When your child doesn’t fit into a mould

Just before the March school holidays, we attended the PTM to get an update of how Sophie has been doing in school. At Primary 2, she comes back with more homework now which is still manageable since she never has to spend more than half an hour completing it. Other than that, she’s been coping well in school and her daily routine of finishing her homework and smart work from mummy before TV and play time has been going well.

Her sense of responsibility and independence puts my mind at ease when I’m at work and I seldom have to worry about her. One thing that Sophie is very proud of, is the fact that she got nominated by her classmates as class monitress at the start of school term. We were naturally very proud of her since it’s a testament that she’s well liked by her peers and scores high in being a 人气王.

When your child gets misunderstood

On the day of the PTM, we met her form teacher first who also happens to be her Chinese teacher. It was heartening to hear that Sophie has been making good progress for Chinese and scored well in her recent test in Term 1. However her teacher stressed that it’s vital for Sophie to converse and read more in Chinese as there’ll be more writing in the second half of Primary 2 to prep them for composition writing in Primary 3. Those who don’t read in Chinese regularly will find it a struggle with a lot more catching up to do and I’m totally not looking forward to that.

But one thing that left me feeling rather disturbed after the whole PTM was her form teachers’ disappointment in Sophie’s conduct which failed to meet her expectations. Given that Sophie is the class monitress, her form teacher has a much higher expectation of how she should conduct herself. Her teacher even went on to say that she’s spoken to Sophie about this matter on a few occasions and expects her to pull up her socks when school reopens, otherwise Sophie may have to relinquish role as monitress if she fails to set a good example to her peers.

If you know Sophie, you’ll know that she has a spritedly personality and can get pretty loud and appear rowdy with her belly laughter. But that doesn’t mean she’s any less responsible or sensible. For a 7-year-old, I’m sure there are times she slips up and talks to her classmates even when she shouldn’t. But to her teacher, that’s unacceptable and her teacher even graded Sophie average for her conduct.

Now I get that her teacher may be a very stereotypical Chinese teacher who demands unquestionable discipline and absolute obedience in class as it can be challenging to manage to class of 30 if everyone is out of hand. But a part of me feels that she has totally misunderstood Sophie and is somewhat bias in her assessment of Sophie as other teachers gave her a much higher rating for her attitude and conduct.

As one who believes in tough love, I never give excuses for Sophie’s behaviour or sugarcoats her conduct if she behaves badly. I acknowledge that there is a place and time for everything and perhaps she just needs to be more discerning on how to conduct herself appropriately to avoid getting black marked by her teacher.

See a child differently and you’ll see a different child

Thankfully, Sophie’s co-form teacher is not too bothered by it when we sought her opinion on this matter. She added that Sophie may be just restless as she’s a pretty smart kid who tend to be more ‘jing’ or street smart and thus she’s more forgiving when Sophie has her playful moments.

In her view, schools are not factories and teachers should not assume that the vocal or playful students are naturally bad students or troublemakers. Most importantly, I really agreed with what she said that

 

We shouldn’t expect student to behave like robots in school and all fit into a mould.

 

I love this teacher already and I’m so thankful that she brings a balanced view to the whole situation. It’s no wonder Sophie adores this teacher simply because she take the effort to know her students and sees her students in a different light.

 

~Never lose your sparkle darling~

Have your kids ever been misunderstood by their teacher and how do you feel when he/ she is expects to fit into a certain mould that the teachers expect?

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Family Fun at Gillman Barracks + Art Day Out!

Can somebody give a big horray because school’s out starting this weekend!

If you haven’t got anything planned for the March school holidays, why not check out Gillman Barracks for a slew of fun family activities?

Gillman Barracks is a visual art cluster and home to leading international and home-grown galleries, art rganisations and of course Playeum for children. Now before you go, me and my family are not the arty farty sort, you can be assured that you don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate art. All you need is an open mind and an empty stomach for Timbre’s Super Social BBQ this March!

‘Tales of Time’ holiday camp at Playeum

I brought Sophie to Playeum last year and fell in love with their concept of open and unstructured play. As Singapore’s first dedicated creative space for children, Playeum advocates exploratory play to spark curiosity and creativity in kids.

The open-ended concept of play is something that children don’t get exposed to enough of especially as when they grow up in environments where play gets too structured with boundaries, rules and do and donts. Their exhibition changes themes regularly and right now, the current exhibition is on “A World Full of Stories” which you can read here for our experience.

Anyway, we had a taster of Playeum’s upcoming March school holiday program, ‘Tales of Time’ last week where kids get to explore the concept of time with games, storytelling and art and craft.

Here are the kids drawing their interpretation of time.

Sophie and her clock which I thought resembled Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast. Ooo I can’t wait to catch the movie when it opens in cinema on 16 March.

