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Friday, July 31, 2009

New Rules at Bedtime after the lights are off

The kids are so fond of talking at bedtime/naptime that I've come up with a new rule. Here's the rule....

"Ok. Each of us may say 3 things.... after that we say goodnight .... and then......NO MORE TALKING!"

The kids agreed. They bargained for 4 things. I agreed.

"I'll start", I said. So I mention something that I want to tell or ask any of the kids which I may have forgotten about during the day... and then I point to the boy and say "You're next." and he goes....

"Let me think..... hmmm....ahh.... hmmm.... wait, let me think first...." Finally he says his thing..... and then the girl goes.....

"Mummy, wait, I want to tell you something. But this is not one of the 4 things ok?" But when it comes to one of the 4 things she would go........"Wait, let me think first........"

Since, they've been limited to only 4 things, they realise that its very important, don't want to miss a thing and want to make it really matter. The other thing is... when they're not allowed to talk, they have so much to say but when I give them the chance to say something, suddenly, they're tongue tied. ;)

There's so much thinking about what to say next and waiting for the next person to think that the girl forgot what she wanted to say and then she went.....

"Mummy, I forgot what I wanted to say. And I really wanted to say it.... Can I wake you up in the middle of the night to say it?"

Then finally, after all the 4 things have been said by everyone. We say "Goodnight. I love you. Sweet Dreams." Then mommy says "OK, NO MORE TALKING!" and the kids say "Can we cough? Can we Ah... Cheee (Sneeze)? Can we Yawn?"

... and mummy says "Yes, but not on purpose."

Then, there is silence and soon after....zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beat the Clock Game

Everyday I have to ask my girl to hurry up during bathtime. Finally tired of it myself, I took out the timer and said "Let us play the beat the clock game." If we can finish our bath and change before the timer rings, we win. Then when the timer rings, we will all shout out "We win!"

I had read that this method works well with kids who dawdle because it turns the "enemy" or nagger (you), into a common "enemy" (the clock) so there is no battle.

The boy is always fast so I have no trouble with him but he wanted to play too so I said ok. So far, it turned out ok. I've never seen her happier and more excited to do things fast.

At the end of it, they both said. "Mummy, can we play this game everyday?" No prizes for anyone who knows what my anwer is. We have played the game for two days so far. I wonder when the novelty will wear off.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Little White Lies

My girl and boy are very different when it comes to telling the truth. My girl is the honest, straight type and will tell me most of the naughty things she has done even if I have not seen it or did not ask her.

However, my boy would tell me "No, I didn't do it." even if he is caught red handed! Recently his teacher told me that he has been getting too playful in class. She said that once when they were sitting in a circle for a session, he put his foot up on his friend's face!

I guess that is because at home he is very playful and likes to put his foot on my face. When I scold him and tell him how bad manners it is, he would roll over with laughter because he thinks it is such a funny game. I had to remind him that school is a place for learning and putting your foot on someone's face is not a funny thing at all but is very bad.

The teacher also told me that another time when they were sitting in a circle, he sat with his back facing the circle. Again, I can imagine that he is probably giggling away happily thinking that it is rather hilarious. I reminded the teacher to discipline, punish or do whatever she needs to do to stop his bad behaviour before it becomes a bad habit.

When I asked him whether he did those things, as usual, he said "No, I didn't, mummy." So the next day, I had to see the teacher together with him and I had to tell teacher to discipline him if necessary when he is within earshot, so that he will get the message that we are serious.

I would like him to go to school happy and kindy really should be a fun place but when it comes to naughty behaviour, then I think a line should be drawn and he must learn what is or is not acceptable behaviour in school. This is for his own good when he goes to primary school in future especially a strict Chinese school type of environment.

Anyway, apart from this, I've never had any other problems from him so far. In fact, I was a bit worried, that he was too well behaved for a boy and all his best friends are girls. Now, it looks like I don't think I have to worry anymore.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Cowboy Needs A Horse Song

My kids love this Walt Disney Cartoon and Song from 1956. Its called "A Cowboy Needs A Horse." They loved it the first time they saw it. Now they like to sing the catchy and easy to sing along song and watch the cartoon from time to time.

