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Marina Barrage, thoughts on propriety, kids et al

Posted by
spots (Singapore, Singapore) on 30 November 2008 in People & Portrait and Portfolio.

My third visit to the Marina Barrage and the kids' second time there. This time, we went without Husband who was away. Husband has been out of action for a good part of the week & this weekend--a combination of severe illness and work commitments.

During this week, I have realised SOMETHING. It takes me a while to realise something--yes, sometimes I can be very slow. But now I am realising it. Here is what I am realising: ^__^

#1: It is very fun to bring two kids out when there is you and Husband.

#2: It is very fun to bring two kids out when there is you, without Husband.

#3: BUT, it is actually quite stressful to bring the kids out when there is you, without Husband, and you are bringing them somewhere where they need to keep absolutely quiet for a long period of time.

OK--Marina Barrage fell under category #2, so it was indeed fun. There was lots of space to run around, fountains to watch, a water playground to splash in, and even a jackpot strike--a huuuge excavator on a floating platform dumping rocks into the sea. (My kids are awed by excavators and they were excited to see one up close!)

Regarding category #3, I am referring to two recent weddings we attended. The first one was a few weeks ago and Husband was (once again) working on a weekend, and I lugged the kids to the wedding by myself. It was my first time bringing them to a wedding and I was completely unprepared. Other parents had very wisely brought along lots of snacks, Nintendo games, stuffed toys and colouring pencils for their little tots. I on the other hand, brought a rather unattractive piece of brown bread as a snack and .... THAT'S IT. It's not wonder that my sons ended up eating biscuits from another Mummy's snack cup, stealing pencils and "response slips" from the pews and "colouring" them, and peering over the shoulders of a friend's Nintendo game, wanting a turn of their own to try and play.

Then, another wedding just yesterday, Husband had to "jaga" the two kids because I was upfront playing the piano the whole time. This time, like a war veteran, I wisely told Husband, "Must bring snacks. And toys. Maybe some books." We dutifully packed up some choice items.

I am not too sure what happened since I was on stage playing the piano. I was quite glad that I did not hear a single sound from my kids, from the front at least. But when I walked over to the back to see how the kids were doing, I saw Husband, looking quite deflated and harrassed. (This is not normal, since he's usually sprightly as a balloon!) Daniel was under a chair, using it as a tent (or I think that's what he was doing) and Ben was sitting on Husband clutching a book, drooling.

Husband gave me a "Thank God you're here" Look and declared, "OK, time to go home!" We swept the boys up before they could say, "I do" and left! Based on Husband's demeanour, I could tell things *did not go very well*. Cough.

The "problem" is that Daniel is irrepressibly LOUD. He's got no volume control. His voice is always at MAXIMUM and he'll tell you everything that comes to his head. "Mummy, why this fire truck got ladder? Why Mummy? Why?" If you ignore him, he'll REPEAT his question. "Mummy, why this fire truck got ladder? Why Mummy? Why? Mummy... " "Mummy, I saw an ambulance!" "Mummy, I want to PASS URINE!" "Mummy, I think I will go outside and then come inside again, then I will sit down and then I will go outside again!" "Mummy!"

Is this never ending banter part of an effervescent spiritedness that should not be squelched at such a young age? Or is it clearly improprietous behaviour that needs to be nipped in the bud, especially when the environment calls for dead silence and a reverence that clashes with a call to "PASS URINE" at maximum volume?????

I took comfort today when I spoke with another mom in church who said she understood what I was going through. She has 3 BOYS (Count em!) and she said she's stopped attending weddings with them. They're all below 7 years of age.

And this brings me to another topic that has been brewing in my mind--the different personalities that kids have. While some kids are perfectly happy to keep their thoughts to themselves, other kids have to express every thought, even if they can't really find the words to express it. Is this nature or nurture? Some kids become shy as a touched mimosa when in public. Others, LIKE MY SON, absolutely BLOSSOM in public, treating everybody like his royal subject, giving everybody the royal wave and bordering on being arrogant and presumptous, taking liberties with everybody, from hugging the senior citizen in the lift, to doing Hi-5s with the roadsweeper.

Where do kids come from? I wonder sometimes. And how to parent these strange alien creatures that are seemingly from outer space when it comes to basic manners, propriety and common sense? Yes, I have seen it all--placing dirty sandals on head (Ben), licking spider webs (Dan), hopping along the road instead of walking like a normal human being (Dan and Ben), hugging strangers (Dan and Ben), throwing toys (Dan and Ben), talking at the top of his voice one sentence after I told him to whisper (clearly Dan, since Ben can't speak in sentences yet. but oh, he'll get there), lying on a hotel carpet (Dan), splashing puddles (Dan and Ben), eating snot (Ben--his facial orifices provide much fodder!), saying "I want I want!" (Dan--only in public mind you. At home, he reverts to being a perfectly polite entity)


Tell me when can I expect my boys to be a bit more well-mannered? It's not as if I have not told them, patiently and impatiently, loudly and softly, repeatedly and after long pauses, clearly and vaguely, metaphorically and directly, coupled with spanking or just in icy withered tones. When? When?

