Saturday, October 29, 2011

Are kids of this era exposed to the right thing?

It is not uncommon now to see kids, as young as two plus, playing on their iPads. Thanks to Steve Jobs, kids now grow up with Angry Birds, not Sesame Street's Big Bird. I doubt if kids now know who is Big Bird.

So, is there anything wrong with this scenario? Parents who want the best for their children know the answer.  How often do we observe such sights nowadays?

* a child playing an educational toy such as Lego or even a toy gun or those detachable toy pieces.  Toys are essential in a child's life, no doubt about this.  It stimulates their mind, it occupies them in an intelligent way, they discover their own strengths and weaknesses in the process of handling and playing the toys and a host of other benefits. I used to occupy my kids with toys while we were out on trips, while on waiting line etc. Now, you hear deafening shooting sound coming from a 'book-like' digital gadget.

* a child reading. With the hoo-ha about how little Malaysians read, what are we, parents doing about this phenomenon while our kids are still young? Do we now see parents reading together with a child, while waiting for their turn in banks or clinic or any public places?  Sadly, what can be seen are situations where the mother is 'watching over' a poor kid 'struggling' to complete her homework. This is more common.  Or, kids glued to a rectangle gadget while the parent is busy surfing on his iPhone.

* how about just a mother-daughter's or father-son's small talks? Communication is important, what more in this society where everyone seems to be so very busy with their life, pursuing, most of the time wealth or others which ironically doesn't benefit the children so much. Lack of communication or bonding with parents is said to be a factor for juvenile delinquence. Yet, we find this becoming so rare, especially in this IT era.
Kids talk but to their friends via a digital gadget using broken language, they write in acronyms only they understand on the web with all their friends. Four letter words are so commonly used on this era's most-loved book, Facebook.

Parents are well-aware of the danger of exposing young kids to excessive television or computer games and yet you see parents bringing along the 'must-have' iPad when they go out with kids. Isn't this bringing the computer games closer to them? The only difference is iPad is mobile whereas the computer is sitting at home.

Kids are now fed with iPad time, seen as a norm now to occupy them with this 'in' gadget. Kids gather, not to talk or chat or 'fight' their kungfu stunts. They crowd around an iPad, shooting pigs. What a smart game!

Understandably, our family doesn't own any iPhone or iPad.  A second-hand older version of iPad is very much within reach and it's rather tempting to be part of this current trend of technology. However, we opt out in this aspect.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My kid is testing my intelligence

Always wanting to win Mom, Wyng loves to test me with 'his' IQ questions. He had completed his final year examination recently and managed to achieve As in most of the core subjects.  Proud that he had done well and achieved the targets set for him, Mom then asked him who had helped him to do so well.  Looking bright-eyed at me with his sheepish smile, he assuredly replied, "Half you, half Yeh Lao Sher". Yeh Lao Sher is his tuition teacher who tutors him in BM, English and the other Chinese subjects.

It seems that Wyng doesn't want Mom to be smarter than him and that's why he doesn't want to say that he has Mom to thank for his good results. This was what he told me when I talked to him. Realizing this, Mom assured him that he would be smarter than Mom as he grows older.  Right on the spot after I said those words, he challenged me with his 'mind-boggling' questions.

Here are some of his so-called IQ tester:

Is wood stronger than steel?
Is kitchen waste top quality fertiliser?
What can suck away dirty blood?
If you fold a piece of paper into like a paper fan and place an empty pencil box on it, will it crush or still be like a fan?
Can you fold a paper 9 times?

All seem like a breeze to Mom except for the last question which made me pause for a while.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

He reads everywhere

This post appeared on 22 December 2008 in my previous blog.  Here is a reposting.

Wyng was 5 plus then
At any bookshop we frequent, on the bed, in the car, at the music centre and anywhere where he can lay his hands on books. He got the hang of reading sometime middle of this year. Since then, reading is no longer a struggle.

He seems to be hooked on it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My kid threatened me

My sister told me it's normal. All kids do it.  My kid did it more than twice to me.

