Thursday, August 1, 2013

Updates on Ryan

Ryan has not been attending school for a while now. He will go back to school after the Hari Raya / National Day holidays next week, so he has one more week of lounging about in the morning. He has been pretty busy these past six weeks. Here's a rundown of what he's been up to.

We kicked off his break with a short trip to KL. It was mainly to escape from the suffocating haze in Singapore at that time. Ryan had a ball of a time with his cousins and spent some time with my mother who was visiting from Australia.

When we got back, Ryan participated in two programmes conducted in Chinese at his pre-school. The first programme was an investigation into sound, and the second one was an investigation into movement. These were separate from the usual school programme so he got a different set of teachers. He also got a (mostly) different set of classmates - his group consisted of children from the Nursery 2 and the kindergarten classes. Only a few of the school children signed up for this programme, so his class was quite small. Each programme lasted two weeks and they were conducted back-to-back.

One day, when Richard was picking him up from the school, one of the English teachers asked whether Ryan attends another pre-school (in addition to the one he is at). Richard's reaction was - Huh? She explained that she noticed that Ryan can read and Ryan's Nursery 2 class doesn't teach reading at the level that Ryan is at. Richard explained that we taught him at home. Heh heh. We will soon reach the point when Ryan's ability to read is just a basic skill but for now, it is a superpower.

A couple of days later, and again when Richard was picking Ryan up, one of the Mandarin teachers asked, where did Ryan learn Hanyu Pinyin. Again, Richard went, huh? She said that she showed the students the flag of the USA with the Mandarin characters for USA and the Hanyu Pinyin for USA, and Ryan could read the Hanyu Pinyin. Richard said, we taught him phonics at home. To which she said, nope, this is more than that because he used the correct intonation. She was very insistent that he could read the Hanyu Pinyin. This one stumped us, because we have not taught him the Chinese words for USA, and we have not taught him Hanyu Pinyin. Some investigation is needed here!

Home learning at night has been a little sporadic because it depends on how tough a day he's had. I do try to build in more writing activities when we do stuff at home. In relation to Shichida activities, after Ryan's Makoto Club showcase and over this hectic period, we stopped giving him Shichida activities at home. We will pick the routine up again this weekend, because he has to do poem recitation and linking memory recitation in class on Sunday.

Also during this break from school, on 6 July 2013, Ryan made his violin debut at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory. It was a fabulous way to conclude his one year of violin. He performed splendidly.

The experience of preparing for the concert was a lesson for me. Ordinarily, we would be quite casual about Ryan's violin practice at home. Leading up to the concert however, we knew that he was not prepared and so we spent about a week practising seriously. As mentioned previously, I went hard on him a few times - two times, actually. Believe me, I knew. Even as I lost it, I knew I was being a monster. Ryan was an absolute angel - he bore my wrath and my impatience with no illwill and he soldiered on. We managed to end every practice session with some measure of progress only because he was patient with me. Each time I hurt him with my words, with my expressions, he forgave me. And my heart would break into a million pieces, my little man loves me that much. What an idiot I am, who's the adult here. I promised him, and myself, that I would be better, and I am determined to be.

So, Ryan has graduated from his one-year Suzuki violin group programme. The next step is to sign him up for individual lessons at the school. We haven't done that yet, for a few reasons. First, we are weighing a few options in terms of classes. I mentioned previously, that we are considering martial arts classes for Ryan. Also, Ryan has been asking to try out the piano, so we will look into that. The second reason is that he started his catwalk course last Saturday, which will go on for six lessons over six weeks. So we will let him complete that before we commit him to something else. Third reason is that we are considering getting a tutor from elsewhere, because the tutors at his school have limited availability. Anyone has a good piano/violin tutor to recommend?

Ryan has been pretty busy with auditions, castings, and shoots. In fact, he just had a shoot today for a print ad. As per his last job, he played the role of the brother in a family of four. The mother was Korean, the father was Chinese, the sister was Thai-Chinese, and everyone assumed Ryan was Japanese. Somehow, they looked like a family.

Over the past six weeks that Ryan has been out of school and up to his own stuff, he has been so busy that we didn't manage to meet up with his friends. There were a few days here and there when we tried to set something up but were unsuccessful. He has a lot of social interaction when he is on his modelling assignments, but he does miss his friends. Nevertheless, his guardian angel is always looking out for him - we bumped into his good pal Brayden twice! The first time was in Ngee Ann City and the second was when Brayden tracked us down at Pappa at River Valley Road.

Anyway, a funny story to share - yesterday evening, Ryan went for a wardrobe fitting for a shoot. Richard fetched him from his nanny and took him to the studio. After they were done there, they went to fetch Rachel. By that time, it was already about 8.30 pm and Ryan hadn't eaten anything since lunch. He didn't complain at all throughout and just followed Richard while Richard hustled and bustled about. When everyone finally settled down in the car, Ryan placed his hand on Richard's lap and looked him in the eye. "Look," he said calmly and seriously, which got Richard's full attention. "Let's go and get fries and nuggets."

That boy knows what's important.

We balance out Ryan's busy days with a lot of "nothing days" - when he has the whole day to do absolutely nothing. Ironically, it is these days when he doesn't want to rest. He's bored and wants to get something going so he keeps himself awake in order not to miss anything. His nanny's daughter, Caroline, takes him out to town some days. They went to see a movie (Monsters University) recently and she's been trying to persuade him to watch the one with the minions. Other times, they just walk around and enjoy the sights.

Ok, that's all. Quite a long post huh? This boy has been busy!


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