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Thursday, June 27, 2013

She Thinks In Chinese, He Thinks In English

Both my children are attending Chinese school but it is clear to me that my daughter has taken to Chinese more than my son. Whenever she struggles for a term to use, she would revert to Chinese and try to explain it to me in Chinese. She enjoys reading English story books but I can see that she really loves her Chinese novels. She even started writing one. She wrote several chapters of it but we reformatted the PC and forgot to save it for her. Poor child.

On the other hand, my boy is still enjoying learning English words.

Yesterday, he called me "Mama, Honey" and his sister retorted that "small people cannot call big people honey."

One day, everything was "fascinating", the toy was "fascinating", the book was "fascinating", his homework was "fascinating", why even he was "fascinating". "I'm so fascinating, mom". Sometimes he also tells me "I'm such a creative person" or "I'm a joker." all of which he is.

Recently, he fell and hurt his knee in school. A few days later, he fell and cut his lip in the classroom. "I'm so accident prone, mom". When I asked him where he learned the word "accident prone" he said it was from our Archie comics.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Talking To Children About The Haze

Teaching children is a ongoing daily thing. It is not just sending them to school to learn the ABCs. Children have a lot of questions on just about everything and instead of seeing this as an annoying thing, we should take this as an opportunity to teach them about life.

We are currently facing a bad spell of haze and smog. As a parent, this leads to lots of questions and opportunities to teach.

We should...
  1. Explain to the children about the haze, how it happens, why it happens, who is responsible (not to play a blame game) but to educate the children about how important it is to take care of our environment and show them that this is a good example of what bad things can happen when we do not
  2. Explain to them the health issues and teach them how to wear a mask the right way. This may lead to more questions. Some children will love the mask while others, like my daughter gets embarrassed and is afraid to wear it because she is afraid she will be laughed at. I had to tell her not to worry because everyone will be wearing it too and health and safety is very important. I also told her that if anyone teases her she can pretend to be a doctor or a dentist and ask if they would like to have a health check or have their teeth removed, then she can laugh with them instead of having them laugh at her. She soon discovered that it was not so bad after all as even her teacher was wearing a mask and they laughed at the teacher instead because they thought she looked very funny. 
Here is a good site to explain to kids about haze and the Air Quality Index.

Every day, many situations are an opportunity to teach, even a bad haze. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Teaching Kids To Express Themselves

I do not know if it is possible to teach kids to express themselves. I have one boy at home who is very expressive and a girl who is not. It appears to be an inborn thing.

When I wear a dress or put on makeup, the boy would come and gaze at me and say "Wow! Mom, you look so pretty!" He is also the kind to touch my face and give me lots of hugs. He tries to give his sister hugs too but she usually pushes him away. It is an inborn thing. I did not teach him to be so expressive. I guess he will some lucky girl a happy wife next time.

His sister on the other hand, is not the type to show her feelings so openly. Recently, the boy was sent to sick bay at school because he fell. When I asked him whether his sister came to see him, he said "Yes, but you know cheh cheh (sister) lah. She no feeling one."

The girl just shows love and emotions differently. She is the type who likes me to do things together with her. That makes her more happy than a hug.

Although I think that whether a person is expressive or not is an inborn thing and it is not easy to teach someone to be more expressive if they are not, I think that understanding our children better and  how they tick and relate to others will make it a lot easier for us to show love to them... their way.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Planting Activity For Kids - Planting Flowers

One of the most simple activities which my kid love the most is planting. We have germinated bean seeds, planted vegetables from stem cuttings, planted vegetables from seeds and our latest adventure is planting flowers from seeds.

Planting activities teaches kids about science in the most simple and delightful manner. What could be more delightful than watching things grow.... with a little care of course. You need to give your plant sunshine, good soil, fertilizer, water and remove pests. You don't even need a garden patch to do this. All you need is a pot.

Our latest adventure is planting flowers from seeds. A few months ago, we went to Ace and allowed the kids to select a packet each of flower seeds. They can choose any type they like. They certainly had fun choosing and arguing over who should have which packet.

Then we came home and poured the seeds into pots of soil and watered them every day. The seedlings would sprout in about 2- 3 days. It is all very exciting and easy. Even very young kids can do this.

About one week ago, we saw this...

Pink Flower Bud
Day One - A Pink Flower Bud

A Pink Flower In Full Bloom
Day Two - A Pink Flower In Full Bloom

Two Pink Flowers
Day Three - Two Pink Flowers In Bloom

Pink Flowers
Day Four - Four Pink Flowers. A Flower A Day Makes The Kids Smile From Ear To Ear

Day Five - Today We Are Rewarded With Two More Blooms Making It 6 Pink Flowers To Admire

Planting Flowers For Kids
Day Six - Another 2 Brings The Count To 8 Pink Flowers. Yahoo!

Day Seven - 9 Glorious Pink Flowers For Us

Today is Day 8 and the flowers are still growing because I still see buds underneath this batch of pink flowers. At the same time we see more buds appearing in other places too. 

