18 month old - Quiet reading time in the morning

I remembered a few months back, J and I attended a series of classes on infant and toddler. I review the notes again and see how we have applied them in our parenting journey thus far. Inevitably, we still fall short in some areas, gain grounds in some and are working on some. Parenting is a process of trial and error.

Dot is at this stage of development where she likes to exercise her will and sometimes we are engaged in this battle of wills. Learning to discipline her and teaching her about limits is a new area that we are learning as parents.

Currently, we are training Dot to sit quietly on her high chair facing the greenery outside every morning while flipping and reading her book, in hope of building self-control, patience, obedience, concentration and focus. So far she can sit through for about 15 to 20 minutes, though not quietly throughout. Still exploring ways to teach and train her limits and self-control.

As much as Dot needs to learn self-control, I need to learn to exercise self-control as well as a mom who has to face her 24/7 ;p

Self-control could turn kids into successful adults according to research finds.

 How blessed is the little one whose parent prays,”Lord, open my eyes to ways of needed training that I have not seen; help me not to be blind to areas where I can be a better parent to my child”.

18 month old - Dot fed the cow bread!

At around 17 month old, Dot starts to pretend play. She will coax her plush cow toy or other soft toys to sleep by patting on it, read stories, feed and offer drink to them.  Recently she even gave her small piece of bread to the Ben & Jerry cow!

Some imaginative games we do together:

  • Stop and listen for noises – birds chirping, airplane flying, dog barking..etc.
  • Pretend that we are some animals roaring, barking etc.
  • Dot builds her own obstacle course in the room using pillows, bolsters and jumping around.
  • We pitch a tent in one of our room and pretend that we are camping.


Pretend play is an imaginative activity that builds her social, emotional skills, language skills, thinking skills and nurturing her imagination. It is the foundation for all future higher learning and success.

The importance of pretend play. Read more here.

7 month, 2 weeks old Dot

The transition from a pregnant mom-to-be to a real mom is tough. The learning curve was very sharp and there was no way I could just throw the towel and call it quits. The early months, especially the first month of breastfeeding, was very challenging and draining due to lack of experience, knowledge and rest. Thankfully, at that time I was able to seek practical advice from friends who are already mothers.

As I got the hang of things, things are more predictable and I could manage myself and time better. However, I went through a period of ‘soul searching’ where I struggled with self-worth for several months as I could not imagine myself being a mom who just provides physical needs to my child – life must be more than that. I could definitely do much more than these!

I prayed. And that faithful day came! I felt convicted and convinced in my heart that I should be the primary care-giver of Dot, my adorable girl.

Never in my life would I imagine that I would make such decision but something in my heart said that I should give to what is more important – Dot. Being a mom starts to take on a new perspective.

It is a whole new learning experience being a mom- whether we learn from books, experienced mothers, doctors or teachers – the learning never ends.

As I am a rather forgetful person, I like to write them down so that I can refer to them on and off. Here I will share some of my experiences – fun, struggles, new findings, notes and so on. Feel free to share yours too. Learning together can be fun!

God bless your heart!

Ten Things every child needs for the best start in life” is the research-based documentary that highlights the importance of seizing the golden opportunity during the first three years of a child’s life to help nurture and give them the best start in life.  They can definitely reach their full potential if we help them!

In this video, research showed that the brains of animals in the wild are usually 20-30% bigger than animals in the zoo which illustrates the importance of providing our children adequate experiences in the forms of these 10 things – interaction, touch, stable relationship, safety, self-esteem, quality childcare, conversation, play, music and reading – to help them to develop and reach their potential.

These 10 things every child needs will be shared more in depth in this video. If you are interested to watch this dvd, you can also borrow it from Singapore National Library.

At birth, an infant’s brain is only 25 percent of the size of an average adult’s brain. Amazingly, by 3 years of age, a child’s brain has grown to 90 percent of that of an adult. During the first 3 years, the types of experiences the children are exposed to impact their brain development. There is amazing opportunity to help our children reach their potential but it comes with responsibility and dedication to help shape their growth and develop healthy habits that will influence their adulthood.

Dot first visited the playground when she was about 14 month old. The first few times, she observed her surrounding and the people there. After that she is like an animal on the loose – climbing and running around. Ever since she plays at the playground when the weather is good  in the evening – the time of the day she always looks forward to.

17 month-old Dot

She is a toddler with boundless energy and the space at home is too limited for her to explore and run around. Sad to say some of the playgrounds at our neighbourhood are not suitable for toddlers – either they are too small, unsafe, dirty or not interactive enough. Thankfully the commercial Little Tikes playground at Dot’s grandma’s place is quite fun and interactive. She gets to run around, climb, turn the wheel-like object, play the slide and even get to learn how to socialize with other children at the playground.

As she is usually the youngest at the playground, I have to make sure that she is safe when she is navigating around and among the other children. Under watchful eyes, I allow her to move freely without interfering much so that she can freely explore and learn.

Sometimes I will play with her – it’s like being a child again!


