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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We love Bear Grylls

We watched an episode of 'Man vs Wild' yesterday evening after dinner (we usually watch a documentary during the evening meal, but anyone who has watched 'Man vs Wild' would know that it is hardly appropriate dinnertime entertainment).

I am a big fan of Bear Grylls.  He is an all-round great guy and a good role model - and it is such fun watching him because he seems to have a real passion for his work.

And he is eye candy.

Stardust really enjoys watching documentaries and he finds 'nature probrams' absolutely fascinating.  We have already completed the entire 'Planet Earth' series as well as the 'Blue Planet' series.  I don't own any other BBC documentaries so I might have to make a trip to the library soon.  

I am impressed at how much Stardust is able to understand from watching a well-presented documentary.  MDH finds it amusing to get him to summarise each episode, just to see what knowledge he has gleaned.

Here is Stardust's summary of the Season 1 episode of 'Man vs Wild' - 'Episode 13: Kimberly, Australia'.

"Uncle Bear wears the underpants on his head.  It was raining.  Uncle has a fire.  Uncle ate the berries; Uncle makes a burp.  Uncle ate a spider.  That was nasty.  Uncle ate another spider.  That was nasty, too.  Uncle ate a snake.  That was a nice food.  Uncle's a silly man.  Silly man climbs down the tree.  Silly man jumps into the river.  Uncle saw a crocodile.  Small crocodile runs away.  Big crocodile says 'AH'."
Anybody has any interesting documentaries to recommend?  They don't necessarily have to be 'nature probrams'.  If you do, leave a comment and tell me about it!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Susanna Wesley's Household Rule #6

Here are my thoughts on Susanna Wesley's Household Rules:
Rule #6: Require all to be still during Family Worship.
I do not think that it is unreasonable to expect a very young child to show respect by maintaining a reverent attitude, especially during important occasions.  I do think it is unreasonable to expect a very young child under the age of 2 to uphold silence and remain seated for prolonged periods of time - fifteen to twenty minutes at the most.

For example, I expect Stardust to remain silent during prayer time, or when another person is speaking.  He is generally able to respect prayer time or wait for lull in conversation - but not always.  When he forgets himself, I have to remind him firmly of our expectations for him and he is usually obedient (emphasis on 'usually').

I have noticed, in my own church, that there are children who have been allowed the freedom to do as they will whilst they are toddlers...then they reach six or seven years of age when it is 'no longer cute' and their parents decide that it is time to impose restrictions upon them.  Naturally, they are resistant to the sudden change in rules and it is much more difficult to get them to comply.

It really all boils down to parental goals and expectations.  If you expect your child to behave in a certain way, and you wholeheartedly and consistently set upon reinforcing those behaviours, eventually your child will naturally try to meet your expectations.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites: Cyndi Lauper's 'True Colours'

I love the song 'True Colours'.  It's written by Billy Steinburg who is famous for so many 1980's hits like the Bangles' 'Eternal Flame' and Madonna's 'Like a Virgin'.  According to his website, he originally intended the song to be about his mother, but worked with his lyricist to make the song much more ambiguous, so that it could be applied to any relationship between two people.

I actually do not remember Cyndi Lauper's original 1986 release - I think I am more familiar with Phil Collin's version - but I heard her on the radio last weekend and I was really blown away.  I think that she is really brave to pick this particular song, because this song brings out her rhostacistic speech impediment but you hardly notice it because of the beauty of the lyrics.

The music video itself is a little bit bizarre but Stardust loves the song.  He especially likes the line 'I see your true colours and that's why I love you' and sings it louder than the rest of the chorus.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Movie Night - with Stardust! (updated)

The Aged Ps managed to score some free tickets to 'Toy Story 3' and we're going to take Stardust along with us.  His very first picture show!

I hope he enjoys it.

I hope we enjoy it too!

I am going to bring along his milk and a few snacks, in case he starts to get loud.

(updated 10:28pm on the same day)

Well, that was AWESOME!

We were a little worried because it was a 3D movie and required glasses - and we weren't sure if Stardust would tolerate wearing the glasses for the whole film.

