Children Chinese book recommedation - 斯凯瑞“金色童书”第一辑

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This comes in a set of 4 books. Hao Re's hot pick! He picks at least one of the 4 books for me to read almost every night for the past few months. Sometimes 2, sometimes all 4! The first few nights, again, like the <100层的房子>, I read/talk until I had to raise white flag :-P Luckily each book breaks into many short stories. So the deal with Hao Re after the first week is he can only choose 1 story to read from each book. He agreed! Phew! Otherwise to finish reading 1 book, it easily takes half an hour or so.

(Link for this set of books at Dangdang: http://product.dangdang.com/product.aspx?product_id=9284655

It's again, a translated one. By the way, I have not bought any book that is written by authors from mainland China, or Taiwanese. I may try some later. For now, I feel it's "safer" to get translated ones.

And it's again, it's categorised as picture books 绘本.

The author is a Richard Scarry (1919-1994). He is a famous children book author in the USA. He uses specially drawn funny animals in his books. It's a pretty busy book, whole page of pictures in every page of the book. Very rich in content. Very creative and imaginative. And also helps children in observation.

This set consists of these 4 titles:
忙忙碌碌镇
会讲故事的单词书
斯凯瑞最受欢迎的故事
轱辘轱辘转



An example of the page. This is in the kitchen. This one is a little like those children dictionary, except that it's with nice funny cartoons, and it still tells a story, albeit a simple one. It's in bilingual, English and Chinese. So it's good for those who wants to teach children Chinese (though, again, there is no han yu pin ying).


This is another example. About their journey to a rural area. I like how rich each page it, if you want to be very detail, you can tell lots of story just with this one page. The stories it tells is often very funny! Added in the humour that children can appreciate.



I will probably buy more books from this author when Hao Re gets bored of this set, which I think will take a long time. I am going to lend one of these books to Hao Re's best maid, Isaac, to see how he responds to this book. Wonder if all children like his book or just Hao Re :-) Xi Yu doesn't really like this set, she only likes selected pages. But she learns a lot of things from these books too.

For those we want to order from Dangdang, I think you can order it direct from their website. Think they can ship to addresses outside of China. If you are not able to order it, leave me message here, or send me an e-mail. I have learnt a few tips from a friend on how to order from Dangdang.

More to come. Stay tune!
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Children Chinese book recommendation - 100层的房子

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The first book I want to introduce is <100层的房子>

(Link to Dangdang page: http://product.dangdang.com/product.aspx?product_id=20939181)



This is a fantastic children book! Suitable for all ages, as parents can use it in different ways to cater for children of different age. It's original written in Japanese, it soon became one of the most popular books in Japan and subsequently been translated into many different languages and also became very popular in many countries.

It's a picture book 绘本. Meaning lots of interesting pictures/cartoons and minimal wordings. I particularly like to choose picture books for my kids. At this age, we are focusing more on story telling, which is good for their imagination and creativity. We do not want to teach them recognising words at this age. I read comments from children experts that when reading story to children, it's good to read in full, proper sentences, and when they start to recognise words, it's good to read line by line exactly. Keeping that in mind, for my two young children, age 3.5 and 2, I sometimes read exactly what's written on the book, sometimes use my own words or make my own story, especially when reading Chinese books.

Come back to this book. It's a story whereby a little boy received an invitation card to visit a mysterious friend, who lives in a house that is 100 storeys in the jungle. So when he found this house, he has to climb up the stairs and go through every single storey to reach to the 100th storey to meet the mysterious friend.

When the book is opened up like below, it consists of 10 storeys. There are 10 different types of animals occupying every 10 storeys of the houses. The example below is bees. You can see the pictures are very colourful, very interesting and creative. Only a few lines of words on each page. Though the words are very limited, it's very well thought out to tell a wonderful story as a whole.


Below is the close up of the above page, 5 out of the 10 storeys occupied by the bees family. So much things to tell the kids or so much things for the kids to learn! For example, numbering and counting. The different family members in a family. The different activities they do in each storey. Even the stairs is so interesting, every storey has stairs of different designs! Hao Re loves the many different designs of stairs very much! Not only it's interesting for the kids, it's for the story teller aka the parents too! No one is gonna read the book the exact same way, unless he/she only reads out the words exactly without adding on any details (but doubt anyone would do that?)


Example of another page. This is from 86-90 storeys occupied by snails. Hope you get an idea how this book is written.


Finally, the little boy reached to the 100th storey and met with the mysterious friend! He was invited to use the gigantic telescope to observe the universe. And then he said goodbye and went home.


One "warning" though, it's not suitable for bedtime reading, unless you don't mind to read > 1 hour! Hao Re loves this book. When we first got it, he made me read it for a few nights. Oh my goodness, the way he wanted me to read - cannot skip any storey, must go through every storey in details and tell a specific story for each storey, and if he can remember what I have told him before, he makes sure I said the same thing, cannot anyhow make up storey. So imagine you spend 1 minute for 1 storey, that will be 100 minutes!! I was so scared that he would pick this book for bedtime reading, so I have to hide it at night, hehe :-)

I would highly recommend this book! Though it doesn't really help in learning Chinese though. And yes, unfortunately, all books for Dangdang do not have han yu pin ying.

If you have this book, you are welcome to share it here how you read it to your kids and how much your kids enjoy it.

Happy reading (story telling), dear fellow mummies (and daddies)!
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Children Chinese book recommedation

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A few fellow mums have asked about the books that I ordered from Dangdang. They want to know which series I have bought for our kids. Dangdang is a great online China-based shop (great because it has a pretty good collection of books, it's VERY cheap and with pretty good print and paper quality!). But I have to say it's not easy to search for books, especially for those who can't read Chinese well (but they want to buy books for their children).

When I first went to this website (www.dangdang.com) I found it difficult to surf. I don't shop, online or not, often. And it's all in Chinese (but it's a China company, not surprising, right?). Luckily for the very first time, I joined a bulk purchase organised by a fellow mum, so I kinda browse through what others were buying and I clicked on the link and started from there. It made the whole online shopping experience easier and more pleasant.

The best thing is all the books that I chose suit the kids very well! They love the books! We have been reading these books almost every night for the past few months.

So, I thought I would share it here. Hope it will be helpful for those we want to shop for children books at Dangdang.

(Disclamer: This is not an advertising post nor sponsor post. I do not know anyone from Dangdang and do not earn anything from writing this. It's just purely for sharing of books. You can certainly buy from other sources. Please share if you know of any other shops that offer greater value than Dangdang).

I will do one post per book or per series. First one coming up very soon........
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8th ROM Anniversary!

