Friday, August 31, 2007

Eau De Cologne Mint

I really am extremely ignorant when it comes to plant life. For example, I never knew that there were so many different types of mint. We were at the botanic gardens today and there was an entire area dedicated to the various mints. I enjoyed this the most because they encouraged visitors to pick the leaves and have a sniff. The most memorable were the Chocolate Mint and this Eau De Cologne Mint. They really smelt like their names!

The brief visit reminded me not to get stuck in a rut and to keep observing and enjoying this world we live in. Yes, a baby takes up time but there must always be learning and a sense of freshness to our lives. Its so easy to keep walking around in this fog I'm in....I really do forget to observe and digest.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

For a good nights sleep, sun your baby.

One of the baby sleep books I'm reading recommends exposure to the sun (with protection of course) to help improve a baby's sleep. It is true! It was raining all of last week so there was no going out. This week, we have been to a park every day and he has dropped his night time wake-ups from 4-5 times/night last week to 2-3 times/night these past few nights. Perhaps it is the combination of high carb foods for dinner, sun exposure, and dimming the lights at home 2 hrs prior to bedtime. Whatever it is, I'm sticking with this routine until it breaks. (Which will probably be tonight since I wrote about it here)

Here he is in the park. Discovering grass. How it feels, smells and TASTES.

Not sure what he was trying to do but he was hanging on to my legs from behind and kept playing peek-a-boo. I think he thought it was funny to see me upside down. This is the view from where I was looking.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My favourite day - Christmas Eve

I saw this meme at Table for Five and I'm in need of something light and happy to post about after a rollercoaster day so, here it is. Christmas Eve really is my favourite day of the year. I like the anticipation of Christmas but the day itself always seems anti climatic because of all my anticipation. Anyway...

What is your favorite Christmas gift?
I'm hard to shop for. So, nothing in particular. What makes me happy are the gifts from my husband that come with thought and preparation. Doesn't matter what the gift actually is.

What is your best memory of Christmas?
Christmas carolling in Ipoh, Malaysia around 1988. I was in the church choir and we went from house to house in an old school bus overloaded with happy, laughing friends. It was the only time of the year that I was allowed out until past midnight.

Depending on where you live, do you have a hot or cold Christmas?

I've spent 28 in Malaysia (hot), 1 in Australia (hot) and 1 in Switzerland (cold but disappointingly, not white).

Would you prefer to try the opposite weather at least just once?
I am still waiting for a White Christmas. Songs are sung about it, movies always show Christmas with snow....Yes, I'm easily influenced but I really must give it a go.

What do you prefer in a tree? Fake or real?

Never had a real one but I think I'd prefer a fake one. It just seems very messy to have a real one.

What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
Maybe O Holy Night. I can't pick just one because I like them all. REALLY. I wait all year to listen to them. I start listening from around October because I feel that listening only in December is too short a duration.

What is your favorite Christmas Dinner?
Christmas is a time for family get togethers. Chinese New Year is also that kind of time. The get togethers are always in my grandmother's house and she has a set reunion menu (aka CNY food). Rice with the following dishes: warm cuttlefish salad, slow cooked pigs tails with beanpaste sauce, roast pork chinese style, omellette with carrots, cabbage and pork (this one is actually named after me) and some stir fried vegetables.

Do you wear a Santa Hat at Christmas?
Nope. Its too HOT!

Have you ever seen Santa delivering your gifts?
No. And I can't even remember when he stopped coming.....did I stop believing?

How does Santa get to all those houses in just one night?
He must use a transporter.

Come on people. Do this meme! Get into the spirit of Christmas early this year!

The rollercoaster ride that is motherhood

"Hey Aaron, lets stand up. C'mon." I pull him to the standing position.
"OK. Now....clap your hands." He claps,standing unassisted.
"Alright, come here now" Left foot, right foot, bum. He WALKED!

CONGRATULATIONS! Aaron has taken his first steps. We were playing in the park with his trolley when it happened. It was completely unexpected because I was just teasing him so it was all the more amazing to watch. I'm sure this is just the first of many surprises. Lets hope the thrilling ones will outnumber the shockers.

An hour later, Aaron was screaming through his dinner (overtired I think) yet I was deaf to it all. I just sat there and fed him whenever I could get the spoon in. I didn't bother to talk to him or empathise in any way. I even scanned through some junk mail as I waited for an opportunity to get the food in.

How do you go from being the happiest/proudest mother around to an insensitive zombie in one hour?


Working hours from 5am-8pm and on call hours from 8pm-5am. Couple that with rushed meals, a physically demanding day-long workout,no private bathroom time and no days off and you have the answer.

But, its the end of today and tomorrow is always new and improved. A nice hot shower (after I wash the plates, sweep and steam the floor, fold the laundry and hang up the next load) will make me feel better. Even if I go to bed grumpy and worn out, Aaron's cheeky grin and wake up call at 5am tomorrow morning should set me right again. 5am is early but its the time of the day that I most enjoy with him.

Did Aaron recognise my brother from photos?

Yesterday's post about my brother's visit generated quite a few comments. It looks like all over the world, no matter how "violent" the childhood relationship between siblings are, people end up being the brothers and sisters their parents had imagined. Most people anyway.

Anyway, as soon as my brother stepped into the house, Aaron let out a little squeal and looked at my brother as if he were a long lost friend. We were all confused. Aaron has hardly spent any time with him yet he recognised him. Is it possible that the family photos that my mother has been showing Aaron everyday have somehow made this connection of familiarity? Aaron loved every minute with my brother and kept showing him all the 'tricks' he could do. Clapping his hands, touching his head, was really strange.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Brother

No, thats not him. Thats the cartoon character he's been drawing since he was in primary school. I found that one under our house and then another one on the neighbor's driveway! He was a really cheeky little monkey.

Anyway, he'll be visiting us for one night tonight. 20 years ago, I couldn't stand living with him and yet today, I CLEANED the house just because he's coming. Tomorrow I will cook breakfast for him! Sheesh! What happened?! We used to fight and FIGHT...and FIGHT. Now we get along famously. (Ha ha...I like saying that...famously) Can't remember where I read it but it sounds like from some Famous Five story.

