Review: We are flipping with joy with Flip For Joy!

REVIEW

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Liza. She was a naughty little girl who loved jumping over longkangs (Malay translation of drains), plucking weeds and drawing into her sisters’ textbooks. She also hated Chinese with a passion because she thought all Chinese teachers were scary and possibly sent from Hell to punish her with 听写 every week. Her Chinese teacher was so confident in her incompetence in the language that she told Liza’s daddy she was sure to stay back a year because Liza will never be able to pull her marks up in time. What a warm and wonderful woman she was eh?

One day, Liza decided she had enough of The Chinese Teacher’s rubbish and told her daddy they needed to go shopping. “Buy what?” her daddy asked. “I want to buy Aaron Kwok cassette tape!” Liza shouted. “Who??” her daddy asked again while scratching his head. “Hong Kong singer. Everybody have. I also want!” Liza insisted. Why did it have to be THIS GUY? The guy sang with such a heavy Cantonese accent that it was impossible to know what he was singing without referring to the lyrics. The most unbelievable thing happened a few months after that. Liza’s grades went from F9 to C6! Amazeballs!

But what is the point of this story? For a start, Xander is not the only one who struggles with the Chinese language. His laobu did too at his age. I would have definately failed my PSLE if not for an unorthodox learning method. Also, I thought I completely rid myself the need to bother with Chinese forever after I left school but fate is cruel: We are blessed with 2 children and therefore must go through it 2 more times. Ermahgerd…

meme make it stop

Since my last post, I received a lot of really good tips and tricks from our friends as well as words of encouragement that we are not alone in our struggle. The most common advice I got was to get my kids Chinese books. Nothing beats a good, engaging/entertaining paperback but Chinese books? I didn’t even know where to start.

Enter Flip For Joy 乐翻天, a Singapore-based online children’s bookstore.

What is so different about Flip For Joy 乐翻天?

1. They are book recommendations from a parent to another.

All the books were carefully picked by the owner, Meiru, who was an ex JC Chinese language teacher. A lot of time and effort have been spent on searching for books that are fun, exciting and engaging. She even do “test runs” of the books with her 6 year old before writing the sypnosis and recommendations in both Chinese and English so as to help parents choose the best for their children.

2. The books have categorized into 3 main categories: Flip for FUN, KNOWLEDGE, LOVE

Flip for FUN books are highly interactive and a whole lot of fun!
Flip for KNOWLEDGE are insightful and have rich elements of story-telling.
Flip for LOVE books help children love the important values in life.

3. Many of their books are not only bilingual, they are also best-sellers and award-winning titles.

You can find popular titles such as Dear Zoo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, The Giving Tree etc.

4. Free delivery.

They offer free local standard mail for all orders and free courier delivery to your doorstep for orders S$50 and above.

I found it easy to browse for books based on the 3 categories and quickly picked a few I think the kids would enjoy. A couple of days later, the books arrived together with a few additional titles chosen by Meiru who felt will be just as great for them as well. Ex JC Chinese language teacher chose one leh! Sure good one!

Let’s take a look at what we received in the mail.

Flipping for Joy
Some of these books were selected by me, the others by Meiru.

Yvie’s favourite has to be 这是谁的声音?动物系列(4册) because these are sound board books. Almost indestructible and it come with animals sounds. What’s not to love about them? She loved them so much that the horse has turned hoarse. Geddit? Hoarse horse?


婴儿绘本馆(3) is a collection of 9 short stories. Much like almost all books that are catered for children ages 3 years and below, the stories cute and relatable. The 2 audio CDs that came with the set were also great for car rides. 动物狂欢节 (a Chinese translation of a French children’s story) was easy enough for C6 level Mummy to decipher and we had fun trying to predict what the animals would be dressing up as for the carnival.

flip for joy 01
动物狂欢节 – Some light reading before lunch.

