Sunday 25 May 2014

Little Dragon @ 1 year 10 months

Here are some activities that I managed to do with Dragon girl and an update on her development.

There is no schooling this one.

Too much attitude.
Too self assured
Too sassy
Too stubborn.
I am bending backwards just to accommodate her.

Right now, it's all about scribbling, painting, and crayons.
She holds everything with a 'falcon-like grip'.
I won't even try to correct her; she may poke my eyes out.
Glow-in-the-dark pen & board by Crayola

She is such a strong kid. Fine motor skills are tip-top.
So are her gross motor skills
She can karate kick Tiger like nobody's business.
Sometimes, I really pity the brother who always end up in tears.

Maybe she will ace archery?

I would really like to see someone try to discipline her.
When she was making a ruckus, MIL said, 
"How can you all stand her naughtiness?
If it's up to me, hmmphh, I will beat her already."

She turned around, crossed her arms and said with a frown,
"NO! I beat."
See? I am the "Western' mom and MIL's the Tiger Mom.

I am always smiling when she's around.
She is just so funny.
Like this face she pulled when Tiger was teaching her

She can sort colours just fine but....

....she would very much prefer to play with the pom-poms.

Or arranging the musical bells

Breaking these Unifix into individual cubes is still a favourite activity of hers

But her most beloved activity in the whole wide world?
Redecorating this patch of wall
I already gave up telling her to use paper.
She knows it's there...sigh...I cannot win laaaaa.

Right now her routine is, crayon the wall, dot stamping papers and then water colours.
Tiger was offering her some brushes here.
I soooo love shots of them together like this.
Occasionally, they can be nice to each other

She loves this watch  I bought from a kiosk in the mall.
Wears it to sleep :)

 Asking her to paint is asking for trouble.
With a kid like this, messy art is exhausting.
Like seriously draining.
I am getting old

At 1 year 10 months old, she is:

Walking up and down stairs one foot per step
Hopping down the stairs like a bunny with one hand held.
Using Tiger's skateboard scooter better than Tiger.
Balance on one foot

Strong grip
Able to uncap the smallest tubes
Build towers of > 10 blocks
Draw circles

Her vocab is vast but still unclear to strangers.
She calls herself by her name.
She calls Tiger by HIS name instead of kor-kor.
Longest phrase is, "No, I beat you"
Otherwise, she uses her own language to substitute words she is unable to say.
 Asks what, where questions.

She must wear something pink.
She hates black/grey clothing
She loves lotions.
If she didn't get something she wants, she will turn away,
cross her arms and refuse to meet your eyes.
You can beg but she wouldn't budge.
She can shoot imaginary laser beams for corners of her eyes (like me)

 She is very independent but whiny and oh-so-manja when she is sick
but her recovery rate is way faster than Tiger's
Probably because she loves water. I think she takes at least a litre a day.
She is a little OCD about dirt and loves to dispose garbage.

My mom commented that she is like me

Haha...I am much nicer now!

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Tiger's Play Space @ 4 years old

I've been 'planning' to cover the drawers since..well, since I bought them
but I have never found the right material. Any suggestions? 
 Nothing permanent since I will be using them for toys when the kids are older 
and they do not need the diapers and clothes to be at hand's reach.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the area where Tiger spends most of his time,
which is actually in our living room.
 Small house, no choice.

The home decor sucks but right now the kids' needs matter most.
I'm just trying my best to minimize the clutter so that hubby doesn't feel
he is living in a toy store.

I gathered similar containers so that the overall look 
is more streamlined

There you go, so much better for my mind and soul.
What's in the baskets?
I was afraid you wouldn't ask.
Noticed I 'labelled' the top row baskets?
Initially I wanted to write or print & laminate
but as usual, I was too lazy.
So I took some old DVD covers and filled them with respective content.
I thought it was very clever :p

From left to right:
1. Lego Duplo
2. Wedgits
3. Mega Bloks
4. Crazy golf set
(Baskets from Daiso)

On the far right is his Thomas train set and a couple of golf clubs

On the lower row:
1. His 'baby' cars
2. Magformers
3. Wooden blocks
4. Special 'cars' box for everything Pixar/Disney Cars

Opposite the Ikea cupboard is his train table.
Right now he enjoys playing this wooden parking garage from ELC.
I added a train track and a 'house' on the side for sleepy cars
Every kid who comes over loves this table!

Sometimes he will play with this rm12 car track from ToyRus sales
That red 4WD you see in this picture?
It's broken now.
So, Tiger uses it for his Piston Cup race with the rest of his cars.
This blue Mammut table from IKEA is also the official living room table.

Tiger's book shelf
1. On the lowest level are the books I expect him to read independently but I doubt
he reads any with the TV around.
2. Then, some wooden games to balance all the plastic in the house.
(I am watching too many cooking shows, can you tell?)
3. His busy bag that I grab when we head out and his YAMAHA bag.
4. The top most level (not in pic) has a missing parts/broken toys basket
and Grandma's cook books.

And that's what Tiger does all day. 
Jump, play, sleep, eat.
Geez, now I want to be a kid.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Parenting: The Kiasu Mom

Tiger hates his YAMAHA lessons.
We are talking about crying and dragging his feet to the class kinda hate.
Then I get irritated because it's money wasted, time consuming, ungrateful brat, bla, bla, bla...
I get moody too and hence the weekly music nights became Nightmare Wednesdays.

