Astounding finish to P1


P1 ended on a high note, a wonderful finish with an inaugural school performance. Z was in the school dance and they danced to a hip Korean number. I thought my son and his friends looked very cool indeed. They had a pretty cool and trendy dance instructor.

We had to pay $20 per ticket for the concert which featured the school performance CCAs and guest talents.

Leading up to the dance performance, Z had many days of intensive dance rehearsals. Since the last day of mini tests, they had dance practices every school day. They had definitely put in a lot of effort.

Looking back, P1 had been a fun and learning journey. I hoped every school year would be fun and memorable. 

I liked what the school had done for the boys. I hoped it would be like this or better in the years to come.

One down, five more years to go.

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Day trip to Legoland

Z’s school was closed for a few days due to PTM. Hence, we took the chance to bring the kids to Legoland Malaysia. It had been more than 2 years since we brought our kids there. Unfortunately, the weather was dark and threatening.

It eventually rained and it was so heavy that we decided to tuck into a hearty meal of fried chicken before proceeding in. The rain kept many people away. Hence, we never had to queue for any attractions. The kids got to enjoy some of their favorite rides several times. 

All dressed in raincoats 

The Ninjago ride was the latest attraction

The boys went on the Ninjago ride repeatedly because they kept vying for the top score. Z had the best score amongst our group of 15 pax but I eventually beat his score by 60,000. He got pretty miffed.

This was the first time when the fireman rescue race was actually fun. The daddies and boys made up 3 teams to compete. 

Z also took the Dragon’s Breath & Technic roller coaster for the first time. He was apprehensive but game to try. I was so proud of this little guy. 

We did not manage to finish all the rides as the park closed at 6pm and we had spent a lot of time at Build Test center. Furthermore, the boys went at least twice on most rides and 4-5 times on some rides. I reckoned they went on at least 20 rides for the entire day which made the trip really worthwhile.

We proceeded to spend another 45min shopping in the store. 

By the time we left the park, it was 7pm.

We treated ourselves to an awesome Korean BBQ dinner near Aeon Mall. It was 10pm when we finally headed off and 11pm when we got home.

X was so tired that we left him sleeping on the bumper mat because he was simply too tired to bathe. 

What a day! 

Our first toy buffet 

It was the first time my company had taken part in Toy Buffet carnival. As Z’s school was closed for the day, I brought him along to help. It was a good decision because he helped us to distribute the gift tags and promote toys to the guests.

Before the actual day, we had contributed by asking for toys to donate to this event. Prior to coming for the event, I also prepped Z that he was not supposed to get upset or ask for the toys at the event as those toys were specifically for the beneficiaries.

He was quite cool with that and was eager for the event to commence.

It was a very heartwarming event and was really nice when the kids found the toys that they were looking for. What touched me the most was that these kids could only bring 2 presents back each, and some of them were selflessly looking for toys for their siblings. 

Z was really happy to help at the event. 

After our shift was over, we headed to a movie play date with his K2 best friend, followed by a visit to his new house.

We had a mini celebration with his favorite pal before calling it a day.

Kicking around 

The most wonderful thing about the boys’ soccer academy was the efforts that the committee members spent to nurture the boys through play. Apart from arranging for friendly matches, they organized quarterly, internal tournaments for all the boys to have a chance at playing games.

During the first few tournaments, Z was too stunned and shell shocked to play in matches. Over time, he learned how the game worked and would be sad when he didn’t win.

This was Z’s 3rd (or 4th) and X’s 2nd internal tournament. 

The teams that they were in managed to do well enough to win. 

Forlorn boy – he was upset despite his team’s win because he was not selected to do penalty kicks. Did I mention he was the youngest amongst all the teams?

Z was jubilant with his first trophy 

He truly treasured this because he knew that it was not just about the team he was in, but about how much efforts he had to put in too. 

What a sweet end to the year and kudos to the academy for always encouraging the kids!