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八年了!
今天去吃了一餐好的庆祝庆祝!
平平安安的过了“七年之痒”这一年,是该庆祝的,哈哈。
说笑的啦,我俩已相识了那么多年了啦,在一起那么久了,更何况我对我的老公有十足的信心,他这个人其中一个优点就是专一,长情 :-)

我们现在的生活全都是以孩子为重。
我越来越少把时间放在老公的身上。
但,重要的是,我很清楚的,很肯定的,我最爱的人还是我的老公!
孩子当然爱,但无论如何,老公还是占了我心中最大一个位子的!

老公,谢谢你对我的了解,对我的支持,对我的信任,对我的好。
你在我的心中永远都是最好的伴侣,是我生活的支柱,是最好的老公,是孩子最好的爸爸!
爱你,永远!

期望接下来这一年,我们能继续为孩子提供一个适当的成长的环境,开开心心的享受家庭安稳的欢乐。就以我们能力之内,尽我们所能,用心去做吧!加油!
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The benefits of not watching TV

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Posted on my FB wall on Wednesday (21st September 2011) at 09:48am

The kids have not watched TV for a consecutive SIX days (and counting)! The best thing is they didn't mention and didn't ask for the TV at all!! They play more and read more in the evening. They are calmer when it's time for bed. It's all good :-)))

As of today, it's exactly 2 weeks that the kids have not watched any TV nor iPhone nor PC!! That's 14 days, including 2 weekends (we stayed home for the whole day last Sunday). They didn't even mention about the TV or the DVD, which they used to say every day.

I know, this is nothing to shout about for some parents. But in our household, for Hao Re especially, he has been watching TV every night without fail for the past 3.5 years! In fact, it was our chosen way to let him cool down, to break him from the activities in preparing for bedtime. They got to drink their last feed of milk while watching TV for about 30 minutes or so, before they were sent to the bedroom. And they got to watch TV when I was cooking or need to do "something" (including taking a break from them, hehe). What a funny choice we made. Nothing so wrong with it actually, it's more that we can see clearly the kids are benefited, a lot, from NOT watching TV, and so we made the change.

The benefits are great, and snow-balled:

1. No more whiny kids asking for extended and extended time for watching more and more TV
> Hao Re used to bargain for more TV time once the 30 minutes slot is over. If we didn't grant his request, he would whine, sometimes very badly. Now we don't have to deal with this anymore. I said it many times already, out of so all the parenting challenging, I couldn't take whining. No more whining makes me a much more cheerful mum, and the house is fill with positive and happy elements!

2. More focus on play and more creative way of play
> Simply because they have more time and one less major activity to do, they can focus so much better and come up with very creative way at play, not necessarily with their toys, sometimes with just a piece of clothes, or some papers. It's really fun to see them play :-)

3. Read more books
> Kids this age are very interested in stories. No more stories from the TV, they get their crave fulfilled from the books. They pull books out of a shelve much more often now. Play and read and play and read. They are both are pretty good at story telling, though of course Hao Re can tell a more complete story, while Xi Yu is simply repeating what she can remember, which is already very good at her age.

4. Eat more and better
> For sure, no more eating in front of the TV (though we haven't done that for quite some time). Also because they have more time now, they are more interested in food, would ask for fruits, tidbits, drink, etc.

After we have done this, I have to admit and have to agree that using TV to babysit is an easy way out for parents. The reason why I said this is because I saw that in myself!! There were actually a few nights that I was very near to give up, I was very tired after work and thought of just turn on the TV for them so that I could just sit there and stone. Not one times, many times. So yes, that's just an easy way out. But luckily I persisted (by counting how many days we have done this has helped me a lot, like how I counted month by month, week by week, day by day when I breastfed Xi Yu and I finally made it 8 months!). No choice is sometimes the best choice, I just don't think of TV watching as one of the activities they can do, keep offering them different things to do, it's actually not that difficult to not turning on the big screen.

I couldn't describe how happy I am that we made this change. And how proud I am of the kids who are so receptive of changes.

If you plan to do the same, these are some advises from us - 1) parents have to set a good example, this is probably the most crucial; 2) never force it, implement it slowly like once a week to 3x a week; 3) offers them with other activities, a variety of activities, or go outdoor to play, a short visit to the playground or to the supermarket. It won't work if you just switch off the TV and sit there doing nothing.

Now if you ask Mr Google, he would return with many different reference sites stating why it's bad for kids, especially young kids to watch TV, especially if excessively. If you think it's hard to change that, no worries, there are also many experts (just ask Mr Google) to advice you what you should do to minimise the risk, like what suggested HERE (click on Page 5), which include limit the number of TV-watching hours, try a weekday ban, come up with a family TV schedule, watch TV together, talk to kids about what they see on TV and talk to other parents, your doctor, and teachers about their TV-watching policies and kid-friendly programs they would recommend.

Spare the TV for more quality play time with the kids!
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A visit to the Singapore Science Centre

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Brought the kids to the Science Centre on Saturday with their dear friend, Isaac. The three kids have enjoyed the Science Centre very much! We spent about 2.5 hours there. Only managed to cover probably about half of the exhibits. Didn't let them have a go at the waterplay as it's about noon time and it's scorching hot, luckily they didn't whine, hehe.

Hao Re and Isaac having a great time exploring the many different interesting display. They enjoyed each other accompany, would look for each other, but also fight a little bit on and off. But in general, this time round, they do appreciate the friendship more than the last time they met.

The two handsome boys. They used to look like twins. Now quite different look, only their big eyes are still the same :-)


Xi Yu enjoyed just as much as the two boys. Though she is a bit young to really appreciate the centre, but she has lots of fun too, at her on way. She was very well behaved, didn't whine and happily explored the place, sometimes on her own, sometimes with the adults, sometimes looked for Hao Re gorgor, sometimes Isaac gorgor.

Xi Yu exploring the Science Centre. The first time she allowed her hair to be tight up for a few hours!
Note the photo with 2 stickers on her face - it's a hat and a pair of glasses! Hao Re picked that and put on Xi Yu, and Xi Yu willingly put that on for a few hours, so cute!


Now photos of the trio. I like the top photo lots :-)
Bottom right: Both Hao Re and Isaac first refused to watch the show (maybe it's because it's held in a small room? and they both somehow behave the same way towards certain things because they are the same age?), but once the show started, about making different sound, they enjoyed it very much!



