The day before we flew off for holidays, we brought the boys to USS.
We went on the carousel and watched the Sesame Street show. We were planning to stay for only a short while, hence, when X decided to ride the Transformers ride which warranted a 40min’ wait, I was flabbergasted.
X was very excited about taking the Transformer ride again. Mr H did not want to disappoint him so he brought him to the ride. Z and I skipped it. The next moment, Mr H said they breezed through the queue.
Z did not want to take Battlestar again, but he wanted to take Enchanted Airways. We queued 15min for that and met up with Mr H and X for “Puss in Boots”. It was another 15min’s wait.
It was X’s first time taking the ride and Z was up to his fear-mongering tactics. X ended up being overly scared of the loud sounds. He later on admitted that the ride was not scary!
With that, we wrapped up the visit and headed off dinner.
This was the second time we had attended academic related trial lessons. I had always toyed with the idea of sending Z for their holiday writing camps but the schedules always clashed with either a trip or another holiday camp.
This time round, there were slots for N2 and P1/P2. I had thought that I was supposed to sign up for a more advanced level like K1 and P3/P4 respectively. Our year’a schedule had pretty much panned out.
The N2 session was broken into 3 distinct segments. X enjoyed himself very much but I could see striking similarities to his current preschool classes. There was need for us to splurge since his preschool had taken care of that.
The P1/P2 session was a combined trial. I thought it was not a good representation or the curriculum was a tad basic. Z said the lesson was fun. Indeed, it was. It surrounded a theme and the activities were creatively tied to it.
However, even he found the level of work junior for him (let alone me). It was probably good for kids who needed to nail their foundation.
Or maybe group lessons or any form of academic enrichment was not up our alley at the moment.
At his 8th lesson in the term, X joined the backstroke class officially. I was pleasantly surprised. I guessed during Z’s time, we never experienced this because Z had taken the full 10 lessons and struggled to pass at times. Z also did not have the luxury of an elder sibling who swam so extensively. He had no one to look up to and learn from.
Most importantly, Z had no competitive streak in him and was happy with taking things easy and slowly. X, on the other hand, was competitive and always fighting to be the first.
In X’s eyes, swimming was akin to walking and he knew that to swim well, he had to practice everyday. And so he did.
X was mightily pleased to be in the backstroke class. Despite facing a new instructor, which was his pet peeve, he took to the new instructor and lesson like a fish to water.
Though he crashed in at the 8th lesson, he was doing notably better than some of the students who had been there since the 1st lesson.
Well, he was a very athletic toddler to begin with. He also had the advantage of being a January kid. Let’s see what that shall bring.
For the upcoming holidays, the boys were going to carry their backpacks and their individual sets of:
– Lip balm
It was time for them to take charge of their mini set of belongings, while we take care of the rest.
This time round, I also got Z to prepare his clothes. Actually, I had planned for X and given that both boys had the same clothing item 70% of the time, it was not hard for Z to grab the items from his wardrobe.
For the balance, I asked him to propose. Mr H, on the other hand, packed the necessities like underwear and socks for them. Well, that was where we contrasted on parenting.
He would rather do it than save the hassle of making sure they knew how to do it and appear like the sweetest parent. I would rather go through the hassle of teaching them how to fish than to fish for them and appear like the meanest parent.
We actually had PTM with Z’s teacher at his speech and drama school. After all, she conducted weekly lessons for him for the past semester.
Her observation of him was pretty accurate. We were mindful of the areas he had to work on. Most importantly, he was a likeable student and had picked up fast in class.
She was the second teacher in the week to comment that he was a smart boy. Sometimes, it felt like I was a mean mummy for not giving him as stellar a rating.
I had always told Z that his results were for him and only him. It did not matter if he did well or not. I would love him nonetheless but whether I felt proud of him was another matter. Nay, I did not say the latter.
At least, I had gotten him to identify that when he became overly excited, he would forget everything. He would forget himself, his knowledge, his work, self control and all the rules.
After his final class of the semester, I challenged him to teach the Chinese poem to X. If he succeeded as a mini teacher and X mastered the poem, both would be rewarded.
Z was overzealous and kept pushing X to learn, even when X got tired. It was very funny because we had to tell him to be patient and not stress his “student”. That illustrated our overzealousness in pushing Z too! Guess he could finally identify with us.
I had thought it was easier because I had been through that stage. It was simply different because X was of a different character. By now, he was having an average of 8 self-restricted tantrums a day.
He knew throwing a tantrum was wrong but he could not resist so. He had problem controlling his emotions. He did not recognize when he was whining or talking. He was a perfectionist at heart. Once he set his mind on a certain thing or way, he disregarded everything else as wrong or improper and would get very upset.
It was both a blessing and a curse to have a perfectionistic streak. One, he could be very driven and self-motivated, evident in the way he swam, took feedback to correct his strokes and the constant need to hone his skills. It could be bad because he was imposing expectations of an unread mind onto us.
It was more good than bad. I enjoyed his persistence and determination. In that sense, I found him fun to parent. When it tilted to stubbornness, well, it was another story.
For now, I would just be appreciative of the swim training X imposed on his tiny self.
This article, with its click-bait headline, sent people off in a frenzy of discussion. I thought this explained why Z and X always asked us to return to the same few places.
By now, they had repeated visits to Tokyo, Paris, London, Seoul, Bali and Hokkaido. However, when we started on new places, it wasn’t like they could not adapt too.
They had never explicitly expressed if they liked or disliked a holiday. However, in order for the adults to enjoy the trip, I tried my best to plan for a family-friendly holiday such that there was something for everyone. As best as possible, I planned ahead to minimize nasty surprises. For instance, I made sure I knew the train timings, the range of dining options and whatever I could book in advance, I did so.
Do more research, make the trip more pleasant. It’s not necessary to always stick to the same place for familiarity, unless for personal preferences. For recall’s sake, that was why I made photobooks which the family, including me and especially the kids, love.
A holiday wasn’t just a holiday. It was part of our memory milestone.