Tag Archive: Learning progress

Milestones @ 34 months

How time flies.

Little man is coming to three years old in 2 months time, and he is growing up and learning new things so fast, I cannot catch up.

There are a few important milestones achieved in these 2 months and I felt neccessary to put it down in writing.

1. Diaper-free in the day
It has been a few months since we tried to get little man go diaperless. Not because we are in a hurry to save money on ever-so-expensive diapers, but according to his teachers, quite a few of his peers are without diapers in the day, hence we felt it is a good opportunity to introduce the idea of peeing in the toilet, rather than diapers.

However, little man was rather resistance to the idea and refused to wear his underwear instead of diaper, both in school and at home. He felt very insecured without his diapers. Seeing how much stress it caused him, I told the teachers that we shall not force it upon him, but just patiently ask him every day, until he is more ready.

One day, when he was sleeping over at my parents’, my mother lied to him that I have forgotten to pack diapers into his stayover bag. She asked if he can wear underwear for the time being. Somehow he agreed, and that is how we finally started him on underwears instead of diapers.

He has been diaperless in the day for a while now. There were a few times when he peed, releasing entirely while playing. He saw that I looked angry while cleaning the dirty floor and soiled clothes, so he came to me saying that he wanted to wear diapers again. I explained to him that I was upset not because he has peed on the floor, but because he knew he needed to pee, but refused to do so because he wanted to play instead. I made him promise me that he will not procrastinate peeing because of playing or watching television programmes. Later that night, I told him a story of how a boy hold in his pee so much that it made him sick, and the doctor has no choice but to give him an injection. I think he somehow got the idea, but much reinforcement is still needed for these few weeks.

2. Pacifier-free
If you follow our “pacifier story“, you would have known that little man is still holding on to that pacifier he can’t quite chew on. Anyway, long story short, I took the opportunity to throw away that pathetic pacifier while he stayed over at my parents’. He has been looking for it for a while now after coming back home. I told him that the pacifier was at Grandma’s house, he must have forgotten to bring it back. He keep saying that he will ask my mother about it, but every time he sees her, he forgot about it. Today when he asked me again, I told him that Grandma could not find that pacifier as well. He took it pretty well. I guess it will still take some time for him to completely forget about it. 我长情的小宝贝。

Language progress @2 year-old

Little man is getting more and more eloquent in his daily Mandarin conversations. He is able to express himself using complex sentence structures, conjunctions and simple idioms,成语.

I wanted to put these to record so that I will constantly be reminded that our efforts to speak properly to him will never go to waste.

There was once he threw his toys all over the living room. I came out and exclaimed,“发生什么事了?” (What happened?) He then sheepishly told me that,“我把玩具弄得乱七八糟。” (I created a mess.)

When he needed me to wipe his sweat, he will come to me and say,“我玩得满头大汗。” (I am very sweaty.)

When he find the sun too glaring for his liking, he will tell me,“妈妈,很晒。我要遮住眼睛。” (I need to cover my eyes.)

That day when we were in a cab on our way to see the doctor, he saw the driver driving really fast and almost hit the lorry in front. He started saying very loudly,“妈妈,uncle 驾车驾得很快,撞到罗厘了。” (Uncle is driving very fast, he almost hit the lorry.) I was so amused and actually secretly hoped that the driver hears him.

Just yesterday, he was telling me,“月亮在哪里呢?月亮被云遮住了,所有看不到月亮。” (Where is the moon? It is covered by the clouds, that is why we cannot see it.). Later that day, he saw me taking off my cardigan. He told me,“妈妈,不要着凉了。” (Mama, don’t catch a cold.)

Some other examples of the sentences he said,“我要先去洗手,才去看电视。” (I will wash my hand before watching the television.), “我先去冲凉,然后睡觉。” (I will bathe before I sleep.), “绿灯可以走,红灯不可以走。” (We can walk when it is green lights, we cannot walk when it is red.)

Recently, little man has also progressed from the “whats” to the “whys”. It is so funny seeing him ask questions in a serious and troubled expression. He seems to be really concern about these questions.

One night, he was still playing in the dark when he is supposed to be sleeping. I became frustrated as I need to wake up very early the next day for work, and I needed to sleep. I stood up and told him, “快闭上眼睛睡觉。” “为什么呢?” “因为已经很迟了。每个人都睡觉了。” “为什么他们要睡觉呢?我不要睡觉。” (Quickly go to sleep. Why? Because it is already very late, everyone is sleeping. Why do they want to sleep? I don’t want to sleep.)

These days, he was having a rather bad running and blocked nose. It became rather difficult for him to sleep. He tried to sleep for a while but gave up in the end, getting up from his bed and asked me,“妈妈,我为什么不可以呼吸?” (Why can’t I breathe?)

When Hubby saw that little man spat out all the vegetables, he commented,“改天不要让他吃菜,吃饭就好了。”. (Next time just let him eat rice without the vegetables.) He frowned, looked at his father and asked,“爸爸,为什么我不可以吃菜呢?” (Why can’t I eat vegetables?)

When Hubby refused to let him go down a floor to see the water fountain, he retorted,“为什么不可以下去看水?” (Why can’t I see the water fountain?), and when Hubby wanted him to take out his new pacifier, he came to me and complained,“妈妈,为什么爸爸说不可以吃这个奶嘴?” (Why Papa do not allow me to have the pacifier?)

Hubby sometimes was exasperated by his questions, he told him, “Because I say so.” I tried to let Hubby understand that we should explain things to him patiently instead of brushing his questions off like that. It is good that he asks things that he do not understand or do not agree with. It gives us the opportunity to teach and shape his young mind the right way.

Meanwhile, his “whats” are becoming more sophisticated as well. Instead of asking me what that thing is, he asked me for the English-Mandarin translation of things.