Children who are allowed to play and explore outside are likely to be more adventurous, self- motivated and better able to understand risk when they grow up, according to Dr Livingstone.

On the other hand, children who spend a lot of time on the computer tend to spend a lot of time alone, away from reality. – Irish Times, BBC: Children playing outside laugh more

[catablog category="playground"]

Why outdoor play is good? Read more here.

I love the activities that are happening at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. How I wish there is such museum in Singapore! I love to do things with my hands – designing cards using paper of different colour and textures, doodling, sketching, drawing, creating handy crafts – since young. Sad to say, I seldom do that now. It excites my heart when I see The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – it seems like my long-lost friend is returning home.

6 Apr 2011 - Dot's first piece of artwork, excluding the flower.

Dot is still too young for art and craft as she sometimes still put things in her mouth. Under my watchful eyes, I have started her on learning how to hold a colour pencil to draw on her own drawing board. She is improving on her pencil grip and she is able to scribble with sufficient strength to leave traces of colour on the paper.

Some Art activities I found at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which I would love to do together with Dot:

Texture Rubbing Plates (PDF)
Printmaking with Foam (PDF)
Homemade Liquid Starch Glue (PDF)
Printing with Stencils (PDF)
Tissue Paper Collage (PDF)
Stamping with Found Objects (PDF)
Trash to Treasure
Puppets & Performance
Exploring Collage

Dot just passed 17 month. How time flies!

She has been picking up words fast and now she is able to voice her likes and dislikes  just simply with “Yes” or “No”. She can even let us know that she would like to have cheese with her bread. She definitely loves her new found independence! It is easier for us to know what she is thinking and feeling.

Recently she does not want us to feed her but rather she wants to take her cup, spoon and fork to feed herself.

We have to be there to help her pick up her food with her spoon or fork, clean the mess on the table and floor and wipe the water that spills from her cup. A lot more work for us to do!

My little girl is learning to feed herself – a delight to see her grow each day!


15 days : Finally I managed to catch her smile on the camera.

27 days : Haiz…! Dorothy pulled her own hair and cried…;p

1 month, 8 days : Dot starts baby-talking.

2 month, 7 days : We introduce sparkling board books to her.  Her eyes sweep across the pages when we read the stories to her.

2 month, 22 days : So happy that for the first time Dot slept through the night for 8 hrs.

3 month, 11 days : Yeah! Dot can lift up her head when she is on her fours.

3 month, 22 days : Dot can reach out and hold things now and she is examining her new teething toy!

3 month, 22 days : Dot is losing hair.

4 month, 2 days : Dot did her first flip from back to tummy.

4 month, 26 days : Grandma said, “I need to go and cook. No time to play with you.” Dot replied, “O.K!”.

5 month, 9 days : Dot can now clasp both her hands together and do ‘gongxi gongxi’.

5 month, 12 days : Dot can touch her feet with her hands.

5 month, 15 days : When mom walked into the room, Dot excitedly shouted, “Yeah!”.

5 month, 27 days : Yeah! Dot can sit in a tripod position.

6 month, 5 days : Dot can now flip back and forth. Need to watch over her most of the time.

6 month, 14 days : Noticed Dot can turn both sides now.

6 month, 16 days : Dot cried,”mum mum mum mum….!”

6 month, 17 days : When Dot was in the cab carried by her daddy, she said, “papa”.

7 month, 3 days : Dot sat up on her own.

7 month, 7 days : Dot mimicks daddy and laughs heartily.

7 month, 15 days : Dot is crawling.

7 month, 20 days : Dot’s little tooth broke through her gum. No wonder she has been crying a lot lately.

8 month, 26 days : Dot is learning to stand now.

8 month, 27 days : “Mama” was the first word that rolled out of Dot’s mouth when mommy walked into the room.

8 month, 27 days : Dot claps her hands when we play P+W songs.

9 month : Dot learns to clap when mommy says,”Clap your hands, baby, clap your hands”.

9 month, 19 days : Dot can stand up on her own hands-free for a few seconds.

10 month, 25 days : Dot said,”Le-bbit, bit, bit!” when she saw rabbit at grandma’s house.

11 month, 7 days : Dot blew kisses at Midco and her mom, without any prompting from me, when we were about to leave their place.

11 month, 14 days : Dot is learning how to get off a bed.

11 month, 23 days : Dot took her first baby steps towards grandma today!! Everyone was so excited!

Dot is ONE.

1 year, 15 days : A relative injured her arm. Dot’s eyes turn watery and red when mommy said, “Pain Pain”. We were  amazed and wonder what was going through her mind when mommy spoke those words.

1 year, 1 one, 27 days : Mommy asked Dot,”Are you happy?” Dot replied,”Happy!”

1 year, 2 month : Dot is practising gymnastics (planking) on a stool.

1 year, 2 month : Dot is like super-glue. She does not let me out of her sight!!

1 year, 2 month : Dot climbs stairs today.

1 year, 2 month, 2 days : The cat meows. Dot meows.

