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First Day of School: My School, My Responsibility.

17 July 2017 – 10:56 am |

 
Two days ago Brie asked me,
‘How should I get my bag into the trunk and out of it when we reach school?’
(Her school bag is too heavy for her to lift and place into the …

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First Day of School: My School, My Responsibility.

17 July 2017 | Posted in: Parenting | No Comment


 
Two days ago Brie asked me,
‘How should I get my bag into the trunk and out of it when we reach school?’
(Her school bag is too heavy for her to lift and place into the trunk on her own)

‘Jie-jie Anya or Koko Vai will help you, then you can pull the trolley to school all on your own ya’, I replied.

I glanced at the siblings to let them know their ‘needed help’ when the littlest starts her school days.

Everyone understood.

No one will carry/pull ‘their’ bags for themFor all 3 kids, it’s all the same.

From the very first day they entered Kindergarten, they’re asked to care for their school bags.

Place bag inside the trunk and take bag out carefully, on their own.

No one will carry/pull ‘their’ bags for them.

Because, they are the ones going to school and they need to learn and be responsible for their belongings.

If the books are heavy, then they’ll use a ‘trolley bag’.

If they need help (like in Brie’s case), the siblings will help each other.

I guess it’s our little way of teaching them about responsibility, independence and helping one another.

It’s never too early and no one is too little to learn such values, yes?

Checking Out: Komodo Museum – Reptile Park (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah)


 
We don’t visit Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) often.

Actually, ever since we’ve moved to Jakarta back in 2012, I think we’ve only been to TMII err … 3 times?

I’d personally recommend it to tourists, though. And if you’re a local, I think it also is worth visiting with your family. At least once a year? TMII has a lot of places to see, and it’s a good place to learn more about Indonesia’s cultures.

ANYWAY.

The other day, we went to check out this Reptile Park (Taman Reptilia) at TMII.
 

 
The Reptile Park is open from 9am to 4pm and entrance fee is Rp25,000 per person

(Here’s the link to TMII’s entrance ticket prices >> http://tamanmini.com/page/tiket)
 

 
This place has a two-storey indoor exhibition area (where we could see various exhibits and read about frogs, toads, snakes, tortoises and lizards from different parts of the world), and an outdoor area, for viewing of live reptiles.

The dark room pictured below is actually located on the ‘outside’. It’s for live reptiles that mostly live at night, I guess.
 

 
The walkway towards this ‘dark exhibition area’ looks like it’s a pathway towards restrooms, though =(

And, the thought that crossed my mind each time we visit public parks/places of attraction in Indonesia came to mind again, ie. I really wish this place can be better managed and maintained, and the live animals are better cared for, because they are NOT just ‘exhibits’.
 

 
Btw, the park has this ‘Taman Sentuh’, a place where you can touch real reptiles (To hold an animal, and take photos with it, it costs Rp5000 per person).

Obviously crocodiles are not pets. What if this one happened to snap its jaw at our hands or fingers when we’re holding it?When we were there, the only animal available to be carried by the public was this crocodile, which despite its small size, was NOT a baby crocodile! It’s 3 years old, capable of growing to be very long, more than 2m, we were told.

Hmm.

Obviously crocodiles are not pets. What if this one happened to snap its jaw at our hands or fingers when we’re holding it?
 

 
The handler said, this crocodile is fed once a week, and it is day 5, so it is ‘safe’ to be handled.

Hmm.

The handler said, this crocodile is fed once a week, and it is day 5, so it is ‘safe’ to be handled. Hmm.
He said, actually after it is fed, it’s best not to be handled by the public, because the movements could could cause it to vomit.

(I saw how the handler was gentle with the croc, which was a good sign of someone who genuinely cared for the animal, I thought)

So we put our ‘faith’ on what he said =) and each of the kid got a chance to gently handle the crocodile.

Interesting how it really was ‘still’ (ie. Didn’t wriggle or move its tail much at all, but it looked alert, not sleepy).

The kids got to observe the crocodile up close, which was great, because they could see the mouth, the ‘closed up’ throat, the teeth, the layers of the crocodile eyes, the skin textures, etc.

(You see, I don’t expect all my kids to LOVE animals, but I hope they have positive encounters and are educated about them)

 

 
Anyway.

When it comes to handling animals, here’s one super important thing to note:

Please, please, educate our children (and ourselves) on the importance of handling all animals GENTLY!

Please educate our children (and ourselves) on the importance of handling all animals GENTLY
Don’t jerk the animals, or be rough.

Don’t scare them by our silly sounds and screams.

And please, do NOT DROP them!

