December 29, 2009

Green fingers maybe?

“Is there fountain?” was the question that Kyle continually asked me in the car when we were on the way to the plant nursery. He absolutely loves water fountains and waterfalls, and often asks if he will be able to see one whenever we go for our nature outings.

This morning’s field trip to the plant nursery tied in with our lesson plan for ‘The Carrot Seed’. I told him yesterday that we will go to the nursery to buy some flower pots, soil and seeds to plant our first vegetable, just like the little boy in the book.

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K saw a cactus and he was so intrigued by the thorns on the plant.

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While we were walking around the nursery, I was so tempted to get more plants for the home but realised that I have never tried growing my own plants (unless mung beans can be qualified as a plant), and these plants could likely die in my hands.


He climbed into a garden swing by himself.

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We finally got what we needed and went home to plant our first spring onion plant.

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Looking forward to see the seeds germinate in the next one week. Now when I ask K, “What does the plant need to grow?” He can tell me, “Soil, water, sun and air.”

December 26, 2009

Annual Christmas do

The Christmas season will not be complete without a get-together with friends. This is the second year that I have my friends over my place, and this year, I decided to make my own Christmas presents. box3In an attempt to make more cupcakes from the first recipe, I added less batter in some of the cupcake liners and ended up with 3/4 size of a cupcake. The result was less than satisfactory, however it was still rather satisfying to roll the coloured fondant and decorating the cupcakes with it.

As for the menu for the evening : Bulgogi beef, kimchi and Shabu shabu beef with lots of mushrooms. Little preparation that I had to do before hand; thanks to dad who shared his recipe with me (he is always excellent at sniffing out ways to create easy and tasty creations). We were so stuffed trying to finish the food that I ended up not bringing out the brownie and fruits that Linda brought for dessert.

Some shots taken:

K really appreciated having Alex’s company. He stroked and pinched her cheek (quite gently I think, since Alex did not complain) a couple of times, and I was pleasantly surprised that he had little qualms in sharing his toys.box1

Kris and Andrew were being entertained by the kiddos, while Linda joined in and played with them. box4K requested for his good old refrigerator cardboard house to set up. There were lots of excited squeals and laughter from Alex and K towards the end of the evening. box5

December 25, 2009

Christmas with the family

Christmas has always been a really special time of the year for the family. xmas1 We get to spend time with one another,

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Share, chat and enjoy a feast. xmas4

Simply appreciating time together with the family. Having fun,

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giving and caring,

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a celebration for the heart.

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Christmas is not wonderful because of the pleasant surprises…

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Every Christmas song, every lit candle, every wrapped gift reminds me that this is the season of my Saviour’s birth.

“‘They shall call His name Immanuel,’ translated as, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)

 

Here’s wishing all friends a Blessed Christmas!

December 22, 2009

Wishing for a rainbow

We are back to doing our alphabet activities this week. K started on the Letter R on the lapbook, we explored a food ingredient with chalk and did a rainbow craft. Coloured salt was a simple and fun craft to do and he was thrilled to have created an array of rainbow colours in the bottle.

One colour was missing in our rainbow colours, which was red. We could not create it with the chalk colours, it didn't really matter since K got the overall idea. So what are the colours of the rainbow? The lyrics of this song says it all;

Red and yellow and pink and green

Purple and orange and blue

I can see a rainbow, see a rainbow, sing a rainbow too!

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He now knows how a rainbow looks like but have yet to see a real one. It rains so often in Singapore yet the sighting of rainbows are so few and far between. I think I have seen less than 5 rainbows in my 30 odd years. I am wishing that K will be able to catch a glimpse of a rainbow that hopefully will come our way during our nature walks, one of these days.

December 21, 2009

Nature @ Dairy Farm

After our last nature walk, K and I have gotten quite hooked to the rush that we experienced after each trip, that I have decided that we will make this a weekly habit. This time round, we ventured slightly a little further; the Dairy Farm Nature Park, located about 2 km away from our home.

