Primary Four is a Whole Lot of Hard Work

Edison at the recent Edusave Awards ceremony – his first time

Edison started Primary Four this year, and I’ve been hearing complaints from him about how tough Primary Four is. It’s only February now, how can he (or rather me) endure till Nov?

Well, it’s not like I haven’t been through Primary Four myself, but sometimes I really do pity him. Why Primary Four has to be so tough? During my primary school days, I didn’t study so seriously. All I could remember was playing all sort of games with my neighbours after school. And there was nothing called ‘homework’ or ‘tuition’ back then.

The weekly Chinese 默写 (mò xiě: write from memory) is the real killer. He has to memorize a paragraph as long as 40 characters. This is on top of the spelling list (ting xie) with more than 15 new Chinese characters each week.

Last week, he struggled with his mo xie again. He was so frustrated when he couldn’t get it correct after several attempts. My heart cracked into half when I saw a tear rolled down his cheek. I told him to stop learning and go to sleep early. I’ve never push him too hard for exam, not to mention the regular spelling tests.

I don’t want his weekly mò xiě madness to destroy the joy of learning Chinese. I wish he could have a sibling to walk down the path of schooling with him. Someone who can share knowledge and experience with him. But there’s no one. It was all my fault. 😥

So, I thought of an idea! 💡

Instead of asking him to learn on his own, I sit down with him and learn together with him. Yeah! It’s good that I learn some Chinese words too. Grew up in a national school in Malaysia with English and Malay as the main languages, my Chinese vocabulary is VERY limited. And because I didn’t use the language for so long, I’ve almost forgotten how to write most of them.

Letter to My Son – Happy 9th Birthday!

As I woke up this morning, I gave him a perk on his cheek and whispered “Happy Birthday son!” He cracked open one eye and nodded happily.

“Mama, what time I was born?” he asked with curiosity.

“3:00 am!”

“What? 3:00 am!!! How did you know I’m coming?”

Slowly, vague memories of me being pregnant and giving birth to him returned. It has been ten years since I announced my pregnancy to V on his birthday. It was very exciting at that time because it was our first pregnancy, and it so happened on V’s birthday.

I gave birth to Edison through emergency c-section. I was a few days overdue but there was no sign of him coming (he must be feeling too comfy inside!). Our gynae at that time proposed inducing labor, and it makes sense to me as I was already heavily pregnant, too exhausted and couldn’t even sleep well.

Unfortunately, the induction didn’t went well. In less than two hours, I was wheeled to the operating room for emergency c-section due to fetal irregular heartbeat. It wasn’t a bad thing though – that’s because the entire birth-giving process was relatively painless for me. I didn’t even experience labor pain at all!

And so, today is a new day. The last year of single digit birthdays for Edison, that is.

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When I asked if he wanted a fancy birthday party with friends, or a simple birthday celebration with family members, he chose the latter. I love that too! I’m not a big fan of fancy birthday party, and so do him. It takes a truckload of time to prepare such a party. Instead of spending a hefty price tag for a party, I rather buy him something that he likes, or bring him on a holiday.

Happy Birthday 2

Dear Edison,

What a fun year it has been, right? We’ve finally settled into our new home this year, and you got a new bedroom for yourself. Going to and from school is such a breeze now. Everything is feeling good and comfortable. And as they should be.

You’ve almost completed your Primary 3 with new classmates and new teachers. It has been a challenging year, school-wise, but we’re glad that you made the transition well. Studying has never been easy, but you know very well that Daddy and I will always be there to help you and to support you.

You started playing tennis this year, and I’m glad that you love it. Swimming, tennis and golf are your favourite sports now. We want you to learn sports – not for competitive reasons, but we want you to have fun, stay fit and make friends. As what I’ve always said, all I want is for you to be happy and healthy.

You’re a loving, sensible and good-natured boy. I’ve said that many times and that has not changed till now. In fact, you’ve grown into a caring boy with a heart of gold. You care so much for the people around you, and have learnt at a very young age on how to speak the language of love. As such, being your mom has been the greatest thing I could ever ask for.

You are a brave, cheerful, silly, goofy, and inquisitive little boy. I love seeing the kind of person you’re becoming, as you become more confident with yourself, and who you are. We are beyond lucky to have you in our family. You bring us so much joy and happiness.

Right now, at nine, you come to me with almost everything. When you face challenges, when you need help, when you’re bored, you’ll come to me. I hope that you’ll continue to do so even when you grow older. Please always remember that I’ll always be there to protect you and to guide you. From primary to secondary and tertiary, I want to be there to share all your challenges and celebrate all your successes.

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My goal has always been to be the best mother and the best teacher, you could have. On the other hand, I also learnt a lot from you than I could have possibly imagined. You allow me to see the world from different angles, and the positive feeling that with you, my life is beautiful and worth living.

I love you, son. And as I say to you every night, “I’m SO proud to be your mom.”

Happy 9th Birthday, Edison! I shall end this letter with our family picture taken on your birthday. 🙂

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Love,
Mommy

A Letter to My Son on His Birthday: Eight is Great!

