As Sophia grows older, she’s been indulging in more grown up pleasures, like reading:
Or rather, being read to,but when she’s in the mood she reads along at bits of it that she remembers and when she hands us a book she’ll recite bits of it that she remembers, like “almost spring” when she hands us a book of the same title. And IF she thinks we’re not looking she may even read bits of it aloud. On sunday she turned to the first page of the book “moo, baa, la la la” and read “cow… moo!”
Another grown up interest is helping with household chores. Sweeping with the magic mop is of course one that has been mentioned a few times but a new one is picking out vegetables with grandma. Of course, she typically tears it into very small pieces like she did when she was feeding the baby turtles. May have been our fault since we taught her to break up the veges like that for the turtles and still haven’t quite been able to explain to her that we’re many times bigger than those turtles so can handle much bigger pieces.
Vegetables picking time
How kids grow! 2 weeks ago when Sophia first started school I was still telling the principal that I was worried about how she only enunciates the last syllabus of each word like bit (rabbit), ken (chicken) and der (shoulder). Now, not only does she know 2-syllabus words (chi-ken, cup-cake), can string adjectives with nouns (big spoon) but can also string ideas together to form sentences/phrases that may not be the most grammatically accurate but lets not be too demanding. Just this morning I passed her an empty milk carton expecting her to carry it around, feel it, try to open the cap etc as she usually does but she felt the weight and immediately said “no more, throw” and placed it into the bin! Later I passed her a sticker. She wasn’t too happy about it sticking to her fingers and all efforts to remove it just resulted in it sticking to a different finger which really got her agitated. I removed it and after a while stuck it on her leg, which also made her miffed but she learnt not to remove it with her fingers but rather kicked her legs around protesting. When I finally removed it from her leg, she pointed to my toes and said “stick, mama, toe”. Nice one babe, but next time you want revenge you need to carry it out yourself, not like I will be so dumb as to obey that instruction 🙂
I just touched down last night and had to deal with a major plumbing issue (think waterfall in the bedroom) in the middle of the night so am rather exhausted but its Sophia’s first day of school so the morning was a flurry of activities.
Sophia attends The Children’s Place, housed in a black and white bungalow tucked in the greenery of the river valley area. The children were a mix of locals and expats. The chinese teacher was mainland chinese but without too strong a northern accent. There were 2 English teachers, both sound Filipino but their accent was not too strong. There were a few words I caught that I would have pronounced differently but you probably will also have pronunciation issues with even local teachers, sometimes more so.
I dropped Sophia off and after keeping her company for a while said bye. She waved bye and off I went to the office to have a nice chat with the principal. Because I have been recommending the school to quite a few people, one of whom started her son 3 months ago and another is starting 3 months later, plus cousin Samuel also visited, there was much to talk about. When I returned to class, snack time was over (I saw her snack container was empty when I checked later) and they were having English class. Sophia sat and listened quietly and obediently took and returned objects. Next was an activity that seemed a bit montessori. The children took turns to match cut up shapes to spaces on a bus with matching shapes. I was not too surprised Sophia did this relatively easily since she has been playing with shape sorters. However. She spotted me at the door after about half an hour and everything went downhill. She insisted on holding my hand everywhere and sitting on my lap when told to sit. No more mummy in class tomorrow, that’s for sure. I hear from teachers she was ok with them changing her earlier but with me around it became a no-no.
One issue I had though was with the food – a lot of plain rice with some braised chicken. Fruit was available but not offered. Must remember to ask the teacher to offer her fruits tomorrow onwards. Even then, not really my ideal meal.
The teachers were really caring though, one child cried a lot and the teachers were practically taking turns soothing him.
Sophia was so tired she fell asleep on the way home. So am I so I shall stop here.
Its incredible how funny conversation with a little girl with monosyllabic vocabulary can be. Take teaching colours for example. On good days, it goes like this:
Mummy: What colour is bear bear’s shirt?
On most days it goes like this:
Mummy: What colour is turtle?
Sophia: *nods* Red.
Mummy: No, not red, green.
Sophia: *nods vigarously* Red. Red.
Or how about teaching alphabets? On a good day:
Mummy: *holds up a M* Sophia, what is this?
Mummy: M for…?
On a not-so-good day:
Mummy: *holds up a D* Sophia, what letter is this?
Sophia: dog dog.
Mummy: Yes, clever girl. D for dog. What about this letter? *holds up a T*
And on a very bad day:
Mummy: *points to letter S on playmat* Sophia what is this?
Sophia: *blank look*
Mummy: What alphabet is this?
Sophia: *more blank look*
Mummy: Which alphabet?
Mummy: Yes, which alphabet?
