Category Archives: 27 months

When dinosaurs ruled the earth

February ended with a roar, a dinosaur roar! Unlike space, transportation and animals which were easy hits back when we were doing monthly themes, I wasn’t sure how B would take to dinos – I mean, the names are hard to pronounce and animals are all dead and scary looking (except for Barney, but he’s not quite … real). By the end though, B was impersonating the T-Rex walk, wrapping his tongue around “triceratops,” “apatosaurus,” “stegosaurus,” and knew how to spell “D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R” with playdough. A success!

Lucky for us, there were TWO great dinosaur showcases in Singapore this past month, both different yet good.

We first visited Titans of the Past – Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals at the Science Center. To be honest, we’d trekked out west before for the Megabugs Return exhibit butweren’t too impressed. I felt the center overall could do with some upgrading. However, this time, we were pleasantly surprised by the toddler friendly activities and animations that managed to keep 2+ year boys entertained throughout! It’s a shame the exhibit is over so soon (25 October 2013 – 23 February 2014) and not that well publicized. When we went on a Thursday afternoon, there were less than 10 visitors there. Besides pressing all the buttons to make them roar and eat, B also enjoyed the mini paleontologists sandpit dig where they brushed for fossils.

We also went to Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction at the ArtScience Museum (25 January – 25 May 2014), getting there just before 5p in time for the free English tour. IMO, the exhibits here were of better quality and clearer presentation, with bone fossils AND life size models, info boards and occasional activity stations. The caveat was we had to pay admission for B whereas he got in free (under 3 years) at the Science Center. That said, even distracted mommy retained a few bits of knowledge in between making sure my lil live dino didn’t break anything!

B attempted to fit all the puzzles, but most were set too high for toddlers – and he’s quite tall at 95cm+ (for 27 months). He also enjoyed the model of the walking T-Rex and the footprint section, where you could make your own track, identify and compare various footprint tracks.

Go here to see the other kid-friendly events and activities coming in March (booking required) if you have older kids, 6 years and up.

Some of our dino themed art, crafts and books:

Wayang kulit (shadow puppets) dino-age birds and lizards
The care and feeding of a 3D apatosaurus

 

 

 

 

Dino-awesome library books!
Making a dino foam penholder
Stamping with paint on styrofoam

Tracing and colouring pre-writing worksheets from here. His fine motor skills aren’t great, but he’s slowly improving, i.e. changing colours for different objects, following straight and curvy lines, etc.

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook

new button

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart

I’m trying to be more intentional about faith with B this year as he’s developing his own childlike understanding from observing people and situations. At our nightly prayers before bed, he started making his own requests (e.g. “pray for dada working, tired,” “Jesus loves ama and kong kong”). So I decided to reinforce the lessons around fruits of the spirit from Sunbeam, our church’s kids programme, with simple activities and practical applications at home.

Here’s what we learnt and applied:

  1. Joyful parenting doesn’t come naturally. It’s not a product of the flesh but the spirit at work, bearing fruit in us. We need to cultivate thankfulness, remember that our child’s identity is in Christ, and look ahead with hope and faith for the fruit God promises to bring through our efforts.
  2. A joyful heart is about attitude, a contagious attitude from having a positive outlook in life. We talked about being joyful and strong even when we’re afraid and upset. I encouraged him to use words, laugh or sing instead of crying and screaming… and it’s been working! In fact, he’s been a trooper during his separation at school and this recent bout of coughing; and he’s also cheered my ailing mom who was hospitalised earlier this month with his singing, dancing and funny antics.
  3. To be joyful is to be thankful. I’m glad that B’s gotten into a habit of saying “thank you” or “谢谢” (if you’re lucky). At one point, he’d even say “thank you” when giving you things 😉 At nights, when we pray together, we also first thank God for each other and the day’s events – no matter how challenging the day has been, e.g. we’ve been sick, tired, angry. I’m still working on teaching him to say family grace before meals to reinforce gratefulness and obedience to God, although this one’s tougher as our family is of mixed beliefs and/or rarely eating together.

