Despite my strong belief that childhood should be spent on the outdoors, gettting dirty by digging holes in the garden, hunting leaves in the woods, jumpping in a puddle barefooted, playing with mud and sand and stones, walking on grass and balancing on log...... I found it quite impossible to create such a childhood in urban Singapore, to replicate my own childhood in China for my daughter. I have come to discover that Singapore has inevitably produced a city girl in my daughter.
When we were travelling around Bali for the past week, there were a few occasions we can't find a decent toilet with the standard toilet bowl. They are the squat-down type, and the floor is generally wet. My daughter, whenever we were going to pee and I opened the door of such a toilet, she would shake her head "No, I don't want to go pee pee. It's so smelly! No, I don't need to pee pee." And magically, she can hold her urine for another two hours, which never happens when we are in Singapore.
And when we brought her to the beach to play sand, she refused to sit on the sand, and everytime her hand touches the sand, she'd spend the next two minutes shaking and clapping to get rid of it. In order to get her to enjoy sand play, we two adults sat on the sand to get our hands and feet dirty and created all sorts of castles and minuatures. She just pretty much stood there as an observer.
Coming back to Singapore, I have determined to bring her outdoors more often. I believe nature is the best playground and also the best teacher. Staying in punggol gave us the advantage, we are closer to nature. So far, we brought her to the waterway every week, her favorite activity is to throw stones in the river. We brought her to the neighborhood park to hunt for caterpillars, snails and spiders. We brought her to punggol jetty to feed fishes and turtles, and to get her hands and feet dirty on the beach.
She is getting acquainted to her new friend quite well I'd say, though she still insists on sitting on a mat and refuses to walk near the water.
(PS: I was holding an umbrella because it started drizzling, not because of the beach sun. No, I am not a city girl.)