Category Archives: My Baby

One.Two.Three.

Diary of a SAHM – Day 602

I’ve written much about Joshayne’s language development. Today, I’m going to focus on numeracy. At 2 1/2 years old, Joshayne can count and also add up to 10 (with the help of my fingers, of course). So how did we get here?

Step 1: Getting to know numbers
We let him play with this….

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He became familiarized with the shape of each numeral as he learned to fit it back into the hole where it belonged. When he picked up a number, we repeatedly told him what number it was. It didn’t take him long to know all of them.

Step 2: Learning to say one to ten in the correct order
Repetition worked wonders here. We just kept saying one to ten to him in various languages – English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, and Japanese even. We made it fun by using different tones and funny voices. We also sang number songs, read counting books and watched LittleBabyBum videos together. After he could recite one to ten in the correct order, we proceeded to the next step.

Step 3: Let’s count
We started to count people and things around us. We held up our fingers for him to count too. We just kept counting and counting… one, two, three, four…. Even till now, when we are out and about, Joshayne might suddenly say, “Mummy, let’s count the….” and we will start counting together.

Step 4: 1 plus 1 equals to…. ?
After Joshayne had mastered the skill of counting objects, we taught him the concept of addition. This was how we went about it:-

M: One (show one finger, left hand) plus one (show another finger, right hand) equals to…? (pause) Joshayne, count.
JD:
(counting mummy’s fingers) One, two…. Two!
M: Yeah! (clap hands + funny dance) How about two plus two? Two plus two equals to…?
JD: One, two, three, four… Four!
Mummy: Four! Good job. (hugs and kisses)

We just kept playing this “game” and it was all a lot of FUN! If you have a li’l tot at home, why not give it a try?

He-li-cop-ter

Diary of a SAHM – Day 571

After referring to helicopters as “help-ter” for months, Joshayne can FINALLY say “he-li-cop-ter”. Yes! Hip-hip-hurray~

JD’s Language Development (Part II)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 564

JD’s Language Development (Part I)

Joshayne started verbalizing words when he was around one year old. At that stage, his spoken vocabulary was made up of mostly NOUNS, i.e. names of people, animals and things, in his immediate context. We consciously pointed things out to him and kept telling him what they were.
Later on, he picked up VERBS, i.e. action words. Exaggerated actions and repetition worked wonders here. Next, we introduced ADJECTIVES. For example, instead of just saying “car” or “cat”, we encouraged him to describe the object by saying “red car” and “black cat”, etc. We also taught him opposites such as big vs small, hot vs cold, and so on.

We’ve discovered that the most effective way to teach Joshayne is to engage all his senses – let him touch, feel, taste and interact with the objects instead of just telling him (*safety must come first, of course!). For example, we let Joshayne play with an ice cube while repeatedly telling him what it was and that it was ‘cold’.  Another important point is to be enthusiastic, i.e. be the drama king/queen. Seeing a cat might not excite you, but it can well be the highlight of the day for your little one who is seeing a cat or touching it for the FIRST time in his life! Get what I mean?

As his vocabulary grew, Joshayne began to join words together to form phrases/clauses. He started to consistently use ADJECTIVES before NOUNS (e.g. big bus, sharp teeth, white truck). He also began to describe actions using a VERB-NOUN construction, such as kick ball, read book, fry egg etc.

Joshayne can already understand the idea of possession. There are certain drawers (for example, those in the kitchen) that he is not allowed to open because they are “mah-nee’s drawers” (yup, he still calls me “money”!). He knows how to add /s/ or /z/ sound to his name/Mummy/Daddy to show possession. For example, he says “Daddy’s motorbike,” “mah-nee’s car,” “Joshayne’s digger” and so on. He can also use possessive PRONOUNS such as “my” (as in “my Daddy” and “my book”) and “your” (as in “your phone”). Sometimes, he still gets mixed up though.

