Playing, Climbing, Reading, Screaming

Can’t believe its Friday again! We have one more week to go before moving, so exciting. This week the container has arrived, gone through the customs clearance but they do want to do an MAF inspection because we claimed that we had flower pots.

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It’s getting more challenging everyday to have the boys in the flats. They’re learning quickly about everything, it’s really amazing. Rash forwarded me an article the other day, very interesting to read, titled “Hearing Bilingual“. We always believe that it is essential to teach the boys Chinese and English from the very beginning, the author mentioned that monolingual babies lose the ability of distinguishing two or more different languages at one year old, so I am glad that we’ve been giving them both Chinese and English (plus Shanghai dialect). Michael and I were talking about that babies are actually not programmed to roll, sit, crawl, walk and run…they observe and learn from the adults, which is the environment they are exposed to, its the physical capabilities that hinder them from doing certain things so it makes a lot of sense that the brain actually develops differently in monolingual and bilingual babies. Not surprisingly, as the author pointed out, bilingual babies will eventually acquire stronger skills later in life such as multi-tasking.

A good example is that babies could distinguish different gorilla faces at 4 months but they lose that ability after 1 year because they are not with gorillas all the time.  Adults can’t do so either because in the first few months of our life, that particular cognitive ability was disabled simply because telling the difference from one gorilla to another is  a “useless” skill to acquire and maintain, instead we learn to tell the differences among faces of humans.  Another example is the girl who was found growing up with dogs, she did everything a dog does not human and it’s impossible to teach her human behaviors (the brain developed too differently). Hence, it is important (as least that’s what we believe) to guide and expose the boys to as many different environment including people, scenes, music, behaviors and whatever, as possible so that those external stimulating factors shape the way how their brain develop and not just that they will be smarter, more importantly, it’s for them to acquire the ability of analyzing, self-educating and critical thinking.

If you sit down and just observe your child, you will be fascinated by everything he/she does. I enjoy watching mine, I don’t really teach them much at this stage, they mimic everything I do, and their curiosity keeps them busy all day long. They are particularly interested in new things (I think all the kids are like that), picking up a new toy, playing it in their hands, scanning it, figuring it out and throwing it away and moving onto something newer. That simple process is fascinating to me: WE ACTUALLY DO NOT TEACH THEM HOW TO ROLL, SIT, CRAWL, WALK OR RUN. A child is capable of learning on his/her own. This is why we question the traditional education system, that fills information into kids’ head, I am really not sure if that’s the most effective way to educate children even if the information they are given is factual and broad. I would describe my boys as little explorers, they are having so much fun going through everything in our little flat, from the drawer, to the couch, from the window handle, to the light switch, from an empty box to a roll of toilet paper. At 15 months, they are able to understand words like duck, ball, shoes, socks, birds, and they follow my orders such as “give the ball to mommy”, “where are the shoes”? They actually go and grab whatever I was asking and give them back to me! I don’t know what other kids are capable of at this age, I don’t really care because the fact that their curiosity and interests leading to demonstrating the ability of understanding all these terms in both Chinese and English just blows my mind!

Michael and I have been taking them out at least once a day, I walked them to the square and met up with Michael on the way back today, really just to get them some outdoor time, seeing new people (its funny when they see new people, they stare with all seriousness). Also we try to have them play some in different venues, I enjoy taking the boys to Massey lately bringing Michael lunch and having a chat with his coworkers, boys usually behave really well probably because they see new faces all the time. They also meet their duckling and bird friends everyday, those are the words they know best, if I say it in Chinese they run to the windows, so cute.

Last Friday we went to the Palmerston North City Library, what a great resource for kids. And the boys love reading, I can’t believe it. In the car they would open up the books and be quiet. At home, everyday they would bring the books to me, sit on my lap and want me to read the book over and over! Also now they scream a lot especially when they are fighting over something, the screaming is a bit hard to take since they are two loud boys.

We got a great babysitter, Teniah’s classmate Greta, she’s really good with the boys and we are glad that she knows a lot more than what we do since her major is nursing. Michael and I were able to check out some coffee machines yesterday and had a lovely dinner at Yatai (oh the delicious Daifuku Platter that comes with a shot of plum wine). Once the school holiday is over, we will take the boys to the playcentre where they can play in the dirt with kids at all ages under 6. I know they would love that.

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