Development: TT @ 24 Months

The “last” post that I will be tracking the Littlest development. Time just zoom past when you have young ones at home.

Mastered Skills

  • Can name at least six body parts on a doll
    I should think so. I have definitely heard eyes, ears, teeth and hands.
  • Half of his speech is understandable
    Yup. We could understand him most time.
  • Can make short sentences
    Yes. His favourite is “Pease MeeMee iPad” *sigh*.

Emerging Skills

  • Starts talking about self
    Not really. Apart from “TT 的” he doesn’t really say much about himself. Though he will say “不要” for things he doesn’t want.
  • Can arrange things in categories
    I guess so. In school, he has to sort the toys by categories and color. He somewhat was able to do it.
  • Can walk down stairs
    Yes.

Advanced Skills

  • Begins to understand abstract concepts like sooner and later
    Don’t think so. When we ask him to wait or we will give him later, he will just cry or throw a tantrum. So don’t think he understands.
  • Becomes attuned to gender differences
    Don’t think so.
  • Learns to jump
    Somewhat? He will attempt to leap, but his two feet is still on the floor. LOL.
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Getting ready to blow his candles when we celebrated his birthday with GongGong and PoPo

Dear TT,

You turn 2 a few days ago! Unfortunately you fell ill the night before and couldn’t celebrate your birthday in school. Fortunately, we manage to celebrate with GongGong and PoPo the weekend before and you still got to cut and eat your cake.

You are getting more assertive this month. You will always claim “mine” or “TT 的”, and not allow others to touch or use your things. Well, Mummy and Daddy just have to teach you how to share over time.

You have adapted relatively well in school. Heard there is a new friend who will only hold your hand. Hope you can continue to be a support for your classmates as you are the GorGor in class. You seems to be playing well with the teachers too. Not only your own class teacher, but teachers from other classes. We heard you went around sharing your little packet of raisins albeit with your saliva quoted fingers. LOL. Well, some of your teachers really don’t mind your kind gesture. Mummy hope you can stay this way.

You are still very active and can throw a tantrum very easily. Mummy hope the school will be a good training ground for you to learn self-control during this growing up phase of your life. And fortunately, Mummy was reminded by Dr Zhang to not give you sweet stuff. And that is where Mummy noticed that you get really active and throws a tantrum easily. So until you are much older, Mummy is going to cut down on the sweet things for you.

Your health hasn’t really been the greatest the last two months. You fell ill and wasn’t in school for an entire week last month. And this week you are sick again. Hopefully these are part and parcel of you improving immunity. Mummy hope you get well soon.

In the coming year, Mummy hope you will stay joyful, become healthier and can learn more self-control. Mummy and Daddy love you!

Love,
Mummy

2017: Declutter

This post is a little late as I was busy preparing my eldest for his P1 which started a few days ago. For 2016, I choose the keyword ‘Focus‘. I did manage to focus on certain things as I reviewed my ‘resolutions’ quarterly. For this year, the keyword is ‘Declutter’. It is a continuation of ‘Focus’ as I try to remove unnecessary things in my overcrowded life so that I can focus better. I set out some bite-size goals to help achieve the ‘Decluttering’.

Health
I fell sick just before the Christmas season. From overdose of chocolates. LOL. I couldn’t really enjoy my time in Malacca as my throat was hurting. This year I have to remind myself again to keep a healthy lifestyle so that I can take care of my family. So I will need to declutter to remove all unhealthy habits and promote good ones.

  • Reduce junk food intake to once a week
  • Reduce chilled drinks (including bubble tea, etc) to once a month
  • Reduce intake of tea (including Starbucks and Bubble Tea) to once a week
  • Spend 5 minutes every day to do stretching or Pilates
  • Swim or run once a week
  • Cook and bring my own lunch

Kids
The kids are way too busy and have too many things (toys, books, clothes, stationary).

  • Reduce their activities on weekends
  • Reduce their homework time by covering only 1 subject each night
  • Read only 1 language of book each night
    (i.e. alternate between English and Chinese each day)
  • Throw/Donate away some of their toys, clothes and books.
  • Buy lesser toys, clothes and books
  • Reduce junk food intake of the kids (including processed food)
  • More one-to-one time or dates with the kids

Couple
We both believe that only a loving couple will raise happy kids. So kids aside, we also need to make time for each other.

  • Reduce my expectation/dependency on Chubby, thereby reducing friction
    (Such as bringing the kids or attempt to do things myself)
  • Date nights at least once a month
  • More exercise time with Chubby

Self
I need to declutter my own schedule too. I have way too many things that I want to do and gets upset when I keep feeling I have a long “to-do” list.

