Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Numbers!

Sometimes, I just browse the internet aimlessly for the express purpose of stumbling upon something interesting that I would never have thought of to search. Today, I came upon numbers and followed that train of thought.

Here are 13 Interesting Facts About Numbers & Maths

1) 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321.

2) 1234567.9 x 9 = 11111111

3) Multiply 37,037 by any single number (1-9), then multiply that number by 3. Every digit in the answer will be the same as that first single number.
For example: 37,037 x 5 = 185,185; 185,185 x 3 = 555,555

4) 2 is the only even prime.

5) 18 is the only number that is twice the sum of its digits.

6) 81 is the square of the sum of its digits.

7) 12+3-4+5+67+8+9=100

8) A Googol has 100 zeros.

9) 25 (5 x 5) is the smallest square that can be written as a sum of 2 squares
(3 x 3 + 4 x 4).

10) 40 is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.

11) 89 = 8^1 + 9^2 (What I mean is 8 to the power of 1 and 9 to the power of 2.)

12) Pi has been calculated to 2,260,321,363 digits. The billionth digit in Pi is 9.

13) This one is for people like me who can't remember their multiplication tables.

You can use your fingers for 1 x 9 to 9 x 9.

Hold both hands out in front of you, palms facing away. For 1 x 9, bend the little finger on your left hand. You're left with 9 fingers to the right of that little finger. Of course, you probably didn't need to use this method to get the answer to 1 x 9.

For 2 x 9, bend the ring finger on your left hand. Now there is 1 fingers to the left of the ring finger and 8 to the right of it. The answer is 18.

Jumping to 5 x 9. Bend your left thumb. Now you have 4 fingers to the left of your thumb and 5 to the right of it letting you know the answer is 45.

Its so much easier to explain if you could all just see my fingers! Try it out anyway :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Habit of Cramming

I was never one for studying consistently throughout the semester. I always start out with good intentions and would probably carry out the plan for a good week or two but then, I'd fall into old habits and in the end, I'll spend the final few weeks cramming for the exams.

Thank goodness I don't need to sit for any exams these days. My brain is obviously not as "fresh" as it used to be and is too full of other rubbish to cram anything in quickly.

That didn't stop me from trying today.

I might have mentioned in previous posts that I have started clogging here in Brisbane. Its been 5 weeks since I first started and I don't want to be a beginner anymore. Actually, there are very few beginners around.

At tomorrow's class, there will be no teaching. Instead, its going to be a social where there will just be 3 hours of dancing. I don't want to be SITTING during that time. Hence, the cramming.

I've been wearing my dad out making him teach me all the dances he knows. My mother usually looks after Aaron for the morning while I go to this class with my dad. Its really the first time since Aaron was born that I've had some time to go learn something new. It is definitely refreshing (physically and mentally)!

For those of you who don't know, clogging, in a nut shell, is like tap dancing without needing to remember a routine. You just need to remember the steps that they call out and you're set.

Now here's the funny part to clogging. There are some really strange names for the steps. Names like, Emu, Donkey, Creeper, and even Outhouse! So...thats what I have spilling out of my ears at the moment. Wish me luck for tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Then and Now

Look at the difference a year makes when you're 1 and 2 years old.

This post was about Aaron going to a park in Milton in August 2007. He still looked like a baby at that time!

And here he is today, on the same climbing dome thingi. I have no idea what its called!

He's moved on to the more challenging pyramid so who knows where he'll be in the 2009 photo!

We went to that park because I wanted to register him at the school adjacent to it. Supposedly, he'll be ready to start prep in a mere 3 years from now. Imagine that! I was excited for him just filling out those forms but at the same time, I have no idea where we'll be and am half preparing myself for home schooling during his early years.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Unexpected Lesson

Every mother knows to expect the unexpected. And by keeping that in mind, I think many mothers have learnt to keep an open mind when watching for possible dangers. Think like the child. What does he see? What looks interesting?

Sometimes, we make last minute saves but other times, we're not so lucky. But, thats just part of growing up. Thankfully, nothing serious has happened yet.

And then of course, you have those times where there is absolutely nothing dangerous in the environment. You can let your guard down. A public restroom used to be one of those places. (Yes, dirty but not much room to physically hurt himself) As long as I gave him a bit of toilet paper to avoid him grabbing it himself, he wouldn't need to be tempted by the only interesting thing in those little stalls.

