Monday, 26 March 2012

Homework project

My daughter is only 6 and has had her first project work to do over a 2 week period.  As part of the numeracy course she has to produce a booklet based on the Mr Men character Mr Noisy. Therefore the work involved is about different kinds of sounds and there would be prizes for some of the best booklets chosen by the teacher.

When I received the notice about this homework I thought that the kids are a bit young to be doing project work like this, surely the teacher can't expect too much from them.  The advice given was to think of as many different types of sounds as possible and group them together, e.g. musical instruments, body sounds, sounds you like/dislike, and put the ideas into a booklet.

My daughter was extremely enthusiastic about this initially, and the first idea that we came up with was "noisy things at home".  With that in mind, we got out the Argos catalogue and my daughter proceeded to search for things that would make a noise, e.g. washing machine, microwave, kettle, toaster, etc. After all that sticking, gluing and subsequent writing she decided that she was bored of it and didn't want to do anymore.  The next couple of days was a battle to get her to do anything further in the production of this "booklet".  At this rate, all she would be handing in would be a single sheet of paper and to me that was clearly not good enough.  She needed to put more effort into it.

Over a further two days I was constantly thinking about the project and the ways in which I could make it more interesting for her.  In the end I came up with the idea of making it a fun activity by creating various puzzles.  The thought crossed my mind that it would be mostly my work and the teacher would definitely be able to tell but at least my daughter would have some input by attempting to solve the puzzles herself, and she would in the end have something more substantial to hand in.

I therefore proceeded to copy and paste various animal pictures from the computer's clip art in one column and type out the animal names and sounds in the next two columns in random order.  The idea was for her to to draw a line from the animal to its name and then link it to the sound that it made.  She found this extremely fun and wanted more.  So over the week I produced various similar puzzles, including a crossword, wordsearch and a spot the difference, the latter taking me a total of about 5hrs to make over 2 days.  I also made sure that she had her own further input by getting her to create mind maps of sounds that she like and disliked.

In the end she really enjoyed doing the project work and it ended up being about 15 pages worth of work and was happy to hand it in.  I also discovered that I had a tremendous time helping to make this booklet and really enjoyed myself - it was fun for me too!!

When my daughter handed in the project I didn't expect her to receive anything for it but as it turns out she did!  Most of the other children came out with standard paper certificates congratulating them on their hard and some of the others had received special laminated and coloured versions.  To my astonishment my daughter came out with one of the laminated ones which congratulated her for the most interactive booklet.  I spoke to the teacher and said that I had not expected my daughter to receive this special certificate because I had done most of the work.  She responded by saying that was irrelevant because the point was that she got involved and we both did it together.  She had clearly shown a keen interest in the subject and could not stop talking about when the kids had to show their work to the class.

My daughter did win a chocolate |Easter bunny as well but when she put it to one side in the classroom, apparently one of the other children smashed it out of spite. The teacher had an inkling who that might have been and she generously gave my daughter another one the next day.  She in turn then shared it with her lovely!!

Next project - the Easter bonnet!!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Knitting is almost over!!

The deadline for the knitting is almost over and I have made about 60 squares in total and must admit that I will miss it.  Perhaps I ought to take it up as a hobby although I don't want to be knitting garments.  I have enough baby blankets so have no idea what I can knit or who to knit for.  I think toys might be good option.  I have a friend who is extremely good at knitting and has assured me that it is very easy.  She has also promised to come over and show me a few tricks.  My daughter is extremely excited about the prospect of having a toy hand made by mummy.  I hope I don't disappoint!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Knitting for Lent

We have a knitting frenzy on our hands!.  My daughter's school needs to knit as many 12cm x 12cm squares as possible for Lent to be put together to make blankets for African children.  I thought what a great idea, if you can knit!  Fortunately I can knit, but only the very basic stitch (I think they call it a knit stitch) and I can only knit squares or rectangles; I cannot knit a garment to save my life.  So, I thought this challenge wouldn't be too bad.

I had a pair of knitting needles from when I was little and I thought I had brought them with me when I got married.  Since the school's notice came out I have searched high and low for them and could I find them? Not a chance!  I therefore had to go out and buy a pair.  Luckily they were not overly expensive; then I began the challenge....

Well, having spent all that time looking for my non-existent needles, I was a week late in starting and 26years out of practice!  By the end of the weekend I had managed to knit 6 squares and was it worth the effort?  By the end of Sunday evening I had cramp in my left arm and the ends of my fingers hurt so if you call all that pain worth it, then yes it was!  On a weird note, I did find the knitting oddly therapeutic.

My daughter is very pleased with my efforts as she was becoming rather upset that her class had only done 3 squares, whereas some of the other classes were into double figures already.  Now we can catch them up!