袋鼠也有妈妈吗 (picture board book) is the Chinese version of popular author Eric Carle’s “Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? Of course they do — just like me and you!” Same trademark illustrations just in a different language. The simple rhyming and repetitive phrases were fun to read to the little girl. The boys had a lot of fun with 我把妈妈变成了鳄鱼 as you can see in the video below. For optimum effect, you need to get into character when you read this book folks because once you do, it is really quite hilarious. Of course lah! Mocking your mother is always hilarious mah.  

Mummy struggled and sweated a little while reading 十万个为什么(幼儿版,4册)经典童话系列(5):西游记(10册) and 老虎来喝下午茶 because my Chinese is really, ridiculously lousy. When I got tired from checking what the words are with my smartphone app the 124th time, I decided to anyhowly pronounce it the way I see fit. I thought the boy won’t know the difference but eventually even my conscience couldn’t tahan my nonsense. I really need to brush up on my Chinese. *gulp*

I also chose 勇气 Courage and 亚洲辛香宝贝(4册套装)Asian Spice Kids (box set) because these are bilingual books and thought if he got intimidated by the Chinese bits, the English text might come in handy. He ended up reading only the English parts when I left the room. Sigh. Alriiiight… We shall try these again another day then.

In conjunction with Flip for Joy’s 4th anniversary in October, 

1. Flip for Joy will be offering 10% storewide discount for the month of October (until 31 October, Saturday 2359 hours)
2. Every $50 spent in October earns you one chance in their anniversary draw – four lucky winners will each receive a $50 book hamper. Open to readers worldwide.
3. To celebrate Children’s Day, Flip for Joy will pledge $5 per order placed in October to Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (http://www.cpas.org.sg) to “help uplift the lives of needy clients, whose families face financial hardship and have difficulty providing for the special needs of their disabled children.”

So many reasons to shop at Flip for Joy and you will be doing a really good deed at the same time. Visit their website and check out their Facebook page as well won’t ya?

Flip For Joy Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flipforjoy

Disclaimer:
Mother of Xander received some books courtesy of Flip for Joy for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own. 

Review: BlueTree Education Primary One Prep Workshop

Review

A few more days before Xander enters Primary One, the biggest milestone in all Singaporean child’s life. Did you do anything unusual to prepare your child for primary school life? Many of my friends started prepping their kids since dunno how many moons ago. Some taught their kids how to buy food, count their change, learn to read time, others send their kids to enrichment centres to learn to read cheem-er books, do cheem-er math exercises, basically be 1 or 2 steps ahead of their peers so that the kids will have an easier time understanding what goes on in class. I like how this friend prep her daughter and I agree, sometimes it’s not all about the books.

Frankly, I don’t know how to prep Xander for primary school and reading my friends’ Facebook statuses about their experiences made me quite nervous and even sweat a little bit. The Husband described our parenting style quite “Light Touch” and that I shouldn’t worry too much since everything will naturally fall into place as the days go. I couldn’t help but ask myself “Are all these prep work really necessary?” Apparently, yes. What does a child usually need to know before entering primary school then? Earlier this month, we were invited to attend the 3 days Primary One Prep Workshop by BlueTree Education Learning Centre. I thought the timing was perfect and why not give it a try.

I can hear you ask me, “3 days?? 1 day not enough meh? 3 days learn simi?”

“Plenty!” would be my reply to you.

“AROUND THE WORLD’S FAMOUS PLACES” Primary One Prep Workshop

Class sizes are typically kept at 8 and less.

Using the world’s famous landmarks, the 3 days, 2.5 hour workshop covered learning the fundamentals of the English language such as the parts of a sentence through stories and poems, as well as a host of foundational math concepts like shapes, symmetry and the number system. The little travellers were taken to China to climb The Great Wall, Italy to see Leaning Tower of Pisa and Egypt to learn more about the Pyramids of Giza.

All the travellers received a personalized passport, tourist badge, luggage tag and a boarding pass. How cute are they?