Recently, Joshayne started using the CONJUNCTION “and.” He used it to link words together, such as “Daddy and Joshayne” and “red and blue and yellow.” I guess that’s the easiest conjunction to pick up.  Joshayne has also been using SEQUENCE CONNECTORS such as “first” and “and then.” I suppose he learnt those from us because we would normally say things like “Joshayne, finish your milk first, and then we can go out…”

The last few months, I let Joshayne watch videos on my phone and also showed him pictures that we had taken together. Initially, I thought it was a “harmless” activity since we only did this occasionally and I consciously monitor and limit his screen-time.  However, alarm bells started ringing in my head when he showed signs of addiction. Oh-uh. So for the time being, I try not to use my phone when he is around. Sometimes, he will ask for my phone – “Where’s mah-nee’s phone?” And I’ll respond by getting him to look for it together with me. “Joshayne, where is mummy’s phone? Is it UNDER the pillow? Is it ON the table? Is it IN the drawer?” And we’ll walk around the house, looking under the pillows or cushions, opening and closing drawers etc. Sometimes, we play hide-and-seek. Sometimes, we hide his toys and then prompt him to look for them. “Joshayne, where is your red car? Is it in the toy box?” We all enjoyed the games and had lots of fun, and Joshayne learnt to use  PREPOSITIONS of place. To date, he already knows basic ones such as “under”, “in”, “on”, “behind”, “through” and “next to”.

Joshayne is very good at giving directions too. He has a walker and another pink trolley bag/suitcase that he pushes around the house while saying…. “move forward”, “turn left/right”, “u-turn”, “reverse”, “go through the tunnel”, and so on. He does that when he plays with his toy vehicles as well.

In recent weeks, Joshayne has improved tremendously in terms of understanding simple questions  and responding to them appropriately. Some of the question words that he is familiar with are WHERE, WHO, and WHAT. Here are some sample questions that we posed and his responses…

M: Where is Daddy?
JD: Daddy’s working./ Daddy’s upstairs. / Daddy’s in the bathroom.

M: What is this? Is this a ?
JD:
Yes. / No. It’s a .

M: Can the helicopter fly?
JD:
Yes.
M: Can birds fly?
JD: Can!
M: Can the digger fly?
JD: Cannot.

M: What happened?
JD: Barney fell down, like Humpty.

@ the traffic lights
M: Ops. Red light now. What should I do?
JD: Stop.
M: Can I go now? (still red light)
JD: No.
M: It’s green now. Can I go?
JD: Can~

Looking at aeroplane pictures
M: Where is the pilot?
JD: In the cockpit.
M: What about Joshayne, Mummy and Daddy?
JD: In the cabin.

M: It’s so hot. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the fan / air-cond.

M: It’s dark. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the light.

M: Oh-uh. Joshayne spilt water on the table. What should you do?
JD: Wipe wipe wipe.
(*coach him to get the dish towel from the kitchen)

Lately, he has begun to ASK questions too. On several occasions, I have also observed him narrating while playing with his toys. I love to show him pictures and tell him stories because he seems better able to understand now and he can respond to simple questions about the story. When we look at the pictures again (the next day or a few days later), he is able to recall and tell the gist of the story (just a few words or phrases) when prompted with questions.

His vocabulary is growing at a steady rate. By now, he can repeat almost all new words that we teach him (be it in English, Mandarin, Hokkien or even Malay). Thus, it’s almost impossible for me to record every new word that he utters. I still try my best to note down but I’ve long given up trying to keep a complete list of his spoken vocab.  Anyway, here’s a list of words/phrases/clauses that Joshayne says from time to time that we find especially cute, endearing and memorable.

Eng eng liaw, mai kong liaw.
U for UTC.
Merdeka! Merdeka!
Thank you God for this new day.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Ukulele.
Ai du uh.
按摩 (massage) leg/toes.
Happy Birthday.
祝你快乐。(wish you happiness)
…is coming!
Langkawi.
Excuse me.
Accident.
Repair 好了。(repaired already)
Like Humpty.
Joshayne 弄的。Mummy 弄的。(….. did it.)
Burst your bubbles.

