Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just a half hour earlier ...

Yesterday was an early day for me and the kids ... an early knock-off that is.

The children were dismissed just a half hour earlier from school as the school was hosting some BIG SHOTS from the Ministry and a Minister, and wanted to clear everyone out of school before the VIPs came.

Leaving school just a half hour earlier meant that by 2pm, they were home, had their lunch, showered, and were already halfway thru' their homework.

My eldest, being an exam day, finished early too. I was home by 3.30pm, and I was done for the day (most days I am not done for the day until 5.15pm at the earliest!). And when I came home after picking my eldest, the other 2 had already finished all their homework, practised the piano, their ting xie and spelling for the week, and my son had even done some revision which I had given to him.

So I got the little one to take a nap, whilst the boy went out to kick some soccer balls, and the eldest got some uninterrupted computer time.

And at dinner time, everyone was in a good mood, and finished their dinner without any incident and squabbling and in record time too! As a result, I felt compelled to reward them with an ice-cream treat after they had their fruits. They got to choose the ice-cream flavour of their choice (we have at least 6 different flavours in our fridge!!), topped with chocolate sauce and (gasp!, the dentist is not going to be happy with me!) a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands.

So what am I trying to say in this post? That just a half hour shorter day at school can make things go so much more smoothly at home and everyone so happy!

So why cant the people at the top see this? Why do our children need so long days in school. When they are well-rested, and have time on their hands, they will do the right thing!

yoohoo!! ANYBODY at MOE listening to me?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spoilt beyond words!

This morning was a bright and sunny morning, and as usual I sent my eldest to school.

A string of cars in the school driveway. First one, directly under the porch on the driveway was a taxi dropping a girl off. Obviously, she wasn't prepared with the fare and took quite a long time digging out the money to pay the driver. Next was a car and I was third in line. As soon as the car pulled to a stop, my girl bade me goodbye and jumped out of the car and walked into school. Not that it was a long distance.

After a long wait, the girl in the taxi finally got out and the taxi drove off. The car in front of me, drove about 1.5m to directly under the porch before starting their goodbyes rituals for the day and then the 2 daughters alighted!! I was aghast!! Is this how the children here are being brought up? That they can't even walk a super short distance into school? It was a fine day. If it was raining I can understand. No wonder there are long jams going into school everyday coz all those super precious kids must only be dropped EXACTLY in front of the school and no where else.

In fact today was the first time I dropped my daughter on the porch as we were early and there was relatively less cars. In fact I drop her off at the bus stop everyday, rain or shine and she has to walk to school from there. Why? Because the queue driving into school is just too long and there is usually a jam! Now I know what is causing the jam!! Even for my two youngest, my husband will just drop them wherever is convenient within the school and they have to walk the rest of the way in. Many a times they have to cross a road to get to the assembly point. ( thank God my son is a good brother and will supervise his 6 year old sister when crossing that road).

But the point I want to raise is: do we really want our kids to be so pampered and spoilt that they cannot walk a short distance? Why are they spoiling their kids so much? Is it the result of the small families that we have here? If they cant even walk that short distance I can just imagine the amount of work they do to help out at home! They must be treated like little prince and princesses at home!

Walking a short distance does no harm to any able bodied student. In fact it would make them more alert during classes if they have a small workout before school. Tho there is a small danger involved having my two younger children cross the road by themselves ( with all those inconsiderate parents trying to get their children to school) , it has also taught them road crossing skills and to be more responsible as well. It has also taught my son how to take care of his little sister.

Our children are all precious to us BUT there is absolutely no need to spoil them silly!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who do you look like?

It has often been said that pet and owners tend to look alike.

I am not sure if it is a case of the owner mimicking their pet or if it is because the owner not wanting any ownership issues, choose pets that look like them, as many a times, pets are treated like offsprings.

It has also been said that if you want to know what you will look like when you grow old, just take a look at your Mum. That's how you are supposed to look like when you reach her age.

Is there any truth to that?

Well looking at my Mum, she doesnt look any bit like my Granny when my granny was her age, and neither does my sis look like my Mum at that same age.

