Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Need To Rethink

As you can see, I've taken a break from blogging. Its not so much that I find my days crushingly exhausting but more because I am no longer clear about what this blog is for. When I first started it, we had just moved to Palembang, Indonesia and there was so much to share with friends and family. We had a 7 month old baby and we were living in a very foreign place. People needed to see what I was seeing.

We have two children now and we live in Brisbane, Australia. The blog says "...a place for venting, raving and mumbling in general..." However,  I don't want to vent here any more because I have developed a new loathing for people who complain and I'd hate to be one of them. I also don't want to be another one of those mummy bloggers who takes a thousand pictures a day of their genius and most beautiful children and rave about them. And mumbling...well, it would be boring if all the blog had to offer were my somewhat tangential thoughts on my day to day life.

So basically, the blog has lost its purpose and its voice. I'm am in thinking mode now....keeping my thoughts to myself until I can sort them out....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Interesting Signs

Its always fun to collect funny signs and noticeboards and I haven't really had much chance to since we moved to Brisbane. Here are a few that I've come across on this trip to Malaysia :

The local coffee shops often provide me with lots of amusing names for foods. Coffee shops in Malaysia are where smaller food vendors rent space from the main owner of the shop. The owner of the shop is usually the one who provides drinks. Depending on the size of the space, there could be as little as 2 different food stalls or as many as 20. Think of it as a mini food court. Here are two signs from the same stall.

Claypot Seafood Curry Mee. At least they were consistent with replacing all 'Ls' with 'Rs'. If you're wondering what 'mee' is, its a noodles. Maybe its derived from the Cantonese word for noodles, 'meen'.

You can't see it all that clearly because there was a table right under this sign and I didn't want to reach too far over it to take the photo. It sells Pork Curry (Wild). Its either some extremely spicy curry or they are trying to say that its Wild Boar Curry.

These next two are from a train we were in Kuala Lumpur. We accidentally walked into the Ladies Only carriage and didn't realise it until we saw this sign. Its very thorough in communicating who belongs and who doesn't. 

And here we have more, a lot more,  DON'Ts for the passengers. It took me a long time to work out the fourth one from the left just by looking at the picture. I ended up having to read it. Not sure if you can even if you make the photo big but its actually 'No Chewing Gum'. And of course, we have the 'No Indecent Behavior' one fifth from the left. 

I never thought that loan sharks would have business cards but it looks like they do. They probably have a Facebook page and Twitter account too! It has daily repayment rates on the back but there is no mention of interest rates. I suppose I'd have to ask Boy about that. 

Thats all I have for now but I'm always looking out for more. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Family Photos in Penang

I don't know about the rest of the family but I found the family photo session very interesting. The last time Richard's family was together was seven years ago and there were no grandchildren yet. Richard's father was most insistent that we go to a photo studio to get professional photos taken. I suggested that we all get dressed up and use the timer on one of the cameras instead but that wasn't going to be good enough for my father-in-law.

Instead, we went to Siow Seong Photo Studio, right in the middle of the city. This place has been around for nearly 70 years. The owner of the studio was a well known photographer in his time, Siow Seong. Although he has passed away, his wife still runs the place to keep his legacy alive. I noticed news clippings proudly displayed under the glass table top of interviews with Siow Seong Jr however, he does not work from his father's Penang studio and has made a name for himself in Kuala Lumpur instead.

I found the studio interesting because it was so old, and it looked old. I imagined how it would have been a big deal in the old days to go and have portraits or family photos taken. What we look at now as a small and old fashioned space must have once been modern and classy. The actual studio is upstairs and had a very narrow and steep staircase leading there. Unfortunately, the air conditioning unit had broken down and there was a big hole in the roof upstairs too. Its sad that the place has been neglected but also understandable that everything has a life cycle. The photographer we had was an old man too and took several photos before realising that the flash wasn't working.