It turns out that the theatre had mini-glasses for little mini-people, so he was pretty chuffed that he had his own little pair and he kept them on most of the time.  In any case, the film was still 'watchable' even if he took the glasses off - it just looked a little blurry around the edges.

Here is Stardust's review of the film:
Nice movie!  It had toys - nice toys.  The truck came and went 'Thump!'.  There was a boy.  Baby picked up the toys.  Liked it.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bring back my Bonnie to me

Every morning, after breakfast, Stardust and I go downstairs to play.  We are fortunate that there are several families with young children living in our block - and we frequently meet each other at the playground.  Stardust's favourite playmate is a little girl called Bonnie. 

Bonnie is a little French girl, a tiny little spindly thing with curly blonde ringlets all over her head, grey-green eyes and a big, big sparkly grin. She may not be the prettiest little girl that Stardust knows (that title very clearly belongs to Ella, a raven-haired siren with big blue eyes like sapphires) but she certainly is the sunniest, with a huge smile for everyone.  Her mother is a very friendly lady who seems to be friends with everyone in the neighbourhood - including the cleaners and security personnel.  The beautiful Ella is rather sulky and mysterious in comparison, and she does not do much apart from stare at Stardust with her finger in her mouth, which seems to unnerve him.  I must admit that I am rather chuffed that he seems to have chosen personality over appearance.

I only realised Stardust's particular affection for Bonnie when he started gathering flowers for her. 

This is special because he has never gathered flowers for anyone else (myself included), and I am not even sure where he picked up the notion of collecting flowers as a gift!  He doesn't pick flowers for his friends who are boys.  When I asked him why he was picking flowers, he said nonchalantly, "Bonnie likes flowers".
Here he is with a few frangipani flowers that he found.  He is sitting on a stone, waiting patiently for Bonnie to come out to play.

He really looks forward to playing with Bonnie.  He talks incessantly about seeing her all the way from leaving our house, going down the stairs, walking across the yard, all the way until we reach the playground.  Strangely enough, once he does see Bonnie, he plays it cool and pretends that he doesn't know she's there (I did not teach him to do this!).  He looks in the opposite direction and smiles broadly at the playground equipment.  Whenever Bonnie sees him, she always runs towards him, yodelling his name in a loud voice.  Then, they chase each other around the frangipani trees.  It's like a Bollywood film.

Bonnie goes back to France in a few weeks.

I think Stardust will miss her very much.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little physician

I haven't been feeling well lately - it is a combination of smog and overtiredness, I guess.

Yesterday, I had a stonking great headache in the afternoon and was lying down on the couch trying to rest whilst still valiantly attempting to engage in Stardust's games.

After watching me gesture at him feebly for a few minutes, Stardust climbed up onto my stomach and looked me in the eye.

Stardust: Mumby, are you sick?
TSCD: No darling, I just have a sore head.
Stardust: Like when Stardust has a sore tummy and Mumby rubbed it to make it better?
TSCD: Yes darling, but instead of a sore tummy, I have a sore head.
Stardust: Stardust rub Mumby's head and make better.

And with that, he put his little hand on my forehead and rubbed it gently.

I must have fallen asleep almost immediately because I found myself opening my eyes about ten minutes later.  Stardust was playing quietly on the floor next to me.

He's a good little boy.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Susanna Wesley's Household Rule #5

Here are my thoughts on Susanna Wesley's Household Rules:
Rule #5: To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
I should think that this rule still applies to families who do not subscribe to any particular religion. Every family will have certain key beliefs or traditions that they hold sacred and would like to pass onto the next generation.  Christianity is the foundation on which we have chosen to build our family.

If Christianity is of singular importance in our family, it only makes sense that our number one priority is to teach Stardust about it and allow him to be involved in important family rituals as early as possible.  Since infancy, Stardust has been allowed to observe and participate in prayer time, and he has been encouraged in his early efforts to pray as well.  We make no effort to exclude him.  Now, he is able to pray independently.

