Archive for July, 2013

To parents, are all kids gifted?

July 30, 2013

066Calvin has a pretty good memory. He can remember events from more than a year ago and remember a lot of stories and words from books that we may have only read once. He also speaks very well in complex sentences and a varied vocabulary. The other day, he said that he “fended off papa’s kisses” whence shot pretend missiles at papa. He’s also very fond of word play even if his jokes needs some polishing. He also understands concepts and the way things work quite well when we explain some scientific idea that I thought would be too complicated for a 3 year old.

Sometimes, that leads me to think that he’s gifted. And then I think, I’m sure everyone thinks their kids are little geniuses and I wonder too about the point of labeling him as gifted. Will I do things differently? At the end of day, I’m still trying to expose him to a variety of activities and experiences. Most importantly, I would like to teach him how to enjoy learning and to deal with adversity and learning how to solve problems. I’m more worried that he would not develop the right attitude and mindset that allows him to move on after setbacks. He does seem very averse to making mistakes. He would only want to do things when he knows that he will get it right. Or maybe that’s a function of perfectionism. I wonder if he would get bored of preschool soon since he’ll be in the little guys class for three years. I guess we’ll see when the time comes.

Bubble Snake & Car Wash

July 29, 2013

Yesterday, after a frustrating afternoon of trying to enforce quiet time, Calvin didn’t get a nap after all. He was calling for me every 5 mins or so for the most frivolous reasons. I really wanted to nap because I had a lingering cold that kept me in sneezing fits every so often. I had intended to punish him by letting him go downstairs and play by himself while I sleep in a little corner near his playground. Later, he needed to use the potty and as I was doing a little yoga while waiting for him to finish his big business, I feel surprisingly perked up. I also remembered the advice of the happiness book I’m reading now about how you should act energetic even when you are tired to feel happier. So instead of lying around trying to rest (virtually impossible anyway since I probably won’t fall asleep with him around), I decided to try out a new project – the bubble snake!

First, I took an empty soda bottle, cut off the bottom and put a sock over the cut part, so that instead of the bottom, it now has a stretched out sock drum. Then dip that sock drum part into bubble solution and BLOW into the mouth of the bottle. The result is a lovely bubble snake or actually it looked more like a wooly caterpillar to me. Calvin had a bunch of fun blowing those clumps of bubbles, chasing after it, stomping on it, clapping his hands on it, etc… So it turned out to be a good 45 mins of fun until the mosquitoes chased us back inside the house!

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July 2013: Chasing after the bubble “ball” – It floats surprisingly well

This morning I brought it out again to play with before washing our car. Armed with a sponge each, we washed our car with soapy water. Calvin had fun pretending to be a naughty elephant, making puddles, playing with our hose that finally works, sponging the super dirty back of the car and just generally having fun with the soapy water. So finally our car got it’s first real bath in a year… Maybe it will be next year before we gave it another bath >.<029 (2)

July 2013: Playing with bubbles

 

Woodworking

July 28, 2013

We signed up for the Lowes Build and Grow clinic which provides you with a free kit to build a wooden toy and apron and safety goggles to take home too. We were a little late reaching the store today, no thanks to the clock downstairs that’s running slow. But thankfully, there were plenty of kits there and we immediately got started.

There were about 5-6 work tables already filled with parents and children hammering away. The kit came with several wooden pieces, a packet of nails, a couple of cardboard decorative pieces and stickers to use as decoration. Calvin is a little young for the project so it was mainly us grownups putting the pieces together, then me holding his hand to do some of the hammering. Took us about 30 mins and we now have a cute new wooden car that looks like a racing car from Toy Story 3. I guess it will probably take a long time before Calvin can work on it himself but it’s a good experience nonetheless. I wonder if he will be more inspired to practice with the hammer and drill at school. I’m pleased though with how precisely he was able to place the stickers. I think I distinctly remember myself playing with sticker books where you are supposed to put the right animals in very specific spaces and I could never really got them nicely aligned. Looks like his motor skills are getting better (though I would love to have him work more on his fine motor strength)

We couldn’t get him to keep his goggles on though because he complained that they are tight. In fact, they were so loose that they were sliding down his face. Looks like the swim goggle I got for him won’t see much use either…

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Mr rice hater

July 25, 2013

Calvin was in bed yesterday and he called for his papa.