During the 3 days course, each young traveller was assessed on some basic skills and the teachers would feedback to the parents if extra attention should be given to whatever the child needs help with. Some of the basic skills are:

  1. Listening to instructions from the teacher
  2. Copying instructions from the board
  3. Basic independent reading
  4. Basic arithmetic skills

The average K2 child would have already learnt all these (and more) during their kindergarten years so it is just a matter of practising some more at home. Only if you wish to of course.

The little travellers learnt to make these little pyramids during class.

My conclusion

The 3 days workshop was an eye opener for me. Prior to this, I never knew “copying” is such an important skill and have always assumed all kids can do it with no problems. As the class sizes are capped at 8 and less, I felt the kids had the opportunity for their questions to be heard and the teacher was able to concentrate on them efficiently. At the end of each class, Xander couldn’t wait to tell me about what they saw during their “trips” and the friends he made. It was fun and educational. I like!

BlueTree Education Learning Centre offers regular enrichment classes as well as holiday workshops for children from pre-primary level to primary 6. These classes are also taught by ex-MOE teachers and curriculum specialists. To find out more about the centre and their courses, you can visit their website (http://bluetreeeducation.com/) or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlueTreeEducation)

BlueTree Education Learning Centre Pte Ltd

271 Bukit Timah Road, Balmoral Plaza #02-15 Singapore 259708
Nearest MRT: Newton
Bus Services (Balmoral Plaza Bus Stop): 48, 66, 67, 170R, 171, 700, 700A, 960
Telephone: +65 9106 4702

Disclaimer:
Mother of Xander was invited to attend the workshop by BlueTree Education Learning Centre. No monetary compensation was involved and all opinions are my own. 

Health Detective Day by Parkway East Hospital

MEDIA INVITE

How many times have you nagged at your child the importance of washing their hands before meals or eating healthy? Too many to count, I know. Sometimes I felt like recording my nags into my phone just so I can play it back it to Xander whenever required. How to teach them good habits then? Benjamin Franklin had the perfect answer.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

We were invited to participate in Parkway East Hospital’s Health Detective Day two weekends ago and it was certainly different from the previous Doctor for a Day we attended last year. Not only did Xander had the opportunity to learn and role-play the different occupations in a hospital, his grandmother (my mummy) also got to learn a tip or two about healthy eating, muscle strengthening exercises and she also had a cataract screening by experienced eye specialists. It would’ve been a real 3 generation discovery experience except that we didn’t participate in the Superchef Challenge. It didn’t matter because we all had fun anyway.

KIDS HEALTH DETECTIVE EXPERIENCE

Health-Detective-day-web

When you have children, getting to events on time is relatively unheard of. At least for my family. This time, we had the timing pat down yo! Even managed to have a nice lunch before the session. When its too good to be true, it usually is. When we reached the venue, I was wondering why was it so quiet and where were the rambunctious kids? As it turns out, we were at the wrong hospital 🙁 *facepalm*. A quick call and a 15 minutes drive later, we finally arrived at the right place, Parkway East Hospital (formerly East Shore Hospital).

Xander was reminded about the importance of personal hygiene and about those nasty germs and viruses in the General Practitioner’s room. The kids had to relearn how to wash their hands properly: front, back, between fingers, fingertips, etc. Pretty straightforward but the kids preferred the other 2 rooms more: Dietician and Radiologist.

HDD_01
All hell broke loose when the little detectives were told to find food they think gives them energy in the dietician’s room.
HDD_02
Burgers are good what. Got meat, got veggie, ok mah?

The Dietician room was a clear favourite among the kids because it was filled with so many props and they had to decide what are healthy foods and what are not. Thankfully, most of them had the right answers and the others, well, they had fun waving enormous pictures of burgers.

HDD_03
I love the props in the radiologist’s room!

I was pretty tickled to see the mini MRI scanner in the Radiologist’s room. It was absolutely adorable! The little detectives were so excited to be given the opportunity to scan their patients and make sure they were in the pink of health.

