Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A different Friday (Part Two)

The second half of the day is as peaceful as the first, if not better.

Lunch (12 – 1:00pm)

Lunch is not only a time to meet her nutritional needs. It can also be a time to train her self-control. To start with, Kah Yen has never had a single meal eaten while wandering around the house or sitting on our laps. We always make sure she sits in her highchair and sits till the meal is finished. I have not taught her to self-feed yet so mummy still controls the spoon. She will be given one or two small toys to play with. Most of the time she eats her food without complaint but sometimes she does. When it happens, I will try to give her a small break and then feed again. If she becomes fussy then meal is done. I am slowly moving her towards no toys during mealtime so as to prepare her to self-feed. It will require some hard work.

I fed her first then I had mine quickly while she continued to sit on her highchair. We will never put her down until our own lunch is done, we don’t want her to wander around or even ask us to carry her when we are still having our lunch. For today, I even extended her sitting time further. I let her sit on the highchair and do some quiet reading while I cleaned up the plates. Yes, just another 10 minutes on the highchair, she learns to focus and concentrate and develop self-control, while I can get the plates cleaned. I killed two birds with one stone. But of course for the start I moved the highchair from the living room to the kitchen door when I cleaned the plates so that we can always see each other.

When my plates were done, I brought her down and let her play freely for about 10 minutes to help with her digestion, before I put her down for a nap.

Afternoon Nap (1:30 – 4:30pm)

Kah Yen usually goes down for her afternoon nap somewhere between 1pm to 2pm, unless on the rare occasions we were out in the morning and came back late. She’d sleep for about one and a half to two hours. During weekends that’s the best part of the day. The house is quiet and peaceful. We can either lie down for a nap ourselves, or read a book or blog or read something on the internet, or get some chores down, or even go out to get a haircut or a quick shopping.

For today, I chose to take a nap after I washed and cut the vegetables to prepare for dinner. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon than to catch up a much-needed sleep? I bet thousands of folks are daydreaming about it in their offices right now. I think I must have dozed off the minute my head touched the pillow and the next thing I know is, when I opened my eyes after hearing Kah Yen babbling to herself, the clock pointed at 4:30pm. Gosh! I totally did not expect both of us would sleep for so long. I tried to recall in the back of my mind and I was very sure that I had not taken any alcohol or anything close to it. Great! I was glad that my body finally received the energy booster. And Kah Yen looked all refreshed and happy too after her quality nap.

Afternoon milk & Quiet play (4:30 – 5:00pm)

After I gave her afternoon milk it was nearly 5pm, so I decided to cut short on her quiet play. My original plan is for her to play quietly on her bed for half an hour just like in the morning. We snuggled, tossed and tickled on our bed till 5pm.

Focus play with Mummy (5 – 5:30pm)

My plan was to let her have free play from 4pm to 4:30pm while I fold the laundry, and focus play with mummy from 4:30pm to 5pm, then we will be out in the park for one hour before her dinner. Since we overslept, I have to cut off free play and we spent half an hours playing together. This is really precious because we hardly have a chance to do this on weekends, either because we were out, or because I was spending most of my time in the kitchen preparing lunch or dinner. She had more play time with Daddy than with me.

Today, we did some craft together. We have been reading the "Corduroy helps out” book this week, there was a scene of Corduroy the bear and his friends cut out yellow hearts to pass to all the community helpers to show their appreciation. I promised her we’d cut some hearts together. So that’s what we did. I drew the hearts on large color paper, Kah Yen (sort of) helped with coloring the hearts, and I then cut the hearts and applied glue while Kah Yen was in charge of sticking them on her notebook. This is my first time during real craft with her, and I would say I am very happy with her. She was engaged, she followed what I told her to do, she never touched the scissor after I told her only mummy uses the scissor, and she even helped with the packing at the end of it. We also drew an apple and the letter A and cut them out. Apple was one of her favorite words now because we are reading the book “Apply Farmer Annie” to her and she loves to call “Apply Annie”, though it sounds more like “Apple Nanny” sometimes.

Outdoor play (5:30 – 6:00pm)

We were only left with half an hour for outdoor play. I planned to bring her for a walk in the park and to our Nanny’s place to play with Korkor for a while. But since we only had half an hour I decided to push her around the neighborhood and to the supermarket for me to get something. It was a short trip but enjoyable nevertheless. Kah Yen likes to be out and she get excited by anything she sees, be it cars or buses on the road, trees or flowers on the sidewalk, cats or dogs walking pass…A new thing that amuses her recently are the numerous flags big and small hanging around the neighborhood celebrating the coming of National Day, she doesn’t say the word “flag” yet but she would point at the flags and shout “moon and stars!” – for there are one crescent moon and 5 stars on the national flag.

Kah Yen Dinner (6 – 6:30pm)

We’d love to have dinner together with her as much as possible but on weekdays, because we can only reach home around 7pm, she will have her dinner at around 6pm at our Nanny’s place. Hence I decided to follow her usual schedule and feed her dinner at 6pm, before I prepare our own dinner. It took me only 5 minutes to heat up her porridge, and at the same time I managed to put rice and chicken into our rice cooker for our own dinner. Kah Yen was very easy and she finished her dinner in 15 minutes.

Table play (6:30 – 7:00pm)

This is something I learnt recently. Normally on weekends if I am busy preparing dinner in the kitchen, Daddy will be playing with Kah Yen in the living room. Of course there is nothing wrong with it but after I read about table play, I realized that it is yet another opportunity to train her self-control and free both Daddy and Mummy to either prepare dinner or get other chores done. Today as I prepared our dinner, I put her on the highchair near the kitchen door and passed her a small toy (her Noah’s Ark). In this way she was not touching things she shouldn’t or getting dangerously underfoot in the kitchen. She can clearly see me and we can chat as I cook and she plays. This is amazing. She practices self-control while I get dinner on the table, without any “messes” occurring throughout the house.

Kah Yen plays on highchair

Bath time (7 – 7:30pm)

I actually planned to bath her after our dinner but since Daddy called to inform that he would only reach home at 7:30pm, I decided to give her shower first. Since dinner was already prepared I felt so relaxed so we had a long bath.

Family Dinner (7:30 – 8pm)

This is our usual family dinnertime on weekdays. It is also our only family time together for the whole day. Since young Kah Yen had always joined us in our dinnertime. We will have brief conversations to talk about our day, while Kah Yen played on her highchair. With the presence of Daddy and Mummy, she is more than happy to just sit and play on her own, but of course we will try to engage her once in a while. Some days we will give her some food from our plates, like steamed egg or tofu or soup.

Bedtime (8 – 8:30pm)

It is ideal if we can have some family play time together before bedtime. We are less rigid on this because with both of us reaching home at 7pm or even later, there is really not much time left to play with her. We are much more strict on her bedtime at this young age and we believe it will yield positive results in the long run. After we were done with dinner, Daddy played with Kah Yen for about 10 minutes while I cleaned the table and prepared milk for her. Bedtime starts at 8pm and she will be bed by 8:30pm everyday. It is peaceful and predictable.

Daddy volunteered to wash the plates and bottles since I had a long day. And we had the rest of the evening to ourselves to relax. I looked back at this day I couldn’t have enjoyed it even more. Kah Yen was also exceptionally happy and easy because Mummy was at home. I am going to do this more often when work permits.

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