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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Father and Child Bonding

I was worried for a long time because my son did not seem to bond very much with his father. At least, not the way his sister does. He always seems to want me only. He usually rejects his daddy.

I believe the reason is because, my husband spent a lot of time with my girl when she was a baby. He would hold her to sleep, help me bathe the girl, etc. And later on, when I was pregnant with my son and often tired, he would take the girl out with him to the park, supermarket etc so that I could get some rest. So he has a close bond with the girl.

When my boy was born, again, the same thing happen. He would often take the girl out so that I would have some relief to spend time trying to breastfeed the boy without interruptions because I had a lot of difficulties breastfeeding. He would still help me bathe the boy etc but his time had to be divided because he had to help me look after the girl.

As a result, my boy is not that close to him. They didn't get a chance to bond. I always try to find things for them to do together but it did not work. The boy always preferred me.

However, recently, I noticed that they have started to bond more. This is because my husband would spend every evening coaching the boy in his Maths. Oh, he is a fierce teacher and he would often scold the boy, sometimes till he cries but funnily, my boy now no longer rejects him and would look for him more and more now.

I believe that bonding is a process of doing things together. It need not only be fun activities. It should be daily activities. Bathing, feeding, talking, teaching. I believe that these daily simple activities are very important for parent and child bonding and if left to a domestic helper than you would have lost the most precious moments of bonding with your kids.

My husband had less opportunity to bond with his son the way he bonded with his daughter when she was a baby but I am happy that they are catching up now. Its not too late that they are catching up now when he is 5 years old. :) My husband shares a very special bond with my girl and soon, I hope he will have his own special bond with his son too. I am very glad to see this happening now. Before this, I was a bit worried.

Speaking of bonding, I feel that my husband and I share another bond now compared to those days when we were just a couple. This bond is the bond that comes from our mutual love for our children. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

School First Term Review

First term has come and gone. Here's my own thoughts or review of my girl's first term in Standard One in a Chinese School.

On the school:
  • We are happy with the school. The teachers are hardworking and the facilities are good. We felt that the class teacher was unapproachable at first but she has turned out ok so far. She even takes phone calls from us after school if we are not sure about something and want to check with her. The Malay teacher is ok too but the English teacher is rather lazy, often not turning up, doesn't teach much when he does, just allows the kids to watch video lessons and often does not mark the work. Fortunately English is not a problem for my girl because the level of English taught is too easy. The Chinese and Malay languages level is much higher.
  • There is not much homework and the teachers are not as fierce as we had envisioned. There is no caning or ridiculous punishment (no standing on chairs etc) for things like forgetting to bring text books, not completing homework etc. At the most, the teacher's will threaten. They tend to use rewards more. Children get special stars and badges to encourage them. School hours are ok. The girl does not need to stay back in school. Staying back is not compulsory until Std 3.
  • There are no frequent calls for donations (as I was told often happens in a chinese school), only 2 so far ie once during school orientation and again now during midterm because the school is going to do some upgrading works. We feel these are justified and so we donate happily, not reluctantly.

My girl:

  • I would say that she has finally adjusted to Chinese school though she is still not entirely comfortable in it.
  • She insists that she still only has 2 friends in the school. However, she is very chatty with the boy who sits beside her whom is not included in her circle of 2 friends. I do see her waving and talking to others and some of her classmates call out to her when they see her but she still claims that she has only 2 friends. One of this 2 happens to be a girl whose parents we met up with during Chinese New Year so that the girls can get to know each other which means that she has only made 1 friend on her own. I guess that only very special people will be given the status of "friend" by her.
  • She does not talk much during recess. She says that she justs goes to eat, then goes back to the class by herself.
  • She is still not very comfortable speaking in Mandarin although her knowledge of it and written Chinese is good
  • Her class teacher keeps on stressing that she has very little confidence. The teacher says that she must change this attitude. She is afraid of asking the teacher questions and often does not stand up straight when talking to the teacher, which is another sign of her lack of confidence. Her teacher also says she tends to do things in a slow motion. I think that language is the main problem here. Quite often when she is unsure about something, she will agonise about how to ask the teacher about it. She will plan what to say and how to say it in Mandarin to the teacher before she goes to bed and when she gets home from school the next day, quite often I find that she did not eventually ask the teacher and then she would worry about it again in the night.
  • Apart from her timid behaviour in class, she has done well in her studies. She is hardworking, completes all her homework, understands what is being taught in class, often gets good grades for her daily work and did well during the first term exam.

