Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Most Important Exam Preparation

It is the end of the semester and before you know it the school year will be over. The kids are busy preparing for their tests in school as well as at home. During the weeks leading to the tests, we cut out weekend outings to find time for revision. During weekdays there is no time for any revision, only daily homework.

I find that the most important exam preparation of all, especially for an 8 year old kid (because that is how old my child is), is getting plenty of rest and sleep and good nutrition ..... so that they don't fall ill and they feel relaxed and calm, not tensed, rushed and stressed out.

So our primary goal for the next few weeks is to get plenty of rest and sleep, and not rushing to finish the syllabus. :) The teachers are rushing in school. At home, we must provide the rest from rushing. It is of course easier said than done but I shall try my best.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Smile more, frown less

I realise that here is one other thing I have been practising with my girl. First was hug more, followed by being a better listener and last but not least is to smile more and frown less.

I tend to go around with this big frown on my face. It is not that motherhood is so hard that I have to frown all the time. No, no. It is just that I am a natural frowner if ever there was one. I remember when I was having my wedding photo shots taken, the photographers all sighed in dismay and said "the bride is frowning too much."

Get rid of that frown. We can't photoshop it especially if it is under some fringe. Haha. Well, I have worn that frown to this day.

However, since children are ultra sensitive to our moods and emotions, I have to get rid of that frown. The best way is to replace it with a smile.

So, what is the result of hugging more, listening better and smiling more? Well, I get a girl who hugs back, smiles often and misbehaves less and I can see that she listens more too when I explain why she should not behave in certain ways. She would just smile sheepishly instead of frowning at me, shouting back or stomping away.

I got back everything that I gave out. Give and you shall receive. How true.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

To be a better listener

One of the other things I did with my girl is to be a better listener. I realise that in my rushed day, I often do not listen to her. I look at her with glazed far away eyes, mumble something or brush her aside. That is why she has this constant need for attention. She wants to test to see if I am listening. At least that is my theory anyway. She knows it too, the fact that I am not listening. Quite often she would say "Mummy, are you listening?" or "Mummy, what was I saying" catching me when I tell her something else altogether.

I try to imagine how she feels by imagining how I feel when I am all excited to tell hubby about something, only to get that glazed far away look, an hmm mmm mumble for an answer or a "not now I am busy" answer. That is exactly how she feels when I do not listen.

Now, I try to listen to her better and along with the extra hugs, she is happier and behaving a lot better. Oh, I do not drop everything just to listen to her. I think that would be encouraging her to seek more attention. However, I tell her that sometimes I am busy and cannot give her my full attention. I tell her that she must choose the right time to speak and not barge in whenever she likes. I am teaching her to respect my time and in return, I also allocate time to listen to her fully. When I am available, I tell her "Now, I am free, what was it you wanted to tell me earlier."

Sometimes the kids do not like this. They say, "if you make us wait, we forget what we want to say." I have to tell them that if it is important enough, they won't forget it. They still sulk at this but I have to be firm with them.

It is not easy to listen to kids. They speak everything that comes to mind and that is usually a lot. They would describe a whole lot events in perfect details leading to just one point. Sometimes we tend to tune out after a while. We are still there but no longer there.... and they know it!

You would become a really good listener if you learned to listen to kids especially if you have to do it 24/7!

Listening is an important skill for any relationship. I am going to keep on practising and improving on my listening skills. How about you? Are you listening?

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I am happy that my effort to give more hugs to my little girl has turned around my downhill relationship with her. It also helped that we were both more relaxed during the school holidays.

I realised that my relationship with my girl had been going downhill. Somehow, we just seem to keep on rubbing each other the wrong way. She was rude to me. I shouted at her. We both felt exasperated with each other. We were on a vicious downward spiral.

I was dismayed. I wanted us to have a good mother daughter relationship that will last for years. I knew I had to do something. As usual, doing something means starting with myself. (I believe that as we evolve as a parent, we also evolve as a person and hopefully become better persons overall.) I have tried many times in the pass to change myself, to be more patient with her but I always ended up shouting and she remained rude. We could not break the cycle. However, it was the hugs that did it.

Make love, not war. Give hugs, not shouts. Haha. Right. The second part was made up by me but it worked. She started to give hugs in return and her behaviour changed for the better. I hope we can keep it up.

I also resolve that no matter how rushed her day or mine is, I will do my best to make sure that she is not too pressured by it. In order to this, I have to constantly remind myself that she is still very much a little girl. A little girl who loves to do crafts, sing, read, play, skip and just be happy.

