Kyle is Nyan’s BFF — a former classmate who now attends a different school, they’re still thick as thieves, and we get the boys together as often as we can. Sometimes they do something major like go to the bird park (as you’ve seen in other posts). Sometimes it’s as simple as hanging out at Nyan’s pad, playing with toys, swimming, riding scooters.
Once in a while, Kyle’s Mommy picks up Kyle’s cousin Ava from Nyan’s school (she’s at Nyan’s school, a year ahead). On those lucky days, Nyan gets a ride home in the back seat of Kyle’s car.
And sometimes, the play date ends up at the Singapore Swimming Club – not for swimming so much as for a nice meal, where the two friends laugh and tickle each other throughout the meal.
Maybe the best part about a trip to the swim club comes at the very end — when Nyan and Kyle get some bread and head to the koi pond for a feeding session.
We’ve been working on getting Nyan to swim off and on since he was not much more than a year old, including lessons at an indoor pool in London, outdoor lessons here in Singapore, and lots of time in the ‘big pool’ (five feet deep) with Mommy and Daddy to get him acclimated. He never really took to it: he loves splashing around when someone’s holding on to him, and he’s fine in the baby pool (18 inches deep or so). But in the big pool on his own (with floating arm bands) or, god forbid, being dunked under water? Forget about it. HATED it.
Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a breakthrough.
It started, perhaps, in early May when Nyan saw a snorkel and mask at a store and said he wanted it. So we obliged. He looks good, no?
Here he is, modeling the snorkel and doing a little dance.
But the breakthrough came a couple weeks later. We were all in the big pool, with Nyan’s arm bands keeping him safe from sinking. He was not assured, however, and was clinging to either Mommy or Daddy and would not let go. We got to talking to some neighbors who have a boy who’s about a year older than Nyan, and another son who’s 18 months old. The older boy was all over the pool, jumping and diving and swimming. Nyan watched him intently, as he does.
After a little while, the 18 month old was walking along the edge of the pool, also wearing arm bands, when he suddenly just jumped right into the pool and swam back to shore. No problem; he’d obviously done it many times.
Seeing an actual baby being so confident in the water must have triggered Nyan’s competitive gene, because not long after that, he climbed out and… jumped in! And kept doing it, over and over. First he insisted that Mommy or Daddy be very close to the edge of the pool, such that he basically was jumping on top of them. But then he demanded they move farther and farther back. Here, have a look:
That was after a couple of weeks of practice. As you can see, he’s now actually ‘swimming’ — or at least kicking enough to get some movement. This video is a few weeks old; he’s now using his arms a bit, and has also gotten quite good at laying on his back and kicking. The other day he ‘swam’ across the entire pool — maybe 50 meters — on his own.
(Also the other day, after we’d taken his arm bands off in preparation for going upstairs for dinner, the little man ran to the edge of the pool and jumped right in! We got to him within a second of course, so he didn’t sink or anything, but still — enough to give us all a little heart attack. Our new rule: watch him like a hawk if the arm bands aren’t on. And also lecture him extensively about how he cannot do that!)
In any event, he’s making huge strides of late. We couldn’t be more proud.
He still goes back in the baby pool sometimes, just for fun. Like here, playing with his pals:
And check out the video.
Notice about 10 seconds in how he gets some water in his face, and how proud he is: “Daddy, I go under the water!” Well, not exactly, but you gotta love his attitude!
Long-time readers will remember this thing we do every so often, where we run a series of photos of Mommy holding Nyan, to see how much he’s grown. It’s that time again — it’s been that time for a while, in fact — but our wiggly little toddler doesn’t usually sit still long enough for a decent photo of him being held by Mommy. What’s a blogger to do?
Well, you seize opportunity when it presents itself, and it presented itself the other night at a restaurant: after a very active, nap-less Sunday, Nyan fell asleep at dinner. Just suddenly leaned over, rested his head on Daddy’s arm, and zonked out. On the way out of the restaurant, as Mommy carried him, we thought it the perfect time to take a picture. And so we did. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see his cheeky grin, but at least we can see that the young man continues to get bigger and bigger.
Yes, sometimes our boy sleeps. Usually not when we want him to — he’s becoming a master and stalling and delaying bedtime — but once he’s out, he’s usually out cold. At least until the middle of the night when he wakes up and pitter-patters his way in to Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, where he plops down between them and hogs the entire bed. (Yes, Mommy or Daddy really should take him back to his room at this point, but they’re usually too sound asleep themselves and can’t be bothered.)
Some mornings Nyan wakes up by about 7, but some days he sleeps in. That’s when Daddy reaches for his camera and snaps the candid shots you see here.
(Once in a blue moon, a very tired boy will pass out on Daddy’s arm at a restaurant, as he did the other night, or lay down on the bench we use at our dining table and just doze off right there on the hard wood, as you see below.)
A few months ago, Nyan spent a couple of Sunday afternoons with his pals at Jurong Bird Park. It’s basically a zoo that’s all about birds. It’s run by the same people who run the Singapore Zoo, and it’s pretty much just as high-quality as the zoo. Lots and lots to see and do.
Here’s Nyan, Kyle and Ava (Kyle’s cousin), holding hands on their way in to the park.
Random photos of the kids at the park:
One of the features is a bird show at an amphitheater, featuring birds flying through hoops, and a parrot singing Happy Birthday, and more.
And check out this random bird at our lunch site. That’s the bird whistling and saying Hi in a female voice. Pretty cool.
It’s a beautiful park, set in the hills and dense jungle of western Singapore, and there’s even a waterfall inside one of the exhibits, which is huge and fenced-in so all the birds can fly around but not fly away.
Here are the kids, running through the jungle away from the ‘monster’ (who we’re pretty sure was the videographer, a.k.a. Daddy. Hmm):
What’s a bird park without penguins? Here are Nyan and Kyle checking them out, and Daddy trying to keep them from stepping where they weren’t supposed to and falling off the ledge. The bit at the end of this video, where things go a little haywire, is when Kyle suddenly jumped into Daddy’s arms. Then Nyan quickly followed suit.
Besides birds and penguins and monsters, Jurong Bird Park has snacks…
…and coin-operated toys…
And maybe best of all: it has a pretty huge water play area, complete with slides, fountains, and a full playground.
Nyan is not too convinced about the water slide at first, but once he makes it down, he sure is proud of himself:
And finally, we saved arguably the best for last. Jurong Bird Park also has a few turtles, for whatever reason, just slowly strolling along inside one of the exhibits. Our hero decided to try to pet one. Brave little guy!
The bird park was definitely a fun couple of afternoons, and definitely highly recommended. We’ll be back.