About domestic helper

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We went to a hawker centre at Bukit Batok for dinner on Christmas Eve. The usual "cher zar 煮炒" place we go when we crave for crab. I saw a scene that I keep thinking about, cannot get it out of my mind. So I am hoping by blogging it, I would eventually stop thinking about it.

There were 2 maids feeding 2 boys (maybe at the age of 2 and 4), without the parents. I thought that was such a rare scene whereby the parents would allow the maids to bring the kids to the hawker centre alone to have dinner. I told hubby about this (ya, I know, I am a busybody!) but hubby didn't make any comment. A while later, I realised (becasue I saw the mum of the elder boy took some food from her table to the boy) the 2 maids and the 2 kids were actually related to the big family, who occupied 2 big tables next to them. There were 20+ people, probably a 3-generation family get-together. I was totally puzzled seeing this. I mean how difficult was it to squeeze in 2 kiddos into the big tables? The elder one doesn't even need a high chair while the younger one still needs one. I can understand if they don't want to let the maids to join in, but why they excluded the boys? Of course I won't know what's the reasons they decided to place the boys to a different table, but whatever the reason, it sadden me, and I felt terribly bad for the boys.

With more and more family depending on the help from a domestic helper, parents tend to pass on more or more parenting responsibilities to maids, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly. There is no right or wrong, as every family has their own way of doing things and the right to choose the best option for the family. We are still very much against the idea of having a live-in domestic helper, and hence my strong reaction on seeing this. Oh well, probably I was just being too sensitive and too busybody :-) No offence to anyone, ok, just sharing of my thought.

End of story.
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It's a Christmas Holiday.....

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Time passed too quickily

Here I am, sitting in front of the computer to post this entry before going to bed (I didn't stay up this late on purpose, but it's because of Xi Yu, she just went to bed about 5 minutes ago).

For us, we don't celebrat Christmas at all, I mean, nothing at all, no Christmas present, no Christmas party, no Christmas meal, nothing (ya, right, call us boring). And very likely it's going to be like this for our household for the many years to come (or who knows, we might get into this a few years later since almost everyone in Singapore celebrates Christmas in one way or another, be he/she a Christian or not).

So, what it meant for us was an extended long weekend to be spent with the kids. We have had a rather not-so-busy weekend as compared to the past weekends.

Christmas Eve........
My company has a mini Christmas party. I brought both the kids to the office. So I can let my colleagues to meet Hao Re and Xi Yu. Most of them have met Hao Re exactly 1 year ago, but only a couple of them have met Xi Yu. It's a very nice thing for me, a prond mummy, to receive lots of compliments (oh well, no matter what they said, I took it all as compliments!) from the uncles and aunties :-P And Hao Re was offered some potato chips, which was his very first them sampling potato chips, and he simply loved it, helping himself to putting one piece after another into his mouth, until the plate was empty. And we have crab for dinner, not for celebrating Christmas, but we craved for it.

Christmas.......
Really didn't know what to do. So, at the end, we went to JB for a shopping trip. Hao Re, again, was offered something he was not usually given to - A&W rootbeer! He drank plenty!! And he loved it!!! Came back at about 4.30pm and everyone was tired, adults and kids.

Boxing Day......
We spent the first half of the day at home. Only when Hao Re woke up from his nap, we went to Bedok to visit a colleauge of mine, who gave birth in mid November. Hao Re warmed up pretty quickily and happily played with the girl (my colleauge's elder daugther). She showed him her turtles and to our surprise, Hao Re kept saying 怕怕 and dared not touch the turtle. We later had dinner with them at the Tampanies Mall. During the dinner time, Hao Re dropped a ceramic plate on the floor, and yes, it's gone into pieces! This marked the first plate that Hao Re broke, which I reckoned was not that bad, after so many months dining out.

Sunday.....
It's a long waited day (for me, at least), as we went for a photography session. Don't want to say much about it until we receive the photos few weeks later, be sure we would share all the photos. Many thanks to my brother and his girlfriend, YW YiYi, they went with us and they helped a lot in making Hao Re looked at the camera, making him laugh, etc. I think the photos won't be as nice and we won't be even more tired (we were already very tired) if they didn't go with us. Have lunch then went back home.

Oh ya, I haven't mentioned that my younger brother is back to Singapore for a break. He stayed with us until last Chinese New Year, when he had left Singapore for good. Meaning that Hao Re had JiuJiu to play with him until he was just over 1 year old. It's really amazed that how he can recognise JiuJiu immediately. Why I said so - as soon as Hao Re saw JiuJiu on Monday night, he went to hold hand with JiuJiu and wanted to play with him in a couple of minutes time! If it's not because he can remember JiuJiu, how could he be so willing to play with someone whom he just met? If you remember, he needs a long time (10-30 minutes) to warm up before willing to play with others. He absolutely enjoys the accompany of JiuJIu and YW YiYi. There is even more laughter everyday! Hao Re is just too lovely!

