Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Reading Project

My mentioned shopping loot has arrived. Compliments from the kids' Daddy. Yes, they're books! After some general research on how to introduce reading, I've decided to embark on the ladybird, "Peter and Jane" series for Jazz. If you were near my era, you would find them familiar. I was once on them too!  
Books for reading pleasure
We started "Peter and Jane", book 1a on Saturday, read it over 3 times and now, Jazz can read almost 80% of the words. The uniqueness of Peter and Jane keywords series is the number of times a word is being repeated as you go along. This makes learning easy and boosts confident reading. Let me know if you're keen in the series, I got them at $3.50 each, in bulk of 12. Retail is at about $4.80. Excluding postage.

I believe if a child is ready to read, it's the appropriate age. There are endless stuff to read, no worries about starting early. What harm can this cause? I would be happy if reading is their hobby. On our 3 letter words project, we're at "ap" "at" "ad" "as" "an" and "am." We've been doing this almost every night and Jazz is at 90% to master them. On Chinese, I'm also introducing new words to her every other nights, here are some words she has recognised:

Reading project is going on smoothly for me. I'm working really diligent on these because I don't send them to any enrichment classes. DIY = cost savings. Parents are the best teachers.When there are no lazy parents, there are no lazy kids, somewhat true for me now. I'm a full time working mum! I see my efforts paying off when she's able to read short sentences for me, both in English and Chinese. I'm probably more advance than her lessons in school because they only begin reading next year. Starting Maths soon!

Home lessons like these make our weekday evenings more meaningful, I'm bonding more with the kids than the usual laze around to play, while I do my personal stuffs. Jare gets his fair share of lessons too. More of motor skills. Educational toys are my best lesson objects with him.  

Call me KS if you think so, I'm a true blue Singaporean anyway. Our local education system is somehow stressful when one enters Primary school. Questions asked and tested these days aren't as simple as my education days. Unless you have the power to change the system, if not, join them. I'm proud of local kids anyway, they impress and outsmart me anytime. Starting early gives them a good foundation and adapt better to primary schools. It's discouraging for a child to be always catching up in school. Likewise, they can still enjoy childhood and at the same time do well in our education system. If you've been following, you would know we work hard and we play hard. Parents have great roles to play in helping to balance that little mind of theirs.    

Not kidding you, below some P1 question my colleague and friend showed me:

From Mummy J

And I thought P1 was all about simple addition and subtraction
English spelling list
This feels scary, but fret not, a step at a time. If they can, they can. If they can't, go slow and try again. I can't emphasize enough on how important it is to help your kids balance that mental state. Remember, Work hard, play hard!

Thinking Corner

Jare has learnt all about self defense, or rather, he has learnt what to do when he doesn't want to share. One of the nights, he was doodling happily on the chalk board until Jazz joined him.

All to himself
He pushed her away, not wanting to share the chalk board. Jazz tried again, and still got pushed away. Then Daddy came into the picture, "Jare, you have to share." Still, this boy isn't willing, he pushed again and this time, he got smacked on his hand and was put to the naughty corner.

This series of punishment pictures is making me laugh and admire his cuteness. Even when he was being punished by Daddy, I couldn't help but to burst out laughing while the seriousness went on.
1. After being smacked, he looked away from Daddy
2. Put to the corner and started to pout

3. Almost to tears. And this made me laughed. Cuteness defined!
4. Staying at his corner till he's 'sober'
I love that series of expressions. Even my man whipped out his camera in the midst of his discipline. Super comical.
After punishment, he shared. Different heights make sharing easy
This little thinking corner worked for Js. After Jare served his punishment, and having reasoned with him, he went back to doodle with a different attitude. Although he isn't expressing himself well with words yet, he's absorbing our words and instructions well.

There are moments when it's Jazz not wanting to share or take turns, she ends up at the thinking corner too. Sharing can be a challenging act at their age, especially when they heart a particular toy. We'll just have to keep emphasizing that sharing makes playing more fun. I feel extremely exhausted when the two are always snatching over the ownership of toys, disciplining them can be very draining. "Kids, please stop driving me mad!"

Monday, 28 May 2012

Beach Fun

It was a perfect Sunday morning. Weather was great, the adults and kids woke up well early. I was planning to bring the kids to the library that morning, but Jazz requested sand play at the beach instead. So then, we ended up at East Coast Park. Mac Donald shifted, and we were there having breakfast at its new location. Seemingly a bigger venue than the previous, with two storeys. Below non-aircon and above aircon. Our perfect morning made it fine to be seated at the non-aircon area, with the breeze.

