I nearly have a 3-year-old. Plus Bali is trying to kill me and other stuff…

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hello blog. Long time, no see. I thought I’d do a bit of a random catch-up post now that I’m actually able to sit at my computer and type without feeling like my brain is dripping through my ears. So you know that time I had dengue and was horribly ill? Well that was followed by a further TWO illnesses, the second of which I’m only just recovering from now and actually felt worse than the dengue.

I have no idea why I’ve been so unlucky to be ill so many times in such a short space of time and with 2 hospital visits (I never actually went to the hospital with the actual life threatening one). I hate doctors and hate hospitals and generally avoid them at all costs but I’ve been feeling SO ill, I finally dragged myself there as I couldn’t take another night of crazy fever-induced dreams and my poor kids were getting tired of having an invalid mother. The doctors did the usual indo thing of not diagnosing me with anything but sending me off with a huge bag of medicine. Oh and I had a blood test as they thought it may be some other horrible mosquito illness or typhoid or something but luckily not.

So yeah I’m almost better now but my brain still isn’t quite working properly, I feel like I’m in a bubble where I can’t hear or think properly. Also it has robbed my ability to understand Indonesian. Someone came to the house for something the other day and i swear he was just saying “blah blah blah blah”. I had to send him away in the end.

As I’m so ridiculously behind with all my work now I’ve just decided to kind of give up and go with the flow. It’s kind of nice. I’m not taking on any new jobs for the rest of this month to give myself some breathing space but I still have loads to do. Now we have a couple of other income streams I’m hoping to cut back and spend more time with the kids before i lose my mind. i always say this but I’m really doing it now and it’s nice just sitting with Maya and watching her draw instead of stressing that I have to go and finish another article or whatever. I’ve given up on scheduling and i’m just fitting in the work where i can.

oh and then both my computers broke again. Kiran jumped on my lap while i was holding a cup of tea, most of which then ejected itself into the keyboard. So now I can’t really type on my mac. Or I can as long as i don’t need the letters g,h,y,u,l or c. Then my brand new pc laptop crashed today and decided it was totally broken so i had to reset it, losing all my files in the process. Luckily all my work is backed up to ‘the cloud’ (my computers have broken too many times to not do this) but it took me all day to get it going again and install dropbox and picasa (which is pretty much all I use these days. it didn’t come with office so I’ve switched to google drive).

Wow I’m even boring myself now, what was the point of this post again?

Oh yeah so apart from Bali trying to kill me with its various tropical illnesses, September has kind of crept up on me. As did August. But that means it’s October next month and Maya is THREE in October! Three! I can’t believe I’m going to be the mother of a 3-year-old.

The last few months she’s been amazing me with her ability to do random stuff. It’s like a switch flips and she can just suddenly do things that I never noticed her learning. She’s drawing actual things like lions and spiders now instead of just circles (eggs!) and scribbles.

Also a couple of months ago, she suddenly switched to speaking Balinese 90% of the time. I always knew she could understand Balinese but she’s grown up speaking Indonesian and only said the odd word in Balinese. One day she just randomly started speaking fluent Balinese, much to the amusement of everyone and she hasn’t really stopped. It gives me hope she’ll do the same with English.

I worry that I’m not doing enough activities with her – I’m not one of those flashcard mothers and I don’t push her to learn the alphabet or things like that. I’m a big fan of free play but still I wonder if i should be teaching her things. When do kids start learning to read? How on earth do you even start teaching a child to read? She reads herself some books – the ones’s she’s memorized and sometimes she makes it up from the pictures. usually in English as I’m the one who reads to her most of the time, which pleases me.

She can suddenly count now too – I mean she’s been able to count from 1-10 for ages but she didn’t really get the concept. Now if i give her 5 objects, say, she will count them one by one and say “there are five!” i certainly didn’t teach her to do this – did she teach herself?

a few months ago she would build towers out of her duplo blocks but there was no method or understanding of balance. now she builds perfectly symmetrical constructions, matching up the colours on either side.

