Waiting to board the ferry to Bintan from Singapore what seems eons ago, I spied this book at the convenience store in the Tanah Merah ferry terminal and out of guilt (Rockstar had ABC Music & Me at school last year and since then I have done nothing, nothing, I tell you – if you ask me now I can’t even remember what the instructions were for home learning - so obviously I was really happy they’re starting this up in school again next month – I hope to keep up better this time) I pick it up. Ok, that and:
1) The bit that said “Recommended by Royal Academy Of Music” on back. I was curious whether they advocated “drill & kill” because I was drilled til I nearly wanted to kill someone. I remember my first ever Grade 1 ABRSM Theory exam where I got a 99 (which back then was a full score) and being asked, “How come it wasn’t 100?” and I remember not enjoying some music lessons very much.
(Au contraire, the book’s full of fun songs and activities. It has ideas for pregnancy, babies, and all the way up to 9 year olds.)
2) The cool-looking long-haired boy with violin on the cover. (Didn’t care about violin, liked boy’s hairstyle. Tried that when Rockstar was about 2. Failed miserably – he has stick-straight hair. No one thought I meant the violin, right?)
What, you think this is the first time a mummy picked up a product because she liked the look of the child in the marketing? According to Rockstar’s old local pediatrician few years back this was why in HK you couldn’t sell formula for newborns with real pictures of babies on the tin, and that’s why you see all these crazy-cute baby cartoons and things. The “ban” was to encourage mums to breastfeed, not psychologically think you might get happier, healthier babies from feeding em formula…
3) Another mum on Hong Kong Island told me she went to check out some Suzuki Method class charging close to HKD 1,000 per lesson and it had a 100-strong waiting list. (Ok so then I don’t need to check it out haha)
4) NOT the Make Your Child Smarter thing. Because instead of me making my child smarter, my child will make me insane.
While I’m flicking the book, of course, Rockstar materializes under my elbow.
Rockstar: <suspiciously> What is that?
Me: Music Makes Your Child Smarter.
Rockstar: <seriously> But I don’t want to be smarter. Don’t make me, Mum.
Me: You don’t want to be smart, or you don’t want people to know you’re smart? There’s a difference. Smart gets you cool responsibilities and you get to do important things like the clever boys and girls you see on West Wing (I watched Nikita recently, Rockstar passing by living room has claimed it’s “boring” – he has never asked me to switch West Wing for Nikita, but he has asked me to give up Nikita for West Wing several times. Maybe it’s because Nikita has too many loud action scenes and the noise bothers him) and - Hey, is that why you deliberately give us wrong answers?
Me: So you admit you answer your parents wrongly on purpose? (<thinking> Oh, the joys of parenting, especially during Primary School Interview Season).
Rockstar: Hee. So don’t ask so many things.
You can imagine how relieved we were when he came home with this Superstar sticker for class participation one day… There’s also a very important-looking little certificate with their name on it signed by teacher and school principal, and Rockstar carried his reverently around (with two hands!) til I finally got him to put it down and eat something after school…
I think the school does that to encourage all the little kids, Rockstar explained you can only get one (so it’s not like one child will just keep getting everything), and admitted he’d “tried and tried to be good and then waited and waited to get one” in school. NOW he tells me. Usually I get “I ate the crackers” when I ask about school.
“I tickled someone. Now he’s not my friend.“
“I don’t like (Someone Else), he doesn’t do Butterfly Legs.” (sit cross-legged on floor during Circle Time, I suppose.)
“I only tickled him a bit, and he got SO ANGRY…..!” <suspicious>
Ps: Another mummy friend gets “Bye-bye, Mummy,” when she tries to ask about school… Our kids are just Don’t Ask, (We) Don’t (Want To) Tell…