ADULT HEALTH DETECTIVE EXPERIENCE


HDD_04

Since we were the only participants for the Adults Health Detective experience that day, (the rest eventually turned up later), we all sat in for the session with Grandma and the nutritionist. She taught us about the food pyramid and went through with us what kind of portion for the different food groups is recommended based on the food pyramid.

HDD_05

The young ladies in the Mobility room showed Grandma some simple exercises she can do at home to get those joints movin’ groovin’. It was like a mini dance class and she looked like she had fun 🙂

HDD_06

Lastly, she was given a cataract screening by experienced eye specialists from the Eagle Eye Centre. According to the description of the screening given, “Eye cataract screening include visual acuity to establish one’s visual capabilities, intra-ocular pressure to detect glaucoma and eye health to evaluate the ocular health of one’s eye.”

My mum knew she needed some TLC (Tender Loving Care) done on her eyes so the diagnosis did not come as a surprise to her. However, The Husband and I felt the specialist could have been more sensitive with the delivery of his words. He wasn’t nasty or rude. Neither did he exaggerate her condition. He was just very blunt. I wish when dealing with elder patients, he could have been a little gentler and not keep repeating lines like “It is really really bad yah? You know right?” I felt so sorry for my mummy. Of course she knows its bad lah but it doesn’t mean she likes it. She kept a brave front and nodded at everything he said. Sigh. I attempted to diffuse the mood with nonsense like “Ya Mummy, after the surgery hor, you can see your 4D numbers a lot clearer liao wor! You will see more winning numbers even! Good ah? Good ah?” My own eye specialist (from Eye Hospital some more) is also blunt like that with me. He insisted “a chunk of tissue missing from your cornea” was just a medical term. *rolleyes* Lucky I young, I can take it and I shot back with a “That’s not funny”.

Anyway, I’m sure not everyone in the medical profession is like that and I have met some very warm, compassionate and with good “bedside manners” ones before. These 2 are just the rare few. I hope.

The Graduation (for the kids’ session)

Parkway East Health Detective Group Photo

At the end of the kids’ session, they were ushered into a closed room for their graduation photo and certificate. I was standing outside the room wondering why take so long and sounded like they took many times. THEN they ran out and I dug for the photo in Xander’s goodie bag. I burst out laughing when I saw it. He is such a ham in front of the camera! This has to be the best photo he has taken in an event this year. Haha!

After the phototaking, we paid a quick visit to the carnival / organic market on the ground floor. There was also a health forum where members of the public could ask the specialists questions about various general health issues.

My thoughts

Xander enjoyed himself tremendously and it was certainly very different from the one he attended last year. He also remembered quite a bit of the information he was taught during the day and reminded me “Rice is energy food and I need to eat some now because I used up all my energy running around just now.” Orh, ok lor.

The programme is recommended for kids between 5-10 years old and if you want to participate in their future programmes, do visit their Facebook page for regular updates.

Disclaimer

We were invited by Parkway East Hospital for the event but all opinions are my own. 

Let’s play… Kinetic Sand! (Review + Giveaway + Promo)

Product Review

Image Source

You must have seen this video floating around the internet quite a lot last year. The Husband and I were so amazed with it but wondered if it will ever be available in Singapore. This has to be the coolest toy we have seen. Like EVER!

You know what? IT IS AVAILABLE IN SINGAPORE NOW! Pardon my excitement but yeah, I’m excited!! The Kinetic Sand is available in Singapore through the good folks of Pupsik Studio who also specializes in awesome baby and parenting products.

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Pupsik Studio was very kind to provide us with the 1kg pack to review and we (namely Mummy and Daddy) couldn’t wait to rip off the packaging to play with the cool sand. Yes, Mummy and Daddy were way more excited than our child. Hahaha!

According to Pupsik Studio’s website,

“Sand play stimulates and develops children’s fine motor and creative playing skills. Kinetic Sand is the perfect material for open-ended, non-directed play. It leaves no sand or residue on your hands and is great for sensory therapy. Kinetic Sand is also great for kids with allergies – it is wheat, gluten and casein free and 100% safe and non-toxic.”

