Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reading and Writing the Next Level

Reese read all the Dr. Seuss Green Back Books I bought (7 books). It was fun to read with him because he read with full comprehension of the stories and we had a good laugh on all the wackiness of Dr. Seuss books. We are now on another series for beginner readers by Zonderkids. It comes with beautiful illustration and some biblical values too. We will read a book a day and looking at the rate we are going, we will run out of books soon!

I have started Reese on writing alphabets. I have no choice because he is writing his alphabets with all the wrong strokes... So everyday he does 1 sheet of writing. So far no fuss! Phew...

I have also started to do some worksheets that involves spelling words and he seems to enjoy them! 3 letter words are way too easy for him and even 4 letter words he can easily spell them out. I guess I have taught him well... hahaha... very proud of him.

I also introduced a word game to him. We do word search in a box full of alphabets. It was fun and surprisingly he can find most of the words on his own.

Next game I am planning to play with him is making sentences and hopefully will start him on creative writing once he mastered his alphabet writing!! Yes.... creative writing at 4+ years old... cool eh?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chinese Language

Ni Hou!

My son now loves to add Chinese words and phases in his conversation. It's really funny because his pronunciation is like Guai Lo speaking Chinese! Reese has shown an interest in the Chinese Language. At every opportunity he will include at least 1 or 2 words or even a phase that he knew (very limited). It all started with him watching Ni Hau Kai Lan. So now, I told my mum to teach him Chinese whenever he goes to their place! I just want him to be able to converse and perhaps recognize some Chinese characters.

I am thinking of sending him for Chinese lessons but will that help? Being an educator, I am afraid of poor quality teachers and programs. There are just too many enrichment centres that are not up to expectation. Mmmmm... maybe I worry too much.... :)

Some example of his using Chinese in his conversation:

Mummy, 'wor yau che' dumplings! (I want to eat)
Mummy, 'how how che' (Very tasty)
'Wor se Wei Li' ( I am Wei Li - Reese's Chinese Name is Kam Wei Li- Mandarin, Kam Wai Lup - Cantonese; The spelling of his Chinese name is not official because in his birth cert is only Reese Matthew Kam)
'Chen Pang!' (great? hahah... I am not sure)
Mummy, here is your 'fu tou sher' (tiger shoes)

Very Expressive Lately....

My son has become very expressive lately. He likes to tell you how he feels over things with words. Before this, he only expresses himself with 'I don't want' or whine, cry and throw tantrum.

Now, he will tell you things like:

Mummy, I like this the best. 'how how che' (Very yummy)
Mummy, I don't like Ye Ye's new house.
Mummy, I love to play with this.
Mummy, I am happy.
Mummy, I am happy that Fish @ Co finished renovating.
Mummy, I am sad because mummy shout at me.
Mummy, I don't like this.
Mummy, don't be mad. Don't be quite. I don't want you to be angry!
Nah! I don't think so.

He is learning to communicate more effectively with us and loves to voice his opinion on things.

Obsessed with Christmas Trees

Our tree decorated by Reese, Daddy and Mummy

A dove made by Reese at school

Bells made by Reese at school

A beautiful angel also made at school

2 weekends ago we finally put up the Christmas tree because Reese kept pestering! He was so excited to decorate it with us. He put up most of the ornaments. We also included his Christmas craft work brought back from school. Everyday he will sit next to the tree, turn on the lights when it's night time, and just simply admire the tree. He loves it soooooo much.

We also bought Reese two Christmas presents and now waiting for more presents to fill space below the tree.... :) Anyone wants to contribute? ;) Just kidding!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reese's Christmas Photos

Pavilion KL


He never likes to look at the Camera!

Some rare moments of him posing for the camera

Monday, November 15, 2010

Full Time House Wife....

Reese: Mummy, PLEASE don't grow old, STAY young!
Mummy: What about daddy?
Reese: One day, Daddy will grow old and die.

