Thursday, February 25, 2010

First Day Of "School"

Yes, that day has arrived for Aaron. Sort of.

I've always wanted to keep Aaron home with me until he needed to start primary school but we needed to make some adjustments. I understand that he's only three and a half and many kids at that age still prefer the company of their moms but I've come to realize that he is perhaps a little too attached.

Over here, the prep year (year before Grade 1) starts for children who are 5 or years old depending on when their birthdays are. That would be full days, five days a week. For Aaron, this would start in 2012. So, my plan was to start him in some sort of kindergarten next year and go for a couple of days a week to get used to being away a full day.

But, after attending his swimming and gymnastics classes with him these few weeks (and also a few trial lessons on other things), I feel that he really sticks to me just a little too much. I don't mind it but I am a little worried that he would only grow more attached instead of growing more independent. After all, life in Palembang meant that he and I were alone in the house, just the two of us, every day for almost every day of his life so far. He has almost never been apart from Richard or me. And the only other person he has spent time with is my mother.

So, all that leads us to today. We've decided to try sending him to two hours of child care a week. We're calling it "school" because he has read a lot of stories about school and always seemed so excited to go. Today is just a trial day and the drama started from home, before he even got in the car. I hope that after today he'll realize that we do come back to get him. Maybe it will take more than one go. I swear, it was easier convincing him that he needed to have a needle than to leave the house today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hidden Blessings in Palembang

After complaining about life being too much of a routine during our two years in Palembang, we've indulged in a lot of flexible time since coming to Brisbane. Bed, bath and meal times have been much more relaxed and there have been many days with no order at all because its so easy to spend a day out.

Aaron seems to cope with it because there is still the rough outline of a routine. Things like a shower always being followed by dinner and stories always before bed still happen so he still knows what to expect.

Its the new baby that I'm starting to worry about. "They" always say that babies thrive on routine. With Aaron, he seemed to teach us his routine, and very vocally too. Adrian is much more laid back and will do whatever, whenever. It is only now that he seems to demonstrate that he knows when night time is and I think I'll have to start teaching him about going into his basket at 7 or 8pm for the night. So far, I've been lazy and nursing him in front of the TV and then carrying him while he sleeps. I get to watch lots of TV this way. Its the same with computer time. He's asleep on my left shoulder right now! Anyway, for my future sanity, I think I should start training him soon. See, in Palembang, both Aaron and the place dictated that life would be lived to a predictable routine seven days a week. Maybe we start here in March. (And maybe then I'll get back to regular blogging.)

The other thing I miss about Palembang is the it seemed so easy to save money there. We're still quite good with managing expenses here but I'm a bit sore about this month's spending. The worst part is that we didn't even get any joy out of the extra spending. The first one was when I accidentally clipped the front tyres on a curb. It was shredded! We only have a little car but it was in for a service and they gave us a huge SUV as a replacement. And of course, I underestimated how wide it is. Those big wheels are PRICEY!! And then a storm earlier this week knocked out or modem, wireless router and the ethernet card on one of the computers. There's more money down the drain. (Yes, yes, surge protectors.)

So sometimes a more predictable (and I don't mean boring) life, like the one in Palembang, isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A third generation of friendship?

I went to a really fun birthday party on the weekend. It was for a one year old whose mum is my oldest friend. I've been trying to think back and I'm pretty sure that she is the first friend I had (we met at 5 or 6 years old). Both our dads were also childhood friends.

Here is a photo of the two of us. I think its her 9th or 10th birthday party.

And here is a photo of the both of us last weekend. Its a shame that we didn't take one together with the kids. Have to remember for next time.

I think its so cool that our dads were friends growing up in Penang, and then we were friends growing up in Ipoh, and now, our children will be friends growing up in Brisbane. If the children remain friends into their thirties there would be a three generation bond of friendship of nearly a hundred years! Imagine that....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hereditary Heart Of Stone

My mother can be a very no-nonsense, strict and often blunt person. She is nice but prefers to say how things are instead of beating around any bushes. She also often appears to have little sympathy for others although in her old(er) age now, I think her understanding side is becoming more apparent. Anyway, because of all the above, my brother has often told her that she has a heart of stone.

And now, thirty three years and two children later, I'm diagnosing myself with the same affliction : Heart of Stone.

In the past few days I have witnessed what would have been heart wrenching crying from both the six week old and the three year old. There was always a "legitimate" reason like the baby being strapped down in the car for too long or Aaron pleading with me not to send him into the pool for swim lessons because he was afraid of putting his head in the water.

I did my best to calm the baby in the car and even stopped to offer a quick feed but nothing soothed him. Yet, as I sat there, looking at his helpless little face, I 'felt' for him but it didn't really upset me or make me want to cry with him. I really needed to get where we were going. And there was nothing else I could do.

At the swim school, the teacher kept saying "Mom, you have to be strong. When I tell you to go, you have to leave and go outside where he can't see you." She kept assuring me that it was hard to do but she would take good care of my son. Yet again, when Aaron was crying loudly at the side of the pool and the teacher felt she could work with him better if I was out of sight, I didn't have any problems leaving. Didn't need to be strong or anything. He was genuinely terrified of what he thought was coming up in the lesson. But his teacher was right and he did settle down to a good lesson.

I'm not saying that I heartlessly leave my children to cry all the time but at the times I felt I needed to, it wasn't that hard to do. Shouldn't I have more feeling for them when they are so obviously distressed? Or maybe its an efficient way to cope with difficult situations. No sense in all of us crying is there? Or maybe its just preparation for the teenage years?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Please, could I have January again?

Hey! Where did January go? My days are pretty much identical and with a routine that is almost the same in the day time and at night, I feel as if the entire month of January has just been one long day. Its gone by so quickly and the baby is already a month old. We have been getting a lot of attention when out and about because he was so tiny but over the past week, he has really expanded. He is a whole 1kg heavier than when he came home!

I want him to stay a newborn for longer. I don't mind that right now I'm typing with one hand and he is curled on my belly with a wet nappy. It has taken awhile to get him to sleep so I don't want to wake him just yet by changing him. I don't mind sleeping in a semi reclined position and holding him all night if that makes his colic more bearable. I'm happy with all this extra work. The only thing I miss right now is more uninterrupted time with Aaron. I think he really misses me and I miss him too.

Now here's some irrational thought: The reason why I want Adrian to go slow with the growing up is because I keep thinking that it will be the last time I get to look after a newborn. My mother has been extremely hands on helping us and really enjoying it. BUT, since I only have sons, it may mean that if I ever get to be a grandmother, I may not have the opportunity that she now has. I think new mothers will always look to their own mothers for help and support. I know, its crazy to think so far ahead. But, when its 3am and you're holding a sweet little newborn in the quiet of the night AND enjoying it, funny thoughts like that pop in all by themselves.

Here is a photo from last week: