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Posts Tagged ‘preschooler’

Recently, I made author visits to three Red Schoolhouses. I read my Tibby books to preschoolers from 2 – 6 years old and shared a bit more about my books with the older kids.

Children are never too young to be exposed to books and reading, like the 2-3 year olds I read to today. And it’s perfectly fine when they fidget. My 6-year-old has always been that way. And when I stop reading, he stops fidgeting to ask me to read on!

 

 

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Caleb and I recently followed Ben on his 16-day work trip to Switzerland and USA.

It was an important family trip for us after 10 months of being in and out of doctors’ clinics and multiple scans following my surgery last June where I had one breast removed and reconstructive surgery following a breast cancer diagnosis. I thank God that I am well and was ready for my big trip.

As Ben’s work locations were in two rather un-touristy towns, I packed several small travel toys and activities for some afternoons where I might just want to veg out in the hotel room when Ben was at work.

I wrote out a travel checklist to remind myself of various things to pack into our luggage.

Caleb, who loves to be involved in everything, saw my list and decided to start his own travel checklist.

He followed me around the house, asking me how to spell words that he added to his list.

When he reached item #24 on his list, he told me, “Remember to bring Joy.”

“Bring what?” I asked as I busied with packing his clothes and toys.

“Being Joy…you know Joy? Joy in your heart,” he said.

I paused from my busy bee state and looked up. “Wow…,” I said. “Okay, we will bring Joy.”

Caleb travel list

“And don’t forget me,” Caleb said as he added his own name to his packing list. “We’ll also bring God and Jesus,” he said, adding two more names to his list.

And so we did.

We had a free and easy, chilled out vacation.

Caleb St Galen

Caleb and I spent a morning playing in a patch of residual snow outside our hotel.

An afternoon in the bookstore when it was too chilly to be outdoors.

Caleb snow.png

And other simple pleasures.

And we were filled with joy in our hearts.

Caleb&Em.png

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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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I’m excited to share that The Learning Connection with be staging Prince Bear & Pauper Bear as an interactive storytelling performance for 10 shows this April!

The Learning Connection first staged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear 4 years back, with a weekend launch at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

This year is especially special for me since it is Prince Bear & Pauper Bear’s 10th anniversary of publication. I hope this book (my very first book written) will delight readers and audiences for many more decades to come!

Details for the show are here:

Story Box - Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Mailer (2017) final.jpg

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Caleb’s just turned 6! And he’s grown by leaps and bounds in the past year, from skills to perspectives, resilience to new focus.

6th-birthday

1.      Ditching the Wheels, Making a Splash

Caleb has been cycling on his 4-wheels bicycle since 3/4 years old. Just past his 5th birthday, he decided, rather nonchalantly, that he wanted to ditch the two training wheels and cycle on two wheels. He wobbled on his first attempt along the road outside our home. On his second try, a few minutes later, he steadied up and took off!

Next, he decided to try swimming without his swim-jacket. After a few kicks and splashes with Ben, he started diving into the pool swim-jacketless. That he had crossed these big milestones without cajoling or expectation made them that much sweeter to see.

A few months later, he started to bathe himself on a few occasions and then consistently clean up after himself after his big business.

It’s been a treat to watch him leap from one milestone to another, and wonder what he will do next.

 2.      Wielding lightsabers & Lego Force through the Dark Side

On 1st June last year, midway through 5 years old, Caleb had to grow up rather quickly when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As his full-time caregiver, I had to learn to let go of him for stretches of time as I went through surgery and chemotherapy. He also had new routines to get used to without me being his constant, like my dad taking over ferrying him to and from kindergarten.

Thanks to the combination of Star Wars and Lego, Caleb’s love of Star Wars turned him into an adapt master-builder which saw us through my wilderness period (aka the Dark Side) when I stayed home through stretches of time.

He built his way through 2000-piece Lego structures, from the Millenium Falcon to Tie Striker to A-Wing Fighter and various other spaceships whose names I cannot remember.

 

Star Wars with Angel.png

With God-sister Angel on their Monday playdates which my dearest friend Gail started during my chemotherapy months

 

 3.      Not my Hongpao!

A couple of days back, a good friend sent me a blog link for a friend’s 7-year old daughter Janelle who has a rare heart condition and is in need of a heart transplant. The cost of the surgery and health complications had led to ballooning expenses and they were trying to raise funds to cover cost.

Ben and I thought it would be a good life lesson to use to teach Caleb about helping others in need.

Yesterday morning, when I was still half-sleep, I heard Ben talking to Caleb, “Would you like to give $100 of your hongpao money to help Janelle? Papa and Mummy will give $500.”

“What? Not my hongpao money!” I heard Caleb protest before I fell back into sleep.

An hour later, over breakfast, Ben said, “Did you hear what he said?”

“Yah,” I muttered. “He doesn’t want to give his hongpao money.”

“No, he did,” Ben said. “He decided that we give $100 and he give his $600 hongpao money.”

My eyes opened wide and my heart swelled in a proud parent moment. He had gone from initially objecting to reflecting upon it and then deciding to give up his hongpao money on his own free will.  

Later, that day, when he was building his Star Wars Lego set, a Christmas present from auntie Jing Siew, I gave him a cuddle and said, “Do you know why I am so proud of you?”

“Don’t know,” he said.

“You did something amazing this morning, remember?”

“Forgot already,” he said, focused on his Lego.

“Remember you gave something up?”

“Oh yah, that,” he said, “a lot of money.”

