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Letter from the Editor: Adventures in Parenting a Toddler in Singapore

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life

Sassy Mama’s Editor checks in before we all head our separate ways for summer, and reflects on how amazing it must be to be a toddler in Singapore

Happy June, mamas! Inspired by my fellow Editor at Sassy Mama Hong Kong, Kat, I felt it was high time I checked in with our audience to reflect a bit on the adventures of parenting a toddler in Singapore.

When I began my role with Sassy Mama in October 2014, my daughter was barely four months old. Now, seemingly in the blink of an eye, she’s on the precipice of turning 2. Over the last year I have truly lived the Sassy Mama life: from choosing a preschool, to learning proper playdate etiquette, to questing after the perfect birthday cake (and signing over my daughter’s college fund in the process, ha!).

What I’ve learned (or I guess should say, continued to learn) is that every age comes with its own unique set of challenges. It seems like yesterday I was freaking out over her napping habits and feeding schedule; these days I’m consumed with toilet training (or lack thereof, help us all) and am just happy if she’ll eat anything besides “PASTA!”

Speaking of pasta, she picked up her love for the stuff during our March trip to Europe, when we met up with family from the U.S. to spend 10 days in Rome and Tuscany (story coming soon. Spoiler alert: It was awesome).

toddler in singapore

There’s nothing like traveling with a toddler to show you their true colours. Fortunately Maggie is a pretty happy flyer, although she did bang on the cockpit door so much on our flight to Amsterdam that the pilot came out to talk to her (luckily she was cute enough to get away with it). Jet lag, on the other hand, is a work in progress, as it took her a solid four to five days to stop waking up before 5am (which meant this mama had a tough time keeping her eyes open for Parisian dinner!).

Not a day goes by where I don’t marvel at the amazing experiences my daughter gets to have living in Singapore. Travel is an obvious one (she has no idea how lucky she is to be able to fly home to Changi Airport!), but then there’s the fact that it’s warm enough for her to go swimming every day of the year. Or that almost every child in her preschool class is from a different country. Or that she reflexively refers to older boys and girls that she meets as kor kor and jie jie (Mandarin dialect for “older brother” and “older sister”) because that’s what she picked up on the playground at our old condo. (If you haven’t read it already, please check out Rasha’s wonderful essay on what it means to be a third culture kid. If that doesn’t have you fist-pumping and high-fiving your kids for growing up here, I don’t know what will).

This morning as she ate breakfast on the balcony (because again, it’s warm enough that we can!) Maggie heard a rooster off in the distance and started imitating its cock-a-doodle-dos. There surely aren’t many other cosmopolitan cities in the world where mornings are punctuated by rooster calls (helpfully bringing Maggie’s farm books to life).

I’ve recently wondered when Maggie will start being able to truly remember things; when are your first memories from? As I watch her soak up all the wonderfulness that Singapore has to offer, I can only hope that she’ll start retaining things soon. It saddens me that she’s already forgotten friends who moved away last year, yet I know this is a painful lesson she will come to know all too well the longer we live here.

baby at fenway park in boston for a baseball game

To all the mamas who might be leaving Singapore this summer (whether temporarily or for good), I wish you safe, smooth travels (with minimal jet lag), and hope your kids are able to enjoy wherever you are to the absolute maximum. Relish that cool winter weather in Australia, or catch a baseball game in the U.S. (still the highlight from our trip home last summer I think, even if Maggie doesn’t remember it!).

If you’re like me and sticking around this summer, I know it’s easy to get stressed out and caught up in the day to day (believe me, I’m the worst with that), but take a moment to just sit back and marvel at your children and the safe, culturally vibrant, and opportunity-filled lives they’re able to live here. From where I sit, it more than cancels out the stresses of toilet training.

Have a great summer, mamas!

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