It has been an amazing journey so far. Let me just end this post with my favourite two words from my li’l tot:

“LOVE Mah-Neeeeee…”

Lest I Forget…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 541

Now that I’m not teaching in school, I’ve lost track of time. My days and weeks have blended together and I have to resort to blogging to record Joshayne’s milestones (lest I forget). This blog has, in a way, become my personal online journal+recipebook+notebook. So please do excuse the randomness of my blog posts.

Joshayne @ 2 years and 4 months old

His current favourite song is “Wheels on the Bus.” He has always loved listening to songs, and lately, he has begun to hum and sing along when we sing to/with him. Some of the songs that he can ‘sing’ are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday song, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jesus Loves Me This I Know, Walking with Jesus,  小蜜蜂,ABC song, etc.

His favourite YouTube videos are those by Little Baby Bum, Bob the Builder and Tayo the Little Bus (or because those are the few that I let him watch. Ops.)
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He LOVES his toy vehicles; he plays with them EVERY DAY! He has a blue motorbike, a jet, an ambulance, two helicopters, three trains, three buses, a crane, a truck, a taxi, a bulldozer, a digger, a steamroller, and MANY cars (I’ve lost count). He can name all of them. He also has a Daddy mouse, a Mummy mouse and a Baby mouse. And he loves to play with his dad’s RERO robots too.

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Joshayne enjoys reading books too. We go to the library together as often as we can – usually once a week or every other week. After checking out library books, he likes to help me to put them in my bag. Joshayne is also a member of i-Play and his favourite educational toys there are the wooden vehicles.

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 He can roll and throw a ball but he prefers to KICK. He gets excited when we let him play on the SLIDE. He can walk, and run, and JUMP (with both feet off the ground, finally).

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Sometimes he pretends to play the guitar using his badminton racquet, and he will insist that I play along with him (as he has two racquets). Sometimes he plays the keyboard/piano (an imaginary one, as we do not have the budget to buy a piano yet) or the drum (banging on any free surface), and asks me to play the violin.

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He helps me with household chores – holding the dustpan when I sweep the floor, snapping beans, putting his dirty clothes into the laundry basket, putting away his toys after he is done playing with them, helping me to make the bed after he wakes up, picking up bits and pieces off the floor and throwing them into his dustbin, rinsing his own cup, etc.

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He knows how to say PLEASE, SORRY, EXCUSE ME, THANK YOU and WELCOME and uses them in context. He will say “QUEUE UP” when we wait at the counter to pay and he will tell himself or his playmates to “WAIT FOR YOUR TURN” when they have to share a toy or take turns to play on the slide.

He will remind us to say grace before meals if we forget. He will hold his hands together in prayer and he can end the prayer saying “in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”

He can recognise all the letters of the alphabet, both uppercase and lowercase, and he can say their letter names. He can also recite the alphabet from A to Z, though he sometimes misses M and N. He knows all the numerals and can count from one to ten in English (fluently, on his own) and also in mandarin, hokkien, teochew  and malay language (with guidance). Recently, he is in the habit of counting everything around him.

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He knows the following body parts, i.e. can touch and say: head, hair, eye, eyebrow, nose, ear, mouth, tongue, teeth, cheek, chin, neck, shoulder, arm, armpit, elbow, hand, finger, tummy, leg, knee, and toe.

He knows the following COLOURS – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, gray, white, and black, but he sometimes gets mixed up between purple and pink. He also knows basic SHAPES, namely circle, oval, square, rectangle, rhombus, star, cross and heart. 

