Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Baby School: Lil Dragon @ 14 months.

Warning: Super lengthy post. 
This is her developmental milestones, playroom and trays update
 rolled into one giant post.

I was talking to my sister the other day and she commented,
"You know, you are not teaching Dragon very much"

I replied,
"Yeah, but I feel she is already very smart"

She was like, "What the............"
Haha, I am allowed to be biased. 

Not that I am lazy (maybe, a little) but after doing so much with Tiger,
I now enjoy the process of learning/teaching more than the outcome.
I have become more experienced.
Also known as ageing laaaa.

Dragon is my precious, like Gollum's ring.
I am addicted to her.
I sniff her all the time...haha!

She is so, so funny.  
Our kakak thinks so too but she is probably biased as well.

For example,
She has a bendy back dance move.

I would be verrrrrry worried if these two decides to pursue a career in dancing.

She also looks funny cause of the chipped front teeth.
Terrible mom, I know.
Nothing we can do about it now.
Her dentist advised for fluoridated toothpaste to prevent caries.
So, we wrestle every night while I sing 
"This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth" on top of my lungs

She is walking up and down the stairs independently.
A little wobbly still, which scares the shit out of me.
She is a climber.
Chairs, tables, windows, me.
The girl thinks everything that is below knee height is a stool.
Boxes, containers, books, oh and Tiger's head...kesian.

She says 
She still grunts a lot.
Oh, and shout. Definitely her fav way to 'communicate'

She is terrified of strangers. Like pee in pants kind of scared.
So, don't expect her to say hello.
However, she does enjoy going outside or walks
She would ask kakak for shoe and demand to go out whenever 
she has the opportunity.

I moved the books to the other side and she wasn't pleased.
And she wasn't very subtle about it.
Haha, she basically grunted and slammed the cupboard a few times.
The pop-ups and hardcovers are on the highest level but she reaches for them.
Then some toys and her fav ones on the bottom level.
I try to read at least three with her everyday.

More books

Pretend play
She loves to play "telephone" and cooking
The problem is she likes to use my mobile instead of those plastic ones.

She gets simple instructions such as
Can you cook for me?
Can you find xxxx book?
 Find the cat and give to mama
(which is why the cat is on the kitchen)

On the small rack are some
cooking utensils, puppets, bean bags, soft triangles, linking pipes,
stacking toys, assortment of balls
Blocks and noisy stuff.
The Daiso boxes are for storage of manipulatives.
The playroom is where she spends most of her time.
It is where she plays, eats and sleeps.
If I didn't have a full-time help, I will probably have 5 toys in there. Max.
Kakak probably picks up her toys 10 times a day despite
the fact that I told her once a day will do.
I love our new kakak.
So, I wipe, scrub, vacumn and disinfect whenever I rotate the toys.
I wish the colours were softer but  I do like the quiet plastic ones
that I can dump into soapy water.

Baby School Progress
On good days, I may get a scene like this.
Don't be fooled. This probably lasted 10 minutes.

We usually start with some 'group' work like this.
Sensory Bin
Individual work with trays.

For her it takes about 15-30 minutes only

Her trays:
1. Hairy pom-poms for one-to-one correspondence
2.  A clock for her to play with the needles
3. A cup with 2 balls (For Big Vs Small)

1. Simple sorting tray with ipcycled McD drink holder.
2. Dice and counters (simple numbers game)
3. Pegged puzzle

This little girl has a huge appetite
Way bigger than Tiger's
She eats three main meals and snacks non stop in between.
On top of that whenever some one is eating she will always ask for a bite or two.

See her belly? Too cute!

Preschool: Sept-Oct Setup

Keeping a blog is not easy, especially when you are not being paid :)
I guess this is what people call labour of love.

 By writing, I get motivated to keep up with homeschooling because
I know I am helping others to discover the joy of teaching.
So, a big thank you to you guys for reading my ramblings.

Besides, I need this for blackmail later on when my
kids decide on which old folks home to send me.
Better be a 5 star one, you munchkins!

Back to schooling business.
After reading this, my main concerns are:

1. Balancing learning with play
2. Should I challenge Tiger with more advanced materials as I have done previously?
3. How do I bring more communication & harmony into the room?

Taking baby steps...

Work Appreciation.

Everyone deserves some, no?
I have displayed Tiger's Apple week work for his other classmate to admire.
I used to chuck his work in the bin after he is done, secretly laaa

Picture No.1
He has no idea that this was Mr Bean. 
To him, it was just an uncle driving a car.
As you can see, I had a lot of say in the Mr Bean one ---> boring

Picture No.2
This other picture, he chose his own colours.
From the colors, I think he wants to be an American.

Writing station.