So now we are firmly in Chinese school and no turning back or switching now, only looking forward. Looking forward to more ways we can help her. Help her overcome her fears in school. Help her work on her self esteem and become more confident. Help her overcome the barrier she feels in school. Any good suggestions on how to do this would be most welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How to make an award ribbon rosette

This is the front portion of the completed award ribbon rosettes

This is the back portion of the completed award ribbon rosettes

The girl kept on pestering me to make these award ribbon rosettes with her during the school holidays. I didn't take step by step photos so I will try my best to explain how to do them.

What you need to make the award ribbon rosette:
  1. Cardboard Paper
  2. Fabric or Crepe paper
  3. Coloured ribbon
  4. Tape (to tape the rosette)
  5. Double sided tape (to attach the front and back portion together)
  6. Safety Pin
  7. Scissors
How to make the award ribbon rosette:
  1. Cut out two large circles using the cardboard paper measuring about 8cm in width for the front and back portion of the award
  2. Cut out 10 smaller circles using the fabric for the frills on the side or for the rosette
  3. Fold the fabric circles in half and then into half again and then arrange them in a circle at the back of one of the cardboard circle
  4. Tape the fabric circles one at a time at the back of one of the cardboard paper circle (This makes the front portion)
  5. Tape the colored ribbon onto the back of another cardboard paper circle (This makes the back portion)
  6. Use double sided tape to attach the front and back portions together back to back ie ribbons facing fabric
  7. Finally, tape a safety pin onto the back of the completed award ribbon rosette
I hope that wasn't too difficult to understand. Step by step photos is better but I didn't manage to take any photos this time around.
I didn't use fabric because I find them harder to fold so I substituted with crepe paper and other recycled paper which I kept from hampers etc for doing crafts.
So next time you receive hampers or gift wrappers, do keep them for recycling. They are great for making crafts.
After we completed the ribbon rosettes, the kids wore each of theirs proudly around the house all day long.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to make a toilet paper roll robot

"Its a kite.... No..... Its a car with one wheel...... No.... its a dolphin carrying bags..... No..... its a donkey....... No.... Its a garlic toast bread which my 5 year old is having for breakfast."

Having breakfast with the kids is an adventure trip to imagination land.

During the holidays, we got the kids to use their imaginations to make robots out of toilet paper rolls. It is an extremely easy craft to do for young kids.

Here's what you need:

  1. Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  2. Aluminium Foil
  3. Tapes
  4. Stickers
  5. Straws or Pipe Cleaners
Here's how to make the toilet paper roll robots.
Wrap the aluminium around the empty toilet paper roll. Tape the straws or pipe cleaners to make the robot's antennas. Then decorate with stickers and voila! You have yourself a cute little homemade craft robot that the kids can use their imagination to play with.
Here's the end result of our toilet paper roll robot. As you can see, its very easy to make and self explanatory just by looking at the pictures. We cheated because we had adorable looking stickers to use but you can also use colored papers cut out into shapes and paste them on for eyes, nose and buttons for the robot and the results will be just as nice. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

All About Swine Flu

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 for the global spread of the H1N1 Flu virus. In other words a global H1N1 Flu Virus pandemic has been declared.

I found some useful resources, links and articles about Swine Flu. I have posted them on my other blogs. You can read them here:

How to talk to your child about swine flu
H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Home Science Experiment - Germinating Bean Seeds

Here's a little home science experiment that we did during the school holidays. Its a very simple but wonderful and exciting activity for young kids.

Here's what you need to germinate bean seeds:
  1. Green Bean Seeds
  2. Cotton Wool
  3. Container
Thats all! First you have to soak the green bean seeds. Then, all you have to do is place damp cotton wool into a container, sprinkle the green bean seeds on the cotton wool and place the container in a place with sunlight. Water your bean seeds everyday and watch it grow. Its amazing.

Growing bean seeds is a very simple activity to do with young kids. You don't need to have a lot of time to do it. All you need is 5 minutes each day to water the beans. Even the initial activity of setting it up takes just 5 minutes and young kids can do it themselves easily. Just make sure they don't eat the beans!

The kids love to water their "plants" and watch it grow overnight. Its also the best way to teach them about living things and plants and how plants need water and sunlight to grow.

At first I didn't have green beans so I got the kids to remove the seeds from my long beans. The enjoyed peeling the seeds from the long beans but they didn't work. So remember, only dried green beans. In the pictures featured below, the long bean seeds are the darker coloured ones. As you can see, they didn't grow at all.