A bit on Xi Yu - she didn't sleep well (during the day) on Thursday and Friday), but very well on Saturday and Sunday. I gave one of the best Christmas presents to Xi Yu - that  I survived TBF for yet another week, all thanks to this festive holiday, so that I can latch her on full day, what present could possibly be better than this!
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Brother and sister

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 Sometimes they play together, sometimes they play on their own :-)

Hao Re adores his little sister very very much. So far, he has not shown any negative acts towards Xi Yu. He is simply an excellent big brother :-) He loves to carry Meimei. Sometimes when he is half way playing with his toy, he would suddenly come me and say "I want, 抱抱, 妹妹". We would ask him to sit down, put meimei on his lap, he wrap meimei with his little arms, pat pat and kiss kiss meimei a bit, then pass meimei back to us and continue with his toys. Sometimes he helps meimei to put on blanket, and helps me to keep an eye on meimei, so that meimei won't put her hands into her mouth, he imitates exactly like me, he goes "yiak, 妹妹,不要吃手手啊". It's absolutely heart warming to see the pair interacting. And yes, with 2 kids now, it's double busy, double messy, double chaos, but in returns, we get double happiness!!!

Hao Re and Xi Yu are having fun (but we don't really understand why/waht was it so funny?!!)

Brother and sister fun time! from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

But of course, we wouldn't expect Hao Re has the interest to play with Xi Yu all the times (well, in fact, only very little time). So most of the time, Hao Re is still playing on his own or with us.

While for Xi Yu, I do think sometimes she would appreciate less "disturbance" from her big brother, because Hao Re can be quite rough at times, and sometimes he "uses" Xi Yu like a toy :-) As of now, she loves to be put in the exersaucer and plays on her own for a good 10-15 minutes.

Hao Re is playing guitar and singing a Thomas song. Does he have potential to be a musician :-)

Youngest guitarist :-) from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

Xi Yu is playing in her exersaucer happily. She knows how to trun around to play with the toys already, push the button, shaking the rattle etc.

Free play! from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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Mum and daughter look alike

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Does Xi Yu REALLY look like mummy?

Since day 1 when Xi Yu was born, almost all people, including families, relatives, friends, neighbours, doctors, nurses, strangers, passer-bys, who have seen her, commented that Xi Yu looks like me. Only maybe 1 in 100 say Xi Yu looks like daddy :-) My mum and my aunties said Xi Yu reminds them of me 35 years ago......
So, hubby photoshopped these photos (thanks hubby for your thoughtfulness :-)). You can judge for yourself!

Just in case you couldn't identify who is who - Xi Yu on the left, mummy (about 1 year old then) on the right.






And yes, now maybe you know why Xi Yu has so much hair - it's inherited from me :-)
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My little girl is 4 months old

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An interesting month

Brought Xi Yu to Dr Keoy's clinic at TMC for her second 6-in-1 jab and rotavirus vaccine. The 3 important measurement as measured at the clinic - 6.4kg in weight (has doubled her birth weight of 3.045kg), 65.5cm in length and 40cm of head circumference. Everything is in good order. She is growing steadily, on a good growth curve, i.e., for the past 2 months, her weight is at 50-75th percentile, length is between 75-90th percentile, while head circumference stays at 25th percentile.

I needed to get some more fish oil supplement and obimin from Dr Tan's clinic. The nurses suggested I should let Dr Tan see and carry Xi Yu. Despite her extremely busy schedule, Dr Tan spent a few minutes talking to me and playing with Xi Yu. I can see her eyes sparkled when she saw Xi Yu. She is definitely a very nice gynae. I will sure go back to her if I were to have #3, and if she has not retired by then :-) (note: pity that I didn't bring the camera so didn't manage to get a photo of Dr Tan carrying Xi Yu, hubby was at the cashier paying for the pills).

This little girl has very strong neck muscle. She can lift up her head very well (to 90 degree for a few minutes) when being put on tummy (see video below). She turns her neck swiftly following the noice/voice. When being carry upright, she can hold her head steadily, though we are still careful so that her head and body won't fall backward when she loses control of her neck. When we carry her, if it's not the position she wants, she moves fiercely to let us know she wants the position changed. She is very much into doing sit-up exercise, see if I can get a good video for this.

Xi Yu on tummy time (this little girl doesn't like tummy time though, the clip is one of the odd time when she seems to be enjoying it).

Tummy time from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

We figured that she likes to view the world as we are, i.e., to be at the upright position. And since her leg muscle is strong enough to hold some of her own weight, we decided to let her stand/play in the exersaucer. The old one we brought for Hao Re is not quite suitable for her yet (she is not tall enough, and this is will be used at her nanny's). But the one that Hao Re won during a baby contest was just nice. She loves being in there, having all those colourful toys to play with, though we still have to support her with pillows. For now, she is willing to play in the exersaucer for 10-15 minutes.

Xi Yu in the brand new exersaucer, a gift from her lovely Gorgor :-)


We try to let her practicing more on sitting as well. She still falls sideway even supported with pillows. It's cute to look at. We figured she doens't like sitting that much as compared to standing. But we still need to let her practice sitting to strengten her back and stomach muscle. And guess what, when the tv is on, this little girl is more willing to sit, facing the tv of course, and her eyes glue to the tv! This is one of the inherited traits from her daddy, who is a tv addict :-P Her nanny told me the same thing - she looks at the tv as if she is really watching the tv!

We adults take it for granted, and never realised even simple thing like sitting takes the young baby a long time to learn......


Since one month ago, she started to coo/babble a lot. And sometimes she can coo in pretty high pitch :-) It's always entertaining to hear her cooing/talking/singing. We and many people think she would/might grow up to be a talkative little fella. Even Dr Keoy commented she does "talk" a lot :-)

We still put mitten on her. This is to prevent her from sucking her own "drumstick". But we would take out the mitten from time to time to stimulate her senses. She loves that and she would almost immediately put her hands into her mouth. Sometimes she puts her 2 hands together and play with them. Her finger grasp skill has improved and she can grab a toy for a few minutes and move it for a short distance.

