Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not A Next Top Model!

What is it with little boys and photographs? I remember my brother doing this for years and now Aaron is starting to do it more and more frequently. Why can't they take a proper photo? I don't mind the occasional funny face but not in ALL the photos.

Guys, did you all do this when you were kids?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Wonder If Teething Is Like Itching

Recently, I had the radical thought that giving babies teething toys while they are teething just makes the situation worse.

I say this because I have bought a total of nine 'teething toys' for Adrian. Some have the fluid in them, some have no fluid but bumps around the place, others are just odd shapes of slightly rubbery material. Out of nine, there is probably only one that he gets excited about. The others all get one or two seconds of chewing and then are chucked. The favorite one seems to do something for his gums for awhile. He seems somewhat satisfied when he first starts chewing but after awhile, it ends up frustrating him and he very often ends up a grumpy baby after spending time with this teething toy.

It got me thinking of mosquito bites and itches in general. Scratching an itch satisfies it momentarily. But, you always need to scratch harder and longer to keep that satisfied feeling. And when you stop, the itch always seems itchier. So, maybe teething is similar. I have no idea what it feels like and I don't think any of the teething toy companies do either. All I know is that its some sort of discomfort and perhaps pain.

So, I've stopped giving him any of those toys whenever we go out (especially at mass where I thought that it was a way of keeping him quiet). He didn't seem to need them as there is plenty of visual distractions around. He also had less episodes of getting frustrated and throwing the toy, flinging his drool and arching his back.

I have tested my theory and gave him the favorite one day. There wasn't enough exciting visual distractions around for him to refuse it so he chomped down on it. And sure enough, he was satisfied for quite awhile but in the end, there was frustration, noise and grumpiness.

And that's all I have for you on this very long today. Bloggers block. I did have more thoughts on this earlier but as the day wore on, they all fell out of my head, one by one. *sigh*

Sunday, September 26, 2010

* PRIVATE * Keep Out *

Up until 4 years ago, I never gave much thought to privacy. I'm referring to my own private time, space and thoughts. I took it for granted because it was so readily available. In fact, it was more often the case that I wished there was somebody else in my space.

Life now is very different. There are moments in every day that I wish I could sit in my own space somewhere, for a duration of time that I decide upon and just think quietly. I now have to fight for privacy. I understand that and accept it because I live with two little people that have absolutely no need or desire for anyone's privacy, including their own.

I wonder how we evolve into beings that seek privacy. Aaron and Adrian don't ever seem to need it so its not a need we're born with. Mike had an insightful post on dogs yesterday. Several of the points describe the behavior of young children and in a very high level and simplistic way, you can say that kids (and dogs) love people and life, without restraint. And maybe, its because they have such a passion for everything and everyone around them that they don't have a need for privacy and can't understand why the (worn out) grown ups do.

One of the most obvious of private spaces is a person's room. Adrian is still sleeping in a cot in our room because its easier for me throughout the night. However, I do have (distant) plans on moving him in with Aaron.

I like the idea of the two of them sharing a room and one day, I thought I'd test what Aaron's reaction might be. He surprised me. I thought he would be protective of his space, his toys and HIS things in general. But instead, he became very excited. When we talked about re-arranging his room to include another bed for Adrian, Aaron looked at me and said "What for? Can't he just sleep on my bed with me? I'll sleep on the outside so he won't fall off."

I'm sure that one day, probably not too long from now, he's going to not only want his own bed but his own room (and then his own house!). But isn't it refreshing to see such openness and a complete lack of the need for personal space? My brother and I shared a room until we were 8 and 10 even though we fought like crazy when we were kids. We also had plenty of good laughs of course. While the need for privacy isn't all that strong, I think its a good thing for siblings to be in each others faces and lives for a few short years. When they do grow to have that need for privacy, I'll respect it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Miss Palembang!

I can't believe it! It has been a year since we left Palembang and moved here to Brisbane.

For some reason, I had the date as 24 September in my head and was waiting for today to do a post on Palembang. It wasn't until I checked back to my post last September that I realized I was four days late!

Anyway, Palembang...

