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A Boy named Harry“I want to be the Prime Minister of Singapore, ” says Caleb’s 6-year old cousin who is matured beyond his years. “How many more Prime Ministers before I am old enough?”

When I passed him an autographed copy of A Boy Named Harry – the Childhood of Lee Kuan Yew over dinner, he devoured the book immediately.

“Mr LKY learnt Japanese. I’m now learning Japanese too,” he said. “But he also knew Malay. I have to learn Malay,” he added single-mindedly.

 

 

Caleb, my four year old, has very different aspirations.

“I want to drive a truck,” he told me a month back.

“You are too young,” I said.

“How old before I can drive a truck?” Caleb asked.

“Well, I think you can get a driver’s licence when you are 21 years old. But to drive a truck, you need a special licence. Even Papa cannot drive a truck.”

“What special licence?”

“Well, you need to take special lessons. It’s like going to a Truck School.”

“I want to go to Truck School.”

 

One week later, he woke up with a different idea.

“I want to drive a submarine,” he said.

“I must go to a Submarine School,” he added sagely.

transformers-2015-bumblebee-animated(Source: http://www.tfw2005.com)

Last weekend:

“When I am 1,000 years old, I want to a Transformer.”

Right. Okay.

“But before that, I will hide as an old truck.”

 

Finally, yesterday:

“When I grow up, I want to be Darth Vader.”

Faint!

 

Well, I guess I can safely say that he is definitely not short on imagination. I wonder where he got that from.

 

I am having a FREE giveaway of Armour Publishing’s new release Keep Calm & Mother On –  21 Mums’ stories of parenting children from 1-21 years old. I am one of the contributors to this book where I share my journey of parenting a preschooler.

To take part in the FREE giveaway, check out the details in my blogpost here.

 

 

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Mother’s Day is coming soon so I thought I would have a giveaway of 1 FREE copy of Keep Calm & Mother On!

Keep Calm & Mother On Cover

To enter, just leave a comment on my post with your name & email address. 1 winner will be picked randomly. Closing Date for entry is 10 May and open only to those living in Singapore.

And for those who wish to buy copies of Keep Calm & Mother On for Mother’s Day gifts, you can do so at a promotional price of 15% off retail price at the Armour Publishing e-store using this promotional code: motheringon21

Read more about Keep Calm & Mother On in my earlier posts:

Keep Calm, Stay Sane & Let Go – 21 Singapore Mum Stories

Parenting is Giving me a PhD in Multi-disciplines
Now, let’s calm down and breathe slow :).

The Random Draw Winner is Mei Lim!

 

 

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If I had to sum up what I have learnt about being a parent, I would tell you this: No PhD and no amount of research or studying could have ever prepared me for parenting.

Now, as stay-at-home mum to my feisty preschooler, I have garnered so many lessons that I am certain I will one day graduate with a PhD in the following disciplines:

The Law of Imagination
Caleb is a backseat driver. On top of pretending to drive in his car seat, my 4-year old spews endless instructions like a drunken driving instructor.

“Mum, don’t stop,” he tells me when I brake at the red light.
“Let’s go!”
“Faster!”
“Turn left!”

One day, after explaining for the umpteenth time why I had to slow down in heavy traffic, I exclaimed, “Caleb, there are many cars in front. I can’t fly over. This is not an aeroplane.”
“Um,” he said and fell silent. Then a moment later, he quipped, “Must ask uncle to fix the wings first.”
In moments like these, I am tickled by what it’s like to see things through childlike eyes. I also remind myself to never stifle Caleb’s creativity and imagination.

And the other disciplines that I am currently being schooled in for my PhD include:

– The Art of Patience

– The Business of Negotiations

– The Language of Repetition

– Physical Education 101

– Preschooler Philosophy

– The Science of Discipline 

– The Mathematics of Love

My full story along with that of 20 other mums are now hot off the press in Keep Calm & Mother On!

Keep Calm & Mother On Cover

Collectively, we share our parenting stories from universal topics of coping with work and parenting to topical Singaporean issues of tuition, primary one registration, PSLE, homeschooling as well as parents who have to cope with kids with medical issues.

 

Keep Calm contents pageI’m excited to be among contributors who include Straits Times Deputy Editor Clarissa Oon, Armour Publishing Managing Editor Ruth Wan, Homeschool Singapore Founder Dawn Fung,  former CNA producer Hwee Goh, Danger Dan Author Monica Lim, Pat’s Schoolhouse Founder Patrica Koh, amongst other mums, all with our unique stories to share of our kids from aged 1 to 21. Curated by award-winning author and former journalist Pauline Loh.

Hop over to Armour Publishing’s here to check out this lovely book!

Related:

Keep Calm, Let Go, Stay Sane & Mother On

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Yippee! I’m holding my copy of Keep Calm & Mother On: 21 Stories from Mothers with Children aged 1-21.

Keep Calm & Mother On Cover
I’m one of the 21 mums who contributed parenting stories in this excellently curated collection where mums bare and share authentic, relatable parenting experiences in the Singapore context.

Our experiences are similar on some level. We share the common worry genes once wearing the mother title. We know how mindnumbing it sometimes gets being with toddler/preschooler as a full-time mum (I tell people my writing keeps me sane after a long tiring parenting day.)

Yet, at the same time, our parenting journeys are so different.

Because our children are different.

And we as parents are different.

 

Editor Pauline Loh has brought together a wide band of mums with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

* Straits Times Deputy Editor Clarissa Oon shares her travel experiences with two young tods.

* Former Channel News Asia Producer-Presenter Hwee Goh interviews her four kids for soundbites to illustrate the stark differences between boys and girls.

