Category Archives: Parenting

Time Out for a Birthday and a Report Card…

Having a child around when it’s your birthday definitely livens up the party. Shien got me the biggest balloon, thanks to Malachy’s direct orders. Speaking of direct orders, we had his Parent-Teacher Conference on my b-day today (now, yesterday). His teacher’s comments on his report card read, “Since our last meeting, Malachy has shown a greater interest in art activities. He is adding more details to his art work. Malachy is reading above a kindergarten reading level. His comprehension of the text is also advancing well. Academically, Malachy is progressing well. I would like to see his social skills continue to develop. For example, Malachy often refuses to participate during movement and singing activities. He enjoys play activities when he is leading the playing. However, when asked to play or join in activities where there may be a prompt for him to follow through on, he often refuses to participate…” To me, that means that he’s doing well academically, but he needs to learn that he can’t be in charge all of the time. 😉
As soon as he wakes up, he has a plan, and starts telling Shien and me what he thinks should happen. “Dad, take all of my stuff out to the living room. I’ll go to the bathroom first, and then you can make me a snack. Mommy can sleep longer…” So, it was no surprise to learn that he loves to be in charge at school, and when things aren’t “right” for him, he’ll let you know. His teacher told us that last week, they had a birthday party for one of the authors they were studying, Rosemary Wells. They made cupcakes. Well, when it was time to eat the cupcakes, Malachy just sat there looking at his cake, while everyone else was eating. When asked why he wasn’t eating his cupcake (about 10 minutes had gone by!), he told her that they had to sing a birthday song to her first. Otherwise, it wasn’t a real birthday. So, the teacher had everyone stop and sing happy birthday to the author. Then, Malachy was okay and started eating his cupcake. Unbelievable.
This morning, he thought EVERYONE should stay home because it was my birthday. After all, Mommy’s birthday was tomorrow, and since it was on a Saturday, there wasn’t school. So, logically, on my birthday, there shouldn’t me school either. He didn’t want to let me go to work, and he thought he should stay home and Mommy, too. We’re always trying to explain to him that things can’t always go according to his plans or reasoning. His response is often, “Why?” Our response? Aiya!
In terms of his academics, the teacher assessed his reading, and they had reading levels up to the end of Kindergarten. So, Malachy passed that level, and since they didn’t have assessments for past Kindergarten, they weren’t sure exactly what level he’s on. He also got a spelling assessment, and he spelled almost every word correctly! Scary. 😉

Time Out for Writing…

(Pulled from my YouTube archives…He was 2 years, 2 months at the time…)

I came upon this online article yesterday, Your 3-year-old timeline: Name writing | BabyCenter, and it disturbed me quite a bit.  It addresses writing for 3-year-olds and starts off by saying, “It’s exciting when your child’s scribbles begin to look more like real letters.  Some threes even start writing their name, or a few letters of it.  But writing is one of those developmental milestones that varies from child to child.  Don’t stress out if your child isn’t even interested in writing.”  It goes on to say a parent might still not know the child’s dominant hand for another year or so, and that it’s hard to control a pencil due to lack of fine motor skills.  In terms of child development and literacy, I feel that we grossly underestimate what our children are capable of.

To me, it’s about exposure and practice and expectations.  If a child isn’t given the independence to try to hold a pencil or to feed him/herself at a young age (before 24 months), then those skills will not have the chance to develop as quickly.  If you provide them with the opportunity, they will embrace it.

I had to look back at our library of photos to see when we first let Malachy scribble away.  He was less than a year and a half.  Before he was two, we knew he was a lefty.  He started eating with his left hand and writing with his left hand.  We never forced him to write.  Pens, markers, crayons and lots of scrap paper (found a use for junk mail!) were always around for him if he chose to write.  And boy did he choose to write! 😉  When he started school, his writing was way better than his coloring and drawing.  In fact, he had to practice his coloring and drawing MORE THAN his writing!  Most kids draw a picture and then try to write something.  At school, he would write something, and then try to draw it!  😉

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Lately, he’s been writing lots of notes to people.  On Sunday, he was upset that Grandpa and Uncle Chris had a father-son brunch.  They wound up coming to the same restaurant we were eating at, about an hour later, but sat at another table.  Since he couldn’t sit with them, he wrote a note to his uncle saying, “Dear Uncle Chris, I wish you were over here.”  He proceeded to get out of his booster chair and handed him the note.  Then he wrote a note to his Grandpa.  “Dear Gong Gong, I wish you were over here.”  Again, he asked to be excused and handed his grandfather a note.  In a way, it was therapy for him, too, helping him to get over the anger he felt earlier that they were not eating with him.

