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Monday, March 31, 2008

Miss Slowcoach

I have a little Miss Slowcoach. She is very very slow in drinking her milk, going to toilet, brushing her teeth, wearing her shoes etc. Takes her ages to do these activities. Well, at least she's good at brushing her teeth. She'll make sure she brushes her teeth properly because she doesn't want to get black decayed teeth with holes in them and ugly black fillings like her mommy. Hahaha. Very effective way to get her to brush teeth is to show her mine. :P

Even her teacher in kindy has told me that she does things very slowly. Takes her time in the toilet and takes her time packing her stuff when the bell rings. She's usually one of the last to leave the classroom, usually after the teacher even.

Anyone else has a Miss or Mr Slowcoach at home and what do you do to make them go a little faster? I would love some ideas as I'm tired of shouting "Hurry Up!"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Freehand drawing

Sometimes when I'm lazy to organise craft time, I just hand the kids some drawing art paper, colored pens or color pencils and tell them "Here, draw anything you like." (and stop disturbing me) .

At one of these freehand drawing sessions recently, this is what they drew.

This rocket and cars picture was drawn by my 4 year old boy. He even drew an smiling astronaut somewhere in the picture. See if you can spot him. Haha.

This rainy scene picture was drawn by my 6 year old girl. When the kids draw the sun or the moon, it always has a smiling face. :)

Freehand or freestyle drawing is great. It encourages creativity and gives me more time. The kids will be occupied for at least an hour while they are at it. So, next time you don't know what to do with the kids and they are pestering you every 5 minutes, tell them.. "Here, draw anything you like." ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

He loves his food

My boy loves his food. He likes to try new foods and he likes to eat several foods at the same time. Theres a name for that. Greedy! Lol!

Anyway, recently he spotted some nice tea time desserts on the table during lunch. Right after his very filling lunch he asked "What time is tea?" "Can we have tea now?"

"No, not now! We just had lunch!" I told him as I was washing the dishes. "Tea time is 3 o'clock."
"How about 2 o'clock?" he tried to bargain to which he got a "No" for an answer.

Right after I finished washing the dishes, he came up to me and asked "Is it 3 o'clock now?" *rolls eyes*

The funny thing about kids is how quickly they get hungry when they see something they like and full when they see something they don't!

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Little Author

My girl likes to "write" stories. She is always penning words down on pieces of rough paper and showing it to me saying "Look, mama, read my story." I encourage her love for reading and writing by stapling papers to make them look like a book and asking her to make up her own storybook.

The other day I bought her a colorful notebook and asked her to write her own story. This is what she wrote.

Note: I have substituted the names she used in her book. Mary for her name and John for her little brother but the rest are included just as she wrote it, together with the incorrect spellings and manglish used.

Mary's bedroom full of hearts and flowers.

Once upon a time, Mary's bedroom was full of Heart's. mummy asked mary why her bedroom was full of Heart's. Mary said, "it is a catoon (cartoon) bedroom, thats why." "oh, said mummy. "oh" that's why said mummy, again. so, mummy went back to the kitchen.

"oh, mummy How does your bedroom look like?" asked Mary. "it's not cartoon, said mummy. "because why?" asked Mary. mummy said, "because big people don't need cartoon bedrooms aready, that's why, " "oh", said Mary. Oh, mummy but what about daddy and john asked Mary, walking away. john got cartoon but daddy no cartoon.

now i know why daddy no cartoon becuase He's big! that's why said Mary sofely (softly). yes, said mummy. "Yes, its ceret (correct)", said mummy again. "ok goodnight" said Mary to mummy. "Goodnight Lah", said mummy angrily. "don't disturb me" said mummy. "don't disturb mummy lah, said daddy. mummy needs rest, said daddy again.

no, but i want to talk to mummy or chet chat (chit chat) about school.

mummy needs rest and tomorrow mummy cannot take care of you How? but, i still wanted to sleep with mummy. cannot said daddy, yes said Mary

soon, daddy and Mary were talking about yes no yes no until the wholeeee bedroom was fulllll of noise until one by one they all fell asleep john 1 mary two mummy 3 and daddy 4 all fell asleep. goodnight said everyone to everyone.

The story had many mistakes but then I think its not bad for a 6 year old.

I had a great laugh when I read her story especially the last part which is like a chapter taken from our bedtime conversations. Lol! Anyway, I think that encouraging her to write is a great way to teach her the language. I can then correct her spelling mistakes and show her where she should use capital letters or add her commas, inverted commas etc. I should also tell her that we should not write the way we speak ie Manglish as that is the incorrect or improper usage of English.

Apart from teaching her spelling and grammar, I also get a little peep into whats going on in her little mind. Its a very nice exercise overall and I shall continue to encourage her love for reading and writing.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Think before you speak

The kids were being naughty again and I was mad and said this....

"Eeeeyeea. I can't understand why you all must be so naughty everyday. Why can't you be good for just one day!"

My girl replied hopefully....

"One day only?"

