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Friday, April 29, 2011

Double Standards

Girl: How come you can stay up and I have to go to sleep?

Mum: Because children need more sleep than adults.

Boy: How come you don't have to drink milk but I have to?
Dad: Because children need milk to grow healthy and strong.

Girl: How come daddy can play game and eat at the same time?
Boy: Because he is big.

Girl: How come mummy can finish the game (levels) so fast?
Boy: Because she doesn't have homework.

There is a lot of double standards going on in my house. What about yours?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Magic of being a child

The "crystal maker" and the "crystals"

My girl has a funny little mechanical pencil lead box. It has a small rectangular concave hole all along the whole box. My girl would use a high lighter to colour the hole. Then she would pour glue into it to set. After a day, she would peel off the dried glue and she would have a coloured piece of something which she calls crystals. She calls this process "making crystals". Sometimes she uses different coloured high lighter to create multi coloured "cyrstals".

Her younger brother had been watching her with envy. So for his birthday, she asked for permission to go to her school bookshop to buy the same mechanical lead box for him. I said it was ok and gave her a dollar and some wrapping paper to wrap up her present.

The boy was very happy with this present. Yesterday he tried this "crystal making" process for himself. He made a green "cyrstal". I was in another room when he peeled off his "crystal" for the first time. However, he came running to show me and the look on his face was priceless.

It was a look of wonder, excitement and joy all mixed up together. It was a look of magic that only a child can possess. It made me laugh out loud just looking at him. Isn't it wonderful to be a child? Isn't it wonderful to be around a child?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Beano

Daddy has been buying the kids The Beano comics to read. The Beano is a British Children's comic which started in 1938. We used to read them as a kid.

My kids like Numskulls the best. Then there is Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, Billy Whiz. They love all those.

The also like Robbie Rebel, Fred's Bed and Ivy the Terrible which does not quite ring a bell with me. I think those are newer additions.

I find that the magazine has moved along with the times! I was flipping through one or two last night. I saw the Bash Street Kids talking to their teacher about iPod and Minnie the Minx was trying to teach her dad about Facebook and how to use the computer. Cute.

I think daddy buys the comics for the kids because he likes to read them himself. ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

His kind of birthday

We celebrated the boy's birthday yesterday. He had his kind of birthday. Stay in, play games, went out for meals, sang birthday song, open presents, play game again. lol.

Last year was his last year in kindy. We decided to have a party for him at the kindy. Usually we celebrate our birthdays on a very small scale, just the four of us. Last  year, we invited Chicky from KFC fame to come along though. Haha. Chicky was very skinny and sweaty and his fur was a bit black.

This year since he is in primary school, it is much harder to organise a party so it is back to just four of us. It didn't make any difference to his happiness level though. I think he was perfectly happy doing all the things that he wanted to do.

I finally got him the full version of "plants vs zombies" as a surprise. He had wanted it so much. He also got his Humungousaur (Ben 10 alien) cake, wore his Ben 10 party hat and he ate the omnitrix (Ben 10 watch) as his first bite from the cake.

No homework for him all day long. I think that is the part he enjoyed the most of all!

Pssst...  PVZ fans can check out my Plants Vs Zombies Collectibles Lens on Squidoo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My birthday timetable

My girl has drawn up her birthday itenary even though her birthday is a month away.Its a very detailed itenary too! I took a picture of it but it is too blur to put up. So I shall just replicate it here to tease her about it when she grows up. Hehe.

My birthday timetable

7:30 - Wake up
7:45 - Brush teeth
7:50 - Dress up
8:00 - Eat breakfast
8:30 - Play a bit
9:30 - Practise piano especially oral
9:45 - Leave house and go to mall
11:00 - Come home
12:15 - Lunch
1:15 - Rest
2:00 - Open Present
2:15 - Play with present
3:45 - Play with art paper and do creative things
4:30 - Get ready to go to park and fly kite
5:00 - Reach park
5:10 - Start flying kite
6:15 - Go home
6:25 - Bathe
7:15 - Eat Dinner
8:00 - Finish Dinner
8:15 - Play a bit more
8:30 - Brush teeth
8:35 - Read book
9:00 - Sleep

A rather tight itenary I must say. :) She even created a logo for her timetable and said that it is her birthday logo.

