Thursday, December 27, 2007

Influence Of TV On Children

Son: Mommy, what if I can climb the walls like Spiderman? What happen if I can climb up to the ceiling?

Daughter: Good. Then you can help mommy clean the fan and the ceiling.

Hahahahah. Fantastic answer. Couldn't have come up with a better answer myself.

My son has evolved from Maisy Mouse and Hi5 to Power Rangers, Ultraman, Spiderman and all kinds of superhero cartoons and movies. TV is a big influence in the lives of our children. Just take a look at the picture, there is my son trying to scale the walls of my home. He, of course, told me not to show "the aunties" when he saw me clicking on the camera. Aiyoh, how not to tell. So farnee!

Anyway, I recognize how these kind of movies can foster aggression in young children. Yes, unfortunately my son has become a little fighter cock. I do try to limit his watching and even put the CDs in timeout when his behavior is less then desirable. I've tried to rid my home of such violence but its difficult to extinguish such passion. Even he himself said "Mommy, I won't watch fighting shows anymore." But, eventually, he gives in to his love for superhero action. I've asked him before "why do you want to watch fighting shows?" His answer....... "Because I'm a boy!" Hmm... maybe it is a boy thing. Sigh!

So, what is the next best thing to do? Try to turn something bad into something good.
1. Superheroes are helpful. They like to help other people.
2. Superheroes don't just fight, they also have to use their brains to outsmart their enemy. That's why it is important to learn and study. Exercise your brain everyday so you can be smart too.
3. Superheroes eat their vegetables.
4. Superheroes eat their "power pills" every morning. That's how they get their power. Its a secret they don't tell anyone. You also must eat your "power pill" (vitamin lah).
5. Call them superhero anytime you need them to help you do something.

Mamas Bag of Tricks
1. Tell them it's NOT REAL. In their little minds, characters on TV are real. For example, they really think people can fly and there are monsters to fight. Tell them the people are just acting and the special effects are done by computers. Yes, they are just "bluffing."
2. There is good and bad to everything. So why not capitalize on their passion by focusing on the good coz' it is going to be difficult to snuff out the bad.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Diapers: Pampers Stages Review

I got a jumbo pack of Pampers Cruisers flown all the way from US of A. Fuyoh!
Along with a pack of wipes. Such pride to have baby wearing diapers that are not available in Malaysia (yet). So, what's the deal? Did I pay for them. No! Are they paying me to write this review? No! It's just a simple exchange - free diapers for an honest review. So, honest I will be.

First, the things that I liked about Pampers Cruisers:
  1. I like the stretchy tab. Unlike the older pampers (orange packaging I think), the tab is quite strong. I pulled it quite roughly expecting it to break but it didn't. Yeah, that happened with the older one. I pulled to secure the tab and the whole thing tore off.
  2. The velcro tab is great. Prefer velcro compared to the sticky ones. With velcro you can do-undo-do-undo and it'll still work good.

  3. The diaper doesn't cut into baby's flesh. I really hate diapers that leave red streaks on baby's groin. Another area of concern is the top of the diaper cutting into baby's tummy. This is one reason why I chose to use cloth diapers. Pampers Cruisers seemed gentle enough not to cause any hurt.
  4. I also like the diaper's lining. It did a good job keeping baby's butt dry even after many hours.
  5. It's lightweight. Fits quite well and not bulky.

The diaper could be better if:

  1. The back of the diaper fit better. As you can see from the picture below, there's a gap. Although I didn't experience any leakage in wee or poo, I would prefer if the back of the diaper hugged his waist. I'm sure many mothers understand how baby can "jet propel" their poo up the back.
  2. The cotton inside didn't bunch up when wet.

The wipes they gave which corresponds with the Cruisers stage (called Swipers Wipes) has a really nice feel. It is thicker than normal wipes and does a good job cleaning the mess. But I must say I didn't use it much as I usually take baby to the bathroom and wash off the mess. Personally, I think wipes are only important during the first 6 months or so. After which it is better to just use water and soap to wash their butts. It would prove useful when out and about though. So maybe a travel size pack is better. Oh, and even though it smells nice, many mothers prefer non-scented products.

Price is always an important factor. So what is it retailing for? Approximately $10.50 for one jumbo pack. There are 4 stages in the new Pampers Stages:

  1. Pampers Swaddlers (0-5 months)
  2. Pampers Cruisers (6-17 months)
  3. Pampers Easy-Ups (18-23 months)
  4. Pampers Feel ‘N Learn (24+ months)

So, overall how do I feel about these diapers? Well, I've quite enjoyed using them. No problems. They are certainly better than the older Pampers. I'm down to only a few left. Unfortunately they are not available in Malaysia. Bottom line, would I recommend it? Yes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why Mothers Are Important

Just want to start this week with something I read in the December's issue of the Liahona magazine.
"E.T. Sullivan once wrote these interesting words: "When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."
And those babies, I should like to add, will become forces for good or ill, depending in large measure on how they are reared."

President Gordon B. Hinckley (President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Mamas Bag of Tricks

  • Your children are not just children. They are "the greatest forces in the world." Yes, you DO hold the power to change this world to a better place. Don't underestimate the power of your influence.
  • Are you rearing your children to become "forces for good or ill?"
  • Who is the greatest influence in your children's lives? You or someone else?
  • YES, it is worth it to invest your time in your children.

Another story in the magazine that touched my heart:

"The story is told that in ancient Rome a group of women were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, "And where are your jewels?" To which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, "These are my jewels." Under her tutelage and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus - the Gracchi, as they were called -- two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history. For as long as they are remembered and spoken of, the mother who reared them after the manner of her own life will be remembered and spoken of with praise also."


Friday, December 14, 2007

Homemade Christmas Cards

Wanna know what has been keepin' me and my girl busy since last night? Homemade Christmas cards. And the final product... tadah!

The cotton ball snowman idea came from this
familyeducation website.
And the origami christmas tree you can learn from

Mamas Bag of Tricks:
1. Always handy to keep some colored paper, stars and sticky thingies, and googly eyes around the house.
2. To decorate the Christmas tree, I just used a hole puncher and punched out some colored paper.
3. Try NOT to be too critical of your children's work. I assigned my daughter to do the tree decoration and the snowman. I had to bite my tongue many times. Try NOT to over-dictate their work and try NOT to do the work for them (unless they are getting tired or have lost interest). Giving them the freedom to work means giving them the freedom to be creative. It also helps them learn from their own experience (I'm sure you agree that sometimes that's the best kind of teaching). Plus, it builds their confidence.
4. Teach them to always do their best. My daughter once gave me a card that she had made herself. But I could see it was done very in a sloppy manner - scribbled handwriting, mistakes she just cancelled instead of erasing it off, words were written half on one line the other half on another line etc.... Usually I would praise her by saying how wonderful the card was BUT I realized it has become a habit for her to produce sloppy work. So I outright told her the card was terrible. Cruel huh? However, I did explain to her why I was not happy. I gave her an analogy of making a birthday cake. Imagine if it was your birthday, would you prefer a beautifully decorated cake or a half baked cake, or a cake that was crushed and crumbled? I told her that when you give a gift to someone, it has to be your best work - meaning done with effort e.g. best handwriting, best drawing etc.... Sometimes, you just have to let your children know what you expect out of them. Especially when you know they can do better. BUT also check yourself to see that your expectations are not overboard lah.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Christmas has never been as exciting as Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is a time we have family reunions, but not Christmas. I didn't grow up a Christian. Not all my family members were Christians either. But eventually, we all converted. However, we all go to different churches.

