Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

Aaron and Adrian really crack me up sometimes. And very often, its when they've done something naughty that I need to laugh, but can't.

Aaron was in the bathroom today when Adrian went in to see what was going on. After awhile, I heard some brotherly giggling and things seemed fun but relatively calm for awhile. I was right outside where they couldn't see me and I felt very contented listening to them.

Slowly, the giggling built up to laughing and then I heard Aaron cackling hysterically. Time for me to go check on them - I wish I had a photo of what I saw.

Both of them were standing around the toilet. Adrian had both hands on the toilet seat and was peering in. Aaron, minus his shorts, had a toilet brush in one hand and a new roll of toilet paper in the other. He said that Adrian had tried to throw the toilet paper into the toilet and he rescued it. By this time, Adrian was trying to put his hands down the toilet again and I went to move him out of the bathroom.

When I go back into the bathroom, I see Aaron reach for the flush again. The entire toilet roll is now down the toilet again. Aaron has been stabbing at it with the toilet brush and its starting to fall to bits but not broken up enough to actually get flushed.

I'm sure all this happened in two minutes and I couldn't help laughing about it. Whats the point in getting angry and carrying on about it in a serious way? Maybe Aaron should have known better or maybe, he really didn't. I still explained everything and managed to get him to stick his hand down the toilet to scoop out the toilet roll mush. Everything was good in the end, nobody was crying or sulking and we all had a good laugh.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm Surrounded By Germs AGAIN

This is the last week of Aaron's school term and we're having a round of colds going through the house. I hope its true that all this exposure is building his immunity! One parent mentioned a scary fact that at Aaron's age, the average was a cold every six weeks. That sounded terrible until I realized that Aaron just had two in the past six weeks.

Each time Aaron gets a cold, Adrian is guaranteed of one. And then I live in fear that I'll be next. My favourite line of defence at the moment is echinacea but we need to do more. Maybe some new games on washing hands and not touching our faces is needed. We need to do something!

I just can't believe that we're dealing with colds again today. Its becoming a constant in this house. I don't remember having this many colds when I was growing up. A doctor last year mentioned that Aaron had extremely inflamed tonsils that wont shrink back to their normal size and act as magnets for germs instead. That was when he was getting a cold every two weeks. But, after a few sessions at the osteopath, he was clear for about six months - till we started kindy. I guess we'll be visiting the osteopath again.

And, do you keep a child home until they're absolutely healthy again? That would be the ideal case if you didn't want to pass it onto some other family. But obviously other people are going to school with colds. I know that when I was in high school, I didn't get to stay home unless I couldn't get out of bed - and lets be honest, how often does that genuinely happen with a cold?

Alright, I'm off to war now. Adrian already has it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleeping is Hard Work

My previous discussions on sleep have all been about babies and how they don't sleep. Well, today its about me and me not sleeping.

I know that I probably don't get enough sleep. Thankfully, I don't particularly like sleeping because there is not enough time in each of my days to do things like read, sew, surf the internet and yes, watch TV. Unfortunately, I also know that healthy sleep habits are required for a healthy body, healthy mind etc etc etc. So, I want to sleep.

And, I try. I make an effort to go to cut short all the fun things I could be doing and go to bed. But, it has always been a struggle for me. It takes me anywhere between 30 minutes and 120 minutes to actually fall asleep. I've been like this for as long as I can remember and it is frustrating. Its a waste of valuable time doing absolutely nothing - not even sleeping. If I get out of bed then I have to start the whole 'going to sleep' process again, waste more time and lose even more actual time sleeping.

Breastfeeding has been my temporary solution. Its been great this past year to be able to just lie down and fall asleep. Prolactin is the hormone that makes milk and its also the body's stress fighting/relaxation hormone and I think it has been my sleeping pill. I'm an addict!

Unfortunately, Adrian has been sleeping better recently. Have you ever heard a mother complain about such a development? I don't need to feed him as much at night and sometimes, he doesn't wake at the time that I want to go to sleep. So, I just lie there, waiting to fall asleep. Sometimes I wait so long that I'll purposely go wake him up just so that I need to feed him. Crazy isn't it when the goal is supposedly to have a baby sleep 12 hours straight.

Its 11pm now and I'm hoping to go to sleep. Hopefully, he'll wake up soon and I'll just have to feed him. Good night!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

9 weeks down 550 weeks to go

I've been doing the daily chaffering of Aaron to and from school for around 9 weeks now. The novelty of it all is still around and I look forward to getting him ready each morning. It hasn't been a chore yet and I still get a thrill out of seeing him walking off to class with his little backpack.

