Monthly Archives: September 2017

Hot Fun in the Summertime

What a month August turned out to be. New school, a great beach trip, Monster Jam… But of course there were lots of smaller moments too. Let’s take a look.

First, though, let’s look at some art work from the month of August. He’s getting ever more detailed with his drawings. And he decided he wanted to “make his own book” which means copying the pictures and words from one of his books (“The Snail and the Whale”). Did a pretty good job too!

Let’s see some other random fun:

We found an Italian restaurant with a huge play area outside. Including this trampoline:

More pictures:

Bouncing and babbling on the elevator:

And one last batch of photos. What a month, indeed!

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2017 in Uncategorized



Monster Jam!

Monster Jam, for the unaware, is a touring spectacle of monster trucks and motorcycles that go from arena to arena, doing jumps and stunts and generally making a very loud mess. Kids (and kids-at-heart) seem to absolutely love it, so when the Monster Jam tour came to Singapore’s National Stadium, we decided to take Nyan.

As it turned out, Jayden’s folks decided to take Jayden and his younger brother Jonnie, so we made a night of it. (The respective mommies stayed home.)

It was loud, it was chaotic, it was a blast for the kids.

We got there a few minutes late because we had soccer practice just before, so we were still on the outside of the stadium as the muffler-less trucks started revving. But we found our seats soon enough. Here’s some shots of what we saw, plus our two heroes:

Check out this monster truck:

And this one:

There was a lot of music and foot-stomping to add to the general din:

More foot stomping. And check out that souvenier drinking cup Nyan got. It wasn’t expensive at all, and didn’t fall apart two days later at all. Sure.

Did the kids have a blast? They did. Not just our kids; all of them. In fact, when we returned to school the following Monday morning, just about every kid at the place greeted all their friends with the same words: “Did you go to Monster Jam?” Seems like nearly every kid in Singapore did indeed go.



Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

New School: Chatsworth East

Nyan is now a student at Chatsworth International School (East Campus), which is conveniently located pretty much across the street from our apartment. It’s where his best pal Jayden goes, and they’re even in the same class! (They’re in Year 2 by the school’s count; that corresponds to 1st Grade in the U.S. and Year 1 (I think that’s the term) in the U.K.) He’s made a ton of friends already and generally taken to the school like a fish to water, or a monkey to the jungle.

Rewind a bit though, to a couple weeks before school started, when Nyan stopped by Chatsworth for orientation on his way to school at MMI. He checked out his classroom, found the peg where he’ll hang his backpack, and goofed around a bit in the music room:

On his first day, we of course took a lot of photos.

That’s his main uniform. A couple days a week he has physical education, so he gets to wear his PE uniform:

Class starts at 9 a.m.; if we get there earlier, Nyan has time to run around the playground with his friends.

Most days after school he walks home with Jayden. And sometimes with Nadia, another classmate who, like Jayden, lives in the same apartment complex as us.

Sometimes he hangs out at Jayden’s for a bit. There’s some sort of recording function on Jayden’s TV, which led to this classic video. Watch the boys playing for a bit, and then realize they’re being recorded (apparently by seeing their image on the TV screen) and responding appropriately.

Finally, some items on display at his school: classroom photos, and some art – a very stylized self portrait, and a drawing they did in class about being happy.

Expect many more pictures and videos from Chatsworth in the weeks and months ahead!

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Uncategorized



Soccer Skills

Nyan’s soccer club had a skills competition one day in August. Let’s check in on how our boy’s football/soccer skills are coming along.

Here, he was supposed to do some footwork, some dribbling exercises, some passing, and then grab a pass-back and kick it in the net. He did pretty well!

Here’s a grainy look at Nyan doing some more drills:

Working on his defense with some fancy footwork:

At the end of the session, the coaches gave the kids little paper airplane kits. Nyan put his together and had some fun:

In September he signed up for an after-school soccer club on Monday afternoons, but wanted to stick with this Saturday afternoon club as well. Does that mean his skills will start to improve twice as fast? Who knows. Stay tuned!

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Uncategorized



Pool Parties and Abacus

A couple of things Nyan did during the month of August:

One day, he went to his abacus grading exercise. See, he’s been taking an abacus class on Saturday afternoons for about a year, as a way to help him with his math. And in August, it was time for him to be graded, to see about moving on to the next level. Mommy and Daddy couldn’t be with him in the testing room; here are some pictures from outside the testing room, just before. Nervous? Nah.

And not nervous for good reason. Here’s the results:


That’s right: 100%. Well done, Nyan!

