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Archive for the ‘Preschooler/Toddler’ Category

I was delighted to attend the opening weekend of my Bunny Finds The Right Stuff show, to find out that the shows have sold out!

I was doubly happy to have watched the theatre show with one of my favourite people Arlene, and her family. Arlene was my biggest cheerleader when I went through chemotherapy in 2016, sending all sorts of creative videos and messages to cheer me up. She’s also been an amazing supporter of my books and writing and a super-dear friend.

Bunny found the right stuff in knowing that he was deeply loved by his Maker and his floppiness wasn’t from lack, but from love and countless hugs. He also realized that the right stuff was the stuff of friendship.

Likewise, I rest in the knowledge that I am loved by my Maker and built up by the stuff of precious friendships.

BunnyShow2018 with Arlene

With the fabulous cast of Bunny Finds the Right Stuff theatre show

 

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I’m a hoppy camper with a sprightly leap! Esplanade celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and will be re-staging Bunny Finds the Right Stuff, based on an adaption of my book!

Show details are here:

Bunnyshow (edited)

Esplanade15thyear (edited)

 

Box office is now open and you can book your tickets here. So hop over there!

Related:

Bunny Finds the Good Stuff – Opening Show @ Esplanade

 

 

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Four years ago, on Caleb’s first day of kindergarten, we parents were in the pre-nursery classroom as part of orientation.

Caleb’s form teacher was trying to tell a story about a tiger to 15 preschoolers, with another 15 pairs of parents watching. No easy feat.

Midway through the story, the teacher asked, “Can you guess if the tiger is a boy or a girl?”

Some kids answered, “Boy!” and some answered, “Girl!”

My then-three year old piped up loudly in an annoyed voice, “How can it be a boy or girl? It’s a TIGER!”

The parents laughed. I gasped. And the teacher was not entirely amused.

Oh no, I thought myself. Would my strong-willed, strong-voiced kid fit into Kindy?

As I stepped out of class, I bumped into the Kindy Principal. She saw my worried face and asked if I was okay. I expressed my apprehensions gingerly. She soothed my concerns, assuring me that kids like Caleb, who may appear more difficult to manage initially, usually settle in very quickly.

True enough, Caleb settled in within a couple of days. His form teacher, whom I got to know well over the weeks, shared how he ended up taking care of the quiet kids in class. His outspokenness also made him the ringleader in class. And he stayed true to form right through his Kindy years.

For Caleb’s final year Kindy project, his class project was on “Puppets”. As the Principal is a puppets expert, she did a puppetry demonstration for Caleb’s class. At the end of the Principal’s demo session, my 6-year old piped up, “Auntie J, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give you a 10!” I was told that the Principal was most pleased.

Caleb has just started Primary One. The past week has been a huge transition for him. And for me too – this week, I had rush hour school traffic orientation (gasp)! I hope that my kid will thrive through the rigours of primary school. Whilst the discipline of the education system is good, I want my son to enjoy the learning process, beyond timetables and homework, and retain his creativity and voice throughout.

 

K2camp

Volunteering in the final week of Kindy with other mamarazzis  so we could take final photos

 

 

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The Really, Really Hot Day, along with 4 of my other picture books, will be featured in animation in the storytelling segment of 5 episodes of Junction Tree, Singapore’s 1st bilingual 26-espisode preschool TV series. All 4 of the picture books which I wrote for Singapore National Cooperative Federation, and re-published by Seed Institute, and I Can Do It!, which I wrote for the Ministry of Education for the preschools, are featured.

I had the pleasure of attending the launch Mediacorp’s new preschool series which showed a trailer of The Really, Really Hot Day animation along with other segments of this show.

I enjoyed the show, which reminded me a little of Hi-5 with a little of Sesame Street and lots of Singaporeaness. The different hosts switching between English to Chinese to Malay and Tamil went smoothly and gave it a true Singapore flavor. This series is supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

Junction Tree debuts today on Mediacorp’s Okto Channel!

 

Related Links:

A Very Big Storm on a Really Hot Day

http://tv.toggle.sg/en/channel8/shows/junction-tree-english-chinese/info

 

 

 

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Hop Snort Hooray! Tibby & Scaredy Snout, the 3rd in in my Tibby picture book series is out!

Tibby & Scaredy Snout is a story about fears and friendship. A young boar Snout is afraid of the dark and other things that come naturally to boars. He meets Tibby the tiger-bunny who befriends him and shows him that some things are not as scary as they appear.

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With my tiger-bunny at Epigram Books, publisher of my Tibby picture book series

 

My character Tibby the tiger-bunny came about the week that Caleb was born. It was Chinese New Year week – with the Year of the Tiger passing and the Year of the Rabbit coming. As I sat, heavily pregnant and waiting to pop, I wondered if my son would be a tiger or bunny. Out of that came the idea of a character with both traits, who is as friendly as he is loud. As it turns out, Caleb does roar like a tiger and bounces all over like a bunny.

Jade Fang, illustrator for the Tibby series has definitely outdone herself for this book – her amazing artwork brings another layer to the story which plays off and also counters Snout’s fears in delightful ways.

Related links:

Tibby  & Duckie Launch Off at Singapore Writer’s Festival

Tiger Bunny Flies Crystal Kite & Helps Friend Soar

 

 

 

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One of my most heartbreaking moments, since being diagnosed with breast cancer, was seeing my 5-year old break down in my hospital room.

Following my mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, I stayed in hospital for 9 days and Ben bunked in with me almost the entire time.

My parents ferried Caleb to a school holiday programme in the mornings and at lunchtime, they brought him over to visit me.

