Category Archives: Discipline

Manners according to Aramis

We’ve been trying to teach Aramis to say “please may I have” instead of “I want”. Here is a little anecdote from today that demonstrates how he’s doing so far:

Aramis: What’s in your cup, Mommy?

Pilgrim Mom shows him.

Aramis: Is it Ribena?

PM: Yes.

Aramis grabs cup to drink.

PM: Hey, that’s mine!

Aramis: No, mine!

PM: How do you ask me nicely?

Aramis: (in gentle dulcet tone) It’s mine.

New Paper: The Most Boring Household in Singapore

This interview with up-and-coming Singapore politician Grace Fu focuses on her role as a parent. It struck me as containing many nuggets of parenting wisdom. I submit it for your consideration.

The Electric New Paper: The Most Boring Household in Singapore

I have to do a quick linkback to an earlier post concerning the Wii, and another on the modern-day malaise called the Nature Deficit Disorder.

Sore Loser – The Sequel

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about Athos and sore loser syndrome.

Well it’s happening again, this time with Porthos. His favourite game right now is Junior Scrabble, not least because he’s won every time we’ve played it. Beginner’s luck came to an end this afternoon, and Porthos was dealt a few bad hands. According to the rules, he was obliged to put down his letters even though it helps someone else to get points. But he kept saying, “I pass,” and refused to move.

The first time it happened I confess I took the easy way out and just exchanged letters with him to help him along. But experience is a good teacher and like Athos, I realised that Porthos was going to have to come to terms with losing sooner or later, and better he learns how to lose with me first.

So, as we say in Singapore, I “don’t give chance”. The next time Porthos got a bad hand and said “I pass”, I told him if he didn’t play by the rules, I would stop playing. And so I did. I went to another room and started doing something else. A few minutes later, Porthos came into the room and said, “OK it’s your turn.” I went back and saw that he had decided to go along with the rules after all.

When we finished the game, he had lost 11 to 8. He stomped out of the room and sat in the balcony for a while. I decided to withhold the parental sermon and let him be.

And so it goes, and so it goes….

Of Cheese Pies and Other Expletives

For those who are curious as to how Athos is holding up in Primary One, first let me apologise for not providing an update. I remain ambivalent about public education as we are experiencing it, and have not been able to find it within me to put in words why I feel the way I do.

So you’ll just have to make do with vignettes for now.

And as far as vignettes go, this one is a screamer. [Grandpa, Grandma, if you’re reading this, please make sure you’re comfortably seated….] Continue reading

Porthos Wises Up

Just minutes ago, Porthos walked up to me, the light of new discovery in his eyes, and uttered the following:

“I think I know why you must do the hard thing first then the easy thing. Because if you do the hard thing first, then you can play without worrying.”

My little boy grows older….

Why Parenting Just Got Harder

A few days ago, I came across a reference to I’d never heard of it so I went to check it out – turns out it’s a sort of online SMS/instant messenger service but instead of one-to-one, your thoughts go out one-to-many. A way, I guess, for people to feel a sense of connection to others, though I couldn’t quite understand why you’d want to do this when you could just talk to a real person.

(Of course, there was a time I didn’t understand SMS or blogging either!)

That same day, I read the latest issue of Time. Serendipitously, it contained a great article that mentioned Twitter, and this crazy, always-on, always-connected world that we now live in. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading

Dealing With Pain

Three days in a row, three different boys, three kinds of pain….

On Thursday night, Athos and Porthos were playing a crazy game of chase around the house, opening and closing the doors while hiding from each other. We’ve told them many times how dangerous it is to play with doors but let’s just say it’s the kind of lesson best learnt by experience. So as it happened, Porthos was hiding behind the door just as Athos swung it open, and ended up getting his big toe slammed into. He shrieked non-stop for a good 15 minutes. After we made sure his toe wasn’t broken, I cuddled him and tried to soothe him as best as I could. But Porthos has always worn his heart on his sleeve, and I was sure his screams could be heard clear across the neighbourhood. Eventually I distracted him with stories and songs. And he fell asleep.

Friday night, we came home to find Athos lying on the couch, clutching his head, gritting his teeth and stifling sobs. This was the first time we’d ever seen him do this and it was nothing short of alarming. I cradled him and it seemed to calm him though the pain did not go away. He slept cuddled against me, and fortunately the pain wasn’t bad enough to awaken him in the night. At the doctor’s the next morning, we were told it was an ear infection, commonly caught from swimming. We were prescribed an antibiotic and some ear drops, which have been a great help.

Last night, Aramis awoke with a loud cry and continued inconsolably for a good 10-15 minutes. I tried carrying him, rocking him, nursing him, singing to him. But nothing worked. It was beginning to frazzle me. Pilgrim Dad took over and after a while, Aramis cried himself to sleep. I still don’t know why he cried.

But these three consecutive experiences have taught me a few things. First, every child responds to pain differently, so every episode needs to be handled differently. Second, knowing the reason for the pain (no matter mild or serious), is far better than not knowing the reason. And third, pray!

Sore Loser

How do you deal with a sore loser?

Tonight we played Snap with Athos, using a regular deck of playing cards instead of his usual Thomas the Tank Engine cards. It took him some getting used to, so initially he lost a few rounds. His unhappiness was evident. Not violent or explosive, but the withdrawing, brooding variety.

Pilgrim Dad and I recognised it and without saying a word, we both began to let him win a few rounds. Of course, it cheered him up. When we feigned horror at having missed obvious snaps, Athos laughed heartily.

But I can’t help wondering if it’s right for us to let him win. The real world won’t treat him so kindly, and he’ll have to lose sometime. At first I tried to teach him the politically correct thing – “Sometimes you’ll lose,” I intoned, “You have to learn to be happy for the winner, and say ‘good game’.”

It didn’t go down well.

And let’s face it. It’s almost like teaching him to lie. Losing is not fun, and managing the disappointment is hard enough without having to smile and cheer for the winner.

And so I’m back to wondering: How DO you deal with a sore loser?