That was when he was short and clumsy. He's now taller and his little fingers can open just about anything. My first shock came when he reached up, played around with the twisting lock and opened the stall door. It was one of the normal sized stalls and thankfully, I had our bag leaned against the door. That gave me time to slam it shut again.

So what happens when you have a pram and have to go into one of those big stalls? Don't forget to put toddler in pram and strap him in! Otherwise, you'll find yourself shaking your head and screaming "Noooooooo!" while the door just swings open.

No matter how quick you think you're going to be, the toddler is quicker!

Lesson learnt!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Aaron's dreams come true

After the months and months of steam engine talk going on in this house, we finally got to go on a few today. Even though they were just miniature ones, it didn't take away any of the thrill and excitement that trains have come to evoke in this house.

You can see Aaron and my mom peeking out from behind the driver here.

There is a park about 30mins drive from our house that has miniature railway tracks on it. And, once every month, train enthusiasts will bring their trains here, attach 'coaches' and give rides. It was AUD 1.50 a ticket and the proceeds went to one of the Lions' clubs in the area.

Aaron lined up patiently for nearly 30 mins for the first round with no complaints at all. It just shows that when the incentive is attractive enough, he'll comply. After that, the crowd was gone and he went for two more rounds without having to line up for more than 5 mins. I think each trip around the track lasted about 10 minutes.

These little trains were more powerful that I thought they would be. Just take a look at how many people they're pulling along. There were a couple of instances where the trains did break down and had to be retired to the workshop. Just part of a routine steam engine day I guess.

Aaron and I are on the very last bench.

Here is a closer look at some of the engines.

At the end of the day, it was another great Sunday adventure. Aaron was totally satisfied and so were we all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Photostory Friday - Alma Park Zoo

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Apart from the trip from Palembang to Brisbane, today is the first time Aaron and I have been on an "big excursion" alone. Of course, we go for short outings everyday but never for something that takes a whole day. Today, the both of us took a 1 hr drive north of Brisbane to Alma Park Zoo. He was an angel in the car.

When we were there, he was the perfect little guy. Cute, obedient and full of smiles. He missed his morning nap but still, he behaved.

He finally did fall apart right at the very end when a deer came, snatched our bag of feed and munched everything up (including the paper bag). We headed straight for the car and he was asleep even before I left the car park.

I really had a wonderful day and I'm pretty sure Aaron did too. Its great that he's now old enough for us to do things like this together.

While I have many cute photos of Aaron, it might be this shot of the donkey that will stand out in my mind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - TV Show Characters

13 TV Show Characters I Like

1. Barney Rubble from The Flintstones

2. Hawkeye from M*A*S*H

3. Fran Fine from The Nanny

4. Q from Star Trek : The Next Generation

5. Quark from Star Trek : Deep Space Nine

6. Alan Shore from Boston Legal

7. Ling from Ally McBeal

8. Lynette from The Desperate Housewives

9. Agent 13 from Get Smart. (I think thats his number. He's the one thats always hiding in weird places)

10. MacGyver from MacGyver

11. Punky Brewster from Punky Brewster. (I still want a bed like hers!)

12. Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer

13. Ren from Ren and Stimpy

What about you? Which characters have been memorable for you?

When I grow up a little more, I want to be a ...

I have a very vivid memory of myself as a 5 yr old saying "When I grow up, I want to be a hairdresser". That idea was quickly quashed by my mother saying that my hands will be completely ruined by all the hair products.

Then when I was 7, I wanted to be a nurse. Unfortunately, back then, my mother didn't really encourage my interests in nursing either. With the shortage of nurses today, she's singing a different tune now.

After that, I was basically one of those people with no idea what they wanted to be when they 'grew up'. I went through phases of saying I wanted to be an occupational therapist, a social worker, a doctor and a radiographer. You'll notice that all those are health related.

Instead, I ended up studying engineering and business. I don't even really remember why I put that double degree course down as one of my choices. It may be purely because it was one of the first combined degrees around these parts at the time. So, was it merely for the fun of it? I really don't know. Fortunately, I did have fun.

