Recognizing Words

May 31, 2006

From my observation, this is my finding on how young kids recognized words. They recognizes a word as a BLOCK, which is make up of a presentation/shape of a group of alphabets in specific print, font and colours. If they were exposed to the same trend of a word consistently, they will be able to remember it. In this case, LOGOs are most easily recognized and remembered by young kids.

Young kids cannot relate alphabets with words, hence not able to grasp the relation of alphabets forming words. Young kids can spot the different alphabets in a word and named the alphabets, but not necessary know how to read the word or spell it out according to the alphabets sequence.

SIL bought JS a Hard Rock T-shirt when she was two. She can easily recognize the word HARD ROCK ever since then (because of the orangy circle as the background) She can even spot the tiny logo on the label and tell me is hard rock. I am sure if given her an AH LOK CAFE logo, she would say is HARD ROCK.

JS can easily spot the words PETRONAS, GIANT, JUSCO, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, GYMBOREE, HP (She always say Mummy’s office work – used to bring her to my office) from any pamplets and newspaper, now she can even recognize the these words and tell me what it is eventhough the font and colours are not the same as the original one and without picture. But when I ask her to spell it, she can’t.

We were at the reception desk at a shop.
JS happily saying “MUMMY, SAMSUNG” Naturally I turn to look outside the shop trying to look at whatever billboard she’s mentioning, but I can’t see any.
ME: “where”.
She said “there, at the computer”
True enough, when taken a closer look at the back of the monitor screen, there is this word encraved to it. It’s not even obvious, but she seen it. (She recognized this word when we went to pick hubby from work, along the way there are many sign boards showing the way to the plant)

Driving along Federal Highway.
JS ” Mummy, look AMERICAN IDOL”
ME: “Where?”
JS’s pointing the signboard showing “FORD” (It’s blue oval, with WHITE BORDERS and WHITE FONTS – exactly like te American Idol logo)
ME: ” No, it’s FORD”

JS knows when we have reached at our Taman, not because of the landscape. I asked her why she knew, she said :” There is the sign saying “LH” (short form taman name – have to be discreet for security reason) on the clock tower”

JS can spell ONE – SIX. But asked her to write it down, it seems too taxing for her. She has merely done this by memerizing, chanting it, not through understanding that the words is form by putting the alphabets together.

From the above scenarios, I can now understand why there are so many different flash cards available in the market and claims that the method works and kids can know how many words by what age. But with flash cards, one need consistency, and it does not quarantee understanding. It reminds me of those Chinese education, a lot of memerizing , dictate a paragraph by heart. (背死书,默写). It’s just a matter of spoon feeding. The western education approach emphasize on thinking and questioning and understanding. I think the phonetic approach in learning words is better, as once the kids master these skill, they can easily recognize new words by themself and can even easily spell out bombarstic long words with true understanding of the relation of alphabets and words.


Things JS Said

May 31, 2006

Went to the clinic for the maid’s medical checkup.

JS: Why kakak have to come here?
ME: For medical checkup to renew her work permit
JS: Why need work permit?
ME: If not kakak cannot work with us and must go home, else policeman will catch.
JS: I don’t want kakak to go back Indonesia. Kakak is my friend (Though she always bullies and talk rude to the maid)

While the maid has gone to the doctor’s room. JS kept asking for her, as though she would never return once enter the doc’s room
Every night before JS close her eyes to sleep, she would sprang up and ask me
“Mummy, have you lock all the doors?”

It has been weeks she repeated that. I don’t know why.
Once we were back home from our outing, we would changed into our home cloths. JS being observant, will also request to be changed.
She can now differenciate between uniforms, pyjamas, at home shirt (that’s what she calls it) and go out shirt.

“Mum, please change for me to at home shirt!” (Yes, she has started to call me MUM and hubby DAD…feel that she’s talking in such a grown up way. I don’t really like it. She must have learned from TV. I prefer her calling me Mummy)
Observant or Vain?

“Mummy/Kakak, why you always wear the same shirt to go out?”
“Not nice lah…change another one!”

The other day MIL came over. First thing JS said was
“Ah Mah, why every time you come Lavender, you wear the same shirt?” “Wear another shirt lah!”
Indeed MIL wears the same shirt every time she travels on a public transport, a not so flashy and old shirt as she does not want to attract too much “attention”.