A huge lizard (I believe it is an iguana.) jumped out in front of us as we were on our way home. Little man was intrigued by the reptile and asked me what it is. I told him the Chinese term for it. After pondering for a while, little man turned to me and asked again,“妈妈,蜥蜴是什么?”. It took me a while to realised that he was asking me for the English word for the reptile, and it surprised me to know that he is actually interested to know how to name the reptile in both languages.

Speaking of English, I would say little man has improved quite a bit. At least, he is now able to speak properly sometimes in the language. Just now, when he switched on the television and saw The Ellen DeGeneres Show coming on, he shouted very loudly to get my attention, “Mama! Do you see Ellen?”

He also started learning to speak the words of his favourite cartoon characters from Ice Age. He would come and tell me, “Rule number one, always listen to Buck!”

That day, we met the father of his schoolmate, Gweneth at the park. The father told us how his daughter was upset because she was scolded by the teacher for hitting little man. His daughter told him that little man is her good friend. The father then asked little man, “Is Gweneth your good friend?” Little man started replying, “@#$%^&@#$%^&*… best friend is Rueben!”

Hm… okay, that can be considered as progress too right? 😉

Like a boss @ 2 year old

Communicating in English

If you have followed me from the beginning, you would know that Hubby and I made a deliberate decision to speak to little man in Mandarin since he was young.

Due to my personal experience in teaching the language, observations and feedback from many parents, I felt that children in Singapore are able to learn English at a faster pace because of our English-speaking environment. Many children only speak Mandarin to their grandparents, which is really not a good way to learn proper Mandarin as the Mandarin of their generation is often greatly tainted by the influence of their dialects. Hence, we make it a point to speak proper Mandarin in proper sentences to little man, trying our very best not to mix it with another language, which is so common in Singapore.

Our efforts paid off as little man become rather good in communicating in Mandarin. In fact, the very first week when he attended school, his Chinese teacher commented that he is very much stronger in the language than most of his peers. On the downside, as much as little man has a wide range of vocabulary in English, he is unable to put them to use when communicating with others.

This morning, I brought little man down to the playground.

He started to make friends with some of the older children who were there. They were very kind to take care of him while playing. I was rather amused, yet slightly troubled when I hear their conversation.

Boy A: Don’t go down here okay? It is very dangerous.
Little Man: @#$%^&#$%^&*@….. dinosaur… roar! (with a very dramatic act)

Boy B: I let you go down this slide, I will go down the other slide.
Little Man: @#$%^&#$%^&*@….. dinosaur… roar! (again with a very dramatic act)

And then my little boy went on to roar at his other playmates before ending it with a happy laugh. The other children did not seem to mind. They actually thought he was cute. I have to agree with them, he was really cute. But it brought along new sets of concern.

Perhaps, I should start conversing in English more often to him.

Plans following review

This afternoon, I tried reading storybooks to little man again. I find that he can follow the story better as compared to the past, although he still easily get distracted by other things in the pictures, such as the birds in the sky. These are some plans I intend to carry out next week. Hope I can persevere.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday – English days

To speak mainly in English to little man. Translate only when necessary.

  • Tuesday & Thursday – Chinese days

As playdates fall mainly on Thursdays, little man has plenty of opportunities to interact with others in English as that is the main language used in our sessions.

  • Saturdays & Sundays – Free & easy

We can choose to speak in either language, but we must only communicate in a single language at one time.

On English days, I will read English books to him and vice versa in the afternoon after his nap. Hopefully this helps to develop his patience and love for reading.

Such a plan has failed in the past when he was much younger. Now that he is more receptive to both language, I do hope that it will help to build up his foundation for both languages.

Papa Ong, do you read? We must be together in this for it to work. Okay?

Reviewing of Targets

This sounds so much like work, but I guess it’s important for me to do this to make sure I am not idling the time I have with little man away. Having less than 6 more months with him, I hope to teach him as much as he can absorb. Tiger Mum? Probably not, since I don’t can’t really force him to do anything he doesn’t want to. And I did not enrol him in any enrichment classes as many other mummies did.

Anyway, THIS is a list of targets I have written back in April. Over these months, little man has achieved so much, hence it is time to review them. These are what I hope little man can learn over these 6 months. I am going to be very specific in the deadline as it keeps me motivated. But I am not going to be anal about it as all of these really depend on how much little man can learn.

  • Recognise and read out alphabets A-Z (uppercase)   -Done.
  • Recognise and read out alphabets a-z (lowercase)  -Work-in-progress. Deadline: End of September. He has been a little confused about the lowercase, hence I am taking it slow. A letter a day.
  • Recognise and read out Number 1- 10 in English   -Done
  • Recognise and read out Number 11- 20 in English   -Work-in-progress. Deadline: End of September.
  • Recognise and read out Chinese words 1-20 (一至二十)   -Work-in-progress.. Deadline: End of September.

  •  Recognise and say out his Chinese and English name in written form   -Deadline: End of October.

  • Recognise and read out simple Chinese characters   -Ongoing. To start in November
  • Recognise and read out simple English words   -Ongoing. To start in November

I am still pondering on how to go about teaching him to recognise Chinese characters and English words. I think I will start from the environment and words that he is most familiar with. For example, Mother, Father, Door, Toys, Dog etc. I believe the recognising of words must be built from his existing vocabulary. Little man has built up his Chinese and English vocabulary over the months and he knows so much now that it is difficult for me to pen each and every one down. Somehow he was never interested in the words in his storybooks, only the interesting pictures. Hence, I do not think reading more books will teach him to recognise words.  So probably flashcards would probably be the best way to go.

Do you have a good way to teach this? Do share with me your ideas. 🙂

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