My current job gives me the opportunity to be hairdresser, nurse, occupational therapist and social worker all on the same day. Some days, I'm also a doctor but there are no x-ray equipment in the house so, I haven't been a radiographer yet.

I'm trying to think ahead to when Aaron starts school and I get some time to myself again. Is there something that I really want to try my hand at? I don't mind going back to school to learn something new. So far there is one thing that I have found interesting and could potentially be a work-at-home job on a flexible schedule. I would never have thought of it when I was thinking of careers the first time around.

A lactation consultant.

Don't laugh readers, many women with newborns will tell you that these people are more important to survival than doctors!

Preliminary research shows that I may need to train as a nurse first though. So, after 25 years, we're back to Square 2. Its still just an idea.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Superior Scribbler Award from Bilbo

As mentioned in my last post, I'm a little behind on my blogging (writing AND reading). It was a lovely surprise to find out last night that Bilbo has very kindly awarded me with the Superior Scribbler Award. Thank you very much, Bilbo!

The award originated from The Scholastic Scribe and you can read all about it here.

There are 5 rules that accompany this award:
1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List.
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Alright, drum roll please. I am passing the Superior Scribbler Award on to:

MamaGeek at What Works For Us. She takes the most amazing photos and has incredibly witty words accompanying each. Also, she has a toddler son that is almost exactly the same age as Aaron. Its interestgin to read about somebody else going through exactly the same things as I am.

Kellan at On the Upside. Kellan is an experienced supermom with some hilarious stories. She is definitely a superior scribbler.

Egan at Les Singes: The Life of Monkey Boy. I really enjoy this blog. Its funny, intelligent and sometimes a little strange (in a positive way). Its not always written from the same perspective but is always a good read. There are even a few posts there by his baby daughter!

Jean-Luc Picard at Captain Picard's Journals. I'm a huge ST:TNG fan. This blog is great to carry on my Star Trek additiction with original stories every couple of days. I don't know how the author manages it!

NapWarden at The Chronicles of a SAHM. I love reading about peoples lives and the everyday things that they do. It inspires me and very often gives me a cyber kick in the behind to get me moving. This lady has two toddlers, designs blog templates AND trains towards a goal of one day participating in the Boston Marathon.

OK. I think I've followed all the 'to dos' listed by the rules.

Thanks once again to Bilbo. Its really rewarding to know that other people do read and enjoy my blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Non Stop Weekends

I miss my blogging time in Palembang. Over there, I always had more than enough time to sit down and blog.

Over here, its non stop whenever the sun is out. So, its usually 8 or 9pm before I get online to do anything at all. Sometimes, like yesterday, I sleep right through 8 and 9pm! Weekends are the worst because there are so many additional activities that are happening around Brisbane.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon in the City Botanical Gardens. They had a free performance by the Woodwind and Brass Sections of the Queensland Pops Orchestra.

The music they performed were all themes from movies and musicals. No heavy classical stuff. It was fun and Aaron enjoyed looking at all the instruments in action. Afterwards, we hung around while the musicians packed up so that he could look at the instruments up close.

Before going home, we had a brief game of hide and seek around these amazing trees.

As soon as we got home, we had a brief chat with Richard and then headed out to one of the nearby parks.

When it was time to put Aaron to sleep, I think I fell before he did! This was at 7.30pm. I woke up about 10pm but just went right back to sleep again. There was no need to change or do any of that other stuff you do before going to bed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Video Friday - Return to Sender

I usually play Photostory Friday but somehow, I don't have any suitable photos this week.

Instead I have a video of Aaron attempting to sing Return to Sender. There are many dropped words and I'm not sure if its recognizable as "Return to Sender" if I didn't say it was. I'm about the only person that can recognize what songs he's singing.

I apologize for the slightly shaky quality to the video. Thats just my whole body shaking from trying to hold in my laughter.

*sigh* How can this little person make me laugh so hard one minute and the next minute make me so frustrated that I get a spontaneous tension headache? He can be so endearing when he wants to be. So, why does he also purposely be the stubborn little imp that refuses to let me wipe his face? There are times that I almost want to return him.

I know, I know....its all part of growing up. His emotional development. Its good for him. He needs it. He's two. No, I'm still not saying he's terrible. Blah, blah, blah. Its just who he is right now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 13 Hours

If I could have 13 straight hours to myself, say from 7am-8pm, this is what I'd like to do.

