Princess and The Rock

Parenting | Homeschooling | Food | Fashion

Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Moment of Truth - I'm a full-time "M" now.

So what exactly is an "M"?

Mother? Yes but I've been a full-time mother for close to six years and not only now.

Mentor? Yes to that too. I would like to think that my children regard me as their mentor, as well as, the many other roles I play. But that's not what I'm referring to here.

The moment of truth was when I realised I'm a full-time size M now, i.e. I fit well into size M clothes all the time now, not sometimes, not once in a while. "What the big deal?" you may ask. It's a ginormous deal to me because I could eat five full meals and I remained at a frame of 1.63 metres tall and 48 kilogrammes, which fit into a size S or even XS at times. Now I eat "rabbit food" half the time and I'm "blossoming", if you get what I mean.

What made me feel worse was when I was preparing for the Bali trip (I'm writing this post on my final night in Bali.), I noticed that the way my swimwear fitted was way different from my Bali trip a year ago. Let's just put it this way; there are a lot more overhanging bits now, much more than I imagined possible. To make matters worse I've arranged for a very talented and inspiring friend of mine to come along with us to help take some family photos. I was even toying with the idea of bringing our wedding attires along just to have some fun "wedding" photographs of my husband and I and Princess and The Rock. However I am pretty sure my gown has no room for all the extra bits! To be honest I thought I would be  "invincible"; I would remain slim forever as I lost weight easily after both childbirths. Boy have I underestimated the power of aging and gravity!

I know I've written about how concerned I am about the influence of media on Princess' self-image here but alas I'm not spared from it too; I needed to feel slim and fit to feel good about myself. While I was feeling awful about myself, how I "let myself go" by not exercising much, not paying enough attention to my aging skin, not having had a proper tummy wrap after my childbirths etc., my children reminded me in the most special ways to love myself, flabby tummy, underarm ding-dangs and all. One day out of the blue Princess came and buried her head into my tummy and lovingly said, "You have piggy tummy! I love your piggy tummy because it reminds me of when you were pregnant!" and she genuinely meant it! I felt terrible at first when I heard "piggy" (of course I didn't show it) but I later thought it was pretty OK because she REALLY loves me and my piggy tummy. So what if I'm a size M? "M" simply means "MORE to love" to me now and "S" is short for "SO WHAT?" Haha! I don't deny there's an element of sour grapes. :P

Coincidentally the Rock further confirmed the fact that a woman with a little more to hold is cute! Watch this video and tell me who is your favourite girl?

Can you guess which is Rock's favourite? He chose the girl who appeared at 2:37 because she is so "cute and chubby" and the woman who's bald at 1:50 as "She's so pretty!". So the traditional idea of beauty with long luscious hair and slim build does not exist for a young child like Rock. If beauty and fashion editors see women in Rock's perspective, we would see a wider variety of beauty and fashion articles and models on the magazines at the newsstands!

Does this mean I'm completely satisfied with the way I am now? Not by a mile because I like to feel fit and energised and not lethargic and heavy but I'm not going to bemoan about the size of my clothes (although that means I can't fit into a lot of my old stuff) but get on with some sort of an exercise regime, as well as, eating healthy.

I think I may still fall into "I'm so fat" mode probably once every month due to bloating during that time of the month so do remind me "M" is "MORE to love" and help me snap out of it, will you? ;)

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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Reciprocate Temper Tantrum with...

A few days ago I shared the above post on my Facebook page. This quote spoke to me because I've been struggling with managing Princess' seemingly unreasonable temper tantrums. They were so severe that I got into temper tantrums while trying to manage that! I felt I couldn't back down and when none of my tactics work, I retaliate by annoying her! Imagine two preschoolers in a heated argument, we looked like that, except there was only one preschooler and one full-blown adult-sized post-schooler.

This went on for a while until I saw the above post and I felt it was meant for ME. I recalled my husband's reminder to give equal attention and affection to Princess after the birth of The Rock. As The Rock is a natural attention grabber with his charming and cheeky antics, it is easy for people to gravitate towards him. Remembering this, I decided to "repay" her "unreasonable" demands with more affectionate actions and see if it would yield a different result.

