In a blink of an eye, Olympia has turned 2 years old. The second year was much easier compared to the first year. Even going out is easier now; no need for stroller and a bulky bag of baby toiletries. The past year has seen her hit several milestones that often took the first-time father in me by pleasant surprise. As much as this is a personal finance blog, Heartland Boy is eager to pen these memories down for his own selfish keepsake.
Underestimated Her Ability To Adapt
Given the benefit of hindsight, underestimating her ability to adapt was easily the biggest misconception that the adults have of Olympia. Here’s a few examples to illustrate why.
(i) Transiting her to a double decker bed
The family debated long before replacing her hand-me-down baby cot with a double decker bed. I was eager to purchase a double decker bed because it saves space and is more convenient than a pull-out bed. The plan was for the helper to sleep on top while Olympia sleeps below. Cooped up in a 3-bedroom HDB flat, space has and will always be a premium in the household.
However, the grandparents felt that a double-decker bed was not safe as she could hurt herself by falling from height. Heartland Boy was quietly confident that Olympia would listen to us if we have informed her on the dangers of climbing the ladder. That was exactly what we did. 2 months on, Heartland Boy is still extremely proud that she recognises that climbing the ladder is strictly out of bounds for her.
(ii) Loving school
At 20 months old, Heartland Couple enrolled Olympia into a pre-school managed by a partner operator. That means her school fees remain relatively affordable at $500+ per month after subsidies. There were more expensive options promising better curriculum and learning environment but Heartland Boy didn’t find this spending justifiable. A part of him didn’t find it necessary to succumb to societal norms and another part of him finds that this cash could be saved for better use in the future.
Anyway, when she first reported to school, Heartland Boy was probably more nervous than her. Common parental anxieties set in and chief amongst them was whether Olympia would cry uncontrollably. She did sob at the start and kept asking for mum. However, the crying stopped after the second week. Once she found out how fun school was, she couldn’t seem to get enough of it! She is always sharing with us the new words, songs and things that she learnt in school. Once again, Heartland Boy is super proud that the work put in by the household, especially the mum, has resulted in Olympia being securely attached.
Developing her own character
Heartland Boy noticed that several characteristics of Olympia are more dominant in the past year:
(i) A bubbly girl
This is probably the most noticeable trait of Olympia. Most strangers tend to commend that her smile is effusive and infectious. Heartland Boy agrees wholeheartedly. There were too many occasions when Heartland Boy rushed home to her incessant shrieks of laughter. These often lifted the spirits of Daddy. Of course, the problems and stress of life don’t go away but at least they were forgotten momentarily.
Beyond this outward expression, Olympia also have a wicked sense of humour. She has matured so fast to know that performing certain actions would elicit a response from us. What tickles Heartland Boy the most is her anticipation in seeing our surprised reactions. Unfortunate or not, Olympia would soon grow up, chance upon this article and realize that all of us already know all along)
(ii) A fierce streak of independence
This is most evident in the daily routines whereby she refuses help and simply want to perform the activity on her own:
- Climbing up and down the stairs; even the handrails are preferred to the household members
- Washing her own hands
- Removing her own clothes before shower
Sometimes, she would even undo what the adults did by reinstating to the original conditions. For example, if the adults help to remove her shirt, she would put it back on so that she could remove it herself. Guess this is her way of telling us that she can cope independently without our NOSEY meddling. Thankfully, she still understands that adults have to carry her when crossing the roads!
(iii) Leadership qualities??
When Olympia is in a comfortable environment, this trait would show strongly. Heartland Boy was informed by her teacher that Olympia would “hush” her classmates to keep their volumes down during nap times. She even ratted on a classmate who did not mask up!!!
At home, she even once reminded her visiting grand-aunt that she was sitting on Daddy’s usual seat!
If reflected on a CV, Heartland Boy would politely frame this as leadership qualities. If it’s a casual chat with friends at the coffee shop, this would be termed as “nosey” behaviour. Honestly, her parents are clueless how she has picked up this particular trait. The wife is worried that she would grow up to become the stereotypical class monitor that most classmates are going to hate! Heartland Boy’s take is that he prefers to let Olympia develop her own personality naturally without too much intervention from the external environment.
(iv) Observation skills
Olympia’s ability to observe her surroundings truly astounds Heartland Boy. It could very well be a bird hiding in the bush or the sound of gushing water. If Olympia had not pointed it out, Daddy would not even be aware of such events taking place. It is very ironic that Daddy needs a toddler to remind him to take a slow walk once in a while to appreciate these litte things in life. This is clearly a direct consequence of an endless rat race in our fast-paced society.
(v) Amazing Curiosity to learn
With the ability to pay attention to these tiny details, it is inevitable that Olympia has developed an insatiable curiosity for learning. Heartland Boy thinks this generally applies to all toddlers who are exposed to the marvels of the world for the first time. Sometimes, Olympia does test Daddy’s patience with the same repeated questions. However, since Daddy once penned a blog article promising to address all the queries that Olympia would have as a child, she shall have the right to insist that Daddy continues to keep up with her.
All the heart-warming episodes aside, the truth is that Heartland Boy is still the least preferred household member. This could be directly attributed to the amount of time he spends with her compared to the other family members. Hearing her mouth “don’t want Daddy” can sometimes be truly discouraging and even heart-breaking.
The obvious thing is to strive to do better but that is also why Daddy has to wiggle into new roles to appear more present in Olympia’s life.
- Sending her to school every morning
- Watching nursery rhymes together
- Appearing with amazing treats from the fridge
- Making silly videos of them singing together
You are truly Daddy’s 开心果.