Siblings who play together, grow together

I’ve been noticing the siblings grow in their ability to play with and care for one another lately.

Take the recent school holidays for instance. There was one day when I had to leave the house for a meeting, and the kids had all but locked themselves in the bedroom, and were in the midst of “ordering takeaway” at McDonalds’ to have a burger feast while “watching TV.” (All of this was make-believe by the way.)

Two hours later, when I came home, the kids were still in their rooms, happily playing by themselves. I was like “What? You mean they were there the whole time I was gone?” (I later found out that they had left the room for some snacks and were playing in the living room before as well.)

But really…It didn’t take a school holiday for me to observe their play interactions. I’ve been observing it for some time now; when the elder two are back from school. Josh is always the first to greet them at the door. He is happiest when they are home to play with him. Their latest gig is to throw all my sofa cushions on the floor and to lie on them, like rowboats, and row/crawl all the way to the bedroom.

siblings1

Sometimes they hold hands and jump off tables together, onto a soft floor mat of course.

Watching the crazy scenes makes me roll my eyes…but it also makes me thankful that they have one another to play with, and to lean on in the future.

I’m thankful that we don’t have that many structured activities planned for each one yet. In a weird way, I feel the extra time they get to enjoy with one another, during this season, is worth it. (I’m also expecting that things will change as they grow older and take on more commitments especially when the formal schooling years begin.)

But for now, I’m relishing the moments.

happy_Josh

Josh is really the blessed one. He gets to learn and benefit from big sister’s sweet patience and kind doting love. He also learns to defend himself against big brother, who’s prone to snatching things and pushing him around during play. (I must say though, in the last two months, JJ has started to show a more gentle and caring side to his baby brother. It’s not consistent, but it shows up on good days. Whenever it shows up, I make sure to give him loads of affirmation and love.)

bros

I guess this is the season of togetherness, for the trio.

I love watching them play like there’s no tomorrow.

It’s not a bad thing for the kids to experience some boredom – actually boredom breeds play and imaginative thinking that is very much child-led. When they direct and play out dramatic bad-guy-versus-good-guy scenes, their negotiation and socialization skills are also getting a workout behind the scenes.

And one lesson we should all learn is that while mothers want more for their sons, the truth is that sons need less. Boys need fewer toys and fewer clothes. They need more time with their mothers and fathers, less time in structured events, and more time being bored – yes, bored – so that they can use their imagination and creativity and figure out what to do. Young men need less time face-to-screen with electronic life and more time face-to-face with people. Less television, video games, clothes, telephone bills, sports, events, and preschool hours mean less stress for mothers and more time for boys to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. – Boys Should Be Boys

Siblings who play together,

laugh together and learn together.

fight together.

grow together.

When they’re happy, it makes my life a lot easier. As I take on some writing jobs from home, moments of play means moments of concentration for me to do my work.

When they’re upset with one another, it can be really frustrating. But it’s also something they need to learn to cope with. Conflict as a normal part of life. The fighting moments are also opportunities for them to learn how to give in and let go. I do step in though when things fall apart.

Though there are not-so-good moments, I try to be thankful still. Thankful for kids who play together. Thankful for moments of fun and love.

From them, I’m learning too, what it means to be carefree and to not have any worries. Of course, as an adult, I do have my fair share of those. Which is why bible verses like this one helps me to stay grounded.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink;
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?

– Matthew 6

The terrible twos

Dear JJ,

You just turned two. You’re also in the thick of…

The Terrible Twos.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a phrase (and a phase) that strikes fear even in the most courageous of parents.

We have stopped asking you anything, because to you right now, everything is a “NO” or “DO-WANT.”

Even if you really mean yes.

You’re like a walking time-bomb. One moment, you can be happily prancing around, the next, tear-and-scream-fest.

Everything can be disagreeable to you, even the way we pack your toys, place your towel on the bathroom rack, down to who’s able to wear your shoes or read you a bedtime story.

What makes it slightly more challenging is that you love to pick a fight and ruffle your sister’s feathers.

AND we’ve also discovered that your tantrums can get quite physical (though thankfully most of your punches and kicks land in mid-air and not on my face).

Sigh, you’re all but wearing mummy and daddy out.

But there is a silver lining…This IS just another phase. And as with all phases, this too shall pass. (Or so we console ourselves.) If you’re anything like your sis, we think we should see the light by the end of the year.

I know there is a reason behind all this. That you are breaking away from us, learning independence, and forging your own identity as a unique little person through this process.

You’ve now discovered the beauty of your own mind. Your own will. Your own voice.

I know we need to support you in this, that we need to be patient, keep our cool, negotiate with you so you attain a measured level of decision-making, compromise, etc etc. But you need to realise that sometimes your desires are downright silly. (Such as wanting to run down a slope that leads to a road full of cars zooming by. Or wanting to swallow playdoh.)

