Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Surprise Idea

July was always a special month because it was a birthday month.

Or at least I used to find it pretty special till practicality took over.

Mr H had grand surprise plans.  He arranged with my mom to babysit the children while he arranged for a staycation at the newly opened Sofitel SO Hotel along Robinsons Road, movie, dinner at Equinox, drinks at New Asia Bar and brunch for the next morning before picking the kids up.

Coming from Mr H, it was amazing because the man had not been known to plan.  He amazed me by putting a well-thought plan together.  However, he was concerned about passing my stringent standards and did not really dare to execute the surprise, especially since the surprise was meant to happen one week after my actual birthday due to unavailability.  The last time he attempted to surprise me with a ‘late celebration’, I almost butchered him.  Trust me, there was a lot of ‘He forgot all about it’ whines going on.

Hence, I actually found his gesture of preempting me about the surprise a sweet gesture.  Finally, the man got it!

However, the pragmatic side of me was really hesitant about doing a staycation.  I thought the monies could be put to better use, like upgrading certain elements of a holiday.

While I graciously and happily basked in the delight that my husband took the efforts to plan, I rejected the staycation.  After all, it was the thought that really counted.  Knowing that he was able to produce a flawless plan made me feel very loved.  Guess it would not come as a surprise that “Acts of love” was my love language.

I would not say no to a nice dinner though.

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Teachers in Singapore

As per how some parents have allowed their children to undermine their authority, the spillover effect on teachers was far worse.

Teachers in Singapore had a tough job to do, tall orders to meet and large shoes to fill. At the same time, some of them might not have the experience or the authority to cope with demanding management or persistent parents.

While I really wished MOE could produce better teachers of higher moral fiber and impart creativity (and a million other skillsets), in the short term, that would really be a wish list and I would, inevitably, contribute part of the tall orders. I used to aspire to be a teacher but a relief teaching stint showed me that teaching was a lot more administrative than it was. This reminded me of a module I took on organizational behavior where the organizations must recognize the talents of their staff and acknowledge that some people prefer the technical aspects than the administrative aspects of a job.

You would not tell an engineer to spend his days doing curricular activities, or a researcher to double up as a counsellor, so why did we assume that teachers were able to multi-task, take on so many hats and still be able to teach well?

The world got bigger but had our teachers been trained beyond their myopic views? Their experience would pale in comparison to many working parents out there. Did the teachers have the time to develop themselves? Or had their management moved beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar framework yet? I would not know how fast teaching had evolved but the parents had definitely changed .

My mom would never challenge my teachers if they gave negative feedback about me. However, I believed I would ponder, might even possibly challenge, if I felt that the teachers were too inexperienced. The dynamics had changed. The tide had turned.

Despite so, what I thought everyone could do was to be more forgiving towards teachers, to be kinder to them, to respect them and to let them assume the authority they ought to have. If they could not discipline our children with moderation, what of our children’s future of they knew rules could be bent and broken?

The teachers had their own families, required their own set of worklife balance and I believed most of them had the sincere, honorable intentions of moulding our children for the future.

Let us focus on respecting the teachers and give them the due authority they should, before jumping either sides blindly. Teachers needed to be motivated and incentivized to become better teachers to guide our children well too.

Parenting philosophy

This really sums it all up for me.
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4753451

“Prepare your child for the road, and not the road for your child.”

While I never had the time to really organize and articulate my thoughts, this article was a really good representation of what I believed in too. This should be the Ten Commandments of parenting.

Parenting should never be about bending over backwards for the parents. We should assume our authority and use it well to guide our children.

Let us be able to bring our children up well, and not overly spoilt them into demanding children who expect instant gratifications at all turns and corners.

I always believed in moulding the children for challenges and would not hesitate to create pitfalls so that they would fall and learn better.

KidStop at Science Centre

This is a separate entity from the Science Centre and requires separate entrance ticket. I have seen a few shots and blog mentions about this place. The pictures are interesting enough to warrant a trip down.

I had thought that the entrance fees were high (if you thought of it as a local attraction) but if I compared it to indoor playgrounds, the price tags were acceptable. It was a matter of perspective.

The decor was awesome and honestly, my favorite part was this free fall “game”. The maximum height was 7m and lowest was 3m. I thought it was the craziest thing ever to see a child free fall from 7m! However, Z was only game to fall from 4m. I thought this section alone was sufficient to redeem the full value of all our entrance fees. It was way too cool!

Gearing up!20140622-214800-78480702.jpg

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Featuring another child who took the 7m plunge20140622-214800-78480331.jpg

A confident shot – before he got really worried up there20140622-222152-80512007.jpg

Becoming a pro20140622-214801-78481051.jpg

We actually made Z go up 4 times in total because I wanted him to break his own 4m limit and try for a 5m drop.  Another older kid actually told me to let Z stick with 4m if that was what Z was really comfortable with.  Very wise words coming from the kid, which I obliged!  When Z was doing his 3rd round, an older boy was squirming about being scared.  Z turned to him and informed him very solemnly, “You will not die.”  That seemed like a scene out of a funny flick.

Another older girl ran up to Z and told him that it was very important to say his last prayer.  As Z laid down to hold on to the crowbar, the girl ran back and reminded him to pray.

Kids!!