Since I’m on a quest to improve both our Chinese lately, I’ll end with these Chinese characters: When you’re happy (开心 kai xin), your heart is open but when you’re sad (伤心 shang xin), your heart is wounded. I’m glad that our son is learning how to turn to God and rejoice in the midst of his terrible two years; and that he is also opening the hearts of those around him.

Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord makes me strong!”

Want to receive updates, reviews and more? Like me at Finally Mama on Facebook

new buttonmamawearpapashirt

How deep and how wide is your love?

Besides his own name, another word B likes to spontaneously spell is “L-O-V-E … Love!” So I figured Valentines Day was a good reason to look at LOVE as we apply fruits of the spirit at home. Here’s B’s “Thumbody loves you” V-day craft to kick off the theme 🙂

1) Say and show it often. We always wish each other “晚安,我爱你,明天见” (“Good night, I love you, see you tomorrow”) every night. When dad is away for long, we record him a video that usually ends with a flying kiss! Although I wasn’t raised like this with my typical Asian parents, I don’t hesitate kissing, hugging and praising B and find that he soaks it up like a sponge. Rather than being spoiled (as some of the older generation may caution), I find that he becomes more assured and affectionate in return, which has helped during his frequent separation anxiety phases. In the book “The Five Love Languages of Children” the authors encourage parents to keep your child’s emotional tank full, use all five languages (physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service), and pay attention to their behaviour as it often tells you which one speaks the loudest to them. Usually these preferences emerge around 3-4 years on.

2) Love obeys and forgives. We shouldn’t continue doing wrong things and we shouldn’t stay angry with others. Whenever B acts up, I make it a point to look him in the eye and state “Stop. That hurt mama/your friend, made us feel angry/sad”. I’ll then ask him “Was that wrong or right?” When he sees that this is serious and acknowledges “B is wrong. I am sorry,” I’ll say “It’s OK. But don’t do it again!” Of course, sometimes he gets rather cheeky and says “B is wrong, right?” What you say or do must match what’s in your heart. The Chinese character for forgiveness – 恕 (shu) incorporates a heart below a woman and a mouth. When we forgive others with words from our heart, we learn to put others before ourselves, practicing love and “human-heartedness.”

3) Love is selfless. Kids learn by imitation so take every opportunity to demonstrate selflessness. Evidently, tots do a lot of proto-sharing – i.e. they may be willing to show what they hold to others but won’t quite let go (sound familiar?). It’s a big step, so reinforce and reward the act. When B’s friends come by, it’s also quite common to see ALL the boys want the exact same double decker bus (or train) that one of them develops a liking for. When potential tantrums/fights come up, try to offer duplicates or alternatives, and if that doesn’t work, keep the item-in-question and engage them in a fun group project. It’s key to NOT punish your tot at this age for not sharing. Let him know your feelings but don’t make a big deal out of it. They’ll get there and may surprise you one day! Case in point: I’ve been feeling quite down and worn out as everyone was sick or away again, on top of our ongoing failure to conceive #2 despite trying everything we can think of. There’s also been days when I’ve lost my temper and somehow, B knows the best way to diffuse it – by kissing, hugging me and saying “Mama, be happy… So happy” Toddlers may be the most self-centered beings at times, yet their empathy and ability to love others amazes me. They DO listen, share and care!

4) Love and forgive others just as God loves and has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32, 1 Colossians 13). Some of our favourite songs to reinforce:
– “Jesus Loves Me”: Our first bible song together, B used to fall asleep to this
– “Whisper”: A lovely song that teaches kids to say “I love you” to parents and to Jesus in a soft voice 🙂 I couldn’t find a video but the lyrics are included below

– “Deep and Wide”: God’s love is like the ocean, never-ending, always forgiving
– Barney’s “I Love You” original and this adapted version: I forgive you, you forgive me. We forgive each other, can’t you see? With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you join us, and forgive too?

Want to receive updates, reviews and more? Like me at Finally Mama on Facebook

mamawearpapashirt