Read, Write, Think

Writer’s Block – that’s what I have been suffering from since Project Babyless Bangkok. I literally face a blank page each time I attempt to write. I have no story to tell! Or rather, I had been working really hard with Ewan after our Ladies Only trip that I could not get my act together to write.
So instead of writing, let us read.

The best place for great reads with shelves after shelves of board books suitable for the little tearer would be the library. He enjoys pulling the books off the racks, toddle away and starts pulling more off the next. I can feel the glare of the librarians burning through my skin as I pick after him but I do not stop him. Exploration is key to growing. If he is amused by falling hardbacks, so be it. I will just pick up after him lor…. *hahah* Mums are the best!

Besides strolling the parks and hitting the playgrounds, visiting libraries became one of many excursions we enjoy. We have yet to explore any of the three regional libraries but will make a trip to Jurong soon to reminisce on my childhood. I remember fondly my trips to Jurong regional library as a little girl with my first library card issued to me.

Singapore has 22 public libraries. To date, Ewan and I have done one-fifth of them namely, Clementi, Bishan, Central and Queenstown. Reading became a daily affair for the family after Ewan learnt how to flip. It started with daddy’s Torque and Audi magazines at his bedside. I remember he had little patience when I read to him. He can never wait to have that page flipped.

10 Month Old

1 Year Old

Reading is about the words, the story, the sound of the mummy or daddy, the pictures and the book in itself! When he was younger, he gets excited manipulating the physical book. Now, he chooses his favourite books from the lot and those are the books with large illustrations that covers the whole page with solid colours. He would make us read the same book ten times if he gets his hands on it. Guilty as charged, I would sometimes hide his favourite books behind the cushion or under the carpet so that I do not have to read the same book ten times after. *haha* Please don’t be like me? Repetition and familiarity are actually soothing to them. We should let them lead.

His current two favourite books are from Flip for JoyCrocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. They are bilingual books with bold colours and beautifully drawn animals. We will do it in English, then Mandarin, then English and then Mandarin. He now can say “I Do” from Crocodiles and “猫,马,姐姐,bird, dog, duck and bear” from Brown Bear.

Other than the many books he owned, he A-listed several books from the library as well. When he sees them, he stretches those books towards me and cries, “READ”. I had to extend those books to its maximum loan date before returning them and heading to another library to borrow them again. They are the Orla Kiely board books: Colors, Creatures, Shapes and Numbers. She’s a London designer who features clothing, bags, home, fragrance and accessories in her stores. Her designs in these baby board books burst into life and I love it to bits myself. Feeling a little atas turning pages of high-end art at home.

Numbers

We got him his library card before he turned one. These books were borrowed from Clementi public library. It is no surprise Clementi owns the newest books since the library is only 2 years old. I’m referring to the condition of the books over chart-toppers. I love visiting Clementi’s library just for the sake of quality pages. One thing though, always dettol-wipe your borrowed books and have them fanned out to dry. You never know what germs lie within. Do not take any risks that will jeopardise your child’s well-being.

Today, we went to Queenstown public library with Aunty Dora. We borrowed his regular favourites with three new titles to expose him to different kinds of illustrations and stories. His attention span for them are much shorter but still, I have these books on hand in strollers and bags, ready to act as distraction or entertainment. Alas, distractions fail when food is at the table. No books nor toys can replace the seduction of food for Ewan.

Reading to babies can be a difficult task because you cannot finish telling a story at each read. It will not be difficult if you understand that opening, closing, stacking or gnawing books count as “reading”too. Don’t ever be surprised if your child walks away halfway through a book. They have a preference to move rather than sitting perfectly still, especially at this age. Speaking from experience, keep reading because he can hear you and he will come back. The more we use books for fun, the more likely our kids see that they are an enjoyable part of their daily life. Daddy tells stories with a punch and it makes Ewan laugh out loud with excitement. He uses his silly voice and reads with drama. They are profiting intellectually and socially from our reading. So expand your child’s reading repertoire now and join the public library! We are but a little island but we are accessible to an expansive collection of [free] resources that many countries cannot compare to. 25 libraries in every nook and cranny of Singapore. We are provided with invaluable benefits. Are we using them wisely as citizens?

Your friendly volunteer

Ewan has taken such a big chunk of my life that I have started mmlittlee mainly to aid him in extracting his childhood from my blog entries and meticulously dated photo/video albums. Creating memories to be exact. I have pledged this blog to the Singapore Memory Project, a national initiative started in 2011 to collect, preserve and provide access to stories related to Singaporean so as to tell the Singapore Story. We will be turning 50 in 2015 and this initiative will put together a great story for showcase from all our contributions. Do contribute, in any way you can, to put together a Singapore seen from our eyes.

My creative blockage is unclogged thanks to all these reading Ewan! I am writing again.

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