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

 

Parenting: My very ‘modern’ mother

In a few days time, it will be my Mom’s birthday. I have blogged a lot about my kids but this is the first time I am dedicating a blog post for my dearest Mummy.

I came from a humble family. My Dad is a taxi driver and my Mom started working as a hospital attendant when I was in K2 (they are still a taxi driver and a hospital attendant now). When we were young, my Dad works hard. There was a period of time, he was a container truck driver in the morning and a taxi driver by night, just to bring bread home. My Mom was not working then, so she stayed home and took care of us. But after a while, my Dad’s health suffered so my Mum decides to come out to work to help out the family.

Despite her work, which starts from 8am and ends at 5:30pm, my Mum still takes up all the housework by herself and even cook our lunch and dinner. It was only when we were much older did she get us to help sweep and mop the floor. We were very well taken care of. I didn’t have to iron any of my uniform in my entire life. Neither do I need to wash my own school shoes. Dad also doesn’t need to do much house work. My Mum works it out alone. She sleeps a mere 3 hours a day. She is that traditional probably learning that from her Mum.

Am I going to follow their footsteps, in becoming a Mother like her? Of course, she is my role model. However, not in that sense of doing all the housework. I think I’m very fortunate that I’m born in an era where we are a little more well to do. We can afford a domestic helper to help out on these. So apart from the housework, there are some things that I have learned from my Mum.

Breastfeeding
Before I became a mother, my Mum has been sharing with me about the benefits of breastfeeding. I have always assumed that is a common knowledge. Little did I know that breastfeeding is actually not common in her era. I was very impressed that my mum is actually so “knowledgable” in this area.

During my own breastfeeding journey, my Mum was one of those that kept me going. She was never discouraging and spur me on when I struggled in the initial phases. She reminded me breastfeeding is so much easier these days and we have electronic dual pumps while in the past, she has to use her own hand to “squeeze” the milk out.

Reading
You know how we are advocating to read to our kids when they are young so that they will have a love for reading. 30 over years ago, my Mum has been doing that with me. Before my Mum went out to work, we will have some time alone when my siblings are in school. I remember very clearly, she will read me nap time stories. My Mum is Chinese educated, and frugal but that didn’t stop her from buying some English books to read to me. I remember and cherish those moments I recalled having with her. After she started working, those magical moments no longer happens. But she still take a conscious effort to bring us to library whenever she can. I contributed my love for reading to all these little things she has done for me.

I’m doing the same with my kids now. I try to read to them whenever possible. There was a time where I slack, and allow screen time to take over. But now I’m trying to keep the momentum and read to them as much as possible, especially before bedtime (sometimes even getting ‘scolded’ by Chubby or my MIL for keeping the children up).

School Work
I was lamenting to my Mum how I’m kind of worried about my eldest going to P1 next year and whether he can adapt to structured school. I told her how my colleagues were sharing with me that their kids have spelling or 听写 every week or at least some will bring home worksheets every weekend as homework. But my boy school has none, though I’m not complaining.

You know what my very “modern” mum told me? She asked if my friend’s kids are from ‘PAP’ school. I told her, yes. She told me ‘PAP’ schools are like that. My siblings both have homework when they were in kindergarten. While me, who studied in a church during my Kindergarten has none. And that didn’t make me “lose out” (in fact my academic results were the best among my siblings). So she asked me not to worry.

Seriously, I’m impress with my Mum. And I do recall, she doesn’t pressurize us in our studies. If we do well she is happy for us. If we doesn’t, she will ask if we tried out best. If we do, she doesn’t scold us. She just ask us to try even harder next time.

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My mum and the littlest sometime last year. Mum is not one who likes taking photo, and for her privacy sake, I chose a photo that is not so ‘clear’. But this reminds me also to take more photo of her with me and my kids.

My Mum is amazing isn’t she? I was very surprise that she has some modern parenting back in the old days, when she is such a traditional person. I am inspired to be a good mother like her and hope that my kids will love me as much as I love her. LOL.

Happy Birthday, Mum! I LOVE you! Wishing you happiness and health!

Development: TT @ (Amazing) 21 Months

This is certainly an amazing month for the littlest. Read on after the chart to find out what happened.

Mastered Skills

  • Can walk up steps
    Yup. He can do so without holding on to anything but he has to walk slowly. Sometimes he gets uncomfortable, he will grab on to the side railing.
  • Enjoys helping around the house
    Hmm. We didn’t really see that. Maybe the helper has done all the job.
  • Can set simple goals
    Hmm. Well, if he is determined to get onto the chair we can’t really stop him. He will try ways and means to get up. Is this considered?

Emerging Skills

  • Can throw a ball overarm
    I have seen him throw things ‘overarm’, but not really ball. And his ‘overarm’ were not entirely over.
  • Can kick a ball
    Yup. And he loves it.
  • Can make building brick towers
    I guess so. There was once he took out can drinks and started stacking them on top of each other. He still doesn’t have a love in Lego yet.

