Friday, November 28, 2008

Photostory Friday - Early Christmas Surprise

Last week, I was in a big hardware warehouse. They had all the usual drills, ladders, wheel barrows and whatever else needed for handyman type stuff.

Strangely, they also had a section of children's outdoor toys including a cubby house and a backyard jungle gym. I remember looking at it and wishing we lived here in Brisbane so I could get him the cubby house. It wasn't overly expensive but it also wasn't an amount I was willing to pay since we'll only be here for a few more weeks.

OK. Fast forward to this week. We were driving through a suburb that was having their annual large "junk" items pick up. Once a year, the Brisbane City Council will come through the neighborhoods to pick up oversized items that you can't put in your weekly bin. Things like mattresses, TVs, ovens, fridges etc.

We were on the way to the library and just laughing at the stuff that people were throwing away. Suddenly, we saw a cubby house!!!

Someone else's junk is now Aaron's treasure :)

We've put it on the deck because its been raining so much. Its also not a "house" according to Aaron. He calls it his restaurant and here he is handing out my order of fried rice.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Things I will miss

I'm down to my last few weeks in Brisbane and am starting to think of all the things that I won't get to enjoy till my next trip here. These are the top 13 in no particular order.

1. Sausage rolls - I kept myself to one a week so far but I think I'll just have them whenever I feel like it now.

2. GRASS - We have none in Palembang and there is no place to go to really enjoy grass.

3. Parks - Separate to the grassy part of parks. We'll definitely be missing the children's play equipment.

4. Libraries - We'll miss the story telling, and all the toys they have in libraries. And we'll definitely miss the abundant books that are on long for as long as a month each time. Here is a photo of Aaron playing dress up at the State Library.

5. My mother's oven - There have been more than a few failed meals but it has been fun.

6. Sewing - THIS has definitely been one of the highlights of my time here. Every night, after blogging, I rush down to spend a good 2-3 hrs sewing. I feel productive and it gives me a real sense of accomplishment.

7. A dry bathroom - *sigh* I think readers in the West may not realize it but many bathrooms in Asia are still the wet kind. And, our bathroom in Palembang falls into that category. There are no partitions, so, after a "shower" the whole floor is wet. Actually, its not really a shower, its more like throwing buckets of water over yourself.

8. Quiet nights - We'll be going back to the sound of the A/C, the water pump, the neighbor's water pump, the beeping of all the neighbor's cars when they lock it, the mosque at 5am etc etc etc.....

9. Special K - I can honestly say that I haven't missed a single morning of my Special K routine here.

10. Playing on the deck - Aaron and I spend a lot of time on the deck. Its a fun area that is outside but still shaded. And there are no mosquitoes to worry about.

11. Free concerts on weekends - We got a brochure that listed free concerts for each month and have been going to many different places, including several wonderful parks.

12. Clogging - I'm going to try doing this by myself but its just not going to be the same. I doubt I'll have the drive to continue alone for long.

13. Gym classes - I'll go back to my old gym routine in Palembang but there are no classes there. The instructor led classes here have been so much more interesting than my jogs alone on a treadmill. The torture that they have put me through seemed to have done a lot of good too. I'll definitely miss being pushed to get fit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I've Been Everywhere

Recently, I bought Aaron a children's CD of Australian songs. I have no idea what songs little kids here learn but I found it helpful that Aaron already knew all the nursery rhymes that are sung during library storytimes and playgroups. So, just in case they are also learning these Australian ones, I bought a CD. It had all the usual ones like Walzing Matilda, Road to Gundagai and Tie me kangaroo down, sport. Initially, I was enjoying the CD more than Aaron but he's familiar with it now and tries to sing a long.

There is one particular song there that leaves us all in fits of laughter every time. It is the "funnest" song I have heard in a long time. I can't even say some of those names fast enough let alone sing it!

According to Wikipedia, the original "I've been everywhere" was written in 1959 by Geoff Mack and made popular by Lucky Starr in 1962. Go here to see the Wikipedia map of where all the Australian places mentioned are located. You'll need to scroll down a little. Looks like there are plenty of other versions of that song now for many other countries.

Have a watch and listen. I can't say for sure if ALL the photos are from the places but I know that Indooroopilly and Canberra are correct. I think I've only been to 15 out of the 92 places there. There could be more if you count driving past those towns but I really don't remember.