I joked with Sophie that if I had to draw my interpretation of time, I’ll draw myself with a huge big speech bubble going, “Hurry , hurry, we are late!” Doesn’t that sound all too familiar? #storyofmylife

Check out the creativity that flowed around the table!


Cheryl reading about the Real Story of the 3 Little Pigs where the concept is time is demonstrated by different things that the wolf does in a day. It may have been a children’s story book, but I was quite draw by the story that presented the alternative fact where it gives the wolf side of the famous fable which allows you the chance to talk to you kids about seeing things from another perspective.

‘Tales of Time’ holiday  camp is suitable for ages 6 to 12 years and more details of their Holidays Camps can be found on their website.

Tour of Lock Route

Lock Route is Gillman Barrack’s current public art showcase and it’s inspirations is from Gillman Barracks’s address and the 24km long route march common in the training of “graduating’ army recruits in Singapore.

The outdoor art installation is a great introduction for the kids to learn how art can be encountered anywhere – including outside the galleries and museums. Perfect if you ask me as they don’t have to keep their voices down and walk around on tip-toe.

Here are some of the interesting artwork that caught the kids attention.

The kids checking out if the colourful knitted bicycle can be pedaled!The wheel reminds me of cotton candy and I feel so happy looking at the kaleidoscope of colours coming together.

This is the ‘Constellation of One’ sculpture by Kirsten Berg. The artist used car park mirror for this artwork which showcases reflection and geometry.

Is it only me who thinks that this sculpture resembles a steamboat pot during Chinese New Year?

Land of Shadows

Goyang Cukur

Kapumg Singpura

Though it was a rather uphill tasks to get the kids talking about the art pieces, they love it that some of art are interactive and provide them the opportunity to jump, climb and even ride them

I was personally amused by the mobile barbershop installation, ‘Goyang Cukur’ and heard that there even invited an actual barber to give haircuts.

The one that got the kids absolutely wild was no doubt the Kapumg Singapura where the climbed in and out of the cabin-like installation and refused to leave until we mentioned there’s a bouncy castle waiting for them!

Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ

Yipe you heard it, kids can look forward to bouncy castles and a variety of different arts and craft activities at Timber’s weekends Super Social BBQ and for the month of March, the theme is Princes and Princesses.

This was our first visit to Timbre at Gillman and the expansive al fresco setting was perfect for chilling out with friends. Not only was there a live band that gets you in a groovin mood, the food was delectable and I had such a hard time deciding what to order from their extensive menu.

Yakiniku chicken thin crust pizza

Baby back ribs with homemade BBQ sauce

Chicken and Pancakes from the kids menu



After Sophie finished her meal, she was hardly at the table because she was so caught up with all activities offered from tiara making, face painting and even meeting a princess!There’s also colouring and dress up but she thinks she now too cool for kiddy stuff.

Here’s a video of the activities we covered last weekend. It’s my first video attempt and I hope to improve on my video editing skills 🙂

 

Art Day Out 2017

If you’re thinking of heading to Gillman Barracks then don’t miss this Saturday’s Art Day Out happening on 11 March, where they are celebrating all things design in conjunction with Singapore Design Week 2017!

Highlights of this edition include the first Singapore + Wallpaper* Handmade Classics exhibition: MultipliCITY, design workshops and public presentations held at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore alongside various other LOCK ROUTE fringe activities and performances with free admission that day.

In addition, visitors can look forward to precinct-wide art activities and programmes, including F&B offerings, free drop-in family-friendly activities by Art Outreach and guided docent tours by Friends of the Museum.

In addition, parents can look forward to a special 20% discounted entry at Playeum the Children’s Centre for Creativity from 2pm onwards for the exhibition A World Full of Stories across all ticket categories.  There will also be free art activities such as The Amazing Shapes Trail and a specially-designed ‘Art Jam’ session (‘Make Your Puppet Move!’) that will also be conducted at the Block 47 plaza outside

 

Teaching your children to care about the arts

After my visit to Gillman Barracks, I did a bit of reading on how I can further expose Sophie to the arts and came across this article on how you can teach your kids to care about arts. It’s a pretty lengthy read but a very insightful one if you want to widen your child’s perspective on art.

I like this quote in the article, “There’s nothing about our exhibiting artists that makes them suited to children. It’s just that we’re actively encouraging children to use their minds and think about the work and talk about the work.” Underlying this approach is a recognition of the innate sophistication of children.”

We don’t have to dumb down art for kids. They are capable of observing, telling you what they see with their eyes and feel with their hearts about a piece of art.

It’s definitely an area that I’m still learning as well and it’s great that we have so many avenues to expose arts to our kids.

 

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*A Juggling Mom was invited to the media invite to write this review. All photos and opinions are my own.