This Disney cartoon is about a little boy who dreams he is a cowboy in his sleep. I like the ending and how he wakes up in his bed as an ordinary boy again. This embedded cartoon is the full version. If you prefer just the song with lyrics, you can go to this link: A Cowboy Needs A Horse.

I love the old Disney cartoons I can find on YouTube. Some of them are real gems like this one. I will share our favourites from time to time on this blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Colouring Homework

I hate it when the kids bring back homework with colouring in it. This is because colouring takes up a lot of time. So much time that there is not enough time to do the rest of the homework. So I usually suggest that they do their colouring last of all.

For example, the little one may have a counting exercise. Lets say counting to 20. On one page, he would have to count the numbers 16,17,18,19,20. There would be little people or items to count and he'd have to colour in each of the little item. Whoa!

Usually he wants to make them beautiful, so he'd colour each little person with a different colour. They'd have different colour tops, bottoms, shoes, bags etc. That means he has to colour 16+17+18+19+20 = 90 little people! Can you imagine how long that takes especially for someone whose fine motor skills are still developing?

Recently, he had a lot of homework in one day plus his 90 people to colour. Bad mommy killed his creativity by suggesting that he colour them all in one colour. "Look sweetie, why don't you colour the face first, all peach, then the hair, all black, and then make them all wear the same coloured clothes. Choose your favourite colour. Blue? Ok, lets colour all the clothes blue ok?" He did this and was finished in record time. Heheh. Bad mommy.

The girl is the same. Whenever any colouring is included in the homework, you can be sure it will take up a lot of extra time till there is not enough time to finish the rest of the homework. I really do wish that they'd limit colouring to art classes! At the moment, colouring is included in just about any homework there is, science, maths, the 3 languages, moral ..... Aarrrgh!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mid Term Exams and tight schedules

It seems like not too long ago that my girl just sat for her mid year examinations and now its time for mid-term examinations again. Our education system is really too exam orientated. Now, most Art and Physical Education classes are making way for other lessons as teachers rush to complete the syllabus.

I try my best to schedule some revision time with the girl daily but most days it is not possible. Most days its just trying to complete homework. I also have to schedule play time and nap time with the kids. In addition to that, she has piano classes once a week and "mandarin conversational" classes twice a week. Basically we got her kindy teacher to come in to just chat with her about school etc in Mandarin. This is to help her practise speaking in Mandarin since we don't speak Mandarin at home.

All these activities take up a lot of time. So most days its very rushed at home. As soon as the kids come home from school, they get whisked off to bathe, then lunch, then they sit and do homework, then its Piano/Mandarin chat time, then tea time, then a nap, then dinner, then more homework/some revision, then short playtime or none at all, then get ready for bedtime, then storytime, then bedtime and the next day starts all over again. The girl does not have any other extra curricular activities other than piano and even then I find that we are so pressed for time. I wonder how other moms do it, especially the working ones.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dawdling Child

My girl loves to dawdle. She really takes her own sweet time to change her clothing, brush her teeth, wash her hands, do her school work etc.

In my exasperation, I've done what I am not supposed to do as suggested by many parenting books and articles. I .... yelled at her "Why are you always so slow!?" and now.... as suggested by the so many parenting articles and books,.... it has become self fulfilling.

She is constantly wanting my attention. She wants me to feed her. She wants me to repeat the words she says. She wants me to repeat the words I say to her. She wants me to scratch her back before she goes to sleep. She wants me to sit and watch her do her homework. She wants me to play with her after she completes her homework. I believe her dawdling is another way of calling for my attention. I really don't know why she craves so much attention.

I really don't know what else to do. I've slowed down... looked her in the eye when she talks, stopped what I was doing so I can listen to her better etc but she still seems to need so much attention. Much more than my 5 year old boy. She is 7.

In an unrelated funny incident, I taught both of them to sing Happy Birthday twice while washing their hands... to get the boy to wash longer and to get the girl to speed up. It worked at first but after a while, the boy was back to just swishing his hands over the soap and water and rushing out of the bathroom while the girl would sing Happy Birthday happily at least 3-4 times. One good thing though, she has very good hygiene. She always makes sure she brushes her teeth and gargles her mouth real clean. But it just drives me crazy, the time she spents slooooowly doing these things.

