Toilet training - the soft approach

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Hao Re is finally fully toilet trained for the day!

I guess the good things about starting toilet training when Hao Re was older, when he has much better control of his bladder and bowel and when he can speak very well, are : -

1) that he can now pee and poo everywhere, standing up or sitting down, into a toilet bowl or a potty, at home or outside (okay, true, because he's a boy, so making peeing easier than a girl);

2) that we only have to deal with (comparably) minimal amount of wetting accidents from the beginning till now;

3) that we didn't have to worry about him getting constipated as a results of holding the poo when he was diaperless especially for the fact that he poos a lot;

4) that once he got the hang of it, he can already go diaperless during long nap (2-3 hours), long car rides, and outings almost immediately, without any further training;

5) that we didn't purposely stay at home just to get him toilet trained, we continued with the usual outing of weekends so his play/fun time was not compromised.

He has almost zero wetting accident and doesn't have to poo on the diaper for the month of October, and so we can happily declare that he is fully toilet trained for the day (though there is still rooms for improvement)!

We are glad that we decided to take the soft approach. When he was about two years old, we started off by letting him go diaperless and teaching him peeing standing up in the toilet/potty. When we observed that he couldn't do it (wet his pant and the floor continuously), we just stopped the training. Waited a few more weeks and repeated again. He just gets better and better. There was almost no scolding/screaming because of toilet training. When he requested to be on diaper, we put it on for him. We did it really slow and we were very relax about him not being toilet trained when people said something like "oh, he is such a big boy already, still has to wear diaper ah". We just smiled and answered yes, he needed more time. We kept telling ourselves - when he is ready, he is ready!

And he is now ready :-) Well done, Hao Re!
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A family day at the Universal Studio Singapore!

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23.10.2010 - the day when Hao Re, Xi Yu and their grandparents visited a world-class themepark for the very first time!

Yes, finally, we visited the Universal Studio Singapore! We thought it's the best time for us to visit since my parents are here, we can bring them to experience their first and to have my mum helping out with the kids :-)

(p/s: we pre-booked the tickets online. All the tickets were sold out for almost all the weekends. So you must pre-book if you are planning to go on a weekends)

We arrived USS at about 9.30am and started our adventure right away!

Must-take photos in front and inside the themepark!


While the grandparents went for a toilet break, the four of us queued up for a photograph with the animals. Kick-started the fun of the day!

Must-take photos with the cartoons!


First we queued up for the carousel ride at the Madagascar. When we first went in, Hao Re insisted to sit on a lion. But all lions have been taken up. So we gonna wait for the next round. Being first on the queue, we made it to the lion, but when all the seats were almost occupied, he decided he didn't want a lion, duh! Luckily the ride started and so managed to keep him seated throughout kinda happily for the entire ride, phew!

(Verdict: It's a pretty boring carousel ride. It's not well-lighted and it's very hot and stuffy! And they could have played better music, I think. Hao Re didn't want to go for a second round).

We moved on to the Far Far Away Kingdom since another ride in the Madagasdar was not opened yet. First we went for the Shrek 4D Adventure show. We queued for about 20 minutes or so, but good thing was within minutes, we moved into the castle and so waited comfortably inside the cool room. Xi Yu got the chance to quiet down (it's a darken room) and took a short morning nap on her Baba's comfy shoulder :-) Hao Re was willing to put on the special glasses throughout the show and he really enjoyed the show! Xi Yu woke up not long after the show started, and she sat through the whole show without any fuss too. Since hubby was carrying Xi Yu, we were advised to sit on a special row where we can't feel the movement, so we were enjoying 3D, not 4D show. The grandparents enjoyed the 4D show for the very first time in their life, they enjoyed it a lot!

(Verdict: Not too bad. But also nothing too spectacular. Just like any other 4D show).

We walked pass the Magical Potion Spin, which is a tiny Ferris wheel. Hao Re refused to get on, so we gave it a pass. And we were just in time for the Donkey Live Show. This is a pretty unique show and hubby likes it a lot, a a bit like the stand-up talk show. Hao Re seemed to enjoy it too!

Then we went for the Enchanted Airways, which is a junior roller-coaster rider suitable for young children (taller than 92cm). Think my dad was more exciting than Hao Re as it's his very first roller-coaster ride! My mum has kindly offered to take care of Xi Yu since she didn't want to try it. Hao Re sat besides me, so I watched over him closely, he didn't display any sign of fear throughout the ride! The ride wasn't too scary and the turns weren't too sharp, but I think he did well for a 33 months old, and did us proud! He even said hurray and clapped his hands when we landed! When we were leaving the place, he said he wanted to try again, but when we asked him for a second go later as there was short/no queue, he refused.

(Verdict: It's a good ride for the young toddlers who wants some challenge. Great for family like us!)

On the left, Hao Re and Xi Yu looking very alike, both looked at the same direction, similar facial expression and holding the map of the park :-)
Hao Re on the carousel ride (top right); Hao Re and the "big baby" after the roller-coaster ride (bottom right).


