Friday, 14 February 2020

My Boy's Graduation Concert & 1st Month at Primary School

It has become somewhat of a tradition to write about my kid's graduation from preschool and their first time at formal primary school education in the same post as I had done the same for my eldest girl.

Last year, we celebrated the boy's graduation from his childcare in the usual way at his childcare's annual concert. It felt like just yesterday that I was blogging about his first day at pre-school and now he's about to graduate!

Excited sisters in attendance
My boy with his graduating class

Although my boy does not particularly like dancing, we signed him up anyway so that he can learn perseverance and confidence.

One of the dance performances that my boy was involved in

I'm very proud of my boy for doing his best even though performing is not one of his strengths. He has come a long way since his first year in pre-school where he refused to take instructions from anyone. My boy has always been fiercely independent and has his own unique way of thinking. However, he has really improved a lot after going to pre-school and learning to follow rules and routines.

Our family photo to celebrate this milestone!

The boy took a break from school for the whole of December as we were overseas for most of December. I was so afraid that he will find it hard to transit to Primary 1 when the time came.

Although this was not my first time transitioning a child to Primary 1, it is still just as anxiety-provoking as every child is different. The concerns I had for my girl were very different from that of my boy.

For my girl, I was concerned with the fit of the school for her needs and her ability to wake up every morning for school because she is a night owl like I am. After 3 years in this primary school that I've chosen, I am very sure that we had made the right choice.

For my boy, I was concerned that he is literally 1 full year behind his peers, being born 4 days before the end of the year on 27 Dec. I was also concerned about his proficiency in the Chinese language. Even though he grew up with a Mandarin-speaking grandmother, he does not seem to have acquired the ability nor the interest in the language. We decided to enroll him in Chinese tuition even though I'm usually against sending my kids to tuition unnecessarily. In this case, it was absolutely necessary as he was really behind.

Prepared my boy's bag for school a week in advance

The boy wakes up together with his sister every morning at about 5.45-6am in order to catch the school bus at 6.20am. So far the boy is doing great, sometimes even better than his sister, who has a lot more trouble opening her eyes in the morning. I think it really helps to have a big sister to orientate you to taking the school bus and getting around in school. She taught him how to buy food and where to wait for the bus to go home at the end of school (she is a really great big sister!).

Later that morning, we joined all the excited parents to observe the very first morning assembly of our little Primary 1 kids. I can tell that my boy is still finding it hard to follow the structure of the school system as he is a free-spirit and generally goes 'where ever the wind takes him'! 😂

I'm really grateful to his form teacher, who has had to nudge him in the right direction, help him find his missing library books and patiently correct his misbehaviours.

He is such a free spirit that we almost couldn't find him during recess despite spotting my girl being a P4 buddy to a very cute Primary 1 girl right away. She was right in her element, being a good big sister to her junior. I'm so proud of her!

As for my boy, it turned out that his buddy had brought him around the school to introduce him to the school compound and we only saw him when recess was about to end. He seemed to be doing ok so far and we were happy with his transition.

I observed that my boy does better when he is given a lot of time in advance to learn something. Hence, I made it a point to teach him his spelling (both Chinese and English) at least one week in advance. That really helped him to learn a little by little, with a lot of repetitions to commit them to memory.

Nowadays our routine after dinner on weekdays (and sometimes Sundays) consists of me giving tuition to my 2 kids for at least an hour before they got ready for bed. If you've taught your own kids before, you'd know exactly how challenging that can be!

I usually focus on their weakest subject, which more often than not, starts with A LOT of tears and grumbling. Then it goes into negotiation, more grumbling and then dropping of their pencils repeatedly on the floor. This totally brings out the Tiger Mum in me and I would dish out demands and various consequences until they do what I say. It's tough, but I know eventually it will benefit them at the end.

Bear in mind that I do all this while handling a very active, sometimes cranky, baby and dealing with sleep deprivation due to disrupted sleep at night! I think I only survive everyday relying on God's strength!