For example, we brought Stardust to church with us when he was a month old (it would have been earlier, had I not decided to adhere to the traditional confinement period) and as far as possible, we tried to allow him to sit with us throughout the service instead of bringing him out to the creche.  Of course, this took planning on our part because we did not want him to be a distraction or a nuisance to the rest of the congregation, but it was possible for Stardust, as an infant, to sit quietly through a 90 minute service, especially after observing all the adults in the church sanctuary.

All this rule is saying is that if there is something that you hold dear, let your children be a part of it and they will also learn to treasure the experience.  Never underestimate what a child is capable of doing and understanding.  Children learn by observing adults and copying them...and their little eyes and ears do not miss much.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Man for hire

Name: MDH

Seeking a position that utilises my extensive experience and knowledge in the field of parenting 

1. Proven ability to act quickly under pressure 
2. Understanding of all key health and sanitation concerns
3. Basic mastery of feeding, bathing and diapering techniques
4. Full range of managerial and disciplinary skills
5. Persuasive speaking competent

2008 - present
Father to one Stardust: Specialist in direct supervision of physical activity, performed studies in toddler sociology, monitoring progress of ongoing developmental processes

Willing to work for room and board.

(Happy Father's Day, MDH!  Thank you for being such a great daddy.)


Friday, June 18, 2010

A Healthy Breakfast

This morning I woke up feeling incredibly grouchy.

So I had potato crisps for breakfast and I felt much, much better.

(Don't tell MDH)

Have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites: Owl City 'Fireflies'

Now, I know that I already posted a video of Captain Valor performing this particular song, but the original Owl City music video is just so lovely and whimsical that I had to share it.

Stardust is fascinated by all the mechanical vintage toys, especially the robots and the giant silver airship (he gets very excited about it and will exclaim "Fish coming out of the cupboard!!" whenever we hear the song on the radio).

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great Singapore Sail

Here's a beautifully photoshopped picture of what Orchard Road, our main shopping district, is looking like during today's monsoon, which incidentally coincides with the Dragonboat Festival.  (Picture credits to Grace)

I was planning to head down there today to take advantage of our sale season and get some much needed essentials (i.e. it's time to buy some new bras), but I'm so glad that I changed my mind.

Susanna Wesley's Household Rule #4

Here are my thoughts on Susanna Wesley's Household Rules:
Rule #4: Subdue self-will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child's soul.
I think this rule works in every family, regardless of religious affiliation.  It really is all about the purpose of discipline and the people who are responsible for care-giving.

The definition of 'self-will' here refers to the selfish obstinacy of following one's own desires at the expense of other people.  It is necessary to conquer and overcome one's own desires in order to be able to fit into and contribute positively to society.

Thus, the purpose of discipline should be to give children the tools that they require in order to function in society as responsible, well-adjusted and independant human beings...that is, one has to teach the child to be able to control his or her own behaviour and consider how their decisions and actions make an impact on the world around them.

It is interesting to note that Susanna Wesley does not want self-will to be completely removed from a child.  A child needs to be tamed, but not broken.  A child with no self-will at all becomes nothing more than a jellyfish.  A child who is spineless and who is not able to stand up for themselves or for the things that they believe is very prone to bullying, even as an adult.

Therefore, disciplinary methods should avoid humiliation (e.g. name-calling, allowing them to soil themselves) or public embarrassment (eg. loudly reprimanding or smacking them in front of friends) which only serves to break a child's self-confidence and spirit.

In Singapore, we would say that the child should not have to 'lose face' - they should be allowed to receive punishment with honour (i.e. in private and in a manner that is age-appropriate) and be able submit to authority with dignity (i.e. no grovelling or self-debasement).

The rule encompasses all who are involved in raising the child - that means that this rule not only applies to the primary caregivers (eg. parents, child-minders) but also applies to secondary caregivers (eg. older siblings, grandparents, educators).

Every person who is in contact with children has a responsibility towards them and must realise that their actions will make an impression.  They are required to put aside their personal agendas and co-operate with each other in order to instill in the child those core precepts that will guide him or her in the future.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Children's Season at the Museums

A week or so back, I wrote about visiting the National Museum and International Museum Day 2010.  Stardust and I (and the reluctant Aged Ps) did actually go to the National Museum that day, but it was crowded and noisy, so we wandered through a few exhibits and decided to call it a day.