I eagerly ask him each day what he has done but he's still very tight lipped about it all. I wish the school had a webcam that I could use to peek in on him through the day. I'm always so excited about everything that he's doing.

Its the same with any of the activities that his school organizes - and there have been quite a few in 9 short weeks! I haven't groaned that we need to make yet another trip to the school or that I need to prepare some food. It all seems so fun.

I'm in the 'honeymoon' period aren't I? I don't remember my mother being all that upbeat about taking me to school for another concert or from some fund raising activity.

In the big, long scheme of things, I'm only 1.6% of the way through Aaron's school life - rough calculation indicates that there are around 550 school weeks in his 13 years of primary and secondary school. I wonder when I'll start feeling the grind of it all.

Am I turning into one of those women who have made their children their lives? I hope that I won't suddenly feel lost in 551 weeks time. At the same time, I don't want to eventually end up being one of those grouchy mothers that always complain about spending the day driving, cooking and cleaning for their children. I want all this enthusiasm that I have now to last.

And what brought on a post like this? Well, tomorrow is the Autumnal Celebration at his class and right now, I am waiting for the agar-agar I made to set so I can top it off with some fruits. I have never even heard of 'Autumnal Celebrations' before this - I think they made it up.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Favorite Childhood TV Show

One thing led to another today and somehow, I now have the perfect follow on post from my last one. Moving on from my favorite childhood author, Roald Dahl, let me share with you my favorite TV show - Sha Na Na.

Let me just say that today was the first time I've watched them years? Richard and I laughed ourselves silly! I actually have no recollection of what they looked like (or that some of them wore gold jackets with no shirts underneath). I just remember liking the music and also that there was a guy showing off his muscles (actually, I'm now not sure what he's doing) at the end of each show. Here's the ending of one of the shows, look out for it:

And for more laughs, you must watch this. This is my favorite after a night of watching them on YouTube.

What did you watch? Did anybody else watch this?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Favorite Childhood Stories

Aaron is quite the reader at the moment. He enjoys reading as much as outdoor play or playing with his dinosaurs. And finally, he is now old enough to read some of the books that I remember enjoying. We are now reading the first of the books that I have had in my mental list of books he must read. Guess where this is from?

'Give us the recipe, O Brainy One!' cried the audience impatiently. 'Tell us the secret.'

'First,' said The Grand High Witch, 'I had to find something that vould cause the children to become very small very qvickly.'.

'And what was that?' cried the audience.

'That part vos simple,' said The Grand High Witch. 'All you have to do if you are vishing to make a child very small is to look at him through the wrrrong end of a telescope.'

'So you take the wrrong end of a telescope,' continued The Grand High Witch, 'and you boil it until it gets soft.'

OK, in case you didn't see the Grand High clue above, its from 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl. I loved that book and am enjoying it as much now as I did as a child. Aaron is also thrilled with it. He couldn't wait to find out what happened and of course kept asking me if witches were real or not. I can imagine the book being quite convincing to a 4 year old. I only read it when I was around 8 years old. Roald Dahl was my favorite author as a child. I liked all the books. The next one I want Aaron to read is 'The BFG'.

I liked all of the Roald Dahl stories because there was so much craziness weaved into every day lives about children. They were fantasy stories, yet they were not. It was all his stories that inspired me to write plenty of short stories as a child.

The other two series of books that I remember vividly are the stories of The Famous Five and The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton. What I remember of these stories is that the children went on wild adventures and solved mysteries without the help of any adults. They had the freedom to do whatever they wanted. I wanted a life like that but the furthest I ever went on my bike was to my grandmother's house in the neighboring suburb.

Roald Dahl might have been my favorite author but Enid Blyton was definitely the author that I read most of because of the sheer number of books she wrote. Some of the other stories I remember reading were about girls in boarding schools. All the midnight snacks and mischief that they got up to made me want to be shipped off too. I actually very nearly got that wish but just as I was starting to have some secret doubts about it, my parents chickened out. I shouldn't say that, they just thought that twelve was too young to be living away from them.

So back to Aaron and his reading. We're going to work our way through all of Roald Dahl's books and then I'll see if he gets into the Famous Five or Secret Seven.

What did you most enjoy reading as a child?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Relax!

Relaxing is something I have lots of trouble with. I always want to relax but very often, I don't think I reach that state.

On a whim, I booked myself in for a facial this afternoon. I haven't had my faced professionally cleaned in nearly two years and I really needed it! It was one hour of lying down, listening to some new-age type music and having somebody repeatedly clean, exfoliate and massage my face. It was peaceful in there and I might even have forgotten that I am a frazzled mother in real life.

