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Bible Verse of the Day

July 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

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Ethan goes to a school that uses the “Learning through Play” methodology.  The kids are taught what they need to learn through arts and crafts, projects and simple stories they enjoy.  For example, in a Mathematics lesson, instead of drilling the concept of 1 + 2 = 3, the kids will pretend to buy things in a grocery store, e.g. “If  you buy 1 orange and 2 apples, how many in total do you get?”

In addition the amount of “homework” per se pales in comparison to other schools.  I am totally opposed to the idea of homework, especially at such a young age.  To have kids being drilled every day to complete their “work” is definitely uncalled for, in my opinion.  It brings unnecessary stress to the kids and to parents too.  Ethan only brings home homework once a week; 2 pages of handwriting (1 page of purely letters, lowercase and uppercase; and 1 page of words beginning with the letter of the week), and sometimes, 1 page of Chinese handwriting homework…and even then, I feel this is too much. 😛

Ethan also brings back an English book and a Chinese book each week, as a move to inculcate the love of reading from young.  I applaud this move and feel that it is very useful as Ethan looks forward to reading it every week.

One of the aspects his school has been encouraging the kids on is in honing their creativity and storytelling skills, which I am truly happy with.  I’m impressed and am very pleased to see the progress Ethan has attained in this field.

When he was in Nursery, the kids were initially asked to draw what they thought or felt.  This gave the kids the freedom to explore their feelings and thoughts.  They were also prompted to express themselves verbally.  For example, in this following picture, Ethan was prompted “Love is…?” and he replied, “My purple bicycle.” “I love….?” and he replied, “The wind, kites and circles.”

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I found it fascinating that even his thoughts rhymed! :) (never mind that he does not own a purple bicycle!)

In this next creative writing exercise example, the theme was “When I was a baby…”.  The kids were asked to draw what they did as a baby and then narrate to the teacher.

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Ethan’s picture showed:

  • When I was a baby, I played with baby balls (depicted in top right)
  • When I was a baby, I played with a toy rectangle (bottom left)
  • When I was a baby, I drink breast milk (picture of the breast at the bottom right.. LOL) – I found it heartwarming that even till then, one of his fondest memories as a baby was being breastfed! :)

Another example of creative writing and imagination:

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As time went on and Ethan entered K1, the kids were then encouraged to create and write their own stories using their own ideas.  It may seem very difficult for kids their age, but you’ll be amazed at what stories these kids could come up with!  The kids would then draw out their ideas to illustrate it in a clearer manner.

An example of Ethan’s short story, as dictated:

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And one of “Creating a Fairytale”:

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Such vivid imagination, don’t you think?

The next step which Ethan is being encouraged on now is creating and writing their own thoughts and stories.  Words are formed by way of trying to sound and blend the phonics of the alphabets together.  Some of the words might be spelled wrongly at first but what is being focused on is the idea that is created and not the spelling of the words.

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It’s a great start, isn’t it?  And I find that this is certainly better and more interesting that mindless drilling of words and letters and numbers…but that’s just me.

Anyway, Ethan is sharpening his listening and comprehension skills now; the teacher tells a story and the kids are prompted to repeat the story in their own words.  It’s an activity I hope to enforce at home too. :)

Apart of creative writing, I’m surprised the school curriculum includes some topics which I’ve either forgotten about or not aware of, like a few weeks ago, when Ethan told me there were FOUR layers in the rainforest: Forest Floor, Understory, Canopy and Emergent.

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Wow.

See?  We can learn things from kids every day too! :)

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Lately Hannah has begun speaking out for herself if she does not want something or if she does not agree with something.  In particular, she uses the word “Noke!”

It sounds like “No” with an emphasized “k” sound.  We figured she must have picked it up when she heard the word “Nope!” uttered and misheard it as “Noke!”

We know it is just a phase she’s going through, and she’ll outgrow it soon.  When she says it, we’ll just repeat after her but in the correct pronunciation, for example:

Mommy: Hannah, do you still want your cereal?
Hannah: Noke!
Mommy: No?  You don’t want it anymore?
Hannah: Noke!

😛

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Of course, at times, you’ll have Ethan saying things like, “What’s NOKE Hannah?  There’s no such thing as NOKE… what’s she saying Mommy?”

She’s still adorable even though her pronunciation’s a bit off 😛

This year, Ethan’s School Sports Day (or Sports Carnival) was held on a Sunday morning, as opposed to a Sunday afternoon last year.  Coincidentally, the Sports Day falls on the Sunday following the Liverpool Asia Tour 2011 match in Bukit Jalil.  As a result, after the Liverpool match, we had to make a beeline all the way back home to Penang, so that we could attend the Sports Day the following morning.

We had to be in Ethan’s school by 8:30a.m. and we only reached home at 2:00a.m.  I was also worried for Ethan, because he was still coughing a little, but after he’d woken up and brushed his teeth, he said he wanted to go for his Sports Day.