Considering how active Caleb is, he stayed contentedly in my hospital room for 3-4 hours daily, and up to 7 hours in a stretch on a weekend, without getting bored. But in true Caleb style, that was after he had inspected every inch of the room, attempted to press the buttons on my bed (which was a no-go for me on the first 3 days – the bed had been set to a specific angle because of my surgery), poked at the saline and antibiotics drips hanging off the stand next to my bed and discovered my unsightly urine packet tucked under the bed as I was initially on a catheter.

“Mummy, what’s this?”

On learning it was my urine packet, he inspected where the tube was connected to and instructed me, “Mummy, quick! Drink water! I want to see it drip into the packet!”

His Science 101 practicuum.

“Okay, good,” he said as he gave a thumbs-up. “It’s dripping in.”

 

Each day, he ate lunch with us, watched a Disney or Pixar movie, and then built his Lego. Ben had bought a 1,600 piece Star Wars Lego which kept him occupied over 4 days on the pulled-out sofa bed.

Caleb Crosses

Midway through building his Star Wars spacecraft on the sofa-bed, Caleb decided to build two crosses (1 big and 1 small) for Mummy. Behind him is the little nook that became his official Cry Corner which he climbed in to hide and cry when he felt sad.

 

Three days into his daily visits, Caleb had a huge emotional meltdown. It started innocently enough with him wanting to watch Madagascar from where he had left off the day before. We could not remember exactly where because we had taken the DVD out so we could watch something else the night before when I could not sleep.

 

He got angry beyond proportion, thinking that we had watched Madagascar without him. It developed into a full-blown tantrum.

And then, I saw the bigger simmering issue behind it.

“Caleb, it’s okay to be sad and angry. But it’s also good that you talk about it.”

He climbed into a little corner behind the pull-out sofa (which became his crying corner in the days that followed).

“It’s not fair! I never wanted you to be in hospital! I’m going to stay here forever!” he cried from behind the curtains where he was hiding.

I tried to coax him out but he only bawled louder and stretched his arms out to me. “I want to hug Mummy!”

“I’ve told you that we cannot hug for a while. Remember that’s why we hugged 585 times?”

“It’s not enough,” he wailed. “I want to hug 600 times. I will only stop crying if I can hug you. I have to hug your whole body.”

“You know you cannot till my wounds heal. But you can hug my arm,” I said.

“No, I must hug your whole body or I cannot stop crying.”

There was no consoling him.

So I did the next best thing. I cried with him. For the next 10 minutes, he sobbed inside the curtains and I sobbed in bed.

Then, finally, I decided to find a distraction. “Hey, tell you what. I’m going to let you climb into bed next to me. But you must promise not to climb onto me or it will be very painful for me.”

Still hidden behind the curtains. “No, I will stop crying only if I can climb on you and hug your whole body. That’s the only way.”

Plan B.

“Okay, I’m going to let you do something for me. I don’t need to have the bed in a fixed angle anymore. How about you come press these bed buttons and help me sit up?”

The forbidden fruit that I had religiously kept him from touching for 3 days.

Sobs stop to a sniffle. Peeks out of curtains. Curiosity and itchy fingers get the better of him. Eagerly climbs out of his cry corner to my bed.

Presses one button to elevate my bed too quickly.

“Caleb, don’t send me flying out of bed, okay?”

“Okay.” Pushes another button. “What is this?” He said as he pressed the call button.

The nurse shows up.

I apologize and turn to him. “Don’t ever touch this button again!”

That evening, Ben and I agreed that he would go home and spend the night with Caleb.

The next day, when Caleb came, he promptly climbed into my bed next to me to cuddle.

The day after, he took over the whole bed so I got bumped to the visitor’s chair. He elevated the bedhead to the highest incline so he could slide down.

Except for a few small crying bouts, we were good for the rest of my time in hospital. Because it was good for him to have let his big emotions from inside come out. And we hit on the right buttons.

Related post:

Inside-out Kid #1 – Our 100 Hugs before Mummy goes to hospital

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When I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, my most immediate concern was my 5-year old and how I could prepare him for my upcoming surgery and time away from him.

“Caleb, I will need to go into hospital soon because I am sick. The doctor will cut away the bad cells inside me and I will be okay after that.”

Caleb listened and over the days, asked me about where I would be cut and so forth. He peered over Ben’s shoulder at surgery procedure photos in the Mayo Book on Breast Cancer as Ben read up on how a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery would go. He wasn’t spooked and wielded his newfound knowledge with gusto.

“The doctor will cut mummy like that,” he told his grandparents. “This way and that way,” he said with demonstrations of a quack surgeon.

Well, at least he wasn’t too afraid, I thought. I shared this with my girlfriend Gail. She reminded me to hug Caleb as much as possible before my surgery because it would be difficult to do so for a while post-operation.

 

That day, I sat Caleb down again.

“It’s 5 days to my operation. Let’s hug each other 100 times before that. So, make it 20 times a day.”

Caleb hugged me tight and counted aloud to 100.

“I hugged you 100 times!” He exclaimed.

Over the next few days, he hugged me repeatedly and counted as he did. “What’s 20 + 100?”

“120,” I replied.

“I hug you 120 times already!”

And so, he aggregated his hug count with every hug.

“What’s 30 + 120?”

“What’s 50 + 150?”

On the final day before surgery, Caleb jubilantly announced, “I hugged you 585 times!”

 

I asked for 100 hugs. But Caleb’s mathematics of love overwhelmed me sixfold.

For me, that went a much longer way than a certain Big Nutbrown hare who loved his Little Nutbrown hare to the moon and back.

Guess-How-Much-a-Million-Cream_square

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