Thursday, 29 March 2007

First Day of School

According to the Coordinator/Principal of the Montessori, Micah did very well for his first day at school.

Getting him to sleep early the night before school was almost impossible. At 10pm we had started telling him to sleep, but he had all kinds of excuses and requests: I need to drink water; Just read one story, mummy; Wait, I need something...(and heads for downstairs); etc. He finally slept about 12am.

To get him up, I started waking him by patting him and shaking him lightly. Then he started mumbling, so I called out, "First day of school! First day of school!" (Finding Nemo) until he finally opened his eyes a little. I took him straight into the showers. By then he was awake enough to be excited about first day of school and cooperated all the way.

He ran out to where we were holding the playgroup for the babies a couple of time, but his teacher led him back to the classroom. Once he ran out, saw me and said he needed to use the bathroom. I took him. Another time he was going to wash his hands, when he saw us singing and he ran around our group for a while before his teacher came and took him by his hand and led him back to class. Once his teacher carried him out, he was crying. It turned out that he had missed his chair and sat on the floor and hurt his bottom. It was suppose to be snack time. So he was allowed a bit of time out for some cuddles from mommy and Max. Then he went back to class. Later, I peeked in and saw him feeding himself. His teacher later said he had two helpings of cereals and drank all the milk from the bowl too. Boy, I'm impressed!

Strangely when we asked him what did he do/learn in school today he said "I don't know." Hmm... maybe he just hasn't found the words. But he did say he enjoyed school and wants to go back. That's good news.

These are the few shots his teacher took for me.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Separation Anxiety

I guess it's always hard with the first one: Letting go.

Micah is to "start" kindy tomorrow.
Actually the play group we go to has a Montessori's class running alongside. The coordinator is kind enough to let Micah try going in for class once a week from now until when the new term starts in June. Then he will begin proper. It's been a long winding road for me in mulling over what kind of education we want for our kids and where to get it. It's really one of the hardest decisions to make, and even that you know you can't control what your child will turn out to be at the end of the day. I don't know if it was any easier when it was my parents' time, but it sure is so much harder now with the fact that society is so fluid and unstable, plus there are so many more options to choose from: Chinese medium, private schools, international schools, schools with heritage, the school in our neighbourhood, and home schooling...

Micah is to "start" kindy tomorrow.
I don't know if I am ready to let him go. He is not yet three. I am not being "kiasu" in starting him out too early. In fact, if I could I would like to keep him as how we are now for as long as we can. But he is getting restless at home. The fact is that he has never been away from a family member before. He is always with Mike and I or grandma, grandpa, Mike bro, or my sisters, to go the furthest. So this is going to be a new chapter. And I am anxious. I don't know how he will take it. I don't know if I am ready for him to grow up so fast. Micah has always been fast. He talked fast...he runs fast, he picks up things fast. But emotionally he is still a baby. A 2+ year old child. He has reconciliation issues: He cannot reconcile his emotions and his limits with what he can think of or want to do....

Micah is to "start" kindy tomorrow.
I can remember my first day at kindy. I was 3+, turning 4. I was not afraid because my big sister was also in the same kindy and I knew if anything goes wrong, she will be there for me. Of course I was excited to be in school at last. I could remember the days in the year/ years(?) before when I would walk with my mum to send my sister to school and we would watch her through the assembly and then the singing classes. How I had wanted to be with her. So I was finally there. And I remember feeling like a big girl in the class and wondering why are some kids such cry babies... I can remember my first school bag (it was more like a rattan picnic basket), my first handcraft in class (we made a fan with an ice-cream stick and a cardboard which i drew a picture of a boat out at sea on a sunny day), my teacher (Miss Wong) holding my hand to help me trace my first writing of the letter "a"; I remember the names of the two boys who sat in the front of my row (Philip and Wai Hong), they were the teacher's pets; I remember how the classroom looked like, where the little girls' room was, the drinking tap just outside my classroom, and how the whole place looked so big to me then.

Micah is to "start" kindy tomorrow.
I don't know if I am ready....

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

A Mommy's Miss

A lot of things are taken for granted in life. The Hokkiens have a saying: Oo toh law, boh toh caw. That when translated means: When you have it, it is a burden; when you don't have it, it is a loss/grief. So when you become a parent, there is great joy and a lot of fun, but there is definitely a drastic change to your every day lifestyle.

