Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Some of you may remember that Isaac was our Christmas present when he came to this world on 26th Dec 2007. Being born so late at the end of the year makes him much smaller in size when compared to his peers born in the same year.

Take his cousin for example. Chad was born in January so he is almost a year older than Isaac and one could never have guessed they are of the same age just from looking at their sizes. However size is not really the issue here cause given time Isaac can surely catch up. It is only prominent now when they are this young.

What concerned me most is the disadvantage in terms of time given to him for his development. Honestly I never thought much of it until last week when the Mrs brought (more like dragged) me along for her nursery (as in school) shopping.

Most if not all the nurseries are already taking in students who were born in 2007. My initial reaction was nonchalant because to me Isaac is still very much a baby so the idea of sending him to Nursery 1 class seems so distant.

This trip to a very popular nursery really woke me up! It was in the administrator’s office that I realized that Issac is due to go for Nursery 1 next January!!! My baby is going to school (ok, a little drama here since it is not really school school but you know what I mean) next year!! Picturing him in his little school uniform brings a smile to my face because he will look so cute! At the same time I have this sour feeling deep inside also because it sort of mark his growing up.

While touring the school and their many facilities, we saw students in the current Nursery 1 classes walking down the corridor hand in hand. They are of various shapes and sizes but all of them look so cute in their uniforms. We could tell that some were born in the beginning of the year while others at the end. I can already visualize Isaac being bullied by the big fat kid who was born in January.

When it finally dawned on me that Isaac will be big enough to go to Nursery 1 next year I suddenly got confused. I always thought that we will be sending him to play school first before nursery but in this case it does not quite add up.

Later I realized it was due to the fact that Isaac was born in December. As far as I know typically the Play Schools will take in children when they turn 18 to 20 months old. I always wanted to put off sending him to school, Play School or otherwise, until he turns 24 months but I just realized that by the time he turns 24 months, he is also 3 years old and can be enrolled into nursery 1.

Confused? Let me explain. We look at the actual month that Isaac is born so he will turn 24 months end of this year but according to the government Isaac is 3 by January so he can go for his Nursery 1 class already. This means he will be attending nursery when he is really just 24 months and 2 weeks old.

Now it suddenly looks like Isaac will miss attending Play School unless of course we enroll him when he turns 18 months instead of the original 24 months. He will get a taste of Play School for 4 to 6 months before being promoted to Nursery 1.

Not too long ago I have a friend who warned me that children born at the end of the year may be a little slower in terms of absorbing what is taught in school. He would know since 2 of his 3 children are born in December. It seems their academic results are not that ideal. I believe this may be true to a certain extend especially when they are younger.

To think I was originally hoping that Isaac could wait till 1st January before coming to this world and I will enroll him together with those born ‘a year’ before him. This way I thought I could save him a year in his life. Now I understand why when shared with Dr N, he too felt that it was not such a good idea after all.

Of course if the Mrs is a SAHM then maybe we can consider skipping Play School all the way up to Kindergarden and let her play and educate him herself. But for now it looks like we will just have to see if he is able to fend off the big bully on his own.


WaveSurfer said...

It's indeed interesting to note that while we parents are often concerned with our babies' monthly milestones (by what month have to do what etc), all these might become less significant once they are like, 3 years of age, since all toddlers born in the same year are grouped together, irregardless of which month they were born in.

Disadvantage yes, but guess there's nothing much parents with children born late in the year can do... Being born in December would mean that classmates won't be there (school holidayes) to celebrate their birthdays too. -_-|

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi WaveSurfer,

Actually the milestones at every stage are just as significant. It is just that at every stage of their growth we feel differently.

It is indeed a little unfortunate that the school system groups them by the year they are born which is probably the best way to do it.

I feel it is important for us parents to understand that their development is very different from one another hence there is no need to get upset when comparing with other babies.