Here are several photos that I took of the place :

I haven't seen the photos yet and it may or may not turn out well but we definitely have a good background story about where we took it. I know my father in law will be pleased with the outcome either way...he just wants the latest photo of his family. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Heat, Humidity and THE HAZE

After a few days in Singapore last week, we're back in Malaysia again. I was ready for the heat and humidity    and was prepared for that. Unfortunately, our visit also coincided with the annual haze season. The haze is what blows over from Indonesia's Riau province when they carry out their yearly forest clearing. Here is what the suffocating smog looked like as we were leaving Singapore.

Thankfully, it is raining in Penang, Malaysia right now. And hopefully, things will clear up over the next couple of days because we're heading to the beach on Friday.

The main purpose of our trip was to celebrate Richard's father's 75th birthday. Richard's brother is also back from the US and the kids are meeting their cousins for the first time. There is a four year old girl and one year old boy for Aaron and Adrian to play with and they have been been getting along NOISILY! Apart from countless meals with various uncles, we have been doing touristy things and trying to infuse a bit of Malaysia into these children.

There is no doubt that I am enjoying the food here. I don't miss the food when we're in Australia but when I see it here, I just have to eat, eat, eat. We barely have time to finish digesting one meal before we start stuffing ourselves with the next. And when I'm not eating, I'm thinking of what I want to eat next. For example, I think I'll have some fried carrot cake for dinner tonight. Its probably not the type of carrot cake you have in mind. I'll take a photo and put it up here another day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Accidental One Direction Styling

I'm the hair stylist in this house and I actually have a lot of fun with it. I use the clippers for Aaron but haven't tried them on Adrian yet. The scissors make me feel more.....professional.

OK. So, I am nowhere near professional but he's willing to let me practice as long as I let him watch some Thomas and Friends while I'm snipping away. 

I know who One Direction are but I have no idea what their music sounds like. I just remember them as the group of boys with funny haircuts. Take a look at the guy on the right....

And now take a look at Adrian today...with no styling mousse. We got this look through a combination of the way he slept last night and the dry windy weather we've had today. 

I must be getting trendier with my snipping too...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Permanent Home Pre-Schooler?

We're into June and Adrian is nearly three and a half years old. Most of his peers have started Cycle 1. By 'peers', I mean the toddlers that he went to the once a week,mother and child,  Montessori environment with. Cycle one is the first cycle at Aaron's school and its classes are for the 3-6 year olds. 

We chose not to start this year and have been targeting the beginning of next year. Thank goodness for that decision! As he grows older, I am often asked why he isn't in the school yet and very often, I find the other parent doesn't quite understand why I would hold my child back this way. They think I can't let go of him. (Some shake their heads and wag their fingers at me.)Whereas, I think I can give him a much richer and definitely more loving environment for the stage that he is at now, than the classroom can. Adrian is thriving at home. He doesn't miss out socially because he plays with the same kids that he would have been in class with, every day when we go pick Aaron up. And, we do get around to many similar activities as his class would have offered. 

He is cheeky but so funny to be around once I'm giving him 100% of my attention. Its always a worry if I am trying to get other things done and often, frustrating because he's making a mess at one end of the house while I'm cleaning up the other. He is playful but is also very willing to learn new things - he sees it as play.  

Lately, I've been wondering if I should start him when he turns 4. Why not when he is 4.5 years old? Thats when Aaron started and I thought that instead of a sudden burst in knowledge from being in an 'educational' environment, there might have even been a little bit of a slowdown in knowledge 'uptake' from the distraction of it all.

Why not skip the whole pre-school and kindergarten phase and just start in primary school? After all, we're not talking about a neglected child here. But no, I won't go as far as that. And its not because I think he needs to learn to socialize either. Its more for learning how to be self regulated and also carry out some independent work in an environment away from me.

