20 minutes in the loo

If you are one of those moms whose child insists on following you to the bathroom when you do your thing (and she clings on to your leg for her dear life), perhaps you can try these activities. They kept Faith occupied for 20 minutes, good enough for you to do some business.

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It’s easy for us to pour water but that is not the case for young children. Their motor skills are not refined enough and more often than not, they will dampen the floor as they endeavor to pour the liquid into the cups. This activity requires concentration and hand-eye coordination. Faith spent the bulk of the time trying out this activity and she likes it. It’s waterplay after all!

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As with all children, their attention span is soooo short and soon it’s off to another related activity. Add some balls and have the little one catch them with a scoop. Motor skills again.

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Last activity. Add some homemade ‘fish’ with clips and you turn the activity into fishing! This definitely tests patience and concentration. I’m just short of putting water beads in but I reckon I could save them for future use. The fish are made from felt material and I attached a clip at the end. After that, I wrapped the fish in clear bag so that they can survive being in the water.

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” -Dr. Maria Montessori

So there you have it, this set of activity lasted 20 minutes. It probably can last longer if I get down on my knees to play with her.

Ask a lot of questions and converse with the kid as she goes about working on them. Play time is extremely good for language development.

The August Vaby Box

The August Vaby Box arrived and gave me a nice surprise.

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I love the contents because they are all useful products that I could use. Let’s take a look at them.

– Korean Adhesive Labra. It’s a backless, strapless, seamless and self-adhesive  from Labra that is priced at $49.
– Zoo Bibs which is lightweight and water resistant. It’s at a very affordable price of $4.90.
– Natural cotton diaper by Baby Organix
– Lavender Fields Concentrated Laundry Powder by Idocare
– Nurtureme Organic Food
– Portable Pencil Mini Fan
– Kids Party Entertainment Voucher
– The Playhouse Unlimited Play Pass

If you add up the sums, the items definitely cost more than the subscription that you pay for – $18.90 – each month. I also like it that they customise each box according to the profile of the mother and child.

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I love the Zoo bibs. It is attractive, light, easy to clean and packs well in the ziplock bag of stuff which I always bring when I go out with Faith. Faith doesn’t have the practice of wearing bibs because she doesn’t feel comfortable especially at the neck area. She would always insists on pulling it off and in the end, I give up having her put on a bib. And I tried the Zoo bib. Although she resisted initially, she was okay with it from much encouragement and allowed me to put on for her. Probably the minimal weight helps because it seems like she doesn’t feel a thing and also she doesn’t feel restricted around the neck. I like it too that there is a wide catch-all pocket for the food that slips from her mouth. Neat!

I’m still in the midst of trying the other products and would definitely visit The Playhouse again since the little one had fun the other time we were there. It’s a good place for some mommies to catch up with one another too!

I’m already all excited about the September box!

Have you subscribed to it?

You can find out more about the Vaby box here.

Playdate 210814

We had our usual playdate and this time I was supposed to host it but I suggested going to the reservoir nearby. Thankfully, the mummies obliged! Phew! It’s my belief that kids should be out in the open as often as possible, to be near to nature, to learn more about the environment and not be cooped up in the somewhat comfy environment – the home. Perspiration is ok, ants are fine (though we were almost greeted by an army of ants!). They just have to learn to deal with it. Kids are survivors. Don’t shield them from all these! (By that, I’m not saying that you purposely place them in danger, yah?)

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Everyone arrived on time and after we had settled, we had the welcome song so that the kids would understand that the programme is going to commence.

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Recap of the colours and shapes since we are on this theme for the term.

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We had storytelling time told by A and this time round, it was Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider.

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Following that, we got the kids to do some texture rubbing of barks of trees, granite flooring, leaves, etc. I don’t think the kids know what they were supposed to do but well, we’ll just treat it as an exposure? Faith, as usual, didn’t really enjoy craft time. ;(

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Snack time! Faith’s favourite activity! She could down many pieces of biscuits, blueberries and grapes. *Faint*

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Next up is the Chinese storytelling time! Always love this segment because I like how J reads the story. We had an action song following that which was a tad difficult to follow. Hah!

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For practical life, the kids learnt sorting which was a continuation of last week’s activity. I think the children knew what they had to do and could generally complete this task. We sang some songs again before having the children play at the playground.