Sometimes kids have the knack to make you sound really stupid don't they?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Animated Chinese Characters - Learn to Write Chinese Visually

Someone asked me this question in my previous post on Her Chinese Homework.

"My daughter has chinese test (ting-siah) every week. Aiyo, such a struggle cos the characters are so foreign even to us. A friend told me to prepare flash cards and read with her often. quite helpful. Just wondering if you have tried preparing your own and how to go about doing it. I can't find websites with prepared chinese character. "

Well, the first time my daughter brought back her practise work for her chinese test or "ting-siah" I didn't know what it was all about. Lol! So I just made her do her copy writing as usual. She scored a 5 out of 14 that time. Haha.

After realising what it was all about, I encouraged her to memorise the characters for the next Chinese test which her teacher handed out. (Normally they would let them practise the words before the test.) This time she did better. 12 out of 15 or something like that. The first time she just copied blindly. The second time she tried to memorise the Characters which helped. Parental guidance is always important to aid a child's learning.

Sometimes she asks me how to write a certain character. Gulp! How do you teach a kid how to write Chinese characters when you don't know it yourself? I use these useful sites:

1. From Chinese Learner dot com - Writing Chinese Symbols - Learn to write most frequently used 500 characters. I absolutely love this site. It is fantastic. It uses flash videos to show you how to write a Chinese Character, up to 500 commonly used Chinese Characters to be precise. You can see an actual person's hand writing the Chinese word in black or blue marker pen making it very easy to learn. The Chinese Characters are classified according to the number of strokes. I teach my daughter how to look for the Chinese Character that she wants to learn so that she can watch the videos herself when I am too busy to sit with her. It is a very effective teaching method.

2. From Ocrat mirror site - Animated Chinese Characters. This one uses animated Gifs to show you how to write Chinese Characters. It classifies the words under the Pinyin style of "a, b, c.... etc and other classifications. You can also search for a the animated gif of a word by copying and pasting the Chinese Character into the search box. I prefer the Chinese Learner dot com site which shows an actual person's hand writing the Chinese Character instead of an animated gif but I sometimes use this Ocrat mirror site as a substitute when I can't find the Chinese Character from among the 500 flash videos from the Chinese Learner dot com site. The Ocrat mirror site has more characters, I think. However its list appears to stop at the Chinese pingyin "f" characters. Probably because the original Ocrat site is no longer available and this is a mirror site which someone has taken the trouble to rebuild because it is so useful.

3. From the Chinese Outpost - Stroke Order for Chinese Characters. I haven't the time to go through and learn Chinese step by step which would be ideal in order for me to teach my girl so as a shortcut method, I find this stroke order principals for writing Chinese Characters very useful. I teach it to my girl and hopefully it will help her too.

And finally, last but not least, I rely on my old faithful Chinese-English dictionary with Order of Strokes and With Hanyu Pinyin as well. It is really useful for English educated persons who wish to search for a word in a dictionary. The Hanyu Pinyin is useful and helps me find the word I want (because sometimes I know how a word sounds like but I don't know how to look it up in a purely Chinese dictionary), the order of strokes shows me how to write the Chinese Character. The dictionary is indexed according to the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet Index, the Radical Index as well as a stroke index so that means you can find the character by any of these methods. For those who are interested, my dictionary is from Intellectual Publishing Co.

I know some people who use software or special digital type of dictionaries but for me, for now, the above free methods of online learning is good enough.

I hope this post will be useful for those other parents who do not know Chinese but are trying to help their child to learn Chinese. If I come across any more useful links, I will share them of course. Perhaps you will share the links to some good Chinese Learning sites with me too?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Extended Goodnights

Bedtime scene

MG: Ok. Lights off. No more talking. Goodnight. Everyone go to sleep.

My Girl: Goodnight mummy.

MG: Goodnight.

My Girl: I love you mummy.

MG: I love you too.

My Boy: Goodnight mummy.

MG: Goodnight.

My Boy: I love you mummy.

MG: I love you too.

My Boy: Happy.

MG: Happy.

MG: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Girl: Mummy.......

MG: Huh? Goodnight. I said no more talking.

My Girl: One thing... no, two things only.

MG: I said no more talking.

My Girl: Two things only?

MG: What?

My Girl: Blah blah blah blah

MG: Ok thats one thing. Whats the second one?

My Girl: Blah blah blah blah.

MG: Ok. Goodnight. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Boy: I also want two things only.

MG: Hmmm... what is it......

My Boy: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

MG: Ok, no more talking. Goodnight everyone!!

My Girl: Mummy..............

MG: Goodnight, no more talking! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Girl: Mama, I have no more things to say already.

MG: Well good. Go to sleep! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Girl: Mama, I really have no more things to say already.


Kids! They do drive you crazy sometimes don't they?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Passing the buck again

My Girl: Mummy blah blah blah blah

MG: Go and ask your daddy, I'm busy.

My Girl: Daddy, blah blah blah blah

Mr MG: Go and ask your mummy, she's very good at this.

