Turning 9

November 25, 2018

It seemed like not too long ago when I thought it would be ages before he turns ten but here we are, at the cusp of it.

He’s a sweet boy who is full of creative ideas. My job would be to help him learn how to put those ideas to work and learn to break them down into easier steps.

He loves to draw and create. Over the summer, he made dozens of his own Transformers out of Lego. At the beginning of the school year, he was creating a whole army of origami star wars characters.

He’s growing more confident in his math though it is still not his favorite, but again I recall that I only came to really enjoy math in the upper elementary years. I think it was algebra that really spoke to me. He definitely needs a lot more practice. Guess I’ll have to go all tiger mum and drill him where needed.

Physically, he has learned to jump rope recently and I’m really proud of him. He has also grown a lot taller, though still thin and long like his dad. I’m not sure how all the food really fit in that thin body….

He worked really hard on the things I tell him about. He has been putting in more serious karate practice. He asked the office and bus driver many times for his missing lunchbox, even though it was never found.

His Chinese is getting better as well though we still haven’t managed any conversation in it beyond really simple sentences. I’m focused more on his reading since I think with the proper vocabulary, the spoken language will come easier? I probably really should put in more effort to do conversations with him though. But just today, he told a silly Chinese story about everyone on top of each other and it actually made sense!

It’s funny that he told his teacher that he has adhd because I said he has trouble focusing even when he was trying to. It’s something we are working on and I’m trying to find ways to snap him back without myself losing it. On the other hand, I’m kinda like that too and I’ve been wondering if I have ADD all this while. But… I’ve also read that giftedness manifests in similar ways so it seems like it is hard to tell which one it is. At the end of the day, it’s really more about dealing with it regardless of the label. His teacher did say that he seems more easily distracted compared to a typical kid.

We have a few more spats this year as well when I feel like his attitude needed working and he was upset that I lost my patience and raised my voice. We worked things out in the end but I can see us having similar problems as he moves into the tween/ teen years. On the other hand, he’s quite willing to talk it over with me and reexamine his actions and attitude.

He is a sensible kid and is proud of his own healthy eating habits.

He still sometimes like to try and get out of trouble. Like the time he tried to sneak past me with dark chocolate tucked in his cheek.

As he grows older I worry that he would stop listening to me and let his impulses take over. He certainly doesn’t show the best judgement.


A Persevering Win

October 4, 2018

We heard from his teacher that he’s been really good with perservering despite some obstacles that are out of his control. The poem he typed up was missing and he had to redo it all over again but he worked on it. I’m very proud.

We’ve been having some good moments at home too when I’m working with him on his karate basics and he has been very receptive and tries his best.

I sometimes feel like my “job” isn’t really much but I guess educating a person is worthwhile after all.

Jump Rope

September 26, 2018

Hoo, Calvin managed to do 4 jumps by himself. We were all very proud. It’s not like we practiced it at home though. I think they teach it in school during PE, but it didn’t really happen in the past 2 years. When he started, he was jumping the moment he swings his arm, which obviously wouldn’t work. Then we tried the trick of swinging and catching it with the feet, no jumping. And I told him that time when he catches with his feet is when he should jump. He tried and it worked. Not sure if I could credit myself for giving excellent advice, I’m just happy and proud to see him make progress in various things.

Buying a Home?

September 20, 2018

We have been rethinking whether we should buy a home recently. The property market here isn’t quite as crazy recently and we are on our way to getting permanent residence. as our life here stabilizes, our thoughts turned to well….settling down.

There are just so many factors to consider, not wanting to change schools yet again, commute, neighbourhood vibe (quiet will be great as long as I don’t see sketchy people…) and of course price. At least I’m now more certain that we won’t be moving back to Asia anytime soon because job prospects and pay would be much worse. It is a big commitment and I’ve been reluctant to do all the work/research required to make sure we make a good decision. Horror stories of houses that need a lot of repairs have been haunting me. We are not handy either…. I didn’t even know how to change the ceiling light bulbs. That adds a lot more uncertainty to home ownership especially since the houses around here are usually pretty old.