I do want to make Christmas an important celebration. Being a first generation Christian, it is up to me to put the spirit into Christmas. I want my children to feel excited about Christmas. The only way this is going to happen is to instill family Christmas traditions. Here are some traditions to consider:

  • Special Christmas Eve Program
    What do you do after a scrumptious Christmas eve dinner? How about a session of singing Christmas carols and reading the Christmas story from the scriptures. If you have enough people for casting, why not reenact the Christmas story. Since we're so close to the end of the year, how about reviewing the year with each child and setting goals for the next year too.
  • Homemade Christmas cards
    Children love doing art and craft. So here's a way to kill two birds with one stone: make your own Christmas cards. You could make a pop-up card or stick an origami Christmas tree to a card. For really young children, it could be as simple as sticking cut up pictures from Christmas wrapping paper.
  • Rules on Gifts
    Children usually can't wait to open their presents. So I always allow them to open one on the eve and the rest on Christmas morning.
    If budget is tight, put a limit on the cost of the gifts. For example, gifts should not exceed RM20. Want to reduce the materialistic nature of gifts? How about a rule that there each person must give at least one gift that wasn't bought with money. It could be a "wash your car" coupon for dad, or a homemade photo frame for mom.
  • Christmas stockings
    Apart from presents under the Christmas tree, I also like to fill up my children's Christmas stockings. If you don't like the idea of candy and sweets, look for small items such as notebooks, pen, pencils, erasers, hair clips, stickers etc....
  • A new set of pyjamas
    I've heard of families who buy a new set of pyjamas for their kids during Christmas. I think this is a wonderful idea. We usually buy new shirts and dresses for special occasions. Pyjamas makes things a little different and unique.
  • Special Christmas table cloth
    A Christmas themed table cloth gives the home a festive feel. Just run to the cloth shop, look for a Chrismassy cloth, hem the sides and there you have it, a special Christmas table cloth.
  • Cookie Giveaway
    ake cookies together with your children. Pack them into little bags and tie them up with a ribbon. Distribute them to friends and neighbours. This is a great way to spread the Christmas cheer.

What are some of your Christmas traditions (if any)?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

38 Questions Tag

You know how at the end of the year, people try to clear debts, tie up loose ends, finish unfinished business so they can start clean the new year? Well, here I am trying to clear my "tag debt". First one is this 38 questions tag I received from Perridot&Sapphire.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
Rob Schneider in the movie The Animal (shown on TV last night)

2. What were you doing at 0800?
Still sleeping

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Putting baby to sleep.

4. What happened to you in 2006?
Pregnant with Danic

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
"Ya, that sentence is wrong". DH was asking for my opinion on an article he was reading.

6. How many beverages did you have today?
3- Water, Pink Guave juice, Vico

7. What color is your hairbrush?

8.What was the last thing you paid for?
Vege and titbits at the pasar malam last night.

9. Where were you last night?
At home.

10. What color is your front door?
Light brown

11. Where do you keep your change?
In my wallet

12. What’s the weather like today?
Rain, rain, rain.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

14. What excites you?
Going out to makan with friends. Socializing is a rare treat nowadays. How sad. Hahahah.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
Already so short. If cut some more, will end up botak.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Yes

17. Do you talk a lot? No

18. Do you watch the O.C.? No

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes

20. Do you make up your own words? No

21. Are you a jealous person? Depends

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Angela

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Karen

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Miow Lin

25. What does the last text message you received say? Friend telling what time he'll be home so we can go over to collect road tax documents.

26. Do you chew on your straw? No

27. Do you have curly hair?
Yeah, hair tends to curl the wrong way at certain places. How infuriating.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? To bed

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Rani Rajagopal. A fellow lady golfer.

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Rice with bok choy and tau yew bak.

31. Will you get married in the future?
Not if I stay married.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
Pulling a marathon watching the 2nd season of 4400. Does that count as a movie?

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
My baby coz' he is soooooo cute.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
After dinner just now.

35. Are you currently depressed? No

36. Did you cry today? No

37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I feel that tags are people's way of saying "I thought of you" and so I appreciate such gestures by actually doing the tag (if not already done).

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.
Shannon Chong
Magical Milestone
Mama Hasif
Cindy on Tour

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Freebie For You

Head on over to Value Bookshop's Blog to get your FREE Christmas Coloring Book.
There are 75 Christmas pictures for your kids to colour, colour, colour.... You could do a countdown and have them colour one a day until Christmas!

Easy Craft for Christmas

Friday, November 30, 2007

Need More Money

Okay, so here is another avenue to make money through your blog. Everybody say hi to bloggerwave. Truthfully, I don't do a whole lot of paid postings. Two reasons for that:

1. Want to maintain my niche topic. Don't like the idea of a 'chapalang' site.
2. Burn to many braincells thinking how to make a paid posting interesting.

BUT, I admit, it is nice to receive 'deposits' into my paypal account once in a while. How much you wanna earn depends on how much you are willing to put in. Me, I'm happy earning some chicken feed at the moment. What with my girl starting school next year, I'm glad I have a little money to draw out to buy all her school stuff. Thank you my little blog.

So, hopefully signing up with Bloggerwave can help grow my savings a little further. Then my kiddies can have a slightly fatter 'ang pow' for Chinese New Year next year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Giving Handphone to Children

Thanks to all the wonderful mothers out there that have shared their tips and answered my questions on what to do with a child starting Std1. I will put the ideas to the test and update everyone on what happens next year. I will also compile a "starting school" shopping list when I'm done with mine.

Vickylow mentioned in her comment to teach our children to use the public phone in case they need to call home. Great idea! However, this got me thinking that our kids are so exposed to handphones (that means mobile phones my western friends), public phone is like a "what's that mom?" sort of thing. Of course I'm not saying give your young child a handphone instead. But eventually you will give them one right? Just wondering, what is an appropriate age to give your child a handphone?