It's time for lunch so we walked back to the main street for our lunch. We dined at the Chinese restaurant. Food was just so-so and priced pretty reasonably. But the drink was a killer - we were charged $5 (before GST) for a glass of calamasi juice poured out from the packet, and the kids meal (a bowl of porridge and a tin of milo) for $9.80! The service was pretty good though. Oh well, at least it got us recharged.

Hao Re was diaperless that day. Half way having lunch, he suddenly stood up and pulled down his pant! We asked him what happened? He said he wanted to poo. We were laughing and hubby quickly brought him to the toilet and he pooed! After finishing his lunch, he brought me to the toilet again and continued with his poo ("left-over" from the 1st poo :-)

We then continued with the adventure. Went to watch the Steven Spielberg's Light, Camera, Action. It showcases how the filmmaker creates the special effect (major hurricane) in an empty sound stages. There was lots of loud sound, lighting, things tearing apart, fire, etc. Hao Re enjoyed it so much that he described the scene to me after we came out from the showroom. Xi Yu was not bothered by the show too, on her daddy's comfy chest and shoulder.

Xi Yu and the grandparents. My mum was very tired chasing after Xi Yu, she is one super active baby girl :-)


Then we moved on to the Sci-Fi section. The two high-speed roller-coaster rides were not opened yet. So it's very quiet here and it did make the themepark a lot less happening. There was only this Accelerator ride (spinning-cup alike) in operation. Hao Re refused to get on so my dad went on for a ride on his own (he is truly young at heart, ya!).

Move on to the Ancient Egypt. Only two rides here. The super high speed roller-coaster (The Revenge of Mummy) was surprisingly not popular at all, it's 0 minute waiting time. I would have thought it's one of the most popular rides since the other two were not opened yet. But it's so quiet that the service staff got so boring. Another ride was Treasure Hunters, whereby you get to sit on a jeep to be brought to explore the ancient Egypt. This is meant for children but we put off by the long waiting time (60 minutes), so we gave it a miss.

Picture taking at the ancient Egypt section. We met this tall guy at the junction of the Sci-Fi and ancient Egypt. I told Hao Re he shouldn't be afraid of him. So he said he was not afraid and shaked hand with the guy. But my poor Xi Yu was scared when he touched her head and she nearly cried :-P


Continued on to The Lost World, which got Hao Re into excitement as he likes dinosaurs! But he refused to queue for the Dino-soarin, a kind of carousel ride. Then the Canopy Flyer seemed too scary (but it's actually okay for children above 92cm). The Jurassic Park Adventure got hubby's attention but it's the longest queue for the day - 80 minutes! Needless to say, we gave it a miss.

Lucky for us, the WaterWorld show was about to begin (it only has 3 shows a day). Before the show starts, the performers played some games with the audiences to get them wet. You have to choose your seats accordingly on whether you want to get all wet, slight wet, or stay dry. We opted for the third. The best thing for us was that one of the performances came to sit right next to HR, and asked if he speaks English (he first asked the kid on his left who said she doesn't). HR said yes proudly. Then the performance handed him a water hose and asked him to press to release and spray water onto the audiences in front of us, asked if HR can do it. HR said YES loudly (he did that during our visit to a Fire Station a couple of months back). Then he (and I) happily sprayed water to all the audiences in front of us for a minute or so, hohoho, that's really, really fun! The show was pretty okay, again, with lots of loud sound (gun shots and explosion). Hao Re and Xi Yu sat through the 30 minutes without any fuss. Hao Re didn't even want to leave the amphitheatre as there were some staffs tidying up the place for the next show and he kept turning back to watch.

Some photos taken at The Lost World. Look how Xi Yu enjoying the drink and marshmallow! Nah, that's just for her to play only, she didn't get to drink/eat (till she is much older). It's for hubby and Hao Re :-)


We didn't have much to do and so we continued walking, to the Far Far Away Kingdom, again. We asked if Hao Re wanted to get on to any rides or watch any shows again since we ran out of things to do and thought he might be interested in, but he said no.

We walked back to the Hollywood main street and glad to find out there was another show about to start - the Monster Rock, a great rock-n-roll live musical show. Hao Re enjoyed the show a lot, and he said he likes the "Nobody" song the most (duh!). The performances were really good and it's a good experience for the kids and the grandparents.

At the main street of the USS (except the photo with Xi Yu which was taken at the Far Far Away Kingdom).


Soon after that, Xi Yu dozed off in the stroller for her late afternoon nap (about 4.30pm already). Now, if you realised, we have walked through the themepark 1.5 times, and we have 2.5 hours left to the closure time. We didn't want to leave as yet since Hao Re was not tired yet. So we decided to go for another round. When we walked passed the Accelerator, Hao Re wanted to have a go this time, and so we did. It's pretty gentle spinning and it's really not much fun.