How Nice If Things Can Be Done At Home

May 31, 2006

Three mornings, I have been running errands outside the house and yet my TO DO check list is still so long and never ending. Maybe is because of month end that’s why I have got so much to do. How I wish I can do everything at the comfort of my own home without running around with two young kids, when come to outing with kids (except shopping), they can be such a burden and they doubled or even tripled the time to get the things done though they learn a thing or two during these outings. Especially for JS, she’s very inquisitive, she has got endless questions, but she also gets bored after certain duration. I can’t wait till weekends to do it with hubby, because most of the offices and banks do not operate on weekends. I can’t leave the kids at home with the maid while running errand outside by myself. Oooh… I hate this, but this is part of my job scope as a HOME MANAGER.

I hate driving down to town. It’s jam in town, parking space is rare and in opened space and worst the things cannot be done under one roof. So I have to go few places, make few rounds and turns to find a parking, walk to our destination, queue , wait …the process seems endless. Somemore the weather is so hot. The car will be like a hot oven, we have to walk under scorching hot sun. I don’t mind doing it by myself. But with the kids, I pity them. The sudden change of surrounding temperature, the repetition of air con office – hot outside open space – stuffy hot car – air con car makes them sick easily. They get cranky and tired very soon. JS is very fair and got a Japanese look, with these hot temperature, her face is blushing like a red tomato. Her cough has worsen, she has been vomitting since Monday night , coughed till face turn red. WH also haven’t really recover, I wish I could stay home and let them relax and rest instead of running about with me, but my errands can’t really wait, so they have to suffer along.

Just now on our way home ( we have been out for 4 hours) , WH got very cranky , he was hungry (is way past his lunch time) and he was also tired and sleepy, he was fussing in his car seat and JS was coughing badly at the back, face turned all red. To distract and calm them, I point out every passing cars , trucks, trailers to them, make up stories, they kept quiet instantly to listen to me. Good thing is that it wasn’t too far from home when they started fussing in the car.

Now I prefer shopping online, paying bills online. I wish I can do everything online and at home. But the fact is that some of the things we still need to go out and get it done.

Monday, after running errands, I found this traditional postnatal care center. I have wanted a traditional urut badly, so I went to check it out. The masseur was not around, but they said they offer home service, charges RM30, but i have forgotten to ask how long. Yesterday morning the masseur came over, but I have been CONNED! So lousy this massage, only less than 30 mins and cost me RM30 and I don’t even required to lie down for back massage, it’s not pleasant and enjoyable, my shoulder is still aching. This is real SHIT service in such a small town. When I was in PJ, the massage makcik that came to our house only charge RM40 for a 1 1/2hours service. This Malay masseur here thought I don’t know a thing in traditional massage and conned me. Real SHIT…not going to give her business anymore.

Story Reading Session

May 31, 2006

One of the kids pre-bedtime routine is to have a story reading/telling session by me where JS would choose and pick her own books. She would also request/negogiate with me on how many stories she wants me to read in a night. She would usually start with the higher number.

JS: “Mummy, you read 3 stories tonight”
ME: “No, mummy tired, just ONE Short story”
JS:”Two, two then” (pointing out 2 fingers)
When I’m in good mood then I will comply. Else I would say “Mummy said ONE. Stop negogiating. Don’t be greedy else I wont read any” (Ha..bad mummy, threatening her!)

WH also loves this story telling session. Even from very young, when I’m nursing him and reading to JS, he would stop suckle and listen intensly to our conversation. Now that he’s older, when I say “Story Time” , he would drop everything he’s doing and come to me. Lately he can even go to their library to pick his own book. We have books accessible to them in a tiny library in the living room as well as the bedroom. His choice of books would be board books, books with big pictures, little words and also “Storybook for 1 year old” (He would never pick the 2 year old or the rest, as if he knows the 1 year old one is for him). He has got a special spot to sit too — ON MY LAP. JS would always sit beside me, so I can actually see her facial expression and her involvement but WH would loves to sit of my lap, back facing to my chest and I can’t see his facial reaction. Even when he’s far away, he would drop all the things, climb up the bed, and walk to this special spot. I tried to let him sit on the other side of me, but he would crawl to my lap.

Last night, I wanted them to finish their milk first before I start reading to them. But upon hearing the word “Read story”, WH quickly let go his milk bottle, went to the shelf and picked up the 1 year old story book.

I said: “OOh… you have choosen this book. OK , mummy will read later, but you have to finish your milk first”
He didn’t want his milk, and keep handing the book to me, then
I said ” OK, we will wait for Che Che to finish milk first”
JS protest :” No, I don’t want didi’s story book. I want a Long long story. You read to didi first, then after I finish milk , you read another long long story for me”
(arrgh…lazy me, don’t want to do double work)

At last , JS choosen a book with lot of words. WH doesn’t know how to protest, as long as there is someone reading story, he’s happy and content, no matter what book is it.