Another afternoon we attended a birthday party for Daniel, Nyan’s playground friend from the apartment complex. There was food, balloons and a clown show:

The big attraction, though, was the kiddie pool. Nyan of course has spent many, many, many afternoons in this pool and always manages to have a good time.

He had such a good time in the pool, in fact, that after he came out, dried off, put his clothes back on and got some cake, he wanted to get back in the pool. But didn’t want to take them time to change back into his swimsuit. No matter; in he went!

1 Comment

Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

A Visit to Telunas Beach Resort

Telunas is a laid-back beach resort on a small Indonesian island. There’s not a lot to do there except swim, eat, hike a bit, and relax. That was just what we were looking for as a way to unwind before Nyan started his new school, and to celebrate Mommy’s birthday. We are quite pleased to report the place exceeded our expectations in every way.  Here is a long report on our trip.

It’s pretty close to Singapore, which meant no air travel – just boats. We started with a half-hour ferry ride to the island of Batam, just across the channel from Singapore. Nice views of the Singapore skyline even from Indonesia:

Then we transferred to a small, low-slung traditional Indonesian fishing boat that the resort sent to pick us up. The ride was about 45 minutes through pretty calm waters, passing by untouched islands and the occasional fishing village, with most buildings on stilts above the water.

The resort is also built on stilts, jutting out over the water. The main building was the eating hall, and each individual cabin was connected by wooden pathways high above the water, eventually leading to a long stretch of beach. It was deliberately rustic and low-key, and it was great.


Here’s the resort:

And our room, a nice-sized place with a queen bed, bunk beds and a little balcony overlooking the sea and the island.

Fun on the Beach

The beach was long and clean, very wide at low tide and pretty narrow at high tide. The whole place was thick with little crabs who would dig holes in the sand and leave little balls of sand everywhere. Great for drawing your name in, actually. We obviously spent the bulk of our time on the beach – swimming, lazing, walking, playing with the other kids at the resort.

Rope Course

The blonde, curly-haired girl you see in some of those beach pictures was Anastasia, a.k.a. Squish. She and Nyan became fast friends, starting with some bonding at the resort’s rope course.

As you can see, it was a clearing on a hill, deep in the jungle, where they had installed a few rope bridges for kids (and adults!) to test their mettle. Nyan was a little nervous but he did a great job!

More Fun in the Water

The resort had some non-motorized water sports equipment to borrow, so one afternoon, Daddy and another parent staying at the resort brought one out into the (pretty shallow) water and threw a bunch of kids on it. A blast was had by all.

The resort also had a couple of platforms for the brave-hearted to jump from and into the water. One was maybe 10 feet, the other more like 30. Both were too high for Nyan, but not for Daddy!


The resort also offered rudimentary fishing — they’d loan you a plastic spindle with a lot of fishing line on it; you’d put some raw chicken on a hook at the end of the line and lower it down from the platforms. We didn’t catch anything but it was a nice relaxing time.


Speaking of relaxing, that’s ultimately what we did a lot of at Telunas. Reading, lounging, drawing, exploring, being silly. Good times.

The Night

Every night they had a big bonfire down on the beach. Kids loved it – especially when the marshmallows came out!

One evening we did a special pizza dinner down on the beach, where we all assembled our own pizzas and then had them bake them in a wood-fired oven. And, since it was Mommy’s birthday week, we asked if they could do something special. They sure could!

We were also there during a full moon. Amazing.


And you know ho the full moon brings out the crazy and/or goofy? Yeah. This:

Time to Go

Sadly, of course, all good things must end. So after a few nights, we had to board the fishing boat that took us back to the ferry that took us home. But we’re already making plans to return to Telunas.

It’s fair to say the trip was an unalloyed success. In case there was any doubt, Nyan started his new school a couple days later. One of the first things the children did was to draw “what I did on my summer vacation” pictures. Here’s what Nyan came up with:



Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

Music and Dance!

You’ve seen many times that Nyan loves music, and loves to dance. Wanna see some more? Here you go!

Watching the Singapore National Day celebrations on TV, dancing along to the music:

He’s become a huge fan of the band Foo Fighters, a song called The Pretender in particular. Nice air-guitar and air-drumming skills on display here:

Same song, different day. Definitely showing some drumming chops:

He even likes to practice his dance moves at his favorite cafe, Batty Fluffy Flaps!

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

Report Card: the Preschool Years

Nyan’s now-former school, MMI, ran a website where every so often the teachers would post photos and text outlining some recent learning activity and/or achievement. We’ve never posted them before, but now that he’s done with MMI, why the heck not. Without further ado, here we go.

