Rockstarism #391/ Miss-Speak #79: Raising Kids, By The Kids



From one of those parenting books I let Rockstar read because, you know, it’s the least amount of effort to get material :P

So, Lego builds, very Rockstar. Knocking something over (because she wants to improve on it), very Queen E.

Rockstar: (after reading) This is meant to be sarcastic, right?

Queen E: <triumphantly> Brains don’t have hands! <wiggles fingers>


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130 Issa Distinction

This is what he looks like, back from trip ok..

This is what he looks like, back from trip and learning he did well ok..

Rockstar’s coming back after a full-day school trip:

Rockstar: Mum! We met a bull who was raised by water buffalo. He thinks he’s a water buffalo.

Me: Aren’t they almost water buffalo? Your music results came today.

Rockstar: No-o, there’s a difference. When they hang out in the water he doesn’t always join them. <pause> Did I pass?

Me: Yeah. You did better than pass.

Rockstar: <brightens slightly> Ohh.. I got… a Merit? Billy – that’s the bull – is quite smart. He stole a sandwich. 

Me: Oh. No one freaked out that he might get sick? What was in the sandwich? No, a Merit is 120-129. You got 130. Basically you scraped through by the skin of your teeth past a Merit.

Rockstar: Yesss. <fist pump> I passed. Billy stole a lettuce sandwich.

Me: Dude. You didn’t just pass.

Rockstar: I thought you said I didn’t get a Merit.

Me: You don’t know what a Distinction is, do you.

Rockstar: Huh?

Me: It never came up what the one better than a Merit is. Yes there is a grade better than Merit. (Belatedly I realise, it never came up; and I like that his music teacher also never told him what the scorings were either, just got him to play his best)

Rockstar: IDK… <shrugs> But I did well?

Me: <slowly> You-got-130. It is better than a Merit. You did well and you were also lucky. Like Billy the bull. He didn’t steal something like ham and cheese and get really sick. How come no one stopped him?

Rockstar: They said he’s quite smart and everyone was laughing. And it was lettuce, he could smell it and chewed through the bag. It was (Muslim friend)’s sandwich. (To which I nod, because I remember Rockstar’s classmate – she once responded to hearing we are Malaysians with, “Oh it’s nice to be able to just buy most kinds of candy when we holiday there – you don’t have to worry so much about the animal oils.” That was how I first noticed – the very local counter ladies at Marks and Spencer Foods will also teach you to buy the vegetarian options if you need to avoid animal oils in butter etc)      

Rockstar: Is this…tinction hard to get?

Me: Um…. y-eah?

So I said we would only tell you if Rockstar had passed or failed his grade 2 Piano Exam and well yeah then he scraped through a Distinction. Dithered about it and couldn’t tell the story without saying it… and ah well if this is be some post about music exam for kids, then here’s mah song. It’s titled Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

pic from

Oh look I am going to milk parenting for personal profit by an advertisement and endorsement of Dogeared products – Whee! (pic from

Ok lemme get this out of the way first:

1) No Rockstar was not secretly gifted in music and we wrote it this way cos it would be a good story

2) No we weren’t secretly hoping/aiming for a distinction; because the difference in time, effort and emotional well-being (especially if your child is already not particularly interested and risks loathing music for the rest of his life) between a fair shot at a distinction and a fair shot at a pass was too great

3) No we are not now getting the HKD 80,000 piah-no. Because

a) already said that if he really gets through another exam (WITH A PASS, not the D-word) in a couple years then we will consider. Unless the keyboard we have right now goes to pieces.

b) Rockstar does have to adjust his “keyboard touch” between an electronic keyboard and a proper piah-no, in order to still follow all the expression required in his pieces. Also extra erm, “neuron-growing music practice” to do so right… <sheepish> Next time you pass a music instrument showroom, don’t rush your kid away, let them mess on the different pianos/ keyboards as long as you can before they make you buy it before they throw you out of the shop. Yes I am that OCD. Go back up and look at the picture above. I mean, as long as he doesn’t actually fail and have to repeat,  the “cost” of “risking” distinction or merit was worth the “benefit” of pushing him to develop the motor skills to “adjust”. (If you have a musically talented child you should really be reading me with caution haha)

I really love the additional “freedom” that not aiming for a higher mark allows us, in terms of learning experience. Rockstar’s still only gonna play for short periods at any time, albeit it’s now every time he walks past the keyboard. Speaking of which,

4) Yes the examiner was not fooled and did observe a lack of consistency in for e.g., Scales, and it’s on his transcript several times that he made mistakes, including in the pieces  (which I tell him is from simply not practicing enough). Ergo,

5) Part of getting that score was luck, part of it was not luck. 