Last month, while I was daydreaming in class, his teacher announced, "We will be having our JMC concert in  June and we will be singing the these songs," She wrote the songs down on the board and continued, "One student will be chosen to play the key board"

The sleepy kiasu mom was suddenly awaken, "One student? Play keyboard? Like the alpha male? The leader of the pack?"

I look over at Tiger with my 'semangat face', "Psst, we are going to be the pianist, okay?"

He just blinked at me. 

Class after class, I shot him my laser glares. Sing louder. Play properly. Sit up straight. Smile.
Teacher's coming, Teacher, coming, play nicely. Dance la, why you dance like that one?

Looking at him struggle to coordinate his hands and legs, I have concluded that he is
1. Not a musical person
2. He dances like his papa....bwahahaha. (The traitor doesn't read my blog, so I can make fun of him)

His allies, namely papa and grandma were forcing me to quit his class after watching his dramatic defense against evil-music-class-mama. Sorry, no losers allowed in this house. You will learn to be responsible and understand that not all things in life is a bed of roses. Sometimes, you just have to struggle a bit.

So, last night, I held his hands before class and I said, "Tiger, I am not going to scold you today, Just enjoy your class but sing as loud as you can, okay?"

He smiled and agreed.

And he really did enjoy himself last night. Singing, dancing, and laughing with his friends.

After class, we bought some onigiri and he said to me, "Mama, I love ebiko. Thank you"

Did you enjoy the class?

Yes, I like.

Cause mama didn't scold you?


No more kiasu mom for now. Maybe later...

Monday 5 May 2014

Reading: To Bribe or Not To Bribe?

Tiger is sooooo into Cars from Pixar.
Every time we are at the toy section of any mall, he will be at
the Cars alley drooling over the selection of mini cars.
OMG, freaking expensive!!!!
They cost around 39 to 59 for a car the size of my forefinger.
FYI, my fingers are stubby.

He has 4 so far, so, those are already worth roughly rm 160:
Tokyo Mater (redeem with ToyRus Star Points)
Francesco Bernoulli (Jusco voucher)
Max Schnell (Parkson voucher)
Jeff Corvette (Parkson voucher)
Total spent: rm 0
You can probably tell I am cheapskate from here.

He knows the names of ALL the characters, which is scary
because we didn't watch the cartoon.
Simply shows how much time he had spent on Youtube,
watching merchandise propaganda.

After each purchase, I would say to him, "Okay, that's your last car."
But then smart aleck Papa would promise him another.
And I hate lying to kids.
Words are not taken lightly and promises are to be kept.
Hence, the four cars laaaa....

He goes every where with them, bathroom, bed, school...
So, in order to make it a win-win situation, 
(you know how much I love my win-wins)
I came up with this idea.

I wrote down all the characters name on stick-its.
Then, I gave him all his Peter and Jane books, from 5B onwards.
And we did this.
One ticket on the back cover of each book.

The first note was something like this:

Congratulations, Tiger

You have now completed Peter & Jane, Book 5B.

You can now redeem your Lightning Mcqueen from Papa!

Mama ran out of vouchers, so go get from papa, ya?

I was too lazy to write long notes,
and the rest were just like this: Finn Mcmissile.
You get the idea.

Before going to bed :)
The books are in his treasure box, usually reserved
for his most treasured possessions, like race cars.
Sorted into blue and orange piles, of course.

He was so excited at the prospect of 'earning' his cars,
he was grinning like a cat.
I think, in his mind, he was already holding his cars :)

We are consistently reading 6 pages every night.
I wanted to do more but Grandma started complaining 
that I was torturing his grandson.
Tiger defended me by saying, "Mama, don't stop.
I want to PLAY some more!"
I want to collect my ticket!
Of course, being a almost four year old,
he would monkey around, lose focus, or
ask his Grandma to keep-quiet-I-am-reading.
I just draw his attention back by saying,
"You want your car or you just want Mcqueen's tyre?"
Snap, full attention.
Like magic!
I used to promise him a car if he completes a book,
but words are just words.
By writing it down and putting it on the back cover,
it is so much more promising.
It becomes a tempting, solid treat that is just within reach but not quite.

I know it is still a bribe.
I argued with my bipolar conscience before giving it a green light.
 We, (meaning my mind and I) shall call it  motivation/reward instead.

What??? Really one, if you think about it...
Best student = award
First class honours = waived fees
Best employee =promotion, huge bonus and pay rise
Life is filled with rewards and awards and bribes.
You can think I am rewarding unnecessarily but I am going to buy him the cars
anyway, why not make him work for them instead of just giving?

 He tried to cheat by asking for Book 12A.
I just said casually, "Can if you can read it."
He took a look at one page and said, "Ohhh, I cannot read this..."
"...yet. When you go slowly from Book 1 to 12, you will eventually be able to read it"
He smiled and said okay.
I feel it teaches him determination, grit and diligence too.
But that's just me.

Oh, and he thinks it is a game because at the end of each session,
I will always ask him some simple questions.
How many rabbits?
How many fish?
Rabbits more than fish?
What kind of shop is this?
Who is carrying the bag of sweets?
Do you want some sweets? 
Here, try it, hmmm, blackcurrant, can I have a cinnamon sweet?

Happy reading!

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