Xi Yu playing with the ball (rattle).

Playing with a (rattle) ball from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

Come to sleeping. Her total sleeping time is about 15 hours, i.e., 9 hours at night plus 6 hours nap. I think this amount of sleep is just nice for a baby this age. I am not the lucky mum - so no, Xi Yu hasn't slept through the night yet, and I don't expect her to be able to do so for another few more months. Meanwhile I just have to cope with the night wakings. If she has lots of reserve in her tummy oe being fed late at night, she only wakes up 1x, sometimes 2x, and could be 3x on a bad night (feeding plus comfort sucking). I am usually okay with the night wakings, except one very rare nights when I was totally exhausted. I lost my temper on her that night and scolded her. Felt so guilty when I think about it now :-( Have to constantly remind myself to be patient, patient and more patient.

Update on my breastfeeding career

Good news is I breastfed Xi Yu exclusively for another month, making a total of 4 months, and that's quite an achievement, to me, at least (ya, I know there are lots of great mums out there who breastfeeds for more than 1 year).

Bad news is I think I may be ending TBF very very soon and moving on to partial feeding. For sure I won't stop breastfeeding, not now.

For the past month, the first 2 weeks had been quite smooth sailing. I pumped at work and latched Xi Yu at night and early morning. Worked out well and my supply was just enough for her with a little bit of surplus on some (lucky/more productive) days.

Then suddenly, about 2 weeks ago, she demanded for an extra feed at night. After drinking 120ml of EBM at her nanny before coming back home at about 6pm, she wanted to be fed (latch on) at 8pm. Then at 10pm she needed another feed (another 120ml EBM given by hubby), so I have almost nothing to pump out at night. My breastmilk supply, sadly, didn't increase according to her needs. So I have been struggling with supply since. Already on Fenugreek for weeks (actually not sure if this helps). Then added on the Goat's Rue (which said help to build up breast tissues, and so I thought might help my lopsided breast). Not helping also. Increase to 4x pumping at work for 3 days. Not helping, so back to 3x pumping. Cooked papaya fish soup. Not helping too (hubby said I might not have cook it correctly because the soup didn't turn into whiteish colour even after boiling for 4 hours, and we couldn't get a green papaya or must we get a green papaya?). Just bought few packets of fish soup from TMC to try if this helps. Cooked red date tea and try also, not sure yet if this helps.

So here I am. Depending on whether I am able to increase my supply, Xi Yu will be on either TBF or partial BF for the coming months. My frozen EBM only left with the last 180ml......

I have to be positive - I consider myself doing very well already since I have started work for 2 months, taking care of 2 kids (with hubby's great support), do house chores (with hubby help, either voluntarily or upon request :-)), and be a mow mow cow. Should give myself a pat on the shoulder. Well, as long as I can still breastfeed, I should count my blessings already, shouldn't I? 一却随缘吧!

Till the next update..........
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Baby Proms 2009

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And yet another busy weekend!

On Saturday, we attended the very popular, a sold-out event, Singapore Symphony Orchestra Babies' Proms 2009 at the Victoria Concert Hall on Friday morning. We reached the venue just on time and the music started as soon as we sat down. This musical event was especially catered for young children (6 years and below), conducted by Peter Moore, aka Uncle Peter. Uncle Peter made the whole event fun filled. He introduced the different musical instruments and how they sound during the play, and also making it fun by playing some simple games. At the end of the show, the kids (no parents allowed) get to go on stage to interact with the musicians for a while. The whole play was less than 1 hour, just nice before the kids losing their interest. Hao Re was not enjoying it very much at the beginning, as he needed quite a long time to warm up. He started to enjoy it a little more towards the end. Surprisingly, Xi Yu, for the first time, didn't fall asleep while we were having an outing, and in fact, she looked like enjoying the play a lot, maybe she is born to like musical :-) We should be back next year!

Strolling from where we park to the Victoria Concert Hall. Do you like Hao Re's new cap? We got if for him last week from the Thomas show. I personally think it's a very nice :=)

We were very rush in the morning (I slept in late as I was very tired to get up from the bed, all my fault!) and we skipped our breakfast. Hao Re has a bit of cereal and a bottle of milk before we left the house. So we have our brunch at the "Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant" at the top of the UOB Plaza. The reason why we picked this restaurant? Because we parked the car there, and we were too hungry by then, so chose the most convenient location :-) And it turned out to be a good one! Again, as we were very hungry, we just ordered the set lunch rather than going through the menu. The dishes were ok. What's best is their dou hua, really nice, very "beany" taste and ultra soft texture, very very nice. Hao Re is a good food taster, he loved the dou hua so much that we got to order an extra bowl for him and he finished 1 whole bowl in minutes! By the way, he ate quite a lot of the food also. We will certainly come back one day!

Some more shots of Hao Re. We like the one of the right hand side. Very cute (and tired looking) pose :-)


The rest of the day was stay at home. And I cooked dinner for the family, just 2 simple stir fried dishes :-)

On Sunday, I dared not sleep in anymore though I wish I could :-P Today's program was to attend a birthday bash cum christmas party for Hao Re with some of my fellow mummies at the Go Go Bambini. We reached the venue about 10 minutes ahead of time. It was very nice to meet so many mummies and kids. Hao Re enjoyed the playscape very much. But we all agreed that the service provided was very poor. Since our toddlers enjoyed the 2 hours, oh well, we have not much to complain. This is the first 2-year old birthday celebration for Hao Re. We won't hold a party for him, but would most likely let him celebrate with his schoolmates on the actual day. How about Xi Yu - yes, you guess it right, she slept through the whole event again, for about 3 hours in a stretch! I only managed to "show off" my princess for about 10-15minutes, then she slept all the way till we reached home. What a sleeping beauty she is! Both Hao Re and hubby were exhausted after the 2 hours of play. I was also very tired. All 4 of us took an afternoon nap. And the rest of the day, again, was to stay home.

