Happiness is... remembering life is beyond grades

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 20, 2019
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October was the month of year end exams for us. The P4 girl had her SA2 exams which make up 80% of her final score and the P1 girl, though didn't have exams per se, still had quite a number of tests and topical reviews during this period.

I am not the mum who believes that academic achievements are not important. No matter how the educational system keeps on changing, my constant wish is for my kids to try their best in every subject and make sure they are learning adequately along the way. Though the last thing I want is for them to compare themselves against their peers and feel insufficient in any way, I definitely want them to better themselves as we go along, be able to pick themselves up from failure and learn to work hard and put in sweat, time and effort so as to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

That said, I am also the mum who believes that play doesn't ever have to stop, even if it's during exams weeks. Some of our friends saw our activities and were amazed that we still went out every weekend and even on alternate weekdays to playgrounds and events so as to let the kids unwind and have fun. Well, I've said before I don't really believe in or advocate last minute studying but rather, I believe it's their consistency throughout the year that will pay off. The big girl will be in Primary 5 next year but we are still opting for the no-tuition route because I don't want anything to rob us of our free time to have fun and play together. That doesn't mean that I am a good teacher to them - many of you wrongly assumed so - because on most days, I just don't have the luxury of time to sit down one-on-one with them since it's me versus three kids day in day out. Seriously, I feel that teaching your own kid can make both parties flare up easily and it's always easier said than done. Still, we are choosing to stay on this route and try to cope on our own and I believe that this makes the kids stronger, more independent and more responsible for their own work too.

Anyway, we still did a lot and played a lot in the month of October and I hope the kids will understand how their happiness matters more to me than anything else in the world. In this "Happiness is..." post, it's about remembering that life is not just about grades but goes far beyond that.

Last month, we were on a mission to explore our neighbourhood and check out playgrounds that we had never been before. The kids are always happy to go out scooting or cycling and it's such a good walking exercise for me each time we go out. Haha. We found so many gems in our estate - over half a dozen! - and I believe we still have many more to uncover too. Each time we stumbled on a new playground, the kids would be so excited and couldn't wait to start exploring and playing. I'm thinking we are going to have a blast this school holidays just playground hunting and the best thing is this activity is for free! Yippee.

Back at home, our sensory play corner is up again! Yup, the kids were thrilled to set up the tent once more and we bought a whole lot of beans again for them to play with as they pretended to cook, had fun scooping, mixing and pouring and basically just making a mess.

On weekends when Papa is home, we will go out for spontaneous outings and sometimes we only decide where to go when we are in the car. Yup. This was us at Jewel which was totally unplanned and I wouldn't have let the kids or myself wear jumpers if I had known beforehand - our legs were freezing! Nonetheless, we totally enjoyed our Toastbox and A&W breakfast and had a fun time checking out the Halloween section in the supermarket where we once again tried to prank and scare each other.

Family movie nights happen once a week for us and that doesn't change even when it's during the exam period. I mean, revision can only take place for so long before you need to destress, wind down and just relax and have fun, right? The kids and I watch all kinds of shows, including animated films, action thrillers, sci-fi movies and even horror ones - as long as they are PG13 and below. This was us watching Train to Busan on Ch 5 one Saturday night and I know, not many people will agree that it is okay for kids to watch such movies. For us, we always talk about the make up and effects and will search the behind-the-scene clips on YouTube afterwards too. This helps to let them understand how the movie was made and they were even tickled to see the makeup process and watch how the 'zombies' were trained by an instructor to walk like zombies. I guess parents know best on when your kids are ready to accept and watch more genres of shows so just follow your heart, yeah? That said, I have no intention of going beyond zombies and letting them watch those Thai/Korean/Jap ghost movies or ones like Annabelle or It because I don't think we are keen or ready for them (and I am scared too, okay). Yup, drawing the line at zombie shows for now.

Talking about Halloween, we went for a couple of Halloween celebrations this year and the kids were looking forward to them, especially Spooky Town 2 at KidZania since they went for the inaugural one last year. It wasn't spooky like the name suggested but still lots of good fun for the kids anyway. It was the first time we decided to dress up as zombies and even though we looked a funny mix with some as students, one as teacher and the last as a race car driver, it was a night to remember and we had lots of fun together. It was also the first time the kids tried to draw the make up for us using face crayons and I bet they were mighty pleased about this opportunity. Haha.

Thanks to ByKido, we also had a Round 2 of celebration with our friends and it was a day where we were out for 14 hours and still, the kids wanted to stay on to play more and collect more treats! Honestly, where does their energy come from?

For Children's Day this year, I did what I always do - simple, handmade gifts for the little ones. This time, I drew an angel, a mermaid and a Spiderman and turned them into shrinky dink keychains. The kids were really happy to receive them and immediately went to hang them onto their school bags. Awww, thanks for reciprocating the love!

Thanks to ByKido once again, we had our first visit to HeadRock VR which is located in Resort World Sentosa. The kids were eager to try out the rides and we went rafting, sat on a dog sleigh, went on roller coasters, visited a haunted house and more. The games were not only kid-friendly but adult-friendly too and even the hubby and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Yup, parents need to find time to play too and let their hair down every once in a while, right?

In view of the eldest's keen interest in entomology, we made a trip to the Ants exhibition before it ended. It was smaller than we expected but the kids still spent a good hour observing, learning and even feeding mealworms to the ants. She had brought along her notebook and went around writing down the scientific names and behavioural traits of the different types of ants. Yup, this girl is definitely more knowledgeable than me when it comes to six-legged creatures and creepy crawlies.