She did this in school on a rough piece of paper and later copied it down on a pink art paper. I was amused to see that her original "3.45 Practise piano especially oral" had been replaced with "Play with art paper and do creative things." Mummy says: Thats ok sweetie. You don't have to practise piano twice on the same day on your birthday. In fact, you don't have to practise at all. :)
Well, sweetie pie, mummy and daddy will try our best to make your birthday timetable come true.

As for the boy, his idea of a perfect birthday is to do nothing all day accept play computer games! So I guess that is what he will be doing this weekend. Although his birthday was yesterday, we have not celebrated it yet because he had school and piano class and homework in the afternoon so that leaves little chance to play computer games all day. He requested that we celebrate it during the weekend. Smart boy.

Kids. They're so innocent and sweet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Boy

Yesterday, his front tooth was loose. He couldn't eat lunch. He cried. At dinner, I told him to pull it out himself (because I was too chicken to do so). He did. It was really loose so it came off easily. He was so happy!

He is 7 today. Time flies. He has grown tall and lost his baby fat. However he still has that adorable little boy face with all its expression of wonder at the world. I still marvel at how small his hands and feet are sometimes.

He is a good boy. I hope that he will grow into a good man. He is most affectionate. I get my daily fix of hugs from him most of all. He likes to crack jokes and talk and sing at the top of his voice. He likes to jump on people and hug them. He amuses us all with his antics. He surely knows how to bring a smile to everyone's faces.

I love him dearly. He is my boy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Std 1 vs Std 3

Before the kids went to Chinese School, I heard people saying that Std 1 is the "honeymoon year" and Std 3 is when it starts to heat up. Now I have a child in Std 1 and another in Std 3 so I can make direct comparisons.
It does appeart to be so... especially more so now. This year, my boy  has a new syllabus and I can see the difference. He does have less homework compared to the time when his sister was in Std 1. Even his bag load is lighter. Most days he hardly has any  homework at all. The Std 1 children this year has 3 periods less in lesson hours. However, due to some logistics problems, they are kept in school... to do homework. That is why they  have less homework to bring home. Most days it is just one or two pages or none.

They also have their workbooks and exercise books kept in school by their teacher. The teacher will only pass the books for them to bring home when necessary. They only bring one textbook and one activity book for each subject. That makes a whole lot of difference to their bag loads.

As for my Std 3 girl, the contrast is huge. Each day she has 7-8 homework each at least 3 pages or more. Sometimes she has 5 pages of essay to copy. She has to carry her textbook and activity book and in addition to that numerous exercise books and workbooks for each subject. One day I should take a picture of how many books there is to one subject. It can make up an entire bag of books. She also has little minor tests, spelling, ejaan and ting seah almost every other day to memorise.

On certain days, her school day starts at 7.45am and ends at 4pm with a 15 minute break for recess and a 25 minute break for lunch. This is worse than an adults 9am-5pm with a one hour lunch break working hours. Then right after she gets home from this, she can't rest, she still has to do her 7-8 homework plus study for her ting seah etc. This system makes our little ones into little robots with no time to play not to mention time to rest and eat!

So is Std 1 the "honeymoon year"? Is Std 3 the year when things start to get really heavy? Yes, I would say so. I am worried for my boy because his Std 1 this year is even more "honeymoon" as compared to his sister. In fact, his Std 1 year is much more relaxed then his kindergarden year! They syllabus this year is really easy. In Std 1 he is drawing mostly squiggly lines and alphabets big and small. His ejaan, spelling and ting seah usually has only 5 words each time. The words are very simple. In kindergarten he had to do at least 12 words and usually they are compound words so in actual fact it may be more than 20 words to learn each time. It is the same for Chinese characters, Malay or English words. They are very hard words compared to now.

Now that his Std 1 is so simple, I should be happy right? However, I know that things will change drastically later on. Will he be able to make the transition? I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

5 minute kids craft - Making art from boxes

Here is an easy peasy craft you can do with kids in 5 minutes. All you need are some old cereal boxes, toothpaste box or whatever box you can think of and a little imagination. Oh, and you will probably need some scissors, coloured paper, pencil and tape too. :P

First wrap the box up in coloured paper. Then ask your child to use his or her imagination to make a robot, a train, a bus, anything goes. Just give them a pencil to draw and decorate the box. I guess picture speaks louder than words, so here are some of our before and after pictures of this quick and easy craft for kids.