  • Reduce time on social media by
    • Checking Facebook 3 times a day
    • Checking Instagram on alternate days
  • Reduce the games I play to 1
    (I can get carried away playing games)
  • Reduce the topics on the Blog
    (From 2017 onwards, I decide to declutter the topics on my blog. I will only be posting about the books we read, travel and also post like this that review our 2017.)
  • Read 1 page or small section of book each night
  • Throw / Donate clothes that I no longer wear
    (Hope I can reduce my wardrobe by half)
  • Reduce online shopping and surf lesser on shopping site
    (Since I learned about Taobao a few years back, I have been spending a lot of money buying things from China. Some are really good buy, but most time I bought things which are not necessary. In 2017, I want to stop doing that.)
  • Reduce bad thoughts and stay positive
    (Sometimes I will think that I’m suay, not lucky in local language. But in 2017 I need to start thinking otherwise because its really a matter of how I look at the matter. And I believe in luck following when you stay positive.)

I am not attempting to complete all the bite-size goals all at a time. But hopefully I will be doing consistently doing most of them by end of 2017.

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The first dawn of 2017 at Bukit Timah hill.

Book: Hi! Fly Guy

We chance upon the “Fly Guy” series of book from the scholastic book list that was sent home from the kids’ school. The first book we read was actually “Fly Guy’s Amazing Tricks”. But it was so funny that the boy request for other series of the book. And a search on NLB latest app shows that there are actually eCopies of the series available for loan. So the prudent mummy borrowed as many title as she could find from the series. LOL.

The first in the series should be this book “Hi! Fly Guy”.

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Chapter 1 talks about how the boy named Buzz was out looking for a pet to catch for “The amazing pet show” and bumped into the fly who was looking for food. He caught it and decides to keep him as a pet and named him “Fly Guy”.

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In the subsequent chapters, it talks about how he convinces his parents that flies can be pets. And brought Fly Guy to “The Amazing Pet Show” only to be laughed by the judges.

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We love the book because the drawing is pretty and the story is funny. Entertainment aside, it teaches some values to the kids too. Like in this book, although Buzz got laughed at, he didn’t just give up. He tried together with Fly Guy to convince everyone. Something I find appropriate at this juncture for the boy as he is going to a new big school next year. He is bound to meet times where people will laugh at him or the things he did. He shouldn’t just feel embarrassed and shun away. If it is something he feels strongly about, maybe he should stand up for himself like Buzz did.

This is a simple chapter book that the boy (6.5 yo) can read by himself. So if you are trying to introduce the concept of chapter books or encourage your pre-schooler to read chapter books by themselves, this may be a good starting point.

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Title: Hi! Fly Guy!
Author: Arnold, Tedd
Call No.: English ARN
Available At: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang, Jurong, Jurong West, Queestown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Toa Payoh and Woodlands Library

Thoughts: Reflecting 2016

I can’t believe 2016 is coming to a close so soon!

  • Eat Healthily and Exercise More
    In the last review, I talked about my no-carbs diet and snacking. That totally went out of the window. When my “old” helper went back, Chubby took over the preparation of my lunch for a few weeks. After a while, he was overwhelmed with work and studies that it was stopped. In the last week of November, I took on the role myself and prepared my own “no carb” lunch. All went well until the littlest started trial and we sent our “new” helper back. This means I have more housework to do and hence I have not prepared any lunch since.

    Exercising was also out of the window, as like I mentioned no time. I hope to restart them when the new year come. But the daily 5 mins Pilates will be a challenge as next year onwards I will need to wake up even earlier to prep the boy for school. #woesofprimaryschool

    Overall this year, at least I went for runs and swim for a few times. Not enough to stay healthy but I think it was an improvement from 2015.

  • More Communication and Patience
    I totally forgot about the “Feel-Think-Act” sequence. But nonetheless, things were pretty ok for this quarter or maybe chubby will think otherwise. Nonetheless, I think I did make an improvement overall from 2016. More patience and letting things go especially with the children.
  • Spend more time with the littlest
    The littlest is at such a cute stage now. He plays with you, mimic your actions and all. I have tried reading to him many times, but he still can’t sit through a book. Nonetheless, I continued reading hoping something will go in. He just entered school, hopefully, that will make him learn to sit and enjoy stories.

    Overall for 2016, I think I still need to work a lot more on this area. I don’t feel I have improved much in the quality time spent with him.

  • More One-to-One time with the elder two
    Well, we brought the eldest to USS alone and I brought the girl out a couple of time for snacks or ice-cream treat. Not enough but there are improvements. It was definitely much better than 2015.
  • More consistent teaching
    Yes. The kids now know that every night they will have “home” work to do. We have been doing this on every weekday except on Tuesday where they have enrichment and on Friday. Weekends are break time.

So overall, I will think that for this 5 main goals that I set out to do, I improved from 2015, though some were better some just by a little.