We have always supported our local theatre scene and the kids have grown to love watching plays. The Gingerbread Man by The Little Company is a truly awesome show to watch and we were blown away by their creative props, the powerful vocals, the audience interaction and the impressive performance put up by the cast. We had the rare opportunity to interact with them prior to the show and the kids were even able to try building their own barn using electric toy drills, screws and bolts too. If you haven't seen the show, go get the tickets now before the last show on 7 Dec, it will be a treat for the kids this holidays.

In my October's 快乐妈咪 post, I shared about the importance of getting the kids to start doing chores from young and this is something I strongly believe in. So even if the eldest has her exams going on, it still doesn't give her an excuse to exempt herself from doing anything to help. We still need to wear clothes, need a house to live in and need to eat every day mah, right? I received much positive feedback from many of you after the post was published so thank you very much for giving me the support and encouragement that I need in order to keep going strong in this journey.

On the topic of chores, we like to visit the supermarket as a family, especially on weekends when the Papa is around. He is the expert when it comes to seafood so he will always share his knowledge with the kids - for instance here, he was telling them how to differentiate a male crab from its female counterpart. It's nice seeing how they have the desire to learn and how they love going grocery shopping with us too. I'm not sure how long it will last but I think cultivating it as a habit and a fun thing to do since young will go a long way.

The girls have been great help in the kitchen last month and on good days, I don't even need to holler and nag and they will come running in to help. Well, it might be an excuse to get away from doing homework or revision but it's something I will gladly allow them to do. The eldest is getting better and better at frying while the little sister, who is the most passionate cook of all, is now very good when it comes to chopping garlic, cracking eggs and peeling potatoes and carrots.

They are always happy to see the final dishes on the table and I think it gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them more willing to finish everything on the plates too. It's okay that we always cook simple dishes and that we tend to stick to our favourites instead of trying out new recipes all the time, I'm just very thankful and happy that we get to eat homecooked meals and that we are able to keep this up even though dinner on weekdays is usually a mum-and-kids affair in recent years.

Chores do not include cooking only, right? There's so much more that I have to do in the house so I've been trying to rope the kids in occasionally too. The girls help me out when we are changing bedsheets, the boy likes to wipe the floor and they all have to learn to tidy their own study tables, bedrooms and living room too. A lot to ask for? Well, I still do a lot of the work and I think they can even do more IF they want to, you know. I think one of the most heartwarming things is knowing that they try to do it out of love for me and not wanting me to be overtired. It's like how they let me nap in the afternoon and not wake me up if unnecessary too because they know how precious my rest time and sleep is. Awww, thanks my dears!

We've been trying to make keeping fit a part of our routine and while it doesn't happen every day or as often as I would like it to, at least we're slowly but surely getting there. The girls and I have started doing yoga together and we still carve out time to do our Figure 8 dance workouts too because they are really fun to follow and a good way to bond while we trim those fats too - not that the girls have much but I do ley.

I always look forward to a good massage but it's usually done when we are overseas so let's see, that means probably just once in a few years? Haha. Yup, partly too expensive and partly impossible to just dump the kids and go off. So when The Outcall Spa knocked on our door and offered to send over a massage therapist and treat me to a 90-minute massage, it was too good to pass on. I tried to make the kids go to bed early but still, our massage started past 11pm lor. Haha. My therapist was Yuki and look at the nice massage bed that she had brought along to set up in my living room! Yup, everything from the towels, massage oils to even soothing music and a cup of hot tea at the end were provided by her. I was totally impressed and you bet I had a rejuvenating and relaxing session.

We also held a picnic in the comfort of our balcony, thanks to Fusspot and Foodie who sent over some healthy snacks which were so easy to prepare and serve. The kids loved the sweet potato pancakes which had chocolate chips while I was surprised by how yummy the spinach pizza was. It was an afternoon where they bonded and laughed over little things and I was happy to see how they would feed each other the treats too. When I walked away for a while to get more food, I went back to see the three of them huddled closely and looking out of the balcony while enjoying their food and making small talk. Seeing sweet moments like this, I definitely feel thankful that they have each other to count on for life.

Art class continues even though it takes place on a weekday night and one of the lessons was right in the midst of Angel's Paper 2 exams. It was a way for her to feel free, be happy and not feel the exam stress so I didn't see why we had to change the date or postpone it to the following week. It's been seven years since she started on her art learning journey and even though we can't predict when we will put an end to it yet, I'm thankful to see that she still has a passion in art and love coming up with her own masterpieces too.

Last but not least, I wrote these love notes for the girls and slipped them into their bags to give them a surprise when they reached school. They have been stepping up and not just coming home on their own after school but also going to school on their own too. It's a huge relief for me especially on solo parenting days because I still have the youngest to care for and it's tough to split myself into two. I wanted it to be a way to encourage and motivate them for the exams and also to remind them that as long as they did their best, then their best is more than good enough for us. No matter what happens at the end of the day when the results are out, it would never affect how much we love them and we would always be there to support and cheer them on.

Time flies and we are now into the year end school holidays already! We have so many things lined up ahead of us and I can't wait to share with you more about our holiday plans. I hope all of you will enjoy the holidays and have a great time bonding with your family too, yeah? Till more thoughts on happiness at the end of the November!

1 comment:

  1. Awww, this very inspiring! One of our mother-daughter bonding is to watch Disney movies. And we print different custom stickers for Disney princesses and stick it on her room. She is really fond of stickers and Disney characters. Really glad you were able to share this post. :)


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