In our household, we have two Mother’s Day celebrations — the second Sunday of May, as most of the world know it, and the last Sunday of May, otherwise known as Fête des mères in France. But why limit myself to just two days when I can choose to celebrate Mother’s Day the whole month? And in celebration of Mother’s Month, I am writing this blog to impart some useful tips and talk about my experience on being a mom of four years… whether you like it or not. I rarely ever write about being a mom, so please bear with me.
At two and a half years, we started potty-training my daughter. At first, we were using a portable potty that we could bring anywhere with us. But after a few days, we started making her go to the toilet. It was difficult at first, especially since she developed a fear of automatic flush toilets, which is very common in Singapore. But she’s getting the hang of it.
Since she turned four, we started to not put a diaper on her anymore when she sleeps at night. We started doing this while we were on holiday in Melbourne. She’s been doing quite well and rarely ever pees during sleep.
I think the trick to all these is to do it step-by-step and to not rush things when your child doesn’t feel ready yet.
– On the airplane, bring a separate hand-carry bag for your little kid, which contains all the essentials: change of clothes, socks, pyjamas, diaper, toiletries, entertainment kit (tablet, kiddie headphone, stickers, crayons and paper, her favorite small toy), wet wipes, tissue, drinking bottle, snacks (preferably something to chew on during take off and landing to ease pain in the ears)
– It’s better to choose to fly at night when taking long-haul flights so that they will just sleep in the plane (better than them running around and you chasing after them, if they’re hyperactive like my daughter)
– If it’s a long haul flight, I put her in pyjama pants already on the way to the airport, and then put on the pyjama top after having the food in the plane
– Don’t forget to bring her medication with you, if any
– Check if she needs to take travel vaccine when visiting certain countries
– Check if the activities and places that you are going are “kid friendly”
– Always check the hotel booking conditions. Sometimes, you will not notice that you will have to pay more for a baby cot, or even to just have a child in the room with you (depending on child’s age)
As an adult person, I like to safeguard my privacy and respect others’. I would like to do the same thing for my daughter. I am becoming more and more careful about posting pictures in which strangers could ID her. Also, I would never share her whereabouts, pictures of documents containing important information, etc.
Changes in the past year
Right now, the challenge for all moms of four years is that their child is now more aware of what’s happening around them. While at a restaurant in Melbourne, a pregnant couple sat next to our table. My daughter asked why the pregnant lady has a big tummy. I said, “Because there’s a baby inside”. She looked so shocked and said loudly, “She ate a baby?!”
Developed Conversational Skills
She is now also able to engage in normal conversations, and listen a lot to adult ones. She even tries to involve herself and ask questions while hubby and I are engaged in serious conversations. This is that time when you really have to be careful about what you are saying. And be careful also about what they are watching on TV and on Youtube.
School also plays a huge role in their development. Most of their vocabulary, especially the nasty ones, are learned from conversing with kids her own age. Right now, my daughter is thankfully starting to wean out of the “caca” stage — she would answer “caca” to every question you ask her, and then laugh at your face. “Caca” is the French word for “poop“. Early this year, we went to visit her kid cousins in the Philippines, and she got all the other kids mimicking her, and saying “caca” all the time, even if they really didn’t know what it means.
On being a mom in general
Needless to say, this stage takes a lot of patience, which comes easier when you have a lot of understanding, and a lot of love.
Speaking of love… one of the things that happens to you when you become a mother is that you feel more empathy and caring for the small and innocent babies, not just of your own species. The other day, I was reading some of my favorite travel web sites and I chanced upon this article about how a baby elephant is trained to entertain — that includes painting and circus acts, and to be ridden by humans. As a mother, this was so heart-breaking to read. It makes me feel sad for my daughter, growing into this kind of environment where this kind of cruelty exists.
So please, please, please, if you go to Thailand, do not ride on the elephants. They have suffered a lot for this. I have made this mistake once in Chiang Mai, of not being able to convince my fellow traveller to not ride on the elephant. I was forced to ride with him because they needed me to make the seat balanced. I felt so sorry for the elephants.
This comment on one of the web sites I visited really resonated with how I feel about wild animals being used for entertainment:
“It’s possible to kill an entire species by ‘loving it to death’. I’m appalled when I hear someone gush about their dream to swim with dolphins at a dolphin swim facility. Do they know how the dolphins got there?? Wild animals are not here for our entertainment. They usually suffer terribly from contact with us.”
This is one of the reasons why I really never enjoy visits to the zoo, because seeing animals in captivity makes me sad.
I searched for sites where I could be of help to baby elephants. I found a lot. But I did my research first. Until finally, I chose Bornfree. Now, some people are questioning the term “adopt” as a marketing strategy for these NGO’s. As for me, I don’t really so much care about what they call it. And I couldn’t care less about the certificate and the plush toy that comes along with it. What I appreciate is that they will send you reports and progress of your adopted animal, which makes me happy. I think this is the perfect Mother’s Day gift to myself. I would like to help preserve endangered species in my own little way so that my daughter and her future children and grandchildren can still live to see these amazing, intelligent and gentle creatures.
Happy Mother’s Month, everyone! 🙂