(All text and photos are by the teachers themselves, very lightly edited. The Chinese sections came in Mandarin; we used Google translate and tried to edit them, but mostly we left them as-is. So those sections don’t really make a lot of sense in some parts – blame the translation – but hopefully you can get the gist!)

Fine Motor Skills – Late 2014 (age 3)

Nyan has developed his fine motor skills. He is able to colour within the lines neatly and also to write neatly. He is able to cut paper, tear paper, crush paper and also draw circles and straight lines. Nyan is able to hold his pencil/crayon using the pincer grip. He is fully aware of when to use his pincer grip and when to use a palmer grasp. For instance during a threading activity he uses a pincer grip to hold on to the yarn as he put the straws through the yarn. He has very good hand-eye coordination as he is able to use his eyes to judge the placement and direction of his hand movement along with the object. Most of the time, Nyan focuses on the activity he is doing which shows he has good concentration skills. Keep Up the excellent work.

Math – Late 2014 (age 3)

Nyan is working with a spindle box, it consists of compartment 0-9 and 45 loose spindles. With the help of teacher, Nyan managed to place the appropriate number of spindles in the right compartment. Once he is familiar, he then started to work with cards and counters; this consists of 10 wooden cards and 55 loose counters. Nyan managed to arrange the cards in sequence order 1-10, then he counted the counters and placed it underneath the card. These exercises help Nyan to make associations with written symbols with loose quantities.

Social & Emotional Skills – Late 2014 (age 3)

Nyan’s social emotional skills are developing very well. He is able to express emotions openly and he is able to express his needs and preferences clearly. He is able to accept affection, attention and appreciation. He takes pride in accomplishments and understands the concept of “yours and mine.” Nyan is a very expressive boy, he voices out his opinions clearly without any fear. He always shows interest and actively participates in class. He approaches his peers and teachers positively and shows pleasure around others. He is willing to share his toys and take turns to play. He is willing to negotiate and compromise to make a better relationship with his friends. He generally initiates conversation with everyone and has a very welcoming and friendly nature. He is also able to imitate his friends. Nyan Is growing up to be a friendly, loving and caring little man.

Chinese – March 2015  (age 3.5)

We studied occupations, children are aware of the police and drivers. Children held a small plastic ring to imitate the action of driving. The teacher pretended to be police, the children were drivers who had to listen to the traffic police command. Children practiced stopping or driving according to red or green stop lights.

Nyan actively raises his hand to participate in activities, he chooses a small red plastic circle to pretend to drive.  When he saw the red light he immediately stopped; when he saw the green light he continued to drive.

Gym Exercise – mid 2015 (age 4)

Nyan runs to the bicycle station and climbs up the bicycle. He holds the handle firmly and places both his feet on the pedals. He pedals at a medium pace with a smooth motion. The activity lasted almost 2 minutes, he then steps down from the bicycle. He walks to the trampoline and with a big step he is able to go up the trampoline. He holds on to the bar and starts jumping fast.

Nyan moves his body comfortably, showing that his gross motor skills are developing well. He enjoys running and jumping at the playroom with his classmates. His happy disposition makes it easy for him to do activities that he likes. Given more opportunity for him to have fun and do physical activities will help him further develop his gross motor skills and enhance his abilities to do different physical actions with confidence.

Chinese – sometime in 2015

In today’s Chinese class, we learned the names of common small animals. We sat for the teacher, the teacher first talk about a “animal paradise” in the story, the teacher first one by one to produce small animal pictures, chicks, ducklings, kittens, puppies, lambs, frogs. Teacher demonstrated children songs, so that children listen carefully and sing, children learn songs. Nyan is interested in animal pictures and is particularly fond of listening to stories. When the teacher tells the story, he listens very seriously, and is able to answer some simple questions. The teacher asked the children to play the role of the story and learn their cry. Nyan saw the pictures of animals immediately raised his hand, holding animal pictures, learn the way teachers teach, the small animals posted to the background wall. And can also follow the teacher singing “I love my little animal”.

Nyan has very high enthusiasm. I found Nyan particularly interested in listening to stories and interested in animal pictures. When the teacher tells the story, there is a good listening ability, he can understand the teacher’s instructions. Nyan can correctly grasp the pen to describe and read the basic strokes and simple Chinese characters. He can read Chinese characters with the teacher, recite simple songs and poems.