So that got me thinking. With me having looked like my dad since I was young, and people still tell me I look like him, I will probably end up looking like him in old age rather than my Mum.

Well some of it is already there. My Mum has very little white hair whilst my dad's crop is a lovely mop of silvery white. I, too, am having more white hair than I think I should be having at this age. So I think, I will probably end up with hair like his, which I must say is quite nice - all of one shade :P

And you know the nice thing about it is that my dad looks much younger than his two younger brothers. At almost 80, he has been mistaken to be younger than his 73, and 75 year old brothers!! Well that's something I definitely hope to inherit from him - his youthful looks!

So who do you look like? Your parent or your pet?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A case of 2 Tims

I was at the Prize-giving ceremony of the Inter-schools Individual chess championship yesterday.

They were giving out the prizes for the open category - ie school children aged 16 and above and the Chief Arbiter (CA) for the tournament said: In open category, in tenth position is Timothy Chan from Raffles Institution.

Timothy then walked up on stage, from the right towards the extreme left where the CA was standing. Before he could reach the CA, a little boy (barely waist high of Timothy), aged about 4 (in his kindergarten uniform) ran in front of him towards the CA, faced the audience and raised his 2 hands in victory.

Timothy looked a bit puzzled and uncertain as to what he was to do.

Then the arbiter turned to the little boy and said: No, no, not you. I know you are Timothy Chan too.

(I believe the little Timothy Chan was the winner in the 2011 National Kindergarten Individual Chess Championships held a on 6 March 2011). See here

And the little boy had to be carried off-stage by his father.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Actually it should be TGIEOT! No that's not a swear word, it's for: Thank God its end of Term.

I feel so tired from this first term of school that I am really looking forward to the break.

I am not sure if it's because of the new schedule, or the 6 week break in November/December, or if it is because I have aged. Likely it's a combination of all, that this term has seen me totally worn out!

But is it really a break we are having? Not actually coz D has 45 math problems, spelling and ting xie (Chinese spelling) to do/ prepare for during the hols,and all will be due as soon as school re-opens.

As for my son, the teachers have been revving up on the supplementary lessons - which has been 3 days a week for the past few weeks, and lots of homework on top of all that. In addition he has a chess tournament during the school hols!

For my eldest, she will be having her exams after the hols with many projects due as soon as school re-opens! So I guess, she wont have much time to relax too!

What's with the schools nowadays? Heavy workload during the school term, and just as much work to be done during the so-called holidays! Are the children supposed to have no down time at all? Will that not lead to a burn-out? I feel as burnt out as the tires on my car!

The Minister of Education really needs to re-look the school syllabus, coz I feel that the children are expected to know too much, and that leads to too much cramming of the work in school (and out of school) and that about takes the fun out of learning.

With life expectancy much longer now, the children should be given more time to learn at a comfortable pace, no need for this rush, rush, rush. We must also teach our children to relax and to stop and smell the roses.

Anyway, Have a great weekend ahead.

BTW - D is due for another Bone Mineral Density test during the hols. Please pray for her to achieve the necessary numbers so that she doesnt have to go for those dreaded infusions!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Going in blind

That's how my youngest is going in for her mandarin exam tomorrow, and I feel so sorry for her.

You see, we were first told that the P1s were not going to have any exams this year. Yippee! I thought. Then in about week 5, we were given a schedule of assessment for the first term. Being so busy, I hardly took notice of it. Then just last week, we were reminded of the coming tests, the results of which were going to be reported in the child's report book!

What? I thought no exams? But recording the result of a test in the report book is equivalent to giving them an exam not? An exam by any name is still an exam!

Anyway, she was to be having 3 tests back to back. I then realized that she wasn't very good at counting, so the last few days were spent on that, as her math test was the first of the 3 tests. I tried to give her pointers on how to check her answers, trying very hard to not make her too anxious about the test, and at the same time trying very hard to get her to realize that it is important that she does well and not make any silly mistakes and lose unnecessary marks.

