Monday, 29 January 2007

He's done it again

Today he used "stupid" on me in the library. A few times within that 5 or 10 mins that we were talking. And audibly, considering the quiet nature of the library. He interrupted me every time I began to say something, and his tone was always impatient. That certainly wasn't a sign of love.

Just now, I was telling him that I feel the stress because I want to do well for this last semester, to have a chance at 2nd upper.

He discouraged me, saying that he knew I don't stand a chance.

I had always thought that he loathes discouragement, and hates how some Singaporeans love to be wet blankets. Seems like he's one of them after all.

During lunch, in front of Coco, he said his friends said that he shouldn't have married me. That makes me think exactly how much in that statement is how he feels. It's not the first time he mentions this. And it certainly affirms my decision to leave him when I'm financially able each time he says this.

I don't know why he marries me. I think I really don't know. Like how I've felt towards my ex, I'm starting to be afraid of him, just that this time round, I'm not afraid of leaving.

If he really loves me, how can he allow his friends to keep saying the same statement over and over again? That he shouldn't have married me, that I didn't have a choice because I have a child with me, that he shouldn't have let me go study. I saved up for my studies, excuse me! And he used MY money.

I feel that he's starting to regret marrying me, but he refuses to admit it, so he vents his frustration on me, by saying things that makes me feel lousy about myself, by scolding me 'stupid' on a constant basis. I'd promised myself I'd never let another man do this to me again. I'll definitely leave him. I don't need a man who drags me into the dumps, nor do I need one who tears me down.

He knows I have a blog, but like my ex, he's never bothered to ask for my blog address. He is not even interested in what I think, or feel.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007


I'm starting to feel stressed.

The washing machine has conked out on me.

Coco is not taking well to hanyu pinyin. Oh God! Which idiot actually thought of teaching hanyu pinyin to young learners?!! And which idiot actually thought that this is the greatest idea ever and implemented it?!! You don't have to be a genius to know that it is difficult for a P1 kid to learn hanyu pinyin when they don't even have Chinese characters to associate with, to begin with! It's a stupid idea to start learning Chinese through hanyu pinyin. Trust me. MOE has already lost a talent in teaching Chinese. I should know better.

It's so confusing for her she started to write Chinese characters, and place the pitches on the characters!

The assignments are coming in. I'm like doing 4 assignments altogether. 2 group ones and 2 individual ones. When I feel stressed, my chest starts to feel congested ...

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Belated 3rd day at school

I got her to try out the hor fun at the canteen on the third day when I was there for a few reasons: I wanted her to try out the food for variety's sake; I wanted to see if she likes the canteen food and if she is able to eat within the 20-min recess time.
This is what she's achieved:



She's tried her best and given that she rarely needs to eat in such haste, I'm quite happy that at least she managed to fill her stomach with some food, quite substantially.

So there, 3 days of orientation are over.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

The Reading Bug

Coco has been reading Enid Blyton's books since last December.

To date, she's finished 3 and going on to the 4th. She's reading well although she still has problems with the names of the characters. It's strange how reading skill becomes acquired when you don't quite see the development.

All of us are puzzled as to how Coco can read so many words all of a sudden when just not too long ago, she was still reading very simple words, and occasionally some sentences. It first started when she read aloud a message written by William after we had a fight,"Can you please talk to me? I feel terrible when you don't talk to me. I beg you." I didn't think that she could read the message, much less understood it, so I left it lying around. We found it amazing that she could read 'terrible' and 'beg' when these are words not exactly common in our spoken or written vocabulary.

To be honest, I do feel greatly relieved that she's able to read well. I still remember how anxious and stressful I had felt when I first started to teach her to read. Her reading teacher at K1 commented that she was not able to recognise words. Although she was considered 'average' in her reading ability, I felt very lost in the hows of teaching reading. That's how crappy NIE is. A trained teacher not knowing how to teach her own child to read. The only way I did it was drilling coupled with phonics, hoping that one day, she'll start to realise the pattern in the pronunciation of each letter, and combine the letters to form a word. I'm so glad that all these paid off.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

A rose, by any other name

Coco has been calling William 'Mr Lim' in jest.

He's been asking me to talk to her about it. Honestly, I don't know how to.

I dread to touch on the issue of fatherhood with Coco.

When we first discussed about marriage, William mentioned about changing Coco's surname to his. But I wasn't sure about that. Or more precisely, I wasn't sure about our marriage.

Recently, I've started to realise that what I'm unsure about is our marriage, still. Sometimes, I wonder if it can last. I wonder how long it'll last. I would never want to see the day that I have to get all troubled over Coco's surname should our marriage doesn't last.

The form teacher emailed me and addressed me as 'Mrs Lim'. It's a dilemma for me if I should inform the teacher that she got it wrong. It would also implicate Coco. I don't want the teacher to start wondering why her surname is not the same as William's, although she ought to have done so earlier on, by the virtue of the "All About Me" form received.

