Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Story-telling Ritual

Xuan has this habit of telling me a bedtime story everynight before she bids me "I love u so much have a nice dream have a nice sleep promise to dream a dream what u dream today" then "sweet dreams I love you see you tomorrow morning I miss you goodnight 晚安" This is her bedtime ritual. Don't ask me for full-stops. She goes on and on to complete the whole para without any period. She repeats it every night. The chant is already deeply engraved in my head. Funny girl.

OK, that's not the main point. Come back to the story-telling. Her nightly storytelling always revolves around Sam and Nerry - some fictitious character in her head. On some days, Sam and Nerry are brother and sister; on others, they are two good friends. Their relationship changes every night. The only consistency is that she would concoct some big adventures for them on different nights.

The story always goes... Once upon a time, there was a girl named Nerry and a boy named Sam... (*boring*) They are .... and they live in... (*extremely boring*) blah blah... adventure... blah blah (*a bit exciting*),... and they live happily ever after. The end. (*lame*)

Until recently, I complained, "why always Sam and Nerry??" then she changed to "Shiny and Twinkly". Then more lately, I demanded, "tell me the story in Chinese!" And she goes "Har..." with that comical and reluctant look. Tell me the story in Chinese, I insisted. She needs to improve her Mandarin badly. Seriously. Her Chinese really cannot make it.

"OK OK", she finally gave in to my persistence. And she began ....
The title of the story is "大粒的老鼠又是小粒的老鼠"

"HARRR???!!!" I exclaimed (*couldn't help it*), giving her that same comical look she gave me.
I didn't laugh. I controlled.
"What do you mean?" I asked.

She said "I want to say a big mouse and a small mouse live together"
So I corrected her title to "大老鼠和小老鼠住在一起".

And needless to say, the whole of that Chinese story is disastrous.
I have to correct every single sentence. I couldn't help it.
She didn't feel good. She didn't feel it was a storytelling - more of a Chinese lecturing.

At the end of it, I gave her a pat on her shoulder and said "Good try"and explained that I needed to correct her sentences so that she can tell me a better story next time.

That night, the story was extremely short. No content to muse about. Just a few sentences with "mice" in it.

*Sigh* I hope by the time she is old enough to read this, her Chinese has improved tremendously.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009


Kai's favourite character!
He calls it COPOYO - no matter how many times I corrected him, he still went COPOYO!!! COPOYO!!!
Kai likes to be POCOYO. He runs like him, dance like him, goes mad like him!
Pocoyo is really cute!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It's pretty amazing! Imagine a group interactive learning can ignite a child's interest in a subject! I'm refering to Xuan's interest in piano here.

All the while, her piano lessons have always been one-to-one learning with just herself and the piano teacher. She seemed to have lost her interest in piano after the first few weeks of lessons. She preferred theory more than practical. She liked to do the colouring homework in her piano workbook and seldom played on the piano we bought for her... until one day, the quarterly Group Interactive Lesson (GIL) organized by Cristofori turned everything around.

The GILs are group lessons whereby students of similar grades and ages come together to learn from each other. It has meaningful and relevant themes to make learning music more interesting and fun for the students. After that magical GIL she went to last Thursday, she voluntarily went to the piano everyday, without fail, to play all the songs she has learnt. Yes. Everyday. Without fail.

So, despite the "go go, don't disturb me", I'm quite happy to see her newly ignited interest in playing the piano!
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Spillover effect of the art competition

Now she is always asking me to draw pictures for her to colour. And I think she is so proud of her own colouring during the competition that she insisted I draw the same picture for her to colour again! Luckily I took photo of that picture, so I can now replicate the same one for her, with slight modifications. Again, she did the colouring! I awarded her the FIRST prize for her colouring below! (and I will use that $15 Popular voucher which she won from her art competition to buy her prize. Hee! *cheating*)

But it seemed that one picture was not enough, she asked me to draw more...

So I had to dig out some inspirations from the "Kidspot" on Sunday Times, etc... to produce these!

Notice her colouring for the sky??? She's running out of patience :)

It's a good sign, so that she won't pester me to draw more pictures for her.

Anyway, I think it's time for her to draw her own pictures so that she can colour as many as she likes.

And she did just that. Below is her artwork, which she kept complaining, "so difficult to draw!" And her colouring is only half-done. She said her hands are tired...
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kai's vocab development

Although his vocab is limited compared to peers of his age, I would say he has improved quite a bit since few months back. He knows most of the things he sees in the house. And can convey his wants through simple instructions.

