Swimming in Bangkok

We arrived in Bangkok last week and we have been swimming twice every day. The weather is lovely, it rained most nights and yesterday afternoon too. I am waiting for the downpour tonight though it might not happen as it does not have that humidity that comes before the rain.

The pool temperature is nice not too cold or hot. It is refreshing and the sun is out of the pool by three for afternoon swim.

This time of year is not busy with tourists yet. State schools in the west are not due to break up until next week and the local schools here have only just started the school year last month. It means we have a ‘private pool’ nearly all the time. It is fun to have a few groups sometimes but they are regulars so it is normal. A 25 metre pool 5 minutes near the BTS Wongwianyai is a good find in the city.

The restaurant of the hotel has been shut though which is a shame because we occasionally eat there or used to dine there after our swim or when I could not think of anything to cook. Days before we leave we normally pack our things and eat out 2 out of 3 meals a day which puts our minds to leaving mode. Our favourite noodle restaurant just outside the hotel had also shut because the man who runs it is ill. We found a new place to have lunch which is a 3 minute bicycle ride away but I cannot imagine going there in the middle of summer.

Well, there are pluses and minuses. Funny phrase. As we are only here for three weeks a few new finds and old things to do would be enough.

Long silence again

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.

Lucky week (I guess)

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.

Swimming, Reading, Montessori materials

R who is now 20 months old. She started to want to be read upon waking up and before bed 3 months ago. She requests 10 books each time sometimes although tiring at times it is enjoyable most of the time. We try to take her swimming every day when we can. In Bangkok, where she was born, she swam everyday but here in the UK we do not live with a pool that is literally few steps away. She swims with arm bands on tirelessly. For now she is happy to do dog paddles and turn around, jumps up and down and plays with dad or mom in the water.

I was reading about diy Montessori materials today and I am having second thoughts about making the pink tower and brown stair. It is because of the precision that it entails and it might be time consuming. It might be that I will buy used sensorial materials or buy from budget sites.

It is the day after Boxing day and we are still staying at the in laws due to issues about the house. I am hoping that by the first week of 2015 we would be in front of the fire place in the house. The good thing about staying here is that R is able to play with a cousin. A little person which she has rarely experience lately. Anyway, life comes with lots of pluses and minuses.