Wednesday, November 21, 2012


As a parent in Singapore, it's easy to get caught up in ensuring that the kids are safe, their food is hygenically prepared, that they are kept sanitised and safe from germs. In my book, all that is necessary to protect the kids, health wise but that's about it.

I am paranoid about germs when it comes to JED because sickness in the family works in domino style and I try to prevent that. But at the same time, Packrat and I are very big on experiences for the children. And we're not talking about expensive, artificially constructed experiences. We want JED to grow up with experiences close to what we grew up with, of course now tempered with the wisdom of age and hindsight which often leads to lots of face-palming and muttered "thank God I didn't die!".

So, with the onset of the holidays, God help us, we've been doing things with JED that amount to firsts for them. And some of these things are not the usual, run of the mill, experiences that Singaporean kids don't usually encounter. As it is, they are growing up a tad spoilt and a tad too privileged. Evan wrinkles his nose at toilets that smell, would prefer not to step into a wet market and wants to vacation in the USA. We tell him 'suck it up' to the first two and tell him that money doesn't grow on trees for the latter and he'll have to wait a long time more before he gets to go to the USA for vacation.

Anyway, some of the firsts that they encountered last week.
1. Evan loves carrot cake. Not the English type but the salty, fried, carb laden one that we get at markets or hawker centres as breakfast offerings. So, on our way to ICA to collect new passports (they are on to their second passports already!), we pass a food van stationed in the car park. We stop and buy breakfast for everyone and stand or squat around and chomp it down. He loves it, carrot cake is hot and salty and hates it, the generator that powers everything is loud and makes the place smell like diesel, at the same time. But when we leave, he declares 'that was fun. Can we do it again?'

2. JED ate off banana leaves in an Indian fish head curry restaurant. Granted, they couldn't eat anything off the real menu because it was spicy (that is our next mission, to get them to eat spicy) but they had the bismati rice on the banana leaf. Because they stabbed at the leaf a little bit too hard, they ate banana chlorophyll too. They topped off the experience with copious amounts of cold lime juice and papadams which were of course a big hit. We taught them to fold the leaf and place their utensils on the top of it once they were done although the leaf sprang back and showered bits of rice on them to their outrage and to our amusement. Of course, the hot, humid and wet bathrooms at the back were not to their liking at all, especially because the smell of the spices used for cooking were all the more pungent there.

Since Packrat and I and the extended families love fish head curry, this isn't going to be the last time they go to a fish head curry restaurant. So bully for them if they don't like the bathrooms. 

It's great fun seeing them do things for the first time that seem so normal for us but abnormal for them and I'm planning to do more of these little things with them. We don't have to go out of our way and they have fun anyway. 

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  1. I bought carrot cake from that mobile vendor too, when we collected C's passport!

    ... but the boy and I ate it in the car. Booo!!

    Must be more adventurous next time :p

  2. Mummy Moo,
    You can always do that the next time, in 5 years time! And trust me, it'll happen in a blink of an eye!