Thursday, July 31, 2008

Violence in School

We've all heard how sometimes there is violence in school. I got a little taste of it this week. Last Tuesday, my daughter came home with this bruised eye. A boy in her class (already notorious for his naughtiness) had hit her with a dustpan. Actually, this picture already shows some improvement to her injury. When she came home, it was so swollen, she couldn't even open her eye. After icing it, the swelling went down. She was lucky the dustpan didn't hit the inside of the eye. If not, I'm sure it would have impaired her vision.

So, how did I feel?
Anxious to give that boy a good scolding.
Motivated to do something about it.

Well, DH called up the teacher to get the boy's father's contact number. We called him up and made an appointment to meet that night. It's a good thing we had some time before meeting up with that boy's family. It gave us some time to think what we wanted to get out of that meeting. In the end, it was all good. Prompted by the spirit (and keeping in mind that we need to be good Christian examples), we went with this attitude:
  1. Not out to seek revenge or harbour any angry feelings but rather to seek a solution.
  2. Make friends with the family. Not treat them like the enemy.
  3. Talk to the little guy eye-to-eye and make him realize that his actions are not acceptable. Besides hitting my girl with the dustpan, he had also previously punched her in the stomach, bend her fingers backwards, kick her legs, throw down her shoes etc.... So, you see there is a long list.
  4. Make sure the little guy understands that there will be consequences to his actions.
I'm glad that these boy's parents were good too to let us "reprimand" him. Some parents don't like the idea of other people disciplining their children. Actually, when we stepped into the house, the first thing they said was "you can whack him." Hahahah. Lucky for that little guy we are not that kind of people. We also told the parents not to cane him as that would not solve the problem.
I must say that DH handled the matter very well. No doubt his experience as a church leader served as a good guide. Stern, yet reasonable. Just want to put in point form some of the things he did:
  • Seek first to understand the reason for the action.
  • Teach about actions and consequences.
  • Didn't talk down on the child, but rather highlighted his good points and potential (this boy came out 1st in class so we said how smart he was and told him how much good he can do).
  • Gave some practical suggestions how to overcome the problem (e.g. when he feels like hitting another person, he should put his hands in his pocket). You can't just tell them to stop and not tell them how to do it. Like a smoker trying to quit usually has candy or gum as a substitute.
  • Follow-up. He knows we are keeping an eye on him and will come back to check on him.
  • Check for understanding and get a commitment. We asked him what is the right thing to do and made him promise to do it.
So, what is the result of our little talk with this boy? My daughter said he tried to be good yesterday. Actually put his hands in his pocket but ended up being kicked by other boys instead. Today, he fought a lot. Sigh! Well, we tried our best. At least I can say one good thing came out of this -- we made new friends in the neighbourhood :)

Mama's Parenting Tips:
  • This is one reason why homeschooling is better. People talk about how children will lack in socialization skills if not sent to a conventional school. But getting hit by bullies is not exactly healthy socialization.
  • If another child has done wrong to your child, don't be afraid to meet his/her parents. But do it in the proper spirit. Don't be overbearing and put them on the defensive. Don't be to coward and say everything is all right either.
  • Before you meet with the other parents, decide first what kind of outcome you want.
Last of all, just want to share this quote by Brigham Young. Remember it when you discipline your children.
"If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up."
In other words, don't create damage you can't repair.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Children Really Hear

The only time my house is quiet is when the kids are asleep. When they are awake, you could say they make noise non-stop. Well, this one afternoon I hear my son yelling...

KokoD: Chow-chow pou chee
Mommy: What's that?
KokoD: Chow-chow pou chee. Old newspaper!
Mommy: NO LAH! It's "sau kow pou chee".

"Chow-chow" means "smelly" in chinese. "Pou chee" is newspaper. So what my son is saying is "smelly newspaper."
"Sau kow pou chee" is what you hear on the loud speaker from the vans that come around to collect old newspapers for recycling and it basically means "collecting old newspapers."

But as you can see, my son decided he liked his version better.

Mamas Parenting Tip:
1. Children like to imitate what they hear. Be careful what you say. Keep your language clean. Listen to your children closely to know what they have been exposed to.
2. Sometimes, what you tell your children is different from what they hear. Check for understanding by asking them to repeat what you just said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recycling Vegetables

"Huang Ti Miao" - That's the name of this vegetable. It was by chance that I decided to try cooking this vege many months back. And it turned out to be quite delicious. Even my daughter likes it. Anyway, I'm here to tell you that you can "recycle" this vege (since frugal living is the hot topic these days).
With this vege, you snip off the shoot and the leaves. You don't really eat the stems. BUT, don't throw away the stems. Just stick them into a pot and watch them grow some more.
And soon you will be able to treat yourselves to your own homegrown organic vegetables. In fact, if you just put the stems into a vase of water, they will sprout leaves too.