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I got Faith to walk on sand because I know she’s not comfortable with it. But I also know that I need to help her overcome her fear and forced her to step out of her comfort zone. She did so, thankfully. That day, the kids were not too keen to play at the playground (possibly because it’s hot) and got attracted by bubbles!

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Group photo before we left the reservoir. It’s so hard to get a decent photo!

Next week’s lesson should be interesting. I’m looking forward already!

Faith: 20 to 21 MO

The little one will turn 2 years old in a few months’ time and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

She is growing up too fast! There are so many things that I want to teach her and I feel there isn’t enough time. She is learning rather quickly in recent times and I need to seize that opportunity! I’m also enjoying being with her now (of course, there is ALWAYS the occasional tantrums) and I’m really not sure how I would take it as she enters the terrible 2’s phase.

I thought I should record what I do with her at home for future reference and for you, readers, if you are interested.

I’ve always wanted Faith to hone her motor skills and impart our family values to her. So, I do spend a lot of time doing stuff that helps her in those areas. So, if you ask me if I flash cards at her. Nope. Not until I went for the recent Glenn Doman’s seminar did I realise that there is some worth in getting Faith to recognise words via this method.

Reading is an activity that we will always do and getting her in the outdoors is a must-do too.

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Here are some activities that she engaged in at home during her 20th month:

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Faith loves jigsaw puzzles. A month ago, she got frustrated because she couldn’t piece those puzzles together but now she enjoys it so much that it’s almost a routine that she would pull out that box of puzzles to play with them.

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This is another set of 2-piece puzzles but with more complexity. You can teach rhymes with them and it trains the little girl to look for the related pieces. Of course, once she has finished, she MUST pack those puzzles back into the packet or box that holds them. I’l sing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share!”

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Another set.

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Snake buttons, She still loves to play with it. I like this because I can soon get her to button her own jacket; she’s quite good at it now. Can teach colours and shapes too with the snake button.

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Scoop and pour.

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Sorting. It didn’t take me long to explain before she got the idea. I think somehow in her own playtime, she knows there’s certain order in place and thus it’s not a big problem for her wrt this activity.

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Pretend play. She pulled out containers from the drawers and played with her ‘friends’. I just watched…

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Pretend play again and this time round, I got her to identify the various farm animals.

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After farm animals are the usual animals we see in the zoo. A trip there is well worth it because the little one came back, excited to see these miniature ones. And for the first time, I decided to link them with words. Let’s see how well this will go.

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Life is not all about playing. Faith is very much involved in helping out at home. I didn’t force her ah…she wanted to help out so might as well! A trip to the wet market or supermarket is the norm every week. I want her to interact with people (stallholders, strangers, cashiers, whoever she meets on the street) and to greet them. Basic courtesy, no? In the market, it’s a good opportunity to teach her the names of the various goods.

So, these are some activities that she engaged in during her 20th month.

Do you have any to share?

😉

[Reflections] The joy of teaching your baby, Part II

This is my reflections on part II of the seminar on Discovering the joy of teaching your baby. It is easier to stomach than Part I, I assure you, and much of what the speaker, Janet Doman, shared was rather logical and practical. She didn’t promote the institute’s programmes but brought the focus on the parents and what we can do to enhance the learning of our child(ren).

1. It’s all about joyousness

This is the underlying philosophy of all their programmes. They believe that all babies can learn anything and everything and we need to do so with joyousness, to have a good time with the babies and experience something great with them. Babies can sense if we enjoy being with them or if we are really present when we are with them.

Oh, this is something that I’m so guilty of not doing. There are so many instances that the little one wants my attention and desires that I play with her but I’m just caught up with other things to do. At times, even when I’m with her, I’m actually not. I definitely need to slow down and prioritize! I need to be present and have a good time with her!

2. Less is more

We are bombarded by many programmes out there which seem attractive and beneficial to the child’s learning but Janet’s advice is that we choose one programme that is irresistible to us, focus on doing it well and reap the rewards. Once we have done well with a particular programme, then can we try a new thing and start doing it modestly and build on it.

