29 Jul 2011


painted 29/7/11
I'm not a psychologist/psychiatrist, neither am I an expert on this topic (depression), but I've been there, and I know what it feels like to loose hope, to want to disappear, not wanting to face another day. I'm thankful I've a family who cares, and a God whom I can cling on to in my most desperate and blackest moments.

Observe her smile,
You'll notice, hopelessness behind that facade
Listen carefully to her laughter,
You'll detect,  sorrow and despair
Feel her hugs,
You'll realise, there's desperation in her grip saying "help me."

Look around you...have you stopped recently to really find out how your family and close ones are doing? If you haven't, stop all activities, make a point to spend time with your closest and friend in need, look them in the eye, feel their heart with your heart and say silently "I'm here..I'm here."


(As I approach late 30's..I've seen so many of my friends succumb to depression. How important it is in these days to have strong family support and a close relationship with our Creator, that we will not fall into the black pit of depression.)

28 Jul 2011

I will not be a Kiasu (competitive) parent

My children exploring
Dear reader..thank you for reading my blog posts..it's wonderful knowing you'd actually come by to read my boring ramblings and updates about stuff we've been doing around here.

Feel free to peruse, but please do not compare between us. You and I are different. If you're a parent, it's most likely we've different parenting styles, different personality traits, different perception of education, values, talents, ...we'd have different strengths/weaknesses, for no one is alike.

You get the picture, You and I are different. My strengths may be your weaknesses, and if that is so, then most likely your strengths will be my area of weakness. Feel free to copy  projects, if there are any worth copying, as I too often get ideas from other sites. But whatever you do, please do not gauge your children or your accomplishments by mine, do not compare. For no matter what, we're not the same. I too will not compare, for I'm just living my own world, plodding along with my girls (and hubby) a day at a time.

Once (like many Asian mothers) I used to worry "Am I doing enough?", "Have I accomplished all that's to do?" "Oh boy, his/her kid is already doing such and such, I have to push my child a little more."  "Oh my goodness, what?? Her child is already doing Grade 5 music?" Darn.... push push push....PUSH, despite howls, protests, melt downs, parent/child fights..PUSH!!!

Now, I just let it be, coz my child is NOT that child, and I realise, it's really not about doing "Enough." It's really about enjoying my parenting days, enjoying my children and learning along side.  It is observing my children, in trying to understand them better, their personality, their thoughts, their strengths, their weaknesses. It is about helping to develop their strengths further so they can excel in their element. It is also in helping them find a balance in life.

I'm happy I've managed to get the "kiasu"/competitive kinda thoughts out of my head now, and we're all happier. :)  :)

Seriously, and truthfully...life is an endless road of competition. It's a crazy world out there...who gets to climb the ladder first, who's top in class, who has the best dress, who's the brightest kid,  who can play the piano well, who's aced in math etc etc. It's Endless!!! Endless and often destructive causing depression in many children.  Sadly, a life of endless competition, not for the child's sake but for the ego of the parent.
I've decided that the only competition my child will have for now will be in sports, that is when the swimming instructor initiates one. As for academic purposes, talents, reading skills and all other things, I'm gonna HANG IT!  Not hang the education, LOL, but Yeah, hang that competitive bit and allow my child to go at her own pace and enjoy the process of learning.
There's a whole life time of learning in front of them..why not allow them to enjoy it and to love what they learn instead of doing it for the sake of some exams just to see what position they are in class.

Let's get back to the beginning. You and I are different. Therefore, our children are different. There's no point competing in education, because our children will have different learning styles, different strengths, different talents, different in every way. Let them explore different paths and find their own conclusions. Allow them to love learning, allow them to love exploring, allow them to find their own strengths instead of trying to shape them into becoming something else.

See...it's another boring ramble here...Anyway...yeah..just my thought about life as a parent.

27 Jul 2011

Craft this week

Ever since Nel was a toddler, I noticed that she loved patterns. If I gave my 2 children a set of furniture for a doll house, Jo would use it creatively to create a story scene, while Nel would arrange the furniture to create unique patterns. That's the main difference between my 2 girls.

I remember vividly how at age 4, Nel kept her books in patterns. Once I found a set of books in her room, arranged to form a large square, with an eraser placed on each book, and a pencil balanced on each eraser in a certain manner. Another time I found her books stacked vertically upwards creating a pyramid.

Since starting art emphasis with my children last month, we've then done several projects which I though she'd enjoy, all to do with patterns and shapes. Here are a few projects we've embarked on.

