Archive for January, 2013

(Not so) Daily Musing – More on Chinese

January 30, 2013

I’ve been teaching him Chinese songs recently and now he can sing 两只老虎, 我的朋友在哪裡 except in his usual fashion, he likes to deliberately change the lyrics. E.g. instead of 在这里, he will sing ‘stuck-ely’ or instead of 两只老虎, he’ll sing 两只爸爸. Not sure if this is a better way of teaching him but it certainly more fun 😉 I’m still trying to teach him single words but the problem with chinese is that modern nouns for the things he’s interested like vehicles and dinosaurs are really literal and long like tractor is called 拖拉机 which honestly to me sounds like dragging garbage ::facepalm::

(Not So) Daily Musings – When I Grow Up

January 28, 2013

Calvin: When I grow big and mama grow small, I’ll carry you around everywhere!


Calvin: What’s this?

Me: A screwdriver. Sorry, you can’t play with that. It’s sharp and you might get hurt.

Calvin: Aww…I wish I can have my own smooth screwdriver.





(Not so) Daily Musings – I’ll Do It Myself

January 24, 2013

It’s been a cold day. As I speak, it’s snowing outside. I wonder if it will still be there tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is a school day for him and they have playground time everyday regardless of the weather. I have a feeling he’ll come back with a drippy nose again >.< We didn’t get to go out today even though he was asking for a walk. Yesterday, we actually went out and I was half-frozen within 5 minutes outside. It didn’t help that I forgot to change out into a thicker jacket. Calvin still wanted to go on but I had to force the reluctant and disappointed boy back home especially since he’s still nursing that phlegm-y cough. I hope it doesn’t deteriorate into an infection.

He’s finally showing interest in playing with his building toys. We bought a new set of Tinkertoys for him for Christmas and so far he was only into asking us to make this and that for him. Since he’s in the ‘I-do-it’ mood recently, he’s been dismantling and building the wheels over and over. He calls it tire change, except he says it in his ‘angry’ voice — angry tires? Sometimes he really takes the whole I-do-it-myself thingie to the extreme – like when we help him pick up pieces that fell on the floor, he would throw it back down so he can pick it up again. On the other hand, it can be pretty useful at times like when he’s too distracted by his toys during mealtimes, I would ask him if he wants to feed himself or if I should do it for him. The two times I nagged at him to eat his food, he just told me he was done with dinner, probably so that he could continue playing.Jan 2013 Calvinosaur

(Not so) Daily Musings – Teaching Chinese

January 23, 2013

Well, the plan is to actually just pen down random thoughts regarding Calvin every day, even if it’s just a line or two but I’d rather not put such high expectations on myself.

Recently, I’ve been rather inspired so besides my cooking projects, I’ve also decided to tackle teaching Calvin Chinese in earnest. After doing some research, I’ve changed my approach and I’ll now tell him both the English and Chinese words for whatever I’m talking about. Initially, I thought I should just talk entirely in Chinese but I think that’s rather difficult since he keeps asking me ‘What does that mean?”. At this stage, he barely knows two words in Chinese – 藍色, 冰淇淋, 熊, 兔子, 泡泡 (ok, that’s actually 5, not 2). Maybe I’ll try that tack again once he’s build up basic vocabulary. I guess it can’t be helped since we chose to let him learn English first instead of being bilingual from the start. One of the reasons being that his Chinese is only passable and I’ve barely spoken a word of Chinese since JC. The other was that being bilingual supposedly makes the child start to speak slower, not surprising since he/she will have to deal with double the number of words to learn and the fact that he/she has to differentiate between the two. We were more keen to have him be able to communicate to us as soon as possible since he can be quite stubborn about getting his way and not knowing exactly what ‘his way’ is certainly makes it difficult to deal with his tantrums.

All we want for him is to be able to converse in Chinese, be able to read simple Chinese books (or manga :D) and be able to pass if we decide to go back to Singapore. Imagine if his Chinese is so terrible that he has to go for those grueling and terrible Chinese tuition….shudder. I guess it would be such a shame if he didn’t learn it when we could have just taught him when he was younger and was able to pick up the language easily. This coming from his mum who knows 3 languages and 2 dialects. We’ll see how it goes. I’m still waiting for us to get a credit card so I can order more Chinese books for him to read.