* Danger Dan Author Monica Lim tells what it is like raising teenagers.

* Pat’s Schoolhouse Founder Patricia Koh reflects on her life station as mum to three grown-up daughters who are now mums themselves

* Armour Publishing Managing Editor Ruth Wan and Pauline Loh have also shared their stories which I found especially poignant.

You can buy this newly launched title at Armour Publishing’s online store here. Better still, buy multiple copies for your friends for the upcoming Mother’s Day!

Mothering stories that you can laugh and learn from is like having a good girly chat with friends who get it when it comes to the joys and aches of parenting!

 

 

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The first thing I discovered when I became a first time mum was that my baby did not come with a manual. So I was relieved to come across 14 Secrets to Better Parenting, distilled by author Dave Earley into a small handy book.

Good Parenting Resource on principles for raising children

Good Parenting Resource

 

#1 Establish the Right Target: Wisdom

As Earley writes, Proverbs uses wisdom in the broader sense to speak of skill in daily living. It recognises that people make decisions, choose friends, determine behaviours, handle their money, raise families, and go about life with varying degrees of proficiency. So wisdom includes common sense. Which I may add, is often not so common to us. Proverbs states that real wisdom comes from God.

#2 Focus on Training Your Child to walk in Wisdom

Training means guiding, teaching, showing, encouraging, coaching, correcting, supporting them as they learn to make their way in the world. And effective training is active, intentional, involved, varied, requires co-operative effort, directed, ongoing, individualised and eventually rewarded.

#3 Lay a Proper Foundation

Proverbs says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. That is, respect, reverence and obedience are the foundations of a successful life i.e. to build the necessary character for children to become wise adults.

#4 Set a Good Example

As parents, our goal is to impart wisdom to our children. But that will be impossible if we do not possess wisdom ourselves. Am I a devoted, determined pursuer of wisdom in God’s Word? Do I work with initiative, foresight and diligence? Am I teachable? Do I flee from bad influence? Do I control my finances? Do I control my temper? It looks like I need some healing balms for my bruises, bumps and blemishes.

And the other 10 secrets? You will have to go to the source of the secrets.

Credit: From 14 Secrets to Better Parenting, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

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As a full-time caregiver to my exasperatingly cute son, I’ve had more battles with my 3-year old over the past 2 years than in my over 10 years of past corporate life in the boardroom. This is definitely the age of testing boundaries, pushing limits and trying to win with the tears and tantrums.

StrongWilledChildAnd it was at this time that an educator recommended The New Strong-willed Child – birth through adolescence by Dr James Dobson. It’s sold over 2 million copies to date so I know I’m not alone in the battle of wills.

In the opening pages of his book, Dobson likens the compliant kid and the strong-willed kid to supermarket trolleys. One has straight well-oiled wheels that go where they are guided. The other has crooked bent wheels that refuse to yield. According to Dobson, some kids have crooked wheels. They do not want to go where they are led, because their own inclination takes them in other directions. Furthermore, the parent pushing the cart must expend seven times the energy to make it move, compared to the parent of a child with straight wheels.

Dobson cites former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt as a strong-willed kid who grew into a strong-willed man. He was apparently very bossy with his peers and he liked to win everything. When he was once scolded for the way he treated other children, he said, “Mummy, if I didn’t give the orders, nothing would happen.”

“But the ultimate paradox of childhood is that boys and girls want to be led by their parents but insist that their mothers and fathers earn the right to lead them,” Dobson says.

 

This timely advice has come in handy over the past months and I have now incorporated it into my parental discipline repertoire.

A few weeks back, Caleb pushed aside his spoon of noodles which I was holding, spilling it onto the table.

“Please do not do that,” I said.

With a knowing glint in his eye, he immediately flicked the noodles further – straight onto the floor.

He had dropped the gauntlet. Two strands of noodles. It was a duel. A battle cry. A challenge to see if the preschooler wins.

“Please pick up the 2 strands of noodles now. If you don’t, I’m taking away your chicken wing.”

Stakes raised.

Tears and tantrum.

I take away the chicken wing.

“I need to fix my tractor. It’s broken.” He tries to change the subject.

“Nope, please pick up your noodles and put it on the table,” I hold my poker face and calm voice.

“I’m thirsty.”

I hold my ground.

“Mummy, we pick it up together.”

“No, you pick it up.”

“I pick up and mummy put on the table.” More negotiation.

“No.”

Cries and stomps his feet.

Then, he pauses and thinks for a moment.

“I pick up like this”. He picks up one strand of noodle, puts it on the Ikea plastic footstool and tips the noodle onto the table. Now it’s a game and easier to comply.

He does the same with the second strand of noodle.

The toddler wants to drive the car (at 2 years old)

The toddler wants to drive the car (at 2 years old)

As Dobson says in his book: “Don’t try to fix your tougher boy or girl overnight. During the childhood years, it is important for parents not to panic. Treat the child with sincere love and dignity, but require him to follow your leadership. Choose carefully the matters worthy of confrontation, then accept his challenge on those issues and win decisively. Reward every positive cooperative gesture he makes by offering your attention, affection, and verbal praise. Then take two aspirins and call me in the morning.”

I pause and calculate my next move. Technically, he picked up the noodles and put it on the table, granted it was done in an unconventional way. A way that says, “I have done what you asked. But I am not defeated.”

I determine the battle is over. The peace offering were the two noodle strands served on the table with the Ikea footstool.

“Thank you, darling.” I give him a hug, skip the aspirins and save my energy for the next worthwhile battle.

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