Thursday, December 30, 2010 ;
A friend, who has 4 kids and is a very inspiring person, has been visiting because she was buying a violin for her then 1+yr old boy, and then later, also having a bow made especially for him because no factories would make 1/64 or 1/32 violin bows. She also had a bow custom made for her oldest son who is 13 now.
She visited a few times and we also visited her place, because Dh had to listen to how her 2nd son played the erhu, and then modify and change the erhu strings to enhance the performance. Her son won 2nd prize in the National Chinese Music Competition for erhu, by the way! Well done!
Anyway, I am blogging cos I received a lot of good stuff from her, some of which she handmade, and I am so grateful!
Here's just a sample of her handmade books. She also passed me puzzles and many board books that dd loves thumbing through (err, and chewing, unfortunately!).
Misulo free trial
Misulo is an art adventure center that started in Korea. It has finally come to Sg and set up shop right where my place is! So I had to go and take a look right?
They were offering Safra members a free trial. We were members so I jumped at the chance. I would have signed all 3 kids up, but their course is for kids from 2-6+yrs old, so I only had one who "qualified".
It was scheduled for this particular Tues. I was very impressed cos it was a full hour lesson, with 2 teachers to ds2 alone. What a ratio!
It's called an art adventure because it doesn't teach kids how to draw a cat, or a plane, nor does it teach kids art techniques per se. Instead it is about exploration of various materials, and how they can form art.
This trial session revolved around marbles. Parents don't sit in (I went for a walk with dd), but I was shown pictures and told about the whole session by the teachers and ds2 at the end.
They rolled the marbles, played with them, then dipped them in paint and rolled them in a paper tray. (Photo in FB) Then they made "watermelon juice" in an empty plastic bottle by rolling marbles dipped in red paint in the bottle. After that, when asked to add some lemon juice, ds2 dipped the marbles in yellow paint and added them to be shaken in the bottle.
After that, they used marbles to paint a picture. ds2 painted a garden pic. Then they painted on the wall and ds2 enjoyed spraying water onto the wall picture to create "rain". He didn't want to stop spraying even when the lesson was over. (Guess I deprive them of making such mess on a regular basis at home, that's why!)
I didn't sign up actually, thinking of saving money. But I was very moved by it because it will boost ds2's confidence and self esteem which I think is lowered because he is the younger one and he constantly compares himself to his brother.
It was only when my niece Eva went for a trial and my sis was very very keen cos it was one of the few classes where she would be interested and involved throughout the lesson. She also loved it very very much so my sis signed up and wanted ds2 to be in the same class so he can motivate her.
Since my sis might be leaving for the UK soon, I thought it would be a good chance for ds2 to bond with Eva and during their class, me and sis can bring our younger ones for some eating and bonding too.
These pics are a sample of other sessions. This one involved tissue paper and the messy part was what ds2 enjoyed too, flinging tissues soaked with different coloured paints all over the wall, incl the ceiling, to create a masterpiece.
(Just look at the walls! I am glad it is not my house. haha)
ds1 liked Misulo a lot too, but he is overaged. So I let him mix stuff at home. He was happy too.
Went for a friend's wedding. She invited Dh and I, so we left boys at home and mom babysat them. This friend was the one who played the piano for us at our own wedding, and she was also my S7 junior in hc. She happened to be Dh's junior in String Orch too (plays both violin and viola). She was from DHS CO, and plays the harp too. Very musically talented.
Pic on FB - she's carrying a huge "bouquet" of balloons. (She married a magician btw, and there was a professional magic show during the wedding, so pro that I've never seen anything like that before.)
It was at Goodwood Park Hotel, and I wore a dress that wasn't nursing wear, so I had to ask for a place where I could nurse dd (since the dinner was preceded by the solemnisation, we were there since 6pm, and it ended at 11.30pm). I asked the waitress who was serving our table, for a place where I can "nurse my baby".
She said sure, it's at the handicap toilet, and gave me directions! I said no, I need to "breastfeed my baby", thinking maybe she didn't know the meaning of "nurse". She said, "yeah, it's inside the toilet. There's a plastic thing you can lay down and put your baby on top." I almost fainted.
She looked very young, perhaps waiting for her O level results or something.
Ok, I looked for someone more senior, and immediately, this guy got a bunch of keys out, ushered me to a meeting room near the ballroom. He even switched the air con on and made sure I was comfortable before leaving. He told me I could lock it from the inside.