Luck: He did not get sight reading or aural that he couldn’t answer, in the exam. He could certainly have, and he’s not particularly musical, or creatively so. He didn’t do super-well either, but we had been preparing that he could really flunk those.

Not Luck: He really can play his exam pieces quite well. Firstly, we already missed enrolling him for exam twice. Also, both kids in general have relatively good fine motor skills from the crazy Lego-ing and tower-stacking. For Rockstar, we milked it to the max, that he was sufficiently coordinated to pull off more elaborate pedalling, slurs, staccatos, pauses, moderation in speed and tone required of the pieces. Y’know, because he could’ve flunked some of the other bits, depending what he got on the day.

But then Rockstar being Rockstar, it was much easier to get him to do that part well, rather than to get him to practice scales and arpeggios… which is like pulling teeth <cringe>.

Epilogue: Rockstar is still the fusspot from earlier posts btw, he can still abruptly insist on drastic and immediate changes on a bad day.

This is him being creeped out by the Miss' touchy-feely one day.

This is him being creeped out by the Miss’ touchy-feely one day.

The latest complaint these last weeks has been that when he appeared sleepy (or bored), a music tutor apparently coo-ed “Oh, dear boy, are you sleepy ah, come I massage you ah, I give very good face massage one, will wake you right up ah,” to which Rockstar  snapped, “Don’t touch me.” “No ah, cannot like that ah, I tell your mother ah…” (Obviously this is not in his actual primary school..)

That evening I picked up a seriously indignant child. And then he got really, really mad at me for laughing (but really ok, a few weeks ago, he complained someone else “was too critical,” too strict. Which is laughable since us mums share tutors or student practice slots and one mum friend recently went to look for someone even more strict :D)

Me (to kids): I am going to teach you some Manglish/Singlish. This. This right here with the serial tutor and activities changing, is what we call Anyhow Oso Can One.

Rockstar: Wait, wha-?

Queen E: Mummy’s not speaking Eng-lish.  Shissa alien <beams>. 

Me: What does that make you two.

Rockstar: Adopted. 

ps: No bulls were hurt in the making of this post. And you know I don’t really endorse stuff (cf Dogeared pouch) or invite blog traffic, right? 

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Miss-Speak #77 – The Indomitable Spirit of Queen E

#392/ #77    

Walking on the street…

Queen E: I hope no one sees us…

Me: <worriedly> Why? I took out a nice change of clothes, you’re dressed quite nicely –

Queen E: But you’re not, Mum-may. 

Me: Next time, remind me not to feed or walk you so I have more time to put together a better look.

Queen E: <same expression, without skipping a beat> You look nice, Mum-may.


Handing me a trading card… 

Rockstar: Here, Mum. You can keep it.

Queen E: Wait wait lemmeseeitlemmeseeitlemmeseeit – <cheerfully> ok it’s not shiny, you can have it. 

(5 mins later Her Highness gives me her own shiny card, also from Rockstar.)


Overheard on the playground…

Queen E: Hey! Don’t throw things at my brother! <stamps foot for emphasis> He’s my brudda!!

Me (to Rockstar): Hear that darling? (Rockstar doesn’t react.) Isn’t that nice –

Queen E: (still yelling) I. Want to throw things at my. Brudda!!


One fine day…

Queen E: Mummy, why do we need the sky?

Me: Erm… Erm… That’s where the clouds are, we need them for rain, we need a place for birds to fly…

Rockstar: <face palms> Without sky there would be no atmosphere. Then all living things would die. Become extinct – 

Queen E: <shakes head> No, no, you’re (both) wrong. <authoritatively> You need the sky for rainbows <beams>

Life issa JOY.

Life issa JOY.


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