Here’s Daddy and Hannah waiting for the events to start, with Daddy cleverly donning a pair of shades to hide sleepy and tired eyes 😛

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Ethan in the march-past, where all the kids assembled on the field and presented their class cheers in unison.  Look how happy and handsome he is…makes it all worthwhile to make the rush back from KL the night before :)

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Hannah, cheering her brother on, and happily joining in the clapping.

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Ethan’s event was the penultimate event of the day, but thankfully, it was not too hot.  Here are Ethan and his classmates, waiting for their turn.

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The event saw two teams (BLUE and RED), each with its members taking turns to hop on paper-shaped lilypads, whilst holding a ball with both their hands.  Ethan had briefed us on what he was supposed to do for Sports Day.  He said, “I’m supposed to hop on the lilypads like a frog, Mommy.  NOT like a kangaroo.  I have to keep my body low, like a frog.”

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He did very well, I would say, and it was a very close fight between the two teams, however, Ethan’s BLUE team came in a close second after the RED team.  His team still got a medal though…a silver medal, and everyone was given a goodie bag.

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Awwww…don’t look so sad, baby.  Daddy and Mommy are SO proud of you!  And you know, the important thing is that you tried your best!  *hugssss*

When we heard that Liverpool would be playing Malaysia as part of their Asia Tour 2011, we wanted to take Ethan to the match, but still, we were not sure if he would want to go.  We told him that it was going to be noisy, very hot, and the match was going to be a whole 2 hours.  He thought for a while and then he decided he wanted to go.

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We enlisted the help of Allan Aku, Pei Gee Ah Kim and also Ah Mah, who had travelled all the way from Ipoh to take care of Hannah for a few hours while the three of us went for the match.  We took an LRT from the Sungai Besi station, which was only a station away from the Bukit Jalil station.  It was Ethan’s first time ever on the LRT.

He was having a little cough but not once did he complain that it was hot or crowded.  He asked for a snack before entering the stadium.

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He only kept asking when the match was gonna start.  You see, we’d arrive in the stadium about 1 hour and 45 minutes before kickoff..and it was a good thing too, because a little later and we would not have been able to get seats.

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We didn’t bring any scarf or banners, but we were approached by a Standard Chartered representative to provide our contact numbers and in return we would get a Liverpool poster.  So that’s what Ethan held during the singing of the Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.  I also taught him to sing the “Liverpool…..Liverpool….” tune :)

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Ethan taking a catnap 45 minutes before the match started.

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Throughout the match (especially during the first half), Ethan kept asking us when the goals would come.  And when they did, he cheered as loudly as all of us.  I’m sure he wasn’t disappointed with the score :)

Tired though we may be, we had to rush back home to Penang after the match.  Both kids, especially Ethan, were very tired too, for they slept through almost the entire journey.  Thanks to Daddy’s safe driving (not to mention FAST), we arrived home at about 2:00a.m.

Well, if you’re wondering why we had to rush back so soon, there’s a very good reason, and here’s a sneak peek…

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For more pictures from our Liverpool Asia Tour 2011 match, please click here.

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Scrap Credits
I’m Like a Bird Collab Kit from Rena & Paprika
FC_Grunge Frame from Unknown source (pls email me if you are the creator)

Weight

12.5 kilos.  (turns out my estimation of her weight had been wrong all this while, because when she went to visit the doctor recently, she was weighed in at 12.5 kilos only)

Height

Around 86cm

Teeth

Turns out I have been wrong all this time.. from the recent dental checkup, the dentist has counted that Hannah has only 15 teeth now (and not 17 teeth, as I’d thought): 4 incisors on the upper jaw,3 incisors bottom jaw.  2 canines upper jaw, 2 canines bottom jaw.  4 pramolars.  4 more back pramolars have not made their appearance.

Motor Skills

  • Likes to pretend she is walking on a balance beam, be it at the side of the bed or on a self-constructed imaginary *beam* made of cards on the floor.
  • Still likes to jump on the trampoline.
  • Attempting to put on shoes by herself (and being rather stubborn about it)
  • Insists on buckling up by herself and shows her *strength* in doing so, by making a “tremendous effort” sound.  Favorite phrase: “Nooooo!!!  I can do myself!  Close the door, Mommy!”
  • Learning about textures and smells by sometimes grabbing hold of food and moulding with bare hands.  Gives me a headache, but I try to laugh it off as a process of learning.  SIGH.

Communication and Social Skills

  • Hannah has started asking WHY.  “Why Ethan go school, Mommy?”  “Why we go home, Mommy?”
    Hannah (pointing to a dot on the crook of her elbow): What’s that, Mommy?
    Me: Oh, that’s a small dot from yesterday, when the nurse took a blood sample from your arm, remember?
    Hannah: But why Mommy?
    Me: So that she can test if you are all right.
    Hannah (makes pitiful face): Painful….

For the record, she did not cry a teeny bit when the blood sample was taken.  So proud of my girl!