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So what else happened in 2016?

  • Parenting
    Chubby was still doing his Masters this year. This means there were many times that I need to handle the kids by myself. And the worst was when our trusty “old” helper went back and we got a replacement. But nontheless, I manage to bring the elder two out by myself on public transport! The kids are much older now so its actually managable to bring them out. There was once I brought all three out with the “new” helper on public transport too. I think I’m getting better at this. Besides, Chubby has just submitted his final papers. So he will be graduating soon! That means a better 2017 for us!
  • Marriage
    With our help at home, Chubby and I manage to sneak out to Taiwan Taipei for a very short trip without the kids. It was definitely good for us to spend time without them. There were also date nights throughout when our “old” helper was around. We hope to continue this in 2017.
  • Work
    I left my job of 10 years in the middle of the year. Something I didn’t quite plan, but things just came along and I made the jump. I’m quite happy with my new work for now. Learning new things, less stressful and nearer to home. This means more time for the family!
  • Reading
    I manage to read 3 books this year! Not a lot compare to the past when I had no kids. But a great improvement from 2015. I hope I am able to continue and read more books next year.
  • Crafting
    I set out to do a quiet book for the littlest a few months back and find myself enjoying it. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see the completed pages. The sewing also calms me down. So its like a win-win situation for me and the littlest. Now its just waiting for us to get use to the new routine before I continue.
  • Cooking
    I must say I was never a cook. My mum and Chubby cooks well, there was no need for me to cook until I started preparing my own lunch last month. I actually manage to prepare a whole week of edible lunch. I’m so impress with myself. LOL. I will like to continue doing this next year! And add baking into the list.

How about you? How was your 2016?

Book: Sarahbelle’s Playful Puns

Although the boy (6.5 y.o) is quite well read, we didn’t really introduce “Puns” to him. He initially thought they were similar to words that rhyme. I tried explaining to him and the girl, but they couldn’t quite get it. The best way is to learn through examples, which are playfully “illustrated” (pun intended) in this book “Sarahbelle’s Playful Puns”

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Naughty or Knotty?

The book talks about a day of Sarabelle, and how she uses pun in her day and brings laughter to her mother as well as us (the readers). This is good as the kids can identify with the things she is doing.

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This is the kids favourite page, they laughed loudly when we come to this page. Something they could really identify with. Guess what is Daddy doing?

The kids love the book and requested me to re-read a few times when we first got our hands on it. The illustration and story were funny. However, some words are unfamiliar to our kids, so they didn’t quite get the gist of the pun. For example, we don’t usually use the word “knotty”. I usually says “tangled” so my girl didn’t understand “knotty” until I explained to her. However, it does give her a chance to learn new words!

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What word rhymes with Otter?

“Sarabelle’s Playful Puns” is written by a local writer, Anastasia, who is a part-time working mum to three small children. This book is about her eldest daughter who is 6 (same as the boy!). Through the story, she hope to demonstrate that language is very much alive and fun. As a mum, she wants to leave a legacy for her daughter and immortalise the precious things that she says now.

Support local author and get her book from this crowd funding website or at Le Petit Pumm, Centerpoint, #03-05. It will make a great christmas present for the 4-8 y.o.

*Disclaimer: We received this book for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. We are just doing our part in helping local authors. All opinions, fun and laughter are our own.

Development: TT @ 22 and 23 Months

This post has been sitting in my draft for so long that I missed the timeline to post it. LOL. I have edited it and added in the 23 month development of our littlest.

22 Months

Mastered Skills:

  • Can kick a ball forward
    I guess so. He misses the ball quite frequently.
  • Follows two-step requests
    Yes. I have tried asking him to pick up rubbish on the floor and throw into the bin.
  • Imitates others’ behavior
    Absolutely. When he is upset (for example, couldn’t get what he wants), he will cry and walk to a corner and cross his arms. Something his bro and sis does whenever they are angry. I think it all started with the eldest.

Emerging Skills:

  • Can do simple puzzle
    I have gotten him some wooden peg puzzle, he can identify which piece goes where but is unable to rotate them properly and fix it correctly.
  • Can draw a straight line
    <Insert doodle pic>
  • Can identify several body parts
    Head, Knees, Toes, Hands, Eyes, Ears, Mouth, Teeth

Advanced Skills:

  • Can put on clothing
    Nope. He couldn’t even take out his clothes properly.
  • Might be ready for a big bed
    Absolutely not. LOL. He has been co-sleeping in our room since he was a baby. In the past, he can sleep by himself throughout the night. Only require us to pat and stay with him for a short while should he wake up in the middle of the night. Nowadays, he will wake up in the middle of the night and climb onto our bed and sleep between us. And I notice he sleeps better and wakes up lesser when he sleeps between us.
  • Understands opposites (tall and short)
    I don’t think so. Never really tested him on this.