Then walked pass the Treasure Hunter ride, the queue was only 20 minutes, but Hao Re said he didn't want to ride on this. Continued to the dinosaurs place. We wanted to buy him a souvenirs but ended up we didn't buy anything. He went off to play with the water at the foyer. The queue for the Jurassic Park was much better, 30 minutes, but hubby has lost his interest. And so we decided to call it a day. Went to buy some souvenirs (as we were give $5 voucher each as some of the rides were not opened yet) at the shop before we left. Hubby passed Hao Re to me when he went to make payment. Once Hao Re was in my arms, he dozed off immediately! And it's Xi Yu's turn to wake up to enjoy a little more before we left (she got to see the Kungfu Panda) :-)

Left the USS at 6pm and had our dinner on our way back at the West Coast Plaza before headed home. It's a long day for all of us!

I feel that USS is not as family friendly as the Disneyland. I guess it will be a long while till we visit USS again, when, either we have visitors whom we have to accompany them to, or when Hao Re has grown up and requested to go again, whichever comes first.

For me, it's Disney, Disney and Disney! And I have made hubby promised to bring us to one next year, hurray!!!
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我要快点长大!

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是什么让皓日急着要长大?

上两个星期, 我们家楼下有夜市在摆摊。

其中也包括一个迷你游乐场......

有一个大型的吹气城堡,让小孩爬上去, 滑下来, 跳上跳下。

还有四架小直升机, 不停的半空中绕圈子。

另有四架小小的汽车,不停的地上的轨道转呀转的。

上面三种玩意儿,皓日都各玩了两次,就够了,虽然每天晚上都经过,他也从来没吵着要玩。

他的兴趣是那一池的水,小孩能在水上踩动气船。皓日对这个特感兴趣。我们没让他玩,因他还不够高,踩不动。

我们就告诉他,他得吃多多食物,那就能快高长大,长大了就能玩那船了!

过去两个星期,每走过这个迷你游乐场时,我们会和皓日有这么一段对话:

HR :妈吗,你看,有CASTLE,是CASTLE,不是PUZZLE (他一开始发音不准).......
MM :哦......
HR :你看,还有HELICOPTER,还有TRAIN TRAIN.......
MM :是哟.......
HR(异常兴奋的) :妈妈,还有ROW ROW ROW A BOAT (他最喜欢的一首歌)!
MM(也跟着兴奋起来):是呀!
HR:皓皓不可以坐,皓皓要长大才可以坐。
MM :皓皓要怎样才能快快长大?
HR :皓皓要吃多多饭,多多面面,多多菜菜,多多肉,多多APPLE,多多ORANGE,还有YAKULTRIBENA

这孩子,还真的是说得出就做的到喔!

这两个星期他真的吃得很好,吃得很多!

而昨天是吃得最极限的一天!

他的老师说他午餐时吃了三碗面(其他小孩只吃一碗)!
回家路上吃了一粒柑。
回到家,先吃了一碗饭,而且还要求要多多菜....
后喝了一罐YAKULT (一定要青色的).....
不久吃一塊KIT KAT (最小的包装)......
接着吃了一小包BABY BISCUIT......
后来再吃了一小条的巧克力冰淇淋......
睡前喝了240ML 的牛奶.......
这所有的食物在短短三小时里都进去了皓日的肚子!

然后他很骄傲的大声宣布:“皓皓吃了很多东西咯,皓日长大咯,等UNCLE 拿哪个ROW ROW ROW A BOAT 回来,皓皓可以坐BOAT BOAT 咯!”

之前无论我们说什么,拿什么来诱导他,拿什么来威胁他,一点都没用,他不吃就是不吃。现在竟然只是在想着那不怎么起眼的玩具船,就已经是最好的推动力了!

小孩嘛,我们大人想了解他们在想什么,还得再下多点工夫了!
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Xi Yu is 14 months old today

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My little angel!

Xi Yu is a real sweet cutie, except the bedtime (more on this at the end of this post).

She is a happy gal, when she is happy or excited, she laughs out loud, and makes everyone laughs with her. She likes to play in a rough way, the rougher it is, the happier she is (a bit tomboy-ish.......). Oh, but when she is not smiling, my parents said she looks kinda fierce.

She is very independent, she can play on her own well for a long time, up to an hour if we let her, but of course she prefers adult's accompany whenever possible. And she loves to walk, she can just walk round the house for the n times, and be happy with it.

She responds to us well, when we give her instruction, e.g., to pick up a toy, she understands us and does exactly. We gave her a piece of tissue paper and asked her to wipe her mouth/nose, she did exactly and passed us back the tissue paper after wiping.

She is a good eater. When she was ill 2 weeks ago, she lost 0.4kg due to the lack of appetite for about 1.5 weeks. Once her appetite is back, she eats like a monster! And she gains 0.6kg within 1 week, so she is now heavier than before she fell ill (weighing 11.4kg now!!!). Think she is on a growth spurt or something!

She has not displayed any stranger anxiety at all since born till now. She loves interact with people, all ages, all sorts, everywhere! Born to be a good PR, maybe :-) Separation anxiety has not appeared for a few months, thanks goodness, but she can be very sticky to me at times.

