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Didi Can Cycle!

Time really flies, it has been almost a month since my last post! What have I been busy with… let’s see… hmm, nothing much actually, just the usual household chores, but somehow every night it’s just very late all of a sudden and it’s time to sleep, oops. I am trying to adjust our routine and my habits so that I have more time for self-care and hobbies, doing well thus far : )

And as of 18 January 2015, Didi has mastered cycling at 3 years 8 months old! It was actually very unexpected. A normal Sunday afternoon… I decided to be more diligent in teaching him to cycle… Brought the boys downstairs while Meimei was napping… And ta-ta, within five minutes, he was cycling!

I credit it 100% to the our balance bike Strider as Didi did not get much practice on a two-wheeler before this. But it’s not enough just to be able to balance on the bicycle – he gotta take care of the bicycle and start and stop by himself 😛

Cycling from Parkway Parade to East Coast Park means having to navigate the ramps. If cannot cycle up/down, you gotta push your bike yourself, baby.

Cycling from Parkway Parade to East Coast Park means having to navigate the ramps. If cannot cycle up/down, you gotta push your bike yourself, baby.

Having to actually travel from Point A to Point B is great practice (compared to just cycling around the void deck). Because you gotta get there somehow ok, there is no such thing as giving up.

Kor Kor isn’t that small and cute on his bicycle anymore haha. But he does still attract some attention when he zooms by on his bicycle. Then, the next moment, the same ‘spectators’ will go ‘oh, soooo cute’ when they see a mini-er cyclist behind, hee hee : )

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Cute… Cuter….

 

CUTEST!!

CUTEST!!

One more to go!

3

Kor Kor Learns Woodwork!

Last Saturday, Kor Kor and I attended a three-hour woodwork session by Kea Xplorer. It was a great start to woodworking experiences, which I want the boys to learn and to try. Though the program was targeted at children, it was very useful for me as well, cos I was totally clueless in this area!

We learnt how to use the tri-square, hacksaw, F-clamp, file, sanding block and sawhorse, as well as woodworking safety. The instructor and his assistants were very helpful and went around the room giving each participant individual guidance. Kor Kor was a really happy boy throughout the three hours, despite the gruelling work of sawing. (Good for training patience and perseverence! Cos a junior hacksaw is not that powerful, you know? :P) I think it also helped a lot that the instructor was able to engage the children very well.

I would like my sons to know how to do woodwork, to be a handyman at home. But regardless of gender or whether this is a learning goal you have for your child, I think the sense of satisfaction of making something with one’s own hands is indescribable!

We are already looking forward to the next workshop!

(This is not a sponsored review.)

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The Value of Indoor Playgrounds

Indoor playgrounds are not just a place for me to relax while the kids go wild. No doubt that is a very valid reason if the kids are old enough to play on their own, but not now when I have to chase after Meimei who is too fearless for her safety.

I think indoor playgrounds are the best place to go when the little ones are starting to practise a new skill. For example, after Meimei started crawling, I wanted to let her practise climbing upwards. There were no such chances at home, and neighborhood playgrounds were too dangerous for her. Indoor playgrounds are padded and she could crawl and climb safely.

Similarly, when Kor Kor starts to do all sorts of monkey stunts at the neighborhood playgrounds, I know it is time to lug the kids to an indoor playground. The kids can do their ‘training’ in a safe environment, then it will not be so dangerous when I do unleash them at the park playground.

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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*

 

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EQ For The Young Child

How To Raise A Child With A High EQ

How To Raise A Child With A High EQ

A topic which I am now very keen to learn more about, and which I realised I had not read much on before! It’s a new learning journey, so I do not have enough background knowledge to form any judgment about whether this book is useful, but hey, gotta start somewhere ya?

The author organized the components of emotional intelligence into six areas: skills related to moral behaviour, thinking, problem solving, social interaction, academic & work success, and the emotions. Each general area is then further sub-divided into specific EQ skills.

The Moral Emotions: Encouraging empathy & caring, Honesty & integrity, Shame & guilt

EQ Thinking Skills: Realistic thinking, Optimism, Chaging the way children think by changing the way they think

Problem solving: Teaching by example, The language of problem solving, Solutions training

The Social Skills: Conversational skills, Humr, Making friends, Functioning in a group, Manners

Self-Motivation and Achievement Skills: Anticipating success, Persistence & effort, Facing & overcoming failure

The Power of Emotions: Emotional awareness & communication, Communication beyond words, Emotional control

As I read, I realised I am really not worried at all about the categories of problem-solving and self-motivation & achievement.. Because.. ahem, I am confident of teaching or at least modeling these skills to my children : )

So that just leaves a few skills to worry about. Ha.

One sentence in the book made me very happy though.

Research strongly suggests that if you want to raise a child with a high EQ, you are better off being too strict than too lenient.

Great. I have no problems with being strict!

