What Mummy Learnt From Rockclimbing

Kor Kor has completed three out of eight sessions of the rockclimbing course at Rock School, and I am quite taken aback by the flood of emotions that I have felt as a result of the lessons.

In short, the situation isn’t looking too rosy. I thought that he had proven at the trial class that he didn’t inherit my phobia of heights and that the following sessions would just get easier, though I did expect it would not be exactly smooth-sailing. (Which was why I signed him up anyway, no point if there was zero challenge, right?)

Kor Kor is very unwilling to climb the outdoor walls. He’s ok with the indoor walls, where they spend about half of the two-hour lesson. I do see his progress there – he’s now faster and more confident and quite his usual atheletic self. But those walls are only the height of a regular room, not exactly a challenge or worth the money and time and effort to attend the lesson, I think.

Then when they go outside, the problem starts. I see the other kids (all boys between five and seven years old) zooming up the walls. But Kor Kor has only gone up to half the wall and refuses to climb anymore. Worse, he flat out refuses to try again, while the other kids go up 2-3 times.

Basically, only two types of people can go up that wall – the ones who find it easy-peasy, and the ones who have some difficulties but continue trying until they succeed. No need to be humble here, I believe Kor Kor is fully capable of scaling the walls with a bit of effort. So, the problem must be he’s just not trying!! And that really pisses me off big time. I really cannot cannot CANNOT stand my children being lazy or giving up easily. No polite modesty again here, I think I am diligent and I definitely don’t give up easily. So my kids have a good role model (for these two traits at least) and the genes! Then it must be his ATTITUDE problem!

I get very upset and angry. Been giving him tongue-lashings after every lesson. Frankly speaking, I can’t even bring myself to look at him every time he whines and tells the instructor he doesn’t want to try anymore. While the class is still outside, I go back into the school. I feel so unhappy seeing the other boys going up the walls happily and easily, while mine is being so useless.

When I ask why, Kor Kor says he is really very tired. But what has he done to be tired?? On rockclimbing days, I don’t set up any play activities. He spends the whole day playing with his trains, reading books, fooling around with the siblings, resting, eating, watching some television… WHAT is he tired about???

Hubby says it’s because the other students are older. OK, it’s true that the next youngest boy is nine months older than Kor Kor. But hey, I am sure all of them go to school before the rockclimbing!!! While Kor Kor is basically doing nothing much at home.

Anyway, if Kor Kor obediently tries everytime, I am ok with him not reaching the peak. If he tries and fails, I will be disappointed but not frustrated. As long as he tries, I am quite sure I won’t be angry and so pissed off. But fact is, every lesson I have to deal with his unwillingness to try. I am really not liking myself much because of all the nasty emotions I feel and the nasty things I say to him. Sigh.

But neither does it mean I am hoping or going to try to be nice and sweet and understanding when he refuses to try. Nope, I definitely still want him to go up that wall. Because there are certain work ethics and values I want him to learn – perseverence, determination, never say die, try and try, tired also must do, cannot also must try, obedience towards teachers (instructors).

Actually, that’s why I signed him up for rockclimbing – for character building. I want to prepare him to have the correct attitude when he starts primary school. Unlike academic lessons, it doesn’t really matter if he hates rockclimbing for the rest of his life. I don’t want to scold him or force him with regards to academic learning, because I am scared of killing his inborn passion for learning. But with rockclimbing as the focal point here, I can impress on him the same values that are important for school.

The unexpected part is the learning which mummy also has to do – to curb my own sense of competitiveness, for one, but I think that is the easiest (yes, easiest despite how very competitive I do feel). The difficult parts – how to support my son when he fails. How to keep smiling and suppress my disappointment when he does try and still fails. How to encourage him to keep trying – encourage, not scold or force. How to react when he simply refuses to try and there’s no excuse for his poor attitude, because even if he is behaving badly, I still love him and I want him to know that. In a way, I am glad I am feeling all these unpleasant and undesirable emotions now, instead of finding out only when he starts primary school.

