Daily Archives: February 20, 2010

Some things never change

I remember going to Chinatown with my mom as a young girl, there was a small open space between 2 buildings and an old uncle used to have a few battery operated cars /motorcycles for rent. For $2 , you could ride around the little area for 10 minutes. It was a huge treat for my brother and I and we would always plead with my mom to let us have a ride.

Fast forward twenty plus years and though the old uncle isn’t there anymore, the battery operated ride-ons still are. These days the cars and bikes are looking a lot more realistic and some even come with remote controls so that parents can help their kids steer.

We found a little race track at the basement 2 car park of T3. They had various cars, even mini F1 cars and 2 Harley Davidson bikes.

Ally started off in a little pink beetle. And quickly decided that the Harley was way more fun.

Max waited patiently for her as always.

Besides the nicer looking cars and motorbikes, it now cost $4 for 10 minutes, talk about inflation!

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Took the kids to Polliwogs today and surprisingly it wasn’t too crowded. Sad to say the play area is looking a bit worn and tired. The air conditioner wasn’t working very well and the entire area was really stuffy. I noticed several kids and adults were able to enter without wearing socks even though it states clearly that socks have to be worn at all times.

Some child managed to bring a stack of news papers into the toddler area and proceeded to make a huge mess. No one noticed/ bothered to clean up after him so it was just left there. I wasn’t impressed since its the area where the babies and toddlers play and you know they tend to put everything into their mouths.

The newspaper mess

I remember they use to have a few members of staff in the play area to keep an eye on the children. This would definitely ensure that every child and adult abides by the rules. The balls in the ball pit were looking rather dirty and one wonders if they are actually cleaned on a daily basis.  We’ve always liked Polliwogs cos its a great place for the kids, the play area is small enough for us to keep an eye on Ally and yet is fun enough to keep her entertained. But after today’s visit I was less than impressed with their level of cleanliness, looks like we won’t be back again anytime soon.

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Teaching the Children

Ally is at an age where many of her friends are attending school. We have intentionally kept her at home with the intention to home school her till she’s ready for K1. One of our main reasons for keeping her at home was for Ally and Max to spend time together.

I use the term “home schooling” very loosely because I don’t follow a specific curriculum. I borrow a lot of ideas from here, and here Preparatory Weekly themes for ages 2-4. and letter of the week preparatory curriculum.

We do not schedule set times for lessons, its hard to do that with Max around since the duration of his naps are never fixed. Since toddlers have naturally curious minds, we take that as a starting of point for our learning. Ally usually asks ” What are you doing Mama?’  and ” why mama?” at least 20 times a day. Depending on the situation, I let her get involved if its age appropriate. For example, she likes to come into the kitchen when I’m preparing meals, sometimes she helps me wash the vegetables, other times she measures out cups of rice. We count how many carrots we’re washing, the different colors of the vegetables/fruits and how much liquid is needed for the soup. This isn’t always possible since there are times I’m rushing to get a meal on the table. Other times we’re interrupted by Max who is usually very good about entertaining himself.

The kids go almost everywhere with us, we don’t have a helper at home so they follow us to the supermarket, the bank…etc I’m proud to say that Ally knows how to behave properly when we’re dining in a restaurant. She will say ” please” and ” thank you” to the service staff and always greets the hostess at the front door.

Every bath time is an opportunity for water play. Old plastic bottles, an inexpensive scoop and a plastic bath are perfect for hours of water fun. Painting is limited to the bathroom as well, makes clean up a whole lot easier. Sometimes Ally decides that her paint brush is a drum stick and her plastic tubs are drums, she will happily transform herself into a one man band, singing and drumming to the beat.

Ally and her "top hat"

One of her many art creations

Even Max joins in the fun

I know many parents are always worried about their children falling behind academically. Honestly, there are moments when I wonder if I’m short changing her by keeping her at home. The Singaporean in me starts to feel this kiasu twinge, thank goodness for my dear husband who is always reassuring and comforting. He was raised in a totally different education system, no pressure is placed on the children to excel at a very young age. The children he went to school with might not be as academically advanced as a Singaporean child, but they were mature and street wise beyond their years.

Its so easy to get caught up in the rat race that our dear country is so famous for. Parents are willing to shell out their hard earned money to send their children to the best enrichment classes around.  I personally have nothing against enrichment classes, but I don’t believe in hot housing my children. I remember an incident at our neighbourhood playground, we had taken Ally there as usual and we met another little girl and her father. She was about Ally’s age and was just standing at her father’s side, unsure of what to do with the playground equipment. It was only with the father’s coaxing and instructions did she start playing. It made me sad to see that there are some children who have to be taught to play.

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