Be patient. The first few slides are just come later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Exponential Defiance

I've mentioned before that I don't have a stressful life. I do find that I have a lot of tension in me though. Probably from the daily frustration of needing to repeat instructions multiple times before getting any sort of response. And, this has been increasing exponentially in recent days.... [Yes, I know they don't call it the terrible twos for nothing]

Firstly, I have to say that Aaron is a really great little guy for 99% of the day. He is truly funny, helpful, quick to learn and a pleasure to be around. But for 1% of the day, I could really just throw him in the store room under the stairs and lock the door. I haven't done that of course but he gets me so mad.

Its as if he has to fill a quota of defying me each day. He could be happily picking up his toys and will come to the last one, then refuse to move it the 30cm left to place them IN the cupboard. The intensity of his refusal then spirals upwards at an unimaginably fast rate. Before I know it, he's crying/sobbing as if I had really locked him in the store room. I've noticed this happening over the most trivial of non-issues! And, its happening more frequently. (He's 2 years, 3 months and 21 days old)

Anyway, I'm big on exercise and have always known that a good workout session fixes any day. Recently, I've found a SUPERB way for quick release of all tension and bringing on a immediate smile.

I've been going for this gym class called Body Attack (It attacks my body by making me jump/hop/bop/lunge on the spot for 55 minutes). Somewhere towards the end of the class, there is a very short section, probably no more than a minute and a half where there are sequences of jumping up and stomping down hard with both feet. Just like a toddler in the middle of a tantrum. I LOVE IT! You all must try it. Do it on a wooden floor with sports shoes on. It makes a lot of noise and it feels great. Once I'm back in Palembang, I'll have to do this all by myself. OR maybe I'll just join in with Aaron if he ever throws a tantrum!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where is the internet?

I've been pretty good with answering Aaron's questions so far. The last one that I remember getting stuck on was "What is heaven?" I guess it was time for another tricky one to pop up.

Like many other parents today, I spend a lot of time on the internet, and, Aaron is often by my side when I am there (or should I say "here"?). He thinks YouTube is the place for all Thomas clips. He also knows that I have to check my "EMU" each day. Its funny how he substituted the word EMU for EMAIL just because "email" wasn't familiar to him. The computer is also where he goes to talk to his dad.

On the weekend, he picked up on the word "internet". I must have mentioned it one to many times that I have to go "download some Thomas" from the internet.

So, the next time we sat in from of the computer. He asks Where is the internet?.

I was stumped. It really is a question that I should have had a prepared answer to but I didn't see it coming. I was speechless for longer than I would have liked, hmmm-ing and er-ing and I did try to fudge the answer but he persisted. He expected it to be a physical place and it was so hard to explain something virtual to him.

In the end, the best I could do was "The internet is an invisible place where people go to share information. Things like Thomas videos and music. When you learn to read and spell, you can find out anything you want to know there."

Today, I've been searching the internet for something I want to know. How do you accurately describe the internet to a 2 year old?

I'm still looking :). Feel free to leave me some comments on how you'd explain the internet to a 2 year old.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Irony of Alone Time to a Mom

One of my frequent complaints about being a mom to a 2 yr old is that I never get any time to myself. I don't think I verbalize this complaint much but I definitely think it A LOT.

The past few weeks have actually been great because my mother has been looking after Aaron in the mornings so that I can get to the gym. I usually rush there and back, sometimes stopping to pick up groceries. All in all, I'm probably gone for 1.5 hrs. And let me tell you, I have been enjoying every minute of that time to myself. The solitary drive in the car, the freedom to walk without "Aaron herding" and of course the time working out.

The gym is in a shopping center and I often look into the shops but never stop to browse. And of course, I wish to myself (many times) that I will one day be able to shop like I used to. To wander aimlessly. To spend too long in the book section. To try on the clothes instead of just holding it out and looking at it.

Well, that day came today. My mother wanted to take Aaron somewhere so she needed the car and would drop me off a little earlier and then would pick me up again later. I thought "Great! I can shop. Maybe go to the library as well. AND, I can get to the gym"

I got there and headed first to the library. I looked for a book I saw on the e-catalog, not there, looked through the magazine section, read one article on how to get sexy hair in 5 minutes and then thought, I'd better leave so I can look through the shops. I zoomed out and made a beeline for the shops that I had taken mental note of. They were probably covered in 10 minutes.

