Tuesday, November 23, 2021

P6 Parenting | T-1 PSLE Results Release Day

It's finally here! Tomorrow {Wed 24 Nov 2021}, Lil Pumpkin receives the results for her first major academic exam in her life. Sounds pretty important, yes?

I thought I would feel more anxious and stressed about it, but to be honest, I'm actually feeling relatively chill haha... after all, what's done is done. All the fussing and worrying isn't going to help anything.  

Perhaps it's due to the long lull period between PSLE and the release of the results. For the past two months, we've enjoyed doing basically... nothing *grins* 

No rush to finish her homework, no pressure in going to enrichment classes, no tension in making sure she keeps to her schedules and "studies hard". 

We took it really, reeeeally easy and Lil Pumpkin's days were spent basically just lazing around watching shows, reading, playing games, going for walks, hanging with friends, and sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. Pure bliss. 

Oh yes, she still went to school for fun post-PSLE activities with her school friends...

and even took up crocheting with her friend hehe. Kawaiiiii~!

We actually haven't even looked at the "Choosing your Secondary School" booklet as I figure why bother when we don't even know the results yet? Yes, it is good to plan ahead but there's no point in all the planning when there's nothing concrete to base it on. She may do worst or even better than expected... no need to worry about that just yet. 

As the release of PSLE results loomed closer, I've made extra effort in telling Lil Pumpkin we love her no matter what and not to worry about her results. It does not define her as a person nor determine how her life will turn out. If she does well and get into the school of her choice that's just fantastic, if not, we will just try harder to do better at her next major exams.

I know she has tried her best for PSLE but like I told her before, sh*t happens. Am I giving her a reason to cop out or not having faith in her ability? No, I don't reckon so. 

I'm just reassuring Lil Pumpkin that her worth is not based on her PSLE score. She is so much more than that, and means so much more to us than that 

I don't know if tomorrow will end in tears of sorrow or shouts of jubilation. What I do know is that we will take the day to spend together as a family celebrating the culmination of her primary school years and the combined effort we took to achieve Lil Pumpkin's PSLE score. 

All the best for tomorrow my little darling! 

Monday, October 18, 2021

myFirst Bone Conduction Wireless Headphones & Sketch Book Electronic Drawing Pad For Kids Review

With Lil Pumpkin finishing off her last few weeks in primary school after PSLE, and my dear niece, Lil J, starting her own journey there next year, we got some cool techy products from myFirst, an online kids store based in Singapore that aims to enrich a child's learning process by moulding experiences through fun and innovative gadgets and encouraging them to embrace the technological era, no matter toddler or teen. 

myFirst was founded by a team of super daddies who wanted to bridge the gap between technology and good ol' fashioned toys. As parents themselves, the creators saw a need for their kids to engage more with new and advanced technology as the developed. However, there was a lack of supply of toys in the market that would guarantee the safe use of technology in kids, hence they set up their own company in 2017. 

There is no doubt a wide array of tech products nowadays. But even if you simply want your kids to just draw and watch children videos on iPads or similar tablets made for adults, you still need to watch them closely and install parental control apps and software to ensure they don't do or see things they shouldn't. 

myFirst tech products for kids take away these worries by creating fuss-free, yet innovative kids-friendly products where children can grow up with technology safely introduced into their lives before they get in touch with the challenges of the adult tech world. 

When I heard that myFirst had a bone conduction {BC} wireless headphone for kids, I was very excited to get it for Lil Pumpkin.

Lil Pumpkin loves to listen to music whilst using her headphones. Although I chide her often, sometimes she gets lost in her own world and listens to them for too long and too loud... which I fear will lead to infection in her ear canal or hearing loss (ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣﹏ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣) 

I can't monitor her all the time obviously, so am glad that there's now a safer option - myFirst BC Wireless headphone for kids for kids aged 4 and above.

Bone conduction is not a new technology. They have been used for ages in the hearing aid industry, and I bought a bone conduction wireless headphone from AfterShokz for the boy a few years ago. They basically rest directly on the listener's cheekbones instead of over or inside the outer ear. Unlike traditional headphones and earbuds, the eardrum does not vibrate to pass the information to the cochlea {auditory inner ear}, which in turn converts the vibrations into neural signals to the brain for us to hear sounds. 

Instead, the vibrations from the bone conduction bee-lines for the cochlea. 

Due to the lack of ear canal and eardrum involvement, they are less likely to cause infection or damage to those areas. Of course, noise-induced hearing loss {NIHL}  can happen in the cochlea by loss of the tiny hairs that move and start the chemical process of your brain interpreting sound, so she must still have self-discipline and be very cautious with the loudness and length of which she uses even these headphones. 

