Pounces and Snuggles

July 19, 2018

Not sure how this one goes… something like “Papa, when I’m older, you can only pounce on me if we are in a relative’s house or our own home.

Papa is the resident Tigger in the house… always up to some pouncing =_=



July 17, 2018

Is Calvin bringing a chair to sit by the door while he waits for his best friend, W, to arrive for a playdate.

“I’m bored”

July 14, 2018

The inevitable summer boredom set in faster than I thought it would for my little guy. I mean we we’re reading and drawing together in he morning and I stole off to do my own things for just 1.5 hours. And we’ve had a workshop and 2 playdates the last week too. He also has a pile of new books from the library. Well I’ve always said that boredom is the greatest creative booster, so I kinda welcome it but on the other hand, can’t help but want to help him out. I did get him to help me with cleaning up the house this morning so I guess it’s fair that when he asked me to find some pictures of transformers for him, I was happy to oblige.

He was overjoyed and spent the rest of the afternoon making his new computron combined while I busily perusing my new manga. 😙 And I got lots of “I love you, mum” as well. Totally worth it.

Oh and we spent a bit of time free lunch doing a puzzle together.

Yellowstone Road Trip

July 3, 2018

Day 1 To Spokane

5 hour drive to Spokane. Stopped halfway at Ginkgo Petrified State Park. Had some lacklustre burger for lunch. Restaurant had a funny road kill poster – “you kill it, we grill it”. Ate pho for dinner. Swam with Dad.

Day 2 to Missoula

Stopped at gold mine in Kellogg ID and went on a tour and did gold panning (for colorful rocks). Picnic lunch today.

Rode on the carousel and played hide and seek at dragon hollow playground in Missoula. Swam at the hotel with mum playing silly games. Decided he didn’t want his swimming float.

Day 3 to Bozeman

Visited the elk museum and went on the smokejumper tour before leaving for Bozeman.

Stopped to have lunch at Clinton MT at a log cabin restaurant with lots of animal heads hunting trophy. Visited Museum of the Rockies. Very informative backstory to hear w the fossils were found annd impressive array of fossils like the triceratops family. Ate at Applebee’s since the Korean restaurant was closed and sushi was a long wait.

Day 4

Drove in to Yellowstone. Saw bison and a baby bear along the way. Had dinner at the cafeteria which sucked so much ( clueless service people, long lines, dry overcooked food) that we didn’t want to eat at the dining halls for the remaining trip.

Day 5 South Yellowstone

Got lucky and arrived at Old Faithful 15 minutes before eruption. Listened to the ranger talk about rocks and animal skeletons.

Saw the prismatic spring. That was truly beautiful. The pictures of it look so gaudy compared to the real thing. The artist paint pots with the bubbling white/ green/ brown pools were interesting too. Stopped to smell the stinking mud volcano.

Day 6

It was a seriously blistering hot day. Hiked down to lower falls at North rim drive. Picnicked at Roosevelt. Stopped at the ranger museum (small and not much to it). Arrived at mammoth hot springs and saw the terraces in the evening when the tourists we’re gone. Kids spent the remainder of the afternoon feeding the prairie dogs potato chips and playing in the pop-up tent.

Day 7

Spent the morning white water rafting. It was fun though I was worried about flipping over in the fast flowing (cold) waters and seasickness. The morning started out rainy but the clouds broke as we were rafting. The scenery was great (river, mountains, greenery) and I left the raft with a wobbly water filled boot.

Had pizza for lunch. After cobbling together sandwiches and instant rice, it was so good.

Lamar valley in the afternoon wasn’t as exciting. More bison (though one did pass us by on the road right by our car. It had cute baby cow eyes), some black bear (ambling nearby as cars slowed to a stop). It did make me want to go back to the zoo to see some of the animals up close.

Day 8

Had lunch at Gardiner while waiting for Natalie to be done with zip-lining. Bison burger kinda tasted like beef. Calvin got an interesting rock slice from grandma.

Got to Bozeman and visited the American computer museum. It was small but had some cool old devices and computers in it. Got a circuit board bag tag as a souvenir.

Went swimming together with the cousins. Calvin can swim a little now, doggy paddle style. He held his breath for 10 seconds underwater.

Finally ate at that Korean restaurant. Bulgogi was good.

Day 9 To Butte

Went to Crystal park and dug out quite a lot of quartz points. They were small but it was fun to find them. Grabbed a Subway sandwich for lunch along the way.

Stayed at Butte for the night. Pasty shop wasn’t open for dinner so got Hardee’s burgers instead. So sick of fast food and burgers…

Day 10 to Spokane

Doing a 5 hr drive to Spokane. Stopped at an Asian restaurant at Missoula that served rendang, bento and ramen. Missoula looked like an interesting town.

Stopped at the 50000 silver dollar gift shop. It was super kitschy. My mission to find interesting, meaningful and semi-useful souvenirs failed. Or maybe that’s an oxymoron.

Finally reached Spokane and ate pho again.

Day 11 Back to Seattle

Stopped at Moses lake to pickup some gourmet sandwiches for a picnic at a state park at Ellensburg. Still about 3 hrs to home. We reached at 3pm so it wasn’t as bad as we had feared.

Rooting for my Birth Country

May 10, 2018

My birth country is a cesspit of corruption, nepotism and blatant racial discrimination. For years, I thought I didn’t feel much for it after so many years being away but I was probably just disappointed and apathetic because I thought nothing would ever change. Today, looking at the election results come in, I feel all excited and I’m rooting for the big change to happen!