Reese is very sticky to me. As you can clearly see from the above conversation who he favours the most! :) I spent the most time with him and we do things together. I love the bond and I love the time spent with him. Even when I have a choice to leave him with my parents every Monday and to have a few hours of Me time, I prefer to spent it with my boy. Monday is one of the days that we can have a leisurely lunch followed by some grocery or window shopping and then head back to my aunt's place (My teaching place) and get him to take his nap and usually after that I will have an hour of ME time before I begin my teaching for the day.

We hardly get to stay home. Reese follows me wherever I go except when he is at school. I teach children and help my aunt manage her franchise business. We are out of the house by 8.30am and only gets home at around 8pm on most days. Hubby will buy dinner back. My usual day will be sending Reese to school and then I will go into the office for 3 hours and then pick Reese up, we will have lunch and if there is time to spare, we will go window or grocery shopping at a near by mall. Then back to my other aunt's house and get Reese ready for his nap and then I will have my classes. Dinner preparation will be in between. If Reese is up from his nap, he will do his drawing or play in the classroom while I teach. Sometimes he will watch his favourite cartoon on the Macbook or plays with my aunt. He is quite independent and will eat his dinner on his own or sometimes my aunt will sit with him while he eats. Usually after my last class, he will spend another 20-30 minutes with me doing math or some reading. The only thing I am not happy about is that he hardly has a chance to go to the playground to play with other children.

I always envy full time mummies. You get to stay at home all the time! :)
Well, I will get to do the same 2 weeks before Christmas. I will have 2 weeks break!! Yes! No traffic jam, I can then play with my son at home, take him to the playground, alot of time to do house work, I can cook at home! Yess....... can't wait.

I always find that my day is too rush and can't enjoy any activities properly. Everything is about timing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

School Party and a Short Performance

Singing with alot of expression and hand gestures! A little exaggerated actually....

Singing bahasa songs but you can see he only did the actions and not much singing. He doesn't know Bahasa. The last part is one of the funniest part. See my son moves alot more than the rest and one of the loudest and mostly out of tune.... :)

We had a really great time at the school party with good food and alot of fun. Looking forward to next year's party!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Accidental Fun with Classical Music

"Why must Reese listen to classical music in order to stimulate his brain power? Why can't he listen to Rock music? " said Daddy

My dear hubby is a perfectionist when it comes to music. He thinks all music can stimulate the brain. He loves rock music, emo music and some other kinds but not classical. He exposed Reese to HIS kind of music only.

As for me... I am very much the DBKL of music. I listen to all kinds of music. And classical music is proven to stimulate the brain according to research! So every now and then I will try to put some classical music for Reese to listen. What do you know? He is interested and even recognized a few composer's master pieces by listening to them.

Just last weekend, while relaxing in the play room, I played some classical music and Reese asked me about Bach and Mozart.... Asking why they are dead and why they composed music and bla...bla..bla... I got tired of it and while thinking of a way to distract him... I begin to imagine buildings collapsing following the music, then people begin to rebuild the buildings narrating my make-up story with lots of expression putting emphasis on using the music as part of my story telling tool and the rest was history! We had a great time imagining things according to the rhythm and tune of the classical music... it was really fun. We were climbing up and down the sofa, a little bit of dancing and lots of hands movement with exaggerated facial expression. Reese was having alot of fun and started to tell his own story!At the moment our imagination is confined to destruction of buildings and rebuilding them, people became sad and then happy, mouse/person being chased, plants, flower and fungi growing. Need to work on my imagination... As you can see... it's quite limited! Today we had another great session in the car imagining things while listening to the music.

Reese likes and knows the composer of the following pieces:

1787 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st movement- Mozart (We pretended

1709 Toccata in D minor - Bach

Water Music, Suite No. 2 in D - Handel

1808 Symphony No. 5, 1st movement - Beethoven

Hallelujah (from Messiah) - Handel

I need to gather more information about these composers suitable for a 4 year old to know. So far, Reese only knew they are all dead! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tears of Joy....

