Daddee Yah!

A working Daddee learning to cope in a big big world

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Happy to report that Caitlin’s colouring (ie, her motor skills with the pencil) has been improving steadily. She has been getting at least one star-rating from her homework from her teacher; who, earlier this year, was telling us that her motor skills was lacking.

Incidentally, it is coming to that time of the year again, where the roads will be clearer, parents go on leave from work in droves, shopping centres more crowded than usual, and another parent-teacher meeting scheduled- later this month (of May).

Naturally, I’d be curious to see how our little girl has progressed these last few months. I am the more relaxed parent, especially when it comes to a 3+ year old’s school progress, but Hot Mummee seems to be putting the pressure on the little angel; I don’t quite agree that this is appropriate for this level of education nor at this age… Was that a hint of some domestic issues??

Anyway, did you know that “J” is for jacket?
A yellow, red, blue, purple, with an orange starred jacket, at that ;)

cait_colouring.jpg

This had to happen at some point during the parenting journey; at least that’s been my view. I just never thought it was going to be so soon!

I came home from work last night and greeted my inlaws and Caitlin.

Hi Caitlin! How’s school today; any homework?

No… OH Daddee, (something to report) today, in school, a boy hit me….

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Being the youngest I grew up with books and some comics already in the house (as well as contemporary music like The Carpenters, some Beatles, Glen Campbell, John Denver… Oh my I’m scaring myself while I list this)

One of the comics that sticks in my head is Peanuts: Charlie Brown & Snoopy, Linus & his security blanket, characters whose heads are way too big for their bodies.

I guess it’s not just the Peanuts specifically- I think in all comics & cartoons that, whenever a character is concentrating on a task, be it while writing, drawing, cutting, etc, that the character is drawn with his/her tongue out, as if in the midst of licking the upper lip. It seems like a universally accepted comic-body-language.

I have always wondered about this, even consciously stuck my tongue out hoping that my homework, drawing, whatever, would turn out nicer or better than usual. It didn’t work.

Then, I saw this only last night.

If you stick your tongue out, your work isn’t necessarily going to be good. But if you concentrate on the task at hand, the tongue comes out.

Try it.

Sorry for the quality of these photos. They are actually still frames from a video that I took of Caitlin’s tongue action with my iPhone- I freeze-framed these shots and screen captured them.

No I haven’t played them back to her yet. Hot Mummee just suggested that I do, and highlight this to her before she gets older and where kids are mean!

So sometimes Caitlin would ask to buy a strip of candy, like Mentos or Sugus. She tells me that she shares them with her school friends- I believe her. No doubt she may keep one or two more for herself but I think the fact that they generally finish so quickly is some kind of proof for this daddee that she does share them ;)

Last night on a quick visit for some fresh milk I thought that a pack of Ribena sweets was okay for her. It was in a shiny packaging anyway; she didn’t miss it either. If the packaging is to be trusted it does contain vitamin C after all (or am I a marketers sucker-dream come true?)

So this morning on the way out to school and grandma’s respectively I was helping make sure that she does bring it along to school. Since the pack of 20 itself is rather large and didn’t quite fit into Caitlin’s uniform pocket, she passed it to me to carry in my shirt pocket.

Caleb saw.

That jie-jie was carrying something must be something I’d want too.

That she insisted Daddee carry it must be something I’d want too.

That is was also shiny must be something I’d want too…

“I WAAANT!”

This is where Hot Mummee’s complaints about my being biased may be justified. I didn’t want him to have one now because he’d just woken up. He hadn’t had anything to drink yet (water) let alone his morning milk- to have candy as “breakfast” or at least the first thing to eat isn’t quite an activity or habit I’d like to instil in the kids.

So what did Daddee say to discourage him?

Infront of Caitlin, I said to Caleb: “It’s medicine..”

Yikes.

She’d never questioned me at all or smirked at me. But I think I had done a bad thing. I could have said he could have one after his milk and insisted jie-jie shared one with him. But I didn’t. I could have simply said “Later” too, but I didn’t.

So now, Caitlin has learned a “skill” that I didn’t want her to know yet. She may well start applying this to other areas to fool us too, with the topic or severity growing as she does.

Oops.

I didn’t think it would escalate to this point.

I thought I had addressed it with her properly; case closed.

But alas.

Yesterday was the first day back in school after the Chinese New Year week-long break. When Grandpa went to pick her up, apparently he was told by Teacher Rachel something about Caitlin crying earlier.

This morning about halfway during the journey to school, Caitlin started protesting that she didn’t want to go to school. Ever. After realising that the protests was not going anywhere, she “suggested” that she didn’t want to go to school “only today”.

We arrive at the school, and she is starting to get teary eyed. Okay; I am a sook. She is the apple of my eye. I admit for a brief moment the thought of giving in flashed through my mind.

We sat in the car for a few minutes. Me twisting in the front seat straining my bloated mid-section from all the CNY feasts, to rationalise with her in the backseat.

She said something about disliking the teachers walking in and out. Gotta admit I didn’t quite get what she was saying.

She only relented when I promised I’d have a word with Teacher Rachel upstairs.

Up we went, and since we were a little late, Teacher was already starting her lessson. The other kids were already seated. I gestured Caitlin to enter, and motioned for Teacher to come over for a quick chat. Caitlin was of course still very hesitant.

