A very overdue post on Xan’s birthday party in school…last year

I meant for this post to be out LAST YEAR but hey, better late than never right?

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Me: What would you like for your birthday, Xan?
Xan: Mmm… I dunno.
Me: How about the cake? You want a proper cake like your cousin’s or several cupcakes laid out together?
Xan: Cupcakes! Cupcakes!
Me: Okkkk… What kind? How do you want them to look like?
Xan: I want it to be a surprise! Don’t tell me ok? I want a surprise!! *excited giggles*

And so the birthday party prep began.

Have I told you this little fella doesn’t like cakes? He likes to taste them, buy them, distribute them but he’ll never finish eating them. If for some strange reason he does finish the cake, it must have been damn nice. Since he’s not going to care how they taste like, it made my life a whole lot easier.

We figured he is probably not going to be able to celebrate with this group of kids in K2 (his birthday is in December and most parents would’ve withdrawn their kids from the school from November onwards), I decided to go the extra mile and tried to plan something extra special. He was a big fan of the movie Despicable Me and especially love the silly minions so I went along with this theme for the party.

You see, I don’t plan parties, I go to parties. I had no clue whatsoever what to do other than ordering cakes. In times like this, the Internet is the best place to source for ideas and I found this! How cute are these cupcakes?? Incidentally, these were made by an old secondary school mate so I quickly made my order with her and breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

The Goodie Bags and Balloons

minion balloons and minion goodie bags
What is a school birthday party without goodie bags and balloons?

I DIYed the goodie bags and balloons for his friends and boy did I bit off more than I could chew! I forgot to take into consideration I couldn’t prepare everything in advance without spoiling the surprise for the little boy. That meant we only had the night before the party to get everything together. That meant blowing up the balloons, cutting the eyes, tags and whatnots. Very chuan ah! *hyperventilates* I found the templates for the Minion goggles here and the Evil Minion goggles and mouth here. For the goodie bags and I enlarged some of the goggles a little bit use on the yellow and purple balloons. Nice right? I even made “hair” for the evil minions but they were very troublesome to make. Have to use steel brush to brush out some purple wool. Wah biang! Brushed until hand numb only managed to get a small handful of usable fluff. I cursed and swore and wanted to give up. In the end I had enough for 4 purple head. The rest of the evil fellas had no hair and the kids didn’t even care because none of them wanted to take the evil minions home! Wah lau! So cute why dowan?? *heart crushed*

We also forgot that to fit 30 balloons in the car + big box of cupcakes + goodie bags will require some space planning which I obviously didn’t do. The balloons almost got crushed by the car door, nearly flew away at the void deck and they blocked my rear view mirror thus making driving a little tricky and scary because of they were staring back at me in the mirror. That was not the worst. Midway through while I was on the way to pick up the cupcakes, it started to rain. WAH LAU EH! *cries to the sky* WHY YOU BULLY PREGNANT ME???

Luckily The Husband met me at the cupcake pick up point and we managed to get everything into the school building with minimal damage; some of the balloons flew out of our hands and landed in the rain 🙁 After some screaming, running, shoving, huffing and puffing (referring to the very large and pregnant me lah), we got the table, goodie bags and balloons set up before Xander’s class arrived. Phew!

Yay! We are finally here!

Minion balloons, Minion cupcakes
Swee boh?

Xander’s face immediately lit up when he saw us and the balloons. He was beaming from ear to ear. His classmates squealed with excitement. The surprise was a success! Yay!

Minions everywhere
Some group photos from that day
party1
The cupcakes were really good!

I was so glad he loved his surprise party. I wonder if he will remember it 20 years down the road? Oh well, doesn’t matter lah. As long as he enjoyed himself and we have these photos as mementoes can already lah 🙂

P.S. Minion cupcakes were created by Flourish. Do give them at least 1 week advance notice for customized design.