So, I'd better take full advantage of the next 6-12 months because after that, he'll be off on the long (and increasingly questionable) road of 'formal education'.

p.s. I recently watched this very interesting talk by Sugata Mitra, an education researcher, about child driven education.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I've Got Some Of The Answers

I started reading Bilbo's wonderful Mothers' Day posts a few years ago but this particular part, which he includes each year, about how we think of our mothers often floats to the forefront of my thoughts. 

Age 4: Mommy can do anything!
Age 8: Mom knows a lot!
Age 12: Mother doesn't know everything.
Age 14: Mother doesn't know anything.
Age 16: Mother is so old-fashioned.
Age 18: Her? She's out of it.
Age 25: Mom might know something about that.
Age 35: Before we decide, let's ask Mom.
Age 45: What would Mom have thought about that?
Age 65: I wish I could talk that over with Mom.

With Aaron and Adrian, I think they still think I know a lot, if not everything, and can do anything, and everything at once.

The funniest question this week is from Aaron :  "How do you know who to marry?"
*sigh* Perfectly simple question isn't it? My quick-as-a-flash response was "You ask me and I'll let you know". He almost looked like he was willing to accept that as a valid answer but then I felt bad and tried to give him a reasonable one. It was long. I rambled a bit too much and as I carried on, I said things like "You have to make sure that the other person will love your parents and want to live with them when they're old"

The question I did not have a quick answer for was from Adrian : "Who is God?"
Thats a question full of traps isn't it? Jesus' father? The person who created everything? The person who looks after you? All lame answers if you ask me. I can't remember what I really said but it couldn't have been very satisfying.

And then we had this question "Why is the sky blue?"
I used to ask my mother to ask me this question! I remember it as something that I took time to learn and understand in high school. I know the answer well. Light has colours, various wavelengths, the molecules in the atmosphere scatter the light blah blah blah. Unfortunately, the entire explanation was lost on the two of them. I'll have to make it into some little project to see if I can show them what I mean and how the sky ends up blue. 

I also get questions like "Is Indiana Jones a super hero?" The answer to this one didn't seem to be well accepted at first. I said "Yes, definitely" but they said that he couldn't fly or shoot out spider webs. The rebuttal to that is that Batman can't do either of those things. That got them thinking....

Questions, questions, questions. I found this recent article with some smartypants answers I may need soon. It also had some statistics claiming that the average mother gets asked 105,000 questions a year (almost 300 a day) - more than any politician or teacher!

I know that irregular blogging has meant that I also have very few (but very loyal) readers, so posing a question may not result in many responses but I am going to do it anyway : What was the strangest question you can remember being asked and how did you answer it?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


You know what I'd like? Well, I think I would like a life that didn't swing from super packed weeks of highs to weeks of never ending lows. Yes, when I had a very routine and predictable life where one week was the same as the next and one month identical to all others, I complained about that too. We're constantly in search of perfection, right?

After a week of feeling generally disinterested in everything around me, irritable, impatient and just 'bleagh' about life, I think I've worked it out. I'm pointing my finger at endorphin addiction. Or rather, withdrawal symptoms from my mild endorphin addiction. 

My mother has been around for the past couple of months so even when Richard wasn't here, I still got to the gym and of course, clogging. Most importantly, clogging. I go for 3 hours, twice or three times a week.  I enjoy the company there, music and the challenge of it. And I thought that was what I missed when I couldn't get there. The endorphins from gym related exercise was at most 1 hour, twice a week.

My mother has left and Richard isn't around. So, there was a sudden stop in all forms exercise. I told myself that this was the time that I should focus on doing things with the kids (not that I wasn't before)....and of course keep on top of the various chores in the house.

I made my plans for Aaron and Adrian, all educational while being fun. So for the past week, we have been mostly at home, apart from school drop off/pick up but I have been trying, and failing to get anything done. Things around the house get done because there is a small sense of accomplishment when I cross chores off the list. Everything else got started but mostly ended in frustration. I would do one activity with Adrian and let him play around for the half hour by himself. I did not enjoy it and worse, I did not want to be there. 