When will you (or did you) give your child one?

p.s. I know I owe many people tags like "hutang keliling pinggang". I plan to dedicate the next 1 week to doing the tags okay? Bear with me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Starting School Tip

Actually, I'm not writing a tip but asking for tips. K will be Std. 1 next year and I was wondering what you parents out there do about pocket money? How much do you give your child? I've been trying to teach K how to handle (count and stuff) money but she hasn't really shown me that she can handle money. Do I just give her anyway and let her learn through experience?

Also, do you pack food for them or do you let them eat canteen food? If you pack food, what sort of food do you pack everyday?

And regarding uniform, she will be in a school that has 99.9% Malay students. Think I should get all baju kurung for her? This is so weird coz' during my school days, hardly non-Malay wear baju kurung uniform. But now it's like a norm.

Anything else I need to know about starting Std.1?????

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baby Milestone: 10 Months

My big baby at 10 months is just a busy, busy bee. When he is awake, he walks and walks all over the house. Below is a list of things he does:
  • Pulls down the books from the shelf. Like a magnet he is attracted to books. I guess I should be happy. But that happiness fizzles out when I have to tidy up the hurricane struck room. Anyway, his favourite are lift-the-flaps books.
  • Open cupboards and drawers. He knows where daddy keeps his wallet.
  • Loves the kitchen. Always trying to open my rice container. I let him feel the rice once and now he keeps going back for more. Also always reaching for the fridge magnets.
  • As good as a vacuum cleaner. He can spot even the smallest of things on the floor.
  • Tries to jump on the trampoline.
  • On a constant lookout for the tv remote control.
  • Ransack the koko and jie-jie's things in the playroom.
  • Tries to 'kacau' his siblings when they are playing computer. He also wants to bang on the keyboard and play with the mouse.
  • If the staircase gate is open, he will open-close, open-close it. Sometimes, he will climb to he first step, sit there and play with the gate. If the gate is closed, he will sometimes try to climb it.

He also is beginning to understand instructions. We've asked him a few times now to go pick up his handkerchief that's lying on the floor and give it to us. He actually did it.

Although a handful at times, he will melt your heart by giving you his cheeky smile. Anyway, I'm glad he takes a nap in the afternoon. And jie-jie has issued a warning at the bookshelf.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why You Should Read With Your Child

A couple of nights ago, I read The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen to my children. As usual, I would pose a few questions here and there along the way.

If you remember the story, the Little Mermaid had to wait until she was fifteen before she was allowed to swim to the surface. When she finally had the chance to see the world above, she saw a ship with a prince on board. In a storm the prince was thrown overboard and the Little Mermaid ended up saving him. When the Little Mermaid returned home, her sisters asked what she had seen. But the Little Mermaid refused to tell them.

Why didn't she want to tell them? I mean, wow, such an adventure. Won't you be excited to share the experience?
Because if she tells them, then they will ALL want to marry the prince. But she wants to marry the prince herself.

The story continues...
Little Mermaid needs the Prince to marry her or she will become sea foam. That's her deal with the sea witch. The night the Prince marries another girl, the Little Mermaid's sisters tells her she needs to stab the prince in the heart. If she does that, she can become a mermaid again and return home. That's their deal with the sea witch.

Will you do it? Would you kill the man you love? If you were the Little Mermaid, what would you do?
Yes. I will kill him. Who ask him to marry someone else!

You know the saying "Hell has no fury like a woman's scorn?" Looks like its the same for little girls. So young yet already exist the traits of possessiveness, jealousy and revenge. Which boy want to tackle my DD better becareful ya. And which girl want to steal her boyfriend away also better watch out. Don't say I didn't give warning.

Mama's Bag Of Tricks:
Read with your children often. It's a great way to bond. Also a tool to get into their heads to see how and what they think.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pre-Potty Training

You know how some mothers claim they managed to potty train their children since x-months old? I can never agree that you can potty train a 'baby'. A toddler yes, but not a baby. To me, a child is potty/toilet trained when they can:

1. Go to the potty themselves (Yes, that means walking to the potty and plopping themselves on it).
2. Pulling down their own pants (Well... sometimes they need help).
3. Going poo or pee in the potty.

HOWEVER, I do believe you can PRE-POTTY train a baby. My definition of pre-potty training includes:

1. Getting babies to poo at around the same time everyday.
2. Baby poos or pees when you hold them over the potty.

The reason why I am writing about pre-potty training is because I managed to get babyD to poo into the toilet bowl. For the past few weeks, I would try to catch him doing his "big business." You know how they always put on a "poo-poo" face when trying to do it? Yea, so whenever he gives that signal, I rush him to the toilet. AND amazingly, he would poo into the toilet (if he hadn't already finished doing it into his diaper).

My main motivation for doing this is not so I can potty train him early. Actually, I do this because I am lazy to wash his dirty diapers (I'm using the modern cloth diapers - BumGenius to be exact).

Anyway, back to the pre-potty story. I've read and heard stories about how children have problem sitting on the potty or toilet bowl when it comes time to potty train. They resist and seem to have an aversion towards it. I wondered how come babyD didn't have a problem sitting on the toilet? Then it occurred to me, that maybe, it was because I had often put him on the toilet bowl to wash poo off his butt. So now, he has learned to associate poo-toilet bowl.

Anyway, only a mother feels excited talking about poo in the toilet bowl :) Well, just thought I'd share this little pre-potty trick with you.

Don't wait until you want to potty train before getting your child to sit on the potty/toilet. When baby have learned how to sit, you can start putting baby on the toilet (with the help of those child toilet-aid thingys). Do it when you want to clean his bottom. Hopefully baby will soon associated poo - toilet and you will have a hassle free time when actually potty training later.

Other past potty training posts:
1. Can potty training be fun?
2. Potty training problems? Try this.
3. The many uses of a kitchen timer.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Getting Baby To Walk Early

Just 2 weeks ago he was barely walking. Now look at him go. Such a steady fella at 10 months old.

All my 3 children started walking early. My eldest girl started walking about 9 months. KokoD started walking around 10 1/2 months. This baby started about 9 1/2 months.

I read somewhere that babies that are carried a lot, like in a sling, tend to start walking early. It seems when you carry baby around in a sling, it helps to develop their sense of balance (or something like that). Sorry, can't seem to find that particular reference.

Well, I carried my babies A LOT. BabyD is the only one whose butt got to sit in a stroller. And that was only around the house coz' he liked to see me as I did my housework. For example, I would be hanging out the clothes and he would be sitting in the stroller enjoying the fresh air. But compared to stroller time, he got more sling time. I never took the stroller when we left the house to go out.

Anyway, just wondering if sling babies really do start walking early. Any other sling babies out there?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Don't Whine, Solve The Problem

See the cup that holds my kids' toothbrushes? See the water in the cup? Well, I asked my son why the cup was filled with water (thinking it was another of his playful acts) and this was his answer:

"So the ants can't get to my toothbrush."