All I’m asking is for you to try

Lately there’s been much talk about job uncertainty in the future economy. Experts are predicting that with the age of digitisations, robots and AI will soon take over our jobs and it’s a scary prospect for us and our children. From time to time, this grim reminder pops up on the news and the smart nation ad where it states that 5 millions jobs will disappear in the year 2020. *Gulp*

I’ll be lying if I said that I not in the least bit worried about the inevitable as the world changes.

But I know that I’m also not helpless about it as there are opportunities for me to unlearn and relearn to keep myself relevant in the ever changing workplace that calls for people who are adaptable, nimble and are lifelong learners. In short, a person who never says die but I’m willing to try.

Try something different, try something new and try something you’ve never done before.

And as a parent, this is an important mindset that I want my daughter to be equipped with.

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Finding joy in loving what you do

A few weeks ago, I texted a friend and announced that I had crossed my 5 year mark with my current employer this month. In spite of the challenges and frustrations I was facing at work, I told her that it was also an illuminating journey as I finally realised a very important truth.

As much as we all want to land a job where we can do what we love and are fervently passionate about, you can love what you do.

 

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.- Steve Jobs

 

I believe that when we started our careers, we all had great ambitions to do what we love. After all, if you’re going to be spending most of your waking hours working, you might as well follow your heart and do what you enjoy.

However in my case, I was still unsure of what my life calling was when I graduated and I have a feeling I’m far from being alone. My first job was a marketing role in a bank where I had my first foray in insurance and investments as I picked up the marketing ropes. It wasn’t all exciting or interesting work, in fact, some bits were dreary, repetitive and even mundane but it was all necessary for me to fully appreciate what I did.

And now after working more than 15 years, I’ve learnt that the happiest people are those who love what they do.

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What happens when you start saying yes

As soon as my daughter hears the jingle of my keys and the clicking of my heel as I walk home, an overly enthusiastic voice emerges, Mummmmmy!!! I’m greeted with high pitched laughter as she bounces up and down like a bunny who just had red bull.

It’s a very zealous welcome no doubt, but her eagerness makes me nervous. I can never fathom where Sophie gets her boundless energy from every single day, because by the time I knock off, I’m just looking forward to get home, kick off my heels and collapse on the sofa. But Sophie has other plans on her mind.

 

“Mummy, I’m playing school with my babies (an affectionate term for her soft toys) today. Can you be my assistant teacher?”

“My friends are at the playground now. Can you take me down so I can join them?”

“I just borrowed a new book from the library, lets read it.”

 

Whenever she asks me to do something with her the moment I step home, my first response is often, “No, I’m tired and I want to rest.”

I know that sounds horribly mean but mama also needs a mental break you know. The kind of break that dads often enjoy when they zone out with their eyes glue to their mobile phone, computer or TV (pick one).

Sure, I love Sophie very much and would love to hear all about her day, who she sat and ate with at recess, funny stories that happened in class, the new titles she borrowed from the school library. But to put in extra effort to play or to go to the playground is quite another story.

 

“Why do you always say no when I ask you to play with me? I waited for you all day…”

 

And that’s when the working mummy’s guilt hits me like a tidal wave. If you’re wondering, mummy’s guilt never quite goes away even when your child gets older because you’ll always feel a pang of guilt for missing out something in their lives.

So to redeem myself, I surprise her with a Yes. Not everyday, but some days and it’s enough to keep her happy. And oh how her eyes light up and her love tank gets filled when I say the magic word, Yes. And I’ve come to realise that when yes is said genuinely, not the halfhearted, lets get this over and done with, patronizing kind of attitude, I have to admit that the experience is usually fun for both of us.

Saying Yes

So these are 5 areas that Sophie wants me to say yes to.

  1. When she asks me to play with her
  2. When she asks me to read to her (you’ll be surprised that they still enjoy be read to at 7)
  3. When she wants me to tuck her to bed
  4. When she wants me to monkey around with her
  5. When she wants me to be crazy (oh yes, she’s a little wild one)

I think I might just think twice about point 5 for now…

 

When we say yes, we are opening an opportunity to make connection with our kids.

 

And I need to remind myself that saying yes does not mean that I’m bending backwards for her. I say yes more often now so I know that even if I have to say no sometimes, Sophie will be more understanding because she’s assured and her love tank is filled by the many times I said yes to.

And look how much joy and happiness it gives her when I turn a no to yes.

Bubbling with happiness

A game of badminton before dinner

 

This post was inspired after watching this TEDTalks video by Shonda Rhimes, the incredible titan behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, and who I suspects never ever sleeps. She made a bold move to say yes to everything for a year.

 

So the next time your child asks you to play or read with them, what’s your response gonna be?
I hope it’s going to be a yes.

 

 

If saying yes is too big a step, then how about starting with, Why Not.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like this article about filling my child’s emotional love tank.

 

 

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