Today, I didn't even bother trying. Instead, I spent the morning clogging at home. The cardio was addictive and I feel great now! Endorphins! Our own private narcotic stash. Why didn't I think to do this earlier?

I've had time with Adrian, done the housework and, I'm blogging! Simple as that - I just needed to do something energetic and enjoyable. It made me think of running around with Aaron and Adrian in the backyard but there is a difference - that is enjoyable in a different way. I feel I have achieved something for myself. 

Googling 'endorphins' led me to some interesting articles, mainly about "runner's high" and how "exercise, like drugs of abuse, leads to the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and dopamine, which are involved with a sense of reward." That particular article talks about a study that proved intense running and drug abuse produced similar withdrawal symptoms. There are people out there who run so much that they hurt themselves, all because of this feeling of invincibility. 

I'm not that much of an addict. I just know that clogging alone is no fun but it does help in lifting my mood significantly....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A New Grin

I'm feeling a little nostalgic this weekend and have gone through some of Aaron's baby photos.

I looked through a lot of them but the specific photo I was looking for is this one of Aaron's two front teeth when they first started to show. The photo was taken on 21 May, 2007, thats almost exactly six years ago.

During dinner last night, the right front tooth fell out. Here is his new look...

We were at a Turkish Restaurant and had just started on some bread when Aaron showed me his napkin, dotted with blood. I tried to discretely take a look at what was going on and asked him if it was about to fall off. Nope. Needed more wiggling which he started to do right there so Richard took him somewhere less conspicuous. A few minutes later, he came back with the tooth still there. One bite later and he spat it out.

Two seconds later, the couple at the table next to us left. They looked like they had only finished two thirds of their meal. Was it us?? I didn't think Aaron was too gross and honestly, I did the best I could with a tooth that just had to come out at that time.

Aaron looks cute but a little strange. He sounds very funny and we've been laughing at all his jokes because of how his words now sound. As a result, we're getting even more jokes from him.

More photos of that new grin....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Labour pains for men!

I've just watched, and re-watched, this very amusing video.

I think it would be great if all fathers could experience that, y'know, just to make it fair. But, I can't decide if they should do it before or after the mothers go into labor.

If they go first, they'll know exactly what the mothers are going through but they might also scare the mothers into c-sections. And if they go after, then they won't be able to empathize to the full extent during actual labour. Or maybe, they the mother should be able to activate a contraction on the father whenever he doesn't pull his weight in terms of parenting!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The 'Boxing Day' of Mothers' Day

I listen to the radio whenever I'm in the car and today, it was all about Mothers' Day. Almost every program from the breakfast one to the 10pm one had something to say about it. The phrase 'Boxing Day' of Mothers' Day was from one of them. Its wasn't just the radio that was still running on yesterday's mood. Almost everybody I met had something to say about it.

Our family has always acknowledged the day with small gifts (usually of the crafty sort) and a meal out but it hasn't been made a big deal of in the past. This year wasn't any different. I gave my mother a present and we all went out for a meal but other than that, it was a very ordinary Sunday. Unfortunately, I felt it was a little too ordinary. Aaron had made big proclamations on Saturday night as to what he would be doing but when Sunday rolled up, he had forgotten it all and I was woken up at 6.30am to sort out some dispute or other. That was followed by an absolutely normal day of the usual behavior (whining, bickering, making up and then whining again). I know they both love me but I really thought that Aaron was old enough to make a little bit more of an effort. Never mind, I knew this would be a mostly thankless job.

This morning, I woke up to a very pleasant surprise.

Aaron had already brushed his teeth, changed into his clothes for school, made his bed and was about to start making his own lunch. I usually have to ask him a million times to do the first three things and it has never occurred to him to make his own lunch before (no wonder a checklist was needed!). He said that he wanted to help out today so I wouldn't get so tired. Well, that was the perfect thing to say to have me make him an extra special lunch.

