Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Halfway Through Playing

This has become a daily scene these days.

She takes a break from playing and just picks up a book to read aloud. All by herself.

It must be that she realises she can now read a lot of words independently, so reading has become an immensely enjoyable activity.

After reading a few books, she stacks them up (so we have a lot of piles all over the house) before returning to her toys.

Aww... love this little baby!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Influencing the Drawing Style (Part 1)


I am always intrigued by the different drawing styles of my boys. 

Ever since M started drawing at barely 2 years old, his pieces are always more 'technical' in nature. Instead of drawing a wide range of subject matters, he always prefers very specialized themes that are more of a mechanical nature.


He would draw the same subject matter repeatedly, with each production offering a very subtle change in perspective. For instance, his Transformers and General Grievous series.

The Worm was another example.

Over the years, he is so sure of his ability to produce complex drawings that he actually favours complicated details over simple sketches. Sometimes, he even seeks out challenging images to replicate and takes great pride in perfecting the pieces.

Chip, on the other hand, has always been more relaxed about how his subject matters would turn out in his drawings. Seldom will we find intricate details in his presentation. He prefers simple outlines, with an occasional detail to 'decorate' the characters. His sketches are really just super quick drawings that are done in seconds, with lines that look like they have been carelessly added. The naive quality often makes me laugh, in a good way. For instance, this post I had of his beasts and dragons when he was 5+ and his Gesundheit Comic series.

While I marvel at M's eye for details and fascinated by his ability to present complexities in his drawings, which is something I can never do in a million years, I truly adore Chip's innocent and cartoony-like expressions in his art too. 

In early 2012, when the boys were just 8 and 6 years old, E set out hunting for art classes for the boys, hoping to challenge them slightly in this area. Not satisfied with the art classes and programmes available, he ended up buying books that he hoped could guide the boys in their illustrations.

It certainly worked. In the end, we did not send the boys to any classes and they just continued to work on their drawings with tips from the books.

More on the books later.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Parenting 11-Year-Old: The Distance

I remember a few years ago, I would remind myself that one day, my boy would no longer want to hold my hands when he walks next to me. He would feel uncomfortable to be seen holding my hands and he probably would also feel awkward to utter 'I love you, Mama'.

That should be the mark of a new phase of his development.

When M was just 5 years old, a friend who had older boys once urged me to cherish the affection I had from my son then because the years would fly by and by the time the kids were 10 or 11, they would utter 'I hate you' faster than I could hug them.

Wow! I admit I did not quite believe him, thinking over-confidently that perhaps this had to do with the parent's relationship with the kids too.

Well, sadly, such days have arrived.

I do not know when exactly did they arrive, but a few weeks ago, I was pondering the factors that could be causing the strain in my relationship with my first-born and how much he has changed, that it struck me.

He does not hold my hands when he walks next to me anymore.

He no longer hugs me before going to bed, unless I insist on one or go hug him first.

He does not kiss me on my cheeks voluntarily for so long that I cannot even remember when he stopped doing that.

He does not say 'I love you' voluntarily, and even after I said 'I love you' to him, he does not reciprocate. Occasionally, I would hear a 'mmm' and he would just be looking in another direction as he uttered it.

When he gets out of the car, he does not say 'Bye Mummy'. After I complained one day that he is taking me for granted and too lazy to even say 'bye bye', he mumbled a quick 'bye' for the subsequent few days, before reverting back to not saying anything.

It makes me sad and sometimes grumpy. No one wants to be taken for granted.

Of course, I don't think he does all these or not do any of these on purpose to spite me. So I am not angry with him. I tried to talk to him a few times, but there was just no progress. My boy, who used to be so eloquent and open about sharing his feelings with me, just shrugged his shoulders and gave me a blank look, followed by several 'I don't know' responses.

Though I understand this is a phase that all children will go through, I still dread it. A part of me wonder if there were things that I did wrong, or did not do as well as I should, that brought about such behaviour. Or perhaps it is just entirely normal development, like the infamous Terrible Two phase, and that soon, he will be out of this phase.


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