Strangely, I felt as if my body was rejecting all the relaxation. I'd be lying there, thinking of how peaceful I was feeling when I would suddenly notice that all my fingers and toes were tense and some pointing at strange angles. It was weird. I'd relax them only to find that after awhile, my knees were locked tight. This went on the entire time. I tried to quiet my mind as well but that was even harder. The more I tried, the more it seemed to have things to think about. Maybe its a combination of a lack of practice at relaxing and enjoying calmness as well as the brain thinking that its finally got some bandwith to do some thinking that doesn't involve firefighting situations with Aaron and Adrian.

One of the things that crossed my mind was that after I had quit my job and before I became a mother, I had lots of time to myself. However, back then, I felt that I must not relax because that would be lazy and I would be wasting all the time that I had. Silly me! I should have been practicing back then. Look whats happened now, I rarely get any time to myself and when I do, I don't know how to use it to relax.

In the end, whether I was relaxed or not, I did have a great (waking) one hour of not moving, not speaking and not needing to listen. I should do this again some time....need the practice.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We've Got Another Talker

Over the past few weeks, Adrian as been using an increasing number of words. Most of them are still hard to decipher but once we've figured out what he's saying, we've noticed that he uses the same mispronounced word for that object. The strangest one by far is 'bachi' which he uses for 'tomato'.

The past week has been particularly interesting because I've had a lot more one on one time with him and it seems to have spurred him on even more. It is very gratifying to see some direct results from my time at home. We have a toy tortoise whose head comes out after pressing down some colored shapes. As we pressed through the colors, Adrian stopped at blue, said 'Boo' and then walked over to a little abacus we have near by and pointed out the blue beads and said 'Boo' again. That was a proud moment for me!

Aaron has always been a good big brother and very often tries to get Adrian to play with him. All the while, Aaron will be talking non-stop and I guess Adrian is picking up on that too. So, while it might have previously been tiring having an all-day-long talker like Aaron around, it might not be such a bad thing now that Adrian looks like he's going to be a little chatterbox too. They can just talk to each other all day long and I'll listen in. LOL!

Yes, I already expect to someday be embarrassed by something that one or both of them will say in public. Today, I did feel a little awkward but it was cute enough for me not to feel full on embarrassment. We were in a crowded market and I wanted to look around so I asked Richard to carry Adrian even though I knew that there would be a lot of protest about it. He's going through a Mama-only phase. Anyway, when Richard took him from me, Adrian was crying and screaming a little and then all of a sudden, I hear "Help Me! Mama! Help Me!" Where did he get that from? And how could I not go help him?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Am Thankful

This year is certainly shaping up to be one of natural disasters. I did spend a couple of hours watching the news last night because the images of the quake and subsequent tsunami were incredibly mesmerizing. Mother nature's raw power initially evoke thoughts of anger and fury, as if she's 'paying us back' for what we've done to the earth. But thats not true. The threat, potential and realization of these disasters have been around through the ages. Unfortunately, our modern lives have evolved in ways that maybe amplify the damage in terms of human lives and loss of livelihoods.

During the Queensland floods, we didn't get to watch any news coverage because of the power outage. When we finally could, I was glued to the TV. When the Christchurch earthquake hit, I watched a little of the news and read bits of it in the newspaper. It just seemed to sad to read about the destruction and emotional turmoil that all these people were thrown into. And now with this latest quake in Japan, I was particularly interested in the footage of the tsunami because its the first time I've seen what they mean by a 'wall of water'. (Somehow, I didn't see any of it during the Indonesian quake in 2004).

Stories of survivors are always uplifting but they're always accompanied by stories of the many more that have died or lost loved ones. I've managed to get in touch with some of my friends in Japan but there is still one more I haven't heard from. Thankfully, they all life in Tokyo. I find myself not wanting to watch all the details of what is happening on the ground level in Japan now. A quick glance of the headlines this morning to know that they now have the threat of a radiation leak and a death toll of potentially over 1000 is depressing enough.

Instead, I am reminded today of how thankful I need to be of all that I have. The family that I have, the house that we live in, the money that we have to pay for food and education, the relative stability of the country we live in and overall, the general contentment and lack of serious worries in my life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Is Going On In That Little Head?!

We've had a new development today. The problem is that I can't decide if its an extension of belly button exploration or he's imitating Aaron who often tries to hook things to the side of his shorts to act as a scabbard.

Look at the satisfaction on his face when he finally got it right.

He was having so much fun with that toy xylophone until he discovered this other use for the sticks. *sigh* At least I'll know to look whenever there isn't any 'music' happening.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Body Types Renamed

Just last week, a friend and I were having a discussion about ourselves being apples and pears. As of now, the underwear giant, Triumph, is trying to re-label women according to famous artists. So, technically, if I was previously a pear, I'm now Botticelli. Unfortunately, the famous Botticelli celebrity is Beyonce and well.....I don't exactly look like that. I might be more of a Da Vinci these days but then, I'm no Jennifer Aniston either.

