The first child is usually the one who gets their firsts in everything they could possibly experience. First kiddy ride, first sticker book, first swim class, first coin bank, first hand clothes. How about the younger sibling? They often hear ‘wait till you are older, you will have your chance’ Their lives amount to lots of waiting out… waiting till they get older, more mature, more able to handle situations, before these experiences are bestowed to them.
I had seen this coming when J2 was born and it’s been treading on thin line whenever I try to give each child equal chances at experiences, and trying to create authentic ones that etch deeply in their memory, something uniquely theirs. However, due to the fact that J2 is the younger sibling, he is usually the one who has to tag along, to look on, to observe the fun and perhaps sometimes, to have a seemingly less enriched time as compared to his elder Brother.
I have been actively trying to create special activity time with him so he knows that he is just as treasured as well. It may be the routine visit to the library, just he and me, where we get to read the kind of books he likes, or to spend a morning at the playground, suitable for his age, so he can mingle with children his age.
He enjoys this time alone and I recognise the importance of staying home so that I can have that one to one quality time with him, giving up some time from chores or even dinner, to have that undivided attention spent… and it has been worth the while.
J1 has plenty of activity books that reinforces penmanship, widens vocabulary, practices counting and so on… However, I came to the point where the current books are limited in the kind of stage appropriate learning he needs and I keep returning back to the bookstore in search for other books that can give more of those particular kinds of drills and practices. This means making frequent trips to Popular and spending quite a sum of money for books to be half completed (because the other half is not suitable for him to tackle yet), and then going out in search for other books to supplement his learning. Time and money are both not on my side and today, I thought I had it.
Decided to supplement his learning (and add some variation) with mummy-created resources. What other method but to revert to version 1.0, using handwritten questions on an exercise book.
Thankfully J1 took to it well and did the questions beautifully. The excitement got into me and I went on to craft out tomorrow’s learning whilst he was at school.
I’m also hoping that with a greater personal stake in his learning (instead of relying on outsourcing from assessment books and classes), it will be more than just a touch-and-go. Breadth in learning doesn’t beat depth in learning, and hopefully this brings us closer to a greater joy in acquiring knowledge.
J2 has been growing in leaps and bounds… literally. His vocabulary has suddenly expanded and his repertoire of songs have also increased exponentially. Woah. Sometimes he even surprises me with new songs and interesting lyrics.
Today, I took out J1’s ABC book and started running through the letters with him. He took such a personal interest in letters and started tracing them with his fingers. Correct strokes of writing doesn’t matter to me as much as instilling the keenness to pick up the alphabet.
He took to the colourful pictures drawn on every page to help remember an example of an object that started with a particular letter. That made his experience enriched!
There will be many more of such teachable moments to come, and as much as he enjoyed the process today, I too was savouring this precious time spent.
Growing up years are simply so short; if time is whiled away without intentional instruction, I will live to regret it one day.
Managed some time to do cutting, pasting, drawing and colouring with the boys today. And as usual, I had to draw buses, cars and taxis. J2 challenged me by asking me to draw trains, diggers and then dump trucks. He knew he was asking the impossible of me and gave a loud chuckle as he saw my surprised face and expression of loss…
That obviously left me dumbfounded and it was indeed a level up for me. I managed a train and was stumped at drawing dump trucks and diggers when J1 came happily to my rescue. 😆
After thinking through my topics of conversation with the boys, I realise that I am into a lot of boyish topics, of cars, trucks, trains and even farts (we call them “toots”)! 😅
I realised I had lost a little of myself and gained a little of them in me as I get to find out more about their world.
I didn’t realise the importance of bonding to me until the children came along. Their presence made me want to reach out into their world and connect with them. It is an inherent interest in getting to know what ticks in them and to understand their likes and dislikes.
A Friend was sharing with me yesterday that if parents wait too long to establish connection with their children, or to shoo children away from their presence repeatedly, or to focus on chasing paper qualifications and nothing else, it’ll be too late to reverse it when there comes a time when the children find no joy and meaning in maintaining the connection with their parents. That affirmed my actions and encouraged me to continue in what I was already pursuing.
These days, we discuss about how various types of helicopters vary from each other and look at videos of wrecking balls demolishing a building. Other days, we get excited over pouring time into making sense of the characters in ‘Thomas and Friends’ books. We tell apart between Thomas, Edward and Gordon though they are all blue, and we got to know that Spencer is big and fast yet very cheeky. And there’s always the angry and sulky Bulstrode that was hard to please. Being involved with what the children know brightens up my world and opens my mind to more knowledge of things I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t had boys.
In time to come, I hope that our conversations will transit along with their age and we can freely talk about their day and challenges faced. Looking forward to open conversations where they feel a sense of security and acceptance within the Home and to turn to my Hubby and I as trusted adults and sources of wisdom whenever they need help.
They say (actually I’m not sure who ‘they’ refers to) ‘Eat your greens’.
There’s more to vegetables than greens. ☺️
I never knew this till I became a Mum, and learnt how to cook.
It may not be easy to incorporate every colour type of vegetable into our meals daily, but having a variety is something you might want to consider.
Some of the staples I have ready at hand are mushrooms and onions (white), leafy vegetables like chye sim and xiao bai cai (green), tomatoes (red), carrots (yellow).. with a little mix and match, they somehow find their way into every meal. ✌️
It isn’t easy getting children to eat every single kind of vegetable as compared to eating junk, but daily, I try to incorporate these healthier eating habits in them by modelling what it means to be eating right. Tough one, but needful.
Below is a useful chart to help you plan your meals as you try to add some vegetables into your dishes!
Have fun! 😊
Came across a caustic remark from another Mother? Sometimes it’s best to ignore it and continue to trust that the decisions you are making for the family are best at the point in time.
Many times, we allow such words to sink into our minds and cause us to feel inadequate or lousy. Words that pierce the soul have that kind of effect and to forget these remarks may not be easy after all.
Once, I was on my way home when another mum saw me and asked ‘Going to get groceries for cooking today?’ I was under the weather that day and replied with a slip of my tongue ‘No, I don’t feel like cooking today’. That mum responded ‘Woah, you need to have mood in order to cook ah? I cook for my family everyday, you know?’ looking at me with a challenge in her face. Maybe she was expecting me to retort, but then, what’s the point of me retorting? I smiled and walked away.
Hurtful words? Yes, definitely, to a person who intentionally tries to cook every day. Yet, I figured I cannot allow myself to dwell on such remarks and put myself down as well. No, I wasn’t cooking as I wanted to recuperate, and that doesn’t diminish my dedication to the family one bit. Everytime the words come to mind, I’ll replay my response to it to counter that negative thought and move on. On and on… optimism takes awhile to sink in, ya?
There are countless similar occasions that mums will face that put them in a spot and challenge their competency. Most importantly, if you’re already doing your best, give yourself that pat on the back, because you wouldn’t have done it any better anyway. Comparison would only serve to make us discontent with our current state.
Move on with life, and move away from caustic people. Surround yourself with likeminded mums who share your values and not judge your daily decisions. Motherhood will be a lot more encouraging then.