The Art of Lying

the art of lying mickey mouse painting
After weeks of missing lessons, El finally finished his painting of Mickey Mouse. His teacher had explained the concept behind it, but I had forgotten who the artist was. It was supposed to be have vintage feel, with all the patterns and designs behind Mickey Mouse.

mickey mouse el vintage painting

When I saw it, I liked it very much. His current art school, HeART Studio, is more interesting than his previous school, where they did blending of colours all the time. He has a greater sense of achievement here because he gets to see his completed works on canvas or on paper, instead of sketches in a notebook.

When we went home, Gar saw the painting and immediately became insanely jealous. He started saying it was his. We brushed him aside and said it was done by his brother. Agitated, he threw a tantrum.

“I painted this,” he reiterated, when he saw the painting on the wall the next morning. He was lying through his teeth and became upset when we repeated that it was done by his brother.

I had remembered reading articles about lying. Lying is actually a good thing for the children, because they require cognitive skills to tell them. The earlier they lie, the brighter they are. However, we have to guide them and not let them get away with lying. If not, they will continue lying as they get older.

I went to search for the articles and read them. According to Victoria Talwar and Kang Lee’s developmental model of lying, they mention that at the primary stage of lying, which occurs around age 2 to 3, children lie blatantly. It is very easy to tell they are fibbing, because it is impossible for the event to happen. Gar’s lie was easily exposed. At the secondary stage of lying, which occurs around 4 to 5, children tell lies that are more plausible. At the tertiary stage of lying, when they are around 7 to 8, they will tell lies that depend on facts and they have follow ups.

The articles mentioned that we do have to address the issue right away, and not much later. We should not let them get away with the lies. Young children might not be able to tell between make belief and reality, hence the tall tales. He could have told the lie because he had liked it very much and had imagined himself drawing that. However, he did not express it the right way.

We should also avoid showdowns, and not accuse them of what they did. Very young children do not know that they are in the wrong. Instead, we could talk about the other party’s feelings, or mentioned that something had happened.

To resolve his issue, I asked him later in the evening who had painted that. Again, he said he did. I was a little glad he did, because that meant I could address this properly this time round.

“Do you like this painting very much?” I asked.

“Yes,” Gar answered.

“Do you want to have your own painting like this too?”


“Do you want Mummy to paint Mickey Mouse with you?”


“This painting is done by Kor kor (El). Is it very nice?”


I took a deep breath, and hope that he would be able to tell the truth this time round.

“Who painted this?” I asked again.

“Kor Kor.”

I heaved a sigh of relief.

El was in the living room when this exchange happened. I told Gar to tell El that his painting was very nice.

Gar shouted, “Kor Kor, your painting is very nice!”

El kept quiet and pretty much ignored him. I went to El and told him that someone had just paid him a compliment. He should acknowledge that and thank the person.

After some probing, El finally said, “Thank you for your compliment.”

I went back to Gar, and told him what to say.

“You are welcome!”

Children need to be taught how to respond in different social situations. I find that El can be quite nonchalant at times, and I need to get him to greet people, including his teachers and friends, or say goodbye to his friends.

Going back to the painting, I sat down with Gar to do the painting. I searched online for a picture of Mickey Mouse, and asked Gar which one he wanted. He said he wanted a blue Mickey Mouse, and selected a picture. I sketched it out, and got him to paint.

He had been doing some painting with my mother, who is very talented in drawing. My mother had reminded me to use the white colour to mix with the colours, so that the pictures would be more dimensional instead of flat.

He wanted various colours for different parts of Mickey Mouse, and after he had painted the mouse, I got him to paint the background. When he was done, I added the outline to make the picture a little better. I also added some touch ups to the side.

mickey mouse gar painting

Gar was extremely proud of his painting and demanded that we put up his artwork on the wall too. When he observed that his brother’s painting had a name, he asked to include his name on his artwork too. His father wrote his name and he was as pleased as a lark.

Getting My Article Published

It is the 28th SEA Games and I love watching the events, especially the swimming finals. I used to watch the competition on television, and even go to swimming meets with my friend. Even though I was very keen on watching, it would be near impossible with very young kids.

