Friday, 18 December 2015

Word Search Adventure

A friend of mine told us (when we visited them in Melbourne earlier this year) she started her first born on Word Search because she couldn't focus. What started out to be a form of method to polish her concentration, now becomes a leisure hobby.

I got the Jumbo Word Search for her, and then my friend pointed that I've already bought her the very same book when we met in KL.

So, the book is kinda "owner-less". I believe I could make use of it, but I pretty much prefer Sudoku anytime, thanks.

IZ, like many children his age, is not able to focus on a task for long (except for his drawing and every 3 days iPad sessions). I decided to let him try.

Boy, it was not easy. The first time I brought out the book (few months ago), I quickly kept it again, before my BP start rising and scared IZ out of his skin. He had absolutely no clue what it was all about and had difficulty "reading" diagonally or reversed for that matter.

Few weeks ago, I brought it out again. I observed that he could read more words now. At least he tries. Thanks Kinderland, Thanks Phonics.

This time round, I am amazed. He now knows what is diagonal. He has tons to work on his concentration span, but I feel we are on the right path.

Other than searching for words, he actually learns spelling as well as some general information too.

For eg: Asian countries - he roughly know the countries by looking at the words (oh well, of course he can't spell them) ;-)

1st Topic - Asian Countries
Sweet Tooth
He is currently working on "I want to be...."

PS: Of course he didn't finish one whole page everyday! I asked for 2-3 words a day, so I can work on my Sudoku for that 10mins just for fun! But I believe he can slowly find them quicker, and by next year he probably can finish one page on one day. I can't wait, I hope he likes words or numbers related games, just like me!

Updated on 21st Dec'15:

Updated on 30th Dec'15:

Another one

Updated on 3rd Jan'16:

Updated on 26th Jan'16:

Session #9

Since I started befriending X in July, we have had lots of hiccups. Mainly on my side due to the poor health I have.

Fever, lumps, flu, cold you name it.

I had to stay away from X as he's undergoing chemotherapy and his immunity is all time low. And there were days he just came back from his protocol, I couldn't visit.

So, from July to now (Dec), we have had only 9 sessions.

All this while, he has never really talked about his "illness". NEVER.

He has always been joyful, bubbly, chatty, calling "Aunty Colleen! Aunty Colleen!"

There were once he told me about taking cab to KKH. That's about it.

So you can imagine my surprise when he said "Aunty Colleen, doctor told said I cannot go out, need to stay at home".

That was a multi-million statement.

I reflected the same statement, he acknowledged, and he changed topic. Didn't bring it up again.

Then he chased me away as he wanted to eat noodles.

Next week will be his last protocol. Then after he'll have to take oral chemo pills. I learnt that we will not be able to know if he'll recover completely until 2 years later.

X and his family taught me valuable lessons every time I see them. Be strong, be happy. If not for I know of his illness, I wouldn't suspect anything amiss.

I wish, I pray for his good health.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Random drawings..

He can colour much better now :-)

Bricks Creations

Transformers Logo
One of the Transformers head

Optimus Prime Truck

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Art People

IZ went to InnoArt for drawing close to a year ago. I don't know when, the teacher changed. And then he started to dread going to class. For a class that he would want to go despite running temperature, we were surprised.

We didn't receive notification that the teacher changed. No proper introduction either. We thought new teacher was an intern/assistant.

Later on, IZ completely give up going to class and told us he didn't want to go the class anymore.

I learnt from a fellow parent that the new teacher didn't have the patience with young kids. Maybe that's why IZ didn't want to go. We also didn't like that IZ learnt to draw by looking at tablet, on top of teacher's sketches. That's not what we want.

Our take is simple. We send him to art/drawing class because he loves it. Period.

If he detests going to the class, we'll not force him. So we were about to give up the remaining 3 lessons credits, but InnoArt agreed to let us pass on the credits to another friend.

To be honest, after a year of class, I didn't see there's any improvement on IZ's drawing other than the ability to copy things from iPad.

So, I had to search for another school so he can continue to learn and do more with his passion. And I found one that is really near us, and what's even better, the class is on weekday afternoon. Yippie!

On the assessment day
At first when he was given the blank piece of fish, he couldn't draw anything, but once he started, he could add a little details to it

Happy at 1st lesson
For his portfolio cover
2nd lesson
Teacher commented he got tired at the end
But we were more than amazed at the work

Something really different after 2 lessons.
This is the first time his robots actually look nice after colouring. 
I hope the lernen-reise here will be beneficial for him..

Fingers crossed for now..