Have lunch at IMM. Then we spent the rest of the day at Isaac's new home. Only left their house after dinner, about 8.45pm. Meaning the kids got to play with Isaac's toys (he has lots and lots and lots of toys!!) for almost 5.5hours!! They were a bit of fight over toys here and there, but to share toys for that many hours is a big achievement, I reckon. And no TV too! Isaac was the one to knock out, during dinner while chewing his rice, haha. Xi Yu was the second one during the short car ride home. And Hao Re's the last, but that's because I didn't allow him to sleep during car ride, else I won't be able to bring 2 sleeping kids back home from the car park (hubby didn't go with us as he was working).

A nice day :-)
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5 reasons why it's good to have kids of close age gap

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When we "accidentally"conceived our 2nd baby when the 1st one just turned one, we were told by many that "it's good to have them one after another, so that we take in all the "suffering" and "torturing" at one go rather than to have it two separate times". We smiled and answered politely, "eh, we are not sure if that's true, let's see".

Now, two years had passed. Our younger one just turned two years old. Now I can safely say this - it is indeed more pros than cons to have 2 kids of close age gap, 18.5 months apart to be exact! Though the first year or so had been pretty challenging, but once we pulled through that period, it's really fun to see them growing up together.

Here's why:

1. Continue usage of all those essential baby items
Don't have to buy new ones. Don't have to worry whether to keep it or to sell/give it away. And it's more values to your investments as they are get to be used 2x. Especially that these things don't come cheap. Best still, some of the essential chores can be done together - sterilising bottles, washing their clothes with special detergent, etc.

2. Play the same toys / do the same activities
Because they are of such a close age, they can do the same activities and play the same toys (cons: toys fighting is unavoidable!). Imagine you have a 2 and a 9 year old, if you suggest doing play-doh, very likely the 9 year old won't even turn his head. But if you have a 2 and a 3 year old, they can happily do play-doh together. Or you would have given some, if not all of the toys away if the age gap is large, and so have to buy a new set of toys for the younger one.

3. Read the same books
This is so important when come to reading time. I don't know how I can read 2 different books to 2 kids at the same time? Okay, if the older one is old enough, he can read it on his own, but I think even when they start to read, they still love for the Mama or Baba to read to them. Now both of them are interested in the same sets of books. Of course they have their own preference, but still, in general, it's easily doable, to read to both at the same tme.

4. Same daily routine
Go to the same childcare/school. Have meals at the same time. Take shower together. It won't be as easy if the age gap is larger. For example, the older one needs to do homework while the younger one doesn't have to.
5. Easier to plan for holiday
Plan a trip to Disneyland or a beach would be so much easier for kids who have close age gap, don't you think.

Well, I can easily do a similar list with opposite title, like, "5 reasons why it's good to have kids of big age gap". The main message I want to bring up in this post, is - regardle, actually ss of the age gap, it's definitely, absolutely, truly a wonderful thing to have 2 (or more) children (even toys fighting, sibling rivalry are good stuff if handled properly)! People said breast milk is the best thing you can give to a kid, I said a sibling is the best thing you can give to your kids!

The most commonly asked question - what's the best age gap?

Well, like I mentioned above, there is really no "right" or "best" gap to have your 2nd one. You have to weigh the pros and cons, you have to know your limits and your strength to do your family planning effectively. Scientifically though, according to babycentre UK - a short gap between pregnancies increases the risk of complications for the subsequent baby. A baby conceived less than six months after a sibling's birth had a 61 per cent increased risk of low birth weight, a 40 per cent increased risk of preterm birth and a 26 per cent increased risk for small for gestational age. These risks lessen month on month as the gap between pregnancies increases, becoming insignificant by 18 months. But the risks kick in again when the gap between babies is over 59 months (about five years). Based on this date, it suggests that the ideal age gap would be > 6 months and < 5 years.

Siblings are for life!
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Hao Re's monthly report (August 2011) from childcare

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Practical Life
> Hao Re is able to transfer and sort the beads using tweezers. He is able to match the same beads by colours. He is able to do sewing. He is able to understand about helping out and sharing food with his friends.

Sensorial
> He is able to do the Knobbed Cylinders Ex.1 & 2. He is able to follow how the teacher presented it. He likes to play percussion instruments.

Maths
> He is able to count 10-90 using Sequin Board. He is able to follow easily the Beads/ Sequin Board 10-60.

Language
> He is able to recognize and produce the phonetic sounds of letters like c, k, e, h, r., m, d. He is able to read the words after his teacher.

Cultural
> He is very keen to learn new things. He shows interest in learning floating and sinking. He is very excited to see different properties of air.

General
>> Hao Re has good concentration towards Montessori work. He is able to control his emotions and not get easily frustrated. He enjoys playing with his Nursery 2 class. He is learning to do things independently like wearing his own clothes.

Hao Re is doing Knobless Cylinders Exercise 2 on the left and Beads/ Sequin Board B 40-60 on the right during Montessori class.
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Xi Yu's monthly report (August 2011) from childcare

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Practical Life
> Xi Yu continues to show confidence in pouring as well as transferring exercises. She has also learned the right way of opening and closing doors as well as using a zipper specifically on clothes.

Sensorial
> She is able to name the primary colors but often would ask teacher first. She has shown ease in the use of knobbed and knobless cylinders. She also mastered the use of the rough and smooth board and can identify using concrete objects.

Maths
> She can count 0-10 with teacher’s help. She needs more practice in doing Spindle box 0-9.

Language
> She can recognize some of the sand paper letters but needs more practice in phonetic sounds of the letters.

Cultural (Geography)
> She has shown great interest and participation in activities about weather, floating and sinking as well as paper folding.

General
>> Xi Yu is a sweet girl. She knows how to enjoy and keep herself happy with the things being done in school. She relates well with her friends and tries to express herself more even through gestures. She enjoys laughing especially during conversations being done by teacher and her friends. She has learned to handle different materials with ease and care. She has improved for the past months.

Our little girl enjoying exploring the Montessori materials
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Hao Re's monthly reports (May, June, July 2011) from childcare

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Ha! I forgot to do this monthly report thingy for the past few months, ops! Better late than never. Here's the compilation of the reports from May - July 2011, for Hao Re.

May 2011

Practical Life
> Hao Re is able to do the opening & closing bottles. He is able to follow his teacher’s presentation in doing turning pages of the book

Sensorial
> He is able to recognize the plane figures. He can identify the Secondary colours. He can differentiate long & short rods.

Maths
> He is able to recognize 11-19 with the use of sequin board but need guidance. More practice.

Language
> He is able to recognize and produce the phonetic sounds of letters like s, a, t, i, p, n. More practice.

Cultural
> He is familiar with the parts of the plants. He is a bit confused with the roots and stem

General
>> Hao Re is a determined boy. He is very eager to finish the task given to him. He shows good progress in gaining focus in doing his work. Keep it up!