My Girl: Mummy, blah blah blah blah

MG: I thought I told you to ask your daddy

My Girl: Daddy blah blah blah blah

Mr MG: Go and ask your mummy

My Girl: Mummy, Daddy, Mummy, Daddy! I'm really angry at both of you. Hmmmrph! *Stomps off*

Her blah blah blah blah usually starts with "What is...." or "Can I....." or "How to...." or "Can you....." When we are busy or distracted we usually ask her to go to the other spouse for help because she (as most kids) is very long winded. One day she got fed up with our passing her around like a ball. :P *guilty*

Friday, March 07, 2008

My first school holidays

My girl is going to have her first term school holidays next week for a week. How quickly time flies. She has attended kindy for one term now.

This will be my first school holidays too. Yahoo! It means I can sleep in for a week. Hahaha. It also means I have to prepare some activities for her to do as she is looking forward to it. Hmm... I wonder what is a good school holiday activity.

Anyway one week is very short and it will soon fly pass.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Toy Safety

I was just going through the Biggest Toy Recalls of 2008 as listed in Parents.com. It scares me just looking at the things that could go wrong with toys.

From magnets that could become detached and accidentally swallowed to drawstrings that could cause strangulation. From batteries and chargers that could short circuit and cause fires to toys painted with paints that contain excessive lead.

Toys pose a potential danger and threat to our children's safety. So once in a while we should go through our children's toy box and throw out those that have loose parts, long strings etc and always supervise the kids when they play with any electrical toys or those powered with rechargeable batteries.

Another thing, always remember to throw out the plastic covers or plastic bags that come with the toys as those can cause suffocation. My child's paed also told me to throw out those furry soft toys or at least wash them more regularly because those can contain lots of dust mites which can cause allergies and rashes.

Looks like its better to just let our kids play with simple homemade toys like folded paper aeroplanes etc. The new techy ones can be dangerous if not handled or supervised with care. What do you think? Have you come across any toy related accidents? Please share.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My little boy

I noticed that I write a lot of posts about my girl but less about my boy. I guess that is because he is younger and the first always gets more attention and you notice more things about them because its your first time too.

Anyway this post is about my little boy. My little boy is...
  • very smiley. He loves to smile. He's been this way ever since he was a little baby. He is a joy to have around. Most people notice his smiling trait but they don't know that he also loves to.....
  • manja. Yes, he is very manja and very stuck to mummy like a glue. When mummy scolds him, he won't stop crying until mummy is happy with him again. Having mummy angry with him makes him very upset. Mummy must always smile and hug him and be nearby, ALWAYS. Otherwise, he will do his best to make mummy smile again by going right to the front of her face and smiling at her continuously till she smiles and when she does, he asks... "Why you so fast happy already?"
  • is a left hander and is artistic, I think. When colouring, he sometimes makes a point to color every object carefully in different colours. He can draw his favourite cars and trains and yesterday he surprised me by drawing a rocket out of the blue without looking at any book or copying any picture. I must remember to post his rocket picture up.
  • is very neat. When eating, he munches with his mouth closed. No food particle must drop out of his plate. He arranges our shoes neatly for us and his blanket must be wrapped around him neatly during bedtime.
  • can play by himself quietly for a long time. As long as mummy is near, he is happy. Sometimes he sacrifices his play just to be near mummy. He prefers to sit and wait around for mummy till she is free.

He is a good little boy, yes he is but daddy says that mummy must train him to be more independant and not stuck to mummy like glue. Daddy is jealous. Hahaha. Just kidding of course. (Just in case daddy reads, which he never does).

Monday, March 03, 2008

Her Chinese Homework

I registered my girl for a Chinese school last year but actually I am still undecided. I wanted to see how she is coping with her Chinese in kindy and her inclination towards the subject before we make the decision whether to sent her to a Chinese school or otherwise.

So far as I can see, she struggles with the Chinese subject the most. The rest are no problem to her or perhaps the rest have very little homework compared to the Chinese. The Chinese subject has not that much homework compared to what she will get in Chinese school but even then she struggles with it a little. She struggles but I do not see a hatred or barrier towards the subject so far. The teachers tell me that once there is a barrier towards the subject, a child will find it very difficult to learn and be left behind and the further behind the are, the higher the barrier or hatred towards the subject will become.

Everyday when she gets back, she starts her homework immediately after lunch and continues till tea time, takes a nap, wakes up and continues with homework till dinner time and sometimes after dinner. She finishes her English/Malay/Math/Science/Moral homework in 15 minutes and takes up to 4-5 hours to do her Chinese homework sometimes.

She writes the Chinese characters by copying what is given to her but when I ask her what the character is or means she does not know. Despite writing the chinese characters over and over again or repetitively, she does not know the meaning of it and if asked to write the character without looking, she can't. In kindy she mixes with the English speaking kids instead of the Mandarin speaking ones which is natural since she can't speak the language.

Hmm.... how to send her to Chinese school? She will certainly be at a disadvantage to kids who speak Mandarin at home. We have also not had the time to let her practise her online Chinese learning at BetterChinese.com. It would not be very nice for her to always be left behind in school.

Hmm... oh well, I have a few more months before we have to make a decision.

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