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.
We have been in Bangkok for two months now and still have no desire to go back. It is getting hottter now though. The hot season is coming and it will become unbearable to go out of the compound after 10 in the morning. With two weeks in December without much work for M it was quite nice to get up, cook, have breakfast, go for a swim and relax a bit. Every single day from the day we arrived until the day before Christmas were hectic and annoying for me. I could not think of a reason to smile. It was because each day from morning until night time M was in front of his laptop. Admittedly he works from home and it makes a difference in R’s life to see daddy everyday but all the stress at work is always around. R gets to play with daddy in the mornings but most of the time it would be me and her.
Fortunately, my sister and my niece who is six were here for a month which was a relief at times. To be told that to have my family is stressful is wrong. To spend for my family and insinuate that we are asked to buy them things is a lot of stress for me. I do not want to see any of my relatives anymore if things like this come up again and again I am not comfortable to even think about invting my family oveer.
R and her cousin had arguments in the first two weeks of playing together. It was their first meeting so two different personalities clashed. There were tears at time but in the second half of their time they played well together. I heard them do role plays a lot. They played in the small pool sometimes but since G was not coomfortable in the water yet she was squeaky at times. R did her own thing, she swam and then played with her toys which she.shared with cousin reluctantly sometimes.
We had to go for a visa run in Vientiane the mroning that my sister was going home. It was sad to come back to the place without being able to see them again which I am sure will be for ages. I did not see my sister for five years. Last time I saw her was back in Beijing. I was not able to go back and see them again either in China or the Philippines because of financial reasons. I had two jobs after I left China but it was enough to pay for my rent at the training area for my course, food and projects to finish what I enrolled in.
It was lovely to see her and my niece even though there were tough times when differences in socialisation between the children were apparent. I hope that there will be a next time to see them and in a better place too.
We did touristy things like temple visits, went on boat rides, tuktuk and bus rides, a bit of shopping in Chinatown and a couple of malls, a short train journey and early lunch overlooking an estuary. We went to the snake farm, the aquariom, children’s museum and few trips to tthe park. We spent a lot of time indoors and let the children play. When we got fed up cooking because meal times was a chore we ate out. Bangkok is an easy place to find food at and we can afford to relax a little.
Back to the three of us for two days and M will work with someeone from New Zealand for two weeks and the countdown to go back will be on.
In May, I had intensive driving lessons to gain confidence for my driving test. Finally, I passed the test in June. Early July after I received my licence I drove my daughter to the indoor play area 15 minutes away. It was liberating after those arduous weeks of practice and nearly two years of tears behind the wheel as a learner with a child in the backseat I did it. I would never want to go through it again especially that part when my child listens to me and M have an emotional breakdown.
In July our kitchen was finally 90 percent finished and the wobbly parts were already fixed. The washing machine works well without shaking the counter top leaning on it. We have a dishwasher which works and the cooker is still in great condition. The first week of construction was unpleasant because I did not have a sink and a washing machine. And that week R decided to get sick one night and it was heartbreaking to have all the physical disorganisation in the house. In the end, it was finished to a point. There will be a few things to do in the near future like adjustments to the hinges and attaching a panel but it is fully functional. M up to now is decorating the room. It is never ending which drives me mad most of the time but I need to remind myself that it is way better than before.
In April my mother in law had a fall and she had been in the hospital 4 times. M had to stay with them a number of nights alone with his father and then both of them while mother in law was in the hospital and aftercare. He complained all the time about being exhausted going to the hospital then to the house and then back again. We are the only ones close to the elderly parents of his which is I hope is helpful for them but it is not for us most of the time. We lost our temper some days for the moaning. If only coordination and proper organisation between the children only their parents in mind is at the top of the list but no. I felt and still feel that I cannot complain because that is what is expected of me although I am fed up of listening to them bicker about who can and helps them best. Just do what is right and do not complain. What guts would someone say that their other half is considerate about them coming down here to help the parents when all we do bearing in mind with a 3 year old in tow is to go there nearly everyday to see to it that they are recuperating.
August came and we still assisted the parents. I am grateful that R sees them and she interacts with them which I am sure form her being. The input from the grandparents although they are aging is positive. They talk to her normally, reads to her and tries to play with her whenever they see her. That I consider is a gift we will not be able to take away from her and will stay with her forever.