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Joshayne is able to solve simple puzzles like the following:
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Joshayne’s favourite animals are guinea pigs, cats and ducks. From our many trips to various zoos and farms, animal picture books and songs on YouTube, Joshayne has become familiar with the following insects/animals and the sounds they make: dog (woof), cat (meow), bird (tweet), lion (roar), bear (growl), frog (ribbit), elephant (pawoo), horse (neigh), duck (quack), sheep (baa), goat (mek), pig (oink), cow (moo), rabbit, orang utan, crocodile, hippo, flamingo, deer, zebra, monkey, tiger, snake, fish, chicken,  butterfly, shark, buffalo, penguin, mouse, giraffe, etc.

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That’s quite an achievement for a li’l tot, I think (of course, my opinion is biased!). Hehe. Anyway, it has been an exciting journey of discovery for us as a family and it is such a joy to explore the world with Joshayne. He has given us the opportunity to see the world from another perspective – that of a little child!

Don’t grow up too fast my little baby boy.

Personal Observations and also Reminders to Self:
* Little toddlers are like sponge, eagerly absorbing new knowledge and picking up new skills. We need to provide them with learning opportunities. Learning is FUN and we should keep it that way for our children, who naturally ENJOY learning new things.

* I’ve been amazed over and over again every time I witness Joshayne picking up a new skill and progressing in his language development etc. I guess it’s natural for me to be filled with a motherly-pride over his accomplishments. At the same time, I also realise (or rather constantly have to remind myself) that he’s just like any other kids – he is not above others. There is no need to compare. There is no need to push him to perform, but to let him develop at his own pace.

Up-cycling >>> DIY Toys/Learning Tools

            Diary of a SAHM – Day 509

Secret Recipe box (from Joshayne’s last birthday) + coloured paper + tools [cutter, double-sided tape, super glue, etc.] = DIY Edu-box
*learn to count 1 to 5 + shapes (square, rectangle, oval)

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Empty milk cartons + tools [cutter, blu-tack] = tumbling track
* just for FUN (i.e. to keep the li’l one entertained for 5-10 mins)
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Ribbon + Buttons + Pieces of cloth (with a slit in the middle) = Button Snake
*learn how to button and unbutton, improve his fine motor skills

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Storage bottles + green beans/rice + cellophane tape (to seal the bottles) = rattles
*learn to shake the bottles in rhythm or to make “music”

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A for Apple, B for Bus, C for Car

Diary of a SAHM – Day 497

At 2 years and 2 months old, Joshayne can recognise all the letters of the alphabet and say their letter names; he can say some of their sounds but not all. For each letter, he is able to give at least one word that begins with the letter. Here are some of his favourite responses…

A for…? apple, aeroplane
B for…? bus, baby, bubble, bear
C for…? cat, car, cow
D for…? daddy, dog
E for…? elephant, egg
F for…? fish, fan
G for…? goat, go
H for…? horse, helpter (helicopter)
I for…? ice-cream, igloo
J for…? Joshayne, jungle, jam
K for…? kiss, keys
L for…? lion
M for…? mah-nee (mummy), monkey
N for…? nose, no-no
O for…? orange, octopus
P for…? penguin, potty
Q for…? quiet, queen
R for…? robot, rero
S for…? snake, star
T for…? tongue, train
U for…? UTC, umbrella, uncle
V for…? vacuum
W for…? water, watch
X for…? x-ray
Y for…? yoyo, yoghurt
Z for…? zebra

Moo… Woof… Meow… Oink… Baa… Tweet…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 490

In my previous post, I shared about Joshayne’s fascination with all things on wheels and how we seized the opportunity to teach him about various types of vehicles and their parts. Apart from that, we have also been trying to get him acquainted with various animals (and insects); and what better way to introduce him to the world of animals than to let him see for himself? Thus began our visits to “animal places,” i.e. zoos, farms, parks etc.

i. Lost World of Tambun, Ipoh Perak

We went to the Lost World of Tambun together with my parents in November last year. We only paid RM30 per pax as we managed to get discounted tickets; the normal rates were RM50.00 for adults and  RM43.00 for children under 12. We went during a weekend so there were many visitors but it wasn’t too overcrowded since it wasn’t a public holiday and the school holidays had not started yet. We thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely stroll through the petting zoo and the entertaining tiger feeding show.