Initially I thought I'd be bored cos the bride's more of Dh's friend. But we were seated at a table where the rest were also people in the music circle. Another guy was also from HC Strings and was my senior. He's now in SSO. Another 2 are conductors of several secondary schools' string orchs. Then there was another couple with a baby and the mom also bf her baby and naturally we had lots to talk about.
ds1 had his 2nd chess comp. This time it was a group one. He was again the youngest one fielded. He didn't do too well this time, lost his 3 matches. Fortunately his other team members were ok, but the group did not win. They consisted of only P1-3 kids. The school fielded other teams, and the A teams managed to win. Phew, else I think we'd feel bad. The TIC says no problem, he fielded the younger ones just for exposure and experience. No expectations placed on them.
My mom happened to be in Sg that weekend so she helped us accompany him as a volunteer. She helped the teachers and then was able to ensure that ds1 ate his lunch. Good, at least this time he had something to eat and drink.
Later in the evening, we picked ds1 up and went to celebrate fil's birthday at the restaurant in Safra club. Then we walked back to my house cos I baked a cake after mil requested for it. They didn't want any present, just the cake. I guess at their stage, presents don't mean as much as family time.
Dh went to USA again. For another competition. Mom helped me again, thank God.
Parent-meet-teacher session for ds1.
Met the form teacher first then the Chinese teacher. Both discussed his strengths and weaknesses in the subjects they taught him (academic nature) and showed me the marks he obtained for the different modes of assessment. They then suggested ways to help him improve on the weaknesses.
Eg for Chinese, he is poorer in his speech (oral), so I was asked to use the language more. Cos if we speak to him in the language, then he will learn more descriptive words and expand his vocab. I nodded my head. I must remember to! It's just so easy for me to lapse into a tirade in English, especially when scolding them!
Both teachers also talked about his personality and character. His Chinese teacher even said, "我超喜欢" (I super like him!). His form teacher did give me more insight. He is a mischievous boy who would often think up tricks or pranks to play on his friends. He also cannot keep still and still moves everything on his table while listening to the teacher, which is distracting.
But she did say he is adorable because he would crack jokes with her and also tell her "stories".
He is forgetful and absentminded though. Will make many careless mistakes and will often forget to do corrections or homework or miss out pages, that kind of thing.
Ok, I know what areas to help him in P2 now!
ds1's school went to East Coast to clean up the beach.
ds1's school held a Green carnival, and they could wear green tees to school. They had activities and performances in school that educated them better about caring for the world we live in.
Parents were invited, and we were also encouraged to wear green and bring stuff to recycle.
If we brought a lot, we could even exchange the stuff for coupons to get rice and stuff.
Sounded fun, but I couldn't make it!
Mary and CY had to work, and their moms couldn't help out, so they brought Ch and L, plus the helper to my place for the whole day.
I wasn't worried I couldn't cope cos the helper would be there to take care of her own charges. I just had to supervise.
In fact, I got very excited and started planning a fun-filled day for them.
We went out to JP, budgeted and made lists and browsed at Popular before choosing something useful to buy (each kid had $5 but L napped and didn't spend his money). ds1 chose erasers and pencils (4B-6B ones), ds2 and ch both chose a packet of plasticine with various colours. So cute. They made plasticine animals, fruits, food etc together at home.
We bought fishball noodles and had them at home for lunch. I also bought them popcorn and the kids watched Toy Story3 while munching on popcorn (after lunch, of course).
The kids were well-behaved even though in a group they tend to be noisier. They did not mess up the place and listened when I gave instructions.
After the movie, I said it was nap time, and everyone obediently napped. Wow. Then, we made kaya from scratched.
Showed them how to harvest pandan leaves, blend, strain etc, and I let them crack an egg each since the kaya portion I made needed 6 eggs. After that they played while I and their helper did the tedious stirring over "water bath".
Mary came to pick them up later, around 7pm, I think. It was a really fun day. I was tired at the end of the day mainly cos dd did not nap well and thus was very cranky and required me to sling her the whole time (yeah, while making kaya and supervising kids). But I wouldn't mind doing such things again. :)
Mil came over for dinner too, and she did meet the bunch of them before they left.
This time, Dh just returned from USA. The rest of ds2's class already had theirs and the teachers were kind enough to reschedule it just so Dh could be around. He missed all of the kids' PTMs this year, so at least he was able to make it for this one.
ds2 received a lot of things from the school. Besides the "report card" which had comments from teachers and a checklist of stuff he could achieve, there was this scrapbook of photos which was so beautiful. The teachers must have put in tremendous effort because the pages were full of pretty stickers/ cut-outs, and printed with personal anecdotes of what ds2 did in class.