"Why you write on the cupboard? Dirty laaa"
I am labeling for you 
Ooooo. Thank you mama.
Can you read what I wrote?
Let /S/ roll
Face palm myself. Write, Let's write
Wahahahaha. Ooookay....write

Made a mess-free writing bag for him.
I saw some blogs using hair gel but I didn't have them on hand, so
I used some white glue mixed with water and some blue coloring to match the cards

Chinese Station
Still using Er San Kuai Du
This week, we are focusing on colours.
Starbucks Bear not related to the theme.
He just loiters around because he is homeless.
Added a Craft Bin
This is where I stash materials that we can use to create whatever they can imagine.
Very convenient for pieces of scrap I do not feel like wasting.
  1. Magnetic playset to create pictures
  2. Geometric solids with cards
  3. Three pairs of sensory balloons. (I filled these with salt, Styrofoam balls and rice)

  • Broad stairs (Mama, you cannot keep my brown steps)
  • Blue and red rods
  • Balancing scale with some blocks ( For More or Less Lesson)

We are also trying This Reading Mama's curriculum which is 
for more advanced preschooler's who can recognise letters and their sounds.
A god send.
Trying out our first set this week

Happy Preschooling!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Reading: Peter & Jane Books

I am not dishing out a guideline. I am waaaay under qualified to do that.
Just sharing some motherly tips since I HATED them when I was younger. My tuition teacher thought me because my mom could not. You can imagine how much I wanted to burn these books.

I think the books are great because when I was in primary school, I actually reread several books  from 10B onwards as regular storybooks and I can still recall the storyline.

I think my tuition teacher was boring and too strict. Luckily for Tiger, FUN is my middle name.

Usually, we start off like this:

Bao Bei, you want to do P&J?
Eh, I am Darling. Mei-mei is Baobei.
Oops, sorry...
I don't want P&J, I want to (insert anything but P&J)
Okay, go ahead 

Do not force
Use their natural curiosity to your advantage
For example, as he completes whatever he was doing, I will casually flip through his P&J. Sometimes, I just snicker or read out loud. Most of the time, this will make him curious and he will join me.

If the bait is taken, he will read a few pages. Sometimes not and that's fine too. Occasionally he will read the whole book. It may sound evil but hey, better than literally using force, right?

Go through pictures first.
Treat P&J the way you would with any picture book
We usually go through the pictures first whenever he upgrades.
I use a lot of adjectives like, "Look at choppy, cold, salty sea water. Look at Pat, he is such a playful and cuddly dog."
If you cannot think of anything to say, just use the key words.

Do not prompt unless needed.
I let him read without interruption. When he comes across a new word he is unfamiliar with, we will sound it out. For sight words that do not follow the phonic rules, I will sound out the first letter.

He rarely ask for my help now, preferring try it out himself.

Minimize repetitions
I find the first few books very repetitive and since Tiger already knows most of it, I skipped pages and even for words he isn't a pro at yet, I will still move on. They will make a come back in the next few pages or book anyway.

Major no-nos: tired/hungry/sleepy child
Common sense la...you will just irritate yourself to death

Not a daily 'thing'
We don't do P&J everyday. Can you imagine eating BBQ ribs everyday. To much of a good thing huh? At most, we do it once a week or biweekly. Hence the snaaail speed. 

Make it fun
Reading should be fun. We act out parts like swimming, rowing, jumping, etc. So, he gets a high five every time he figures out a word. I have used stickers once and I am still battling my inner demons to not succumb to the temptations of doing it again.

Happy P&J, guys!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Little Tiger: 3 years 3 months old

Sometimes, I think my three year old is older than me.
Of course he is still a baby when we talk about the pacifier and throw Lil Dragon into the picture.

He can be diplomatic:

Mama: Darling? you love mei-mei or not?
Tiger:....................... (no comment)
Mama: Love or not?
Tiger:....................... (no comment)
Mama: What about mama, papa, nai nai? Love who more?
Tiger: I love Mama, Papa, Nai nai, all same.  (Again leaving out mei-mei =.="")

He can be a fashionista

Mama: Wear the mickey shoe, it matches your shirt.
Tiger: No, I think the blue one.
Mama: Fine, wear the blue ones.
Tiger: Wait, I ask Papa. 

He can be my mother.

Tiger: Hey! Why you drive so fast? Ai yoh, later accident. Drive slowly okay? I don't want to die.
Mama: @.@ WTF??