She, just like her brother, poos a lot! Their Jiujiu calls Hao Re "Poo-Poo King", then Xi Yu is no less a "Poo-Poo Queen". Though I am glad that I never have to worry about constipation problems, sometimes we dread to wash their butt for the 4th time in a day - that's 4 times for Hao Re and 4 times for Xi Yu! Oh well, that's out of our control and so just have to endure, guess it's a good problem that we have. We are really glad that both of them are almost toilet trained! Yes, I know, it's a bit early for Xi Yu (that's one of the many great things being cared by a wonderful nanny), and a bit late for Hao Re. Funny that both of them get to be toilet trained at the same time while having 19 months age gap:-)

She babbles A LOT!!! Making lots of different word-like sounds. And no surprise that her favourite word is still Baba. She can keep babbling Baba, Baba for like up to a minute and her daddy of course likes to hear her especially when she calls him using the sweetest softest tone. She seldom calls Mama, either she ignores my presence or she doesn't like me :-( (I am just joking, of course she loves me most!). She only calls Mama when she needs something (food, attention) from me desperately. And she can already say two syllabus words, though not consistent yet. My mum and her nanny said she might be talking in the next month or so! I should record a clip of her babbling before she starts talking.

She knows how to nod her head to indicate she wants. My mum taught her this after showing her a few times. And she can does the usual shake her head, clap hands, wave goodbye, pat her chest to indicate she is scare, put a hand on to head when we say "alamak", take shoes for us to wear and sometimes attempt to put on the shoes her self (her nanny said she can say "鞋" (shoe) clearly though I have not heard her), use a comb to comb her hair, etc. Simply adorable.

She definitely knows very well how to fight with her big brother for toys and for our attention. This little is very fierce! She pulled Hao Re hair till he screamed. And pulled his T-shirt till he almost fell. Hao Re for sure fight back or complains to us. Luckily we always keep an eye on them so it's still controllable as of now. But I can foresee a real fighting coming up already, soon!

Her physical development is just great. Walking very stably and fast. She can kneel down and stand up with ease without support. She climbs up stairs. Her pincer grasp is also very good. She is able to build 2-3 pieces of the building block. She can hold a pencil to scribble. And she loves to lift heavy object, like a box filled with wooden building blocks. She likes to transfer the blocks from one container to another container and she can do this for 15-30 minutes.

And now, with all the good things, she only has one problem, or rather, I only have one problem with her. She refuses to sleep at night! Previously she took forever to fall asleep, but that's still okay (kinda), as long as my patience didn't run out. But recently, she would protest when she knows it's bed time (though she would happily finish up her bottle of milk though), and she would quickly roll up to sitting position and pointed to the door, indicating she wanted to go out to the living room to play! Even when she is already very tired, keeps rubbing her eyes and all, she still refuses to go to bed. After a bit of crying, I manage to pat her to sleep, but just right before she falls asleep, she would suddenly open her eyes, and point to the door, and start crying when I say no. Sigh, I need to spend close to an hour to literally force her to bed, and with some crying, sigh! When I see she is not very tired, I would give up halfway and let her continue to play, it's too much stress to be in the room with a fussing baby, ended I would scream at her and sometimes beat her buttock a little :-P Hubby is helping me a few nights as I really couldn't take it, sometimes she accepts daddy, sometimes not. Hope this will be better soon. For her own good, and for my sanity! She makes me feel like a lousy mum, such a useless mum who couldn't even take care of her basic needs :-(

Overall, she is almost a perfect toddler at this age. Though, sadly, I haven't enjoyed her as much as I had enjoyed Hao Re at the same age. Guess it's common for the second child bah. But I am very sure it's going to get better and better, when they can do the same activity together and not fight.

My dearest Yu Yu, continue to grow up happily and healthily! Mama, Baba and Gorgor love you lots!
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Blogger and Facebook

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Be our FANS on Facebook!

(NOTE added on 11-11-2010 - The Page function in Facebook didn't work out for us. Due to some technical (?) issues, my families and friends were not able to "LIKE" our page and hence missed out on our update. I don't know how to contact the Facebook admin. So I have decided to stop using it. Revert back to  my personal account. Please e-mail me if you want to add me as your friend on Facebook. Thanks).
It's the Facebook era - it's inevitable for us to log on to Facebook everyday, especially with an iPhone (or a Blackberry, etc) on hands, it's just too convenient! And it's a really great platform to do a quick update, which I do pretty often, and sometimes upload some photos and videos as well.

Blogging needs more time and effort. But I love blogging and would definitely keep this as I reckon this is the best place for me to vent my feelings and to share my parenting experience with others (though the daddy doesn't like to read long post while the mummy is forever long-winded :-))

The Multiply platform was the first one we used way back in 2002. We have loaded loads of photos on Multiply and do not want stop the account, at least not now, as it brings back memories when we browse through the old photos. No change.

What we want to do now is to try to streamline our BLOG and FACEBOOK a little more. The idea came about when a dear friend of mine shared with me about creating a FACEBOOK PAGE (google if you want to know more) to connect my blogger reader with my Facebook update; and also for my Facebook friends to come to my blog.