7:00-7:30 am: Wake up, stay in bed to read.

7:30-8:00 am: Have a leisurely breakfast

8:00-8:30 am: One session of Bikram Yoga (at the hot studio of course)

8:30-9:00 am: Snack and more reading

9:00-11:00 am: Sewing (I want to make a bag)

11:00-11:30 am: Lazing / Napping

11:30-1:30 pm: Meet a friend for lunch

1:30-2:30 pm: Peaceful shopping

2:30-3:30 pm: Play the piano

3:30-5:30 pm: Long, uninterrupted, reading time

5:30-6:30 pm: Cook an elaborate dinner.

6:30-7:00 pm: Eat that dinner slowly.

7:00-8:00 pm: Long, hot shower. Wash my hair. Blow dry it. Spend the remaining time reflecting on the day and probably missing Aaron.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Happy Hunting Ground

I really don't know how I know this song but I do: Running Bear by somebody called Johnny Preston. Anyway, I was singing it for Aaron this evening while he was having his bath. Here are a few lines from the song to set the scene for today's post.

On the bank of the river
Stood Running Bear
Young Indian brave
On the other side of the river
Stood his lovely Indian maid

But their tribes fought with each other
So their love could never be

Running Bear dove in the water
Little White Dove did the same

Now they'll always be together
In their happy hunting ground

Aaron kept asking. "What it means?" I still can't get him to say "What does it mean?"

So I explained it as simply as I could. He seemed to get it. Then I told him that the "happy hunting ground" was heaven. Here's what I recall from the conversation. All my giggling at the time may have interfered with my memories here!

Aaron: "What it means? Heaven."

Amanda: "Heaven is a really nice place. You can do anything you want there."

He then pauses for awhile before he says "Lets go there next week!"
I wonder why he wanted to wait a whole week.

Amanda: "No, we don't want to go there yet"

Aaron: "I want"

Amanda: "No, only dead people go there."

Aaron: "And then they are not dead."

Amanda: "Yes. Then they are alive again. But we don't want to go there yet. Usually, only old people go to heaven." Yes, a bit of a lie but I didn't have time to think my answers through!

Aaron, after thinking a long while: "Like Mimi....and Ah Or". Thats what he calls my mom and dad.

Amanda: "No, we don't want them to go there yet either."

I felt like mentioning really old people, like my 90yr old grandparents, but I don't want them going to the "happy hunting ground" any time soon either!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Google Street View of Australia

I think this was launched back in August and I've been meaning to check it out for weeks but kept forgetting. Tonight, I've had my fill of "driving" up and down all the streets that I already drive up and down every day in real life.

I'll have to do some reading up on how they did this. The images are seamless.

It was immediately obvious that the photo of our house was taken on a Tuesday morning, sometime between 7am and 8am. I know this because the rubbish bins are out with their lids flipped open, so the garbage trucks have already come and gone.

I wonder when they are going to update these images. I'll go put something (or maybe myself) in front of our house to liven up the shot.

Here are a few images from life in Brisbane. Use the left/right buttons on the maps to see what I see over here.

Here's the library I mentioned in yesterday's post.

View Larger Map

Turning left at this intersection takes us home. Its also where we cross the street to get to the riverside cycle path that we use to ride to the city (and library above).

View Larger Map

The entrance to my old school, All Hallows School. Funnily, the first thought that came to mind when I looked at this image was the fact that the wall outside the school was built by convicts.

View Larger Map

This is strange. I don't usually get car sick but after driving around all these Google Street views, I don't feel so good right now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Boys and Reading

I have no idea if its true but supposedly, boys are slower to read and usually find it harder as children to sit down with a book. Where did I hear this? My mom of course :)

For now, Aaron is willing to drop everything and come whenever I say "Lets do some reading". Unfortunately, if its not a Thomas & Friends book, I have to work really hard to make him stay.

I usually do one non-Thomas book first and then let him have as many Thomas books as he likes. After all, reading is reading right? Nobody tells us grown ups what to read. We just read whatever interests us. I just want Aaron to want to read.

Each Monday morning, Aaron and I go to the Brisbane Square Library in the city. My parents have a clogging class and we tag along for the bicycle ride and library time. Usually, we spend 1 hr there but today, my parents stayed longer at their class and we were there for 2.5 hrs.

