Saturday, May 31, 2014

Soccer lessons for the boy

The boy has been asking me, for the longest time, to send him for soccer lessons and finally, we found one Saturday where we had the afternoon free! So here we are, at Victoria Junior College where JSSL-Arsenal conducts their soccer lessons.

I was expecting a small set up with a few kids but what a surprise it was for me to find the entire field occupied by children of various ages and skill levels.  I quickly registered the boy and we were sent accordingly to the 5 and under group.  We soon found one of the boy's classmate and before I know it, he was off and lesson was starting.  The coach had the boy go up in front of the group to introduce himself before starting the practice session.

I must say I found it to be a very professional and fun environment.  The coaches were able to engage the children and the kids seem to really enjoy themselves. I like that they constantly reminded the children to drink lots of water too.

Here's one of the exercise they kids did.

Aside from fun routines, the children were broken up into teams and they would be playing three-a-side, then six-a-side matches.  It was fun to see the four and five years old playing a match.  And, of course, you can see that the parents were very excited too, calling out to the kids from the sidelines!

The location is convenient for us as it's about 10 mins walk away.  There is another football school nearer to us, however, they only accept children age 7 and above so the boy, being only 5 years old, is unable to join them.

In the case of our trial session at JSSL-Arsenal, we were both so pleased at the end of it, I went ahead to register the boy and got his jersey printed with his name and he choose to put #8 on the back.

There are many football schools around various locations in Singapore. For the sake of the parents who are usually the ones sending the kids, I usually prefer the training ground to be as close to home as possible.  Here are some football/soccer schools for little ones spread all over Singapore.

1) JSSL-Arsenal
2) FCBEscola Singapore
3) Sporting Juniors 
4) Manchester United Soccer School
5) The Cage
6) ESPZEN Soccer School
7) Little League Soccer
8) Real Madrid Foundation Technical Academy
9) Milan Soccer School Singapore
10) Singapore Soccer Accademy

To be honest, we have only been to JSSL-Arsenal so I cannot tell how good or bad the rest are.  It's always prudent to go for a trial lesson first or if you are lucky and have a few near you, check them all out before deciding.  And of course, if you are an avid fan of a particular soccer team/club, then by all means, send your child to the school of the club you support.  This is a good way to bond with your child, having a common interest.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Talking about the Birds and the Bees

A couple of weeks back, as we were preparing to shower after a swim, my dear daughter suddenly looked at me and asked, “What’s sex?” Errrrr…..
The topic of teaching our children about the birds and the bees had been raised previously between hubby and myself.  I had previously thought about getting some books in preparation for a moment like this but procrastination got the better of me and I never got around to equipping myself with the right materials.  These are some materials which I thought might be useful had I found the time to buy them prior to being asked the question.

1) Where did I come from

2) It's not the Stork

In any case, as parents, my hubby and I did discuss this topic and we were going to be as straight forward as possible.  My husband, at the age of about 8 years old, learnt the facts from his dad who is a doctor.  For him, the information was told in a very factual manner, using the correct biological terms.  As for me, well, let's just say that in a rather conservative Chinese family, we hardly express our love towards each other and it would never ever cross my mind to ask our parents such questions.  So, I learnt what I need to learn from friends, books etc.
Back to my not-so-little girl. We had for the longest time since she was 4 or 5 years old, repeatedly told her that no one is supposed to touch her in the parts of her body that are private to her, namely the crotch area and the chest area.  We told her what inappropriate touching means and if someone did, to let us know.  This laid the ground work for the conversation on sex.

Since I was going to shower with her, I took the opportunity to explain what sex is and the process of how babies are made.  I explained in simple terms that sex is the act when the male penis would go inside the female virginal (which she then asked if it’s were the pee pee comes from.  I guess a more detailed explanation of the biological parts is needed).  Her first reaction is rather typical.  She went, “Ewwww…”.  After which I explained about how the penis would release some sperms and these sperms will swim into the female’s womb.  I also told her about the egg that is inside the females’ body.  One thing I did not mention this time, is the process of menstruation.  She is not a huge fan of bloody images and I did not want to create an information overload all at one go.   