How does that happen? Fight for the first 15 years, go off to study and work, meet up again after a few years and then not fight anymore. Seriously, I don't think we've had a fight since we both lived at home......probably just small disagreements. Maybe we just don't see enough of each other.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sliding down a frog's tongue

We spent an action packed afternoon at Orleigh Park today. It really made me wish that Aaron could walk because the playground was designed for children to explore. Weeell, I only half wished it because everything has its time and he will walk eventually and I'll probably wish he didn't. But when he CAN walk, I'll definitely be spending time in this park. There were trails, bridges, an oasis....up and down terrain. Really fun stuff for anyone learning to walk.

This area in the playground seemed specially designed for younger children. The slides were more gradual and everything things seemed lower. The long pink slide is actually the tongue of a big green frog. The grandfather on the left is leaning on it so you can't really see it in the picture. I like that beautiful tree in the center.

Here's Aaron sliding down the tongue. I think I'll just let go completely next time. He's getting the hang of slides....

Sunday, August 26, 2007


How often do you look in the mirror? How long do you look in the mirror each time you do take a look? Do you look at your reflection as you walk past windows?

Many people feel uncomfortable about admitting to looking at themselves in a reflection at every opportunity. Should we be? There's really nothing wrong to it as long as you're not doing it to criticise yourself or point out every little flaw. If you feel like it, just look. Thats what I do. And take a look at Aaron. I pushed him to the part of the glass where the poster wasn't hanging but he insisted on coming to this gold pole and staring at his reflection instead.

I wonder why it is that as we grow up (or perhaps its only me) we start to think that looking at ourselves in the mirror is something too vain to do. While my father is one that has no qualms about looking in every reflection, my mother is always giving me the impression that there is really no need to constantly check yourself out. I'm a mixture of the both of them. I look at my reflection while thinking that I shouldn't need to worry about how I look. Usually, I'm just making sure that I'm standing straight and not walking with my head in front of my toes.

Parents Room at Sunnybank Plaza

Sunnybank is the unofficial Chinatown of Brisbane. The real one is in the city but Sunnybank is where a lot of Chinese like to live. All sorts of Chinese from various countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia hang out in this suburb. So you can imagine how lively and busy the local mall there is.

We went to a Chinese restaurant there for Yum Cha (or Dim Sum as some people call it) yesterday. Food was only so so but the line of people waiting to be seated overflowed outside. Aaron allowed me my two bites to eat and after that, we went off exploring.

I came across the parents room at the food court. It was a small one with only a single change table and two single chairs for feeding. There was the usual extra large restroom. There isn't much to say about this room really. It served its purpose but wasn't anywhere cosy that you'd like to spend too much time in. Also, the deodorizer was a little bit tooooo strong.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Diaper Rebellion

I really don't know what all the fuss is about. Wouldn't you rather have a nice dry behind instead of a soaking wet one? Diaper changes with Aaron are becoming increasingly difficult. Getting the diaper off is pretty easy because I just take it off when he's standing at the gate to our room. To get the next one ON, I need to have him lying down. However, each time I put him down, he just flips over and is on all fours in half a second. If you've seen a dog spring up from the lying down position to standing on all fours.....that's what he looks like. In the next half second, he's grinning at me and scuttling away. Yes, I know he's just playing with me but the game usually ends in tears because I end up having to hold him down firmly which obviously isn't very fun.

Yesterday, I finally decided to try some 'angry voices'. They didn't work all that well, and I think I got too carried away and communicated too much anger. He gave it back to me by waking up every single hour last night. I couldn't get angry at him
then because it appeared that he was hurt and kept clinging to me as if I would leave him. Same thing happened all day today.....wouldn't let me out of his sight.

I'll have to think of some other way to get these diaper changes under control. Its also started me wondering about the sort of disciplining approach I should take. He is really starting to test his boundaries and our limits now.

OMG! I hope this isn't the start of my grey hairs....

Friday, August 24, 2007

John Eaton - Master hair stylist

John Eaton! This man is a genius. He is a person with incredible talent and passion for his work (and for life). His pre-cut consultation is not limited to just looking at your head. He takes into account how your hair is in relation to your shoulders and hips too! Who wouldn't want to know that their hair length affects how wide their hips appeared? He knows hair inside and out! We had discussions about how breastfeeding changes the way hair behaves and also how baby hair is without its core. John works at Tony Mitchell Hair on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday and the rest of the week he paints, cooks and tends to his garden. This is a person who really has a balanced life.

Sure, a hair cut by him has cost me too much to mention here but since the last cut from him, I have waited 2 years for a haircut. I had to cheat and get a cheap trim in Ipoh back in December but apart from that, I haven't had any other haircuts because I have been waiting to come back here for a totally satisfying haircut. Nothing is worse than going to the hair salon excited and returning home raging from the disappointment.

Some people say that hair is just hair and that it will grow back. This is true but I just can't subscribe to that thought. Hair is what frames your face and presents you to the world.

For some people, a bad hair day can really dampen their outlook on everything. On the flipside, a good hair day can boost confidence by 100%. I'm one of those people. In fact, I remember needing to wash and blowdry my hair before each exam I sat for in university. Even if I had spent the entire night cramming and had bloodshot eyes with dark circles around them, none of that mattered if I had great hair. I was 19 and that was the only way I could fully concentrate on the exam :)

So, for the past year, I have had probably 300 bad hair days because of you-know-who. But, enough of blaming him. Today, I look good enough to be in a L'Oreal advertisement.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aboriginal Words

I've mentioned suburb names in recent posts and have never really wondered what they meant until I thought of how strange some of the words may seem to readers in different parts of the world. I looked up the Origin of Brisbane Suburb Names for the meanings.

Indooroopilly: This is corruption of either the Aboriginal word Yindurupilly meaning gully of running water or Nyindurpilli meaning gully of leeches.

Toowong: This is another Aboriganl word meaning place of doves.


Boring Amanda armchair
Amanda Blue butterfly
Amanda fountain in Helsinki
Amanda Guesthouse at 4 Harold Street, Dover, Kent CT16 1SF England UK
Amanda basin ?!?!

I got this fun meme from 3 Wild Monkeys. I'm tagging anybody who feels like having some fun.
1) Go to Google. 2) Click on Google images. 3) Type in your name and search. 4) The original meme was for people who shared your name but I chose to do mine on things I didn't know my name was associated with. Anyway, post your images and leave a link back here. 5) Pass it on.

