Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lesson #19: Why we went on holiday just before the PSLE

When my friends heard that we were going to Melbourne just 1 week before the PSLE, they were stunned and laughed that only I will do such a thing. This trip was to attend a cousin's wedding, and it was the first time that the whole extended family was going on a vacation together. I was in a dilemma. My first reaction was that #1 and #3 should stay behind to study for their exams with my mum taking care of them. However after giving it some thought, I decided to allow #3 to go. For #1, as she is already 16, I gave her the choice to make her own decision. In the end, after much deliberation and after hearing all the exciting plans we had, #1 decided to join in, even though this trip was 3 weeks before her 'O' level exams. Here's 6 reasons why I allowed them to go.

1) Values

With all my major decisions, I always think back to the root, of what values we are conveying to our children. This trip to Melbourne was a once in a lifetime opportunity where the entire extended family made an effort to celebrate the happy occasion with the couple and to spend time together with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. If I had not allowed them to go, what message would I be giving them? That the exams are so important, to the point that it takes precedence over everything else, including family life? I really wasn't comfortable with that notion so I thought of what I could do to ensure that she could go yet still be able to handle her exams.

2) Her grades shouldn't be affected too much

4 years ago, I had already tried this 'vacation before the exams experiment'. #1 had just finished her PSLE and that was a big milestone and opportune time to take the kids back to Australia where #1 and #2 were born. I didn't want to wait for the year end holidays as the weather would be too hot and the air fares more expensive (multiply it by 7!) So I decided to leave the day after her PSLE and return the day before the other kids' year end exams. At that time, #2 was in Primary 4 and #3 was in Primary 2. Pretty risk free years for experiment. Friends were already shocked then that I took them on holiday during the 1 week marking break which was meant for their revision.

The verdict? Their language papers were not affected at all, as I had predicted. The only thing where they slipped by a few marks was in Math. This was because without the practice, they were not as quick. So this round, I told #3 that if I allowed her to go, she would have to give it all she's got when she's back.

3) She's on track

#3 has improved by leaps and bounds since the beginning of P6 and I'm already very proud of her hard work and effort this past year. She has always had a weak foundation academically and failed almost all her subjects in P5. Unbelievably high percentage of relief teachers since kindergarten (bad luck), never been read to (my fault - too busy), hyperactive child (our traditional method of teaching does not suit her tactile/hands-on style of learning). She said to me just the other day, "Mum, I have never studied so hard in all of my past 5 years put together". Anyway she shouldn't be cramming everything in the last few weeks, and more importantly, I don't want them to think that studying is for passing exams. It is for the acquisition of knowledge which should stay with them, not just facts to stuff into their memory to be regurgitated then forgotten.

4) Empower #1 to make her own decision

For #1, I did my own thinking first and was comfortable either if she went or if she stayed home to study. So I decided to allow her to make her own decision simply because I wanted her to take charge of her own decisions instead of being ready to lay the blame on someone else. See, I figured that if I didn't allow her to go, next time when we reminisce about the trip or look at the family photos in which she was excluded, she might be resentful. But if I told her to go and it affected her results, she would be quick to put the blame on me for not being firm with her. I'm not bothered about being blamed, but I don't want my kids growing up feeling like they are victims. Thinking that they have no control over their own decisions, which leads them to constantly blaming others for their failures. I'd rather them learn to make their own decisions, face the consequences and learn from the experiences.

5) That's life 

Things do crop up at the last minute. Whether at work or in family life. I want to train them to be able to cope with whatever life throws at them. We shouldn't let them learn that only if things go smoothly then can they succeed. On my part, I factored this trip into their schedule and informed her tutors way in advance. I also tried my best to eliminate any possible downside such as falling sick especially in such cold weather. To counter that, I made sure she slept at 8.30pm every night prior to our trip so she didn't start off with a deficit in her immunity during this period. And on the trip, I got her to take naps in the car during the long drives as we slept late every night. Thankfully she didn't fall ill.