I admit I’m a bit stressed up as to what I should teach Faith because there are so many things that I want her to learn and she is at a stage when she is receiving and learning so fast. I recognise that I shouldn’t ‘touch-and-go’ but go deep into an area that we want her to learn and she is interested in. I need to take time off to reflect again. This will warrant another post.

3. Go faster

Kids like things that are fast and zippy and we adults do things that are generally too slow for them. I’m not sure if you have encountered this: When we are reading a story to Faith, many times she will flip the pages before we could finish reading that page. WE ARE TOO SLOW FOR HER. This is also what have been shared to us when we attended Pamela Lim‘s seminar on Reading. A child’s mind works incredibly fast during the first years and we are just too slow for them. Arghh! Btw, her seminar provides some interesting insights on a child’s beginning years and how reading is important. I certainly hope I have the time to pen down some thoughts.

A point to note is that we are often too slow to add new materials as children always want something new to learn (once they have a grasp of certain concept?). Don’t show the same thing over and over again to the child. This is DEADLY, so said Janet. Arghh! Mothers out there, let’s share resources! ;p

4. Be more sophisticated

With regard to books, we shouldn’t stay with simple books/words all the time. Children can progress to more sophisticated ones (words). Oh yes, I believe!

5. Find out what your child likes

This is rather commonsense but how often do we really take time to observe and find out about their interests. What’s worse is that we want them to learn something that we have planned for them but they are not interested in. What do you think will happen? Frustration! Oh, I have often encountered this when I try to get Faith to learn, say, colours. She is particularly slow and looks uninterested and often turns away when I teach her. This is her way of telling me that she doesn’t like it. As much as I want her to know the various colours, I know I can’t force her. It’s off to other things and when she is interested, she learns it really fast and that really amazes me.

So, I’ve learn to observe, observe, observe and cater to what she is interested in BUT at the same time, not giving up what I want her to learn (weave it into the things that she likes to learn). Heh. Alternatively, we can also ask our children what they want to learn/do and even at a young age, they will be able to tell/show you. We need to learn to communicate with these young ones because when they feel we understand them, their affinity for us will multiply and we will also encounter less tantrums! I find it so true!

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:: Some other points that I want to be reminded of:

– Kids want respect from us. They know they are loved (because we say that all the time) but they want respect from us too. They tell us that they want respect by showing us that they can do certain tasks. Again, look for signals from them. E.g. Young kids want to feed themselves but often we take over because of the mess they can create. We are undermining and not respecting them as a result.

– Kids need structure and they need a predictable life. They need to know what to do next. They learn rapidly when things are in consistency or when our words are consistent. Failing to do so and we will have them test boundaries.

Great things happen when you put kids with their parents.

Disclaimer: The hubs and I were invited to attend the recent Discovering the joy of teaching your baby seminar by Glenn Doman in Singapore. No compensation was received and opinions are mine.  

Fun For Free SG: The Animal Resort

This post is part of the FUN FOR FREE SG series of blog posts, brought to you by a group of mum bloggers. We’re sharing on one fun and free venue a day in the month of August, just for you. For the complete list of venues, please scroll right to the bottom of this blog post.

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Fancy the idea of farm animals roaming near you? There is one such place in Singapore and you don’t have to pay a fee to visit it. I’m referring to The Animal Resort which is located near Jalan Kayu.

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Sprawling over 5 acres of rural land, the Animal Resort resembles that of a kampong and you can get up close and personal with various birds such as the geese, peacocks, parrot, hens, roosters, Marabou stork, ducks. For a minimal sum (optional), you can purchase feeds for the animals and this certainly adds more fun for both the adults and children alike. At this simple store and cafe, you can purchase mosquito repellent (very essential to bring along!) and enjoy some simple snacks.

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Look how free the birds roam! The children are sure to squeal in delight!

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I personally feel that this visit makes a great opportunity to learn about farm animals.

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Some birds, such as these beautiful peacocks and the roosters, are in the cages though. This actually gives more courage for the little ones to get close to them, knowing that they are protected by a fence.

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What is this strange-looking bird? It’s the Marabou stork!

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Besides the birds, there are also furry animals to adore. However, these animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, skinny pigs) are caged up.

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Young children get awed by these animals and I dare say the same goes for the adults too.

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If you want to try your luck and have fun catching fish in the small stream, you can pay a small sum of $5 and get a small fish tank to keep the fishes you catch.