They are living beings, NOT just ‘things’.

If our child is easily scared (unsure of handling an animal), perhaps it is best to NOT carry/lift the animals just yet. Gently petting the animals is a good learning experience, too. Reading more about it, its habitats, its habits, will also familiarise our kids with the animals

 

 
Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many incidents (happening in front of my very eyes), of children and adults not handling animals well (at petting zoos or ‘touch ponds’). Often, they do it ‘purposely’ because they thought it’s funny =(

Like:
– Picking up a starfish from a pond and recklessly throw it somewhere.
– Knocking on the glass window to wake a sleeping owl!
– Shining the flashlight from a smartphone to an animal’s eyes to make it ‘move’
– Throwing pebbles towards birds or animals, so that the animals can make some ‘noise’
– Scaring an animal in a cage with a loud ‘BOO!!!’

It’s really sad, and at the same time, annoying =(

One concern of mine:
When children treat animals in such a way, many parents do NOT say anything to correct/educate/rebuke them. Worse, they giggle along with the kids. Sigh. If you ask me, it’s most likely because the parents themselves think it is okay to treat animals in such a way.

Anyway.

Let’s educate ourselves and our children on the importance of caring for animals.

Because, although they are not humans, they do deserve proper handling and care by us humans, yes?

Teaching The Importance of Respecting Others and Basic Mannerism

5 July 2017 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment


 

‘Water!! I need to drink!!!’

‘Tissue!!’

‘I’m thirsty!!’

Some children yell similar words when they need something.

Like, when they need to drink, EXPECTING someone to quickly provide them with the requested glass of water.

Whenever that happens in our family, NO one responds by giving him/her a glass of water, because:

1. The child does not say WHOM he/she is talking to

2. The child is not a king/queen/prince/princess whom everyone else comes to serve at a slight scream

3. The child is displaying an attitude of a spoiled child (refer to point no.2)

4. The child is not showing respect towards others through his/her language and tone of voice (ie. When he/she needs help from another person)

All 3 kids had gone through phases when they displayed the above attitude.

And what I usually say as a response is:

‘Who are you talking to, btw? If you need help, please say the name, ask for help politely, and with a ‘please’.’

Only when the child says something like:

‘Mom, can you give me that glass of water, please?’ that he/she gets the drink passed to him/her.

Then, a ‘thank you’ and ‘you are welcome’ would need to follow.

A long-winded process just to give a child a drink, some parents say.

Easier to just pass the glass in 2 seconds.

To us, this is a necessary process, needs to be consistently repeated, too, … in the name of educating every child on the importance of respecting others, and basic mannerism and communication.

Habits that children will carry till they are adults.

Food for thought.



Additional notes:

Questions some parents ask:
-‘What if the glass is too high / too far from the child?’

I’d say, ‘Still, ask the child to properly ask for help, then we help and get the glass of water for him. Do place plastic glasses within easy reach at home, so we can remind the child to get the drink himself, too.’

– ‘What if the water bottle is just next to us, can’t we just pass the water bottle to the child?’

I’d say, ‘Yes, it’s easy to just pass the water bottle to the child. But the point we’re teaching the child is, he needs to learn how to address others respectfully and ask for help properly. Only then, help is given.’

– ‘Some kids don’t drink much. And I need to remind my kids to drink.’

I’d say, ‘Reminding our kids to drink is of course okay, and it is in fact a totally different matter from asking the child to ask for something / ask for help respectfully.’

Why We Go Mountain Hiking with Our Kids

27 June 2017 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment


 
Recently, all five of us went to ‘Mount Gede’ (Gunung Gede, West Java), together with 16 others.

Yes, including our 6yo Brie.

We trekked for hours and hours, and over the 3-days-2-nights trip, we also reached the peak, at 2958m above sea level.

Have we done it before?

No. It was a new experience for all 5 of us.

An physically exhausting and mentally challenging one, yet it was so worthwhile.

Now, the big question is: WHY?

WHY DID YOU BRING YOUR THREE CHILDREN MOUNTAIN HIKING?

Aren’t there OTHER more relaxing travel ideas that better fit the FAMILY?

Isn’t it a crazy thing to do, … you know, since the littlest in the family is still SIX?

Aren’t you city people? You hardly even walk in Jakarta!



 
There are many reasons why we chose to join a group of friends and go mountain hiking with them, with the 3 kids in tow.

And, if I were to share just three reasons, here they are:

>> Get away from daily city routines, and be in the outdoors

Day in, day out, we live in tiny spaces.

We move from one small space with 4 walls, to another.