It turned out that I was stuck at home with horribly infected feet with burns after putting medication on blisters which developed after walking to a clinic five minutes from my home. It had even resulted in an A&E visit, and it was excruciating pain as the nurse tried to remove the dead skin.

photo (2)

Hence, throughout most of the SEA Games, I was stuck at home, so I spent my evenings watching the swimming finals.

I had enjoyed watching the commentary provided by Gerald Koh and Mark Chay, as they gave me a greater insight into swimming. In the past, I had attended swimming meets with my friend, whom I had discovered enjoyed watching swimming competitions. In the past, I could only see them swim for a few seconds or a minute, and I had never thought about what swimmers had to go through and put in.

I had also enjoyed the time with Gar. Gar would sit beside me at night and watch the competitions together. He was very tickled by the backstrokers, whom he described as swimming backwards. Whenever the swimmers won gold medals, I would sing the Majulah Singapura, our national anthem,  during the award ceremonies and Gar learnt how to sing after a few times.  When I asked him what sport he would take part in, he mentioned that he would like to jump about.

A few nights later, I had inspiration so I typed out my article at 3am (couldn’t go back to sleep as the antibiotics were quite strong on my stomach) on my iPhone and emailed it to myself.  I have always wanted to be a published author, so I guess writing to the newspapers would be a great start.

The next morning, I tidied the article up and sent it to Today Voices, a forum for Today newspaper. I thought I would stand a higher chance getting my article published as the newspaper is owned by Mediacorp and I was writing about their programming.

I received an automated response to the article. They said they would contact me if they were to publish it.

I had expected my article to be published the next day, so I was disappointed when I did not see it. Perhaps I should just publish it on my Facebook feed instead.

I read the newspaper in the afternoon after I was back from my appointment with a podiatrist. I was reading, when I finally saw my article, Ex-swimmers add depth to commentary. It took up half a page of the tabloid, along with another article. There were minimal changes, and I presumed the editors found it easy to edit. I remembered when I was writing for a student paper when I was 14 years old, the editor mentioned that my articles were the easiest to edit, compared to the other cub reporters.


I was so excited! My writing is far from Pulitzer standard, but I just like to write. It is a good form of catharsis for me, and it was a good start.

A motivation speaker mentioned that to know what you are really passionate about, dig deep into what you were doing when you were 8 to 16. What do you like to do? What are you good at? I had been writing diary entries since I was 10 years old on paper, and then when I was 20, I started blogging. I guess some of my greatest joys come from writing. This is what I really want to do.

Sorry for the digression. On the same night, I was watching a Japanese drama starring Takuya Kimura. He had lost his memories and forgot why he had married his ex-wife. It was later revealed that he did not respect her dream. They met when she wanted to interview him. He married her to climb up the corporate ladder. He would demand her to get the household chores done, and would wonder why she would lose track of time, as she would always be working on her computer. When she had finally finished her book, she was so excited and she gave her husband her book to read. She was very disappointed when he used her book as a coaster, and her brief show of anger when she saw the coffee stains. I could empathize with her.

My husband did not show any excitement for me that my article was published. He even said that he knew I would be eager to write the next article, but said I had better do the household chores. I think he was quite frustrated with being sick as well, and without a helper to help with the chores, but I definitely felt my spirits dampened by his lack of enthusiasm.

I would still strive towards my dream of being a published author.

4 Ideas For Children During Free Time

After being confronted with the reality that my young children spend far too much of their free time on iPad either playing Minecraft, Tap Zoo and Surfer Run, or watching YouTube videos, I decided there must be better things for them to do, because they become quite irritable after playing online games for too long. There are four big ideas I would encourage them to do during their free time.

1. Play

Active play is great for young children. Gifted children may have asynchronous development physically, so spending time outdoors could help them with their gross motor skills. Unstructured play is important for their development. We also go to the playground occasionally. Gar loves to climb and he becomes braver each time. I used to hover around Gar, but now that he is older and more skilful, I can let him have more independence. My son’s preschool teacher also mentioned that negotiation skills are best observed at the playground.

The boys love to jump on the sofa. The younger one loves to jump from the piano bench, tables and beds. We have lots of playmats to cushion his jumps. Someone mentioned that having a mini trampoline would be a great idea. I haven’t had time to check that out. In the mean time, my 3-year-old sofa looks bad.

The boys also love to play with balls. They could throw it, kick it or roll it. Gar loves to put on his father’s soccer gloves. Sometimes I will even join in, but I think I am far from bending it like Beckham.