It's a very messy party. But most importantly, the kiddos enjoyed it a lot!


Enjoying his play at the playscape. That's the only photo of Xi Yu before she started her 3-hour long nap :-)


Me and hubby are looking forward to a less busy weekend this week...... but there is already something waiting :-)
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Swimming, Orchard Road Christmas light-up, Singapore Flyer, East Coast Park

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The long weekend well spent!

Photos uploaded (finally!!!) on the 15th Dec. Entry posted on the 3rd Dec 2009. Our Arts Director is very busy recently, hence the delay of the photos :-)

(Note on 3rd Dec 2009: PHOTO IS PENDING........ waiting for our Arts Director to photoshop the photos...... Stories come first.........)

It's a long weekend as Friday was a Public Holiday (Hari Raya Haji). And I have a super long weekend as I was on sick leave on Wednesday and Thursday. I had sore throat on Tuesday afternoon, and decided to consult a GP immediately so that it's under control and the bugs won't be spread to the kids. The doctor was so kind and understanding, he gave me 2 days of sick leave when I told her I have a young baby to take care of. I had 2 absolutely relaxing day!

Got busier when Friday came.

Friday morning - swimming at the CSC. As usual, Hao Re enjoyed the water so much. When hubby asked Hao Re to move from the wave pool, after almost 1 hour of fun, to the kids pool, we were very surprise that Hao Re refused to go into the pool. When he refused the second time, we decided to call it a day. Only when hubby took off his swim diaper, he found out that Hao Re had pooed! That explained why he refused to get into the pool again, very considerate child, hor :-)

Friday night - hubby suggested to bring the kids to Orchard Road to view the Christmas street light ups. We had dinner at Ding Tai Feng (queued for almost 30min, and that's only 6pm!) at Wisma Atria. After that, only spent about 30min to admire the light ups. But to be honest, I think the standard dropped so much as compared to about, er, 10 years ago. Nowadays it's only lights, and not much nice decoration. It's way too crowded for us to stay longer than 30min.

Saturday morning - met up with SC and her mum, they came to visit Singapore from KL. Brought them to the Singapore Flyer. It's nice, and I think (and I hope) they enjoyed it. Hao Re certainly enjoyed it. Xi Yu wanted to sleep soon after we boarded the "car", and only drank half of the EBM. After slinged her to sleep, fed her the rest of the EBM. And she continued to sleep for the next 3 hours!!! After the Flyer, we brought them to Katong for you guess what - yes, Katong Laksa lor. Then sent them to Bukit Batok to their relative's house, and we made our way home.



Sunday morning - met up with a couple of friends and their kids at East Coast Park. The 3 kids took a long time to warm up. By the time they finally warmed up and wanted/willing to play together, the day turned grey and started to rain! Duh, before we all started to have fun, we have to pack and leave. Hubby suggested to have our lunch at Tampopo at Liang Courts. We ordered a set meal for Hao Re from the kids menu, this is his OWN very first set meal (but he didn't eat much). Xi Yu requested to sleep, I slinged her and she continued to sleep for the next 3 hours (again!). We didn't go out for the rest of the day. Maybe Xi Yu has got some sun tanned in the morning that made her very tired. She slept from about 4.30pm to the next morning 7am, only woke up for milk, then quickly dozed off again!!! She is really a sleeping beauty :=)



Right, gonna stop here.
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A special day for Hao Re

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Reward for being a good boy

Hao Re's childcare centre was closed on Friday (11th Dec 2009) for the annual spring cleaning. Both me and hubby took leave so that we can spend a day with him without having to bring Xi Yu along, thus a special day just for Hao Re.

First thing we went to the ICA to submit the PR application for Xi Yu. This is a very long story which I don't want to talk about, but we finally getting close and one more trip to ICA will complete the whole process for Xi Yu becoming a PR.

After that, we headed to the Rider's Cafe at the Saddle Club off Eng Neo Avenue for a hearty breakfast/brunch.The restaurant is in the historical black and white building with high ceilings, and a great view of horses and lush greenery surroundings, and it's non-air-conditioned! It is definitely not a common restaurant space found in Singapore. We enjoyed our brunch. For a (good) change, Hao Re sat on the high chair without kicking a fuss for the entire meal!

We then headed to the Bukit Panjang Plaza as they have balloon sculpturing and story telling at 1pm. We were there early, so still have time to do a bit of shopping and let Hao Re play at the playground. He enjoyed the whole show very much. He laughed. Clapped. Sang. Waved. Amazed by the balloon. We stayed on a little longer wanting him to join the balloon twisting workshop but obviously he was too young for that, so it's mummy who was doing the balloon twisting. We strectched his nap time to after 2pm and he already knocked off during the short car ride home.

Let him nap till about 6pm. After our part time helped has arrived, we set off to pick up Xi Yu and went to the Lot 1 Shopping Centre. The event they were running was the nursery rythm with a modern twist (very modern, in fact, too modern to my liking). The program already started when we arrived. It took Hao Re some time to warm up and when he started to warm up, it's ending already :-) Had our dinner and called it a day.