Study versus play

Recently, a special community called “100 Voices” was set up. Basically, they found individuals who did not do so well academically and shared their success stories. It was a movement to encourage parents to stop emphasizing on grades. I also read many comments which stated that this would not work in meritocracy based Singapore. 

There would always be external factors hindering and people would always complain, simply because they wanted everything(a perfect solution) served on a silver platter. The gap between expectations and reality was not easy to bridge. 

I agreed that locally, the parents here placed way too much emphasis on studies. Had I foreseen the trend earlier, I would have joined teaching, run a private tuition centre and be part of the billion dollar industry. We would never know what the future trends were, so how would attending more English, Math, Mother Tongue and Science lessons today help?

With preschool and lower primary students being on the worst end of the sticks, their child-like innocence and playtime were being burned away at additional academic lessons and tuition. 

Parental involvement was the key to teaching a child because you could identify the weakness. If you could convince your child to listen to you, your child would be a good listener in school too. 

Parent-led coaching was effective because you could tailor the teaching and impart values at the same time. The whole process could also be more productive. You spend lesser time to get the same results. It was never about giving the child answers but to encourage a problem-solving and concentrating mindset. 
Instead of letting children spend hours and hours cooped up in a tuition/enrichment centre, I would rather let them run free and play as they liked, for as long as they can before their real responsibilities grew with time. 

It had been 4 years since I held my ground against academic enrichment. Initially, Z’s preschool teachers voiced their concerns. When his concentration peaked in school after all that play and sports, they agreed that additional enrichment were not necessary.

I had been tempted to send Z to the likes of tuition and Learning Lab. However, whenever I recalled how I used to zone out at those extra lessons and spending time with tuition centre mates that did not value add my EQ, I knew I would not want to coop Z further in a classroom. The real classroom was the world outside. 

Problem solving 

In the past few months, Z learned to solve issues instead of giving in or succumbing to pressure.

When the kids ganged up on someone, he would stand up for the weaker party and try to diffuse the situation.

Whenever someone felt down, he was there to comfort and encourage.

When his friends made fun of him, he either laughed along or ignored them, depending on his readiness to respond. 

When his friends hit him (either for fun or to bully him), he was prepared to dodge. He was always proud to fill me with colourful stories of how he could dodge successfully. 

When his friends went overboard, he showed that he could be assertive if needed be.

However, we always encouraged him to resolve everything amicably.

Recently, I was impressed with how he negotiated with a friend. They were playing a game and Z was leading. The friend was upset and asked Z to let him win once. Z said he would let the friend win once, provided the friend help him to win first (for a second time). The friend sulked that it was not fair because he wanted an equalizer. Z explained that it was fair because they should help each other mutually. He managed to diffuse the situation and still maintained his lead in the game. 

As I went down the list, I thought that it was not easy being P1 these days! Not because of the schoolwork, but the social issues to face and handle. 

Above all things, I hoped Z maintained these traits and grew to be a stronger boy. 

In fact, he was such a cute gentleman. When his female friends went toilet, he would even wait for them outside the toilet. That was so sweet!

The spoilt second born

We were ever ready to teach the first born values, principles and rationale. We instilled high standards and were particularly stingy with the use of electronic devices.

Not that we disallowed, but we spent a lot of time withholding and explaining our reasons. He was able to behave without the use of such tools, till he turned P1 and I recognized the need to be savvy with these tools. There were so many useful apps that he could run. 

As for the second born, Mr H was lax and gave in to whiny battles. X might have looked as though he won but I thought the real loser was X. I saw him squint and my heart was broken. 

When Z said Mr H was unfair, I merely turned around and said, “Yes, Daddy is unfair. He loves you more than he loves X because he doesn’t help to protect his eyes.”

This was not the only instance which the daddy bent to make his life easier, instead of maintaining a high standard like with the first born.

That I agreed, was really unfair.