Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moving on ...

Today marks the "graduation" of my oldest from Secondary school.

It seemed like it wasn't so long ago when I was preparing her for Primary 1, walking her through the school and canteen before the first day of school, teaching her how to use the public phone with a phone card, just in case she needed to contact me, and where to wait for me after school on the first day, because I wasn't going to be like the other parents hanging around school waiting for her.

When she moved to Primary 4, we went through that whole process again because she changed schools. That year there was much less to prep her, only the pick up arrangement, which to my horror was a nightmare!! 3 years flew by quickly, and before we knew it, we were invited to attend her graduation ceremony from primary school. (You can read about that here.)

Not long after that, we were queuing again to buy uniforms, books, etc. My girl was joining the school chosen by many top students in Singapore. We felt so proud, until her grades started to come in. We agonised over whether to get her external help, which she so strongly resisted. We wondered if we had made the correct decision of putting our little fish in that big pond. The tiger mum in me wanted to take over immediately and call in the external help, and not give her a say in the decision. But the man in the house was totally against it. Finally, I had to give in to the 2 of them, believing that she knew herself better. Her long school days, numerous assignments and projects, CCA commitments, late nights, her growth spurts and pimples all marked the last 4 years.

Yesterday, we were at her school, being the proud parents, sharing in her joy when she was conferred her school's colours awards for Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Performance.

Today's graduation ceremony is unfortunately an event which parents are not invited to. And immediately after this morning's ceremony she will be going to her JC. The timing for the briefing by the JC couldnt be more timely!!

My girl is moving on to another phase of life. One where there it will be marked by even longer hours (we are told). More stress, having to settle into a new environment,having to make new friends, adapt to a different teaching style, and having to prepare for the another major exam in 2 short years. AND HORMONAL BOYS!!

Guess it's time for me to take out that chastity belt. But we would still be supporting her the whole journey.

Looks like our lil girl has grown up.

Love you S!! Be the best that you can be!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ready to give it all up

Yes, I am.

But what?

My collection.

My collection of rings.

Yes, all kinds, with precious as well as semi-precious stones.

Done in various designs.

From the "wow! ones" to the simple designs.

Accumulated over a period of 10 years.

I dont know why I started on it. Maybe it was a sense of insecurity. Needing to have control.

I even went to the extent of buying my kids birthstones as well. All set for them, but with Mum wearing them first. *shakes head*

And now, when my "collection" is close to completion, I feel that I have no need for them at all.

In fact, nowadays I hardly wear them on a daily basis. I used to wear one everyday, that would match what I was wearing.

Now, I will wear one when I go out to dinner. Usually my favourite one.

What on earth do I need so many for?? I asked myself the other day. At any one time, I can only wear one.

The money would have been better spent else where. Like investing in stocks and shares.

Guess my girls would benefit from it one day.

Meanwhile, they sit in "cold storage". I hope I do not get tempted into this "impulse" buying again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Early Exams

Secondary schools in Singapore generally close for the year end hols much earlier than the primary schools. This is because they have to prepare the school for the GCE 'O' Level exams which start towards the end of October, and these older children do not go to school once the exams start so as not to cause any distractions (noise?) to those taking those exams.

Exams for most primary schools are usually at the end of October going into early November, except for those from full schools (offering both primary and secondary education as they too will close early together with the secondary school children).

Having children in both primary and secondary schools usually causes some friction in the family, as the secondary children are all ready to play and have fun, whilst their younger siblings are busy preparing for their year-end exam.

This is true in my home as well. Not so much with my oldest, who is quite an introvert and generally very considerate. But with the son, when he wants to play, he wants to P.L.A.Y, not withstanding his younger sister needing to study.

But this year, it is different. My youngest's school have held their year-end exams early, as a part of the school is about to be demolished for re-development.

So it was a great for me as all 3 had exams at about the same time and finished at almost the same time.

So we could really take advantage of the post-exam period and allow the kids to do as they wish.