It also explains why it took me so long to write my blog posts, including this one! 😩

It's only the first half of the first term of the year. I've still got a long year ahead... Wish me luck! 😐


Our memories of past concerts:

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Littlest Girl's 1st Christmas

Christmas is my favourite festival of the year and Christmas is definitely not complete without a Christmas tree in our home!

Last year I was so pregnant (in my third trimester) that I was too tired to put up AND take down the tree. The kids were so sad and lamented the lack of their tree for Christmas.

To make it up to them this year, I made it a point to put up the tree extra early in October so that they can enjoy it for longer! 😄

The kids help me with putting up the tree and and decorating it now that the kids are old enough

Love our beautiful 9-year-old tree that is handed down to us by the hubby's brother and still going strong 💖

The baby really loves to look at lights so the daddy decided to drive down Orchard Road with our sunroof opened on one of the nights before Chrismas to see them.

Although the Christmas decoration pales in comparison to the one we saw in London, I'm grateful that we still have lights to enjoy.

Christmas is all about Christ, hence our Christmas is always spent in church.

We are home for Christmas!

We missed the annual Candlelight service as we were on vacation to Ipoh and Cameron Highlands but we managed to catch the Christmas service.

The beautiful set up by City Harvest Church Nursery Ministry

We got blessed with cookies and a small Christmas gift
Kids taking photos with Christmas trees with their cute Christmasy head bands

We like to buy an annual membership to something fun every year and last year was the Faber Licence membership for unlimited cable car rides. This year, we decided to get the Friends of the Gardens membership (unlimited entry) as they were having a promotion at 50% off!

We utilised our membership and visited the Christmas decoration at the Flower Dome.

Another thing I did this Christmas was learn how to bake a Christmas cake with my colleagues at work!

I made the whole cake from scratch!
With my awesome colleagues

The cake actually tastes really good! We loved it!

As usual, Christmas is not complete without our usual Christmas dinners with the family!

Our simple BBQ Christmas lunch at home

The kids were really excited to open their presents!

Presents for the kids from the doting grandma and us
I love Mell Chan so of course the first gift for my girl is a Mell Chan doll 😊

Lee family Xmas lunch
Left: Grandma with half of her grandchildren;
Right: Niece E and littlest girl's first Christmas!
Heng family Christmas dinner
(What a spread of food!)
Group photo

We usually celebrate the boy's birthday with my side of the family during the Christmas dinner.

Happy 6th birthday to my darling boy!

Opening their presents from Yiyi
Baby's first present from Yiyi

I know such memories are stored somewhere in a baby's brain, even if the baby can't really access or verbalise them when they are older. Nevertheless, these memories remain and I hope they will be memories of a wonderful Christmas that she will always cherish and know that her family loves her very much! ❤️


Our memories of our past Christmas celebrations:

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Nagoya Day 3: Takayama & Shirakawa-go Day Tour

A trip to Nagoya is not complete without a day trip to the very famous Shirakawa-go. We booked a day tour to Takayama and Shirakawa-go via Klook at S$77 per adult, $65 per child.

According to the instructions, we were to meet at the fountain at Nagoya Station at 8.10am (Klook will give you clear instructions to follow after booking).

We had to wake up really early to take the free shuttle bus from our hotel to Nagoya Station.

Nagoya Station is huge!
Make sure you head to the Taiko-Dori side. 
The fountain in front of Bic Camera was our meeting place

Our tour guide is a really cheerful fellow who gave us full permission to take a picture of him so that we can recognise him whenever we needed to.

Our tour guide explaining the tour to us
Our tour bus at a pit stop for a short toilet break
Entertaining the baby while admiring the scenery outside

The journey took approximately 2 hours and we arrived at Takayama at 11am. The tour guide only gave us till 1pm to explore! It was simply too rushed to do everything we wanted!

