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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Almost 29 months (almost 2 and a half)

What with 2016 coming up, I have been trying to do for the twins what they cannot do for themselves - plan their schedule. 

I intend to let 1 helper go - when or before her contract ends is still up in the air. She has straightened out her act a fair bit but there isn't anything for her to do around the house if the twins are in full day from 8.45am to 5.30pm when I pick them up. I don't really want the twins to have to deal with 2 major disruption simultaneously, being a new school and then the loss of a very familiar face. So, I guess there has to be a transition period and the only question is the length of that time needed. In the mean time, it would be paying $3000 a month for full day childcare and the cost of an extra helper at $800 (salary, levy and food). 

I'll be honest that I hate the word budget and until I was asked to fill in a worksheet at an assessment session by a preschool, I didn't realize how much I was spending on the twins' enrichment classes. It worked out to at least $500 per child so that's $1000 for the two of them on Kumon, Sparkanauts and MLG. The only class I really resent the spending of monies on would be MLG but I'd committed for a full year of lessons for a 12% discount and it's within walking distance from my house so I have to continue with it for another two months. I have seen a big improvement in their ability to count, sit still and use a pencil so I intend to continue with Kumon, As for Sparkanauts, given their boundless energy and enjoyment of the classes, I am happy for them to continue until year end when the package I paid for expires.

Right now, I'm waiting on a place with Berries which will be settled in a couple of weeks. At a recent complimentary trial class, the twins were able to pick the days of the week correctly in English - not a single mistake - but both of them had every single word wrong when it came to Chinese. It's not funny. Every single day of the week they messed up. That's how bad it is. I'm desperate for Berries to make a major change. And I think I will speak to them in Chinese more often. Not sure what the playgroup is going to do for them but if I am paying premium fees for this pre school which boasts of a bilingual curriculum, then hopefully there will be an improvement of sorts.

I had not been willing to spend a cent at all on English because I have been using Glen Doman cards since they were 6 months and we speak English at home. I have also been using the Peter and Jane cards to teach them the first 100 words which should enable them to read the first few books in the series, and that has been a semi success because E2 can read independently the first few books - books I have never read to her before and so she can't memorize the contents of (that little girl can really memorize). I picked up 3b yesterday and she could read most of it. E1 is silent or just copies by sound whatever E2 says hence I say, a semi success. E2 woke up from her nap yesterday on my bed and said while pointing to the pile of books on my window ledge "Let's read a book". It stopped me short - like a slap to the face, and I remember staring at her thinking...what did you just say, my little girl? E1 on the other hand prefers to just walk around, fiddle at things and not even try. Even for Kumon, she has fallen 20 worksheets behind E1. I don't want to speculate why because it would involve measuring her against E2, And while that's inevitable, I don't think it's right o measure her against just one other child as opposed to a group of children of the same age. 

But anyway, we had a complimentary assessment of the twins 2 days ago at the most expensive preschool and one of the tests was a list of 20 words which required the twins to individually read at least 6 of their choice. I wasn't expecting either twin to read any because the words aren't words we are currently teaching and not in the Peter and Jane 100 words. E1 (Twin A) could read one word "dog" which surprised me because I had such low expectations but E2 read all 6 from black to mouse to bus. On her own - I was stunned. We haven't taught them phonics as yet so I wasn't expecting her to be able to master words not currently flashed to her...but somehow she got them right. Memory, maybe from the countless books we have read. Now when I take out the Kumon worksheets, she actually reads the instructions on the top of each page and point to the words, 1 by 1. It's a bit disconcerting. She's not two and a half and she is supposed to be my baby. Who is this little girl who seems so independent and self sufficient?

Who is this little girl who is always talking, questioning, observing and has a phenomenal memory. She pointed to 1 of my helper's scar (injection) and said keloid. I mean, like what?! I didn't teach her that. When I said no to going to the playground because the slide was too hot. She told me to make it cold. And when I scoffingly asked how to make it cold, she answered me matter of factly - pour cold water on it. 

What E1 lacks, she kinda makes up with attitude...she seems to try and sit down and takes instructions far better than E2. Attitude is as important if not more so than aptitude so we'll see.