Buddy is four!

How time flies in the blink of an eye!  Some friends still remember Buddy as a chubby baby, and indeed he was a mini sumo wrestler.

But that is in the past, because since he was two, he has been steadily losing the blubber. In fact he is rather lean now, thanks to all the jumping, rolling, and play-fighting. To be honest, I don’t know where he gets all the energy from. I get tired just from looking at him moving non-stop!

Our couch is Buddy’s favorite part of the home because of its multi-uses. It acts as a trampoline, the top of a tall building where he can jump off ala TMNT move, the scene of many fights, and, previously, together with the cushions, the island of Sodor for Thomas Train and friends.

Since Buddy was a baby, my husband had said that there are three important development areas for a child: mental, physical and morals. So far, we didn’t have to do much on the physical aspect because Buddy has been pretty active. He used to played balls and rode the scooter when he was younger, though, unfortunately, he has since stopped. (We had a pipe dream that he might turn out to be a good footballer since he had the ability to kick the ball at a very young age, but it looks almost certain the dream has been flushed down the drain.)

Instead, Buddy is most happy play acting as one of the ninja turtles fighting Shredder. My husband made him a pair of Sais at his request, when he wanted to be Raphael.

When the first paper sword went kaputt, Buddy wanted another in black. He also asked for a purple scabbard because that is Donatello’s color. He even turned it into a staff by removing the scabbard.

We didn’t make a nunchuck for him though, and I was wondering whether to get one. But it turns out he had found a creative solution: socks, since they can twist and turn like nunchucks. We encourage him, since that saved us  from getting new toys and besides, socks don’t hurt.

Since Buddy’s love affair with TMNT started, he has lost interest in the trains though he still plays with his dinosaurs sometimes.  Even the toy cars are hardly played with. But we have noticed he goes through phases with his toys. He started with trains before moving to dinosaurs, and then back to trains, and now to TMNT. So, he has a rather narrow range of toys since he is specific of his likes even when he was younger.

When it comes to mental development, my husband is very much involved in this because he places a lot of emphasis on thinking skill. He believes strongly in building Buddy’s foundation before his formal education begins in a couple of years’time.

Previously, Buddy worked on jigsaw puzzles and simple Learning Journey games. During the past year, we discovered Smart Games, a company that developed logic games for toddlers and adults. We started Buddy on Three Little Piggies before he proceeded to the rest like Camelot Jr and Smart Car, etc. So far, he is enjoying  these games and I guess that is a good sign.

As for Buddy’s moral / character development, we try to give him as much positive reactions as possible, as well as explain the good and bad behaviours to him. But he doesn’t seem to fully grasp what we said to him. Like when he does something wrong and I explain to him on why he has to apologize, he would do it but he cries after that. He doesn’t like to say sorry; which I guess it’s normal human nature?

He has been a strong-willed child as long as I can remember. He wants things to be done his way. For instance, when I notice he didn’t button his pyjamas top correctly, he becomes upset if I redo it for him. And he is particular about his pillow case. He is ok with pictures of safari animals or penguins, but not the one with sheep. Same goes for the bath tub non-slip mat from IKEA. Buddy has been using this blue-coloured curvy mat all this time and it’s become a little ratty. Unfortunately IKEA has stopped stocking it. I tried to explain to Buddy that we have to get a different one, but he insisted it has to be the same, and refused to accept the available crocodile design. I will have to take him shopping, and hopefully he will be able to choose one that he will use.

It’s the same with the books that I read to him. I usually borrow at least 15 books at the library each time. After going through the books once, Buddy would have decided which books he likes and want me to re-read to him. He doesn’t even mind listening to the same story every night after that. Like this TMNT book “Pizza Party”, this is a renewal loan, and he has been listening to the story for at least 4 weeks! But he loves it, and many times he will act out the story. So, basically, I have to ask for his opinions before getting most things for him.

I guess Buddy inherited his quirks from me or my husband. Like us, he is slow to warm up to others. He is very chatty and asks lots of “why” questions when he is alone with us, and is also communicative with people he is comfortable with, like his class teachers and classmates. (Though, like me, Buddy has his moods, and he doesn’t have any one best friend because it depends on whom he wants to play with that day.)

However, when there are unfamiliar people around, Buddy tends to clam up or speaks sparingly and softly. It’s a totally different persona! Perhaps he is not born to be an entertainer or politician.

Despite being comfortable with his  teachers and most classmates, Buddy still has a love-hate relationship with the daycare More often than not, he would whine when he notices the uniform on the bed, and cry that he doesn’t want to go to school. Instead he wants me to stay home to play with him. However, once we arrive at the center, he willingly enter his classroom. It’s the same with the Berries Chinese  enrichment class. He will cry on the way there, but is able to settle down for the class. When we ask him after if he had fun, he gave a resounding yes. We are trying to figure out the reason for the different behaviors, but my husband suspects that he needs to be eased or to transition to another environment, like me. (I don’t even realize this!)

Still, most importantly, Buddy is a loving boy; very often he tells us, “I love you, mama/papa!” and gives  us hugs. To us, he will always be our baby!


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