Below, is our step by step or rather day to day pictures of our bean seeds germination process.

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day One

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Two

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Three

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Four

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Five

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Six

Germinating Bean Seeds - Day Seven

You can do more fun Science Experiments at home with these Science Kits.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back to School

2 weeks for school holidays is too short. It just flies by so quickly. Today we are back to school and back to routine. For the school holidays we managed to do ....
  • 3 crafts, (a Father's Day Card, award ribbon rossettes and a toilet roll robot boy and girl)
  • 1 science experiment, (we germinated bean seeds in a container)
  • got started on a cross stitch pattern for the girl, (she's sewing a rose)
  • she also performed in a piano concert in preparation for her coming piano exam,
  • some lessons, mostly revision of the first term including school holiday homework given by the school
  • we watched 2 movies (Monsters & Aliens and Night in the Museum 2)

We didn't go anywhere but our holidays was fruitful enough. We had lots of activities at home. My only grouse is that we didn't get enough of outdoor activities. Next holidays is during the end of August. Can't wait!

I will do posts for our crafts, "science experiment" etc soon.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

His First Kindy Report

I met with the boy's class teacher and BM teacher on the last week of school to collect his report card. For a 5 year old, usually the report is not so academic (since there are no tests) which I like and so we went on to discuss his behaviour in class etc.

He received a Good rating for most of his subjects accept for Chinese which was mostly poor. (And I'm sending him to Chinese school later on......)

The teachers had good things to say about him. They said he is very hardworking, obedient, listens to instructions well, contributes during discussions. According to the teachers he is confident during the discussions. He also mixes well with his classmates and teachers. His handwriting is good and he tries to complete his arts and crafts on his own. They had some sewing for art and craft and he finished second ahead of all the girls. :)

For English, he got rated mostly Good with the comment "He has shown confidence in speech and class discussions."For Music & Movement mostly Good with comment "Enjoy it very much."For Math, Mostly Good and "He is confident in Maths activities."For Bahasa Malaysia, mostly satisfactory and "Tekun membuat sesuatu kerja dan berusaha menyiapkannya."For Behaviour and Attitude in Class mostly Good and "An obedient and cooperative boy. He needs to be encouraged to speak mandarin frequently."For Art & Craft mostly Good and "Enjoys it and tries his best to complete his work independantly"For Mandarin mostly poor and "Try to communicate more often in Mandarin"For Science/Moral mostly Good and "Shares his views during discussion."

So overally, his teacher suggested we try to improve his Mandarin by letting him watch and listen to Chinese songs more.

Actually before sending him to kindy the area I worried about the most is that he would be clingy and lazy but he has turned out the opposite in both. He is independant and hardworking.

We got him a little present for being so good in class and asked him to keep it up. I also went to buy some Chinese songs CDs but silly me did not know how to read chinese so I ended up with some Audio CDs instead of Video CDs. How to help him improve in Chinese and Mandarin Conversation when his mommy is Chinese illiterate?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Birds and The Bees

Boy: Mummy at first you were very sad because you were alone. Then you had children.

MG: Yes, I had you two wonderful children and you make me very happy.

Girl: But mummy will scold us and is angry with us when we are naughty.

MG: Thats right. Mummy will scold you when you are naughty but when you are good mummy is very happy.

Girl: Mummy, can get married then only have children ah. If not married cannot have children?

MG: No. Not married cannot have children. You can have children only after you get married.

Girl: Really ah? Like magic like that? Tell me how?!

MG: Errrr... I'll tell you when you are older.

Girl: Tell me now. I am 7 years old already. When are you going to tell me?

MG: Errr...... when you are 10 years old.

Girl: Afterwards you forget, how?

Alamak! When to talk about the birds and the bees and how?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

School Holiday Frenzy

School holidays are a busy time for me. I actually have lots of backdated posts to do because I was sick. I wanted to write about the end of the first term, collecting report cards, exam results, the first school trip etc etc but its the school holidays and right now I am busy germinating beans, making ribbon rosettes, Father's Day cards and going through the school holiday homework with the kids.

Its only 2 weeks of holidays. We usually go out during the weekends so that leaves only 10 days for me to do stuff with the kids and they want to do so much! I want to do so much too. I want to help the kids improve on their languages. So I'm working on those lesson plans for English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese for the kids.

Its a busy, busy time for us for the next two weeks even though we're not going anywhere.

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