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Butterflies of various colours greeted us as we started our walk. We craned our necks, looked left and right as we heard numerous birds chirping, in the hope that we will spot some uncommon birds but alas, did not see any.

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The park was relatively quiet on a Monday morning, except for a couple of nature photographers and families that we met along the way. We spotted many wild flowers, unfortunately, with my lack of knowledge of flower species, I could not really tell K what they were. Fortunately for me, K did not show tremendous interest in the plants and much preferred looking out for insects and other creepy crawlies. Anyhow, looks like I have a bit of homework to do to get myself up to speed on my knowledge about things in nature.

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K spotted his first spiderweb in the ‘wild’, his first stream that morning and plenty more wild flowers along the way. The view of the lush greenery, fresh air and peaceful surroundings made up for the lack of birds. Most definitely we will be back to explore a new route, and will be armed with our magnifying lens the next time :)


December 15, 2009

A nature walk in our ‘backyard’

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Setting :

  • bright and sunny morning at 9 a.m.
  • a small reservoir in our neighbour-hood park

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Sounds :

  • Birds chirping
  • Crickets and other critters
  • Cascading water

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Discoveries :
  • A baby brown lipped snail (its shell was only about 1 cm length)
  • Wild fungi
  • Bumblebee
  • Butterflies
  • Lots of large black ants, about 2cm in length (Crematogaster sp)
  • Wildflowers
  • A black crowned night heron (K’s description; ‘funny bird with long legs.’)

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Result :

  • An extremely observant and participative little one; busy looking under rocks, anticipating what he could discover under it.
  • Squealing with delight when he saw how the mimosa plant's leaves reacted when he touched it
  • A happy and energetic tot who was so willing to pose for photos
  • No mention of TV or any present super-hero obsession throughout the 1 and a half hour walk


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My initial worries were naught. I was worried that there will be little to see in the neighbour-hood park behind our house, and he might get bored and restless. But our nature experience proved how wrong I was.

“This is all play to the children, but the mother is doing invaluable work; she is training their powers of observation and expression, increasing their vocabulary and their range of ideas by giving them the name and the uses of an object at the right moment,--when they ask, 'What is it?' and 'What is it for?” - Charlotte Mason

10 days to Christmas

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Christmas deco at Nana's place; she has a real fir tree this year, decorated with her quaint ornaments.

Time for me to start losing some weight, before putting on more pounds after the long-anticipated Christmas eve feast.

December 11, 2009

A great way to end the week

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To be able to spend this evening playing with adorable mei mei Raeann was indeed a great way for K to end his week. K had a great time playing house with her fabulous kitchen set and was kept extremely busy with Raeann’s huge selection of toys (lucky girl has many cousins with great hand-me-downs). And just when I thought I could get him away from his vehicle toys this evening, he got absolutely thrilled when he discovered this motorcycle.

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Thanks for being such a great host this evening, E. K and I had a wonderful time!

December 10, 2009

Am I too loud for you?

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I came to realised since a while back that I have a overly-enthusiastic, boisterous and dramatic kid. The good thing about it is that he can be really sociable, loves having company, warms up quickly to children his age and can strike a conversation with any child on the playground. If his friend is willing to hold his hand, sit next to him during meals and run around together, his friend easily becomes his most favorite mention the next couple of days.

When he is in the dramatic and show-off mode, even if this is the first time he has met the adult, he will have no qualms performing his latest move. Like wriggling his butt (Shakira-style) or show the difference between a shocked look (mouth agape, very much like the expression in the photo below), versus a surprised face (eyes wide with mouth shaped into a small ‘O’). So he does get rather entertaining to watch.

T3-2 With Timothy on T3's big musical ball

The not-so-good thing is that he tends to get really loud and dramatic at times and has a tendency to scare off kids who are a little quieter. It’s quite strange how nature has this way of balancing things out, I used to be this quieter kid in school that stayed away from the boisterous ones.

