First Day Of School

January 3, 2007

JS started her new school term today.

We have been doing lots of prepotaries due to this.  We have brought her to the school no less than 5 times ever since we have decided on which school to sent her, and I had made many trips with her on the route to the school. We talked alot about school, what to expect and what she will do.  I even made up some stories on what fun activities she will get to do in school but not at home, but again I realize the more I talked about, the more anxious she feels. If I neglect the topic at all, it will be too traumatized for her to adapt to the change. Moderation is still the key. For the past few weeks, there were a few times she just cried out of the blue. She would go ” mummy, I love you so much. I miss you alot” , I know how she feels. The seperation anxiety. She’s anxious of leaving me and attend school. Schooling to her seems to be another milestone, because we have been talking about it alot. I told her if she loves me , then she have to do me proud instead of crying and give me a hard time. I told her she has to be brave and bold so that she can be teacher’s assistant/class monitor. (One thing I learned is that as parents, we should not exagerate how fun schooling will be, because once the child started school and real life set in and doesn’t meet up to his/her expectation, he/she will be very dissapointed and lost trust in their parents).

Yesterday I got her to pack her school bag , asked her what snack she wants to bring along and got her to prepare it. She packed a small soft toys in the school bag ( her security blanket) , a family photo (she wanted me to print a bigger size one, but I get her to use back the one she brought to school last year), she had got hubby’s and my phone number with her.  Brought her to cut her hair and also bring out the uniform and get the maid to iron it.  We slept early last night, and when I put her to bed, she sobbed.  All I could do is again to give her alot of reassurance.

Put her to sleep early, but she kept talking and crying, only doozed off at 10.30pm. Woke up early myself at 6.30am, I’m not an early bird, more of a late owl. Have to get use to this routine. JS cried once I woke woke up at 7am, saying that she doesn’t want to go to school. Gave a bottle of milk and then clean her up and changed her. When I put on the uniform on her, she cried even harder. We left home at 7.30am. She cried all her way to school, but once there she’s alright.

There’s no formal class today. More of a registration day for parents to pay up and school ends early at 10am and it’s not compulsory to stay, nevertheless, I let JS stayed there and I went to do my marketing. Picked her up at 10am, and she was happy, running about playing. I had paid up front last month. RM30 for registration, enrolment + uniform + first month school fees…altogether paid RM630.  The montly fees is RM150. Lucky got SIL#1 sponsored JS’s schooling. Used back the old school bag and stationaries, and no need to buy new shoes as they are required to take off their shoes in school, save up a bit on that.

After my marketing, I sent WH to the Montessori school near our house, just to check if their playgroup has started. We stayed for an hour, and WH refused to go home. He wants to go school very much. He’s a very quiet observant boy and he’s bolder than his sister. He can concentrate quite well on working with the materials. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough headcount to start the play group. The school needed a teacher. I was very tempted and keen to take up the offer, but I can’t commit myself because I need to chauffeur JS to and from school. I wish I can make better arrangement on JS’s transportation to school, then I can take up the offer as a Montessori teacher and put what I ‘ve learned in practice.

After school, JS and me chatted alot. She said she’s happy and having fun at school and she has made me proud by not crying. Yes indeed I’m proud of her behaviour today at school, she didn’t cry at all and she went to play by herself quite fast and didn’t cling to me as she would do usually, but I know she hasn’t totally settle in, as she still can’t make up her mind and told me she wanted to stay home tomorrow but the next instant she would say I can come home to cook lunch for her after that only pick her up from school. However I can see that overall she’s happy today (maybe there’s no formal class yet, what she did today was just play). I hope very soon she will develop a sense of belonging to her school and make some friends.  The mixture of difference races of students and also teachers is quite balance, which make JS feel more at ease.

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3.jpg WH working on the shapes block with magnetic top.

1.jpg Trying on the pink tower. The pink tower is part of the Montessori curiculum in the Sensorial part, which is not easy for a 2 years old to build up. Even JS took 2 attempts to complete it the other day.

