Friday, February 24, 2006

Parenting Questions

Generally, as parents we strive to do what's right and what's best for our children. Unfortunately, our children didn't come with an instruction tag. So as we walk along the road of parenthood, there are sure to be stumbles and confusion when we encounter crossroads. The following are some questions that I've pondered or are still pondering.
  • When starting to introduce solids: "What else can I cook that they can eat?"
  • Now that they can eat on their own: "How do I get them to eat vegetables when I myself hated vegetables growing up?"
  • How to get them to share?
  • How to get them to stop biting and hitting?
  • What school should I send them to? Kebangsaan or Chinese?
  • Should I enrol them in Music class? Art class? Drama class? Playgroup? Gymnastics? No class? etc... When is it too much and when is it not enough?
  • How to not be so "kiasu"?
  • How do I scream less?
  • Am I being fair to both my children or do I play favorites?
  • When do I start weaning?
  • When do I get start potty training?
  • How to get them to do homework?
  • How do I get them to be interested in books?
  • What else can I do to keep them busy and entertained?
  • What can I do to work from home?
  • If I carry my baby too much, will I spoil them?
  • In the name of discipline, do I sometimes cross the line into being mean and cruel?
  • How do I get them to stop scribbling in my books, on the wall and on the tables?
  • How do I communicate more effectively with my children?
  • What should I teach my children e.g. reading, writing, counting, honesty, love, respect, etc...?
  • How shall I teach them?
  • What resources are available to me (e.g. books, internet), which one shall I use and where can I get it?

I'm sure there were and are more questions? I'm interested to know WHAT WERE SOME OF YOURS?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Flower of a Nation

Many, many years ago, a good friend of mine wrote a beautiful poem entitled "Flower Of A Nation". I have since lost contact with this friend and so cannot ask for his permission to publish it here. But it is too beautiful not to be shared and a shame if it is kept in my journal only for my eyes to see. I remembered it as I was writing my previous post.
To Amp, thank you for the beautiful and inspiring words.

Every race, creed, and nation cherishes a flower
That captures the virtues of its culture
Which symbolizes all the good of that nation
That when the citizens of that nation
Gaze upon the flower
Their hearts aspire to the highest nobility
And are reminded of the majesty of their creation
"Where are these flowers?
Please show them unto me"
Look upon the land and see
They are unique in their variety
Yet, to a casual on-looker passing by
They stand common among their peers
Each will bloom in their own season
In due time to inspire the heart
Even barren ground will be made beautiful
When the seed of one of these flowers fall thereon
"May I have this flower that I may enjoy the beauty thereof?"
The seeds are precious and are not mine to give
"Then how shall I obtain one of these?"
I do not know for the flower is within you
By Amphaivanh Kommavongsa
To all the wonderful parents out there, may you continue to care tenderly for the seeds in your hands that we may all behold their beauty in the future.

How Do You Really See Your Child?

A nasty comment I received recently sparked off this thought. Part of the comment was for me to "realise that your kids are just as normal/boring as everyone elses."

I wondered to myself, how horrible it would be for kids around the world if their parents viewed them as normal/boring. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is that of confidence and a healthy self esteem. Parents wish their children to grow up believing in themselves and living up to their boundless potential. BUT that is never going to happen if children are viewed as normal/boring through the eyes of their parent.

We are all walking mirrors. Children first learn about themselves by observing how people treat them, more so their own parents. Here is a quote to remember:

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming." --- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So to people like ANONYMOUS (who didn't have the guts to own up to such a ridiculous comment), I boldly say that you are akin to murderers. It is such thinking that kills the delicate souls of children. It is such thoughts pressed upon them that stranggles their hope and dreams causing it to shrivel and die.
I applaud many of the blogging parents I see highlighting the so called "boring-ness" of their children but delight in sharing them nonetheless. To you I say keep up your wonderful spirits. Others like ANONYMOUS have their eyesights dimmed and their vision blurred by negativity. They cannot comprehend the light in our eyes. They have chosen to default the priviledge to behold the beauty and "unboring-ness" of children.

Which brings me to another thought: TEACH CHILDREN TO LOOK FOR THE GOOD.
However, the only way to teach our children this is by way of example. So today, this week, this month, this year... let us be a little more positive in our thoughts, speech and action.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where Do You Hide?

I have a very good friend who runs her own English reading & writing center from home. Well, my girl just started going there and she is having lots of fun learning. Anyway, when I picked up my friend yesterday to go to the "pasar malam," she asked my DH a very strange question: "Does your wife spend a lot of time in the toilet?"
Now what would inspire such a question?

Well, it seems that one of the activities she had done with my daughter (as follow up to a story they had just read) was for her to draw a picture of a hiding place in her house. This is what she drew:

Interpretation of the drawing:
1. Where does Damus hide? Under the table.
2. Where does Daddy hide? Sleeping on the bed.
3. Where does Mommy hide? In the toilet. Plus she wears a crown.

So, does that make me queen of the toilet? HAH! Of course not. See, children think differently from adults. While we would laugh at the fact that she drew a crown on Mommy and she happens to be sitting on the "throne", she would innocently tell you that she drew a crown coz' in her eyes, Mommy is a Queen. Sigh! The difference between an innocent mind and a twisted one. Hahaha.
But there are also other lessons to learn from this:

1. Be careful what you do at home. Your children are watching.
I admit that sometimes (yes, sometimes) Mommy does hide in the toilet. I have a habit of reading in the loo. One day as I was heading to my "throne" with a book, my girl yells out "Mommy, I already told you, don't read in the toilet. The book might fall in." Hmm... once in a while I wonder who is the Mommy and who is the child.

2. You can't keep secrets when you have young children.
Having the world know that "Mommy hides in the toilet" of course caused only minor embarrassment. But it's a reminder that once in a while, it's good to sit down with your children and review what they can tell and cannot tell others. Cannot tell would be something like what color bra mommy wears or that daddy farts a lot.

Anyway, this reminds me of the Baby Blues Comic strips. They do such a good job highlighting the humor in typical family life. I find it easy to relate to the comic characters as they resemble my own family in many ways. Reading their experiences brings back memories of my own parenting exploits. If you are a Baby Blues fan, check out my bookshop for a special treat of Baby Blues Scrapbooks.

Last of all, if you are looking for a place where your children can learn and improve their english, do consider calling up my friend. She is a great teacher and has a reputation of bringing out the best in a child. She has a special talent that allows her to work with even the most difficult children. You will find her contact details at my Parent's Resource page under the heading "Offline Reading Help".

1. How Come It's Not Funny When It Happens To Me?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Youth Park, Penang

Not going to give details about the recent Chinese New Year coz' its the same news - too much food, travelling and the hot weather in Bukit Mertajam. But one thing I will mention is our trip to the Youth Park, Penang. That was really fun for the children as the place has so many things to do and plenty of space to run around. The playgrounds have stuff not only for children but also exercise machines for adults. There is also a mini obstacle course for you to climb over, jump down etc.... The wading pools are lovely and there is more than one to choose from. I think there were three.
Anyway, here is a video of my little girl showing her brave side. I was tempted to try it too but must give way to the many kids there plus "malu-lah", kids might wonder what is this "aunty" trying to do?

Here is the wading pool. You can see the difference in my two kiddos. My boy took quite a while before he warmed up enough to venture away from the sides. He ended up having fun collecting leaves from the pool. Anyone need a pool cleaner? By the way, silly me did indeed forget to pack their swimming suits.

Here's one for the scrapbook.