And also, by creating this Facebook page (which we named as "The Kam Family"), I can then get back my own identity, as in ME as a person, not the mum, and to update my OWN stuff only on my personal Facebook account, while all the kids related stuff can be posted on "The Kam Family" page, neat, isn't it? Though I wonder if my friends would like to see more of my kids' stuff or my own stuff, which will become super duper boring when minus out the kids stuff, there you go, life as a mum :-)

Anyway, the basic settings have been completed and page created successfully! I have more to learn on how to make use of the Facebook Page and to think and plan of how to organizing our stuff between these 2 platforms more effectively.

Now, we are waiting for you to add yourself to be a FAN of "The Kam Family"! You can either do that by clicking the many links embedded within this post, or click HERE, or click on the top right Facebook Box, or if you are already a friend of mine in Facebook, I should be posting the link the the page soon. Just click "LIKE" to be one of our Fans, not compulsory :-)

See you on Facebook! And stay tune in our blog!
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More videos of Hao Re singing

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If you haven't heard enough of him singing........
This is his version of "Old MacDonald had a farm"



And this consists of 4 of his favourite song. First is "Ba Ba Black Sheep" which he learns from school. The second to fourth ("She'll be coming round the mountain, "Row row row a boat", "It's a small world") are learnt from the 37.2's Poems and Everlasting Songs VCD.


Singing is fun. Through singing he learns a lot of words too!

Hope you enjoy it :-)
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三字经 & 37.2度C

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Good stuff to share!

The very first VCD we bought from this series was the 三字经. We were introduced to this when we visited the Popular/Harris Bookshop at Tebrau Jusco, JB. A counter was set up in front of the children section, and a friendly and nice aunty was there to share the series with us. There was a small TV playing one of the VCDs. It looked fun with the cartoons and we thought it's a really good creation for a local (Malaysia) producer and that we should support them. And it's priced reasonably. So we brought the first disc home when Hao Re was about 1 year old.

When we first played it, he wasn't interested in it at all. He walked away from the TV after a few minutes playing it. Then we stopped playing for a few months. Then he could sat through and really focus on the TV for a good 10-15 minutes. We didn't play it often.

Then I figured out when I played it for him after his lunch, he fell asleep within 5 minutes watching it! So good for me (and for him as he really needed a nap)!!! Then we started to play more often.

And then we bought a few more VCDs from the same production at Popular Tebrau and he loves all these VCDs very much now.

These are the 5 VCDs he owns for now (we are planning to buy more when we visit Popular Tebrau next).


Ironically, after we bought the Poems + Everlasting Songs (the latest addition), he loves the English one most, which is equally interesting for the kids! I personally like the 童诗 most. It's poems written by primary students in Malaysia.

After playing the 三字经 VCDs for him a few times, plus that his childcare also uses 三字经 in classes, this is how much he can recite now. I would say pretty impressive, though with the not-so-accurate pronunciation, don't you agree?

Hao Re recites 三字经 and with a singing part at the end of clip, which he learned from the VCD.


Now, some info about the producer - 37.2度杂货店 and their official website is at http://www.warm372.com/ and thier blog at http://www.warm372.com/blog/about/. You can find out more about them from these 2 links.

(DISCLAIMER: I do not know them, and I do not get anything writing this. I just want to share this product simply because I like it).

I think they are great people, putting in a lot of effort to make learning Chinese interesting for the young ones. I thank them for their creativity, thoughtfully and kindness!

I learned that you can get these VCDs from most of the Popular shops in Singapore too. Be careful that they have CD and VCD version, make sure you buy the VCD ones.

Give it a try!
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Being a KIASU mum

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Am I become too localised?

(KIASU = fear of losing out, especially when comparing with others. It's a word widely used in Singapore. It's from a Chinese dialect)

About 10 years ago, I first heard of a mum sharing with me how and why her family moved to the primary school her daughter was attending. I listened to that with my mouth half open - I was so shock to listen to her story. And to be honest, deep down in me, I was laughing on her. I thought she was just exaggerating the story. At that time, I didn't really believe in what she had said, as I didn't believe that someone would actually, really, move to a new place just because she wanted to enroll her kid to a particular school.

Now, 10 years later, I, obviously, have got married with 2 kids. Before Hao Re turning three, I have actually started to think of which school to send him to. And surprise surprise, I thought of moving to a new place (no action done yet, though) because I wanted to send him to a particular school! I laughed at myself for being such a KIASU parent, OMG, I can't believe I have become such a KIASU mum!!!

What have I been thinking? Have I been thinking too much and too far away?

I have since done some reading and research about the primary education system in Singapore. A few facts to note (that are different from Malaysia, and it's "uniquely Singapore"):

1. No matter how close you stay near a school, even as near as just next door, there is NEVER a guaranteed place for your kid.

2. The number of placement in each school is fixed, so the competition (for "good" or "popular" schools in particular) gets fiercer if there are more babies born on a particular year (e.g., the dragon babies).

3. There is this thing called "parent volunteer", whereby a parent can volunteer herself to do some work for the school (can be anything like teaching, bringing the school kids to a outing, running projects, etc). By doing so, one would increase the chance of her kid getting a place in that school. And mind you, for those very popular school, the school would interview you and decide if you have anything they are looking for, else they won't even accept your application to be a parent volunteer!