Parents Room at Indooroopilly Shopping Town

I've checked out another mall and the Parents Room there. The one they had at Indooroopilly was very big. The biggest so far with about 6 change tables and 3
feeding cubicles. They also had a gated area where you can leave your other children safely. And of course, it looks like the huge restroom I mentioned at DFS is in all parents rooms.

OK. So it was big. But that, and the fact that it exists, are the only good
points here. The place was not well lit. The furniture looked like used
office furniture that somebody was trying to get rid of. And, I think
their deodorizer was not working. I didn't really get a good feel from the place.

Still, if you need a quiet place, with hardly any distractions, to feed your baby, this place will do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nice is not a boring word

In my early 20s, I used to think that 'nice' was a word people used when they were too lazy to think of anything more descriptive. Now, I'm starting to feel as if the word 'nice' is not used enough in our sarcastic and cynical world.

Then, out of the blue, I get a lovely surprise from Elizabeth at Table for Five with this award:

In fact, she has been the nice one to me by always offering to help and ALWAYS replying to my comments even though I think she is one crazy busy blogger and mom.

The award was designed by Genevieve at Bella Enchanted and I would like to pass it on to the following people for being nice enough to frequently leave comments on my blog. I know there are few non bloggers out there who comment and I think they deserve this award too. To the guys....its a pretty award but look past that and at what it stands for instead.

Thank You to all these nice people:
Jean Luc Picard

Barometer for Parental Stress

"The right prefrontal part of a child's brain can pick up emotional atmospheres in milliseconds." I just read that in 'The Science of Parenting' by Margot Sunderland and it really is so true. The author was trying to say that a stressed parent can often cause a child to display difficult behavior. This is very often true but there have been several instances where Aaron has read me and put on good behavior instead. I guess it it can go both ways depending on his mood.

After a few days of rain, I really needed to get out of the house today. Well, I did get out but the great outdoors was limited to our front porch. I locked myself out of the house at the very same moment that it started raining. Boy was I infuriated, instantly moody and not in the mood to deal with needy toddler behavior.

Surprisingly, Aaron was an angel.

He sat on his own and tried to cheer me up by winking (with both eyes) at me. Its something that he knows makes me laugh. Then he played with a dried leaf. Later, he 'read' his magazine. It got a bit cold with the wind so I picked up my little heater and he just sat on my lap looking at the rain. We walked around a bit looking at the rubbish bin, the algae on the side walls, the mailbox and the wet grass. He stayed put. No wriggling around trying to get down. We were out there for 1.5 hrs before my mom came home.

It really was as if he knew that I was bummed about being stuck there. It is not the first time he has behaved unexpectedly good. There are so many other instances where he has picked up that I was unhappy, frustrated or just plain grumpy and he always knows to be good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I don't do this.

Neither does his father.


The Role of Breastfeeding Dads

No. I don't mean dads that do the actual breastfeeding. I'm talking about the dads of breastfed babies. Few people realise it but breastfeeding is really a team sport. Or at least a doubles game. Staying away from Richard always reminds me of what a big help he is.

Anyhow, here's what a breastfeeding dad can do:

In the early days:
1) Read up on breastfeeding (or even become an expert if you feel like it) so that both the new mom and dad are on the same page. It also helps to have another person 'defend' the new family's ideas on feeding the baby when well meaning people dampen the breastfeeding mood.

2) Go get the baby up and hand him to the new (and probably healing) mother. Saves her walking around.

3) Help to burp the baby and put the baby back to sleep after a feed.

4) Share a drink or snacks with the mom during feeds. Some young babies, like Aaron, can feed for up to 45 mins!

Any time:
4) Provide encouragement and moral support, especially in the middle of the night. Night time support is especially helpful because it means a lot to the the mom when you would give up sleep to help her. Just staying up to chat really helps. Yes, dads probaby have to go to work the next day but so does the mom!

5) Neck and shoulder massages :)

6) Change the baby's diaper during a feed. Tricky but can be done. This avoids fully waking the baby and creating more work by having to put it to sleep again.

So those are my few pointers based on the experience that we had. For further reading on the role of dads, check out this article.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kellogg's Special K

Breakfast is my favourite meal. I used to go to sleep thinking about what I'll have when I wake up. As I write this, I'm even thinking of having some breakfast before I go to sleep .....I just can't wait a whole night! Tomorrow's breakfast is going to be Kellogg's Special K. My all time favourite cereal. I suddenly remembered it when I was grocery shopping this morning. Being a creature of habit, this was my breakfast everyday (seriously, EVERY DAY) while in university. Even then, I used to look forward to breakfast as I closed my eyes each night.

I can't get Special K in Palembang so I've to enjoy it as much as I can here. Its no point buying a box back because it will run out and I'll just miss it more. I also can't get good bread, muffins, crumpets, bacon, cheerios, waffles or cheeses there so....they're ALL going on my breakfast menus.

I can't wait for tomorrow! Good night!

P/S Breakfast in Palembang is boring oatmeal. Healthy but certainly nothing to look forward to.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Going to Mass in Brisbane

In Palembang, going to Mass with a noisy toddler isn't much of a problem. Almost half the congregation has a baby and most of them are walking them outside to keep the noise level within the church acceptable.

Over here, we go to the same church there I was baptised 31 years ago, St Thomas Aquinas in St Lucia. It has been my favourite parish for over 10 years because of a priest that plans his homilies and delivers them in under 10 mins. He's straight to the point and ALWAYS has a good point to make. Music is also good there.

The problem with the church is that it is extremely quiet. There is no extra noise either outside or inside the church to cover any of Aaron's babbling. He's not making a fuss or crying...just babbling.

We're now attending mass from the foyer of the church....along with several other families with young children. There was a very young baby feeding from a bottle. Aaron tried to ask for a drink from me but I thought that it would be just too much for the people there to handle if they saw me breastfeeding. I have read of mothers doing this in other parishes but I don't think I want to go through the scrutiny of it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

He looked like Yoda.....yesterday

Somehow, when I put this on Aaron yesterday, he really looked like Yoda. I guess there must have been a dip in the force today when I got my camera out.