The move to re-label came after a survey found that women weren't happy with their curves being described in terms of fruits. The fruits were self deprecating but the artists are meant to lift one's self esteem. Strangely, it was easier to label myself when it was less positive. Its not that I liked calling myself a pear or banana or whatever but it was easier to say than "Hey, I've got a body like Beyonce/Jenifer Aniston!"

Anyway, here are the new definitions:


Used to be: Inverted triangle
Shape: Bigger up top with broad shoulders and/or buxom bust and a comparatively smaller waist and hips
Celebrity: Libby Tricket


Used to be: Apple
Shape: Well-proportioned and carry weight around the midsection
Celebrity: Susannah Constantine (Trinny and Susannah)

Used to be: Banana or straight
Shape: Features classic lines, pretty much straight up and down, giving an elegant form
Celebrity: Jennifer Aniston

Used to be: Pear
Shape: Bottom heavy, bigger around the hips and bottom than the bust region
Celebrity: Beyonce

Used to be: Hourglass
Shape: A smaller waist with a fuller bust and bottom.
Celebrity: Scarlett Johansson

Shape: Narrow shoulders and hips, you may have a wider midriff and carry some weight in your upper legs
Celebrity: Kate Winslet

Here's the newsclip. Watch to the end for some new artists...

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Wisdom of Children

We all know that children often say what they are thinking and its sometimes funny, sometimes insightful and usually unpredictable. I got this list from the back of the parish newsletter - how did they expect me to pay full attention with such funny reading material?!

A teacher presented the class with a list of the beginnings of well-known proverbs and asked the children to complete each of them.

Better to be safe than...Punch a fifth grader.

Where there is smoke, there's...pollution.

Two's company, three's...the Musketeers.

Happy the bride who...gets all the presents.

The pen is mightier than the...pigs.

If you lie down with the dogs, you'll...stink in the morning.

As you shall make your bed, so shall you...mess it up.

It is always darkest before...daylight saving time.

Don't bite the hand that...looks dirty.

A miss is as good as

You can't teach an old dog new...maths.

A penny saved is...not much.

Children should be seen and not...spanked or grounded.

When the blind lead the blind...get out of the way.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fast life or Slow life?

Do you all remember back to the time when I lived in Palembang? I was a really diligent blogger - everyday except for Saturdays. (I probably had a lot more readers then too.) I also used to complain quite a bit about how routine our lives were over there with nothing much to do and nowhere to go. Life moved at a very slow and steady pace.

Its quite the opposite here in Brisbane, especially over the past six weeks. Ordinarily, there are already lots of outings that we plan and don't plan. Its easy to jump in the car and go out somewhere if things were a little slow at home.

Since the end of January, I've had an old friend staying here with us. We've known each other for close to 25 years so she's more like family than a friend. Before she got here, I asked her how long she was staying and her answer was always "Until you kick me out." My response to that was that the noise in this house would drive her away automatically. In any case, she lasted six fun weeks and I think got a good look at what day-to-day motherhood is about.

I had a good time with her around. An extra person in the house to talk to during the day makes a lot of difference. Unfortunately, I wasn't exactly the ideal host to show her a good night out on the town or anything like that. In fact, she only saw Brisbane by night on two occasions during her stay! Instead, we spent a lot of time cooking, sewing and driving Aaron back and forth from school.

It sounds like a very mundane time but it wasn't - not for me anyway. There was only a rough outline of routine to each day. In my mind, its sort of a fusion of her single lifestyle where things can be done on a whim and my life where the aim is usually to stick to the same routine each and every day. All that fun and laughter has just made the past six weeks disappear. Even with her gone, I know that the next few weeks are going to fly by - with or without a solid routine.

So, this is our first Sunday at home in a long time. I've been thinking of how much I hated the routine in Palembang but how tiring it can sometimes get when you don't have a routine to lean on. Life was slow in Palembang but here in Brisbane, time is moving at warp speed. I know that one place isn't better than the other place but I can't help comparing. And I like wondering which one would be the more ideal lifestyle. Slow and steady so you can enjoy each and every second. Or fast moving and unpredictable with the excitement and momentum that makes weeks disappear in seconds?

I don't think there is really a balance to be achieved either because its a little like fast forwarding, then jerking to a pause and then fast forwarding again. I'm also starting to think that I can't slow it down even if I wanted to because there is just so much to do each day. All I can do is make it a little more organized so that its not all crazy, fire fighting madness every day. So, I'm going to do some cooking for the week now.