Now his vocabulary list includes:

So many cars... traffic jam.

Vice nice! Yummy! Delicious!

Oh dear!

Telephone, who's that?

What is that?

Where did it go?

What sound is that?

What happen?

Why you laugh?


Haha... funny!

Heavy machine.

Fetch daddy.

Fetch jiejie.

Inside. Empty.

No more battery.

Very hot.

Car go down.

Brush teeth.

Mummy drive car.

Daddy bought... (pointing to the car in his hand)

A - Apple

B - Ball

C - Candy

D - Dolphin

E - Elephant

F - Fish

His ABCs stop at "F"... too distracted to advance with more alphabets.

Hokkien call it "hong sim"

Nevermind. Forget about the ABCs, now I'm teaching him to chant a more supreme mantra:

"I love mummy. I love daddy. I love jie jie"

And the Chinese equivalent


One of his mischievous act - hiding inside the wardrobe!
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go, go, don't disturb me

She was practising her piano.
I reminded her again what her piano teacher reminded her.
"Remember the difference between crochets and minims... remember to curve your fingers."

She looked at me, giving me a "you are such-a-nag" look, followed by a soft "go go, don't disturb me"

"ok ok.." I dropped my head low and readily obeyed.

My girl has grown.
I am seeing lesser and lesser of the "yes mummy" girl.
I forsee more of such "go go" episodes as she asserts her independence more and more verbally.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

On-the-spot Art competition

I also went for a similar kind of competition when I was at her age. It was fun! It must also have been quite an experience that it still remains in my limited-capacity hard disk. So when her teacher handed all parents the application form for the Art Competition, I asked if she was keen. Needless to say, Xuan who has a flair for art since young, was all excited about it! And we signed her up in the name of fun.

Yesterday was the competition. She was in the Category A colouring competition meant for all K1s and K2s. She was having a bad blocked nose but she insisted on going. She asked me the day before, "Can I still go if I have fever? Can I please go?"

So yesterday, she went. A new set of coloured crayons was all she brought. And a "nevermind about winnning, just go and have fun" attitude was all she needed. I was secretly hoping that she could win some consolation prizes for her enthusiasm! The amazing girl performed better than my expectation. She came in SECOND for the On-the-Spot Art Competition organised by the Residents Committee. She won a trophy, an Encarta CD ROM Encyclopedia, a kite and a $15 gift voucher!

She loves the trophy most! She couldn't stop caressing it. She said she wanted to put it besides her bed.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time flies

"Time really flies!" I wonder why I made this casual remark... It led the little mind to query into the natural and inevitable process of death... and activated a time-bomb.

"What is 'time really flies'?" she queried inquisitively.

"It means time passes by very fast... just like the clock - tick, tock, tick, tock,... soon you and di-di will grow into adults, both of you will get married, have babies... you will become a mother... and I will become a grandmother..." I need to slap my cheek for explaining in such details. I knew I will be getting into some trouble when I touched the inevitables.

"My children will call you grandmother?" she wanted to confirm.

"Yes!" I replied.

"Then I call you what?" she asked. *alamak. faint*

"You still call me mother! I will be your mother forever!" Satisfactory answer. She smiled. Till this point, so far so good.

"What happen when you become a grandmother?... You will grow old?"

"Yah..." I hesitated. The bomb is going to be activated.

"What happen when you grow old?" she looked at me, worried.


"You ... will die ah???"

"Errr... yes." I stammered.

Tears started welling up her eyes.

Shucks! What's all these? I need to tell her the truth.

"Everybody has to die when they grow old... it is natural!" I tried to explain.

"You mean I also have to die? Everybody has to die?... I don't want to die, I'm very scared..."

*so she's just afraid she'd die. In that case, I change my statement, hoping to ease her fear"

"Ok ok, you don't have to die." I told a white lie.

"Are you sure? Why are you bluffing me? Why you want to hurt my feelings? I don't want you to die, I don't want everybody to die." Tears streaming uncontrollably.

"Ok ok... let's not talk about all these... Next time when you grow up, you will understand..." trying to change the subject.

"You must tell me... do we have to die when we grow old? How long is it going to happen???" she insisted, eyes red and she looked very pathetic.

"I don't know... it's in the future. I don't know what will happen in future....*silence* Hiya! Nobody will die lah! I'm just joking! Only the evil people will die." I gave up explaining the truth. I knew if I don't say that she'd continue to cry.