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At the petting zoo, we were welcomed by Ruby, the super adorable raccoon. Then we walked through a transparent tunnel to look at different species of snakes in the serpentarium. Can you spot the cold-blooded reptiles in the following pictures?

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*I absolutely love this candid shot!

The Bird Paradise, which boasted 500 birds from 18 species, was quite impressive. In the aviary, the birds roamed freely in a natural setting.

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There were many other animals at the Rock Canopy, Rabbit Wonderland, Marmoset Tree House, Tortoise Kingdom and Rainforest Trail, etc.

Here are some of the pictures that Kiate managed to capture.

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*Roar* The Siberian tigers @ Tiger Valley

ii. Penang Butterfly Farm, Penang

Butterfly Farm is a very famous tourist attraction in Penang. We visited the Butterfly Farm in January this year when Ain and her friend, Miriam, came to visit. Admission fees for foreign visitors were RM27 for adults and RM15 for children under 12. Domestic visitors (upon presentation of MyKad/MyKid) were entitled to a 33.3% discount. Even with the discount, I still found it overpriced (RM18); it took us less than 45 minutes to finish touring the whole site. To its credit, though, the place was very well-maintained and potentially educational IF you read the signs and paid attention to the guided tour. I didn’t get to do either as I was busy entertaining a little tot who just discovered the joy of stamping – undoubtedly the main attraction for him here.

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We saw many beautiful butterflies, and even pupae (chrysalis) and caterpillars. In addition, there were also giant millipedes, lizards, ducks, frogs, scorpions, stick and leaf insects, spiders, etc. Joshayne was only interested in the ducks!

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*Penang Butterfly Farm is currently closed to public as upgrading works are in progress. It will re-open in December 2015.

iii. Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium of the Fisheries Research Institute, Penang (Bayan Lepas)

This was one of our unplanned weekend trip (April’15) that turned out to be very enjoyable. The aquarium was well-maintained and there were many species of fish and other marine life here to keep the little one entertained for half-an-hour or so. The admission fees were only RM5 for adults and RM2 for children under 12. Joshayne was thrilled to see the fishes on display and kept pointing excitedly at them while saying “fish, fish”, “eye” and “tail.”

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iv. Taiping Zoo, Perak

We went to Taiping Zoo on a Saturday, which was also a public holiday (Agong’s birthday) and the last weekend of a two-week school break; and as expected, the zoo was packed! Entry tickets (inclusive of GST) were reasonably priced at RM17 for adults and RM8.50 for children.

Daddy and Mummy were excited as this was our first trip to the zoo with Joshayne, but the li’l one was unimpressed – as evident in his “cool” expression (or rather, the lack of expressions) in the pictures below. I’m really glad that Kiate managed to capture pictures of the animals though; Joshayne responded positively when I showed him the pictures a few days later and he was able to identify some of the animals. In hindsight, his indifference during the visit could be due to the crowd and also the hot and humid weather (he was sweating profusely).

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At Taiping Zoo, we saw orang utans, chimpanzees, monkeys, bears, wild boars, elephants, zebras, camels, giraffes, deer, crocodiles, different species of birds, lions, otters, etc. I’m sure there were more, but I can’t recall all. Ops. Here are some of the pictures….

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v. Countryside Stable, Penang (Sg. Burung, Balik Pulau)

This was another unplanned visit (June’15). We went to Balik Pulau with Angelia and while eating durian at one of the stalls, we saw the Countryside Stable sign by the roadside. Since it was nearby, we decided to check it out. The stable was very well-kept and the admission fees were only RM5 for adults and RM3 for children under 12. We bought a tray of imported hay (RM5) to feed the horses. There were perhaps around 30 horses and ponies of various breeds, a few donkeys and two deer.  Joshayne was wary of the big animals and kept a safe distance.