Threading Beads

January 22, 2013

We made some clay beads over the weekend with the play clay recipe I learnt from the library art book. More like he helped me make one bead and was so fascinated with the hole poking that he spent the rest of the time just poking lots and lots of holes in the dough. So I ended up making the rest of it. It took about 2 days to dry properly but it really did feel like clay/ rock when it dried. A couple crumbled when he banged them together but that’s fine. The amazing thing was that when I showed him how to thread it through a shoe lace, he took to it so easily. I was worried that he may not be dexterous enough but seems like he’s okay. 🙂 He even managed to twirl the rock on a shoelace round and round by holding both sides of the shoelace and jiggling it. It’s quite delightful  to teach him new things like when we were experimenting with how a mirror or shiny item reflects light on the wall.

Well, life isn’t without it’s frustrations though. Little Calvin certainly could pay attention to instructions better. He’s still insisting on using the scissors with two hands instead of practicing doing it properly with one hand. He’s also easily frustrated when things don’t go his way. Some days, he’ll go into a contrary mood and be super uncooperative. I guess it doesn’t help when I get tired and cranky myself and my patience is running short. One thing I wish he would do is if he could play by himself when we are busy. Sometimes, I’ll be cooking or even preparing a snack that he asked for and he’ll keep pestering for me to help him with this or that toy or want me to maintain meaningful conversation with him.

Ooo, today I was on a roll and made a lovely orange ricotta cake which is my favorite cake right now. I guess since I can’t work, I’ll at least pick up more culinary skills. Next up, I’ll tackle sushi and see if I can make anything decent >.<

Feeding himself

January 17, 2013

I never thought the day when he can feed himself things like rice dishes would come so soon. He’s done really well with a fork for quite a while so he’s been eating his cut fruits like that for a while now but somehow the thought of him with a spoon and the ensuing flying rice/ sauce/food that always appear in kids cartoons just didn’t appeal to me.

It all began this week when he came down with a little cold again. The last time he did, it was right before Christmas and he had to miss the school puppet show. J also caught a terrible flu from him which lingered for a whole week. So we were being extra vigilant about having a separate bowl and spoon for him. Maybe I was too slow to get his food ready. Or maybe because it was a delicious baked pork chop recipe that I’ve just tried and Calvin is a pork-ivore. So Calvin demanded: “Give me the spoon” and that was the beginning of his surprisingly neat self-feeding. We’ll probably buy him a new set of bowls and cup as a reward. And also a new toothbrush.

Over the winter break, I also finally decided to stop his bottle feeding habits. It’s not so uncommon in Asia for kids to drink from a bottle for a long time, but here in the US, it’s seen as bad parenting probably. I personally drank from a bottle till I was 6 years old. I would hide in the room at the back when there are visitors so that I can enjoy it in peace 😀 As for him, he responded much better than I thought he would. One afternoon, I explained to him that he’s a big boy now and he can’t use bottles anymore because only babies drink from a bottle. Then I gave him his milk in a cup and that was that. He’s drinking a lot less of it now though, just one cup before bedtime instead of three per day. In fact, for a while, he wasn’t even drinking the one at night, so much so that my mum was telling me I should just give him his bottle back >_< Well, in the end, we managed to get into a routine of reading him a book while he drinks it. And I’ve been giving him more yogurt and sneaking in cheese in his rice etc to boost his dairy intake.

And he’s been letting me brush his teeth every night and we’re trying to learn to gargle…. trying is the keyword. First, I’ll have to get him to stop swallowing the water before we even try to spit it out.

Teaching him Chinese is another big hurdle too, but the cutest thing is that at night/ before nap, he’ll frequently ask me “Mama, can you teach me more Chinese?” It might just be a delay tactic so that we don’t sleep so soon, but it certainly motivates me to speak to him in Chinese. I think the biggest problem is that I have not spoken in Chinese for like 10+ years. Well at least I can still read manga in Chinese so all is not lost. I’m just not sure how much I’ll be able to teach…… what a headache.