Up until now I’ve raved (mostly) about Georgia’s current experience in Reception in her school (save the social issues with C as I have written about here and here) it has been warm and welcoming with lots and lots of positive influences. I do absolutely love the teaching team in Georgia’s current class, they are very caring and nurturing and take great care over each child.
BUT…(there’s always a but isn’t there?) what I haven’t been so forth coming with has been the fact that my perception of what constitutes an ‘education’ is actually contradicted in some ways by the same positive influences I have been so happy with. Read more »
We have spent the past four days or so in London, mixing both business and pleasure family time. While DH and I alternately attended a work-related conference we decided that as it was the Easter holidays, we might as well have G tag along.
Among the various places we visited and this we did, who would have thought, that the most surprising revelation came in the hotel room.
If you have read some of my earlier posts, you might have guessed that we hardly if ever watch any TV at home. So every holiday, Georgia tries to catch up on what she doesn’t actually miss 😉
At the end of our first day, having visited the British Museum and catching up with TL and Ari, we relented and allowed her some wind-down time, in front of the tele, and of all the things she chooses to watch…..A&E as in Accident and Emergency!
For those of you who might not know, the A&E series here in the UK follows 2-3 real-life A&E patients through their A&E experience, so while some cases might be relatively blood-free, some are completely gore-y.
So anyway, even with the range of Freeview channels on, Georgia chooses to watch this bizarre bloody gore. Both DH and I could not bear to watch, so we distracted ourselves reading, but kept an eye on her, and it was really surprising, she was really genuinely interested and not the least bit fazed by it. I half expected her to have a fitful sleep but was pleasantly surprised.
Among the cases that were on that night, LOOK AWAY NOW if you can’t stomach blood and gore!
– A ladies ear that was almost completely detached during a fall; full-view surgery which included cleaning and disinfecting the ear’s cartilage
– An absurd somewhat bizarre gadget related injury, in which a stylus was lodged in girl’s tonsil (it was sticking out of her mouth) – how, I cannot imagine!
You may look again now.
Through it all, Georgia watched fascinated, with unflinching eyes stuck to the TV. She watched riveted.
So….I wonder is the fear or stomach for blood and gore learned behaviour, or do some people just naturally have a higher threshold? We wondered also if it’s because she does not as yet, have preconceptions of bloodiness and goriness and all of it is just fascinating?
And just after the swimming award we have been issued with a Primary Ballet exam notice…
Now Georgia has not always been very keen on going to ballet.
Although she is a natural dancer with a completely natural sense of rhythm, she has on many occasions moaned and groaned (yes there has even been tears) about going to ballet.
However, once she’s in, she loves it, and she comes out asking to come back again. (You know the saying, children know what they want not what they need?)
So anyway, realising she has to do these Ballet exams, her first reaction is.
G: No, I don’t want to do them
Me: Are you sure? You’ll get a certificate just like the one for swimming…
G: Really ? (her eyes opening wide, at the thought)
Me: Yeah sure.
G: Oh, OK then.
So there we are….Primary Ballet exam – bring it on!!!
Georgia asked for swimming lessons after finding out that one of her favourite little people, Owen, goes.
Obviously at age 4, everything sounds like fun and since she absolutely loved swimming, it must be fun too. That was until the ‘hard work’ started! She has asked to stop them a few times, but has never really ‘acted’ up in class, and actually does very well (the competitive spirit helps). Not to mention, after paying a termly fee of £150, you gotta be kidding me, if I let you change your mind on a whim!
So anyway, according to the tick-boxes, Georgia
has developed safe entries including submersion.
can swimming 10m on front and back,
has progressed rotation skills and water knowledge
She still lacks the strength to do the front crawl (completely); although I think being taught how to breathe properly might help (!). She is a natural at breast-stroke and back stroke though.
So after receiving her Stage 3 certificate, she has now decided she would like to do all the other stages, and she’s excited at the thought of swimming in a competition and winning a medal!
Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve started reflecting a little bit more about what I remember from my ‘growing up’ years and how Georgia’s experiences are.