According to Mother of Xander,

If your kid loves the beach and you hate the sun, this might be a good compromise. He gets to play his sand, you get to lounge around in cool air-condition comfort in your house and with minimum cleanup afterwards. Win-win situation!

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At first glance, the Kinetic Sand looks like any regular fine grained sand you might find on the beach or in stores. Even though clean-up is relatively easy, the sand can still get everywhere if your kiddo is the fidgety or active sort. We found a bit of sand in his hair, on the floor and under his feet but nothing a quick vacuum couldn’t solve.

Xander loves to play at the beach and with sand. but we haven’t been able to hang out at the beach very much last year because… I don’t know why actually. We just never got round to it for some reason. When I showed him the box, he thought “Oh how nice, sand in a box! Gimmegimmegimme! Open now!” We then showed him what the Kinetic Sand could REALLY do and that got Xander even more excited. He wasted no time and immediately attacked the sand completely ignoring us for a good hour and a half. I need to mention that Xander has sensitive skin and whenever he plays with regular play-dough or sand, he will always end up with some rashes somewhere on his face or hands. I am pleased to say he had none of those at the end of the day. Phew! If your little tike accidentally gets some in their eyes or even swallowed some, don’t panic. Just grab water to flush their eyes or drink some water. Easy peasy!

Naturally, Daddy got into the action with the little one and made some masterpieces of his own as well.

My verdict of Kinetic Sand is an honest and completely unbias BUY IT! Not only was it great for my 5 year old, even my 30 something year old was thoroughly entertained by it.

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Exclusively for Mother of Xander readers! Pupsik Studio is giving away a 1kg pack of Kinetic Sand to ONE lucky winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come back to this page on Monday 20 Jan 2014 to see if you are the lucky winner.

Congratulations Pavalamani! We will be in touch with you via email soon!
Thank you everybody for your support!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Kinetic Sand, Pupsik Studio is offering all readers of Mother of Xander a 15% discount on the Kinetic Sand as well as the Bubber Smart Shape set in the month of January! Just key in the discount promo code of “MOTHEROFXANDER” before you Checkout.

The Kinetic Sand is available from Pupsik Studio and it is suitable for ages 3 and above.

For pricing and other product information, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Website: http://www.pupsikstudio.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pupsikstudio

Check out the other fun products from Wabafun at http://www.pupsikstudio.com/shop-by-brands/bubber-moon-sand/

Let’s play… Bubber Smart Shapes Set! (Review + Giveaway + Promo)

Product Review (Updated on 13 Jan 2014)

Image source

Bubber looks similar to any regular play dough you might come across in the market because it’s colourful, it’s soft and mouldable. That’s where the similarity ends.

  1. Bubber is allergen free because it is wheat, gluten and casein free and 100% safe and non-toxic. It is also smell free! This is perfect for Xander who has sensitive skin and nose like his mummy and daddy. For once, he was not a mucus-y mess while playing with something. A definate nice change for all of us!
  2. It never dries up! Say wot? I don’t know what funny technology is in this thing but it really doesn’t dry up! We pulled it apart into many small pieces and had it scattered all over the table in an air-condition room for more than an hour. The Husband said there was a bit of shrinkage but definately not dry.
  3. Bubber is great for sensory play which is great for young children.
  4. Bubber is the world’s lightest moulding compound. I was stunned when I picked it up, it weighs virtually nothing. Why ah? I also dunno. This funny technology the Swedish engineers came up with is so weird but so wonderful!
  5. The texture was very smooth, dry and leaves no residue. When you tear it up, it breaks into tiny particles which will get blown away just by a sneeze. But when you slice it with the Bubber knife or the cutters provided, you get clean, sharp edges that are not possible with regular play dough. You can also pick up the individual cut pieces and stack them up without them sticking to each other. How cool is that?
  6. The most unusual use for the Bubber that I discovered on the Internet is that you can use it to make moulds for plaster casts! This I’ve got to try!

 Why choose Bubber instead of play dough?