The next day I did the "experiment" and I'm glad to report that my hypothesis was correct! Of course I did not wait for the tantrum to escalate to the point of no return but chose to nip it in the bud with a hug. (Hey, it rhymes! :P) I noticed that each time I responded to her anger with affection and understanding she would soften and was willing to be more accommodating.

This revelation was liberating and empowering for me! The formula was easy but my pride prevented me from seeing it. I justified my unmerciful speech and action by saying, "I cannot give in to her lest she mistakes my action for conceding to her ways." All I needed to do was to show LOVE and discern her underlying needs.

As if I need to concretise my "learning",  before I linked up my post with A Juggling Mum's Motivational Mondays, I read about her understanding of her child's love languages. I thought about Princess' love languages and I think her love language is physical touch and words of affirmation because these two ways are how she shows love too.

Princess hugged me and told me "I love you forever and ever!"

Just when I thought I've got a little of this parenting thing worked out something new and challenging crops up again!

How do you reciprocate temper tantrums? Do give me a tip or two in the comments below!

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Monday, 3 March 2014

"Whatever you are, I want to be like you!"

Last night, a BIG bomb dropped on me. Just like that, in one short sentence.

It happened while we were having dinner, rather while Princess was finishing her last bit of her dinner (The Rock and I had finished ours.) She came to me and told me, "Mummy, even though I don't really like what you've cooked for me today, I still want to finish it because I want to make you happy." I wasn't quite sure what or how to feel about that statement. It sounded like I should be touched but I didn't want her to finish her food just to please me. So I told her that I wanted her to eat different types of food to get the necessary nutrients for her body, instead of going back to the same dish all the time and I much prefer her to finish her meal because of that rather than trying to make me happy.

Then a conversation like the one below ensued:
Princess: But I really love you so I want to make you happy. 
Me: Even though I keep on scolding you, you still love me? 
Princess: Yes! Just like you, even though I keep on doing things to make you angry, you still love me. Whatever you are, I want to be like you!

I could not continue the conversation anymore and I had to choke back my tears.

Princess has no idea how much impact that sentence has on me. But it weighed so heavily on me. Yes, I'm breaming with pride that my not-so-little girl wants to be just like mummy but on the other hand, I realised how important what I do, what I say, how I say it and every emotion I display has a huge bearing on my Princess! We've all heard the familiar "Children learn by imitation" theory but nothing hits home as hard as hearing it from my child.

Let's just say I haven't been too proud of the way I've been treating and disciplining her as she's in this tantrum-y (for lack of a better word) phase which I find so hard to manage. (Maybe that's why she's behaving the way she is - a reflection of me.) But I think God is really trying to show me what I need to know yesterday through a series of events. In the morning, as I watched her worship I realised how much I need to accord her the love that she so deserved as a child of God (and mine). Then she lovingly told me she wanted to be like me no matter what and just a few hours ago, I read about unconditional love (for our children) from Prayerfully Mum that really spoke to me.

As much as I feel unworthy sometimes, there's more reason for me to make each day count, to reflect the glory of Christ, as it too, would be reflected in her!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Princess and The Rock

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

"I have very important work to do too. I need to play."

The Rock uttered those words one day when I told him to sleep on his own because I needed to complete a piece of writing. I said, "Rock, go sleep on your own first, I'm going to finish up this important piece of work then I'll go to you." His response was, "I have very important work to do too. I need to play." I thought those were words of wisdom from a three year old to-be.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I'm Jealous of Jeanette Aw!

I'm so jealous of Jeanette Aw. NOT.

OK, maybe a little. We are after all about the same age but her skin looks way younger than mine, good thing I have a little help too.

Princess and The Rock
Photo Source: Instagram

Monday, 14 October 2013

5 Ways to be a Lazy Parent

Of late I realised my husband and I have slipped into lazy parenting. What exactly is lazy parenting? I'll let you in on 5 ways of being a lazy parent:

  1. Not being creative in discipline.

  2. I can't help but feel that I was a much better parent a few years ago (although I've only been one for close to five years). I felt I was a lot more calm and collected when I was a mum to an only child; I hardly had to raise my voice at Princess and most issues and unhappiness were easily resolved without much drama. These days the volume gets louder, time-outs more frequent and tears more abundant.