Left: Hao Re is doing the Large Moveable Alphabets (-at).
Right: Hao Re is seen doing the Beads/ Sequin Board 11-16. He is able to count the beads by himself.


*************************************************************
June 2011

Practical Life
> Hao Re is able to do pouring activities using both hands. He is still learning how to sew and a bit impatient while doing it.

Sensorial
> He is able to match the same shapes using tessellations. He is able to differentiate the shapes according to sizes.

Maths
> He is able to count 11-20 but a bit confused. He can follow in counting by 10’s. More Practice.

Language
> He is able to recognize and produce the phonetic sounds of letters like s, a, t, i, p, n. He can read after his teacher the word family –in & -an.

Cultural
> He is able to name the different occupations. He is familiar with the birthday activity.

General
>> Hao Re is developing his cognitive skills gradually. He can cope up with the lesson. But, he is still very active in class and sometimes he loses concentration in what he is doing.

Left: Hao Re is counting the beads.
Right: Hao Re is counting the beads by 10’s by himself.


*************************************************************
July 2011

Practical Life
> Hao Re shows interest in using scissors. He needs practice in holding it. He is able to hold the broom and dustpan. He is able to grasp the concept of saying “Excuse me”.

Sensorial
> He is able to match the same shapes using tessellations. He is able to differentiate the shapes according to sizes.

Maths
> He is able to count 10-100 but a bit confused. He can easily recognize 10-90 using Sequin Board B. More Practice.

Language
> He is able to recognize and produce the phonetic sounds of letters like c, k, e. He can read after his teacher the word family -at, -in & -an.

Cultural
> He is able to name the different occupations. He is getting more familiar in reading the time. He is familiar with the Months of the Year like January-August.

General
>> Hao Re is showing good progress especially during class discussions. He is able to grasp the information easily. Keep it up!

Left: Hao Re is doing word building -in family. He is able to say the words after his teacher.
Right: Hao Re is doing the Sequin Board B 10-90. He can easily recognize numerals 10-90.
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Xi Yu's very first monthly report (July 2011) from childcare

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Think I have mentioned this in one of my previous posts. Xi Yu cried very badly when we dropped her at school in the first month, so much so that Hao Re complained that her crying made him ill, haha. Xi Yu struggled to adjust to the new schedule, new environment and new friends. That took her about 2 weeks to adjust to a new routine. In the last 2 weeks of July, she didn't cry during classes anymore, but still cried pretty badly in the morning when we dropped her. She is one lucky girl who has a brother who absolutely adores her. With the brother being there to protect her, to help and guide her, and to be there for her, there was no more crying at the end of July, and she started to enjoy her new routine and many new friends!

Update about Xi Yu during her first month in childcare:

Practical Life
> Xi Yu shows initiative in taking a mat and doing work. She is slowly showing confidence in pouring as well as transferring exercises. She has mastered washing and drying her hands.

Sensorial
> She is able to name some of the primary colors but often would ask teacher first. She has shown improvement in the use of knobbed and knobless cylinders. She also mastered the use of the rough and smooth board and can identify using concrete objects.

Maths
> She can count 0-10 with teacher’s help. She needs more practice in doing Spindle box 0-4

Language
> She can recognize some of the sand paper letters with teacher’s supervision and needs more practice in phonetic sounds of the letters.

Cultural
> She has shown great interest and participation in land and water forms especially in exercises about parts of the plant, leaf, flower and animal.

General
>> Xi Yu is slowly getting used to school and has enjoyed the company of her classmates especially during informal conversations. She is also starting to get used to the routines especially during Montessori lesson. She finds joy in using materials that would allow her to use her imagination in handling them.

Xi Yu's first month in the childcare. Looking very serious :-)
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Project update - weaning off pacifier, cut down TV time (for the kids) and iPhone time (for mum)

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It has been 2 weeks since we "launched" the 3 big projects. Think it's time to do a review and update of the projects.

1. To wean Xi Yu off pacifier
> It's gone very well. Giving Xi Yu's strong characteristics, I was prepared for some big tantrums. But no. Never a big tantrum. She asked for it on the first 2-3 nights. When I told her repeatedly that there was a hole in her pacifier (I cut it, hehe), and that she couldn't take it anymore, she accepted it. She was able to fall asleep every night, but she still woke up in the middle of the night, cried loudly for the first 1-2 nights. She is a clever girl. After 5 days or so, she never mentioned about her pacifier anymore. Instead, she asked for milk. I gave in and woke up to make milk for her once at 2-3am and another round at 5-6am (she has been taking midnight feed before this by the way, think more for comfort). Then she quit the 5-6am milk feed. Then she quit the 2-3am milk feed. For the past 2 nights, she fell asleep easily (singing many songs to herself before falling asleep), and didn't wake up at all, she slept very soundly for the whole night. I am so glad that I made the decision to wean her off now. She sleeps better and I sleep better :-) 100% successful!!

2. To cut down on TV time (for the kids) on weekday nights
> It started off really well. We started that on Saturday. And the kids didn't watch any TV, nor PC, nor iPhone for the entire Saturday and Sunday, all the way till Tuesday! That's a record of 4 days without TV! On the fifth day, Hao Re requested for it and he earned his 30 minutes TV time by keeping all his toys nicely back to the shelf (he did it so well!). Then after that, some days they skipped the TV, some days they watched TV for 30-60 minutes. When they watched, it's either the mum was tired after a full work day, or lazy as she wanted to just relax or to read a book, or when Hao Re asked for it. or if they Baba was at home, he offered them the TV or PC without any hesitation! When Hao Re asked for it, he earned it by doing something on my requests. I am happy with this for now, though there is still room for improvement. As long as they are not addicted to TV, they don't show bad behavior when I reject them for turning on the TV, and they don't whine or cry when it's time to turning off the TV, I am okay for them to get a bit of entertaining from the TV. It's good to start on this project, it helps them to understand more about self-control. More important, they play more and we spend more time together playing! I would say 80% successful!!

3. To get (the mum) off iPhone
> Okay. Mama didn't try hard enough. Though I have cut down a lot on browsing the iPhone in the evening, but I am still not letting it off totally when I am with them. I have no problem with the PC, I don't touch the PC until they have gone to bed. And I don't watch TV (for > 2 years already!). So it's just the iPhone I have problem with, as it's so portable mah. I don't want to switch it off. I want to be able to control myself 自律!I know I can do it as I have done it before. Try harder. This project is the worst, only 40% successful, I would say. Give myself a few more weeks, I  can do it!