So clever. Don't need mommy to teach you. Fantastic thinking. That's called using your head. (And whatever other praises I can think of).

I've always tried to drill into my children's head that complaining, crying and whining about a problem does not do us any good. More important is to find a solution.

I admit that I am quite a lazy mother. I don't like to do everything for my children. My reaction to their problems is usually "figure it out yourself first." If they can' t figure it out, I will suggest a solution. If they still can't solve it, then only I step in.

For example:
My son needs to turn on the bathroom light but he is too short to reach the switch. Mommy and jie-jie are fed up of playing errand girls. So KokoD has figure out his problem. He climbs up his stack of little chairs but still cannot reach. Mommy says use a ruler or stick or something. He gets a ruler and whala, the light is turned on. Problem solved!

Even when my children bombard me with 101 curiosity questions, my first answer is "what do you think is the answer?" Sometimes they don't like my answer but it gets the message through that I want them to think about it first. Usually, their answers are more imaginative than mine. It may not be correct, but that doesn't matter. Eventually we get to the correct answers. In the meantime, I let their brain do some exercise first.

Cultivating problem solving skills are crucial to a child's education. If we want our children to be independant, I believe this is the key. Plus, when children see they can overcome problems on their own, their confidence increases.

Mamas Bag Of Tricks:
  • Don't be too quick to jump in and fix things for your children. Tell them to think about it first and give you a solution.
  • Tell your children that you have confidence in their abilities.
  • Work through problems together, whether it be yours or theirs. Show that you value their input. You could say "what do you think we should do?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Fantastic Children’s Playground

Last year Min blogged about her visit to this playground at Taman Tasik Perdana. Her children called it the Dinosaur Park and so the name has also stuck with us. Well, finally we found an excuse to go. All I can say is “WOW!” My children thinks so too. Can you see their thumbs up?

First there is “Dinosaur Park” section. There is a play structure that looks like a dinosaur and dinosaur shaped plants (T-Rex, Triceratops).

Then there is the “Fantasy Land” section. The play structures are based on fairy tales like The Gingerbread Man, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Dragon In the Castle etc…. They have the stories there for you to read too. The castle like structure is really nice with a high bridge for the children to walk across. Then there is the yellow cage like structure which took me a while to figure out. Only when I viewed it from the proper angle did I realize it was a shoe. If your children likes slides, they will go wild at this place.

Another area are for the swings, see-saws and tunnel-climbing thingy. There is one swing in particular that has two seats and goes around and around (like a merry-go-round). I thought it was pretty special as I’ve not seen this kind of swing at other parks before.
BabyD definitely enjoyed that.

It was a nice break from fis rock drumming sessions.

Overall, it was a nice treat for the children as it was more then your usual children’s park. For parents, there are lots of benches on the side and there are trees to give some shade. If you can tear the children away from the playground, you can venture to the deer park, spice garden, butterfly garden too. However, I think you may have to check their opening times. When we got to the deer park, it was closed. We saw a tram full of children. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t get on as it was full.

Where is this park? It’s the road right opposite the Tugu Kebangsaan, heading towards Lake Club. Just drive past the Lake Club entrance and you will come to a parking lot. It’s there. You won’t miss it.

Mamas Bag of Tricks:
Even though you frequent your neighbourhood playground, it's nice to visit a bigger, nicer playground once in a while.

So, which children parks have you visited that you consider A1?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Keep Your Baby Busy With Mirror Play

If you haven't figured it out yet, kids LOVE playing with mirrors. For some reason, they just love to look at themselves. So, if you are cracking your head thinking how to occupy their time, give them some mirror time. Of course make sure you are there to supervise so they don't break the mirror. Or else secure the mirror so it doesn't fall. ALSO, give a firm and absolute order that they are NOT to touch the mirror. Look can, touch no. Still worried? You can try looking for a non-breakable mirror.

Besides making funny faces into the mirror, you could also artistically draw funny faces on the mirror. While looking at the mirror, use a dry-erase pen to add whiskers, dots, horns or whatever. Of course this would be more for kindergarten aged kids and above.

For babies, just let them have fun trying to figure out who the "other" baby is.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Can You Live Without a Washing Machine?

Did I tell you about the day my washing machine broke down? Well, call me weird but I usually don't do any washing on Sundays. God says the Sabbath Day is a day of rest and so, I figured my washing machine could use a break too.

Anyway, one Sunday I looked over at my mountainous pile of dirty laundry and decided to toss some into the machine. BUT I just had this feeling deep inside that I shouldn't. Stubborn me decided that I was just being silly. And so I made that poor machine of mine skip it's day of rest. What do you know? It decides to break down on me a few days later.

WAAAAH! You can imagine how I berated myself for NOT LISTENING to that still, small voice. My silly superstition don't seem so silly now.

Anyway, I quickly scrambled to look for washing machine reviews
to find a good replacement. Yes, I had to replace it coz' to repair it would have cost as much as a new one. And though I wish I could do an immediate replacement, you can't be hasty when buying such expensive equipment. So poor me had to go back to the old method of hand washing the clothes. My children were considerably nice that few days without a washing machine. They tried very hard not to change clothes too many times. I constantly complain that those little bodies of theirs should not be producing THAT MUCH laundry. Seriously, the majority of clothes hanging on the line belongs to them. And it's amazing how much EXTRA a little baby can contribute to the laundry.

Anyway, the day we went shopping for a washing machine, it was raining cats and dogs. But I didn't care. By hook or by crook, I was going to get a washing machine! We went to several outlets and finally decided to head to Seng Heng. Must say we got a pretty good deal there. I thought of buying the Samsung. But DH said the Toshiba was better. As soon as they delivered the 7.5kg, fully automatic, top loading washing machine, it was put to work immediately.

I mean look at this pile of laundry, how to live without a washing machine?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baby Milestone: 9 months

So, what's baby up to at 9 months?

  • He is constantly exploring every corner and everything in the house and using his mouth to do so. Sigh! After three kids, I've given up trying to sterialize everything. I'm just banging on him developing a super strong immune system.
  • He has already taken his first few steps. He would walk about 2-3 tiny steps than crash down on his butt.

  • He does a lot of cruising. Watch this video when his cousin came to visit. The two of them couldn't sit on the horse together. So, baby decided himself that he would rather push from behind. Seriously, it was his idea. We all were very tickled by the whole thing because, of the two, he is the younger (but bigger). Hahahah.