The way William manages the finances scares me. And I realised he wasn't honest with me about where the money goes, time after time. It makes me feel that I shouldn't be honest with him about my finances either, then. And it discourages me from wanting to help him pay off the credit card bills, simply because the money borrowed from friends or his relative doesn't go into off-setting the bills, and I only get to find out much later, during one of his explosions.

I've always believed that a couple ought to be quite transparent about how they manage their finances, without a party taking advantage of the other. Without this simple trust even in the most basic of things in the institution of marriage, how is a marriage going to last? William has made me feel that what my mother and other women tell me is true: that women need to have their own private savings, without their husbands' knowledge. I've always believed that my husband is going to be different. It's kinda disappointing that it doesn't turn out this way.

Damn Me!

I really hate myself lately. Ever since Coco goes to that school, pride has sneaked up on me, formed on me, developed and grown into this huge tumour on my face and I didn't even realise:

1) I started to tell my closer friends, excessively, about the school, about how small and inferior I feel when compared to the tai-tai mothers in Coco's school - with, I suspect, a tinge of pride in Coco's going to the 'school for the rich-and-famous';
2) I almost wanted to tell my friend that the school she thought is very good isn't as good as she'd imagined, and 'creating awareness' that her dream school cannot be on par with Coco's;
3) I was surprised that a friend didn't know that that school is a 'good' school.

I mean, how cruel can I get? How elitist can my attitude get? How proud and even arrogant can I get? I really have to stop all these behaviours. If not, I'll just lose my friends.

I'm just thinking about how successful people can remain humble despite their achievements or how a widely travelled person could have his mouth sealed while listening to another's limited travel experience, not that mine can be compared to all these. I'm just thinking about how they do it, their literal behaviour. Do they say something? Being someone not apt at talking, the best thing I can do for myself and people around me is probably to keep my mouth shut. I have my own family to talk to anyway, and they know when I tell them about Coco's antics in school, it's not about bragging or being proud about that school.

I didn't realise that the word was 'elitist' until Huiling describes some school as "elite schools". Imagine primary schools being elite schools. It didn't come across to me that way. I thought 'elite' is a word applied to secondary schools onward as getting into a 'good' primary school is not by merit of academic success, but by the virtue of your parents being an old boy/old girl.

I'll just have to stop talking about Coco. God knows how hard it is for a mother to stop talking about her angel-daughter, and she really is an angel short of having a halo and a pair of 'rainbow wings'. But it's hard not to talk about the school when you talk about your kid, right? Especially when she's in Primary One. It's a significant milestone in a child's life. I simply adore her. What have I done to deserve a daughter so perfect? I often have this sense of unworthiness when it comes to Coco. Some other mothers would be a better mother than I.


Coco peed in her uniform in school yesterday. It was my fault. The moment she reached home, she rushed to the toilet to release the pent-up flood. I had urged her to 'finish up the water in the water-bottle' for the past few days as she often comes home with a 3-quarter or half-filled water-bottle. I was worried that she's not drinking enough water so I told her I wanted to see the water-bottle empty when she comes home every day. Actually I didn't think she would be so obedient as to literally finish up every drop of the water. I was just trying to make her 'be among the stars' by asking her to reach the moon.

Even when she felt urgent, she stayed on in the class as the teacher was teaching and she didn't want to miss any of the teaching. Poor girl! She's such an angel she got a more-than-grown-ups reason for every mistake she makes.

This incident sets me off thinking exactly how much water our children should drink. If it's 8 glasses per day, then they should drink a substantial amount of water in school since they spend quite a lot of time there. But it's not conducive for their studying nor a teacher's teaching if they often ask to go to the loo. I myself get irritated when children ask to go to the loo on a frequent basis, particularly if it's always the same children or when I'm teaching. And I have this rule of not being allowed to go toilet for the first period, the period just before and after recess, as well as the last period. I'm thinking of the school-bus children. If they don't get to go toilet at the last period, they probably have to suppress their bladder for another 45 mins to an hour after school before they reach home. Hmm ... I promise myself to be a more humane teacher when I start teaching again. I will probably let the schoolbus children go and relief themselves 10 mins before the bell goes off. It'll eat into the curriculum time, but they're really just kids.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Coco's matters

Yesterday I went to the principal's talk with Ah Bi and Coco. It's a different principal, and clearly, this is a better, principled principal. The only thing she boasted of was about the history of the school, which started way back in 1917. The reason she mentioned about it was because she wanted to tell the parents about the school's background and why the school adopts certain beliefs, values and practices, like the rule of having short hair for girls, having Chinese traditions such as bowing to or greeting teachers and herself.

I'm a little worried that Coco might end up in the Chinese LSP. I do hope that she qualifies as the top minority in Chinese. It has never been a problem to me. It would be quite an insult if she's weak in her Chinese. When we got home, I tried to stuff her with 'San Zi Jing' ... ... :-P

She won a prize from her teacher for being one of the first five to get a row of names (horizontally) from her friends in a break-the-ice activity. She was so happy, but of course, the mother has to help assemble her prize into a little hamtaro's house. I'm so glad she's doing well in school.

