Little Lessons from learning to ride a bicycle

Vera took off on her own two-wheeled bicycle last week.

It had taken a couple of lessons with daddy, who was helping her to get the hang of balancing and pedalling by placing his hand on the seat while she cycles.

She started off very cautiously, and was a bit fearful when the two support wheels were removed (which we did right after bringing the new bike home).

Since then, there’s been no turning back. She says she loves cycling and simply just can’t stop!

She’s learnt to break by back pedalling. (We were told by the bike guys that at this age, using the feet to back pedal /break is more effective than using the hand break.)

She’s learnt to make right angle turns too.

There’s still some way to go before she becomes a safe and responsible cyclist. But we’re just so glad that she’s come this far. She even credited her dad for her learning, saying he gave her right instructions. I asked what exactly he said to her, and this is what she had to say:

Daddy told me to look straight ahead and find my own balance.

Daddy, who was obviously bursting with pride, then told her that it will be hard and scary every time we learn something new, but with practice, she will be able to learn and master anything as long as she doesn’t give up.

It kinda made me recall my own journey as a parent.

I will be able to master it, and find my balance. As long as I keep looking ahead.

There is no turning back. Just lots of looking forward and oh yes, letting go too. I’m sure at some point, daddy had to let go of her bicycle seat, right?

This little girl is growing up…

The bicycle lesson

This is Little Lessons #26. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Review & Giveaway: Exploring values with The Wolf series of books

The Wolf series is all about the adventures of a grumpy and disgruntled Wolf who discovers through many unfortunate mishaps the value of friendship, self-acceptance and other such values.

Written by French author Orianne Lallemand, this series has been translated into 14 different languages around the world.

One of our favourite books in this series is The Wolf Who Wanted to Change his Colour. The kids enjoy the book because of the vibrant illustrations (which runs through all five book in the series), and because Wolf gets up to all kinds of funny business just to get a taste of how it’s like being a different colour.

Every single day, he tries something new. Such as taking an icy bath in order to turn blue…

The Wolf Who Wanted to Change His Colour

And plucking roses from gardens and covering himself with pink petals.

Vera is particularly tickled by this part because she can identify with the wolf’s dressing up to be like someone else.

Of course, in the end, Wolf learns to be content with the grey colour of his fur, which opens up the door to talk about loving ourselves just the way we are, and accepting the way that God has made us.

We also enjoyed The Wolf Who Did Not Want to Walk Anymore. A simple story, the Wolf decides one day to stop walking altogether and try out alternative means of transportation every month. He tries the mountain bike, a motorcar, a motorcyle, a train, an aeroplane, a boat and even a princess coach (that unfortunately turns into a pumpkin at midnight) and Santa’s sleigh!

Alas, he still ends up in a sorry state after travelling on each one of these transportation modes.

The wolf who did not want to walk anymore

He finally comes to realise that nothing quite beats relying on his own two feet.

Quite a good story for little pre-schoolers who like to complain after a few minutes of walking huh?

There are a total of 5 books in this series, and the other titles are The Wolf Who Loved Himself Too Much, The Wolf Who Searched for a Girlfriend, and The Wolf Who Wanted to be an Artist. You can check them out here.

Thanks to Wild Crane Press, 3 lucky blog readers will stand to win the entire Wolf series of books! If you have kids aged 3-6 years, these books would be great for them. To enter the giveaway, just follow the instructions via the rafflecopter app below. (Remember it’s mandatory to leave a comment on this post with your email address, and to like Wild Crane Press on Facebook.) Good luck! :)

Terms and conditions:

  • This giveaway ends on Friday, 31 Oct, 11.59pm and is open to Singapore residents only.
  • Winners will be contacted using the email provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn.
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced.
  • Winners will have to collect the books from Wild Crane Press (33 Ubi Avenue 3, #06-37 Vertex Tower A).

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Little Lessons: Re-discovering my middle child

I brought the little brother, who’s now also an older brother, out on a date last week. I honestly can’t recall how long ago since we went out one on one, intentionally, so you can imagine that this was very much needed.

(Sometimes I feel guilty for not having spent as much time on him, compared to big sister. And wonder if we’ve shortchanged him in terms of love, attention, and time.)

I racked my brain for a nice spot we could both enjoy, and decided on one of our favourite spots – the botanic gardens. He loves to feed the fishes there. He also likes tumbling at FFT’s playground so while I have my coffee, he can run around, I thought. Win win.

And so we did.