4. There is also this thing called "balloting", whereby the school would call for a ballot if the number of applicants is more than the number of vacancies. And this balloting thing relates to the distance from your home to the school, the nearer you are, the more advantage you are. That's why some people move house because of this.

5. The enrollment to a school is divided into a few phases (phase 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2C supplement, 3). The earlier the phase, the higher the chance one gets accepted to the school. For foreigner like us, there is almost no chance to be in phase 1 or 2A for the first child. Phase 2B is when you get selected to be a parent volunteer (or being a community leader or a member of a clan or church if the school is associated to any of these). Phase 2C is for all those who doesn't quality to be in the earliest phase. Phase 2C supplement is when you don't get into the school of your choice (you can only apply to 1 school). And Phase 3 is for non citizens and non PRs (I wonder would there be one day, PR would be downgraded to this phase?).

6. Most schools DO NOT put emphasis on Chinese. Only those grouped as "SAP school" (stands for Special Assistance Plan) would stress on both Chinese and English equally (and thus these SAP schools are almost all Chinese students).

(p/s: for detailed information, visit the Ministry of Education website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/primary-one-registration/)

I am a kampung girl. I don't know if it's the same kind of complexity and stress at the big cities in Malaysia like in KL. At the kampung where we grew up, it's just one primary school, and almost everyone goes to that school (though it has lesser and lesser students as the kampung is becoming an "old man village" but that has nothing to do with this post). Definitely no stress, except those who send their kids to the schools at nearby towns, for whatever reasons.

Now, what concerns me most is point #6 - CHINESE. We know how difficult it is to master Chinese. We know how easy it is for the kids to lose interest or show no interest in Chinese as everyone else is using English/Singlish in Singapore. We want our kids to have a strong foundation in Chinese, we want our kids to appreciate and love Chinese. Although we speak to them mainly (almost 100%) in Mandarin at home, but I am afraid that is not enough. We can already see that Hao Re is more fluent and interested in English because English is largely used and spoken in his childcare, except for that one hour of Chinese class. He is counting in English now. He recognises most of the animals in English (and became really bad in Chinese). He recognises shapes and colours in English. Not a good sign, is it?

Some friends said that since my Chinese is pretty okay (ahem, I got A for my O-level, not bad ya :-)), then I shouldn't worry much, just guide and teach him at home will do. But I think the beginning years (the early primary school years) are the most crucial. You get to love a language at a very early age, I think. Like me, I was exposed to mainly Chinese when I was young, and so to me, Chinese is like a part of me, it's inside me, it grows with me and I grow with it. I have never liked English, not a single bit, as I only started to use it when I was at the University, to me, English is something I use for my exam and work, it's never got on me and I never enjoyed it (now you know why I write in lousy English with lots of spelling and grammar mistake :-)). So exposing the kids to the language during primary education is crucial, I think.

As much as the Singapore government wants to stress on bilingual education, I don't think they are near any success. I wonder why. Is it the wrong strategies they have used/are using? Or simply because her people are just not interested in Chinese? Or speaking/using Chinese is being seen as a "lower grade" citizens, since all the rich and up class people are using English? Not my problem, is it :-)

Our problem is that there is no SAP schools near our place. If we really want to enrol them to one, we have to move within 1km of a SAP school. And probably have to do parenting volunteer work for that school to have a better chance. It doesn't help when the Singapore government announced recently that her citizens get 2 votes in the balloting, while permanent residents like us only have 1 vote. Such a brilliant idea to penalise us PRs for not wanting to become a citizen. I wonder would that be a trend in the next few years that more families are converted to become citizens because of this?

It really doesn't bother me so much whether it's a "branded" school or a "normal" school (aka neighbourhood school) and what they score in their PSLE, etc. I only want them to be exposed to Chinese and grow to love and appreciate Chinese, since young. But then, you may ask, would enrol them to a SAP school guarantee the love for Chinese. Sadly, no. It's still a bet. I heard from some of my friends that some of these SAP focus on the grades/marks too much the teachers only teach the students how to score high in exam and not teaching them what Chinese is all about.

So, what now?

Remember the top PSLE student in 2009, the very bright girl is a daughter of a dear friend of mine (whom I haven't met up with for some times). She came from China, was forced to lower two grades, and enrolled in a neighbourhood school. From a person who couldn't even speak English, after 3 years of hardwork, she is not only the top student of her school, but the top students of the country! She scored A/A+ in all the subjects, including English of course, total score of 290! I was reading the news online, and some of readers suggested the MM of Singapore should conduct an interview with her to learn how can she manage 2 languages with ease. Some suggest that it's better/easier to master Chinese first, then pick up English. Enrolling to a SAP school is not really important after all, if the parents can confidently teach the kids and instill the Chinese culture at home?

So ya, come back to our problem - to move or not to move? Would enrol the kids into a SAP school really help in their Chinese?

I don't have to answers for both questions now. Probably will have to talk to more experienced parents and get feedback from them. And we still have a few more years to make a decision. Wish us luck!
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Sky Park, Polliwogs, East Coast Park, and West Coast Park

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Yes, that's for the weekend :-)

Haven't been blogging about our weekend activities for a few weeks. Not that we didn't go anywhere, but it's me who didn't write anything :-)

So here comes again.