2.jpg WH said ” I stand up and do” when the tower became  too high for him to work on seated.

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Updates On My Breastfeeding Journey

December 28, 2006

For once I thought my breastfeeding journey will never come to an end, I thought I still have a long way more to go. Each time I wanted so much to wean WH and each time when he showed slight sign on ready to be weaned, but it has never materialized.

Since he turned 18th months, there were a few occations that I wanted so much to stop but at the same time felt a little pity because my target was 2 years old. And then he turned 2, again I tried and hope to put it a stop. Still a little feeling of “sayang” to let go these special bond, but I’m getting embarrased with his comment and I feel a little uncomfortable now as he’s older.

I thought that he would self weaned during the 2 weeks absent. However, each night when I came back from class, the first thing he does is to cry to be nursed and he nursed all night long. After my workshop ended and we got back home, for almost 4 days, he clings on to me almost the whole day, latch on from morning till night, until I felt so tired and I tried to put “minyak cap kapak angin” (it’s spicy and i thought the smell will deter him and it’s actually not edible, but I was desperate to put a stop at that time)  in hope to deter him from latching on. When this attempt to stop him from nursing failed, I gave up hope to force wean him and accepted the fact that I will have to let him self wean.

It has been almost 2 1/2 weeks now that I see that he’s quite ready for self weaned. He has asked for milk more frequently and some day he doesnt even request to be nursed. Eventhough he does,  the time of nursing him has been cut down to the most 2 times a day and each time didn’t last more than 15 minutes.  Sometime when he asked, I even said ” no nen nen” and he’s just alright with the comment and didn’t insist like what he does last time. He no longer need to be nursed to sleep for nap and even at night. He would roll around in bed, talk to himself ( I even found him moving his little fingers on the bed as though playing on the keyboard and singing Do Do Mi Mi ) and then he will fall asleep all by himself.

Yesterday was a record. For more than 24 hours I didnt nurse him at all.

I’m quite ready emotionaly to drop this breast session. I’m glad that I’ll be in posses and in control of my body , have a good rest before starting another long journing of nursing  another little one. (if only there will be one ;P ) 


No More Extra Classes

December 27, 2006

One more week, JS will start her new school term at a new school and I have also made up my mind to stop her extra night classes for Maths and Mandarin that she has attended few months ago.

I enrolled her to these classes during my “school hunt expediture”  and after I have pulled her out from her former pre-school (due to the dissastifaction I have with that school and how much she hated to go school and didnt enjoy much). When I pulled her out from school, I did home school with her but I know that homeschooling itself is not that healthy for her social growth, she still needs to learn to work in group and interact with others and be less dependent on me. Another reason for sending her to the Mandarin class is to build the foundation for her so that when she goes to a Chinese medium K1 next year, she won’t feel lost at not understanding bits of the language. Third reason being that she’s still acustomed to being away from me a couple of hours a day, three times a week, hopefully when the new school term starts she won’t find it hard to readjust to being away from me again. There’s no quarantee though..as she’s still very attached and clingy to me, but at least I made it not too long a gap for her to be solely with me during this period of time and the next school term. She left school in Oct, if she would to stay home with me for 3 months , I know by Jan she will find it hard to cope leaving me behind and go to school. Just want to make the transition less traumatized to her.

Now that my purpose has been served, I’m happy that she learns to speak some basic Mandarin and can understand the language, I see no reason for her to take extra classes at this young age anymore. I think the normal school hour will be just sufficient for her.

I wont say there’s no struggle for me to made up my mind. I never denied that I’m a kiasu mum. Inside my heart I tend to compare her with other kids and feel proud if she’s better than others (which mum doesn’t do that anyway?? Every mum does that!!) and I do have expectation from her. Of course I know it’s wrong for me to have this kind of expectation and comparison…especially I see her progress in Maths and Mandarin in this short period of time, I can’t help to feel a pity to let go instead of continuing.  Even when enrolled her for these classes, I didn’t had a clear thought of how long to go on. It’s 50/50. 50 said that I will not continue after the new school term start, another 50 was thinking to see how thing goes and will decide later and maybe will carry on with these classes on top of her normal schooling.

