April 28, 2008

Countdown to the end of being FTWM

Woke up with an eye infection and had to excuse myself from work. Taking this day off was really worthwhile as I got to experience how life will be after June 17 2008.

Managed to spend some quality time with Kyle and got thoroughly amused by his antics, he is one funny little guy. Belle, our domestic help seems to have a way to get Kyle to take his routined naps in the morning and then in late afternoon. This has been rather challenging for me, as Kyle does not seem to want to take any naps when he is with Keith and I, all he wants to do is to just play and play...

Another problem that Kyle has is that he is not able to self-soothe himself to sleep, as he has got rather used to Belle carrying him to sleep, does not really help when he is getting rather heavy. Really hope that he will get out of this stage soon and when the time comes for me to take over, I will be able train him to self-soothe himself to sleep . Not proud to admit that I am rather dependent on my domestic help at this point when it comes to putting Kyle to bed :( Alas, the agony of a working mother...

High on Hi-5

Anything given in moderation will be fine, even if it means exposing to a toddler to TV for half an hour a day. It is not possible to prevent Kyle from watching TV daily, as he spends most of his time in the weekdays at my mom's place.

I suppose this is a common dilemma that most working mothers experience when their child is left to another care-giver in the day. For any caregiver, it is easy to leave a kid in front of the TV every once in a while to give yourself a breather.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a child watching TV, but it matters how much time is spent in front of the TV and the kind of programmes that the child watches. Just as long you limit TV watching time and choose your programmes for your child carefully.

Kiddy Programmes like Hi-5, Sesame Street, Barney (although the purple dinosaur sure is annoying), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Mickey is a classic) are entertaining and educational at the same time.

I am amazed by the attention that Kyle gives when Hi-5 is on TV. He usually signals that he wants to be seated on the coach, and nothing seems to be able to distract him for a full 15 minutes.

Nothing seems to unfaze him, not even when dad comes along and plants a kiss on his cheek!

April 27, 2008

Goofy Flash

It's always hard to get a proper shot of Kyle when he is always on the move. Have not been using flash from the start and it seems that auto focus don't work too well without the flash. See the kind of pictures that I always get...

Tried using flash this time round, and Kyle being all curious and fascinated by the flash of light from the camera, produced these looks...

After a few shots, while at the same time being really tickled by the way he looked, Keith told me to stop torturing him with the flash.

Tried to take more pictures later in the day, and notice those little hands of his? Took some more pictures with the flash and see what I got again...

In the end, I finally managed to get this shot with flash...

April 20, 2008

So what is Kyle up to at Nana's?

Sitting on Yiyi's lap, in front of her mac and doing what he is usually fond of, fiddling with the computer's keyboard and analysing what's on the computer screen. Spend like 2 mins 'typing' to daddy as Keith is on msn, away in London. I think he is a tech geek (like Yiyi) in the making.

Helping himself to a sip of Nana's drink on the coffee table

Busily walking about, checks out every room in the house, chases Shawnie in circles, ensures that Shawnie gets a big pat of his furry body whenever he walks pass Kyle

Just being my favorite little person. When he gets those bear hugs from me, I just don't want to ever let go and wish that moment lasts forever...

A dip in the pool

Swimming with Alex was cancelled as we initially expected a downpour with the dark clouds that gathered in the sky. Somehow the rain stopped after a short drizzle and grand-dad brought Kyle for a swim.

Kyle seemed absolutely thrilled that he could 'waddle' through the water without much help

Adventures in Gymboree

Kyle finally overcame his fear of small spaces and decided to crawl into the little tunnels and tubes at Gymboree!

and the next one

and the other

and one more

He could even encourage his classmate while the latter was crawling through the tunnel!

He also attempted to hug a girl in class as as he was so delighted during bubble time. As the other little one was not very stable while standing, they both fell together on the mat and ended up in tears. He is one affectionate and sociable little guy...