We had a very busy Saturday. The outings were different with the grandparents tagging along. It's slightly easier for us as we have an extra pair of hands and eyes to take care of them (yes, just one pair, that is only my mum, my dad is almost doing nothing with the kids but to enjoy the outings himself, typical man :-)).

Sky Park at the Marina Bay Sands is a total waste of money if you ask me. It's nice view at the roof top at 57th floor, but then you have to pay $20 for it? With nothing else to do, except to walk one round at the roof top under scorching hot sun? I would have expect there is some information (some posters or a video or something) about how the building was constructed, the architectural details, how the architect designed it, the challenge faced, etc. Nothing. Oh, actually they provide the audio thingy but I didn't listen to it. You pay $20, get a ticket, take a lift, go up to 57th floor, walk one round, take some photos, get some tan, and that's it. Oh well, it's a one off experience, I guess. And if you must go, please go in the evening, it's very hot up there. We were there about 11am and it's already too hot to bear.

Xi Yu at the Marina Bay Sands ground floor


Then we went to the East Coast. Since we left the house in the morning, Hao Re kept repeating that he wanted to go to a playground. He was very impatient at the Sky Park and we only able to keep him going by telling him that we are going to playground next. So I guess we have to keep our promise. That's why we headed to the Polliwogs, an indoor playground at the East Coast. It's quite a nice place, we like it because it's bright unlike other indoor playgrounds. Facilities wise, it's more or less the same as other places. Xi Yu was taking her morning nap. Hao Re went to play on his onwn. He is so independant! Not afraid at all. We just left him there and he happily played for about an hour, with me checking on him periodically.

While at Polliwogs, I saw a 4-5 years old girl with nose discharge hanging from her nose to her mouth, like she's almost eating the very thick, green-ish mucus, and her parents actually allowed her to run free in the indoor playground, touching everything and running everywher, and didn't wipe off her mucus immediately! As in the virus is not spreading fast enough, totally irresponsible! I almost wanted to make some noise about it, but hubby asked me don't be busy-body :-) Thanks goodness that we are not fans of indoor playground. I think Hao Re also prefers those playgrounds in the park.

Then we have lunch at Waraku next door. Our first time trying out Waraku. The food is okay, reasonable with its price tag. We ordered a ice cream dessert for Hao Re, and he told his grandma that because it's his birthday today :-)

Next we went to rent bicycles. It's the highlight of the day - it's the first time Xi Yu sat on a bike and it's first time Hao Re pedalled a bicycle all on his own! We rented a small bicycle (smallest at that shop) for Hao Re, and he happily got on it and explored the East Coast Park (with me tagging behind him like mad and taking photographs). He got bored and braved to move fromthe pavement to the grass patch, and he fell 3 times, didn't get hurt, got up and started again! He has had so much fun! While Xi Yu got buckled up in a child seat and hubby brought her to admire the scenary and enjoy the breeze.

Here comes the photos of Hao Re's first and Xi Yu's first :-)

Getting the feel of riding a bicycle. He is riding the bike very fast, real fast, for a 33 months old boy standard.



Once started, he didn't stop pedalling. He goes, and goes, and goes. It's really a good thing that it's not crowded that day. When he got bored, he switched from road to the grass patch, and trying the cycle on the grass.



Mr Kam, Master Kam and Miss Kam make up a good cycling team :-) See how Hao Re leads his Baba, then overtook by his Baba. His little legs must be getting so tired after almost one hour of non-stop cycling!



The pround daddy and his princess. He must be really happy that his little princess enjoys the ride so much!



Wrapping up for the day. It's been a long, tiring and fun day! Hao Re said he wants to come back again! Sure, our dear boy, sure we will be back for more fun, promise!


We headed home after that, everyone was already very tired. And we settled our dinner with KFC :-)

Sunday we stayed at home till about 4pm. Then we headed to the West Coast Park. Like a few of my earliest posts, West Coast Park is one of the parks we like most! My parents enjoyed themselves too by walking around the park a little. Hao Re and Xi Yu enjoyed the sand play and the playground, while hubby went off to have a quick run, while me continued to perform my duties as a mum :-)

Note to daddy - where's the photos taken at West Coast Park???

Dinner was at the Sakuraya Japanese restaurant at the West Coast Plaza. Their sashimi and sushi are really really good!
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Xi Yu walks.......

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Since Xi Yu started walking one week before she turned one year old, she walks very stably and seldom fall. She is smart in the sense that she cruised for a very long time (a few months), and would not let go of her hands till she gained enough confidence. As a results, she rarely suffers any falls. And she doesn't crawl since she started walking, well actually, she hardly crawled.

While for Hao Re, he is kinda opposite. He is very adventurous since when he was a little baby (and now), he started walking a few days after he turned 10 months! He just let go of his hands and walked before mastering the skill, he just couldn't wait to explore further. That brought quite a fair bit of falling (on the butts most of the time, luckily) in the first few months of walking, but that didn't stop him, didn't even bother him. He just got up and walked. Or when he wanted to get somewhere faster, he resorted to crawling (which he was very good at).

