Monday, September 24, 2018

PSLE reflection

Reflecting on PSLE, as a parent.

So, PSLE is happening this week. Together with two other mothers, I was interviewed on the topic of PSLE. My takeaway from that session, and from listening to the children in their interview segment, is this.

The PSLE is an important examination, however, how much importance or stress is associated with it varies widely. The mothers and the children were asked rather similar questions. How do you feel about the PSLE? If you could remove the PSLE or not take the PSLE, would you? Are grades important? Who would be more disappointed if you do not meet the goal you set? And of course the answers were varied.

My personal take, our roles as parents is not to remove the stress nor to add unnecessary pressure to the children. Our role is to support our child through the process. If PSLE, or any examination is inevitable, as is many challenges in life, we need to teach our children how to navigate through them. We need to understand our children, their academic capacity, resilience, character and work with them to help them build capacity in a meaningful and helpful manner. What does that mean?

As a mum, I need to know the realistic amount of revision my child can reasonably complete without impeding on her sleep and recreation time. And yes, sleep and recreation is still important during exams. Every person, child or adult needs adequate sleep and down time. A twelve-year-old child should have TEN hours of sleep for the brains to rest, aid concentration and knowledge acquisition. Recreation or down time is essential to a child’s mental and emotional well-being. Taking all that into consideration, I plan with my child a reasonable amount of time for studying. We spend time talking, and I explain why it is important to be putting in all these efforts for an examination.

For our family, the value of hard work, doing your best and integrity to self are important. I work with my child on a reasonable amount of time to study and determine a reasonable attainable score and she sets her goal. And I moderate her expectations or mine and we manage it from there. Now, what if the child does not achieve what he or she had set forth. Well, there may be disappointment, and it is normal! Disappointment and sadness are okay. And they should be acknowledged but, it is not the definitive moment.

My daughter’s goals are way higher than mine. But, even if her score falls below my “expectation”, she knows that if I am disappointed, it is with the result, and not with her. That is because I know how much work went into preparing for the exams and what her capabilities are. BUT many things could happen during the exams. And in her own words, if that happens, she will be sad for a few days and then get over it. And that is part of growing up, learning to deal with disappointment, but never giving up.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dance Competitions

A little reflection about today and the girl's ballet competition. 

Today, the girl participated in the Get the Beat Singapore Round.  She had been practicing the routine for the last three months and had worked hard on it.  

This morning was a crazy rush, I spent 25 mins just fixing her hair.  It was beautifully done if I may say.  

I also applied some light make up on her but her dance teacher/principal helped to touch up her eyes.  And boy did her eyes sparkle. 

Here's the girl with her costume.

She did the Giselle peasant variation.  She did well on stage however she did not win anything. And to be truthful, I was a little disappointed.  But what is more important is that I am truly thankful to God that I have a daughter who is resilient and self confident.  

After the results were announced, I texted the husband.  Both of us were a little worried that she would be quite disappointed and sad that she did not win in the competition but when I saw her right after, she was not upset.  I thought, oh well, she is putting on a strong front. 

As we were going home, I was reading out loud a short email I was writing to her dance teacher and I said in the email that we are a little disappointed.  She immediately asked me, "Mummy, are you disappointed"?  I said "Yes, I am a little disappointed" because I know she had worked hard.  She turned around and told me that she was not disappointed because she felt that she did well during her routine.  She did not "make a fool of herself" and she's happy with her performance!  Wow!  It amazed me how she is able to assess herself and was not defined by whether she had won but by the fact that she had done well by her standards.  She is a self motivated child and sometimes I worry that she pushes herself too much but this showed me that she has a well-balanced attitude.  

I'm one proud mummy!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bringing Back the Romance in a Marriage after Children

The last year had been hectic.  We made a number of big changes to our lives and one of the most significantly lifestyle changing decision was to stop having a live-in domestic helper.

Since then, one of the setbacks was the difficulty for the hubby and I to have an afternoon or two by ourselves.   We used to do weekly date nights and obviously that was no longer easily done.  I would have to ask one of my nieces or my mum to come and babysit the children if we wanted to go out.  I avoided doing that too often as my mum would come over once a week to help with the children when I go off for my evening classes (I'm doing a part time course at the moment).