I feel a bit guilty of expecting him to behave differently on Mothers Day. These small, sincere and unprompted actions are much more cherished.

Monday, April 29, 2013

First School Camp

I wonder what Aaron is doing? Did he like his lunch? Did he get room mates that were close friends? Will he know how to keep his stuff organised? Has he thought of me? Or any other member of his family?

Aaron left for a 3 day/2 night school camp this morning. They've gone to the Ewan Maddock Dam, about an hour from Brisbane. Although he transitioned to this class in time for last year's camp, he wasn't ready and didn't go. This year, while I wouldn't say that he has been excited about it, he has been planning for it. We got the packing list a few weeks ago and he was keen to get everything we needed. He started packing his bags last Friday night and was constantly reviewing the checklist. Occasionally, he'd give me a little hint of what worried him but they were all issues that were easily resolved. Things like "What if they don't have rice?" and "What if I can't dry my hair properly?" 

There was no drama or last minute panic this morning. In fact, it was very much like any other school day at home in the morning. We got there at the usual time and after dropping off their bags in front of the bus, the kids went to their classrooms as normal. The teachers tried to tell us that its better if we left so that the children didn't have last minute change of hearts and also so that the children whose parents weren't around, wouldn't feel sad about it. BUT, there were quite a few parents hanging around so, we stayed too. 

Aaron gave us a few enthusiastic waves good bye as the bus pulled away but other than that, he never even looked at us. 

The teachers all had very anxious looks on their faces as they got the children ready. I would too if I had to be responsible for a group of 6-9 year olds over two nights! They were all assigned places on the bus so there was no squabbling over who sat where. I think its going to be the same with the rooms too.

Aaron's class was on the second bus. You can see them in the photo below, watching, as the first bus pulled away. Richard took the photo while I was under the trees in the background of the photo. Some of their little faces looked very serious. I think they suddenly realized that they really were going to go away and there was no turning back now.

Meanwhile, the group of mothers I was standing with were full of mixed feelings. All their 'little babies' going off to be without them for three days. I remember thinking that one day I'll be waving him off at an airport and he'll be gone for much longer than 2 nights.

I don't exactly miss Aaron or worry about him because I trust the teachers. I do wonder if he feels as insecure as I did when I went on my first school camp when I was 11 years old. Maybe going when you're younger means that you have less expectations of yourself and others and don't know how to feel insecure yet. Hopefully, he'll remember enough of what happened so I can get a good idea of what he got up to. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


We're only at the start of autumn over here so the weather in 'sunny' Queensland is still warm on most days. There have been a few sunny days this week but we've also had thunderstorms in the evenings. Today was one of those sunny days but we chose to get frozen in an ice skating rink instead.

I was alone with the two boys in the rink and was worried that I would have to deal with two whiny brats that wanted to go home because they couldn't get the hang of it. My mother came along as backup in case I had to hand one off to her to sit down.

Aaron did very well and was soon skate/walking along without holding on to the sides. Adrian had a frame that he pushed along and he was doing ok too except that he wanted to sit down and have a snack after every loop around. Eventually, he just sat out and spied on us through his Spy-O-Scope. (I asked if it was a telescope and he said "No, its a Spy-O-Scope").

I had a very enjoyable afternoon with the two of them and hopefully, we'll get to go back again soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Things We Get Up To During The Holidays

Aaron has been on school holidays this week. This means that I've been on holidays too. I've been sleeping in past 8am on a few mornings, letting the house get messier than usual and we've been having some junky meals. I had plans to take them to the beach but we have had showers every days and it looks like thats going to continue until the end of the holidays.

Aaron's first priority was to get to the library. That was easily done and he has an entire shelf full of 'new' books to read. So, he's more than happy to stay at home. He's not a bookworm for the whole day and the rest of the time, he and Adrian are making lots of noise. Yesterday, they wanted to be pirates and I got a whole day of  'Aaaargh me hearties!' and other similar phrases that they imagined pirates would use. Adrian is a superhero pirate with a cape.