She seems to be really happy in this school. I still remember how unhappy a little girl she was when she was just four. I'd sent her to the PCF nursery class below my mother's place, but apparently, she didn't have any friends. The other children were more proficient in their mother tongues. Even when I celebrated her birthday at the nursery to make her friends like her better, she had to eat her cake alone at a table in a corner. She became happier when she changed school to a nearby church kindergarten as the kids there spoke the same language ... er well, her English became quite singlish but I had no issue with that since it was for the sake of establishing solidarity with her classmates. She loves the kindy so much she still missed her friends before school started. When she got off the school bus on Friday, she said to me, elatedly, with sparkles in her eyes,"I have a lot of friends!!!", referring to the kids on her school bus. When I drew attention to the milo stain on her uniform,"Eeee ... you are so dirty ...", she said, happily,"They did not laugh at me." knowing that I was play-acting a teasing friend.

I've finally decided to enrol her in the Primary Ballet. I do want her to enjoy ballet instead of just knowing how to bend or dance. Apparently, she likes ballet, to my unknown. When I asked her if she would mind going to another class for ballet, she curled up in the sofa and replied meekly,"As long as I get to learn ballet."

Thursday, 4 January 2007

The 2nd Day

I didn't sleep till 4.30am this morning. Felt really sleepy even though my elder sister sent me to Coco's school. Today she ate a plate of beehoon. I'd wanted her to try buying some staple food so that she won't feel intimidated or helpless when she wants to eat different stuff from her sandwiches.

She's tried to eat fast within the 20 mins or so although she couldn't finish.



William took her to cut her hair yesterday. Really short, but well, as long as she's happy.

Everybody is tired. I just woke up from my 4-hour nap. William went back to sleep after opening his eyes for a while. Coco is sleeping on the sofa. I hope she continues to sleep throughout the night. She won't be able to get back to sleep if she wakes up anytime from now.

There's still 2 more days to go before parents are barred from the school compound. I hope she'll learn about money soon enough: reading the food prices, knowing how much change to get back and making an effort to save up some pocket money.

Talked to the principal today. Don't like the woman. You can almost tell that she makes a bad superior to her staff. She constantly boasted about her achievements on the parental support the school receives. When I talked to her, she didn't even make eye contact with me when she replied.

I hope I don't need to cross her path ever in these six years.

A local ex-actress was among the P1 parents. Saw her standing alone in the canteen today. It would be nice to know her I suppose, but I didn't have the courage to talk to her. Plus the fact that most mothers at Coco's school are very "proud" (in Ah Ching's word). I wouldn't want to look like I'm ingratiating to her.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Behold, it's here

O wow, the first day is over. I just woke up from a nap. I got exhausted from all the hype and the physical 'strains' - I had to wake up at 5am despite sleeping at 2am you know.

I'm quite impressed by the way the school runs its stuff, like the way they allocated different areas for different levels to assemble for the first day to make the P1s especially feel at home and comfortable. They have a buddy system (which is common across most schools) in which a P5 accompanies 2 P1s for recess, to assist them in buying food and drinks.

Coco even bought a packet of chrysanthemum tea for me using half of what we gave her for pocket money. She ended up borrowing money from another classmate - horror of horrors! It dawned on me that I ought to educate her on spending and saving. Before she went to school, I had envisioned that she would come home telling me that she didn't spend a single cent at school as she ate her packed lunch, and I would teach her, motherly and proudly, how she could save up the pocket money she had been so prudent with. I've always been a thrifty child and I thought Coco would inherit this part of my gene from me. Looks like she's quite a spendthrift. My elder sister thinks it's because it's her newfound freedom in the finance arena so she's going a bit wild.

Everything was fine otherwise. Except till the end of school when she had to follow the schoolbus driver to the bus. She was the first to tailgate the busdriver, and she lost him when he made a left turn to walk towards the bus. She turned right instead. And it took a while before she realised she lost him. I called out to her. She turned back, saw me, and broke into tears,"Mummy, I am lost ... ..." I led her back to the bus driver and she took the bus home. She actually refused to be chauffered home by her eldest aunt, much to my pleasant surprise. She fell asleep on the bus and had to be woken up by some older children. hahaa ...

There were two mothers who tried making small talks with me after realising that I, instead of my elder sister, was the mother. Being a horrible conversationist, the talks didn't last long. :-p

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Coco's big day ...

Coco is starting school tomorrow. I feel immensely stressed - whether I'd leave something out resulting in her feeling discomfort - not enough food in her stomach, too much food, stomachache ...

I hope we will be able to wake up at 5 am tomorrow, given the late sleepers we are.

Instead of feeling excited in the happy sense, I feel rather melancholic that my baby is growing up so fast. Although she will always be my baby, I won't be able to call her a 'baby' soon.