I already knew since day one that Isaac will most likely be spending his birthdays with his family instead of friends. I'll try and make it up to him somehow.

bebe said...

hihi, i'd been visiting and calling up schools lately too . . . not for nursery tho, more for playschool cos my baby is 14 mths now. But not much results yet tho, the sch I like is full now and quite inaccesiible from my place, so now Im considering childcare... but feel a little sad that she will go to a childcare at such a young age. Still considering lar . . . it's just preschool and Im already so stressed up!! btw, which is the popular nursery that u went to visit?

A Husband said...

Hi Bebe,

14 mths so does this mean that your baby was born only early last year? If so then you can see what difference the 2 months make because Isaac is only 16 months and he has to go Nursery 1 next year already.

I know how you feel about sending them at such a young age to a 'school'. It took a while for the Mrs to convince me to even consider sending Isaac to a play school. She has to emphasize the word 'play' and assure me that he is there to have fun and not study.

The nursery that we went to check out was ACS.

Charlene said...

not true that children born in december are "slower", cos i am also a december baby!haaa...
initially we maybe a little small in size and need time to build up our intellectual, emotional, physical, social development, BUT WE WILL catch up.
nowadays parents are "abit" concerned, as they send their children to school once they reach 18 months.
any other questions? drop me a message in facebook, as i am working in a childcare now.. hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

I guess the best is to be born in June? (like me, ahem) middle in everything, however i was the smallest in size when i was a kiddo...

sometimes though, some people dun really choose which month.. They'll be highly contended just to have a little baby to cuddle 9 mths later.. Sigh**

Thanks for your youtube link... I still prefer the Beautiful Imperfections, latest one more...

Mrs Chew

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Charlene,

I am not calling December babies slow. What I was referring to was the disadvantage that they have with limited time. This is especially the case when it comes to school but I am hoping that by Primary 1 Isaac would have caught up in all areas of development.

In my opinion, at the end of the day Childcare, Play School and Nursery are not to be taken too seriously. They are there to help the child grow and develop. It should be a fun thing so parents need not be too concerned.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Jolin,

I am born in the middle of the year too, July to be precise.

I know most people are not bothered with which month they want their kids to be born. Some may pick a particular year due to the Chinese zodiac signs.

Nicole said...

Ok, this is coming from a mummy who have a baby born on the LAST day of the year!

Cleo could have chose to come out 1 day later and be the eldest and instead, she chose to be the youngest! And I meant literally! But what can I say, it's her own choosing.

I've heard ppl telling me all the time ' aiyo, lugi lah, born on the last day of the year. AIYA, born 1 day later mah!'. (as if I can control it)

Anyway, to me, it really doesn't make much difference. Seriously. It's just a matter of which day they choose to born and I've read it somewhere. ALl the catching up of development will take place during the first 3 years or so, subsquently, they develop on the same path.

As we can both see now, I meant present, Isaac and Cleo are no way smaller in size as compared to those born in Jan 2007. And Cleo's development are no way inferior as compared.

So, really, there's nothing to worry. Isaac definitely will not be the small boy kana bully by big fat boy. Maybe vice versa instead? Haha!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nicole,

Ya, I can imagine the difference a day makes. But like you said it is beyond our control. So long as they come out healthy. 31st Dec or 1st January doesn't really matter.

I hope you are right about the catching up being done in the first 3 years because comparing Isaac to his cousin who is born in January, Isaac is shorter and of course less mobile.

I think this topic doesn't quite affect Cleo because she is so quick with her development. She is already doing so many things that Isaac and his cousin can't. Well done!!

Hey Isaac is not fat okay?!?! Hahahaha

viv said...

oh no, isit a must to go nursery 1? i was planning the same thing like you as in sending my gal to play school when she turns 24mth (she is a nov 07 babe)...if by Jan 2010 must go nursery, she is just 26mths...hmmmm oh no..the fat big boy is a real concern..afterall my gal is kind of small size..hmmmm

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Viv,

Actually it is not a must to go to any class until Primary 1. If you prefer you can skip all and go straight to Primary 1 or K1.