We were friends on Facebook.  Well, it was a break and make 'friendship'.  After realising that I know too much of what he did or did not do through his postings, he unknowingly removed me as his friend.  And of course, I sensed his 'absence' from FB and confronted him.  He was made to add me as his friend again. I believe adding me as his friend earlier was his most regretful thing he had ever done in his life. 

Things went on as usual until one fine day when I was again curious about his inactivity on Facebook, I questioned him what had he done to his FB account.  After probing, he admitted that he had set some privacy settings to 'block' me.  "All my friends do that" was his excuse. So, it's peer pressure again.

Needless to say, he reluctantly reset the settings to normal.  Life went on and again today I interrogated if he had changed the setting again.  Mumbling some inaudible remarks, he tried to evade the topic.  As I was on the computer, he was 'forced' to restore the settings there and then.  Guess what! He asked if he could do it other times but I relented. 

Without doubt, he must be trying to remove some postings from FB which he didn't want Mom to see.  He was lucky that I was on the phone then that I did not stop him from deleting those 'confidential' posts.  Still not learning from his lesson, he threatened that he would be quitting Facebook and opened another account on Google Plus. 

When being questioned reason for doing it, he rebelled, "I just want to join another social network."

It seems that all kids set privacy settings to their mother who are friends to them for obvious reasons.  But, at least my nephews dare not do that to my sisters.

Monday, October 17, 2011

He destroyed three bags in two years

His first school bag , a trolley bag, when he was in Standard One met the end of its life in less than six months.   His second bag (a backpack) was slightly luckier, it met its death only after about more than a year.  Well, the reason is very simple.  He couldn't drag this bag like a trolley which he did to his first bag.  Having his classroom located on higher level made things worse as he ignorantly drags his bag down steps.  It is understandbly why kids do that judging from the tonne-like bags they carry. 

His current bag was transformed or rather salvaged from being a trolley bag to a backpack. (as shown on the picture).  Actually, Mom had earlier wanted to remove the handle to convert it into a backpack after realising that the books are just too heavy for Wyng's back, much to Wyng's annoyance.  As it's not easy to 'break' or 'remove' the handle without damaging the bag, Mom just left it as it was. 

Come one day Wyng brought back another surprise.  He came back with a 'handicap' bag, as shown in the picture.  Mom was overjoyed but a little stunned how on earth the handle could have broken.  Glad that the bag naturally converted itself to a backpack, Mom questioned Wyng what happened to his bag.  Twisting and turning his words, Mom couldn't get much sense out of the story he cooked up.  As always, Wyng pointed fingers at his friend. Everything, including the base, was broken too.  So, Mom removed the handle and the base and Voila! the old bag is given a new life!

With the trolley bag being destroyed, he now carries a backpack. This will last him until end of the year before the school holidays begin.  Beginning Year 3, he will be owning his fourth bag, a record-breaking event in the family.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My kid cooking up a dish

Hoe was finally allowed to demonstrate his culinary skills, cooking one of the easiest dish to prepare, Japanese curry chicken.  As Mom hasn't really tasted this dish before, it really depends very much on Hoe when it comes to buying the ingredients and its preparation.  Now, buying the ingredients was a bit of a hassle as Mom and Hoe argued on what type of chicken to use.  Learning to cook this dish in a church activity, he was quite certain that chicken fillet was used but Mom was adamant as Chinese prefer boned chicken.  We finally settled for the latter, much to Hoe's agitation.
The most important ingredient
Vermont curry was the one we bought. There are many in the market, I realised only after helping to cook this dish.  Mind you, the price for one pack isn't cheap, RM12 if I am not mistaken.  Oh yes, this is only available in supermarkets such as Isetan or Cold Storage under the Japanese products section or other retails shops which sell Japanese products.
Carrots and potatoes are part of the dish
As this is supposed to be 'his' dish, Mom chose not to interfere and allow Hoe to have free hand in the kitchen, well..some free hand, actually. Afterall, who will clean up the 'aftermath'? None other than Mom. Hoe prepared everything including cutting the carrots, potatoes and garnishing.

One thing Hoe learnt from this cooking activity is that the carrots and potatoes are supposed to be cut in similar sizes so that they cook evenly ie we won't get potatoes which are too soft or carrots which are too crunchy. 