I was hopeful that the date would bear fruit in terms of less cranky behaviour in the day or two ahead. I thought it would benefit him, and provide some assurance of his standing in my heart.

What I didn’t count on was realising the fact that my heart actually needed healing from all the negativity and scolding associated with bringing up my middle child.

Somewhere between his gobbling up of his scone (with glee and gusto in equal parts) and my sipping my coffee, it hit me. I haven’t taken the time to truly enjoy this boy. He’s such a gift in our lives – his comic antics, nonsensical words, his funny stunts and jumps, his infectious smile and laughter, his funny (mostly fail) attempts to speak mandarin.

I’ve been so engaged in dealing with his moodiness and upset feelings, I’ve unknowingly started to see him as a chore, a problem to be fixed.

I’ve overlooked his cheery gleeful side, that pops up like a bright yellow balloon against blue sky, and his unquenchable excitement that bubbles out from within him when he hears or sees something new.

Re-discovering His Gifts

JJ has a sensitive and sweet spirit that often observes and notices people’s feelings. It is this same sensitivity that appears to be causing his mood swings whenever he feels he is being overlooked or left behind. But I’m thankful I learnt recently that for each character weakness, lies a potential area of strength.

I’m starting to see that his heart for helping and paying attention to others’ needs can be honed and moulded for much good.

I pray I will continue to see him for the person he is, and the person he is capable of being.

Dear JJ, you are my ice-cream surprise on a sunny day, my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

You’re not my problematic middle child, you’re God’s precious gift to us, and unique gift to the world. 

 

This is Little Lessons #25. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Little Lessons: When going to the supermarket feels like a holiday

My girlfriend came over to bless us with dinner one day and after settling her nearly 2-yo daughter, decided to head downstairs to get some groceries.

After about 30 minutes, she came back, radiating with a glow and smiling to herself.

I asked: “Well what did you get?”

Her reply: “I got myself a teh-si and was walking all by myself around NTUC. I feel like a million bucks!”

I smiled, a knowing smile. I knew she was going to enjoy the little escapade all by herself. Even to the humble neighbourhood supermarket. (I’ve been there, and remember feeling the exact same way.) And what’s more, the teh-si at the foodcourt…is to. die. for.

You know you’re a tired mum when a trip to the supermarket starts to resemble a holiday. (There’s a quote that says something to this effect, I’m sure I’ve read it before somewhere.)

It measures up pretty close to uninterrupted toilet time.

But mums, you’re so worth it. Go ahead, have your teh-si and sip it slowly.  Go for a walk around your supermarket too. (Better still if you can hit the mall.) You’re totally worth it.

be refreshed

Dear gf, may you always find time to discover the simple joys of sweet rest and precious personal time amidst the endless responsibilities of parenting. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of taking time out from our busy schedules, to love and show kindness to others too.

This is Little Lessons #24. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Giveaway: Hop and Honk, two classic fairytales woven into one

An ugly duckling who really does not fit in at home.
A frog who thinks he is a prince.
Both need a family.
Both need a friend.
Both want to be loved but both are feeling very alone…

What happens when these two well-loved and read fairytale characters meet?

Hop and Honk

Hop and Honk

Follow the adventures and misadventures of these two cute but confused creatures in their quest for acceptance and security, as we cleverly intertwine two classic fairy tales – Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Grimm Brothers’ The Frog Prince.

Hop and Honk is a family show not to be missed. Crafted to capture the attention of all ages, there’s fun, laughter and colour to entertain kids four years and up.

Combining top class performers, toe-tapping music, spectacular sets, glittering costumes, magical lighting and puppetry, this highly entertaining musical also teaches key values including racial harmony, tolerance and understanding, self-esteem, team work and creative thinking.

“We are always on the lookout look for something new and exciting. Telling just one story can be fun, but we wanted to test the boundaries by combining and intertwining two seemingly quite different stories from two of history’s most prolific children’s authors, Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm. It’s unusual, but it is a very fun challenge – and the result we think will be double the entertainment value, throwing new light on some interesting aspects of both stories,” explains Brian Seward, Artistic Director of I Theatre.

Date: 29 October to 15 November 2014
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre, National Library
Recommended for: 4 to 18 year olds and families
Duration: 85 minutes plus 15 minutes interval (100 minutes in total)

Tickets are available at Sistic.

And now, a special giveaway for mamawearpapashirt readers! Join in now to win a pair of tickets to catch Hop and Honk on Saturday 1 November at 7:30pm.

