Saturday, November 15, 2014

Results

Today is the official start of the 1.5 months long holidays. In fact, the holidays already began 2 days ago for the kids. It was prize giving day on Thursday for Xuan and last day of school on Wednesday for Kai. Their academic results for the year: Xuan came in 2nd in level and in class. She missed the first in level by 1 mark! So proud of her again... Kai came in 8th position in class. There wasn't any level position for him. And he got into one of the good classes in P3.... 3B! Yeah! Not the best class like his sister, but still the top 3 classes! Well done, kiddos! Mum is so proud of you.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Exams... Outsourcing

Today, Kai is sitting for his last SA2 paper. I am so so happy. The stress is officially over for the year. For the past 3 months, I was the stressed one doing the prep while he was the nonchalant carefree spirit. Those were the nail-bitting-hair-pulling-ultimately-stressful days. Sometimes, I could even feel tightness in my chest and stuff like that. No kidding. Oh... how damaging the education system can be! He is only P2. How can they determine a little one's fate at the age of 8? I really hope he gets into a good class for P3.

Next year, we are going to outsource his tuition to The Learning Lab. I will only tutor him in Chinese. As of current, he is only learning English at Mindstretcher, and Daddy felt that he can be stretched further with other tuitions...

I hope the outsourcing will not cause any damage or add burden to my already-stressful life... keeping my fingers crossed that life will be good.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Exam methodology for Kai

The final lap is now on.
Both kids are having their SA2 now.

Basically for Xuan, she has been on autopilot since P4, doing her own revision and stuff, planning her own revision schedule, etc. Why P4? Well, that was when Kai started P1. All attention and coaching had to go to that difficult-to-manage boy.

"I hate SA2!" lamented Kai.
"So do I!!!" I retorted.
Everyday is warfare under the roof. Catastrophic wreckage and casualty aside, I did come out with some solid methodology designed specifically for this boy.

For each subject, I have a list of instructions on how he should deal with each paper. This boy knows his work. His only problem is carelessness and short attention span, which resulted in lower-than-expected grades.

Here are the methodologies for each:

English
Read every question carefully, read every single word, don't miss out any words
Fit all multiple choices into the blanks before deciding on the answer
Underline tenses, and singular/plural words in the question
For comprehension cloze passage, look for clues before and after the blanks
For open-ended comprehension, determine the tenses, underline the answers in the passage, then copy answer statement carefully, word by word
Check before you move on to next question: check grammar, punctuation, spelling
And finally, the best of all instructions is this final one "Don't rush through the paper but try to work fast" haha... how contradictory!

Chinese
Basically, the same methodology for English is applied here.

Math
Read the questions carefully.
Write out the clues/hints
Understand the question, draw model to help you
Copy out numbers carefully
Do workings carefully
Check workings carefully
Make sure you copy out the workings answer into the answer box, don't write the wrong numbers
Write equations and answer statement
Write numbers legibly
Don't forget the units (cm, m, am, pm, l, ml, g, kg)
Last of all, check and check and check over and over and over again after you have finished the paper...

This is also what I called "nagging methodology" for Kai.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yummy baked honey cornflakes

Yum! This honey cornflakes with chocolate chips is simply yummilicious! The kids love it! It is oven-baked from the simplest and easiest recipe I've ever come across. Here goes:

Ingredients: unsalted butter, honey, cornflakes

Method:
Melt butter and honey in a pot
Pour in cornflakes and mix well
Scoop them into small baking cups (I use silicone baking cups instead of paper cups)
Bake in oven at 150 degree for 10 minutes
Viola!
Enjoy the crispy and crunchy cornflakes!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Weapons

His latest craze, other than playing with eraser bleyblade and making paper cars, is making paper weapons! Look at the names on each weapon. .. sigh, boy!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Working parents edge

I always think that working parents have an edge over stay-home mother, in terms of better relationship with their children.

Why? Because they work and do not need to face the brunt of parenting. They come home to the hugs of their children who have missed them the whole day. The disobedient child will tend to listen more to his working parents. After all, they don't nag at him for dragging his homework, they don't shout at him for misbehaviour as they are away at work. What they do is perhaps to give the child a tinker while at work, checking on him and giving him 'gentle' reminders. Sometimes, there are even surprise toys and goodies when they return home, much to the exhilaration of the kids.

On the other hand, the stay-home mother has to pull her hair and shout her lungs out, sometimes reduce to softer nagging and whisper begging when her energy runs out. The sight of the inattentive child who jumps and clowns around the house the whole day, who refuses to take her orders - simply made her blood boiled. Even the most patient and tolerant parent will be drained...

