Archives for July 2008

Tutus or toy guns?


No…I am not going to talk about having a boy or girl for a next child, rather, my question is rather controversial for most parents; will you let your 3 or 4 year old boy
a) dress up in a tutu and ballet shoes in school OR
b) play with a toy gun during pretend play

I believe almost all Singaporean parents will select option b. Most parents will probably freak out if they found out that their boy dressed up in a tutu complete with ballet shoes during pretend play and will prefer that the child play with toy guns instead. Never mind if toy guns will encourage violent behaviour in your child, as long as he is not given ‘sissy’ stuff to do. And God forbid! Dress up in a tutu and ballet shoes, is this some sort of a precursor to the alternative lifestyle?

This question came up during my Early Childhood Education class this evening. My lecturer who loves to ask questions to challenge us posed this to the class; Will you allow a boy in your class to dress up in a tutu and ballet shoes during pretend play if he choses to? The majority, all 22 of us answered ‘Yes’, only 2 other classmates said ‘No’.

This may start to drive you into a panic and wonder what sort of teachers that you have for your nursery or kindergarten child today. Let me justify the ‘Yes’ to that question.

Note the context that the child is given that liberty; the child is at PLAY. Play is voluntary, often fun and meaningful for the child, it allows the child to make choices and decisions, is purposeful, involves pretending and engaging in meaningful behaviour and helps children understand and handle their feelings.

So the boy should be allowed to dress up in a tutu and wear ballet shoes, however, the teacher or parent needs to ensure that there is clear follow up after that activity. Highlight to the child that it is ok to pretend and imagine what a ballerina does. But also let him know that in real life only girl ballerinas wear a tutu, as this can also be an opportunity to let him know more about real life gender differences. Evoke further interest of the child to find out more. Ask him questions like; there are male ballet dancers performing with the ballerinas in a ballet, what do they wear? Are there also instances where men wear skirts? Like in the case of Scottish and Malay men – the kilt and sarong.

You do not nurture feminine traits in your son just by allowing him to dress up in a tutu when he is at play. Refer to my previous post in my Kids and Parenting blog for a full run down on possible causes that will encourage homosexuality during childhood –

I am not a gay-basher, just that I don’t agree with their choice of lifestyle. Just like how I don’t agree with married people getting into affairs.

As for the toy gun, sometimes I don’t know what are parents thinking when they buy toy guns or swords for their young son. Did you ever notice that kindergartens never have toys guns in their collection of toys for the children? They have toys that imitate real life, not reel life and violence. If parents think that they are encouraging a child to build manliness and macho-ness by giving them toys of that sort, they are very wrong. Fathers should just spend quality time with your sons if you want them to learn how to be a man.

Our children are exposed to enough violence from the media, we really do not need to be part of this negative influence that will direct their play behaviours and preferences.

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More bundles of joy?

Is one enough? Been thinking about having a little sister (hopefully) for Kyle. Not really planning to have another child immediately, as it will be too much of a challenge for me now to manage taking care of Kyle, my studies, working part time in church and spending time with hubby. Cannot imagine myself doing all of that while having a baby bump at the same time. Especially when I did not have an easy pregnancy previously, just dread the thought about being pregnant again.

I noticed that it is really common for mothers to have their kids between 1 and a half or 2 years apart. Heard from some mothers that there are many advantages; the kids can be playmates, you can put them in the same pre-schools, primary and secondary school together, etc.

L has also mentioned before that kids with siblings do have less tendency to be self centred as they learn to survive with another person who is also vying for the parent’s attention. It seems that it get easier for the parents as well. As their energies and attention are shared among two children, they get less hang ups and parenting seem to get easier with experience.

When I think about this 5 year old child that I saw in church a few months ago, I think twice about not having a sibling for Kyle. This girl was sitting on the floor, together with her parents, about a quarter of a metre away from us and browsing through her book. Out of curiousity, Kyle glanced at her book a couple of times and was met with so much hostility from that little girl. She glared at him each time she caught him looking at her, and gave him threatening looks. She even raised her palm at some point, ready to hit Kyle if he inched any closer. And Kyle was only barely a year old then.

Her parents did not pay much attention to her hostile behaviour and so hardly made any effort to correct her. I saw her this morning at church again, this time, she was fully engrossed with her Nintendo DS and she clearly ignored her father when asked to take communion.

I suppose bringing up this example is a little extreme. This girl is probably a result of over-indulging parents that do not know to discipline her.

It’s crucial that I will have my second child for the right reasons. Parenting has not been the easiest journey so far and Kyle is only so young! Cannot imagine the kind of challenges that Keith and I will experience once Kyle enters primary school, adolescence, etc. Although it has been alot of fun so far and we feel so blessed to have Kyle in our lives.

So the 2nd bundle of joy can wait, although I am not getting any younger, maybe 2010 or 2011? Kyle will be 4 by then, and he will have so much other things in his life, like school and friends, and will probably take pride to assume big kor-kor responsibilities.

I want to enjoy more time with Kyle for now.

Lunch with Mom and Dad this afternoon at Seah Steet Deli

Look! No shoes on the fatty little feet!

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Toilet habits

A certain someone once told me this when Kyle was a month old, ‘You must potty train him when he is able to sit up by himself. My son was trained at about 8 months old and he was able to tell me when he wanted to go.’ Few thoughts that crossed my mind when I first heard those words; Your son’s physical impulses must be extremely advanced or you are just a very well trained mother…

Thank goodness that she does not have influence over how I bring up my child. As I cannot imagine how much unnecessary stress that I will be putting Kyle and myself through, if I ever attempt to start potty training him at 6 months. I will have turned into a toilet-obsessed and well trained mother to ensure that Kyle sits on the potty every two hours.

This topic of toilet training toddlers was brought up during a recent child development class on Tuesday.
Lecturer : ‘When do you think a child can be toilet trained?’
Me : ‘I heard of mothers who start training their child at 6 months.’
Lecturer : ‘Oh that’s too early…’
Classmate : ‘My mom started training my daughter at 1 month,’
Lecturer (horrified expression): ‘Oh my, so early? So was she really trained?’
Classmate : ‘I think so, she stopped wearing diapers from 8 months.’
Lecturer : ‘Actually a child is not ready till 2 plus. If you believe in Freud’s theory, you may be potentially moulding a child with personality extremes.’

That’s an interesting comment from someone who has 20+ experience in child development, has 2 children of her own and hold a masters in early childhood education.

Mothers who seemed to have trained their child at infancy, merely have caught the child’s reflective release of urine or bowel movement at the convenient time. Toilet training is best introduced to the child after that few months following the second birthday when the child can identify the signals of a full bladder and can hold their muscles impulse.

So I rather be one to listen to knowledgeable advice rather than ‘old wives wisdom’ or experience. As for the part on Freud’s theory, if parents insists on training their child before the/she is ready or make too few demands when the child show signs of readiness. The child may experience conflicts about anal control thatmay appear in the form of personality traits of extreme orderliness and cleanliness or messiness or disorder.

Either way, I really do not wish to be the catalyst for this sort of personality development in Kyle, moreover, I don’t think I am knowledgeable enough to question Freud’s theory (Freud = the ‘father’ of human psychology theories). So I will hold off toilet training till after 2 and Kyle’s potty can be another item added to his collection of filling and dumping containers for now.
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