Just 15 minutes ago,I went to pick Reese up from school and got to watch the kids rehearse their presentation for this Friday. I can't help but became emotional and shed some tears. My son sang and dance together with his friends. It's pretty hard to describe my feeling at that moment. Watching the kids, teachers and volunteers working together really moved me.

Can't wait for Friday where the kids will have their year end party and the short presentation. Just want to record this because really... it was a very emotional moment for me just now. :)

I am half eating and typing this post at Old Town White Coffee with Reese. Hehehe...

Fascination with Road Signs and Flags

Various road signs with some his own creation

His latest fascination is to do with road signs. Whenever in the car, he will look out for road signs and ask or tell us about them. Now he likes drawing road signs and even invent some of his own! At times he will asked me to stop if there is a Stop/Berhenti sign or asked me to give way if there is a give way sign! Sometimes he drives me crazy with his demand with obeying the signs!

Flags he drew. Do you know what countries they represent?

Reese started to have an interest in flags when he saw his daddy watching a concert with some people waving the Columbia flag. This is one of the first country flags he learned about. Then daddy downloaded an app (Ipod touch) on flags. He started to ask us the names and so on and so forth.

At school one day he found a book on country flags. That perks his interest even more. Thus far, he knows the following country flags:

Antigua and barbuda
Hong Kong
Malaysia (he also knows Penang, Perek, Pahang, Selangor and KL flags)
United Kingdom
United States of America

Monday, November 08, 2010

Milestones at 4 years 1 month old

Haven't updated his milestones for sometime now.

At 4 years 1 month old:

Weight: 22kgs
His BMI according to doctor is way out of the chart! In other words, he is still overweight!

Height: 108-109cm
It's at the 90th percentile according to the chart.

Food Intake: Will eat almost anything that is not spicy and no greens. He only takes cabbage, white Chinese cabbage, spinach, carrot and celery too. All these vegetables must be cooked till soft and usually in soup. He loves fruits, noddles and western food.

Personality/Character: Outgoing, cheeky, inquisitive, friendly and not shy at all.

Physical: Hyper active but can be quite the opposite when he does something he likes.

Interest: Loves to draw things he sees everyday. Loves role playing. Will imitate his favourite cartoon characters and always involves hubby and me. Loves to build blocks and pretend play. Likes to sing (still cannot sing in tune and loves making up silly songs) and dance. Loves read aloud sessions and of course watching his favourite cartoon on TV. Has an interest in documentaries.

Reading: His reading level is at Grade 1 now which is equivalent to Standard 1 level. He is currently reading Dr. Seuss collection. Completed Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut and If I Have Duck Feet.

Math: He is half way through Grade K math. He can do addition, learned to count in 5's and 10's, concepts of rows and columns, ordinal numbers, reading time and calender, measuring using inches, learning about place-values and money (dollar, dime, nickle and penny). These are some of the major things.

Other Languages: Steadily picking up Hokkien and Mandarin (watch Ni Hou Kai Lan) and applying words and short phases in his everyday conversation with us.

Independence: He wears his own shoes, goes to the toilet on his own except big business, can undress himself partially. He now goes out without wearing a diaper and willingly use the public toilets when necessary. He eats his meals independently unless it is food that he doesn't like. Usually it takes him less than 20 minutes to finish his meals.

Areas that we need to work on: Getting him to wear his own t-shirts and pants properly. Go diaperless at night. To go to sleep on his own and get him ready to sleep in his own room.

Conversation with Reese

Yesterday night in the playroom:

(Can't remember how we started the conversation but the later the part.....)
Mummy: Mummy is getting old Reese. One day mummy will die.
Reese: Don't worry mummy. (Showing a concern face) You will be young. You won't die.
Mummy: Daddy will be old too.
Reese: Daddy will die soon! *Cheeky grin*
Mummy and daddy: ???