Good thing that myFirst BC Wireless headphones has its audio set to an appropriate volume though, thus ensuring safe levels of listening for Lil Pumpkin.

The headphones work best in a quiet environment but are great for outdoor usage as well when she exercises or goes for walks in the park, as it has a high IPX6 water resistance rating, which means that it can resist rain and obviously her perspiration.

There is a little loss in audio quality outdoors as there isn't any kind of seal from external noise, but with the ears open to the surrounding sounds, the headphones allow Lil Pumpkin to be more aware of other pedestrians, passing cars and any other potential hazards which I reckon is very crucial for kids outdoors. 

The headphones fit her head nicely, and does not slip off even when she walks or jumps. 

She likes the soft rubber contact points which sit comfortably on her ears, and the lightness of the headphones which only weigh 26g. When not listening to music, she can just let the headphones sit around her neck as well. 

myFirst BC Wireless headphones is easy to connect to her mobile via bluetooth {15m range} and has a built-in microphone, so she can also use it for phone calls with friends and also during her Zoom online lessons. 

With school children having more and more Home-Based Learning {HBL} days, if you are looking for a comfortable set of headphones for kids to use during online lessons that won't give them ear fatigue, you should look into myFirst BC Wireless headphones.They comes in black or mint green with a battery life of about 5 hours.

Lil J loves to doodle and draw so I thought myFirst Sketch Book was perfect for her! 

It comes with the myFirst Sketch Book {335g}, a stylus pen, free leather case, pen tips set, micro-USB charging cable and user manual. 

myFirst Sketch Book has a 10" pressure-sensitive screen that gives a pen-on-paper experience, without the mess of crayons/markers or wastage of paper #gogreen

On the left there is a lock switch to prevent the drawing from being cleared from the screen, and below the screen there are 3 function buttons to instantly save the drawings to the device itself {built-in memory of up to a 1000 pages which you can retrieve on your own device via the Sketch Book app}, power on/off and clear the whole screen. 

Unfortunately, there is no erase or undo button for individual strokes, which I think they should add, otherwise the kids have to draw over or erase the whole screen and start over if they make a mistake.  

Unlike simpler and cheaper LCD drawing tablets that just allows kids to doodle on the screen with a stylus, the seamless connectivity to the myFirst Sketch Book app that's available for androids and Apple iOS products is a game-changer. 

You can live-sync the app with myFirst Sketch Book to show in real time what the kid is drawing on the physical device. In the app, the kid can adjust the font thickness, pens, tip size, and colour to create a different feel of writing and drawing.. and also easily share the digital art.  

One function I like is the ability for the app to record the drawing so that parents can save and play back drawings like an animation. Great for story-telling and creates opportunities for parents to talk to the kid more and find out why he/she drew that detail first, or why he/she coloured that part last. Maybe Lil J can also do a "Draw My Life" video project with this?

Apart from doodling or drawing, I think that myFirst Sketch Book would be useful for Lil J when she starts P1 and has to practise for her weekly spelling or 听写! You can imagine how much paper and money you can save using a digital device for this alone haha..  It's pretty light {335g} so my sis can bring it out anytime, anywhere for our little budding artist/ scholar as well.

My sis also highlighted that having a digital drawing pad is good for Lil J because she has sensitive skin and some crayons or paints could actually cause allergic reactions for her(;へ:)

So parents with kids who have eczema, take note of this. You can check out more information and purchase myFirst Sketch Book from the website here.

I hope that Lil J will like using it for a very long time o(^▽^)o


Thursday, September 30, 2021

P6 Parenting | PSLE Final Papers - Game Time!!

Today is the start of the PSLE final papers. Here we are. 

It is finally game time.

I loathe to say or think that it is the "end game", because it really isn't and just puts undue stress on parents and the kids, but it does feel like that to some extent. 12 years of childhood. 6 years in primary school. 2 years of intense preparatory work... all for this major milestone. 

As if it wasn't enough of a challenge, Covid-19 came along and caused even more anxiety. 

It certainly did not help that since PSLE prelims, the number of cases surged the past few weeks, with more and more school-based transmissions... so much so that the Ministry of Education {MOE} announced that P6 students would go on a study break prior to PSLE. 

Not home-based learning with Zoom lessons, but a break from school and self-study at home. 