Two weeks ago, after we came home from school, he wrote me a note telling me he hoped I took care of Jimmy, and just handed it to me.  I think kids get it.  If you show them that writing has a purpose, then they’re going to want their voices to be heard.  Before long, they find their own reasons to write.  Gotta’ let them write, and believe they are ready BEFORE they’re 3!  If they can talk, then they can write.  🙂

Sometimes, when he goes to Whole Foods with Mommy, he’ll write a Grocery List while she gets ready, and then he checks off the items at the store.  He writes countless notes to his uncle and his girlfriend about how he misses them and loves them.  One evening, he made a label for each of us.  On my note, he wrote, “Dad is a fixer.”  On Mommy’s he wrote, “Mom is a good friend.”  Every day, on his way to school, he’ll ask Mommy for scrap paper and his clip board, and he’ll just write notes on his way to school.  Age 3, and he’s writing more prolifically than Daddy.  Aiya!  🙂

Malachy's Note About Jimmy
Shopping with Mom at Whole Foods

Time Out for A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Happy New Year to ALL!

Parenting Resolutions | New Years Parenting Resolutions | How To Be A Better Parent.

The link above provides a nice checklist of parenting resolutions.  I think the most important resolution is to appreciate the time that we have and enjoy all that we have.  I like the last sentence that says, “Above all else, let’s resolve to enjoy one another and let that always be enough, no matter what time of the year. ”

The less time we spend wanting things, the more content we will be.  As Malachy would say, “ENJOY!”

Time Out for First Class Photo…

Malachy 1st Class Photo
AFTER
BEFORE
BEFORE

We didn’t know what to expect for Malachy’s first class photo.  When I first saw it, I was like, “Where’d he learn to smile like that?”  When Shien said, “He listened to you,” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.  Then, I remembered!  I DID briefly coach him!

On Picture Day (which seems so long ago), before going to work, I had told Malachy not to smile too big.  He was like, “Why, Dad?”  I told him I wanted to see his eyes.  I imitated his smile to show him what I meant.  For a while, he was smiling with his eyes squinting, and baring all teeth (the BIG “CHEESE!”), in photo after photo.  I was afraid he’d do that with his class photo, so I told him to just hum when he smiled.  I told him to think, “HMMMM.”  Lo and behold…  he listened!  Uncle Chris and Stella called it the “Evil Genius” pose.  PoPo says he exudes wisdom beyond his years.  Mom and Dad are just proud of our little boy!  One for the ages…  😉

Time Out for Medicine…

Halloween 2009
Halloween lasted two days this year because it was on a Saturday, and everyone started the celebrations on Friday. So, Malachy had a blast at school with a Halloween Parade around Chinatown and Halloween activities all day at school. On Saturday, he woke up at 6:30am, not feeling so great. After nap, it was even worse because he complained of his ear hurting. He never did that before, so we had a strong feeling he had some kind of ear infection. It was confirmed today when we went to the doctor’s. Having your child get sick is one of the hardest things because you see them suffer and you want so much for everything to just be okay again. This morning, he woke up at 6am crying and crying. Shien went right into Mommy mode and was able to calm him and soothe him. One thing that us dads lack… the Mommy touch. Hopefully, all will be better in a few days.
Another thing that we have been contemplating about, along with every other parent, is the question of whether or not he should get the H1N1 flu shot. He already got the regular flu shot. It puzzles me because we never received flu shots as kids. Now, if we don’t, it’s like we’re doing something wrong or not taking all the precautions to keep our children safe. I guess one big difference is that Malachy is in school and is exposed to a lot more germs than I was as at that age. More kids = more likely to catch something.