Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Enrichment

I have always viewed ourselves as pretty relaxed parents except for a couple of things. Some will probably view us as lazy but ultimately I would like them to enjoy their childhood hence I am not too big on all the enrichment classes and flash cards etc. Honestly I prefer for them to learn at their own pace instead of us forcing it down their throats. They can only have one childhood so I would like to make it a nice one for them.

I was having lunch with my sis yesterday and she was asking me about the pictures of Isaac in my previous post. “What was he doing with the mop?” she asked. So I went on to describe to her how he is now mimicking us when we go about our business at home. Mopping the floor and putting the laundry in the washing machine are just two examples that I managed to capture with my iPhone. Off hand I can recall another incident where he actually took a piece of the tissue and climb on the sofa which is against a glass wall and started wiping the glass. According to my sis we are training him under the Montessori Method without realizing it.

It seems the Montessori Method basically involves showing him repeatedly how things are done while he observes and then he will repeat the action later on his own. This is followed by us praising and encouraging him. He is now at the age whereby he is very observant towards the things that we do. Take another example, he is always watching very closely whenever I put him in his car seat or any high chair and buckle him down. Although I believe he has an ulterior motive for he is trying to figure out how it is done so he can free himself.

After taking those pictures and video I was discussing with the Mrs that instead of him throwing his toys and make a racket at home, we should look into playing with him using house chores. Things that will still be interesting to him and he can work on his motor skill and creativity at the same time.

I have always been a skeptic of all the classes that will turn your child into a genius with exceptional memory or a linguist or the next Mozart. I believe there is about 1 out of hundreds if not thousands that will achieve such results and I think that kid is already born gifted to begin with. These schools will naturally profile on those kids that are good and deemed a success but I always wonder if anyone asks the parents of the tens or hundreds of kids that attended the same training method but yield no amazing result. Surely we must know somebody who knows somebody that sent their kids to the Glenn Doman and the Shichida classes. Maybe you can enlighten me. Do they all achieve such fantastic result? In the event that the kids turn out normal and not exceptional, what then is their excuse? That we parents are not working hard enough on them? That we are not consistent or dedicated enough? Or maybe these kids just need that couple more semesters with them.

But please don’t get me wrong for I am not against sending the young to enrichment classes. At the end of the day such classes are there to help make them better. The Mrs and I are currently looking at sending Isaac for “fun and educational” classes too (any suggestions by the way?) but our intention is not to turn him into a genius. All I want is for him to have an hour or two of fun where he can learn to socialize and learn to do something things with his hands (maybe even feet) and imagination. What we are NOT trying to achieve is to make him that much smarter than the kid next to him so that he will finish higher in class. Whatever class we decide to attend is also to provide us with a chance to bond and do things together with Isaac.

Part of our reason for sending Isaac for such once a week class is also to prepare him for the nursery comes January. We are hoping that being in such a “classroom” environment will soften the culture shock that he will surely experience when he has to attend the nursery. Some of you might remember that I had to struggle with the idea of sending him to nursery next year. To me he is still very much a baby so surely classes and schools can wait. However the Mrs convinced me that he is not attending a class per se. Instead I should think of it as sending him to play and socialize with other kids his age rather than having stay cooped up at home and not learning much. Anyway it is only for 2 hours a day so I can live with that.

Anyway I was so excited after speaking to my sis about the Montessori Method that I went over to Borders and Books Kinokuniya after work that very same day to see if I could pick up a book or two on it. Most of them are rather dry and describes the science behind the method but I am glad I managed to find one that sounds interesting and direct enough.


I am not a speed reader and plus the fact that I am so busy with so many things you will have to be patient if you want my book review and update on Isaac's progress.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Handful!!

Life has been pretty nice but mundane lately. It is usually work and then rush home to be with the kids by about 6 plus and then what follows is probably the most tiring part of the day for me.
See, while the children are nice to us, they sleep by 9pm and will not need our attention till the next morning when we go to work, it can be hard handling 3 of them for that 2 hours or so.

Once we’re home after dinner at my dad’s place, Ani will be doing her chores and that leaves the 2 of us to handle the 3 of them. Although the twins are still pretty much lying around only but they can be cranky at times for they sometimes need that little nap of about half hour and with Isaac creating all the rackets they will protest violently.

Although only 2 hours but it is still pretty demanding physically or maybe it only applies to me, the out of shape father. I know, I know some of you may argue when have I ever been in shape.

Isaac is at this age whereby he knows no fear and also no boundaries. He will open all doors and drawers as well as pick up any and everything. Worst of all he will get tired of whatever is in his hands and he will drop it (read throw) like a hot brick within minutes. Hence besides looking out for his safety I also need to look after the many remote controls, handphones, digital cameras and laptops in our room.

As he is able to climb up and down from our bed now we also have to take extra care that he doesn’t slip and fall or sit on his defenseless siblings. Being the sweet big brother that he is, he will occasionally decide to show some affection towards the twins by patting them but with a little too much strength sometimes.

So during these two hours it is a lot of getting up and down and running after Isaac. Whenever the twins are cooperative we will be able to sit down and read with Isaac or watch some educational kids’ videos on YouTube. This will keep his butt planted for a while.

Sometimes, thankfully this doesn’t happen often, both twins want to be fed around the same time and it will be impossible for us to watch after Isaac so Ani will be called in to watch over him for a while.

Once the twins are fed, they will normally sleep soon after and then it will be Isaac’s turn to be fed and tugged in bed. Nowadays with the twins sleeping early the Mrs has the chance to coax him to sleep. I believe this is the time of the day that she looks forward to the most. I know she really appreciates the opportunity to have this little quiet and bonding time with Isaac.

Now if the way Isaac behaves is a preview of what we are to expect from the twins then I am worried. Friends have been pretty generous with their compliments on how well we are coping with the 3 of them now but I like to remind them that the hardest is yet to come. I truly believe that it will be much harder once they are about Isaac’s age now.

While I am bracing myself for that inevitable I am also secretly wishing that by then Isaac will be old enough to understand things and reason with. Wishful thinking? I don’t know, you experienced mothers tell me.

Right now we are enjoying whatever ‘me’ and ‘us’ time that the children have generous granted us. With all of them asleep by 9 plus we do have some time to do our own readings or finishing the serial that we like, in my case True Blood. Oh did I mention that all these were done in the comfort of our own bedroom and on our bed? The twins have no issues (knock on wood) with us switching on the lights and TV once they are sound asleep.

We can even squeeze in a night of Mahjong with the two of us playing at the same time, although this is only done occasionally. All we need to do is set up the trusted baby monitor and be on high alert but so far (knock on wood again) they can still sleep through the night. Lucky us? I definitely think so!

I know many of you readers miss Isaac so below are some of the latest pictures and a video of him helping out at home.

video


From the video you can see that Isaac was really struggling whether to wash the clothes or not. I think part of the reason besides the weather is the load.

When Isaac is not busy with the laundry he likes to keep the floor clean so that he and in the near future his siblings can crawl around safely.