Parents Room at DFO Brisbane

I've found another very baby friendly mall. Its at the Direct Factory Outlet near the Brisbane International Airport. All the shopping is on one floor so there is no need to negotiate escalators or look for lifts. They also have the designated people-with-pram parking spots and a great Parent's Room. The sign just says Parents Room and I expected a change table and perhaps a chair in there. It was much more:

There were two cubicles with good rocking chairs for feeding your baby. Even includes foot rest.

A microwave for heating up food, milk or whatever. You're not supposed to use microwaves for babies but I suppose they couldn't put a stove in. Anyway, plenty of people use the microwave carefully. including me.

Two huge change tables with very very deep sinks next to them. I guess they know that some older kids need BIG CLEANS! Almost baths.

A GIGANTIC restroom cubicle that would fit two parents, the pram, and maybe 3 kids at once. Of course nobody would do that but thats just how big it was. Moms or Dads are allowed in there.

I think I'll keep up my review of parent friendly malls. Its something that I find myself searching the internet for when I go to a new place. Somebody out there might find it useful. Brisbane isn't all that big but so far, I've only gone to two of the malls; DFO and Toowong Village Shopping Center. Its hard to go out on a baby's schedule plus we love the outdoors here.

Relative Humidity

One of my main complaints living in Indonesia is the relative humidity. The averages are between 70-90% depending on the time of the year. My skin is perpetually moisturised naturally. Here in Brisbane, it ranges from about 50% to 70%. Yes, it is much more comfortable to be in this drier climate but at the same time it is causing a bit more personal grooming time.

Our bodies have really received a rude shock in this suddenly dry weather. I think I very nearly started to look like a snake. So now, everytime I wash my hands....I need to moisturise. Morning and evening, moisturise again. Each time I clean Aaron's face, we have to go through the whole drama of him screaming and writhing as I moisturise him.

Even my hair requires brushing. Ok, I know you're supposed to do it everyday but sometimes, in Palembang, it is so hot as soon as we wake up that I immediately put it in a ponytail....and then forget to brush it. But it hasn't been a problem...a day or two later when I need to make myself look presentable, the brush goes straight through. Over here, ANYTIME, I put the brush to my hair, I find its full of knots.

So we need to moisturise and brush our hair more here. Small price to pay for living in a beautiful city. I am thinking more and more seriously about moving up the schedule for our move over here. Its currently a distant 7 years away.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Waiting in line with children

Here's something else that I've noticed since having a baby. When you're out shopping, especially grocery shopping, waiting in line to pay transforms from a mindless passing of minutes to something that you really need to use your brains for.

"Ohhh look at this, but don't touch it" or "Look at that baby" or "Don't bite the shopping cart!" I know he's just being curious so for now, I'll just have to keep him occupied.

Today I overheard a mother of 3 older children saying "Just be good children! Remember the chocolates? They are right there but I'm going to put them back if you don't sit still. You wouldn't like that would you?"

I'm sure the day may come when I have to resort to threats and bribes like that but I hope it won't be too often. Bribing with chocolates just doesn't sound right but I think I understand how desperate that mother must have been.

By the way, I've been meaning to put this photo up but kept forgetting. Its another first for Aaron. Sleeping in his pram:

Receipts, Notes and Coins

Ok. This is a bit of a gripe. And when I think about it....not worth griping over. But it seems to annoy me each time so here is it.

I hate it when the cashier hands me back my receipt, notes and coins stacked in that way. Receipts at the bottom, notes on top of that and then the coins. I have to let the coins fall into the coin compartment in my purse and then put the notes away. On top of that, I usually try to pull the receipt out and put it separately. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't rush to start processing the next customer but doing all this, under pressure, with a baby on one hip is no joke!

The notes and coins I can understand but I prefer to have the receipt put into the bag with my purchases. It used to be that way over here but I guess to make sure all the customers are getting their receipts, the new practice is to give it to you all at once. Next time I'll just have to put on an extra layer of skin and not feel any pressure to get myself out of the way. I'll take my time!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My first ABA meeting

ABA stands for the Australian Breastfeeding Association and is the equivalent of La Leche League in other parts of the world. There are local groups, scattered all across Australia, who meet once a fortnight and it has been one of the things that I have been looking forward to.

I have been active on the ABA forums online but today was my first 'live' meeting. The people were definitely friendly and Aaron had a fabulous time socialising! Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The only thing I had on my mind was 'Possum Droppings'.

I think they usually hold the meetings indoors but it was a beautiful day and there were a few too many moms and babies so they moved the meeting to the courtyard. It was great for all the moms with non-mobile babies but what about the those with toddlers and crawlers? Some of the other toddler moms were content to stand over and watch that their babies did not topple over but I was much more worried about the possum droppings. They were everywhere! Didn't the moms see them? The babies were squishing them with their hands, knees and feet. And some of them were chewing the toys that were dragged along the same paths that the possums used. I couldn't understand it but I didn't say anything because the mothers were obviously quite comfortable with it. I spent half the time helping Aaron walk so that he didn't need to have his hands on the ground and the remainder of the time carrying him around. Luckily he did fall asleep for the last 30 mins.

Anyway, here are 5 things that I do remember from the meeting (apart from the possum droppings).

- Breastfeeding for 2 years halves a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.
- It is true that calcium levels are reduced during lactation. However, after weaning, the body will rebuild these levels to higher than what the woman had originally.
- Breastfed babies have higher bone densities.
- Breastfeeding reduces a woman's chances of breaking her hip.
- Breastfed babies generally have a more effective response to childhood immunisations.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How I Adapt

It has been extremely easy to adapt to life here in Brisbane. I think it only took us a single night's sleep to get into the rhythm of life here. Easy. A no brainer.

Although we'll be here till mid October, I'm already starting to think of how we'll adapt back to life in Palembang. I hate using the 'B' word but it really is boring over there. There will be no more trips to the library for singing, no more time in the quiet people watching in the mall.

Its no use griping about it. Our own adaptability to any situation is dependant on our own minds anyway. I'm not much of a planner in terms of life goals and all that but I do like organising my thoughts on how to feel about things. Not to control my feelings but to just acknowledge situations and prepare myself ahead. For example, an entire day in the house with a baby and no relief can be incredibly trying on the nerves. However, it always helps me if I tell myself in the morning that I am dedicating the day to him and all the challenges he is going to throw my way are part of his growth and I shouldn't feel priveledged to be able to share this. Somehow, there is less frustration and more joy in the day. If I am unprepared, I usually end the day feeling grouchy and cheated of valuable time for both the baby and myself.