Yesterday at the Thai restaurant:

(I stopped him from doing something.)
Reese: Hey! You are not suppose to ....... (can't remember)!!!! Bla...bla..bla.. UNDERSTAND???

Both hubby and I were dumbfounded. He scolded me and asked whether I understand! Got that from me I guess.... I always use the word understand... hehehe.

In the car:

Reese: Look! Mummy look! Over there....
Mummy: What is it?
Reese: Over there.... What is coming?
Mummy: What?
Reese: *Cheeky grin* It's a?
Mummy: It's a??
Reese: It's a reservoir!! *giggles*
Mummy: Are you sure?
Reese: Nah! I tricked you mummy! *giggles*
Mummy: Ah... I know...that is a water tank!
Reese: Nope, it's a water tower mummy!
Mummy: Oh... yeah. (He was right. It's the tower version!)

At One Utama:

(Suppose to take him to Fish & Co for fish and chips)
Mummy: Here we are! Oh no.
Daddy: It's under renovation.
Reese: Why is it under renovation?
Mummy: Ehh.... so that it will be better!
Reese: Why is it better?
Daddy: Errr...
Mummy: It's because they need to renovate!
Reese: Why do they need to renovate?
Daddy and Mummy: ?? (Reese's questions never end and alot of times we don't know how to answer him! They simply do not make sense! )

After a scolding session:

Reese: Mummy! Talk to me! Mummy!
Mummy: No! I am really angry now. I don't want to talk to you!
Reese: Please mummy, please? Please talk to me mummy! Please talk to me!
Mummy: Mummy is very angry now. I need to calm down. I don't want to talk to you now. GO!

After 20 to 30 minutes...
Reese: Mummy, have you calm down? Is mummy OK now?
Mummy: Yes, I have calm down. Next time don't do that again!
Reese: Is there a frown on mummy's face anymore?
Mummy: Is there?
Reese: Nope. Mummy is not angry any more.
Mummy: Next time don't do that again!
Reese: OK! I promise you mummy. (It's always empty promises.)

Taking medication:

Reese: Is it time for medication?
Mummy: Yes. Take these now...
Reese: (Took all his medication) Mummy, this is my favourite medication. *pointing to the cough mixture* This is the best! I don't like this one *pointing to another one*

Talks like a pro!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Expensive Books....

Well, end of the year is here. It's also time to purchase the next set of homeschool books for my boy. After browsing and picking the ones we need for next year, I realized that it's expensive even though U.S dollars is at its all time low against Malaysian ringgit.

It's going to cost RM2k plus. Got to save up and get them by end December!!! Reese is getting Grade K core, Grade 2 readers and Grade 1 Math. Reese is a fast learner. He is 4 and will be doing work meant for 6-8 years old.

So far our homeschooling journey has been very informal with no fixed schedule and learning is very much spontaneous and impromptu. Next year will be a little different. I will introduce a fixed schedule and perhaps instead of just 20-30 minutes a day of learning, I will make it 60 to 90 minutes a day. Will need to introduce a little bit more discipline.

Deepavali Fun

Kolam and oil lamp

Happy with is new accesories

Mummy do I look good?

For Deepavali celebration, the school gave them a lesson about Deepavali and Reese came out of school complete with a 'pottu' on his forehead and bangles to go with it! He also did a 'kolam' and was given a small oil lamp. Wonderful experience for him.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

What is, What happens if, Why.....

Finally it's my turn to experience this stage of WH questions from my little boss!

Whenever I read or listen about how parents are irritated with all the WH questions from their toddlers... I will simply laugh at them and tell them to be patient or telling them it's not difficult to answer their never ending questions!

Now that I am experiencing it myself.... *sigh* .... I am getting impatient.... finding hard to explain certain things.... irritation started to set in.... had to even ask my son to stop all quetions for a while so that I can stop thinking, stop explaining and have 1 minute of peace!

Just like last night on our way home, our conversation went like this:

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb on the billboard?