6) Over-emphasis on PSLE

There's too much emphasis placed on the PSLE which is totally out of proportion to the big picture. Yes, I do agree we are trying to get our kids into 'good' secondary schools mostly because we are afraid of the 'bad influence' in neighbourhood schools. However, at what cost? You might achieve your 'goal' and feel you have succeeded. But what of the child? Does she feel validated? Or does she feel that her self-worth is only based on her achievement in school, instead of being self-assured simply for being who she is. This will have far-reaching consequences which will affect her way into the future.

Trust me. You just have to explain to your child once, about how you expect her to study to the best of her ability and hopefully get into a good environment for the next 4 years of her school life, and to be able to get a sufficient score so that more schools of her choice would be open to her. They get it. After you have done that, stop harping on it and put the equilibrium right where the PSLE should not be at the centre of the family's life, at the expense of everything else. You can read more about selecting secondary schools in, "6 tips to choose a secondary school that is right for your child".

In the end, I am really glad the both of them joined us. They had so much fun and it is such experiences and memories which build up family ties and a sense of belonging.

Well, I said that their grades shouldn't be affected much. Shouldn't is the imperative word here. I'll update you when her results are out ;)

Related posts:

To find out why I don't put too much emphasis on the PSLE, read "So who's smarter".




~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Looming for Club Rainbow

Among my kids, #4 was the only one who got really hooked on the looming craze. Her aunt introduced her to it in April and bought the starter kit for her birthday present. She requested for the original coloured refills (for safety issues) from relatives and friends who asked her what she wanted for her birthday so she had a whole stash to work with. She was very content to spend the June holidays creating all sorts of designs and very soon she ran out of bands. She decided to dig into her savings to buy more refills and spent about $60 on the coloured bands. She finished them up within a couple of days and wanted to buy more. I take every opportunity to get them to make their own financial decisions, so I didn't stop her but got her to think for herself. I asked her if she felt it was worth it to spend so much on some coloured bands. Her answer took me by surprise.

She said, "Mummy, I have been saving all my money for the past 4 years and now I've found something I like to do. Anyway, it's crafting, which is good right. If I don't spend my money at all even when I really wish to, then what's the point of saving and saving without enjoying anything?" Gosh. Such financial wisdom at the age of 10. Dare I say I have taught her well ;) In the end, she spent another $60 (free delivery above $60) and told me that was her last buy and she will stop after that. Which she did. Delayed gratification. Check. Allocated percentage for hobby. Check. Will-power and discipline. Check. Truly impressive.

A fellow blogger, Susan, who blogs at A Juggling Mum suggested we get together to sell our creations to raise funds for Club Rainbow (Singapore). Lots of updates and events on their Facebook page if you can spare the time to get involved for such a good cause.

I asked #4 if she would like to donate any bands or charms from her collection for charity and she said "You can take all and sell so we can raise more money for the children". Bless this child. Even if we don't manage to sell all, I am humbled by her generous heart. I am also glad she is not attached to her possessions.

So here's everything she has made, and hopefully we can do our bit for these children and youths who are coping with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Every single cent we collect will go to Club Rainbow (Singapore).
Tray 1: Charms with hooks
This tray of charms all have hooks and would make really colourful decorations on table Christmas trees!
Tray 2: Mini Figures
Tray 3: Charms
#3 also made bracelets with lots of variations. They can fit children from about 2-8 years old.
Bracelets
Her aunt came over last night and was the first to show her support by buying 7 items. The kids were overjoyed! #3 helped me to edit the photos by numbering and labelling all the items ("Mum, there's an app for everything. Easy peasy.")

Rainbow Loom Singapore sent over some packets of refills for this charity drive. Many thanks for their support and #4 is so excited to be able to do some looming again!
Assorted Bracelets and Rings
This is my personal favourite: An adorable lil' backpack #4 made just for me :) If you would like her to make one just for you, she'll be happy to customise one at $10 with your choice of 2 colours (subject to availability).


Customised backpack $10
For more designs, hop over to the other mums involved and give them some support too (more will be added to the list once their posts are up). If everyone of us does our little part, it will go a long way to help others in need.

