March 24, 2010

[chinese eyes]

It's something G picked up from school (i know it's pretty insulting in other parts of the world, but i think in an 'almost' fully chinese ethnicity school, it's sting kinda loses it's effect.. lol). Anyways, we've been confronted by her (and consequently our) lack of 'chinese-ness'. It is difficult articulating the current ambivalent attitude a 2nd / 3rd generation has towards our mother tongue. Having just got off the phone with G's teacher from her weekly chinese class (who was concerned at G's lack of concentration and poor learning attitude at her class), I am once again faced with the guilt of not imparting to her a rudimentary grasp of the language. It has been a matter of concern to us since she was much younger. Lots of online help are available and one of the most common system that has been tried and proven is the "exclusive immersion" method. That means talking to your child in specifically one language on different days (ie, mon - chinese, tues - english etc). Or another method will be for each parent to adopt a primary language of communication with the child. But in a household of english speakers, who gets the short straw?
It is a constant problem and source of guilt for us parents. Both of us are more akin to the english language, finding great difficulty in imparting a language that neither of us have much affinity for. Sure, I'm much better than V in articulating in Mandarin. I can adopt a pretty convincing Taiwanese / Chinese accent and manner of speech if push comes to shove. I have made presentations in Mandarin, done SMSes and MSNs in Chinese, and am the defacto point of contact for all my chinese contractors. Plus I graduated from one of the country's premier Chinese high schools. That said, I don't like the language... I don't have the love for it that I have for English. It might be bizarre but there is no Chinese equivalent of Enid Blyton, no mystery stories that conjure amazing places like those in Harry Potter, no animation that is as cool as the classic Disney movies. Deep down, I never think in Chinese, never voluntarily speak or read chinese. It is perhaps due to our generation's cultural exposure. Chinese has always been the lagging subject, something that was a chore to study and master. It did not (and actually still does not) open up any doors that English did. There is no pre-requisite for the mastering of our mother tongue for conducting business, for experiencing certain emotions, for appreciating other forms of art / music (we do not have to master latin to appreciate opera?). But we ARE chinese. So does being Chinese mean speaking Chinese?

In confronting the whole Chinese speaking debacle, I'm always torn between 2 sides of the coin. On the one hand, I would like to persist that so long as G is conversant in the language, we shouldn't be forcing her to actually LIKE speaking in Chinese. It is enough to just understand the language, and not to be always speaking it and conversing in it. On the other hand, it is much more than just mastering the language. It is also about boosting her confidence in speaking in both languages. She is already having some pressure from her Chinese class to perform, and that is translated into a lot of tantrums and resistance to attending the class. She finds it embaressing not to be able to speak properly in class, and is consequently always deliberately not paying attention in class. I'm worried that this form of pressure will be doubly pronounced if she doesn't at least have a rudimentary understanding of the language before primary school level. I guess it's the age-old 'competitive' parent syndrome rearing it's ugly head.

Coincidentally, I just read a very succinct post on the same topic HERE. I guess quite a lot of our generation parents are facing and questioning the whole relevance of imparting Chinese to our children. Is it just a language thing or does it come with it all sorts of emotional and psychological baggage?

If anybody has any views of this, do please discuss... it would be nice to hear what other parents feel!

March 23, 2010

[K's first day at Kindie]

Wow, time flies and we were once again transported to the bitter sweet 1st day of school experience we had with G. (blogs are really great! trip down nostalgia lane anytime!) Anyways, reading from my previous post, K is very similar to G on her 1st day.... I suppose having a big sister around in the same school and also knowing all the teachers and some of the older kids beforehand really helps. She was SO excited to be going to "jie jie"s school. We bought her school bag about a month ago, and ever since then, we have also been rehearsing what will go on in school - as usual, G will boss her around and tell her what to do. :)
G and K posing
K mirroring her sister again... G sat down to be at the same height as K, but K as usual, copied the action and made G roll her eyes... haha
Loved all the toys at the playarea in school
Look at that face!
K and me in the mirror..... I think this was her favorite toy, she kept telling me about it.Everythings much less scary with a big sister around!
G was almost as excited as K about her going into kindie. She kept talking about it and introducing all her friends to K
Obliging a photo shoot by mama.
K put together her socks and shoes ensemble herself, and has been doing that consistently now.
Awwww... my heart just melts looking at them together.

ETA: K just talked about school the whole time before sleeping. Who she played with, what she did.... I don't remember G paying so much attention in class when she first attended kindie. K is definitely much more into the details - she will explain all that the teachers did (singing the weather song; playing music with paper instruments etc). I love these little snippets of their lives. :) O and she was so thrilled that her face was on the kindie website after her first day of school!