  • Another thing Danic can do now – clap hands (or is he signing for ‘more’). Also when we sing “If you’re happy and you know it”, he will do the clap hand and hooray (lift both hands up).
  • He is also saying “pa pa pa”, “ka ka ka” and “ke ke ke”. It seems like he calls his siblings “ka ka”. Occasionally he will yell "mamamama" when he desperately wants me. But he won’t say it if you ask him to.
  • He now has 4 teeth. Two upper and two lower. Watch out for him coz’ he is a biter. Ouch!
  • Besides chewing on books, he has now advanced to trying to open the books, turn the pages and lift the flaps. Way to go boy!
  • He has decided he doesn't like the pacifier. He would pull it out of his mouth, throw it away and scold you at the same time. So, guess I'm one of the lucky ones who don't have to crack my head on how to wean her baby off a pacifier.

What do you get when you put two babies together in a cot?
One bites everything and the other throws everything out. Sigh!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Developing Some Ball Sense

What do you see in the picture above? A plastic bottle and a ball?
You know what my kids see in the picture above? A bat and a ball. An opportunity to PLAY!
That's what KokoD has been occupying himself (and me) with the last few days. He would ask me to throw the ball and he would bat it with the bottle.

I believe children have an affinity for balls. That's why my house has several types and sizes of balls - football, basketball, rubber ball, golf ball, small ball, big ball, exercise ball etc.... Balls are great for children's physical development.

You could start playing ball with your kids as early as 8 months old. Well, that's what I did with Baby D. I would sit opposite him and roll the ball, bounce the ball, throw the ball etc.... And the whole time naming the actions so he would pick up on the vocabulary (by the way, I learned this at Kindermusik). Eventually, he learned to throw the ball too. Watch the short video below. Sorry it's so dark. Obviously my video making skills have need of improvement :)

After learning to throw the ball, he learned to throw other things too. Hehehe. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. But anyway, that little ball could occupy him for quite a while. He would throw it and then chase after it. Then put it in his mouth. Then drop it and chase after it again.

Other kinds of ball play as the kids grow:
1. Football or soccer. Kids just love kicking a ball around.
2. Just simple throw and catch. Might be mundane to you after a while but the kids love it coz' they are learning a new skill.
3. Teach them to bounce the ball, as they do in basketball.
4. Play "monkey". If there are no other siblings, you'll need 2 parents for this.
5. Throw the ball into a basket or box (target throwing).
6. Bowling. Recycle all those plastic bottles. Line them up and have your kid roll the ball to knock them over.
7. If you don't have time to play with them, teach them to throw the ball against a wall and then catch it. Or just toss it into the air and then catch.
8. Besides using the plastic bottle as a bat, my kids also use the bottle like a golf club or hockey stick to whack the ball.

Mamas Bag of Tricks:
Fill your house with all sorts of balls. Not only is it fun to play but helps build physical skills and coordination. Don't just limit yourself to building up their intelligence. Build up their ball sense too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time to Think of Gifts

It is time to wish all our Muslim friends SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI!
The holiday seasons are just starting to roll out. If you follow western trends, then you would have just celebrated Halloween. Thanksgiving is next. Here in Malaysia, Deepavali will come before Thanksgiving. And then after that, it will be CHRISTMAS!
I don't believe how fast this year has gone. It feels just like yesterday I gave birth to baby D in January. Now I have to start thinking of Christmas presents. You must be thinking I'm mad thinking of Christmas presents in October. But you know what, it's not so mad because have to start saving and scouting for good deals. Actually, the last Malaysian Mega Sale was the best time to stock up on presents.
Anyway, thinking of a gift for DH does take some time. I never know what to give him. If I ask him, he'll say get him some computer gadgety stuff. How unromantic. Typical of guys to think of practical gifts. His idea of gifts for me are household gadgets. Like I said, how unromantic. I think we girls would rather jewelry as gifts such as bracelets and pendants. It doesn't have to be expensive, just nice. (Maybe I should email him a Heavenly Treasures coupon as a hint). Household appliances such as cleaning and kitchen stuff to me cannot be considered as gifts. They are necessary TOOLs, not GIFTS. What about you? What sort of gifts would you like to receive from your spouse?
Thinking of what to give DH is one thing, the other thing is the money. I mean, being a SAHM, I don't really have my own money to spend. It feels kinda weird buying his present with his money, you know what I mean? If you are in the same boat, kindly share your experience.
Gifts for kids are easier. Books are my favorite choice (click here for some Scholastic Store coupons). Lego would be on my list too coz' the children are always fighting over what is left of our existing lego.
Photo books seem to be gaining popularity. I'm contemplating on doing one for the family, sort of an annual record so we can see how the family evolves. I think investing in this is a good idea.
p.s. If you are looking to save some money on gifts, its a good idea to scout around for online coupons that you can use.

Play With Baby: Hide and Seek

Baby D is now 9 months old. If you have a baby that is similar in age (or even older) and you're wondering "what can I do to entertain baby?", well why not play Hide and Seek. In the video below, the two older kids are hiding inside their pillow fortress. Guess who comes calling?

It's really funny how baby just can't resist seeking us out. Sometimes, baby would wonder off somewhere and no amount of calling and coaxing will bring him back. The best way to get him to come back is for me to hide behind a pillow or whatever and he will come crawling back to seek me out. So now you know this lazy mother will try all sorts of things to NOT get off her butt. I really hate chasing my kids around. AND you know what? This worked with my eldest girl too when she was a baby.

Babies this age has acquired the understanding of object permanence. That means if you take something away, they know it still exists and will usually continue to seek it out. Unlike in the earlier months, when you take something away, they think it's gone and will move their attention to something else.

Another hide-and-seek game to play is by hiding objects (instead of people). I like to use something noisy like a rattle or keys. What I do is shake or jiggle the object in front of them and then suddenly hide it behind my back, under my leg, inside my shirt etc.... If baby is having a hard time locating the object, just give it a few shakes so baby can try to listen where the sound is coming from. It proves to be a good listening activity as well. And usually when I shake the object, I will make up a song or rhyme too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tag: Autograph Book

I've been tagged by Jo-N, my new found blogger friend. Figured I better do this and not let it sit around for months like my other tags.

#1 What is your favourite movie?
50 First Dates (And most of Adam Sandler's movies)

#2 Who is your favourite singer?
Jon Schmidt - he is not a singer but a pianist. I listen more of acoustic piano than anything else. Tune in to my radio station at soundclick: lian's station

#3 Which song gets you grooving in the morning?
All Of Me by Jon Schmidt

#4 What is your favourite fruit?

#5 Who is your best friend (excluding your family)?
Cheah Poh Lin, Susan and Siew Yin (and many more church friends)

#6 Name one activity you would like to indulge in, in your free time.
Watching movies

#7 When was the last time you laughed so hard till your sides hurt?
Watching Mr. Bean's Holiday a few months ago

#8 Do you recall your last dream?

