Does tuition have a place in childhood?

Childhood is precious. What do you remember about yours?

I remember playing marbles, hopscotch, running about with the neighbourhood kids, and getting up to all sorts of mischief with my brother.

Kids today seem to be growing up to a different beat, a more competitive one. The ages of kids attending tuition classes are getting younger. The number of enrichment courses and tuition classes continue to climb, with some programmes even catering to infants as young as six months old.

I spoke to some of my peers and one of them made an insightful remark. She thinks that only a handful of parents in Singapore are truly and deeply “kiasu” (fear losing out); the rest of us are pressured to follow suit because we see everyone else do the same, and we start to worry that our kids will not be able to keep up.

At the end of the day, we just want what is best for our kids. But is tuition and enrichment really the best way to go?

Join me at World Moms Blog today as we ask the question: How do we say yes to the best, and no to the rest?


In its time

As parents, we find ourselves troubled whenever we’re having difficulty with the kids, we get stressed out by family affairs or even family members themselves, and we get discouraged when things just refuse to go smoothly. During such times, it’s really hard to find joy and hope in the everyday.

But like the rainbow that only appears after a storm, so God’s bigger purpose will come through and become clear after a period of waiting and testing.

Though we may feel like giving up at times, my prayer for us is to keep trusting, keep clinging, keep praying — and know that His love and promises will break through the dark clouds like the rainbow. He will take care of things, in its perfect time, if we would only entrust ourselves to Him.

We recently went through a tough period of waiting and wandering, but finally today we received some good news. We are seeing the beginnings of a new rainbow, and I’m really excited. It may still be an uphill climb, but it’s progress all the same.

Here’s the verse again, from Ecclesiastes 3:11. And I hope it encourages you no matter what you’re going through.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

If you had all the time in the world, what would you do?

Let me answer the question with a list of 10 things that I would do.

1. Travel around the world in 30 days with the hubby (sans kids) – or maybe I would be happy to just do a 14-day Aussie farm-stay with the kids. (Hmm, I might regret saying that, but I guess I’ll have all the time to take another holiday).

2. Sleep 12 hours straight (to be honest, I’m not sure my body is able to do this anymore, but I sure will try. Every mum deserves more beauty sleep, right?)

3. Go on a moms’ day out – a day filled with food, coffee, dessert…and then shopping to work it all off.

4. Further my studies in counselling – or start doing some volunteer work in this field.

5. Stop dreaming and start doing – How many dreams have you put on hold simply because you have neither the time nor energy to work at them? Now that you have all the time in the world, you can stop worrying that you’ll have no time to manage a new venture, and you can start working real hard at something you’ve always wanted to achieve. What can I say but carpe diem.

6. Spend an entire day with my wife – staring into her eyes and telling her how wonderful she is in my life. [Ack, that’s the hubby hijacking the keyboard by the way, and he’s refused to let me delete this. Oh well, haha]

7. Go on a kids’ day out – Spend an entire day running around in wide open spaces, rolling on the grass, enjoying a picnic, falling asleep on the mat, star-gazing at night, and watching the sun rise the next day. Hopefully then, my children will think that I’m the awesomest mom in the world.

8. Organise my home – Finally. My hubby will be awe-struck by my neatness and organization skills, after I’m done. (Hah, I’ll show him!)

9. Meet up with old friends – Sure we may all be on Facebook, but there’s only so much interaction that we can achieve on social media. Since becoming a parent, my social circle has shrunk many times over, and it doesn’t help that we get comfortable with the same people, and feel generally lazy to make the effort with others. So yes, I would like to make an effort to rekindle past friendships, especially friends whom I was close to once upon a time, but have since drifted apart.

10. Write a book – This has been my childhood dream and it remains so. Sometimes it’s scary to put this in black and white, because it adds weight and makes you feel like you MUST fulfill it, otherwise some boogieman will come after you with a sledge-hammer and demand for a reason as to why it has not been done. But oh well, I guess this is what the blog is for – to challenge myself sometimes.

Now, if only I had all the time in the world, how different would life be?

I would be able to sew a patchwork blanket of dreams.

You know it’s funny, but if I really had all the time in the world, I think I would just want to spend it all with the family and kids, doing the things that we love, with the people whom we care about. Sometimes dreams are just ‘a chasing after the wind’ – at the end of your life, you probably won’t be thinking about those unfulfilled dreams…or would you?

What would you do if you had all the time in the world?

Linking this post up with Stasha’s Monday Listicles and Susan’s Merry Mondays!

Where in the world did my baby go?

Dear baby J,

This is my second letter to you. (But who’s counting anyway.)

I was prompted to write this one evening after our usual bedtime nursing session. I looked down at you as you lay peacefully drifting off to sleep, and I thought to myself:

Where in the world did my baby go?

You spent 9 peaceful months in the womb, and now it’s been 9 months in the great and wild outdoors. I know you’re having the time of your life — exploring places on all fours with that focused leopard crawl of yours, finding leverage on anything to lift yourself onto your twos, and emptying out every little drawer or container in the house. Oh and let’s not forget, terrorizing your grandma and bullying her into carrying you around for the other parts of the day. While your everyday smile, that wide-eyed cheeky boyish grin, remains, the baby part of you — your gummy grins, your botak head, your vulnerability and your soft folds of skin — is fast vanishing.

I almost sound like I’m craving for another baby, but trust me I’m not. I’m just wishing we could rewind time to a couple months back.

Not that I would do anything differently, even if that really happened.

Except maybe

I would linger more,

not rush about as much,

leave a bit of shopping undone,

just to be with you.

And watch you grow.

Not too long now till you start zipping about on your twos, demanding for your rights and entitlements in the form of fun or yummy goods, running around and having a whale of a time with your sister…and I know that there’ll be wonderful things to look forward to, to discover and delight in together.

But for now, will you excuse me for staring at you a little bit longer than usual…I just need to savour you in the present.

That’s all.

Love, mama.

Reclaiming time and moments with No.1

Ever since baby JJ entered our world, I haven’t been able to spend much time with Vera. I just haven’t been able to show her the same attention I used to. It’s not just that I can’t (hands being very full with the baby), it’s also that due to tiredness or crankiness, I sometimes don’t feel like it.

And I feel terrible.

I think I’m getting used to this new arrangement, where either the granny or the daddy takes care of Vera, while I watch the little one. It may not be the best arrangement but so far it’s been like that, and we’ve all grown comfy in our positions.

But you know what? There are still moments when she would ask for good ol’ mummy – usually when she’s about to sleep and she sees me peeking in to check on her. She would ask me to sleep on the bed beside her, which I usually did night after night, until little brother came along.

And I’m learning to be content with these moments. And accept that our family has changed. Sure, the dynamics may have shifted with the arrival of baby JJ… But things are not at all bad. We just need time to adapt, that’s all.

Meanwhile, I get to see Vera grow closer and closer to her daddy everyday, and I just know this strong daddy-daughter bond will serve us well in the years to come.

And one day, when Vera’s older, I’m sure she’ll understand, and by God’s grace, our family will always be tightly knitted with the threads of love and joy.

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