I probably will not have to worry much about him being lonely when he goes to school. Although I just may get comments from school like, “Your kid talks too loudly” or “He cannot sit still” or maybe “He always talks to his friends and end up distracting them in class.”

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Getting comfortable on the floor with his friends

Lately, I find myself becoming quite stern with him. K is looking for constraints, yet at the same time resents them intensely. When he gets difficult, he can get extremely difficult. When he is at his best of behaviour, I just wonder if I am this cruel parent who tends to get overly harsh on him. It’s an age of incredible extremes. Yet, it is a wonderful time, as he is so full of this spontaneous enthusiasm and affection.

Not matter how tough it does get on some days, I am still extremely thankful to God that I am able to see my child learning, growing, enjoying the company of his friends, interacting and having fun with unbridled spontaneity. After almost one and a half years of being a SAHM, there is still nothing I miss about working in the corporate world. I will not trade this for anything in the world.

Even for those days when he tends to get a little too loud.

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Playing with Timothy and Joyce at the viewing gallery

December 8, 2009

Nature is calling

Growing up in concrete jungle like Singapore, I had little contact with nature and most of my time was spent indoors. I did get that occasional visit to the zoo or bird park, however, it was mostly through school excursions when I got to primary school. I recall that I experienced none of that when I was in preschool. (It was likely that early childhood education was still in it's infancy in Singapore in the early 80s and academic development was the only focus for the 4-6 year olds).

When I finally learnt how to read at 6 or 7 years old, (I think in those days most kids only got to learn reading in primary school) I became a bookworm. Often my head was buried in storybooks, lost in the magical fantasy of Enid Blyton books, the mysteries of Nancy Drew and Secret 7. Rarely pick up any non-fiction books about birds, insects, frogs, plants etc. Without the knowlege of nature first hand, I did not have much interest in it.

All that I knew of nature, was limited to my pet dog in primary school, rabbits and hamsters kept by a next-door neighbour, bougan-villas, orchids and bonsais that were planted in my balcony by my green-fingers father. And a little more formal science lessons in school; planted some muang beans in primary school and in secondary school; learnt all about the innards of a dissected frog.

The only time when I got interested in nature was the time I spent in Australia in my university years. I walked to the campus from my home daily and always made a point to pick a wild flower, watch the butterflies, gaze at the cottony clouds above and simply marvel at the beauty of God’s creations.

Seriously. I hope K never become like that. To be so caught up in the secularity of this world and only know the man-made part of it. Only learn the commercial view of nature through animal enclosures and the television. Merely know the names of 2 kinds of species of birds; sparrows and mynahs or comprehend the metamorphosis of a chrysalis to a butterfly solely through a book.

Depravity comes in many forms, I think not giving a child opportunities to discern what he understands from nature through first hand knowledge is depravation. Children need to spend more time outdoors to be in direct contact with nature, learn to observe and recognise things in the natural world. I really have no excuse since there are a couple of nature parks a stone’s throw away from our home.

A wide-brimmed hat, lots of sunblock and a love for nature will be all we need to deal with sweltering morning heat, profuse perspiration and some freckles along the way.

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Trying to spot squirrels and birds with Grand-dad in Bukit Batok Nature Park

December 7, 2009

Re-prioritising

After spending so much time these last 3 years learning about child development and familiarising myself with the various education methods and ways to bring up a child. I often wonder what route I will take if dh and I chose to home-school K.

I still don't have the courage and the discipline to do this and will chose the conventional route of entering my child into Singapore's school system. However I will have to admit that I have a dislike for Singapore’s educational system. I was a late developer, struggled through my academic years in upper primary school and secondary school. And only managed to blossom when I was sent to Australia for my university years.

What if K is like me? I really hope not, I rather he takes after his dad in the academic 'department' (dh was in the ‘gifted’ programme from primary 4). This will surely make it a little easier for me in his schooling years.

