Places to go in Bangkok with kids

In two weeks’ time we are flying back to the UK. Here are a few places that we went to in Bangkok this time.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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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.

Third year

It was R’s third birthday yesterday. We started our day with R opening her presents from mummy and daddy at the breakfast table. She happily prepared her own breakfast which was spooned granola into her bowl, poured milk to mix with her chocolate drink and then onto her granola. R had muffin instead of her usual toast or fruit. She was very excited to share it to both daddy and me because she helped in mixing the batter for the muffins.

We went to her grandparents to help stack the logs for next winter. She was given presents which she was very happy to open and then played with afterwards. R liked the tea set she was given and had pre-lunch snack and crackers with her grandparents in the garden.

We all had lunch but because R ate a lot of dry biscuits before lunch she could not finish what was on her plate. It was decided that she has it for supper which of course she did.

I baked R a cake with chocolate glaze on which I know she likes. Anything sweet is a hit.We sang the happy birthday song, she blew her candles before the song was finished, cut the cake for all of us and we finished our parts. My daughter was very proud to be three even after she insisted first thing in the morning that she only wanted to be two. She was generally happy all day  which I am happy about because the day before her birthday we argued all day about swimming and literally everything that I am annoyed at myself about. I sometimes am not able to hold back and say hurtful things back to her. I am not proud of myself when I argue with R because I know that I need to be a mother to her.

Education at home wise we started to work with our alphabet and numbers puzzles. I showed R how to roll a mat which she picked up quite easily. She takes out jigsaw puzzles more than in the last six months. Role plays with dolls, she likes to play big sister with her, play dough with cutters, dances a lot, sings and makes up her own songs, reads a pile of books ( she suddenly goes quiet and I find her reading in her hiding place). She plays a lot on her own now and I feel that she is getting more independent and needs me less.

I thought that I will give her more reading, writing, counting and culture activities soon and I mean more formal than just to talk about it on the surface. It is an idea that I will have to do it otherwise all I know would be wasted. I want to stop every one from saying that I am only a Montessori trained person. I am a social worker before I ended up in the teaching field and will always have this other past life than only have done one thing. Bottom line: I had a life before all these and will think more before I act because at the end of the day I have a child and she will grow up in different cultures.