Hao Re has been a very good boy lately. So he deserved a (almost) full day attention from mummy and daddy as a reward. And I hope he enjoyed the day :-)

Hao Re loves to sit on this (oh well, whose kid doesn't?). He doesn't have preference to any cartoon characters, anything would be fine for him. But we have never put in the coin to let him experience the movement yet.
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Thomas, Thomas, oh my Thomas!

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Thomas and his friends!

We went to the Thomas & Friends Live On Stage - A Circus Comes To Town on Sunday morning. Hao Re enjoyed the show very much! He was fully focused on the stage performance. He called out "Thomas", "Percy" a few times. For part of the show, he sat on his own seat, while for the rest of the show, he sat on hubby's lap (as the boy in front of him kept moving around, grrrr!). He clapped, cheered and sang along with daddy and the crowd. After the show ended, he waved and said "Bye bye Thomas!" When we were walking out of the stadium, he turned back a couple of times and said "Bye bye Thomas!". We will come back next year, if he is still a fan of Thomas by then.

Oh ya, guess what Xi Yu was doing throughout the show? Yes, you guess it right - she was sleeping a few minutes after we sat down until the end of the show, despite all the loud music and voices. Don't understand how can she sleep in that kind of environment? Could it be because I slinged her, so she felt comfortable?

Thomas the tank engine


That's us at the show (see Xi Yu's sleeping soundly)


By playing with Thomas, he learns a lot of things. He learns to say all the names of the engines - Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon, Emily, Toby, Harold, Bertie, Mavis........ More recently, he knows Thomas is blue, James is red, and Percy is green, and able to point to the correct engine. And learn to sing the theme song. He would sing some words here and there, until the end of the song, he would (kinda) sing loudly "Thomas And His Friends!". Pretty cool ya! He is learning to build the train track, he pretty much know which piece goes to which location, but still can't assembly the track yet.

He is at the stage of being a (big) fan of Thomas, and hasn't reached the "addicted" stage yet. I think as long as we are controlling it (how much Thomas toys to buy, how much Thomas DVD/tv program to watch), he is enjoying it, it's really no harm to let him make Thomas his idol, or is it?

I realised that at this young age, actually it's the parents who encourage the idolism, and not the kid himself, withouth the influence and support from the parents, I think all the cartoons are pretty much similar in their eyes. All cartoons are cute and they are made to attract children's attention anyway. It's left to us parents to what extend we want to introduce these type of commercialised toys to them. Like I said, I don't think it's bad at all, as long as he is having fun and learn a thing or two along the way :-)

His other favourite cartoons include - Pocoyo (and friends), Mickey Mouse (and friends), Mr Bean (both live and cartoon versions). At of now, he is happy to watch whatever we put on the tv, and he still doesn't request for a particular show yet. I think he likes them equally. Will try to write a blog for these characteres whenever possible.

The lyrics for the Thomas theme song (for me and hubby to memorise so we can sing along with Hao Re):

Thomas The Tank Engine Theme Song
They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew

All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth sheds or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends

Thomas he's the cheeky one
James is vain but lots of fun
Percy pulls the mail on time
Gordon thunders down the line
Emily really knows her stuff
Henry toots and huffs and puffs
Edward wants to help and share
Toby, well let's say, he's square

They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew

All with different roles to play
Round tidmouths or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends


And the tickets to the show
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Early Childhood Education

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Sharing of a parenting book on Early Childhoon Education

I told myself to read up some parenting books, to be a better mum. I am so proud of myself because I did finish reading a book! I bought a parenting book in Chinese (as my Chinese is much better than my English and so I can read faster and catch the points better) from the Popular at Tebrau City many months back. It's not one of those top 10 books or by famous authors, it's just a book that made me wanted to know more when I flipped it through, so I just bought it. It turned out to be a good read, I am glad.

As predicted, I was able to finish reading the book in just a few hours, oh well, it's accumulated hours from many nights, after putting Hao Re to sleep (this was when Xi Yu was still in my tummy) and when I still have energy left and in the reading mood. Here I share some of the pointers taken from the book (it took me a looooong time to type it all out, since I finished reading the book in early June......). Below is the summary of a 276-page book (leave me a message or e-mail me if you are interested to know the title of this book). Here it goes:

<<天才孩子也需要伯乐爸妈妈 - 优质教育开发孩子七种天赋>>
(sorry to English readers, I am too lazy (and am not good at) translating it to English, you may want to make use of online translator...... ).

每个孩子都有天赋
- 零到六岁是多元智能发展的关键期,而零到三岁是人的一生发展最重要的时期。

- 家庭教育是对孩子最基础的教育- 重要的是父母如何根据孩子的特点,让他能够得到个性化的教育,把他的天赋展示出来, 家庭是真正的学习中心。

- 孩子的发展靠教育,教育的关键是早期教育。早期教育的核心在于开启幼儿的心智,提高他们接受新知识的热情,方法和能力,增加他们的求知欲

- 科学的早教注重的是培养幼儿的想象力,注意力,观察力,创造力,思维力等各项能力,而且挖掘的是孩子的天赋优势和兴趣所在,不是只注重学知识。


- 早期教育的方法是生活中教,游戏中学。
- 早期教育–第一步是发现, 第二步是培养。


发现:- 可用推则法和实验法(书里有很详细的解析)。

培养:-

一,根据孩子的年龄和特点,定出与孩子兴趣一致的目标
二,一开始可由家长给于具体和明确的帮助
三,首重观察,不论成果
四,使学习逐步变成孩子自觉的行为习惯和主动要求
五,利用成功,决定进阶的教育内容和时机
六,创造条件,引导孩子各方面均匀发展