1) Little Blue Bottle
2) A Juggling Mum

Just let us know which item # you would like via the comments or over at our Facebook page or drop as an email at mummyweedotcom@gmail.com from now till 31 October 2014. Even buying 1 band or charm helps! We will be happy to post them out to you, with a personalised message from #4 :)

UPDATE:
Sold Out: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 39, 42, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54,55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 82, 83, 87, 89, 92, 93, 94, 95, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 100, 110, 111, 113, 115, 118, 121, 122, 130, 134, 139, 141, 147,148.

Thanks in advance and have a fantastic day everyone!


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Thankful for… my husband's extended family

In this day and age, families are spending less time together and people are getting more isolated. However, on the hub's side of the family, they still have a strong sense of kampung spirit. The hub's cousin was getting married and the clan flew over to Melbourne in full force to celebrate the occasion with them. All 30 of us stayed together under one roof for a couple of days and the kids had a great time playing together. Being a Hainanese family, there was never ending cooking and eating. Most of the cooking were done by the men, and they all had their speciality which they proudly whipped up. Even after a huge dinner, at like 10pm, we started smelling the aroma of curry and we asked incredulously, "Supper? We are stuffed!" And uncle answered, "Lamb curry, for breakfast".

There were only 3 bathrooms for everyone and we had to take turns. Some had to sleep in what we termed the "workers dorm" which was an outdoor shed converted into sleeping quarters. Yet there were hardly any complains and we had a whole load of fun and laughs.

I myself come from a huge family on my dad's side, with almost 100 extended family members. Sadly, most of us only meet during Chinese New Year and we don't even remember the names of the new additions (with 6 kids, no one remembers my kids' names!) For their generation, even though they are cousins, they seem more like strangers. Maybe I should suggest to my cousins that we should organise a simple family trip too, although I can imagine the logistics!
Mornington Peninsular National Park
It is heartening to be part of a family that is so close knit. It turned out to be a very enjoyable family vacation spanning 3 generations of kin which I'm sure everyone will remember for a long time to come.



Thankful Tuesdays:

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has" - Epictetus

Thankful… for the hub's cooking
Thankful… for #5's cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1
Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law
Thankful… for my father-in-law
Thankful… for all who helped create this blog
Thankful… for #4's resilience and forgiveness
Thankful… for blogging perks

Linking up with:

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 22 September 2014

Learn Well Store: Good educational games

After having many kids and going through all sorts of toys, I am now more discerning about the toys I allow them to play with. With the first few kids, I didn't know very much. Toys were toys, right? Just something to keep them occupied. But as any parent (especially those with many kids) will find out, very quickly the house becomes over-run with toys. So I started to limit the amount of toys we bought and kept. Simultaneously, I started learning that there were good toys and lousy toys. Basically, the more the toy can do, the less benefit it has for your child. I'm sure you would have observed with some chagrin how junior would rather play with the box the toy came in than the actual mechanised toy. So out went all those silly battery operated toys which my parents loved to buy for them, along with those cheap brightly coloured china-made toys where the lead content was suspect. In it's place, I started acquiring good, durable, open-ended play things such as blocks, puzzles and pretend play toys.

So when I discovered Learn Well Store which sells wooden educational toys, I was very interested. This online store is the retail platform of Learn Well International, the leading provider of educational materials for the early childhood industry in Singapore for more than 20 years. They are now bringing their quality products not only to schools but to individuals like us! They have a wide variety of toys and the thing I like best is that most of their toys are open-ended. This allows for many ways of playing which promotes different skill sets, and can be used by the child for several years. Needless to say, I was stoked when they agreed to sponsor us some of their toys and it was difficult to choose as I wanted them all. Finally I settled on Bears & Patterns and 4 Colours Per Square.