The way I read a story book to my kids is that I first find out what’s the storyline and then I re-tell the story with action and expression instead of reading it from word to word. Because this is the way I remembered my mum doing it when we were young. And also for young children, they will look at the picture more than the print, they would think that adults are actually reading the picture rather than the words when we read to them. Also I would like to cultivate the interest of books in them by making it interesting and exciting rather than boring plain tone reading so that they would pick up a book and read by themself when they are ready and become literate at their own pace. I tried a different approach a few times by just “READING” to them (really reading from words to words) hoping that JS might pick up a few words from here and there, though it’s just a short paragraph, they lost interest very fast and demand for another story. So it’s back to story telling instead of story reading again. Anyway, I remember my mum read to us until we enter secondary school. Though at that time we could already read very well, but we still enjoy the story telling sessions. And I also remember our little library at home. We loves book, beside my dad and my mum’s books, we have a huge collection of children books. Dad has this designated cupboards for us for our books. I’m the “librarian” for English and Malays story books and my bro took charge of the Mandarin ones. We would compete to see you can maintain the neatess place (my bro’s usually a mess) I would love to inherit all this books but they are still my mum’s treasure that she would not part now, she still uses it with her students. Maybe, maybe when we move to our own place 2 years later, I can get mum to hand me down all these books.

More About The Kids

May 30, 2006

SIL#1 brought us to 1U over the weekend when hubby was away to pick up his car from the workshop. SIL#1 was busy doing her shopping and we were actually quite bored waiting for her. We sat on the sofa bench in front of the boutique to wait for her while the kids were running around. WH was happily walking around by himself but with the supervision of the maid and me. Upon seeing this JS said “mummy, didi has gone so far.” “mummy, please look after didi” , “mummy, hold didi’s hand” “mummy, come, look after him”. I told her “nevermind, let didi walk by himself. Mummy and kakak is here watching him” Not sastified with my answer, she sprang into action herself, running after baby, trying to hold his hand, keep asking him to come back nearer to me.

At one time. WH has wandered too far off and turn into the corner until I was out of their sight. JS was following WH along with the maid. When I went to them, JS was crying saying that WH has gone too far and never listen to her until there is no more mummy.

Last night I shown them the video clip taken during the shopping trip over the weekend. JS started to “lecture” WH upon seeing the clip that has got WH running about. “see, why you walk far far by yourself?” I told you already mah, must hold hand, why you never listen” “You naughty ah, after bad people catch you, no more mummy how?” “Why you stubborn, I say 来这边 (come here) why you 去 (go)further and further?” (JS actually speak that and mix with a little mandarin, because I speak to WH in mandarin and she thought WH can only understand Mandarin)

Last weekend when to visit my parents
My mum asked JS “刚才你去哪里?” (where did you go just now?)
JS “我和Daddy 去买东西” (I went to buy things with daddy)
My mum “去哪里买东西?” (Where did you go to buy things?)
JS"去Giant” (To Giant)

Mum spoke Mandarin to JS, but I was really surprise she could answer back in perfect Mandarin. No more Kwai Lou slang like before or answer back in English. Where and when she pick up the language? I don’t know. But it was a relief to me that she will be able to pick up the language once she enters primary 1.
JS was doing some drawing and colouring last night. WH was also copying what his sister does. Then JS said “Mummy, take picture of me drawing” ME “Don’t want lah, no need lah.. it’s late already” Upon hearing that WH quickly stand up and walk straight to the room where I kept the camera, then he came out to me again after seeing that I have not taken any action. He said “ngg ngg..point to the room, and point to his eyes” , I followed him and said “你自己拿camera” (you take the camera yourself) He straight away went to the drawer and took the camera out. "先把抽屉关回(close the drawer first) He close back the drawer before walking out with the camera.

WH doesnt speak but he can understand every single words we say either in Mandarin or English. Maybe is because of us speaking to him in biligual that’s why he’s slow to open his golden mouth to speak. Or maybe boys tend to be slower than girls?

Make drinks for the kids and put into 2 same cup for them. Both of them happily drinking from their cup. When JS put down her cup, WH also did so and tip toed over to look at JS’s cup content. He was checking if I’m giving his sister the same drink. It was so cute to look at him. He wants the same thing as the sister.
JS doing drawing again at SIL#2 house. WH also has got his crayon and paper and getting ready to “start work” together with his sister. He wants to sit side by side but there’s only one stool. He started walking around looking for another, but can’t find it. He keep touching his bum (indicating to sit) and keep walking around looking left and right. Then he touch JS’s stool and also his bum. Got him another stool and he was happy.