Aaron and I actually miss the place a lot and talk about it all the time. Aaron misses it a bit more than me though. He actually wants us to move back there. I don't think I would want to move there but I have been thinking about going back for a visit since the day we left!

Previously, AirAsia had extremely cheap daily flights from Kuala Lumpur. I always thought that I would hop on a plane and spend the weekend in Palembang whenever I happened to be in Malaysia. Unfortunately, and very puzzlingly, AirAsia has stopped that flight. It used to be a full flight, both ways! Needless to say, I was crushed when I heard that it going to be a lot more expensive and troublesome to get to there now.

For dinner tonight, I made our favorite food from Palembang, Perkedels, and we reminisced. I remember one particularly hot day, about three months into our stay there when I threw a huge and childish tantrum about how I hated the place. Who knew that I would grow to like it so much? Unless I tell myself to think of the things I didn't like about the place, I've completely forgotten about the heat, mosquitoes, blackouts, dirty water, dusty roads, hazy days, crowded shopping centers and Richard's five and a half day work weeks.

The easy memories are all good ones. Our two very helpful drivers and their huge smiles. Afternoons spent exploring the city on Angkots. Aaron having a very basic, yet rich toddlerhood there. Walking around the neighborhood in the mornings and evenings and chatting with all the neighbors. The Singaporean family we made friends with whom we spent many enjoyable weekends. (F, B & K, we miss you all!) Ooooh....and my weekly foot reflexology. So many good memories. Y'know, I even miss speaking in my broken Indonesian!

We tried to make an impact on the people's lives there but in the end, it was the people of Palembang that enriched our lives so greatly.

I miss Palembang! I need to go back for a visit some time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Saying "Thank You" For Compliments

A long time ago, I read something about always complimenting a person genuinely. For example, if you meet someone and you genuinely think they're shoes look good, then tell them. This will (probably) please the person and in turn, you'll get some happy vibes. Anyway, its all for the feel good factor. However, don't pick just anything and compliment the person falsely.

So I do that. I like complimenting people and I am always genuine about it.

The problem is that I'm terrible at accepting compliments. I know that the proper response would be a simple 'Thank You' but somehow, I feel the need to go on. I'm pretty sure there are many people out there like this too. Its as if receiving the compliment would somehow mean that you were a proud or boastful person.

For example....

... When we went for a trial Chinese class for Aaron, another parent remarked that Aaron was very well behaved and was concentrating very well. Immediately, I said that he was cheeky and it was only because the environment was unfamiliar that he was sitting and behaving.

... A lady passed me on the escalators and said that the sling I was carrying Adrian in was very pretty. I said "Thank you, its something simple for doing the shopping. Keeps my hands free." She was lucky her escalator was moving in the opposite direction and I couldn't continue any more.

... Old ladies often come up to say hello to Adrian and tell me what a beautiful baby he is. I have been known to point out that he's got drool all down his chin and snot around his nose. Why do I do that???

I always immediately kick myself and think 'Next time, "Thank You"'. Its hard. I wonder if it is to do with my upbringing. If so, I might be damning Aaron to the same fate. He has been (innocently) going around saying that he's clever. My fault for saying 'Clever Boy' over the past four years. And now, I'm probably confusing him because I have been telling him that he mustn't think of himself that way and he definitely must not be telling other people how smart he is. It is up to other people to decide if he's clever or not.

Yet, thats not quite right either because we all need some sort of self worth/confidence. How do you explain it to a four year old? If you feel you're clever, you can think it, but you can't say it. So maybe, it is here that the way we accept compliments gets screwed up. If you can't say you're clever, maybe you shouldn't admit to being clever even if somebody else says you are. Confusing!

Keep things simple. If somebody says something nice to you, just say "Thank You".

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Modern Cloth Nappies

Look at the time! I've been so distracted looking at Modern Cloth Nappies that I haven't even done my blogging rounds yet. We're running low on the disposable kind and right now, I can't seem to find them on sale anywhere. The last time I bought some, they worked out to be $0.34 each but today, they're all up around the $0.42 mark. $0.08 doesn't sound like a lot but when you know you can get something cheaper, you want to get it cheaper.