Mamas Green Living Tip for the Day:
The next time you cook this vege and are about to throw away the stems, think again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Burned By The Toaster

ToasterImage by Nightstar2001 via Flickr2 weeks ago, kokoD learned a lesson the hard way. Well, I admit I am partly to blame. He was toasting bread and wanted to check on it. He put his hand on the toaster and got 3 little fingers slightly burned. No, he didn't touch the top of the toaster (thank goodness) but rather the side of the toaster. But it was still hot enough to burn him.

I was upstairs in the room when he came running in looking for plasters (band-aids). I asked him what he needed them for and he showed me his fingers. I was shocked to see the blisters. He didn't scream. He didn't cry. That's why I was shocked to see those burned fingers.

I immediately put them under running water. Then applied some Burnol before wrapping them up with plasters. I also made it clear to him NOT to pop the blisters. Well, I'm glad to say that he is all healed now.

  • When you are teaching your children not to touch hot things like the oven, stove, iron, pots/pans/kuali on the stove. kettle ... don't forget about the toaster.
  • When I was very little, I was curious about the cigarette lighter in the car (you know the ones where you push in and they pop out burning hot). During my little "experiment", I burned my hand. So, don't forget to tell them about that too.
  • Don't forget to learn how to treat for minor burns.
Zemanta Pixie

Friday, July 18, 2008

Escalator Warning

Escalators at Canary Wharf, London.Image via WikipediaI was out last Saturday with the church's primary kids to Petrosains. We took the train to get there. Going down an escalator, one of the kid's shoelaces got caught at the end of the escalator. Luckily I was standing behind him and kicked it free. Thank goodness he wasn't hurt except his shoelaces were kinda chewed up. So just wanted to leave these tips for you:
  • Always remind your children to check their shoelaces. They might not know when it comes undone. And sometimes kids are lazy to tie up their undone shoelace. Escalators are dangerous!
  • Not just shoe laces, even loose-fitting or long-dangling clothing can get caught in the escalator.
  • Another thing to be wary of are backpacks with dangling straps.
  • Practice safety rules such as holding your children's hands while riding the escalator. No playing or sitting on the steps.
  • Don't go near the edge. No dragging feet along the side. There are traps there too. Stay in the center.
I'm not going to list down examples of escalator accidents. Do a search and you will find plenty. So, next time you are out shopping, just be careful ok?
Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bump on the Lip

A couple of months ago, K developed this bump on her lip that just wouldn't go away. At first, we thought it was an ulcer developing (or what our American counterparts would call a canker sore). But like I said, it just wouldn't go away. Finally had a doctor friend check it out and he said it was a polyp. It can be due to lip biting or an injury to the lip. I'm glad for his advice coz' I didn't know where to go to get this treated. He said either visit the dentist or ENT. He recommended the government hospital coz' it would be cheaper. But luckily the dentist around my area here took care of it for a reasonable price. The minor surgery came up to RM50 (and another RM10 for antibiotics and pain killer).

We didn't cut it out during the first visit. K had two loose front teeth and the dentist suspected that to be the stimulant. So poor K bravely extracted the two teeth. Here she is sportingly posing her toothless grin for me. I commented that she looked like a vampire and that was a mistake.
TIP: Don't make funny remarks about how your kid looks. They can be quite sensitive about their appearance.
We waited for one week to see if the polyp would fade away. Unfortunately, it didn't and so back to the dentist we went.
This is how it looked like right after the minor surgery. She was given an injection to numb the area. Dentist cut it out and then sew it up. K was alright before we left for the clinic. She was actually quite eager to finally get rid of that thing. Once she got to "the chair", she had cold feet. I had to do a bit of coaxing. The promise of a day off from school the next day did the trick.

As the anesthesia wore off, it started to get painful for K. Here she is all curled up wishing for the pain to go away. DH gave her a blessing for the sick and then I hugged her to sleep. Thank goodness she slept through the night. Next morning, she was alright. No more pain. Talked a lot and made lots of noise. Meaning she was back to her usual self. Actually, she talked so much, her stitches came loose. She was having noodles for lunch and I guess it ended up as one of the noodles. Yikes! Since it didn't bleed and the wound remained closed, I just left it be.