Bears & Patterns is appealing to little children and Kate immediately picked up the cute little pieces and started lining them up. The bears come in 4 colours and 3 sizes (small, medium, large). This set is so versatile that the kids can benefit from it for a long time as they move on to more complex ways of playing. It can be played independently or up to 6 kids together.
"Hmm.. doesn't look quite right"
1) Sorting & Grouping

This is the most basic level of thinking skills which 2-3 year olds can acquire by placing the bears in groups according to Size and Colour.

2) Replication & Patterning

Using the pattern cards provided, children can copy the pattern on the cards. Not only will they learn the higher order thinking skills of forming patterns but as they progress to more difficult skill cards (they are numbered), they can learn to predict what comes next in the sequence.

3) Pair game

Each player has his own pattern grid facing them so that their opponent is unable to see it. Through a series of questions and taking turns (e.g. "Do you have a small green bear?"), they have to guess the pattern that the other has. This improves memory, verbal, visual as well as social skills.

4) Group game

Players each have a pattern grid facing them such that no one else can see it. An opaque bag is used to contain the bears. Players take turns drawing out a bear and describing it to the other players. If another player identifies that the bear is needed to complete their own pattern grid, they must be the first to claim it. The winner is the first person who manages to complete his pattern grid.

The game promotes the use of Oral and Tactile skills so the possibilities are endless with this versatile toy.
4 Colours Per Square $160
The other game we received is 4 Colours Per Square. This game looks deceptively fun, but it actually provides them the opportunity to sort, plan, count, measure, compare, match, put together and take apart, aspects which make up the essential foundation of number sense and quantity preservation. It also encourages them to think out of the box to get the pieces to fit into the square. A myriad of games can be played with this one set.

1) Independent play

The most basic way of playing is for the child to fill up the square with the different coloured parts. A variation would be to ask the child to fill one square with the coloured parts and then asked to fill another square in a different way. This promotes higher order thinking skills such as spatial awareness and creative thinking.

2) Unit measurement

This Math concept is taught in lower primary and you can expose your child to this concept by asking them to fill up the square using unit measurements (e.g. Fill them up using only 1 square unit pieces, thus how many units do you need to fill in the whole square. Next, fill them up using only 2 square unit pieces). To make it more challenging for older kids, ask them to fill in the squares using 4 different colours and 4 different sizes and discuss the different ways this task can be done.
Kate is oblivious to the rules of the game
3) Group game

Using the spinner, the children take turns to spin the arrow and fill in their square as they pick up the coloured pieces which has been randomly chosen by the spinner. The challenging and fun part starts when their square is almost filled up but they are not getting the right pieces thanks to the luck of the draw!

This versatile game is only bound by your own creativity. You can even introduce fractions through this set, or use it as a memory game by placing the pieces faced down and guessing the colours. 
{GIVEAWAY} Choice of ONE game

Sane tip: I really like multi-faceted toys as they grow with the child while maintaining age appropriateness. It saves space too, instead of buying multiple sets of toys. Another plus is that these games are also good for the elderly to maintain their mental agility, so the whole family can play and bond together!

Save tip: {GIVEAWAY} Here's a chance for ONE lucky reader to win either Bears & Patterns OR 4 Colours Per Square (valued at $160), generously sponsored by Learn Well Store.

All you have to do is:
  •  Enter the GIVEAWAY below
  •  Like Mummy Wee's Facebook page
  • Like Learn Well Store Facebook page
  • Like and Share this post on Facebook with the caption "Educational toys are great!" and tag Mummy Wee
  •  Leave a comment on Mummy Wee's Facebook post stating which set you would like to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details:
  • 1 winner will be chosen at random
  • Open to Singapore residents only
  • Ends 30 September 2014
  • Winner will be announced on Mummy Wee's Facebook page on 3 October 2014
  • Winner will be contacted by Learn Well Store for delivery

Disclaimer: Learn Well Store sponsored us the 2 sets and the giveaway. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~





Sunday, 21 September 2014

It's hard not to get angry

I have this problem. When I get mad at one child and any other child happens to come by, I will lash out at them too. Just now, I got really angry at #5 for not bothering about his homework the entire weekend until just before bedtime. I had finished scolding him and was fuming. Then #4 walked past and I scolded her for spending so much time on her iPad instead of studying for her exams. Later on when I went into her room to see if she was preparing for bed, she was in tears and reading her book of children's prayers to herself. She's the most sensitive one amongst all of them. Poor girl. All she did was walk by at the wrong time. I was heartbroken.