Anyhow I have made up my mind. It’s too high a price to pay, not in monetary term but her childhood.  I know I’m kiasu… I know I want her to excel. At the same time I’m also been intoxified by the comment that if one let your child have a relaxing early childhood and pre-school years, it would be hard for the kids to adapt when they enter primary 1 especially to a Chinese medium primary school. (There’s really such non sense). I’m also one super worried mother…worry that she would feel left out because we are going to enrol her to a very competitive Chinese school in the urban area where most her peer will be attenting many of these enrichment classes. (It’s so wrong for me to have worry like this, I shall be the one to encourage her and motivate her and support her instead of pushing her in the rat race like other kiasu parents)

Anyhow despite all my worries and kiasu-ness, I still get my senses back that these extra classes is really unnecessary and it’s putting a lot of stress on the young child. Though children have an absorbent mind and constantly thriving to learn, but the learning process shouldn’t be carried out in such way. It should be fun filled and stress free. It shouldnt just be school , tuition classes and home work and no time for other leisure.

I was reading Sunday NST on “Fun and books? Pre-schoolers just don’t have the time” , it’s such awakening article that pull me out from making such a big mistake of taking my kids childhood away with endless classes and homework. I really dont want to be part of the kiasu mum circle. I reminded myself that since the birth of JS, I had made a promise that I wont sent her for any tuition classes, at least not during the primary school years and I told myself that I want to coach and teach her myself. (there are people who said that it’s hard to teach your own kids, I wont deny that, sometimes JS do really drive me up the wall, but overall she’s still very good, but if my mum can tutor us herself, I strongly believe I can do so too). I had never gone for any tuiton classes during my primary school years, I had a stress free childhood, which is what I want my kids to have too.  I almost broke my own promise due to the influence of the environment. During Xmas dinner while SILs, JS’s godmother and me were having a casual chat, SILs related how stress free it was during their school time that MIL would say “no need to study so hard…go sleep early…bla bla bla” and yet both SILs are very successful now. With these I’m taking a step aback, to a more relaxing approach to JS’s learning pace.

To really think about it, it really make no sense and not worth to attend these classes besides it intellectual and academic benefits. Her normal school hour will be from 8am to 11.30am where we have to leave home by 7.30am in order to make it to school on time and by the time she comes home it would be likely 12pm already. I want her to have proper lunch and sufficient nap and also time to play outside in the evening. If I were to continue with these extra classes 3 times per week, I will be rushing like mad to cook early dinner and rush her to take her early dinner which she will definately miss out play time during the evening and family time with daddy. I personally feel that it’s important to have family meal together for dinner as bonding time.  And not forgetting there will sure be endless homework to be completed from school and extra classes, which will left her with no more play time. It will be too hectic for her if I keep sending her to these classes as she will not be able to have enough rest, spending more time on the road, rushing through her meals and having endless homework to complete. On top of that , if I keep sending her to extra classes, it will defeat the purpose of me doing my diploma course in Montessori, which my aim was for her to learn through play.

With these extra time free from extra classes, she will be able to learn through play which I’m going to apply what I’ve learn in Montessori on her. That will be more meaningful.

The music class will remain. Music is an extra skill and also it helps to develop posture and style.

Will reserve one more day for physical activity either self defense class, dance or swimming lesson. These are the activities that I’m not able to coach her and not equipped to do so.  Physical activity is important, not only for fitness and health, it will also make the young mind more alert, improve dexterity, posture, self esteem and concentration. Will look for a suitable class and location for physical activity for her, might not start next year, it might be later when the timing is appropriate.