He is no longer my BFF
He is  Papa's BFF
Yes, I have been dethroned. I mean, of course parenting is not a race. My children don't have to love me best. I mean, I only carried each one for 9 months, no biggie.The stretch marks, huge feet, bug ass? Pffft, forget about it.......  :(

I am sad, can you tell? I blame the hubs. He thinks it's funny. To irritate him back, I declare that we are both losers. Nai-nai is No.1

He still loves 'study' time

Mama: Good morning, baby! You want to go downstairs?
Tiger: No. I want study.
Mama: Cannot la, darling. Mama have to go to work. Tonight?
Tiger: Ooookay. I see you tonight. *Insert sad face that rips heart out and then shred it into pieces*

A little on studying....
Remember this schedule I made? He absolutely loved it. I soooo adore this smart idea of mine :p
A little like Tools of the Mind, I hope.

He would refer to it every time we 'study' and plan his own thing.
After we are done with each one, he would announce, "I can thing (tick)?"
Then he will put a 'X' next to the picture. (yeah, I know, genius ticks with a cross =.=")

 We spent a lot of time with the Apple sensory bin.
Even my dear Lil Dragon ask for it.
Tried to get the kids to play peacefully but that's definitely work in progress.

Montessori extension became this...

Will update our Apples week soon!
Have a nice weekend :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Books: How Children Succeed

Title: How Children Succeed
Author: Paul Tough
Category:Parenting book ( I call it Brain book as well)
ISBN: 978-1-847-94711-6

Does early education make a child smarter?
The answer is no, obviously.
We all know love is the most important factor. And genetics, of course.
Studies show that any advantage in the younger years level off around third grade. So, why bother with Doman or flashcards unless you are actually brain injured?

So, if my child is not a genius, why bother?
Many profoundly gifted children go to college and fail to succeed in life. I was not profoundly gifted but I have never struggled academically in primary school. When I got to secondary school, subjects that required extra effort such as Add Maths and physics made me feel stupid. Why do I have to study? I was always told that I am smart! What I lacked was the curiosity to learn, to dig deeper than what the words represented. I blame the system, really I do. For my kids, I am going to beat it.
The conclusion is, if your child is not a genius, don't despair. Instill grit, determination, outline goals and strong character that will withstand trial and tribulations, and they will triumph. It is about instilling a love for life, a thirst for learning. Not drilling information, not obeying commands, not following instructions. Notice the lack of posts? I am still figuring out, HOW?

From the book.... (I am writing my thoughts on the book, from memory. Please read the book for more information)

Paul Tough mentioned LG mothering (demonstrated by rats). LG stands for Licking and Grooming in rat mothers who were affectionate to their litter of pups. The opposite are the nonchalant mothers. See how rat labs mirror our society? I am a "licky" mom (Tiger and I have a kiss-three-times routine. Like lip smacking kisses) Just by telling your kids you love them and being a present parent, you are already a good parent. So easy, right?

This has been mentioned many, many times by other books. It is basically a test on delayed gratification conducted by researches in Stanford. Can your child wait or is he generally impulsive?  He who sees far, wins.

Tough mentioned studies in inner cities where drugs, shooting and fights are considered part of their cultures. When the failing students find the right mentor and the motivation from within themselves, they actually make it to college and towards a better life.

It reminds me of a documentary of Will.I.Am, a fourth of Black Eye Peas. He was raised in an area where children barely out of teens were recruited into gangs. Yet, he prevailed because he has a loving Tiger Mom who did not allow him to cross the sidewalk in front of his home after school! Imagine him standing just behind that imaginary line, calling out to his friends. By the way, he is taking a course on software programming now. Genius!


Am I boring you? Cause there is a lot more..... and I find these really interesting. Hence the ramblings

What do you think of the education system?
Is it created to promote thinking? To create entrepreneurs? Or factory workers? In Malaysia, don't worry, you can always work for the government provided you are of a certain race. I am not whining, instead I always look for a silver lining since I am one of those irritating cup half full person.

Singapore is also stuck in this Stone Age education but at least they are doing something about it. Their preschool "booklet" is 125 pages long. Geez!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Baby School: Lesson 4

Here's a snapshot of the trays for the week.
As a mother of two, I really have no time to position each tray with proper lighting and such.
I just shoot with or without the kids hanging off my neck

From top to bottom, left to right:
  • Please ignore the mini cylinder and play dough (preschooler stuff that shouts DANGER!)
  • Pom-poms and ice cube tray for one to one correspondence; Crayola stamper and paper for palmar grip
  • Number chips and can; pegged puzzle for pincer grip
  • M&D Geometric stacker for palmar grip; Cutting fruit for practical life 
Where is the stacker?

With the little munchkin.
It was 8 in the morning and she was all excited already.
So much so, she pooped.

