Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are we putting too much pressure on our kids?

Recently I read this article, which is very well written and serves as a good reminder for all parents out there, including myself. Are we guilty of any of these parenting acts? Maybe it's time to reflect and ponder.

Obsession with paper qualifications has added a new dimension to parenting in Singapore. A good parent is often seen as the one who gives the best help possible to assist his child in the pursuit of academic excellence. The final goal of parenting, more often than not, is to help one's offspring obtain highly-paid jobs, preferably with social status attached to them. As a result many ambitious parents exert pressure on their children to excel in school work. They coax, demand, bribe or even threaten and thousands of dollars are spent on private tuition for young aspiring scholars... because of the importance placed on education, many parents tend to be over-concerned with their children's performance in school, thus sometimes unknowingly exerting unnecessary and even harmful pressures on them.

It is natural for parents to want the best for their children. Unfortunately, what a parent thinks is the best for his child may not be what the latter is capable of or is interested in doing....

Many parents are also guilty of intellectual snobbery. They are more concerned with the status rather than the well-being of their children. May would rather have their children fail at a university than have them sent to a technical college...

Another area of concern is related to the pressures and stress many parents exert on their children by involving them in all kinds of activities in order to have an "all round education". We are only too familiar with the laments of many parents over the tight schedule they have chauffering their children from one activity to another. For them life has become a hectic rush from school to music lession, tuition class, competitive games and martial art practice session, etc. leaving both parent and child very little time to relax. No doubt, no one can deny the values of engaging our children in such cultural activities, but need we make life so burdensome for our children? These activities are only helpful when they are tailored to the capacities of our children, allowing time for leisure and play. Children are young only once. We must allow them a break from the demands of a competitive school curriculum and the burden of so many extra-curricular activities.

There is yet another aspect of the paper chase. While those who can cope are caught up in the rat race, those who can't can cause problems to themselves and others. Many young people who are capable of high achievement along the academic road have fallen by the sideway because of their inability to cope with the pressures from school as well as from their parents. Child psychiatrists have found that neurosis in children could be caused by unrealistics parental pressures. These children develop symptoms such as nervous habits, withdrawal or aggressive behaviour...

By Esther Tan. One Voice, Jan-Mar 1984, pp 8-10
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

My baby is not drinking enough milk?

All moms are the same. They are constantly monitoring their babies milk intake, if they drink less than usual, they'd start to worry.

"Is my baby's milk intake too little?"
"How much should he be drinking at this stage?"
"How much milk are other babies at his age drinking?"

Ha.. actually, I'm speaking from my own personal experiences with both my kids! I used to record all their milk feeds on pieces of paper from birth until they reach their first birthday! Sometimes I even tend to force feed in order for them to make the 'mark'! If they used to drink 1000 ml a day, I will make sure they fulfil the 1000 mark by the end of the day, today.

I admit that I have been overly obsessed with their feeds, which doesn't make them any fatter. I have now learnt to take it lightly. I have to constantly remind myself with the message from the old and wise, that babies won't let themselves starve. When they are hungry, they will cry for milk, there is no need to force them! This is a rule of thumb that we as parents must know. Anyway, here are some readings and tips on milk feeds, if you are still so concerned:

In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts). Some breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby's age or weight between one and six months. Breastmilk intake will continue at this same level until -- sometime after six months, depending in baby's intake from other foods -- baby's milk intake begins to decrease gradually.

Studies found that average breastmilk intake to be:
750 ml per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk in typical range of 570-900 ml per day.
875 ml per day at 7 months
550 ml per day at 11-16 months.
400-550 ml per day between 12 and 24 months
300-360 ml per day between 24 and 36 months

There is also a formula for estimating the amount of milk to offer a breastfed baby at a feed. Take your baby's weight (in pounds) and multiply by 2.5 (oz). Or take your baby's weight (in kg) and multiply by 156 ml. Divide by the average number of feedings in a 24-hour period. This will equal the amount of mother's milk per feeding. Remember that this is theoretical -- all babies are unique and have different needs.

Formula
1 pound of weight needs 2.5 oz
1 kg of weight needs 156 ml

Article also appear in sgmotherhood blog
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Are you giving your kids' too much juices?

There was a stage when my little boy has no appetite for anything. I didn't realise then that my constant feeding him with pear juice was the cause of the problem, until I read this on the Net:

Avoid fruit juice drinks because they contain a lot of sugar. Sugary drinks and juice can fill toddler's up and decrease their intake of more nutritious foods. Limit juice to about 125mL (½ cup) per day. If fruit juice is given it should be diluted with water and only in small amounts. Choose 100% fruit juice and avoid sugary fruit drinks.

Kai loves to drink Pear Juice. So I don't mind giving it to him since he doesn't like to eat other stuff, and thought that the calories in it would give him alternative energy supplement. At one stage, you can even see me happily stocking up all the Heinz Pear Juice from NTUC Fairprice. I never realise I was terribly wrong!

As I dug further into the Net, I found more articles and research that accertain the "bad juices' fact", which makes me feel even more guilty.