Z’s favorite was this maze like climb because there was a music playground on top??! I had no idea because we never bothered to climb. However, it was a maze so Z actually got lost a few times! He would shout for us and in due time, he learnt to follow other kids for his way out. What was hilarious was during his last round of playing, he got lost (again!!) and the older boy he was following around to exit also was lost. It was a good ten minutes before we intervened and I used my super photographic memory to guide Z down, simply based on how some kids had exited the “maze”.

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The boys liked playing with the air pressure and the ‘wind turbines’ area.  I managed to explain some bits on conservation of energy, how kinetic energy was converted to wind energy, and as Z loosely put it “the fan”.20140622-222152-80512374.jpg

 

The construction zone was fairly crowded so Z did not have a good overview of how pulley systems worked.  He played with the gears but it was quite a mess so I skipped the explanation.

The boys played with the tractor and X was not impressed by the slow ride.20140622-222151-80511171.jpg

There were more role playing.20140622-222151-80511468.jpg

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There was a kiddie theatre so Z got to experience cinematic magic.20140622-222914-80954287.jpg

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X’s favorite zones were Lego & Cooking.20140622-222913-80953602.jpg

Riding an impossible tricycle20140622-222913-80953895.jpg

There were a few exhibits of live animals and insects too.20140622-222914-80954965.jpg

The boys loved how cute the chicks were.  Z asked where their mummy was and swiftly concluded that she had gone shopping.  What a stereotype for mummies!20140622-222915-80955310.jpg

 

We actually managed to cover the entire KidSTOP in 3 hours with repeated visits to our favorite zones.  It was a pretty fun place and more meaningful for children above 3 years’ old.  Any younger, it was more of a show and tell than a try and experience place, which rendered Science Centre or other venues a better option.  Z enjoyed the place so much that he referred to it as a playground.

Belated Father’s Day celebration

Given how belated the celebration was and how late this post was scheduled, this was really late news.

I had to admit by the time the mummies (wives of 4 good friends) came together to decide on a free period, Father’s Day would have passed. That was something which we mummies had not really realized when we scheduled to meet for dinner on 21st June. All of us were too busy at the earlier weekend.

It had become somewhat of a tradition to celebrate Father’s Day for the guys. It started two years ago at Great World City when YX and I surprised our other halves with an ice cream cake.

Last year, it was a surprise Dim Sum lunch for 3 daddies. This year, maybe the guys were expecting it and could have been disappointed when we breathed no word of it. Mr H claimed he was not surprised and was half waiting for it. What surprised the guys was that we roped in a 4th daddy who was a new daddy in their foray.

It was a hearty and boisterous dinner where our table was complained for disturbance (again).

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After the dinner, some of us adjourned for wine at our place.

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Man, the last time we actually got to sit down for wine together was easily 6 years ago! I actually casually suggested about going to Mambo on 8th Aug and was met with quizzical looks.

The question was who would look after these rascals.

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Life before kids had been crazy, life after kids was crazier and so here was a toast to celebrating many more years of parenthood where we knew the kids would fight to blow out every single candle on the cake.

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Paley & Love @ Public Garden Flea market

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It was our first participation at Public Garden. Well meaning friends had always asked us to take part since the beginning of beginnings. We were really too busy in between the kids’ lessons, holidays and other activities. This time round, the Public Garden was over a stretch of long weekend and rendered it timely to participate.

Z had his first flyer distribution experience.
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There were simulation activities such as Doctor for a day, Kidzania and more. However, nothing could quite top the experience of “working” to earn your keep.

The boys were told to finish giving out a small handful of flyers before they could have their ice cream treats. Z was rather shy about it initially. He managed to take on the job with cheer and smiles. All but 5 minutes’ later, he claimed to be tired. I told him it was fine to give up on the job and the ice cream.

That was why he got really upset and told me to account the batch of flyers he gave out much earlier.

I took the chance to teach him that it was not easy to earn an ice cream treat, let alone to earn money. Therefore, it was wrong to waste toys/clothes/food. I hoped he could remember this.

Sporty Z

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This probably trains his stamina for walking long stretches during holidays.

Z loves sports and is very happy to be running amok in the pitch. Bringing up boys is so different from bringing up girls. However, it does not mean that he excels in sports at the moment. He is far too young for that and he is, in a way, disadvantaged by the fact that he is the youngest in his sports class. He cannot run as fast, cannot dribble as well but he has a keen eye for aiming.

However, I am very happy that he is lagging in his class. It makes him experience dejection and disappointment.

The kids had played a 2-on-2 soccer game and he was constantly outrun by his teammate who seemed to be 6-7 years old. Z was sulking real badly, especially when his coach told him that the boy was his teammate and they had to work together to score. Z was not to snatch the ball from his teammate. Next thing we knew Z knocked into another boy and both kids fell to the ground lightly. Z claimed that his leg was in pain and that he had running nose. We could see Z was on the brim of crying and wanted to leave the pitch. There was another 5 minutes left to the class and we encouraged him to stay on. He walked, instead of run, on the pitch. He was sulking really badly.

He was also very bothered by the fact he had to wear a sports bib, so much so that I guessed it affected his mood and triggered the crying mode.

It gave us the opportunity to tell him that he had displayed very poor sportsmanship. Regardless of injuries or fatigue, he had to endure and persevere. Playing sports required discipline and determination. It also did not mean he could win all the time and he had to deal with the fact that there were people better than him. Z sobered up, said he still loved sports and would try again.

The great thing about this boy, as per what his teachers used to say about him in school, was that he could always bounce back very fast. Nothing could really get him down.

I certainly hoped he would learn over time.