Friday, November 23, 2012

This Mama Loves ToyBox Singapore

Nathan and Noah loves watching Mark & Reuben from ToyBox. 'Like' their Facebook page to get updates of their upcoming shows.

Being ex-preschool teachers, they are really good at engaging children. You'd see kids on their feet and grooving along to the songs they sing at their stage shows, laughing at their jokes, listening intently during story time, and getting all excited when it is time to look in the ToyBox.

Nathan calls them "the 2 funny men". My kids aren't always "co-operative" nor enthusiastic when it comes to singing action songs or moving to the music, but Mark & Reuben has a way of getting both of them on their feet and dancing along. 

That's a photo of Noah, trying to get a better view...

ToyBox will be staging a Christmas show and we have some tickets to giveaway! Just leave a comment on this blog if you'd like to win tickets and we'll announce winners on 28 Nov, 12 noon. 

In addition, we also have 2 ToyBox CDs to giveaway. Leave a comment and we'll pick winners on 28 Nov, 12 noon!

Do leave your email address so that we can contact you if you win. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thumb Sucking

Following Nathan's dental visit, I was reminding him not to suck his thumb before bed...

Me: Nathan, remember what the dentist said? You have to stop sucking your thumb.

Nathan: No. I want to suck.

Me: Do you know why you have to stop sucking your thumb? Can you see that there's a hole (gap) between your two front teeth? Can you see?

Nathan: No... I can't see. My eyes cannot bend that way.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Visiting the Dentist

Nathan was due for his six monthly dental review, and he has been looking forward to this visit for a while. This is the second time he's going to the dentist and previously, he got to choose what cartoons he wanted to watch on the Mac that's mounted above the dentist chair. He also remembered bringing home a little present from the dentist's "Happy Box". Given that positive experience, he's been looking forward to this visit so he can bring home more presents. The first time round, he chose a Barney yoyo. This time around, he already decided that he was going to choose a Baby Bop yoyo for himself and a BJ one for me before the visit.

We arrived at the dentist and had to wait for a while even though we had an appointment. Nathan didn't seem to mind waiting and promptly went to the little play area to entertain himself. The nurse also offered to switch on the TV so he could watch cartoons. 

Although we had an appointment, we had to wait for about 30 minutes before we got to see the dentist.

Even though it wasn't his first visit, the dentist showed him all the equipment she was going to use, got him to touch some of them, and even allowed him to try his hand at some of them... he got to use the magic straw to suck water from a cup, pushed buttons to dispense water, and also got to ride in the dentist chair. I like that she spent time doing that because it got him used to the sounds that these gadgets made, so he wouldn't be too startled when she started using them later.

When asked what he wanted to watch on the screen, Nathan chose Madagascar...

After giving his teeth a quick check, she polished them... Check out the 'goggles' he's wearing...

Nathan sat thru the entire treatment and hardly fussed. At the end of the treatment, he got to choose 2 presents from the "Happy Box". His choice - a Baby Bop whistle and a rabbit badge.

If you are looking for a kid-friendly dentist, I do recommend this one that Nathan goes to. They have stuff to distract the kids and make dental visits less dreadful, and best part of all, their prices are pretty reasonable.

The dentist did not have any major concerns with regards to Nathan's dental health except for the fact that there's a gap between his two front teeth... which I believe is caused by him sucking his thumb. He only sucks his thumb when he sleeps, and this habit of his has helped him to sleep so well ever since he was a baby, so I never really thought it was necessary for him to kick the habit. The dentist wants him to quit sucking his thumb, so as not to affect his upper jaw development. Looks like we're going to face some challenge there. :( Any suggestions?

Friday, November 9, 2012

This Mama Loves Flip for Joy

As a student, I really struggled with learning Chinese. I didn't want my kids to go down the same path, so I've put in extra effort to make sure that they are exposed to the language from a young age. Nathan attends Chinese enrichment classes, we listen to nursery rhymes in mandarin, and we read Chinese story books. A few days ago, he started singing a Chinese nursery rhyme out of the blue, and I was glad that he could remember and enunciate the words. 我有一只小毛驴,我从来也不骑。。。

Speaking about Chinese story books, I have trouble choosing good Chinese story books for my boys. It is not something I can easily buy online and local bookstores didn't seem to offer much options. Added to that, I don't have a strong command of the language, so that limits my options even further.

I was delighted when I learnt about Flip for Joy. Flip for Joy is started by Meiru, who is an ex-JC Chinese teacher. She has a 3 year old son herself and she chooses fun and engaging books from all over the world, and makes them available to mums like me who are clueless when it comes to choosing Chinese books. And the best part is... she makes the effort to include han yu pin yin for people like me who are quite rusty. Here's a review of the books we've read and loved.

Nathan has a crocodile cuddly which he has held since he was a baby (see photo). He needs it to sleep, and hasn't been apart from it for a single night every since he was born. So I knew I had to get this book for him when I saw it. 鳄鱼不刷牙 is a bilingual book. Meiru took the effort to pen in the han yu pin yin for me, so I had no trouble reading it to Nathan.