Anyway, on adapting back to Palembang....I'll have to draw on as many brain cells as I can to channel the good thoughts but I'm starting to help myself now by listing down activities for a 1 year old. I'll have to get all sorts of supplies like non toxic crayons or play dough.....books with ideas on activities. Any helpful bloggers out there with good tips?

On Guard! Its time to wake up!! wake up call is getting more and more violent!

Previously, Aaron used to just make noises, either crying or babbling, whichever he felt like. Over the past week, this has progressed from pulling at my shirt, to falling on top of me, to some mild slaps on the face. And then this morning, it was all out digging at my eyeballs in an attempt to open my eyelids! He gave me a really cute smile as soon as my eyes open so I didn't get mad.

Now the other part to this wake up call is that he would be happy to play around the room for much longer if it wasn't for his regular 6am BM! (Are you all up to speed with what BM is??) So after the wakeup call, and my olfactory systems kicks into gear, I am greeted by the ewwwwwwwwwwwww stench. I really miss the days of the sweet smelling, purely breastfed baby BM smell. No was sweet back then!

I think I'll need one of these soon. To protect me from the eye gouging and the fumes!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A baby friendly mall

As I have blogged about it before, going out with a baby needs some extra effort sometimes. I really must have a post raving about the Toowong Village Shopping Center (5mins drive from our home in Brisbane) because it is the most baby friendly one I have been to so far. I have yet to check out the other malls in Brisbane but for now, Toowong Village is perfect for us!

1) No hassles with the parking because there are designated spots for people with prams. Near the entrances of course!

2) No problem walking through the entire mall because they use travelators instead of escalators. Perfect for pushing the pram about.

3) The library there has sing-a-long days on Wednesday and Fridays for children under 2.

4) There are plenty of comfortable sofas about for us to sit around and just people watch. Babies love that.

6) THIS last one definitely scored points with me.

Not only did they have a spacious restroom that accomodates the pram, they had one specifically for DADS! The sign confused me for awhile but I worked it out. Usually, people forget that sometimes the dads will take babies out WITHOUT moms. Also, there baby change room is separate to the restrooms, thus, allowing dads to use it as well. Of course, they had one exactly like this for the moms too. I liked that! No more squashing in the regular restrooms.

Perhaps this is the way with all malls in the West. I don't know...will have to check out out. But it certainly is not the way yet in Asia but there are plenty of forums talking about the baby friendliness of various places in Malaysia so I think change will eventually make its way into the malls there.


I have a friend that is constantly bugging me to visit her in San Francisco....but for now, I don't have any desire to go there. The journey is long and I've been there before. Maybe I'll go again in another 10 years.

On the other hand, even though Canada is just as far or even further, I've never been there. Yeah...I'm flighty, one day I'm thinking of Holland and the next day, Canada. Its just that I always imagined it to be somewhat similar to Australia but with snow. I love SNOW!

Flights to Canada must be pretty pricey. But so are flights almost anywhere out of Asia so.....Whistler looks like a good place to go skiing. I'm like a once in 5 years skier so each time I go, I have to get the hang of it all over again. So far, we've have been skiing in Australia, the US, and Switzerland. And next? A skiing holiday in Canada...WOW! I'm dreaming about it already.

These days, its is so easy to plan an entire holiday just surfing the internet. You can book everything from the flights, hotels, or car hire. But sometimes, it is good to have somebody to speak to just to make sure everything is as you have imagined. Somehow, the internet always makes things a little bit nicer. They can also inform you of any holiday offers that you might have missed.

To that friend that constantly bugs :) If I go to Canada, I'll make sure to go to Calgary as well. Just make sure you have time to come along a be the tour guide.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Is Malaysia Airlines serious about these deals?

As part of their 'World Online Celebration', Malaysia Airlines is offering some incredible airfares at up to 75% discounts. Included in the promotion are fares to other ASEAN countries at USD8 and trips all the way to Europe for just USD201. Immediately, I thought of visiting my aunt in Holland but upon further investigation, I am not sure if Malaysia Airlines is even serious about this celebration because:

1) The fares are only valid for bookings made between 1-15 August for travel between Jan-May 2008. However, the earliest news article I can find on this promotion is dated 8 August. Even today, 13 August, none of the Malaysians I've asked know about it. If they were serious about this celebration, wouldn't they have publicised it BEFORE 1 August so that the public will be ready to make their bookings?

2) The DEALS mentioned (USD 201 to Europe etc) are only one way. A round trip ticket is almost the same price as the normal fares. Now, which country is going to grant you a visa to visit if you only have a one way ticket?

3) The published fares exclude all the surcharges and taxes. Once you add that in and pay for the round trip ticket. There is really NO CELEBRATION to be had at all.

Jigsaw Food

Wouldn't you like your pumpkin soup to look like this? I thought they were so cute. Too bad I had to defrost them before Aaron could eat it.

Wonder if this is what's giving him a bit of an upset stomach....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Anzac Park

We've been to this park 3 times in the past week. Its the only one with a flying fox. So far, Aaron just hangs on like a koala but doesn't seem to like it as much as I do yet. He'll come around.

Today, a little boy came up to the swings while we were there and tried to get on the empty one but he was too short. Immediately, I had it in my head to go help him up but you know what? I hesitated. I must have spent a good 30 seconds debating with myself if I should or not because of all the talk about paedophiles. I had also read yesterday about children in daycares not thriving because carers avoid touching the children as much as possible to avoid any accusations of misconduct. All this talk about how parents need to be vigilant about people around their kids has rubbed off on me in such a horrible way that I hesitated to help a 4 yr old onto the swings. When I did eventually help him up, I felt so stupid looking around to see where his parents were, hoping they don't come running over.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yesterday, the 1990s, Today, the 1980s.

Yesterday, the cassettes took me back to the 1990s. Today, a visit from an old friend took me back to the 1980s. I've known her since I was 7 and here are some of the memories that the day brought back.
- Our dads were divers and we were often left on the beach for the day while they explored the ocean floor. One of the pretend games we had in the water was 'Hairdressers'. Have you tried pretending to cut hair while underwater?