His other request was to go to Orleigh Park in West End and thats where we were this morning. Its a great park with giant sized bugs, worms, frogs and something that looks a little like an eggplant.

So other than the trip to the library and the park, we've been home for a lot of the time. Aaron has also been helping out a lot around the house. Yesterday, he hung up the entire load of laundry, by himself. I was definitely impressed. Today, he helped my father clean up some sugar cane.

I hope we wake up and see some sunshine tomorrow. Then maybe we can try to make it to the beach.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Irrational Fears

I've mentioned before that my days are very hectic and I'm usually on the go from morning to night. You would think that I wouldn't have any time left over to worry about trivial things right? Wrong. I don't know why I do it but I have a constant stream of irrational anxieties. As soon as I put one to bed, I find another one to obsess over. 

Several months ago, I found a couple of grey hairs. I obsessed about this and was constantly looking for more. So of course, there were more. Eventually, I convinced myself that this was the start of me going grey and I would achieve a whole head of them within the next few months.

That crazy notion was taken over by another hair related one. I started using one of those vacuum robots and it picked up a lot of hair around the house. I was now going bald! Once again, the more I looked, the more hairs I saw everywhere. I just looked up the word for the irrational fear of going bald - Phalacrophobia.

So the crazy Phalacrophobia carried on for a few weeks until Aaron, Adrian and Richard went for their 6 monthly dental visits. Richard had to have several treatments and we found out that Adrian has something called hypoplasia which causes his teeth to chip very easily. And he needed fillings too! So in comes my honondasdontiaphobia - fear of losing teeth. From the moment they came home with those issues, I started to think that I needed fillings in my teeth. I rang for an appointment but I wasn't due for another month and the health fund wasn't going to cover the checkup and clean prior to 6 months. I had 4 weeks to wait! I imagined that the cavities in my teeth were growing by the day and by the time I had my visit, the dentist would tell me that I had to have at least two teeth extracted. I'm not kidding when I say I started to feel shooting (mild) pain in my teeth every so often. My tongue was constantly prodding what I thought were holes. 

The dentist finally rang yesterday to say I was due for an appointment so I went in straight away. I actually had butterflies in my stomach as I waited for my turn. Guess what?! Absolutely nothing wrong. They didn't even need to spend a lot of time cleaning my teeth. 

Since the dental appointment, I've had some fleeting thoughts about how my pants seem to be tighter than they used to be but that little worry has been taken over by something else now. This morning, Adrian work up with a cold and now, 6 hours later, I think I feel the start of a sore throat and any minute now, I'm going to need to blow my nose.

Its crazy, and its annoying. Thankfully, I don't annoy anybody else with it. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Balloon Twisting

This Easter long weekend has turned out to be very enjoyable for everybody. We took Aaron and Adrian to to the Festival of Sails on Friday. This was a sort of carnival that coincides with the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. There were countless market stalls there and plenty of activities and rides for the children. On top of all that, it was held by the beach!

I thought the beach would have been the winner but surprisingly, it was this balloon twisting station that caught Aaron's attention. This man was incredible. He could make anything that the children asked for - ninja turtles, butterflies, something called 'Yoshi', anything. Best of all, the council must have paid this guy because we didn't need to pay for any of it. 

Aaron asked for a ninja. 

Three year olds are sometimes hard to please. Adrian asked for a knight's sword and the guy must have thought it was too easy so he decided he'd make this huge one. Size isn't everything and Adrian was not impressed with this huge sword. He couldn't wield it and there was no convincing him that it was easier to fight dragons from a distance. In the end, we had to dismantle it (out of sight of the balloon guy) and he waved the hilt around instead. 

 Aaron was more than happy with his ninja and wanted to participate in the 60 minute workshop on how to twist your own balloons.