The setup of the children's lounge was ideal. There are toys (but not too many) there to distract young children. This distraction works more like a break from the books to revive the short attention span that kids have. It was easy to read Aaron a story, then allow him to go off to play while I picked out another book. He'll eventually wander back for another story again. In between stories, I also managed to enjoy a couple of my old favorites - The Adventures of Tintin.

I was amazed at the calm and quiet time we had in the library. 2.5 hrs is a long time for Aaron to be in the same space. It was me that suggested we leave in the end because I was getting a bit hungry and cold.

I feel happy today that Aaron has come to think of libraries as fun places to go.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I mean it!

Aaron is two years, two months and five days old today. He communicates all his needs/wants/demands in words and understands all of my words perfectly. So, there are no excuses.

I've been cautioned so many times (by books and humans alike), that parents shouldn't make empty promises or threats.

It has been easy keeping all the promises. I like seeing him "succeed". So far, I've tried not to make the rewards too materialistic. Its usually a story or maybe some unscheduled time at a park. Of course, I have also resorted to the types of promises that appear more like bribes. Its a fine, fine, line between a promise a bribe.

It has been hard carrying out the threats but at the same time, interesting. I do try not to make any threats in the first place but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things get said. So far, I've thrown a pencil out into the garden, taken away a train, things like that. He's at the stage of being so possessive/protective of his belongings that it is usually a deprivation threat.

Yesterday, I finally got fed up with Aaron's increasingly long and drawn out meal times. Its not that he's picky with food. Lately, he just refuses to feed himself and even when I give in and feed him, he just keeps it in his mouth without swallowing. After 45 mins of begging him to chew and swallow, I said that if he didn't eat normally, I would throw his food out.

And I did.

WOW! I should have gotten my camera ready for the reaction. He looked exactly like one of those cartoons of a baby crying with mouth open and tears spewing in two big arcs to the sides of his head. I couldn't help laughing (making me appear even more evil). I could see the look of disbelief and hurt on his face. He really didn't expect it. I was just so mad and there was no turning back after I blurted out "Eat or I'll throw it away".

Anyway, today, I realized that throwing the food away is too wasteful. So, to set things straight, at the first sign that he was going to make breakfast difficult, I told him that if he didn't eat up, I would eat his food. I ended up taking one bite and that got him eating normally. I hope it lasts....I do hate myself for doing these things.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photostory Friday - DIY Toys

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

When we were growing up, my father always managed to setup some crazy "toy" out of the most mundane things he found around the house. One time, it was with two huge telephone cable wheels he found outside the house (dumped by the roadside somewhere).

He hasn't lost the art of making something out of nothing. This morning, Aaron was treated to these "railway tracks" for Thomas, Percy and Dennis. They definitely had fun with this!

After the setup shown in the photos, they managed to rig it so that the track was like a see saw and would tip downwards as the little engines climbed over the pivot point. By then, I was joining in the fun and didn't want to play photographer anymore :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Australian Children

13 Points on Australian Children

I like finding out statistics about various topics. And, recently I've watched a couple of interesting documentaries on Australian children and their health/well being. It started me Googling for some statistics so here are 13 courtesy of the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Its not pretty!

1) 20% of Australia's population is under 15. (For some perspective: US 20%, Malaysia 33%, Indonesia 28%, China 20%, India 33%)

2) 17% of boys and girls were classified as overweight; 6% were obese; and 5% were found to be underweight.

3) 61% of 4–8 year olds consumed adequate fruit (excluding juice), compared to only 1% of 14–16 year old boys and girls.

4) 22% of 4–8 year old children and 5% of 14–16 year olds met the dietary guidelines for vegetable intake

5) Saturated fat intake contributed approximately 13–14% of the children’s energy intake. Recommended guidelines are for 10% or less of total energy intake.

6) Sugar contributed to 23–24% of total energy intake. Recommended guidelines are for no more than 20%.

7) 69% of children aged 9–16 surveyed accumulated at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most of the days surveyed.

8) 309,000 reports of suspected child abuse recorded during 2006-07. These figures have increased by over 50% in the last five years. Of the initial reports, 58000 were substantiated.

9) 13.2% of children live in households where they are at risk of exposure to binge drinking by at least one adult.