Before: A mini cereal box

After: A robot with on/off buttons including a "fly" button (according to the boy). He even threw in some stuff into the boxes before wrapping so that his robot will rattle when he shakes it.

The back of the robot includes a batter holder and a battery (so says the boy)

After: A girl  robot with long hair. It has start/stop buttons and buttons to sing, dance and walk
Before: A toothpaste box

After: A bus with a smiley face

After: Another bus with wheels (before decorations were added)

After: After decorations. A girl bus. It even has a "pintu kecemasan" (emergency door)

Making Art from Boxes: Two robots on buses going to town

Anything is  possible with a little imagination. The kids are having a fine time playing with their robots and buses. They are flying, rolling, turning them over and over, dancing, admiring, fighting etc with their new toy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Seeing Stars!

The kids love to get stars as rewards. It is extremely motivational to them. They would do anything to collect those stars. "Can we do mummy's homework?" can be frequently heard. However, I ran out of ideas what to do once they have a number of stars. I used to give them little rewards after they reach a certain number of stars. We did all sorts of silly things. I would buy small stationaries or stickers then hold a lucky draw sessionfor them etc.

It is my own fault. With so much excitement, naturally they want to work for those stars. Daddy put a stop to it because he said it was becoming too much. They were starting to do things just for the sake of those stars. They even started giving me stars! "Mummy you have 10 stars because you are so nice to us today" or "Bad mommy, no more stars for you." So we stopped for a while because the star reward system had started to backfire.

However they did not forget the stars. Every now and then they would ask about them. Recently they did some work and when I marked them, I gave them some stars for good work. They recorded the stars and said they would like to start the star reward system again. So I told them ok since they were so enthusiastic about it but I said I would not be buying them anything new as rewards.

They agreed. They came up with a new idea. They said they would use the stars to "buy" things around the house that they like, usually extra stationaries and knick knacks that I keep in the cupboard. So now everyday, its "How many stars does this pencil cost, mummy?" etc while mummy would say "If you don't behave, I will take away your stars." which usually will get this reaction "Oh, no! I must make sure no stars get cancelled!" Bad mommy. ;)

Learn how to make Origami Stars. They are fun and easy to do plus these lucky stars or 3D stars have special meaning.

1 Star stands for love
2 Stars means love you very much
3 Stars means missing loved one
10 Stars represents need or want love
16 Stars means love to remember always or cannot forget
99 Stars stands for infinite Love
730 Stars means love only you
999 Stars represents Success

Watch Furby 2012 dance to the Gangnam Style in the video on this post.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Motivation to Learn

My girl has always hated computer lessons. She has computer classes once a week in school. She always complains about the lessons and how afraid she is of it. She has been complaining since last  year. I thought that it was because of the teacher but this year she continued to complain even with a new and different teacher. The night before computer lessons she would complain that computer lessons will ruin her day etc etc.

Then yesterday she came home with a sheet of paper which said "Your child has been selected blah blah blah" to attend some computer course and exam. Enrollment fee or exam fee is RM40. I thought nothing of it. A lot of times, she comes home with brochures like this. "Your child has been selected....." Fees = ..........."

I told her that everyone probably got a brochure and she is not attending because she has no time for extra classes. Besides the exam is supposed to be in July and that may clash with her piano exam. So we will not pay any extra money to do something which we have no time for.

She was very disappointed. "But mummy, I was chosen. Only 5 of us were chosen." I called the teacher to get more information. The teacher said that the "course" will be done during computer lesson periods in school and she does not have to go anywhere to sit for the "exam". It will also be held during school computer lessons and if cannot complete can carry forward to the next week. Teacher said she selected her because she is one of the few who can usually manage to complete given work in class.

Since no extra time is required, we agreed to let her join. She was very happy. Last night she took out her computer book and read it as a bedtime story! This morning she was reading the book at breakfast. She brought the book to read after wearing shoes and waiting for daddy to get ready. Then she brought the book to school to read in between lessons when she has free time.

I think it is a rip off but hopefully the RM40 will make her overcome her fear and negative feelings towards computer classes.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Her Art

I keep most of the pictures and craft done by the kids. I love all of them because each one brings me back to a moment in time. Each one tells a different story. I store them in big folders and that reminds me, I should get some clear holders to keep some of the smaller ones.I also keep little things that they make and fold for me, little cards and messages. (Now you know where my little Ms Hoarder got her habit from). My girl is a hoarder. She keeps most things that she likes, stickers, little notebooks, etc etc. I have to get her to clear her drawers and files every now and then.