Thank goodness we were able to go to the seaside three times this summer. That is incredible given how busy our days were. It was all fun for R to go to the beach. To watch her play in the sand, jump in the water, draw tanaka (a monster that she and daddy talks about based on a Japanese story they heard about), she even found a little girl to play with on the second time we were there. Summer this year was not bad at all. We had plenty of days in the garden to pick vegetables and sweet peas. R and I played tennis in the garden until she got tired of not winning. Winning meant hitting the ball and declaring victory. Her slide is still big enough for her which is useful. She sometimes took her toys for a slide or sheltered under it when it drizzled. The garden was our refuge on the days that we needed peace and calm. R is big on climbing trees. Every tree she sees she climbs now it makes my heart jump out of my chest sometimes but she enjoys it. Luckily we only have one tree in the garden that she likes to climb, the pear tree and it is only half a metre high. R eats raw vegetables thanks to daddy. She picks runner beans and eats them lovingly. That is another plus of summer here and the vegetables grown in the garden. We all devoured the six cauliflower that were left by the cabbage white butterflies for us. We are waiting for the sprouting broccoli as the butterflies endlessly fly in and out of the netting I put over them.
In August R swam on the surface. Those were her own words to describe how she first swam without assistance. She does kanga jumps and turns, glides on her own, jumps in and out of the pool. She is still tiny compared to other children which surprises other people sometimes when she jumps in the pool on her own or speaks like a grown up. That’s just the way it is. It is fun for us all the time. August is a big month for the developing child that we have in the house. She declared that she was to sleep in her own bedroom one afternoon and she has not looked back since. She calls me to lie with her on her bed three or four times in the night which makes me feel groggy most days but she is learning how to be brave every night.
Before the schools got back this month nearly everyone asked me if R is going to school. I am reluctant up to now to send her off to “school” because I know that she is capable of learning to be independent in the home. We meet friends occasionally for her to learn how to play with other children. I am not in a hurry to take her out of the house. She can feed herself, goes to the bathroom on her own, washes her hands, she has good eye-hand coordination, dresses and undresses herself, expresses her needs through words and satisfies her desires by her own efforts. I am not against going to preschool that was how I fend for myself for years anyway so I am not a grump about education. I am apprehensive about schools because of the connotation people has about it. The mixture of people around, the “quality” of staff I have no idea where these things would go when proper schooling would start. R will start preschool next week. It will be 15 hours free so I had to give in only to stop this constant debate about whether she has to be in another setting to socialise. There will be good things she will pick up and new useful inputs but, there is always a but, I will have to give her more of what I supposedly learnt from my training back in the days.
Fortunately, R started to sound out letters now. She still likes to scan and “read” books a lot.R can read phonetic words now. Some puzzle words she can manage to decode depending on her mood. With counting, she can count shells and sticks according to the quantity asked. Basic arithmetic which daddy tries to help her she is still puzzled about. Personally, I plan to do that when she has concentration in place and when she shows more interest in numbers. She has found her love for jigsaw puzzles again and so the puzzles are out only this time a few sets at a time. Stickle bricks, tinker toys, building blocks, role playing with dolls, dancing, making up songs and rhymes and lots and lots of storytelling keep her busy in addition to reading and solving puzzles. We are going to work more with hand preparation for writing. R likes to draw with pens, chalk and colour with jumbo crayons. Yesterday she took her tracing book out and quietly traced lines on it. In time we will be able to write more letters other than the letter o, l, x, v, t, i, m, and s.
It is the middle of the month and the end of the hullabaloo is near I hope. I can only hope for the best and hope for a good rest. We are still waiting for my visa extension result which will take another 4 weeks at the office. At the end of the year goodbye chaos hello malls and parks and temples. Fingers crossed always.
It was miserable all day. It was rainy, gusty and foggy which was challenging to an inexperienced or worse learner driver like me. My driving test will be next month which gives me creeps every time I think about it. We have been practicing nearly every day now and to get behind the wheel turns me into a freak. To try to put myself in the shoes of those with me in the car while thinking how to drive properly drives me crazy. There were only a handful of sighs and side comments about my driving today. Do your best they say, I might try again tomorrow.
As I was waiting for M to come out today on our way to lunch before we see his uncle, an older woman came up to me and said that I cheered her up. She said that my smile brightened up her day. It is lovely to hear a stranger say such a thing. Compliments truly puts a smile on someones face.
We rarely eat out for a number of reasons one of those is home cooked food is the best choice here. Whenever we go out R (I say to myself puts on her best self) sits at the table and behaves herself. She sits there like an adult, prim, proper, uses her utensils, have conversations and eats well. It has been a number of times that we were told that R is very good at the table.
When everything seems to be going wrong there are a few good things that come our way. Indeed.
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.