I looked at my watch and I was still 30 mins early for my class.

What now?

I honestly didn't know what I wanted to do with that time. Wandering aimlessly through the shops wasn't as enjoyable as I remembered it to be. I had done all I thought I wanted to do and there was time left over. I wracked my brain and remembered that it would be nice to get Aaron a Wiggles magazine. The newsagents didn't carry any. 25 minutes left.

In the end, I gave up and just went early to the gym to do some cardio first. All the time thinking "Am I sure there is nothing else I want to do. I have all this bonus alone time. Its what I long for. Why am I not using it????"

I think I should just put it down to motherhood making me more efficient with my time and less frivolous with my wants.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cheer, Routines and Walnuts

This evening, a friend commented that I sounded "cheerful". This led me to wonder about my "cheerfulness" each day. Life here is fun. EVERY DAY. I'm cheery all the time!

I definitely don't have a stressful lifestyle (here or anywhere else). My life is often tiring but its not particularly hectic. The best word that I can use to describe it is "routine". It is full of routines revolving around Aaron.

This is especially true in Palembang. I've forgotten what it feels like now but I know that our time in Palembang is often less cheery that what we have here in Brisbane. The routines are more routine than ever over there. Its a little like Groundhog Day over there. And, spending the whole day being cheery with Aaron often leaves me with zero cheer at the end of the day for anybody else.

I think next year is going to be better. I know a few more people and Aaron is a very talkative companion now. Plus, I have several new ideas to try out.

Still, I need to do things to remind myself to have fun and enjoy each day. Sometimes, forcing yourself to be cheerful (when you don't feel like it) and purposely finding something to laugh about is all thats needed to make a day that little bit brighter. I think I sound a little like a self help website, but I'm genuinely starting to think about things like this because we'll be back in Palembang in a little over a month and the routine will start again.

Alright, enough of that. All it needs is planning and I'm starting now. So, let me leave you with something funny I heard this morning. It has been floating around my head the whole day and has been adding to the giggles I've had.

At the gym class, the instructor said something like "OK. Squeeze your butts. Pretend that you are trying to crack a walnut!" I just can't get that imagery out of my head.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smoking in the rain

It has been raining continuously for a few days now and is forecasted to remain this way until Friday. This means I have to get creative with activities for Aaron indoors.

While Aaron hasn't made it out of the house much, I've kept to my routine of going to the gym each day. This morning, as I left the building where the gym is I walked past a row of people standing outside. Actually, they were all a little bent over and trying to stay dry because there was not much cover. And, they were all smoking.

We have been enjoying the smoke free environment here so much that I think I forgot about smokers. I wonder at the percentage of smokers here vs Palembang but I don't think I'd be able to find any real statistics on it. All I know is that there isn't a place in Palembang that I can go without being surrounded by smokers, indoors or outdoors.

Anyway, I know that people start smoking for various reasons and like any addiction, it is hard to stop. So, I am not judging those people I saw today. I just felt grateful that the non-smoking laws are so prevalent in Australia that it has taken me 2 months to inhale some second hand smoke.

Mike wanted a new numbers person and while I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as Numeric Life, I managed to find these interesting numbers on what happens after your quit smoking. I got it from the American Lung Association site. I never knew that over time, the effects of smoking could be reversed.

At 20 minutes after quitting:
* blood pressure decreases
* pulse rate drops
* body temperature of hands and feet increases

At 8 hours:
* carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
* oxygen level in blood increases to normal

At 24 hours:
* chance of a heart attack decreases

At 48 hours:
* nerve endings start regrowing
* ability to smell and taste is enhanced

At 2 weeks to 3 months:
* circulation improves
* walking becomes easier
* lung function increases

1 to 9 months:
* coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases

1 year:
* excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

At 5 years:
* from 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

At 10 years:
* risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
* risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
* risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:
* risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
* risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Monday, November 17, 2008

He wants me in his dreams :)

Aaron is a real chatterbox. He talks non-stop all day long and its constant chatter chatter chatter around the house. I love it! I can't get enough of it. He's cute the whole day long (yes, a bit of mom's pride here) but he's cutest when you're having a conversation with him.