Learning to Motivate

May 8, 2018

I’ve been delving into the psychology of motivation. I’ve read many research that says intrinsic motivation is the key to really getting people motivated and that extrinsic motivation (like rewards, star charts, etc), though it works in the short run, actually demotivates in the long run especially when the rewards run out.

One of the takeaways was to make the process of learning an enjoyable one. This is especially true for tasks where the person is not internally motivated. For example, C seems to think math to be tiresome and he doesn’t enjoy it. Part of the reason is because I’m constantly pushing him to become better and I’m always telling him what he does wrong. He’s pretty sensitive to it and upset to be wrong (I think there’s some perfectionism at play here where he tries hard to avoid that feeling of incompetence).  But I think I’m getting on the right track. I managed to praise him for his effort yesterday and we talked about how when he said ‘I give up’, what I should understand is that ‘This is my best shot (even though I know it’s not good enough)’. And I really wanted to let him know that trying his best is good, that even if it wasn’t correct, it is still productive work. So I’m thinking more puzzles, we are also using Life of Fred which seems to pique his interest, maybe because of the story aspect of it. Or maybe a mathy board game that I keep seeing in some of the blogs I follow.

Self Worth

March 23, 2018

It’s hard to remember that self worth should be tied to personal growth and not by an external title or traditional success. As a stay at home parent, I definitely struggle with a sense of low self worth because it is a job that is not well appreciated or respected. After all, the barrier to becoming a parent is low and no education or training is necessary.

But then gain the perception of others is mainly vanity. I remind myself that educating my child is what I choose to do and I like that I can spend time with him. And I’ve been growing more as a person in the past few years than in the ones when I accumulated resume material. I’ve also regained the deep thoughtfulness that fulfills me and I have a lot more time to read. By all accounts, I am a lucky girl. If my dissatisfaction arise from a lack of Instagram or Facebook worthy things to share, then what I need to do is probably adjust my expectations. Not that I’d ever share anything “worthy” anyway, I am at the end of the day private person and a social media dinosaur that feels strange sharing stuff like that. On the other hand, I’m also not shocked or affected by that whole brouhaha about Facebook mining your personal data because I’ve always been wary about sharing personal information. And websites that try to force me install more apps that asks for access to my contact number/ photos etc usually gets the shaft from me.

Gamification of Life

March 12, 2018

I heard on a podcast about this woman who suffered from a concussion, which led to serious depression and she started thinking about her struggles as a game objective to overcome and she recruited allies (family/ friends) and get power ups (e.g hugging the dog which helps boost her mood). She said that while it didn’t lessen the pain, she stopped suffering and was able to keep moving on.

So while I was lying there, unable to sleep because of a blocked nose which forced me to mouth breath, which turned my tongue to leather, I suddenly had this vision of little C as the character of these games where the objective is to master Chinese/ math or whatever it is we are trying to tackle. And along the way are these monsters (or youkai) that keep trying to stop him from getting there. I was seriously having fun coming up with names like the Muddling Mud, Dr distraction, Miscommunication Monkey, Boring Beetle. The good thing about externalizing the problems is that we remove the feelings of inadequecy from the child and work on seeing these as obstacles that are not part of who he is but something to overcome. We’ll have to think of some power ups that help him against these enemies and in this scenario, I am an ally who provides power boosts or a guide who looks out for better paths to take. I even came up with a debuff for mum called the angry ant bite, that causes her to go on a rampage on her allies.

I am hoping it will alleviate the frustration and stress for both of us and make working together more fun.

Or maybe this will one of those ideas that only sound good in the middle of the night when you are all drugged up with medicine and the brain hadn’t had much sleep.

I also had another idea to improve his Chinese oral by letting dictate a short ‘presentation’, which I will write out and he can read it or memorize to present to his dad (that’s our only willing audience right now, I’m afraid. Oh wait I’m totally forgetting grandparents….) Not sure why my brain is going on overdrive when what I really need to do is sleep…

Random Quotes from Calvin

February 20, 2018

I found a piece of paper where I wrote some stuff that Calvin said when he was 4 or 5 years old.

“I don’t like to shake my head. What if other people think I am silly.”

“I like it when people wave at me. I feel famous”

“I feel down. Like a loser” When he lost a card game (钓鱼). I commended him for being a good sport.


Another one recently,

” When I go to college, I’ll be so happy, I might bump all night” He supposedly bumps around on his bed when he’s excited about something the next day.

Inspiration for Chinese

February 13, 2018

After reading a lot of what others have done to get their kids learning Chinese, I’m pretty sure Calvin will never reach a native proficiency without a lot of painful sacrifices of time and effort on both our part. That’s fine because it was never really my intention. I’ve always been focused on keeping up his interest in the language and giving him the basics so that he can pick it up further if interested. It was also partial insurance in case we have to go back to Singapore and he really needs a second language.

That said, I think I may need to pick up the pace of learning for him or he’ll be depriving instead of maintaining some Chinese proficiency. I think I haven’t been deliberate enough in introducing new vocabulary to him so I might work on that as he practices his reading daily. I haven’t been giving him any writing sheets either especially when we have been working on programming in Scratch. I guess I’m lucky that he can even understand enough to watch Doraemon cartoons in Chinese, which helps gives some televance to his learning.