Tag Archives: thankful tuesdays

The Magic Three

My darling B:

You are now 33 months. Just 3 months to go before you turn 3 years old! Everyone warned me about the terrible twos, but the year turned out to be pretty terrific instead. Hopefully I don’t jinx the remaining months ūüėģ You had your moments of wild, irrational flail-on-the-ground tantrums, but through it all I kept the 3 Ts in mind:¬† Tank up on love, Transition gradually, and Timing matters!

In light of your and mama’s developments this year, here are 3×3 things to celebrate about you!

3 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU

1) THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE: You love reading. You bring books¬† to our bed in the morning, want to read at mealtimes, and negotiate the number of stories for bedtime. ¬†You are ever curious. You’ll ask “What happen, mama?” when I’m reading the news or listening to the radio. The library is like your second home where you can occupy yourself flipping through books or telling stories to friends (imaginary or anyone nearby). Your face lights¬†up as you associate what you read with what you see in real life. When your gears start spinning, you turn to me to say “Remember the [book/event/person/item]?” and a wonderful process of discovery ensues. When you see text, you track the words with your fingers as you “read.”¬† You like to call out numbers,¬†upper and lower cases that you recognise from Letterland phonics, and even Chinese characters.¬† It’s truly a delight to watch you learn!

Watching the night sky from our balcony got him intrigued about space so we’ve borrowed many books about it (like this one).¬† Here he’s simulating the moon rotating around the earth ūüôā

2) A SONG IN YOUR HEART:¬† Since you started carrying a tune, you¬† haven’t stopped making music. Even as a baby, you’d often hum and move to the rhythm and beat.¬† These days, we don’t need alarm clocks because you wake us up with your singing at 7a or earlier! You make us laugh with silly adaptations and lead your friends in rousing renditions of songs from Majulah Singapura to Wheels on the Bus to “šłÄś≠•šłÄś≠•ŤĶįŚēäŤĶį‚ÄĚ.¬†¬† This year we tried some structured music learning at home, and we’ll continue to look for ways to help you hone this gift now and beyond.

3) PASSION FOR VEHICLES: Be they in the air, on the road, on water, in print, real or toy, rides or stickers Рyou like them all! You  observe routes, recall directions, names of roads and who stays where. Your pretend play is getting more creative too. You manipulate everyday things at home, LEGO and wooden blocks, toy vehicles, tracks and figures to form construction sites, accident and rescue operations, traffic jams on the highway, neighbourhood multi-story carparks Рall with sound effects and commentary.

One activity you initiated is to lay out your vehicle flash cards and we take turns to find the right one as we¬†play “I Spy” and ŤŅôśėĮšĽÄšĻą?”

Sometimes I need to set time limits so you don’t get too obsessed (i.e. kick a fuss when it’s time to stop or leave). But this shows me¬† you’re capable of focusing and innovating on what interests you. If only we could figure out how to replicate this for other stuff¬† ūüėČ

3 AREAS YOU’VE GROWN IN

1) (SELF) HELPER: Although I still prompt you to eat faster or finish up, I’m thankful that you continue to help yourself at meal times and have a healthy appetite, drink well, (mostly) eat greens, fruits and are willing to try variety – Asian, Western, Middle Eastern, mild herbs and spices. You even ate durian!

Since we started our first sticker chart on toilet training, you also have less accidents and better control.¬† You let us know when you want to pee and poop instead of us asking or taking you regularly.¬† There’s still occasional overnight bed wetting and leaks (esp. when you’re too excited or shy) but you’ve made great¬†progress that we’ve moved on to a new chart for wearing/undressing clothes and shoes.

Out with the old, in with the new sticker chart

Lastly, although you need reminding, you do help to clean up after play, unload dirty clothes into the laundry bag and bring your dishes to the kitchen after meals. Well done!

2) FINE MOTOR SKILLS:¬† Thanks to your current preschool, you’re constantly encouraged to experiment and express yourself through art and craft. Mama is so thankful for the amazing teachers there!

Our little artist at his first school exhibition

Although there’s less¬†opportunities for us at home together, I cherish the times when we play simple number and finger games and do crafty activities that build your fine motor skills.¬† Of course, you still treat glue like paint, colour all over the¬†page, use brushes, pencils, markers and crayons like stamps, wield the scissors and chopsticks with two hands when your fingers are tired… But you’re getting there. Just persevere and keep up the great work!