Well, if you ever see this bump on your child's lip (or even your own), you know what it is and what to do.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chinese Education

Take a look at this article I wrote in my other blog about giving our children the opportunity to learn mandarin. It is a topic close to many parent's heart. Give me your input and let's brainstorm together.

Click here - Learning Chinese

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby Milestones: 18 Months

I'm going to use this video to mark baby's 18 months milestone. We've been trying to get him to talk. So far, the words he uses most are "jie-jie", "ko-ko" (calling his siblings), "neh-neh" (for his milk), "car" and "park." Lately I've been trying to get him to say "open." He is so hilarious. He'll make his mouth to make the "o" sound but nothing comes out. All he gets is "bah!" This video is so funny to me because it shows baby's cheekiness. He is just so full of expressions. And you can see he is trying so hard and putting so much effort just to make that sound. It's a reminder how difficult simple things are to babies.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Baby Wearing With Sleepy Wrap

I am a big fan of babywearing and so I was elated when I received a Sleepy Wrap to try. I thought it was so cute that it came in a little pouch bag (for storage). Anyway, what exactly is a Sleepy Wrap? It is a long (5.5 yards) piece of stretchy fabric that you use to wrap around yourself and the baby. There are no rings, straps, buckles or buttons. It allows you to carry your baby comfortably and hands free. Here are some things I like about Sleepy Wrap:
  • Grows with your baby. You can use it when baby is tiny and continue using it even after baby has grown big.
  • It is stretchy like spandex and that allows it to conform to you and your baby's body. It really wraps very nicely. Baby is snug as a bug.
  • One size fits all. Whether it be me or my husband using it, it still works the same. Doesn't matter if you are big, petite, tall or short, the Sleepy Wrap conforms to your body shape and works just as wonderfully.
  • The material has a wonderful soft feel. Makes it very comfortable. And not too thick too. So, don't worry about baby getting too hot.
  • When I wear it, I don't feel the burden on my neck and shoulders like other baby carriers. The way the Sleepy Wrap is tied effectively supports my baby's weight (and my baby is heavy at 11.2kg) without putting undue pressure on me. I'm not aching after I use it. That's really important to me.
With my baby, I often use the Sleepy Wrap to carry him on my back. The Sleepy Wrap website did not have the instructions on how to do this and so I wrote to them. They kindly directed me to a video of a mother showing how to do a back wrap. At first, it looked like pretty tricky moves. But when I tried it, it really wasn't that difficult at all. Except I would only recommend this back wearing for older babies and non wiggly ones.

You can see how happy babyD is in the wrap. I love it that I can carry him this way. When I need to get housework done and no one is around to monitor him, I just tie him to my back. He loves the closeness and of course, the piggy-back ride.

The only negative thing I find with Sleepy Wrap is doing the wrap when outside the house. Because it is long, the ends will kinda sweep the floor (in the beginning). That will get it kinda dirty. So I would advice that you tie it to your body first before leaving the house. Then when you want to carry baby, just pop him/her in. Doing a back wrap outside might catch you a few stares. Not sure if you want unwanted attention.

Overall, I believe Sleepy Wrap is one of the best baby wearing products out there. It is simple, easy, comfortable and effective. The creator of Sleepy Wrap is a genius. I bet after you use it, your babies might never want to be put down (oh-oh, is that a good thing?) Hahahahah. It's okay. Bonding with your baby is always a good thing.

If you'd like to get one for yourself, click this affiliate link here: Sleepy Wrap Baby Carrier

Who Drew On The Wall?

DH discovered some black marks on the wall Saturday. Upon questioning the kids, the older siblings say baby did it. When we questioned baby, this is what he said. Now, who's telling the truth?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Free Baking Class Report

