Enjoy the rest of the photos!
Enjoy the rest of the photos!
I mentioned in an earlier post that babydoll is raring to go to preschool. She has been bugging me almost everyday, and especially in the morning when her brother goes off to preschool. We are thinking of starting her off in January next year, in N1 (Nursery 1).
Is she ready for preschool? I recall our paediatrician advising us to keep the littles home until around 4 years old if possible because preschool is a prime avenue for children to fall sick. Certainly, with Ryan, our target was four years old and that was what happened - we enrolled him at N2 (Nursery 2) (he was 3.5 years old, to be exact). Our target for babydoll was the same - N2 - and, if truth be told, we have asked for a place to be reserved for her at N2. We did not ask for a place at N1 because we did not expect to enrol her in N1.
Last week, babydoll was with me when I picked Ryan up from preschool (this is not usually the case). We were a little early and, from outside the classroom door, I could see that all the students were still in class, enjoying a storytelling session. Babydoll wasted no time - she sat down outside the door and started taking off her shoes and, as she was taking them off, she waved at me and said, "Bye bye, mummy."
This little patootie was so happy! She obviously thought that I was bringing her to join in the class. Finally! finally! she could go inside the classroom and be part of the fun! Well, what else could I do except to open the door for her? She trotted inside without hesitation and looked for a place to sit among the students. Her brother exclaimed, "Hey! That's my sister, Rachel!" He sat her down and put his arm around her while the class finished the storytelling session.
After that, the students dispersed to go home. Ryan was delighted to have babydoll in his classroom and showed her off to his friends and showed her around the classroom. The two of them ended up at the books corner where they grabbed some books and sat down. Ryan's Chinese teacher sat with them and read a Chinese book to the two of them. By this time, the classroom was empty but they didn't want to leave.
Babydoll didn't look at/for me at all. Of course, she was with her brother but, the way things were going, I suspect that she would have been fine on her own too. I waited for them to finish the book, had a short chat with the Chinese teacher and then I managed to get the kids to leave.
I ask babydoll (almost) everyday now if she wants to go to school. The answer is a firm yes. I even tell her that I won't be there, and the answer is still yes. I even video-recorded it. Heh heh.
I feel so bad disappointing babydoll every time she asks to "go class", but now that the decision is made to enrol her, I'm looking forward to seeing how happy she is when she puts on her uniform and runs off to join the other kids!
Every day after preschool, I will ask Ryan about his day. Interestingly, he usually starts by telling me what he ate for lunch! After we talk about pasta and chicken and noodles and fruit, I make a point to ask him three things: whether he feels happy, what he did in class, and who he played with that day. At the moment, he seems to be hanging out regularly with two girls called Audrey and Ayana.
Anyway, a few days ago when I picked him up from preschool, Ryan told me that he played with Audrey and Ayana, which didn't surprise me. Until he said, "Audrey and I got married."
Me: "Audrey and you got married???"
Me: "When did this happen?"
Ryan: "When we were in the playground."
Me: "Did Audrey ask you to marry her?"
Me: "How did the two of you get married?"
Ryan: "We leaned on each other. That's how we get married. We lean on each other."
Me: "Oh. Err. Ok."
Of course, it's just the girls involving him in their pretend play and nothing to worry about. Isn't it endearingly innocent? For the next few days, when I asked him about his day, I also asked him, "So, did you marry anyone today?"
Married at the playground. Gotta love it.
Very often, we go for dinner at Frankel where there is a veterinary clinic with two gigantic dog figurines in the window. Babydoll always, always goes to visit them, standing outside looking in. Last weekend, she told me that she wanted to go inside to talk to them. And so she did. As you can see, she was absolutely thrilled to be able to touch the dogs (and ride them). She exclaimed that the dog was "So cute!" The receptionist kept smiling as she watched babydoll going on and on.
We attended a birthday party of one of Ryan's classmates last weekend. We usually try to find something around the house to wrap the birthday present. Sometimes I just put it in a nice bag with a ribbon. This time we used some art block paper that babydoll had used. Ryan stuck stickers on it for the birthday greeting.
There was a girl doing face painting at the party and when we got there, there was a queue of little girls all asking for the same thing - a rainbow on their arm. After the first four or five, even the painter tried to persuade them to have something else, but nope, they all wanted rainbows. Then, it was babydoll's turn and she asked for a lion. Heh heh, that's my girl.
That's all. I think we're quite up-to-date now!
I've mentioned that, while the littles play well together, they do quarrel as well.
Last week, the littles were playing together with the chalkboard easel. Babydoll was holding on to the eraser while Ryan wrote on the chalkboard. When Ryan wanted to erase what he'd written, babydoll refused to give up the eraser. And so they squabbled and quarreled and babydoll started crying. I was in the next room, but I could hear everything. After a bit, babydoll came running to me, in tears, with Ryan behind her, also very upset.