Just realised I have missed out one of my favourite bloggers, bubu, on my blog roll when I changed the blog template a few months back. I could have control myself better if I didn't miss out her blog posts.  Taken from one of my one of bubu's blog posts - 我要能確定自己在與孩子共處的時間中是專心一意的!

I truly admired Bubu, she is a great woman, a great mum, a great wife, and a great daughter!She is my inspiration to be a better mum, a loving and caring one, one who understands and respects her children and appreciate who they are! I like to read blog like this, as she is speaking from her experience, from what she has gone through and what she believes in. She doesn't apply or follow any specific education systems, but she uses her own way, that she knows work best for her children. I can see, or even feel the calm and peace in her family, which warms my heart to the max :-) So much to learn from her!

To end this post with another quote taken for her blog:

能自律的孩子比較幸福,只要我們大人先重視紀律、願意常常分享尊重他人的意念,他們會一定會感受到這份安全與幸福的氣氛。
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First piano lesson at 3 years 8 months

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When I told my mum yesterday that Hao Re attended his first piano lesson last Sunday morning, she sounded a little disturbed and questioned on our decision to send him for the classes at such a young tender age, she said she pitied her grandson. But, but, but, when I explained to her that we didn't initiate that, it's Hao Re who himself told us he wants to learn how to play piano, she agreed and supported our decision, my mum is always very opened minded :-)

Hao Re didn't ask us just one time, not two or three, but so many times that we lost count! He told us he really likes piano and wants to learn how to play a piano. He gets very excited and his eyes lit up whenever he sees a piano. When we visited Malacca last month, he saw a piano in a church. He asked us to go back to the church again after we visited a nearby museum so that he can take a second look at the piano and we had to drag him away from the church :-P When we walked pass a musical shop, he would look for the pianos.
We think he genuinely loves piano. So we decided to fulfill his wish. He may be young now and he may change his mind later, or he might lose interest in piano later, but hey, why think so much, right? Should live at this very present moment - this is what he wants, and it's a good thing, why stop him.

We were having a brunch at the Picotin at Horse City a couple of weeks ago. So we swung by to Staccato, where he had attended 1 term of music classes when he was about 2 years old, to ask about private piano lesson (friends and colleagues of mine recommended private lessons rather than group lessons). One of the teachers was kind enough to offer him a short trial for about 10 minutes. She said he is ready as his fingers are pretty strong, and he is able to follow her instructions closely.

So we made an appointment for last Sunday for a proper trial. All went really well! The lesson was about 40 minutes supposed to be 30 minutes, but the teacher overshot a bit). I sat at the back of the class to observe. He was a little bit shy, but he was really focus and followed instructions very well. After the class, I asked if he likes the teacher, he said yes, and I asked if he wants to come again, he immediately said yes! I asked the teacher what she thought about Hao Re. The teacher said she was very impressed with his attention span given his age. She said almost all of her 4 year old students couldn't sit through the whole class, start to move around after a while. She felt that he is really interested in piano and his is tall enough for it, and his fingers are strong enough, though his left fingers needs a lot of practice, which is normal. She suggested to get a simple digital keyboard for him to practice at home (alamak, need to spend more money). The teachers is a young and cheerful looking lady, the sort of Hao Re would like, haha.

So yup, signed him up for the class and let's see how it goes.

(Added on 22nd Sep 2011 - Music Lessons For Your Two-Year-Old? Thought this is a pretty good article for reence).
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中秋节快乐 Happy Mid Autumn Festival!!

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At the very last minute, we decided to go to the zoo in the late evening, to participate in the mid autumn festival celebration that the Singapore Zoo has put together for the very first time in it's history. We wanted to go to the one at Chinese Garden initially but the entrance fee would cost the 4 of us $40, while this one at the zoo is an free event :-)

While on our way there, Hao Re asked why we were going to the zoo and below is the conversation:

HR:为什么我们要去Zoo?
Me:因为今天Zoo有庆祝中秋节。
HR:中秋节?什么哟?
Me:中秋节是我们华人的一个大节日,就好像过年啊,端午节啊,中秋节啊,都是我们华人的大节日,我们都会庆祝的。
HR:可是。。。。
(thought he's going to ask more about the festival so I kinda preparing for the answer, but he burst out this!)
HR:可是可是,我要说Inggeris (English) 的,我不会说华语的。
Me:你现在就在说华语咯,你会说啊!不会也没关系的,可以慢慢学呀。
HR:我不要学叻,我不可以学叻,因为我要学Inggeris叻。
Me:可以呀,我们可以学很多不同的language呀,爸爸妈妈就是会很多种不同的language呀。
HR:可是我要学Inggeris叻。
Me: 我们是华人,是要学华语的,华语很好玩呀,就像你喜欢的鹅鹅鹅,曲项向天歌。。。。
HR:No,我不要,不好的,我还是要Inggeris的!

It's such a unexpected conversation that we have. We are speaking Mandarin to them almost 100% of the time, we have so many story books in Chinese that almost every night, we read Chinese books during bedtime. He is speaking Mandarin very well and curious when we speak in Cantonese. We are not sure why he has such a strong preference for English! When he watches tv program it's always in English, and most of his DVDs are in English. His friends speak English mostly at school. That maybe the 2 factors. But he speaks Mandarin to us almost exclusively and we thought he likes both languages as much since he has pretty good exposure to both. I hope this doesn't really mean anything that we should worry now. We hope our kids grow up liking Chinese genuinely.

Anyway, back to the Zoo. The program was not so exciting. I thought can let the kids see how they let go of the floating lanterns to the lake, thought that would be something pretty special to watch. But apparently you have to purchase/donate for a lantern if you want to watch it, duh! Probably this is one of their fund raising activities? The best thing for the kids was to get a ride on the Animal Carousel Ride for free after queuing for about 20min or so, which was not so bad for a free event. There was a story telling session about the 嫦娥 in English. It felt so weird to listen to it in English, first time for me :-) Hope I can find a good and short story online tomorrow and tell them this story again, in Chinese for sure. And should get them a lantern each and some candles to play with :-)

中秋节快乐岛, Happy Mid Autumn Festival!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


(p/s: Just read the Today's newspaper on Monday morning. Apparently the new President of Republic of Singapore was at the same event last night! We didn't even know that, ha. And according to the paper, the purpose of this event was to "promote family togetherness and raise awaremess of biodiversity and nature conservation". Quite agree with the first part but for the second part, errr, the entire zoo was dark except where the event was held, at the kidzworld and the boat deck nearby. What to do with raise awareness of biodiveristy and nature conservation? There was nothing in the program for this purpose either. I wonder).
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Great outdoor places / activities for kids / family in Singapore!!