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Terms and conditions:

  • This giveaway ends on Friday, 10 Oct 2014, 11.59pm and is open to Singapore residents only.
  • Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn.
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced.
  • Winners will have to collect the tickets from I Theatre (27 Kerbau Rd) at least 2 weeks before the show date.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, learning the tricks of black light theatre

We had great fun at The Very Hungry Caterpillar show yesterday. Not only did we get to watch the actual show, we also got up close and personal with the stars of the show!

Thanks to Act 3 International, we were allowed special entry to the backstage. Here, we entered into the wonderful world of black light theatre (and learnt some tricks). The kids got to see how the puppeteers walked and controlled the puppets, and could also try their hands at it.

If you caught The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Mermaid Theatre when they were here 2 years ago, you’d know that the show also features two other stories by Eric Carle. This time around, the accompanying acts were Little Cloud and The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

Everyone took turns to walk Little Cloud, and were taught to walk in a smooth and floaty manner. When JJ stood up by himself and said he wanted to try, I was pleasantly surprised. He is usually a little shy in group situations, especially since we also didn’t know what we were up for, so I had no way of preparing him beforehand!

Here is the shark (one of the characters that Little Cloud morphs into). Even without turning out the lights, you can see the fluorescent paint that was used on the puppet.

Vera got to try walking the caterpillar. This little guy isn’t too heavy but is a bit stiff for little hands. Can you imagine that he was actually made some 15 years ago out of thick cushion material? I’m impressed that he’s lasted so long, and has been through tons of shows. He’s also had to be touched up and maintained of course…

walking the hungry caterpillar puppet

They also showed us the apple that the hungry caterpillar ate. It has two doors that open up to create the effect of the apple getting chomped.

learning the tricks behind hungry caterpillar

JJ got to try controlling the flickering fly. The flickering effect is achieved by deftly twisting the stick that the fly is attached to, with either one hand or both hands (by rubbing the stick to and fro).

And finally, here’s Vera with the gadget that’s used to control the movement of the chameleon’s tongue, when he swallows the fly.

hungry_caterpillar6

This is our second time watching the show, and still we enjoyed it. Funny how the kids never tire of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his friends…It was our favourite show as a family then, and I think it’ll remain our most fondly-remembered show for a long time.

Tickets are still available if you want to catch the final 4pm show on Sunday, 5 Oct.

Thanks Act 3 and the team behind Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia for the hands-on experience!

Little Lessons: Learning about patience

give our children room to grow

Vera, my eldest, my sweetest (only) daughter. She is loving, funny, and easy to love, in every way. But at times, the things she does (or doesn’t do) really get to me.

I’m over at A Pancake Princess today sharing more about my “losing-it” episode with my little girl, and the lesson I learnt from it – a lesson on patience.

Do hop over to have a read.

This is Little Lessons #23. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Giveaway: Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages of Children

Children’s Day is coming up this week, and I’m really excited that Focus on the Family is kindly sponsoring this giveaway of a copy of The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman!

5 love languages of children

This book has been a great resource for us, and I’ve shared a few lessons I learnt from it before. (Read them here and here.)

Today, I’m going to share 3 of my favourite tips (from the book!) on how to love your child if his /her love language is acts of service.

1. Make a favourite snack when your child is having a difficult day. – JJ’s love language is acts of service, and he’s always reminding me to make him his favourite chocolate brownies whenever he’s feeling upset or just needs some reassurance.

2. Instead of telling your younger children to go to bed, pick them up and gently carry them and tuck them in their blankets.

3. Assist your child in fixing a favourite broken toy or bicycle. Simply taking the time to repair it communicates love to a child whose love language is acts of service.

I hope these give you some ideas to start this special week on a right (and loving) note.

And…It’s giveaway time!

One reader will walk away with a copy of The Five Love Languages of Children. Just enter the giveaway by following the steps in the Rafflecopter app below.

** Remember to leave your email address when commenting on this post!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & conditions:
– Contest ends 5 Oct, Sunday, 11:59pm
– Open to Singapore residents only
– The prize has to be picked up from Focus on the Family’s office at 9 Bishan Place #08-03 Junction 8 Office Tower
Singapore 579837. Mailing is possible at an additional charge of $2.
– The winner will be notified by email. If he/she does not reply within 3 days, we reserve the right to re-select a winner.

PS. Subscribe to Focus on the Family’s newsletter now to receive a free family activity pack! :)

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