10) 25% of children aged 14-19 years drank alcohol on a daily or weekly basis in the last 12 months. (I can't remember actual figure but one documentary mentioned something like 50% of under aged drinkers being supplied the alcohol by their parents.)

11) 14% of children and adolescents aged 4-17 years have mental health problems.

12) 10 % of children family to meet minimum literary standards while 5% fail to meet minimum standards in maths.

13) ~25% of 13 yr olds are reading at the level of the brightest 20% of 7 yr olds. Not surprisingly, these students were usually from indigenous or low-income families. The story of the indigenous children in Australia is a sad one. I'll save it for another blogging day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Typical Day In Brisbane

Our lives in Palembang were so routine that I could let you know exactly what I would be doing, at any time of your choosing, weeks ahead of time. Wake up, play with Aaron, nap for Aaron, play, lunch, nap, gym, play, dinner, bedtime. Its the same every day of the week.

Things are much more interesting here. There is no typical day. I haven't even been able to keep all my "appointments" with Richard because there are so many things that you can suddenly decide to do here.

Take today for instance. I thought we were going to have a quiet day at home but my father announced at around 11.30am that there was a free concert in the city hall at 12.30. OK. Lets go. My mother helped to mind Aaron while we got onto our bikes and peddled to the city.

While riding there, my father says that later in the afternoon, we should all go to the other side of Brisbane to check on one of their friend's houses (the lady is away on holidays). And of course, to make sure that her Nintendo Wii is still fully functioning. So, that was a whole afternoon of playing Wii Fit games - more exhausting than you can imagine!

With the quiet day I thought I was going to have, I planned to make Moussaka for dinner. No, I've never made it before. I had all the ingredients but didn't read the instructions thoroughly enough to realize that there is a lot to do in it. Anyway, 2 hrs later, we had a very late dinner.

And now, all I can think of is bed....bed..........bed......

p/s The Moussaka was a little flooded but tasted great :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

He's going to be a ...

People just love guessing at what a young child is going to become later in life.

If they show an interest in numbers, they wonder if he'll be an accountant or some sort of scientist. Or, maybe if he likes taking things apart to see how it works, he'll be an engineer.

The problem I have with all this is that the projections into the future are always some sort of "professional" occupation, and the mainstream ones at that. You never hear anybody say things like "Yup! He's definitely going to be a baker/plumber/excavator driver."

I don't come from a very traditional Chinese family but still, it was a Chinese family. My parents didn't push it as hard as some other families but education was still sold as the key to everything in life. It was study hard or else...

My point today is that, studying hard (and smart) is no longer the only way in this world. And, it probably never was anyway. Its also important to have passion, drive and determination. That's what I want for Aaron. I'm still Chinese though, so I also what him to have something to fall back on so....he's definitely going to school! But I'm not going to present life's prospects the same way my parents did and hopefully, I'll be able to open his eyes to "all" the things that people work at in the world.

The trigger for today's post is Aaron's current passion for music. He immerses himself totally into it. If he hears the guitar, he'll be strumming and tapping his feet. If its the drums, he's going crazy with his arms. I've taken this opportunity to teach him other instruments like the tuba or cello so he also "plays" those. This passion that he has at the moment has made him very receptive to learning about all instruments and it also allows me to teach him some musical terms like forte or pianissimo. It sure beats learning about them in Theory Class later on!

So anyway, back to what happened today. My parents have been enjoying every minute of Aaron's performances but at the same time, my mother keeps cautioning me. "Its better not to encourage this too much. He might join a band later and he won't want to study" or "You need to stress the piano more or he'll just play the guitar, and that will lead to joining a band". *sigh*

What if he wants music to be his life? Bands are only one aspect of music. There are all sorts of jobs to do with music. For example, the person who puts the fingerings on music sheets, or sets the layout so that you don't have to turn the page at awkward moments.

I'm not taking any heed. I'll give equal exposure to all types of music and instruments. I'm using it to teach Italian musical terms, counting, timing, rhythm, musical styles and instrumental families.

He's only two and there is probably two week or less remaining for me to use his interest for some good here. I'm not going to spend that time worrying that he'll join a band in his teenage years!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Terrific Two Year Old

Its been a trying morning but I'm not going to bitch about it. I know he has to go through this as part of the development of who he will become. There is nothing I can do about the number of times he tests his boundaries or the volume and duration that he whines for Every. Single. Day.