Finally after a few months, hubby and I realised that we both missed spending quality time with one another.  So, this new plan evolved.  The husband will take one day off every other month so that we can have a good part of the day together, from the time the kids go to school around 7:30am to the time they get home, around 4:15pm!  And so, today was it..... and it was perfect!

The husband woke up early to get the kids ready for school but came back into bed so we managed to sleep in a little together.  It was lovely waking up gently without the kids barging into the bedroom.  After getting ready, we went out for breakfast and I managed to show him a nice little cafe, Baker and Cook, that is close by to us.  We never went together prior as weekends are usually crazy and I know the cafe would be busy and I do not like my mornings to be hassled!

After a nice little breakfast, we went into town and tried to do some shopping but was sort of unsuccessful.  However, that did not get us down.  The highlight of the day was spending almost two hours having lunch at Les Amis.  The lunch was good but it was simply the experience of enjoying each others' company that made it all the more special.  We did not have to look at the time wondering if it was time to go.  It was as if time had stopped for us.  Our conversation was casual, there was no urgent to-be-discussed topics that we had to settle as we frequently do at home, having to consult each other on decisions to be made.  It was just us, having a light-hearted conversation and purely enjoying each others' company and realising that we really like to spend time with each other.

Both of us enjoying our lunch and being with each other.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Skiing in the French Alps

We just came back from a two weeks trip to France and the highlight of this trip was the week long ski experience.

Normally, we plan trips back to France during the children's vacation.  For the last one year, the boy has been asking to go skiing.  He reasoned that his sister first went skiing when she was four and at the age of six, he never had the privilege of going skiing.

Being the doting mummy, more than nine months ago, around June 2015, I started looking at the possibility of going skiing during winter.  I started checking out Japan and Korea first.  The girl and I had a great time skiing in Yuzawa, Japan in 2013 during one of our girlie trips.  I thought that Japan is closer to Singapore and therefore taking into consideration flights and all, it would probably be cheaper.  Some of the shortlisted destination included club med Saporo or one of the ski resorts in Niseko.

Low and behold, we came across a fantastic flight promotion to Europe on Lufthansa end of July and I thought, maybe we could go back for a holiday and spend a week skiing at the same time.  The hubby needed little convincing and before I know it, the flights were booked for February 2016!  And yes, we do plan our trips very early, usually three to six months in advance!

Once the flight was booked, we went about shortlisting the resort.  We hesitated between Isola 2000 and Valberg before eventually deciding on the latter as it was a small and more family friendly resort.  As it was the boy's first ski experience, we thought that we should not overwhelm him.  Once the resort was decided, we looked into accommodation and ski lessons.  It was relatively simple to get those settled.  Valberg has a great website for planning the trip.  We decided on Chalet Suisse in Valberg as they had one of the best reviews but unfortunately, even though we tried to book in August, six months ahead of the trip, the hotel was full!  We did manage to get one of the apartments that they owned as well.  It turned out as great as the hotel since it was only 30m from the ski slopes (instead of barely 10m from the entrance of the hotel).  It actually worked out better for us as we were able to cook in the apartment and had a private garden where the kids could build snowman and had some snowball fight.

We also booked the kids with the ski school.  We signed them up for daily lessons in the morning.  And the kids took to skiing like fish in water!  Before I know it, on the second day, the hubby was taking the girl down the red slopes while the boy was stuck with me on green and blues but on the fourth day, the boy went with them on the red!!!  Yikes.  The little ones were getting ahead of me!

The boy on the second day with me, going on the green and blue.

All of us skiing together in the afternoons

Eventually, on the last two days, I went for refresher lessons as well.  Oh well.  I better catch up with the kids.

For the uninitiated, if you want to try skiing in the French Alps, I would totally recommend Valberg.  You could navigate through all the reservations easily without speaking much French and it's easy to get to.  You fly into Nice Airport in the south of France and there are direct bus transfer to Valberg for only EUR8 for a return journey!  The bus can be reserved on Lignes d'azur.  Accommodations can be booked with Chalet Suisse or on the Valberg Central Reservation site.  Ski lessons can be booked via ESF Valberg (French ski school).  They do have some English speaking instructors too.  And finally, ski equipments could be booked through numerous sports shop but we used Skiset.  Do note that in France, ski clothes cannot be hired so do bring your own!  And have lots of fun!  The little ones cannot wait to go skiing again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Laetitia and her journey to becoming a ballerina

If there is anything that the girl is hugely passionate about, it is dance.