    An incident today suddenly made me see things clearer. We were on the way to IKEA and in the car just before we left, Princess irritated The Rock and was rude to Daddy. This sparked off Daddy's anger and of course he reprimanded Princess and  wanted to abort the plan to go out. The situation escalated in the matter of minutes and soon everyone was very upset and frustrated. I stood there feeling kind of ridiculous and perplexed that we allowed our emotions to "run wild". I couldn't help but feel that the situation could have been resolved with a little bit more patience and creativity on our part as parents.

    As work pile up and the needs and demands of our children increase, we slipped into lazy discipline; misbehaviour = scolding + anger + timeout. Frankly, those disciplining methods hardly work but we continue to do so. We stopped trying other permutations and possibilities. How about trying to get to know the "why"? How about redirecting attention to something else? How about providing alternatives? Is it possible to inject some humour? Maybe timeout for ourselves?  

    Here is a great article I read about lazy parenting that I found useful, you may want to look at it too.

  3. Not being mindful in parenting.

  4. This one is familiar to many of us. To put it across very simplistically, being mindful means paying attention to the present. That means when your child is showing you his newly-accomplished artwork, you appreciate it by looking at it, by listening to his description and praising him for his effort or good work. How many of us, in such a situation, would quickly bring out our iphones and take photos of it and post the photos on Instagram or Facebook? I am guilty as charged. With so much going on around us, it takes a lot of self-control to be a mindful parent. I know I've crossed the line when I found The Rock having to borrow Daddy's phone frequently so that he can take a photo of ANYTHING.

  5. Not being compassionate in communication and actions.

  6. Do you listen to your children? I mean really listen to what they are saying, whether in words or otherwise. I admit I've forgotten to listen actively and compassionately sometimes, especially when the dinner was on the stove, piles of laundry waiting to be folded, floor littered with books and toys and my children were threatening to send each other to the hospital! In situations like these, I couldn't hear, "I'm being treated unfairly!" or "I think you love my younger brother more than me." I could only see my children seething with anger, The Rock being a tyrant and Princess getting her way as a bully.

    I think children, just like us, appreciate being listened to. It does wonders when I simply paraphrase what my children said or give them a hug and tell them, "I know you are very upset now." I just don't do enough of it and that is silly because that few minutes I take to empathise with them I save them and myself a lot of heartache and anger.

  7. Not being organised in housekeeping.

  8. You know the saying that the state of your desk is the state of your mind? I kind of agree with it. The state of my house reflects the state of my parenting and my life. When my house is a mess, my life feels like a mess too. I really struggle with this housekeeping business but I still think it's important to keep the house reasonably neat and organised so that our children do not see us as lazy parents! I guess if I ask my children to tidy up after themselves I have to lead by example, right?

  9. Not being consistent in instructions and consequences.

  10. "I thought you said I cannot eat cold things today, why did you give me ice-cream?" Oops! Kena caught being inconsistent again. Everyone knows how important this one is but we become inconsistent unknowingly sometimes or when we are not mindful. When we do not follow through with what we've said, children are not sure about the boundaries and they tend to test to see if they can "get away with it this time". We have rules laid out but sometimes for convenience sake, we let them slip so that we can avoid a meltdown or a meal gets finished faster. Taking the shortcut "solves" the problem at hand but inconsistency in parenting may result in confusion and insecurity. 

Now that you know how lazy I've become as a parent, I need to go straighten myself out!


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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Stranger Danger

"Don't talk to strangers!"
"That uncle with the moustache is going to take you away if you don't come back here!"

Do these words sound familiar to you? I know I've been told these when I was a child and my mum is still telling these words to my children now.

I haven't thought much about this "stranger danger" issue until I read a blog post by The Blogfather recently.

My husband and I have not consciously taught or warned our children not to talk to strangers but we always remind them that there are different kinds of people around; some are friendlier than others, some like playing with children and some prefer adults-only company and some people make good choices while some people make not-so-good ones. There was an incident that I wrote about here that taught Princess and I a good lesson about the kind of choices people make in life.

My husband, the "music teacher" (also the "art teacher") made it a point to instill neighbourliness in Princess and the Rock by singing the song below with them and teaching them to greet the familiar faces whom we meet in our neighbourhood everyday.

So what about "stranger danger"? Am I not worried that my children might get kidnapped or become easy preys for pedophiles due to their friendly disposition? You bet I am! That's why the rule of thumb is: Always be at a place where mummy or daddy can see you by making sure that you can see mummy or daddy. 

