R will be 5 years old in 3 months’ time. She is growing so fast I can’t keep up. She reads to me now. Writes me love notes, they come with lots of hugs and kisses, cards, drawings of me. I will miss this stage and all the sweet messages she hands over. I heard the other day that she is trying spelling as well. Reading and writing has gone leaps and bounds since starting Reception. Modelling by other children at school definitely is a positive influence although it comes with a price. She sometimes blurts out nasty words which no one can help or shield her from. It is reality but it is quite an impact to her increasing vocabulary and language development. Well, what better way to immerse in to society than to take a splash into the pool and with mum and dad still there swimming with her all hopes that she comes out of the pool creative and socially responsible individual whose eyes are on the target.
In two weeks’ time we are flying back to the UK. Here are a few places that we went to in Bangkok this time.
- Children’s Discovery Museum in Chatuchak. This is a handy place to go to. It is free of charge, easy to find and get to. Take the BTS to Mo Chit and it is a few minutes walk from there. They have an outdoor playground and fountain area to cool down. Indoors is fully air conditioned which is helpful when it is hot outside. The place is open from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. We always go to JJ Mall for lunch which is a stone’s throw away and after lunch there is a choice of going back to the museum or shopping in the mall.
- Sea Life Ocean World. We have been twice with the help of a discount travel agent. R had fun watching the penguins, sharks, sting ray, sea horses and different colours of fish which she has seen on tv. It was like dream come true. The ticket agent could be contacted on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/traveliciouzbymelody?fref=ts&ref=br_tf It is at the basement of Siam Paragon which is an interchange station of the Sky train so it makes the visits easy.
- Snake Farm. It is a compelling place for adults and children alike. The people who work there are passionate and respectful of the resident reptiles. It is interesting to know that not all snakes are dangerous.
- Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Temple of the Reclining Buddha and Temple of Dawn are a must go to place whenever we visit the city. We normally start the trip by getting on an orange flag boat, not the tourist boat, to see the city on a different angle then we get off at Tha Tien and go around Wat Pho first then take a ferry over to Wat Arun. After we climb Wat Arun and taken in the view of the place around it, exit at the back and look for a coffee shop or a local place to eat. Since we stay on the Thonburi side of town a bus or taxi ride back is always fun.
- Wat Traimit. It is amazing to see a Golden Buddha of 3 metres high and 5.5 tonnes. A walk from there to the main railway station, Hua Lamphong which is 5 minutes away to watch trains come and go as well as people watching is one thing to do. There are places to eat around the station and the subway station is there too to carry on the fun.
- The Mall Thapra’s play area. An hour of fun with slides, climbing equipment, sand table, fishing table, a few musical instruments and ball pit for the children which means an hour of quiet time for parents while watching them play.
- Maha Chai Railway market. Take a commuter train early morning from Wongwianyai which takes around 50 minutes. It is a fun train journey. The fun does not stop there because the train stops at the market or the market is at the train station. Walk around the market, cross over the Tha Chin river and walk around the local area to the Baan Laem train station that will take you to Maeklong Market. We only go to the temple that looks out the other side of the river to watch boats unload their catch. Go back to Maha Chai, have lunch and catch a train back to Wongwianyai.
- Local market. Plenty of things to see and buy. From vegetables to fish, cooking materials, clothing, and freshly cooked food. Lots of vocabulary to learn and a feast to the palate.
There are a lot of places in store to visit but for a three year old staying in a place with a 25 metre pool to go to every day bring loads of fun.
What a week that was and a wonderful start this week. If you can hear what I am saying thank you. If you do not it is a cry or a triumphant jump.
Last week R tried lacing and she had more patience to do it than a few months ago. She expressed the interest to do the activity about a couple of months ago but it did not work. We tried to lace her shiny shoes and then my old shoes which she gave more attention to. We will try it again and again until she is able to do it on her own. R tried zipping as well. She started with my coat. With 3 to 4 times of practice with mine she moved on to daddy’s and then tried her own coat. She did all this while we were at the shopping center. The next morning she was very happy to have done her boots all by herself. She still struggles sometimes but she tries her best and then asks for help if she cannot do it anymore.