April 19, 2008

Homosexuality 101

Spent like the last hour watching a video link that was given by http://www.mommylife.net/ on what causes homosexuality in human development.

I must say that it has been extremely informative and it does answer some of the questions that I have had in regards to the root cause for homosexuality. According to the speaker, Dr Julie Harren Hamilton, homosexuality is not a choice. The two schools of thought which are both inaccurate, the first one that believes that it is biological, i.e, people are born gay and the other one that assumes that homosexuality is a choice. Contrary to belief, people do not choose to be gay as 'we do not choose our behaviour but do not choose our attractions and desires'. It is driven by feelings and thus is not a conscious choice.

So where does it come from then? Dr Hamilton believes that it stems from a development issue from childhood, and there are numerous factors that drive this development.

1. Gender identity - the way that a person sees himself according to his own gender. How masculine/feminine he sees himself

2. Perceptions of the child - what the child believes

3. Temperament of the child

Enviroment + Temperament = Homosexuality

The relationship that the child has with his mother and father, as well as alternate caregiver has an influence over his gender identity. Also as he goes to school, the relationship with his peers of the same gender is crucial as well.
All these factors then come together with the influences of the child's temperament and his various experiences will determine his orientation.

One very key person that will direct this path for a boy especially will be his father.

From the age of 2 and a half. A child faces a challenge of begin separating his attachment from his mom and attaching himself with his father. Through this relationship with his father, he develops a sense of identity. He looks up to his father to answer this questions for him, 'What are boys are about? What should boys do?' All these questions are happening at an unconscious level.

From 2 1/2 to 4, he starts to break away from his mother and attaches himself to his father. And his father will need to answer those questions by
- spending time with his son
- showing and interest in his son, particularly showing interest in what his son is interested in
- verbally affirming his son, 'I am so proud of you,' 'You are so strong' etc
- conveys by physical touch like hugging and holding, it is through physical touch that the boy develops a sense of his masculine body

Now I understand why societies in asia have an influx of homosexuality. Traditionally, the men has always left the care and subsequently development of the child to the mother. Fathers have generally neglected the importance of bonding with his son, either that because of the stress that men faced in their jobs. They often became very short tempered, and become loud and explosive in when they become angry. As a result, the child does not feel safe to leave his attachment from his mother to someone he perceives is like a monster.

As male chauvinisim continues to rear its ugly head in asian societies, it is common for fathers who think that they can help their son when they do not measure up by saying things like, 'Quit acting like a sissy,' 'You are acting like a girl,' 'You are mama's boy' etc. Although well intended, it can be extremely damaging when the sense identity of gender is forming for the child.

For a more complete run down of this video, you can click on http://parachutetime.blogspot.com/ to read a verbatim version of the talk by Dr Hamilton or go to this website for the video http://www.homosexuality101.com/ The video covers a small section on Lesbanism, which I will add it in my paraphrase verbatim version as well.

April 16, 2008

So, what do I want?

I am not certain what is it that I truly want for myself in this life. Some questions I have asked myself :

- Do I want to be working in a marketing job till I am 45 years old? And having to manage a routine like that daily; wake up-go to work-spend 8 hrs at work helping a corporation sell something to the masses-leave work for mom's place-have dinner-leave for home-play with Kyle for an hour-read a book-go to bed

- The big question will be what will I do when I leave the corporate world when I am 45. Find a second career? Obviously my kids will have no time for me.

The weekend drill is slightly different; struggle to get up early at 9am-try to play with Kyle while trying to keep awake-while Kyle naps, spend some time on the net-bring Kyle to class-come home to stone with Keith and watch DVD. Start to feel depress on Sunday evening thinking about having to go to work the next day.

As for the relationship with the hubby, we dont seem to have much time for one another. He is either travelling or I am travelling...the only time we have are the weekends, which is mainly shared with the little one.

Is that all life is about? If life is about making choices for ourselves, am I making the right choice with my life? Somehow I feel that my talents left dormant and passion does not seem to exist in that area where I spend more than 8 hours daily on the weekdays.