You would think that after 6 kids, I've got it all down pat. Well, there's a lot I have learnt, but it's still hard to control my anger. The strange thing is that people often remark that I must be a very patient person to have so many kids, and I realise that I was a very patient person, until I had kids.

Many times, it's really us who have a lot to learn. Tomorrow is a new day. I will make an effort to be a better mummy.


Linking up with:
www.ajugglingmom.com



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 19 September 2014

Our hectic week in Melbourne

During the one week September break, we took the troop to Melbourne for a cousin's wedding along with the entire clan. The kids couldn't wait to go on holiday with their cousins and this was Kate's first time taking the plane. The day before we left, #3 was brimming with excitement and said, "We're going to Melbourne tomorrow! Aren't you excited mummy?" I told her flatly that I had absolutely no expectations of this trip and was thinking of it as a work trip so anything extra would be a bonus. I have learnt that this works out much better than looking forward to a holiday and ending up pretty much being overworked and exhausted and not being able to see or do the things I wished I could have. I have learnt that disappointment comes from unmet expectations. And besides, travelling with an extended family of 30 people sounded pretty… unpredictable. Tempers? Tantrums?
Thought of checking Kate in as well
The wedding was beautiful and the weather was glorious. The wedding venue had accommodation for everyone and even a hall with a fully equipped kitchen. My father-in-law prefers to cook as he feels that outside food can't compare to home-cooked food. So here we were on vacation, with everyone pitching in to cook and clean. Just to get dinner ready for the clan, it took 2 hours of preparation and 2 hours of washing and cleaning up. After 2 days of that, everyone agreed unanimously to eat out.

The kids asked to see kangaroos and koalas, so we went to the nearest wildlife sanctuary where they could get up close and personal with the animals. Kate was absolutely fearless and followed the lone kangaroo deep into where a whole lot of huge kangaroos were hanging out while the adults kept their distance.
Feeding the wallabies
We stayed in the Mornington Peninsular area as we found an accommodation there which could fit 30 people under one roof. Turns out they added bunk beds in an outdoor quarters and thus managed to fit 30 beds in the house. But it was good fun as the kids had lots of company to play hide and seek with and the adults could sit around and chat instead of all heading back to their own hotel rooms. In the vicinity, there was this Enchanted Maze Gardens where the kids had a great time zooming down the tube slides and finding their way out of the mazes.

There's so much to do for children and families in Melbourne and it's a really lovely place for families to vacation together as the activities suit both young and old. A rare chance to have 3 generations of relatives on horseback together. After an hour of horse riding, we were supposed to head to town where we were going to spend the last 2 days. But the hubs told me there was a change of plans. They wanted to go go-karting. Again.
The littlest is 7 and the oldest 60+
The hubs said that #1 insisted on going go-karting again as they enjoyed themselves tremendously the day before. I told him that I would not allow her to have her way when we were on holiday with so many other people and their needs have to be considered as well. He sheepishly muttered, "But we (the guys) also don't mind". I see. Put the blame on the kids. How convenient. But there was no way I was going back there to wait for a couple of hours. Thankfully each family rented their own car which made it that much more convenient. So while the males sorted it out on the tracks, the ladies checked in to Crown Hotel and had a head start on shopping. Win-win situation.