The phrase ‘Hard Reading-ers’ that Georgia dropped in to conversation yesterday morning, just before school, made me reflect about how and when I first realised that academic achievement was or rather had to be an important goal. I actually remember the exact moment the realisation occurred.
It was in Standard 3, I was nine, I was walking up wooden steps in the ‘old’ block of my primary school, Convent Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia. It wasn’t as if, prior to that, I didn’t know about results and Report Books or that I did not know we had tests to take. I suppose prior to that, it never bothered me, luckily I suppose, because good results came fairly easily. Perhaps because, thankfully, my parents didn’t quite make an issue out of it.
Anyway, I digress (this is a blog about Parenting Georgia!) what I wondered really was, how aware she was of what she was capable of (in terms of academics), and whether this had any bearing on the things or work she had done in school.
She has never felt the need to tell me about what other children are doing in school, or in particular how able they are in their learning, but what I have noticed is that several of her little friends have commented on her reading books, and they have asked, how come she gets different, (harder) ones.
Clearly (or it seems clear to me) from these types of comments, they are quite aware of how they are compared with their peers (self-comparisons?), although I have never noticed this with Georgia, I do wonder why? Yet, perhaps it’s because we do so much with her that it’s a given, the work from school is going to be easy, and our conversations on her school experience focus mainly on the social aspects of it. Who did you sit with at lunch time? What games did you play? Learning questions, are always secondary or maybe even tertiary :).
I wonder if someone will come along and point out, that my realisation of results and academics equate to a ‘loss of childhood’. I am most certain that was not the case though, as the thing that struck me most was, all it did was ignite a hugely competitive fire, I HAD to have straight As, bar Art, PE and Chinese.
Do you remember your first important realisations? Have they affected you or the way you parent?
This morning as we were getting ready for school, we had this conversation.
G: James said that all the Hard Readingers have to go to the front.
Me: What is Hard Readingers? And where is ‘front’?
G: Hard Readingers are the people who read hard books, loh (Hokkien accent). We have to go to the front at Assembly.
So apparently, Georgia is a Hard Readinger. I suppose if they knew, she would also be a Hard Math-er, Hard Cello-er, Hard Writer (that one’s correct ;)) and we would be Hard Demanders!
If the saying ‘You are what you read’ is true, and a large part of me firmly believes so, I am seriously worried about the reading books that are being sent home from school; Georgia’s school and I imagine hundreds of other schools around the country.
If I digress a bit, and generalise an awful lot, and very much through an immigrant’s eyes, Britain and the British are well known as a country of ‘moaners’. They admit it themselves, everything and anything is always ‘dark and gloom’.
In fact, I have a lovely lovely sweet neighbour who is a lovely chap except everytime I’ve ever spoken to him, he complains about something, or other, usually the weather, which he has absolutely no control over! Nothing is ever right.
Anyway, back to those dreaded reading books. Georgia’s reading books from school are from the Oxford Reading Tree series. They’ve been around a while, I gather and I suppose in itself, from an educational perspective, they are fairly well written with step-wise developments on words with progressively more words per page.
What I just can’t get over are the stories and how depressingly negative they are! Bif, Chip and Kipper along with Wilf and Wilma, are on the whole pretty interesting characters (well, as interesting as pen-drawn characters can get). But the things they get up to and the conversations they have though are enough to make me want to slit my wrists! (No kidding!)
Take for example, the latest story Georgia brought home. It’s called At the Seaside.
The words of the story go like this:
The family went on holiday. Wilf and Wilma went, too.
The hotel had burned down. ‘Sorry’ said the man.
They looked at a new hotel. ‘Too expensive,’ said Mum.
They looked at an old hotel. ‘No, thank you,’ said Dad.
Every hotel was full. ‘Sorry!’ said everyone.
They had to go home. But the car broke down.
A farmer stopped his tractor. ‘Can I help?’ he said.
The farmer had a bus. ‘You can stay here,’ he said.
‘What a good holiday!’ said Wilf.
