I’ve got the Primary One blues

It has been almost 4 months since my last entry because I haven’t had the time to sit down to pen my thoughts. Every time I try, one or all of the following will happen.

  1. The baby would cry bloody murder because she just passed out the mother of all poop and threatens to rip off the offending diaper to pigeage (think grape stomping) it,
  2. Rain would be pouring down on my nearly all dried freshly washed laundry that was hung outside the window,
  3. Water from my upstairs neighbour’s wet mop would be dripping onto my nearly all dried freshly washed laundry that was hung outside the window,
  4. Something urgent from the office needed to be dealt with immediately, or
  5. I would be hungry. By the way, I am always hungry *sad pouty face*

On top of all these, I am also suffering from The Primary One Blues: dealing with Xander’s homework, projects, mastery tests and deng deng deng…. Chinese class. *blood curdling scream*

“Primary One 很 relax 的!” (translation: Primary One level is pretty low stress) experienced parents would tell me. “No exams mah. Don’t be too stressed out lah” they added.

Pfft! 骗人的lor! (translation: Bloody liars!) Have you taken a good look at the Chinese textbooks recently? If they didn’t come with hanyu pinyin, I most likely wouldn’t be able to read many of the words. My knowledge of Mandarin is pathetic.

Let’s take a look at the picture description test he was expected to practice before the actual day. Some keywords were provided to help him; 跳飞机, 飞碟, 老鹰抓小鸡, 瞎眼猫. Wah… I haven’t seen these words since forever! Do kids even know what these are? Not Xander apparently. He knows “catching”, basketball, frisbee, and the usual games but definately not 老鹰抓小鸡, 瞎眼猫. Heck, there isn’t even a hopscotch course in his school. If he doesn’t know and has never played these games, how is he supposed to answer leh? I also dunno. The feedback from his Chinese teacher about his low scores isn’t helping me feel better either. I don’t enjoy getting mad at my child just because a teacher feels he is not performing up to par. *sigh*

This is an image of his recent 看图说话 test.

I had a really good conversation with a fellow mummy online yesterday and she made me felt so much better. I said, after comparing how other kids of his level are faring, maybe we should have started preparing him and ourselves for primary school a lot earlier. She reminded me that I was not alone with my fears and other than consistent work at home, we just need to be supportive and focus on the child’s efforts, not just the results. Every child is different and the way they learn will also be different. There is no point in comparing him with others. I am such a control freak + perfectionist so not focusing on the results will take some getting used to.

Do you have any tips on managing expectations or motivating the child to do better you can share with me? I will really appreciate it very much.

My 1st Parent Volunteering Experience

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.

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.

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.

Such an attractive face eh?