On our drive back to town, we passed this awesome playground which the kids enjoyed tremendously. By its unique structure, I knew there was something different about it. I read the plaque and was intrigued to learn that this was a community project. The kids designed their dream playground, the adults and kids rallied to raise funds by cookie bakes etc, the local companies contributed materials, and everyone chipped in to make this a reality. Wow. The power of synergy. Maybe we should moot this idea to the authorities to build a dream playground by East Coast Park.
Playground by the sea
The kids had a wondrous vacation, and they especially loved the 'air-con' weather. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the 9 days… and I dreaded the cold weather. But surprisingly, the holiday turned out really well and there was no disagreements or issues travelling with the whole family spanning the ages of 1 to 74. It was a great family vacation, but I was glad to be boarding the flight home. I probably need a week to recuperate from this trip.
Praying for a safe flight home
And as you can imagine, handling winter clothes for 6 kids, shedding jackets off and on as the weather fluctuates wildly in a day, by the end of it, it really didn't matter what Kate wore, as long as she was dressed.

Oh dreads, I can't quite kick up my feet and rest. Kate has a running nose from the cold and whines to be carried and #3's PSLE is in 5 days and I gotta make sure she is not spending her time dreaming of her trip in Australia. She keeps telling me that instead of a dog, now she wants to buy a horse.

Sure. Just keep dreaming, just keep dreaming...


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Thursday, 18 September 2014

My blog vanished… and I learnt a lesson

I got back from a family vacation and was shocked to find that my blog had disappeared! When it was set up a year ago with the help of a friend, we decided to purchase the domain name for a year just to try it out. I totally forgot that I had to renew it and the notification for renewal was sent to a temporary email so I didn't receive it. Someone quickly bought up my domain name mummywee.com probably to sell it back to me to earn a quick buck.

Initially, when I realised it was all gone, I had a sinking feeling. It was a terrible feeling of vulnerability. A feeling that you had lost something important to you. But then I paused to recollect my thoughts and to reflect.

Then I realised that I should never be attached to things which are of no permanence. This 'baby' is gone, but I still have my real babies by my side. It's strange how just a year ago, I didn't even have this blog and a year later, it has become such a part of our lives. Sadly though, I didn't realise how much of my time it has taken up, as I write, edit, add pictures, post, reply to comments, correspond with sponsors, and all these hours add up and it was detracting from me giving my full attention to the kids. So it was a wake-up call to put aside my gadgets and be more present to them, and to be disciplined in working on my blog only when they are all in school or after they have gone to bed.

For a fleeting moment when I thought all my content were permanently deleted, I thought of giving it all up as it will take a lot of work to get it started again. I asked the kids what they thought and they shouted "Continue! We love all the free things and free invites". Ah huh. Perhaps I should delegate more of the work to them then.

You know, it's kind of an occupational hazard, this blogging thing. Your life and your kids are your 'work' and you are always thinking of capturing pictures for the blog, or thinking of topics to write. So while I took my mind completely off my blog for awhile, I was able to be totally present with Kate (ok, I did pause to snap this picture, and the good thing about blogging is that now I make an effort to take pictures of Kate growing up, which the hubs has been bugging me to do with the older kids). And I will remember to keep my focus on things that matter, and to build my life on a solid foundation of family, love and kindness to others. And that no matter what else I may lose in future, it is all just material, and I will be ready for it. Because with life, there are always ups and downs.
Simple happiness
And you know what the silver lining of a setback is? You get good friends, and now even strangers who have become my readers, who take the trouble to text me words of encouragement to press on because my blog has helped them and their friends. So press on I will :)

My new website is mummyweeblog.com and hopefully the readers who have been accessing my old url directly will be able to find this new one.

So my dear friends, on this day where I start anew, let me wish you all a renewed dedication to build your lives on solid foundations which nothing can sway. We can fall and we can fail, but we will always keep swimming.