Here are a couple of drawings from Little Miss Hoarder. :)

The story behind this one: "Mummy, I saw my friend drawing the girl's eyes closed like this. It looks very nice, so I copied. Does this mean I can't be an artist because an artist has to be original?"

The story behind this one: This is her first black and white picture (because it hasn't been completed, not coloured in yet but I like it this way.) She sat and drew what she saw for this one. "Mummy, this is my first real scene drawing. Do you like my trees mummy, do you like my trees?"

Each drawing has its own special moment for us. I can't bear to throw any of them away. For the record, both of these were drawn at age 8+. I am sure I will not remember if I don't record this down. A brilliant idea just came to me. Next time, I will write the date and age behind each drawing and craft that I keep so that I can remember it and show it to them when they grow up.

The kids do not attend any art class because of lack of time and money resource. To make up for it, I try to do crafts with them whenever I can. I also encourage them to draw and send in their drawings for contests. When reading books and looking at pictures, I would point out to them how others colour, the shading, the shadows, the perspective and lo and behold, they do pay attention and would try to do it on their own when they draw and colour. "Look mummy, I did shading/shadows for this!" Sometimes I also show them YouTube videos on how to use oil pastels etc. That is the cheapest art lesson of all. Observation, Imagination and Exploration.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Linus Test for Standard 1 Students

Yesterday my boy sat for his Linus test under the Program Linus (Program Literasi dan Numerasi). Well, at least that is what I presume.

"Mummy, I had test today. Chinese and Malay test. My friends from other classes had two tests too."

His friends said it was Maths and Malay test. When I asked him about it, he said....

"No lah it is Chinese test."

When I pressed him about it, saying that it should be Maths test, he said.

"Oklah. Oklah. Its Maths and Malay test lah!"

Gulp! He doesn't even know what test he sat for. Lets hope he passes it.

I first learned about the Linus test when I went to the school to get his birth certificate stamped by the school. I was given 2 pages for my kid yet to enter school kid to study to sit for a test in February. February came and went and nothing happened.

My boy was quite sick and missed school for the whole of February. When I asked the teacher about it she said soon because they are attending a meeting about it. Later on, I received a notice from the school with some dates on it. I didn't quite understand it.

In it was written Saringan 1, 2 blah blah, Kohort 1, 2 whatever.. and some start and end dates. It looks something like this but less detailed. So now, he has sat for the test and I didn't even know about it and neither did he. I have been teaching him some Maths and BM on and off. Maths is not a problem. It is the Malay I am worried about. I have no idea what the syllabus is so how to prepare for it? I only heard some horrible tales about how hard it is for SJKC students etc.

With hindsight I was able to check the internet and discovered that the written examination for the Linus 2011 for Standard 1 is sometime from 1 April to 8 April whereas the oral test is around 28 Feb to 31 Mac. However when I asked my son whether he had to read to teacher, he has no idea.

Anyway, its over now. Lets see how he fares.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I am the leader, you are the follower

My girl being the older of the two is always telling my boy what to do and the boy will follow along happily.  Quite often when she suggests something while they are playing or drawing, he will follow along quite happily.

On the other hand, if he suggests something, usually she will start to complain to me that he is asking her to do something that she does not want to do. I guess it is also because of their age. She is interested in different things whereas he is keen to follow in her footsteps.

Anyway, the other day, she drew this........

and then she suggested that he draw this........

Sometimes I wonder if the first child make better leaders?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Of time tables and routines

The little one loves to play computer games. Each day he would pester me to let him play. The other day, tired of his pestering, I drew up a time table. In it, I listed down all the activities we had to do for the day, including meal times with a time for playing computer games clearly written down.

He was very pleased with his time table indeed. He did all the work that was required according to the time allocated on the time table. Next day, he requested for the time table again... just so he could see the time allotted for playing games. Haha.

I showed him the entire week's time table. Playing computer games is slotted for Thursdays. So he won't pester me every day. lol.

Here is the self portrait of the little boy who likes to play computer games. :) For the record, this picture is drawn on 30th March 2011, one month short of his 7th birthday. It was drawn 5 minutes before bedtime. :)

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