Since I had kids I hardly ever:

... walk up or down the stairs empty handed.

... sleep through the night.

... have a relaxing bath/shower that's more than 5 minutes.

... have a nice long chat on the phone before 11pm.

... watched a movie in the cinema.

... window shop.

... have uninterrupted meals.

... have uninterrupted conversations with anyone for more than 2 minutes.

... talk to another person without my eyes following one of the boys.

... not baby talk for a day.

... finish reading a book in 2 days.

... wear jeweleries.

... wear make-up.

... wear a long dress (still a nursing mom).

... have a good long swim in the pool.

... sit in silence to meditate...unless both boys are asleep.

But I must say, to make up for these loss is the fact that now I almost always :

... go through a day with lots of hugs and sloppy kisses.

... laugh with delight and surprise by what the boys can do or say.

... am surrounded by giggles and laughter.

... sing.

... play.

... watch cartoons.

... make funny faces without being rude.

... read with and to someone who is totally enthusiastic about a book.

... not sleep alone.

... stretch my arms to hug or carry two boys.

... stretch my brains to be more creative.

... stretch my nerves to be more patient.

... stretch my soul to be more gracious.

... celebrating a new achievement everyday.

Quite a great trade off, I would say. Parenthood is great.
God is great.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Belated Blog: Midnight Muse

This should have been one of my very first blog, but it's self explanatory. Cheers.

2 May 06, 6:07am


All the night feedings of Max and Micah's talking and crying in his dreams normally leave me awake for a few hours either in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning... and I actually have a lot of time to think and muse... or just play the PSP... so this is a pre-blog. You know how techie I am... So while waiting for my busy husband to help me set up a blog site...this is how it's gonna come dished out to you. *grin*

I had just mopped the 5 am. Yeah, a lot of chores get done in the middle of the night when the boys are asleep. Actually it was not on my to-do list...Ok, it was on the to-do list, but not for tonight. Still, I am glad it got done. What happened was while making milk for Micah I knocked over the 2oz of expressed milk meant for him... So, no point crying over spill milk, literally, just got to get down on your knees and clean up the mess... Literally too. Mopping with the mop would mean knocking into the furniture, so, suddenly I looked like Cinderella: a bucket and a rag-cloth and on all fours. I am glad I just need to do our room... its hard to clean up a mess... Harder even when it is not made by you...

There was one night Micah threw up in bed. So right in the middle of the night we had to change the bedsheets in the midst of his wailing... and puke is the hardest mess the to poo... Well, puke is harder for me. Can't stand the sour gastric juice reek. Anyway, when you are the parent it's your responsibility to clean up after your own kid. No one else is gonna do it for you... So while I held Micah over the toilet bowl and try to calm him down so that he won't wake Max up, Mike changed the bedsheets and gave the mattress a wipe down. God bless the soul who invented the mattress protector. It really helps. Well, that's when I thought..we too made a big mess, mankind, that is, and our Heavenly Father had to do the clean up for us. So God humbly came in the form of a man and paid the price for our sin on the cross. That was my Easter reflection actually and it stayed with me for the 2 weeks prior to Easter.

Now I am off to do the laundry, then come back and see if Max needs another feed and maybe catch some 40 winks....

Ta ta..

luv, kin.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Chinese New Year 2007

Our CNY every year is about the same. Since we had Micah we celebrate our reunion dinner outside because grandma just can't cook in peace the whole day. What more now that there are two little munchkins running and screaming and climbing and opening all cupboards and drawers. They really demand the attention of an adult all the time when they are awake. My pastor's wife said, " You've got to watch them like a hawk at this age." I can't agree more. One look away could mean the difference of catching them as they fall off the sofa/chair/table/bed and them crashing on the floor; or stopping the rest of the juice/milk/water/soup/tofu/rice/etc. being poured onto the floor. It could also mean the difference between seeing one very excited hand swimming with the panicked aquatic friend in the aquarium/terrapin bowl, and just a few wet fingertips. It also means other incidents and accidents of having cutleries scattered everywhere and uncooked rice/ beans/ onions/ spices sprinkled all over your kitchen floor. Sometimes to add on to the "excitement" the muchkins will be rolling on the floor with whatever that's been poured out. Anyway, back to our reunion dinner, so far for the last three years we have eaten at Chinese restaurants. I can't imagine us ever having Pizza or Nasi Kandar or Sushi for the Reunion dinner. Just not symbolic and traditional enough for me (and I do have quite a say in this ;) In case you do not know, I love traditions and symbolism. Ref. blog of 16Jan07).