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As you spend time at the ‘resort’, you will see dogs being walked. That’s because there is a dog training and grooming school in the premise. You can also see the cute puppies at the kennel.

There is also one lonely horse for you to admire! Say hi!

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The Animal Resort is a wonderful place for urban dwellers like us to be close to nature. We brought our kids on our last visit and the children were thrilled to be among the animals and that lasted for close to 2 hours.

 

The Animal Resort
T81 Seletar West Farmway 5 ScienceCentre Road20140715_104454
Singapore798061
Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Contact
 Tel: (+65) 6338-7665
Fax: (+65) 6234-1360
Email: ricted@singnet.com.sg

Getting There
The Farm Animal is not easily accessible by bus or the train so the best way to get to the location is by car or taxi. There are ample parking facilities in the premise.

Nearest MRT: Sengkang (NEL), Yio Chu Kang (NSL)
Bus 86, 103 (off Jalan Kayu)
Landmark: Ju Eng Home along Seletar West Farmway 4. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the main road.

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Who’s next?

The next mom, Jiahui, who blogs at Mum’s the Word [link: http://www.mumseword.com] will be sharing about times at one of the most iconic parks in Singapore—Botanic Gardens! Jiahui is a full-time working mum of three who still feels she’s a new parent because of the many new things that she learns about her kids each day as they grow. Join her tomorrow to find out kids fun at Botanic Gardens!

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Here’s the whole list – 31 days of free fun in Singapore! This list will be updated regularly; you will be able to click on the location to be brought directly to the blog post when it goes “live”.
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum’s The Word
19 Aug: A surprise! by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: MacRitchie trail by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children’s Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade + Punggol Waterway by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious

Drummer boy cake

Today must be a dry day. The fondant I put on the cake didn’t perspire much.

I worked on a drummer boy theme cake for a 3YO boy. His father is a drummer and I think the little one aspires to be one too. So the dad asked me if I could make a rainbow cake for his birthday in the theme of a drum, leaving the design to me.

I went for a figurine. Because I want to practise.

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As usual, the figurines were made a few days in advance since I need to dry them. A day before the collection of the cake, I baked three layers of the cake and today, I baked the rest. So I used my usual sponge cake recipe. the recipe yields about 1130g and I divided the portion into three colours = 376g per layer. I think this is a bit too much for an 8″ cake because if I put on 6 layers, it will be more than 4 inch tall! Today, I put on 5 layers only because I was multi-tasking and forgot about that one layer. But all’s good. I thought it looks better. It’s proportionate.

*Note to self. To divide into 4 layers for an 8″ cake and 3 layers for a 10″ cake.

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I used IMBC and a little of the conventional frosting (the one with icing sugar) and surprisingly, the fondant works well with it. I’m happy!

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I’m beginning to enjoy making figurines!

This is the full version of what has happened today.

Rainy day on an outdoor playdate

Once a week, some moms and I would plan outdoor playdate for the kids. Prior to that day, we would pray hard that it wouldn’t rain but obviously we couldn’t control the weather and this week, it rained cats and dogs.

What a dampener!

We had wanted to go to Jacob Ballas but adjourned to seek shelter at Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens. We love the restaurant for its wide space and a playground just outside the premise where the children could play.

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There were about 10 children on that day and what could we do to occupy the energetic kids?
We were disappointed that the restaurant doesn’t provide colour pencils and paper for the kids anymore but hey, there’s bound to be someone in our midst who brought something for the toddlers!

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The kids went out to play once the rain had stopped.

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Lester and his mummy.

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How long can they be content with the small playground?

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“Mama, I’m bored!”
Mama panicked.

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Yay, someone brought the bubbles!
All the children perked up!
Moms went ‘phew!’

Lesson learnt: When you are going on an outdoor activity, always bring the busy bag along and storybooks. Playing with bubbles is fun for the kids, so always have it in the bag.

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These pictures make me smile.

*Thank you to the one who brought the bubbles for the children to play with.
* Nicer pictures taken by one of the moms, Trisa. The not-so-nice ones are taken by yours truly.

No frosting on cupcakes?