I am glad I have 1.5 years more, for both of us to learn together. *deep breaths*



P1 Prep: Sleep For Brains!

I confess, I am a sleep fanatic. Ever since I read up and sleep-trained my first baby, I have been obsessed with ensuring my children get enough sleep. When we are at home in the evenings, the kids’ bedtimes have never been later than 9pm. We don’t go out in the evenings, so it is only because of visits to the grandparents on weekends that we come back late. Even then, we make it a point to reach home by 9pm.

Now that Kor Kor is already four and able to get through the day without a nap and seldom getting cranky due to tiredness, I did consider pushing back his bedtime. Didi naps well in the afternoon and Meimei can sleep in the baby carrier, so if Kor Kor’s bedtime is later, we would be able to stay out till a later time! Which means we might be able to have more family outings in the evenings! Nice and cool for outdoor play!

Then I remembered. If I push back his bedtime now, how is he going to accept having to go to bed at an earlier time when he starts primary school?

I did some simple calculations – he will have to wake up around 6am to make it to school after a good breakfast at home. A six-year-old (he will only be six years two months old in Jan 2016) needs 10-11 hours of sleep every night. That means he has to go to bed by 8pm LATEST. Preferably 7pm, but let’s not go there.

As it is, his current bedtime is 7.45pm. No problem, right? But he will have more things to do in the afternoon as compared to now… homework, pack schoolbag, study for tests, etc… plus the things which he is currently doing in the morning.. like watching DVD (he’s a diehard fan of tv, and I think it’s ok to allow him one a day), going to the playground… Good thing is Meimei will be almost three years old by then so I won’t need to spend as much time getting her ready for bed. And I have already decided that Kor Kor will not get playground time on days that he has PE (physical education) lessons in school.

[Sidetrack a bit. I had thought when the kids got older, we would finally be able to have dinner together with Hubby when he came back from work. Until I started to seriously think about primary school. Oh well. Hopefully when the kids are in secondary school then.]

I really wonder how other families do it. So far I have not come across any primary school kid who goes to bed early enough to get ten hours of sleep.

I believe sufficient sleep is very very important for the brain to grow well. It’s like the foundation of a building – if the foundation is shaky, it does not matter how good the materials are or how skilful the engineers are with regard to other parts of the building. Thus I must make Sufficient Sleep the foremost priority, ahead of outdoor play even!

Other than adjusting our routine, I also plan to change the kids’ sleep arrangements. Currently, Kor Kor and Didi share a bedroom while Meimei is alone. At end-2015, I shall move Meimei to share a bedroom with Didi, while Kor Kor gets his own room. Hopefully he will get better sleep quality with no one to disturb/distract him. In addition, he will not disturb his siblings when he gets up at the unearthly hour of 6am.

Mentioned to Kor Kor recently about him having to wake up very early to go to school in future. He responded, “Mummy, you will wake me up, right?” I am buoyed by his reply, at least no unwillingness to wake up early! *feeling optimistic*


Now to solve the problem of ME waking up at 6am.. YAWN… (Image source)

Countdown to P1: 657 days


P1 Prep: Overview

No no, Kor Kor is not starting primary school next year.. only in 2016! But I started to think more about this topic when I saw many mummies post about their child’s first foray into primary school at the beginning of the year. Though it might seem too early (and kiasu?!?) to start preparing Kor Kor now, the more I ponder, the more I think it is necessary to start early. Here are the main things I will be working on, and I shall update as we go along.

1. Sleep (i.e. the challenge of waking up at 6am or earlier every schoolday)

2. Breakfast

3. Independent work

4. Study area

5. Life skills (e.g. money, telling time, personal hygiene, buying food)

6. Academic skills (e.g. pencil grip, handwriting).

Ahh.. as I was writing this, I thought, hmm my first post on school! Soon I would be a homeschooling mum no more… Then I remembered, hey even when Kor Kor starts primary school, I will still be homeschooling the younger two! Yay!

Countdown to P1: 671 days