Happy Birthday 2

Today, we’ll be celebrating Edison’s birthday. He was born on Sept 11th eight years ago. I couldn’t help it but feeling incredibly nostalgic whenever this day comes. His birthday is also the birth of me as a mother. The sentimentality emerges within me at this time every year.

I think back to the many days and nights when it was exclusively us – just me and him. When he transformed me from a woman to a mother the day he was born. When I realized I could possibly love someone more than myself. And when I knew being with him at every step of his growth is the happiest thing that has ever happened to me.

As what I’ve done every year, I’m writing a birthday letter to him. Hopefully, when he grows up and read this letter, he knows what I want to tell him on all his birthdays.

So, here I am now, penning this birthday letter to my dear son. Perhaps it may also strike a chord with mothers everywhere – the endless unconditional love we have for our children, and the unequivocal pride we have as we watch them grow.

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Dear Edison,

Eight years ago, you came into my world, and you changed me completely. It took me a while to accept the fact that I was a mother, and is going to be one forever. But now as I looked back, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s a feeling of fulfilment beyond words. Although I’m still not sure if I’m the best mother to you, I feel that I have done my VERY BEST.

You’re my first and only baby, and you’ll always be. Because of that, you and your needs are always at the top of my priorities. Whatever I do, wherever I am, and no matter what decision I made, I think of you. Someday when you’ve children of your own, you’ll be able to comprehend what all that means.

I want you to know how much I love to watch you.  I love watching you run, climb, swim, and jump. I love watching you throw, catch, and smile.  Your smile lights your face, and makes your beautiful spirit all the more engaging.

You and I – we’re bounded by a magical tie that only exists between us.  It is ME whom you’d come to in the middle of the night after a bad dream.  It is ME whom you’d express your frustrations at when things didn’t go the way you expected.  It is also ME whom you’d tell all your secrets to late at night. Please let it be ME – I’ll always be there for you whenever you need me.

You’re kind and considerate. You’re generous with your time and love. You work hard and play hard. You’re funny, silly, goofy and lovable. You’re obedient and listen to instructions. These are all the traits I wish for you as you grow up. My goal has always been to raise a happy, kind, generous, hard-working, and responsible boy. Thanks for making my job as your mother so easy.

I noticed that you’re growing up a little bit more lately. You eat adult-sized meal, and you enjoy a wholesome of food from mussels, crabs, squid, prawns, and even sashimi. You were less adventurous with food when you were younger. Papa and I love to see you enjoying a wide variety of food.

As you enter your 9th year, these are my reminders for you:

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There is no substitute for family. Papa and I always stressed that our first priority is to take great care of you. We want you to be happy and healthy. Papa sometimes nags you at the slightest thing, but deep inside his heart, he’s a very protective father. He always protects his family and put his family at number one – which is something I want you to learn from him as you grow up.

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Work hard, Play hard. You’re doing this beautifully now, but it won’t be easier for the years to come. As you grow up, the temptation to play more than you work will be stronger. It’s a challenge that you need to deal with. As I’ve always said, learning and expanding your knowledge is very important, it’s a continuous process, and it should be fun too. The harder you work, the better you will be. Success only comes to those who are prepared to put in the hard work, time, and persistence.

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Always be happy.  Every single day, find something that makes you happy and do it.  Be it big or small – do an act of kindness, eat an ice-cream, call a friend, play your favourite game with Papa – it doesn’t matter. What matters most is you spend a portion of each day smiling and laughing. Papa and I always want you to be happy. And happiness is all the little things that make your life awesome.

Happy 8th Birthday!

I love you always – Mama

Happy 7th Birthday!

To my dearest Edison,

Baby

Seven years ago, I saw your face for the first time and I fell madly in love. I can’t begin to tell you how much joy you’ve brought to my life for past few years. Just being with you at every step of your growth is the happiest thing that has ever happened to me.

You’re a loving, understanding and good-natured boy. I’ve said that many times since you were born and that has not changed till now. In fact, you’ve grown into a sensible little boy with a heart of gold. You care so much for the people around you (especially me!), and have learnt at a very young age on how to speak the language of LOVE.

I honestly can’t believe that you’re already 7 years old. It didn’t seem like such a long time ago that you were sleeping soundly in my arms, with your blue romper and mittens on, and soft baby hair that smelled like sweet popcorn. Has it really been seven years?

This 7th year of your life has been a very beautiful one. You made your entrance into formal education, and that allows me to glimpse the beginning of a beautiful learning journey with you. From primary to secondary and tertiary, I want to be there to share all your challenges and celebrate all your success.

Trying

You’re intelligent. If something doesn’t come easy to you, don’t ever give up. Keep trying, again and again. It’s your efforts that matter, not the result. You did well in the first half of this year, and I’m so proud of you. But the second half of the year will be tougher – just a friendly reminder from your loving Mom. As always, I will always be there to help you.