#9 What is your all-time favourite hobby?
Digital Scrapbooking

#10 When was your last holiday without the children?
My last holiday was a company trip to Phuket (somewhere in the late 90's). After that it was all golf trips for tournaments. Never been on a holidays since married. Still waiting.

Now passing this tag on to:
Mamatang and The Lazy Stay-At-Home Mommy

Friday, October 05, 2007

Things Children Are Not Suppose To Learn

Children have a knack for learning things they are NOT suppose to learn or not required to learn. As you know I'm homeschooling the kids at the moment. K is starting school next year and I'm trying to give her a quick course in Bahasa Malaysia as she is enrolled in a Kebangsaan school. While she struggles to remember bahasa vocabulary, she certainly shows no problem remembering this:

Think you can handle that tongue twister. In case you didn't catch it, it goes like this:
"Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force GO!"

Of course, then the younger one also influenced. He started with "Super Robot Monkey Team Hor Hor Go!" But after proper coaching from jie-jie, we now have this:

Mamas Bag of Tips:
1. Don't let them watch too much TV.
2. Familiarize yourselves with the cartoons they are watching
3. Read to them books so they will learn to love reading more than they love TV.
3. Try to learn their go-go songs, then go-go with them too. Sorry, mommy's go-go video has been censored. Plus, getting old so takes me longer to learn these go-go chants. Hahahah.

Tag: Number Tag

I got this tag from Peridot&Sapphire.

Two names you go by:
1. Lian
2. MOOOOOMMMMMMMMYYYYY (Usually in a screaming, pleading or whiny tone)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Bracelet
2. T-shirt

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
1. Synergy
2. Honesty
(Just so there is no misunderstanding, I have these things)

Two things you like to do:
1. Eat desserts
2. Digital Scrapbooking

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. House with good interior design and comfortable furniture
2. My baby to stop biting me with his new teeth!

Two things you did last night:
1. Iron my husband's shirt
2. Figuring out how to widgetize my

Two things you ate today:
1. Chicken ham sandwich with eggs, onion and cucumber.
2. Cup of Milo

Two people you last talked to:
1. My daughter
2. My son

Two things you’re doing now:
1. Homeschooling my daughter
2. Computer stuff

Favorite Day of the week:
1. Sunday (get to go to church for worship and meet friends)
2. Monday (all my TV shows lined up on Monday night)

Two Favorite Holidays:
1. Christmas
2. Chinese New Year

Two favorite beverages:
1. Herbal teas
2. Fruit juices

Two things about me! Things you may have known:
1. I was a national golfer
2. I have an online bookshop selling children's books

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1. Worked at Nike
2. Played golf full time

Two movies i would watch over and over: (and do)
1. Lord of the Rings
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Two place i have lived:
1. Malaysia
2. US

Two of my favorite foods:
1. Jelly
2. Char Kuew Teow

Two places I’d rather be right now:
1. Watching sunsets at a beach resort
2. Spa having a good massage

My two favorite people to tag:
1. Cindy
2. Mom to Ashley

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Band of Brothers

They were so cute together playing on that plastic horse. Baby's feet couldn't touch the ground and so Koko-D held him tight and pushed them back and forth. I can just imagine them many years from now cruising down the road together on a bike with wind blowing through their botak heads. Hahahah. Oops, sorry! Forgot they have to be wearing helmets leh.

B - Best of friends
R - Respect for each other
O - One heart and one mind
T - Together through tough times
H - Helping one another
E - Everlasting love
R - Realize that there is strength in unity
S - Seek out to do only the best for the other

Toys and Collectibles: Trains, Vehicles and Raceways

When I was young, I loved train rides. I didn't have much opportunity to sit on trains then. It's not like now with commuter trains and light rail transport (LRT). People who live in places where riding the subway is a way of life probably thinks I'm crazy to desire to sit on a train. But living in Malaysia before the 90s, if you sat on a train, it was to go on a long trip north/south. For me, that usually meant rare holiday trips.

However much I liked to sit on trains, I never did play with train sets. My kids haven't asked for them either. I know my son is more into dinosaur and dragons then into trains and cars. But I do know of many other kids (friend's children) who are obssessed with trains as my son is with his dinosaurs.
Usually when you talk about train with kids, Thomas the Tank Engine is mentioned. Well, if you are a train collector, or is raising one, has a good collection of trains for you. They have 962 different kinds of trains cars and train sets for you to choose from. Caboose, stock cars, steam engines, diesel engines, tanks, box car, food service car... you name it, they got it. You also have 27 different brands to choose from. Thomas and Friends,
Learning Curve Toys, Seth Thomas, are more suitable for young children.

Not into trains but into fast cars and heavy duty machines? Just check out their "vehicles and raceway" category. Not only cars and excavators, but also available are planes/helicopters and spaceships.

For each item, they have price comparisons from various shops. You can also read shop reviews to check out customer service and customer satisfaction. This way you can decide if you can trust the seller or not.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Malaysians Can Now Withdraw Money from Paypal

If you haven't heard the news yet, Malaysians Can Now Withdraw Money from Paypal!

Woohoo. This is indeed good news to all you many bloggers who have been blogging for money and have accumulated your mountain of wealth at paypal. Also good news to people like me who are doing some business on the internet and use paypal as a payment option.

Withdrawal is through a credit card or debit card that is Visa or Mastercard. Minimum withdrawal is US10 (they have a table of minimum withdrawals for different currencies). They charge USD5 for each withdrawal.

So, what you waiting for? Go get your money and then "belanja" me!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Readers For Your Blog

Have a Blog? Join in and Get Massive Traffic

When on the road, traffic is a 'bad' word. But in the blogging world, traffic is 'good'. Actually, it is more than good, it is essential. It's as vital as the blood that runs through your body.

So, how do you get traffic to your blog? Ask a professional internet marketer and they will have a list up for you in a jiffy. Me, I'm no professional but I do know one thing, content is important. Oh, blog hopping and commenting on other people's blogs help too. Okay, actually there is another thing. It's pretty new but there's been a lot of hype about it already (thanks to the many internet gurus out there). It's a get-traffic-widget called BlogRush.

I already have one up on my sidebar. Just keep strolling down, you will see it. Basically, you join the network of BlogRush-ers and your blog posts will be distributed to other related blogs via the widget. So join in and be a BlogRush-er, and wait for new blood to flow through your blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Homemade Costume: Cloak

I made this cloak for my girl back in 2004 for a halloween party. You guessed it, she was Little Red Riding Hood. 3 years later, this cloak is still one of my children's favorite 'toy'. If you read my post a few days ago on "
Motivating Your Child to Brush Their Teeth", you will notice my son wearing that same cloak. Of course he is not Little Red Riding Hood. It's his superhero cloak!

