We’ve recently moved to a condo resembling the spawning ground for Singapore’s next generation of expats. It’s crawling with babies and mummies in all stages of pregnancy. Connecting with one mummy, my poolside ‘baby and bump’ competition, she tells me her baby boy is only JUST four months old. Shocked, I’d already nicknamed him ‘BamBam’ and guessed him to be a year old. “Oh, yes, he is so advanced in EVERYTHING! He’ll be walking soon,” she says, joking-not-joking. “Show off!” I hear my inner kiasu-mama growl.
Another mum tells me her multicultural child is also multilingual – she’s barely walking. Kiasuuuu! I spy a baby in the pool who, it seems, is being prepped for deep sea diving, complete with a paid instructor – this baby doesn’t even have teeth!
At seven months pregnant, I know my unborn baby is already behind! His kicks don’t keep to the beat – to be honest, I question his co-ordination skills. Will he, for example be able to bend it like Beckham or dance like the next SHINee K pop recruit? I have my doubts.
I’m nervous. What competitive advantage do all the other babies have? My unborn child is already lagging. I’ve heard of kiasu parents teaching their foetus another language through the tummy walls, and have seen a vaginally inserted sound system housed in a special tampon through which you can train your foetus to sing opera! We’re never going to beat BamBam in a physical strength competition, but can we beat him at a chess game as soon as the cord is cut? Who knows?
I find myself clicking on links to Baby Sign and Mindful Parenting classes and also infant art classes, bilingual ballet and creative mathematics for 0-2s. The waiting lists are long, I needed to enrol my foetus at conception – is it all too late? Panic!
I study BamBam’s beautiful mum, she is smart, warm, and friendly. This, I think to myself, will be her son’s greatest learning and her greatest teaching. My guess is that parents who are mindful and respectful human beings give children a better start to life than those shouting instructions through a megaphone into the womb!
But just in case I’m wrong, I’ve done the research on the wonderful (and – let’s be honest – weird) ways to connect with your unborn and newborn baby. Yes, the team here at HoneyKids have tested some of these, and some are better than others!
Stay ahead of the pack with these baby-enrichment ideas
The Baby Spa website claims that by “providing an opportunity for baby to move in the water is an ideal way to develop not only a stronger body, but a more active brain.” Why not? Although we can’t help but spit out our morning kopi laughing at the pictures of babies’ little heads poking out from a float ring around their necks.
Bilingual babies do it better! Offered to babies as young as five months old, Mandarin lessons are one of the enrichment classes held at Trehaus. They say “this parent-accompanied weekly programme aims to support a child’s holistic growth and learning in engaging ways in the Chinese Language.” Check out our guide to Mandarin lessons in Singapore.
Baby Einstein and Flash Cards
Plop your infant in front of a Baby Einstein DVD, or randomly flash some cards at them and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the competition. It’s quite well known that Einstein himself didn’t speak until he was three years old, so the irony is not lost. The jury’s out on this one …
We spent two days and many carbon-emitting kilometres buying our bits ‘n’ bobs including light switches and latches to build an activity board for our baby. Then six months (plus some marriage counseling) putting it together – so we could stimulate and enrich our baby’s problem solving and fine motor skills. Do your family a favour and buy A Melissa & Doug Activity Board instead.
Babypod vaginal speaker
Insert a specially cased mini-speaker into your vagina and force Adele onto your unborn baby to guarantee a kindred spirit when he or she pops out. A little icky? You could just sing or pop a set of head phones onto your bump for a similar effect.
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy!
The five best pregnancy and baby apps you need to download
Our pick of the five best baby books to read right now
Gymnastic classes for toddlers, kids and teenagers in Singapore
10 Martial arts classes for kids in Singapore
I’m finally pregnant after years of trying – now what?
Illustration: Stephanie Cahyadi for HoneyKids Asia