I asked, "What's happening?" and Ryan explained the situation ("Meimei has the eraser, but I want it."). From experience, I guessed that he'd probably tried to wrestle the eraser from babydoll so I suggested, "Well, why don't you try talking nicely to her?" And so he asked his sister nicely for the eraser, with a please and in a quiet voice, and babydoll gave the eraser to him straightaway. Babydoll does sometimes refuse his requests, however nicely put, but this time, she was quite happy to leave the game and stay with me, safe in a hug.
I told Ryan matter-of-factly, "Well, now you have the eraser, what's next? Meimei wants to stay here now". Ryan got all upset of course. He wailed, "Nooooo.... I want meimei to play together with me!" I pointed out to him, still in a matter-of-fact tone, that he wanted the chalk and the eraser and now he had the chalk and the eraser; and babydoll was not part of the game anymore. Ryan became very apologetic, and started crying his sorry to babydoll and begged her to play with him.
Well, after a bit, babydoll relented and Ryan took her hand and they both went off to play again. I think the whole thing took less than two minutes?
The next time we hugged (which was about an hour later), I told my son, "Thank you for playing together with meimei just now", as an acknowledgement that he'd done a good thing by resolving the issue. He grinned from ear to ear.
A couple of days later, I was in the playroom and I came across the chalkboard easel. This was written on it: "RACHEL I am sorry that I snatch that eraser. RYAN".
(You can see that he forgot the "t" in the word snatch, and added it in later, haha.)
So it looks like, after they went back to their happy play in the playroom, Ryan wrote his sister a proper apology and kept it advertised on the board. That was pretty great, I think.
For what it's worth, I'd like to put this out there as food for thought - what would you have done if you were the parent in this situation?
Labels: some sweetness for the weekend
Ryan turns six in about ten weeks, in January next year. Next year, some of his friends will be starting primary school and others will be making serious preparations for their turn the following year. Six year olds doing serious stuff.
Already, many of the kids I know are doing four or more enrichment classes, on top of attending kindergarten. The exact choices differ but it is almost a rule that every five year old has a combination of music, language, sport and art/dance classes. Some are doing stuff like math or phonics or some sort of brain training. It is a culture, deeply ingrained. The preschooler's version of tuition.
At this point in time, I find myself going in the opposite direction. Ryan goes for a swimming class once a week and he has golf in his preschool once a week (which I predict he will ask to drop next term). He has no other structured classes. We have, in the past, explored a few other structured classes - not many, and they are all documented on the blog. I guess we didn't feel the need to continue with those nor have we felt an urgency to pick up another class for Ryan.
Now, this is not a post about who is right and who is wrong. Each family is entitled to make their own decisions and, given the same circumstances, people may still differ in what they think is best. We can have opposing opinions and still be good friends.
No, this post is about something much less obvious to some but very real to me. It's about friendships. Inasmuch as I am comfortable being different from the rest, I sometimes wonder how it will affect our social relationships in the future.
I've mentioned the enrichment classes but it's not the only thing. Ryan leads a very different life from many of his friends and we, as his parents, sometimes make very different decisions from other parents.
Now, it's looking a lot different. Well, at least from my side of the street it is. Sometimes it feels like everyone else is together on the other side. Like I mentioned, their kids all do the same type of classes; they even go to the same enrichment centres. They're all part of a culture, part of the same experience. And we're not.
So what will happen next year? I don't know. Of course there will be new friendships and new experiences but what of our present friends?
Here are some snippets of the weekend just past. It isn't a complete account of what we did, just some glimpses here and there.
We started our weekend on Friday, because the nanny was on leave. It felt exactly like a weekend, except that Richard was working. He joined us for lunch though.
Here are the littles enjoying playing together. They are painting here. They do squabble and sometimes, when it seems like one is disturbing the other's work, we will offer a new activity. For example, if Ryan is focused on building his train tracks, babydoll may come along and mess things up. I usually let them try to resolve things on their own but if they can't, I sometimes offer babydoll another activity. This only works for about three seconds - Ryan will then hurry over and join in! Well, at least they know that being a duo is more fun than going solo. More and more frequently now, they manage to resolve their little squabbles on their own, because they do want to keep playing together.
Here's babydoll being babydoll. I always get asked if my children are not pure Chinese or if they are some other race/blend. I think it must be their round eyes?
Sitting at the sink, brushing their teeth. Up till now, we do not have a fixed teeth-brushing routine! The kids actually love to brush their teeth, they just need me to give them the signal. I must try harder to make this stick!
Okay, that's all!