Monday, February 18, 2013

Learning through play

Growing up in the little island Singapore is one mean feat. Children from as young as 0 years old are subjected to the obstacles posed by the education system. When i first heard of pregnant mommies signing up to be on the waiting list of famous pre schools like Nanyang Kindergarten or St James, I was speechless! In fact, if you are reading this and your kid is already a year old, you can jolly well forget about enrolling in the aforementioned schools because the chances are darn slim! Having said that, all these have made me anxious and being an educator myself, I have to ensure that my child gets into a decent school with good culture. that does not necessarily translate to a school located along Bukit Timah Road. =)

New Year resolution no. 1 was to ensure that I was on top of things for lil bunnikins and one of which was to get ourselves enrolled! So yup, that has been done. We are now on the waitlist. Now I can only hope and pray that she gets accepted for I'm certainly not keen in searching and mulling through the process again. Meanwhile, to groom her into the first female prime minister of Singapore, I've embarked and panned out our learning journey. I'm a big advocator of learning through play. Maria Montessori said that by the age of 3, the child has already laid down his personality as being human. In other words, his brain is 70% developed. In my own words: OMG! There's not enough time now that bunnikins is close to 2!!! Red Alert! Ok, chill. We should never translate our fears and stress to the child. My aim to to enable bb k to grow and learn in a stree-free environment. Well, at least before she hits upper Primary when I'm so sorry, due to the impending PSLE, you'll have to be drilled by your mommy dearest unless MOE decides to scrape PSLE altogether which in my opinion isn't that great an idea. I've never quite revealed to friends, for fear that they may think i'm an overtly kiasu mother, that BB k has been in a playgroup since 9months of age. My main motive is for her to interact with other children and to socialise instead of facing her grandparents the whole time and watching some Mandarin variety show and listening to old songs! No grudges against them for their influence in Mandarin is essential too. But, the move was necessary as I needed more exposure towards English coz I'm the only one conversing in English and that certainly isn't enough! Being in that particular playgroup also enhances my chances of getting into the kindergarten which is a stone's throw away from my home, so that kills two birds with one stone. As much as I hate the early morning traffic to our destination, I guess this is the choice I've made and I'd better zip it. 

At home, I try to do my part by providing her as much opportunities to learn as possible.  

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”

 Afterall, they are like a sponge! Of course there were days when I felt really lethargic and lazy, I would just leave her to do more free play. That seems to happen pretty often. GUILTY MUCH! Not that easy to strike a balance between work and baby. Anywayz, below are some of the stuff which did:

Mirror Play. Discovering herself. Of late, she has been enjoying this activity particularly during lunch time!

Paint work. This time on a paper plate snake. She absolutely loves texture and getting her hand messy.
Things don't come cheap these days and seeing the absurd prices of toys, I decided to make my own to train her gross/ fine motor skills. It kept her entertained for minutes! But cleanup is a nightmare!

Bunnikin's latest favourite activity- FISHING!

Dot dot dot dot dot....this activity is particularly good for their fine motor skills. Bb k gets easily frustrated however when she's unable to stick the dots. I've a fiesty lil one here who doesn't seem to have the patience. hmm wonder where did she inherit that from? But I can only sit back and watch her frustrations coz that's the whole idea. She need

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Finally having the time to sit and blog! It's been a great start to the year of the snake with family bonding being the highlight. The hubs is in town and mil is away thus bunnikins has been hanging around with us! Which explains the lack of blogging. We have been going around visiting relatives (namely mine) and friends and this has taken a toil on BB k's schedule. The poor thing has been napping on the car but this has translated to good nights. In fact, since the start of the Snake year, she has stopped waking up in the middle of the night and I do hope this is here to stay! She has been sleeping at 11pm and waking up at approximately 630am for a dream feed and will pop back to bed all the way till 8/9am if we are lucky. Keeping my fingers crossed! But due to the crazy schedule which we have been doing, it's been quite a pain to get her to nap at certain hours. Hopefully this will change once the intensity mellows.

Here's a pictorial on what has been happening (clearly i've only got 10mins of ME time):

CNY is a time to bond with the family and i'm really glad that dear is able to interact with my side of the family. First time ever we did a KTV session at 3rd uncle's place. Coolbeanz. Had great fun and was quite impressed with everyone's singing prowess. Bunnikins however was not too impressed with daddy's rendition of BEYOND. But when mommy croon to the tune of Sammi Cheng, great applause was given by Baby K. She sure has taste! and i think she's more inclined towards sentimentals than rock.

I'm obsessed with colour coordination. This is taken on Day 8.

