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Living My Perfect Life

“I cried. At least once a day … No, I wasn’t suffering from depression. Nor did I have a chronic eye watering condition. I was homeschooling.”

When I first read that at Simple Homeschool, it totally described how I was feeling in those days. I was crying everyday. Usually in the evenings, when the toll of 11-12 hours non-stop caregiving duties towards three young children was seriously breaking me down.

Even when nothing went wrong, when none of the kids were misbehaving, I was in tears. Just because I was so tired. I would be bathing the boys and my tears would flow. The boys would ask me, “Mummy, are you sad/angry?” and I would reply, “No, mummy is just very tired.”

When things did go wrong, I had no strength, mental or physical, to handle it. I would think, “It’s so near bedtime, so near the end of the (work)day, why now? Why does it have to go wrong now? Why do the kids have to be naughty now? Why why why???” It’s like, it felt worse being so near yet so far.

Fortunately, I am out of the gloom now. I made some changes to our routine, and I am not crying everyday anymore. But as the sole caregiver of three children below five years old from 8am to 8pm on most weekdays, exhaustion and tears are common. But I remind myself that this is what I want, this is how I want my life to be, this is how I want my children’s lives to be.

I want my children to be homeschooled for the preschool years.

I want my children to grow up without a domestic helper.

I want my house to be clean and tidy.

I want my children to have outdoor time everyday.

I want them to do hands on activities.

I want to cook good food for them.

And I am very lucky that my hubby gives in to me on most things and that he is able to support the family financially, allowing me to make the above choices.

Reminding myself everyday of the reasons for my choices, and to be strong for my children.

Not exactly the best photo I know, but it's not easy to take photo of 3 young kids ok!

Not exactly the best photo I know, but it’s not easy to take photo of 3 young kids ok!

 

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More Ideas And Inspiration For Parents

I have always been inclined towards very hands-on activities with my children, which usually translates to messy sensory play. My favorite blog is Play At Home Mom – I have read all their posts and often refer to their older posts for ideas to do with my kids. Recently I started following An Everyday Story and I really like it too – staying up many nights to read the older posts! To be honest, my homeschooling style and parenting style on the whole have been very much influenced by blogs from western countries (read: non-kiasu).

The good news is, I have recently discovered a Singaporean blog, Growing Hearts, which I like very much too. It is great to read a blog which shares the same resources and environment as me – limited space (HDB!), no Amazon (but we have Daiso!), kiasuism… instead of drooling over the big yards that so many western bloggers seem to have at home. While it’s still good to read more and across a wider context for knowledge and inspiration, blogs that are closer to home will probably make it much easier for us to actually try out an idea we see and like on the blog.

Ready to get hooked on more local blogs? Click to view a comprehensive list of mummy bloggers in Singapore!

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Play Changes With Age

When Kor Kor was younger, he used to jump or throw himself into sensory play activities with much gusto. Then when he was 3+, he was quite unwillling to get himself dirty/messy. I had to coax him to try the activities, and even when he reluctantly agreed and dragged himself to try, he usually did not engage and quit the activity after only a short while.

As he approached four years old, there was another change. He was more ok with sensory/messy play, except that he wasn’t messy anymore. Instead of using his hands and feet and whole body to play with the materials like he did when younger, he sits with the tray in front of him and handles the material with just his hands. It was a self-initiated progression, as I had never made the kids wear apron or anything like that during messy play. I have a very high tolerance with mess and feel that it’s ok to be messy during, well, messy play. This new play is no less in-depth than before though, he is very focused and I can see him observing and exploring.

At 4.5 years old now, I find that Kor Kor is well suited for more ‘scientific’ type of activities – can sit still for long periods, more careful, keen eye for observations, more thoughtful. Thus I have been setting up more ‘experiments’ type of activities for the boys.

Do I see the same trend for Didi? Well, let’s just say that even though he’s given similar ‘experiment’ setups, it all ends up as a big sensory mess *weak laugh*

 

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The Frustrations of Nature Outings!

Insect bites. Animal poo. Uncomfortable. Itchy. Bugs attracted to our food. Muddy. Sandy. Damp.

Many complaints and other potential problems whenever we bring the kids out to enjoy nature.

I am not referring to trips to the daily trips to the playgrounds around the housing estate. Those are reasonably clean, and we can see if there’s dog poo etc, and not that many bugs since there’s not much grass anyway.

But try sitting on a straw mat on the grass with trees all around you. Have you read the book One Million Hungry Ants? Ya, something like that.

I really hate it when the boys complain about the grass scratching them, or the soil getting into their shoes, or a tiny bug landing on their sandwich. It’s so GU NIANG and I can’t stand my boys being gu niang!! (At those moments, I can’t wait to pack them off to National Service.) But then, I don’t see myself as gu niang (hey, I was in the National Cadet Corps for a happy six years ok) but I do feel the discomfort as well. The worst thing is that all these problems often spoil the entire outing because other than mummy, nobody else wants to be there suffering! (No, my hubby is NOT gu niang either. But still.)

What is the solution? Don’t go for such trips? Will avoiding nature make the kids even more adverse to it as they grow older?

Or are they too young for such nature and will eventually grow into it? But, is there such a thing as too young for nature???

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Using Mirrors In Play

Came across the idea of using mirrors as part of children’s play a few years ago and I have let the kids try painting on mirrors a few times, and even drawing on their own reflections in the mirror. When I did our art corner, I included mirrors as a permanent fixture. I have observed mirrors adding a new dimension to the boys’ play, whether with blocks or trains or art mediums. Check out An Everyday Story for more ideas!

To be honest, I am not very sure about the origin or theories behind the use of mirrors in children’s play. I think it is a very large part of Reggio-inspired environments, which I am currently reading up on. The thing is, theory or not, the idea of mirrors makes sense to me, especially after firsthand observations of my own children. Thus, I have recently added more mirrors to our play areas.

In the bedroom

In the bedroom

 

For blocks play

For blocks play

 

And of course, the trains area where the boys spend the most time

And of course, the trains area where the boys spend the most time

Mirrors are good for outdoor art explorations too!

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Learning About Shadows

Kor Kor has been showing an interest in shadows and asking a lot of questions about them. I’m intrigued about the way children learn – shadows have been all around him since forever, but one fine day he just suddenly became curious about them…?!? Anyway, I grabbed the chance to ride on his interest and did a few simple activities with the boys to learn more about shadows.

The setup

The setup (Thanks to Growing Hearts for the idea to use shower curtain as backdrop!)

 

Exploring

Exploring

 

Introduced torchlights for play

Introduced torchlights for play

Used magnatiles and rainbow cubes to create coloured shadows.

i outlined the shadows of the plants for the kids to see the difference one hour later. But urmm, they gave a cursory look and merrily drew theri own stuff. Haha

i outlined the shadows of the plants for the kids to see the difference one hour later. But urmm, they gave a cursory look and merrily drew theri own stuff. Haha

I have a couple more ideas about playing with coloured shadows. Hope to do them soon with the kids. Stay tuned!

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Stranger Danger

Chanced upon this book and I find it very useful in teaching stranger danger to the boys. It makes use of well-known fairy tales to bring across important safety messages. If your child is not familiar with these fairy tales yet? It’s a good chance to introduce the tales to him now as well!

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood – Don’t follow a stranger to take ‘shortcuts’

 

Hansel and Gretel - Don't enter a stranger's house/car even if he offers you candy

Hansel and Gretel – Don’t enter a stranger’s house/car even if he offers you candy

 

Snow White - Don't open the door to strangers

Snow White – Don’t open the door to strangers

 

Bonus? It’s a very funny read and entertaining for the parent as well : )