I enjoy telling the kids and their cousins stories of my childhood. They are always mesmerised with the simple and uncomplicated childhood that my husband and I had.
I told them stories of Aunty Jules (Juliana Isma) who I grew up with in Shahbandar before her family moved to Bukit Chedang, Seremban. How athletic she was when she jumped over the fence several times daily. And hello!!.. the fence was not low!! I told them how we queued up when Atok came home from work and he would dukung us one by one and swayed us mid-air! Jules and I played and danced in the rain, climbed rambutan trees, played hide and seek until our bodies were full with mosquito bites; we played tags, fell down and scraped our knees. But we didn't cry, (we might, a bit) but I believe that this made us grew up to be creative and high-spirited us. We had good friends and playmates when we were very young.
And I want my children to have this kind of experience, too!
Cheeky Jules and her son Omar (Photo from Jules FB)
Another friend that's always constant in my growing up years would be Ila who's just a year older than me. Fresh in my mind, I remember those days when we cooked rice, pucuk ubi leaves and eggs in the aluminum condensed milk cans under the rambutan tree. We used matches and small sticks + dried eaves from the rambutan tree pretending to be Oshins of Malaysia. We sew our own batu seremban and took the cloth from Ila's Nenek's crib. Our make-believe sessions were not only being Oshin or the volleyball player in the Moero Attack, we were also Rashid Sidek and Foo Kok Keong during the badminton fever of Thomas Cup in the 90s'. Role playing played a big role in our younger years. We loved playing outdoors than indoors. Our parents allowed us to be whatever we wanted to be.
Creative Ila and her son, Harris (photo from Fazila Shaharuzaman's FB)
I believe role play made our imagination goes wild and creative. With Ila, we planned, organised and executed our activities in a fun way. Creativity and innovation took place almost every play time. And look how creative Ila becomes with her Swirl of Colours projects! I'm proud of you, babe!
Those experiences could not be possible if a child plays on her own. It could be, but the aspect of sharing thoughts, communicating with peers, overcoming problems, sharing joy: all these affective, psychomotor and cognitive aspects of learning would be pretty hard to gain without playmates.
That's why I never restrict the kids when they called out for our neighbours' children to come and play at our house. I want them to have the opportunity that I had with Jules and Ila. (And I want them to learn and understand Terengganu lingo, too! They'll be my hopeful translators!)
The kids were playing musical chair. Alwani just went round and round, following whatever kakak did. Al Fateh computed the rules and hows of the game after the second round. Fantastic observation skills, Al Fateh!
Please note where Alwani sat! She didn't get it! hahahah. As long that she could grab a seat, it's fine with her! Oh Alwani.
I hope that we can always have good neighbours because they'll help us mold our children to be better people. That's what I learn and believe.
Thanks Jules, Ila, Nina, Ikhwan, Sheema, Nadia, Ayip, Geena & Shima (my lovely cousins) because you had shaped the small me to be the big me now!