  • She can use “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” pretty consistently now.
  • Says “Sorry” readily when she accidentally causes hurt.
  • She loves to hug her blankie to sleep.  It’s a lovely crochet one which was a gift to her when she was a newborn.  She’s had it ever since.
  • Hannah loves to role-play now.  She’ll pretend she’s cooking something for us, or that she’s serving us some food.
  • She adores her soft toys.  One of her current favorites is a little cuddly giraffe she names Isabella (name given by Ethan, but has stuck since).

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  • Hannah can also be rather stubborn at times and demands her own ways.  We have had to introduce the “naughty stool” to her on a few occasions, and she has been able to apologize soon after that.
  • She can recognize most letters of the alphabet and most numbers now.  If she is not sure, she will ask, “What the that number, Mommy?”
  • Has a favorite color, which changes every day according to the color of her shirt/dress.  However, lately she has been telling me her favorite color is GREEN.  Because “Green means GO, Mommy!” :) (her wonderful teacher Ethan has also taught her that “Red means STOP” and “Orange means Slow Down”)

Toilet Training

  • Hannah is about 85% toilet-trained for pooping now.  She is able to let me know when she needs to go poopoo, and can independently sit on the throne till she is done.

Food and Feeding

  • Still in the process of weaning completely from the breast at night.  There have been a few nights where she managed to fall asleep by herself (while hugging me) and also slept through the night without the need to wake up for a comfort suckle.
  • There are a few non-favorites foods of Hannah’s now, namely spring onions, onions, “brown stuff in food”.
  • One of her current favorites now are fish balls.

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Having a knack of solving puzzles seems to run in the genes, because now Hannah, like her brother Ethan, is beginning to show a keen interest on puzzles.

She especially loves to build words from word puzzle letters and she has sort of “hijacked” this toy from Ethan.  When she was first introduced to it, she needed a lot of help piecing the words together, but now she can more or less form all the words by herself.  She can even recognize a word simply by looking at just one of the letters from the word.  For example, she would grab hold of the letter E and tell us she wants to build the word TREE.  Then she would look for all the remaining letters and piece them together.  Sometimes she would ask for some help by saying, “How this one goes, Mommy?”  But eventually, she would be able to finish forming all the words, arranging them neatly on the floor.

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One quirky behavior is that Hannah would arrange all the animals together in a row, and then all the rest of the words in another area on the floor.  It’s as if she can differentiate which are the living things and which are the inanimate objects.  All with the exception of the word BUG.  We’re guessing she does not know that a BUG is an insect, which is a living thing.

And while arranging the word puzzle pieces, she would say to herself, ” This one goes here…this one goes here…ta-daaa!!!”

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Another puzzle that she has been into lately is what she calls her “princess puzzle”.  It’s a jigsaw puzzle  and granted, it is quite a tough puzzle to piece together for a 2-year old, but repeated practice has resulted in her being able to piece together almost the entire puzzle.  But because the pieces are quite small, some of them have chipped off.

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Despite that, Hannah is still able to guess and place the pieces correctly in position.  Sometimes she would even correct me when I accidentally place them in the wrong place!

And here’s the finished result:

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We took both Ethan and Hannah to see the dentist for their twice-a-year checkup yesterday. Well, for Ethan, it was his 2nd time with this dentist, but for Hannah, it’s her first time ever going for a dental checkup.

While waiting for their turn, the kids were fascinated by the door sensor that went “Ding Dong” every time they’d go near it.  The waiting area was pretty spacious, which allowed them to roam around.  SIGH.  They obviously ignored our reminders to “keep it down!” 😛

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I took both kids into the treatment room, because I wanted Hannah to observe Ethan having his checkup first.  The dentist remarked that Ethan’s teeth were absolutely clean and told him to keep up the good work.  Our boy was beaming from ear to ear! :)

Then came Hannah’s turn.  She willingly got into the patient’s chair and did not wriggle or scream when the dentist ask her to open her mouth to check.  Such is the power of sibling influence :) and I was very impressed by her courage at such a young age.

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Unfortunately though, the dentist detected a small cavity in Hannah’s 2nd upper right incisor, which she said had penetrated the dentin layer (not sure why Hannah had not complained of pain).  Anyway, the dentist did a composite filling for Hannah using slow frequency equipment that would not be so *scary* and loud for a two-year-old.

And Hannah did GREAT.  I’m so proud of her.  She laid very still as I held her hand and the filling was done in less than 5 minutes.  No wailings, no screaming and no tears.

I told Hannah she had to let Daddy or Mommy brush her teeth from now on (or at least take turns with her, i.e. “First Mommy will brush your teeth…and now it’s Hannah’s turn!”).  Sometimes she would insist on brushing her teeth herself, which could be the reason why she had a cavity in the first place.  Well hopefully, in 6 months’ time when they go for their dental checkup again, the dentist will give an “all clear” report! :)

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Hannah LOVES music.  When she was a small baby, she would respond very positively to music and it came as no surprise when she started to tap her feet and move her booty to the music too.  She loves to sing now, and a few days ago, I was able to capture a few snippets of her singing.  Enjoy!

Oh, they were laughing at the end because Pete was behind me doing something funny, trying to make them laugh! :)