So I guess we’ll keep an eye out for something that suits us but right now, I still don’t feel like I’m aching to own something.

More on Practice

September 13, 2018

Calvin’s karate practices have been going well recently. We do targeted practice the moves that we notice are imperfect, and the practices actually have objectives before we start. I find that it does require more work from me. We are going to go through more of the basics as well as his belt test materials. The good thing is that he looks more focused and not so floppy when doing karate.

I liked the idea that we should be focusing on the most important 20% of the skills at the moment. For karate, that would be his basic moves and for math, the multiplication table until we reach automaticity for both. For Chinese, we’ll work on more vocabulary, which means I need to read our book first and pick out words to highlight. I should also teach him proper pinyin sounds for the ones he has trouble with like the x and z sounds.

For myself, I probably need practice with keeping calm when he makes mistakes. Maybe I should write some scenarios for myself to role play 😂


September 11, 2018

We have been talking about deliberate practice recently – practice where you work on improving one skill instead of mindlessly repeating what you have always done. This started because of his inefficient karate practices at home, where he would go through the motions but don’t really improve. So I started reading this book called Practice Perfect, which I think was written with teachers in mind, and I really liked one of the lines they repeatedly use “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent”. I shared that with him and we’ve been working on tighter goals for shorter practice sessions, so we can celebrate hitting mini milestones. At the end of the day, we hope he will gain satisfaction from the hard work of learning.

In the book, it also talked about teachers not having the time to get deliberate practice and I think the same goes for me too. I’m so involved in teaching and experiencing that I need to reflect more and practice how to stay calm in the face of his resistance, though I’m not sure how exactly I would do that. Maybe we would have do-overs for me when I lose my temper.

For now, I think I’d really want to work on having a good routine at home and start planning my day more.

State of Chinese Learning

August 25, 2018

I’m glad that he’s been speaking more Chinese this summer. He was very proud to show off his Chinese to the grandparents and has been real nding to me in grammatically correct Chinese. He is also interested in reading pinyin books with me. We’ve been watching a lot of Doraemon this summer. I guess I’m doing something right 😀


August 14, 2018

I guess my nickname should be naggy the naga. I felt like I’ve been nagging him quite a bit recently and feel quite terrible about it. On the one hand, it is really annoying when he repeats the same mistakes over and over again, without showing any desire to change what did not work. But I think maybe he just doesn’t know how to express himself (plus maybe he really doesn’t want to work hard on it right now).  But I think I might be overreacting, thinking the worst of what’s actually happening.  It makes me lose patience with him which I do not enjoy either. It makes us both unhappy.

But how do I teach him to be responsible for what he does? He silly brain thinks up all kinda of things to do and it creates big messes that he can’t deal with himself and I end up having to clean up his mess which really annoys me.

I’m just having a hard time teaching him things that would make his life easier. Like I’ve been telling him to work on cleaning up efficiently (using two hands instead of one) and sorting his Lego tub. Firstly, he goes back to his own habit when I’m not watching and when I do watch and remind him, he kinda ignores me and continue on doing his own way.

Well, first let’s calm myself down first and see how things go.


House Guests

August 9, 2018

I’m pretty terrible at entertaining guests I think. We just had grandparents over for a week but I’m all tired out from going out and planning meals. Just want to have my peace and quiet, a book and my nice comfy couch nest.

We did get to see something cool today though, a seal in the salmon ladder pouncing on salmon!

Summer so Far

July 31, 2018

We’re enjoying our summer – having playdates, biking, swimming, attended a rock club meeting, played at the beach, wrote books and poems at writing workshops, made a bunch of nuts and bolts sculptures.

Not as much reading got done as I would have liked but I guess we’re busy doing things and enjoying ourselves. At least it hasn’t degenerated to video games everyday to kill the boredom.

We’ve also been working on a bit of programming, practicing his typing and also a lot more Chinese. He can read simple Chinese books with pinyin so I might go on a shopping spree and get more of those for him.

Super embarrassing quote of the month: I have two big balls now instead of a uni-ball.