Updated on 16th Dec'15:
3rd lesson

The lump on my thyroid..

Updated on 16th Dec'15

And so I went for my review on Monday, all ready to make appointment for a surgery. I was told it's unlikely cancerous and the doctor wouldn't be too worried about it. Doctor said I could opt for some small incision surgery behind my lower lip or armpit (he didn't say armpit, he used a medical term). He suggested the options as I am prone to keloid and the nodule is small enough to be removed such. At the end of our few minutes conversation, I switched off a couple of times when he told me the names of the glands, possibility of bleeding, etc.

And so, coz I was not ready for anything for my lower lip nor armpit, I chickened out. I could live with the lump on my throat or neck. No one notices that anyway. At least so far only one friend on that ONE occasion.

So, I chose not to do the surgery, and asked for a review 6 months later instead for surveillance.

4th Dec'15

Glad to update here that the scan went well. The radiographer told me the nodule doesn't look harmful, and there's minimal blood flows in the nodule. So the nodule is not feeding (something like that). That really lifted the whole big rock off my shoulders.

And oh ya, the doctor is still talking about the very same nodule! Heehe!

And I feel like I could live normally again.

Really thankful of YJ who offered to keep me company for every visit. She was with me this scan, boy, was I glad and R.E.L.I.E.V.E.D!

Next review: 14th Dec!

Note to self: Remember to ask Dr Tan if I can continue my befriending role with CCF

30th Nov'15

As hubby had to send IZ for his eye review in KKH, I told him I could make my own way to SGH, from the office.

Registration was easy, the staffs were very friendly.

After waited for a while, there was a handsome young 3rd year medical student asked me into a room and started an interview. As we spoke, I realised there were some symptoms that may or may not be related to the lump.

Dr.  Tan came to introduce himself and told me he'll be back to me after the interview. He checked the lump and told me it's highly possible that it's not cancerous. I don't know what to say. Maybe deep down, I asked "how would you know?" Later, I regretted not asking.

He told me he'll do another ultrasound scan to confirm. So there were him, 2 other medical students, and a nurse around the treatment room while I had my neck scanned. He hesitated a while and then moved on to ask for FNAC (fine needed aspiration cytology) to be carried out. Then they left me in the room with the nurse.

I asked if the procedure would be painful. The helpful nurse gave me a piece of instructions to read. It'll be fine needle, so I don't suppose it'll be too much of pain. But in some events, I may be poked a few times. Technicians were called. They will be checking the specimens if there's enough cells to be checked.

Came a Dr. Stefan Mueller, asking me for my authorisation signature for the cytology. And he said he was highly confident that I'll be alright. It worried me as Dr Mueller is from oncology dept. Later, I also noticed he was the one who signed on my MC. I don't know if it's the SOP.

So, I was poked. I was surprised by how painless it was. And I thought it was all done when Dr Tan retracted the needle the first time. And then he did it again.. and again. Total 3 needles. By the time he was done with the 3rd one, I felt all the blood in me drained. My head started to feel light, my hands were heavy. I was passing out. I called out to them saying I was giddy.

Dr Tan was very assuring. Dr Mueller lifted my legs. Slowly I "regained" consciousness.

Later Dr. Tan told me what happened was normal. But I was not listening to the term he used. I was thinking of "hyper-ventilating" and "anxiety attack". Hahaha useless me!

So after rested for what seemed eternity, I told the nurse I could leave on my own already. She asked me to wait at the waiting area for payment and next appointment.

Was shocked when I was told I actually had to do another round of ultrasound scan. I had to go to Radiology Dept which was just across Head & Neck dept to fix an appointment. I peeped at the referral form "noted new right thyroid nodule (sloid/cystic) for assessment. WHAT?!?! Did they mean they found another one? Or was it the very same one?!

To be found out on 4th Dec.

25th Nov'15

Clinic called and told my referral letter is ready. My appointment is fixed at Head & Neck Centre in SGH on 30th Nov'15 with Dr. Tan Hiang Khoon, a senior consultant.

I didn't collect the referral letter until 29th Nov.

23rd Nov'15

Review with Dr. Chong. She said the growth is partly cystic and partly solid. It doesn't look like normal thyroid, so she'll recommend to refer me to specialist. I told her I'd prefer govt hospital.

You know, the part "partly cystic and partly solid" couldn't register in my mind. I had to ask her to repeat a few times, before I can remember. Was it my memory or was I in denial?

22nd Nov'15

No news about the ultrasound scan so I decided to drop by the clinic physically to check. They told me the result has just arrived.

18th Nov'15

Went for ultrasound in AMK.