So. Compring these two parents - who would the child like better?
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Monday, August 25, 2014

The boss is in

I left the workforce since 2008. Then I enjoyed the freedom of not having to answer to the boss.
But now things are getting tricky. I realise that I am now answerable to the little man, a.k.a. the chairman! If I didn't cook for a meal, he'd questioned "WHY YOU DIDN'T COOK TODAY?"
And I had to provide him with the most diplomatic answer. "Oh... I was busy preparing notes for your exams (a.k.a. important quarterly meeting) , on top of that I have a lot of housework (a.k.a. backlog) to do, so I didn't have enough time to cook lunch (a.k.a. regular daily task) today. Don't worry, I'd cook for dinner."
Sigh... what to do... THE BOSS IS IN
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Erratic parenting

Parenting up to this stage has become rather unpredictable and erratic. There were frequent sudden outbursts of anger whenever I couldn't tolerate and need to unleash my pent-up stress. Especially when the elder took my well-meaning advice as some defamatory criticism. Casual remarks that are not pleasing to her ears are often bombarded with millions of "why" in between sobs - "why do you say that. ..", "why am I ...", "what do you mean..." - so much so that I couldn't take it.

Teens parenting is coming real close to heart. It is scary.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Sleeping with books



She'd scream if she sees this. Well, I just want to document her growing up...

Now at this phase... (and a long way to go), I think she will be so caught up with the paper chase. She doesn't take naps, but occasionally she'd be so tired while reading that she dozed off. 

Her room is forever in a mess. She tried to pack her notes, but it always ended up with more notes and more piles... 

Sleeping with books like this has become a common affair. You've yet to see the worse, where she was all curled up in deep sleep with piles of books and notes scattered around her bed, taking up more space than her...

Sigh.... poor girl.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Frantic rat race

July just slipped past without any entry. It was because school has started... what else.

I was busy prepping Kai for the frantic rat race in school! After a month-long rest at home, he needed to pull up his socks and fasten his seat belt real tight for school again... sigh! Such is the reality of education nowadays. Imagine this - all pupils in class knew the answer to a question from a new science topic that has yet been taught. All pupils raised their hands for the correct answer. ALL. All of them had already learnt that topic in their own private tuition! WOW! I really wonder what is the significance and role played by schools in today's educational setting. No longer are students there to be taught. They are there to show what they have already learnt, and compete by seeing who gets the highest score. Sigh.

"Last time, school so lame," lamented Kai. "Don't need to study, can play whole day ..."

Indeed.
Time is different.
Sad for him.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Kai is 8

Kai is a more sensible boy now. When he first started P1, he was like living in his own world. He failed his school tests, failed to listen to instructions, appeared dreamy and was even suspected by teacher as suffering from ADHD. Those days were bleak...

Now, things have changed. The world is brightening up for him and us all... He has shown a lot of improvement academically. He does his work with less nagging from me, although he still likes to bargain for little work.

He is still as fun loving, he still loves his cars (and now, planes), loves his Asphalt 8 game on his Samsung tablet, as well as Plants vs Zombies, Minion Rush, etc... which I have limited to "play-on-alternate-days"! In his free time, he loves to read smurf comics and encyclopedic work, young scientists... but not story books. However, he likes to talk and tell us what he learnt from his Young Scientists. He told me that I "should eat more tomatoes because they contain lycopene, which helps to fight wrinkles!"

For CCA, he has taken up Wushu and Children's sketch in school. Tuition wise, he is doing English at Mindstretcher. His stints at I Can Read and Learning Lab were history.

One thing I'm extremely pleased is that he has inherited my 'tidiness' genes! HA! Sometimes, he'd arrange things in the house neatly before turning in for bed, tidied Xuan's books and notes on the dining table, shook his head and remarked in a seemingly adult manner, "sigh, this jie jie is always so messy..."

This kid is no longer a kid any more. He is growing up much faster than I thought. As usual, we celebrated his birthday today with just the four of us. In the morning, he woke up to our lovely birthday song and had a delightful time searching for his presents, which were hidden in different parts of the house. In the afternoon, we booked the Karaoke room for a four-hour singing session, after which we had dinner at Canton Paradise. Back at home, he cut his birthday cake and made his birthday wish, played cars and watched his favourite Cars DVD.