The first day of CNY starts with greeting grandma and grandpa "Gong Hei Fatt Choy!" and getting angpows from them, as well as we giving them our token of love and appreciation. Then, after a simple breakfast, it's off to Ah Mah's house (my mum's) and meeting all the Ee Ees and Ah Kus and Ah Teowgn. Of course Xue Bin, too, the star of Ah Mah's house... apart from Petersam and Jack and Jill (Ah Mah's dogs). We do the tea ceremony here properly - no tea serving means no angpow from Ah Mah. Micah really loved serving tea to Ah Mah. Then we all go down to town to visit and old family friend and do our annual update of who's where doing what and our kids'/grand children's progress. It's really very light chatter, filled with giggles and some witty comments, and we are served the usual CNY tit bits along with some very nice wine in the middle of the day. Then we all proceed to have a late lunch outside, IF the kids are all not too sleepy yet. We usually do Indian food or fast food. If the kids are not up to it, then we just do a take out. At night It is steamboat dinner at Ah Mah's house. Mike's parents and brother come along too.

Second day of CNY is when Mike's father's siblings will all come visit. A couple of my friend came by this year and the comment was, "Wow! It's really the CNY mood." It's suppose to be a luncheon, but some of the relatives come as early as 10am to help with the preparation or just to hang around and chat (the men will do that). Anyway, Mike's dad has 3 sisters and 4 brothers, but 2 of the brothers are not in KL. So it's just 3 aunts and 2 uncles, along with their spouses, about 13 cousins, of which 4 of them are married and their spouses will come too, and the next generation, regardless of surnames, totals 6. And not to forget Mike's brother and girlfriend too. On top of that, my mum-in-law's two goddaughters will come to give a helping hand and to add to the festivity too. It's just too much to do the math for now, but you can imagine the whole house running like a carnival from the drive way to the backyard...which spills over to the back lane. Every one takes turn to have lunch on the dining table (suppose to be a 6 seater, but we always manage to put in 8-9 at a time). Grandma had started preparing the food 2 days ahead, so there are three kinds of pork dishes (one with sea cucumber, another with black fungi and the other roasted), a fish, a chicken, a roast duck, two kinds of vegetable dish and soup to go with the rice. So you can imagine what a feast that she has to prepare. Me? I just keep the boys out of her way so she can cook in peace. If I ever get to hand them both over to Mike, I am only useful in cutting garlic or stirring the wok to keep the bottom from sticking, or just wash up whatever is in the sink. Most of the time I have to run off half way anyway to attend to a feed, a boo-boo or a toilet need. By the time lunch is done it's about 3pm and we all will clear the table and do a Low-Sang. After that some of the relatives will play some card games while the others chat, watch TV or play with the kids. By the way, this year I noticed that all the of the kids are BOYS!! We have 2 boys, the first aunt has 2 grandsons and another aunt has a grandson too. Also, mike's youngest uncle who got married quite late has a 5 year old son too. Of course Micah is in charge of making the most noise and tearing around the house. By the time everyone leaves it's usually for them to get their own dinner or some of them will just have dinner together.

This year we had the pleasure of having dinner on the second day with my sister Phek Imm and her family and a couple of old friends from school days. Initially we were thinking of going out for a simple meal, but with all the left-overs, we just ate at our place. Quite a good move actually, save us from having to eat left overs over more days. Must remember to do this next year!

The rest of CNY is spent visiting Ah Mah a few more times because the boys love to play with Xue Bin. Sometimes it's for us to meet up with my relatives from Taiping, Ampang and Puchong who will visit my mom. This year we actually did quite well in visiting some church friends who stay near by. Then, before the end of the first week of all the celebration, we discovered spots on the boys. Micah had about 5 and Max 2. At first we thought they were flea bites, so we cautioned the boys to stay away from the dogs in Ah Mah's house and the stray cats in our back lanes. Two days later it was confirmed they have chicken pox, the blisters had actually burst and they looked like insect bites. Micah had had his chicken pox jab, so he had only 12 spots in total. Poor max, had not had his jab yet, had about 200 spots. Poor baby. So the rest of CNY was spend at home and in Ah Mah's house as we don't want the boys to spread their spots to the public.