A friend asked me to bake cupcakes for his son’s 3rd birthday celebration in school. Initially, chocolate cupcakes were called for and it’s up to me to come up with the designs. A few days earlier, he called and asked to change them to simple vanilla cupcakes with no frosting since the school has requested for minimal mess. Just the alphabet letters will do.

In my mind, I was thinking, “What? No frosting?!”

How can cake go without frosting. It’s not nice (aesthetically and taste-wise) anymore!

So I defied him and went ahead to put A LITTLE frosting.

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Using Wilton’s method of royal icing, I made the alphabets a day in advance since they need to be dried. What you need to do is to print out the letters on paper. Then place a parchment paper over and stick both papers using tapes on plain, smooth surface before using a piping tip (Wilton tip #4) to pipe dots for each alphabet.

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Once they are dried, using an offset spatula and carefully lift the alphabets off the parchment paper.

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 Place each alphabet on each cupcakes and you have a simple design. Easy enough?

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Packed and ready to go!

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🙂

No screen time before 2YO

This is a late night post and if I’m writing incoherently, do pardon me. But I feel I need to pen these thoughts down before it disappear from my mind and these are lessons I need to remind myself.

This article prompted my writing.

Faith has been barred from watching Hi-5 for about a month now. If you can recall, I shared about how TV programmes such as Hi-5 can be such a saviour when it comes to giving me a breather because the little one could sit on the sofa by herself while watching it.

Well, I want to take back my words.

Because I fear I may be doing more damage to her by making life a little better for myself.

During that period, the first thing when Faith woke up is to ask to watch Hi-5. She did it in an adorable way and the first few times, I found it cute but when the frequency of those requests increased, it raised an alarm.

I observed what she was doing when the show was on.

I didn’t like what I saw.

Faith was no longer dancing to the songs like before. She just sat on the sofa, stared at the screen and her facial expression was blank. There was very little interaction with what was shown and that disturbed me.

What is going on in her brain?

There are quite a few articles in the internet which state the dangers of exposing young children to electronic devices and personally I subscribe to that.

So I got Faith to go cold turkey on Hi-5.

She showed her displeasure by throwing tantrums of course and that persisted for a few days. By the fourth day, I think she knew her mother meant business and did it more mildly. At the end of the first week, there were no tantrums and fewer requests for the show.

Now, she did not ask for it anymore.

*However, there are some special occasion when we allow her to watch the TV programme with us. Other than that, the TV is mostly switched off. The adults got updated with news from the newspaper or the internet. ;p

In our family, we do not believe in using the mobile phone to engage her. To us, the device only distracts her from the chance of understanding more about the environment she is in. When we dish out the device during mealtimes for example, we not only deprive her of using her senses to savour the food and learning about communal eating, we also cause her to focus on the device rather than food. Bad eating habits result.

Technology has its place in learning and I suspect Faith could know more words through using some apps and be more IT savvy. But that can wait.

Meanwhile, there are changes my hubs and I need to make. We need to learn to use less of those devices in front of her and to really pay attention to the little one because a lot of times, we may be physically present but well, we really are not and young children can sense it easily.

They are really that intelligent, you know?

 

[Reflections] The joy of teaching your baby, Part I

I was recently invited to attend the seminar on Discovering the joy of teaching your baby organised by Glenn Doman in the hope of finding out more about their reading programme, amongst other topics that would be shared. However, that day, the speaker, Janet Doman, delved into the general ideas of teaching the baby and shared in detail (for the first part of the seminar) on helping the child in their social growth. Here’s some of the information shared and my reflections.

According to Janet, all children are born geniuses and there is great potential in every child to learn. From the time they were born, they want to learn everything and they want to learn every moment. Tiny children believe that it is their job to grow up and they think about it every minute of the day. We definitely can testify to that by the way and speed in which they imitate us in our actions and speech.

read

Children have the immense ability to learn fact for fact prior to six years of age. They are superb learners and  are only limited by the materials that are given and this includes the quality, depth and sophistication of the resources. It is easy to make a baby physically, intellectually and socially excellent before six years old. Janet claimed that it is almost an effortless process but it will be much more difficult if we wait past the first six years to accomplish that. The ability of a child to learn languages effortlessly in his first few years is a good example.

Reflection: If the first six years of their lives are so important, what would you, as parents, do to facilitate their learning?