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Child Label: Review and Giveaway

Review

For parents of school going kids, one of the 1st few things you do before you pack your child’s school bag is to label everything. Back when I was a kid, my dad would use the permanent marker and write my name and class details on everything and everywhere. He left nothing unmarked, even engraved my name on my beloved BMX bicycle and I hated it. Sure the bike really got stolen one day and because my name was engraved on it, the ‘new owner’ couldn’t continue to stake their claim on it, I still hated having my name so visible and everywhere. I didn’t need the whole world to know my name in (today’s equivalent of) CAPS and in 120 point font size. Very malu can?

Fast forward 30 years. I am now a parent and have to label everything Xander brings to school by any means possible. I even did the marker thing on his school bag and toothbrush. This was before I know of personalized stickers lah so I went old school lor. Write with marker, then use sticky tape over the name to make them last longer.

The different methods used over the years.

So we used markers, DIY labelling machine, cheapo charlie made in Malaysia neoprint-like name stickers and even print on plain paper and then use sticky tape to paste them on Xander’s school books. All cannot make it and so ugly. They are mostly not waterproof and they come off very easily. You tell me “Hey I can get 40 labels printed for $7 leh!” but they come off every time you wash the bottle and then you need to put a new one on. That’s a big waste of money and time to keep replacing them right? Trust me lah, I’ve used them before. Not worth it lah. You need better stickers lah.

Child Label

Child Label

Recently, we given the opportunity to review the Give Me Everything Pack from Child Label, a local company and baby of Mother Inc. I love stickers! Don’t know why, I just do. I have a drawer full of stickers but dunno what to do with them 😛 Sorry, I digress…

The Give Me Everything Pack included the following:

32 x Small Rectangle Sticker Labels
32 x Chinese Name Sticker Labels
28 x Circle Sticker Labels
20 x Rectangle Iron Ons
18 x Circle Iron Ons

What is so special about these stickers?

“We use only high quality vinyl stickers, which are waterproof, freezable, microwavable and scratch resistant, but vulnerable to constant attempts of side picking and peeling. To ensure the long life of your Child Labels, keep out of reach from itchy fingers.” – Child Label

Dinos Club
The really cute labels

What I liked about the stickers was the size. These are large and easy to read. The circle iron-ons are really nice too. I usually see rectangular ones and almost always in *blah* black and white. The ones from Child Label are fun, colourful and quirky. Clear winner in my books!

Xander wasted no time and started marking his territory.
The communications book needed a makeover.
A different coloured sticker for each controller.
Even the toothbrush kit for school was not spared.

Because it’s waterproof, I don’t have to reinforce the stickers with sticky tape anymore. I know they will stay on for as long as Xander doesn’t decide to pick on them.

The Child Label website

The homepage

The website is easy to navigate and instructions very easy to follow.

The products

Something different from the other sticker sites is that Child Label offers customers the option of Chinese characters on the stickers. For someone like me who even now doesn’t know how to write Xander’s Chinese name, this is a really great idea. Check out the Split English/Chinese Stickers, they are very cute!

For your kid’s next birthday, you could consider printing some Birthday Sticker Labels for the goodie bags. Easier than DIYing your own gift tags the night before, yah?

The product details
How to order

Ordering the stickers is pretty simple, just follow the on-screen instructions, key in the name you want to appear on the labels, choose your favourite design and the font. Then Add to Cart!

Childlabel_web05

 

You will be directed to your shopping cart where you should check your order details and quantity.

 

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Don’t forget to key in your Shipping and Billing addresses ah?

Conclusion

Overall, I like the design and quality of the labels. However, I hope they could consider combining both the English and Chinese names onto one label for their next set of designs. Then I don’t have to paste 2 stickers like we did with Xander’s little communications book. The teachers probably think Xander’s mummy is damn kiasu to paste 2 big stickers on the small book. Hahaha!

Want to try it out for yourself?

Especially for all readers of Mother of Xander! 

Child Label will be giving away 1 set of Get Me Started Value Pack to ONE LUCKY READER!

Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter lah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends on Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 11.59pm. Results will be announced on my Facebook page so you must to LIKE my page to know if you won ok?

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Childlabel’s website: http://www.childlabel.com/
Childlabel’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/childlabel

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.

camera
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?

 

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.