Right now, at seven, you come to me with almost everything. When you face any difficulties in school, when you need help, when you feel loved, when you’re bored, you’ll come to me. I hope that you’ll continue to do so when you grow older. Please always remember that I’ll always be there to protect you and to guide you.

My goal has always been to be the best mother and the best teacher, you could have.  But I also learnt a lot from you than I could have possibly imagined.  You allow me to see the world from a different angle, and the positive feeling that with you, my life is good, purposeful and fulfilling!

Joy

I want you to be happy. So, seek joy. Every single day, do something that will make you happy. Be it big or small – watch your favourite show, play with a friend, eat your favourite snack, or simply try something new. I want you to spend a portion of each day smiling and laughing. Your happiness is my motivation!

Grateful

I love being your Mom. And I know you love ME being your mom too because you constantly show your love. You always run after me and give me kisses. You always hug me. And as always, I’m grateful for the special bond that you and I share. Thank you for loving me as much as I love you.

7th Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And have a smashing year ahead, my dear son. I love you, and will always do.

Love,

Mommy

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Starting Primary One: First Week of School

The first week of school was over (even though it’s just two days), I’ve been getting messages from family and friends asking how Edison is coping with Primary One. Thankfully, he’s adapting well, much better than I’ve originally expected.

Truth be told, I never expect that starting Primary One can be so exciting. Not just for the boy, but for me as well. On the evening of New Year, my Facebook news feed had a sudden influx of status updates with doubts and excitements from my friends whose kids are also starting P1 this year.

From what-to-pack to weight of school bag, how much money to give for recess time, what time the kids have to wake up, and what time the school bus is coming, the discussions went on for hours. It was definitely one of the most exciting days in my life!

We reached home from dinner at 8:15pm. I quickly showered the boy, gave him the first motivational talk, and tugged him to bed at 9pm. Initially, he was reluctant to sleep at this hour and kept questioning “Why I have to sleep so early now?” But after seeing the ‘no negotiation’ look on my face, he accepted it and then fell asleep at 9:20pm.

That night, I went to sleep close to midnight. I woke up at 4:15am and hardly got back to sleep after that. So, I woke up early to check his schoolbag all over again to make sure he had all he needs for first day at school. The bag weighs about 5kg – including a full bottle of water.

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The First Day

I woke him up at 6am, and he was very grumpy and sleepy. He went to the bathroom to clean-up but his face was all ‘black’. When I served him breakfast, his eyes were soaking with tears. “Why I have to eat so early? I’m not hungry.” He went on and on.

After some coaxing, he finally ate half of what I’ve prepared for him. We quickly changed and head to school. We reached the school vicinity at 7am and queued for 18mins to enter the foyer. We were not allowed to park in the school. So, V dropped us there and he drove off.

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The kids were lined up outside the general office according to their classes. The school doesn’t allow parents to be in, even on the first day of school. So, I didn’t have to apply leave to be a ‘paparazzi mama’ to spy on him that day.

After assuring him that he’ll be well taken care of by his teachers, I left the school. Suddenly, I felt separation anxiety – the same kind of feeling four years ago when he just started pre-school. Loving is to let go, I reminded myself as I walked out of the school.

The school dismissed at 1:45pm that day. I took time-off to pick him up from school. The teachers will bring the children to the respective pick-up points, depending on their mode of transportation. For those who will be walking home, they will be dismissed at the MRT gate.

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At 1:30pm, I spotted a huge crowd at the MRT gate. Anxious parents and grandparents have been waiting for their kids and grandkids. The moment I spotted Edison, I was all relieved. He was all smiles as he was walking out to the gate.

So, how is Edison’s verdict of first day of school?

He said GOOD! He proudly told me that he bought fishball noodles and grape juice during recess time. For the first two weeks of school, a befriender (boy from P5) will guide him during recess time. So, I’m not that worried.

His wallet was intact, but his water bottle was missing! I thought he must have forgotten to bring it back to class after recess. And V suggested that we should buy disposable water bottles for him. Yikes!

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His white uniform turned out to be quite dirty too, as if he just came back from BMT training. This explains why I have a love-hate relationship with white uniform. It looks ultra cool but the washing part is no fun!

Thank God, his first day of school turned out to be fairly well.

The Second Day

The second day was smooth-sailing too. He woke up and ate his breakfast without fussing. I dropped him off at school and went to work. My parents-in-law picked him up from school; he was in a good shape and nothing was missing from his bag. At the end of the day, I asked him: “How’s school?” and his answer was “It’s good!”

For this term, we’ll take it slowly – one step at a time so as not to overwhelm him. After school, he will spend the rest of the day playing, or napping if he wants (but he seldom naps now). I’ll give him minimum homework (only 1 to 2 pages). After dinner, we’ll spend about 15mins going through his communication book and homework (if any). Then, he’ll go to bed by 8:30pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, he’ll attend 1.5 hours of enrichment class for English and Chinese in the morning. We’ll go for our outings after that.

That’s what I’ve planned for him this term. Will re-visit again after the term break.

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Click HERE to read all my posts on Starting Primary One series.

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