I promised Stardust that we would visit the museum later that week so that he could really enjoy the new Children's Season exhibits. 

We went with a friend of mine and her little boy whom Stardust affectionately nicknamed 'Mr Happy'.

Mr Happy was unfortunately not so happy during our outing as he was feeling very tired (which is why he doesn't feature in any of these pictures).  After patiently struggling with him for nearly an hour, his mum wisely decided to cut our playdate short and run off home. 

I didn't really mind because Stardust was quite happy to enjoy the museum by himself.

Here he is by the giant felt wall in the lobby, playing dress-up in a chicken-insect constume (you can see that he is clutching a Thomas the Tank Engine toy which is his new best friend). 
We did not spend too long at the National Museum because there were some unfriendly children around who refused to share toys, and the 'facilitators' were too busy messing around with their antibacterial hand wipes to notice.  I left when one of them chucked a wooden block at Stardust's head and then ran crying to his mother when Stardust (quite rightly) said "NO!  Don't throw blocks!  It hurts and I don't like it!". 

I walked him round to the Art Garden at 8Q, which was four floors completely dedicated to child-centred installation art. 
It was awesome!

Stardust was very excited about the giant rabbit mascot, Walter, who was perched on top of the building.

There were lots of interactive exhibits there, but Stardust's favourite was Floribots, the robotic flower garden that responds to the 'mood' of the people in the room.  He was running around and jumping and the flowers reacted by growing and blooming.  It was really cool.

Here he is standing straight and still so that the plants will also stand straight and still.

We will definitely visit again before the end of Children's Season in July!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Movie Night

Chicken Katsu Curry with peas and carrots
McCain Smiley Faces

Mango juice

1. District 9 - brilliantly constructed, thought-provoking and hideously gruesome.  Highly recommended.

2. The Brothers Bloom - I always promise myself that I will not pick up another Adrien Brody film, but this one had Mark Ruffalo in it so I could not resist.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Never leave the window open

Today, I left the kitchen window open all morning whilst I was downstairs at the playground with Stardust.

          Stupid me.

I came back to find that my kitchen and dining room had been tastefully decorated with a multitude of golden glistening drops of very, very wet bird muck.

The culprit was sitting the lip of the kitchen sink, chirruping proudly at us.

It would not fly away.

It just would not.

I had to chase it all over the house with a newspaper, whilst Stardust rolled on the couch (mercifully spared by our feathered friend) helplessly shrieking with laughter.

Finally, it hopped out onto the windowsill and I managed to shut the window before it could hop back in again.

Whilst I went about the house with a rag and a pail of disinfectant, I noticed that it kept peering in at me and chirping hopefully.  I ignored it.

It was still there, staring reproachfully at me as I cut up some meat for dinner.

I will be keeping the kitchen window closed from now on.  You never know what sort of visitors you might get through an open window.

Have a good weekend!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Awesome Daddy!

This daddy is totally awesome!  I am really impressed by the things that he creates for his children - his toys look cool, encourage imaginative play and (best of all) are cheap as free.  I also like the fact that this daddy doesn't limit himself to traditional 'manly' creative outlets like woodworking and metalworking, but is adept at sewing, embroidery and knitting, putting a masculine spin on his creations.

I love this little aquarium that he made (picture credit to Joel) - what makes it really special are the slots on the top of the box which allow the sea creatures to swim back and forth in their little aquarium.

He also made these amazing wooden sand combs and this innovative zoo blanket.

The best part of his site is that he often shares printable templates of his projects.

My personal favourite is his Paper City - complete with people, vehicles and even a helicopter!

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ten things I did today

1. Made 5 litres of pork stock from leftover pork ribs
2. Mopped floor
3. Cleaned paint off sticky little fingers
4. Mopped paint off floor
5. Repaired dismantled toy xylophone
6. Disentangled 3 foot long slinky from the coffee table
7. Cleaned porridge off sticky little face
8. Mopped porridge off floor
9. Successfully conducted the Hunt For The 100th Piece Of A 100 Piece Duplo Set
10. Mopped spaghetti sauce off floor


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

5 minutes alone with...