Our bus parked at Takayama Betsuin Temple Treasure House, which is situation along Yasugawa Street (the main street in the heart of Takayama)
Left: the actual Takayama Betsuin Temple Treasure House is the building behind us;
Right: Lovely weather to explore Takayama! 
Our family loves the cool weather! 
Temple gate

We walked along Yasugawa Street towards the Miyagawa Morning Market to catch it before it closed at 11.30am. On the way, we stopped to try some of the famous Hida beef and beef bun to fill our tummies for lunch!

Skewered Hida beef! It was so good that all of us, including all ate one stick each!
Kihachiro Beef Bun

We made it to the morning market just in time before they closed!

Miyagawa morning market
Buying the kids' favourite taiyaki! 
Along the Miyagawa River
Love this shot of my girl at the Miyagawa River captured with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro! 

We passed by a miso shop at the end of the street and bought some miso home as the kids loved it!

Trying the miso at the miso shop before buying
Instructions on how to make your miso

We walked back to Yasugawa Street and tried Hida beef sushi from one of the sushi stands.

Yummy beef sushi! 😋

We proceeded to the famous Takayama old town next to check out the beautiful old school houses.

Takayama old town
Not easy to take a selfie with my expanded family 😂
Kids enjoyed exploring the street while the baby girl looked like she wasn't sure what the fuss is about 😅
Exploring the shops full of pretty handmade items! 
Left: Some of the shops sell souvenirs for Shirakawa-go and they're a lot cheaper than buying them at Shirakawa-go! We bought all of our souvenirs at Takayama 😄;
Right: Handmade wooden spoons, great for eating honey (don't use metal spoons to eat honey)
The hubby couldn't get enough of the beef sushi and this one had a queue so he said we must try. It's really good!

Seriously, we only had 2 hours at Takayama and it's really too short! We have to plan another trip here again!

We had to move on to Shirakawa-go, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is about 50 minutes away from Takayama.

We arrived at the Shirakawa-go Viewing Platform, which is only opened during non-winter seasons (closed during winter as the roads are too slippery for vehicles to travel up).

Me and my kids with the picturesque Shirakawa-go in the background
The autumn colours of the mountains are fading to welcome the winter in just a few days. 

According to the weather forecast, it was likely to snow the next day so we kind of miss it. At first I was a bit disappointed but then the thought of carrying a baby and slipping on the wet snow made me feel better. I'm thankful that the weather was good and it didn't rain!

We were given 1 hour and 15 minutes to explore Shirakawa-go. It may seem short but as Shirakawa-go is a very small village, we finished walking through the whole village in about 1 hour.

Selfie with my eldest girl along the Sho River
I love to take photos and my girl loves to model for me! Next time I will be the one taking the photos that she will post on Instagram #InstaMummy 😂
On the Deai bridge that leads you to Shirakawa-go.
The roof of the houses in the Shirakawa-go is what makes it unique. It is said that the roof resembles hands clasp in prayer.
Signs asking you to watch for falling snow during the winter
Kids enjoying their ice cream, yet again! 
The kids love to model for this mummy! 😄
A nice painting that the kids wanted to take pictures with
The drain covers in Japan are usually designed to reflect the place that they are in. This one is no exception. Pretty! 
More photos of my girl as we headed back to the bus
One more with the Sho River

Although it would have probably looked more magical during the winter, we still enjoyed taking photos and wandering around Shirakawa-go. Definitely one of those places you need to visit at least once in your life!

That was the end of our day tour.

By the time we arrived back at Nagoya Station, it was dark and almost 8pm. We decided to get some takeaway from the basement of Takashimaya as they clearing their food at special prices.

Our dinner consisted of whatever we managed to grab from the special sale of food after 8pm 😄

Super tiring but fun day! 😄

Continue to >> Nagoya Day 4: Port of Nagoya Aquarium & Osu in the Day
<< Back to Nagoya Day 2: Nagoya Castle & Osu at Night


Download our Nagoya Itinerary 2019 Printable (pdf to be added when this series has been completed) 
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Nagoya, Japan
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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