I’m fascinated just watching her. I’m sure this is all developmentally perfectly normal but I’m amazed at how she seems to just suddenly know how to do stuff! I guess this is what 3-year-olds do? Or rather what she does when she’s not driving me crazy by being soooo deliberately naughty or giving me a heart attack by putting her life in danger (she knocked the motorbike over today by climbing on it, I heard a huge crash and thought she was dead). Oh and we’ve still got Kiran’s terrible twos to get though. Fun fun! Tell me how people with huge families cope?!

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6 Responses to “I nearly have a 3-year-old. Plus Bali is trying to kill me and other stuff…”

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  1. Celeste says:

    Counting – yes, she’ll have taught herself :) At work we kind of work on the basis that we can’t MAKE a child learn something – it’s our job to provide opportunities for them to make links themselves, and to model things for them to imitate.
    As for reading and writing, just follow her lead. I didn’t do anything with Lucy and then a few months before she started school I panicked a bit and thought she was the only three-and-three-quarter year old not to be able to read. She knew some of her phonics and she could write her name but that was about it on the literacy front and she didn’t seem bothered about learning more. She soon picked it up at school and has been way ahead of the level expected for her age in literacy since very early on. I still don’t really get how they teach kids to read, despite helping two of them to learn ;) It seems that they start with the phonetic sound and then work on blending the sounds together to form simple words like at, cat, can etc. Then they start working on sight reading non phonetic words. I wonder how they teach it over there though – pressumably there’s no Indonesian version of Jolly Phonics?!

  2. I’m a big fan of free play and self teach. I mean if I was a kid I wouldn’t want to be forced to read because ill end up thinking it was punishment. (maybe thats why I don’t like reading too much now). My daughter is 14 months and I pretty much just let her run around and do whatever as long as it doesn’t danger her in any way. And will probably keep doing that until she has to go to school. But for now ehhhh she can live in her own little imaginative world and do whatever she pleases.

  3. Alys says:

    I know you aren’t too bothered Rachel but you might like to try the Letterland phonics series that I use with Lily. You can get lots of their stuff from Book Depository. I learned to read using Letterland and so I got some of the stuff for Lil and it’s by far her favorite thing to read/play with. She already knows all the characters and sounds as it’s really easy to follow. I’m also not bothered if she can read at this age but what I’ve noticed is she really loves to do her phonics and be tested on them (and it’s not like I throw her a big party if she gets it right!). I guess she feels empowered and like being able to ‘do something’ and reproduce the sounds etc. Anyway the point I’m making in a v rambling way is that Maya might actually really enjoy it of you start teaching her to read and if she doesn’t then no problem you don’t have to push it. At my work with our Very Young Learners we encourage free play but also integrated with structured play to teach the kids to understand instructions etc so I think their is no harm in a bit more of a structured approach too :-)

  4. Rachel says:

    Thanks Alys, I’ll look it up. My mother taught me to read when I was not much older than Maya so maybe I’ll just hand the job over when she comes to visit :) I don’t have a huge amount of faith in the school system here and still not sure whether we’ll be sending her to local or international school so I’m trying to start to think about how I’m going to do some of these things myself :)

  5. Rachel says:

    I’m not sure Celeste but they teach in pretty much the same way I think. Only Indonesian is MUCH easier because it actually follows phonetic rules and there are very few exceptions. Also the sounds are distinct and don’t run together like they do in english sometimes. Maya’s cousin seemed to learn to read very quickly once he started but he was about 6 I think? It’s going to be a bit confusing managing the rules for the different languages, for example ‘c’ in indonesian is always pronounched ‘ch’ – if you want a hard c sound like in cat, you use ‘k’. I think I’m going to have to make a bit of an effort with the english because it’s so much harder

  6. Celeste says:

    It’ll be really interesting to see how they approach education over there :) I know a lot of children aren’t really ready to learn to read when they start reception here because they just don’t get it, but something tells me Maya won’t be one of them!

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