Look what he made. The other little boy is one of Aaron's classmates. Richard (seen in the red cap above) was on hand to help the kids out but they did a lot of the work themselves. Aaron even made that yellow sword for Adrian - a very suitably sized one!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Night Time Break In By Two Year Old

Have you all seen this video yet? Its so funny! And, the parents picked a great piece of accompanying music too, In the Hall of the Mountain  King by Grieg.

Adrian has been a bit of a night time 'thief' too although nothing as skilled as that two year old in the video. There are no break ins at our house since we sleep with the doors open but we often wake up to some re-arrangements of pillows or soft toys from one bed to another and its all thanks to him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I've Had Enough of Half Sized Finger Nails

Aaron has the horrible habit of chewing his nails. It all started when he got the hand, foot, mouth disease nearly three years ago. I have tried sticking bits of tape on his nails, gloves and also the bitter nail polish that is non toxic. In fact, he even chewed his toe nails. Can you imagine that?? That was thankfully short lived. Phew!

I remember that I chewed my nails when I was his age too. Each time that I saw the white bit growing, I had to bite, and tear. It hurt and often bled but I don't remember my mother nagging me to stop but I grew out of the habit by the time I was around ten. Unfortunately, I have no idea how I kicked that habit.

There is a two week break coming up and I think I need to take some drastic action here. I can't wait for Aaron to grow out of it on his own because he might not. There are many ideas out there but many are geared towards adults that have little more will power. So far, I have three new ideas.

1) I put some colored nail polish on his nails. Supposedly this works with girls because they want to keep it looking nice. BUT, he might end up eating a lot of toxic paint.

2) I file some fake nails down and stick them on him. These are completely new to me and I have no idea how it works so, I'd need to do some experimenting here.

3) This is my most drastic strategy. We grow chillis in the garden and maybe I should rub a bit on all his finger tips. It will feel hot for a long time and he'll definitely not want to taste it more than once. The big downside here is that he may rub his eyes. So, this is probably an idea the I shouldn't carry out....even if I think its the most effective. 

So, are there any nail biters out there with some useful tips for children?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Whats blogging again?

Yes, I have become a slack blogger. On the upside, I think I've been a more hard working mother this term. The blogging ideas always come when I'm driving but by the time I sit down at 9pm, they are either forgotten or I'm completely drained of all my will power to do anything more than passive internet surfing. If its going to be chore, then I might as well skip it right?

Adrian turned three in December so he has grown out of the little Montessori class that we both attended together previously. He is old enough to join the first of the pre-school classes but I don't think thats for us yet. I'd like another year with him before I lose him to all his little school friends.

Each morning, after we drop Aaron to school, I aim to make our house into a mini pre-school.

We do a practical life skills, like folding the laundry.

Practice with numbers and using a pencil. Here he is measuring his bugs and 'writing' down the measurement on some dotted numbers.

I sometimes do the counting with his Hot Wheels cars but he's here with the abacus.

He seems to like these alphabets that I've made and he's finally able to spell his own name and some three letter words. I found that having him practice the sounds this way has helped his reading quite a bit.

So, thats what my mornings are usually like. By the time he's ready for his nap, I am too!

After dinner, the evenings are similar to this except that I try to focus a little more on Aaron. There is no bribing or coersion here and we end up having an enjoyable time. Many of the activities I plan are like games so they think its fun.

All that 'educational' play, driving around for school and other stuff, cooking and cleaning has me drained (and lazy) by the end of each day.  Thats why blogging has suffered. However, after a relatively laid back day like today, I feel motivated to try to get into at least alternate day blogging this week. We'll see how I go...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Maria Von Trapp's No.1 Fan ?