You are free to choose play dough or even go make your own of course. I dread pulling out his play dough sets because they always leave a huge sticky mess everywhere after he is done with them. Experienced parents will agree with me it is especially annoying when the kid accidentally drop bits of it on the floor, gets some stuck under his feet and starts walking around leaving colourful flattened bits all over the house. And the smell! Oh the smell! *gags* Also, if you want to save money and buy cheap play dough, those always somehow end up super soft and gooey after a few plays. Xan is allergic to most play dough and I always know whenever Xan had played with any in school because he would come home with rashes in between his fingers and on his face. I don’t enjoy slathering him with medicated cream every time it happens so I rarely let him play with it at home. Ya, he was a bit deprived when he was younger.

I think the biggest draw for daddy was that cleanup was super duper easy! Just smoosh the whole thing together with your hands, put it in an air tight container (Bubber doesn’t contain moisture so it will not dry out for months but an air tight container can help to keep dust  and dirt away) and you’re done! No need to bring the play table to the bathroom and scrub off the colourful paste, no more stepping onto rock hard, dried up play dough in the middle of the night and wake your family with loud expletives, NO MORE! I no bluff you! It’s true!

Bubber Smart Shapes Set comes with:

  1. 4 packs of Bubber in Red, White, Blue and Green
  2. 9 Smart Shapes geometric molds
  3. 1 Bubber Knife
  4. A guide with 15 templates with 3 different levels of difficulty.

I thought the templates were useful for parents like me who is most of the time “sibeh boh idea” (trans. very no idea). He was able to figure out the shapes required and position them according to the templates. He even directed daddy to “cut this, cut that, put here, put there”.

Sure it’s a bit on the costly side but the thought of not having to scrap off dried play dough from strange corners of the house, not having to scrub stained clothes (sometimes even their underwear) and no more digging out the irritating dough from under your child’s fingernails is just pure joy. I will replace all the play dough with Bubber when my #2 is born for sure.

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Exclusively for Mother of Xander readers!
Pupsik Studio is giving away a 1 Bubber Smart Shapes Set (retail value at S$65.90) to ONE lucky winner *!

 

*Giveaway is open to Singapore addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come back to this page on Monday 13 Jan 2014 to see if you are the lucky winner.

Congratulations Justina Tey! We will be in touch with you via email soon!

Thank you everybody for your support! But wait! I have a surprise for you tomorrow! Come tomorrow to see what it is!

______________________________________________________________

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Kinetic Sand, Pupsik Studio is offering all readers of Mother of Xander a 15% discount on the Bubber Smart Shape Set as well as the Kinetic Sand in the month of January! Just key in the discount promo code of “MOTHEROFXANDER” before you Checkout.

The Bubber Smart Shapes Set is available from Pupsik Studio and it is suitable for ages 3 and above.
You can also purchase more Bubber and accessories here!

For pricing and other product information, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Website: http://www.pupsikstudio.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pupsikstudio

1st day of school: Xander is in K2!

Check out my pimped out kicks!

It was the first day of school for most kids in Singapore and Xander was no exception. He starts K2 this year and will be the big brother to most of the little ones in his school. He was feeling so proud and kept talking about it when I picked him up at the end of the day. This was also the last year of kindergarten and “freedom” before the crunch of Primary One formal education starts in 2015. We also decided to let him enjoy this freedom as much as possible before his little sister is born. In about 2 months, our full attention on him will have to be split between 2 kids. Gee… TWO! I never even expected to have one child and soon we will have two monkeys running around! Oh boy!

Going back to our Hokkien roots!

You know how big we are on exposing the kid to all things weird and wonderful right? I’ve been itching to buy this book for a really long time but somehow never got round nor have the excuse for it until recently. I decided Xan will learn more proper Hokkien words this year! What better way than with a picture book? You can purchase this book and other sibeh funny products online from Sibey Nostalgic. I was trying to go through some of the words with him on the way to school yesterday and I finally realized how lousy my knowledge of the dialect is. I nair seen more than half of the words before ah! So suaku! We have a good laugh trying to pronounce the words as best as we can and in our own ang moh accent. You can watch Xan try reading some of the words in the video below.