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One of our posts, Outdoor activities for the kids in Singapore, has received one of the highest pageviews from our readers, as well as through search engines. It seems to me that a lot of parents are constantly looking for places to go, to spend quality and fun time with their families.

Friends of mine said The Kam Family is a very active and energetic family as we head to outdoor places every weekend without fail. They said we have also inspired them to go outdoor more often (so happy to hear that!!). There are more places that we have explored since my last post back in November 2010. So I thought I should write another post to update the list.

(Note: I provided all the links here so that you can go to our blog posts to find out more information about the place, to see some photos that we took so that you can judge if it's a nice place to go. But if you can't find the answer you need, try google, Mr Google always has good answers for you. Or you can ask me, I will try my best to answer your queries).

The TOP THREE places we went this year have to be:

1. Singapore Zoo
Yes, the Zoo still remains as the top place. The record so far is we visited the Zoo 2 times in a week! On average is 1-2 a month, but there was also times when we didn't visit it for the entire month. It's a place where we will go when there is no other places/activities to go/do, or when the kids requested for it. We love it there as it's a very nice park to walk around, great learning place for the kids, and it's near to our house. Read our blog posts on the Singapore Zoo HERE. We have blogged about it 24x only, probably about half of the actual visits we have made, as at times we didn't take any photos, or we didn't blog about it specifically, or didn't label it correctly.

TIPS: If you are staying near enough or doesn't mind the travelling, it's worth it to become "Friends of the Zoo". You will get back the value for the pass after 5 visits, or less if you have kids >3 years old. Plus you get a free parking voucher (worth $4) for every visit. Plus discount for the restaurants and shops.

2. East Coast Park
Think of sand, water, blue sky, fresh air - the beach! To be honest, before we have kids, we had never thought that we would one day go to East Coast Park for fun (we were not that much of a outdoor people back then). Okay, also because we hadn't stayed in Singapore long enough at that time. Now that we have stayed here for almost 5 years, we do need a place to go to, a beach to go to, even though this beach is really not as nice as those famous beaches in other countries, but hey, this is Singapore, and you get to go to a beach within 30 minutes drive. Most importantly, for the kids, it's the same sort of fun! We have explored a couple more of different spots along the East Coast Park, including the Castle Beach, rather than always go to the centre area. The must do activities when we are here - sand play, water play and cycling (and picnic sometimes)! Read HERE for some of our posts on East Coast Park (note total 13 posts, only half of the visits to the Zoo, hehe).

TIPS: Explore different parts of the East Coast Park, each offers different kind of fun. Bicycle rentals are available widely. One bad point though, no proper wash up area after the sand / water play. There is one at the centre area, where the McDonald is, but you need to pay, and it's pretty run down. What we do is to rinse them briefly with bottle water and shower them properly when we reach home.

3. Sentosa
Sentosa has become a "hot spot" for us recently, since we "discovered" the Pahlawan Beach, a place where the kids can enjoy to the max, sand play, water play (sea and playground), playground, animal enclosure, tram ride. It has restaurants and food court and also proper and nice shower, both in the toilet and outdoor. The sea water is much cleaner than East Coast Park. The rest of the Sentosa offer lots of fun too, like the recent Buskers Festival, and we have been to the story telling session, and not forgetting the popular Flora Festival! 12 posts for Sentosa, coming very close to the East Coast Park :-)

TIPS: Read THIS POST (at the end of the post) for some money saving tips.

Other outdoor places that we visit often include:

Botanical Garden (15 blog posts)
Actually Botanical Garden should be one of the top threes. But think the kids enjoy the beaches more than this. But in terms of the number of visits and blog posts, this wins. Click HERE to read the posts. It's a very nice park, well maintained, good people, the restaurant serves great pizzas, lots of greens, fresh air, huge space. Especially when there are outdoor performance going on, it adds more "live" to the park! Click HERE to read up all posts on our visits to Botanical Garden.

West Coast Park (8 blog posts)
HUGE and nice playground. Haven't been to this part as often as we should because it was under renovation a few months back. Totally revamped the entire playground! We will definitely go back more often. One thing though, though it's beside the sea, but there is no beach play, so the kids don't like this park as much as those like East Coast Park and the beaches at Sentosa. Click HERE to read all the posts on visits to West Coast Park.

Jacobs Ballas Children Garden (4 blog posts)
This is one nice garden that is dedicated specially for the kids. It's actually part of the Botanical Garden. We know we should go more often, but only been to there a few times. There were a couple of times when we reached there, it rained, so it's not it's destined, ha! The kids have lots of fun everytime we go. Maybe we should really go more often. Click HERE to read all the posts on visits to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden.

Choa Chu Kang Park (16 blog posts)
We have visited the Choa Chu Kang park many many, probably >30 times. But I didn't blog down all the visits, as it's our neighbourhood park, and we sometimes just decided to make a visit there when we don't have anything to do in the afternoon. It's relatively big, well maintained and we feel good. We have to drive to come here, about 5-10 minutes drive. We prefer to come to this one than the one that is nearest to our place, like 5 minutes walk. Because the one near to our place really cannot make it. Good news is it's under renovation/uplifting now, so we may have a much nice park that is easily accessible, then I can bring the kids to the park even on weekdays after dinner. So looking forward to it! Read HERE for all the posts on visits to the CCK park.

Hort Park (4 blog posts)
We love this park too! We brought our parents there once and they love it too! Cater for different generations in the family, great place for a park outing. Read HERE for all the posts on visits to the Hort Park.

Pasir Ris Park (4 blog posts)
If not because of the distance, think the Pasir Ris Park would definitely become one of the TOP threes!! It's such a nice place. Big playground with all sorts of play equipment one can think of, cycling (bike rental available), has a horse staple, can do sand play too! It's a place where you can literally spend the whole day there and still won't feel bored of it, seriously, if you do, it's either you are really not a outdoor person, or you have a bad mood that day. Any kids would love this place! Click HERE to read all posts on visits to Pasir Ris Park.

Bird Park (2 blog posts)
Hao Re loves Bird Park. When we were renewing our member for the Zoo, we were tempting if we should get the the pass for Bird Park too (as a package, slightly cheaper). But we reckoned we won't have that much of time to explore 2 parks, plus other places. Plus the waterplay area for Bird Park is not ready yet. Probably will reconsider that on next renewal. Now we would make a visit there once in a while. The last 2 times we were there, I exchanged for the entrance ticket by redemption of Maybank points so it's kinda free, haha. Click HERE to read our posts on visits to Bird Park.