Juices fill kids with empty calories. Fruit juices can fill kids up so that they're not hungry at the dinner table and are too full to eat more nutritious foods. Certain juices are associated with tummy troubles. Some fruit juices -- including apple, pear, and prune -- contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring but problematic sugar alcohol. Because sorbitol is not completely absorbed in the small bowel, it makes its way to the large bowel where it ferments and produces gas. In addition, many of the juices that contain sorbitol also have an imbalance in the ratio of the sugars fructose and glucose, which may reduce fructose absorption. These factors can lead to cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite in a child. Several studies have reported this malabsorption, or incomplete digestion.

This is the culprit of Kai's loss of appetite.
Or, I should say I am the CULPRIT :-(
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

What does this sign means?

Xuan told her Dad yesterday morning, "That sign says for those people who want to "she-she" (pee) go that way!"

I almost choked! Haaa....
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My first Nuffnang Ad!

"Incoming advertisement on your blog!" - I jumped up with excitement when I saw this subject in my inbox! It reads "Congratulations! An advertiser has chosen to advertise on Singapore Motherhood & Kids." That was few days back. Two days later, I received another! I was simply thrilled! I almost couldn't believe it!

I have never maintained my Motherhood blog as enthusiastic as I maintain this. The two ads were total surprises for me! Well, anyway, the ads have yet to run, they are scheduled on certain week only. I was not informed of how much the ads were? Oh... could they be only $0.20 each??? I'm also not too sure if I have placed the banner in the right place. Perhaps I should email Nuffnang...
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Monday, July 7, 2008

To buy or not to buy?

Like most Singaporean parents, we are forced by circumstances to look for a property within one km of the primary school, which we wish to enrol Xuan in. We are now looking at new developments in Telok Kurau, which are mostly within one kilometre to Tao Nan School. But they are all so expensive - around 850-900 psf, which would add up to at least a million!!! The cheapest we can find is Palm Galleria and Blu Coral, which are 790 psf. And for a reasonably comfortable living space, we need to fork out some $900,000, which I don't think is "comfortable living" anymore if we have to struggle to pay off the debts! We are still thinking if we should buy? To what extent should we go for our kids' education? If enrolling in good schools does not mean they'd succeed later in life, why do we need to do this? I think it is the responsibility of providing them the best - even if they don't succeed, we know we have tried!

Anyway, after so many careful considerations and serious contemplations, we almost wanted to buy the property, when... we were suddenly awaken to this question: "What if we have moved and Tao Nan decided to shift to another premise??!!" Afterall the school is so old, and it's not impossible for them to have this idea..., isn't it??? Arrggghhh... another headache!
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Xuan's poetic recitals

Xuan has been reciting some Chinese poems that she learnt in school lately. Imagine her "terok" Chinese coupled with operatic actions ... it's hilarious! I can't help but laugh when she performs her recitals, but encourage her with the correct pronunciations. She doesn't know what she's reciting as she only memorises the sounds. Even then, the sounds are far from the correct words. I have a hard time figuring what's she's trying to recite. But it's a good start for her. At least she's interested and takes pride in her operatic movements!

Here's what she learnt in her K1 class.

《望庐山瀑布》 - 李白
日照香炉生紫烟, 遥看瀑布挂前川。
飞流直下三千尺, 疑是银河落九天。
Oh, I'm so glad she manages to tell me "瀑布" is a waterfall :-)
Flash
Poem appreciation

《静夜思》 - 李白
床前明月光,疑是地上霜。
举头望明月,低头思故乡。
She has introduced some dialect accent into the word "光", she pronounced as "gong"
Flash
Poem appreciation

《春晓》 - 孟浩然
春眠不觉晓,处处闻啼鸟。
夜来风雨声,花落知多少。
She also has a very funny accent for "花落", she said "hua lou(4)"
Flash
Poem appreciation
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22K bonus!!!

This is the latest bonus payout my sis gets from her company. On top of that, she gets a pay-adjustment with a $700 jump in salary. The more I think of this, the more I can justify myself for quiting my peanut-paying job.

She had chided her boss for his plans to promote a young recruit who doesn't know anything, while KIV her promotion for another year. She's really brave huh? How many of us has the guts to scold our bosses for not promoting us? Well, immediately after the chiding, she gets an adjusted pay and the 22K bonus! Isn't that wonderful?

Erhem, the moral of the story is "we must scold our bosses to get a huge bonus payout!"
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

在家全职母亲

多一个月我就会“光荣退休”,在家做个全职妈妈!哇!做个全职妈妈可不简单。我想我因该是脑袋坏了才会做出这样的决定。外人给予有全职母亲照顾的孩子的期望总是比较高 - 自然给母亲带来无限的压力。

然而,看到老公一天到晚忙着工作还得接送女儿上下学,我想我是内疚了。
看到两个孩子一天比一天廋,我想我是惭愧了。
因该是到我付出的时候了吧!

唉,这个决定会是“痛苦”的开始吗?还是会有幸福快乐的结局呢?希望我这次决定是对的,所有付出都会有收获。
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Sony Ericsson bluetooth Headset HBH-PV700

I've bought this bluetooth headset for at least 1 year now, but have never used it. There isn't the need to use this headset anyway. I find it more convenient to just hold the phone and talk. Don't ask me why I bought it in the first place. I must have been hit by some sudden splurging instinct :-( Well, this headset doesn't come in any use especially now that I have not been driving.

Trying to get rid of it at low price, but nobody seems to be interested. Sigh! I've opened the pack but other than that, everything is intact. Willing to part at $45. Here is its specifications.

If anyone of you is interested, do leave me your email under comments. Thanks!
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