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On our way home, we saw this aviary by the river bank. We parked the car and came out to admire the beautiful birds (for FREE). They were amazingly colourful. It was the highlight of the day for Joshayne.

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vi. Saanen Dairy Goat Farm, Penang (Balik Pulau)

I first came to know about this goat farm through a blog. It was highly recommended for families with young children and received many favourable reviews on TripAdvisor. After waiting for months, we finally had the opportunity to visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm last weekend. And indeed, it lived up to our expectations. Visitors are welcomed to tour the farm and feed the goats for FREE. How awesome is that!

Joshayne took a while to warm up to the goats; but with a bit of coaxing, he finally mustered up the courage to feed them. He fell in love with the guinea pig (pictured below) though – he reached out to stroke it without any prompting from me. Besides the goats and guinea pig, we also saw chickens, rabbits, dogs, sheep, and also cows (on our way home).

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*Joshayne enjoyed the fresh goat’s milk; he finished the whole bottle within minutes (probably because it was chilled). RM7 per bottle (250ml).

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Blessed Father’s Day

Diary of a SAHM – Day 476

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For the past 2 years, I was the one who nursed Joshayne to sleep every night; but on 16th June 2015, when JD was 2 years, 1 month and 24 days old, Kiate rose to the challenge and single-handedly tucked him in to sleep. He brushed his teeth, played and read books with him, carried him around the room, sang and patted him to sleep. The whole process took 1-2 hours and it was with great LOVE, patience and perseverance that he accomplished the task. And he has been at it since, night after night, without fail. Bravos!

So what have I been up to with the bonus 2-3 hours of “me-time”? I spent some time to blog, and I also completed two online courses that I had enrolled in earlier. And to reward Kiate for being such an awesome husband and father, I planned a special Father’s Day celebration for him. I baked him a red velvet cake, wrote him a poem and crafted him a special gift, albeit with recycled materials.  *wink*

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P/S …minus the rose, which was actually made by Kiate.

 

Blessed Father’s Day, dear.
Love you oh~

Especially for Daddy…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 475

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When I was little,
you carried me in your arms.
You held my hands and cheered me on
when I began to toddle around.
Now I can walk on my own,
and even run and jump;
but sometimes, I still stumble
and fall to the ground.
You tell me to pick myself up;
there’s no need to cry.
Then you hug me tight,
and I know I will be all right.

Happy Father’s Day. Amen. Love Daddy.

DIY Foot Prints (II)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 475

In my previous post (in May ‘14), I shared about my experience making DIY hand and foot prints with Joshayne when he was around 1 year old. It was a memorable project; unfortunately, though, I had to throw them away after a few months because I noticed mold growing on them. Yucks! It was a pity indeed.

I tried again recently. This time I used the recommended ratio of 2:1:1, i.e. 2 parts flour to 1 part salt and 1 part water. I also added a few drops of yellow food colouring, a pinch of cinnamon powder and some mixed herb to add artistic texture to the final product. I was really happy with the outcome. Ta-daa….

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This time around, I made sure that I dried the ‘dough’ properly in order to prevent mold infestation. I ‘baked’ it in the oven for over 3 hours at 100 degree Celsius and then dry them under the sun for a few afternoons. And instead of leaving it lying around, exposed, I kept the foot print in a gift box with silica gel nicely ‘hidden’ underneath it.

And finally,… *drumroll*

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… this was our special Father’s Day gift for Kiate. A memorable baby keepsake!

All in all, I spent less than RM3 on this project (just two pieces of wrapping paper, some flour and salt). The box and cotton were from newborn gift sets I received two years back. The socks, shoes and sandals, which were worn and outgrown by Joshayne, were also gifts from friends. *wink*

P/S Hubby, I hope you like this “priceless” gift. Hehe.