有八项能力是每个人都与生具来的,只不过有人强,有人弱,而且每个人的能力组合也不一样。
1.语言能力 (linguistic intelligence)
2.逻辑-数学智能 (logical-mathematical intelligence)
3.视觉空间智能 (spatial intelligence)
4.身体-运动智能 (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
5.音乐智能 (musical intelligence)
6.人际交往智能 (interpersonal intelligence)
7.自我认知智能 (intrapersonal intelligence)
8.自然观察智能 (naturalist intelligence)


发现及培养孩子的天赋:
语言天赋
- 语言是反映大脑发展状态和个人聪明的重要指标, 所以家长应重视孩子语言发展的进程和特点.

- 爱因斯坦说: "一个人的智力发展和形成概念的方法, 在很大程度上取决于语言".

- 对于幼儿来说,环境对学语言的影响非常大. 因此, 只有把大量的语言输入孩子的脑袋里, 才有可能使他有丰富的输出.

- 儿童心理学家认为, 二到三岁是孩子口头语言发展的关键期, 这个阶段孩子学习口语非常快, 会对语言充满渴望, 可说是处于语言能力爆发性成长的时期.


数学逻辑

- 天赋孩子逻辑思维的发展, 不应从外部强加于他, 相反的, 应该极力从孩子的内部去发掘.

- 要使孩子不仅习惯于他兴趣的事, 而且还要习惯于他不感兴趣的事.

- 三岁前的幼儿, 只要先建立其一到十的数字概念, 即可统筹一切, 以后再依次类推, 学会运用更多的数字.

- 三岁的孩子只能理解具体的事情, 不会复杂的分析综合; 只会直接推理, 不会进行逻辑推理. 因此对幼儿提要求要具体.

- 四岁是从直觉行动思维向具体形象思维转变的过渡期, 在这一时期会同时具有这两种思维特点, 但仍缺乏抽象逻辑思维. 而掌握 "数”的概念是逻辑思维发展的重要面向.

- 五岁的幼儿仍以具体形象思维为主,抽象逻辑思维才刚刚开始萌芽. 在这一时期具体形象思维达到高峰,并表现在各方面. 这个年龄的幼儿会玩也爱玩角色游戏.

- 到了六,七岁, 随着语言的发展和知识经验的增长, 抽象逻辑思维开始萌芽, 从这个时期开始, 孩子已开始依靠概念, 判断, 推理来进行思维了 - 会有 “打破砂锅问到底“的架势。

- 拼图是一种很适合孩子玩的游戏 - 它可以启发智能,帮助孩子养成解决事情的能力,对于孩子的精细动作,手眼协调,逻辑观念等都有帮助。


科学实验天赋
- 就所学知识展开实际行动(应用能力)和将思维变成具体成果的能力(实做能力).

- 幼儿的无知与好奇,正是开启科学圣殿第一扇大门的钥匙. 在幼儿阶段, 家长应以知识为桥梁, 达成能力的培养和情感态度的陶冶, 使孩子能够: 对新鲜事物有旺盛的好奇心和求知欲; 有敏锐的感知能力和观察力; 善于思考和动脑筋; 有灵活的动手能力; 享受探索的乐趣, 拥有成功感; 珍惜生命, 热爱自然.

- 面对孩子在好奇心驱使下的好动与好问, 家长应有耐心, 虚心, 还要有童心,诚心和慧心. 而做到这些的前提是必须有一颗爱心 - 热爱孩子的好奇心!

- 怎么诱惑孩子的求知欲:
1)抓住孩子的求异心理,鼓励想象.
2)结合生活中的情景,巧设疑问,给孩子心理上造成一种悬念,激发孩子的求知欲望.
3)提供一个充满奥秘的环境,以激发孩子的求知欲.
4)到大自然去,然大自然给于孩子智能的启迪.
5)启发孩子思考,鼓励孩子自己尝试解答.
6)言传身教,给孩子提供一个良好的精神环境.
7)设法让孩子做实验.

- 灵巧的手是一个人大脑发育良好的标志之一.

- 从婴儿二至三个月,就能开始训练抓握触摸能力.而积木最能锻炼婴儿的手的功能.训练孩子自己动手吃, 用汤匙,拿筷子是练习手部运动和手眼协调的大好机会.指导孩子动手做.锻炼孩子的自理能力.提供各种结构材料.鼓励孩子大胆进行小制作小发明

音乐天赋
- 幼教专家认为, 过早的正规音乐训练, 对年幼的孩子并不合适. 不过, 倒是可以让他广泛地接触和音乐有关的事物, 比如从游戏中, 让孩子了解音乐的大小, 快慢, 长短, 甚至是音色和音质的变化, 就已经足够了.

- 对于零到三岁的幼儿来说, 没必要一定得学习某种乐器. 让孩子玩一些音乐玩具, 当着孩子学习音乐的早期教材, 就足够了. 但购买时应慎重挑选, 乐器的音质不可低劣.

- 培养音乐智能三步骤 - 1) 引导幼儿欣赏音乐; 2) 培养幼儿的音乐结构感; 3) 律动与吟诵.

- 三岁以下的孩子,不要选择吹奏乐器,应优先选择键盘乐器,比如钢琴,数位钢琴,电子琴等.