Sensitivity To Order II

December 26, 2006

Maria Montessori discovered that children are at their height of sensitivy to order at the age of 1 to 2. She stated that a child shows the need for order in several ways:

  1.  He shows a positive way in seeing familiar things
  2. Children insistence on putting things back in their place
  3. Crying or throwing tantrums to unfamiliar places or people

She cited on example:

“I found myself one day with a group of people going through Nero’s grotto at Naples. With us was a young mother with a child — about one and a half years old – too small to be able to walk the whole length of the way. In fact after some time the child grew tired and his mother picked him up, but she had overestimated her strenght. She was hot and stopped to take of her coat to carry it on her arm, and with this impediment once more picked up the child, who began to cry, his screams growing louder and louder.

His mother strove in vain to quiet him, she was plainly tired out and began to grow cross. Indeed the noise was getting on the nerves of all, and naturally others offered to carry him. He was passed from arm to arm, struggling and screaming, and everyone talked to him and scolded him, but he only grew worse.

I thought of the enigma of infancy, of how reactions must always have a cause: and going up to the mother I said, “Will you aloow me to help put on your coat?” She looked at me in amazement, for she was still hot; but in her confusion she consented and allowed me to help her on with it.

At once the baby quieted down, his tears and struggles stopped, and he said “Mamma, coat on.” It was as if he wanted to say, “Yes, Mamma, a coat is meant to be worn”, as though he thought of it, ” At last you have understood me” and stretching out his arms to his mother he came back to her all smiles. The expedition ended in complete tranquillity. A coat is meant to be worn, and not to hang like a rag over one arm; and this disorder in his mother’s person had affected the child as a jarring distrubance”

I can totally relate to the above incident that Maria Montessori had encountered. A few weeks ago, we were having dinner at BSC and the restaurant was quite cold and since I was having a flu, I brought along a sweater. The moment I put it on, WH made a great fuss and tried pulling my cardigan. Remember what I have read in the book, I know he’s showing his sensitivity to order and I quickly took off my cardigan and he was all smile and happy , though the grandparents and aunty kept telling him that he should let mummy put on the cardigan.

The same thing happened again last weekend. SIL and me were out shopping for cloths, while I was changing in the fitting room, each new piece of cloth I tried on, WH is wailing and crying out so loud and he gave me such a pitiful look with so much tears flowing. ( I felt a little embarrased !) SIL was jokingly saying that he’s such a “jakun” and “sakai” , of course I knew the reason of him behaving so,  all I could do was to cut short the fitting time and quickly choose 2 pieces of new cloth and quickly put on my cloth. After that he was all quiet and happy, running around in the shop.  If I have not known about Montessori philosophy, if I have not known about the sensitivity to order, I guess I would be loosing my patient and get very irritated by his behaviour. I’m so glad that I have the knowledge and be able to understand what’s in his little mind.

Not only these 2 incidents , I also realize that he’s able to keep his all the things back to the original place and also the sequence on how he arranged his toy cars. (earlier posts- here, here)

Montessori noted that :

the child has a twofold sense of order. First is external, his relationship with the environment and second is internal; an awareness of the different parts of his own body and their relative. The need for order is evident in the child from about 1.5 years. During this period, the child manipulates his environment and moves objects from one place to another.

Order consists of recognising the place each object in relation to his environment. It is not objects in place that he is identifying through his sensitivity to order but the relationship between objects in the environment.

The child’s need for order is different from that of an adult. Order provides an adult with a certain amount of external pleasure. But for the child, he needs order in the environment because he is constructing himself out of the element of the environment.

So mothers with young babies out there, if your child started to fuss and cry for no apparent reason, please do not blame the child and get irritated, but first check out what is new in the environment or was there any changes …maybe it’s your new hairstyle, a new perfume or a new dress that has cause a little disturbance in your little ones…..we adult have to be sensitive to our child’s cues as well.


Conversation With A 26th Month Old

December 21, 2006

Below is a conversation with my 26th month old WH who has just started to show some progress in his speech.

Was praising him for a good job done

“Wah…WH so clever. Who is the clever boy?”

“I ver (clever).  Jie jie not ver (clever)”

“Why you say jie jie not clever?”

“Jie jie noty (naughty)”

“Why?’

“Jie jie scold”

“Jie jie not naughty. Jie jie also love WH. Mummy love who?”

