Archive for October, 2015

My Tender Hearted Child

October 25, 2015

During lunch, Calvin suddenly told me that he wasn’t feeling so good today. I asked if it was his body not feeling good or is it a heart not feeling good kinda thing. He said it was a feeling feeling. After a long session of probing and backward story telling, I finally found out that at school yesterday, one of his classmates, A,  asked him a few times to play at the big playground. Calvin was having fun with his best buddies, C and T so he didn’t feel like playing this other boy’s game. Later, when it was time to go home, he saw that that other boy, A, looking sad. He asked A what was wrong and A burst into tears and was trying to tell him something through all the sobbing. Calvin couldn’t tell what he was saying but felt bad that maybe he had made the boy sad by rejecting him. My poor little tender-heart started bawling too.

Later during the day, he misunderstood what I said and thought I was upset with him. Feeling wronged, he started getting angry and said his usual “Then I’ll never listen to you again.” or “Then I’m leaving this home”. When we explained that those are not nice words to say to your loved ones because they hurt them, he started crying again. I feel so lucky and relieved that we have a son who is capable of such empathy and kindness. He is my sweet little man and I hope that won’t ever change.

Listening Ear

October 15, 2015

I am thankful that Calvin is such a sensitive and sweet little boy. He really tries his hardest to listen and follow what we say. I am often surprised that he remembers words I said from more than a day ago.

Yesterday night, he took his water bottle out from his room because the bottle spilled the morning before and I said we shouldn’t have the bottle in his room.

When his teacher assistant was leaving in a few days, Calvin told us he was excited because she was leaving and they were getting a treat and also because the fire engine was visiting on the same day. He said he didn’t like the teacher that much. We told him that while it is ok to not like her, if she hears that you are excited to see her leave, she will feel hurt. We have been teaching him about how we should behave when being honest hurts someone’s feelings. The next day, while we were playing in the backyard, he told me “I’m excited about tomorrow because the fire engine is coming. I distract myself by being excited about that instead”

Indulging in Psychology

October 13, 2015

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading books that documents research on motivation. I’ve always been an intrinsically motivated child, but I never understood why or what factors contribute to it. In fact, when I look back, I wonder if I’ve ever complained about being in elementary school from 7:30am to 5pm. And on top of that, I later willingly sacrificed Saturdays and Sundays for extra work on English and Math in upper elementary. From what my mum said, it seems I did lament at times about the workload from the tuition,  but now when I think back, all I remember are neutral or positive. My work ethic seems to have been set since then too. I enjoy working hard and seeing results. And I never seem to have lost the joy of learning new things.

It would be wonderful if Calvin could also go through school enjoying learning while still working hard. There is no denying that good results can only come from diligence. Many people compare the different education systems and wonder why some Asian countries perform better at international standardized tests like PISA but when you objectively look at it, isn’t it really about how much time the children spend in school and on school work? I was horrified to see that the secondary school kids in China attend school for 12 hours a day but when I thought back on my own elementary days, I spent a big chunk of my time in school too. Many kids in Singapore attend tuition and after school lessons even if the school days are shorter. I think I did a fair amount of self study at the hostel though I also managed to have lots of reading time since there were no TVs or the internet or video games to distract me.

Well, this will be a maze that we will navigate through together so as far as I can, I’d like to learn more tricks on how to not get lost in the humdrum of pursuing academic excellence.

Preparing for Primary School

October 13, 2015

We are not sure if C would be attending school in Singapore soon but we do intend to go back eventually. Regardless of our choices, I worry about how he will fare in that system. I have never been through it but given my competitive nature, I would probably have done well. I am not sure if I will have the same believes and perspectives if I do. Would I have loved reading as much as I do? Would I have continued to love learning? I’m not sure.

Even when I spend long hours in school last time, I remember doing a lot of reading at home and in school. At home, it was mostly Chinese and I happily devoured the English library in my school classroom and also many books we rented from a book rental. (The libraries in Malaysia were abysmal or at least not close to my house)


October 6, 2015

Chinese has taken a back seat recently as I struggle with how to continue to teach him. I would so love to have a huge library of Chinese books that we can read as an avenue to improve his language mastery but that is not to be. We were working through character recognition over the summer and I felt that Calvin’s Chinese has really improved. We just started on Book 3 of 四五快读 when kindergarten began. When he finished learning the 200th word, I was starting to wonder if we should continue on learning characters in this manner because it was time consuming and requires us to spend some time every day revising words. He has precious little time after school and I am loathed to put more academic demands on him.

I decided that perhaps I should find out what his goals are for Chinese and work from there. To my surprise, he wants to improve his reading. He wants to be able to read the 巴巴爸爸 (Barbapapa translated to Chinese) books all by himself. These are his favorites and  a few days ago, we realized that he can already read about 60-70% of the characters in it. I am glad to see that his is proud of his reading prowess so we will focus more on reading. I was actually expecting him to want to improve his conversation skills so he can speak to the other Chinese speaking children better but I guess those kids usually learn to speak English anyway, just like his friends in school.

Preparing for a Move… ?????

October 1, 2015

Somehow when I’m occupied, the blog is the first to get neglected. Well, that and sleep….. except sleep is more important. I’ve been reading a lot which is nice. I haven’t really sat down and devoured books like that since secondary school? I don’t quite remember if I was still reading voraciously in JC since there is usually so much going on.

J had an interview last week and the HR personnel asked if he could be ready to start work next week?!? It was ridiculous of course since we would definitely need time to process work visas etc but that somehow kick started the realization that we really would be leaving soon-ish. I got into a frenzy thinking about how we are going to move our things and have been planning to work harder decluttering now so the eventual move would not be as harrowing. We will be tossing all our furniture anyway so it’ll basically be clothes and toys….lots and lots of toys. At least some of the oldest ones have already been liquidated…

Well, we should still have some time though the planner in me is as usual making plans 🙂