Up till this point, this is information that we know much about if we have read up on early childhood. The next point that Janet made might not sit well with some of us. She advocated that mothers and fathers are the best teachers and no one can teach our own kids better than ourselves. For social growth, the best environment for a child is home and there is no other social environment that is as effective. She further stressed that for a child, it may be the only environment that he can learn socially.

While many of us think that little kids need to interact with their peers to learn or for the purpose of socialisation, Janet thought otherwise and maintained that there will be social chaos instead (she was referring to a preschool context). The only thing that a 3YO can possibly learn socially from another 3YO is how to be a 3YO. She gave an example in which a child learns that screaming enables him to get his way because he saw his peer using that method successfully.

Is that socialisation?

Is that what we want?

Can little kids learn socialisation from kids their age?

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This is my nephew,D , and Faith.
D loves Faith but I thought this set of pictures illustrates the following point well.
Pics taken randomly during one of their playdates. 

Janet further gave an illustration on how little kids are not ready to share their toys. If we take parents out of the equation and put the children in a group, what would happen is that the smaller ones will get knocked down by the stronger ones. Is that socialisation? It sounds like a dog-eat-dog world. The outgoing, friendly kids learn to be willing to fight for what they want or join like-minded friends (gang) to achieve their goals. For the shy ones? They don’t even stand a chance and might get bullied in the end.

She also challenged us to take about 20 minutes to observe what really goes on in a preschool and commented that we probably would take the child out of it. Too much chaos and a waste of time for the kids. The kids would be better off learning at home. 

I thought hard about the statements Janet made and the examples that she gave. I want to agree with what she said because to a certain extent, those are some of the reasons why I did not put Faith in a playgroup. Faith is too young (barely 2YO at this point) to distinguish between right and wrong. She needs an adult to teach her, constantly, and though there are teachers in the preschool, they are not always with her. Habits and values are caught, not taught and a young child learns through observation. If there is no one to guide her as to what’s right and wrong, she will form her own hypothesis about certain social norms. It would then be an additional effort to correct a certain behaviour or thinking (that is, if the parents are aware of it) and it certainly takes diligence, patience and perseverance of the parents to do that.

Nobody says parenting is a breeze.

As it is, during our weekly playdate, I have noticed certain behaviour from our kids that are not so desirable but I’m thankful that the mothers are with them and could correct them on the spot. Imagine if the children are in the preschool and those behaviours are not addressed. Do you want to “let it go…let it go?”

However, I also want to believe that the scenarios she had painted (though they are real), may not happen in all preschools. Granted that there would definitely be chaos in a group with many young children and the teachers would probably spend more time maintaining order than teaching ( I was a teacher myself and could relate to that). This is inevitable in a group setting. But I would like to believe that there are many early childhood educators out there who are doing a marvelous job with the children. It is definitely not fair of me to pass judgement on them basically because I am not in their situations nor have I placed Faith in a preschool to witness anything unpleasant.

At the end of the day, what Janet seemed to advocate was for mothers (I would say parents) to spend more time with their children because she claimed that studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent with a kid and being a civilised kid.

She cautioned that each time we decide to hand the child to someone else, there is a price to pay and we might want to ask ourselves if it is worth it.

I could almost feel a sense of uneasiness in the room. What Janet had shared was not something everyone would like to hear. It’s a call for working mothers to rethink about their priorities, to weigh if work is more important than her child. It’s a reminder for SAHMs to stop minding so much about household chores but to spend the time to teach the child well for there are a thousand things that young children do not know and they need to be taught.

The magic is in your child and in you, not the materials…

It’s certainly a wake-up call for me. Being a SAHM, you might think that I have all the time to teach the little one. But this can be far from the truth. My mind is constantly filled with the to-do list and though I am physically with Faith, I may actually not be present (you know what I mean?). There could have been more structure in terms of learning for Faith and I really ought to plan my time well with her knowing that kids thrive on predictability.

I thought it’s also worthwhile to review our parenting philosophy and what we want for our child.

I will reflect on their programme in the next post; this is getting too long.

In a nutshell,

to speed brain growth at the institute is to give a child visual, auditory and tactile stimulation with increased frequency, intensity and duration in recognition of the orderly way in which the brain works.

Meanwhile, you may like to read another mom, Shermeen’s views on this seminar.

