Given our recent study of the solar system, when the boys heard that we were going to VENUS Loop, they were really excited. ‘We are going to Venus? Really??’
Sorry, darlings, of course not. That was about the last bit of innocent joy they enjoyed before they realised what Mummy was about to put them through.
I love to let my kids experience nature. So when I came across scrapmumloft’s post on Venus Loop at MacRitchie, I couldn’t wait to bring the kids!
The entrance from Venus Drive carpark. Still happy.
The path is along a natural stream. But our untrained and inexperienced eyes didn’t get to see much.
Then we walked… and walked.. and walked. It was after a morning of rain, and the path was very muddy! Mosquitoes were out in full force, and despite a liberal dose of bug repellant and a patch on each kid, the boys and I were attacked mercilessly. Fortunately Meimei escaped unharmed!
My plan was just to do Venus Loop, which is supposed to be easily completed by even young kids. But at the beginning, Kor Kor insisted on going to the Treetop Walk (which he saw on the map at the entrace). Of course, by the time we reached this sign, he was all ready to give up. Stubborn Mummy was secretly very happy to give in to him.
The thing is, it was my first time doing this trek, and there were no signboards indicated where to loop back. I only noticed one fork in the path, so after giving up on trying the Treetop Walk, we retrieved our steps to that fork and carried on. Kor Kor pleaded with me to turn back to the carpark, but no way!
[At that time, I was concerned about sending the wrong message to the kids about persevering in the face of adversity (ha!). But now as I am writing this, I guess there are many other virtues that I could have expounded about turning back. Such as 知难而退、见风使舵、见好就收…. maybe. As the parent, it’s always up to us how we want to
brainwash or twist & turn the facts or present a situation to the child.]
Then we walked and walked and walked somemore. I was starting to feel uneasy… Were we lost? Was I really lost in the forest with three young kids totally dependent on me??? We passed by quite a few other trekkers at the start… But how come we had not seen any for quite a while?
Then I remembered that a bit back, we had passed by this path which seemed to lead out of the forest. So up we went. (Picture was taken from the top after we cleared it.)
It did lead us to a tree-less area, the grass was cut, just behind a row of houses. But both ends didn’t seem to lead anywhere – one side was a construction site, the other was just…. endless….
The boys had been hopeful when I led them out of the forest. They were somewhat calmer than they were in the forest – when they were under vicious attack by the mosquitoes on top of not knowing where on earth they were… far far away from the civilisation they knew. But after walking a bit more, their hopes were dashed again. Exactly how I felt too. Sigh.
But it’s up to the leader to keep their spirits up. Even if it’s just bluff.
‘Don’t worry, boys. See, there are houses here. So we just need to follow the row of houses, and eventually at the end of the row, there will be a road!’
Actually I wasn’t so sure. Never mind. Pretend. Worst comes to worst, I shall just trespass into one of the houses (most of them do not have any fence at the back. I mean, which crazy nut will bash through the forest just to commit housebreaking, right? Huh) and ask to exit from their front gate. Seriously, I would already have done that if the houses did not look empty.. nobody to open the door for us to let us through the house! No point for us to wait in the backyard.
Finally, we saw the light! Somehow we had reached Libra Drive. And there was a very old-style playground with the traditional see-saws and swings!
Children are really very resilient. Once we came onto the road, the boys behaved as if nothing had happened. No signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Saw playground, immediately ‘I want to plaaaaay!!’ I would like to think that despite their moaning and wailing (sorry monkeys and squirrels for disturbing your afternoon naps), they were not that affected because they had full faith in Mummy. Haha.
Two hours of exercise aside, my most valuable gain from the trek is finding out how unaccustomed to the great outdoors my boys are. It is definitely my failing as a parent that accounts for this – not providing enough opportunities! But no worries, this shall be rectified in short order – I must make such outings a regular fixture. Hopefully soon the boys will learn to enjoy such treks.
The best surprise is seeing how brave and adaptable Didi is! He was initially complaining about the mud.. then after a few more meters, I turned back and saw him happily jumping and splashing around in the mud! That’s the way, boy! 妈妈真的对你另眼相看了！
Hubby picked us up at the playground after work, and since there was no place to have our picnic dinner, we drove to Bedok Reservoir Park. And the kids had fun at the playground after dinner. The energy! (Love this part of the park which I just discovered. Shall do up a post too. Eventually.)
I shall not include the directions etc here, since scrapmumloft has provided the information in her post. No point doing double work! As she recommends, we have also signed up for the guided walk by Toddycats. Check them out, or wait for my post after my next visit to Venus Loop!
Be warned though, I carried a 5.8kg bag and a 9kg baby for the whole trek! The usual baby gear like diapers, wet wipes, extra clothes… plus four lunchboxes for dinner, three water bottles, rainwear for the kids, my few items like camera and wallet… So you might want to bring another
goat or horse or camel adult in addition to the kids 😛