We actually use cloth nappies during the day time and disposable ones at night and when we go out. I have a stack of Old Fashioned (now called pre-fold) cloth nappies from Aaron and just naturally used them for Adrian. I know many of my regular readers are men so, for your information, Modern Cloth Nappies are cloth ones that have been sewn up with snap ons or velcro and you put them on just like disposable nappies. They have elasticized legs as well to keep things contained. And of course, they come in lots of funky colors.

So, if we count just replacing all the night time use with a cloth nappy, I would save anywhere between $124 and $211 a year. Doesn't sound like a lot does it? The Modern Cloth Nappy is going to cost me something like $30 each and I think I'll need at least two. I might end up saving roughly $300 from now until Adrian is toilet trained. It may not save all that much in the big scheme of things but there would also be the other benefit of saving the environment. Did you know that they take up to 500 years to decompose?!

So, my final verdict on Modern Cloth Nappies is that we'll give it a go.

This might be more than you need to know about nappies but let me tell you, after 'sleep', 'nappies' are the number two thought in my head when it comes to the things I need to do for the baby. 'Food' is only number three. Look at that order of things: Rest, Output and then Input.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Snail Mail

When we lived in Palembang, we hardly got any snail mail. In fact, I can probably count the number of times we received anything right here: Once from a friend in Shanghai, once from a friend in Malaysia and (I think) twice from Bilbo. That was during the entire two and a half years we lived there!

Ever since we moved to Brisbane, Aaron has become the mail boy. Every morning and afternoon, he excitedly makes the trip to the mailbox to see if there is anything there. There usually is, which excites him even more because he hopes there is something for him.

I felt sorry for him and foolishly, placed a CD with a pretend letter from Jurassic Joe in the mailbox for him one day. That made him think that he would automatically receive mail, if not all the time, then at least sometimes. Anyway, I've corrected that and he now understands that apart from things like bills and junk mail, he'll need to send his friends a letter and then hope that they'll write back.

Well, we've started our letter writing adventures. By 'started', I mean that we wrote and posted two letters last Friday. And of course, he checked the mailbox on Saturday AND Sunday hoping that he would get a reply! I just hope that he'll get at least one reply from one of his friends some day soon. What if they don't write back??

I had thought of teaching him about email but the instant gratification of it would have killed off any desire to send snail mail so, I've left that for another day (or year).

The other thing I wonder about is if boys are big on letter writing in the first place. I know that from the time I was eight years old, I exchanged letters with my girl friends almost every other week. This continued until I was about seventeen or eighteen and we all discovered emails and IRC. As I was saying, the letters were mostly with girls. The only mail I received from the guys were from those who sent the soppy Valentine's Day type of letter. Not exactly what I'm hoping for Aaron right now.

Anyhow, we'll see how things go. I just had a new idea to give him a better idea of how the postal system works. We'll send a letter to ourselves tomorrow!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amber Teething Necklace

Well, I finally caved and bought something for the baby that I initially thought was just hype. I got Adrian an Amber Teething Necklace.

After the last round of fevers, runny nose, drooling and his sudden transformation into a puppy I have been back and forth about getting one of these. Supposedly, this is a traditional, centuries old, European way of dealing with a baby's teething issues. Here's how one of the many websites describes it :

The skin's warmth releases healing oils from the amber, a resin, which is absorbed into the bloodstream. What does the amber do? It reduces red inflamed cheeks and stimulates the thyroid glands to reduce drooling. Amber is associated with sunlight and warmth and reputed to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, accelerates the healing of wounds, reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach infections and respiratory disease. There are no tablets, medications or pastes that can compete with this amber teething necklace, the necklace is unique and has amazing results which are all natural.

Well, the necklace arrived yesterday afternoon and co-incidentally, I think Adrian started another round of teething last night. After several rounds of him waking up screaming, I thought that perhaps it was the necklace (which I wound round his ankle) that was bugging him and I took it off. Yes, I paid good money for it to help with the teething and then had no faith and took it off.

I put it back on in the morning and its been on the whole day. He does seem to be drooling less but he hasn't stopped chewing on things. Maybe it takes time to work.