- After the day on the beach, we had to have showers in a really horrible public bathroom at the Sitiawan Yacht Club. It was always dark, with sand on the ground and water that just dribbled out of the shower head. Sitiawan is a small village in Malaysia.

- Dinner was always at a place called Kampung Koh and we ALWAYS had this sweet and sour fish dish. There was also something else that we always had but I can't remember what it is now.

- Back when we were both 7, I had a horrible habit of always needing to have a best friend and then using the relationship to hurt. I don't know if she remembers it but whenever she didn't play along the way I liked, I think I might have said stupid things like 'we're not best friends anymore'. Childish things....but we were children.

Well, we're all grown up now but I still have something childish to say: We'll be friends FOREVER!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Do you have any cassettes?

I was a little disoriented when I opened up one of the drawers in my old room and found these:

Then I remembered. My prized possessions from the 1990s teenage years. This is just one drawer full, there are others. Gloria Estafan, New Kids on the Block, MILLI VANILLI (!!!) I don't even have a player for them now but they're still around. I'm sure that the same fate awaits the CDs I now have piled around the place. As it is, iPods, cellphones with mp3s, music through the internet and all sorts of other avenues to listen to the latest tracks are becoming more and more convenient and affordable.

But back to those cassettes? Do you still have any? What would you do with them? Throw them out? What if you don't have CD versions of them? Go download? Do you even want to listen to Vanilla Ice today????

Do you see the mixed tapes in the photo? Those were the craze back then. Make them yourself, get your friends to make them, or copy the ones that your friends have already made. Also, anytime some guy had a crush on're BOUND to get one of those! I even remember one with the guy singing!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ipoh Mali

I just got this in an email from one of my friends. Ipoh is a small town in Malaysia that I call one of my hometowns. Ipoh Mali means From Ipoh. 'Mali' is actually how the Chinese tend to pronounce the Malay word 'Mari', because they can't make the 'Rrrrr' sound.

Usually, I don't like listening to raps or hip/hop by Asian artists because they tend to copy too much yet lack the precision of the 'real thing'. But, this was different. It is not only because I come from Ipoh and got a real kick out of identifying the places in the video. I know the lyrics are genuine because my mother knows Point Blanc's family. And, the video did not have some flimsy, precisionless attempt at hip/hop by skinny non-dancers. I hate watching those.....

Here is some info on Point Blanc.

Walking with the trolley

We got Aaron this trolley a couple of days ago and its done wonders for his walking! He is now able to push it along all by himself. I still hover behind him in case the momentum he builds up is too much for his little legs to follow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

1 Australian Sausage Roll = 2 days food in Indonesia

Well, thats just an approximation. Our meals are very simple in Indonesia and are mainly vegetables and tofu/tempeh. So, thats what I'm basing the comparison on.

Its crazy isn't it. The sausage roll I ate for morning tea today would have paid for the meals in our Indonesian household for nearly 2 days. Its silly but I'm always doing conversions like that when I buy things over here. The quiche that I wanted for lunch was 4.5 days of food. I decided to skip it though because it didn't look all that fresh and these comparisons are driving me to find more value.

Yes, I know its not really apple to apple and you need to do the dollar to dollar type comparison but....I'm not analysing it for a doctorate. Its just how my brain operates.

This one is the most shocking conversion I've had so far. I went to my favourite dentist for my annual checkup and clean and it came to the equivalent of :

66 days of food for out household in Palembang
2 months pay for my driver (who incidentally NEVER goes to the dentist)
the cost of a 2nd hand motorbike in Palembang
3 months membership at the Novotel Palembang Gym
8 days of trucked water

Sleep without fuss

Look at that! I saw him actually doze off and couldn't believe what I was witnessing.

We went to the library for a toddler sing-a-long session and after that, I gave him a quick feed before we got in the car to drive home. As I was driving...his eyes were just rolling around until .... they closed! They didn't open even when we got home, I took this photo and accidentally slammed the car door. They still didn't open when I picked him up. They stayed closed all the way to his bed and remained closed for another 60 mins or so. AMAZING! This is the very first time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

World Breastfeeding Week

Today is the last day of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) so I'm just in time to get this post in. I love breastfeeding and while I know it doesn't work out for must at least try to make it work. I stuck it out for close to 3 months with searing pain at every feed and blocked ducts every couple of days before finally 'enjoying' it. Today is also Aaron's birthday and I estimate that he would have had his 4000th feed some time today (or maybe yesterday/tomorrow).

Anyway, there was an interesting article published over the weekend regarding breastfeeding and babies in the developing world. The thing is that you would think the developing world would still be breastfeeding the old fashioned way since it is free and convenient, but sadly, they are not. The formula people are good marketers!

The key to breastfeeding is really to start within the first hour after birth. I had always thought of this from the standpoint of a 'successfull breastfeeding career' but now there is evidence that the first hour has the potential to save lives.

Here are some of the points I've picked out of the article I mentioned:

Breastfeeding within the first hour after birth could save 1 million babies under the age of 28 days.

Waiting longer than 1 hr, but still within the first 24 hrs, will save 720,000 babies.

Exclusive breastfeeding (ie no solids or other milks) reduced the chances of death by 4 times.

So there you have it. Researched, documented and statistically proven facts about breastfeeding. It is not that I need convincing. The points are here as easy reference for any other mothers who need the facts to arm themselves against the people who are not yet informed. Although...these are but 3 of many good reasons to breastfeed. Here is another interesting article.

And remember, don't let anyone tell you that there is nothing coming out!

Monday, August 6, 2007

My son the pirate?

Just take a look at these 'co-incidences':

1) The first card he ever received was from my brother and it had a picture of a pirate boy on it.

2) When we took him to Cameron Highlands, we thought he might be cold but instead of giving him a cap, we tied a scarf around his head. Like a pirate!

3) One of his favourite nursery rhymes, Sing a song of sixpence, is actually a Pirate Ship recruitment song. It dates back to the early 1700s. Here are some of the coded messages:
Sixpence was how much a day's work paid.
The pocket full of rye? WHISKY!
Hiding birds in pies alludes to the deception of a distressed vessel.
Of course, when the pie was opened (when somebody fell for the trick), the birds came out from hiding and attacked!
Wasn't that a tasty dish to set before a King? The 'King' here is Blackbeard, King of the Pirates.
The Queen in the parlour is actually Blackbeard's ship that was in port taking supplies for the next trip.
And the innocent maid hanging clothes? It meant that they KNEW who the target would be and that particular vessel had just left port or was about to. About to hang its sails!