Last night I said to him "You know, big boys go to sleep by themselves." So he tells me he's not big, he's just a little boy. It was probably an hour earlier that he insisted he was a big boy and should be allowed to stand on a stool in the kitchen to cook his dinner. But anyway...

I tried to explain to him that sooner or later, he's going to have to go to sleep by himself and that everyone does it. I'm not in a hurry to push him into this but I'm really trying to put the idea in his head. He doesn't say anything and appears to be deep in thought.

So I asked him why he felt he needed me to lie down with him every night. He had a really long and drawn out answer. The gist of it was :

"... When I go to sleep and close my eyes, I get a dream (I always ask him what he dreams about but I wonder if he really has noticed them.) Sometimes, we go to the Island of Sodor, or to the library, or to the park. We see Thomas and all the engines. And, I want Mama to be there too. Because you are my BEST FRIEND."

*sigh* You can't imagine how sweet he looked and sounded when he said it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Photostory Friday - Family Heirloom?

Look what I found on the top shelf of the broom closet. I know that sunglasses like these have made a come back recently but these aren't from this century! My mother wore this pair in the early 1980s, making them nearly 30 years old. Its mind boggling to think that she was in her 30s then. Seems like yesterday that she told me she was 36....

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Food Memories

Here are 13 memories associated with food from my childhood.

1. FISH: Steamed fish with ginger, coriander, Chinese mushrooms and soy sauce was a regular at our dinner table. We must have had it 3 times a week. Definitely not one of my favorites. Thanks to this, I'm not a big fan on fish at all.

2. Lap Cheong: This is a chinese sausage made with pork. I loved it and still do. My mother used to make these at home and hang them in the front garden to dry and harden. I didn't need anything else with my rice if I had this.

3. EGGS, BOVRIL, RICE: When I was 11, my piano lessons were on Wednesday nights and it was always a real rush to get home from school, have dinner and then go out again for the lessons. To make things simple, my mother always fried an egg sunny side up and we had this with Bovril and rice. I liked this.

4. PRAWNS: The only "seafood" I like are these huge prawns from Tanjung Tualang. And actually, they aren't from the sea but from the river instead.

Each Saturday, after evening Mass, we would have Char Koay Teow for dinner at a neighborhood coffee shop. It was at this place that I first saw hail.

6. KFC: I think KFC was the only fast food restaurant Ipoh, Malaysia during my childhood. Back then, nobody in my family spoke about eating healthy and I have a vivid memory of my mother taking my brother and I there for dinner here before going to watch Superman IV in the cinema opposite the restaurant.

7. McDONALDS: The first one opened in Kuala Lumpur around the time I turned 10. I remember my father returning from a business trip to KL with cheeseburgers for my brother and I.

8. PIZZA HUT: I believe Pizza Hut came after McDonalds. We didn't get to try it out because my brother took one step in the restaurant and ran straight out again. He was nauseated by the smell of the cheese!

9. CHEE CHEONG FUN: This was my favorite breakfast growing up. Its basically a big sheet of rice noodle that is rolled up. The best place to have this was from a really grumpy guy who was a little like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld.

10. NOODLES: In the first grade, my mom would give me RM0.20 on some days so that I could buy a bowl of noodles during the break.

11. SANDWICHES WITH CRUSTS ON: On other days, I took sandwiches with peanut butter. I was always really envious of my best friend because her mother used to cut the crusts of the bread while mine always had it on.

12. SAUSAGE ROLLS: When we moved to Brisbane, I loved having sausage rolls for morning tea at school.

13. BEETROOTS: Prior to moving to Brisbane, I didn't know about beetroots. At a school camp, I was attracted to the vivid colour and filled my plate with some. Ugh! I regretted it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Surprise Trip

Guess where we went today? Seaworld!

This is what I love and appreciate about my stay-at-home lifestyle. I can just take off on a day trip whenever I feel like it. We didn't go to sleep last night thinking that we'd be spending the day at Seaworld today.

I woke up, checked the weather forecast (mostly fine, top of 26C), and thought, 'Sounds like a good day for Seaworld'. Especially since I got a shop-a-docket for adults at kids prices a couple of days ago.

