HEADGEAR OF THE DAY: CHUBBY ELMO

How time flies that my little gal has turned 1 year old. Around this time, I was worrying like crazy about her jaundice levels but now she's already learning to walk. The above picture was taken when she was 9 months old, at her chubbiest, when she hasn't developed the 'awareness' of things on her head :) She wore the elmo hairband through an entire party of a friend's birthday without yanking it off as compared to her own 1-year old party, which she yanked off her hairband in like 1 minute. Haha.

HIDE-AND-SEEK NUMBERS

I'm a fan of learning through movement. I believe that young children are mostly kinesthetic learners. I think the preschool teachers are doing a fantastic job. Unfortunately the disparity between teaching styles in preschool and primary school is very great. I personally feel that in primary schools, kinesthetic learning is very limited and a lot of precious learning opportunities are missed. Hence, kinesthetic learners are often misunderstood and sidelined. I can only hope that things will change and education progresses.

Nat picked up alphabets faster than numbers. Perhaps because alphabets come with so many songs, rhymes and stories. There is more exposure and it seems more enjoyable. I've been trying to make math attractive for him. Number recognition and sequencing are made fun through these 2 hide-and-seek number games. Same concept but with different tools!

Clothespin Number Tags

We will hide the number tags around the house by clipping them with the clothespin to the hiding spots. The clipping helps to train the fine motor skills too. And then Nat will try to place the numbers in the correct order.

Ice-cream Number Sticks

Nat got really excited about the coloured ice-cream sticks but the sticks got lost quite a bit because he can't remember where he hid them! After finding the sticks, Nat will place them in the correct order by poking them in the playdough pie/cake that he made beforehand.

 

These 2 activities were inspired and adapted from the wonderful pins below. Have fun learning and moving with your child!






I'M AN IDEALIST WHEN IT COMES TO STAYING HOME

Every 4 years, I seem to get a bit disillusioned with my identity and my career. My first job lasted me 4 years, and then I took a break for 6 months, got a new job and then had my first kid, and stayed at home. It has been 4 years since then, trying to juggle different kinds of part-time jobs and looking after the kiddos. Since I've been in service industry jobs surrounded by many people, this job of staying at home to care for the kiddos has not been a smooth transition. You work alone most of the time, there's no chit chat session over lunch with colleagues and no online chatting across the office department - it's just you and your kiddos, alone, for the whole day.

I must admit I am rather idealistic when it comes to parenting and staying at home. When everyone was establishing their careers, I got married. When peers started studying for a masters degree, I got pregnant and again (and still hoping for another). I attended my good friends' weddings as their bridesmaid with a belly or carrying a toddler. My friends were becoming managers, while I became a manager at home. The funny thing was that I was a stay-home couch potato and bed bum, not stay-home parent material. I didn't know how to cook, i.e. I didn't understand the concept of 'simmer'. I dislike doing housework, i.e. before the kids came, I only mopped the floor once a month. I was not baby friendly, i.e. I didn't even dare to carry a baby! It was a very steep learning curve. And so the question is why - why despite the prevailing market forces, societal trends and the thorns in my flesh...

1. Role Models

My own mother stayed home when I was borne. It meant a lot to me. Home cooked food and silly games like pingpong on the coffee table, against the wall and badminton in our driveway, bonded us as a family. My sister-in-law also stayed home and she gave me a good preview.

2. Simple Math

What happens to my career? Seeing how society is advancing, I'll probably retire at 70 years old. I'll probably not be working full time for about 10 years. So that's about 30 years of work left! That's about 3 times the amount I invest in my children. I decided that I'm in no rush in fulfilling my career goals because the children are growing up so fast!

3. Lifelong learning

In this day and age, I don't think anybody's degree can stay relevant for long. Lifelong learning is my aim. Compared to the past, there are so many things to learn and learning is so much more accessible now - free courses online, government subsidised courses. If a 60 year old person can get a degree, I can definitely learn something in my middle aged years.

4. Mental Health is Also Wealth

I've lived on both ends before, a relatively comfortable life and a life on the edge of poverty. Both ends have each share of tears and joy.  I'm someone who doesn't manage stress at work well and I don't want to show my kiddos a black face everyday. I've learned to treasure and cherish the simple moments, and when there is peace, there is prosperity too.

5. Personal Conviction

With every decision made, it must come from a heart felt conviction. Whether or not a parent is staying at home, there are many voices out there confusing us. No point staying at home, if the days are constantly filled with nagging and screaming. My heart feels strongly for the home as a place of nurturing and bonding for the kiddos. And this is the season for my family and I.

 

Grace upon grace, let's continue to train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. I'm thankful for the many people who have been encouraging me in this journey, in giving me hope and support in this idealistic parenting view of mine. After 4 years, I'm looking forward to the next 4 years of being at home with my kiddos and new adventures together as a family.

DIY AIR FRESHENER

This post was not inspired by the haze, it was inspired by a smelly toilet and very expensive air fresheners. Refusing to pay for them anymore, I made my own Air Freshener using essential oils.

First, I needed to buy a bottle with a small opening at the neck - which is so difficult to find! I tried to cheat by using any bottle I could find - it so didn't work because the oils will just evaporate fast! So I bought an air freshener that comes with a bottle like that from DAISO and then when it was used up, I could reuse it again.

Next, I bought thin bamboo skewers.

Then I made the solution with this recipe: Add 12-15 drops of pure essential oil to 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Some people add a splash of vodka which helps the oil travel up the reeds better. I tripled the batch and kept the excess in a sealed glass jar until needed so that I can top up easily as and when.

Nothing fancy, no snazzy names but it works. If you don't like any kind of smells, nice ones or not nice ones, in your toilet, you can also just put a bag of charcoal around. That works great too :)

A MOTHER'S LIFESTORY: MEMORIES IN A BOTTLE

It has been a period of headaches, backaches and heartaches. That's why a 2 week long absence from any writing. There were lots of my mind, words to express and a spirited heart yearning to shout out my feelings - and therefore there has to be some sense of control and restraint when it comes to blogging, after all, it's LIVE to the world. And so I begin today's lifestory-

When I became a mom, memories of how my own mom brought us up when we were young flash back more frequently and I also started sharing them more often. I like to ask my mom about my grandparents and how they were, how they raised the children because a part of me now as a parent, want to learn from and be inspired by my own family and want to strengthen the bonds of family, hold tight onto our values.  Sadly I've realised this too late. I wished I was closer to them and that I could speak their language.

My mom told me my grandfather worked different kinds of jobs and so met many people from various backgrounds. One thing she remembered very clearly is that my grandfather used to regularly bring her along to visit his friend who lived near the Cantonment Police Station. And whenever they visited this friend, she will always get to drink a bottle of Fanta Orange. She really enjoyed the visits because as a kid, she liked sweet drinks and snacks.

This is my favourite story, no matter how short it is because it is the fondest memory that my mother had of her own father and she was smiling like a little girl again. A simple outing, a simple drink and yet full of loving memories. It is a reminder to me that it's not all the time about giving the big gifts, or holding the big celebrations, sometimes the simplest action touches the heart and leaves a legacy of love behind.

I'm sure my grandpa will be happy to know that my mom remembered those visits so fondly. That memory has a therapeutic effect on my mom too, perhaps that memory helped her to get through some tough days, on days when her children may have been very difficult to manage.

What memories will I create with my husband, my children? What memories do I want them to have of me, of us, of each other? And I hope those memories we have as a family, will continue to resonate in our hearts and continue the family's legacy of love.