I didn't hear about these when Aaron was teething but if you Google 'traditional teething relief' now, amber teething necklaces are almost the only results you get. Their uses aren't confined to teething babies either. Supposedly, they help with boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, accelerating wound healing, reducing inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach and assists with respiratory infection. Hmmm.......

Of course, there hasn't been any clinical trials carried out here but there is the wisdom of the ages and some scientific research. I got this from Modern Little Munchkins:

The active ingredient in amber is succinic acid, which was analysed by the pioneer of modern bacteriology, Nobel-prize winner Robert Koch (1886), who confirmed its positive influence. Recent scientific research has confirmed that succinic acid has a very positive influence on the human organism.

In the 1930s and 40s, European biochemists discovered that succinic acid is an amino acid created naturally in every cell of the body capable of aerobic respiration, participating in the citric acid, or Krebs cycle. This is how carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are metabolized into energy. A powerful antioxidant that helps fight toxic free radicals and disruptions of the cardiac rhythm, succinic acid has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery and bolster the immune system. It also helps compensate for energy drain in the body and brain, boosting awareness, concentration and reflexes, and reducing stress.

Interestingly, in Austria, Switzerland and Germany amber bracelets and necklaces are sold in local pharmacies.

So, I guess we'll wait and see if there is any noticeable difference. Bilbo, did you notice them in the pharmacies in Germany?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm A Shoemaker (sort of)

Look what I found the time to do :

Its good to be sewing again. I took my time with this (two nights) and tried to do everything as neatly as I could. It wasn't a very complicated pattern at all but all the curves in it were tricky enough to cause me and my rudimentary skills several rounds of unpicking and re-sewing.

Adrian goes about his exploration as if there weren't a cute pair of shoes on his feet but I'm very pleased with the results. He wouldn't even hold still for me to get a good shot of the shoes in action. This is the best I could get :

Alright, now I'm going to go make more shoes to match all his outfits :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Say 'No' To Comparisons

There has been something gnawing at the back of my mind recently. Yes, Adrian does it (he chews on everything) but there is also something else.

I have been thinking that people compare babies too easily and frequently. There is a real consciousness about not comparing children and many adults are aware that they should avoid comparing themselves with others but with babies, it comes very easily. I do it all the time.

This morning, I was at a babies rhyme time at the library. Adrian was the only baby there drooling and chewing on everything in sight. The other babies were of a similar age but they all seemed to have their teething issues under control. It made me a little uncomfortable but when I step back and think about it, why should I feel uncomfortable. Its poor Adrian that is feeling the discomfort and he's just trying to make himself feel better.

Then of course, you have the people that do direct comparisons of their baby and yours. That, I find annoying.

The other type of comparison is of course between siblings. Everyone knows this is a terrible thing to do and I certainly don't plan on doing it. But I think I need to go a step further.

I find myself having conversations within earshot of Aaron where I've talked about what he did or didn't do when he was Adrian's age. They are just observations but I do wonder what the effect on Aaron is. For example, he has started to chew on things too.

So, from now on, if we're talking about Adrian, its just going to be about him. A new conversation will have to be started if we talk about Aaron. Actually, we've always tried not to talk about Aaron in front of him but, we often forget. Especially since Adrian came into the picture.

If you ever catch me comparing them here on my blog, send me the link to this post.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What do abusive relationships and I have in common?

We were on a bus yesterday and I noticed this advertisement. I can't remember all the details but it was something like this :

Are you in an abusive relationship?

* Does he tell you what you wear?
* Does he monitor your phone calls?
* Does he tell you who you can meet and where you can go?
* Does he control what you can spend on?


I know the advertisement is addressing a very serious issue and there are people out there who need help. But, I had to laugh at it. I don't think a day passes that I don't do at least one of those things to Richard. Yet I certainly don't think that I have been abusing him.

Take his clothes for example. Just last week, I begged him not to wear a beige colored older-man style jacket out. He didn't listen then but when we went to church on Sunday and he saw a man in his 80s wearing something similar, he came home and put his jacket away. And, he thanked me.