Project 1 - Creating objects out of beads. Found these cool beads in Toys R Us

Jo made a star using a preset shape

Nel used a large board and created her own designs, pendants etc etc. She created this for me. :)
Project 2 - Using an assortment of sticks, build a house

Work in progress, Nel working independently. In between we discussed Math and how it is important in architecture

 Jo frustrated initially when she couldn't get things to stand up right

Nel's almost done...well, not really, we ran out of sticks. She's also created her own "marble" floor, but using crayons to create patterns, and then painting over with water colour.

This is Jo's finally standing up with a little mummy's help. Floor was her own design and done by her.

 Then we all worked together to create the roof. We will continue this when I get more sticks.

Project 3 - Pottery

We went back to Mr Cheah's in Segambut for pottery. You can find his phone number on my other post (pottery/1st visit). I like his classes because I think Mr. Cheah is a very patient teacher, really willing to share and detailed. Just lovely to learn from  him! (highly recommended!)

This is Nel's work today, a teapot. She did it using a potter's wheel and some parts by hand. Quite a good start in my opinion.

This is my boring creation. Let me just say, learning on the potter's wheel ain't easy!!!! I wasted quite a bit of clay while learning to shape this. He also made me do some basic things first, like how to center the clay, get bubbles out of it..make it go up and down etc.  Fun!

As for Jo..Mr. Cheah didn't charge me for her work. She was all over breaking rules..like seeing how fast the potter's wheel could go, or sticking brushes and sticks into clay on a moving wheel to see if it'd fly off and scraping metal on the wheel to produce screechy sounds. Not very good I know. 

Well..that's all for art emphasis month now.  

25 Jul 2011

Visit to a Fire Station

Last month we found a lovely book at the library entitled "Piro and the Fire Brigade" by Kurt Baumann. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the book cover, but here's a blur picture found off the net (in a different language too!) haha..

Well, Jo enjoyed the story and the illustration so much that we read it several times together. And what a better way to follow up on fire engines then an actual visit to a fire station.

So we joined several families on a visit to a firestation today, kindly organized/initiated by a father from the group. This is Nel's second experience, but Jo's very first. Needless to say they were excited and enjoyed the trip!

Information and Control Room
Latest Fire Engine and Super Speed bikes

Well..see who wants to be a firegirl!

A try at fire fighting..well...no real fire, but the firemen sure enjoyed this whole thing! They  (the firemen) were really sporting. hahaha
A look inside..

23 Jul 2011

Revisiting Lotus Liberation Sanctuary (Bentong Farm)

We first found out about Bentong Sanctuary Farm (Lotus Liberation Sanctuary) last month when we went on a nature trip to Discover Turtles. After our unforgettable turtle watching experience in Kemaman, Lim, who's really into turtle conservation, brought us to Bentong Farm , where he taught us more about terrapins and tortoise. Loved the farm so much we just had to revisit, and introduce the place to friends, thus the revisit with a bigger group of people this time.

Shahrul sharing..

Daniel the Dalmation offered my child Nel a cup of coffee in exchange for some chocolate biscuits. :) He's ADORABLE! If I didn't already have a poodle, I'd have adopted him.

Feeding the terrapins with juicy guava and turtle food

Here's Lim talking about the different species found here

Then we headed to the goat pen to feed the goats
Shahrul and the farm boys prepared a LOT of freshly cut grass so the children could experience feeding the cows

Here's feeding em cows..;)

Oh lookie...even a dad amongst the group had a go. I doubt his motives though coz he's a sausage maker I hear. Hmmmm.....

My littler one loved this mooo

Well..then we all hoped on several trucks, down a lovely road to feed the ducks. Weather was awesomely lovely..
Some chose to walk down this peaceful road, along a river

And here's by the pond feeding em  ducks some dried bread and vege

A lovely pod

And so lovely to end the visit with a picnic and a dip in this refreshing stream

THANK YOU SHAHRUL FOR THE WONDERFUL TIME!!!!! As some people said, "You were a STAR!"  :)  (muaks...I'll be back soon Shahrul with my little volunteers!)
The Farm constantly needs donations, if you'd like to help, leave me a message on this blog post Fund Raising for the Farm
Directions to Farm:
To get to the farm: Get on Karak Highway, follow the Kuantan Sign. Take the very first Bentong exit and pay Tol. After exiting the Tol, you'll come to a T Junction. Take a left, and drive along the river for about 5 Km. You'll come to a small signage which says Perting Valley Camp. Turn right there and drive on stony road. Cross a little bridge and you'll come to Lotus Liberation Sanctuary. That is the Farm itself. Do call before going.

20 Jul 2011

Pregnancy n Birth

Pregnancy- I hardly reflect on my experiences. But yesterday, a simple sms/request from a dear friend prompted me to think about it. I started thinking in pictures..and at 2am, started sketching these pictures below.