The kitchen is a mess for four days now. Daddy is laying tiles a few at a time. It takes time to do even half of the room as the materials need to be worked with quickly otherwise the adhesive will set and then after he has laid them with certain precision he cleans all the buckets and trowels. R works and plays in the bedrooms or the sitting room which are big enough for her but she get to watch tv even in the morning which I dislike the most. I am hoping that the place would be in order soon but I might not be able to see it that way.
The driving lessons have been unenjoyable. Driving everyday rain or shine bad mood or not all contribute to the experience. I have not been recommended to take the practical test but D said that I have to take it. I think it is a complete waste of time and money but we will have to push through. It might be a waste but hey am I not?
Shall we add more drama into this someone’s close relative said to someone that R causes stress to some. No parent would ever want to hear that ever. Not now not ever. It is painful. Another drama, the neighbor sent another letter. When do all these stop? I guess when I am gone. Gone where? Nowhere close here.
H and her children knocked on the door before 5pm on Saturday. The last thing that I wanted was to have guests in this messy place. Noise makes it worse. How do I ask people not to turn up, stay and or be loud? I hope for sensitivity.
Back to some lighthearted instances if there are any. We will go away for 6 weeks from the 19th. R has been talking about it and looking forward to it now. That is something.
R recently talks to the ‘didi’ and it talks to her. Lovely to hear her have a “conversation” with it. The didi has an alterego. It speaks in a very squeaky voice.
R: Nasan ka didi? Please, please. (Where are you __?)
Didi: Dito natakpan ng stripy dress. (Here hidden under the stripy dress.)
R: Labas didi. (Come out__.)
Didi: Oo. (Yes)
We have not been for a swim for nearly two weeks now but whenever R gets in the bath she tries to swim and float. She will learn one day.
Time to go to bed. Be back in a week or so.
Christmas is in the air or shall I say just round the corner. R has decorated the Christmas tree with daddy that we borrowed from her grandmother. It is a real tree and it has grown a lot from last year.
We made our own salt dough, cut them with the existing cookie cutters and dried them on top of the wood burner. It took overnight to completely dry the dough and we did not need to use the oven which might have consumed kilowatts of electricity that would worry a pea-brained person.
The next morning R got up early, painted the cookies and left them to dry all day. I should take a photo of the cookies on the tree meanwhile here is a picture of R reading by the tree.
R picks up a book/s anytime and finds a place to read. The room in this photo is not as tidy as we always talk or practice but it is always a joy that she likes to read.
This is our first attempt at baking Filipino rolls called pandesal. The recipe we followed is from http://www.kawalingpinoy.com/2013/12/pandesal/. She helped to knead and form the dough and patiently waited for them to come out of the oven. For the rolls I replaced butter with cooking oil and it still turned out well. It was a big hit to both daddy and R. Apart from adobo this is the only other Pinoy food that R knows the name of. Pandesal will be on the table more than once a month from now on.
Hanging clothes, using clips or commonly known as sipits in our house and putting on socks have been regular activities for R. As these activities all develop concentration, refine motor skills and independence they will constantly be part of her day.
Language wise daddy makes up lots of stories and R sometimes fills them in. She asks her dad incessantly for stories about this girl who goes on adventures. One of my friends who called this week spoke to R. To get to the point she said R’s voice is like a little girl’s as she is but her sentence structure is like an adult’s. I take that as a compliment but somehow thinks that she needs more time with little people her age to have their input. There is no harm in being informed but does she miss out on things that children her age talk or go through is sometimes a question that pops up in mind.
The preschool is on holiday for Christmas and New Year which means R will mainly be at home. That will be two weeks with us then we will have a think if she will go back to school for two weeks before our holiday next month. To pay for 7 classes and only go to 2 of them is a wasting money I think and the fees for the 5 classes which she will not go to I can buy some Montessori Math or Sensorial materials with. My materials for her is minimal and I regret not making more but it is very time consuming. If I hear that every thing is expensive a big block is stuck in my heart and mind and cannot think of making even one material. It really is a battle. Will the will to get over this come upon me? Decisions.
I unearthed the sandpaper and wooden letters that were in one of the many storage bags in the loft.
The wooden letters were purchased from the stationery store and I used two coats of spray paint. I could have used more but I was excited to show them to R since she likes to play with them.
After printing and cutting out letter templates, it was time to trace them wrong side down on the sandpaper. It took me three nights altogether to finish this project.