Hence asking for extra serviettes or the bills in restaurants, changing notes to coins for their kiddy rides with the stall-owner or buying their snacks are simple tasks that we teach Princess and the Rock to do on their own. What we want them to learn is that they can be friendly to strangers, in fact they need to politely engage with them frequently in everyday life, but be cautious using these three rules:
  1. Do not go away with strangers.
  2. Do not allow strangers to touch you.
  3. Do not be alone with strangers; always be at a brightly-lit and "crowded" place.
To end of this somewhat serious post, here's a photo of Princess and the Rock with their favourite "Uncle Postman". :)

How do you teach your child to be safe? Do share your tips with me and other readers by leaving your comments! 


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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I just wanna go to the gym...

Last evening I was all geared up to visit the gym after the satisfying workout last Friday. I was so determined to do my Mon-Wed-Fri routine; I prepared dinner early, asked my husband to be back earlier and even took a nap with Princess and the Rock in the afternoon to recharge! When my husband came back, I gave him instructions to give our children dinner and while I was doing that, Princess threw a spanner in the works - she cried and told me she did not want me to go.

The story behind goes like this:

Last Friday evening, I went to the gym for my workout. The dutiful father decided to bring Princess and The Rock for a car wash as they enjoyed seeing the soap and water being sprayed all over them. For some reason the car wash did not materialise and Daddy took them for a drive in the forest but miraculously ended up in a cemetery. Princess got curious when she saw the tombs and asked what those stones were. So Daddy explained that those were tombs and the deceased were buried underneath them. This created a lot of sadness and anguish in the Princess because she thought of the (future) deaths of her grandparents and since that day, whenever the sky turned dark she would be sad and upset.

Princess and the Rock
So pleased I gotta have a post workout photo taken last week

So today when I told her I would be going to the gym, she immediately refused and told me "Daddy would bring me to scary and sad places!" What's a loving and compassionate mother to do when she sees her daughter visibly afraid and sad? (1) Hug her and tell her, "I know how you feel, sweetheart, but mummy really has to whip that a** into shape." (2) Tell her, "Don't be silly, baby, there's nothing to be concerned about, people die and what's more, we'll all meet in heaven." (3) Tell her, "Ok, I won't go today. I'll stay here with you."

Guess which option I chose? My mind was really with (1) but I ended up doing (3). Sigh, I really wanted to hit the gym and I was even a wee bit resentful of the fact that I couldn't even get some time off for my own health (and vanity). But the appreciation Princess showed me (for my staying back) erased any bit of negative thoughts and hey, I can always try again the next day, right? We've arranged for Daddy to bring them out for a treat while I have my workout the next time. Hopefully that would help Princess in making more positive associations with Mummy's gym sessions! We'll see how it goes! :)

So, how do you mothers out there get some time out?

Monday, 10 June 2013

7 Things We Want You To Know

Dear Daddy,

There are 7 Things that we want you to know:

  1. When we are tired and cranky, we tend to misbehave around you because we TRUST that you love us no matter what we do and how we are.  The truth is there are only a few people that we can totally bare ourselves to and since you are on top of the list, you get the brunt of our true colours - the whole spectrum of it!

  2. When we say "we don't want you!", what we really mean is "we need to cool off." And like you always said, "I will not go down without a fight!" we too feel the same way and although we REALLY WANT YOU to cuddle us, we do not want to lose face and we tell you the opposite of what we feel. 

  3. When we hit you and kick you in our fit of anger, we are telling you that we have spun out of control and we need your sturdy arms and loving discipline to put us in place. Structure and discipline make us feel secure but we will never admit that, so trust your instinct and knowledge as an adult and a loving parent, YOU KNOW BEST most of the times sometimes.

  4. When you spend time goofing around with us, we know that you love us enough to put aside important tasks so that we can bond. We are so proud that we have a daddy who is not embarrassed to do funny stuff with us so that we can look back upon positive childhood memories. 

  5. When you read to us, we wish time would come to a standstill because you are such a GREAT STORYTELLER and we do not want the reading session to end! Animated guffaws, soft hisses, fierce roars and strange voices have become our day-to-day expressions because you showed us that life becomes that much more interesting when we just LET GO and JUST BE.