Kids just love playing dress up. This cloak is really simple to do. Well... I did screw up a bit trying to figure it out. But as you can see, my screw up also looks okay. If you want to make one for your children, click on the link below for the instructions:


Dancing Days

During my secondary school days, my group of friends me and did our fair share of dance performances. I remember we did one on the cha-cha and another on the rumba. We even did one we called the "mongolian" dance. Crazy! We totally made it up. Oh yes, there was also a perfomance on the Jive Bunny. Does anyone remember that album? It's a mix of jive, twist, Hawaii Five-O etc....

So, where did I learn all these dance moves? Believe it or not, I learned some at school. Do they even teach dancing in school nowadays? Plus, my mom also has dancing feet. She taught me a few moves too. Nowadays she is into line dancing. They have a group that practices at the golf club every week. Yeah, talk about the golf club. They used to have ballroom dancing classes. I would be the youngest there amidst all the "aunties" and "uncles". Some preferred to fox trot around the room. Me, I was into jiving. One of the 'uncles' there invited me to jive with him and I gotta say, he was a good leader coz' he was twisting me here and there. After that I was quite dizzy :) It felt really effortless on my part. Thank goodness I didn't get my feet all tangled up.

I haven't done any dancing in a looooong time. Nowadays people are into salsa and belly dancing? Hehehe, I'll have to think twice coz' after three kids, there are lots of jello to shake now, you know what I mean? Of course I could always lock myself up somewhere with some instructional videos and hide from prying eyes. But then again, with kids, there is no place to hide.

Well, if you are ready for some boogeying, is the place to check out. They have a good collection of instructional dance videos. They offer step by step instructions that are easy to follow. With them you can put some fun dancing into your life.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby Toys

With the latest recall and awareness of lead painted toys, I'm sort of glad I didn't invest much in commercial toys for my kids. So, what do my children play with? I've found that children have a greater interest in "real" everyday things such as the laundry basket you see in the picture above. Their list of "toys" also include:
  • cardboard boxes
  • plastic cups, bowls and spoons
  • back scratcher
  • pots and plastic ware found in the kitchen
  • ladles (also found in the kitchen)
  • plastic bottles - you can make your own shakers, but right now baby is happy just banging an empty one on the floor
Balls are also a favourite in my home. Baby at 8 months now have already learned to throw the ball. It's a small ball just the right size for his tiny hands. One thing I learned at Kindermusik was to label the actions as we do them. So, I would roll the ball to baby and say out aloud "Roll the Ball". Or there is a song/chant that goes along with the actions.

Here is one that you can sing to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell."

We roll the ball, it's rolling.
Now roll it down the track.
We roll it down to Baby,
And Baby rolls it back.

Then when you bounce, throw, toss or kick the ball, you just change the words accordingly.
Baby also has developed a love for books. Yes, more often than not they do end up in his mouth. But I also see that he is trying to control his hands to open and close the book.

Mamas Tips:
Don't get caught up too much with commercial toys that entice you with their brain development capabilities. "Toys" that you find around your house are not only inexpensive, but they also do help in baby's development. Actually, non-battery operated toys probably do more in encouraging creativity as children think of different ways to play with it.

So, what are some toys your children play with?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nice Award

This nice award was presented to me by a nice person: Peridot&Sapphire. She says she is my silent reader. Thanks for not being silent this time. Heheheh.

So, what am I exactly awarded for?
The originator of the Nice Matters Award states that it is meant for “those that are just nice people, good blog friends, and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others, that are there to lend support, or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!”

Wah, so nice to have people view my blog that way. That is certainly my goal anyway. So, to pass this on, I will have to nominate 7 people. I see many people already have this award. If you are awarded 2nd or 3rd time, nevermind-lah hor. Just means you are doubly and triply nice :)

1. Scribbles for My Angels
2. Jenn
3. Min
4. J@n!ce
5. Joy
6. Jean's Diary
7. Singapore Girl

Addition (24 September 2007)
I'm also giving this award to Ken because he so "nicely" hinted that he'd love to receive it one day. Those lovely pictures of you children curled up in bed do inspire me to curl up in mine :)

Digital Photo Frames

If you are like me, you have tons of digital photos stored away on your computer. Mine are mostly pictures of my kids. Some of these pictures make it to my blog as I record down my adventures and misadventures of life with children. Like many parents out there, I too want to capture my children's growing years and leave behind a journal that will remind me of those magic moments. Children grow up so fast, don't you agree? Before you know it, they will be heading out the door ready to fly and build their own nest. Sob!

Anyway, back to those photos you have on your computer. Don't you sometimes feel it a waste that hardly anyone gets to see them? I know you can load them onto an online photo album, but what if you get visitors to your home? How do you share with them the photos without turning on your computer? Or if you have parents like mine, who not only do not have a computer, but don't know how to use one too. I've been procrastinating for the longest time to get some photos of the kids printed out for their grandma. So, I was very excited and impressed to learn about digital photo frame.

Unlike a traditional photo frame where you can only show one picture, a digital picture frame allows you to showcase pictures on your memory card like a slide show. Not only pictures, but home videos and background music.

So imagine if grandma had one of these? All you have to do is copy all your photos onto a memory card, and pass that to her. I'm sure she'll watch the digital photo frame more than she'll watch t.v.!

I would love to have one for myself too. The kids are always pestering me to show them their pictures and home videos. And I would be so happy to finally show off my digital scraps. Okay, so here's one for the Christmas list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Inherited Naughtiness

(Pix is DS1 caught playing with powder a few years back)

Often I get mad with my kids' foolish decisions, loud and unceasing chatter, and boundless energy. But you know what, I think compared to me as a kid, they are indeed better in many ways.

My brother came over one night and started to relate some of the 'naughty' things I did as a kid. He reminisced about the time I lashed out my anger by throwing down the many pewter trophies on the shelf. He says, “why do you think we have so many dented pewters?”

I also remember slamming my mother's bedroom door many times whenever she scolded me. The louder the better. That habit came to a complete stop when my father decided to give me a good whipping for showing such disrespect. That was the only canning I ever had. That was the only canning I ever needed.

Another “naughty” memory was the time I pulled out all my mother's clothes from the cupboard and just heaped them into one big pile on the floor. I was angry at her for something and figured it was a good way to get back. Yes, revenge was boiling in my blood.

And here is another story often recounted by my brother -- my foolish act of jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool and almost drowning. My brothers were doing it and I thought why not join in the fun. Thank goodness my brother spotted me and pulled me out.

I was a chatter box too. Aunties and uncles would entice me with monetary rewards to get me to be quiet for 5 minutes. Embarrassed to say, I never did successfully earn those rewards.