Cognitive Skills/Memory Game – 2016 (age 5 ish)

Nyan sat on the chair and was smiling at Teacher. He said to teacher: “I like playing the memory card game!” Teacher replied “Yes, I know! but first I want you to identify each community helper that you see on the card, okay?” Nyan smiled and said “Okay, Teacher Emilie.” Teacher showed all the cards and he was able to identify all of them. Teacher asked Nyan to start the memory game card. He flipped all the cards accordingly and placed five cards in the upper row and placed 5 cards on the lower row. Nyan quickly got the first card and found the match. He continued playing and found the match right away. He was able to finish the memory card game in less than one minute.

Nyan’s cognitive skills are developing very well. He is able to identify the names of all the community helpers with ease. His visual memory skill is very good, he is able to recall the picture cards quickly. He has good concentration while doing this activity. He was very confident while doing the task. Playing more challenging memory games with Nyan is beneficial for him to develop better concentration and this will have a tremendous effect on his ability to learn and have a great significance in his overall academic performance.

Chinese – 2016 (age 5 ish)

Nyan can actively participate in the game activities. He is an obedient child. Through the performance of the game today, “Tortoise and the Racing”, children chose their favorite role to perform. He listens to other people’s ideas. In this game he learned to be humble and sharing, able to accept the teacher’s teaching.

Today’s Chinese class is the role-playing game “Tortoise and the Racing”. Activities at the beginning of a lot of children are sitting, listening to the teacher assigned to the task. Nyan sit still, hurry to run over, shouting: “I want a puppy, I want a puppy.” I said, “Nyan ask you to go back and sit, we want to be the same as usual, which group of children to sit the best, you can first show.” Nyan looked a little bit disappointed sitting there. I told him, Nyan learn to wait, be patient, we have to take turns to perform. Nodded, obediently sitting there waiting for the teacher to call his name. When she called his name, he was excited to run over, happy.

Social and emotional activities – 2016 (age 5 ish)

Nyan entered the classroom and saw his friends by the library corner. He got a book and sat on the floor with his friends while they were reading quietly. Zin Pang came and Nyan stood up and greeted his friend, he shook his hand and said “hello Zin Pang”. His friend shook his hand back and they both giggled and smiled. Nyan got a book and sat beside Zin Pang, he read the book while his friend listened. Nyan also got Valentina’s attention while he was reading aloud for Zin Pang. After reading a book, the children decided to go out of the classroom and play. Nyan held Ming Xuan and Zin Pang’s hand. They started to play ring around the rosy for a couple of minutes then teacher called them in to start their lesson.

Nyan’s social emotional skills are developing very well. He enjoys imaginative play with other children and he has no trouble sharing his toys from home. He easily develops friendship with other children as well. Nyan is aware of his friend’s feelings and show some awareness of moral reasoning, such as “fairness”, and good or bad behaviour. He loves playing games with his friends and he shows understanding of simple rules and instructions. He is able to share his thoughts and also able to listen while others are speaking. Nyan is a very sweet and friendly student, everybody loves playing with him. Teacher is certain that Nyan will continue to expand his circle of trusted friends as he grows older and that he will be able to maintain a closeness to a few special people including his teachers. Nyan will surely grow up to be a cheerful and caring person. Keep up the good work!

Chinese – 2016 (age 5 ish)

Today’s activity is fruit solitaire, to find regular order. Nyan immediately took out the fruit pictures, looked at the teacher to give the picture of the order, and soon put the fruit picture row long. “I’m short,” said Nyan right away, “but Nyan said,” I’m short. “I saw them quarreling and casually said, Nyan It is not good for you to turn your turn. He listened, according to the teacher said to turn a bend, and this time obviously found his Solitaire card is no longer a brains to a direction rushed. Some arranged in a spiral form, some like a tree with strong trunk and neat branches. For a while, Nyan quickly put all the fruit cards in the right way.

In this activity, you can find Nyan to find the rules of the game, to master or better. His mind is more active, can be empowered the rules of empathy. In compliance with the rules at the same time, the line will be converted into a multi-directional solitaire. Make the game play is rich.

Discovery to the World – 2017 (age nearly 6 ish)

It was 9 in the morning and it was time to start our thematic lesson. Teacher invited Nyan to come and work on his activity (Continent flashcards). Nyan came and greeted the teacher saying “Hello, teacher Priya”.Then he went on to place the continent flashcards with name tags stacked up. Then he placed the names of the continents in a line.

Teacher picked up a particular continent card and asked Nyan to identify the continent. He was able to identify the continent. Then Nyan went on to match the continents, having names with the ones without name tags. Upon completing his work Nyan exclaimed with joy and said “I’m done Teacher Priya”

Nyan is able to work independently with minimal supervision and also able to identify the continents with ease. His thinking and analytical skills are improving tremendously.

