian in Chinese?

In Chinese folk tales, Year or Nian was the name of a monster that lived on a very tall mountain. During the cold days of winter, Year would get very lonely and storm down the valley to frighten the people.

To frighten away Year, the people would wear bright red clothing, hang red lanterns and set off noisy firecrackers. To avoid being swallowed up by Year, one has to forget all the unhapiness and greet everyone a Happy New Year wearing bright red clothing of course! The tradition continues to this day during the Chinese New Year.

To celebrate the holiday season, you can get a 10% Holiday Discount on your entire order at BetterChinese.com when you buy this Story of Year book for your children. Please note that this promotion is on till January 15 2008 and is open to North American Customers only. For the rest, you can always sign up for the free trial of the online Chinese curriculum which features progressive Chinese lessons designed for children up to 12 years old living in non-Chinese language environments. The curriculum incorporates songs, rhymes and cultural content to make learning Mandarin Chinese fun and exciting for the kids.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Second Day of Kindy

Second day was a bit more orderly with most registrations and payments out of the way. When the bell rang signalling the start of school some of the younger kids who had been playing happily began to cry VERY VERY LOUDLY and COULD NOT BE PACIFIED! Two of them cried till they vomitted. Oh Dear. There were a few stressed looking parents around.

My girl looked slightly lost because she was new but she was ok. No tears, just a look of anticipation and sometimes not sure what to do next. She did not even have to look at me for reassurance as she followed her classmates and teacher along. My little girl is growing up right before my very eyes! She used to be such a shy little one but she's ok now.

My boy was there too (because I couldn't possibly leave him home alone.) He was older than lots of the kids there. The principal asked why I was not sending him yet since he is going to be 4 this year. I said it was not necessary. (BTW, the classes for the 3 and 4 year olds outnumber the older kids classes. Imagine that. Its proof that lots of parents are sending their kids younger and younger to kindy). Another grandmother asked me how old he was and why I was not sending him yet. "He is old enough already" she said. "My grandchild is 3."

I stick firmly to my believe that it is not time yet. When it is time, he will be good and ready like my girl.

Verdict from my girl:

MG: So, how's second day of kindergarden?

My Girl: A little bit nicer.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Her First Day at Kindergarden

Today is my girl's first day at Kindergarden. She proudly wore her new uniform and carried her backpack which was given by the kindy. I tied her hair up neatly and then........ "Smile! Say Cheese!" *Flash Flash. Snap Snap.* Lol!

The kindergarden was a bit chaotic when we got there. Lots of parents and little kids running around. Some were still making payment and collecting school uniforms. There were some insurance papers to sign and right after I did that they told me we could go. My girl was rather surprised and so was I. Haha. We were there less than an hour.

Before leaving, I took my girl for a walk around the kindy and looked at her classroom, the toilet, kitchen etc. I saw another mother with her son looking around the same classroom. After finding out that her son was also the same age, I told my girl "Look, this is going to be your new classmate." Both mother and child ignored me. Hmm.. hopefully my girl will be better at making new friends than me. Haha.

The teachers said tomorrow is orientation day, whatever that means.

The verdict:

MG: "Did you like your first day at kindy?"

My Girl: "A little bit." (said with a shy smile).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A new chapter

We are at the threshold of a new chapter, a new beginning, a new routine in our family. Tomorrow is the first day of kindy for my 6 year old. She's really excited. We've hung up her uniform next to her daddy's work clothes. Her little bag is packed. She wanted to practise carrying her school bag, so we did a few trial runs. Lol!

I've taught her the basics ie things like, don't leave the kindy compound with anyone accept mummy and daddy, not even with a teacher unless mummy or daddy said it was ok. If she wanted to go to toilet she should raise her hand in class and inform teacher and she should remember to wipe from front to back. If there's any sick kid in class she should remember to wash her hands more often etc. etc.

"Will I be coming home for lunch?" she wanted to know. "Yes, you shall". She's really happy to be going to kindy. I think we're off to a good start. We'll see...... tomorrow. :)

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