Well, that was not enough, Kai has a bigger appetite this year for more presents, ang baos and attention. He wanted us to invite our relatives to celebrate his birthday together, and that'd be tomorrow, on his Chinese birthday! He had specifically requested the dinner celebration to be held at Red Star Restaurant! We have done as been told by his majesty! So tomorrow, we are having another celebration!

Happy birthday, little man.
Wishing you well and happy, and the best of everything in life.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Miss you a lot...

Xuan has gone to Taipei for 6 days! I missed her so much. I was constantly worried.

We exchanged sms during the day when she had no wifi. At night, after she had returned to hotel, we Tangoed. That was the routine for the past 6 days.

I could not accomplish much work at home when Xuan was away. I was always worrying if there might be earthquakes, if there were mad people on the streets that chased people with knives...

On her first day onboard SQ876, I had to trace her flight on the flight radar, to make sure it didn't go off track! After the plane landed, I heaved a big relief. I watched Taipei news closely on the Internet, refreshed Taiwan Central Weather Bureau website every hour for new reports on earthquakes (btw, earthquakes happen in Taiwan everyday!), checked Instagram for teachers' photo updates on their trip... on top of these, I chanted the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra throughout the day for her safety whenever I thought of her ... was I paranoid?

No, my worries were not unfounded. Today, she messaged me in the morning saying her phone was left with 4% battery and she had forgotten to charge it. Tonight, she will be in a farm stay without wifi, without a charged phone... She told me in another message that she was also bullied by one of her male classmates this morning... Sigh... on top of these, she was badly bitten by mosquitoes yesterday, and she discovered to her horror that one of the mosquitoes was black and white! I really prayed that she will not get dengue! very worried....

Luckily, she is returning home tomorrow night... if not, I'd go crazy.

I wish, I hope, I pray that she will come back to us safely, well and happy tomorrow.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bicep trip to Taipei

Look! She is the tallest among her peers... even taller than the two teachers standing at the side!

This girl, who has stayed by our side for 11 years, is leaving for Taipei today, with her teachers and classmates, and WITHOUT US!

For a week, she will have to take care of herself. She cried last night, saying she will be homesick... now I'm missing her already.

Her flight will depart at 8.35am...
We wish her a safe, well and happy trip.
Om Mani Padme Hom

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Improvement

I've been waiting to write this post for the longest time. From failing and scoring ZEROS and for his school tests, Kai has finally shown improvements - in fact, a lot of improvements. For the past months in P2, he has been coming home with impressive near-full-marks results or even full marks for his mastery tests! He scored 30/30 for his Math mastery, 27/30 for English mastery, full marks for his Math review test, high marks for Chinese review test,... full marks for many of his Chinese and English spellings.  It is no mean feat, really.

If there is a "Great Improvement Award", it should rightfully go to him.

Ahem... and if there is a "Woman-behind-the-great-improvement-boy Award" I think I deserve it. HA!

Er... of course, not forgetting the dad.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Xuan's sleep problems

Sleep problems continue to plague Xuan and haunt me even as she outgrew that of her baby phase, which typically resolve by itself at the age of 2, if not 3. Ever since that dreadful day in P3 when her school screened the WWII video, Xuan's sleep problems returned and magnified. With more horror stories from friends and TV serials enacting violent scenes, her problems just got worse.

Nowadays, she did not even dare to sleep with Kai in the same room... she could only sleep with us, that is, the whole family of four sleep together in the master bedroom! Plus point about this arrangement is the bonding the entire family gets; downside is that I can't sleep through the night with Kai's pushing and kicking in the same bed.

The current sleep arrangement is that she gets to sleep in master bedroom on alternate days; other days, she sleeps in Kai's room. However, even on those alternate days when she has to sleep in Kai's room, she'd come begging and negotiating to sleep in master bedroom once it came evening. Sometimes, she got her way, sometimes she didn't... Her sleep problems is affecting her studies. We are seeing slides in her grades.

So, to motivate her to put forward her best foot for the upcoming SA1, daddy has promised her a 3-month-sleep-in-master bedroom privilege card if she came in first few position in class...

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Me. My birthday

Today is a ME day. Haha...
It's going to be the last year when I'm still eligible to tell people "I'm in my THIRTIES".
Next year, I'm hitting the 40 age group! Sounds scary.

I'm telling myself that ageing is no big deal. Most importantly, we have to "age with dignity" - that's the message that greeted me every morning when I turned on my mobile ^ ^

Well, but in reality, I still woke up every morning (before I turned on my phone, that is), stood in front of the mirror to examine the depth of my wrinkles, to see if there are new found ones, to detect if my smile lines are deeper and longer, to self-indulge in my ageing skin...