And that was it! 

A few days later though, she asked how the sperms would swim to the egg and we showed her a video on youtube which explained the topic very well.  

It’s a medical presentation so there was a lot of information but I think it gave her a very good idea about what happens during conception.

Personally, I think it is important to equip our children, especially our daughters with the right information.  If we do not provide them with that, they will be getting their sexual education from the outside world and we may not have control over what they will learn from that.  If we are able to be the first to teach them, we lay the ground for imparting our values and belief at the same time as well.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Travelling with the children - Seoul in May

Hubby and I love travelling!  As a result of this, from the time the children were born, they are used to travelling with us.  Laetitia's first trip was a 4-5 hrs train ride from Paris to Toulouse for one of her papa's best friend's wedding when she was a tiny two months old baby.  Loic's first trip was from Paris to Singapore when he was three months old.  Both hubby and myself are very hands-on with the kids.  I have travelled by myself with both kids and so has he.  He has survived 20 hrs travelling (flight, land transfer and flight to get to the south of France) with a 20 months old and a 5 year old!

For a start, when travelling with little ones, it is best to be flexible and easy going about the whole thing.  For this trip to Seoul, we brought my mother along as she had never been to Seoul and I thought it would be nice to have a little vacation with grandma too.

I booked our flights way ahead of time, almost six months before the trip, when there was a great promotion on Scoot.  The return flight for five of us cost about $1,500 including one 20kg check in baggage, meals for 5 pax on the way into Seoul and seat selection both ways!  It was an unbeatable deal.  Personally I find Scoot highly sufficient for flights of up to 7 hrs.  My previous experience on Scoot to Sydney was impeccable.  In preparation for the flight with the kids, I purchased three new movies for them to watch in the plane.  I also brought along some light snacks (bread from Breaktalk) and some new toys (Rainbow Looms) to keep them entertained on the plane.  One huge drawback though on flying Scoot to Seoul is the stopover at Taipei.  Because it's a short flight, it is quite disruptive to have a stop over.  I doubt I would do any other flight with Scoot that has a stop over.  Their direct flights are much better.

In Seoul, I booked an apartment for us as it is always a lot simpler to have a kitchen and a living area when it comes to children.  We stayed at Oakwood Seoul in Gangnam area. it is conveniently located next to the City Airport Terminal. Unfortunately for us, the Coex mall just below the hotel is undergoing renovations.  It would have been perfect if the mall was open as there were many eateries and shops within the mall.

As we were travelling with both children and an elderly, we decided right from the start that we would take it easy and focus on just one or two places of interest per day.

The first two days, it was raining and we ended up spending more time in malls.  We attempted to visit Insadong area but the rain made it really hard to enjoy the sights.  Due to the rain, we ended up spending quite a bit of time in LotteWorld and the mall where LotteWorld was located.  I understood later that discount coupons could be found online for the after 4pm tickets.  Normal after 4pm tickets are 32,000 won per adult and since coming back, I made a search and found many different coupons online!  Do print them if you intend to visit LotteWorld.  It is really fun for the kids and mine had a ball of a time!

Our first "hot air balloon" ride!

The sun did shine for the next few days and we managed to visit Gyeongbokgong.  If you plan on visiting, I would totally recommend going at the time when the changing of the guards happen.  The boy really enjoyed watching them.  The changing of the guards take place hourly.  The ground is massive!

Making faces!

We walked for at least two to three hours inside before heading off to enjoy some yummy Ginseng Chicken soup at the famous Tosokchon.

The rest of the time, we spent visiting Namdaemum and I took my mum to Dongdaemum one evening while hubby stayed in the apartment with the children.  We visited Myeongdong as well where we had one of my favourite meals, Korean BBQ at Wangbijib and the kids tried some yummy street ice-cream.  One of the interesting part of the trip was visiting Noryangjin Fish Market.  It was truly an eye opening experience.  All sorts of seafood and everything was extremely fresh.  The girl did not enjoy that too much as she is a little princessy but the boy was amazed by the array of seafood.

At the end of the day, the trip was a great bonding time for all of us and we had good fun.  Looking forward to our next little vacation in Malacca!