Photos had captions, and each page would be filled with pics of him and his friends or teachers doing something, and the descriptions would bring smiles to my face.
It was great seeing all his excited and happy expressions in those pics. Wonderful to see him having a fantastic time with his friends too. It'd serve as a great memory of his K1 yr.
Teachers comments were mostly praises, similar to what we had in June. But this time, Dh got to listen to it. Of course, these PTMs are for parents to feel very proud of their kids and to congratulate themselves for choosing the "right school" for their kids to blossom. Cos that's the idea I get with both boys' PTM. It's like wow, they enjoyed so much, learnt so much, what a great school, the teachers are so amazing, and wow, how clever your son turned out to be...
I really am proud of my sons, and I really appreciate the teachers and love their schools to bits. But after hearing so many rounds of such PTMs since they were in Nursery (and in different schools), I know how it works and learn to smile at praises and nod my head at things I need to help them to improve. It's funny that even though I know what to expect, I still love the PTMs where I get to meet the teachers. Never boring.
So I hear the same adjectives again. ds2 is advanced in reading and Math. His spelling is amazing. His Chinese word recognition is surprisingly good, and he writes pretty well.
However, he cannot speak well. (similar to Ds1 right?) But ds1 is at least loud and proficient in English. ds2 prefers to be soft. When it is his turn to present things, he will speak very softly. In Chinese presentations, he mutters even fewer words. Some words have wrong intonation. I *smack head*. Can't believe that just 2 yrs in USA and us not speaking Mandarin at all can cause such a big effect. I do admit I didn't put in effort to speak it much in USA since there was hardly the environment and we go out so much. I think it happened to be their most formative years too.
Experts say linguistic abilities are greatest from 0-3yrs right? Then after 5 yrs old, sorry, drastically reduced. Now we can only play the catch up game.
Recently the papers had this Asian mom say we Asians need to learn to accept praises about our children graciously. We tend to play them down. When the teacher told Dh that ds2 was quicker than his friends in Math, such that she had to give him extra and more difficult Qs to work on, Dh looked incredulous (even though I know he must be happy).
He asked the teacher what kind of Math she was referring to. She said addition within 20, for eg. The rest of the class would be figuring it out and she had to give him addition above 20, but within 100 to keep him occupied.
Dh then asked, "But did he get them correct?"
Teacher said, "yeah!"
Dh (still not convinced) asked, "hmm, but is he doing it correctly cos he is good at memorising and thus it is just rote answering, or does he really understand the concept?"
Teacher: (hesitated) errrr...
I think she was stumped. Then she had to ask Dh what he meant, and he explained himself fully, saying maybe ds2 has a good memory only, so maybe he remembered that 25+25 is 50, but actually he doesn't know how to do working, and doesn't know why it adds up to 50, blah blah blah.
I was quiet at the side and let him talk, since PTM is for us to ask Qs and understand our kids better. But I just found it mildly amusing. Dh seems to be unable to believe that ds2 could be anywhere better than mediocre.
Hari Raya Haji hol
Our family went to Mag's house and had a smashing time catching up with my ex-colleagues. There was Wii and ds1 got to play chess with my ex-colleagues too. They are all very good as well. Wah, so many hidden talents I didn't know about in the past. Photos on FB.
My niece and nephew's bday party at my sis' place. It was the last time we visited that place. She vacated it shortly after and moved in with my mom, with the intention to sell. Glad we made that trip.
Everyone had a great time playing together and enjoyed the food we all helped to prepare. Photos on FB too.
PSLE results released. Niece (another one, not the above bday girl) got pretty decent results and got into RV. She didn't get into RV through DSA a few months ago. Thankfully she did by PSLE results.
Four Seas Commencement Exercise
Went for this graduation. Pics on FB. It's my dad's last time as President.
In the evening, there was cottage meeting and I made Korean chap chae this time. Pics on FB too.
We visited Diana at her house in Tiong Bahru then went for a playdate together with Angeling and kids at Fidgets. Before that, we had a scrumptious lunch at Sol Playground Cafe first. It was so yums!
Fidgets was very fun for the kids. Such a large space and I like it that the baby area, where I was stuck with the crawling and climbing dd, had CCTV monitors and screens that I can view the boys playing at the big kids' area further away. Nice.
What a fun-filled and packed November!
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow