Archive for March, 2014

Goals for the Mama – 3/21

March 28, 2014

Goal 1: Confidence/ Character Building
– We pushed his tricycle to the playground again. He is definitely gaining confidence in his pedaling and seems to enjoy it a lot more. I wonder if he’ll start enjoying his balance bike soon. It’s been sadly neglected. We’re still keeping it in the hope that it will see the light of day soon.
– He’s been doing a lot of Transformers pretend play, especially after watching the new videos on dinobots.
– Completed some mazes. At least this time, he didn’t just crash through the maze lines right away. He only started doing that after a few tries.
– Completed our snow lapbook. Finished off with a snowman decoration.


Goal 2: Chinese
– Listened to some audio books as well as chinese music
– Watched 巧虎x2


Goal 3: Math
– Counting to 20 while playing balls
– Matched patterns on worksheets – finding pairs, matching shadows, spot the difference


Goal 4: Reading
– Sounded out a few more words in his books like ‘truck’, ‘stop’, ‘need’
– Looked for lower case letters when we made secret codes with the cipher wheel
– Did worksheets focusing on consonant sounds. He has been sounding out all the letters very well. He has trouble recognizing some of the lower case letters – he used to confuse d and call it ‘b’. wasn’t sure about ‘l’

Goal 5: Fine motor skills
– Scooping beans
– Attempted to cut out circles. They turned out pretty angular but a good first try.

My Dilemma with Toys

March 26, 2014

One day,

Calvin: I wish I had a real Lightning McQueen toy. (a red stock car from the movie Cars)
Papa: You can always pretend that one of your cars is Lightning.
Calvin: Yeah, but I wish I had a Lightning so I don’t have to keep pretending that Fresh (a yellow fire-body car) is Lightning.

Despite my misgivings about character toys, I almost wanted to buy one for him. He sounded like a deprived little boy. Then I remembered what happened to the few character toys he received as gifts: Action Chugger, Mater and Finn McMissile; these vehicles only get played with in a very limited setting because he can’t see them as anything else.  In comparison, the generic set of 10 colorful toy cars with matching drivers for a lot more play as cars in a car store and various characters in his pretend play.

I really do enjoy seeing him engage in imaginative play. He will try to join up random toys together to make new vehicles,  like hooking up trailers to different vehicles that wasn’t made to hook up, putting a digger part on a semi trailer. We do have plenty of open ended toys – wooden blocks, foam blocks, Tinker toys, Trio blocks, Lego. I’m starting to relent a little since he received that Wheeljack Transformer toy as a Christmas present. He really enjoys transforming the robot into a car or even into his own designs like a plane with the wheels pointing backwards as jet engines. To preserve our sanity on the trip back to Singapore, we are planning to give him another Transformer toy. Potentially, this plan will backfire on us terribly because we’ll probably have to help him transform it every 2 minutes. And then his grandparents are all planning to buy him even more of these robot toys, so his collection will grow manifold over the summer. In the end, it’s probably more about moderation as usual. If a character toy has something more unique to offer than just have annoying voices repeating the same lines, that will probably pass my scrutiny. Maybe I’m just trying to justify our decisions now that we’ve seen how much he loved those toys but whatever the case, we probably will not be seeing a real Lightning McQueen in our house anytime soon.

Calvin the Dreamer

March 24, 2014

Calvin has started to enjoy sleep time a lot more. Some nights, when we leave him, he’ll cheer and declare that he can now dream. He has a few dreams in his list – first is Paw Patrol, Lightning McQueen, then Transformers, and something else that I can’t remember. Just now he was telling me “Mama, do you know why I don’t bring my toys to bed anymore? That’s because I’m too busy dreaming”

The only downside is that he likes to day dream after he wakes up too and it sometimes make it hard for us to get to school in time. When I try to get him to hurry up and stop his usual antics, he gets into a bad mood. He certainly doesn’t take well to being rushed in the morning, which means we will have to wake up even earlier. He dawdles so much that sometimes I still have time to spare after preparing breakfast and getting myself ready.

Goals for the Mama – 3/14

March 22, 2014

Goal 1: Confidence/ Character Building
– Dressed up with his police helmet, backpack and emergency box (empty RC truck box) and wanted to go outside for an adventure right before bedtime. I told him either 1) he can go out but have no story time or 2) have story time and save the going out for tomorrow。  He was disappointed but eventually said “I don’t like both of those choices but I’ll choose story time anyway.”

– Enjoys helping to clean up. I let him carry plates, his snack bowl or ketchup bottle to the kitchen after meals/ snack.

Goal 2: Chinese
– Watched 巧虎 x2

– Made jokes about 好章鱼 (好脏),好鳄鱼(好饿)


Goal 3: Math

– Count up to 25 while we were scraping snow off the car


Goal 5: Fine motor skills

– More cutting practice

Snippets of Last Week

March 16, 2014

We had uncharacteristically good weather last week so we ended up going out a whole lot.

On the Saturday before,  I went with him to the park near the library after lunch. We played a whole bunch, then went to the library and played some games on the computer and picked out more books. Then we took the bus home. It was a good 3+ hour outing.

On Monday, we had a play date with his friend, Cy at the park. His friend seemed to be under the weather (he didn’t go to school later that week) so was a little grumpy and tired that day so I’m not sure if they had a good time yesterday. In comparison, Calvin was a total energizer bunny and wanted to run all around playing tag.


On Tuesday, we went for a nature hike at a new park. We picked up some shiny looking slate for our rock collection. Calvin could grab a whole car full if we let him. He was like a little magpie, going “Oh, this one looks shiny” “And this one too!”. We had to pry him away from the pile of rocks at the beginning of the trail so we could actually start our walk. The path led us to parallel to a river and under several bridges. We saw a woodpecker along the way though the trail was cut off by the river and we had to turn back. It was just about the right distance since Mr Calvin was beginning to tire at that point, especially after climbing over the rocky areas. He also enjoyed himself kicking the sandy patch under the bridge and even managed to climb up a steep concrete slope by himself, just because he wanted to. I guess he is getting to be an adventurous boy. We went to a bagel shop for lunch after that. To our surprise, we met the twins from his school. They sat at the table next to ours and the kids had the silliest time saying things like ‘Milk Calvin’, ‘Milk table’ ‘Milk chair’ and milk anything that they saw. At one point, their conversation went like this.

Twin 1: ” We had a bouncy house at the gym. Do you have a bouncy house at your house?”

Calvin: “We went for a walk today”

Twin 1: “We went to school today”


On Wednesday, he went to school but his best buddy wasn’t around. Later, when he came home, he decided to write a note to his friend who didn’t come to school ” I hope you can come to my school. Because I love you and I miss you when you are not in school. Signed, Calvin” I wasn’t so sure about the I love you part, but I figured kids this age probably doesn’t mind.

Somewhere along the week, he

1. Fell off the potty seat while in a rush to pee, because he didn’t put it on well. Miraculously, he got back on without any crying even though he said he bumped his head. Meanwhile, both of us were downstairs. Then finally I heard him wailing “Mama, I had two accidents” and was crying very sadly. We ran up and found out that because he fell off, he couldn’t hold it in before he got on the potty and had pee all over the stool and floor. The poor sweet boy…

2.  Corrected his teacher that that it’s not no gravity on the moon, it’s weak gravity. Someone obviously has been paying close attention to his Popular Mechanic for Kids videos.

3.  Not sure if this was in this week but he made a joke while mama and papa were playing around with a ball.

Calvin: Papa, could you focus on me with your eyes closed?

Calvin: I’m just kidding. Papa, could you focus on looking at me build Lego?

Goals for the Mama – 3/7

March 14, 2014

Goal 1: Confidence/ Character Building
– Climbed up the playground’s rock wall. I’m glad that he even tried especially after the not so successful try at another playground where the foot and handholds were much smaller and slippery.

– Pedaled his tricycle. He can pedal a little bit on his own but not too well yet. I pushed him most of the way to the park though I let go on the easier downward slopes to give him some confidence in his pedaling.

Goal 2: Chinese
– Read 巴巴爸爸的火星,小兔子去散步, 巴巴爸爸建新家, 失落的一角

Goal 3: Math

– Completed the patterns on an activity sheet

Goal 4: Reading
– Read a couple of words in library books when I point it out to him.