Below are the places that we have been to, only once or twice, or haven't been to for a long time. Not because there are not nice places, but somehow we didn't choose these over those listed above, for some reasons :-) We should explore these places more. In alphabetically orders:

Bottle Tree Park
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Chinese Garden
Dairy Farm Nature Park
Dempsey Market
Farm Visit
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park
Marina Barrage
McRitchie Reservoir Park
Night Safari
Pulau Ubin
Woodlands Waterfront Park

And we have also done touristy stuff (I learned from my fellow Singaporeans that most of them haven't been to these places!)

Hippo River Cruise
Merlion Park
Singapore Flyer
Singapore River Tour
Sky Park
Underwater World Singapore
Universal Studio Singapore

Oh, and don't get me wrong. We don't only go to outdoor places, we have done lots of indoor places also, including museums visits, indoor playground, those playground at shopping centre. Basically we go anywhere that the kids can have some fun, though outdoor is preferred. We haven't been to any indoor playground since Hao Re 3rd birthday in January.

Asian Civilisation Museum
Civil Defence Heritage Museum
Downtown East
Explorer Kid Indoor playground
Fire Station
Go Go Bambini
Library
National Museum of Singapore
NEX Playground
Peranakan Museum
Science Centre
Singapore Arts Museum
Sembawang Splash Park
Polliwogs Indoor Playground

Are you surprise to know that there are so many places that we can go to in Singapore? I am sure there are more waiting for us to explore. And those we have visited, we can always go back again, and again. Kids actually like familiar places. They seldom get bored of a place. So ya, if your kid likes a particular places, go there again and again.

Lastly, if you realised, there is one thing we don't do - shopping, which is Singaporeans' most favourite past time activity, haha. We still go to shopping centre, from time to time, for restaurants, for movie (our kids were exposed to watching movies in cinema at very young age!), and for some shopping, but we don't spend much time doing window shopping, usually get what we want to get or to do, then leave.

Hope this is helpful for you to plan for your activities for your family. If you need to get any information, e.g., on parking, on opening hours, on things to look out for, on what to bring or not to bring, on whatever, leave a message here or send me a mail at mum@thekamfamily.com. I assure you I will respond to you at the soonest possible.

Have fun and cheers to the great outdoor!!!
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Great fun at the Sentosa – Buskers Festival 2011

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We actually had an extended long weekend. The kids had no school on Friday as it was the Teacher’s Day (teachers got a day off from the kids, how wonderful is that, best gift for them maybe, haha). So I was on leave to take care of them. Stayed at home till 4pm, then we went to meet hubby in town for dinner and went to the Expo for the Borders Clearance Sales.

We had thought that we would come home with lots and lots of books, and the advertisement said discount was from 50% or more! Thought we could grab this opportunity to spend our money on books, for us and for the kids. But to our disappointment, we left empty handed. Not that the discount was not good, all books were genuinely going at 50% off the usual price. But it’s the crowd and the queue. Crowd, we expected. But not the queue for the cashier, it’s easily 1-2 hours wait. With 2 kids in tow, we left the place within 10 minutes we arrived there. It’s such a waste of time and petrol, going all the way from west to the east, bleah.

Since we were at home, during the car ride, when we were having dinner, we were at the Expo, Hao Re kept asking if we can let him play sand. Since our trip to the Expo has been cut short from the anticipated 2-3 hours to a super quick 10 minutes, we decided to go to the East Coast Park. When we arrived, it’s already 845pm. And guess what we did? We rented the special family bicycle and had a great time enjoying the quiet East Coast Park. At the end of it, Hao Re asked, again, if he can play with the sand (so insistence!), we have to keep our promise to let him touch the sand for a quick few minutes :))

***************************************************
Good news for this weekend – hubby was granted with FREE weekend, totally no need to do any work, no need to go back to the office and no need to work from home! Hurray, it’s been such a long time that he is totally FREE on a weekend, to spend quality time with us. So precious. Just thinking of this made me happy. And the kids were very obviously happy to have their dear Baba around.

Wanted to do a little something special. I saw the advertisement about Buskers Festival at Sentosa, which looked like pretty interesting. We decided to go for that. And to add in the omph factor (as we have been to Sentosa with the kids many times), we took the cable car all the way from The Jewel Box at Mount Faber. The kids took a nap during the car ride and so they were all ready for the fun. Only then I realized I forgot we need to buy ticket for the rides! Duh, just to add a little more fun to this (rather than the usual driving in), our pocket was ~$46 poorer.

Note: Tickets are really expensive for the very short ride, think less than 10 minutes, $26 for adults and $15 for 3-12 years old, 10% for locals, and we cheated, didn’t buy ticket for Hao Re, ops! Unless you really don’t mind spending the money, and wanted very badly to experience a cable car ride, it’s not recommended – it’s a short ride, and with no fantastic view.

Arrived at the Sentosa Island about 4pm, just in time for the Buskers Festival, which starts at 4pm all the way to 10pm. As what expected, Hao Re LOVES the shows!! Xi Yu got a bit impatient on some shows, but in general, she enjoyed the shows too, and so were we. It’s informal, it’s fun, they are great performers from all over the world, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, etc. They engage audiences in their show and make us laugh! All sorts of performances, though some are repetitive, but still fun. The performance were invited by and paid for by Sentosa Ltd, so their busking collection proceeds to a good cause – all will be donated to Community Chest. What a great thing – have a good laugh, enjoy the sun and the fresh air, and do a good cause! All thanks to Sentosa for its great effort!

The Jazz puppetry show (left most photo) is one of Hao Re's favourite!


We managed to catch 6 out of the 12 shows on Saturday. What’s also special for us is that we have McDonald for our dinner! This is the first time EVER we have McD as a proper meal. I haven’t eaten any McD for over a year, Hao Re likes their ice cream so he has it once in a while, and hubby sometimes will have McD for his supper. But to have to whole family sit down to have dinner at McD, really first time.

Reached home and it’s already 10pm :))

*************************************************
Sunday came.

Not sure what to do when we woke up in the morning. But Hao Re was very clear of what he wanted to do though. First he asked if they are going to school (he asks this every morning). When I answered no, he asked if he can go for sand play and watch the shows. So yeap! The answer was clear – Sentosa again!

But I didn’t want to tire them out too much, so I suggested to watch a movie first. Heard good review about The Smurfs that it’s a great movie for family. Booked the tickets online for the GV max at Vivo. Left home at about 11am. Reached Vivo and have our lunch at Sushi Teh before the movie. It’s indeed a pretty nice movie to watch. Brought back childhood memories too. Hao Re enjoyed it and sat through the whole screening. Xi Yu enjoyed it too and sat quietly for the first half, but she got tired as it’s nearing her nap time, asking for milk, and then got restless and disturbed and annoyed those in front of us, so hubby got to bring her to the back of the cinema, carried her and she fell asleep.