I said in Mandarin that Caitlin had started to “fear” coming to school. Teacher shared that, perhaps from yesterday or the days before the week off, that Caitlin finds comfort in having her (Teacher Rachel) around when Teacher Ann comes in, and when she is teaching. Yes, Teacher Rachel was sitting at the back of the class. She even shared that Caitlin had come/run over to hug her when Teacher Ann came around / came in. She also did say that there were times when she had to go out of the classroom sometimes / visit the admin office etc. I think Caitlin starts getting edgy as soon as she steps out of the classroom.

Teacher Rachel reassured that she’d be present in the classes, for Caitlin’s sake.

I wanted to then leave. Caitlin starts crying, not wanting to let me leave. It was quite hard detaching her off me without really creating a scene; which would only make matters / emotionally worse for her.

It was quite heart wrenching- I know now what parents really feel on first days of school. This, coming from Caitlin who has been going to school all last year without an incident.

Two things I learned.

  • Caitlin doesn’t really communicate well at times.
  • She doesn’t handle stress very well.

More to come.


Update Thursday 5 Feb

That was yesterday. Caitlin was again distressed this morning.

The “incident” wasn’t as long though, mainly because, well, I didn’t hang around.

We reached the door and Teacher Rachel came out, seemingly already had something in mind to tell me. What she managed to tell me was that Caitlin is (also?) unhappy with the amount of homework she is given; something about Caitlin saying “.. but I have already done this homework- why am I doing / writing this again…?”

Managed, because Caitlin started crying and wanting to hug me again at the door. Teacher Rachel then started ushering her into the class, and I wanted to get out of Caitlin’s sight. Waited for 20 seconds or so, decidedly not to wait anymore if Teacher Rachel was gonna come back out to complete her “analysis” of Caitlin’s frame of mind.

Last night I did ask Caitlin how her school day went, seeing as that was the same morning as the first incident / post. She did offer that school day was okay, no incidents.

She also offered something about “I was paying attention” (and thus I wasn’t scolded, or reprimanded, which seems to be the crux of her issue).

Apparently that may have been the issue- that she wasn’t paying (enough?) attention in class, getting told off for it. I am only guessing this.

That, and perhaps that she (therefore?) did not know how to answer something / do her homework, that she was “scolded” for it.

Maybe in future I will just walk her to the stairs, and refuse her request to walk her to the classroom door… What do you think?


Update 2 – after school today

Teacher Rachel called me out of courtesy. Very nice of her.

I guess she had wanted to finish what she started telling me this morning; possible adding new insights into the situation…

  • Indeed, Caitlin (also) thinks that she has too much homework; you will recall that our arrangement for Caitlin this year is that she will be getting extra attention;
  • That Teacher Ann does speak / scold loudly, and even though it may not be directed at Caitlin, she seems to take it “personally”;
  • That Daddee matters a lot in her life

“Our strategy” now is to re-gain or re-instill Caitlin’s confidence and interest in school, using that last point: Daddee has to show (greater) interest in her schoolwork, justifying the amount that she (complains) has to do, to kinda give praise (positive reinforcement) to her work done.

We will start this tomorrow morning.

It’s going to be interesting this Saturday, given she has replacement school-days because of the week-long Chinese New Year break. Interesting because I will be dropping her off in my non-work clothes, and she is going to complain she still has to go to school!

I am in kinda stressed frame of mind at the moment

I have mentioned before about Caitlin’s creative streak. When we are at home just chilling and the kids are watching the idiot box, Caitlin would actually “multitask” and do some handicraft, using the scrap A4 papers that HM and I bring home from the office.

She’d make her own pretend mobile phone, camera, toll card, baton (I think she means the wand that an orchestra conductor uses), just last weekend it was a walkie-talkie. She’d get me to play along sometimes using the corresponding walkie-talkie, be the toll plaza / booth, or she’d just draw something; lately it’s the not-so-surprising-for-her-age family “portrait” complete with Daddee having blue hair and as stick-figure skinny as he’d wished he was.

She has an interest in this art stuff, just like Daddee… okay she does acknowledge the joke about Daddee’s hair being blue, so it’s not really a talent gone awry.

Anytime that Playhouse Disney channel shows a 5-minute filler of anything remotely handicrafty or sketchy, she’d head straight for the pile of A4’s and try and repeat what she saw.

Fridge art

So, how do I cultivate this talent, or at least, this interest in her? Our working hours are such that we really only get to see and spend time with her from dinner onwards, and before long it’d be her bedtime already.Otherwise it’s reading with her, either her story picture books or her school books for revision. On weekends, we try and treat the kids by simply visiting my folks, the mall, the pool if Caitlin isn’t still having the sniffles / cough.

Art classes at the shops in the malls and the works that the kids bring home do look impressive, but it’s all assisted and guided in that (I believe) the kids are told what to do. Caitlin does these things all from her own imaginative play. And I don’t want to stifle this flow of imagination and crafts.

But, as Moomykin had suggested in the last blog post, maybe it’s time (dare I say or suggest to the OCD-ed HM??) for Caitlin to start with water colour next??

Here she is making gameboard pieces. She had already cut them up (yes, with grown-up scissors; been at it since last year I think) and here she is decorating them.

Making her own gameboard pieces

Making her own gameboard pieces

This post is going to make me sound like an an unappreciative you-little-shite-taking-us-for-granted son in law…

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