Tag Archives: children

NUKWIDLS 1: Little Kids

This is a NUKWIDLS (i.e. “Now U Know What I Did Last Summer) post, as promised two posts previously.

Last year, I started to volunteer my time at a children’s playgroup run by a church and this last summer I really maximised my time with them. The playgroup consists of about 30 children ages 1-3 years old. They are accompanied by at least one of their parents or grandparents. Basically, I help the teachers with arranging furniture, handyman jobs, playing with the kids and my number 1 job; storyteller! Some of the kids have some learning or development disabilities and we make a special effort with them too. The playgroup is also a place for parents to get support and advice. Now I am having a great time enjoying the kids.

I have no children of my own and I have no younger siblings so taking care of kids or even relating with kids is not something I have had much experience in. Furthermore, I am not the most friendly person around. It may (or maybe not) surprise you but I tend to be on the reserved side when it comes to relating socially. When I was working, I think my work colleagues would probably have described me as clinical, cold, curt and a bit anti-social.

Hence it was with trepidation that I first went to this playgroup. How was I going to relate with them kids?

To my surprise and many others, I took to it like an otter to water or a squirrel to a birdfeeder. Where I am socially inept with adults, I was right at home with kids. I know your devious minds are even now busy devising devious comments for this post like, “LGS, this says volumes about your maturity level”. But I really don’t care cause even better ….. the kids like me too.

Let me introduce you to a few of them. There is Harold who is truly a young gentleman – always polite, always asks before taking a toy and frequently helps out with tidying away the toys.

Adrian is obsessed with cars. I once wore a T-shirt that had a picture of 4 British Guardsmen in their bright red uniforms crossing at a pedestrian crossing in a parody of the famous picture of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. A came up and started counting “One soldier, two soldier, thr……Car! Car! Car!” He had noticed in the picture, a tiny image of a small car parked way in the background!

Jessie loves to dress up and is a socialite in the making. Once, at the lantern party, her dad wanted to take her picture but she was busy playing with the paper lanterns and refused to cooperate. In frustration, her dad said, ” But I only want this photo to post on Facebook.” JQ immediately dropped everything and posed for the photo.

Then there is Owen.  Owen loves to test the boundaries. If you tell him that he is not allowed on the stairs, he will patiently stand at the base of the stairs and maybe 10 minutes later, he will step on the stairs and wait until you spot him before stepping off again. He does this all the while flashing a cute and disarming grin.

Everyone calls 3 year old Shania an “old soul”. No baby talk from her. She seldom opens her mouth but when she does, you can’t believe it came out from a 3 year old. Once she was climbing up to the top of the sofa and her aunt who was reading the newspaper looked up and saw her and worried that she might fall, said, “Shania get down from there!” Shania paused, looked at her aunt and replied, “Why don’t you just keep reading your newspaper!” On another occasion, she observed one of the teachers cleaning up a mess on the floor with some detergent. When the teacher was finished, she walked over to the spot and pointed at it and said, “Why is there STILL some black black there?”

I remember her very first words to me. She was carrying a toy that she had finished playing with when she walked up to me, handed me the toy and said those three amazing words; “Put it away!” And when I hesitated from the surprise, she looked me up and down, gave a big sigh, took the toy back from me and put it away herself. I think Shania has it in for me. She is ever so critical of my performance especially when I am reading stories. On one occasion, I was telling a story about this man and I said that the man was very rich and he lived in a big house that was had 5 floors and 20 rooms. Shania barged her way to the front of the kids, walked up to me and corrected me, “That is not a house. That is a Mansion!”

Anyway, the kids and I have really bonded and I will soon be a little sad cause the older ones in the group will not be returning next year.

Playgroup Having Lunch
Playgroup Having Lunch
Trip to the Animal Farm
Trip to the Animal Farm
Lantern Festival Party

Little Drummer Boy

(top image by eclectech)

Is it true that chicks dig bad boys, and especially bad boys in rock bands? And is it true that chicks are really, really, really into bad boy drummer-types in big bad rocking bands?  Well, true or not, my brother-in-law recently bought himself a drum set.  I suspect it is a case of early on-set mid-life crisis.  Any way, he bought the drum set and signed up for some formal classes to learn to play the drums.

When we meet up from time to time, he tries to show me some of the beats and drum sequences that he has learned.  I have no patience with the discipline that is needed to learn new things like playing drums.  Instead I rely on my natural inclination to music and after learning the basics, pretty much play by ear ……….. and I am pretty decent at it too, even if I say so myself.   So each time, he will show off what he has learned and I will show off what I just made up.  I know, silly.  But it kind of fed both our egoes.

Then his seven year old son, G, got into the act and started attending the same classes as his dad.  Lo and behold, G was playing better than his old man!  G does not have a natural flair for music but he is very capable and was technically superior to both of us and for awhile, G held center-stage during our jam sessions.  But the family saga was not yet over.  G’s younger 5 year old brother, R,  got interested watching his older brother play and so he picked up the drumsticks and with no formal training whatsoever, copied his brother’s beats.  And R, was a real surprise cause, he plays with the best natural rhythm of us all.

Despite nursing a bruised ego, my brother-in-law at least had the soothing balm of fatherly pride in his two kids.  He videoed them in action on the drum set to show off to relatives.  As it is the way these days, it was not long before doting dad got the idea to put one of the video’s up on to Youtube to show the world his talented offspring.  He put up a particularly good video of R playing the drums in his pajamas.  He was really rocking, playing the beat and doing a drumroll.  R didn’t miss a beat even though he had to pull up his falling pajama trousers a couple of times during the act. He entitled it “5 year old R plays drums”.

My brother-in-law was full of expectation.  He imagined the video clip going viral with praises and comments flowing in, “Oh how cute?” or “Boy genius” or “Amazing”  or “Can I adopt him?” or even, “Hi I would like to sign a recording deal with this musical prodigy!”

So imagine his surprise that when we checked the status of the video a few days later, there were only two views of the video and only one “like”.  (Later, doting father confessed that he had “liked” the video to get the ball rolling).  Curious at the poor response, we tried to do a google search to locate the video and made two surprising discoveries.  Discovery number one is that there are a lot of videos of drummers called “R”  – so we could not find our video and discovery number two was that there were a lot of kids who played a whole lot better and at an earlier age.

One such discovery was Howard Wong – shown in the video below when he was just three years old (he is 6 this year).  When we showed the video to G, all he could say was “what…? How? Is this real?  How…did he do it?”

So excuse us, we have to go practice some more before we dare show our faces on Youtube again but in the meantime, ever the patron of the arts, the Lone Grey Squirrel presents …………three year old Howard Wong. (Oh and he’s Malaysian!  At about 2.30 mark in the video, Howard really takes off on the cute factor)

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