Hoe, serious when it comes to cooking
Prior to cooking the chicken, Hoe was quite sure that fillet should be used.  He then removed the bone and only put in the meat into the pot, without my knowledge.  So, what's cooking was mainly chicken fillet.

This is what gives the curry its rich flavour
 The best and most flavoursome... Until now, I am not sure whether he had put too much (two packets in a box) into a serving for about four person. 

Does it look mouth-watering? Not so...but wait til you taste it
 It might be too thick and overly rich but for a novice like Hoe, I still think this simple dish was not bad at all.

Japanese curry chicken, the easiest to prepare
Voila! Japanese curry chicken ready to be served.  Daddy gave a 'not too bad' rating. Mom gave 'ok, quite tasty'.  'A little too thick' was Ah Pho (Grandma)'s comment.  Now, even the picky Wyng was bold enough to try this dish and said 'not spicy one and just like the dahl curry for roti canai'.

With all those encouraging comments, Hoe feels a great sense of satisfaction.  He promises to do better next time. Whether the dish turns out great is not important, what's comforting is to know that Hoe is committed and serious when he ventures into something.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What small talks are the kids indulging in?

When they are in good terms, you will find them engrossed in talking about their stuff.  So, what do a fourteen-year old and an eight-year old talk about?

* a computer game where they were discussing how best to play to win or what are the best ways to attack some targets.
* a movie, be it a comedy or a science-fiction thriller which they have just watched. What the actor had done to escape or defeat the villain, accompanied by sound effect from the weapons used in the movie.  What the foolish actor had done or said in a funny movie and what follow would usually be laughter and mad giggles.  Mimicking the comedy actors is also part of their conversation and this part is the most amusing and boisterous.  Often Mom has to step in to stop the unruly chattering especially in public.
* a kind of sports, say basketball or football, sometimes after watching a football or basketball tournament on television.  As the Qo Qo, Hoe will be displaying his skills to his brother in attempts to show that he is more superior.  Wyng would innocently listen and tried to be as good as his Qo Qo. At times, our study room turns into a football field, much to the annoyance of Mom.

Wyng: I don't think it pricks to touch this.
Hoe: Yeah, it won't hurt you. Just prick harder.
Whatever the kids talk about, as long as they are not immoral and they don't turn uncontrollably boisterous, and no exhibition of superiority by Hoe, Mom is perfectly fine with it. Afterall, what other time can they bond if not by chatting or playing?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

He's luckier than his older brother

This was posted on 13 November 2008 in my previous blog. Here is a reposting.

This is his second trip in less than 3 months. How lucky is he? His first excursion was to High 5 bread factory in Shah Alam. When he came back, he told me lots of bread-making stories. His animated gestures amuses me.

Yesterday, I allowed him to join his school to Aquaria,KLCC. He told me a little fish story, not too much though. But, I think he enjoys the trip. None of us in the family has been to Aquaria yet. So, he's very fortunate. By the way, when I asked him again about his adventure to Aquaria, he told me dissatisfactorily that his friends pushed him away and wouldn't allow him to watch the fish.

Compared to Wyng, Hoe wasn't as lucky. When he was at Wyng's age (he's 5 now), I'd never allow him to join any outdoor trip organised by the school. He was our 'jewel of the eye' then. And, we just find him too petite and fragile to be allowed to venture out of school compound even though we were assured of security and what not. I don't take any risk at all with Hoe.

Hence, he had NEVER joined any trip in his kindy days. He was green with envy knowing that his little brother gets to visit all those places.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why can't they be happy birds?..for the sake of positivity

Out of the blue, this character is becoming so popular among kids, ranging from those in early teens to those as young as three.  Even Wyng who I hardly allow much computer time knows this character. Kids are owning pencil cases, bags, tee shirts and what not with faces of this angry bird, even cakes are now 'architectured' using these faces. 

But, why can't these birds be called happy birds? Yeah, their eggs got stolen by err...pigs.. So?

With the kind of immense popularity that this bird enjoys, I doubt if any kid still remembers Sesame Street's
Big Bird.