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this. I love "The Sound of Music" and I thought a lot of the dresses in the movie were sweet but this guy obviously loves it a lot more than me. Either that or he has a governess that also couldn't find suitable material for clothes. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We have been having some fun with dominoes this weekend. Just between us, I thought that buying 100 dominoes was going to be heaps but it turned out to be a really small pack. I think we'll need 1000 to do anything remotely impressive. When I presented it to Aaron and Adrian, I really played up ONE HUNDRED. Thats a huge number when you're six.

I'll need to get more because I didn't get to build anything.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mothers Have Sons On Their Mind

Sure, all parents have their children on their minds. Right? You think about them a lot. Thoughts of their mis-deeds haunt you. Memories of something funny they said make you smile all of a sudden. Up until now, 'on their minds' was very much a figure of speech.

The University of Washington has conducted research showing that 63% of mothers have DNA from their sons, in their brains! Imagine that, we're stuck with them forever. The oldest mother with her son's DNA in her brain was 94 years old. So, its not just a temporary thing hanging around from pregnancy.

The research published in  PLOS One doesn't mention about the DNA from daughters or what sort of effect this has on the mother. It did show that mothers suffering from Alzheimers were more likely not to have the DNA in their brains. However, I don't know if I should be interpreting that to mean that the opposite will be true, that mothers with sons that live with them forever will be less likely to get Alzheimers.

It was just a short article in the news but if you would to read it, go here.

So, it may be official that boys bug moms more. Boys bug mothers physically when out (like at birthday parties) and they bug them at night,  even while asleep in their beds.

I bravely went, as a single parent, to a birthday party on the weekend. It was a friend's daughter's 1st birthday. Aaron and Adrian were the only boys there and the colouring and craft teepee (pink, of course) was nearly demolished by them. I wouldn't say they were 'naughty'. They were just more creative in their play and didn't want to be confined to just pushing pencils around. Misbehaving or not, my point here is that I had to keep my eye on them all the time, just in case. They were on my mind for the whole 2 hours we were at this party.

I have never actually looked after any little girls for extended periods of time but from the outside looking in, it seems that mothers of little girls are having an easier time than mothers of little boys. So, it was nice to read of this special bond that may only exist between mothers and sons.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An A+ Week

I don't think its a good idea to be rating each week but if I did, the past week would definitely be an A+. I know its not sustainable and I'm not expecting straight As but I'm giving myself a pat on the back for now.

There were multiple surprises in the mail because several items I bought over the past few weeks on eBay all arrived in the same week. Amidst the items that I knew I would eventually receive, there was also a surprise Valentine's day gift from Richard. After 14 years together, he's smart enough to know that flowers are not the way to go and a simple gift like this is going to be appreciated a whole lot more.

I also give it an A+ because I have been incredibly efficient and the house is cleaner than ever. Now that I have to do it all on my own, I've streamlined all the chores and gotten into a very effective multitasking routine. 

Strangely, the additional workload has worked some magic on my time and I seem to have more of it. Adrian is benefiting from it because we spend each morning playing around with words and numbers, drawing and just mucking around. I feel productive because I can see him making progress in his reading. 

Even after using up all that time with Adrian, I still had some left to do some serious study each night on my stocks. Its crazy isn't it? I used to think that I never had any time to do anything - and that was when I had other people helping me out around the house. 

And to top it off, I have had some good laughs this week. Sadly, I've forgotten most of them but at least I remember these three.

The first was easy to remember because Adrian has been practicing it all week. He says "Look Ma, my tongue is as long as the Maori people's tongue." He does it several times a day but it still makes me laugh. Here he is with one of the parcels I received in the mail - a photobook that I made of our trip to New Zealand. 

The second memorable conversation I had with Adrian was about the cemetary. We drive past one every day but he has never said anything before. Out of the blue, he asks "Why do we need to live in the cemetary when we die?" You can imagine how the conversation went on and on about the topic. Amongst the many logical but hard to answer questions he also asked "Do we have to close our eyes when we die?"

And, the final gem from my week was a statement from Aaron. He said "My smell buds tell me that dinner is going to be yummy."

Life has been good. A+.