She seemed quite convinced after I change the verdict to "only evil people will die".

She looked relieved. She was happier.

Death is an inevitable truth which she'd uncover when she grows up.
I don't need to explain.
Time do will the explanation.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting married

"Mummy, last time you dressed in a white gown and you want to marry someone. You saw Daddy. And he is a kind person. So you marry him..."

"You said cannot talk to strangers, then why you still marry a stranger?"

"Next time I will also marry a stranger right?"

"But how do I know whether he is good or bad?"

"Next time will my children love me more or love my husband more?"

Random talks from Xuan.
All about getting married.
All asked on different occasions.
It all started with "how do you marry daddy?"
So I began with first being strangers.... blah blah...
Oh dear... and I don't want to fill her head with all these stuff cos' she is only SIX!

Errr... should I be teaching her all these?
Do your kids ask you such things?
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


It only took a "WAR. NO FOOD."
followed by
"Don't take things for granted. You think you'd always have food to eat? You better be thankful that you have food now! Otherwise, you'd have no food FOREVER!"
to make her cry uncontrollably.

"Shucks! I'm in deep trouble!" I thought.
That would slow her down even further.

She has kept that mouthful of rice in her bloated mouth for so long. She looked at me grumpily. She put her head on the table... she did not want to move her mouth.
And I wasn't in the mood to sweet-talk her.
The mantra of "eat faster, move your mouth, chew, swallow" is outdated by now. Totally obsolete. So I tried new method.

Hmm... "WAR=NO FOOD" worked wonders!
I was amazed by its effects!

"Are you sure I will have no food forever?" she sobbed, tears streaming.
"I don't want Singapore to go to war... I am very scared... Please don't tell me these things... How long is it going to happen?... " (She always use "how long" instead of "when", I tried not to correct her when I'm focusing on other crucial issue) she cried louder, mouth still full of rice.

"OK OK, please stop crying... I'm just joking. Singapore will not go to war. You will still have food. But you must be thankful that you have food. Don't be so grumpy whenever food comes to you! You are very lucky to have food. Children in other countries are suffering. You must be thankful..."

"Are you sure I will still have food?"
"Is that what Po Po teach you when you were small?"

"Err... yes! She told me to treasure food. So until now I still have food to eat!"

"Ok, I will treasure my food. I will be thankful." crying stopped.

She ate faster. Asked me for second helping :)
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Inspiration behind Xuan's name





I love "Xuan"
A lovely "sound"

So I googled for various characters of "Xuan"
And found "萱" to be the one.

"萱草" is a flower - a kind of "strong" plant, adaptable to all kinds of adverse situations.
"萱草忘忧"means "happy" - exactly what I wanted for Xuan.

So "萱" becomes her name.
A lovely name.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Sleep problems again!

Just as I was about to congratulate myself for the positive changes in Kai's sleep patterns, he reverted back to his old habits again! The rocker is back in action! I need to rock him to sleep again! Not only that, he wakes up at least 7-8 times every night!

Actually I don't mind if he just toss and turn if he couldn't sleep for those 7-8 waking episodes. The problem is that he let out cries which I'm afraid would lead to something more threatening if I ignore them. So each time he cries, I'd quickly put him in his rocker to make him sleep again.

Oh Kai, I'm not asking that you sleep through the night, I just wish that you wake up less often. Sleeping through nights is too much of a luxury for me. Too much... and is such a far-fetched dream...
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Restorting to Chinese medicine

Xuan and Kai are very skinny. Extremely.
Everybody says so. But they say it is genetic.
"Look at how skinny you were when you were at their age... even until adulthood".

BUT, I hate to believe it is genetic.
I have seen skinny parents with chubby kids, some to the extent of being obese!
So why can't mine be chubbier?

Xuan takes so long to finish one meal, so there isn't more time to pump more food into her little tummy. I need to wait at least an hour or two before I gave her other food right? Kai has very short attention span. After sitting on the high chair for the most 15 minutes, he'd struggle to come down. He eats little and refuses to try new food.

Mom said both kids are "gam jiek". So I am always eager to explore any remedy that can solve the kids' eating problems! And that explains why when Mom called me one day introducing me to a Chinese herbal medicine, I almost hopped on it!

"I met your classmate's mother in the market just now. She babysits her children. They used to be so skinny ... but after eating "回春丹" almost everyday, they are now so strong and chubby. The elder one in P5 is 40kg and the girl is 30kg. Their mother even go all the way to Hong Kong to buy more "回春丹" for them. You try giving "回春丹" to Xuan and Kai... only $2-3 a bottle... Can buy from the Chinese medical halls..."