When I sent the video to our family members, they also had a good laugh at his ang moh qiang (Caucasian accent). I thought it was a brilliant effort from the kid! Funny sia!

That was our experience of Xan’s first day of school yesterday. A little different from everybody else’s but we had fun. Primary 1 is next year, I will sweat over it next year. This year we will just concentrate on playing hard (and maybe on the side, study a little harder of course 😛 ) and having some fun.

P.S. This is not a book review. I paid for the book with my own money and I thought I should share with you something my family enjoyed tremendously. Go get it lah. Steady? Steady!

My 1st Parent Volunteering Experience

Poster
One of the many posters around the school created by the PSG members. Chewren Day funfair also got to advertise and promote hor?

So, The Husband had been working as a parent volunteer for a primary school near our home for the last few months. One of the biggest event on the school calendar would be the Children’s Day funfair which is typically headed by the Parent Support Group (PSG) and backed up by parent volunteers like The Husband.

Since he had just started his new job the week before, he was not going to be able to help out with the funfair on site as planned. Then how right? Lucky this fella is quite clever and is very nifty with graphics so he volunteered to design all the game stall signage and approach a sponsor for the prizes. We both agreed that I would go and take shots of the event since both our names were registered as parent volunteers and I was able to take time off work that day. I have to confess I am no Annie Leibovitz but I’ll do my best to take as many decent, in focus, photos as I can lah.

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My turn at PV today.

I had the opportunity to see both the upper and lower primary students in action that day even though I wasn’t expected to stick around so long because the kids are split into 2 sessions: morning and afternoon. This means I had to stick around from 10 am to 4 pm just to see everybody. The PSG members were really really sweet to make sure I was properly hydrated and not overly exerting myself. “Later Winston will kill me if anything happens to you ah!” they joked.

Games
Some of the games at the funfair. Looks simple but still require precision hor?

The concept was really simple. The students were given some coupons to start and if they need more, they can purchase them at the ticket counter. The students will earn stamps from every station they complete and when they accumulate enough stamps, they will be able to redeem prizes from the Redemption Counter.

Around 12pm, the buses transporting the afternoon session to school arrived. As soon as they opened their doors, herds of excited kids came running with their humongous bags on their backs to buy tickets and to check out the game stalls. You would think it their excitement, there will be chaos but there was none! They knew where to line up, how much to pay. I heard some of the students lamenting “I didn’t bring money to buy more tickets today leh” and also saw clusters of kids planning and pooling their coupons together to play certain games during their break time.

Excited kids
Can their bags get any bigger??

My favourite part of the whole experience that day was to watch the kids play the pew pew games. The poses they do ah, you know they learnt from tv. Most chose the safest “2 hands on the gun” whereas there are the hero/gangster style 1 hand stretched out to the max pose. Funny sia!

Game stall
The pew pew Nerf stall. One of the most popular stalls at the funfair.

By the end of 5 hours, I was completely exhausted and slightly sunburnt but very glad I had the opportunity to see for myself that there ARE normal, happy kids in this particular primary school despite the horror stories I had been reading online about the local education and the pressure it has on the kids. I’m sure there are the classic monkeys and class clowns lah just that I didn’t see them that day nia. Nong nong ago I was one of the naughty ones too and mostly kept under close supervision at the principal’s office lor. Which school don’t have right? I kept sending The Husband excited text messages throughout the day talking about running kids, chubby kids, bowing kids (yes, one little Eurasian looking boy BOWED to me before running back to his classroom), etc. Even though this was my 1st parent volunteer experience and I only spent 5 hours in the school, I’m really excited to have Xan possibly study in this school because I think he will be in very good hands.

Exhausted
Such an attractive face eh?

 

Let’s play… Doctor for a Day!