Our last segment consist of:

Her fav was still the raisin can that I jazzed up with Hello Kitty stickers.
The number chips are from the Montessori set.
She was looking at it intently while I thought to myself,
"Aaaah, see...learning numbers"

The next moment she burst into laughter for no apparent reason.
Tiger wasn't amused since he was 'teaching' seriously.
Looking at this pic, I just realized her head is BIG

She also loved the pom-pom tray.
At the time I am writing this post, a green pom-pom has disappeared.
When I asked Tiger about it, he replied casually,
"Oooh, inside mei-mei stomach"

I muttered to myself, "Oh shit"


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Baby School: Apple Sensory Bin

I feel like such a lucky girl since practically half of the bloggy world is doing Apples Week for fall.
Finally created a bin using oatmeal, which was one I've been meaning to create ever since I read this post by Green and Pink mama 2 years ago.
Yeah, it took 2 years *shame*

 I  The kids love it!
So simple.
So toddler friendly.
Just messy enough without being dirty.
Lovely scent, especially the cinnamon sticks.
1. Base: Instant Oatmeal (stolen from Grandma)
2. Cinnamon. I bought a small packet from 99 Market which cost me RM 1 for 10 sticks :) It is labelled Kayu Manis
3. Apples from our play-food.
4. Small plastic 'glasses' from Ikea

This is officially Lil Dragon's first sensory bin.
I love watching the her little hands at work.

She always has a cautious expression whenever she has to share with Tiger.
In case the brother is not in a sharing mood.

See why oatmeal is a good idea? Extra fiber for her.

While Tiger was creating some fantastic meal....

....she did this,

 and this...

some stomping..

Some sliding...

Tiger joined her in some 'confetti-style' celebration with oatmeal.
Okay la, I joined also.
We cleaned up together :)

The sensation of digging through the oatmeal is a little like playing with sand.
But much gentler.
Have you ever let sand trickle onto the back of your hands?
It is very soothing.
I poured some onto Lil Dragon's hands and feet and she was entralled.

Tiger repeatedly requested to bury my hands.
It was very relaxing before the whole confetti thing.

They scooped, poured, dug, for some practical & pre-writing skills.

New words were: cinnamon, oatmeal, scent, & confetti :)

This was also the first time Tiger completed the clean up for me
using the little broom and dustpan.

Lots of learning activities packed into a small box.
I think we will be playing with this every night.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Messy Play: Kool-Aid Play Dough Apples

My sister, Winnie gave me some Kool Aid that her friend bought back from the states.
Rumour has it that Village Grocer in Bangsar is now selling these.
I'll have to check it out.
 It may take some time because of the petrol hike, I'll have to cycle there now.

 Before I start condemning our leaders, let's get back to the important things,
like this project here:

You may think, HAH??? This is important?
Not worldly matters? Politics?

Err, nope. Not in my opinion.
 Here's why:

Tiger rode his tricycle as I walked beside him quietly.
Once we reached the deserted park, we sat on a swing each.
As he struggled to kick off and set the swing in motion, he refused my help.
After a few minutes of focused effort, he did it.
As we swung in synchrony,  he looked at me with a huge beaming smile.
No words were spoken

At that moment, I felt it.
True love.
My child, his smile, his presence.
(PS: I love my girl too but at that moment it was just Tiger and I)

 After 15 minutes, our date was interrupted when he was bitten by a mosquito.
So, we went home and he raided the messy play drawer.
Since we were doing Apples, we made some red dough with Kool Aid.

I used the recipe from DLTK:

You will need:
 • 1 1/4 cup flour
 • 1/4 cup salt
 • 1 packet unsweetened Kool-aid
 • 1 cup boiling water
 • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

 1.  In a bowl, mix flour, salt and kool-aid.
 2.  Stir in water and oil
 3.  Knead with hands
 4.  Store in ziploc bag for up to 2 months.


The cherry scent was so yummilicious guys.
I wish I can share the smell too.
We added lots of glitter, as usual.

He thought we were making pizza :)
Ours we quite wet, so we added more flour when this conversation took place.

Tiger: Please pass me the power.
Mama: Power? Powder?
T: Haha...ya, powder.
M: Actually, we call this powder; flour.
T: Far? What far? No it's near.
M: /Fl/ 'our' (flower)
T: This not flower la mama...are you crazy?
M: =.="

Striking a pose for mama

The kneaded dough

We created apples by adding some small twigs from my bonsai tree.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Shopping: Buying Borax in Malaysia

Found it! Haha!

Ugly pic from cacat phone as prove:
BORAX: RM 35.90
ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda: RM 70.90

But the price
Saw this in Ace Hardware, Sunway Pyramid outlet.
They have more than 10 outlets in Malaysia.
You can find the nearest to you here.

I wanted to buy it just to make slime but
Borax can be used in many, many ways like killing roaches,
boosting laundry powder..etc.
Here's the link

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