And even that caused worry because, some kids {and parents!} find the last few days of revision with school teachers absolutely crucial. They need the extra boost of confidence and preparation, even if it is just something psychological. 

But then what's the other alternative? Risk catching Covid-19, or be a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case and not even contract it yourself, and be "punished" for that by not being able to take the first major exam which the children have spent years preparing for?

Note: It was only days before the main papers that MOE announced that only positive cases or those on Stay-Home-Notice could be allowed to take the PSLE under certain circumstances. Before that, just being issued a Leave-of-Absence {LOA} or Quarantine Order {QO}, even if you're not positive, meant you couldn't take the exams. 

Throughout the messiness and stress of PSLE prep and Covid-19, I'm really thankful for one thing - that Lil Pumpkin is so chill.

Honestly, it drives me crazy sometimes how she has such a laissez faire attitude towards her academics and life, in general. It's not that she is a bum or lazy, but Lil Pumpkin can be so "bo chup" or to put it crudely, gives zero f*cks about a lot of things. 

I guess in this current situation, this has bode her well. Lockdown for weeks? No worries. New PSLE grading system? Don't care. Uncomfortable mask-wearing for the foreseeable future? Hokay. PSLE entry proof or register number? Absolutely clueless. 

Yup, last night around 10pm, there was slight panic when my friend reminded me to make sure she packed her PSLE entry proof but Lil Pumpkin wasn't sure if she had it or not.. or maybe even threw it away??! Gah. It took everything in me not to scream. I had a quick message to some of my other friends whose kids were taking PSLE and Meiru said there wasn't any entry proof this year, while Delphine said they just had to bring their student pass. 

Ah well. Too late to do anything anyway, so I just reminded Lil Pumpkin to just do what she can and tell her teacher if she needs assistance for anything. Most important is to not panic, and that sometimes, sh*t happens and we love her very much no matter what.

Yes, the takeaway message for Lil Pumpkin before she starts PSLE is that Mummy and Daddy love her very much. We know the hard work and effort she has put in for PSLE. We know the potential she has and obviously we want her to fulfil it. 

However, at the end of the day, life is unpredictable and things may not go the way we want it to. So even if she can't take the PSLE, or if she does not perform the way we expected her too, it is all ok. We have come to terms with that.

After all, this is not the end game.

Monday, August 23, 2021

P6 Parenting | Prelims Week

Lil Pumpkin is in the midst of her P6 preliminary exams at the moment.

It seems somewhat surreal that we have reached this point. In just a few weeks' time, Lil Pumpkin will be sitting for the biggest exam of her life so far. And in a few months' time I'll be a secondary school kid's mum!! 

Actually, PSLE officially started a few weeks' back with the oral examinations, which she said was "pretty ok" haha... 

As much as I would like to share our experience and parenting tips on handling this major milestone like what I did for her Primary 1 journey, for the most part, I don't feel like talking about it much. Not at the moment at least.

For one, I don't want to "jinx" anything. Like if I say everything is fine and dandy, but then the unexpected happens and something goes wrong? I know I know.. it's quite silly but ya.

Also, I already feel that PSLE is so consuming that I don't want to talk or think about it more than I should. Or have people bring it up to Lil Pumpkin. There's no point telling her to "study hard" or do this or that for whatever subjects because honestly, she's getting that a lot from home, school, enrichment classes etc. Believe you me when I say that she is already doing almost the best she can for the current circumstances. 

Could she do even more or better? Probably so as she still lacks initiative and needs a lot of pushing strong encouragement from us, but then I don't want to bring her to her breaking point. 

In sports, we talk about peaking at the right moment. Peaking is when the athlete is performing at their absolute best during competition. Peaking requires the athlete to have great general body conditioning, good sports specific conditioning as well as great skill execution combined with strategy and tactics that enable them to perform at their best. 

My friend Kitty told me that "PSLE is not the time for the kid to peak, it's actually A' Levels", which to a great extent, I find to be true.

But one step at a time. 

For now, I want her to peak during PSLE so honestly, I am not stressing over her prelims exams, or nagging her about it. Just making sure she does sufficient revision and feels confident, eat and sleep well. Basically keeping her love tank full 

I don't have very high expectations for Lil Pumpkin {because life is so much more than academic brilliance}, but I do hope that like for everything she does, she will perform and give the best results to the best of her ability, and potential, which I have tremendous faith in. 

I do not want to leave her to regret that she did not put in her best effort, so we are doing everything we can to support her in doing that. If it so happens that even then she does not get good grades, then so be it, but at least she gave her all. 

Please keep her in your prayers and wish her luck!