We felt different upon stepping out of the car, the air smells fresh and the breeze uplifts the mood. Simply feels good. If only such fresh air greets us every morning. I was glad that our hats, shades and sunblock were not called upon. Mr Sun hid very well behind the clouds. The sand was damp from the previous night's rain, which made sand play easy too. The only threat was the drizzle of rain that almost ended our play early. Sand play was so fun that we ignored the drizzle, played on till it ceased.

I'm loving nature, only if the weather compliments. I love giving the kids that ample space to run within the greens. Good for eyes! I don't have to worry about them bumping into anyone, except for falling onto the rough ground and watching out for cyclists and skaters. 
Enjoying the freshness of the air
"Breakfast before fun!"
It was Jare's first sand play. He was cautious about the sand, walking so carefully on it. It took him quite a while before he began to enjoy the texture.
Building sandcastle is teamwork!

"Ice cream please"
He scooped sand and fed himself!!! Not kidding you.
Jare was way too adventurous. He scooped some sand with a little fork he brought along, and fed himself! I didn't even realised the he brought a little fork, he put it into the toy bucket without my notice. After which, he attempted to feed me some sand too. Faint!

Our "sandcastle"

Such fun days are low costs with maximum fun. We spent a good 45 minutes on the sandy beach, without getting any tan. Phew! Leave the vitamin D for other days.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Discovery on Barney's cast

Jazz loves watching Barney! Some day, while she was watching, my man made an interesting discovery. He kept commenting that this young girl looked like Selena Gomez, the now turned singer. I didn't buy him because I don't think the Barney series was that old school that the casts were all grown up. And well, he googled and he is right, this indeed was her. One thing for sure, children songs never out dates along the decades.

Snapped this from the TV Jazz was watching
In America, it is common for singers to have exposed themselves to the entertainment industry since childhood. So if you're keen in becoming a young star's mummy, sign up for local drama and singing classes.

I'm loving Barney! Especially the love and hug song he sings towards every end. The kids will kiss and hug each other, and I'll get my share too.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Balloon Twisitng Fun

We had balloon fun today. Js are lovers of balloons!

I came by this balloon animals book kit at the popular book store and got it instantly. It contains a pump, balloons and a book on how to make animal balloons. I explored them with the kids today. Secretly, I have balloon fear, yet I've this long desire to trying balloon twisting to please my children. 
Jazz helping to hold for picture
Our experiments!
The most loved balloon hat
Fun with the balloon hat. Loving his expression!
Catch me if you can
This balloon hat is a good alternative to a helmet. It works well and cushioned a fall Jare had while playing catching with Jazz. They had a good day of fun with balloons and I had experiential fun with the twisting.

Draw a man test

Try this test with your 3 year old child. Give him a piece of paper and pencil, then guide him through:
1. Can you draw mummy?
2. Does mummy have a small or big round face?
3. She needs eyes to see,
4. Nose to smell etc,
5. Is mummy feeling sad or happy today? (Style of mouth)
6. Does she has short or long hair? 

As he draws along, give hints to the missing parts. I tried Jazz by not assisting anything, except to provide paper and pencil, with instruction of saying, "Would you like to draw someone?" She proceeded by telling me she wants to draw Grandma. I left her to try and this was the outcome. 

Missing a mouth?
I hinted as she drew along. "Would popo need a mouth to eat?" "Would she be happy or sad?" She then realised she's missing the mouth. Then I asked about body, arms and legs. She completed the following: 
Picture of Grandma
She got hooked and went on to draw her Grandpa, Daddy, Uncle and Brother. Although her man picture might look the same, I see distinct features in her drawings. As she drew, she thinks and imagines. She went, "Da jiu has a big face," "Popo has short hair." Some pictures with eyebrows too. She had some erred faces which she didn't complete before starting another face on the same sheet, she told me that 'error' was a chair. Maybe it really is.

Her man drawing test
When teacher told me about her drawing my mother's day card, I doubted because I've always been giving her paper and pencils for free expressions, but I've never seen a picture of a man being drawn. I'm now convinced she can draw!

Meet the teachers session

Had a parent and teacher conference with Jazz's teachers yesterday. I hope her teachers are not being courteous by singing praises of her. Everything shared about her made us really proud being her parents. Well, of course there are some complaints about her having mood swings at times and speaking quite abit of singlish. My goodness, she has picked up the Singaporean trait. I've begged the man umpteen times to converse proper English with her, if not, go mandarin.