Related readings can be found here.

You can find out more about Glenn Doman’s programmes here.

I will also get myself started on their reading book as I realised I have this lying on the bookshelf! Thank you to the one who gifted me with this.

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Disclaimer: The hubs and I were invited to attend the recent Discovering the joy of teaching your baby seminar by Glenn Doman in Singapore. No compensation was received and opinions are mine.  

Never once

Each day as I read the news on the screen, my heart saddened. It’s heart-wrenching. The world is in turmoil. There are thousands, if not millions, suffering and living in fear.

Can I safely say that nothing ill will happen to us? I can’t.

In these times of uncertainty, the only thing I can do is to cling on to the living word of God and trust that He is in control. And should anything happen to us, I hope I will remember that never once did we ever walk alone for He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

A montessori-inspired toddler room for Faith (Part II)

Faith’s room has transformed!
See previous post here.

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We basically removed the cot that took up almost a quarter of the room (yes, the room is that small), the armchair that I used to breastfeed her in and changed the position of the chest of drawers. To replace the cot, we bought 2 mattresses that cost a grand total of $40 and 2 side tables from Ikea for her activity shelves.

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These are the shelves that display some of the things that she plays with. She is into jigsaw puzzles lately and I made a box out of the cardboard that we have. Each item has its place and Faith learns how to put the stuff back to its original position. The white container houses books that she loves and each night, before she turns in, she would grab a few for us to read to her. I love it that the shelves are just at the right height for her.

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The mattresses can be stacked on top of the other and this allows for more space in the day for play. I made a few photo frames from the excess cardboard and the photos create a cosy feel to the room. They are also mounted at a height that she could view easily.

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This is the reading corner which is really not comfortable. I would prefer a carpet and a bean bag but the room is too small. Anyway, Faith prefers to grab a book and read while sitting on the mattress.

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 Faith is definitely pleased to have her own dressing table with mirror that is hung at the right height!

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We are into our second week of getting her to sleep in her own room, with much success! Though there are times that she still pointed to our room, wanting to sleep in there, I must say she is generally all right with her room now. I still sleep next to her, for now, since she wakes up in the middle of the night to look for me! At least, we have made some progress!

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 Her room’s done and now, it’s on to more Montessori activities at home!

The Ninjago Cake

I know one fine day I would bake a Lego cake. It’s not surprising since children and even adults love playing with these bricks. I remember when I was young, I could spend hours building and even without the guide, I would draw on my imagination and do a layout of a room or house.

Recently, a friend asked me to do a Ninjago cake for his 6YO son. The cake took a week for me to make, simply because I could only do the figurines at night, after the little one has gone to bed. I was really apprehensive about the turnout and threw a couple of figurines away because they didn’t work out.

In the end, this is the completed product.

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It’s a 3-inch chocolate cake and I’m thankful that the frosting didn’t melt in the heat. I did a double layer of fondant covering after frosting the cake.

The bricks and figurines were done a few days before the cake was assembled since I needed them to be dried. Tylose powder works wonderfully well for these.

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I had problems with the temple though. Initially, i had wanted to build one with either rice crispy or some biscuits for the interior but I thought it would weigh the cake down and decided on doing that single panel. Not my ideal but I guess I would just have to make do.

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In the end, I was most pleased with the bricks and the banner with the name on it. It was a last-minute idea and I did it free hand but I love the result.

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3.5kg

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It’s been a crazy week with teaching and baking of cakes for friends but I always look forward to our weekly playdate. I’m thankful that the moms in this group are all enthusiastic when it comes to teaching the kids and I always go back home with a few more teaching ideas. Inspired, no doubt and hey, majority of the moms are were teachers!

We decided on Bishan Park as we did have an awesome time the previous week. Thankfully, we were blessed with good sunny weather!

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We first started off with a welcome song (as usual) and then the recap of the colours and shapes that we had learnt. Then we introduced the colour that they had to learn for the day.

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C then read the story ‘Dear Zoo’ to the kids. I love interactive books such as this. The children got to open the flap and this got their attention.

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The follow-up activity requires the kids to colour the various animals in the book. Obviously the little ones couldn’t colour at this point in time but the mothers took every opportunity to teach colours to them.