- 要尊重孩子的兴趣-学习的动机来自于兴趣.

- 音乐是思维的源泉.

舞蹈天赋
- 舞蹈是一种以人体动作为主要表现的艺术.其本质特征是手舞足蹈地表现人的情感,它的基本要素是动作的姿态,节奏和表情,由此构成凝聚在律动之中的空间流动的美.

- 学习舞蹈,参加舞蹈活动,主要是由舞蹈的创作,训练和表演,对孩子进行德,智,体,美的教育,开发他们自身的潜在能力,对孩子的性格,气质风度,身体,情操的发展打下扎实而健康的基础.

- 舞蹈有利于促进智力的发展,培养良好的意志品质,增强形体与气质美感,培养良好的审美观,培养团体观念与竞争精神,及提高音乐素养.

- 幼儿舞蹈培养的指导原则-1)避免成人化训练,2)在游戏中舞蹈,3)多听, 4)多学


绘画天赋
- 绘画是一种技巧, 又是一门艺术. 它能培养和发展孩子的想象力,创造力, 及丰富孩子的知识面.

- 在绘画班中往往只教孩子涂鸦, 或是模仿老师的画, 没能真正发挥孩子的自主想象力和创造力, 所以幼儿专家指出让孩子自主性绘画.

- 没有知识就谈不上想象, 想象是原有知识的进行重组. 而没有想象就谈不上创造, 创造能力是在具有丰富的想象力基础之上的.

- 画画是幼儿反映自己的生活经验和表达思想感情的一种方式. 儿童画充满了丰富的想象,是客观世界在孩子眼里的曲折反映。

- 家长要鼓励孩子突破单一, 僵化的思维模式, 不断创新, 超越自我.

- 直觉性体验是激发孩子大胆想象的好办法,家长可以给孩子一个宽松,自由的空间,使其心身得到彻底放松。

- 发展孩子的的绘画创造力 - 为孩子提供优美的环境, 重视大自然对孩子的感染和熏陶, 有意识引导孩子去观察和欣赏, 不忘及时肯定, 鼓励孩子的好奇心和探索行为.

体育天赋

- 体育锻炼不仅可以使孩子发育良好, 结实强壮, 动作敏捷, 而且还有助于智力开发, 使孩子聪明活泼.

- 四岁是开始体质潜能开发训练的最佳年龄.

- 很少有孩子不喜欢体育运动的. 家长要尽可能地参与, 大力支持.


保护孩子的天赋
- 婴幼儿确实具有极大的学习潜能, 透过训练可以学会许多东西。但这些训练认他们学会的东西并不意味着就是他们在这年龄阶段应该去学习的东西。

- 知识是人类智能的结晶, 它本身就蕴涵着智力的价值. 但这不等于将知识用任何方法教给任何年龄的孩子都必然会促进其智力发展.

- 要判断"早期教育"是否成功, 是看它是否提供了有助于终生继续学习的动力和基础.

- 婴幼儿缺乏知识经验, 成人应当教给他们知识经验, 但必须是不破坏他们学习兴趣的前提下.

- 早期教育应当激发和培养幼儿的学习与创造的兴趣, 而非扼杀他.

- 科学的早期教育必须是尊重孩子的教育, 包括尊重他们的人格, 兴趣, 需要, 发展特点.

- 对孩子要坚持循序渐进, 量力而行的原则.

- 最好的早期教育是让孩子过得愉快, 孩子在这个阶段想做什么就做什么, 不要让孩子过早地揹上生活的十字架, 要让孩子自在地享受快乐童年!

- 早期教育的目的是要在孩子发展与学习的关键期给予及时, 有效的教育, 充分开发孩子的潜能, 让孩子具备各种能力, 比如身体素质, 道德情操, 让孩子奍成良好的习惯, 生活自理能力, 与人交流的能力, 具备坚韧的品质和良好的心理承受力.

- 家长注重孩子的早期教育并没有错, 但值得注意的是, 不能片面化, 绝对化.

- 父亲的角色非常重要. 专家认为,呒父亲参与早期教育能使孩子健康形成性别角色, 在自我控制, 自信心, 语言等方面发展的更好!

- 在教育孩子的问题上要学会思考, 学会判断, 学会选择.

- 尊重孩子的情感 - 每个孩子都是有感情的活生生的人, 不是父母可以随意改造的机器.

- 多才多艺并不是幸福的保障.

- 当孩子的情感得到尊重和满足时, 他会感到幸福, 因为幸福是内心的情感体验.

创造绿色健康型的家庭环境

- 根据一项家庭教育现状的研究分析,大体可将之分为四种类型: 力求完美型, 圆梦补偿型, 顺其自然型, 绿色健康型.

- 对与早期教育来说,绿色教育才是孩子们的理想家庭.

- 绿色健康型 - 父母认为幼儿期是人生发展的关键阶段,孩子的成长和发展有其自身的特点, 要为他们的成长打下坚实基础,必须尊重孩子的天性,提供适宜的教育环境,为他们终生可持续发展奠定基础.他们知道要教育孩子必须从知己做起,他们深信身教重于言教,处处为孩子做榜样, 尊重孩子的发展特点,尊重孩子的兴趣和需要,讲求科学的教育方法,经常与孩子沟通,善于发现孩子的进步,勇于向孩子学习.正确运用鼓励,欣赏,批评的方式,对孩子的教育能晓以以理,动之以情,并持之以恒.