Our art wall is constantly full even though mama recycles often

3) THE GREAT OUTDOORS:¬† We now do more things outside and for¬† longer before you ask for a “śäĪśäĪ‚Äú!¬† You’ve always been a cautious toddler and not a big fan of being under the hot sun.¬† Yet as you grow, you now scoot with more confidence and speed, are eager to get wet and play in the sand (caveat: area must be “clean and cool” enough), jump in the¬†pool at your weekly swim class, pedal the tricycles at school and ride your balance bike to deliver items and messages from¬†place to¬†place.¬† I only wish you’d wear your safety helmet more often so mama doesn’t worry … too much.

Getting out and about

So here’s to you, my little big baby, who’s becoming a big little boy. Love you to the moon and back!

We are Singaporean

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SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays 

It takes a village to raise a child

Kids should¬†have good role models¬†and¬†parents who can walk the talk while being transparent in handling¬†failure and success. ¬†This morning I¬†asked B “who¬†do you want to be when you grow up?” and to my surprise, instead of “teacher, firefighter” (his usuals), he said¬†“I want to be like mama” (yikes!)¬† While that stroked my ego as¬†I’ve been trying to be more intentional about¬†building faith and¬†character¬†with B, I’m painfully aware that¬†as a flawed individual,¬†I¬†always fall short! ¬†You don’t want to be like mama at all times B, really….

Kari Kampakis’¬†article “10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make”¬†¬†resonated¬†with me because – I confess – I’ve made¬†most¬†of them. Here’s one that I agree with¬†wholeheartedly:

Mistake #1: Underestimating CHARACTER.¬†If there’s one thing I hope to get right in my children, it’s their CORE. Character, moral fiber, an inner compass… these things lay the foundation for a happy, healthy future. They matter more than any report card or trophy ever will…. We know that what will matter at 25, 30 and 40 is [not what they achieved but] how they treat others and what they think of themselves.

If we want them to build character, confidence, strength and resilience, we need to let them face adversity and experience the pride …¬†when they come out stronger on the other side.¬†It’s hard to see our children fall, but sometimes we have to. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves whether intervening is in their best interest. There are a million ways to love a child, but in our quest to make them happy, let us stay mindful that sometimes it takes short-term pain to earn long-term gain.

It¬†dawned on me at a recent church camp that my parenting¬†journey is¬†not meant to be walked alone, isolated from community. Furthermore, the best lessons are “caught not taught.” We all can and should help to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)

it-takes-a-village-to-raise-a-childIn this case, our “village” is our¬†local church¬†which¬†partners with parents to set¬†a solid faith foundation for their marriages, families¬†and the next generation. ¬†I’m especially blessed by¬†those serving in kids’ ministry who¬†are¬†super engaging and energetic, always¬†ready to patiently manage restless kids and answer¬†those tricky¬†questions. As I occasionally help with¬†our weekly cell group, I realise¬†how tough¬†it is¬†to catch the interest and hold the attention of kids, especially between¬†preschool and primary¬†school ages!

Doing superman while singing “Jesus, You’re My Superhero!”

With me having less time with B and hubby still away¬†a lot for work, I’m keen¬†to better integrate B with¬†our “spiritual family” here. ¬†Besides family and casual friend interactions, we are trying to be more consistent with Sunday School. ¬†B joined our church’s Sunbeam program at¬†18 months and then graduated to unaccompanied classes at 30 months. We sat in with him for the first two N1 sessions. The first time we dropped him off, he cried but was okay¬†after a few minutes.¬† The second time this past weekend was better, no tears, although he still wanted a big hug and clung to mama as I left. B said afterwards that he likes Sunday School, sang many¬†songs, and even quoted (and adapted) his memory verse to “I love and obey God!” and later at home “I love mama and daddy!” ūüôā¬†To be honest, I was kinda stunned that he paid enough attention to recall and put it to practice. Me of little faith!