Calvin: papa, My tummy feels funny.
(Indeed, his tummy feels bloated)
Papa: maybe you ate too much. Could be too much lamb or too much mango.
Calvin: maybe mama gave me too much rice.
(In actual fact, he ate about 2 tablespoon of rice and an adult portion of curry lamb and then a really big chunk of mango an hour later for snack)
Papa: actually rice is good for your tummy.
Calvin: Actually, it’s bronto-rice. That’s why!
Papa: Bronto-rice?!?

Summer Fun

July 18, 2013

031 034As summer wears on, we started to think about new things to do outside to encourage Calvin to play outside. For a while, the moody Calvin didn’t want to have a walk or go the park or anything that had to do with going outside. So mama did some research and got a few ideas I was sure would appeal to him.

The first one was a scavenger hunt walk. Armed with a printout, we set off to look for the flowers and sticks that we were looking for. It was pretty fun even for the grown ups. I guess a walk with some purpose is still a little more fun.

Then we made some cloud dough/ moon sand and put it in a large underbed container as a sandbox. The recipe is so easy – just 8 cups flour and 1 cup vegetable oil and voila, some messy outdoor fun.

We also bought some water balloons to play angry bird water bombs. And then I got a big jar of tempera paint in the basic colors and we pretended to be the three mice in the book “mouse Paint” and started to mix colors all over our porch. It’s a good thing the colors are very washable and it’s a good thing we are doing it outdoors!

There’s always the good old bubble fun and sidewalk chalk too but at least now there’s more variety to what we can do. I’ve always felt like I’ve deprived him of the joy of painting because he painted so much in school but I never really got him paints to play with indoors. The mess will be too much to bear for me…. Especially since it’s still hard for the little 3.5 years old to learn about being neat and tidy. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s still not even 4 years old and I’m instantly a lot more forgiving and tolerant of his moods and defiance. Well, maybe tolerant isn’t quite the word but it’s more like I don’t get angry with him so I can try to calmly explain to him why the things he does are not correct and what he should do instead.

Ulcers..the bane of our lives

July 11, 2013

Today at dinner, it finally dawned on me that Calvin could be having an ulcer. That would explain lots of things like why he hasn’t been eating much lately, even his favorites like tater tots and fish sticks, totally didn’t dig my latest lemon pepper chicken, been in a grumpy sort of mood and during dinner, he started to only scoop out the seeds of the tomatoes instead of chomping down all the succulent red stuff. I guess he didn’t even recognize it as pain when he eats certain acidic types of food. I asked him about his peculiar behavior, and he told me that his mouth feels funny. On the outside, which looked perfectly fine to me. When I finally got a torchlight and looked inside, there it was a big ulcer snuggling against his tooth and all the mysteries were solved. I guess he still doesn’t really understand the different types of pain so he just knows it as a different, funny feeling.

Speaking of funny, he’s been asking us to tell him new jokes and improvising his own. Like today he was coughing and said he was in coffee kind of mood. Then there are the ones that aren’t so hot like Why did 7 run away from 8? Because 8 ate 9. (The original one was 6 running away because 7 ate 9) but I guess this is just him exploring humor.

Knowing how painful his ulcer must be, I did feel much more emphatic towards his grouchiness but I still can’t help but feel irritated by his stubbornness. Like when he insisted that his yogurt had to be on the striped beige bowl and refused to have it any other way. Though he finally relented in the end by “having an idea” of using one of the plastic containers, I still can’t quite get over how irked at him for being so particular. I obviously need more practice at being zen.

Sweets

July 4, 2013

During Easter, I was rejoicing about the fact that Calvin didn’t really like sweets. Well, he eventually learnt about it when he got some candy from his last day of school piñata goody bag. Everyone got to hit the piñata and then claim a bag with a kaleidoscope, a small parachute, some stickers and a couple of candy inside. I did ration him to only a piece at a time and only during snack time but it looks like the flood gates of candy eating has begun! The good thing is, we don’t really have sweets lying around inside the house. (Partly because I have a terrible sweet tooth and when I’m bored while cooking, I’ll sneak a sweet little piece of something into my mouth =_= that’s how a whole bag of leftover marshmallows disappeared into my tummy in one day)

On the other hand, he’s still a great gobbler of sweet fruits and raisins. At least I’ve managed to cajole him into eating oatmeal again with raisins and sweetened with frozen overripe bananas and applesauce. I guess all things considering it’s all under control for now.