Happiness is... never saying never

Posted by ~Summer~ on December 01, 2014
in ,

I always think that it is important to teach my kids about the importance of courage, tenacity and perseverance. I want them to be brave enough to try, determined enough to continue and strong enough to pick themselves up if they fall.

When others might say "She is too young for this", "I don't think this is suitable for her", "It is too scary for a child" or "Nobody lets a child do this", I turn to my kid and say "Go ahead, I'm here to cheer for you", "I don't see why not" and most frequently "You will only know how it feels, and whether you like it or not, and whether you can do it or not IF you try."

For us, November a month of pushing beyond our limits and achieving what we didn't think possible.

Angel took part in her first ever drawing contest! Initially, I thought it was a small-scale event held in our community centre but it turned out that there were over 150 participants across four different age groups. Gosh, I never knew so many children were interested in drawing! For a meagre fee of S$3, she got to take part in the contest, watch magic shows and even received a McChicken burger, ice cream, Milo and candy floss. Quite value for money, right?

But no, that was not my purpose in signing her up at all. The only hope I had was for her to gain more exposure, to realise that there are many others who can draw, to know that there is still a long way for her to grow and to make improvements.

For her age group, there was no allocated theme and the kids were free to draw what they please. For nearly two hours, she sat alone in the hall (parents were not allowed to accompany for 4-year-olds onwards) drawing her favourite picture - a house, sun, clouds, birds, bees, butterflies and a happy family of four. Even though it was a drawing contest, she also took the time to write these lines behind her drawing "I love Mummy", "I love Daddy" and "I love Ariel". Awww, too sweet.

So, did she win? No, she didn't. It wasn't a sad thing and it wasn't surprising because we were totally stunned by the professional, breathtaking artworks done by the winners. But, you know what? I was just proud she sat through it and didn't give up. That was all that mattered to me.

It's been a month since Angel and I stole one hour off every Saturday morning to go for our ukulele class. Yes, together! It's the first time we are learning something new together as mother and daughter and that feeling is just awesome. We laugh, we make mistakes, we practise, we try and we bond at the same time.

Likewise, it is also the first time the hubby has Ariel all to himself for one hour every week and I like that they get to bond as father and daughter too. Even though they are usually outside waiting for us while eating or playing ball games, it is still nice for each of us to have a little one-on-one time with the kids.

Remember I said that Ariel gets to paint nowadays whenever the big sister goes for her art class? Well, her teacher is none other than me and although I can't get her to paint poisonous dart frogs or snowy owls, I'm trying to teach her more about colours, shapes, numbers and everyday items.

At 23 months old, I'm happy to see that she can now count more than 10, say the words circle, triangle, square and rectangle, recognise a dozen items that I draw (amazingly, she could tell!), and she is also trying pick up more names of colours as we learn more and more each week.

I also roped both of them in for Angel's party preparation and they were the ones who assisted me in the making of the DIY decor and games. For Ariel, I didn't want to leave her out of the fun and so whatever we did, she did too. Like painting, cutting and gluing. Even though I was scared she might cut her fingers or that she would end up making a big mess and cause me to take double the time I needed, I think she was happy sitting there with us and excited to be a part of everything. Sometimes, it's just me who needs to let go and remember that she is a curious toddler wanting to try everything, that messes can be cleaned up, that dinner can be served a little later, that patience with my kids is a virtue that cannot be bought.

For me, I have to tell you I was initially skeptical of myself if I could pull off Angel's dream Tangled party. There were many ideas and inspiration but I wondered to myself, can I really do all of these? My biggest worry was the DIY Rapunzel hair which I really wanted to make for my girl. The thing was, I had serious doubts about my sewing skills, plus my machine was getting rusty in the storeroom and the manual was nowhere to be found. In the end, it turned out that straight stitches were still quite manageable and in any case, as long as I did something that resembled a wig for my girl using my hands and my heart, she would be over the moon.

On the week leading up to her party, it was also the busiest week of the year for me because I was working on not just one, but a few deadlines for my sponsored posts. Plus, I was also liaising with Club Med for our trip which was to take place the day after the party. Yes, I should be happy that things were getting exciting for the blog but it also meant I practically didn't sleep that week to make sure that everything could fall into place. No, I'm not complaining, I'm just happy that I managed to accomplish all that I wanted to, you know what I mean? There's an immense sense of achievement in that, for me.

Talking about Club Med, if you have not read my previous post about that awesome holiday we had, you really should. Do you know? I was writing this first post and working on the pictures for a few nights in a row and on the last night, I got so engrossed that when I finished, it was already 6am in the morning. Not kidding. That's how serious, and headstrong and motivated and a tad weird, I get when it comes to blogging and to be honest, as I write this post, the time now is 4:43am.

