Monday, December 29, 2008

Presents time

Just to share a video of Laetitia's joy when she opens her presents.

You can also hear in the background her cousin's excitement when opening his present (an iPod). These two kids were definitely spoiled over Christmas with an abundance of presents.

As an aside, here in France when it comes to presents, they keep very much to the mystery/magic of Father Christmas. NO presents placed under the Christmas tree until after the kids go to bed. Everyone has to put a pair of shoes under the tree so that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) will know where to put your presents. The children will tend wake up very excited in the morning to see what presents they received from Santa. All the presents come from Santa so the kids do not know who gave them what (except until they realised that Santa is all a myth then they are expected to thank the person who gave them the gifts). Opening of presents takes place first thing in the morning once everyone in the house is up. For us, on Christmas morning it took us 1 1/2hrs to do that!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Noël à Carqueiranne.

As usual, we're at my in laws to spend Christmas together as a family. I see this as a tradition we'll like to keep even when we're no longer living in Paris. It's wonderful spending this festive time together. It's Laetitia's third Christmas and she is starting to understand Christmas and what it is about. We're keeping the story of Santa to keep the magic of the presents under the tree together with explaining what Christmas is really about, the birth of Jesus. I am glad to have this blog to take a look at her first (2006) and second (2007) Christmas.

This year we came slightly earlier on the 20th and will be staying until the 3rd of January. There is a little Christmas corner near the town hall with lots of different activities for children and Laetitia has been going there almost everyday. She enjoys going on the merry go round (unlike last year) and being pushed on a sled by her cousin on a little ice-skating circuit.

Here's some photos taken up to this morning (presents opening time!)

This year Laetitia is showered with presents again. This little one received so many presents! As you can see from this photo, she is totally surrounded with toys. She received lots of books (2 English, 4 French), digital camera, fully furnished doll house and a memory game. There are some other presents waiting for her in Paris (which we simply do not have the luggage space to carry here and back with us).

This is how the doll house looks like when put together. In fact, we will be leaving this doll house here as it is too heavy and big to bring alone with us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is encouragement?

Last night over dinner while we were watching "Little Bears", I asked Etienne what he thought the difference was between positive encouragement and setting realistic expectations. This was prompted by the episode where Little Bear wanted to fly to the moon and Mother Bear told him that he can't fly and is a fat bear cub who would probably fall with a thump. After I asked the question, before Etienne could answer, Laetitia piped up to ask, "Mummy, what is encouragement?". As I was in the middle of a conversation with Etienne, I did not reply her and she went "Mummy, please talk to me". :p

So, I turned to her and asked her if she wanted to know what encouragement meant. She said yes and that's where it got a little tough for me. How to explain encouragement in simple terms to a 2 1/2 year old. We told her that encouragement was giving support to someone when they want to do something. It was rather close to the dictionary definition I found however when we asked her if she understood what it meant, she shook her head (obviously mummy!). So Etienne and I tried to explain it in plain terms using our day to day life. For example when she wants to climb up a high play structure, we would tell her, of course you can do it (even before she tries). Or when she tries to complete a puzzle and tells me it's difficult and I tell her that I'm sure she can do it and she should try, that is encouragement. I think she got the gist of it. :)

I do feel like I've gone back to school to the times when I have to do comprehension exercises and part of the work was testing on vocabulary. We had to provide the definition of the words and it was not exactly easy even when I do know what the word meant. Then again, I am glad that Laetitia has an inquisitive mind to ask questions.

Back to the original question of positive encouragement vs setting realistic expectations. I personally feel that it is a hard act to balance the two. What is unrealistic to one may in turn be a possibility to other and I think at this point of time, I'll rather err on the side of providing more encouragement and being "unrealistic" then run the risk of crushing the dreams/aspiration of my child.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trip to Edinburgh

We took a little weekend trip to Edinburgh to visit our friend Ash over the weekend (5th to 7th) and while it was nice to get away from Paris for a bit, it certainly was a tiring weekend sincedim Laetitia missed her naps on most of the days and went to bed pretty late. The food was good though. We had excellent Indian (biryani) and Chinese (dim sum).

Edinburgh is a rather pretty city but not exactly very toddler friendly (it was hard to let Laetitia walk by herself but then maybe it's just the Christmas crowd). Then again, Paris is not very toddler friendly too. Laetitia did have a good time though. She enjoyed the food and the shopping like a true blue Singaporean. In fact, she managed to grab a pair of Clark's Molly the magical cat boots that was on sale and promptly wore them out of the store. I, on the other hand, came back empty-handed since being 7 months pregnant means that I have no idea what would fit me post partum. Sigh, what a disappointment for me.

Here's the little one (with chocolatey lips) and her mummy on the plane. We took Easyjet which was reasonably priced. It was good that we did the online check-in and was able to be the first few on the plane since we had Laetitia (who was under 5 year old) with us.
Laetitia and her papa along Princes Street. Both looking cool with their shades.
Coffee time with Papa, mummy and Uncle Ash.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Very active baby.

I have to say that this little boy is one active bean. I feel his movements so much more then when I was pregnant with Laetitia. I remember starting to feel him early on around 14-15 weeks and now at almost 30 weeks, I feel him almost ALL.THE.TIME! I sure hope he'll calm down when he is born.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First time meeting Santa

... and it did not go well at all. She was excited about the idea of meeting Santa before we actually got to the party to see him but the moment we arrived and she saw him in a distance, she burst into tears and started running away saying that she does not want to see Santa and that she is scared of him.

I had initially planned to take some nice first photos of Laetitia and Santa for Christmas and had prepared her for the excitement by telling her way ahead of time that we're going to a Christmas party to see Santa. I had foolishly thought that it will be enough to help prep her but I was wrong. When we were there, there was nothing I could do to convince her that Santa is nice, not even the temptation of Santa giving out lollies. So, it was a failed attempt to introduce my little one to Santa Clause. Maybe we'll try again next year.

Anyways, here's a couple of pics our friend Ash who was visiting took of Laetitia about a week ago. I thought they look quite nice. :-)