This evening, I told my oldest to check the class blog on the format of the Chinese test tomorrow. The teacher had indicated that it would follow the format of the worksheets that they have been doing in class. But my girl hasn't brought a single worksheet home! Why? Because she has kept them under her desk in school!!

So, I can't really revise much with her, not knowing what format the test is going to take. And it is driving me nuts!, imagine going in for an exam blind! Poor girl. Just praying that she will be able to do well despite this handicap. Gulp!

Wish the schools would make up their minds on whether they are really going to be having exams for the kids!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Should I put her to the test?

MIL will be travelling for some urgent matters very soon, and the very weekend that she will be away, hubby and I have a wedding dinner to attend, which we committed to before MIL knew of her urgent travel needs.

So who will watch the kids?

The maids have NEVER watched the kids. So I dont expect them to do it .. coz they wouldnt know what to do!! Actually, if it was only the two older ones, I would have no qualms about leaving them by themselves. But with the youngest, I feel she needs someone older and more responsible to be around. (OK I may be a little over-protective here, but you know my reasons!!)

My oldest has volunteered to watch the other two but I am a bit nervous about it. Why? Because, the other two are quite capable of acting up and testing her when there are no adults around. And I am quite sure they wouldnt go up to bed when she tells them to. And should they get into a fight, I am quite sure she would not be able to handle it!!

I have been told that it would be a good time to let her try, and it would also be great for bonding between the siblings. I know it is only but a few hours and we are only a phone call away, and the maids can intervene if necessary.

So why am I wondering if I should be putting her to the test?

Anyway, since it's Friday, here's my joke for the week:

A young man volunteered to baby-sit one night so his parents could have an evening out. At bedtime he sent the youngsters upstairs to bed and settled down to watch football. One child kept creeping down the stairs but the young man kept sending him back. At 9pm, the doorbell rang, it was the next-door neighbour Mrs. Brown, asking whether her son was there. The young man brusquely replied, "No". Just then a little head appeared over the banister and a voice shouted, "I'm here Mom but he won't let me go home."

And here's another:

When a woman's friend was having her third baby in four years, she volunteered to keep the older two children overnight. One night turned into several, and eventually the woman was running out of supplies. She asked her husband to go over and get some things from the friend's husband.

"Did she give you everything?" she asked.

"Yes," my husband said, grinning. "A box of diapers, two sacks of clothing and the children's birth certificates."

Have a great weekend, and if you have a big night out planned, I hope you have a babysitter!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Books, Books, Books

As a few of you may already know, I am an avid book reader. I enjoy reading novels, autobiographies, magazines, etc.

And I have a few other book worms at home. The two girls simply love reading. The oldest reads very widely whilst the youngest loves her fairy tales. My husband on the other hand reads "technical" books: books related to his job and his hobby.

So I guess you can tell, part of the mess in our home is caused by books.

Anyway, I love visiting book shops, and I never leave without buying, and it is usually more than one book.

Recently I have decided to go to the 2nd hand book store instead of the usual book shop. For about $3 to $6, I get to read the latest novel. The only catch is that I have to finish it within a month, and I do not get to keep the book, which is both a joy and a pain! Joy - because as I read fairly fast, for that amount of money, both eldest and I can actually finish the book within a month and I dont have to hunt down storage space for the books and Pain because I dont get to keep the books which is something I sometimes like to do!!

Why dont I visit the library instead? Whilst it is free to borrow the books from the library, it is fairly difficult (read: almost impossible) to get the latest best sellers there. Also, the library nearest my home doesnt have a convenient public carpark nearby! There is a multi-storey car-park about 200m away from the library, but I would have to park on the 4th or 5th level, the first 3 levels being reserved for season parking. And I find it kind of creepy parking so high up, coz it can be quite quiet and deserted. As for the 2nd hand bookshop, it is right at the mall where I send my kids for enrichment/music class. So whilst waiting for them, it's just so convenient!

But the BIG question on my mind, is: with so many readers and books at home, why hasn't it rubbed off on my other child? Any suggestions on what I can do?