Aaron didn't get a full nap so there was a bit of a meltdown at 4pm but other than that, we had a great time. My favorites from the day are the dolphins and the sharks. And of course, for Aaron, the rides were the highlight. This was the first time that he went on any sort of ride. I've never let him go on the ones you see in malls because I didn't want to set that precedent and ruin all future shopping trips. So, I guess it really meant something to him today.

Aaron was asleep before he hit the bed tonight and I think I'm headed that way too now. I can't imagine what it will be like when he's a little older and needs me to go on those big kids rides with him. Or maybe, he won't want me by then....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Santa Who?

I don't really remember Santa Clause being a very big part of Christmas during my childhood. My parents did perpetuate the myth that somebody broke into the house at night and left a present for us but I don't think they spoke all that much about Santa. I also don't remember how I found out that he didn't exist. Perhaps we knew it all along. It wasn't a big deal.

This year, Aaron has seen the old man in the red suit around the shopping malls and I made a lame attempt at explaining who he was. I tried telling him that he needed to be "good" or Santa would know. Then I told him that Santa delivers pencils and paper on Christmas day. I even took him to visit Santa but he took one look at the guy and walked out again.

The whole idea of Santa has left me a little unsettled. While the fantasy of it all may be exciting for the little kids, I'm not sure its something that I want to encourage. Also, I believe 2 year olds are all about logic and fact so, the whole Santa story isn't really plausible anyway. It took me a few days to sort it out in my mind but I think I've decided now not to have Santa leave any presents.

I can make Christmas just as fun and exciting without Santa. And, without the emphasis being on presents. I do want Aaron to know that the real reason for Christmas is Jesus and it is the season of giving instead of receiving.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photostory Friday - Sewing Apnea!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

My grandmother was a seamstress and my mother has picked up quite a bit from her so I'm hoping the sewing gene is in me too. I've never learnt how to sew and my mother didn't do much of it when we were growing up in the house but I really enjoy it. I make up my own techniques as I go along and end up with less than perfect creations but I always find it so fulfilling. The main problem is that I hold my breath whenever I step on the sewing machine pedal and I always end up with a headache after awhile!

I don't have a sewing machine in Palembang so I'm hoping to make use of my mother's one while I'm here. This is what I made for my mother.

Its a type of tote that closes up without zips or buttons. Not quite perfect but I'll be making another one for myself so at least I'll know where the pitfalls are.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Brought to you by the letter "A"

I've always felt that there were a lot of "A's" in my life. Lets see if I can get to 13.

1) Amanda - My name

2) Australia - Place of birth

3) April - Month of birth

4) April - Month that Richard and I were married legally. The ceremony came later in July.

5) Aaron - Son's name

6) August - Aaron's birth month

7) Auchenflower - Suburb where I live here in Brisbane

8) ABRSM - Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Almost all of my music exams were from them.

9) All Hallows' School - My high school

10) Accountant - My dad's profession

Those first 10 was easy and I did it in about 3 minutes. I had to get Richard to help me with the following 3 so I guess I really only have 10 "A's" in my life.

11) Avocados - Since I got here in September, I've had avocados at least 3 or 4 times a week.

12) Astro - This was our satellite TV provider in Palembang. Last month, it ceased operations and now I need to look for a new provider.

13) Amadeus - Mozart's middle name. I remember being told by one of my teachers that my musical style was more suited to Amadeus's music rather than Ludwig's. Whatever that means...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can!

I had another post drafted out for today but it just didn't seem suitable. Australia had a full afternoon's coverage of the U.S. elections. Of course, I know all the details of the policies each party has been claiming they will implement but I still enjoyed the speeches by both John McCain and Barrack Obama. Even Aaron seemed to have a fun afternoon. He cheered when the people on the TV cheered and then during Obama's speech, he chimed in at every "Yes we can!"

Here are a few of the questions we had in our house as we watched and waited:

Does George W Bush already have all his bags packed and when does he move out? Or HAS he already moved out? Is Obama's bag packed as well?

Does the entire staff currently working at the White House have to leave their jobs?

The US ambassador to Australia has already announced his resignation. Do all the other US ambassadors in the world have to do that too? Or just the Republican ones? Or maybe they currently are all Republican....we don't know.

What happens between now and January 20, 2009? Who is responsible for the U.S.?

Do they repaint the living areas of the White House whenever somebody new moves in?

Does the outgoing family take all their bed sheets with them and then the new ones pick out their own ones? Will they bring sheets that they currently own or do they buy new ones? What about cutlery? What belongs to the White House and what belongs to the families that reside there.

