Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby Flip Flops

Adrian is still flip flopping around the place. He can't sit yet and whenever we prop him up, he either flips backwards or just flops to the front or side. He is pretty good at commando crawling about the place. Staying with the commando theme, he is extremely adventurous and has been trying his best to explore the entire floor area of the house. He is determined to touch (and taste) everything he can see.

Moving away from the commando theme and on to a puppy one, he seems to like the legs of tables and chairs best! We're forced to keep pulling him back before he starts gnawing on them.

And of course, the things that are most interesting to him are all of Aaron's toys. Thankfully, Aaron has been patient, generous and most importantly, wise enough to find himself a play room. They play together sometimes but its really more Adrian chewing on Aaron's toys and Aaron trying his best to wipe the saliva off.

So, Adrian is still a long way from walking or even standing but a good friend of mine has made sure that he's still looking cool as he flips and flops around the place. Check out these Baby Flip Flops!

As the mom, I know I would be too practical to buy them myself but I am extremely appreciative of my friend's thoughtful gift. Sometimes its good to have cute but not necessarily useful things. Useful things are boring!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aaron's First Day of Kindergarten

It seems like only yesterday that I brought the then four month old Aaron back to Ipoh for the first time. He's now nearly four years old and we decided to enroll him in a kindergarten while we are here in Ipoh. He's going to the same one that I went to when I was four years old! He was bouncing off the walls at home and there aren't as many kids activities to go out to here in Ipoh as there is in Brisbane so a few hours of kindy felt like the ideal solution.

Things have changed a lot in thirty years. He's been at school two days and they haven't set foot in the playground yet. I think the swings and slides are there for decoration. They have their morning tea at their desks and stay indoors the whole time from 8am-12noon. Supposedly they will get some time out there but its up to the teacher to decide when. Thankfully he's only four years old. I heard that the five and six year olds already have daily homework.

This is a completely different kindergarten environment than I observed in Brisbane. In fact, its the complete opposite. In Brisbane, four year olds spend all the indoor time with "structured" play and then have breaks to go outside for free play. I thought this was the type of environment that I was enrolling him in here and didn't realize the difference because I registered him while all the students were away on the term break!

It may appear cruel to sit four year olds down for the whole morning, five days a week without outdoor play as part of the day, but, unfortunately, it looks like this has become a a trend (and in face a snowballing necessity) in Malaysia and Asia. I'd like to say that these parents are ruining childhoods but with the way things are now, if the four year olds don't go through this, they'll be "suffering" at the bottom of the class in Grade 1. The competition is C.R.A.Z.Y.

Having said all that, Aaron is really enjoying his time there. He gets plenty of play time at home anyway and he's probably a little too wild for his own good so a little sit-down time in the morning isn't going to hurt.

Real Post Coming Up

Yes, I know I haven't posted in a week. Big things have been happening here and I did have many topic ideas but they all worked better with photos. So, I thought I'd just wait until my USB cable arrived today (with Richard).

Along with the USB cable, Richard should also be bringing along my uninterrupted internet time. Funnily, 6 hours before he actually gets here, I find myself in front of the PC, completely uninterrupted. BOTH boys are asleep.

Happy Belated Father's day to all the dads out there. I didn't even realize that I missed it until yesterday. And then, I thought I only missed the Malaysian Father's day but after visiting Mike's blog, it looks like it was Father's Day in the US too. I'll do something for my dad and Richard in September when Australia has Father's Day.

Hmm.....they're still not up! I guess I should go write up the other posts while I have the time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,

That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
And all that's nice,

That's what little girls are made of.

Now I know what this rhyme was talking about. Over the past week, we have had the pleasure of meeting an almost 4 year old girl and an almost 4 year old boy. It was the first time that I really observed other children that are the same age as Aaron.

We met the girl first. She came over to our house when her grandparents came to visit my parents. She was dressed in a pink dress, had a pink handbag and was wearing her "wedding" shoes. When she met Aaron and we told them to go play, the held hands as the walked off. They started with drawing, something Aaron loves. But, he was too excited about having somebody his own age to play with that he kept running off to suggest other games. Like a puppy, he suggested hide and seek, running, legos and all sorts of other games simultaneously. The girl just looked at him and shook her head. She moved on to slow and meticulous coloring after awhile and Aaron could do nothing to convince her to join him in his multiple games. She was so unbelievably calm in comparison to Aaron's off-the-walls antics.

A couple of days later, I went to visit a friend and there was a 4 year old boy visiting her home at the same time. First, the two boys were reluctant to be introduced. Then, they dragged their feet about getting to know each other. But when I mentioned the word dinosaur, the other boy suddenly roared a Jurassic Park caliber roar. And Aaron promptly responded with a roar louder than the boys. And then it was the boy's turn again to out do Aaron's efforts. This went on, and on, and on. They were right in each others faces, no more than 4cms apart. They were quickly friends after that, running around like dinosaurs. After that it was hide and seek. And then more running, roaring and jumping.

It was crazy to watch but somehow, I took pleasure in seeing another testosterone charged little guy running around, playing his heart out with Aaron. I'm not alone dealing with a high energy (but fully normal) little boy. Noise aside, they were very entertaining and the high energy levels were refreshing and even recharged me. (Strange because when I watch Aaron alone, those same energy levels seem to sap me of all my energy.)

So back to that rhyme, boys and girls are definitely completely different. I might occasionally be envious of the calm and prettiness that someone with a daughter might enjoy but after seeing another little boy, I have come to appreciate little boys a little more. Even if they're made of frogs, snails and puppy dog tails.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Did We Ever Leave?

We're back in Ipoh again and even though its been a year since we were last here, it feels like we never left. There are a few changes, including the very first Burger King outlet, but most things are the same. Our lives and routine are the same too and we have slipped into a daily routine as if we never left. In fact, we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at places that we've been eating at for the past twenty years!

The one big difference is that instead of my parents taking us out to these places, I'm now taking my own two kids. I am sure some of those hawkers remember me as a child and I wonder if seeing me with my children makes them think about retiring!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ipoh is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. It is flawed in so many ways but I think I'll always be able to look at this first hometown of mine without seeing those very flaws. Its like a cocoon in time that has remained unchanged in twenty years yet has had development spring up all around it.

I go away, grow up, do all sorts of things and when I come back with my two children, the place is as it was when I was a child. Perhaps it has remained this way for me because I am staying in the house I grew up in. I visit my old grandparents in the same houses that I visited them thirty years ago. We go to the same church and they still have the same set of priests there. Its like a living memory of my childhood.

So, as you might have guessed, I'm having a good time here. I've left my USB cable in Brisbane so it'll be a couple of weeks before I can post any photos.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When You Mean the World to Someone (with no strings attached)

Aaron is still at the stage of saying many weird and wonderful things. I wish I had thought of keeping a little diary of all the little conversations we've had. Thankfully I have this blog to keep track of some of the things that have happened in his life.

Previously, I had a big laugh when he insisted that he was either never going to get married or he was going to marry me. He said that this was because he always wanted to live with me. Over the months, after I explained that he could still live with me (if he wanted) even if he was married, he has started saying that he will marry a Nyonya woman. Why? Because Nyonya food is delicious and she might be able to cook it for our family. So, it sounds like he still wants to live with me. (I'd better start teaching this boy that in a marriage all jobs are shared!) We've been getting such laughs out of his future marriage.

Yesterday, we had an extremely touching conversation. I think he has brought the subject up before but not as intensely. Out of the blue, he says "I don't want you to die". I started off telling him that everybody has to die. That didn't satisfy him and after many rounds of insisting that its what happens to everybody, he then says that he wants to die on the same day as me. Even if I am old and he is grown when I die.

The conversation goes on and on and I try to bring God into it which was a mistake because he worked himself up to tears saying "I don't want God to call you. I'm going to ask him not to." The tears were welling in his eyes and I could see that he really could not grasp the concept but I just couldn't stop the conversation in a satisfying way. I took the easy way out and we went to the park.

Aaron's chatting is extremely tiring and he's very noisy at the moment but still so adorable sometimes. I wish that he will stay this sweet and innocent forever. When I really am old, feeble and about to die, he might have a change of heart and start wishing that I will stop being such a pain in the neck to him.

p.s. Guess what? Big day coming up tomorrow. Its going to be Adrian's first plane trip. Look out for my next post from Ipoh, Malaysia. I can't believe its a full years since my last time there. Where did my year go???