Friday, May 29, 2009

Just eat!

Fridays are difficult days to cook for. Typically I cook two meals for the evening. One for son before he gets to Cubs, and another meal for when husband gets back and we eat together.

Today, being half-term and no cubs, it was just a fried rice with some fresh prawns (from our local fishmonger), using up food left over from previous meals. Dessert was all the fruit left in the fridge topped with a crumble, with some broken digestive biscuits thrown in.

As we served up dessert, son went on about "whether custard is a colloid".

O! Just eat!

PS: Custard IS a colloid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An interesting day

Yesterday son had a play date with a female friend from church.

She's only six years old, very intelligent, and the two seemed to get on really well.

Her family are just back from from East Asia after several years teaching out there. We had lunch with them some months ago and we noticed these two highly intelligent children got on very well.

We had been clearing/sorting son's Lego. You wouldn't think any one child could have so much Lego. Anyway, instead of chocolates we decided that son would give her a bag of Lego bricks.

He packed a reasonable number of pieces, with all sorts of shapes of bricks, with mini-figures and all. Very generous of him, really.

Young lady friend was delighted. Her parents had packed her Lego away and couldn't find them after the house move! She noted too that she only had basic pieces and son gave her a very good selection of different types.

Today I asked him if he felt a bit lonely being an only child. A bit, he said.

Would he like to 'adopt' this little girl as her 'sister'.

"I don't think she's up for adopting," he said.

You have to laugh. I said, "You know, we could do things together with her. Go visit places, etc."

I think his response was "maybe".

PS: Also learned from young lady's mum that it is not 'politically correct' to say that my son is classified as 'SEN'. In an ordinary school he would be on the 'G&T' register. But since the school does not have a 'G&T' list, he is 'SEN' and the school has bent over backwards to help him.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Must participate more!

Report cards came back.

Son shows consistently good results but most of the teachers indicate that he does not put in his best effort and all say that he could participate more in class.

So I mentioned that at one meal time. His response?

He does participate, but it gets a bit embarrassing to be giving all the right answers. He does not wish to show his friends up.

Dad says, you let the teachers worry about that.

For a young man for whom tests have shown that he lacks social comprehension, his sensitivity towards his classmates is to be lauded, I think.

The teacher has indicated that he gets on with everyone in class and is well respected. How long would this continue if he does, as the teachers expect, to put his hand up to give all the correct answers, or even incorrect ones?

The plan now is at least for half a term he participates as much as possible, regardless of what his mates might think of him.

He's also getting a bit tired of being made to play the piano at school music classes, he says. "It would be nice if I could play the glockenspiel (spelling?). "But because he is the most proficient pianist he gets the job of doing that. Never mind.

He is revelling in how everyone wants to be on his team when it comes to anything to do with music.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blogger trouble

Believe it or not! My Organic-Ally blog has been flagged as a SPAM blog.

Very funny.

Got a message from the Google folks and I thought: how do I know THEIR email was genuine. Ha!

Any way, since this blog is about my son I thought I should repeat what I had posted there (tried to, any way) over here as well.


It's good to talk ... listen

On Tuesday I heard a BBC programme in the afternoon (hands on the sewing machine, ears to the radio, that's multi-tasking?) which made me feel completely vindicated about not letting my son watch TV for the first two years of his life.

Well, not all TV, but children's TV. He was allowed to watch sport and news.

The psychologist (Arik Sigmund) on the programme confirmed my hunch that children's TV is bad for the developing baby/toddler brain.

According to scientific studies children who watched 'educational DVDs' were not any better in their comprehension and vocabulary when compared to those who watched The Simpsons and Oprah Winfrey. The only group with superior ability were "those who watched none of those but simply incidentally hear background conversation of their parents with others".

He concluded that listening which forces us to 'paint pictures in our mind' is better at fostering cognitive development. Well, there!

I remember feeding my baby with the radio tuned to BBC Radio 4. It often took an hour to nurse him at each feed. When he was a little older we 'invested' in CDs which told stories. There was even one which adapted Shakespeare themes.

Growing up in a rather poor family where we could not afford the TV -- my father justified it by saying it did us no good, and he was right -- our entertainment was of listening and reading.

There was Rediffusion ( a wired service, cheap to subscribe to) which gave us programmes in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, including BBC programmes. In the evenings we sat down to do homework, listened to drama on Rediffusion (usually a detective, a soppy soap, or a ghostly tale) and when that was done, Mum would play some of her Cantonese opera on tape (she had recorded this off the Rediffusion).

She sang along with the opera, and we learned to do much the same!

Only when I was sixteen when a grown-up cousin decided that he had had enough of his old black and white TV and passed it on to us was I able to watch myself on TV. Yes, I used to appear on TV as part of the school band at 'Central Judging', Youth Festival, or even in special recordings with the Singapore Schools Orchestra (where I played the trombone) but always needed to go to a neighbour's house to do that.

I don't think living without TV did me any harm. Indeed it forced me to 'paint pictures in my mind' and I was determined that my son would share the same privilege.

Coincidentally when I met him at school later that day son showed me his exam results and I had another pleasant surprise. He sat exams in English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies and attained 90-something percent in all, with 100% in English Comprehension.

Last night we worked out his average as 96% compared to a class average of 69%. Vindicated once again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mr Hot Cross Buns

It's been a lovely weekend. I am tired and should be asleep, but I feel I must plod on.

Son's had a whole week of exams (in the mornings) and busy in the afternoon with his usual activities. He also had 8.30am music lessons on Wednesday and Thursday for otherwise his teachers could not fit in his clarinet and piano lessons.

Friday he tells us that he had been asked to replace one of the senior boys to perform on the piano on Saturday for prospective parents at the school open day. Cool.

He was up right early Saturday morning because he best mate was expected before they both had to go to school to perform with the Fun Choir.

The purpose for their performance was to showcase what the boys get up to so that prospective parents would go "wow" and send their children to us.

After the Headmaster's (long) speech in which he referred to saving the best for last, the school's best pianist (Form 5 boy) was called to perform. We reckon he was playing a piece from his Grade 6 syllabus.

Then son got up to announce he was going to play "Hot Cross Buns". There were audible sniggers and I thought, "O no! How dare they laugh? This would put him off."

He played his Hot Cross Buns, a swing version with intricate chords and rhythm, flawlessly, much to my relief. After that several parents remarked how impressed they were. After all, he's only nine (in Form 2) three years younger than the best pianist and four years younger than the senior boy he stood in for.

He told us later that when he heard the audience laugh he nearly said, "but not as you know it", and thought he must play it so well that no one would laugh after that.

A bit of Susan Boyle there.

Boy done good, and we are, as usual, immensely proud of him.