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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ejaan, Spelling, Ting Xie (听写) and Xiao Kao (听写)

The boy has "Ting Seah" (听写) or Chinese Spelling (Chinese Character Writing) on Tuesdays. He has Ejaan on Thursdays and Spelling on Fridays. He is 6. He is attending a kindy and learning Mandarin for 30 minutes each day at the kindy.

The girl has Spelling on Wednesdays, Ejaan on Fridays, "Ting Seah" (听写) on any day of the week every week as well as "XiaoKao" (小 考) once or twice a week every week. (Minor Test on knowledge on radicals, synonyms, antonyms, homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings), words that look alike but are actually very different in meaning, words with multitone and more than one meaning. Chinese character study is rather complicated. She is 8. She is studying in Standard 2 in a Chinese School.

They both have this to study for in addition to their daily homework.

Mummy has..... a headache! She is 44. She is a SAHM.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Music Dictionary: How to pronounce Italian Music Terms

This year my girl will be sitting for her Grade 2 music theory exam. Her teacher gave her a list of Italian music terms to memorize. Learning a word without knowing how it is pronounced makes it difficult to remember. So we found this site to help us with the pronouciation of the Italian Music Terms.

It is a Music Dictionary site. You may choose any letter of the alphabet listed at the bottom of the home page. Clicking on the alphabet you want will give you a list of all the terms starting with that alphabet in a panel on the left. For example, if you click "A", you will get musical terms like Adagio, Allegretto, Andante, Andantino etc listed on the left panel.

If you want to look up "Adagio", clicking on the word will give you its definition plus an audio of how it should be pronounced plus the spelling as we know it in English terms (Ah-DAH-jio).

This is great for learners. However, I must make sure that my girl does not mispell the words. If she pronounces it the wrong way, it would probably be easier for her to memorize the spelling. For example Dal segno is pronounced (dahl SAI-n(y)oe). For this pronouciation, she may spell the word as "dalsenyo". If she pronounced it "dal sag no", she will probably get the correct spelling for dal segno.

I find that learning music theory is no easy task for a 7-8 year old child.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learn to type online for kids aged 7 to 11

One of our projects this coming school holidays is to learn how to type. My girl has learned how to type in school during her computer lessons. She is very interested in learning how to type but she has little time to practise. So this school holidays, one of our objectives is to let her learn to type.

I found this delightful interactive online learn to type site for kids aged 7 to 11. It is from BBC Schools and it is called Dance Mat Typing. The instructions are easy to follow and the animation very eye catching and keeps things interesting for the kids. When kids complete a stage they are rewarded with a song and dance. Very nice.

Yesterday, the kids tried it out. They both completed Level 1 with ease. Even the 6 year old started to learn how to type with ease. There are 4 Levels altogether. Each level has 3 stages so altogether there are 12 stages in all. Today, I will let them try Level 2. Who knows, we might complete all 4 levels before the school holidays starts. :)

There are many more interesting segments in the BBC Schools website. I love the Science segments and games. I will definitely be checking it out and blogging more about it later. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


The other day, I was helping my girl in the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw my boy standing in the middle of the bedroom inspecting his finger with care. As soon as he saw me, tears welled up in his eyes and he started to cry.

"Mummmy sob, mummy I wanted to go and talk to you, sob, I hold the door, sob sob and then sob sob sob."

He showed me his finger which had been hurt, caught in between the hinge on the door. There was some blood but not a lot of damage but it was really funny how his curious look changed to tears the moment he saw me.

Just the other day, I saw a similar thing happen to another mum. She had come to pick her son from kindy. He was playing happily before she came. When she arrived, the teachers told her that he had fallen and knocked his head (there was a bruise on his forehead). As soon as the mummy asked him what was wrong, the dam burst and huge tears rolled down his face. It was so cute to watch. lol.

I remember the pediatrician had told us that if your child falls, don't rush to them and pick them up with concern written all over your face, that will cause the child to think that it is a big thing and scare them. Just treat it casually. Tell them, "it is ok, it is just a small thing, just pick yourself up and continue playing" etc.

So I try to do this but occassionally when they "manja" like that, I can't help but give them a huge hug and "sayang" them because everyone needs some pampering every now and then.

I did not wear a plaster for the boy thinking that it will heal faster that way however the next day, he accidentally bumped his finger and hurt it again so I put on a plaster for him after that.

I don't know why kids find it so fascinating to wear a plaster. He wore it proudly to school and told me "Mummy, I showed it to all my friends. I showed it to almost all the teachers too."

Monday, March 08, 2010

What do you feed your child?

Someone asked me what I serve for Breakfast for my kids. That makes me feel a little bit guilty. Despite having a live-in helper at home, all I can manage for breakfast for the kids each day is a piece of toast and a glass of milk. That is it. They have the same breakfast everyday. The toast may vary from strawberry jam, peanut butter jam or garlic bread but that is it. They eat the same breakfast everyday unless I run out of bread and then we resort to a few pieces of biscuit or a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk. :P

I don't know how others do it. I look at the other mothers who do a lovely bento meal for their child with envy. I cannot manage to do it. As it is, we have to get up at 6am to get ready for school. The kids do not have a very good appetite so early in the morning so they don't complain about their piece of toast.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal and kids should eat a balanced diet so I do feel guilty about my piece of toast. :P

Breakfast during school holidays is better since we get to wake up late. We can have french toast or scrambled eggs with sausages or pancakes then apart from our usual toast.

My girl has a catered meal at school. They have a 15 minute break and often have to "fight" to queue to buy food with the older kids. By the time they have finished buying their food, breaktime is almost over. Having catered food, solves this problem for my slow eater. At the same time, it also ensures that she has a more balanced meal. Otherwise, she may buy nuggets and chips everyday!