March 14, 2010

[Bethany Sports Day]

It was a day that was much anticipated by the little kiddies at G's kindie. It was a really nice and sunny day, but not those scorching 'no-breeze' type of intolerable weather somedays (esp recently) are. Great day for outdoor play, and we were once again reminded of the sheer size that the small (when G first joined) kindergarten has grown to. The turn out was amazing! There were so many parents that took the day off to watch the kids spending the morning with their friends and it was really great to meet up with the "old" and familiar ones again.
In anticipation of K joining the kindergarten family next term, G was very keen to pull her into the activities of that day. It was so cute watching all the siblings line up next to each other, showing off to their friends how they can look after their little sisters. :) Here's G demonstrating the songs to K.
Teaching her how to do some moves...
K and her soon-tobe classmates... so cute! To think that G was exactly like that just a mere 3 years ago.....
G putting on her running shoes......
Waiting for her turn to receive her medal
Listening to instructions.
K had her own little medal which she was so proud of, she came to me and quietly whispered (it's from teacher sharon) .... hee....
Some stuff i've been making these days....
Fabric version. I love this size, perfect for notes and cards.
Lined the insides with one of my favorite fabric!

March 08, 2010

[Marina Barrage]

Too often we just succumb to the heat and decide to stay home. Too often we are just too tired to make it further than our neighborhood park. Too often we think that the public spaces in the city are bound to be too crowded. I'm glad we didn't think that when there was an impromptu decision to meetup with S and family for a little playdate at the Marina Barrage. The weather was HOT! but it was definitely cooler out than in. The kids of course LOVED the water play area. :)
K at the lawn right at the top
C and S on our picnic mat
V & K... looking at kites
Sweaty G after running about trying to get uncle KM's kite to fly!

Us having a little picnic while the sun was still up
G cooling off at the water fountain play area
Her legs seem to be endless here! :)
K getting into the water too
G loved the sprinkler fountains!Had some time also in the morning to finish up some more monograms.
And while the girls played 'house' in the bed, i also made some little shadowboxes..
These 4"x4" shadowboxes from Ikea are perfect for 1 4R picture, 1 wild card and various embellishments.
I love the MR suede flowers and pearl pin
Love also the wild cards from OA and their latest range of PPs!

March 07, 2010

[Happy 5th 'Fairy Princess' Birthday Gracie]

It has been a whole weekend of celebration as my little baby, who is not quite a little baby anymore (even though she constantly tries to get away with being one!) turns FIVE! For almost a month before her birthday, she has been soo looking forward to turning 5. As usual, she keeps asking when will her birthday be, and what sort of cake will it be this year, what presents will she be receiving, etc etc....
What she didn't know was that we were planning a surprise fairy princess party for her. She is enamored by princesses, adores anything pink and sparkly and princessy. So were her close friends in school. We thought it will be fun if we secretly invited a small group of princess friends to celebrate her birthday with her. Of course, it was quite a task keeping the whole thing under wraps. :) 5 yr olds are not known for their discreet personalities and true enough, there were murmurs in the week preceding the party about some friends coming over to our place. Heh, of course we denied anything of the sort with a vengeance. The result, she was simply overjoyed when the little fairy princesses started showing up at our place on saturday morning for the surprise....

Here are the pics:
We celebrated at school first with all her school friends and teachers. Cake is from the ole fav coffeebean and tea leaf children cake selection. (a bit on the sweet side, next time i will choose one without so much marzipan)
I love how they pose together :)
Us in school.
Little K, who will be starting Kindie after the march hols, can't wait to be in school!

All the doting grandparents :)

The party decor. The letters that are stuck on the wall were an inspired contribution by V. He found this website (will link it up soon) which made up all the letters of the alphabets in mazes! The girls loved it and it was going to be our backup party activity in case everybody got bored (never even had the time for it!)
Lovely tissue pom poms like the ones at Martha Stewart, except much smaller. I bought a kit for 14 of these from Daiso.Kid friendly food..... thanks to my mil who went out of the way to get the yummy muffins from choc & spice, they were great! :)
Pretty princess plates
Goodie bags (will post a tutorial on those scrunchies soon!)
Little fairy princesses having some food before the games began!
The highlight of the party was of course the "paint the house" activity that we had been excited about too! The kids of course really enjoyed all the painting, it was so cute how everybody had a very firm idea of what they wanted to paint, and in which colours.
All hard at work painting the house.... It's a fantastic present to buy for any 5 yr old in our opinion (we actually bought it from here 2 xmas-es ago but never gifted it to anybody, it has been in the storeroom all this while!). The cake on saturday was a dozen cupcakes from Crystal Jade bakery....
Another view of the party, the kids loved eating all the icing off the cupcakes.
Trying to line everybody up for a picture
So cute! :) Look at all the princesses!
Priceless smiles :)

G loved the party and has been talking about the enchanted fairies granting her wish of having all her friends over! hee....