I fear to take that step into the unknown, the many 'what ifs' just run through mind; what if I fail if I decide to move away from familiarity? What if I just lose total interest and passion again? What then should I do after that?

Maybe I should stop thinking too much and just wait patiently for His confirmation.

Can I teach?

Received the books from Amazon this week and I started on this book Mommy, Teach Me! by author Barbara Curtis, a certified Montessori teacher, Christian and mother of twelve.

The fundamentals of this book is built on the belief that the preschool years are the most valuable for building character and a love of learning. And all mothers are made by God to be able to teach their own children.

Some key strategies that I have learnt from this book that will help release a mother's teaching ability :

1. Observation
Make purposeful observation when your child is not aware
- What are his favorite activities?
His favorite activities are hitting the ball with his kiddie racket or golf club

- How can they be adapted to create more learning opportunities?
Hmm...have to think about this

- What frustrates him, distracts him and makes him worried?
The TV distracts him, so does grand-dad being around him. Frustrate or worried - no apparent action or thing at this point.

- What produces a look of accomplishment?
When he hears praises like 'well done', or when we clap when he does something well

From observing, you will discover your child's potential and his unique gifts.

2. Understanding
Make the effort to see the world from your child's eyes

3. Flexibility
Keep an open mind and always be ready for change

4. Confidence
Whatever you do, don't give up. Just keep moving as there will be small successes everyday, just do it to the best of our ability

Use these strategies with the five potentials of how to release your child's learning ability :
1. The child's need for Independence
2. The child's need for Order
3. Teach the child self control
4. Encourage concentration
5. The child's potential for service (desire to help)

I am going to make an effort to start on this strategies from tomorrow and make myself a better teacher to Kyle. The only challenge that I face now is the amount of time that I am able to spend with him :(

April 13, 2008

Bookworm Inaugural Episode

Returned to an old hobby lately; reading. Felt that I needed to do something to feed this brain of mine, as it has been malnutrion for more than a year, really have to start before it starts to shrink to the size of a pea.

No more fiction books from Dan Brown or any suspense writers as it gets predictable and disappointing after a while. So I embarked on a new objective; to read plenty of non-fiction books on parenting. Need to get more knowledge on how to be a better parent, maximise the potential of my child and learn how to really enjoy this journey of a child growing up. Especially the precocious age of 1-6 years old.

Now patiently awaiting these books from amazon.com;

The Preschool Years by Ellen Galinsky and Judy David

The review on Amazon :
"offer practical solutions to everyday parenting problems such as discipline, learning, routines, family relations, work, and child care...the authors introduce the latest findings on child development to support their views."

Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen
The review on Amazon :
"...demonstrates that parents need to lighten up and spend a few hours giggling with their kids. Play is inherently educational for children, he claims, and parents can learn plenty by examining the games kids play--from peekaboo to practical jokes...and how learning to appreciate these games can lead to surprising emotional insights..."

Mommy, Teach Me!: Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning by Barbara Curtis

The review on Amazon :
"The preschool years are by far the most valuable for building character and instilling a love of learning...will help you tune into your child's developmental needs and show you how to turn every day at home into a learning adventure your child will never forget. "
These 3 are just a few of those books that I have recently purchased from Amazon.com. Really looking forward to reading them and seeing how I can apply them with Kyle. Will surely follow up in future entries on valuable and practical tips from these books.

April 12, 2008

Growing Up Gifted review

Got a call yesterday from the Growing Up Gifted (GUG) preschool at United Square and was informed that there was a slot today for a trial class at 11.30 a.m. Brought Kyle this morning to attend a trial class and to evaluate if this preschool was indeed according to claims their leaftlet, '...premium preschool developed by curriculum specialists in both Gifted Education and Early Childhood Education.'

