Closer to Mother Nature

11 to 13 Aug 2017

Post-National Day (and my birthday), I wanted to make the most of our time together this long weekend. I feel a sense of urgency because this baby is growing so fast. And also because of the dreadful feeling knowing that next week, work duty calls again.

So, for three days in a row, we went close to nature. I am hardly a nature lover, because mozzies just love me too much, but since I had decided on a whim to sign myself up for a school field trip with her, I bit the bullet and just went.

Of course I made sure I overpacked my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back with every cream and ointment we would need plus other toddler essentials.

Loading up my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back for the trip

(This mama really one kiasu mama!)

The field trip to Gardenasia was rather fun. Little Foot had been anticipating the visit to the “plants farm!” since I started mentally preparing her for it a few days ahead.

And so here we are, accomplished plant potters!

❤Little Foot’s first plant! ❤

To many parents, a day out alone with the Little One is nothing. For me, it is still a leap of faith… taking baby steps to overcome my anxieties and irrational fears. I am hardly out alone with her since that near-fainting on the MRT episode when she was 8 months young.

As I consciously worked towards overcoming my anxieties, every little achievement seems like I’ve conquered a mountain.

And so it was that I successfully did this field trip with Little Foot without Papa Long in tow. Celebrate with me!

Then on Saturday, by chance, a trip to Little Foot’s BFF’s place brought us to Seng Kang Riverside Park. A little piece of mangrove and a floating platform…. the two toddlers had fun holding hands and walking around, and then chasing some bubbles.

After her flirt with nature, we had a situation in McDonald’s… sighhh… someone tell me why she always misbehaves when she is with me and Aunty Lily… but that shall be another story for another day.

At night before bedtime, Little Foot talked about feeding fishes. So it was that she went to bed holding that thought. I went to bed wondering if I shouldn’t have threatened to put her in the dustbin for her atrocious behaviour.

On Sunday we woke up and I tried to get us all ready to go somewhere as painlessly as possible. There were of course the usual procrastinations when it came to taking a bath and brushing teeth.

And then we asked ourselves, “Where shall we go?”

Papa Long suggested the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden before we went to feed the fishes at another part of Botanical Gardens.

Our first visit to the place, which would have rivalled all the nature walks we did in Perth, if not for our tropical weather which also meant the place is a home for all kinds od insects including mosquitoes!

Little Foot was distracted by her packet of Jagabee which she has been demanding to rip open while in the car. So Papa made it a game — every house you reached is a checkpoint, and you get one chip when you get there. And so began the exploration of the little garden.

Some of the areas were undergoing construction/upgrading, but there was definitely enough for a kid to be entertained.

1st checkpoint!

Conquering her dislike for sand for awhile because she likes going down the slides more!

Let’s cross some bridges

And find some fishes

And look for some herbs too!

Finally we fed the fishes and had lunch at Food For Thought (incidentally, it was their last day of operation)

And so as the sun starts to set on this week, I do think a little bit more of nature will be good for Little Foot. Even if my legs are now peppered with mozzie bites.

There are many ways to play…

On Monday, just before the school’s National Day celebration started, Little Foot’s teacher asked me whether she has interaction with other children at home. I said yes and we had a chat about why this question popped up. Turned out that our Little Foot doesn’t really mix around with the other toddlers in class. Notwithstanding that she spends most of the morning part crying, whenever she has calmed down, she would stay on the sidelines and observe the others, refusing to participate.

I described her usual playtime routines with the kids in the neighbourhood to the teacher, so we both felt, that perhaps she’s still adjusting to the environment, let’s give her a little bit of time.

Still it bothered me a little inside…

That morning, she did however put up a semblance of participation in the Playgroup performance item, waving a flag and marching, albeit while insisting on being in physical contact with Papa.

Papa Long and I chatted about it in the car on the way home one evening. Should we be concerned? It’s normal right? Eventually we brushed it off and reminded ourselves that Little Foot has always been an observer, even at a very young age. AND Papa is also by nature the same way – not a social butterfly, preferring to be a wallflower.

I also mentally reminded myself about the article I read about the different forms of play that children engage in as they grow older – from solitary play to parallel play to group play. She’s not fully at the group play stage yet, preferring to swing between the three different stages, depending on her mood

(Actually don’t we all have the same kind of day too? When we just want to be left alone with our coffee and book?)  

Over the public holiday, I continued to observe how she interacted with the cousins. She’d play, walking around with Baby K, passing toys, grabbing toys…randomly approaching the older cousins, but when all the kids started jumping on the bed, racing around, Little Foot would recede to the sidelines again. I get the sense that she’s watching, observing, probably many things are probably running though her head, but she’s not in there jumping.

Brought to mind the Chinese idiom “按宾不动 ” — observe first, don’t deploy the soldiers yet until you get your strategy out.

Then this morning, I saw photos posted by our helper, Little Foot playing with older kids at the playground yesterday afternoon.

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It made me so happy to see her playing with other kids. Felt like I needed to knock my own head for getting overly worried over a harmless remark by the teacher.That’s a first-time parent for you alright!

And so, on a happier note, it’s Friday!  Don’t sweat the small stuff!