1 year, 2 month, 5 days : Oh my goodness! Dot is calling me “Dee” instead of mommy!

1 year, 2 month, 15 days : Dot’s first artwork using markers.

1 year, 4 month, 24 days : Her aunt asked her, “What’s your name?” She replied, “Dorothy!

1 year, 4 month, 28 days : At Changi Point, Dot pointed at the aeroplane in the sky and said, “Aeroplane!”

1 year, 8 month : “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” is the first song Dot could finish singing.

1 year, 9 month : Dot is fully on formula milk.

1 year, 9 month : Dot can jump with both legs in the air.

1 year, 10 month : Dot knows mommy, daddy, Ah Gu, Ah Yee, Po Po and Gong Gong’s Chinese names.

1 year, 10 month : Dot did her first water colored painting.

Dot is TWO.

2 year, 1 month : Dot rode her first bicycle on her own (with two little wheels at the rear). We are all so excited.

2 year, 7 month : Finally Dot can pedal full circle on her bicycle.

2 year, 7 month : Dot is diaper-free in her waking hours.

2 year, 11 month : Dot’s first day in pre-nursery class (2 Jan 2013).

Dot is THREE.

3 year, 2 month : Dot went for her first trial ballet class and was accepted to join the class officially.


Honey for a Child’s Heart : the imaginative use of books in family life by Gladys Hunt

It is a good book for parents to start right with the right books with their children from 0-14 years old. Gladys taught me the important of selecting good books that help them to express themselves with the right words. A good book should create an experience for children emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. Some so-called “taboo” books in the Christian circles like “Harry Potter” are fine to read aloud with the child as long as parents and children discuss together about the plot, the characters and what is right and wrong. Through reading aloud and discussing with our children, we can teach powerful and inspiring lessons to our children. Knowing how our children think through creative sharing of ideas help us grow together.

This book also has a reading list for age 0 to 14.

We should be concerned with building whole people – people who are alive emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The instruction to train up a child in the way he should go has enormous dimensions. It teaches a child to think, to influence character, to give high ideals and to encourage integrity. It is to provide largeness of thought, creative thinking, imaginative wondering. How large are your goals for your children? Young children, fresh uncluttered minds, the world before them – to what treasures will you lead them? With what will you furnish their spirit?

Gladys Hunt

You can borrow this book from our National Library. Enjoy and have fun reading to our children!

Dot was 9 month old

I am reading Matthew 1 on the genealogy of Jesus Christ and this passage set me thinking and praying for our family that by God’s grace, out of our family lineage will rise up godly and influential men and women. This set me praying for Dot that she will grow up to be a godly woman who will make positive difference to the lives of others, irregardless of how big or small it may mean in the eyes of man, and may she live fully God’s purpose in her life. Amen!

We started reading to her since Dot is about 10 week old. Our objective then was to train her eyes to move along with our fingers when we moved across the pages.  The colourful graphics caught her eyes as she grew older.

Dot is now slightly more than 16 month old. It is exciting to see her grow in her linguistic skills and her understanding of these words. These are some of the words that roll out of her lips when she wants to express herself.

Door, open pleassee.” – when she wants her to open the door for her to go.

Pain Pain..” – when she injures or hit herself.

Happy Happy..” – when she is happy.

Milk milk..” – when she wants to drink milk.

Ah you..” – means thank You.

She enjoys us reading to her aloud. She picks and flips through the pages on her own and babbles her own baby language as if she knows how to read. Sometimes we caught her moving her finger along the words as if she knows how to read the words. Often she will bring the books to us, seat on our laps and have us read to her – a dedicated parent-child bonding time.

Reading trains her to keep still and pays attention for a moment. Sometimes she wants us to read the same book again and again. She surprises us many times when she is able to response when read and ask her questions – this shows that she listens and understands when we read to her.

Don’t underestimate the power of reading. He or she may surprise you!

Dot’s Favourite Book

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle is one of Dot’s favourite books. Even as an adult, I love this book. We read to Dot this book almost every night. She surprises us when she read out loud what is to come next.

Listen to Eric Carle reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar“. More information about Eric Carle and his work.

I found this free  children’s books online at We Give Books. For each book we read online, We Give Books donates a book to a leading literacy group on our behalf. The more we read, the more WGB  gives.

Enjoy reading aloud to our children!

I am reading “Good Families don’t just happen” and I like this poem by an unknown author who exemplifies the importance of the home/school relationship.

I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there.
The clay they used was a young child’s mind
And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher – the tools she used
Were book, music and art.
The other, a parent, worked with a guiding hand
And a gentle, loving heart.

Day after day, the teacher toiled with touch
That was careful, deft and sure.
While the parent labored by his side
And polished and smoothed it o’er.

And when at last their work was done
They were proud of what they had wrought.
For the things they had moulded into the child
Could neither be sold nor bought.

And each agreed they would have failed
If each had worked alone.
For behind the parent stood the school
And behind the teacher, the home.