Copyrights OUP 1989
At least this book ends in a slightly more positive note, but really, surely it’s not necessary for children to have such a depressingly negative start. I must add, though, even in the books with slightly perkier or funnier stories, they typically end with ‘Oh no!’
Do you think these (infant and primary school) 5-year old’s reading books could have been a significant contributing factor to how ‘negative’ (again, gross generalisation here!) British society has become?
You know how it is, you try to do about 5 (gazillion!) things at once, limited by having only one pair of eyes. As Georgia was trying to get me to watch her attempt skating she half shouts at me
G: Mum, look at me!
Me: Ok (My eyes still glued to the browser on my phone! – Haven’t they said iPhones are evil?!)
G: Mum, look at me now!
Me: Mmmm…ok (not yet looking)
G: I tell you, PUT AWAY THAT PHONE, it is NOT IMPORTANT. It’s much more important to look at me, not at the phone!
When I started this blog way way back in June 2007 (according to my Archives) it’s sole purpose was to serve as a parenting journal of my (our) experiences of Parenthood and as a chronicle of the milestones and developmental phases Georgia progressed through.
In many ways it has served that purpose really well. I can actually read back and remember her first words, her fascination at seeing real life ducks and geese, and all those wonderful conversations we have had. I haven’t always been very good at keeping this blog up-to-date. Completely guilty in fact of never writing about our holidays, saving drafts upon drafts of posts, half written, never posted, always meant.
This year though, I have decided to make more of an effort, not least because I would so so love to print it all bound in a hard cover book form to hand over to Georgia when she’s 21…or maybe when she becomes a mum (now that’s a scary thought!). She does not know that this blog exists, nor that she is the subject of such passionate discussions at times. Perhaps one day, I’ll tell her, but only if she’s good 😉
What has been a wonderful extension of this greater effort is the support and general friendship that has grown from readers commenting, sharing thoughts, opinions, advice. Thank you so very much to Circus Queen who nominated this blog for the Liebster Award, with such a wonderful description of my ramblings:
Stories of Georgous written by Li-Ling who grew up in Malaysia but is now raising her daughter Georgia in the UK. She speaks eloquently of the contrasts between the cultures and parenting styles, often sharing the funny or startling profound things that Georgia says. You don’t have to be from an Asian background (or even be a parent!) to find something extraordinarily human in her writing
And in accepting this Award, the three steps following are:
1. Create blog post about accepting, with Liebster logo.
2. Link back to person who has nominated me, and happily accept their praises.
3. Nominate 3-5 of my fav blogs, that maybe not everyone in the blogosphere will have tripped over but that are nonetheless FAB, and tell them they’ve been nominated.
A little bit of digging around on the Award hasn’t revealed very much apart from the fact that it is a way of helping blogs you like gain a greater readership or following. These blogs should have 300 or less readers, apparently.
So here goes my three nominations:
http://kloppenmum.wordpress.com/ written by Karyn, who sometimes writes so assertively it’s a bit scary ;), but her real, really lovely (!) personality comes through in her responses to her comments (you are allowed to disagree with her and she’ll still be your friend, I hope :). She is so passionate about parenting and creating a better life for her family and herself, you just want to keep reading.
My Adventures in the US of A Letti is a ‘real-life’ friend from my undergrad days deep in the jungles of Borneo (not quite!). She moved to the US from Malaysia and has been there for a while now. This blog and her other one on parenting Jaxon, her lovely boy Our Journey in to Parenthood are interesting descriptive stories of her experiences both in life and in parenting.
Our World My World written by… :O I don’t actually know her name. It’s a fascinating journey of parenting in Singapore, a super-‘kiasu’ ( I will come round to explaining that term soon, for now, it means competitive) country. I’m seriously in awe of how she manages to not be overly influenced by the hugely competitive parenting environment, being able to keep to an identity and a somewhat laidback (by Asian standards!) approach to parenting her children. Being there supporting, talking and spending time with them – just the way it should be!
So there you are, thank you all my lovely readers. And if you trip over to one of these blogs, I’m sure they’ll happily welcome you.