And that was that. A significant milestone crossed in his nonchalant way.

 

Related Link:

Help Fund Janelle’s VAD and heart transplant

Inside Out Kid #3: Mummy, You can take out your Pretend Hair at Home

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Caleb would usually have “sleepovers” in my bedroom a few nights a week. It was a treat for him because we would play board games before bed, I would read him books and he got to sleep later, like a real sleepover party.

During my 9-day stay in hospital following the mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, Caleb spent most of his time with my parents ie. his grandparents, and missed his sleepovers with me terribly.

Even after I got home, we did not resume his sleepovers in my room for a while. He is a roller when he sleeps. I could not risk him accidentally kicking me or rolling onto me.

About two weeks after I had been home from hospital, I heard a wailing downstairs in Caleb’s bedroom when my mum was trying to put him to bed. After it had gone on for some time, I went down to see what was happening.

Caleb was standing a foot away from his bed, refusing to get on. His eyes were red from crying and he was at the end of making a long teary protest speech when I walked in. “…I’ve spent enough time with Grandma. I’m not getting into bed anymore until I sleep with Mummy again. I want to be with Mummy till infinity!” And then he broke down inconsolably.

My heart broke.

But it wasn’t the right time to give in because it might send the wrong message that a protest speech would get him what he wanted. I spent some time placating him and eventually got him into his bed.

That night, Ben and I discussed about re-starting Caleb’s sleepovers in our bedroom. But it would need to come with some temporary rules.

Usually, he would climb onto me and hug me to sleep. Then, I would transfer him onto the giant cushion on the floor next to me. In the wee hours of the morning, half awake, he would automatically climb onto me, hug me like a koala bear and fall back to sleep again.

That had to change temporarily till I recovered from my surgery wounds.

So, we worked out a couple of new rules:

#1 – Caleb could only sleep on Papa’s side of the bed.  

That meant that Ben and I had to switch the sides of the bed that we normally slept so that Caleb would be next to him, not me. I moved to the right side of the bed and Ben to the left.

#2 – We built a wall of pillows which divided our bed into two. Caleb had to stay on the other side. And he could not sleep on me like a baby koala for the next few weeks.

We pilot-tested the next night. In the wee hours of the night, Caleb automatically climbed up to my side of the bed and slept on Ben. The pillow wall stayed intact and we were all systems go for his regular sleepovers again.

kingcaleb

Goofing it up in my room during a quiet day at home

 

With my chemo-cycles now, we’ve still kept some of these temporary rules. For every 1st week of a new chemo cycle, Caleb has to forgo any sleepovers in my room. Given the amount of medicine pumped into me at each chemo/post-op session, I abstain from kissing him for a week till I flush out all the chemicals from my body. My oncologist said it usually takes two days to flush it out of the system but I prefer to buffer it up to a week where Caleb is concerned. Once that week passes, my routine with Caleb goes back to normal and I give him infinity kisses till he begs me to stop.

That said, I have explained to him that I cannot be with him till infinity because one day I will grow old and no longer be around. But I tell him that we have the assurance of God’s Word in the Bible that we will eventually be together in eternity in Heaven.

And Eternity is better than Infinity and beyond.

Related Links:

Inside-Out Kid #5 – “My Mummy is a Botak Head! But she covered it up.”

God Knows Leh #10 – Three Wise Women with Gifts of Frankessence, Mastec & Go

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Prior to my mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, I bought 2 things to prepare Caleb for my recuperation time at home – signage for my bedroom door.

One was a small crayola board which I had planned to stick on my bedroom door. I told Caleb that if I needed to rest, I would write, “Sleeping. Don’t come in.”

He had a better idea – if I was sleeping, I should just draw a face with eyes closed.

“I like that. And I’ll add ‘zzz’ coming out from the mouth,” I said.

And if I was awake, he wanted me to draw a face with eyes open. “And we add ‘ooo’ coming out of the mouth,” he added.

But that plan changed when he fell in love with a door hanger I bought. It has Singlish (Singapore English) on it and also our family name on it leh.

 

So, that became the official sign on my bedroom door on whether I needed alone-time to rest and he could come in or not.

That was when I decided to turn the crayola board into Caleb’s Inside-out board, as inspired by the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out, the brilliant movie which gives an amazing sight into a child’s emotions.

“Caleb, you can draw how you feel on this board to tell me if you are happy, angry or sad, ok?

He liked the movie and having the board named after him appealed to him.

On the first day that I returned home from hospital, I asked Caleb to draw how he felt about me returning home.

He drew a face enveloped in a red heart.

Inside Out Board Day 1

“That’s nice,” I said. “What does this mean?”

“It means I’m happy and loving you, Mummy!”

 

On Day 2, he was sad because he made a tactical error in Othello which reversed his winning game. He drew a sad face followed by an angry face. Then, he went to a corner to sulk.

“So today is a sad and angry,” I said.

“Wait five minutes,” he said. “I think I will have a happy face.”

And he did.

Inside Out Board-Day2.png

And so, the first week of me returning home from hospital saw Caleb go through a myriad of emotions through the week.

On day 7, when I felt much better, I spent a big part of the day with Caleb. And when the day came to an end, he drew how he felt.

It brought a big dimpled smile to my face.

Inside Out Board.png

Related Posts:

Inside-Out Kid #2- It’s not fair, I didn’t want you to be in Hospital! 

God Knows Leh #8- When My Tummy was Tucked and Promoted to Left Breast

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