Recently, when dh and nana were watching golf channel in her place, they talked about the possibility of grooming K into a sportsman. K has shown potential for golf and tennis from a very young age. He picked up tennis before he could walk, would be hitting the balls while sitting in his tricycle. And could effortlessly swing his toy golf clubs and hit plastic golf balls when he was about 1 and a half years old.

However, the grim possibility is this. Even if K is gifted in golf or tennis, it is hard for him to gain international standing if we were to stay within Singapore. If our family cannot afford to invest hundreds of thousands to send him to a foreign university in US or UK, sponsor him for international tours to obtain a standing in PGA or Pro tennis circuit, there isn’t a chance.

Instead of banking on hopes of being able to groom a sportsman, it is my job to expose him to as much learning as possible while growing up. Golf and tennis can be for leisure, if he really shows a gift for it, we can pursue it as see how far it brings him. The focus cannot be just in academics, it is not enough for one to just have book smarts. But also in areas of moral, emotional intelligence, social development, nature, sciences and the arts.

Sounds like a list of things to do and a huge challenge for me, but when I learnt more about the Charlotte Mason educational method, it is not as hard as I imagined it to be. I have read about this about a year ago, but recently my interest in it has been renewed after reviewing my home-school experiences with K thus far. I will be looking at ways to incorporate the principles of this method with our home curriculum, and continue using this to supplement his learning even when he enters preschool. This method will have more longevity as he develops and will allow me to learn alongside with him.

It is of my utmost conviction that that I bring up a child who will become a socially responsible and accountable adult, has self-control, learns to relate and adapts well to the environment around him. And most importantly, put God first in his life.

December 4, 2009

Family time

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I figured that it was about time to make our 'Friends of the zoo' membership worthwhile, before it expires in 2 months. As dh had some time-off this morning, we took this opportunity to make a morning visit to the zoo.

Being a mom who is a stickler for routines, I always ensure that our visits last the most 3-4 hours and then head home for K to get his long afternoon nap, after having lunch at the zoo. With that limited time each visit, the objectives to be achieved become extremely targeted. K will be posed this question, "What animal you want to see today?" And then we will just plan complusory stops along our route.

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Each time when we are at the zoo, dh will make sure that I take that mandatory photograph of K and him with the otters, and then reminisce about the very first photograph that I took of them both in that same location. It's hard to believe that it has been barely 1 year 7 months ago, and our precious little bundle has grown to be this sociable toddler.

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A trip to the zoo will not be complete without a visit to waterplay area. Especially since K is such a huge fan of water play, I thought I should not deprive him of enjoying some splashing good fun just because I am not too willing to get myself wet. Thus, dh was assigned the task of accompanying K in and around the area.

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K had a short 40 minutes experience in waterplay, before a downpour came and we settled for a greasy fried chicken lunch. One of my gripes about the Singapore Zoo has to be the quality of food that is available. Apparently a visit to the zoo usually means we have to end up with a not too appetising lunch. My junk food addict (hb) obviously did not mind one bit, although he did complain afterwards about how this brand of fried chicken has a tendency to make him quite sick after the food settles in the stomach.

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Nevermind the food, it was the company that mattered. I am sure K enjoyed the family time together, although he got slightly feverish in the evening. Somehow, his antibodies has this tendency to work overtime after a session of waterplay. Time to load up on some vitamin C.

December 2, 2009

Meeting new friends and revisiting old ones

The last time Pauline and I met was a good 5 years ago. She was still working as a media planner and I was in brand management. We have came a long way since then, she's now a fantastic SAHM (brilliant @ homeschooling her children and a good cook) to two lovely kids, Timothy and Joyce.

It was a truly enjoyable session for K this morning, he got along really well with Tim (he has been telling me he wants a kor kor) and had a fabulous time at Atlantis City indoor playgym. As for me, I enjoyed a good catch up session with an old friend.