And his phone calls? I'm always asking "Who was that? What did he want?". If somebody calls three times in one morning then I'll surely ask why. Its just curiosity, right?

Who we see and where we go? We rarely go out individually and usually go everywhere as a family. Family as in the both of us and the two needy dependents. So of course I need to know what kind of people we're meeting and what sort of place we're going to. I admit, I do feel a bit stung if Richard says he wants to go somewhere that he knows we won't be able to take the kids to. Thats because it means that I have to stay home to look after them.

Ah, spending. Well, we've been married 10 years. Richard insists that I be the financial controller. I'm not kidding! He has an ulterior motive to this though. If I'm the controller, then he always has a reason not to spend too much money on me. Yeah, its to save me from extravagant gifts. So, since I'm the controller, I have the right to tell him that he doesn't need a new $800 mountain bike.

I'm sure the line between an abusive relationship and a marriage is not a fine one but those same questions seem so normal my daily life.

OMG! A new thought just entered my mind. I have become a NAGGING WIFE! I'm only thirty four EEK! Better cut back...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Palembang United

I love looking at Aaron in this shirt. Manchester United is Richard's favorite football team and we got these PALEMBANG United T-shirts for the both of them just before we left.

At first glance, it looks just like the Manchester United emblem, right? But when you look closely, you'll see the famous Ampera Bridge there. And of course the word 'Palembang'.

He wore the shirt to a free soccer class for little ones today. I think this is a Brisbane City Council sponsored event and has been happening every Monday for the past few weeks.

The class was very imaginative and used lots of fun games to get the kids dribbling around the park. They played statues and there were plenty of hilarious poses from the kids but my battery was flat by then.

I'm not a big soccer fan at all. For me, its right there next to golf as the last things I want to watch. And yet, its a whole different game when you watch your own son with the ball. They aren't even playing any games yet!

p.s. Did you pick him out in the group shots? He took his hat off so look for the boy in the white T-shirt. I should have taken a video...he was gooood.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happily Every Afters

Aaron and I have been reading quite a few fairy tales recently. As a grown up, I'm now wondering why these stories with plots involving theft/manslaughter (Jack and the Beanstalk), murder (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and kidnapping (Hansel and Gretel) are such old favorites. Perhaps its because there sometimes is a moral to be learned at the end. However, these stories are usually told to young children that don't question the behavior and so the grown ups may not need to address the darker themes. The happily-ever-afters at the end resolve any of the tensions that a child might feel.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not keeping Aaron away from fairy tales. We love them! When I'm in the mood, I do try to talk about whats right or wrong in the stories.

The one that I seem to have most issues with is actually 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. The beans led Jack to the giant's home. He then broke into the home, stole from the giant and in the end killed him! Is that not a violent story? Jack and his mother may have lived happily ever after but what about the giant's wife?

As a child, my favorite was 'The Princess and the Pea'. I have no idea why. Maybe it was the easiest way to marry a prince. The other ways involved lots of hard work and a fairy godmother (Cinderella), dying (Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) or kissing a frog (The Frog Prince).

Two of my least favorite ones are 'The Little Mermaid' and 'The Little Match Girl'. The Disney version of 'The Little Mermaid' has a happily-ever-after but thirty years ago, my little Ladybird book had the mermaid going up to the heavens. While I only disliked 'The Little Mermaid', because of the ending, I can honestly say that I hated the story of 'The Little Match Girl'. After the first time, I never wanted it read to me and I never read it again. A story about a little girl who died selling matches in the cold is not exactly a comforting story to go to bed with. I saw the story in a new book that somebody gave Aaron but I haven't read it to him yet.

For tonight, I'll be going to bed with the name 'Dummling' in my head. In case you've forgotten, its from 'The Golden Goose'.

Over to you now, which fairy tales did you like or dislike?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pointers To Younger Self

Right now, I think nobody loves me more than my two sons. We spent the whole day playing at home today and there were lots and lots of cuddles. If I gave Aaron a cuddle, Adrian would come crawling up for one too. If I gave Adrian a kiss, Aaron would quickly come for his one as well. Its a wonderful feeling to mean so much to these innocent little babies.