Linking up with:
mamawearpapashirt



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 8 September 2014

West Coast Park

With the older kids, we used to frequent West Coast Park a lot. There's so much to do there and they could easily play for hours. There are a lot of play structures to keep the little ones occupied and there's sand everywhere so we'll bring our sand toys along. They would also bring their bicycles, roller blades or skate scooters. Once, we tried to fly a kite as there is a huge field with lots of people flying beautiful kites. However, we failed. Don't ask me why. It wasn't that there was no wind, because other kites were flying gaily high in the sky. When I mentioned it to a friend, he tried to explain to me how you have to gauge the direction of the wind and go along with it (or was it against it) so that the wind will gradually push the kite from below. And you have to tug at it in a certain way so that it will climb higher and higher. Gosh. Sounds so complicated. Oh well. That was probably our first and last time flying a kite.
Pirate ship
I was surprised to see that it was not as crowded as before. Later I realised why. The main climbing play structure with the high slides was closed for renovation. So although the older kids were disappointed, I much preferred it!
"I think you better stop, uncle"
There's still enough to keep the younger ones happy for a good few hours. This 'crazy' bus was very popular with the kids as it is attached to some springs below. This dad was really involved, and he kept acceding to his boys request to shake the bus. And shake he did! Kate stood there for a long time, spell-bound, as the kids on the bus were being shaken vigorously and were squealing in delight.
Made a new friend
The older girls had to coordinate to get Kate across the net safely. She is indeed fortunate to have siblings who dote on her.
Requires good balancing skills
They were having so much fun that I decided to try hanging too. Could only manage a couple of seconds. Ahem… better get started on that exercise program I've been meaning to for years.
3 little monkeys swinging in the park
As usual, Kate wants in on everything.
One little monkey...

Sane tip: In my opinion, the best time for the little ones to go is now. Once the main play structure is ready, be prepared for a throng of older children. We love to pack food along and have a nice relaxing picnic. There's a MacDonald's on the premise as well. We'll going to try camping here the next school holidays!

Save tip: It's free!


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A tribute to all the Extraordinary Teachers

I had a call from #5's Chinese teacher, Huang Laoshi. I was just thinking to myself how lovely it was that I have not heard from her the whole year and it's already August. Things must be under control. Alas. It was not to be.

She started by telling me that he had failed the recent mini test. She sounded rather apologetic, and said that in primary 2, the speed is picking up and as he has a weak foundation in Chinese, he is not able to cope. She feels that he has reached a point where he is almost giving up and she has no choice but to inform me so that we can work this out together.

I told her that I was actually very surprised that I've not heard from her until now, as last year, his Chinese teacher was actively whatsapp-ing me every other week to get me on-board in ensuring his homework was completed and tests revised. Huang Laoshi explained to me that at the start of the year, she had already spoken to their P1 Chinese teacher and found out who were the weaker students. She has been monitoring him and providing him with extra guidance as she heard that I had quite a few kids and figured I was too busy to coach him.

She told me that when she allows him to bring home his unfinished homework, it never comes back. She has taken to printing extra sets of worksheets for him and when he says that he has lost it, she whips out a new piece and gets him to do it there and then. Wow. I was touched. Most teachers would spend time berating him, punishing him or getting him to go home and look for it, but she is totally unfazed and concentrates on working around his problem.

With my 4 older girls, I have never had any issues with them regarding their homework and they are all on auto-pilot. With #5, every time I ask him if there's any homework, he will blatantly answer "Nothing!" or "I don't know". Now I know what my friends with boys mean when they tell me it's a headache dealing with them everyday.

There is really not much more I can ask of a teacher and I truly admire Huang Laoshi's perseverance and love for her students. She tells me that with such a shaky foundation, it will be an uphill battle in the coming years and she is very worried for him. I can hear her passion and concern for #5 and I honestly think she is more worried for his Chinese than I am!

Macaroons for their teachers this year.. yum yum
So on this special day which we set aside to remember and show our appreciation, I would like to say a sincere, resounding THANK YOU to all the teachers and tutors who have taught and touched my children in one way or another. It was never about the grades but the journey. About the little things you taught them along the way about life. About the young minds you have ignited and inspired as you went about your very challenging tasks of educating them in this millennium.
No box? No prob. #2 to the rescue
This year, besides being grateful for Huang Laoshi, we would also like to specially thank 5 other teachers.

To Mrs K, their English tutor, for not only teaching them English, but also imparting values along the way. And for making the effort to learn their likes and dislikes so that she can tailor the lessons to them and make them enjoyable.