Here's her mid year "report book." Doing very able with her physical development, Self-help skills, Social-Emotional Development and Reading readiness. Her teacher told us, she's the only child in the class being marked all 'Able' to Chinese Language. I hope she'll continue to love the language. 
Motor skills - Pass!
Self-help skills and social-emotional development - Pass!
Reading readiness - Pass!
Understanding body parts, numbers, shapes and sizes - Pass!
Well done in Chinese Language!
Next portion of test is pretty interesting to me. It's called "Draw a man test." Teacher told me this was what she drew, and she's able to draw a decent picture of a man. This being drawn, according to her teacher was her little brother. With hair, eyes, nose, mouth, arms and legs. If you notice, she isn't able to draw the body well. At their age, they know face features very well - eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, hair etc. On the other hand, they aren't being introduced to the body functions and they hardly notice the body features. But when her Daddy asked, "Why your picture has no body?" She went "Got! this is the body." Showing us the body and little arms and legs.

More on this test at Draw a man test.
Her drawing of little brother

Notes to parents

This summed up the parent and teacher conference. Jazz is a helpful girl, eager to participate in activities and displays confidence in the tasks delegated to her.

This day, she also brought her art and craft works home. Which she was excitedly telling me about each craft as we left school. Since her infants days, she has been bringing home many pieces of crafts works, and each of them are her pride and achievement. I've finally put up her achievements in her room. My girl has grown!

Craft works for the first half year

Display of works
Little boy on the other hand started school only last month. He had only a little piece of artwork put up, I feel so guilty towards him, for the chances he missed out on creativities since birthed. "I'll help you with more craft, Jare. You'll fill the other half of the wall!"

Milestone: 3 years 1 month

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Chateau wears!

Wardrobe addition for the kids again. HUGE damage to my wallet. But who can resist the rare occasion of Chateau de sable sale! It's once in their 10 years, anniversary sale. Don't question my damage, it's painful. I got a fair bit of clothes and Jazz and Jare. 
Dresses for Jazz
Bottoms and hats for Jazz
Tops for Jare
Rompers for Jare
Bottoms for Jare
I ransacked the sale from 9am to 1230pm. Queuing to enter and pay took up the most time. Good thing I was with my friends to rotate shift duties. I'm a fan of Chateau, for it's designs and comfort. I can't resist, but to grab whatever suitable for my Js. So blur that I actually had 2 pieces for some of the wears! Thank God for friends who took over them. And I bought some for my friends' little ones too. Dresses for girls are just so pretty! 

I need to quit being a shopaholic for kids. Determination please! Did I mention another batch of shopping loot on the way? Goodness! 

Sale running till 18 May (Fri), 830am to 9pm at Hotel Royal Plaza, L5.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Learning to read

I've recently tried to introduce reading to Jazz. I asked her, "Do you want to learn how to read?" Excitedly, she said, "YES!" I guess, she probably didn't know what she's in for and that this reading journey is for life. 

I totally have no idea how and where to begin. There are so many words in the world! Although, she has been on some 3 letters words on and off, it's time for proper learning. I know she's been on phonics and all she knows, are the sounds letters A to Z make. The letterland series her school is into has not moved beyond ABC, like "Ch, Th, Sh etc." I was looking around for solutions and methods to introduce reading and I came across this mummy's blog:  http://tamarindphonics.blogspot.com/

It has all my solutions! It helped me paved the way to introduce reading. I was really excited in wanting to try Jazz out. I printed and laminated the 3 letter words containing, "at", "ap" "an", "am", "ag","ab","as" "ad" and "ax". That evening, I tried her out. She couldn't read the words, except for those she has seen before like, "cat" and "van." I did it with her everyday, for 4 consecutive nights. For a working mum, giving me 15 mins a day on academic is extremely precious. After my daily efforts, she's still unable to master all the words introduced, even with the fact that she's an expert of the letters' sounds. Is her age too tender for reading or am I'm too eager? Patience rewards, I'll keep trying. I just find it hard to accept when she can't read the words when I put the letters together. She knows her letters sounds extremely well.

Lesson on "at" "an" and "ap"
Jazz kept asking to move on to other words, but how to, when she has yet to master the foundations for reading. I have to keep reminding myself about being patient when it comes to teaching. She has barely started some proper learning, and I don't want to make lessons unpleasant. Looking forward to my efforts being paid off.