What can I say except the baking workshop was very beneficial. I learned a lot of baking 'secrets' such as... oh wait! Am I allowed to share these trade secrets? Hmmm... let's see... I didn't have to sign a contract or anything. I guess I can share without repercussions. Okay, these are some things I learned:
  • When making bread dough, put in fats such as oil or butter at the end. This is because it's very important to first let water and flour mix to form gluten. This is how you develop the dough. If you add the oil/butter too early, it forms a barrier (coz' oil repels water) between the flour and water. Then your bread not so soft lah.
  • Use cold water and ice cubes when making bread dough.
  • You can substitute bread improver with vitamin C (bread improver is 50% vitamin C anyway).
  • This is the first time I heard about Sorbitol. It is to keep the chocolate cake moist. Can use glycerin too.
  • Cream of tartar is used to strengthen the egg whites (when you make meringue).
  • When making meringue, make sure there is not even a drop of oil or egg yolk mixed in or it won't work.
  • When making chocolate chip cookies, add the eggs in bit by bit. Don't pour in all the eggs at once. If you do, it will curdle.
  • Again with chocolate chip cookies, combine all dry ingredients into a premix and then pour the whole thing in. If you add the premix spoon by spoon, it takes too long. Over-mixing will allow gluten to form and you end up with hard, chewy cookies.
Okay, now for some pictures and a little bit more "exciting" (or maybe I should say "shameful") story.
This is me folding in the meringue into the chocolate cake batter. Look like professional or not with my apron and cap? So nice of MIB (Malaysian Institute of Baking) to provide these memorable gifts. By the way, this is a very rare photo of me. I normally don't post photos of myself. So remember how I look okay.

This is the moist chocolate cake I DIDN'T bake. Haiya, why I say it's not baked by me? It's because some time during the chaos of getting the ingredients ready, we mistook salt for sugar. I was in a group of 4 people and this is an excellent example of how "too many cooks spoil the broth." So after all the mixing, we ended with salty cake batter. Thank goodness for Ms. Chin (our baking guide) who offered to make another cake for us (so we don't get "boo"ed by our husbands). But I must also thank Loh (Save the Cheeze!) and Thomas (Life Goes On) for donating their extra cake to us. So nice to have blogger friends to help save the day. And even though I didn't bake the cake you see, I can at least say I decorated it. Mine is the one with the criss-cross pattern.
So, another good baking tip:
(So embarrassing to tell this story).

This is my group showing off the sweet buns we made.

These are the baking bloggers. They may want to stay anonymous so I won't tag them in this photo. But that's Michael from AMBP in the front. Thanks once again Michael for selecting me. This picture don't do him justice. Just for the record, he looks cuter in person. (Golf lesson at Puncak Alam driving range still open for you).

Last of all, thank you Clove and MIB for the goodies and the good experience.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Baby Dancing

This is another way to keep baby busy. Unfortunately, dancing didn't tire him out.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Free Baking Workshop Update

I got a call last night telling me that I'M IN!!!! Yes, they selected me and so I'm off this Saturday to the wonderful world of baking. I'm so excited. Thank you judge(s). Does this mean I owe you a golf lesson? Hahahahah.

In case you don't know what this Free Baking Workshop is about, check back at this posting:

I'm gonna be learning how to make:
  • Sweet buns (with red bean, tuna and hot dog fillings)
  • Moist chocolate cake
  • Chocolate fudge &
  • Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Thursday, July 03, 2008

When I Wasn't Looking...

He quietly kept himself busy with my lipstick.

His sister's bedsheet looked a little pale, so he made sure it got some color.

The wall looked kinda empty. He decided it need a little something too.

"I'm just expressing my creativity. Why you all scolding me?"
Actually, he got some smeared on his face too but daddy quickly washed it all away before mommy got a chance to get her camera. Humph! Spoil sport. So, what are Mamas Bag of Tricks this time?
  • Grow eyes all around your head for 360 degrees vision (we already scream like a monster, might as well look like one too. Hahahah)
  • Tie your kid up when you have to take a bath. (This probably constitutes child abuse.)
  • Lock up your lipstick. Putting them up high does not work at the toddler stage coz' they can climb like monkeys.
  • Learn how to wash out lipstick stains.
  • Just tell them NO, and hope they listen.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How I Got My Toddler To Nap

I gave him... a bucket of water and different kind of cups.

He got himself all wet. Instead of wasting the water, I taught him to water the plants instead.

So off he went, to and fro from bucket to plants. Learning to scoop water and walking carefully so he won't spill any.

Some plants got more than they needed.

Dig down deep to scoop the last bit of water.

No more? never mind. Baby knows how to turn on the tap. Let's fill er' up again.

Not long after this exercise, baby is off to la-la land. Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, the nap took place at 5:30pm. So you can imagine what kind of night we had.

Mamas Bag Of Tricks:
  • You don't always have to roll out the children's swimming pool. A bucket of water is simple but still provides lots of fun. Bottles and cups help in developing baby's fine motor skill.
  • It's okay to take the diaper off when they are playing with water.