I like to see the way he tries to communicate with us. It’s really fun.
New words that WH learn so far.
Wog (Dog)
Kong Kong (My dad)
Po Po (My mum)
Plassssss (Please)
Bloow (Blow)

Only single words at the age of 19th months. But it’s alright as long as he’s not deaf.
Last night try to put WH to sleep. Hubby already sleeping , JS also getting very sleepy, but WH was still very alert. I went to put JS to sleep first. WH happily playing on the bed, talking and singing to himself (in his own language), stand and walk on the bed and giggle all the way. Tried to nurse him to sleep after JS fallen asleep. But he didn’t want to latch on. Tried to pat him and massage him, but still he’s so alert. So I left him alone and went to rest (not able to sleep when WH is not fallen asleep, scare he will fall off the bed, and haven’t put on the sleep sack on him) can hear him laughing and playing and making all sorts of funny sound. It was already past midnight. Don’t know where he got all these energy. After a good 15min, it was all quiet. Checked on him, he has already fallen asleep… ALL BY HIMSELF.

This is the first night after 19th months that he has fallen asleep by himself. No more needing my nen nen. Previously even if he’s not sleepy, but by the time he’s tired, he would crawl to me, climb on me and pull my shirt. But last night, he didn’t do that. Though it’s only that 1 night, though he woke up twice middle of the night to be nursed, but to me it’s one big milestone, one big achievement. It gives me light that weaning him is not impossible. I felt like being freed last night.

Early Breastfeeding Education

May 29, 2006

The beauty of breastfeeding has been implanted into JS’s young mind. It seems to be a norm thing to her and part of our daily routine now after seeing me breastfed WH for so long.

Some days I caught her doing this to her dolly:
Pulling up her shirt and attempt to breastfeed dolly. She would say” dolly, you hungry? I give you nen nen”

When WH rolling on the bed, she would also go to WH, pull up her shirt, try to pull WH over to her chest and say ” didi, you want nen nen?? I give you nen nen” WH will struggle away from her hug and shaking his head.

I also caught her saying this to WH “WH you big boy now. No more nen nen. Go drink milk and sleep by yourself. No need mummy’s nen nen”

Now when she wants me to sleep with her at night, she doesn’t say “come and sleep with me mummy.” Instead she would say “mummy, didi finish nen nen or not?” “Mummy, is didi sleeping already, still drinking nen nen? After didi finish you come huh.”

There was one night, I was nursing WH to sleep but at the same time I closed my eyes resting. JS didn’t see me nursing baby, she only saw WH moving around not sleeping, so she said to me “mummy, don’t sleep. Give didi nen nen , he’s not sleeping yet”

JS’s School Progress

May 29, 2006

Last Wednesday 24th May, 2006 was suppose to be JS’s school Parent and Teacher’s day. I have forgotten about it (actually mistaken it to be the last day of school which is Friday) and also JS was sick at home so we missed it.

Went to collect her exam papers and report card on Friday. Her marks
Mandarin : 66%
BM: 100%
English: 98%
Maths: 96%
Science and Hygene : 100%

I know she must of gotten some help from the teachers during exam, else she won’t get this grade. I didn’t even prepare her for the exam, thinking that don’t want to pressure her.

In her report card, most of the items she has got GOOD grades from the teacher. Those highlight as making progress were English (pre-writing skill, simple spelling), BM (suku kata, oral fluency in BM, ability to ask in BM, Ability to listen and retain info in BM, ability to use BM to communicate and pre-writing skill), Mandarin (chinese stroke) – I’m surprise other area in Mandarin she scored GOOD.

Overall comment: She’s good. Taken interest in her work. Very good in singing and loves music.

I don’t know how accurate is the marking in the report card. Have the teachers been lenient or have I underestimated her. I can see that she loves doing her homework. She can colour very well (only at home, the workbook she brought back from school is so different from the work she’s done at home. Her colouring at school was a mess)

Haven’t been reallly pushy with her learning. Have not done much home schooling lately. Never press on her writing skill as I think she’s still young. (Am reading through my text book on child development, topic on development of language and communication in preschool children. I know it’s not right to start writing at the tender age of 3, somemore on a workbook with blue and red lines which is so confusing to a young kid, so I’m going in depth into my text book to confirm it. ). In fact I have been taking in a more relaxing approach lately. Maybe I should slowly start flash card and spelling again on introducing new words to her. I’m going to put what I learn daily from the text book and apply it to my kids.