Just the other day, I received this little note from her. On the cover was "For mummy to see. Feeling now: Sad. :( (With a little sad smiley). Now open the letter."

In it she wrote together with the spelling mistakes and all: "Mummy, today I am sad because I don't do homework, just play! just sortbooks, and noting else. I just did that! but, I did colour my dragon and, my playing is colouring your dragon! but at lease lease lease lease lease lease lease lease lease I coloured MY dragon too. but noting else. I haven't pack bag, and practise "ting seah" and haven't let you sign my ting seah. So, today, I give up. I "tui bu" very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much! So, I have to do homework at night. not like these few days so good. (Heart shape and a sad looking cartoon face).

See how pressured she is? I wrote back. "For sweetie pie to see. Feeling now. Happy! :) Now, open the letter."

"Sweetie pie, Today I am happy! You did homework in school and even copied extra words in your exercise book and teacher praised you too! You are very hardworking, that is why you only have "ting seah" left to practise. It is okay, you can practise on Saturday or Sunday. You have packed your bag! :) That is very very "jin bu" (show improvement). Last time you always leave packing bag to at night. You did your dragon homework too. Although  you played a bit, we can study hard on Saturday and Sunday so we still have time ok? These few days you have been very, very, very good indeed. Keep it up! Don't give up! P.S. I signed your "ting seah" already. (Cartoon of happy mummy and three hearts)

Ever since then till now, she has kept on being good. She packs her school bags in a jiffy in an organised manner (in the way that I had shown her while shouting!). She no longer takes half a day to do it.

Now, that she has turned around, I have a new problem. It is my boy. The sweet little angel has started to behave in a pestering manner. All day it is "Mummy, I accidentally touched this, dropped that, scratched this,..... etc etc etc." every hour of every day.

I guess now that she is over that phase, she has passed the baton to her little brother. Help! Motherhood sure is challenging!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh where has my little girl gone?

Yesterday I was viewing some home videos and I felt really nostalgic looking at my little girl "reading" a book to her little brother who was just learning how to sit. They both looks so so so cute, if I may say so myself. Every mother thinks their child is so so so cute so I am excused aren't I? The girl sounded so incredibly adorable pretending to read while the boy tumbled when he tried to look at the book and he couldn't get up again. So so cute.

They grow up so fast. Now all of a sudden, almost like all at once, my cute little girl is gone, replaced by an impatient sounding (like me), rude, ill mannered girl and she is not even a teenager yet. Oh gosh, what happened along the way? What did I do wrong? What will happen when she is a teenager if she is like that now.

I am constantly working on trying to improve my relationship with  her. Looking at the video only makes me want to work harder. I want my sweet little girl back.

It was easier to work on this during the school holidays when we are both not so rushed. I can feel the peace and the change. During school days, the workload drives us crazy.

What I want to remember from this post is, WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE SHOUTING OR SCOLDING YOUR KIDS, HUG THEM INSTEAD. I will work on trying to give my girl more hugs and hope that it will make a difference.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Too close to the problem

Sometimes I feel that being a stay at home mother makes me "too close to the problem". As a stay at home mother I do not feel the guilt of not being there enough for my kids often enough. On the contrary, I am around so much that I see every single detail of what is going on and that makes me nag more.

I am also the teacher at home and boy what a task that is. Nag nag nag. Hurry Up! Nag nag nag. I am solely responsible and in charge of their time management. Nag nag nag. Hurry Up! I must make sure they eat fast, sleep fast etc. Get enough rest and play while making sure they finish up their sometimes ridiculous load of homework. Nag nag nag. Hurry Up!

I don't have the "luxury" of being away from them for a few hours a day (accept during school hours of course) where their homework is guided at a tuition or daycare center. I AM the tuition and daycare centre. I don't have the guilt of being away which makes me want to hug and love them more and make sure every second counts.

Sometimes a working mother spends more quality time with their kids as a result while the stay at home mother has quantity of time but it is spend nagging, nagging, nagging. Shouting rather than loving.

I need to learn to close an eye to, well, to lots of things. I need to learn to be calm and control my responses to them. I need meditation,  yoga, exercise and soothing music. I need, I need, I need. However all this is easier said than done.

Help! I am a monster of a nagging mum. I need a break.... but there is none. I need to change. I need more patience, understanding, more patience yes. I need more patience.  My kids are beggining to shout back at me. They sound like me when they do it. I shout at them out of impatience and now they mirror me and shout back impatiently for other things just like me. It is scary. I do not wish to raise, rude, impudent, ill mannered kids. I have got to watch myself, control myself better but it is so hard and I am so tired.

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