Sigh... well, well.
Today is my birthday.
I'm THIRTY_NINE.

I wish myself to be prettier, not uglier
healthier, not weaker
wiser, not stupider
while I age...

I wish my family and friends strong and healthy, safe and happy... as they pursue their life. :)


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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Branded woman

I was never a branded person. For clothes, I don brands like Giodano, U2, Hang Ten ... but most of the time I just wore brandless shirts and blouse bought from neighbourhood stalls and pasar malam. For bags, I like simple Mel bags and the like... Branded brands like Gucci, LV, COACH, Kate Spate were not in my "likes". 

Simply put, I don't need brands and I never go for anything branded. I don't bother to cast a second look at anything branded. They are just not my cup of tea.

But ironically, I was turned into a branded woman "overnight" by the doting husband who bought me a Coach tote bag, a pair of Coach sunglasses, SKII facial products, Clarins serum, and an exquisite Tiffany and Co. necklace, which all cost a bomb... what else can i say...

I am blessed.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Staycation and trip to Legoland Malaysia


For the first time, we self-drove into Johor Bahru, and made our way into LEGOLAND Malaysia!
At first, we were contemplating on whether to self drive or go by coach, which could save all the hassle in finding our way and all the insecurities, after having heard so many stories about cars being hijacked, dangerous driving on the roads, etc. etc. Well, in the end, for the sake of convenience, we decided on self-drive, with my sister's car leading the way, that is.
Despite having told that it was a short and easy drive to LEGOLAND, and with the convoy of my sister and her family, a lot of research has been done prior to driving on our part. The husband studied the Google maps intensely, even down to the terrains and stuff like that. We borrowed the "Touch and Go" card for fast entry, we got a steering wheel lock, and other equipment for the car in case it broke down on the road... we even checked with friends and relatives on the step by step procedures at the customs...
We booked two Kingdom themed rooms for one night together with combo tickets to both the Waterpark and Theme park on two consecutive days. Overall, the trip to LEGOLAND Malaysia was fun despite not having played the entire LEGOLAND theme park. After hearing stories of kids being kidnapped at LEGOLAND Malaysia, we made it a point to hold their hands every second! And for cars being hijacked, we were told to park the cars head in. With these safety measures in place, we had successfully gone to LEGOLAND Malaysia and came BACK (in one piece)!

Staycation and trip to LEGOLAND Malaysia: 20-21 Mar 2014
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Xuan is 11

Today is Xuan's birthday! She has turned 11. How time flies. 

 She has been very quiet after coming back from school. Yesterday, she decided to pour her troubles all out to me. She said she has been feeling neglected by friends and felt very lonely in school, even with her best friend around. She wasn't able to chip in to conservation that her friends were engaging in. She felt transparent in the group. She cried bitterly as she poured out her miseries... 

 I understand perfectly how she felt. I tried to give her advice and console her... at times I even felt like crying with her. She has entered a new milestone in life whereby she has to face all the real life interpersonal relationship woes and emotional affliction. 

Despite doing well in studies, Xuan is a quiet and introvert girl... She lacks self confidence too. I hope the new year will bring her lots of peace and wisdom to deal with real life affliction and situation. I'm glad she is reading Ajahn Brahm's books and is enjoying them. I hope she finds peace and wisdom from the books. 

May she be well, happy, safe and wise.
 Happy 11th Birthday, my child!
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bittersweet relationship

Kai and I share a bittersweet relationship. This started since he entered P1.

I guess the pressure from the education system demanded me to be strict with the little man who lacked discipline and motivation. I became harsh and unloving towards Kai whenever it came to work.

I raised my voice and caned him whenever I needed to repeat my nags over and over to get him to work. And he would shout back, scolding me idiot, stupid, moron, and all kinds of hate words. He also wrote me hate notes whenever he got angry with me. He had asked me to "fly out of the house" several times in his notes. And when he shouted rude words at me. I gave him more beatings.

That was bitter.
Thank goodness,we patched back shortly.

When night falls, he'd snuggle to me, put his arms around me, hug and stroke me lovingly... that was sweet.

That's our bittersweet relationship.
Super unhealthy... and I'm using "benevolence" to guide me everyday.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

First day of school

Going to school together! The school has started operating single session... finally. I've waited for a long time. But hours in the morning are short. Need to clean up the house, do some marketing and cook lunch... and soon, it'd be time to fetch the kids home!

A new routine...
I'm counting my blessings.

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