Mummy: The bomb will explode and the billboard will be destroyed.

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb towards the highway?

Mummy: The highway will be damaged and cars and people on the highway will be destroyed and killed. We cannot do such a thing.

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb into the tunnel?

Mummy: Tunnel will be destroyed...people will die.

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb into the sky?

Mummy: bla...bla..bla...

Reese: Mummy why will the bomb explode?

Mummy: bla..bla..bla..

Reese: bla bla bla?

Mummy: bla bla bla....

And he repeated all the questions again and again.....driving me crazy!

This morning on our way to school... he started to ask the same questions again and this time... I told him this...

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb on the power line?

Mummy: *Pretended not to hear him*

Reese: MUMMY.... what happens if we throw a bomb on the power line?

Mummy: (gggrrr.... patient...patient... )Well, what do you think happens?

Reese: Well, the bomb will explode and then the power line will be damaged and there will be a blackout!

Mummy: (mmmm..... good answer... brimming with pride now...) Oh...that's right.

Reese: Mummy, what happens if we throw a bomb into a construction site?

Mummy: What do you think?

Reese: Ohhhh.... scaffolding will collapsed, people will die and buildings will be destroyed! Alot of destruction....

Mummy: (Wow.... his vocabulary and sentence construction is getting impressive!) Yes baby... you are right!

Suddenly.. out of the blue he asked me this:

Reese: Mummy, what is cross?

Mummy: Angry?

Reese: What about the other cross? *signing the x*

Mummy: Yes... cross is also that....

Mummy: So what are other words that mean angry?

Reese: Upset, frustrated....

Mummy: What is a billabong?

Reese: *Think for a while*... A small lake.

Mummy: Good job sweet heart.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Learning Mandarin

Ni Hao, Kai Lan

I am a banana period.

Everyone is looking at the importance of learning the Chinese language.

Everyone is banking on China as a giant economy and thus we will lose out if we do not know Chinese.

Everyone is sending their kids to Chinese schools and enrichment classes to learn Chinese.

I don't like China (had culture shock a few years back...might change my mind in the future...). I don't like alot of Chinese culture but I am proud to be a Malaysian Chinese. Hahaha....

I can speak and understand Mandarin and Cantonese. Good enough to communicate or so I thought. When I went to China a couple of years ago, I felt totally handicapped! I cannot read Chinese characters and communicating with the Chinese was tough! But in Malaysia, I realised that the only reason I can 'so call' communicate in Chinese quite well was because I used a mixture of English, Bahasa and Chinese in all my sentences.... hehehe.. there.... a typical Malaysian.

So in order to make sure my son is not a banana like me and hubby, we are exposing him to the Chinese language gently. Gosh, he is picking up Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien all at the same time! Sometimes our conversation will go like this:

Reese: Reese 'kui peng' (Hokkien)...

Mummy: Oh.... what is 'kui peng' in Cantonese?

Reese: ?? eerrr...

Mummy: 'Che Fan'

Reese: 'Chee Fan'

At times I will repeat the same word in Bahasa, cantonese, mandarin.........get the idea? :)

Back to learning Mandarin....

A few weeks ago we stumble upon a cartoon named NI HOU KAI LAN on NTV 7, it's an American cartoon. The cartoon features an American Chinese girl named Kai Lan. It teaches Mandarin Chinese, Chinese culture and values and many more. The Cartoon also helps support social and emotional development of preschoolers through cause and effect problem solving. Another reason I like it is because it is targeted at children who don't know Chinese.

Reese loves this cartoon. I managed to download some episodes and he kept watching them repeatedly. He picked up so many Mandarin words and even can write 1-5 Chinese characters! (wrong stokes thou...). He even picked up the Beijing accent when he speaks those Mandarin words. Reese also learned to understand patience and what to do to calm down... really a great cartoon for young children.

So mummies... highly recommended cartoon for young kids to pick up Chinese in a fun way!