17th Nov'15

All thanks for the shifu's pointer about taking extra good care of my health and about early intervention, I decided to see doc immediately. Waited for a good 2 hours, to be told I'll get a referral for ultrasound.

16th Nov'15

I caught a glimpse of the lump on my neck on the mirror. I already walked past it, but I went back to the mirror and took a good look at it. It was obviously a growth on my neck.

Then I thought of the day YJ pointed out something unusual with my neck. She used her phone to take a photo to show me. But I can't remember when was that.

Little I did know, that would be one of the questions to be asked. When exactly was the lump first noticed?

Months.. how many months, I'm not sure anymore.. Neither can YJ..

IZ's 5th Birthday

He started counting down to his 5th birthday the month he turned 4 year old.

It was amusing, when he started to tell us what he wanted for his birthday, like yeah, 11 months ahead. And he kept adding to the list changing his mind every other week.

Transformers, tobots, transformers..

And so I asked him what theme he wanted for the birthday. I've made the decisions for him the past few years, I think it's the time for him to decide for himself. Afterall, now he knows what birthday is all about.

Started with the cake, he couldn't decide between Spiderman and Transformers. At one point, I told him, I'll just cover a cake with white fondant and let him draw on them. Unfortunately, I couldn't get nice edible marker pens. Read bad reviews on Wilton's ones too.

So, it was Transformers. I told him I did not have the confidence to make complicated cakes (read Optimus Prime figurines etc), he told me he's good with just its logo. It was decided it'd be a chocolate Transformers cake.

Until a few days before the celebration, he decided he wanted a rainbow Transformers cake instead. Frantically, but luckily, I have a recipe from a friend's friend who appeared in a magazine before. So ta-rah.. my first attempt making rainbow cake!

It was a success, I didn't even have to trim the cake at all!

So we had a simple celebration at home as usual, with his gang and close friends.

His wish this year?

"I wish I can jump from building to building"


When will my son wish for something more realistic? **waiting with my long neck**

Happy birthday boy!

Not bad, isn't it?
PS: So, we saved over $100 on a birthday cake this year! Putting my limited skills to use!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Why I like to bake..

(despite having absolutely no talent in it..)

I've not shared anything here about me learning to bake. It just happened one day (in Jul), I signed up for Wilton 1 cake decoration course and never looked back. Not that I've gone far, but it has not been an easy one.

For one, I'm not a very thoughtful meticulous person. I am in short a clumsy fella.

The baking journey has not been without mishaps. Just to name a few:

  1. over-beat the batter (there was no indication or hint in most of the recipes about not over-beating or under-beating for that matter. What is over beat? How do I tell whether I over-beat or not? I don't know, I still don't know. I'm still doing trial and error, and feed the fellow guinea pigs.
  2. so what happened if over/under beat? I am not sure, some days, my cupcakes just rise and rise and overflow. That's what happened I guess. Strangely, when this happened, guinea pigs will say the cupcakes taste nicer.
  3. halfway through measuring ingredients for a recipe and realising, to my horror, I do not have enough main ingredient (read FLOUR)! At that point of time I really feel like smacking myself. The solution would either be go out to buy or substitute with other flour or change the recipe altogether and find one that I have all ingredients for.
  4. sudden inspiration to bake (and if I'm lucky to have all ingredients on-hand) and feel really miserable waiting for the ingredients to cool to room temperature. I'll cut the butter into cubes (almost chopping them like minced meat) to let them cool down warm up faster.
  5. burn my fingers. The oven is hot, mind you. But my mind is not with the oven, it's with the batter/cupcakes/cake whatever. Seems like my hand really like to test the its limit. I think I'm just excited over the baking.
  6. the baking duration takes way longer than stated in the recipe. The oven, seriously, one day, I'll get a good one! (please don't die on me this weekend... pwetty please?!)
  7. inherited the ancient weighing scale from my MIL, I can't measure to 1g precision. But lately, when I'm in bread making, a lot of recipes called for 5g of yeast and 1g of salt. How am I supposed to measure that?!
  8. to answer my question in #7.. spoil the weighing scale and get a precise digital one. which is precisely what happened last night while I tried to zero the ancient weighing scale and I overdid it. So it's officially spoilt, and I got a new digital one!
But all the above is really worth it, when IZ (self-claimed my Nos. 1 fan) gives me a thumbs up and said "nice!".

On days when my baking's a flop, he'll say "it's a little bit nice, Mommy. You can try harder the next time".

He also tell people he meets that "my mommy is a baker, she can bake everything you know!". Because of this belief, I really do believe I can bake everything. So whatever the little one wants, I'll google for recipe and try.