As they napped, I thought of how my approach to being a mother has evolved since Aaron was a baby. I'm definitely more laid back in my approach. I don't expect as much of myself and I don't stress about the little things as much. I sit back, watch and absorb the moment a LOT MORE.

So, here are a few pointers that if I could, I would like to send back in time, to my 30 year old self - the first time mom.

* Don't make grand plans. Life needs to be as simple as possible with kids around. There is always too much stress involved if you plan something elaborate and then try to hold yourself to it while things go awry with the kids.

* If you've done nothing all day except, feed, play and nap with the kids, there is no need to feel unproductive. You have given love, time and immeasurable amounts of patience.

* Car time is useful for sitting back and relaxing, even if you're the driver. Strap the kids in and then get in your zone. No matter how they scream, there is nothing you can do for them so you might as well take a few deep breaths.

* Spend more time just watching, observing and absorbing what the kids are doing. They are living in the moment and you definitely should too.

* Just accept the whole sleep (or lack of sleep) thing. Don't try to fix it. Enough said.

In a nutshell, I think first time mothers should be reminded to enjoy their babies. All the advise on how to schedule, feed, educate, blah blah blah will just stress a first time mom and get in the way of thoroughly enjoying these early years.

I really had a very enjoyable day and feel extremely blessed to have two healthy and happy children. No wonder they call them bundles of joy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Unexpectedly Uplifting Statements

As I've often complained here on my blog, people (family, friends and strangers alike) like to tell me that I need to get myself a daughter. People usually remark that the two boys are going to be a handful and that a daughter will be easier. More importantly, I can dress her up in pretty dresses! What they forget is that even if I decide to have another child and if it was a girl, I would still have the two sons. And, they would probably be harder to handle because I'd have even less time seeing I'd have to be shopping for all those pretty dresses for the girl.

Anyway, a lovely lady surprised me the other day. I have recently started going back to my clogging classes and on my first day back, this lady asked me where Aaron was. Previously, I brought him along to the classes but I thought he might be too distracting now. He had become very friendly with everyone and chats with them the entire time. So, I told the lady why I didn't bring Aaron along and she said these words that made my day:

"I don't like boys who behave themselves. Those who sit quietly in the corner are no fun at all."

And, she really meant it. She likes the energy that little boys bring to a place. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that she has three grown sons but whatever the reason, those simple words somehow made me feel very happy. (And somewhat proud of my cheeky son.) That affirmation amidst all the usual comments that I receive was extremely refreshing and made me feel a little less apologetic about the disruption that the two of them sometimes cause.

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Words : Mum Mum Mum Mum

Adrian is talking!

"Mum Mum Mum Mum!"

It sounds like he's calling me but he's actually asking for food. I don't know what other people's baby talk for food is but ours has been "Mum Mum". Actually, I hear it a lot in Malaysia amongst the Chinese so maybe its a Chinese thing. It mimics the way our mouths move when we chew.

Now, whenever Adrian sees me getting his food ready, he gets very excited and goes "Mum Mum Mum Mum Mum ... ". If I'm a bit slow in feeding him, he says the same thing too.

Sometimes, when we leave him on the floor to play while we have our meals, he'll quickly crawl over and yell out "Mum Mum Mum Mum ...". Its so cute! (You'll have to take my word on that.)

Elizabeth left a comment some time ago saying that "the days are long but the months are quick". This is so true. Before I know it, Adrian is going to be walking around and yelling out all kinds of other words. Just look at Aaron, he's running around and sometimes yelling out words that I'd rather he didn't yell out!

Here's the latest photo of Adrian. Meal times are always so hectic and messy that I haven't pulled out my camera yet. I really should one of these days since Adrian's first words are for food.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Superhero

Today is Father's Day in Australia. So for today, let me tell you
about mine.

Yes, my dad is a superhero (and so am I since I'm his daughter). We have super parking powers. I'm not kidding! Whenever the both of us are in the same car, we always find parking spots. It doesn't matter where we are or how crowded the place is. When we're together, we always find a spot quickly. AND, its always a good spot where we don't need to walk very far to get to wherever we're going.

