Note to new readers: This article is part of Vee’s monthly developmental milestones update series. It summarises my parenting approach, Vee’s progress, challenges we face and how we overcome them.
Inspiration this month:
Birthdays can be celebrated without any present, cake or party. Most importantly, may my child(ren) stay happy and healthy all year round.
Vee’s turning 2 years old on Friday and it’s amazing how much he’s grown in such a short time. (In case you missed it, read his birth story here.) Here’s his progess update:
Learning & Communication
This section is growing longer as our homeschooling activities are in full force. I schedule 1-2 hours after breakfast for learning and games. Sometimes, Vee requests for more “lesson time” after tea break and after dinner. He’s definitely more hardworking than his teacher.
- He surprises us by singing a new song every few days. I attribute this to listening to nursery rhymes daily since he was a newborn. We’ve a huge 20-CD collection of 250 English and 250 Mandarin nursery rhymes (bought at Popular bookstore). Through these songs, he has mastered the alphabetical order, days of the week and gained a large library of vocabulary. It’s a super-easy and fun way for toddlers to learn.
Tip: Besides playing the CDs, you’d need to sing the songs to your baby so that he can see your lips move and learn to speak faster.
- For more “serious learning”: he has listened to “Addition +1 to +12” songs for many months, so I started playing “Multiplication x1 to x36” songs, which he enjoys. (Both sets are bought at Shichida centre.)
- I bought a new load of learning materials at Shichida centre, including memory games and many more linking memory cards, which Vee loves. Nowadays, we spend some time in the evenings playing memory games as a family. Even hubby’s hooked onto the games!
- Vee’s speech starts to involve abstract concepts such as “Mummy forgot” when I turn around to get something and “Daddy, be careful on the road” when the car jerks.
- He likes doodling with marker pens and I adore his first finger-painting artwork (see picture right at the top).
- Reading is still a favourite activity. We’ve completed Read at Home series 1A to 3C published by Oxford University Press. I chose it because it’s well-illustrated, contains interesting activities and uses British English, which is taught in Singaporean and Malaysian schools. Then I just bought a few books from Usborne’s First Reading series (also British English). The first book we read (The Wish Fish) was a big hit with Vee! You may view examples of the books at Amazon.com:
Homeschooling costs us just slightly less than putting Vee into a private preschool. And I’ve to put effort into gathering and preparing his learning materials.
Yet the benefits of homeschooling are vast:
- we’ve tonnes of fun playing together,
- learning contents and pace are tailored-made to his interests and progress,
- the learning materials are ours to keep for future children, and
- no need to leave the house and beat the famous jams in KL.
Oops, I digress… More on homeschooling next time.
- He has learnt to remove his underwear all by himself, so he can go to the potty independently. And nope, he can’t put it on again yet.
Behaviour & Social Skills
- He started throwing tantrums over the slightest discontentment since his illness last month. On a bad day, he can throw 3 to 4 bouts of tantrums, especially when he can’t have what he wants. Typical sequence:
Vee: Mama, o-cereal, o-cereal, o-cereal.
Me (smile) : You’re having a slight cough, so no o-cereal for now. Let’s have bread instead.
Vee (shakes head and body in agitation): O-CEREAL, O-CEREAL, O-CEREAL!!!
Me (trying hard to smile): You’re having a slight cough, so no o-cereal for now. Let’s have bread instead.
Vee (wants to eat Mama up): AHHH!!!!! (Throws things, beats table & bursts into tears) Don’t want bread! O-CEREAL, O-CEREAL, O-CEREAL!!!
Every day, I’m challenged to prevent a melt-down, which means an uncontrollable toddler who’s making no sense at all. Prevention is certainly better than cure, when it comes to discipline.
So far, these techniques work best at dealing with his tantrums:
- Distraction: offer another MORE interesting item or activity
- Exchange: instead of taking away what he’s holding, offer something interesting as an exchange
- Keep calm: deal with his tantrum calmly, tell him to calm down. When I’m agitated or angry, Vee doesn’t calm down and gets worse. So I need to calm down first.
Diet & Feeding
- Vee’s still thriving on a largely vegetarian diet with regular servings of fish for DHA. When dining outside, I continue packing homecooked meals with no seasoning for him. Needless to say, he’s often more interested in my food, especially vegetarian pizzas and pastas, which I gladly share with him.
- Due to his soy allergy and eczema, I’m still delaying introduction of allergenic foods such as oranges and strawberries. It’s probably time to start trying in a few months. Chocolates and nuts would have to wait a year or two longer.
- Since recovering from diarrhoea, his huge appetite has returned and he’s eating greens again. Oh, and his belly is even bigger than before!
- During his bad bout of diarrhoea, we’d to change his soiled diapers up to 5 times a night! It was worse than the newborn phase, and I’m so glad it’s over.
- At home, wears cotton underwear or shorts and is considered potty-trained, peeing about every 2 to 3 hours. For outdoor trips, he still wears cloth diapers and has been using the toilet rather consistently, with some accidents in between.
- For nap, he’s still not consistently dry because he drinks a large bowl of soup for lunch. If he wets himself, he’d cry in shock for a change or ask to go to the potty. After that, he can fall back to sleep. Phew!
- At night, he’d also wake me up for a diaper change if he’s wet. But it takes a little longer to get him back to sleep.
Based on our recent experiences, I’m planning to write a sequel to 18 Sure-Fire Tips for Early Potty-Training Success. And before he officially graduates from wearing diapers, I’m completing as many cloth diaper reviews as possible. Ha!
- Since the illness, he has become clingy to me at bedtime again. He often cries when I tuck him into bed and needs me to hold his feet. Fortunately, he sleeps through the night quite well.
Dearest Vee, when you were a little baby, Mama set 3 mini goals for us to reach when you’re 2 years old. Now, you can feed yourself, sleep through the night, and go to the potty all by yourself. I’m very proud of you and thank you for being my wonderful boy. Happy birthday! 🙂
And thank you for reading this long post too!
P.S. View more developmental milestones (from 8 months old onwards).
P.P.S. Our latest homeschooling updates are posted at MummysHomeschool.com HERE,
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