  6. When you draw, paint and craft with us, we feel so blessed to have an ARTISTIC father who allows us to EXPLORE AND CREATE. We know we create a big mess most of the time but you continue to believe in the little artists in us and find ways to nurture the creativity and curiosity inherent in us and all other children.

  7. When we tell you WE LOVE YOU, WE MEAN IT. Even though there are more than enough occasions for you to believe we have ousted you. And we know you love us too. Really.

Princess and the Rock


Linking up with PeiPei.HaoHao

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting. It seems like a long time since I practised that. And I feel GUILTY.

What is positive parenting anyway? Dr. Laura Markham puts it across concisely here:

"Positive parenting -- sometimes called positive discipline, gentle guidance, or loving guidance -- is simply guidance that keeps our kids on the right path, offered in a positive way that resists any temptation to be punitive. Studies show that's what helps kids learn consideration and responsibility, and makes for happier kids and parents."

I should know better, right? I mean, I was a counsellor for a good six years in the (former) Family and Children Protection and Welfare Services in the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry (MCYS). MCYS is now MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development).

And I was not any old counsellor, but one who was formally trained in helping parents use the Triple P Program to improve their parenting skills! As one who has the knowledge at my finger tips, I should be a gleaming, shiny example of a positive parent, right? NO. Well, maybe I was for the first two years, before my second born came along. With one child, I was all about "Good job, sweetheart!" or "Uh-oh, you spilled the milk? Don't worry, mummy can wipe that away." It's a totally different story now; spilled anything means a big fat frown from me and withdrawal of privilege is the weapon of choice preferred disciplinary action.

Today my "monster" (one of the Rock's favourite words) persona stood out conspicuously to me as I witnessed THE ULTIMATE POSITIVE PARENT in action at  My Treehouse at the Central Public Library. The mother was full of smiles and encouraging words. Her toddler was attempting to put together a few pieces of giant jigsaw cushions together and each time he managed to lift up one piece, she would say, "Oh! Good job!" or "That was a heavy one, isn't it? You are strong!" I was almost mesmerised by the interaction between the parent-child duo. Then slowly a sense of guilt crept in, not the beat-myself-up-over-it type of guilt but more of the I'm-sorry-for-not-keeping-it-up-but-I'll-do-better kind of feeling.

As if being the positive parent wasn't good enough, she was the GRACIOUS parent as well. She was absolutely benevolent towards a much older boy (maybe around nine year old) who took away the cushion, which her child was sitting on, such that the child nearly fell forward. She did not tell the child off nor showed a tiny bit of displeasure! Then it seemed God was still unsure if I got the message that I needed to self-reflect, she said to another little girl, "It's difficult to share, isn't it? But you are doing a great job putting together the puzzle!" when the same older boy attempted to hoard all the cushions to build a fort. I could totally see myself going up to him and giving him a piece of my mind if I were she (in a controlled manner, of course).

If the police were to "catch me" for negative parenting,
I would be behind bars now. :(

The mother I saw was a picture of calmness, control and comfort that I was and want to be now. Rebecca Eanes, in this post, wrote about mindfulness in parenting and the thing that struck me most was this:
"Caring, compassion, and empathy do not make us weak parents but rather requires great strength and composure. Being mindful also means we must learn to control our emotional reactivity, and mindful parents teach emotional balance to our children."

Nothing can be more true than the statement above! Being a caring, compassionate and empathic parent certainly requires more careful thought and control (of emotions) than dishing out one-liner threats. Indeed I noticed that when my emotions got erratic, my children's behaviour got out-of-hand too. The mirroring of our actions, emotion and reaction is undeniable, so the sooner we realise that, the easier it is for us to parent or discipline positively.

Speaking of which I am glad to report that since I took on the Orange Rhine Challenge, the occasions of yelling has dipped. I guess putting the image of the ridiculous Orange Rhino in my head consciously when I felt my anger rising did help to diffuse the angry feelings. However I cannot declare that I am yell-free for like Jesus said, "My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak."

What is the greatest challenge for you in parenting positively? Is it a messy house or a particular "problem behaviour"? Please share with me in the comments!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Little Wonders that Captivated Little Hearts

I find myself telling my children to hurry quite a lot; I urged them to complete their homework quickly, tidy up their toys quickly, finish up their meals within a limited time frame and the list goes on.