- 如何创造绿色家庭环境 - 1) 正确看待孩子的成长, 2) 理性对待孩子的未来, 3) 还给孩子童年的快乐, 4) 实现孩子理想的发展

- 孩子的成长,离不开家庭的抚育,家庭是孩子最好的成长伙伴.

- 每一个家长都要观察了解孩子的成长特点,掌握孩子的发展规律,为他们提供健康愉快的成长环境,多给予他们亲情,多与他们沟通,常陪他们玩游戏,尽可能地满足孩子精神上的需求.
- 相信孩子的能力,尊重他们的需求,学会与孩子共同成长!
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Our 23 months old boy

4 comments
The two different Hao Re

Over the past months, we have discovered/experienced/witnessed the 2 different Hao Re - 1) the "good", i.e., when he is at good mood and well behave versus and 2) the "bad", i.e., when he throws (big) tantrum.

The "good" Hao Re:

He is really a dear darling when he is in good self and not trying to be unreasonable. He is just so perfect (well, every kid's perfect in his mum's eyes, isn't he :-P) that I love every single bit of him! He grows/develops handsomely, no worries for us at all!

It's getting more and more fun playing and interacting with him as he becomes more verbal. We are able to communicate with him very well. His vocabulary has grown to a very very long list, that now he knows a lot of things and able to say it, some in English, some in Mandarin and some in both languages. I guess this makes his life more interesting as well? He starts to form sentences, like 我要xx, I want xx, 妹妹哭. And he can say "I love you", and I think he understands what it mean also. The only thing that he can't pronounce properly is the words started with "h", e.g., 蝴蝶 (hu die), he pronounces it as "du die" instead, 花 (hua), he says "fa" :-) No problem with the rest. Now, I wonder - when will he start the first "WHY" and thus begins the 1001 questions :-P He starts to understand and try to make sense of things around him. He started to learn the opposite - good and bad, big and small, etc. And started to have his likes and dislikes.

His new favourite toy is THOMAS THE TRAIN! He is so obsessed with it (em, with our support) that he only plays with Thomas toys and ignored all his other toys, except puzzles. When we want to make him do something, we will "make use" of Thomas, he would then obediently do what we ask him to do. Pretty good ya :-) Don't know how long the Thomas fever will last for though. We are going to bring him to watch the Thomas & Friends Live On Stage this Sunday, can't wait to see how he responds when he sees the huge Thomas! He still loves puzzles a lot. No longer likes tv very much, though he still watches the cartoons. This is because hubby let him watch Thomas on the PC. So on weekday nights, the dad and son usually spend a good half and hour in front of the PC and thus cut down his time on tv.

He loves his MeiMei, though he can be quite rough at times. So we still have to keep a close eyes on him when he plays with his MeiMei. I do think sometimes he treats MeiMei as one of his "toys" :-) I showed him once to read to MeiMei, and now sometimes he would bring a book to MeiMei and read to her.

What else? He is, still, gaining weight steadily, though I didn't weigh him, but we can tell since we still carry him some times. He does look bigger than his peers. Plus that he has this mature look, very rare people can guess his age correctly, most would think he is older. My mum said it's not surprise if people think he is 3 years old :-)

The "bad" Hao Re:

First of all, let me clarify we don't actually label or call our kid as "bad" kid. It's just a description that we use to differentiate him from the "good" :-)

I think it's unevitable that children this age will throw tantram from time to time, as they are going through the terrible twos. It is actually very critial for us, as a parent, to learn on how to deal with him and to guide him along. I read this article "Your role as a parent" a few days ago, and the author described very well what is in my mind:

"All that we parents ever need to do is to provide generous dollops of love and acceptance to our children. In the absence of a warm and loving atmosphere, no child can ever achieve her full potential. Even discipline does not really work in a hostile environment. ......... Unless the home atmosphere is warm, caring, safe, protective, and friendly, a child cannot be self-confident. And as you well know, self-esteem is the most critical factor in achieving success in life.

We should adopt the positive parenting approach. I must remind myself not to remember the "bad" things of Hao Re. Like my mum said, for a young kid like Hao Re, when he throws tantrum, there must be a reason(s) for it. Shouting/scolding/angry with him when he throws tantrum will not solve the problem nor it will help him to learn/grow. Instead, we should stay calm and shower him with more love and try our best to understand him. As per my previous post, we have also decided not to discipline him at this age, or never, depending on if he turns out to be an angel or a monster few months down the road :-)

For the past week, things have been improved a lot. He didn't throw any tantrum at all. Though he did wail a little bit when things didn't go his way. I hope with his better communication and his ability to learn things fast, he soon will outgrow this phase. But not to worry, my dear boy, Baba and Mama are always here with you to walk through this "terrible twos" phase together!

Just one more paragraph........

There are also these 2 different type of Hao Re - he is very talkative and active and all when at home or to be more precise, when he is with just us. BUT, once he is with other kids or adults, especially when we are out of the house, he becomes timid, very quiet, hardly says a single word, and doesn't like to play with his little friends, or reacts to the adults. Most likely that he feels that he is out of his comfort zone? If he has enough time to "warm up", which takes 30-60 minutes, then he becomes talkative and wants to mix around with others. He is more of the talkative and active type when he is at his childcare, which I think it's a good thing, as this means he is very comfortable at the centre (like his second home!) and to be with his friends and teachers.

Dear 皓皓 please continue to grow happily and healthily!
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Little chatterbox

4 comments
Xi Yu chats with mummy :-)


Conversation between mummy and Xi Yu from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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