“Mummy love Hanh Hanh”

“What about jie jie?”

“Dont love”

“Why?”

“I don’t know”


When There’s No Internet Access…..

December 20, 2006

The only good thing when there’s no interent access at home was that I actually spent less time in front of the pc and more time with the kids.

Here are some of the activities we have done among the many others.

 WH doing spooning activity of transferring peanut from one container to another while JS doing some writing work.

 JS’s turn to do spooning activity of transferring peanuts to 2 equal containers.

 Transfering of water from one container to another using sponge

 Transfering of water from one container to another using syringe

 Transferring of sago to 2 equals container.  (it wasn’t easy for WH to do that without spillage). Look at WH carry out the work with full concentration.

WH having his turn with the sponge

 Tranferring of nut with tongs

 Pegging activity.  Seems a easy task for the kids and they cant wait to have their turn, but my presentation to them was that I peg it in a certain colour sequence. I actually want them to observe and copy what I did.  Initially WH just pegged the way he likes, but the following time , he can actually get what I have done earlier.

 Tumbling tower. JS favourite family game. She’s actually quite good at that.

My kids actually treat this activity as fun thing.  After the first day of doing, the next day JS would asked ” mummy, what fun thing we doing today”

I like to observe them when the doing it. It’s fun , kids being kids they really explore around and when they discover something, they become excited. Like WH would say “Cold , mummy” when he touches the water. They were amazed by the sound made by the dropping peanuts and sago when they spoon over to another container and also JS would go “mummy, do this way can get bubbles!”

WH is able to choose the activity he wants to do the next day by going to the place I keep the things. Of course they love the activity involved with water the most.

OK…now have to thing of more activities for them and prepare more materials…


Send WH To Playschool?

December 20, 2006

Another mind boggling question. Shall I or shall I not.

There’s one new kindy opening up in our taman. At phase 2 which is a upper middle income area. The kindy itselft is a double storey bungalow with large compound and to my joy it’s MONTESSORI!!! ( Montessori seems to be everywhere now. I heard that in S2 there were 3 and another one at Oackland… but how authentic they are, I haven’t go check it out as it’s too far from home)

Montessori kindies are blooming in my area. At least so far I have found three near my area but sadly the area I’m staying is highly Malay populated and these montessori kindies cater more for the malay. Tadika Montessori at Ampangan is abit run down and not very attractive but still they have montessori materials (this one I visited a year ago). There’s another one called Tadika Sri Mayang ( didn’t go inside, but the taman opposite ours is very malayish and for middle to lower middle income group) …. the new one posh one is the one in our taman.

Ria Karisma had an open day last weekend, which of course I wont let go the opportunity to bring my kids over. The principle is more a upper class malay, lives in US for 13 years, speak good english, open minded and has exposed to Montessori education and system in the US ( her son was raised in a montessori school and in US school usually has a lot of parental involvement)

The kindy is nicely set up with special build swimming pool, a sand pit , play ground, doll house and a small basket ball court at the compound. Inside , the material are almost complete. When I stepped into it, it gave me the impression of me in my training center.

One of the teacher/partner that attended to me is very knowledgable in the montessori method. She was trained in Summit many years ago. 

As much as I want to teach my kids the montessori way at home, I know there are limitation as I can’t really have a prepared environment.  It’s vital to start early and I want WH to be benefited from it.  My only concern is there’s no other chinese in that school. (Typical chinese thinking!!)  Usually when I go school hunting with my kids, I would also asked WH for fun if he wants to go to the school together with JS. Most time he would say NO. But this time I asked if he likes this montessori kindy, he said YES.  I have repeated that few times over few days, I get the same answer… and he can remember and said ” got train!” ( a set of wooden puzzle train toy)

At the same time hubby also asked when I told him about the new school. He said “why not you go teach there?” ( since he’s sponsoring my course, he wants to see his “investment” returned. :D) I really wish I could… I really like that school and their set up. 🙂

It will be perfect if WH & me can go to the same school. 🙂