Every baby is different, ya. Now you see.

Back to my little Xi Yu. She just loves the freedom that she gains from walking! Now whenever we let her off to the floor to walk, she won't let us hold her hands, she just cannot wait to explore things near her. She is really cute when she looks at things, when she would point to it and make some sounds with it, together with a very pinch-able face expression, on her chub-chubby face. We never stop our kids from exploring things, no matter which development stages there are in. Hence there is no playmat, no play yard, no gates, no nothing. We just make sure they don't get to things that might hurt them, and they are free to roam!

With more freedom now, I am sure she is growing to be an even happier kid, just like her dearest brother :-)


Xi Yu exploring the Choa Chu Kang Park on a weekend afternoon

Exploring the CCK park from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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Our little singer!

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Hao Re really loves music and movement. He manages to sing full nursery rhythms with pretty good accuracy in terms of the tune and lyrics many months back. We did lots of singing with him before bedtime and during car ride. But not until now that I finally managed to make him sing (willingly) for my iPhone! Enjoy!



Hao Re singing 两只老虎 from TJ Kam on Vimeo.




Hao Re singing 世上只有妈妈好 from TJ Kam on Vimeo.




Hao Re singing "Three blind mice" and "Humpty dumpty" from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

Which one do you like most?

I like the 3rd one, it's really very very cute :-)
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Fun at home

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The kids love the outdoor. And they love to play at home as much. We have got them enough toys plus the toys they got from their 1st birthday party to get them entertained :-) We don't go out on weekday nights and probably half of the time during weekends are spent at home. So it's important to make sure the kids have fun at home, learn a little something (learn through play), and sometimes watch a bit of the TV programs. I am just hoping Xi Yu stops putting stuff into her mouth, so she can join in more activities that Hao Re is doing like drawing/colouring, playdough, etc.


Xi Yu and one of her birthday toys - she handles the blocks pretty well. Hao Re likes this set of blocks too!

Keep the toys? from TJ Kam on Vimeo.


Lego is always fun. And it's been popular with kids (and adults) for years! Xi Yu is helping Hao Re to built a giraffe :-)

Together we make great stuff! from TJ Kam on Vimeo.


Xi Yu is able to tower up the Mega blocks! Mega blocks is great for young kids for training of the motor skills

Xi Yu and Mega Block from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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Gastric flu and grandparents

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It seems to be a lack on entries (and photos) for the past 2 weeks, felt like nothing much to write about recently :-)

A couple of things to note down.

Gastric flu
Started with Hao Re. He was coughing on Friday night, and vomited all his dinner/milk. When he woke up on Saturday morning, he developed fever, vomited a few more times, and started to have loose stool. We didn't know what's the cause, but I blamed it to too much junk food on the Children's Day (1st October) and the day before (having party at school). And also I brought him to join some mummies and toddlers for a duck tour, I guess the going in and out from the air-con to the hot outdoor, and lacked of rest might have weaken his immunity, too much fun. Though he was having diarrhea and vomiting, it's not too serious, and he was very willing to drink water, I think he drank more than 1 litre of water that day. So we didn't bring him to see doctor, just let him fighting with the bugs naturally. And he did! The vomiting and diarrhea stopped around mid day, and fever (ranging from 37.7C to 38.8C) was gone in the evening. I hope this is a good sign that he has built up strong immunity.

The story doesn't end here. On Sunday about 5pm, it's me and Xi Yu's turn :-( Both of us vomited like 7-8 times from 5pm till 10pm, all the dinner whatever were expelled out. I had slight diarrhea while Xi Yu doesn't. Xi Yu couldn't even keep the water, vomited all out after 5-10 minutes of drinking. So we brought her to the GP. Fed her medicine but she vomited the medicine out also. Luckily she was able to fall asleep after I gave her a little bit of water. She was very thirsty and kept bringing her water bottle to me, asking me to open for her to drink. We slept at about 10.30pm, and thanks goodness no more vomiting throughout the night and till now. Think I caught the bugs from Hao Re and I passed it to Xi Yu :-(

I got a medical leave for today so that I can catch up with some rest and do some disinfection of the toys, wash the bedsheets and clothes, etc. Main thing is everyone has recovered! Hao Re has returned to the very active and naughty self, while me and Xi Yu still need some times to back to "normal". Xi Yu went to her nanny as usual, and her nanny updated that she eats well and drinks well, except not interesting in milk. Hope she recovers soon.


Grandparents are here!!
It couldn't be more in time! My parents arrived on Saturday and will be staying with us for about a month. If not for my mum's help, think I might have gone really really crazy handling the sick kids and self.

I am very sure that there will be NO shouting/screaming this month! The kids are very happy to have 2 extra playmates at all, especially Xi Yu. Finally she has enough attention from adults, and she is so excited about this. Both kids took their grandparents almost immediately, within minutes when we arrived home. And after an hour of playing or so, they ignored my existence already :-)

This is going to be a great month for us all!
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