The other day as I was (again) rushing them to my mum's house, I saw a few butterflies hovering around the flowers at the bridge we crossing and I pointed it out to them. Soon after, I hurried them to get to the bus stop. But they kept telling me, "wait!" I got impatient after a few "waits" and was going to raise my voice (obviously I'd forgotton about The Orange Rhino challenge), then I thought I heard a voice telling me to "WAIT".

I stopped and waited, then I saw what I have been missing out! My children were observing and were being captivated by the wonders of nature. The flutter of the butterflies' wings, the beautiful red of the ixora plant, the exceptionally slow movement of the snail and even the pesky cockroaches were worthy of their observation and appreciation.

So I waited and while Princess and the Rock got all excited about the butterflies, I immersed myself in their simple joy and tried to imbibe as much positive vibes as I can before the next catastrophe strikes, all by the serene longkang in front of my block.

Stop and smell the roses

This incident reminded me of one of the reasons we decided to homeschool - so that they can take as much or as little time to learn and experience subjects that are of interest to them. That was a great opportunity for nature study and I nearly botched it! In my busyness, I have forgotten the important task of nurturing their natural curiosity that is so crucial in helping them become lifelong learners.

I certainly need to learn to see the world through my children's eyes more and do what Walter Hagen said, stop and smell the roses along the way!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"This is not a good family!"

I never thought I would hear this in my family, especially not from my children. Alas, my Princess uttered these words during bedtime today, after her request for the Rock to be sent out of the room (so that she could spend time with my husband and I) was not granted. Those words pierced like nothing I've experienced before; feelings of hurt, indignation, sadness and sympathy overwhelmed me all at once. I sobbed but only briefly.

I thought long and hard about what happened and my husband and I discussed about it. It seemed he was more afflicted by it than I was, in fact, he said that this was the saddest day of his life. I, on the other hand, decided to take a step back or rather step into her shoes to try to understand where she was coming from when she said, "this is not a good family!"

My mind went into the "rewind" mode and I looked through scenarios that happened the last few weeks. Then the reason for her behaviour stood out clearly to me.


Princess has been craving for some declaration of love but has obviously not been receiving much or not as much as she'd have liked. Almost everyday she did a drawing/note of the one above and she said she would do it everyday to perfect it. It cannot be seen from the picture above but the words were encapsulated within a heart (which represented her heart, she said) and on the reverse side, another heart was drawn with "God" written within.

Through this, she taught me something so simple but so essential in relationships. She told us of her love for us all as a family EVERYDAY! She declares that God lives in her heart everyday too. 

Dearest Princess, 

I am sorry that I missed out on something as important as telling you "I love you" everyday, instead I was trying to be a good parent by diligently trying to "correct" all your wrong-doings. Despite that you tell me you love me everyday without fail. Thanks for teaching me something everyday. 

I love you so much more than I tell you so.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Where The Wild Things Are

where the wild things are

Any fans of this all-time classic children's book?

It receives a lot of love from us, especially the Rock, so it gets chosen as the book of the night pretty often. He can even recite most parts of it with actions thrown in for a good measure!

When the Princess was younger, I used to tell her the story while we were lying in bed. It became an imagination game in which she would imagine her room as Max's, where the "forest grew, and grew, and grew". 

Both Princess and the Rock also love the "wild rumpus" bit and the two of them, together with Daddy, would dance endlessly while chanting "rumph rumph rumph rumph rumph hey!"

For you fans out there or those who are curious about what I am talking (or writing) about, here is an animated version of it:

If you are keen to join us in the "wild rumpus" party, you can purchase a copy of it here!

Does your family have any favourite bedtime read? I'll like to hear how you enjoy it in the comments!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

"Her mother didn't teach her..."

Last evening, I saw Princess display fierce family loyalty through an unusual incident. 

My mom and I were having our after-dinner coffee at the hawker centre near my house while Princess and the Rock were playing just outside the hawker centre near our table. A few minutes before we left, a young man, presumably in his early twenties sat on a chair near Princess and started smoking. Princess, being her usual sassy self, told the man to stop smoking (as we explained to her that it is not healthy for our bodies). The man repeatedly ignored her (as in did not acknowledge her at all) so she shouted "stop smoking!" 