Sophia: BIIIIIIIG (as in big bird)
Last saturday was a terribly busy day for me. I started off with house viewing, followed by attending the new citizens’ ceremony. Between the new citizens ceremony and the next event ( a dumpling festival that my neighbourhood committee organised), I went home to peek at my Sophia. She was sleeping when I first got home so I went to my own room to change and wash up and all of a sudden, Sophia barged in with a magiclean “mop” saying “dirty dirty” (sounds more like chichi). She’s really detailed with the mopping as well, going round all the corners and under the furniture. I need to enlist her help in doing housework soon!
We celebrated Denise’s big 3-0 at selfish gene last weekend and of course it was difficult to occupy Sophia in the small space while waiting for birthday girl to come in for her surprise. Good thing there were magazines and one of the girls had her pencil case for writing the card.
And once everyone arrived she was very subdued, happy to munch on egg and toast and fruit. In fact, she ate so much that I think I felt her stomach spasm, as if she was going to throw up. But she didn’t. Ahh.. I was having a good day indeed.
As Sophia’s communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal) develops, she’s coming up with more and more innovative and potentially hilarious acts.
Just yesterday we took the lift with a couple of foreigners who played with Sophia in the lift but when the lift reached their floor, they happened to be talking about whether they had sufficient singapore dollars and didn’t notice Sophia waving goodbye. Little Sophia isn’t too pleased about this and started crying and pointing to herself. Grandma reckons she’s saying “what about me? You should say bye to me too!” Mummy reckons grandma is getting more and more creative too.
At our Picotin trip last week, Sophia learnt to say “rabbit” in her extremely cute cut-me-some-slack-I-just-learnt-this-word way and my friend J reminded me to keep a record of the cute way she speaks before this stage passes so, here goes:
Ohn – small rectangular electronic devices that plays nursery rhymes to me and tells me stories, and which the adults put to their ear from time to time.
Bag – big black thing that mummy brings to work everyday and that contains said “ohn”.
Totou – green soft toy with a shell on its back that I stole from Samuel gor gor’s mummy’s car when nobody was looking.
Bear bear – one of numerous soft toys that I own, some brown, some white, some grey and one pink by the name of Teddy.
Gork – usually small but sometimes larger than me animal that goes “ruff ruff” and has a waggy tail.
Bi – adjective exclusively reserved for cats and accompanied by exagerrated hand actions (wonder whether it has anything to do with jaguar, leopard and tigers that we saw at the zoo).
Bog – all forms of rectangular hollow objects and the metal holes that grandpa gets the mail from.
Tar – sparkly things in the sky.
And of course:
Eeeeh… bid – furry animal with long ears.
A baby’s development process is filled with them it seems
As with most toddlers, Sophia would randomly grab item A off the table, dash off to another place and spot item B which appears more exciting to her, drop item A and grab item B and continue the process with items C, D and E. Now this wouldn’t be much of a problem if items A to E are all her toys but often say item B would happen to be grandpa’s keys. So of course when Sophia runs off with keys and returns with rabbit, the natural question would be “Where did you put the keys?” Just barely 2 months ago she would stare at us with a blank look. Now she will be able to bring us to the spot where she left the keys. Yay!
The here comes the nay. This morning she was playing with the iPad and of course I don’t quite like her playing with the iPad so the first chance I got, I took it and hid it. The same 2 months ago, it would be a case of “out-of-sight, out of mind”. Now, she returns to the spot she left the iPad after she decided she has had enough of playing with her soft toys and, seeing it missing, totters around half crying and half saying “pad, pad, pad”. Sigh…
Speaking of speech, she can say a lot more words with a lot more clarity now. Like “mao” (cat), “woof”, yeye (paternal grandpa), nai nai (paternal grandma), baby, wo (roar), wok (walk), e…bid (rabbit) and papa. The good thing is, of course, I no longer have to work out some screams by trial and error. (Her mastering the nod also helped.) The bad thing is I cannot pretend I don’t know what she’s looking for and stand on the moral high ground saying “you cannot just cry, you need to let mummy know what you want!” anymore when she’s obviously saying “(i)pad”.
Ever since Sophia learnt to walk I’ve completely neglected noting her development. I do know that she has learnt a lot but the eager checking of boxes is definitely gone. Still, the developments are nothing short of miraculous really. Here are just some examples of thing I’ve just realised she can do over the past week:
1) appreciate that keys fit into locks and attempt to open letterboxes with keys:
2) fish little pebbles out of a small hole:
3) hold a pencil the “proper” way – almost.
Her fine motor skills are developing well as far as I can tell. Now only if I can get her to be potty trained. That’s the next milestone that will get me jumping for joy!