Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lessons for parents: Hold the lift door!

I brought my two kids out one day with Armand on his trike and Arissa in my arms.

We were getting out of the lift at our floor and I went out first with Arissa and then pushed the button outside to keep the door open. Armand was trying to turn his trike around when the door just closed and there was nothing I could do.

I could have waited for the lift to come back down again to our floor but I panicked so I ran up the stairs trying to catch the lift which by that time has gone down again.

I decided to just head down to the first level where luckily an upstairs family neighbour of ours was also there (they got in the lift with him when it went up) and told me where Armand was (he had cycled away, looking and calling for me). I quickly called up to him as I ran to to him and pick him up to hug him tight. He was of course crying.

I cannot be more thankful that this incident end up with him safely back with us. It was a horrifying experience for me to see my son trapped in the lift but it affected my son even more. He may be physically fine but he was emotionally traumatised, even till today. He sometimes has nightmares and will recall the incident out of nowhere, especially when we are taking the lift. All I can say to him when that happens is that I am there with him and will not leave his side so he need not be afraid. I hope this traumatising experience of his will go away soon.

So parents, remember to hold the lift door instead of pushing the door open button. Lifts nowadays have a timer that ignores if the button to keep the door open is pushed or not.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Legs are like pillars to a house

An old Chinese man came on board the train and stood beside me in front of the reserved seat. The girl on the seat did not notice him hence did not offer it to him.

I did what I normally do in situations such as this which is to ask the old man if he needs the seat. If he do need the seat, I will ask the girl to give it up. He said no, and that started a two station long worth of conversation.

He said that he prefers to stand as he can have the whole day to sit down and that sitting down too much is bad for an 80 years old man like him. He told me a saying by a Malay friend of his which goes something like this.

"Kaki kita macam tiang rumah. Kalau tiang tak kuat, rumah akan roboh"

(he spoke in Malay, which is a rarity now. Mostly only our pioneer generation can mostly speak Malay, regardless of race)


"Our legs are like pillars of a house. Weak pillars will cause the house to collapse"

He went on to tell me how he will try to keep active by walking around and I commended him for doing the right thing, which is what most able old folks should be doing instead of being coup up at home.

He left with this advice

"Without our health, all the money in the world means nothing"

Thanks old man. Wish you the best of health and may you have a meaningful life in your twilight years.

Child development: Speak a story

We made a very bad mistake of allowing Armand to play Fruit Ninja on our smartphones/iPad even though it was only for short periods of time once in while because he got addicted.

For a child, that is really bad. I know there will be those who disagree with our decision to allow him play the game in the first place but when you are the only person driving with a child that cries non stop to be let out of the car seat, you do anything. Anyway, excuses or reasons or not, we need to rectify it immediately.

We tried to make him forget the game by getting him plastic toy fruits that can be separated and rejoined again by velcro, so he can 'cut' them again and again. This way, he is still the 'fruit ninja' while learning about fruits, colours and so on. It helps and he did forget about the game after that. However he became obsessed with the toys instead and will play with them all the time which is not exactly healthy either.

To reduce the amount of time he spends on the fruit toys, I decided to make up a story about a 'fruit ninja'. He likes it (actually anything with fruits will interest him) and I managed to get him to play less with the fruit toys to do and learn other things instead, like seeing and holding the actual fruit itself.

I started with easy words, Singlish in fact, just so that he understands the story itself. I would tell him each time he acts up and even use it as a bedtime story. As he understands English better, I started to use proper sentences and proper words (I try to, even though I still have a lot to correct myself) which made him question what those words mean and so on. Relentless questions are tiring to answer of course but the fastest way for kids to learn. I did that for a few months.

Recently, I started making him tell the story himself, partly because I wanted to find ways of escaping from having to tell the same story again and again (my bad). At the same time, it is a good opportunity to let him learn how to speak properly so that people can understand him better.

This is the result so far.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Child development: Effects of raised confidence

All kids are different and that includes their development phase. So when Arissa took longer compared to Armand when it comes to walking, I was not too concern.

However what concerns us was her lack of confidence hence the reluctance and hesitation to try walking by herself. She needs to hold on to someone who she treats as a moving handrail.

Tried what we can like helping her walk more often (which took a toll on my back) but did not help much. Wife believes the environment is not encouraging enough so she planned a day to Fidgets.

It did wonders as she probably saw the incentives of walking by herself and she continued her walking streak, with a little coaxing, when we got home. The next day she just stood up and started walking all by herself without any help or holding on to something.

Call it coincidence but we believe confidence can make a lot of difference.