So the challenge continues and I have another couple of weeks before the deadline to get more in for the school...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Rice battle with daughter (again)

Well, I made rice again the other day with char sui (Chinese roast pork), which was a dish that my daughter likes, but yet again the debate over rice eating started to heat up.  My daughter asked me what was for dinner so I told her and she said "But I don't like rice", to which I replied "every time you say that I'm going to cook rice the next day".

She immediately responded by saying "I love rice mummy!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or blow my top (since my temperament has become a little unpredictable as of late)

Well, all I said to that was she should be able to eat it all if she loves it, and if she doesn't eat everything on her plate, I'm going to cook rice the next day anyway.  Needless to say she wasn't impressed by that remark and walked off without saying a word!  I think perhaps she was contemplating her next move to get out of eating her meal.

Anyway, dinner time came and as usual she picked at her food, ate her meat and vegetables but left the rice.  Yet again, I attempted to reason with her about the value of food and how lucky she is to even get fed as there are many children in our developed society where children are still so poor their parents cannot afford to feed them properly and that she should be grateful for what she's got.  (Goodness, I'm turning more into my mother every day!)

I remember that I never liked rice much when I was small but I ate it because I had no choice and I didn't want to go to bed hungry.  We also got the lecture about all the poor children in Africa who were starving to death.  But we mostly feared my mother's temper which was much worse than what mine is now (especially when she got the bamboo stick out!); the thought of it terrifies me even now!

That night, after I had eaten, I went upstairs to wash my baby girl when I heard a little voice from downstairs talking to her dad saying that she'd had enough to eat.  I heard dad say that she hadn't eaten the rice.  Just as I was finishing cleaning up my baby I heard the sound of pounding elephant's feet up the stairs and that little voice spoke again;

"Mum, can I have pudding?"
"Because you haven't eaten all your rice"
"But if you don't let me have pudding I won't love you anymore...and even if you say you love me I still won't love you...and I'll cry"

I was so fed up with her and her attitude by now that, without hesitation, I said "Go cry then".

With that, my daughter proceeded into her bedroom, slammed the door shut and like a turn of the taps, the waterworks and howling started.  I heard her muttering something about mummy being horrible in between the sobs but by then I'd had enough and didn't really care.

Five minutes later, she emerged from her room (record quick time by her standards) and went downstairs with a compromise.  She asked her dad if she could have banana instead.  At least it's a healthy option.

Why must we go through this every time I make rice; what is it about rice that she dislikes so much.  I would like to know but she doesn't tell me, all I get is that she just doesn't like it.  She cannot give a reason, if I suggest things as to why she does not like rice she just agrees with everything I say.  Perhaps she is too young still to comprehensively put her feelings and thoughts into context. Whatever the reason, she'd better grow out of it soon because I do not want my baby daughter growing behaving in this ungrateful manner and I will continue to cook rice whether she likes it or not!

School's boring!!

What a trial it has been this morning.

Eldest daughter has been enduring a sore throat for about a week now coupled with a blocked nose.  I took her to the GP last night who says it may have been tonsillitis.  Her tonsils are swollen but not red so looks like it's on the mend.  There is nothing he can give her.

Every morning this week she has been waking up crying and wailing like a banshee complaining that her throat hurts and can't swallow.  This morning was no different except for the fact that she doesn't want to go to school, not because she is feeling poorly, but merely because "it's boring".  That was all I got out of her in between the crying.

Bad mummy has no sympathy and merely gave her a lecture about how she must go to school to learn to read and write in order to grow up to be a useful person in society and to get a job when she grows up.  Without being properly educated she will not be able to do whatever she wanted when she's older.

All I got was "I don't like school" and "I already know how to read and write and count" (she is only 6).
"Yes dear, but do you know how to read like mummy and daddy"

Therefore she must go to school whether she likes it or not.

I cannot put up with all that sniveling she does when she doesn't get her own way, especially that incessant wailing that sounds that it should come from an extraterrestrial creature.  If anything, it makes me even more angry with her when behaves in such a manner; I do not want to know and just simply get on with whatever else needs doing and let her cry it out all on her own.  I have better things to worry about than to sit there and feed her melodramatic performance.

In any event, I was rather pleased with myself for not showing my anger, knowing that it will not solve anything.  Normally I would just rant at her about how ungrateful she is and how annoying her behaviour is.  I do wish I could be more patient but ever since she was born my patience threshold has diminished somewhat to the extent that at times it is non-existent.

I don't know whether it is just her or just being a mum that makes a lot of things intolerable.

In contrast I have much more patience with my baby girl, who is a much more difficult baby than my first was ever was.  Is it the case that being a 2nd time mum I am more relaxed?  I don't know, but more often than not I am much more critical of my 1st.