Imagine that! So, the next time you hear this nursery rhyme..imagine the drunkan, blood thirsty buccaneers! In the mean time, I'll start looking out for a cute eye patch or a hook for Aaron. Or maybe a monkey!

A pat on the back

Yup! Jean nominated me for the Rockin' Girl Blogger award and it feels GREAT!
After leaving the 9-5 work environment, its not often that I get recognised for things I do. The weird thing is that, while still working, I had to keep reminding myself that 'I was not my job'. That success or failure at a job did not necessarily reflect who I was or how my life was turning out. Still....everybody needs some pats on the back and I happily enjoyed any recognition at work. The sudden absence of them was definitely felt when I stopped working. I did give myself that pat on the back each time I made some money but since I'm patting my own back....I kept moving the target and increased the profit amount that qualified for pats!

So anyway, since starting this blog, I consider every visitor (new or regular)and every comment left as pats on the back. And now, Rockin Girl Blogger award definitely gives that pat a tangible feeling to it. Thanks again Jean!

I'm still puffed!

One of the characteristics of Brisbane is the hilly roads everywhere. A little like San Francisco I suppose. Anyway, this is the slope that I have been walking up and down over the past 20 years. Going to school, coming home, going to the park, coming home, going to the corner shop, coming home. Yet, there still hasn't been a time that I do it without being at least a little bit puffed! Luckily my parents didn't pick a house on the next street...the slope there is a killer!

I was pleasantly surprised today after lugging Aaron up the hill and only feeling mildly out of breath. After not pushing my physical limits in exercise for the past year, I thought that I'd be in worse shape. It just goes to show how much exercise a little baby can provide!

Looking to lose weight? Come babysit Aaron :)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Football Crazy

My husband, Richard, is absolutely football crazy. However, he's been somewhat 'deprived' of both playing and watching the game since Aaron was born. He's probably sitting at home every night now watching the English Premier League highlights, goals and games. ALL that is available on the EPL since we're not around. Its weird that the EPL has such a large following of people who don't live in the UK.

I KNOW he reads this blog so thats why I'm saying it right here that one day, when I've made enough spare change from trading....I'll take us on a family holiday which will include a Manchester United game. It looks like the 3 largest cities for football are London, Manchester and Liverpool. A London Hotel would probably be more convenient to do other things but I'll need to research this first. I don't think he would want a Liverpool Hotel since thats the club he doesn't like. I suppose his ideal would be a Manchester Hotel. Wherever we stay, it will definitely be pricey for us. It takes a whopping 7 Malaysian Ringgits to buy 1 British Pound!

A lifestyle to appreciate

Even though every day is a weekend for me, I especially like Saturdays and Sundays here. The Australians really make full use of the weekends and a short trip to a nearby park almost had me green with envy at the lifestyle that these young families had.

There were two couples with babies no more than 3 or 4 months old. Just laying around enjoying the sunshine.

Another few dads were out with toddlers that had just learnt to walk. They were messing around in the sand pit and playing with the swings.

Yet another few families appeared to be meeting up with friends that had kids the same age. These older kids were all over the park while the parents were enjoying the picnic.

I wonder if these people realise how lucky they are to have a lifestyle like this? This is a public park but it is clean and has good quality equipment for the children to play around on. The weather is sunny yet cool so its pleasant to be outdoors. Most people here enjoy a 5 day week so the weekends are free for family. I don't know of any family in Malaysia or Indonesia that spend weekends like this. Its usually spent in the malls!

I did mention that I'm only almost green with envy. Almost because I can always make the choice to come live here. So when will I? Soon.....In the mean time, I'll enjoy it with Aaron every day of this holiday!

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm a parent

One of the firsts things I do when I come to Brisbane is go to the Library (after I get my sausage roll). Previously, it was books on trading and beading. Now, 8 books on parenting and babies. How times have changed!

Anyhow, after flipping through 'The no-cry discipline solution' by Elizabeth Pantley last night, one point stuck with me today. Supposedly, a way to prevent your child from growing into a teenager that talks back all the time, you can try avoiding the word 'No' as much as possible when they are toddlers.

I think I managed to stop myself about 239 times today but the other 599 times....'No' was like a reflex reaction. I guess it takes practice to communicate some alternate path to a 361 day old baby. It will have to be more like distraction. But then, with distraction, I have to be careful that its not bribery. Parenting!

OMG! I'm a parent! Lately, this word 'Parent' and related words like 'Parenting' keep popping into my head. I never thought of myself that way until now. Even though Aaron is nearly one, I've always just had the label 'mother' in my head....and even that, it was more from the nourishment stand point. Now that he is growing up and there is so much more to do and think about....Parent, Parenting, Parentese, Parent Teacher Night, Leniant Parents, Parent's Fault, Responsible Parenting.....

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sometimes there are no reasons

Last month, I wrote a post about temper tantrums. The post wasn't intended to convey any sort of message implying that I have things under control all the time. Today was a testiment to that.

My ears are still ringing from the 45 min car ride with Aaron. I did everything we normally, cool seat, well rested baby, sun not in his eyes....EVERYTHING. But we still endured a full 45 minutes of his screams. Non Stop. High Pitched. Punctuated with gasps of air. Full throttle with a rhythm I could have put a metronome to. We pulled over, checked him, no problem. I kept thinking that, he'll tire, he'll get fed up, he'll choke, he'll fall asleep. Nope. When we got to the destination, he was smiling again after a few minutes out of the car. Just didn't want to sit I guess.

Tell me, do you think providing snacks en route is just fostering a bad habit or a valid approach to avoiding these noisy car rides?

Level 5 Water Restrictions

It looks like my escape to Brisbane for a few months didn't come with an escape from water issues. Over in Palembang it was dirty water. Over here its a lack of water. To beat the drought and also to create long term savings, the government has been implementing various water restrictions since May 2005. Its up to a Level 5 now.