My little angel, I really hope I show you positive attitude and making effort in our lives. I hope you'll not give up easily and keep trying just like how you encouraged me.

Just to share some of the pieces:

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Preparing for K2..

I can't believe we came back from our vacation for more than a week already. I love going on a holiday with IZ and the dad. Living with MIL (and a helper), we basically do not have much privacy. Living together in a small hotel room or a small apartment, helps a lot in our family bonding. Which is why, I'll continue and insist on our family vacation, regardless how near or how far the location is.

And the school holiday has started since last Friday. I've told IZ that we'll have to start a routine, doing more "homework", learn how to spell (as there'll be spelling test for both Chinese and English starting K2), learn more about Maths etc.

All these because IZ buddy's mom told me that it's probably time to put more effort on his studies, build up his foundation, and do more Math as IZ shows interest in Math. She's so kind hearted to give me a pointer. Or otherwise I'll probably still taking it easy till it's too late.

So we started doing some simple work on Sunday. I'm determined to make this a routine so that he doesn't find it a chore. I'll have to work on my patience and the way I do work with him. Definitely a long way to go.

My list would go: violin practice, English, Math, Science.. (see the priority?)

There's something else I would like him to do. To be able to focus. It's really not easy to get this almost 5yo to focus on something. Out came an idea from our fellow friend whose 1st daughter benefited from Word Search.

And so our journey began..

First attempt at Word Search

Not bad for a start!

While he's working on his assessments, I do my Sudoku
It's a perfect win-win situation
Of course, I included some fun time too

Including card games..
They are ancient, aren't they?!

and UNO!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Last PTM for K1

We went to the last PTM for the year yesterday.

Ms Fizah says IZ has no issue with learning, but she's concerned about his inability to have clear pronunciation for certain sound. She asked if we are still working on it. Fact is, I have slacked for a while, not correcting him much as I thought it doesn't call for concern.

Fact is, I thought it's only bad habit of his, since he could speak Chinese really well.

But Li Laoshi also feedback the same. That his pronunciation is not accurate.

So it was a wake up call for me, to continue to work on his speeches.

Li Laoshi says he is a confident boy, very proactive and engaging in her class. He asks questions when he's unsure and dare to voice out his opinions.

Ms Fizah commented IZ has one of the best writing among his peers.

All is well, he is on par with teachers' expectations... well done, IZ!

Coming up to K2 real soon!

Updated on 19th Nov'15:

Comments from Chinese Immersion Class teacher was nowhere near the above. Daddy used the term "far from satisfactory". Teacher commented IZ is easily distracted, didn't concentrate in class and not able to write properly.

Oh well, he's not even 5 yet, I wouldn't be too worried about it. Most importantly this year, the objective is to cultivate such that he embraces the language and not switch off like previously.

Still, I say, job well done, IZ.

Daddy begs to differ although in the end, I managed to convince him there's no call for concern. He kept quiet, means points accepted.

Hopefully daddy can change his mindset before the next negative feedback came about.

Dear IZ,

It's never about the result, it's always about your attitude and your effort. Jia you!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

"Do you love me?"

IZ: Mommy, do you love the son that you gave birth to?
Me: of course!
IZ: even if he is naughty?
Me: yes, of course!

And he looked satisfied.

I guess he just needed some reassurance yesterday..

Friday, 16 October 2015

Random Drawing

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Random talking..

11th Oct'15

Daddy promised to make a car in the night...

2 hours later.

IZ: Grrr.. why the Earth is spinning so slowly!
Me; why do you say that?
IZ: I can't wait for night time to fix my car!

3rd Oct'15

IZ asked for big drawing paper as usual, the first thing he does when he wakes up.

Me: you need to eat more to reach the paper on your own (I deliberately keep the drawing blocks high so it is out of reach or we'd risk chopping more trees)
Iz: why not you put it down so I can take myself now?


2nd Oct'15

IZ: I want to study in the United States of America

Today, while I showered him with my mask on (ya sickbound)..
IZ: mommy, you know where you came from, the flag is almost like United States of America. Just that Malaysia has the moon and stars
Me: Good observation, IZ!

Early morning..
IZ: I was just thinking where Mexico is
IZ: come! Let me show you where Mexico is!
And he went to the atlas on the wall and pointed right there, one shot.

Amazing, I wouldn't be able to pinpoint where exactly Mexico is without checking the words.