I meant to write about our experience at the Doctor for a Day event in August but so much had happened in the months that followed so this post had been sitting in my Draft folder for a while. Better late than never right? *awkward silence* Heeheehee…

image

I read about the Doctor for a Day event that was to be held at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital on a couple of mom bloggers’ sites who had attended earlier sessions with their children. They shared many photos as well as their experiences about the event. The more I read, the more intrigued I was by it. Really so fun meh? I thought “Aiyah too bad I missed it this year” I was going to make sure to sign up for next year’s session. Lucky for me, Jean gave us the members of SMB a heads up about an available session and of course I grabbed it! Heng ah! Still have chance!

The kids got to experience some of the different tasks the different types of doctors had to go through daily at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. There was the pediatric doctor, general practitioner, heart surgeon, etc. Xander got to learn how to put on scrubs, practice good hygiene, change a poopy diaper on a traumatized looking doll, patch up an injured child and even cure a scary man doll of his cancer! Phuwah!

After 90 minutes of “intensive basic medical training” with the professional volunteers, all the kids graduated medical school with flying colours, a class photo, a certificate and even a pair of stethoscope! Proud mama looks on with tears from the corners of her eyes. My son! A doctor! *sobs*

As with most hopeful parents, I thought Xan would be inspired by the day’s event and would want to become a doctor, a surgeon perhaps!! Doctor good leh! Next time when mummy and daddy are ill Dr Xander can take care of us for FREE! But alas, the little one maintained that his love was still with cooking. He wants to be a chef, not a doctor. Doctors have too much to do, too busy. Chef better. Ok lor. To be the next Heston Blumenthal isn’t a bad idea too eh?

You can keep yourself updated with the latest events at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital through their Facebook Page.

Today I told my son to be a quitter

spelling

Xan is in K1 now and he has been having spelling tests at his preschool every Monday for a few months now. The teacher go through the list of words with the class the week before the test doing the usual writing practice.The list is usually between 6 to 10 words and they are words like brush, push, chair, etc. Not too tough, but I can understand if he mixes some of the ‘e’s and and the ‘a’s for words like men and man. We would also do some revision on our own to try to refresh his memory on Sundays at home.

This morning, I decided to spring a surprise test on him during our journey to his school. I got extremely frustrated when he couldn’t remember anything we went through so I gave him a pat on the back and said “Be prepared to fail the test later. Heck, why don’t you just not write anything at all during the test so then you will get to write and rewrite all the words all day long in school today?” He gave me a very sad look, shook his head slowly and said “I dowan”. I continued “You remembered me threatening to keep the iPad and yet forgot all 6 of the words you learnt last night. You even gave up after giving me just the 1st letter. You should just fail the test, don’t learn how to read and write anything. How are you going to survive P1 if you can’t even read or write? Be a quitter then. Easy for you easy for me and I can save my money on your education for other things. You want to give up? Ok, I’ll give up too.” Silence for next 10 mins.

When I dropped him off at the school’s main door and walked off to sign in the attendance book, I heard his teacher said “Oh dear, why are you so sad Xander? Where’s Mummy?” He finally burst into tears much to his teacher’s surprise. When I stepped back into view, he sobbed harder but not yet wailing. What did I then do? I handed him a tissue to wipe off his tears and told him sternly to stop crying. He nodded, grabbed his enormous bags, tried to hold back his tears, waved byebye to me while walking to his classroom with his teacher. I definately won the Parent of the Year award today.

How do you deal with a child who when faced with a difficult task decides to give up halfway? Or when he sees the other children already running so far ahead or have completed their assignment, he would feel defeated and will stop whatever he was doing because he doesn’t see the point of completion anymore. He used to be so fearless and determined. Where did that boy go?

I wonder if he is picking this up from us his parents and if so, are we really doing it? I don’t remember giving up so easily leh. His teacher know he has a tendancy to give up easily and has advised us to be more patient and gentle with him. I tried but my patience is running thin and I finally cracked this morning.

I don’t want him to be a quitter and neither do I want to quit on him. How in the world do I motivate him then?

Sigh.