Goal 5: Fine motor skills
– Snipped  paper with his scissors

– Cut out even more cars

Goals for the Mama – 2/28

March 8, 2014

Goal 1: Confidence/ Character Building
– Noticed that Calvin has been talking more with the other kids at school. He went up to some boys to ask them what they were doing. The clique just ignored him. I had to wonder if boys in Asian countries have such cliques. In general, even when they get older, the boys I knew were rather easy going and do not have rigid cliques and do not deliberately exclude others. In fact, girls were more likely to do that. Is this a cultural difference? Calvin seemed unfazed. He also went up to another boy who was holding a space book and tried to talk to him about asteroids.

– Calvin enjoys going for show and tell. Last week, he told the other children about e World War II book. This week, it was about the planets. I’ve been trying to stop him from bringing toys (which the teachers discourage). Though for the first show and tell of the year, he was talking about his emergency jeep. I didn’t even know he was going to use it for show and tell. He just asked me to put his yellow bucket in his bag and I said it wouldn’t fit, so he asked me to put the truck in instead.

– He’s been trying hard to stop his upset emotions from showing, or as he called it ‘held it in’. I’m not sure if it’s something I should encourage him. On the one hand, I don’t want him to think he cannot share his sadness but he does get overly upset from small disruptions to his plan. Socially, it’s probably better for him to be able to not show weakness to potential bullies. I praised him for trying hard but also acknowledged that he was upset that I did not have any more popcorn in the bag and then after that we worked out a solution together – make more popcorn!

– He recognize the need to wait for papa and mama to finish what we are saying before interrupting.

– Helped me to sort and pair up socks and put the laundry away.

Goal 2: Chinese
– Read 落叶跳舞,月亮的味道,彩虹色的花, 小步走路,鲁拉鲁先生的院子,失落的一角x2, 蔬菜的化妆舞会
– Watched 巧虎x3
– Asked me what 神气 means in a song then observed that it’s different from 生气

Goal 3: Math
– Counted in two counting books. He can count up to 15 with ease.
– Played a subtraction game by pretending to at up some of the food picture and counting what is left.
– Compared two numbers to see which is bigger e.g. 9 is bigger than 6

Goal 4: Reading
– Learned the difference between past tense and present tense
– I noticed there are some words, especially if they are in big print, that he can read by sight. Like ‘Boom’. I’m still wondering how much he can actually read.
– He spelled his own name with the magnetic letters.

Goal 5: Fine motor skills
– Cut out more car pictures

Inherited Food Preferences?

March 4, 2014

I’m starting to wonder if food preferences are hereditary. Calvin seems to like the same type of food that we enjoy. Or is it simply a matter of exposure?

There are a few things that he enjoyed from the start without any encouragement from us. I remembered that he liked lamb the very first time he tried it on the flight to US. He was 1.5 years then. I thought kids tend to reject meat especially the strong tasting ones especially since it requires a lot of chewing. This was especially surprising because he refused to eat any puree except jarred ones at 1 year of age because the texture didn’t agree with him. Now he loves most red meat especially duck, lamb and beef. He loves pork too. Chicken only if it’s roasted till the skin is crisp. When I was young, my whole family loved lamb too which was a bit of an anomaly among chinese people who rarely eat lamb.

And recently, Calvin has been obssessed with dried seaweed sheets. I used to be the only person in my house who had to have a huge sheet of seaweed in my noodles. J used to say I was like a cow eating grass (小牛吃草)when I voraciously snacked on the little seaweed packets. I haven’t even been snacking on it nowadays until Calvin started it. This latest pack of seaweed seems to taste extra fragrant too.

He’a not a big fan of greens but considering that he still eats a fair amount and does not protest if I ask him to eat some, I think it’s pretty good. I only ate a few green vegetables when I was young too. I was a fruit fan just like him. We both love watermelon too. He also loves strawberries which I did not try until I was much older.

It’s probably just a combination of both as with all things. After all, he’s surrounded by food choices that I make so the things he like can’t fall too far from the things either enjoy. I wouldn’t buy or cook food I do not enjoy, at least not often.