Here's me waiting anxiously for baby. We're past due date and  no dilation. I remember feeling a mixture of emotions..worry, joy, excitement, frustration etc. There's my little dog then (Pronto-who was later stolen) ..  he seemed to understand all that I was feeling and was precious company when hubby was at work.

This was me..still playing piano for church, and the cello in a string quartet. When my baby was born, she recognized the distinct sound of the cello, and she recognized certain piano pieces! Amazing.

This was me..about to give birth. I had pillows tucked everywhere leaving very little space for dear hubby, who's about to drop off the bed here. LOL!

this was us..a few months after baby. I had post partum depression..and often, to lift my spirits, I'd go out with walks..with little Nel holding on to me. Prayer and walks does wonders for the soul
My 1st birth experience ~ Nel was due about the 20th of the month. Three days later, there were no contractions, no dilation..nothing happening. The doc convinced me that it wasn't good keeping her in there any longer and it was time to bring my baby into the world.

 So we drove to the hospital on the 22nd night, excited and yet anxious, and I was induced. The contractions started shortly after and became more intense as the night passed. It was one of the longest nights I've ever had. The nurse came in and out, and I dreaded it everytime she checked for dilation, for I think she was quite rough. Then somewhere in the middle of the night, I had a bloody show.. but the dilation remained at 2cm.

Early in the morn, the doc arrived and informed me that baby's head just wasn't engaging,  and I would have to have an emergency C-Section.

Against my desire to experience natural birth, I was wheeled into the operating theatre, with anxious hubby waiting outside, praying. By then, my contractions were coming at frequent intervals and was quite painful. I was asked to curl up, while still in a sitting position so the anaesthetist could do a spinal block. But the contractions were coming frequently and it was hard to sit still with that sort of pain. The anaesthetist wasn't very sharp either, and he took about 4 shots before he got it right! Let me tell you, all 4 attempts were horridly painful, and I shiver when I think back.

Well..I had the C..I saw blood splattering on the white cloth that blocked my view from what the doc was doing..I felt a tug, they pushed, and then I heard my baby cry. Really..at that moment, all the frustration and pain from the night before was forgotten. Tears flowed freely as I welcomed my new born baby, Nel.

I had a C-sec with Jo too..and with both, recovery was slow and painful, which is why no matter how much others try to convince me about having a third..I cannot bring myself to it.

I have to say that though I just have 2 girls, they are both precious to me, God's gift to me and my husband, and I could not ask for better. :)
What was your birth/ pregnancy experience like?

15 Jul 2011

painting on leaves

someone asked if I could try painting on leaves, ...so I decided to give it a shot. It's not perfect....very first attempt! Smudging paint etc. Will keep trying till I get it perfected.

14 Jul 2011

Science - Flight

Flight (Nature Company Discoveries Libraries)Been a while since we studied a topic together. So while at a book sale at MPH recently, I chanced upon a book about Flight. I thought..why not do flight with my girl. Interesting topic. We also popped by Science Centre and grabbed a couple of books like this one here, all about Flight. It's like an introductory book with bits of information bout animals in flight, planes, rockets, the Wright brothers etc. We read some chapters from it, and Nel wrote down whatever she felt was important in a science notebook she keeps.

When we finished that, we took a look at another book, the one bought on a sale from MPH. It's a lovely workbook that covers flight quite thoroughly.  Projects and experiments suggested here are very interesting. Here's a look at its index.

We did the first chapter, more like a review for Nel really, coz we've covered this topic before and did other simple experiments about air taking up space. I like this particular experiment and so did Nel. We blew up a balloon into a container to see if it would fill the container totally.

As expected, this is what happened naturally..big gaps in the corners.

Then we did as instructed in the book. Nel took a straw, stuck it in the corners, and sucked air out with all her might, while  I blew the balloon up. Fun. hahaha!! (we had to stop several times to laugh! haha..)

 The result, a balloon that fits more snugly with less air space in the corners. :)
Finally we decided to link it all to some literature. And we looked at several poems about the wind, included in a chapter found in another lovely textbook about flight, Wings and Rockets.
 We read through several poems, discussed how each author/culture perceived wind differently, the choices of words used, the many "characters" of the wind etc etc.

 Finally in a great hurry to complete, (rushed by my own teaching schedule!) I asked Nel to do quick thinking, and to write some poems of her own. These were done hurriedly, in less than 20 minutes. Not bad for quick writing work with simple illustration included!  Her poems below.

She really enjoyed this...and we'll continue to explore this topic further.
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