Few days before:

IZ: I think I want to open a dessert shop
Me: wow, dessert shop! Great! (deep down thinking what happened to the "I want to be a policeman!")
IZ: yes!
Me: great! So what do you think you'll sell in the shop?
IZ: desserts.. cake, candies, chocolates, drinks..
Me: wow, that would be a great shop, ^5!
IZ: ^5!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Solar System

To make use of The Solar System book I bought for years, I started reading to him last week. The same book every night, and he really enjoyed it.

Then I thought of activities (because of reminder to self: create more fun learning) for Solar System, and then mind mapping came into my mind. I'm not exactly a person for mind mapping, but for his age and his interest, I guess drawing it out will be the best.

While I read, I described, he put it in illustration.

We also went through the way to remember "My Very Energetic Mother Just Serves Us Noodles". We learnt not just the Solar System, but spelling/phonics too!

Very serious at work

He said he wants to display and show his Serangoon friends
that his mommy taught him Solar System.

I also let him watch YouTube on Solar System, and I guess he really benefited from it.

Last night he went "Jupiter is made of gas". I couldn't remember.

Then he started singing "I am a giant gas" in the manner of the YouTube song.

The dad randomly uttered a question "how many moon does Jupiter has?" IZ answered 60 (that's according to the book anyway). Looks like Jupiter now has at least 63 moons. How ah?

Edited on 16th Sep'15:

He captioned "I'm cold"
as it can be very hot in Mercury, and it can be very cold too

He captioned "mmm nice" on Earth
the only planet with living things

He captioned "why I have so many volcanoes on myself"
for Venus who has many crates

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Parents Teacher Meeting: 31st Aug'15

Feedback from Ms. Fizah:

  1. IZ can draw really well for his age. Robots that he draw are very detailed.
  2. IZ can do his work independently.
  3. IZ shows empathy by asking a peer's parent on the allergies. He told the parent that he wanted to share his cake.
  4. They are learning time now, IZ's favorite subject so he has no problem.
  5. IZ did well for his show and tell. He asked his friends to wait till he finished before asking him questions. He was also very excited to share the photobook with his friends. Looks like Melbourne was the best trip ever for him. Each trip is?
  6. The only concern is about his speech. Ms Fizah asked if we are still going for speech therapy. I guess I've slacked a little these days. Time to buck up!

Feedback from Li Laoshi:

  1. IZ is a happy, active and sunny little boy.
  2. He participates actively in class activities and dares to speak up. 
  3. He is able to complete his homework as per teacher’s request. 
  4. After class he is able to help his friends.
  5. IZ is very helpful not just to friends, but to teacher too.

    Pray that he continue to enjoy his lernen-reise.

    Thursday, 20 August 2015

    Session #3

    I can't disclose any information that would reveal the identity of the child I befriend. The child (X) is diagnosed with leukemia.

    Yesterday was the 3rd session with X. I knew from social worker, X's mother would like X to catch up with schoolwork since X stopped going to school due to the sickness.

    Every time I leave after our session, I will be deep in thought.

    Because of their close age, I thought about IZ too.

    I tried teaching ABC last week, but X was not interested.

    So, yesterday, I resorted to making fun lesson for him.

    I used similar method to what I've done with IZ when he was young. When I was doing revision on the fun lessons, I felt disappointed with myself. I've not done fun lessons with IZ for the longest time. We read a lot, he does worksheet everyday under Aunty's guidance but we did not do fun lesson anymore. I've forgotten he's only turning 5. I blamed my impatience, I blamed his hyper-activeness, I blamed his inability to focus and I blamed his passion for drawing that he draws every minute I see him.

    While I was at the revision, I promised myself to do more fun lessons with him. Play as we learn.

    And I was really happy X paid full attention to me for whole of 15 mins. And the fun lesson worked, he had fun, he learned about A, and he did some craft. I can't wait for our 2nd fun lesson.

    I hope the same for him.

    The volunteer work reminds me again that I'm not a good person, so I will continue to volunteer to remind myself to be a better person.

    Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    IZ draws

    Something different this morning.. took him less than 15mins..

    Wednesday, 12 August 2015

    SG50 - from IZ's perspective

    I asked IZ to draw SG50 related for his drawing class, but he refused. He said he'd draw one for me when we g to my brother's for SG50 makan.

    So, at my brother's, he sat there, and started drawing these. 

    There is (clockwise):
    1. SG flag (albeit a star - not sure if it's cause of space constraint)
    2. USS (the palace looking)
    3. Merlion
    4. Gun
    5. Flats
    6. Helicopter
    7. People
    8. Clock tower
    9. Singapore Flyer

    All these he drew from his own imagination