Was slightly late when we arrived at the school and was told to go to Room 1. Glanced around and noticed that there were about 8 to 10 rooms in total. First impression : Environment did not seem very condusive as classes were confined in each room.

Was greeted by a strong unpleasant odor of bleach when I entered the room about equivalent to the size of an average bedroom in a HDB flat. A teacher came over to check Kyle's hands and feet and got him to clean his hands with an anti-bacterial. I slotted in the baby bag in a 'pigeon hole' which was allocated for parents to keep their bags and various belongings.

The 1.5 hour class for tots 8 months to 1.5 years was as such :

11.30 - 11.40 : Play or with kids in the room with toys
11.40 - 11:50 : Random Songs
11.50 - 12:00 : Rolling the Ball
12:00 - 12:10 : Story Time
12:10 - 12:20 : Project Time
12:20 - 12:30 : Tea Break
12.30 - 12. 45 : Zoo-Phonics
12.45 - 1.00 : Random Songs

At about 12.30, Kyle started pointing at the door and he wanted out. I walked out and entertained him with the artwork done by the other tots which was put up on the boards lining the corridors outside the classes. Tried bringing him back in again but to no avail, the little fella started bawling again. I did not want to insist that he continued in case he became an annoyance for the rest of the kids in the room. So that's how it ended, and I did not think that it was a pleasant experience for tot or mom.

My conclusion : Growing up Gifted is overrated. Read good reviews about it from the Singapore Motherhood Forum, but somehow it's standards are below my expectations. The reasons :

1. The smell of bleach really turned me off from the start. The owner probably took pains to ensure that the environment is kept clean and hygenic, but I think the room has to at least be odourless or smell pleasant.

2. The random songs sounded like songs that were badly composed. The lyrics did not even rhyme, sounded like one of those songs that Keith randomly sings at times :P

3. Rolling the ball activity was lame. I really did not need to pay $45.00 for my tot to roll a beachball to another child in class

4. Tea Break. I was surprised that the preschool did not provide a snack for the kids. Nevermind about the drinks but how much does some kiddy biscuits or pandan cake cost anyhow?

5. Storytime - it was the classic Goldilocks and the three bears. Rather boring.

Probably the only thing that I felt was of value was Zoo-Phonics which I think that they are schools out there that have this program in their curriculum. The class tried to incorporate song, some form of music and movement, phonics and language, art and puppetry. But it just all felt rather dis-organized and couldn't seem to hold Kyle's attention.

There needs to be further improvements to the way the classes are structured, as well as better interaction from the teachers. I don't plan to sign Kyle up for the classes, with this sort of standard in pre-nursery, I think Kyle is probably better off home schooled till he is 3 years old.

April 4, 2008

Something you can do without

Took urgent leave today to take care of Kyle, as Belle is also down with the flu. This strain of the flu virus seems pretty strong as Keith started complaining last night about experiencing some body aches as well. Looks like I will be the only one left standing as I will not fall victim to this.

Kyle started getting better this morning, no more high fever or stomachaches, thank God! Except that he started throwing up his milk a few times this afternoon right after his milk feed, an attempt to get the phlegm out of his throat, poor little guy :( Plan to try some home remedies this evening to see if it helps clear the phlegm.

This is the first time that Kyle has fallen ill, I know it just part and parcel of growing up, but this is just one of those things that all parents really can do without when bringing up a child.

Despite having a slight fever (see the gel patch on his forehead which he was oblivious to), I wanted to keep Kyle happy and occupied and so placed him in front of the computer to interact with a toddler's learning development game. That got his attention for about 15 mins...

April 1, 2008

On days like these

On days like these...
I wish there was something I could do to stop his fever,
However it just continues to fluctuate at varying degrees

On days like these...
Being at work fills me with dread
And worry does not seem to cease

On days like these...
I look forward to see a toddler well and happy
And to see his appetite back at the very least

On days like these...

I have learn to live a day at a time

Cos life challenges will eventually dissipate with apparent ease.