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Colorforms with Arrow to The Sun

An expression of the universal myth of the hero-quest, this beautiful story also portrays the Indian reverence for the source of life: the Solar Fire. Vibrant full-color illustrations capture the boldness and color of Pueblo art. A Caldecott Medal Book.

The pictures are mostly combinations of various geometrical shapes, so I got the idea from the Caldecott resource book to let the boys play with different sizes of different shapes. And tata! – I have Colorforms! Bought it more than two years ago, cos when I came across it, I thought it was such a great thing for children to play with! It includes 350 shapes which attach to any glossy surface or each other – reusable of course. But it only comes with one play board.. then another lightbulb came on – I had previously laminated many sheets of construction paper of various colours for the boys to learn their shapes and colors and they could now use them as extra play boards! (See?? It’s good to have extra stuff squirreled away.. you never know when you would ‘need’ them for ’emergencies’!)

So, that was my plan – to bring the boys’ attention to the geometric combinations in the book, but I started off with free creation. THEN Kor Kor happened to glance at the book.. and he said he wanted to make an arrow like in the book! Fireworks went off in my heart.. he NOTICED! I didn’t even realise about the geometric stuff until I read the resource book 😛

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Our Daily Routine (aka How I Survive with No Helper)

Our routine for the boys to refer to

Our routine for the boys to refer to

6am I wake up. Brush teeth, take a shower. Head to the kitchen to start chores like boiling water, putting washing powder & softener in the washing machine (for Kor Kor to do his laundry chore later), prepare the boys’ toothbrushes, and other miscellaneous chores which appear out of nowhere everyday. Make myself a cup of Milo. Maybe eat breakfast if there’s enticing food. Check Facebook and read a book if the kids are still not awake by then.

(provided Meimei doesn’t wake up then, cos that means I need to nurse her, i.e. sit there and do nothing and all schedule goes out of the window)

The boys usually wake up around 6.45am. After they make their beds, I change their diapers (Kor Kor is wearing diapers to sleep) and make milk for them.

Before Meimei goes for her morning nap (about 9.30am, depending on what time she wakes up), I supervise the boys brushing their teeth and give them a quick shower and we eat breakfast together.  Oh ya, and Meimei gets a bath too before she nurses again and goes for nap.

(I like to give the boys time to wake up properly and take things slow in the morning. So they are free to do what they like once they get a fresh diaper/underwear on. If I have finished my chores and Meimei is ok playing by herself, I read to them when they request for me to do so. But when I have to shower them (any free slot of time since Meimei is usually also awake then), they will have to come once I summon them. If they refuse to come willingly, I set the timer for one minute. As long as they still meet the one-minute deadline, they earn a star on the reward chart – more on this soon.  They know that if they do not come by themselves when the timer goes off, there’s no star and I will physically move them to the bathroom.  Because I cannot hang around waiting for the two princes to decide at their leisure when they want to shower!)

When Meimei is napping, we read books and do play activity if I have planned for one. The boys are allowed to watch one DVD a day, so they can request for the DVD when they feel like watching (only in the morning, and only after Meimei goes for her nap). If they are hungry, they eat some fruits now. When Meimei wakes up, it’s moo moo time again.

11.30am ‘Mummy is busy now’. I won’t read or play with the boys anymore. If today’s lunch needs more preparation, I start now. If it’s a simple meal or just need to put in the oven, I use the time to play with Meimei or rest.

12.30pm Lunchtime, then I wash up

1pm The boys go for their nap. Meimei will take another nap (and feed) in the afternoon but the time depends on what time she wakes up from her morning nap. Meaning sometimes I do not get a break in the afternoon! Boo hoo.

While the boys are napping, I do some preparation for dinner like marinating meat, fold & put away the laundry, etc.

After the boys’ nap, if I have planned for an outing, this is when we will go out. Play then meet up with Daddy for dinner. I try to bring them out once a week, because we are so busy during the weekends (housework, visit grandparents, social engagements, etc etc), and because most places are crazy-crowded on weekends!

Otherwise, it’s usually just free play for the kids or me reading to them. Only when we are all in a good mood and I am feeling garung (what’s a good translation for this..? ‘brave’? heehee), I might do another activity with them. (Meimei gets a feed when she wakes up from nap.)

4.30pm ‘Mummy is busy‘ again. Start preparing dinner. I might nurse Meimei too if her nap was short and her previous feed was longer ago than usual. This is to ensure she is happy during dinnertime and playground time.

5.30pm Dinnertime.

By 6.15pm we leave the house to go to one of the playgrounds in the neighbourhood.

By 6.45pm we go home. That means at least 30 minutes at the playground.

Once we are home, the boys drink their evening milk while I bathe Meimei and nurse her. Then it’s bedtime for Meimei! With one kid down, I can finally breathe again.

It will be around 7.30pm by then. Bathe the boys, supervise them brush teeth. Then they have to put away their toys before they get to play with my iPhone (reward for being on-task during the day). After that I read bedtime stories to them.

Bedtime is sometime between 8.30pm and 9pm. Good night babies!

Ahh… me-time! I try to go to bed by 12mn.

Feeding Meimei seven times a day..! Luckily she feeds quite fast and takes only about 20 minutes each time. Anyway I intend to wean her by 10 months old, so it’s just less than four months to have an extra 140 minutes a day to do stuff with the kids! BUT unfortunately the math doesn’t work that way.. I have to figure out how to slot in her mealtimes. She has already started on semi-solids when she turned six months old, but because of her recent illness, I have cut back on feeding her to avoid any complications since she doesn’t eat much anyway.

That’s it for our day-to-day life.. What is your day like?

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Sensory Play

I must admit, I believe in play for my children not just for the sake of play itself, but because I think it helps to boost their intelligence in some way too. From what I’ve read, sensory play helps to build neural pathways. But then, the two boys have done sensory play SO MANY times by now, I guess they have probably hit the ceiling to the number of ‘bonus’ neural pathways :p

So why still more sensory play? Because it is relaxing. They might be very engrossed in the activity and having great fun and learning AND it’s soothing! Soothing for the brain, soothing for the eyes, soothing from the typical crazy hyperactiveness of young kids. (Maybe ‘hyperactivity’ is the grammatically correct word? But dun care, I feel ‘hyperactiveness’ seems more apt here :p)

And oh, I also believe being relaxed is good for the brain too! : )

While thinking about how to write this post, I realise one of my most important ‘KPI’ for my children is to be relaxed – to have an unhurried, free to play, free to read, free to do nothing childhood. Hmm, but it’s not so easy la – even though they don’t need to go to school or attend any enrichment classes, there’s still have limited free FREE time. I shall do a post on our daily routine soon!

(KPI is Key Performance Indicator)

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The Snowy Day

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Winner of the Caldecott Medal, The Snowy Day celebrates the magic and boundless possibilities of the very first snowfall. Young Peter can’t wait to jump into his snowsuit and explore, for there are snowmen to build and snowballs to pack, and snowballs for carving a snow angel! (From the back cover)

No snow in Singapore, so we focused on the part about the tracks the boy made in the snow.

Learnt about the different tracks various animals make using the Animal Tracks game, and had a fun time making our own tracks!