The man got irritated and told her, "SHUDDAP!" Princess was expectedly taken aback by that response. Now you must be wondering where I was all that while. Well I was trying to manage the Rock climbing all over me, carrying a few bags of tabao-ed food and asking the Princess to come back to me. When she finally did, she told me in a huff that she overheard the man tell her companion, “她的妈妈没有教她” (loosely translated as "her mother did not teach her (manners)).

Princess was visibly angered by that statement as she felt I was "unfairly attacked". She said, "of course you teach me!" At that moment, I felt so proud that my Princess stood up for me (in her thought) and in her own way, she understood what family loyalty was.

family loyalty
"Talk bad about my family and
you'll get a taste of what I'm made of!"

Regarding the man, I wanted to tell him, "my daughter was taught that smoking is unhealthy and I am sorry she she shouted while trying to let you know that, but I wish you'd listened to your mum like she did!" Instead, what came out of my mouth was, "come back now, don't take in more second hand smoke!"

Now the question is should I applaud her for caring for the man's health and speaking her mind or tell her to let others "mind their own business" in the future? It's a catch-22 situation, isn't it?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Maybe it's time to reinforce the concept of TIME


After tonight's pillow talk with Princess, I know just the thing to concentrate on for tomorrow's lesson.

An excerpt of our chat:
Princess : Eeew! What's that smell on your face?

Me         : It's my moisturiser.

Princess : Why do you need to use that? 
Me         : Hmm... when you get older, your skin is not as elastic, it's not so doing doing.

Princess : I'm too young to use that, right? 

Me         : Yeah, when you are old enough, maybe 18 years old, I'll teach you how to use it.

Princess : Maybe when I am 84, no, 83 years old I can use that.

Me         : 83?

Princess : Yes, and when I am 66 years old I can start painting my nails, right?

Me         : (Silence)

Don't you just love these conversations with your children?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Pointillism vs "Printillism"

The Princess and I were doodling yesterday with her markers and an idea popped into my head after a few uninspired doodles.

We decided to use the markers to make prints within the outlines of what we had drawn instead of colouring it in like how we traditionally practise.

The end result is pretty amazing, if I may brag. The process is pretty much like Pointillism, except that we have included other patterns or prints other than dots. 

Have you experimented with any new art process lately? I'll like you to share them with me in the comments, links are more than welcomed!

This is the way we scrub the bathroom, scrub the bathroom...

It has been a long break since my last post as I was busy nursing two ailing children with viral fever. Now that the fever has subsided, I am glad to pick up my pen or shall I say, keyboard again!

Today is a good day for me as my children helped to scrub the bathroom tiles, yes, even my two year old Rock! They did such a good job that it would put some of my part-time helpers to shame. The Princess, in particular, was extremely enthusiastic about it and she refused to let me do much of the job at all. She even helped to wash the dishes at the later part of the evening, on top of the usual packing up (after the Rock) that she has gotten quite used to doing. I must say I am quite proud of my Princess (who needs to do chores, unlike the ones in the palaces and castles).

The Rock, on the other hand, needs some coaxing to complete his tasks on most times, although he does quite a neat job when he does obey and pack up his toys. Hence I needed to find a way to encourage him (and the Princess) to pack up after himself and help with some chores. I came across this nifty idea of using a chores chart, not any ordinary chores chart but a pictorial one for the young ones! 

The author also paid her children for chores done (these chores are over and above those they do "for free"), this I am still contemplating if I should I implement. I like the idea of reward but I am not sure if it will encourage the "I will do only if I am paid" attitude towards chores.

Do you pay your children for chores done? I'll love to hear about your chore system at home in the comments!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

"I'll not stop to love you, mama."

To parents out there, is there a better way to end off your day than to hear your child say she'll not stop loving you?

I just heard that from Princess last night while I was hugging her on her bed. Those words touched me so deeply and made me slightly ashamed as I had a mini argument with her before her afternoon nap.

The content of the argument revolved around her sleeping routine. I've written about the difficulty I have with my children's naptime and the problem is still present. I was getting really impatient as I was lying in bed with her and thinking about the tons of work and planning I had to do. So I told her she needed to be independent and sleep on her own while she insisted that I hugged her and sleep with her. We "ding-donged" for a while until she was tired enough to fall asleep.

