Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parenting with love - sometimes "damages" can be permanent... the un-repairable scratch

One of the key reasons why I blog is to capture all those golden moments which I am sharing with Dumpling. It didn't occur to me at all that some readers may interpret differently where it seems that I "have it all" or am in control of everything.

That's not what this blog is about. I would like to be as truthful as I can but I think it is in all of us to capture those really good moments so that we have beautiful memories to look back at.

I don't have it all and it is certainly not easy being a FTWM and a homeschooling one too. There are many moments where I struggle, get too hung up on 'results' and that I face a roadblock be it working on Dumpling's mannerisms or we hit a plateau during homeschool. I too get tired, cranky and lose focus once in a while. Why I stuck with what I do will be another post altogether and I will get to that post very soon. But for this post, I like to share something heartfelt and something not that easy to write.

In the homelearning group that I moderate and in my day to day dealings with parents of preschoolers (I am in the EC industry), it is very apparent that no matter what the "garmen" says, the primary school system is indeed punishing. I recently saw a Ting Xie list (Chinese spelling of perhaps 40 short 'everyday' phrases of 4 words each) for a 9YO Ting Xie test and I had to just naively ask if it is a term's work (of which the answer is no.).

It is no wonder that all these bring out the worst in many of us, yours truly included. But interestingly, it is in these moments that I learn and 'grow' through praying for grace. See the scratch below? This scratch will always be a permanent reminder for me to focus on only the important stuff.

This scratch happened only when the violin was less than a month old when Dumpling upgraded to a larger violin. I was cranky after a long day at work, dealing with well 'difficult' parents and in Dumpling's violin notebook, the teacher had a note on getting her to practise scales, some techniques and also to monitor some other technical setups. She tried a few times and I was 'trying' too. I had to correct her over and over again when she 'zoned out' and after failing to get her to pay attention, I snapped. I basically told her it was her choice of instrument and if she wants to learn, then learn it properly. If she is not gonna be 'serious' about it (yes, I used that word on a 5YO), we might as well stop. YUP, I SAID THOSE AWFUL WORDS.

That didn't go down too well with her as she was very upset and we had a tug of war - me pulling the violin from her and she, pulling it back because she said she wanted to try again. And that's how we ended with that battle scar. The violin costs about half a G by the way and I was devastated to see this ugly, 'in-your-face-inch-long' scratch especially when it was so new.

To say that I went ballistic was an understatement.

After some time where we both took a break, Dumpling came to me to say "Mama, I am sorry. I am sorry that we quarreled and I am sorry that we scratched the violin. But thank goodness, it was only a scratch."

At that moment, I was so ashamed of myself. My 5YO kiddo had no qualms coming to me to apologise and was so gracious as to even try her best to comfort me. I was deeply humbled and yes, thank goodness it was only a scratch on the violin where it is easily replaceable. What if these quarrels had cost a permanent scar in our relationship? Moments like these teach me grace and lead me to breathe deeply and think about what prompted me to take on coaching her on all these activities on my own. It is LOVE. I wanted her to encourage her love for knowledge, to nurture that love for questioning and to also continue to love music yet I was doing it so wrong that night.

I once read - if someone were to gift you with a present, would you have thrown it or break it? Not likely. Yet, so often, we end up being so short and so harsh with our "gifts" from God. Isn't that a great irony?

If we would not break these earthly presents, why would we break the bond, trust, love and respect between our child(ren) and us, especially the gift that God has bestowed us with? Let this be a gentle reminder to us all not to lose sight but focus on the most important thing - LOVE. Have a blessed week ahead.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Through her eyes #10 - Ring a Ling

How many of you remember this? :)

As a kid, a treat for me in school will be these triangular packets of Magnolia milk. These days, if I wanted an ice cream, 'branded' ones would come to my mind immediately - Ben and Jerry's, Cold Stone Creamery, 

Häagen-Dazs, etc. 

What I took for granted is a rare treat for the kiddo! She'd listen out to the familiar "Ring-a-ling" and rush down with me in toll, excited about her treat? This small humble van is what kids' cold dessert dreams are made up of! 

Do you prefer a cone or wafer? Or if you are adventurous enough, why not try it with "roti"? What about flavours? Choices are a plenty - vanila, chocolate chips, blue berry, mango, raspberry ripple (my personal favourite!) or the local delights - coconut, red bean, sweet corn? 

I thoroughly enjoy my weekly moments with the kiddos as we dash down to the carpark where this magic van awaits us. :) What are your favorite flavours / concoction?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday - Miss Rumphius 花婆婆 REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

In 'simplicity', there too can be 'beauty'. That was basically what went through my mind when I first read this title in English as part of the FIAR series. This simple and personal story also won the American Book of the Year award in the year of its publication.

:: The story 
Miss Rumphius, otherwise known as 花婆婆 in this Chinese title, is told through the eyes of a little girl (her grand niece). Miss Rumphius grew up in America where her grandfather was a migrant and an artist who painted occasionally. Miss Rumphius' early memories of her grandfather were those of evenings spent on her grandfather's laps as he reminisced his younger days and regaled his adventures with the young Miss Rumphius. That fueled Miss Rumphius' interest in travelling and she told him that she too, would travel when she is older. 

"很好,“ 爷爷笑着说, ”但是, 你一定要记得做第三件事。”


"That is all very well, little Alice," said her grandfather, "but there is a third thing you must do." 

"What is that?" asked Alice.

"You must do something to make the world more beautiful," said her grandfather. 

And so Miss Rumphius did the two tasks (out of three) that she told the grandfather she would. She visited the countries and places which she wanted to and, stayed in a house by the sea. When it came to the third task, she was stuck. She pondered over this question for the longest time, "what can I do to make the world more beautiful?" 