Why cant the ministry of education do something about it and have all schools have their year-end exams at about the same time. It would make things easier for all concerned especially parents! And maybe then parents may consider having more kids to counter the low birth rate here. (ok that's a wild shot, but haha!! just maybe!!)

So, it's just 4 more weeks to the end of the school year, and the year-end hols. It's a no stress 4 weeks for me. For those still preparing for final exams, Jia you!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I chewed her up

A friend posted on her FB wall that

" It took a 5 year old little girl to remind me that when a kid is shouted at by an adult their heart beats faster, it hurts their feelings and they get scared."

And a few hours after her posting, I did exactly what she was trying to warn us against doing. I hang my head in shame.

Let me tell you what ate me.

Partly it's the stress of the upcoming exams.
Partly it was because she lost marks where she shouldn't have at all.
Partly its because the school streams the children based on their results.
Partly it's her nonchalant attitude.
Partly it's because the hubs said the marks wasn't that bad.

I think every parent feels the stress when the exams are coming, some more than others, and I am in the latter. What do you expect? As a SAHM that's my KPI!! can you blame me?

This child of mine lost marks where she shouldn't have at all. When answering comprehension questions, she couldn't even get the child's name correct. And the name appeared in the paper. Is it so difficult to copy the name correctly, I asked her. She said she couldn't see the word proper;y properly. That resulted in a different set of fears arising in me. Has the effect of her medical condition started rearing its ugly head?? (Poor eyesight leading to blindness - I hope not, and I refuse to believe it has. I rather think it's just her "tidak apa" attitude. Or am I like an ostrich trying to stick my head in the sand. I don't know, and I don't want to know!!) The fault too lies with the school. Why cant they let the main character in the passage have a name like 小明, instead they had a name which had like 20 strokes in it (which I couldn't even read, but then again I don't read chinese).

There's been a lot of talk about upcoming changes to the education system in Singapore recently. I cant wait for the changes. But the schools must walk the talk, and parents must follow suit. In my child's school, they haven't had any examinations at all for the the primary 1s and 2s since they started school. Only small bite-sized topical tests. And now at the end of P2, they are giving them a "major exam" and they will be streamed to classes based on this exam. And in this school, the best children get the best teachers. Hence the stress, => to get your child into the best class!!

(This exercise scares the shit out of me as I had a bad experience with my oldest child when she was in P1. She was diagnosed as a child needing learning support within 3 weeks of starting school. The problem was : she just wasn't used to doing exam papers as she had never done one before that big test they gave her unannounced. She had attended a kindergarten that emphasized play. Luckily hubs and I took the stand that we didn't want her self esteem affected by attending those learning support classes. AND she proved her teachers wrong by topping her whole cohort for 3 years running {after mastering how to do exam papers} with perfect scores for all her exams!!

This child of mine always tells me: "It's ok mum!" when she sees me all worked up about the mistakes she makes or when I tell her she needs to learn certain things. OK, I can be quite anal about it, but her attitude really affects me. She keeps making the same mistakes!! Many like her for her attitude, BUT a type A character JUST CANT TAKE IT!!

And the hubs just looked at the scores and said the scores looked alright to him. I cant believe it. He didn't even look thru the paper to see how she lost her marks and he said it was OK!! It's not about the absolute marks. It's the relative marks. Just like the PSLE. It's based on the bell curve. If you are scoring 75 when everyone else is getting 95, you are not going to get into one of the good classes. If you are losing marks unnecessarily, it's not OK. And when the comprehension passage says the lady lost her purse, it's not OK to say she lost her wallet!! She got 2 questions wrong because she changed the purse to a wallet!!

AND it really didn't help me when her two siblings told me that I over-reacted, and little sister's marks weren't that bad!! OK, looking back I may have over-reacted (ok I did). After all those mistakes were in the Mock test. BUT I had to make a point to the little one so that she doesn't make those same mistakes again. NOT in the ACTUAL exam next week.