After the episode of argument, I am now trying to look at it differently as I realised that Princess really cherishes her before-bedtime moment with me. It is a period of reconnection with me after an activity-filled day and also a time when she asks me questions about what she has seen, heard or experienced before that. 

Now which parent will give up hearing "I'll not stop to love you, mama" (grammar can be corrected later :P) and settle for things like folding the laundry? A little (or a lot) of cuddle time is also good for the soul right?

Cuddly Wuddly

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Princess "challenged" my schooling schedule

I am all "armed" to answer any queries, comments or criticism about my family's decision to homeschool but I was unprepared for Princess' question on the first day of homeschooling. 

Learning numbers "Twister" style, anyone?
It was close to noon and I knew I needed to give my children lunch or they would ask for snacks, which would spoil their appetite for lunch. Hence I announced that we'd take a break as I needed to prepare lunch, thinking that Princess and the Rock would be happy to get some time with their new toys. To my surprise, Princess gave a look of disappointment, she then asked me "why is it that when I was in school, my teacher let me do a lot of things before we have our snack? We haven't done a lot of things and it's already time to eat?"

I was totally thrown off because I thought we had done A LOT of things! What I then realised was that she meant we haven't done much writing. This made me think about different kinds of teaching and learning methods. Every child loves a teacher who does not hand out much homework or worksheets right? Wrong! My Princess loves a ton of written work and all sorts of "doing" activities. I should have guessed from the way she got excited about doing her homework after her afternoon naps while she was still attending school. If no homework was given out that day, she would work on her assessment books or draw by herself.

I made a mental note to include more handwritten assignments and art and craft activities in her curriculum to enhance her feeling of accomplishment. I also explained that homeschooling is different from classroom teaching in a way that learning can occur at any time and with all sorts of activities. For example, learning to cook the noodles she was going to have for lunch was "schooling" because she was learning a practical life skill; while she was teaching the Rock the alphabet and days of the week she was also concretising what she has learnt. She seemed happy enough about what I said and even thought that Grandma can homeschool her too as she taught her how to peel eggs and potatoes and make muffins!

Doesn't the Princess look as cute as a muffin?

The learning curve is deep, especially for me, I think. :)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Homeschooling Day 1

We did it! And it feels good. I am tempted to say "homeschooling is for my family" but it is only the first day and I know that not everyday will be as smooth sailing as this. Nevertheless, I am thankful we managed to accomplish quite a fair bit today, both homeschool and housework!  

We started off with a short bible reading in the morning after breakfast. Both the verses and the activity that followed were inspired by the Princess' creative outburst. I saw her using her paper conical loud-hailers as shoes and felt prompted to read about The Armour of God. It was such an uplifting passage that we decided to make the armour of God! After messing around with some scissors, scraps of cloths and cardboard, we came up with this:

Ready or not, here we come!
Although the effort was amateurish as it was an impromptu activity, we felt as fortified as soldiers of God! In fact Princess and the Rock loved them so much they went to grandma's house fully armoured. You can imagine the stares (friendly ones) we got! 

"Are you sure these sequinned armours can protect us?"
The Princess and I were also encouraged to realise that God has answered her prayer. She has been praying to God to speak to her and we realised today her prayer was answered! As I was going to teach the Princess and the Rock about the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), she explained to me that the bible is inspired by God; her words were "God told the artists what to write in the bible, so that the bible can tell us what is right and what is wrong". When asked how she knew, her reply was "I just know". I told her she didn't "just know", it was knowledge given to her by God and she beamed from ear to ear. :)

The rest of the activities were academic stuff like phonics, math and practising of handwriting. One of the accomplishment today was that the Princess was able to read a simple book from the Letterland Vowel Readers all by herself. I knew she did not read it from memory as it was her first time reading that book. I was insanely proud of her and felt like dancing but I contained myself and told her "well done! I know you can do it!"

The Rock was happily following all that the Princess was doing but his favourite was singing the Months of the Year song from the Leap Frog "Let's Go To School" DVD that he has seen before. The moment I took out the calendar chart, he belted out the song! 

All in all, it was an enjoyable day of learning for us. The best part for me was despite having to do school, housework and childcare, I did not feel rushed or overwhelmed. I look forward to more days like this!