Ever since bunnikins started walking (on 初一), she has been exploring new terrains. At times, doing dangerous stunts like climbing of stairs without assistance. I foresee a very back backache looming.

Adoring our new PJs worn on the first day of new year. Baby K is in Carters whilst I'm in Forever 21.
Day one's ensemble. Oriental set from China and Nike Shoes. East meets West. Isn't she a darling?

Nope, we are not on a magazine again. It's just a very interesting app which I'm using called Photofunia. Really cool frames and pictures to superimpose your pix in it!

Another App which i have been playing with called Line Camera

Baby, say ROAR!

Really enjoyed my afternoon with the SIL and CIL at TWG Taka with bunnikins sleeping in my arms mostly. My arms almost broke at the end of the day! But the relaxation it brought together with the sanity away from the hustle and bustle of work life is so serene.

As much as most Feng Shui masters and horoscope prediction says that this Year of the Snake isn't exactly great for my horoscope, I hope they are all bogus and I'll live in denial. I'll take each day as it comes and pray for a better tomorrow. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

The many faces of baby k

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Friday, February 01, 2013

Enhanced Marriage & Parenthood Package

A silly thought just occurred to me of late. I've been reading many other mommy's blog but am wondering if there's actually anyone out there who is interested in reading mine. Not that mine is of much intellect or technical information. It's just mostly rants and marking of milestones. But hmmm many of those blogs put me to utter shame. They are so organised, and not to mention so lengthy!!! i'm quite a chatter thus translating them onto a blog shouldn't be such a problem, but the issue here is TIME! it's always not enough, especially when you are with a toddler and half the time the hub isn't around to help. So yeah, i'm always wondering WHY are the mommy bloggers so disciplined and where do they actually find time? Maybe I'm doing something wrong. 

Lately, the government announced the new Enhanced Marriage & Parenthood Package. Rejoice? Ha! not exactly. I honestly think it's a joke to use such a measly amount to entice a significant growth in the fertility rate. The government is aiming for 7million by 2030. That's when BB k will be 18. sweet. I hope she doesn't get pressured to get married and have kids then. The hub and I are definitely in favour of contributing to the total fertility rate especially after the birth of K who is bringing so much joy to our lives each and every day. However, the financial worries always put us, or at least, ME back. We earn a modest living and with the dependency ratio being 2:1 for me, it's quite a burden. How can working people harmonise their family responsbilities if both have to work? Yet if we don't work, how is K gona be able to attend preschools (which are freaking expensive these days! blame it on the area we are residing...too many rich fellows). Guilt pangs often hit me coz i don't wana be stuck in some other kid's home and missing the milestones in my baby's growing up years. I want to witness her first step (she's almost there, gona walk independently really soon) and not to hear that she could do this or that from her grandmother. I want to be there to cook all those yummy and nutritious stuff for her, instead of feeding her with instant cereals or porridge coz I'm too tired or pressed for time. But all these seems impossible with our high standards of living. The enhanced package doesn't seem to help in this respect. Giving one wk of paternity leave instead of what NTUC recommended -- 2 wks. Hmmm...That, I'm actually fine coz if it's 2wks, the hub will probably end up on the greens for one wk instead of frolicking in the water with his daughter. Yet again, look around you and it's not tough to find a handful of SAHM. Friend M is a typical example and she has been doing it for 6 years now. I've always asked her the secret and her answer was to be prudent in spendings and live within your means. Hmm, her means allows her to live in a condo and drive a Volkswagon. In retrospect, I live in a flat and drive a Toyota. Something is seriously wrong.

All the SAHP article that i'm reading never fails to make me feel guilty. I think that it is highly possible for a family to survive on a single middle income. But as with all, many material pursuits will have to be given up. The might translate to eating out less, staycations, less shopping and byebye branded bags. The thing about Singaporeans, like what a Bloomberg article wrote, we are a materialistic lot, always left wanting the next better thing. The reason I work, is that I love to travel. And we would never be able to afford loan payments on our house, car and be able to travel on a single income. I guess its not often discussed because economically, the standard of living here is pretty high. A family would have to think VERY HARD before deciding not to work. Problem with Singapore is probably we do not have the infrastructure to support all choices. But at least they are trying with the Enhanced package. It's unfair to compare with countries which do it better - OZ, the Scandis and so on - as they are typically fairly welfarist states, and one big reason they have that luxury is they have natural resources. At least we are taking the first step towards building a better infrastructure, they can't overhaul the whole thing in a day.

Motherhood is a curve ball, and I am still trying to reconcile that with my career.
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