Mastered Skills

  • Can name cat or dog when you show a picture
    Yes for dog. He will say ‘dog’. But for other animals sometimes he makes sound. He calls bird ‘chip chip’.
  • Can make short sentences
    Yes. That day my MIL was asking who wants to eat ice-cream. The elder two were busy watching video, and he was playing on his own. When he suddenly stand up and shouted “Me Eat” and ran to the kitchen. It amuses all of us.
  • Can walk down stairs
    Yup. For one of two steps. After which he will want to hold on to the hand or side for safety.
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The littlest got his hair shaved because Daddy hopes that he can grow thicker hair.

Dear TT,

Mummy is naming this an amazing month because a few amazing things happened this month. First off, you actually pronounce a 3 syllabus word to Mummy! That day you walked into the room you share with your siblings, picked a book and started flipping the pages. When you come to a page where the Dinosaur inside was eating something green, you actually point to it and told me “bar-cor-ny” (It’s actually brocoli. Oh well, you probably picked it up from MaaMaa who couldn’t pronounce it properly). Though the pronunciation is off, but Mummy is surprise that you can manage a 3-syllabus word at this age. Auntie and MaaMaa has taught you well. The following day you also told me that you are eating “to-ma-to” (though it’s actually potato that you are eating). And you said “banana” instead of “na-na” like your siblings when they are your age. It’s really amazing. When Mummy was afraid of your speech developments a few months ago.

Another amazing thing that happened was a little incident. One day, you were home alone with Auntie. Auntie went out of the house to throw something into the recycling bin and the door closed on her, with you still inside! Auntie panic of course. She tried calling Mummy but cannot explain herself clearly. And I think you realize that Auntie is not in the house so you actually stand near the door and cried. Auntie tried to coax you and ask you to help open the door. And the unbelievable thing happened, you actually did. We couldn’t figure out how you manage to find the height and strength to pull down the handle bar and open a small gap for Auntie to push in. It was certainly amazing. You refuse to show us how you did it too. But we are glad this is over without any big hoo-ha.

In a few months time, you will be joining JieJie in school and there is bound to be more amazing things that happen as you go through the learning journey. Mummy hope that you will enjoy school like GorGor and JieJie. And all the best in adapting to the environment.

Love,
Mummy

Book: The Day the Crayons Came Home

After we read about how Duncan’s crayon quit, we are very happy to know that there is a sequel to it!

So, it was another day that Duncan took out his crayons to color. Nope this time round his crayons are still around, just that he noticed another stack of postcards meant for him. It’s from the crayons that he has forgotten.

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Postcards are something quite ‘alien’ to the kids these days. The boy knows about it because the last time we were in Melbourne, we bought a postcard and post it back to my parents. It’s a good experience and I think it serve as a good memento too. Try it the next time you go travelling.

Similarly, this story book is full of jokes that make the kids laugh.

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Remember the two colors that wanted to be the Sun. Guess what happened to them?

This books also introduces more less-known colors like Neon Red, Pea Green, Burnt Sienna, etc. Colors that even Mummy doesn’t know they exists. LOL.

And similar to the previous book, different feelings are brought up. This time round, the kids learn about embarrassment.

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Make a guess why is Brown so embarrassed?

This book also touch lightly on countries as they show Neon Red going on a tour before reaching ‘home’.

But my favourite page of the book is really this.

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There are characters from both books on this page.

I like how he creatively solve the ‘problem’ for everyone and it’s just such a happy page to look at.

This book can be found in most National Library

  • Section: Junior Lending Picture Book
  • Call Number: English DAY

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Book: The Day the Crayons Quit

How does it feel when you wanted to look for Crayons to do some colouring and you found a stack of letters addressed to you instead? Well that was what happened to Duncan.

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Duncan was looking for his Crayons and found a stack of letters written by them addressing to him, mainly to complain about how they were “treated” by him.

The kids love this book because the crayons were really funny. There was the orange and yellow fighting to be the color of the sun and the “naked” peach color. They couldn’t stop laughing at the jokes.

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The boy thinks that this page is so funny that he can memorize the letter ‘Peach Crayon’ wrote.

For me, I like how the book introduces some uncommon color (e.g. peach and beige) to the kids and what are the objects that is in that color.

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And more importantly it teaches about different kind of feelings. It’s good to let the kids know, apart from happy, sad and angry there are other kinds of feelings that may better describe how they are feeling. For example, the girl asked me what is ’empty’. It may be a little difficult to explain and also for them to get the concept right away. But I think one day when they experience it, they will know what it is and better articulate them to others.

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This book can be found in most National Library:

  • Section: Junior Lending Picture Book
  • Call Number: English DAY

There is a sequel to this book which I will share the next week. Meanwhile, enjoy the jokes in this first.

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Thoughts: It’s okay to be a kaypoh (sometimes)

A few days ago I read about this Triple Murder in Malaysia, it caught my attention because kids were murdered and the mother is the prime suspect. How sad that is. Then a few days later, more details were revealed and a sadder truth was told.

It appears that the father (who was also found dead at the scene) was violent and had killed the baby 3 months ago when he slammed a chair at the baby who was doing what every baby was doing, crying. And the mother seems to be lost in her own world unsure of what is happening around her. They found out the truth from the two elder sons who were also abused and traumatised.