You can let her go for her Play School and then join the N2 intake the year after. Hopefully by then she would have caught up with the rest in the same year.

Nicole said...

Actually, I was pretty surprised to see you discussing about this topic. Never though that having a year end baby might 'disturb' you.

Derrick discussed this topic with me in fact as well, say few months ago. When I mentioned to him that quite alot of people said that Cleo's born timing was all that fantastic, he mentioned that she in fact 'save one year'. As she's born on the last day, she can join 2007 batch, and it's especially important when the gender is a boy as boys have to go through NS. Etc Etc....

Since Cleo is not a boy, I didn't really bother myself much with that. But I do heard others said before that children born on the first and second day of the year can join the previous year batch, hence saving a year??? Other than that, I seriously can't see the difference.

Just to digress a bit, you do know I have a pair of twins nephews right?? Born in oct. Now one attending nursery 2 and one attending nursery 1, cause the elder one's development is slower. So it really doesn't matter if you're born in jan, june, oct, dec for that matter to be faster or slower.

And hor, being big size and fat is really about the diet and the genes! Like I've mentioned, I saw one friend, her girl is 1 year older than Cleo, yet shorter and lighter than Cleo. ALAMAK! Ok, I'm not saying that I'm big size. Haha

ipoop (Olivia) said...

I know of someone who was born in December but he caught up with his developments pretty quickly. SO not to worry about Isaac.
My older son (4 years old) is not enrolled in playschool/nursery. But he will be going to kindergarten soon. He knows his ABCs but he can't really write. I wonder when they should start learning to write.

Merryn said...

i was born on da 28 Dec but was one of the bully in da class! i think it is the way we are, our personality that determines if we are the bully or the bullied! hahahaha..

F A I T H said...

Hi Dylan

You're planning to send Issac to playgroup so soon? Not trying to be discouraging here but you may wish to consider other factors apart from the big bully and developmental issues here. Exposing Issac to a playgroup environment also means he may fall sick pretty frequent in the initial months. I'm sure most parents had gone thru that difficult period before. Of course its a matter of time we all have to deal with that, but in your case, the risk is also extended to the twins because there is a fairly high chance of diseases being passed on to Issac's younger siblings. Perhaps that should be one of your major consideration instead???

Of course one could argue that the twins may have stronger immunity, but why take the risk??? It is tiring enough to take care of a sick child, let alone 3!!!

In any case, if you do find it necessary to send Issac (for the sanity of the rest of the family, perhaps! Kekeke...), then be assured that his age is not an issue. My girls (born in Oct) started childcare when they were 2 years & 2 months old. Their only vocabulary then was Mommy, Papa, Gong Gong and YaYa. But they managed to "survive" using sign languages. 3 months passed and they speak rather complete sentences now. Their classmates varied in terms of sizes but I believe its got to do with the genes than age. As for bullying part, I agree with Merryn. It has more to do with the personality of the kids. Teachers should be able to manage that aspect. :)


A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nicole,

Actually having a year end baby does not disturb me. I am happy so long as they are healthy.

I am only a little confused and concerned after seeing the size and development differences in kids of the same age especially when they attend the same class later in life.

Since the subject of this topic is really nursery and play school I am not that bothered lah. I only hope Isaac would have caught up in all areas by the time he attends a proper school.

About saving the one year thingy, I think this is very much a guy thing and I believe it is due to our national service.

Interesting note on your nephews. This is the first time I have come across parents sending the twins to different classes but hey I don't know that many twins to begin with.

It is definitely the diet and not genes cause like you, we don't consider ourselves big size! Hahaha

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Olivia,

I am honestly not too concerned about Isaac's development. He is already considered slow since he is still not walking now that he is almost 16 months but we are happy to let him take his time.