Apart from indoor water savings such as 4 minute showers, full loads in the washing machine and re-fitting of the taps to be more efficient there are a couple of outdoor ones too. Watering the garden with only a bucket is understandable. No big deal for us either because we don't have that many plants. The harsher one is only washing the mirrors, lights, glass, number plates, and potentially damaging marks on your car only. Once again, using a bucket of water. PLENTY of dirty cars in Brisbane these days. The two outdoor restrictions actually carry on the spot fines if you're caught in violation.

The thing that I like about Australians is that they don't need the fines to help them save water. Many people have automatically adopted a more water conscious mentality and have a genuine concern about the water crisis. They CARE about the country.

Breastfeeding: The first hour can save lives

By Dr Rohayati Taib of the Department of Paediatrics,
RIPAS Hospital

Breastfeeding helps to bring mother and baby closer.

Each year, a total of 10.9 million children under the age of five will die
worldwide. The majority of deaths occur below the age of one and 40 per cent
will occur in the newborn period. In total, it is estimated that four million
babies will die annually in the developing world, particularly in Sub-Saharan
Africa, before they reach the age of one.

Almost all of the four million newborn deaths are due to preventable causes. The
majority of them are attributable to infections such as diarrhoea, septicaemia,
meningitis and pneumonia. Most deaths occur at home. There is now clear evidence
that early initiation of breastfeeding would be protective and will have a
substantial impact in reducing this staggering statistic.

According to the World Health Organisation, in the Global Strategy for Infant
and Young Child Feeding, two-thirds of under-five deaths that occur in infancy
are most related to poor feeding practices. Breastfeeding is a key to child
survival. As many as 1.45 million lives are lost globally due to the sub-optimal
breastfeeding practices in cutting down childhood deaths worldwide was
recognised and published in the Lancet series on child and newborn survival in
2003 and 2004. The authors concluded that 13 per cent to 15 per cent of all
child deaths could be reduced if coverage levels of breastfeeding are increased
to near universal.

Breastfeeding in the first hour of live could save almost one million babies'
lives each year. Last year, Paediatrics published evidence proving that early
breastfeeding has an impact in reducing mortality in the newborn period. This
research was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).
It showed that if mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth, 22 per
cent of babies who die in the first 28 days, the equivalent to almost one
million newborn each year, could be saved. If breastfeeding starts on the first
day then 16 per cent of lives could be saved. The likelihood of death increases
significantly each day the start of breastfeeding is further delayed.

Babies who were fed only breastmilk were four times less likely to die than
those who were also fed other milk or solids, confirming the health benefits of
exclusive breastfeeding in the first month.

This is the first study of its kind to assess the effect on newborn survival
rates of when mothers start to breastfeed. It was carried out by Kintampo Health
Research Centre in Ghana and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
and was funded by DFID. The analysis was based on 10,947 breastfeeding babies
born between July 2003 and June 2004 in Ghana who survived to the the second

The First Hour: Early Initiation of Breastfeeding
The first hour after birth is an exciting and exhilarating experience for both
mother and child. Early skin-to-skin contact and the opportunity to suckle
within the first hour are important. The baby who is in close contact with its
mother can suckle when there are signs of readiness such as the suckling
movements. Close contact in itself does not necessarily result in immediate
suckling. Mothers require support for both suckling and contact, both acts so
closely interrelated.

The suckling reflex of the newborn is at its strongest 20-30 minutes after
birth, which diminishes if the infant is not fed, only to reappear almost 40
hours later. This may be called 'the fourth stage of labour', which includes
putting the baby to breast after birth and ensuring the intake of colostrum by
the neonate. The ideal time for early initiation of breastfeeding has been
suggested right from birth in the delivery suite to within one hour after

Mechanisms by which early breastfeeding can save newborn lives
There are several mechanisms by which early initiation of breastfeeding could
reduce the risk of death in the newborn infant:

- Early human milk (Colostrum) is rich in a variety of immune and non-immune
components that are important for early gut growth and resistance to infection
- Early feeding with non-human milk proteins (for example, animal milk) may
severely disrupt normal gut function
- Lack of feeding in the first hours or days of life may disrupt metabolic
functions and cause acid build-up (acidosis) and low glucose (hypoglycaemia)
- Mothers who suckle their babies shortly after birth have a greater chance of
successfully establishing and sustaining breastfeeding throughout infancy
- Promotion of warmth and protection may reduce the risk of death from

Other benefits
Early breastfeeding has a physiological effect on the uterus as well, causing it
to contract. This is due to a hormone called oxytocin, which is released when a
baby suckles or in response to hand stimulation by the baby, causing uterine
contraction as well as milk ejection. Oxytocin is known to play a role in
bonding and reduction in postpartum bleeding. Postpartum bleeding is a major
problem that jeopardises maternal health and its prevention can save a mother's
life through early breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week 2007
World leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 agreed
on a critical goal to reduce deaths of under-five children by two thirds, but
this may be unattainable without halving newborn deaths which now comprise 40
per cent of all under-five deaths. The promotion of early initiation of
breastfeeding has the potential to make a major contribution to tackling the
millennium development goal for child mortality. In global terms, over one
million lives would be saved if all newborns younger than one month were
breastfed within the first hour of life.
This year's World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) calls upon policy makers,
health workers, families and community members to ensure conducive conditions
for mothers and babies to start breastfeeding during the first hour of birth.
The evidence is clear and in abundance: Breastfeeding saves lives. It is a
solution that does not need costly medicine. - Courtesy of the Ministry of
Health Public Awareness Programme)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The perfect travelling companion

It took us a total of about 19 hours to get from our house in Palembang, Indonesia to my mother's house in Brisbane, Australia. Aaron was a little difficult at the Palembang Airport but once we got on the plane, he was an angel.

Changi Airport was everything I expected. The singaporeans really know how to make transit time zoom by. 6 whole hours there wasn't enough! There were even more shops there than my last trip in 2005. We spent quite a bit of time at the Family Zone where Aaron could 'stretch his legs'. We couldn't tear him away from there!

Here he is again having fun with some older boys in the departure lounge. It was his first time really interacting with other children and was amazing to watch. The two boys were wonderful and included Aaron in their game of chasing after a toy tiger. The game completely wore him out and he fell asleep as soon as we boarded. He stayed in 'sleep mode' for the entire journey but kept waking up because of the cramped conditions. It was easy to put him back to sleep each time.