Then we headed to Sentosa. Let them play at the Pahlawan beach for almost 3 hours! Hao Re loves the sea so much. The waves were pretty strong but he showed no sign of scared, not even when the waves covered him totally. We were scared. We have to watch him very, very closely, couldn’t take our eyes off him a single minute. We didn’t want to stop him as he was having so much fun. Xi Yu didn’t dare to go in. She must have us to hold her hands, even then, she wouldn’t want to go anything deeper than her knees. She stayed dry, playing with the sand, the playground or at the waterplay area most of the time.

Our kids are among those who love sand and water and don't mind at all getting dirty :-) The little girl enjoys being "buried" with the sand so much, haha.


Then we got them showered. And took the tram to the Beach Station, where 2 out of the 4 stages for the Buskers Performance are. Again, we have McDonald for our dinner (so weird to have it 2 days in a row while we have never had that before), as there aren’t much choices there, and we wanted something fast.

We only managed to catch 2 shows before leaving Sentosa at about 8.30pm. There is a guide provided for the Buskers Festival. Hao Re would refer to that and he knows which shows we have watched and which we haven’t. He asked if we can come back again to watch those we haven’t. Guess we will have to come back again this coming weekend :)) No photos taken today as we thought it's wise not to lug along to camera, which turned out to be really a wise choice.

Buskers Festival Sentosa 2011 is still on till the 11th September 2011. It’s running from 3rd to 11th Sep, everyday from 4pm to 11pm. There are 4 performance spots, 2 near the Imbian, and 2 near the Beach Station. There are a total of 12 different shows by 12 different groups of performers. Each show lasts about 30 minutes. Get a guide if you want to plan which one to visit. Or you can simply walk around and watch whatever is on-going. I won’t tell you which ones are good and which ones are not, you go watch and decide for yourself. Quick, plan a trip there this week, because if you miss this, you have to wait for another year!

(Disclaimer: I am not advertising for Sentosa. But just to share a great event that we have been to. Like I said - have a good laugh, enjoy the sun and the fresh air, and do a good cause, all at the same time, and it’s FREE, why not!)

Cost saving tips:
1. If you drive, entry to Sentosa is $7 ($6 for weekday) per car regardless of the number of passengers in the car. But if you go after 5pm, it’s only $3 ($2 for weekday) per car!!

2. For parking, the cheapest parking is at the Pahlawan Parking - $3 for first 8 hours!!! You should park here if you plan for a long stay at Sentosa. Parking at the Beach Station is $5 for first 4 hours. There are trams, free trams, to bring you from the Pahlawan Parking to the Pahlawan Beach (about 10 minutes walk) and to the Beach Station (another 10-15 minutes walk). The trams are very frequent and it serves as another attraction for the kiddos too.
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Starting 2 (or maybe 3) BIG "Projects" - weaning off pacifier, cut down TV down (and get off iPhone)

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On Wednesday afternoon, I was "talking" to some fellow mummies on the Internet on the topic of how easily we lose our temper on our kids, snap at them, shout and scream at them. We feel bad about this, regret on this, but we just couldn't help it, sometimes, a lot of the time.

After talking to them, it made me thought about a lot of things while driving back home, and for the rest of the night. I kept reminding myself to keep the cool, and cannot even raise my voice on them, especially to be kinder and more patient with Xi Yu. And I did it!! For Wednesday and Thursday, I didn't raise my voice at all, I was exceptionally calm and amazingly, so were the kids. We have enjoyed 2 great nights and I hope more to come. It's so true that a mum's mood would affect the kids greatly. They read our expression, emotion, and learn and imitate what we do, believe it not!

Okay, okay, back to the topic for this post - my big projects!!!

My first project - weaning Xi Yu off pacifier, is related to what I wrote above. Because I was in such a good mood, so calm and so forgiving, that I was very sure I can take Xi Yu's crying/whining. I decided to wean her off pacifier. She only took pacifier at night and was highly dependent on it to fall asleep and fall back to sleep when she woke throughout the night (yes, she still wakes up!). I cut a big hole on her pacifier and told her pacifier has spoilt, she couldn't use it anymore. She still took it but eventually gave it to me and said she didn't want it. She fell asleep easily on Wednesday night and slept all the way without any waking up till almost 6am!!! Thursday night, she asked for it, I gave her the one with the hole (I have another one to standby just in case), she sucked on it for quite a long while until she voluntarily gave up on it. But she took a long while to fall asleep, cried/whined quite a bit, but hey, she slept!! Project is on going, hopefully I can report it as a successful project soon!

(Note to hubby - I didn't scold her, not even raise my voice at her at all, okay! I swear!!!)

Second project - to cut down their TV time on weekday nights. They used to drink their last feed of milk while watching TV. We have been doing this for the past 3 years or so, as a mean to cool them down and to be ready for bedtime. But since we introduced bedtime reading a few months back, I observed that they do not attach to the TV as much as before (actually Xi Yu doesn't really like watching TV, it's Hao Re). So I think it's time to slowly cut down their TV from about 30-60 min a day to 0-30 min a day. Again, we did it!!! They have not watched TV at all for the past 3 days, I am so happy. Not that TV is bad, but it's more for the reason that less TV time means more play time and more storytelling/reading time, mean quality bonding time! Project is also on going. I don't plan to cut them off the TV totally, but hope that they only watch it during weekends (if we don't go out) or when they demand for it (and I couldn't distract them away from it).

Okay. Come to the third project - get off iPhone - this one meant for me, not the kids. The kids haven't touched the iPhone for a few months (only watched youtube on a few "unavoidable" occasions). It's me. I have tried once to try to put the iPhone away and didn't touch it until the kids were off to bed. But shamefully, I only managed to do that for just over a week. After that, I check on my iPhone every now and then, which is really, really, really a bad habit :-( Hubby was commenting that on one hand, I wanted the kids to watch less TV, but on the other hand, I myself is hooked on iPhone, how to show them a good example? He was right. I have to admit. Okay, let me try again. From now onwards. Project just started. See if I would pass or fail this time round. I must remind myself - nothing more important to show the kids a good example 身教不如言教!Wish me luck!!!

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This is to note this afternoon, 1st September 2011, around noon time, Xi Yu's right hand middle finger was injured when one of her classmates suddenly closed the toilet door, where she was standing nearby after shower. Not too badly injured, but think it's still very painful for her :-(( Her teacher said that she was not traumatised, only cried a bit, and her class teacher kept her close beside her for the rest of the day so she won't feel bad and has someone to take care of her. First accident she experienced in childcare, hope NO MORE to come.
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