Sophie is 3 years and 5 mths old!


I usually write a "Dear Sophie" letter each month to Sophie but think I’m going to document her development this month coz she’s almost 3 1/2 years old!


ABCs & 123s
As you know Sophie doesn’t go to formal nursery even though she turns 4 this year and sometimes I worry how she’s going to catch up before she goes to Primary 1! In Singapore, she’ll have to be able to read and write pretty well in both English and Mandarin by P1. Most of what she knows she’s picked up at home or from watching videos e.g Letter Factory, Blues Clues etc…


As of now, she knows the sounds to the alphabets and she can tell what names of things begin with. She can even spell some of her friends’ names. She tried to spell "Oliver" on her own yesterday and she managed "Olv" which I thought was pretty good coz she sounded all the consonants all by herself! She tried "Agata" and ended up with "Ugt". Guess all her friend are going to get strange notes with their names spelt funny! She loves "writing" notes to her friends and they make absolutely no sense but she’ll just write a whole bunch of letters. One of the games we play is "letter box", we have two cardboard boxes that we use as letter boxes and she’ll write mail to me and I’ll write mail to her and we post things to each other. It’s a super fun Saturday thing to do. Most times she writes gibberish but she practices writing alphabets and I write real letters and she loves to hear me read them to her. It’s fun! Best thing about it? I can lie on the sofa in the morning while we do this and it’s pretty relaxing.


She can write most of the alphabets but there are some that she still stumbles over e.g. she gets her "b" and "d" mixed up and she writes "S" the other way around. Unfortunately I didn’t have a proper system of introducing the alphabets to her so she’s unable to recognise some of the lower case alphabets.


I haven’t been doing a lot with numbers with her. She can count stuff confidently up to 10 but sometimes she messes up. She’s starting to learn about addition from Blues Clues. We play cash register sometimes and we buy and sell things for fun so she gets to count "money". The "money" we use are just glass beads that we got from the good ole $2 shop. However, Sophie can’t really write numbers. 5, 8, 9 etc are just so hard to manage. Guess if we work at it a bit more, she’ll get it but we just haven’t really had time.


What about Mandarin? Er… no comment. We haven’t made much progress here at all. She only knows the names of animals and refuses to converse in Chinese. Sigh… help!!!!


Managing her emotions
I’m not exactly sure why but Sophie went through a phase a few weeks ago where she kept screaming when she didn’t like the way things were. When someone takes her toy, she’ll scream REALLY loudly. Or if someone hits her, she’ll scream REALLY loudly. When that happens, it just make me cringe. She used to whine or cry but she didn’t really scream. So when it started to happen, my first reaction was to curb it because it just didn’t go well with my upbringing. Kids are to be quiet! (Right?!?)


Anyways, two things happened, I realised that she’s really just defending herself and it really made the other kid stop. The other thing we did was to begin to teach her that she can say "I don’t like that. Pls stop it!" in a firm way and if the other kid didn’t stop, she had the option to tell an adult. Giving her the space to express her emotion and frustration plus giving her words to that helped. Whenever I stopped her from screaming immediately, it always made things worse because she must have been thinking it wasn’t her fault and she was just telling him "no!". Sophie has a very strong sense of justice and being unjust to her really got her mad (I can totally understand that). Well, I’m not sure if it’s all working but we are monitoring this. I’m really thankful that she has not much problems telling us how she feels e.g. I really miss Evan and Eli or I’m really angry. I find that spending 5-10 mins with her walking slowly from school to lunch really helps for us to connect and she shares everything that happens in school. Very precious times.


It amuses me to watch how Sophie is interacting with adults. I remember when she first arrived in NZ, there was a time when she went over to the neighbours’ house and sat down next to my friend and ask her "How are you?". Yesterday I saw her attempting to join in my conversation with her teacher. We were talking about Christchurch and Sophie said "Gabriel, you know we went to Christchurch and we did this this and this…. ". I forgot what she said exactly but it was so cute watching her telling her teacher about her holiday. Like a big girl! She’s normally shy with strangers but if she knows the person, she wants to join in all the conversations!


Sophie in relating to Evan seems a bit bossy. She keeps telling Evan what to do. A little worrying. However when she’s with Toby who’s a year older, she’s happy to just go along. When she’s face to face with another bossy kid her age e.g. Leanna, they just go head on with each other. Leanna is quite strong willed too. Amanda (Leanna’s mum) and I had to bear with the two girls irritating each other all the way to Rotorua from Matamata! 1 and a half hours! I guess Sophie is pretty headstrong when she knows she can be but she can follow as well.


She’s quite clownish in a lot of ways. Everything needs to be special and different to get her attention. She enjoys variety and loves to be different. Creative in many ways. Sometimes she really amuses us.


Very sensitive. She is sensitive as a person and also sensitive to others. If she ever sees me sad, she’ll come up immediately to comfort me. Quite a pastor at heart.


Relationships are very important to her. Spending time is definitely her primary love language. If Evan is not around, she REALLY misses her. She’ll tell everyone that she misses Evan and Eli. When they are away on holiday, she’ll make cards for them.


Gifts are important to her. I think that is her other love language. She can remember who gave her what. Today someone asked her about her sunglasses and she told them that godma and godpa gave it to her. That was almost a year ago!


Meal times
Sigh… community living always makes it SO hard for a 3 year old to sit still to eat their dinner. She’s improving in this area but sometimes it’s frustrating! She’s so kiwi now – she eats sandwiches for lunch! Yeeks! Lunch normally consists of a jam/peanut butter sandwich with a fruit. Ang moh to the core ah? She can eat 4 slices of bread on a good day. I comfort myself in making sure it’s grain bread. She’s more into pasta and noodles than rice. She loves stir fry veggies e.g. spinach. I was surprised that she loves bean sprouts! All the veggies that I loathe growing up! However we only have that on the weekends when I cook. Most days she’s just eating peas or corns. Ooo and she likes lamb! When I cook lamb, I almost have no chance to get to it. She also loves seafood… hmmm wonder who she got that from!?! :) Of course that’s also only weekend food.


Colour – Red (Hiak! Thank God not pink!). Actually if you ask her, she’ll say "red and black".
Toy – Toy watch and eye looker (don’t ask me what an eye looker is – it’s a plastic thingy that came with her bicycle. It’s not even part of the bicycle. She gave it the name. :)) She sleeps with both of them, plus her kitty and Windy. Both of which came free. Who needs expensive toys?!?
Video – Elmo, Blues Clues
Friends – Toby and Evan (Toby wants to marry Sophie!!! Faint…)
Clothes – Dresses, must be able to twirl, if not, not counted.
Anything thing of nature – sticks, leaves, twigs, stones, shells, flowers… my house is filled with these things!
Breakfast – cereal with milk, eggs, pancakes
Lunch – Bread with jam/peanut butter
Dinner – pasta, noodles, stir fry veggies
Fruit – pear, oranges, actually she’ll eat any fruit, even durian
Treat – jelly, gummies, san zha
Drink – babychino, Ribena
Activities – Listening to Winnie the Pooh audio stories, du shu (study)… ya she loves to do worksheets and sit down to study, crafts (painting, drawing etc), read, play pretend, watch TV, chit chat

Activities – Slides. She refuses to go on slides. She’ll climb, she’ll jump etc but she won’t go on slides. She’s not keen to sing in public.
Food – Carrots, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, lettuce
Clothes – She’s not keen on wearing pants/jeans, prefers skirts/dresses. And she prefers to go barefoot.

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