Mother's Day thoughts

I'm into my third year of celebrating Mother's day. Jazz drew me a card. Her teacher said she did it all by herself! At least I had my eyes, nose and mouth intact. Jare gave me a paper carnation flower with his hand prints! 
A 'picture' of me and Jareth's little prints
On this day, I brought Js to church for family service. Jazz is missing the church she used to attend near our old place. She's been singing the songs she learnt and telling me how she misses children's church. While attending the service, she gave us peace by entertaining herself with her door gift. Before service ended, she completed these:

One for Jazz and one for Jareth, but both coloured by Jazz
Not very neat colouring but good enough to make me happy. Jare on the other hand, was entertained by a box of pocky! Food - His love. And did I mention, he loves putting all stuff in his mouth, such that he chewed on a yellow crayon over lunch. Goodness! How could I have overlooked that.

My carnations and roses from the Js

My man bought these flowers and proxy the kids to give me. My heart melted when Jazz said, "Happy Mother's day, I love you, Mummy!" And she hugged and kissed me. That evening, I also had dinner with my Grandma, Mum and my kids. A three generations of mothers with great experiences within.

There are many kinds of mothers in this world, with all having the same trait - Great sacrifices. There are mums who have to raise very sick children throughout their life, there are mums who have to raise kids up single handedly, there are mums who have to stay away from their kids and there are mums who are going through difficult hardships just to raise their kids well. For me, I feel bless when I look at the Js walking and jumping before me. Whenever someone tells me, "You're a super mum." I feel praised, but it's nothing compared to greater mums out there.

Mothers are extraordinary beings to me, they sacrifice endlessly and serve the family to the best of everyone's interest. I'm thankful for the everyday I can be Js mummy. I'm thankful for the everyday when my mum and grandma cares and nags at me. Presence being better than presents. It takes one to be a mother, to understand the journey of another mother.

Wishing all Mothers, "A very happy mummy's day. Be blessed!"

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

First Words

Little boy is getting into words now. Though very much mood dependent when you get him to utter them. He has learnt to utter words like ball, bird, dog, cat, eat and to humans, he can greet po po, gong gong and jie jie, a little of da da and ma ma. Doing seemingly well on the single syllabus words. He does his "Uh oh" really well, whenever he drops something onto the floor.

Yesterday evening, after his shower, I brought him to my mum’s room, and from a distance, he went, “po po’. I was amused. When I brought him near my mum, he went for a louder, “po po.” My mum had been hearing his practices, but yesterday seemed to be well pronounced. My mum’s expression was priceless, her smile stretched from ear to ear. This boy sure knows how to please the older folks. They are extremely happy when their grandchildren greet them. Soon, he’s gonna be my next little chatterbox.

Milestone: 14 months

Monday, 7 May 2012

Drinks like a king

It's a little embarrassed to share that Jare is still not learning to hold his own bottle during milk time. Or rather, not wanting to. He prefers being served like a king. I recalled Jazz could do it before she turned one. At his mercy, we have to serve him. If not, he would rather forgo his milk. I was wrong to think he would work for milk. 

I've got myself an able helper again:  

Jazz attempted to get Jare hold his bottle too
She really is a darling during the no nonsense moments. Job well done, Big sister! And when you kind of plead Jare to hold his own bottle, this is what he does:

Using his chest as support
What a stunt! I'm speechless. "Jare! Self feed your milk the correct way please."

Evening at MBS

After water play on a Saturday, we headed to MBS for stroll and dinner with the Heng family. We had dinner at Din Tai Feng and tea at high society, nice cupcakes they've got. The usually deserted MBS seems to be getting crowded on weekends now, with more views and eateries. It was pretty filled with humans that evening. 
Appreciating the river view
Love capturing their moments in the 'wild'

After dinner, we caught the light and water show at the Promenadespan, the outdoor area of the shoppes. I thought the show was not too bad, the music was enchanting and romantic, but my man thought it wasn't anything spectacular. Don't mind him, he isn't a romantic man to begin with. The show runs from: 
Sun to Thurs - 8pm and 9:30pm 
Fri and Sat - 8pm, 9:30pm and 11pm
The water and light formed shadows

Colouful water sprays

After the show, we went back to do our tea. The two little ones who could hardly sit still, polished a cupcake. They were eating continuously the whole evening! 

It was an eventful evening with the heng family and meeting up with little K. For having so much fun, the kids bedtime got delayed, and this is the only exception during weekends.