But "回春丹"? Aren't they suppose to be some beauty or youth-regain antidotes? It never came to me that the word "回春" is something meant for kids. I used to be a bit skeptical about all Chinese herbs having gone through a herbal-cum-tummy-binding stage when I was young.

But Xuan and Kai are truly very very skinny. I really want them to grow fatter... to have the appetite to eat. At least to open their mouth, chew and swallow their food! So, in the end, the desperation to make them grow fatter drove me to google for "回春丹" to see its miraculous effect!

What I found was the chinese herb was indeed miraculous! It contains all the ingredients I need to cure Xuan and Kai's eating problems! It is a flu remedy as well as an immune system booster, on top of aiding digestion and improving appetite. But the info I found on the web cautioned about fake products. It specified that only 永达堂珍珠燕窝回春丹 is the real one!

永达堂珍珠燕窝回春丹 is indeed a god-send, I thought! So I proceeded to look for it but to no avail. My mom also helped and she managed to buy two tiny bottles of 回春丹 from a Chinese Medical Hall in her estate. But it was not from 永达堂! It is known as 百源堂珍珠回春丹. Mom said that was the brand my classmate used on her kids. So it couldn't be wrong. I was very hopeful that the herb will solve the kids' eating problems. I was about to give it to Xuan and Kai but thought I should google for it again! I felt irresponsible if I just gave the Chinese medicine to them blindly. But googling was more of a "going through the motion" since I was convinced that the herb is safe.

Thank goodness I googled. I found that this specific brand contains lead that exceed the permissble level and was recalled from the shelves by HSA in 2006 (refer to HSA product regulation). Oh dear! I dropped the whole idea immediately! I think it will take a while before I can be fully convinced of the credibility of Chinese herbs again!

And there goes my hope of growing a chubbier Xuan and Kai... :(
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The rough boy

Kai is still as rough as ever.
Still remember vividly how he crashed his head onto my nose while I was lying on bed, which send blood dripping from my nostrils while I thought I won't be around to witness him grow into adulthood (Nose drama).

But I can't blame him.
This little boy doesn't know anything or rather how grave his actions were.
I can only blame the fact that I am such as lazy bum who will automatically sink into a bed whenever I see one! Kai would then happily ride on my back, step on my face or even attempt to jump on my tummy! So everytime he does that, I'd be forced to sit up.

However, there were times when I felt so tired that I couldn't be bothered by how he tortured my body! I'm really afraid he'd break my spine if he continues to jump on my back. So if one day I lie motionless in bed with Kai besides, you know what happened! *Choi! Touch wood!*

Mothering Kai is not easy.
A lot of pains and sufferings.
There were times when he simply smacked my face or my neck so hard that I cried in pain. Other times, he'd happily attack my face with a sudden scratch! And the "best" is when I tried to teach him by "pleading" him not to do it, he'd grin and swiftly award me with another scratch yet again! Ok, if the soft approach doesn't work, I thought the harsh one will. So, sometimes, I'd ask him to give me his hands, which I'd slapped and warned him sternly not to do it!

You think it work? No!
He'd happily shove me his hands and repeat his rough actions after being slapped.

I couldn't help wondering... Were we too close that he is so rough to me?
I don't know but he is never rough with his dad!
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Counting bad habits

Xuan started counting her bad habits one day...
"I only have two bad habits, one is eat too slowly, another one is always scolding people..." (yup, she becomes a little tigress when things don't go her way, still haven't tamed her temper despite the last post on Anger management for Xuan)

Then she goes on to target Kai
"Jun Kai is worse ah... he has so many bad habits... number one, always run here and there; number two, jump up and down, number three, climbing onto tables; number four, always want to buy cars; number five, never sleep at night, always wake up; number six, dash here and there when he sees POCOYO on TV; number seven, always pull mummy's hair; number eight, likes to hide inside the cupboards; number nine, knocking daddy's things down; number ten, tearing the tissue box; number eleven, lying on the floor; number twleve, licking the floor; thirteen, throwing clothes on the floor...

Well, you see, her little brother's list of bad habits is never-ending. But what she has narrated is so true. I need to thank her for pointing them out so precisely!

Despite being a sweet darling, Xuan's temper is really bad at times. Good thing is that she knows about her bad temper as I have always been reminding her. But she needs more anger management than that... *sigh*
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