The kids are super excited to count their flowers everyday. Too bad I threw away the package, so we can't buy it again and I don't even know what this pink flower is called. Does anyone know?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Giveaway And Review: Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 By Kopi Soh

Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2

Today, I am going to tell you about a delightful book called Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 by Kopi Soh. I am also excited and happy to tell you that you will have the chance to enter a giveaway to win a copy of this book. In fact, you have a double chance of winning because I have two copies to give away to 2 lucky winners!

Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 is a self help book for kids aged 9 and up. You know those turbulent preteen and teen years. I know because I have one at home aged 11. Oh my, how she blows hot and cold all the time. Sweet as an angel one moment and the most rude kid in the whole wide world (as my kids like to say) in the next instant.

"Wait a minute! A self help book for a preteen? You've got to be kidding right. My kid will not even pick up a story book to read let alone a self help book." I can hear some of you saying. But then wait again. This is no ordinary self help book. This book is written in such a fashion it actually "speaks" to kids in those age category. Yup. It speaks their language with cute cartoons, illustration, short simple stories and poems that will make them laugh and say "Yes, yes, that happens to me too. I know I Am Not Alone." 

My preteen took to it immediately. She laughed at the cartoons and started asking me about some of the situations that happened to her too. In other words, she started relating to the book right away and it became an ice breaker for us to discuss some of the issues she faces like too much homework, bullying in school, not being good at sports, sibling rivalry, crushes and many more issues faced by kids today.

It gives kids the ways and skills to cope with shyness, friendships or lack of it, exams, parents divorce, and more serious issues like depression, illness or death. They have all been cleverly weaved into the book in a way that kids will understand. In a lighthearted tone or voice of a friend, not the parental tone that kids dislike.

However, as a parent reading it, I too nodded and felt like most  parts of the book felt like things I would probably say to my child. The only difference is sometimes, these messages carry more weight when it comes from a book that they read themselves rather than from out of mom or dad's mouth. Parents can also read the book with their child as many of the situations described make good starting points of discussion between parent and child.

Here's a little video to give you a sneak peak on the book Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 by Kopi Soh. Kopi Soh is a qualified and respected healer of hearts with a Masters in Psychology, specializing in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Instructions

  1. This giveaway is open to Malaysians Only.
  2. You do not need to have a blog. However, if you have one, great! You can share this giveaway on your blog and earn 5 entry points.
  3. You will need to fill in a valid email address so you can be contacted if you win the giveaway.
  4. You will need to reply to the winning email within 48 hours, otherwise another winner will be selected.
  5. That's all. Good Luck!
The Giveaway is now over. Congratulations to the two winners Elaine Lee and Kylie Wenn.

Update: I just received the latest news that the book is now out in the stores. Here is a list of the stores where you can find them. There is a contest for early birds too! Go here for the details of the contest.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sick School Holidays

We were sick for two whole weeks during the school holidays. The boy started the boy rolling, passing the virus first to his sister and dad and finally me. It was a really strong virus too. Each of us came down with fever for at least 3 days. 3 days times 4, that is 12 days of fever in the house!

I felt like I was on fire. My stomach felt like a boiling cauldron, my eyes felt like as if they were burning and I felt as if I was breathing out smoke as well. Whole body was aching like mad! We've been dining on the fine cuisine called porridge for more than two whole weeks now for each and every meal.

Back to school now and hopefully back to full health soon for all of us.

I do miss the kids now they are back in school. I miss their laughter and their smiles. The boy is always full of mischief, laughter and hugs and the girl will smile at me frequently. The house is so quiet now they are in school.

I do enjoy the solitude but I also enjoy their company.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When Is Duan Wu Jie 2013 or Dragon Boat Festival 2013

Duan Wu Jie 2013
When is Duan Wu Jie 2013 also called Dragon Boat Festival 2013 or in Chinese 端午节 2013? Usually I don't remember such dates but the first indication I have that the Duanwu Festival is approaching is when I see the ingredients for making "zong" being sold at the supermarkets. Then I remember that the duanwu jie is approaching and it is time for me to get my annual fill of the zongzi.

You see, my typical Chinaman insists that we eat certain foods during certain times of the year only. So zong although sold all year round is to be consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival or Duan Wu Jie only. So this year 2013, I will get to eat Zong or in Hokkien, Bak Chang meaning Meat Dumplings on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 which is the 5th day of the 5th month (double 5th) of the Chinese Calendar.

Here is my reminder that Duan Wu Festival is just around the corner. No, no, these ingredients are not for me to make the zong. I took the picture from the shelves of a supermarket. Are you a zong lover like I am?

Duan Wu Jie 2013
Ingredients For Making Bak Chang or Zongzi

I can't wait to sink my teeth into a nonya chang AND a bak u chang especially after I saw this nonya chang picture by kopi soh.
Nonya Chang
Nonya Chang as illustrated by Kopi Soh

Duan Wu Jie or Dragon Boat Festival is on Wednesday, 12th June 2013.

Here is a little something for the kids. A YouTube video story of The Origin Of The Dragon Boat Festival, the story of Qu Yuan and Duanwu Festival.


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