Jesus is a live craft for Easter
“Jesus is alive” craft for Easter
After he turns 3 and/or can tahan till 1030p, we may bring¬†him along to our Friday cell group for a once-a-week late night out. After all,¬†a¬†village isn’t a village¬†without¬†fun,¬†food and fellowship, right?
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Out of the cot

Today, I’m thankful that B has handled his “growing up” transitions well: Sleeping through the night, feeding himself, nursery drop-off,¬†potty training, mid-day naps, and now, moving to a junior bed. Sure, there are challenging days, but when I speak to other moms, I feel grateful because our experience has been TOTALLY by grace and luck, and not due to any different or better parenting methods on my end.

Just before B turned 2, he climbed out of his cot, and landed on his bum!¬† We figured if you can’t stop him, teach him how to do it right¬† – so we showed him how to climb out and land safely in the interim. However, after a few more attempts, B lost interest in “escaping” and I delayed any major changes as we were adjusting to nursery drop-off earlier this year. Meanwhile, we’d read and talk about big boys sleeping in big beds, and also show B his friends’ new beds or mattresses. Between 18 months to 2.5 years, most of his buddies had already switched – with mixed results – to make way for a new sibling, prevent bumps and falls, replace a smaller crib, etc.

We left his current convertible cot bed as is (it fits a 70 x 140 cm mattress) … until now! Sometime last month, he kept asking to “lower bed,¬†go out” and would start yelling for “mama, mama” if no one comes fast enough once he woke up. It dawned on me that B is taking the initiative, that he’s able to settle and sleep on his own and to play safely when he’s up. Even hubby noticed it! So this weekend, we dropped one of his cot sides, installed the portable bedrail that we got months ago and let him have fun climbing up and down.

B's convertible cot bed (from 6 months and counting)
B’s convertible cot bed (from 6 months and counting)

So far, B eagerly gets into his newly converted “junior bed” after we read and pray together at night. He still sleeps well (thankfully!), generally wakes up happy, wishes us a “good morning” and now, gets his milk from the kitchen, sings and¬†plays around the house until we’re all ready to start our day together. His independence is amazing to see and I pray these smooth transitions continue for a long while ūüôā

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A typical school day – before and after

The¬†first term has come and gone better than I expected! In April, B started taking his mid-day nap in school. ¬†Before this, I’d usually rush to¬†pick him up on time after my meetings, work or lunch. He’d be too excited to see mama and though he was tired by 1p, he’d often skip naps and end up cranky by evening. Now on weekdays, he naps daily at school (~1.5-2 hours), I pick him up after¬†3p and we¬†spend the rest of the day together. I’m thankful for the wonderful teachers and friends that’s he’s made, how well they’ve helped him adjust¬†to nursery life, enabling us to have quality time together and apart.

Singing with the ukulele in his uniform
Before school: Singing with the ukulele (in his uniform)
After school (nap): Afternoon snack with mama in his pjs

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Green living in our Garden City

Back when I was still working full time, there was a LOT of green development near my office on Alexandra Road due to the Southern Ridges trail with its iconic Henderson Wave Bridge and Alexandra Arch linking Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent¬†Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve.¬† See this DIY Guide to The Southern Ridges for more info ūüôā

B was in my belly as I hiked, strolled and eventually, waddled along the pathways. But since I had B and left corporate life, we hadn’t¬† gone back there until recently when we drove by the area and ended up visiting playground after playground at the new Alexandra Canal Linear Park which is being extended from Tanglin Road to Zion Road (River Valley) via the Alexandra Park Connector!

Alexandra

B enjoyed scooting down the 1km+ path, stopping occasionally to climb, slide, jump on the trampoline, play with the exercise equipment and even share his scooter with new friends.¬† I chitchated with the locals, answering “he’s almost 2.5 years” and “no, daddy is not angmoh” at least 20 times, overall enjoying the friendly and neighbourly vibe.¬† It was nice to NOT be the only local at a¬†private estate playground or crowded out at the bigger, more popular parks.

Hand-cranked gondola off Block 61C Strathmore Ave
WP_20140331_004
Trampoline near Block 61C Strathmore Avenue Playground
MyFirstSkool playground
Block 81 Strathmore Avenue Playground with a rock climbing wall

So today, I’m thankful for the foresight and commitment in Singapore to ensure that ALL benefit from this truly Garden City.¬† I also value the effort and care in enriching the local community with free yet well-maintained public parks and playgrounds.¬† Keep up the good work, Nparks!

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