My DH is no saint either. He has 'horror' stories tucked away under the carpet too. Pulling his cousin sister's hair and dragging her across the room is one of them. His tally of canning sessions greatly exceeds mine. Sorry I can't write too much about DH's naughtiness. It is under the X-files folder :) BUT it does exist.

After my brother's little visit, DH is quick to remind me where my children inherits their negative traits. I, of course, say he has a part in it too.

Mamas tip
When the kids get a little out of hand and you are going berserk, try to remember that you once was someone's headache too.

So, what are some “naughty” traits your children have inherited from you?

Smorty: Earn Money Blogging

Blog for money, that seems to be on everyone's mind these days. Blogging for money is a hot trend right now. I know many of you bloggers out there have already signed up with a “get paid to blog” program. Well, here is one more to add to your bag – Smorty.
No need to worry about having to blog about things you don't know or don't want. Some people can blog about anything under the sun. Me, I have a problem with that. I'm very picky over what I write. If possible, I would like to maintain my blogging theme which is about parenting, kids and family life. Okay, so once in a while I also blog about how to earn extra income. So if there is an opportunity to write about credit cards, accounting software or home loans, I would totally skip it. This freedom to choose is one reason why I signed up with Smorty.

Minimum payout is US$6 per post. Depending on your pagerank and Smorty smart score, you can earn up to US$100 per post. I eagerly await the day I earn that much for writing a post that is only 150-400 words long. I think my hands would shake as I write. Hahaha. How often would you get paid for approved blogs? WEEKLY! Yeah, you don't have to wait forever.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Motivating Your Child to Brush Their Teeth

If I ask my children how many times they need to brush their teeth in a day, they will confidently answer "two times - morning and night." So clever hor. But in reality, they usually only brush once a day. They always forget to brush in the mornings, after they wake up.
Well, I also very tired of reminding them. So, what to do?

2 days back
Me: Who brushed their teeth this morning?
(No answer)
Me: Nobody brushed?
DD: We forgot.
Me: Ow, that's too bad. I wanted to give 10 cents to the person who had brushed their teeth. I guess nobody gets it then.
DD: Okay, I'm going to brush now.
Me: No, it doesn't work that way. From now on, I will give 10 cents to the person who answers "yes" when I ask "who brushed their teeth this morning?" BUT, you won't know when I will ask. I won't ask everyday. If you want the 10 cents, then just make sure you remember to brush everyday. So when I do ask, you can say "yes".

Yesterday Morning
Me: Did you guys remember to brush your teeth?
Children: Aiyah, no.

This Morning -- They woke up early and had already gone downstairs. Not long after I see them rushing back into the room and into the bathroom.
DS: Mommy, I'm going to brush my teeth.
DD: Me too.
(After brushing)
DS: Mommy, can you give me 10cents?
Me: But I haven't asked the question.

Later he asked me again if I was going to give him 10 cents. Again I said he must wait for my question. Eventually I asked the "golden" question and they both got their 10 cents. I didn't want to disappoint them. And the funny part was, he came to me a few minutes later and said "here Mommy, you can have back the 10 cents, so you can buy food." Hahahaha.

Mamas tips:
Some might not agree with monetary rewards to encourage certain behaviors in children. They say intrinsic rewards work better than extrinsic rewards. Meaning, it doesn't help when children do something just to get a reward. It would be better if they did it because of internal motivation e.g. brushing teeth so my teeth don't rot, so my breath is nice, or so my teeth are clean and white.

So why am I doing this?
  • Well, for one thing, telling them I'll give them a hug after every brush just doesn't seem to work anymore. I had to get their attention and offer something that would stick in their mind (for a while, anyway). I know they have been playing with their pile of coins lately, so I decided to go with that current interest.
  • They still don't really understand the value of money. So whether it is 10 cents or $100, it doesn't make a difference. The 10 cents is just a gift token. You could replace it with anything that is of value to them, e.g. a sticker, an ice cream etc....
  • How you play the game matters. There are different ways to apply positive reinforcement. You could give the reward every time your child brushes his teeth, or you could make your reward schedule unknown. I chose to do the latter. Meaning, my children won't know when they will be rewarded. According to my psychology lessons (that I learned way back in Uni), having an uncertain reward schedule works better. An example is why do people get addicted to gambling? Because they don't know when they might hit that "jackpot". It is the "I might win this time" that gets people hooked.
  • Of course this reward is only to get them started. I will eventually stop using it. The "proper" reasons for brushing teeth will continue to be taught. AND hugs and praise will continue to be given :)
p.s. And I thought my psychology degree was just a wall decoration :) I guess it does have some use afterall. Hahahah.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Adelaide anyone?

Australia seems to be a popular holiday destination among Malaysians. I remember when I was in primary school, I would envy my friends who would go there for holidays. Australia also seems to be a popular choice when it comes to migration and studies. Again in primary school, I lost a friend as her family moved there. Sharon Liew, I wonder where you are now. After SPM, a whole bunch of my friends also selected to do an Australian based program. Me, I took off to the United States.

Well, I got to visit Australia eventually. My golfing adventures took me to Perth and Brisbane. I have good memories of Perth. My first trip there was a tournament at Joondalup Country Club. My second trip was a tournament at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. The family I stayed with was wonderful to me. Jan and Barry, I still think of you. Sorry I haven't written for soooo long.

The one thing that really struck me in Perth was the pace of life. Compared to bustling PJ, it's very quiet and peaceful, especially in the evenings. I could never get enough time for my souvenier shopping because by the time I was done at the golf club, the shops were already closing. But I hear Adelaide is even quieter.
Thank you badjonni for this beautiful picture of sunset in Adelaide)

Now, what would one do in Adelaide?
  • I hear there is a Botanic Garden, a place with tranquil lakes, landscaped gardens and shady trees.
  • Central Market where you can find the freshest food in Australia.
  • Mt. Lofty Summit to feast your eyes on the beautiful panoramic view of Adelaide.
  • St Kilda's 1.7km Mangrove Trail where you can learn more about the mangrove ecosystem.
  • St. Kilda Adventure Playground. A place that will put a big smile on your kid's face as they go crazy with numerous swings, slides and flying foxes.
  • Adelaide is also known as the City of Churches. So, why not visit some of the churches, especially the Holy Trinity Church which is one of the oldest.
If you are already settled down in Adelaide, check out this Adelaide classifieds. Trying to earn a few extra bucks, you can put up things for sale. You can advertise your services such as babysitting in the "Jobs in Adelaide" section. It was interesting looking through this section as some things you would never find in Malaysia like fruit picking and topless barmaids! They also have a "Dating in Adelaide" for the lonely souls. Of course, do be careful with internet dating.

Well, I hope one day to bring my children to visit Australia. I would love to introduce them to Ms. Koala and Mr. Kangaroo.