The canteen operator serves them the same food on Mondays, Tuesdays etc. They have fried noodles one day, nasi lemak another day, the favoured nuggets and chips plus orange juice one day, a boiled egg with sausages one day and a fried rice on another day. That is five days in all. Five different menus repeated each week. On the days when she has the boiled egg, she brings it home for me to make egg sandwiches for tea which she prefers to eating straight. :) For drinks they have soya bean, chrysanthemum, barley etc. All of these food and drinks, she would not take if she were with me. This ensures that she learns to take all kinds of food and drinks.

For lunch, this lazy mummy, rotates, fish porridge, fried rice, noddles soup, spaghetti or fried meehoon and chicken porridge. It is usually a one-dish meal.

Dinner is more elaborate with soup, a meat dish, a vegetable dish and either tofu or eggs and fresh fruits for dessert, since the man is eating with us.

The kids like to have tea and supper too. That is usually biscuits and milo or milk.

That is it. That is all that I can manage. Even though I am a stay at home mum with a live in helper. That is all that I can manage. My sister can manage all sorts of local kuihs and delicacies, homemade breads and cakes, including noodles and laksa and nasi lemak etc for breakfast and tea for her family and lunch is as elaborate as dinner with several dishes and not a one dish meal like mine. She "trains" her maid to help her with it. I find that even "training" someone to do it requires effort so I don't. My meals are very simple and usually repeated to keep it even more simple.

What do you feed your kids?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Teaching children what to do if they get lost

Last night I was reading a storybook to the kids about personal safety. I decided to take the opportunity to inform them what to do in case they get lost in the mall.

MG: If you ever get lost in the mall, you should ask for help. Try to ask help from the shopkeeper or a woman with children. They may ask you what is your daddy and mummy's name. You cannot say my daddy and mummy's name is daddy and mummy. Do you know what is daddy and mummy's name?

My Boy: I know daddy's name but I don't know what is mummy's name. I only know what daddy calls mummy.

The girl is older so she knows both our names and telephone numbers. So, I told the boy our names and asked him to memorise his daddy's telephone number.

My Boy: Mummy, last time cheh cheh (sister) asked me to hide.

MG: No, you must not hide when we are outside the house. You can play hide and seek at home but not at the mall.

My Girl: Baby, have you been lost before? I have been lost before once but I found mummy and daddy after that. My heart was beating very fast!

My Boy: Mummy, I don't want to go out anymore! I am scared! Can you write your name and number on a paper? I am scared I cannot remember.

I told him that as long as he follows the rules, he won't get lost. The rules are to make sure he can see mummy and daddy at all times and no hiding.

My Girl: Can we practise?
My Boy: We can't practise. What if we are really lost?

Finally, we agreed to practise picking which type of adult they can go up to, to ask for help because they are worried they cannot find a woman with children. They were also worried that they are not tall enough to ask at the shop counters. I told them they can shout "Excuse me!" but they said they are shy to ask.

I think it is important to have this talk with your children so that they know what to do if they are lost otherwise it may never have occured to them before like in the case of my boy. Now, I think he will be more cautious by not playing hide and seek outside. They like to hide in the clothes racks and he likes to run in another lane and play peek-a-boo.

I will have to follow through and continue our chat at the mall itself. It is quite easy to get lost at the mall and other crowded places. Once, my ex-colleague lost her child at the indoor theme park in Genting Highlands. She was distraught. We broke up into groups and fortunately we found him.

When we are out, we should always keep an eye on our children. We can ask our children to keep and eye on mummy and daddy but once they are outside and there are so many distractions, they often forget. Quite often my kids talk to the "wrong mummy", ie another lady, thinking it is me.

I read that it is also a good idea to write down your name and number in the inside flap of your child's shoe for those who cannot remember numbers.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Praise, Don't Nag, Praise, Don't Whine

I have read in many parenting articles that you will be more effective in getting your kids to listen to you if you praise instead of nag.

Well, I think my boy found out that the other way holds true too. You will be more effective in getting your parents to listen to you if you praise instead of whine.

Last night it was so hot, so I took out an old satin dress pyjamas to wear because it was cool. The kids looked at me in surprise.

"Mummy, is that a new pyjamas? It is very nice. I like it. I like the colour. I like the cloth. It is so smooth and it shines! Mummy, it is very nice."

Amused by such lavious praise, I gave the boy a hug and a kiss and he asked me in surprise.

"Mummy, why do you hug and kiss me?"

I told him that I was touched by his words.

A few moments later, I heard him laugh and say.

"Hahaha. I know how to make mummy not naughty."

I guess I will be hearing lots more praise from the little one each day. Lol.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Curiousity about Marriage and Relationships

My Boy: Mummy, I want to ask you something about "Marry". Mummy, what if I marry a brown face? (he meant someone of a different race or skin colour)

MG: You can marry anyone you choose.

The next night....

My Boy: Mummy, I have two more questions about "Marry". What if I don't know how to go to the marry place?

MG: Well, you can use the map.

My Boy: What if I still don't know how to get there?

MG: Well, you can use the GPS then.

My Boy: I can choose who I want to marry? What if I don't know how to choose.

My Girl: Marry must kiss one ah?

Lol! I then had to go on a lengthy explanation about the different races and the different wedding or marriage ceremonies each race goes through. The boy found out that he can choose! The girl found out that while a kiss is not always present in all customs, exchange of rings is a must. She remembered that her parent's rings has names engraved behind them and wanted to know where she can find these types of special rings? "It has your names. How does the shop know?" She was afraid that at a wedding there will be someone there saying "You must kiss or else I will beat you!" lol.

Such sweet innocence. Sometimes in place of bedtime stories we have crazy chats like this. :)
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