Apart from active play, sedentary play is important too. Gar loves to play with Batman and Joker at the moment. My husband had bought Duplo Batman, so the brothers love to play with them.

Recently, we started playing Twister, a game that ties you up in knots, as El loves to say. What I can say is my children can’t seem to tell left and right apart.

playing twister1

Charades is another game that we have played before. It is no ordinary charades. It is dinosaur charades. El would act out various dinosaur species, and get me to guess what they are.

Not too long ago, with his latest Minecraft obsession, and some Citiblocs tiny wooden blocks, he made me guess various items, such as tree, treehouse, heart, and other things that look exactly like how they do in Minecraft.


2. Create

Let children come up with something. Sometimes they could create their own games, or sometimes they could recreate drawings or other handicraft.

El creates drawings filled with dinosaurs or Ben 10 aliens. Despite nearly 2 years of art lessons, he is still not so good at drawing. However, I still love his drawings. I have tonnes of unused exercise paper, so he just takes them and draw. He fills them up with maps of various continents and countries. He writes a lot of information on those papers as well.

Gar has learnt how to use a pair of scissors through practising cutting those cute pictures from Kumon books. He can use a normal pair of scissors. Sometimes I just let him cut coloured paper. This helps him with his fine motor skills. He does this when he is bored.
cut paper dog let's cut paper

We used to do painting, but I usually ended up painting most of the time. Gar likes to watch me paint more than he paints. If he does paint, he uses a lot of yellow.

gar and el painting

Now that we have finally bought a piano, I would also play songs for them to sing. Gar loves Skidamarink at the moment, so I play that and he will sing along. He loves to sing. It is also a tactic by me to get El to the piano so that he can practise the piano.

3. Think

It is good to have down time. They could think about anything. It is also good when they are in cars and have nothing to do. Simple games can be played.

Sometimes El sees me reading newspapers and he would join in. Last week, I saw an news article about a basketballer named Curry, and it tickled El greatly because he likes to eat curry. He was so inspired he came up with a song/rap (can’t really call it a song because he cannot carry a tune) about curry. All I did was to give him a piece of paper and a pencil.

There is a cartoon with a character named Mabel. In an oft-televised advertisement, she says, “My name is Mabel. It rhymes with cable.” The boys are also tickled by this. El started thinking about rhymes.

“My name is Ace. It rhymes with ice,” he said, while we were in the car.

“No, they do not rhyme,” I replied, and made the vowel sounds for him.

It was only when I wrote it down I realized he had rhymed them via spelling. To provide him with more examples, I showed him a video on Michael Learns To Rock, about star/car, and stay/anyway as part of rhyming pairs. Think he wasn’t keen on the music.

Other thinking games include thinking of as many animals/birds/dinosaurs/countries, depending on their current obsessions, starting with a particular letter.

Boggle is another interesting word game.

We have plenty of books at home, so sometimes Gar will request us to read the books to him.

4. Dream

Dreaming and thinking are not exclusive, but I would like to think of dreaming as something that is more abstract and allows more room for creativity.

I like to throw random questions to El. If you were a tree, what would you be? He replied he would be a shelter for animals.

What is your ideal school? He said it would be a nature school. He told me that his school would be situated in a forest, and surrounded by trees. They will study about nature. He went to check out images of nature schools, and then drew his own school.

nature school 1

Sometimes we need to give our gifted children time to dream. If they have too many packed activities (which I am sometimes tempted to do), they are just going through the motion, and may soon lose their zest for learning.

You could check out creative journal prompts and get some questions to ask your children. They do not have to turn this into a writing activity. They could just verbalise their thoughts, and you could encourage them to dream. You never know when their ideas could crystallise.

7 habits of happy kids

I had bought a book on The 7 Habits for Happy Children and read a story to El. It was about a character feeling bored. He was encouraged to take charge himself and not depend on others to relieve his boredom. The habit was about Being Proactive. When El mentioned that word to me a few days ago, I reminded him of the story, and immediately he went to find something to do. I hope my boys will take charge of their own free time and find something to occupy themselves, or just use the time to dream. El will be going to school next year, and with the stressful Singapore education system, I hope he will have free time to play, create, think and dream.

This is part of a blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page for June. Click on the image to check out other blogs on the gift of free time.
the gift of free time

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