Everytime I read about child abuse and (in broader terms) family violence, my heartaches. What has these little children done to deserve this kind of treatment. And in the past, I couldn’t comprehen why the victim or the other parent if it is young kids never stand up for themselves. What has make them give up their paternal instincts? Is it because of the love for the other party? Because of financial dependence? Or thinking this is just a one-off incident? Or that they will change?

Now that I’m older, I still couldn’t understand but I am more accepting that there must be some kind of compelling reasons for someone to suffer in silence. I just hope that whatever it is, they will seek help before its too late.

As for the rest of us, I hope we can all look out for those who seems to be suffering. If you hear constant quarelling or slamming of furnitures, we should help watch out for the family. You might be called a “kaypoh” and yest its very demeaning, but if it help save a life I think it is worth it. So be more vigilant and stretch out a real helping hand for those in need. Here is an article that explains how we can help those in need. And for the numbers to call, you can refer to the this website.

If my writing is not powerful enough to convince you to act, how about a real life case to show you the impact. It’s really okay to be a “kaypoh” sometimes.

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Img source from Google.

 

Thoughts: Reflecting 3rd Quarter 2016

Did the 3rd quarter of 2016 just pass by? How time moves when there is so much on your plate. We are into the last leg of 2016, yet I don’t see myself fulfilling much of the goals I set out since the beginning of 2016! Still we shouldn’t just quit, but continue to reflect and remind ourselves to keep to it.

  • Eat Healthily and Exercise More
    I cannot believe I actually put on 2 kg in the past one month. So much to eating healthily. I guess I have been snacking a little too much in office. I started on a no rice diet (there are still some carbs here and there) for lunch 3 times a week. And I told myself no more snacking in office and to bring fruits for tea break. Let see how it goes.
    As for exercising, my chronic back pain was back due to too much “sleeping” while I was nursing a stomach flu. As a result I couldn’t really go for jogging, it hurts after the “run”. However, I did manage to go for a swim, participate in a Captain’s Ball game in office, went ice skating with the kids once and cycle at West Coast Park. I’m thinking of 5 minutes Pilates on weekday and 15 minutes on weekend morning to strengthen my back muscle. And adding swimming to my exercise list as they will have less impact on my back. The boy’s classmates’ Mummies are also asking me to join them in the GE 5Km run. I’m still deliberating.

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    The ice-skating session we had with the kids. I can’t skate but I’m sure my muscles had a good work out that day.
  • More Communication and Patience
    I guess this is coming along rather well. I’m making a conscious effort to stop myself before I lash out. Today I just learn a phrase that is to add in “think” before you act. So “Feel – Think – Act“. I’m going to apply it not only to the kids but also to everything I do.

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    What I found written on my drinks after a little incident happened and I decide to “let it go”. So think before act not only make your day but also someone else’s.
  • Spend More Time with The Littlest
    Indeed with the new job I have more time with the littlest. Especially on days where I reach home earlier and the elder two are not back yet. I can really have a good one-to-one time with him. However, there is still have a lot I want to. With three kids, it’s really tough. I’m going to define it further by trying 1 activity and 1 reading everyday with him.
  • More One-To-One Time with the Elder Two
    Totally fail in this. We didn’t have any one-to-one time this quarter. How sad. I need to make this more achievable. Any ideas?
  • More Consistent Teaching
    A month back, we attended a seminar by Pamela Lim, talking about raising a child gifted. Although there was nothing new about the concepts that she shared, but I walked away with something very clear in my mind. Academic result is only one aspect of learning and life. And the two most basic skill a child need for learning is in reading and numerals. The rest are built on them.
    With that, I changed our curriculum a little. I halved the pages of “assessment books” they need to do and focus more on reading. Be it them reading to me (recognizing words for the girl case) or me reading to them. The reading here are not fiction reading but more on facts and knowledge. I have subscribed to the NatGeo kids for this purpose. However, parent-teacher-meet and the kids Chinese class feedback shows that they still need to read more Chinese books. So I am adding more reading in Chinese for the coming months.

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    The boy saw this seed at the playground one day. He asked me what kind of “nut” that is. I told him is a seed but not sure from what tree. He explored ways and means to crack it open and finally did it. He was disappointed to see just “black stuff” inside. But we proceed to continue searching on Mr Google and we finally know its the seed of a Pong Pong fruit (Mummy is poor at science ). And we learned about “Pong Pong” fruit that day and also the boy learned how to crack open a “nut”. Learning can take place anywhere and in any form.

For personal reading wise, I completed “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. It’s so nice to be reading about Harry Potter again. I really like this book and still thinking whether I should do a blog post about it. LOL. But reading with the kids have slowed down, we need to pick up speed on that.

As for the blog, thoughts of closing it down for the past month has been popping up in my head again.Last month I have a post that generated some interest but it didn’t translate to more consistent readership. I guess also partly because I have been lazy in blogging. I happen to talk to fellow Mummy blogger Christy this morning. She suggest I rethink and find a focus on my blog. Find something I love to write about. Well, I may give it a try but it is not easy for me. Maybe I just have too many things I wanted to do. I need to remind myself I set to FOCUS in 2016.

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