While shaping your identity is important, protecting your life is more so. And that’s what we will do, even if it results in a meltdown.

All these said and done, you’re still our cheeky, adorable little boy. And when you’re happy, you shine like the stars in our universe.

We are counting the days till you turn three.

Till then, we just have to hang onto our seats, and do deep breathing exercises.

Love, mummee

The next child talent?

I dug this out yesterday and just couldn’t stop laughing. Do you think Vera could be a singing talent one day?

                     

She didn’t get all the lyrics down pat, so here’s what it’s supposed to be. (It’s one of my favourite sunday school songs btw.)

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

~~~

Have kids, can make music

Her first ukulele performance.

(The notes may all be off, but it still sounded quite angelic to me. A mother’s bias, they call it.)

Praise Him, praise Him, all you little children.

God is love, God is love.

Praise Him, praise Him, all you little children.

God is love, God is love.

God is love indeed, and one of the most obvious reasons I know it is not just because the bible tells me so, but that he gave us this darling little girl (and of course our little boy too).

I can’t help but chuckle as I recall the first time we presented her with a ukulele. She took to it like she’d always been a ukulele player. She strummed, created her own imaginary songs, and basically just sat there without being distracted by anything else. I remember standing at the corner and marvelling at the sight.

Really, I shouldn’t even be surprised? She’s always had the song and dance bug in her. She’s constantly singing at home the songs she learnt in school, at church, or nonsensical, made-up ones. She loves dancing too, and her improv moves never fail to crack me up.

I love you, my little dancing queen.

May you never lose that wiggle and jiggle gene.

May your musical talents be nurtured and grow, that they may be used for His glory.

5 things I did not know about toddler’s teeth

I recently brought Vera for her routine dental check-up. This was her second time visiting a dentist, but her first visit to this particular dentist called Dr Tay. (We decided to change because we found the first one a bit on the expensive side.)

Through the process, I found out some interesting tidbits about teeth and thought I would share them with you.

dentist

1) Don’t rush to switch to fluoride toothpaste for toddlers

Why? Fluoride causes fluorosis when swallowed, which leads to the discolouration of adult teeth.

So this dentist advised to wait till your child is more mature, closer to 4 years old or even above, as they need to be able to gargle properly (they should be able to swish water around the mouth) and spit out the toothpaste.

2) Pacifier is better than thumb

Why? Simply because the thumb is harder to wean off than a pacifier, and may actually cause the teeth to shift out of alignment if the frequency and extent of thumb-sucking is high. (In this dentist’s opinion at least.)

3) Gaps between baby teeth are good

As adult teeth are bigger than baby teeth, they will fill up more space than when the baby teeth were around. So if your child has gaps between his teeth now, don’t fret, it’s actually a good thing.

Vera actually has very little space between her teeth now, which looks good but actually means that the chances of having adult teeth that are overcrowded are high.

Read more: All about toddler teeth

4) You should floss your toddler’s teeth

This is something that most of us know we should do, but procrastinate. How many of us faithfully floss every day anyway? (At least, I know I struggle with that.)

But there are definitely benefits of starting to floss when young. First, you build a good habit for your child. Second, it gets rid of the icky stuff that hides between the teeth, which leads to better hygiene and less plaque/cavaries.

All we need to do is lie them down facing up, use a thread of normal floss and gently go in and out between their teeth. For starters, we don’t need to use any zig-zag action, nor do we need to go too deep beneath the gum-line.

5) Get rid of plaque using soft cloth

Vera has a yellowish stain on one of her front teeth, and initially we were quite worried that it was caries. Thankfully, it turned out to be a stubborn layer of plaque. The dentist advised us to use a clean cloth and rub against the tooth enamel area often. This is more effective and less abrasive than using a brush to brush against her tooth.

He also asked us to make sure that her teeth has a shiny surface after brushing.

By the way, I must say I really like this dentist. He’s everything a mum would want in her child’s dentist.

  • He’s gentle (this is top top top priority. Everything else falls flat if this first criteria is not met.)
  • He’s good with children (this comes a very close second.)
  • He’s thorough and detailed (he took the time to explain everything he was doing, what he was looking for, and what I should do on a daily basis with Vera)

Granted, his clinic occupies only a small space, and doesn’t boast added frills such as a dedicated TV for distracting the children while he works on their teeth. (There is a TV showing cartoons at the reception area though.) But I guess this is why his prices are very reasonable too.

I’m not advertising for him (and I’m not even sure he wants to be publicised given his rather long booking schedule), so I won’t be sharing his details publicly on this post. But if you’re really really keen to try him out, drop me an email to ask okay?

What have you learnt about caring for your child’s teeth?

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