The patience of a mother grows longer and longer.... *sigh*

FUJIFILM FinePix F40fd 1/400 second F/5.0 ISO 100 8 mm

Lyn from Sweden

Are we trying to make our kids fit in in a grown-up scenario? Should children be seen and not heard?
When I read about D, I felt the description matched Elin perfectly... she waves and says Helloooooo very loudly to the neighbours who look a little embarrassed and amused and not sure how to respond. I wonder sometimes when she will give up doing that.

30 Nov 2008 11:27pm

Dad from Singapore

Spots, you should be happy that Dan and Ben behaved in a very lively manner when outdoors. Its better this way then other kids who are not that "lively". At least they express their feelings (good or bad) openly, rather than in their mind. Yes, especially Dan, who at 3, speaks and seeks answers on whatever comes to his mind - if I may say - in fluent and well structured sentences, for his age. His "boisterous" behaviour is quite normal and, if I may advise here, not to be suppressed but be encouraged in order not to "kill" his enthusiasm and creativity. Perhaps gentle reminders to obey in patient tones should be used on Dan.

1 Dec 2008 1:17am

skgoh from Singapore

One day, Dan might be a surly uncommunicative teenager and you'll be wondering where your little chatterbox went. Enjoy it while it lasts!

1 Dec 2008 8:19am

HubbaHubba from Singapore

No more weddings!!!!!

1 Dec 2008 9:09am

I from Singapore

Lauren is the same! We were in the main church hall the other day having come down from the children's room early and she kept saying she wanted to draw and walk places while everyone was praying! I kept saying shhhh, shhhh.... but it was as if I wasn't speaking at all!

1 Dec 2008 2:38pm

Jeanette from Singapore

Sorry! it was Jeanette on the message above!

1 Dec 2008 2:39pm

Vanessa from Singapore

Dear Ruth,

Thanks for sharing. It's been such a long while since i visited your (new) blog site and was so surprised to see this entry today :-) Hee, are you talking about A+W's wedding a few weeks back?? And, would the kid with the Nintendo game happen to be Gabriel?? Hee.....

Anyway, hang in there!! This boisterous stage is but temporary, it will surely pass... Patience patience patience is the key :-) :-) :-)

1 Dec 2008 6:51pm

JO from Singapore

ah.... all too familar..... and mind you I have only 1 daughter. however, her voice and her "inability to sit still" resembles that of 2 boys...
We tried playing this game - our loud voice and our soft voice. After she realises the difference, when we go to places needing them to be quiet ie church service, we will remind her that she can only use her soft voice here and not the loud voice.
A mummy once taught me to pack toys, books and things for the kids which they cant normally play at home. meaning a "special" bag with snacks and toys that they can only play with when they are using their quiet voices.
once we are back home or out of church, the snacks and toys are kept aside. she said this was a way to prevent the kids from becoming bored of their toys... besides, children like this air of surprise - like "oooo.. mummy has a bag of surprises... if you continue to use your soft voices, you will each get one bag" ;-)
my special bag consists of :-
1 party tub of play doh
a doh cutter(very small cookie cutter thingy)
1 toilet roll - the kid can play telescope
lunch box game - from growing fun(pretty fun and my girl loves it)
3 small pack of jigsaw puzzles - those travel type i think 6 pieces each puzzle
colour pencils- travel pack maybe a box of 6 tiny pencils
a small note book for doddling or a dot to dot book or those travel activity sheets - from twinkle thinkers at Forum

I hope this helps... if you want, I can show you some of the activity sheets when we meet. :-)


2 Dec 2008 2:56am

Reen from Singapore

Hey Ruth, you are doing very good and amazing already. Just imagine i have only one daughter same age as Dan to deal with alone, that drives me nuts at times when we are out alone :P She is extremely "on the run" type, cry the loudest and failed to cooperate on many occasions.

I hardly have "1:1" outings with her as i get panic attack if she suddenly kick a fuss out there. Recently i venture out more often with her and learnt a few tricks.

1. Pack a treasure bag full of her snack, mini toys and water
2. Load my mobile or camera with a couple of videos she likes
3. Make sure she is well rested or happy before going out
above all stay calm and talk softly if she feels upset over things....

I never go futher than malls/library/playdates in my friend's house, perhaps one day i should visit these sort of nature places to see her reaction.

2 Dec 2008 5:59am

FUJIFILM FinePix F40fd
1/400 second
ISO 100
8 mm