OK. Enough of all that. We wondered about all sorts of stuff. Somebody should do a documentary about the details of what goes into moving into the White House.

Yes, the speeches were gracious and stirring but, my favorite quote from today was from the news anchor saying something like "they will be moving into government housing shortly...." I just couldn't stop laughing at how they put it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Out of place in a real gym

My mother transferred her Fitness First membership to me and I started there yesterday. I go to the gym in Palembang but thats just a hotel gym with slightly dated equipment and just a few cardio machines. Plus, when I go, I'm almost always the only person in that room.

I must admit feeling quite uncomfortable the first few minutes I was there. It took me awhile to work out their locker system and then when I worked out how to use one of the elliptical machines, I dropped my locker card under the neighboring machine and had to lie on the ground to stretch my hand in to get it. Yes, I looked like a real klutz!

AND, to top it all off, I think I might also be the Ugly Betty of the gym in terms of gym fashions. I believe in wearing my comfy old t-shirts. After all, I'm just going to be sweating in them. And in this case, my old t-shirts are really old since they are from the time I actually lived in this house - school days! Luckily, I do own a pair of those calf length legging things. Everyone else seems to be on a fashion shoot for gym wear! OK, I exaggerate but seriously, they are definitely in some uniform gym wear that is on the trendy side.

I feel awkward there but since I stopped working, I get that way easily. Maybe its a confidence thing. Anyway, I'm there to go for as many classes as I can because there is no such thing in Palembang, hopefully build some strength/stamina and of course people watch.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cubby Mansion!

I've been taking Aaron all around Brisbane to wherever there are free concerts. Yesterday, it was the St John Ambulance concert band at a park. I had never been to this park before and just imagined some open ground with shade for the concert band.

To my surprise and Aaron's absolute delight, the park had an enormous, wooden, play area. The only way I can describe is is "Cubby Mansion" as opposed to "Cubby House".

It was huge and was like a maze inside. It zig zagged in all directions with slides coming off the sides and monkey bars scattered around the place. It also had a lookout from the center and more than enough swings outside.

Remember yesterday's post about Aaron misbehaving during Sunday Mass. Well, he seemed to think that this area of the Cubby Mansion was a church and he needed to kneel down to say a prayer. Making up for his earlier naughtiness I guess :)

My dad came in to see what we were doing and got this last shot of Aaron. Look at that face! He had just been 'run over' by a train of pre-teen kids.

As for the concert band, they were alright. Good background music but nothing engaging enough to warrant sitting down and listening intently. The Cubby Mansion was way too much fun.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Aaron the Button Pusher

These few days, Aaron has made a habit of pushing our buttons. Its not that he has any plans to do it. In a way, I can almost say that the adults in this house lead him to it. He does something he's not supposed to, we say "Don't" or "Stop it", he gets the "Aha!" look on his face and then continues doing it with even more enthusiasm. I've tried to remember not to use any words in these situations and just ignore what he's doing or if possible distract him.

Unfortunately, in some situations, its impossible to ignore him. This morning, in church, he pushed one button after another. There is no way to just ignore a noisy situation in such a quiet environment. And, I failed at all distractions and ended up using threats. "Keep doing that and I promise to take you to the naughty square as soon as we get home!"

During the drive home, he says : "Aaron is a very good boy."

I said : "Not really."

He insists that he is and we go back and forth on this awhile.

I thought I could maybe meet him somewhere in between and told him he was a little bit good at the start of Mass. He just kept insisting that he was a very good boy throughout.

In the end, he started to get all upset and he blurted out "I don't want to go to the naughty square!"

Yahoo! I was secretly rejoicing. He's afraid of my threats after all. I didn't think that he would remember that I had said that. OMG! He was actually dreading the moment we got home.

He looked so pitiful and I knew that I should really have carried out the threat since he remembers what I said but I just couldn't. I caved. I struck a new deal.
I told him that if he would be a good for the rest of the car trip home then he could avoid the square.

Maybe I'm digging my own grave for next Sunday's Mass but its done now. I'll have to make sure to take advantage of his next crazy button pushing episode and carry out anything I say then. I almost feel like I should look for an opportunity where a trip to the naughty square is warranted and then make it happen.