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First Rockclimbing Lesson!

After seeing Kor Kor climbing the rock wall at Westgate playground with so much ease and enjoyment, I searched around for a more ‘professional’ opporunity for him to take it further. And I was very lucky to find one not too far from my place – The Rock School!

I did not want to commit to a course of lessons as I wanted to let Kor Kor try it out first, and also because I knew he was not usually keen to try new things. So Hire-An-Instructor was just right for us. For $25, we got an one-to-one session for an hour. (If you can form a group of four or more kids, it’s $30 per pax for two hours.)

We arrived 15 minutes early and the kids went wild bouncing and jumping around!

We arrived 15 minutes early and the kids went wild bouncing and jumping around!

At the beginning of the lesson, Kor Kor tried out the simple wall indoors first.

 

The instructor made it fun by hiding a few toys around the wall, and Kor Kor had to find them within a time limit

The instructor made it fun by hiding a few toys around the wall, and Kor Kor had to find them within a time limit

 

First time he tried being belayed

First time he tried being belayed

 

Higher and higher!

Higher and higher!

 

Requested to try the more difficult wall

Requested to try the more difficult wall

 

What I liked:

1. The instructor was very friendly and able to communicate to a young kid. This was very important as Kor Kor wasn’t exactly outspoken or rearing to go.

2. It was a very ‘friendly’ environment. No big spaces or crowds of people to stress the child, Just a cosy room to start off before proceeding to the walls outside. Even better for me cos I could let the younger siblings roam free without worrying they would disturb other students or tear down the place.

3. The relaxed style of instruction and the fun element introduced. In addition, as it was one-to-one, there was a lot of flexibility involved and the instructor could tailor their next activity according to Kor Kor’s preferences.

What could have been better:

1. Though the instructor did introduce herself to Kor Kor and spent some time building rapport with him, there was no introduction to rockclimbing basics, such as what belaying is, or what to do as he is being lowered down at the end of the climb. When Kor Kor was halfway through his climb, the belay line was no longer between his arms. We had to teach him from the ground how to move his arm so that the line would return to the middle. When it was time to lower him down, he didn’t understand he needed to push against the wall with his feet so that he wouldn’t bump into the wall. Then he started kicking the wall with his toes instead of soles. I guess it wasn’t easy to learn on the spot when he was dangling up there… (Actually, I am really scared of heights and I don’t like rockclimbing. Hopefully he hasn’t inheritied this phobia from me!)

All in all, I am very pleased with the experience. I was prepared for Kor Kor to throw mega-tantrums and completely refuse to try. But he managed to conquer his fears even though I could sense his apprehension. I am sure I had the instructor to thank for this. Glad to have the chance to see how Kor Kor would behave in a ‘learning setting’ out of our home-school, gladder that he surpassed my expectations, both in his climbing and in his emotional control!

 

 

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Cooking With The Kids: Steamed Garlic Pork Ribs and Baked Mustard Salmon

Very lucky to have found two suitable recipes easily this week!

Steamed Garlic Pork Ribs

This is from one of my favourite cookbooks.

Ingredients: 400g riblets, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 tbsp potato starch

Marinade: 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp chicken seasoning powder, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp baking soda

Method

1. Chop riblets into small chunks. Rinse away the blood and drain well.

2. Add garlic and marinade to the riblets. Mix evenly and marinate for about 30 minutes. Add potato starch and mix evenly. Place in steaming plate.

3. Boil water in a steamer. Place riblets inside. Steam over high heat for about 20 minutes until cooked. Serve.

Washing the riblets

Washing the riblets

We looked at the cookbook together as we added the marinade ingredients

We looked at the cookbook together as we added the marinade ingredients. I have minced garlic on hand in the fridge, so gave them a garlic to look at & touch.

Baked Mustard Salmon

I got this recipe from another blog! Made a couple of modifications, the main one being I used honey mustard instead of djorn mustard.

Ingredients: Salmon filet, 1/4 cup butter, a lot of honey mustard (didn’t measure, just asked my boy to keep squeezing the bottle!), 1 tbsp honey, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, pinch of salt

Method

1. Mix melted butter, honey mustard and honey. Pour onto the salmon filet.

2. Mix breadcrumbs and parsley. Sprinkle on top of the filet.

3. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on how thick your filet is), at 200 deg C.

Mixing the ingredients

Mixing the ingredients

The butter wasn't melted enough, so I got him to press the poor butter with the spoon

The butter wasn’t melted enough, so I got him to press the poor butter with the spoon

Cooking rice. I think he was dying to PLAY with the whole tub of rice!

Cooking rice. I think he was dying to PLAY with the whole tub of rice!

Since I started this regular cooking with the boys, Kor Kor has been asking me almost everyday – ‘Mummy, do you need me to help you prepare lunch/dinner?’ I guess he is enjoying it very much : )