Just in case you're wondering, I didn't freak out over his attempt to draw tiger stripes on his face.  Stardust actually went to a party where they had face painting and he was trying to recreate the event.  I took him to the mirror and showed him that if the ink doesn't come off then it will stain his face for a long time because marker pen ink is not always washable like face paint.  Then I gave him a wet towel so that he could wipe it off himself.  He was able to wipe it mostly clean, but he was not so successful with the stripes on his legs.
Oh well.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Susanna Wesley's Household Rule #3

Here are my thoughts on Susanna Wesley's Household Rules:
Rule #3: They are required to take medicine without complaining.
I like the fact that Susanna Wesley specifically states that the child should not complain about having to drink bitter medicine.  There is nothing more off-putting than a whining and complaining child.  A child who sees fit to whine and complain about medicine is one who has not fully grasped the concept of what medicine is meant to do.  In short, this rule is mostly about obedience.  

Obedience is not just about carrying out an instruction, but also about the attitude in which the instruction is carried out.

I have taught Stardust that obedience is "straight away, all the way and with a happy heart".  When I discipline him, I ask him to remember what obedience means and reciting the definition helps him to keep things in perspective.

However, for a child to truly be able to obey with a happy heart, they need to know why they are required to follow that instruction.  That is, parents should be able to give some form of explanation that goes beyond "Because I said so!".

I think it is very important for children to be able to have faith in their parents - that is, children should know that parents have only their best interests at heart.  If a child is secure in that knowledge, then I think that they are more willing to cooperate.

To me, this means that parents have a responsibility to be honest and to make sure that their children are given a full briefing before asking them to participate in a new experience (especially if the experience is likely to be unpleasant).

For example, a trip to the doctor's for an injection should never be disguised as a trip to the zoo (this actually happened to a 5 year old patient of mine, and let me tell you, she was *not* amused).  If you need to do something to them which is going to hurt (e.g. removing a thorn or cleaning a wound), then it is worth telling them that it is going to be painful but that it has to be done in order for them to get better.  Lying to a child in order to coerce them will only lead them to conclude that your wheedling ways are not trustworthy, and they will be more resistant to following your instruction in the future.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Preparing for Sunday School

I'm teaching Sunday School to the pre-nursery kiddies this month.  The kids are all around Stardust's age - from 18 months to 3 years old.  

I hope I survive.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pardon Me

Celeste and I are having some teething problems.

After using a PC for nearly twenty years (yes, my family was one of those progressive families that purchased a computer way back when screens were green.), converting back to the Apple Computer is a little bit strange.  As much as I adore Celeste, I have to get used to her shortcuts and her bizarre US keyboard that has all the punctuation in the wrong places.

Until I figure it out, posts will be very, very succinct.

Like this one.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Movie Night

Barbequed pork ribs shellacked with honey
Blanched green leafy vegetables 
Potato wedges

Passionfruit and orange juice

This. Film. Is. Genius.
(MDH says: A western set in the east, huh...does that make it a Noodle Western?)

It was very, very odd.  Okay, maybe it was odd because the lead actor died before completing the movie.  I will always wonder what the plot would have been.  Even so, serves us right for trying to watch another Terry Gilliam film.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010


(7:30am, Stardust has just woken up)
Stardust: Mumby, Mumby!  Moon next to me!
TSCD: I don't understand.  Where was the moon?
Stardust: Moon next to me!  Moon next to me!
TSCD: In your room?
Stardust: Noooo, moon next to me, moon in the clouds!  I see the clouds, I climb up the clouds, I sit on the moon!
TSCD: You sat on the moon?
Stardust: I sit on the moon!  I sit on the moon; I sit like this...(sits on the edge of the bed, with legs dangling)
TSCD: Wow!  Did you really?
Stardust: I sit on the moon, I see the stars.  Mumby, Mumby, stars come out, stars t(w)inkling!
TSCD: That sounds beautiful.  Did you like it?
Stardust: Uhhhhh...yes.


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