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'Swimming' around the ball pit

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Getting Tim to jump into the ball pit


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Acquired a new milestone : He is finally able to cross the balance rope without any help, but with lots of encouragement from me. This was done only after shouting "Help, Mummy, me cannot do it," a couple of times.


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Sat next to Tim during lunch and played 'crashing' toy cars.

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Spontaneously held each other hands while making their way to the foyer

So looks like we will be seeing more of Atlantis city soon, as well as meeting up with Tim, Joyce and mummy Pauline!

December 1, 2009

Boxing

K told me that he wanted to do boxing and needed to remove his shirt. Then requested for boxing gloves. I found an alternative; his socks.

Then he performed a series of punches and kicks in the air, coupled with nifty footwork. Wearing only underpants, sans his t-shirt and socks on both hands. Only when u are below 5 years old, one can be semi-naked in a photo, and get away with it by looking cute.

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I asked him later where he learnt about boxing (None of us at home watch boxing on TV). He told me, "On TV, Grand-dad was watching."

24 days to Christmas

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Someone holds his wrapped present at least once daily and has been asking me if he can open it.

November 30, 2009

Strange emotions

It started right after when K finished his slice of dh's birthday cake, I played a CD with Christmas music and K wanted to dance along to the music. When dh took my hand and told K that he wanted to give him a demo to show him how to slow dance to the music, K started getting upset and insisted...

K : Only mummy dance with me
Dh carried him, then held my hand
Dh : Family can dance together
K got more upset, started crying
K : Don't want family
Dh tried to get him to explain why he said "don't want family," K was crying through this whole conversation.
K : Only want mummy, don't want family. Daddy go to work, I want mummy only
Dh : Don't you love daddy?
K : Don't love daddy

By this time, Dh got quite sadden by K's remarks, so he asked K again
Dh : Daddy, mummy and you are in one family, we love one another
K : Sad family

K cried harder
M : Why did you say sad family? Mummy and daddy love you alot, you know?
K : Daddy always go to work
M : Don't you miss daddy?
K : I want daddy to go to work
At this moment, we both realised that K (being upset) purposely said the opposite what he wanted and this meant that dh did not spend enough time with him and he wanted to spend more time with his dad
Dh : Don't you like it like today, we went out and spend time together
K : Yes (still sobbing)
Dh : Don't you love daddy?

K was crying even harder
K : Yes
K turned to dh and went into his arms
K : Daddy don't go to work
Dh : Daddy needs to go to work as we need money for this home
M : Daddy will spend more time with you ok?
K : Yes (still sobbing)


I really didn't know how to react when I witnessed this that transpired in front of me, I was laughing and crying at the same time (being a mother does make me such an emotional wreck at times). It was so strange to hear a 2+ year old expressing that sort of emotion and sensitivity, yet I felt quite moved by it.

Come to think of it, I am quite certain that the birthday cake that K ate had some pear liquer in it. So it's true that when a person gets drunk, you lose your inhibitions and tend to get emotional, even for a 2 year old.

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Another birthday for K

Dh requested for Teppenyaki and we decided on Shima @ Goodwood Park Hotel. He had his fill of beef teppenyaki, while I stuffed myself with salmon sashimi and K loved the salmon teppenyaki and miso soup. We were all 'afflicted' with garlic breath for the rest of the day, but it was well worth it for we had a wonderful lunch.

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Both wore the disposable bib given by the restaurant and and went to see the fishes in the tank outside its premises.

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The last time we had a teppenyaki meal was when K was about 1 year old. He was rather fascinated when he watched the chef whip up our meal in full view.

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No meal will be complete without dessert, and for K, it has to be vanilla ice cream.

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No, it's not his birthday today. But according to K, anyone from the family who celebrates his/her birthday will need to share their birthday with him. Which includes, allowing him steal the limelight and giving him the full responsibility of blowing the birthday candle.

Happy birthday my dear hubby Keith...K and I love you lots!