R has traced eight letters so far. She is working on the names and the sounds at the same time. I would like her to concentrate on the sounds initially but when she is around other people she hears the names so we give them their names when she sees them and asks or says their names. She once matched the movable letters with her blocks that has letters on the sides.
It might take some time to go through all the letters but when she is familiar with these we will incorporate some Filipino writing. At the moment I only speak the language to her, sing songs or watch clips of Filipino videos online.
R has turned two and then two and a half then thirty one months old and I have not made any entries.
She has been helpful in the kitchen. R cuts veg for lunch, still, helps me knead dough for bread, cut cookie dough, tidy a lot even using the vacuum cleaner (hoover of course).
R has started to go to preschool once a week on Thursday mornings to play with little people her age and some older than her. In the first two days at school I went with her and she was interested in the books and children in the older class. But recently she is spending more time in her class. She is happy and hungry after class which is a big thing because she needs social interaction and enjoy food without prompts from us.
Cutting, drawing, coloring, practicing to write shapes and letters such as x, l, p, m, z, s, r, o to name a few keeps her busy. She recently drew a family picture. It is very impressive as it is complete with facial parts and noticeable who is who.
We re-started to attend Tuesday playgroup in the town hall and we enjoy that often. Most of the time we only see younger children but she does not mind because she can go and find her own activity now. She is confident to talk to people in the group even when we go out of the door she chats with anyone.
I ask her to play in the sitting room whenever I am busy and she does role play a lot. She copies what she sees or hears from her tv programs. She watches, Bagpuss, Moomins, 64 Zoo lane and random children’s program.
I wish that I write more of her activities to document her development but with all the misunderstanding that our neighbor have started and seem to never end stresses me out so much. It is so draining that I have not had the time to make enough materials to reinforce reading and writing at home. Hopes to have it finished sooner rather than later will stop ruining our lives.
The weather is not as good as yesterday so we are mostly indoors today. R is busy with jigsaws, riding her bike, feeding herself if that is counted, practicing to use her potty by herself although she shouts for help sometimes, reading, and just playing. She is now old enough to get a book and try to tell stories from the pictures of her books or retell the stories that she knows. Jigsaws are hit these days. She can do 9 pieces easily. R likes the big ones but she needs someone to do it with. She likes the interaction while solving it, goes quiet at times and then squeals when she puts pieces together.
R tries to dress herself up but I feel guilty that we do not give her much opportunity to do it. In the mornings she likes her father to help her because they go downstairs have morning tv with a little snack or start of breakfast . At night before bed she practices a little. Even though it is summertime she likes to put on coats and raincoats on a sunny day, this helps her practice with coats which will be a good thing in the winter.
I have not put out new Montessori-inspired materials because we spend most of our time in the garden, the kitchen or out. I ask her to help to cut vegetables, make pasta using the pasta maker, measure rice and turns the rice cooker on, prepare the bread mixture for the bread machine and adds in the seeds to the dispenser. She plays with anything she finds in the kitchen like the tins of sardines and pots of peanut butter that she builds towers with. Last month she and daddy made pasta bake for lunch. In her own words she put the pasta in, daddy opened the tomato sauce, cut carrots and mushrooms and bake. In the garden it is her job to sprinkle tea grounds. She sometimes waters the plants and feeds the chickens. We still have her spooning and pouring work in her classroom which she looks at and then moves on to other things.
Last Sunday and yesterday we had friends over and R played with their children. It is a shame that she does not have many friends yet but we try to introduce her to some whenever we can. They played for 3 hours which made her very tired and went to sleep fast at night. But because of the excitement we think that she had nightmares from because she was so excited during the day and she still thought about it in her sleep. It does not matter as long as she is happy. Today she decided to play with a crane, which her father used to play with when he was younger, and I heard her say this is the brake and she said brake while putting the car into a halt. That word is from her male friend from yesterday.
By playing alone freely building towers, “making pasta” with grass and stones, playing in her playhouse I believe is imaginative play which helps R express herself. I do not like her to act out fairy tale stories, this kind of imaginative play is fine with me but I do not want to encourage it. Perhaps when she has friends who believe and act these fairy tales she would like to explore that too but for now to work with whatever she can find is an experience.
Next week we will try to practice on getting more independent and that is a challenge for all three of us. More trips to the potty, more practice to use words rather than whines and squeals, dress and undress, meal times at the table and not in the sitting room, and she will be asked for more help in the house.