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And it’s time to move about! The kids got to pick the fallen leaves, feathers and twigs for their art and craft session.

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Adeline got 3M to sponsor some tapes for us and the kids learnt to use the tapes and stick them on the items that they have collected. Thanks to both!

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Our dear girl decided to explore a little more and didn’t follow the ‘curriculum’.

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If you see such neat artwork, it’s definitely NOT Faith’s work. Not yet, anyway.

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The completed work.

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After sitting down for a rather long time, the children sprang to life when they saw food, glorious, food! It’s not surprising to see Faith popping grapes, blueberries and biscuits into her already-full mouth. Sigh!

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The children love it when it comes to physical activity (who wouldn’t?) and I really felt that Faith scores in this segment. I’m not comparing her with the other kids. What I have observed is that Faith came to life when she is asked to move about and her actions are more mature. However, when it comes to artwork, she doesn’t show interest in that area. Is it about exposure? Her preference? I’m not sure.

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We added soccer time!

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We added a Chinese Storytelling session this month onwards because we have a Chinese teacher in our midst! I must say that the children were all ears and I’m truly captivated by the language. Oh, the way Jenna read the story… it sounded so soothing to the soul!

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Certainly hope you guys have fun!

Car washing day

Yesterday, we went down to support my nephew and his classmates who were involved in car washing organised by his school. I love it when young children learn to do these chores from young and I fully concur with the principal who advocates character building over academic excellence.

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By the time I reached the school compound, the kids had already started washing and we love parents who lend their support to their children!

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Under the guidance of the teachers and with much encouragement from their parents, I must say that the kindergarteners did a good job and more importantly, they had fun. This is really like waterplay for them!

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Our younger kids stood nearby and observed the busy activities…

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 Lester stood by the pail and watched….

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 Faith wondered what was happening…

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And then the mother got her to join in the act…

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The children had a wonderful time!

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I’m one happy woman because my dirty car got a tad cleaner!

Good job, children!

To-Gather Cafe

I like chilling out in a cafe, especially when I am in one that has a cozy ambience and that their coffee and food are good. It would be even better if the cafe allocates a small area for the kids to play in. Recently, I came across one that we, as a family, are delighted with and I believe we will go back for more. It is located in our neighbourhood and that also translates to reasonable pricing for the items on their menu.

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To-gather cafe is located next to the famous Fengshan Market (more commonly known as the Blk 85 market). The exterior decor has a Japanese feel to it and the cafe stands out among the shops in that block. Once inside, I couldn’t help but feel welcomed. The interior is simple, clean and exudes a warm, homely feel to the diners.

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Before we could be seated, our little one automatically went towards a small area and helped herself to the ‘kitchen’. Yes, you’ve guessed it right, it’s a play area for the little ones and this is so thoughtful of the owner and a brilliant use of space. Normally, this space (under the stairway) is used as a storeroom for cafes that have the same layout. The owner obviously know that kids can be a handful and designed this space for them so that the parents can have an (almost) undisturbed meal time. 😉

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The prices for most of the food items on the menu are below $10 and you order and pay before going back to your table. There is no service charge as such. I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Kinoko Pasta (the photo above does not do justice) and the hubs had Pork Cordon Bleu. The dishes do not impress but they do not disappoint either. On the whole, I feel that the food is worth the price we pay for. You feel good paying for them actually.

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I also appreciate that there are different kinds of seating/table arrangement. If you prefer a little privacy, there are those tables that are separated by a low false wall -benches and booths. If you have a big group, there is a long wooden table that you can be seated. There are also those normal 2 or 4 seaters (I hope you know what I mean. This is the best I can describe with my limited vocabulary). Outdoor seating is available too. Oh, I do love the wall decals that bear some meaningful quotes.

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Normally, I don’t visit a cafe more than once (or twice) unless we find it real good. And we probably will come back to To-gather cafe for more since it is within walking distance from our apartment and it serves good food with reasonable pricing. I heard that this cafe has expanded (to the current 2 units) within a few months of operation.

It must be good.

To-gather cafe

Blk 84, Bedok North St 4 #01-25/27
Tue – Thu: 11:00 – 22:00
Fri – Sat: 11:00 – 23:00
Sun: 11:00 – 22:00
Closed on Monday
http://www.togathercafe.com.sg