We live in an apartment. We get into a car. We get off the car and go into classrooms. Or to church.

We spend minimal time outdoors.

So that we share memories together, good and bad experiences, stories that we can talk about years and years to come
We hardly even extend our arms and really fill our lungs with fresh air.

We hardly see and feel the beauty of God’s creation out there.

To Wilson and I, it’s a must to experience the outdoors because we spend most of our days and months in small spaces in the city.

We NEED the open air and interactions with nature.

(How to love and appreciate nature and God’s creation, if we hardly see, feel nor interact with it?)

We need to have THAT balance.

(I guess, it’s different if we live in countries like New Zealand or Australia, where we can enjoy the outdoors much more frequently)



 
>> Do something different, as a family

This is our first time going for the mountains. I mean, really hiking / trekking towards the mountain peak.

We’ve never done it before, and it is something that Wilson and I feel we should do, as a family.

Why as a family?

– So our children can see their parents struggle too, through situations that THEY themselves go thorough

– So that they see for themselves HOW their parents choose to face challenges and go through them

– So we can learn more about children, their mindset, their attitudes, see how they respond towards challenges, and guide them along

– So that we share memories together, good and bad experiences, stories that we can talk about years and years to come



 
>> Some lessons in life must be personally experienced. They simply cannot be taught verbally.

No proper toilets or bathroomsIf we want our children to push themselves beyond their comfort level, then we believe they really have to be in situations where they actually are BEYOND their usual comfortable situations.

To name a few, here are some ‘different’ situations that we experienced during our 3-days-2-nights hiking trip:

– Trek for hours
– Eat simple, emergency food (Our menu: rice and instant noodles, Tim Tam for snacks, water from the mountain streams)
– Sleep in tents, on hard, rocky ground (we found out how sleeping bags are not THAT thick)
– No proper toilets or bathrooms (Hello bushes!)
– No phone signals or the internet
– Experience physical exhaustion and the need to keep going till the end
– Spend time doing something similar with other people (other than your own family)



 
Really. During the trip, Wilson and I got to discover more about ourselves and our children.

Like, we get to see:
– How we respond towards discomfort
– How we treat others when we ourselves are not in comfortable situations
– How we persevere though we feel tired, and how we eventually manage to reach our destination, however slowly
– How we adapt to different routines and still manage, despite the lack of facilities
– How we are amazed by the hundreds and thousands of stars in the night sky
– How we work in a group situation, etc

All of the above can only be discovered when our limits are pushed beyond our normal level.

(Unfortunately, they’re not discovered when we sit comfortably in front of our TV, in our air-conditioned room, eating yummy ice-cream)

If we’re asked, ‘Would you recommend such a trip to other families?’

I’d say, ‘Yes! Go for it!’.

(In a separate blog post, I’ll share some tips and thoughts on how Wilson and I prepared our children BEFORE the trip and DURING the trip)

Discover more about ourselves and our childrenOverall, I’d say:
I think our family is so blessed to have had this hiking experience recently.

We learned and discovered so much, about ourselves, others, about God and His amazing creation.

No regrets.

And, looks like there’ll be more =)

Simplicity Parenting: Why Less Is More for Your Kids

4 November 2011 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 3 Comments

I came across this article the other day and I felt I really should share it here with you.
It has LOTS of good points on how today’s parents NEED to re-examine their parenting style.
Because ultimately, …

Choices we make

2 June 2005 | Posted in: Parenting | No Comment

Someone asked me a few days ago, “Do you wish you’re still working full time? Like … in a office and all that. Having a career. A well-paid job.”
Somehow I asked this question rather frequently.
Personally …

Parenting : How Do You Tackle ‘Listening Situations’ at Home?

13 March 2013 | Posted in: Parenting | 2 Comments

 
I came across this poem the other day :
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.
If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, 
they won’t tell …

Missing my twosome moments

2 August 2006 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | No Comment

I was browsing my old photo collection and saw some of our old traveling ones. Aahh … it brought back sooo many sweet memories.
Frankly right now, with a toddler and a newborn coming very very …

Parenting : Preventing Children from Playing Parents against Each Other

[Daddy is often ‘more fun’ than Mommy, but as parents they must always be on the ‘same team’!]
 
Have you heard or come across a situation like this :
> A child ASKS one parent for something
> …

Appreciating and Encouraging Our Spouse

9 January 2013 | Posted in: Inspirational, Marriage & Relationships | 2 Comments

One of the things that I often need to remind myself is, I’m not just a Mom.
I’m also someone’s wife.
The ‘problem’ is, when you have kids, we are naturally inclined to focus our energy and …