I hope you are just thinking out loud with your question on when the kids should learn to write because you should know I have no clue!! Hahaha

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Merryn,

So have you passed on your bullying gene to the next generation? Hahaha

I totally agree that it is the personality and character that determines if Isaac will be the bully or bullied. However being small in size will also make him easier target right? Not that I am saying he is small in size.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Faith,

Thanks for your concern but it did cross our mind that Isaac will be falling sick more frequently. We do not mind so much with him falling sick since it is only a matter of time but you have a point about the twins be affected.

Not sure if the Mrs has decided on sending Isaac to nursery yet but I know one of the reason is for him to learn more stuffs and also have more fun with the other children. I am more open to nursery since it is only for that 2 hours a day as compared to half or even one whole day for play school.

Isaac will be very much like En and Xuan should he start his nursery next Jan because he will be only 2 years and 2 weeks and I am sure his vocab will be rather limited too.

It is good to know that the munchkins are stringing proper sentences now because that is one of our main motivations to send Isaac for nursery. I feel that if he is more articulate then he will be a happy baby since we can understand each other better.

The bullying part I am not too concerned lah. Just hope he is not too small and make himself an easy target. But at this age I am sure it is not something that the teachers cannot handle.

The Bimbo said...

erhm *from experience and observation* I think children with sufficient family support eventually level out.

I can't deny that there is a trend especially when they are younger. But with exposure and parents helping from young, it's easy to observe that all that changes when they are older. :)

I should remind my friend about this.. mm

Lionel n Rachel said...

my niece was born on 22 dec 2007 so like u say, its looks like they are only 2 years old upon hitting 22 dec but under gov's law, they will be consider 3 years old comes 2010.

my sil is also at a lost. She is nt sure whtr she shd send her gal into N1 comes 2010 Jan or shd wait till 2011 Jan. But if she sends at the latter date, then it will look like her gal is attending N2 straightaway & skipping N1.

So her current idea is to throw her gal into playgrp coms jun this year. Just nice lor, 18 mths. So that when its time for N1 next year, at least her gal will be adapted to sch life easily.

My hb was a little shocked too when he learned dat his gal ( Rachel) will be attending N1 next year. Seems so fast! And my gal cant even blabber 20 words.

Anonymous said...

Hmm! I don't quite get the bit about hoping Isaac was born on Jan 1 so he can be enrolled with those a year earlier, to save a year, how does that work?

I reckon Jan/Feb parents feel a lot of heat too, esp if babies born in the later months can do something they can't. We're in August, comfortably midway, hehe. Anyways I'm tuned out most of the time -- not having parents or married couples as close friends is a blessing sometimes!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Bobo,

Coming from you it should be reassuring right considering your profession.

I am sure given time these children will level out. This post is really about the beginning stage like Nursery 1 and Kindergarden.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Yvonne,

So Isaac and your niece were born very close together. She is only 4 days older.

Actually my personal advice for your SIL is there is really no need to follow the system step by step. Meaning she does not have to attend play school before she attends N1 and then N2 systematically.

In fact she can choose to send her daughter whenever she feels she is ready. If it is direct entry into N2 then so be it. It is not uncommon actually.

I think fathers do not keep track of the time when their kids will have to attend school.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi E,

See, any child born on 1st Jan 2008 then she can actually join the same class as those born in 2007.

This means that for whichever class she is in she will always be a year younger. When her classmates take their PSLE she will only be 11 while they are 12 and she takes her 'O' at 15 instead of 16.

This is what we deemed by saving a year. This I believe is most felt by guys because of the National Service.

You are right about parents facing pressure when babies born later in the year can do more but I believe this is really an individual thing.

There is really nothing to compare since they grow and develop at their own pace.

Isaac only started to walk now when he is close to 16 months. Most including myself will call it slow but hey if he is healthy and happy then no harm right?

alliet said...

I am all for home schooling. Actually, my MPC lady is still home schooling her son and I think he either has turned 7 or is turning 7 this year...

But for my case, it is different because well, to my surprise, I do enjoy teaching and playing with Cate - colours, simple words, singing, etc. But of course, sending Fat to play school will help with his social skills, etc...