Numeracy/addition  – 2017 (age nearly 6 ish)

It was 11 am and time for our maths lesson. Teacher invited Nyan to solve an addition problem. Teacher said, I have a problem for you to solve on the board. Nyan said, “Yes Teacher Priya,” and then he began by identifying the 1st and the 2nd addend written on the board. He was able to correctly identify both the addends and read, “The first addend is 28 and the second addend is 13”. He then began by saying that he needs to add the ones place first to see if he has to do regrouping. After adding the ones he said, “Teacher my answer is 11”. He continued by saying that he has to paste the number 1 in the ones place and carry forward the number 1 to the tens place. He continued to add the numbers in the tens column. After completing he said joyfully, “Teacher is my answer 41. Is it correct?”

Teacher said “Well done, Nyan. Your answer is correct!” He then returned to his place.

Nyan is showing a great attitude towards maths and is improving his math skills quickly.

He has been showing continuous progress over the last term and is also comfortable in performing skip count in two’s and five’ s. Regular practice will help him excel.

Chinese – 2017 (around age 6)

This week, the children ‘s learning theme is food, and today we let the kids use bread to do their favorite breakfast. The teacher explained the use of the ingredients and the use of supplies, Nyan and the teacher said: “I want the star shape!” The teacher taught him to use the Chinese saying this: “I want to star” Nyan whispered the doctrine again. The teacher gives each child a tray and disposable gloves. Nyan in the seat and other teachers to his sub-supplies, he took the gloves very happy to take, picked up the star mold, and picked up a piece of bread on the tray, carefully put the star mold on the bread, press A few times, bread just above the star print, next to get down, he looked at the teacher said: “Lao Shi! Can you help me?” Teacher taught him to speak Chinese: “teacher, can help me?” Nyan continue to do his breakfast. For a while, Nyan took the breakfast to ask the teacher: “I can eat this bread?” He taught it again, the teacher said, “Yes!” He Immediately said: “Thank you!” To eat the breakfast personally.

Nyan is a well-behaved child who is interested in Chinese. In class can concentrate on listening, doing things seriously, and is very polite, such as: morning to see the teacher will say good morning, the teacher to his textbooks, will say thank you, you can also share with friends and school supplies, like to help teachers and friend. He can communicate with the teacher in simple Chinese and teacher. Hope he later in listening, speaking, reading, writing progress, can use Chinese and friends, teachers exchange. Let’s work together Nyan!

Motor Skills Development – 2017 (around age 6)

It was in the afternoon, and time for our Rangoli activity. Nyan was ready to do the activity. He placed the rangoli stencil on the card stock paper. He then firmly held the stencil with his left hand and started sprinkling white Rangoli powder on the stencil and started spreading the powder on the stencil. Once done, he carefully lifted the stencil and kept it at the side and was able to see the the image of the elephant on the card stock paper. Nyan exclaimed with joy, ”WOW Tr Priya, it is so nice!”  And then said, I would like to do this activity once again Then the teacher said,  “Next time we can do this activity using different colours”

Nyan has involved in many fine motor activities with great confidence this term. He is developing a precise grip when it comes to cutting, pasting and origami as well. Nyan has a clear hand preference when it comes to manipulating small objects. Provide Nyan with complex patterns to work with.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Uncategorized



Nyan Plays Tennis. Sort of.

Every Thursday after school, Nyan’s friend Jayden has tennis lessons on the courts at our apartment complex. They like to play after the lesson is over, so Nyan often hangs around the court. The coach is quite nice and often lets Nyan have a go. The results are…. well, let’s just say we’re not booking our tickets to Wimbledon just yet.

Bless him. He’s trying!

Here he is a couple weeks after those first two videos. A wee bit of improvement, maybe?

But he has fun. Fresh air. Socializing.

And most importantly, Nyan knows the best use for a tennis racket is as an air guitar. (And check out those foot moves!)

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized



Bye-Bye, MMI

August was a bittersweet month in at least one way: Yes, our boy was moving on to “real” school. But that meant saying goodbye to his preschool, Modern Montessori International, where he spent three wonderful and incredibly formative years.

We managed to snap a few shots of the hugs that were going around when Daddy picked Nyan up on his very last day at MMI:

Just for fun, here’s a video one of his teachers took a couple months back of Nyan answering some questions about breakfast time at Nyan’s place.

Several other students were leaving MMI and starting at international schools around the same time, so Abi’s parents threw a farewell pool party in mid-August.

A couple of pool shots:

And some goofy kid shots:

Even more kid shots – goofy and non-goofy:

Nyan’s settling in very well at his new school, with lots of new friends already, but we’ll always remember the MMI years with nothing but fondness.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: