Half is enough

Posted by ~Summer~ on 11.2.14
in ,

Since school started for Angel this year, I have been asked by her teachers several times on whether I would be switching her from half day to full day. From the dozens of kids who go to her preschool, so far, I think she is the only one who gets to go home at noon every day. The answer I gave to them was I could, but I don't wish to.

You know, when we came back from Sweden, the reason why I decided to enroll her in school after much procrastination was because I thought she needed to learn to interact with people, to acquire some social skills and to build up friendship after being alone in a foreign land for the first three years of her life. When the baby sister came along, I realised that having the big one in school meant that I had more time to devote to bonding with the baby and get the household chores done in the mornings before we start the day as three.

I asked her teachers on why they thought she had a need to switch to full day. Their replies were "Oh, because we do art and craft sometimes when they wake up from their afternoon nap", "Because she is in Kindergarten 1 class already" and "Because she will miss out on what her peers are learning".

Honestly, I wasn't really worried but I decided to ask if they felt that my girl was lagging behind the rest but they said she had no problem in her school work and in fact, I was told that last year, she was the only one who could write her Chinese name. So, even if I tried to persuade myself, I just couldn't find a reason as to why I should let her spend longer hours in school when the reason why I chose to be a stay-at-home mum was to spend more time with my kids.

For sure, I am not the best teacher because I teach her random stuff and only when I can afford the time. I don't have any fixed syllabus, I don't use much assessment books, I don't have a timetable where we make it a point to regularly revise what she had been taught. In fact, I strongly believe that at her age, learning doesn't just come from books. It comes from seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, playing, discovering and exploring. Much as I always get asked on why I like to bring two kids out every other day, I just don't like the idea of staying indoors too often because the way I see it, there is just so much more for us to learn in the world out there.

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Things I want to do more often with Angel



I want to bring her to more playgrounds, I want to let her learn to overcome obstacles and conquer her fears.

I want her to bring her to the pool, to let her splash around and just have a wet and wild time.



I want to take her to the supermarket and teach her the names of food and household goods while we practise her alphabets and maths along the way.

I want to have weekday lunches with her on our 3-girls date. Even if it means burgers and fries.

I want to take her to more parks, to breathe in more fresh air, to learn about flora and fauna.

I want to bring her to more beaches, build more sandcastles and pick more seashells.

I want her to have the confidence to try out new things and realise that she can accomplish so much more than she thinks.

I want her to get close to nature, to see, to hear and to feel everything that the world has to offer her, things that she cannot learn from just books.

I want her to play games with me and learn that she cannot be the winner every single time. I don't want her to be a sore loser but I want her to try her best in everything she does.

I want her to know that life has its up and downs and when life deals her a blow, she needs to learn to pick herself up from the fall and move on strongly.

I want her to be able to paint her own colours of life, to unleash her creativity and to be as imaginative as she can.

I want to be the one who reads to her everyday, not a teacher to a bunch of students, but just a mum to her two dearest kids.

I want to have more afternoon picnics with her, even if they are just pretend ones.

I want to see so much more of her gorgeous smiles and know that happiness is in her heart.

I want her to look up in the sky more and understand that life is so much more than just school, homework and books.

And most importantly, the one big reason why I like to have more of her around every day, is just so that I want these two to bond, to love, to play, to know that more than just sisters, they can be best friends for life. Toy snatching and hair pulling aside, I see them laughing, tickling, hugging and snuggling so much that it warms my heart more than I can say.

So you see, these are but just some of the things that made me feel that half is really enough. Before she hits primary school, I am really going to cherish each and every of these afternoons that I get to spend with not one, but both of my girls.

Life is really so much more than just books, and kids only get to live their childhood once, so while they are still young, let's just not worry about academics too much and focus more on bonding, laughter and play, shall we?

******
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28 comments:

  1. My little one just turned 2 and she recently stopped going to her daycare. While I'm in the process of finding another one for her, I am actually enjoying our time together at the moment. Tiring as it might be, I do enjoy having her around. As you say, it is our time to bond! MakeMeUpMandy

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    1. Hihi, it's good to be able to find time to bond, I know of many working mums who wish they were in our shoes. =) I know what you mean about tiring but yet enjoying those moments, I feel it every single day! Haha. I hope you find a good daycare soon too but meanwhile, cherish these bonding moments!

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  2. Very nice! I love this post and the pix! :) Your girls are lucky to have you! :)

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    1. Thanks Pam for your kind comment! =) I think I am even luckier to have them! Woohoo!

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  3. Totally agree with u:)
    Where is the supermarket with mini trolley?
    Lyn

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    1. Hi Lyn, glad we think alike! =) My girl would always push her mini trolley when we went to the supermarket in Sweden. This pic was taken in Gold Coast though. How I wish we would have these in NTUC or Giant too, but considering how packed our supermarkets normally are and the narrow aisles, it might still remain a dream. You can find these in The City for pretend play too.

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    2. Office Works and Bunnings have mini trolleys! They're not supermarkets, but they're still fun for the kids to push around. :) How old is Angel? I think full days the year before going to school are good because it lessens the shock when they're suddenly spending 6 hours a day 5 days a week away from mum. There's so many wonderful places here on the GC to visit though, it would be easy to do something different every afternoon (if you have the energy!) -Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

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  4. I like your view and think you have made a good decision. How I wish I have this luxury to bond and teach my kids myself! Enjoy your kids before they go Primary schools when they'll be busier!

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    1. Thanks Christy, I know I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Yes yes, before Primary school hits, we will enjoy more of our time together! Without homework, tsk tsk!

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  5. Wow so many nice photos! Tells your story really well.

    Do your girls still nap? On the days I'm home, I actually realise after the morning, there's mainly lunch, then it's naptime so not much of an afternoon to spend with them...

    - little blue bottle

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    1. Thanks Lyndis! Yes, they usually still nap, unless we are out and their timings get jumbled up. But you know what, the three of us usually sing, roll, jump and play around on the bed till we all eventually fall asleep. =) Sometimes I will wake up to find dinner uncooked, rush to prepare and let the two of them just bond and entertain each other when they wake up.

      There's something sweet and cosy that I like about afternoons like these. Much better than letting my girl take her nap in school and miss out on bonding with the lil sis. =) We would usually still have enough time to go to the playground or supermarket before the sun sets as their naps are not that long, around 1.5 hours. Psst, it's a challenge to make their naps overlap but I try to so that sometimes when I don't feel like sleeping, I can still blog and enjoy a bit of me time!

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  6. I couldn't have agree more! Thumbs up!

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  7. Aiyoh you made me cry! I agree with you 110%! When I went back to work for a brief stint, Poppy went to childcare. We opted for "full day childcare" because the difference in price was very little, and it gave us more flexibility. I felt very sorry for the kids who were there from 7am to 7pm, because their parents had no choice, and was very determined to put my own there at the latest possible time and pick her up at the earliest opportunity. She was there at about 930am till about 3pm. She got in so late that the teachers would ask us to arrive earlier! And every day when I picked her, the teachers and other kids would ask "So where are you going today?". Sometimes it would be the beach. Sometimes it would be just playing at the park. Sometimes it would be the library. Waste of money? Maybe. But spending time with my kid? Priceless.

    And about Angel being the only one able to write her name? That should AHA! the teachers! You go, Mama.

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    1. Emo mama! =) Oh yeah, the teachers have been telling me full day only cost slightly more so I should go for full, but well, $$ wasn't the issue to start with, it's time. I bet the other kids were so envious of Poppy! You are absolutely right on the priceless part! I always feel so happy to be bringing Angel home and let her wave byebye to her friends, tsk. And on the name part, yeah, she amazed me by picking it up pretty fast though I only taught her a few times. Woohoo, I hope her Chinese will be better than mine next time!

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  8. Summer, I love this post of yours. Suffice to say, it resonates with me too.

    I applaud you for clinging onto quality time with your children.
    I applaud you for not succumbing to 'pressure'.
    I applaud you for putting your children's needs first.
    I applaud you for demonstrating to your daughters what it means to have a fun and fulfilling life.

    Importantly, thank you for raising girls who will be happy, adaptable, resilient and above all, secure in the knowledge that they are loved very deeply.

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    1. OMG your comment almost made me tear! Thanks so much, Magdalene! I sure hope I will raise two happy girls and on the part that they are deeply loved, you are absolutely right. =)

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  9. I love your photos and totally agree! I want to spend as much time with my baby too for the same reasons.

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    1. Thanks Toni! I guess a lot of us think alike and it's a great thing! =)

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  10. I agree with you completely! I send my Little Man only to kindy (4 hrs) for that very reason!

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    1. Oh yeah, 4 hrs is enough, isn't it? =) Thanks for letting me know, it feels awesome to have people who think likewise!

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  11. What a wonderful post! I am not sending my second son Ryan (who is 2 now) to childcare or playgroup for the same reasons. Everyone keeps asking me why I don't just send him to school (especially with the new baby). I just want him to stay at home and play and hang out with his two brothers :)

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    1. Hey Deb, I started Angel on school when she turned 3, so no hurry at all for Ryan! =) When I gave birth to Ariel, everyone asked me the same thing too, why don't I just put Angel in full day CC blah blah. Well, I seriously think the siblings should spend more time together while they still can, and of course, the selfish me don't wish to part with them too much too. Muahaha. You rock with three boys to look after! =)

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  12. Love this post of yours and couldn't agree more about letting kids have their childhood. I've been delaying sending the little boy to school but eventually will also for similar reasons of social interactions and learning to play together with kids his age (and also because I've morning work obligations). But after that, it's right in to planning how to spend our afternoons together - my highlight of our everyday! I've been taking him out almost everyday to the outdoors or neighborhood playgrounds since 3-4 months and no regrets on that. Some ask me over xmas and cny where do I find the energy and how could i pamper and spoil my child in that way yet when they see how much we bond over the simplest things like going down a slide, running about in open spaces playing catch..they tell me how inspiring it is for them to start taking their kids out a bit more too. Childhood only happen once, let's make it the best we can since they have a whole life ahead of them to be in school and work all day. Thanks again for sharing this post :)

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    1. That's awesome, Natasha! I love what you do! It's weird that people say such things right, going down a slide together means pampering the child? Haha. Or should we learn from the tech savvy parents who glue their eyes to the phone while the child is playing on his/her own and wishing Mama was there too? I love to play catch with my kid while I still have the energy to do so, tsk. I would wish to have afternoon play dates with you, the kids (and us) would have an amazing time!

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  13. I love spending time with my littlest. It's such a special thing to do, and they grow up way too quick

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    1. Oh yeah, way too quickly, Jess. =) Nothing gets more priceless than childhood. =) Thanks for hopping over!

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  14. I loved this post. Your girls are really lucky to have such a hands-on mama! Thanks for linking up!

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