To Mrs Lachman, #3's English and Science teacher, who is always motivating them to do better so that they can reach their full potential. She is a very tough task master who never accepts anything but their best. #3 disliked her immensely in the beginning of the year as she is extremely strict and stern. However, through her remarkable efforts in teaching them, she managed to pull #3 up from 20/100 to an A for Science. And along the way, she managed to earn her students' respect and cooperation. She is now #3's favourite teacher.

To Mrs T, #1's 'A Math' teacher, for opening her house to them on a Sunday to give them some extra help in preparation for their 'O' level exams.

To #2's relief teacher, Mr Lim, who was the only teacher who ever allowed them to eat during his lessons (the food they cooked at home econs class) so that it wouldn't go bad by the time they reached home. It's simple things like that which made the students realise that we can be kind and humane even within constrains.

And a very, very special thanks to their aunt, who has been tutoring the 3 of them in their PSLE year (and 3 more to come!). She willingly accepts such a tough job and gives of her time and best efforts, yet refusing any payment.

So once again, from all of us here, 

Thank you for coming into our lives

and

Have a fabulous Teacher's Day!



~ mummy wee - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~





Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tikes N Bikes - Kinderbike Balance Bike

It's so exciting to receive a delivery! This time it's for the littlest member of our family. Kate was sponsored a cool looking balance bike from Tikes N Bikes. The Kinderbike has been rated 'the best' in quality and value by the New York Times 4 years in a row. Wow, Kate sure is lucky.

With my 5 older kids, they all learnt how to cycle the traditional way. They had those bicycles with the trainer wheels at the back. When they were around 5 or 6, we figured it was time they learnt to ride a proper 2-wheeled bike and had to teach them how to do it. That involved holding on to their bike and running alongside until they got the hang of it and we could release the handlebar. Let me tell you, it was pretty back-breaking work! Thankfully, #1 managed to master it within 1 or 2 hours. #2 and #3 took longer, and after going through that with the first 3 kids, I delegated the job of teaching the younger ones to their older siblings.

In the recent few years, I started seeing little expatriate kids in our condo on these 2-wheeled balance bikes. Initially we thought it was really strange and my kids called them the bicycles with no pedals. But as I spoke to the mums, they told me that their children naturally learnt how to balance on the bike and the transition was smooth. The child has total control of his progress and you don't need to try and figure out when he's ready to have the trainer wheels removed. Once he's 'cruising' (able to travel some distance with both feet up), it's evident that he can move on to a proper bike with pedals. That sounded fabulous to me. Wish we had those when the kids were young.
"My first set of wheels!"
I can't wait for Kate to hang out with her bike and learn to cycle all on her own. With the Kinderbike E series, what's fantastic about this particular balance bike is that both the seat and handlebars are easily adjustable, with a snap and quick release fixture. Kate is not yet 2 and she has already started using it. The frame is light and can be carried by a child as well - 5.9 pounds to be exact, which is the lightest balance bike in the market.
Kinderbike E series $109

Sane tip: This bike can take a maximum weight of 34kg, so it easily grows with your child. Age suitability is from as young as 18 months to 5 years. It is far lighter and smaller to carry around than a regular bike and fits in any boot.

Save tip: {GIVEAWAY} I'm pleased to announce that Tikes N Bikes has generously agreed to give away ONE Kinderbike E series to one of my lucky readers!

All you have to do is:
  •  Enter the GIVEAWAY below
  •  Like Mummy Wee's Facebook page
  • Like Kinderbike Singapore's Facebook page
  • Share this post on Facebook with the caption "Cool balance bike to be won!" and tag Mummy Wee
  •  Leave a comment on Mummy Wee's Facebook post stating which colour you would like to win: Red, Blue or Green.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Details:
  • 1 winner will be chosen at random
  • Open to Singapore residents only
  • Ends 14 September 2014
  • Winner will be announced on Mummy Wee's Facebook page on 16 September 2014
  • Winner will be contacted by Tikes N Bikes

List of authorised retailers of the Kinderbike.


Disclaimer: Kinderbike sponsored our E series balance bike and the giveaway. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
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