She is always the last to be ready when we are going out and definitely the last one to finish her meal every time. She is also always one of the last ones to come out from her classroom and she doesn't run out like the rest of her classmates, she strolls out sloooowly after slooooowly packing her bag. Even her teacher complains to me that she does everything in slow motion.

I don't know what else to do. I have given her the attention she craves, praised her and tried everything thats positive and finally I can't stand it anymore and I go back to yelling "HURRY UP!" I've tried the positive "You can do XYZ after you finish ABC., ok sweetie?" but it almost always never happens and then I end up yelling "Look you can't do ABC because you took so much time doing XYZ! Don't you understand that!!!" I constantly feel like Mrs Jekyl and Mdm Hyde.

Does anyone else have a child who dawdles? How do you deal with it? Can you share please?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

His two girlfriends

My boy has two girl friends in kindy. He is very fond of them both particularly one of them. They are both very fond of him too.

"I don't know which one to marry, mummy." he tells me. "I think I will marry A" When I asked him why he will marry A, he tells me "Because she asked me to marry her first. She asked me before B came to ask me." lol

I told him that only big people got married to which he replied "Haiyah! Not now lah, Mummy, for later!" I told him that he won't even remember them when he is big but he ignored me.

I don't know how it is that he got this notion about getting married etc. We hardly watch any romantic movies at home. He only knows that people who love each other get married and it must be someone of the opposite sex and a friend. Once he asked whether he could marry me or marry his cheh cheh. I told him no he can't and then he and his cheh cheh started discussing about how they would need to look for another friend of the opposite sex to marry when they grow big.

The other day, I saw a little love note from his girl friend. On it was a boy and a girl inside a heart, surrounded by more hearts and flowers and a "I love you" written underneath. That was the second love note I saw from the little girl. Obviously she returns his affections.

The kindy teachers exclaimed. Gosh! They are only 5. I've never had to deal with this types of things for my 5 or 6 year old classes before in all the years that I've taught. We had a good laugh about it and decided that they would have forgotten each other not only in adulthood but as soon as they go to different primary schools. ;)

A Lesson in Honesty

Recently my girl brought back her classmates workbook by mistake. She does not know how it happened because he sits quite far away from her. "Maybe someone accidentally passed it to her" she figures.

She is afraid. "Mummy, can I go to school early and put it on his table before he comes?" I told her No, she cannot do that. She is afraid that the boy will scold her. She is afraid that he will tell teacher that he could not do his homework because she took his book home and teacher will scold her too.

Although I know that she is afraid and worried about it, I have to choice but to tell her to face it. "You have made a mistake. Even though someone may have accidentally passed the book to you, you are responsible for putting it in your bag. I hope that this will teach you a lesson to be more careful in the future. So you have to go to the boy and say you are sorry you accidentally took his book home. If the boy tells teacher you have to say sorry to teacher too."

"Mummy, it will be so hard to check my bags. It will take a long time to check each book! Mummy how to say sorry I accidentally took your book in Chinese?" She had many questions and worries. I told her that she need not check each and every book. She only has to look at each book before putting them in her bag. Those that are already in the bag are hers. (She thought that she had to take each and every book out to check. How sweetly innocent.)

She was worried and scared but she agreed. Later I saw her write down in the little notebook I gave her.


1. Return book to A
2. Copy homework from B

She had missed school and did not know her homework so I had asked her to check with the boy that sits beside her. Thats why she included item No. 2.

When she got home that day, she showed me her notebook. On it was written...

"Mummy, when I gave A back his book, and said sorry ah i accedentelly took your book, He said Oh! Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! and didin tell teacher! And this moning, he started doing his homework aready!"

She treats her little notebook as her personal "Communication book". She often draws a line and an "X" and asks me to sign on the line after reading. Just like the Communication Book between teachers and parents where the teacher would ask them to copy down any homewoke or any important announcements and request that the parents sign them.

So she learned an important lesson today. That she has to own up for her mistakes and the outcome of owning up need not necessarily be bad all the time. I think she was very happy.

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