I've attributed the super parking powers to the fact that my father and I are always in a good mood when we're together. If we're in the car together, we've probably spent most of the journey talking and laughing. Therefore, the car is oozing positive vibes. You've all heard about positive thinking right? When we enter a car park and start looking around for a spot all that positive energy must do something for us.

My father is the most easy going person I know. I almost want to say that he is never in a bad mood but there are some rare times when he gets cranky. I know he worries about things too but the difference between him and many other people is that he seems to be able to worry about one thing at a time. Some may say that it is because he is lucky in life but it is also his laid back attitude towards things. And the fact that he looks to have fun every day.

He has been the type of father that has taught by example and guided us without being pushy. You can probably guess that he was not the disciplinarian at home. He is the fun parent! Even today, he is the one to go to if you're looking for some junk food. I can already see that I'm much more like my mother than my father in terms of my parenting style but I hope that some of his attitudes towards life has rubbed off on me too.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hokkien Lesson : Kiasu

"Kiasu" is a very common Hokkien word that is used in Malaysia. Literally, it means "fear of losing". It doesn't just mean being a sore loser. For example, it can be used to describe people who make sure they are the first to arrive at a food festival so they won't miss out on the 'good stuff'.

Hokkien is one of the many Chinese dialects (like Cantonese). You don't need to be speaking Hokkien to use "Kiasu". It can be slotted into any English sentence so I guess its a Manglish (Malaysian English) word as well. For example, Aaron is one very kiasu four year old!

In Aaron's case, its more of being a sore loser rather than being one of those Loser people who annoy other people. I can remember being a little kiasu when I was a child but he seems to find it much, much harder to lose than I can remember.

I noticed this behavior awhile back when I taught him how to play Tic Tac Toe. He tried his best to first, cheat, and then when I explained that was wrong, he tried to sweet talk me into making my moves according to where he pointed. Finally, he just refused to play. Since then I have consciously tried to play more games with him. The other day, when we played a game involving dice, he tried to place it with the 6 facing up whenever I turned around to take a look at Adrian! And today, with Snakes and Ladders, he conveniently side stepped all the snakes! Cheeky little guy!

I guess its a natural part of growing up and some people just feel the need to win a little more acutely than others. I think its good to be competitive but we also need to learn how to lose gracefully. Sometimes I know I find it hard to lose but I'm old enough to know how to hide it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Occupation And A Little More On Air Travel

Ever since I stopped working, I always have trouble filling in the "Occupation" field in forms. Why do people always need to know what you do anyway? Or if you do anything at all? I have a strong dislike for the word "housewife". I don't have an issue with the role but I just don't think its a nice word. So, I usually put down the marginally better "homemaker". Sometimes I'd put "unemployed" just to be different.

I was opening a new bank account today but instead of filling in a paper form, the bank guy was filling out my details on the computer. When it came to the "Occupation" question, I just mumbled off "homemaker" but he said it wasn't an option in his drop down selection. "Housewife" wasn't there either. After looking around, the guy found "Domestic Duties". So they've came up with an alternative to "housewife" and "homemaker" but it wasn't any better. That title could apply to maids and cleaners too. In this day of inflated titles, why did they DE-flate mine? Is it so far fetched to put down "Operations Manager - Home" in that drop down selection?

Anyway, such is life. Now, back to the topic of travel! Take a look at this! The latest addition to Singapore's Changi Airport is a humongous slide. It is supposedly the worlds tallest slide and is targeted at bored adult travelers! Standing four storeys tall, it shoots you down as fast as 6 meters per second.

So, most adults would prefer not to be seated with kids but would perhaps like to play like little kids to relieve their boredom during long transit times. Hmmmmm.....

It sounds like a lot of fun but the article says that it costs $25 for two rides. Thats a bit steep and I'm not sure I'd pay up for those few seconds of fun.

Anyway, I get plenty of entertainment people watching at airports. And back in the good old days where I didn't travel with a constantly chatting little boy, it was also the time I did all my day dreaming. I used to feel guilty sitting around day dreaming in my normal days at work or at home because that would be classified as a waste of time. But at an airport, what else is there to do?