Anyway, the proudest moment for me during that trip was when my girl took a leap of faith and tried the trapeze for the first time in her life. You might not know it but she was the only one crying when the kids were lining up for their turns and said "Mummy, I don't wanna try!". While some parents told their kids it was okay to give up and took them away, I didn't back down and I didn't let her pull out too. It doesn't matter that she was one of the, or maybe the, youngest of all the kids present.

No, I did not reprimand or threaten her, all I did was squat down in front of her, talk to her, coax her and let her know how precious this opportunity was, how I had so much confidence in her, how brave she was on trampolines and roller coaster rides in Sweden, how she needed to push herself to reach beyond her limits in life, and how she, and in fact all of us, should never say die so easily.

I didn't know if she would take it in, I didn't know if she would cry even louder, I didn't know if she understood any point I was trying to make. But amazingly, she looked at me, nodded and said "Okay mama, I will try". And there she was, moving along the queue with that look of apprehension in her eyes.

When it was her turn, she had to first climb up a long, narrow ladder which was over 10-metre tall. However, there was only someone to help on the ground and at the top where the trapeze was located, meaning that she was all alone in the middle part. Not to mention that things got harder when they said she had to move around the ladder to switch to the back when she reached a certain height. At that point, I was actually quite certain she was going to shout "Mummy, I can't" or "Mummy, I don't want to go". But no, she proved me wrong and showed me how brave she could be by reaching the top. Then she held on to the trapeze, had the swing of her life and came down feeling triumphant. In fact, later on, she even told her friends and everyone that there was nothing to be afraid of and that it was so much fun. Well done, my darling! I'll be showing her trapeze experience in Part II of my Club Med Bintan post if you are keen to watch!

As for the hubby and I, we did something incredible too and that was to perform not one, but three tricks on the indoor trapeze!

The first thing the GO asked me was "Do you exercise regularly?" and I had to laugh because I couldn't, and still can't, even find time to sleep, much less exercise, after the kids came along. BUT, I guess if you consider carrying a 10kg toddler and pushing a bulky pram up slope as forms of exercise, then I do that quite regularly.

When she demonstrated the tricks to us, our jaws dropped a little (okay, a lot) and frankly speaking, I had serious doubts whether I could achieve it. The hubby, I had no qualms because he was strong, fit and in good shape. But me? Well well well.

The thing was, I had been very much looking forward to this and there was no way I would give up without a fight. I was very puzzled as to why there was no one else trying even though there were many people looking. I asked a friend whom we met on the ferry to come join us but she said "No, I'm scared", "Maybe tomorrow" and "I think I should come when I eat less". For me, I just think you HAVE to try. I mean, there are people there to help you if you need and it's not always the case that you have a trapeze there beckoning you to go up right?

So, both of us made it. Yay! In fact, we had time left and were each given a chance to put all the tricks we learnt together and challenge ourselves if we could stay that long on the trapeze. Surprisingly, though the hubby was stronger, I seemed to be the one more flexible and agile on it. Anyway, one way or the other, both of us did it and the GOs gave us their thumbs up too! Check out how I did the three tricks here.

Lastly, we also had our first family excursion with the school and made it to River Safari together. The hubby managed to fork out some time last minute and Angel was the only one in her class who had both parents, and even her sister, there with her, making her feel so blessed and thrilled.

She was happy to go around hunting for the names of the animals to fill up her worksheet and even though the teachers were rushing all of them due to lack of time and discouraged them from writing every word, I could see how determined she was to get all her answers correct and so we didn't want to stop her. In any case, she only goes for half day school and so we decided not to let her return with her classmates but to spend one full day at the River Safari or Zoo with us. So, I wanted to let her have the time and patience in completing her worksheet and gaining that sense of achievement.

One thing that fascinated me was when they had to draw a picture of their favourite animal and many of them chose to sketch the panda. As usual, we did not see Jia Jia but Kai Kai was kind enough to be resting on a rock where everyone could see him. And so, my girl drew a picture of the sleeping panda and because she said the two of them had to be together, she drew a sleeping Jia Jia too. Cute!

So, that marks the end of our November! Wait, what were they doing here? Well, they put on leggings, on their heads I mean, and pretended that they were bunnies. Imagination is very important, right?

Can't believe we are just a month away till the end of 2014. How was this month for you?


What are you HAPPY for this month? 

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  1. What an eventful and celebratory November you had! I like your reflections of challenging yourselves beyond the limits. So so proud of Angel to take that great leap of faith...I can totally identify your feelings of pride with apprehension all rolled up in one because Dana experienced it when she was 4 too. I'm very chastised to be a better Mom each time I read your posts. You're an inspiration Summer. Here's to even more awesome adventures in December.

    1. Awww thanks, Angie. Yes, I'm not surprised Dana did it because she just seems like one of her bravest little girls I know! It took Angel quite a lot before she finally overcame the hurdle and I'm just happy she managed to eventually. Thanks so much for reading and for your very kind comment! Cheers to a happy and festive Dec for all of us! =)


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