When I first heard Casey Adams' 'Simple Life', it took me back to when I was a rebellious 16 year old who stated that all I wanted was a simple life. I brashly declared that having too much bred mental strife, I just wanted to K.I.S.S. I was a teenager who had it all back then, you say, so I could afford to make rash renunciations of materialism.
Flash-forward a couple of decades later when the love of my life burst onto the scene. For a while, I couldn't afford a TV. We played, we sang, we read books, we made playdough, we interacted, we were happy. It suddenly occurred to me that my somewhat rash teenage declaration still holds true today. I still don't want nor need much. It also led me to an even more eye-opening realisation ... children BENEFIT from not having much.
What prompted me to really think about this issue was a blog I read which stated, 'In some ways, life is easier when you are poor than when you can afford an apartment or house with more than one room'. I thought about my cute little Kampung Sungai Penchala 'studio apartment' - I could walk from the 'bedroom' through the 'lounge' to the ‘kitchen’ in a minute and cook our meals while watching my little one play. I was always in view of her, so she never got anxious. We led a simple life with peace of mind and a chance to bond in everything we did.
At that stage, we used what we had for play. Most of her toys were pre-loved. We had a ball with simple stuff like empty boxes, wool and shredded paper. Pots and pans paired with cooking spatulas worked wonders for her music appreciation development, as it has for countless children of old. We ate simple home-cooked stews and soups and it was healthier and yummier than restaurant-bought fare. I skipped the whole baby food in a jar thing and blended fresh fruit and vegetables. All in all, we were good.
On the health front, we also tended to K.I.S.S. Not being able to afford too many doctor’s visits, we used natural healing and immune-building alternatives. We didn’t bother with liquid sanitisers and bathed once a day - after all the messy fun was done. This meant more time for fun and less stress.
Now, a couple of years later, we are a little bit more financially stable, but we still try to keep it simple. My not-so-little one still prefers to create artistic creations out of paper and cardboard boxes or play outdoors despite the toys she’s accumulated throughout the years. Doctor’s visits are still minimal and although we now have a TV we try to keep it to a minimum. And we still play silly games, sing and dance. And connect. What more do we need?