So, here's how terrific he is:

1. There are only one or two really trying days a week.

2. He has learned to look through a book or play completely alone, without even a word from me, for nearly 30 mins.

3. He knows to be quiet in church and has succeeded for 4 straight weeks.

4. He is not a fussy eater. In fact, he is an extremely adventurous one.

5. He still wants to be like his mama:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Photostory Friday - Ta Da!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

After my banana bread disaster earlier this week, I was determined to get things right fast.

Its difficult to make any sorts of snacks in Palembang because we don't have an oven and its hard to get the ingredients so I want to fully utilize the time here in Brisbane.

So, when he work up at 5.30am this morning, we both got out of bed and headed to the kitchen. I was very organized this time and did everything as instructed by the recipe. By 7am, the aroma in the house was fantastic and we had 12 delicious Blueberry and Lemon Muffins.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

13 Points of Randomness

1) I've finally worked out what Aaron means by having rocks in his nose.

2) Aaron's favourite music for car trips now is Jive Bunny. Anyone who is not driving has to play an instrument the whole way. Its actually quite fun.

3) I've fallen into a habit of not having a "real" lunch. Aaron's naps have moved to lunch time, 12-2pm, so we usually have a light snack before this and another one when he wakes up.

4) I've started following my parents to their Thursday clogging class. And, I like it!

5) Aaron is very manageable in one-on-one situations but as soon as a third person is around, he starts acting up. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

6) Aaron is a little "roasted" from going to all the park's here. I put sunscreen on him and he has his cap on but I think we need to avoid the parks between 9.30am and 4pm.

7) I've been doing a lot of cooking here and am enjoying it. I mostly cook on the non-rice nights but even for those, I've introduced my parents to a couple of my favorite Indonesian dishes.

8) I don't like the way my hair is behaving here. It seems to get tangled very easily and then when I brush it out, its all frizzed out.

9) I enjoy driving here. Its orderly and stress-less. I especially like driving Aaron around when there is only the two of us in the car.

10) In Palembang, I have rolled oats for breakfast every single day. I really don't like it at all but its whats good for you. Over here, its Special K every single day. Not that good for you but its my absolute favorite breakfast.

11) I chat with Richard each day and occasionally, when the timing is right, Aaron and him have a video call. We don't really miss him because there are two of us and our days are packed but I think Richard does miss us.

12) I miss the Indomie from Indonesia. The unhealthy instant noodles that I sometimes allow myself over there.

13) My latest favorite vegetable is curly kale. The first time I saw it was at the organic market a couple of weeks ago. Prior to that, I've never had any sort of kale. I cook it in an Indonesian style broth with tumeric, ginger, garlic and onions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Relative Wealth

In Palembang, we often feel "wealthy" and find ourselves so much luckier than the people around us. The gap between the rich and poor in Indonesia is huge and we're definitely not part of the rich crowd. The people we mix with are "everyday" people and many don't earn enough for their monthly expenses. I don't like calling them "poor" because even they feel luckier than some other people. So anyway, over there, we don't worry about rent or mortgages, our groceries are cheap and there is really nowhere for us to spend any money. So, that's why so we end up feeling "wealthy".

The story here in Brisbane is something else. We have places to go every day and that means temptations to spend money. A snack here, a drink there, something on sale...y'know what I mean? I've put myself on a strict budget and have stuck to it so far. The problems is that I find myself constantly tallying up how much I have spent so far to see if there is any room left to be frivolous. I'm also always looking for the best price to get the most out of my money. (In Palembang, I usually just pay whatever is asked for even if its a little "over priced". Its my way of doing some charity for that vendor without obviously doing it.)

Its just a very different feeling and today, I actually felt a little disappointed because I had to hold off buying somethings until Friday (start of the financial week for me). I must add that I felt relatively poor.

Living here is definitely costly and I worry about the future when I will eventually have to move here. At least I know that for fruits and vegetables, there is the bulk buy market.

On top of all that, there is of course the worry of how safe my money is in the bank. Here I am, budgeting away so that I don't over spend but WHAT IF the Australian banks go the way of the US? Oh where, oh where, do I put the money that I am stopping myself from spending?