She has been increasing her dance hours in the recent years.  She started around the age of five with an hour of dance a week, it increased to two hours per week when she took her first Royal Academy of Dance exam.  She was six going on seven then and was preparing for her Primary exams which she scored a distinction.

In September of 2013, I switched her from The Ballet and Music Company to Singapore Ballet Academy and she started two hours a week of lesson regularly before it increased to 3 1/2 hours a week by January 2014.  Even then, she kept asking for more dance classes.  Eventually in January of 2015, we decided to let her try jazz as well with another dance school, AQ Dance.   That added another hour of dance for her and she absolutely loved the energy of this dance genre.

After attending AQ Dance for a couple of months, she was invited to audition for their scholarship programme which would add another 1 1/2 hrs a week!  By middle of 2015, she was dancing a total of 7 hours a week without taking into consideration any additional rehearsals or practice!  Yet, she seemed to be at her element.  Her school work never suffered and she had enough self motivation to keep going at both her

Recently, she auditioned for the Opera de Paris Ballet School Summer Intensive.  Opera de Paris is but one of the top three ballet schools in the world, some might say the best.  Laetitia has dreams of being an etoile at the Opera de Paris company.  There's a long road to go but at least, now she has the chance of being coached for a week by the best of the best.  I wonder if she would actually meet Aurelie Dupont and possibly receive a pointer or two by the lady herself!   I think that will be the cherry on top of the cake.

Anyway, here's the audition video she sent through for the audition.

And this was the one she sent last year for American Ballet Theatre which she was successful but was offered the Orange County session which unfortunately clash with her school term.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

My little Champion

Many months back, in September, the boy started a new sport, Judo.  He joined The Dojo at Siglap South CC and really enjoyed it.

And in December, we were informed of a competition that was being held, initially I wondered if he was too new to the sport to be joining the competition but the coach told me that it would be good exposure for him and the children will be grouped according to their skill levels and age.  So we signed him up since he was very excited about it.

Fast forward to today, the day of the competition.  Well, the boy surprised me but winning his category against some little children who were slightly more advanced than him!  So proud of my little man!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Starting our first family Christmas tradition

This year, we decided that we would spend Christmas in Singapore. More importantly, we decided that it is time to start our own family traditions.  In years passed, we usually spend Christmas in France with my in laws.  However, we feel that maybe it would make better sense for us to travel back to France when we do have longer breaks like in summer. 

So this year, we planned for a Christmas at home! To be honest, I am really looking forward to it! 

As part of our Christmas, we decided to do a little family mission trip (I will post about this separately) which we did last weekend. 

For the actual Christmas event, for the French, Christmas Eve is really a family bonding time.  So planning for Christmas Eve was exciting as it is the significant celebration. Following the years of what we had enjoyed, I planned a whole list food items which I thought would be great but the husband reminded me that it was too much for our little family. I finally scaled it down to these main items for our aperitif. 

There were foie gras on toaste with walnut, smoked salmon on jalapeƱo hummus, saucisson and comte cheese. On the sides were some cheesy sticks and crackers.  We served the kids sparkling juice and champagne for the adults. This is very much what we would eat in France too. 

Dinner was a simple roast chicken with potatoes and a side of buttered asparagus with baby corn. We finished the meal with a log cake and chocolate fondue for the little ones. 

After dinner, we commence a new tradition for the family whereby we all cozy up and watched a Christmas movie. For our inaugural family Christmas movie, we chose ELF after watching the trailers of a few options.  It was a nice movie to finish off the night. And since it was such a feel good movie, the boy was all eager to prep for Santa's visit!

So we worked to put aside some cookies (which I happened to baked just this afternoon) and milk. He wrote a note to let Santa know those were for him. 

Finally we managed to put the kids to bed and realized that Santa came by, ate some cookies and left presents for the kids! 

So excited to see my two darling when they woke up on Christmas morning!