23 Months

Mastered Skills

  • Can make a tower of four bricks
    Absolutely. The boy loves stacking. We found him stacking up the bottles (tooth pick bottles, vitamin bottles, etc) on the dining table. And surprisingly the manage to stabilise them quite well and the tower can “grow” decently tall.
  • Can name a simple picture in a book
    Dinosaur! He is able to pick up Dinosaurs in the books. Even with a new book I borrowed from the library, he was able to recognise them. Of course he can named other items or actions like banana, bear, apple, sleep, etc.
  • Can use 50 single word
    I think so. Off hand the words I can recall are “Dinosaur, Banana, Bear-Bear, Apple, Eat, Sleep, Milk, Moo, I, Shoes, Socks, Change,  Mickey Mouse, Maisy Mouse, 汪汪队 (Paw Patrol in Chinese), 不要 (his latest verb), Daddy, Mummy, Jie Jie, TorTor (GorGor), TuTu (GuGu), MaaMaa, PoPo, YiYi, QQ, school, open, biscuit, potato, duck, dog, cat”. I’m sure there are much more but I didn’t really keep track or count them. But I think we have no worries about his speech development as of now.

Emerging Skills

  • Can make two- or three-word sentences
    Yes. I have heard him say “I eat apple”.
  • Can sing simple tunes
    Yes. His favourite song is “Happy Birthday” complete with candle blowing sound. LOL.
  • Takes more of an interest in playing with other children
    Hmm. Not really. He still plays by himself most of the time and dislike people to “touch” his things, though he take his GorGor and JieJie’s toy when they are playing.

Advanced Skills

  • Can walk down stairs
    If we hold his hands or he hold the side, yes. Or if it is just one little step, he can do it by himself.
  • Talks about self (likes and dislikes)
    Nope. The most is “不要”.
  • Asks “Why”
    Absolutely no. LOL

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Dear TT,

Time flies, you will be 2 next month. This month you started school, which was a big thing for you and the family. Your GorGor and JieJie are so excited that you are joining them in school. Unfortunately, you fell ill on the 4th day onward and didn’t go to school for a week. This tire Mummy, Daddy and MaaMaa out. Cause you are extremely grouchy and clingy. But you are slowly recovering now, hope your flu and cough will be gone soon and you will have a better night sleep.

And Mummy has to say you adapt well to school. By the 2nd day, you are totally fine without Mummy and Daddy around. Not sure if it is because you can see GorGor from your classroom and that provided you with some assurance. However, GorGor will be gone by the end of the month. Hopefully by then you will have built up a relationship with your teachers and friends.

Hope you will continue to enjoy school and be ready for your birthday party in school next month!

Love,
Mummy

Book: 十四只老鼠大搬家

We stumbled upon this book quite by chance. I make it a point that the kids must borrow at least one Chinese book each time we visit the library. So the girl was looking around and I was helping and I saw this book and showed it to the girl, cause she loves reading “Seven Little Mice” series, and I thought this drawing looks similar with that (I later found out they were from the same illustrator). The boy also quipped in to share that he has read another book from this 十四只老鼠 series in school and enjoys it. So we borrowed two from the series back home.

And since that day, the two books were read almost everyday before bed time. The kids simply love the illustration which is funny at times.

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The wordings will also have questions that make you examine the illustration and find out who is doing something funny. The kids love looking for the answer.

I believe “十四只老鼠大搬家” is the first in the series. It talks about how the family of 14 (Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, Mom and 10 siblings) were out scouting for a new house. They walked in the forest, slept in the open, met the weasel and finally found a big tree that meet their requirements.

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There will also be funny illustration like this where someone was hit by the bamboo. Or who is the naughty ones that are not working but fooling around. I think it reminded the kids of themselves so they love looking out for such ‘funny’ drawings.

So off they go to build their house. They even manage to connect water from a waterfall all the way back to the outside of their house. It certainly show the kids that team work is very important. Everyone has a part to play in the family.

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We used this page to discuss about Science. I asked how the kids think how the water can flowed all the way home. I think it is also a good extension into a home project to make our own structure using straws to experiment it out.

Apart from learning about working together as a team, we learned quite a handful of Chinese vocab from the book. For example, the boy asked me “What is 黄鼠狼?” (haha, Mama knowledge of animals and Chinese is limited). I had to check with Mr Google to find the answer.

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Together we also found out what is 橡子, 松果 and 山药.

If you are looking for a good 绘本 to read to your pre-schooler, consider this book. It has interesting story and beautiful illustration.

Title: 十四只老鼠大搬家
Author:
Iwamura, Kazuo
Call No.: Chinese IWA
Available At: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun Libraries