It is oft said that one of the joys of being with children is being able to rediscover childhood through new eyes.
Ever since we became parents, we’ve had the privilege of reliving our childhood every day. It almost feels like we’re adults by day, and when the clock strikes 7pm and we step through the front door of our house, we magically turn into children. On the weekend, we’re children almost 24/7 (and what torture it can be on our old bones sometimes!)
Simple childhood pleasures abound in old school snacks, Enid Blyton storybooks, and perennial favourites like a Macca’s ice-cream cone and Mickey Mouse cartoons. Then there are the more extravagant luxuries like beach vacations and trips to Disneyland.
But by far, my Top 5 childhood rediscoveries are…
(1) Making Music
Well, revisiting ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ was fun initially but the song tends to lose its shine after what is probably THE 12TH MILLIONTH TIME THAT YOU’RE ASKED TO PERFORM IT?!?!?!
Before we started on music classes for the girls, the ol’ piano had been collecting dust by the front door. Occasionally, my siblings and I would tinkle a tune or two from our old school days but that was it. Inspired by the Suzuki adage that “If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart”, I picked up playing again – and boy, am I enjoying the time at the piano churning out familiar folk tunes and simple classical pieces (because while the Yamaha piano strings haven’t rusted, my ill-practiced fingers sure have!)
It brings me joy to hear Coco pipe up song requests, and to see the girls run over at the sound of the keys and raise their little arms to be lifted and seated next to me because “I want to play a song with mummy!” I love that they enjoy my music – Coco waltzes in circles, while Claire bops on the spot. One especially precious memory was when Coco was seated quietly listening to me play ‘My Bonnie’ and she started silently tearing – literally moved to tears by the beauty of song.
Musical training also has many benefits, which do a lot of good for eagerly developing brains. So play on!
(2) Going Outdoors
Much of my childhood was spent building sandcastles at East Coast beach and running amok at the neighbourhood playground. While we used to head outdoors every weekend to in-line skate, swim and hike (just a little!), we realised that we’ve hardly done anything like it since we embarked on IVF in 2010.
So our family resolution for 2014 is to return to the great outdoors, in particular, public spaces and community places like parks, nature reserves and waterfronts. The weekly programme is varied – sometimes we explore new destinations; other times we revisit play areas from our past.
Look out for more entries from our new outdoors series, coming soon to a wonderful blog near you (called ‘Bubsicles’, of course!)
(3) Playing Pretend
When we were kids, my siblings and I used to play make-believe a lot. We had lots of fun performing plays, puppetry and magic shows for our parents. We would also make up silly rhymes and stories to pass the time on long car rides. But somewhere along the way to adulthood, we stopped playing pretend.
Before I had children, I would feel terribly silly and didn’t like hamming it up for my friends’ young charges. When Coco came along, I took a deep breath and gingerly learnt to let go of my inhibitions, and talk and act out just about anything under the sun.
Oh, the places that our imaginations brought us! Just last week, we were flamingos, monkeys, mousedeer, dinosaurs and astronauts all within the short span of 40 minutes. Of course, you don’t need to attend a staged production to use your imaginations. We do that every day – at home, in the car, outside of home. It’s such a joy to hear Coco chime, “Let’s pretend, mummy! I want to pretend!” and to see Claire trying her darnedest to participate.
(4) Wearing Vintage
I have to give credit to my parents for having the presence of mind to squirrel away a few of my childhood outfits. I was most delightfully surprised when my mum whipped out pretty, well-preserved lace dresses and smart shirts from the 1970s and presented them to me – for my daughters. Here’s Claire donning a pre-loved piece from my older cousins who wore it even before I was born.
(5) Furniture Fun
In the good ol’ days before 24/7 cable TV and fancy electronic toys, we climbed all over furniture for entertainment. Who can forget the thrill and apprehension of your first leap off the back of the living room sofa or from the upper bunk of a double-decker bed? Coupled with a huge dose of whacky imagination, playing on (and under, over, around, inside) furniture made for hours of outrageous, noisy, sweaty fun.
My parents-in-law recently bought a triple (!!) decker bed so that their granddaughters can sleep over at their place (i.e. free time for mummy! *woot*) Seeing how delighted and excited the girls were with their new bed (“I like this bed very much, mummy! This bed is very nice!”) brought back great memories of how much fun furniture can be.
What are the favourite parts of your childhood that you’re reliving as a parent today? Tell us!