:: The Illustration

Dumpling and I enjoyed the various scenes from Miss Rumphius' travels in the book. From the icy snow caps to her tropical adventures, each page brings on a different 'delight'. 

The colours are rich and vivid, and the layout, interesting. Many pages have an "overlapping" format where the illustrations would 'bleed' into another page with small "scenes" either above or below the text. :) It is no surprise to know that Babara Cooney (both the author and illustrator) has illustrated over a hundred books with 2 Caldecott Award Winners to her name. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Author & Illustrator: Babara Cooney 

No. of Pages: 32
Age Group: From 5YO (as a readaloud), 7 for reading independently 

Delicately woven with a lovely message, I am excited to share that Read with Me Mommy is sponsoring one copy of this title for a giveaway. :)

Earn credits using Rafflecopter below 
(Please share on what you can do to make the world more beautiful in the comment section. Do remember to also leave your email address in the section too):

 (For Singapore residents only)

The more credits you earn, the higher your chances! :)

That's not all! Just for Beanie N Us readers, you stand to enjoy a 10% savings when you key in this code BEANIENUS at the checkout! 

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Parenting with Love - "No" is not a dirty word

Hubs and I have vastly different parenting style and the most interesting discussions would stem from our different perspectives in bringing up Dumpling. Some time ago, hubs asked for a kiss from the kiddo and the kiddo was busy and said "no" and he saw red. Now, I have heard from many of my mummy friends that this is a common scene where the man would see green and sometimes red when the little ones are closer to the mum at times. LOL (Mums, please raise your hands if you have been there!)

To me, it is not a big thing and I tried to reason out with the man and he did not seem appeased. So, when all else fail, I left him to the 'hubs-sitter' otherwise known as 'Cable TV'. :) Now, let's park this aside for just a while as I want to share something else.

I met up with some friends over the December holidays for a playdate. As usual I took the time to 'nuah' (singlish for chill) and do what I like best - people watch, drink coffee and observe. The kids were playing in a corner on their own and one of the mums turned to ask the kiddo if she wanted to head back to the exhibition (where we came out from). The kid first said yes but when she realised that her other friends were not keen to head back in there, she changed her mind. What ensued was interesting for me.

The mum looked to be a tad annoyed and started telling the kiddo that it is OK not to follow the crowd. And what followed on was a good few minutes of asking the kiddo why she changed her mind (kiddo was silent), and how she needs to stand up for herself (more silence, just a few nods) and that she should learn to lead rather than being a follower all the time, and back to why she changed her mind (total silence again) and how is it that she does not lead, etc.

While I applaud the mum for her effort in encouraging her kiddo to be more confident, I can't help but also ponder over something else. This mum is one of the most focused mums that I know, having mapped out her kiddo's academic / educational path till possibly secondary school. She started sending the child to some classes since 3 twice to thrice a week, to prep the child to join a school team in primary school (kiddo just turned 6) and is sending her child to another class to prep for Direct Admission into an elite secondary school to get further credits. And this entry is not via music or art, instead something that requires serious brainiac effort.

While some children are more vocal and would lead better, I believe that the environment plays a big part too. With all the shepherding and the molding since Day 1 where the kiddo's life / direction has been planned for the next 10 - 11 years, how would one expect the child to step out of the shadow, to lead and not to follow? Wouldn't parenting style affect this trait too? Is it a bad thing if we do not (whether consciously or subconsciously) allow for the child to deviate from our well-intended plans, to allow them to speak up and say "No" once in a while?

Back to Dumpling versus Dad. What I shared with the man was that saying "No" is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps I sound perverse and I may regret this during her teenage years but for the moment, I am glad that the kiddo is able to stand up for herself and for her beliefs. While I do not appreciate the sassy attitude that comes with her exerting her independence at times, I truly want my child to dare to stand up, stand out and say No at times. This is especially when peer pressure is so strong these days. So, how can we encourage that? For me, it is pretty much allowing her to pursue her interests, to discuss (as in having real discussions where I listen to her point of views, do not force my opinions on her) and not to force her to take on anything that she does not enjoy.

Because I truly hope that by respecting her that way, she learns to respect herself and others too, and remain steadfast in this society where temptations are aplenty.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Foodie Friday - Inspired "Bulgogi Style" Beef with AirFryer!

I have not had a chance to cook over the weekends as much as I liked due to crazy schedules for the past 3 - 4 weeks! Oh, and how I have missed cooking!

At my very first chance, I took out my AirFryer and decided to cook a simple inspired 'bulgogi style' beef. You can do this with or without the foil but as I was cooking this for Dumpling, we went with foil simply because she prefers it with some 'gravy'. If you prefer the smoky BBQ taste, then please skip the foil, lower the heat to 180 and cook for a shorter period of time (I recommend checking after 6 mins)

:: Gathering List
- 200 gm of thinly sliced beef
- Half a packet of Eoki mushrooms
- Half a yellow onion, sliced
- Beef Bulgogi marinade

:: The Cookout
1. Marinate it with the marinade (coat the beef well) and let it sit in the fridge (I sealed the bowl with clear cellophane) for about 4 hours
2. Chop off ends of the Enoki Mushrooms
3. Mixed sliced onions with item (1) and placed them on a foil
4. Sprinkle the mushrooms above the beef
5. Wrap parcel
6. Cook on 190 degrees for 7 mins if you like it tender or 8 if you like it more chewy.

This is quite a simple meal to prepare and a tasty one which Dumpling enjoys. Try it and let me know how it goes! :)

On a different note, when it comes to meal planning, I try to be very organised and I recently made my own meal planner just to help me along. Here's the link to download this simple self made plan which I hope is useful for you too!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram
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