Check out the han yu pin yin penned in by Meiru!

Another animal themed book we really liked is 乐乐趣猜猜看系列This is a set of 4 beautifully illustrated books. It isn't exactly a book that is bound like what we are used to, but more like a brochure with many folds. As you unfold each flap, a different animal is revealed. I love seeing the look of suspense on my boys' faces as I prepared to unfold the next flap... and then seeing how their eyes light up as a new animal is revealed. Han yu pin yin is provided on a separate Word document. This is a must get!

Some of you might be familiar with Herve Tullet's Press Here. I got this book for Nathan and we've read it many times over. He was pleasantly surprised when he saw the same book in Chinese, and now asks for 点点点 instead of Press Here! It's kinda like an old fashioned iPad (if there's such a thing).

Noah loved 9只小猫呼呼呼. I think 猫 is one of the first Chinese words he said when he first started talking. :)

Another set that Noah liked was 噼里啪啦立体玩具书. This is a set of 6 books with amazing pop-up, lift-the-flap, and pull-outs detail. They are quite sturdy and could with stand Noah's rough handling. I caught Nathan holding up the birthday cake and singing the birthday song to himself.

We also bought 奇迹小宝宝初次见面绘本系列 which I am still struggling through as this set does not come with han yu pin yin. :P

If you are looking for quality Chinese books for your children, I highly recommend that you stop by Flip for Joy. Drop them an email if you need recommendations, and I'm sure that Meiru will come up with a list of books that your kids will love!

Disclaimer: I bought some books from Flip for Joy and received a few extra books with compliments from Flip for Joy for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nathan's N1 Progress Report

It's 2 weeks to the end of the school year and Nathan received his "report book" yesterday. There is a developmental checklist in the report where the teachers indicate their observations of him in school. The checklist is divided into 3 broad categories: A) Physical Growth / Motor Development, B) Cognitive / Language Development, C) Social & Emotional Development.

In the first two areas, Nathan has demonstrated consistent ability. 

Here's what the teachers said about him in April this year...
Nathan has excellent gross and fine motor skills. He impresses us with his ability to handle gym equipment with ease. He is confident when he climbs up and down the equipment and when he walks steadily across the low beam. We are also impressed with the way he threads shapes with a shoe string and uses the scissors with ease.

In the area of Social & Emotional Development, the following can be further encouraged:
1) Says "please" and "thank you"
2) Demonstrate self control
3) Expresses feelings in an appropriate manner

Here's what they said about him now...
Nathan is very interested in the songs that we sing in class and we can see that he is focused when he follows the lyrics and actions as we sing the songs. He especially enjoys hearing his own voice after the recordings. He also likes to pretend that he is holding a microphone and sing into it. Nathan is playing and interacting more with his classmates during play.

Their observations are consistent with what we know of him at home too. He loves music and movement, and is able to remember song lyrics with ease. He doesn't always remember his Ps and Qs, and tends to fuss when he doesn't get his way.

I still remember being worried about him starting PNPG... how he'd adjust to a new setting, a new routine... I'm glad he's settled well, and enjoys school. I'm also thankful that he falls sick a lot less now, and has only missed one day of school this year because he was ill. I love having him run to me when I pick him up after school, and enjoy hearing him talk about school. In addition to the progress report, the school also made a year book that contains many photos of him going about the various activities in school... I love being able to see what he gets up to when he's at school... and he gets really excited pointing out himself and his friends in the book, and telling me what they were doing. Good job with N1, Nathan!

Monday, November 5, 2012

White Christmas

It was a rainy morning, so I got Nathan to wear his school jacket to school this morning...

While dressing him up...

Nathan: Mommy, we have to wear our jackets when Christmas comes. Mommy, daddy, Noah... all of us.

Me: Why is that so?

Nathan: When Christmas comes, they'll be snow, and it'll be really cold.

Look how we've grown...

Yesterday morning, Nathan tried to get Noah to sit in their little rocking chair so he could rock him... Noah refused initially, so Nathan got in himself. Seeing him in the chair, I am reminded of how he's grown... this is how he looks when he first sat in the rocker...

Nathan - a few days old
Nathan - 3 years old

After seeing his tor-tor (kor-kor) in the rocking chair, Noah decided that he wanted to have a go as well...

Noah - 1+ month old
Noah - 6 months old
Noah - 20 months old
I am so thankful that both my boys are growing well... but I do miss their baby days.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Noah's First Shoes

I just framed Noah's very first pair of shoes... I was thinking about whether I should clean it before framing... or frame it as it is... scuffs and all. Finally decided to leave it in its original state.

Noah started walking pretty late. Most times, he was contented with shuffling on his butt... and didn't really start walking until he was about 14 months old. He took his first steps on 6 May 2012. Since then, he's enjoyed his new found mobility and we now have to run after him to keep him out of harm's way. 

Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

If you are looking to frame your child's first shoes, check out Little Impressions!