Thank God they are all cleared now.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Now Playing: The MiCah Code

The following is an e-mail I sent out in 11 Jan 2006. I would have put in up on my blog if I had one then... So here it is now:

Today I have deciphered yet another of what I thought to be gibberish yelling of Micah while at play.

All from the bugs:
He sometimes runs a around the house yelling "Picture sadah! Picture sadah!" and this has been for months already.... today when I over heard it from upstairs, it suddenly clicked. It's "Princess Atta! Princess Atta!" from the cartoon A Bug's Life ( in case you have not seen this or forgotten, it's when Flick's harvesting machine knocked down the offering stone and he rushed back to report the horror to the princess). About 2 weeks back, almost everyday, he was quoting "watch my eyes" also from the cartoon, imitating Mr. Soil, while walking backwards. His other favourite quote from bug's life is "It's a rock./ I know it's a rock!"

Just 3 days ago Mike and I had a good laugh when I told him another one that made sense: Micah loves jumping around and sometimes when he is bouncing on the bed he will go "Buffood! Buffood! Buffood!" I've always wondered what that was. When you ask him what's "buffood", he would just giggle and do more of it. Then the revelation came that day when I put on the A Bug's Life cartoon for him. Just at the beginning when they were showing Pixar's ad on the intro, I saw it: the hopping lamp that bounces on the letter "I" and stood in its place. And, yes, when the lamp bounced, the sound animated was "BUFFOOD! BUFFOOD!" Its onomatopoeia!

Other quotes that we hear at random every day:

From Thomas and Friends:
"Help! Thomas is stuck in the snow. I need Harvey/ Terrence" (pretending to be stuck on the bed/ chair/etc.)
"Its Harvey to the rescue!" (He picks up his Thomas toy engine.)
"The truck snap away." (Pulling away from you and running very fast.)
"On, on, faster, faster!" (Running away from you.)

From Toy Story:
" To infinity and beyond!" (Jumps off the bed/ sofa/etc.)
"BAD NEWS! shhh! shh! (This happens especially when we tell him "shhh!")

From Chicken Little:
" The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
"See closure." (Points to his palm.)

From Robots:
"It's embarrassing!"
"See a need, fill a need"

Micah is a really funny boy. The best part is that he loves making us laugh, especially Max. So that's great.

In case what I am saying to you does not make sense, it's's just this mommy's been watching more cartoons these days than before. :)

Good night and God bless.

Luv, Kin.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Lazer-burned Memories

Micah has the memory power as that of a CD with info burned on it. Sometimes, out of the blue, he will remember and mention an obscure incident that you have to probe for more clues before you know what he is talking about. It makes me feel like a detective sometimes, trying to piece a mystery together.

The other day, before his afternoon nap, Micah suddenly said, "I want sweet, mommy." Of course I always try to delay such gratifications, although sometimes I do surprise him with a candy so that he is not completely deprived. So I responded by asking "What sweet do you want? I don't have any."

Micah: I want the one from Aunty Maggie .
Me: Aunty Maggie? Did she give you a sweet? What sweet did she give you? (I was completely clueless at this point. What is he talking about? She is another mom who knows the danger of sugar-charged kids.)
Micah: Remember, she gave the sweet? We went to change the keys. She gave me a sweet.
Me: O? What was sweet did she give you? (She does ask us to hold her house keys for her sometimes... when was this? Did she give any sweets? OK, Brain, go check your memory bank!!)
Micah: Remember the orange and lime? I want the orange and lime one. She gave when we went to exchange the keys.
Me: O! That sweet. (Yes! My brain located that piece of incident... it was maybe 10 months back!!!)

The Incident: We had taken a drive down to Pudu to have our auto-gate's remote control fixed, and to get an extra one. The people who did it for us were recommended by Maggie. Their shop is a few doors away from the shop she works in. So when we went by (Grandpa stayed in the car because there was no space to park, grandma, Micah, Max and I went down. Max was maybe 3 months old then, which means it was about March/April last year), Maggie excused herself from the shop and accompanied us to the auto-gate service shop. At the counter of the shop was a bowl of sweets, orange and lime flavoured. Maggie took some from there and handed one to each of us. Micah wanted one of each so Maggie gave him two. We all ate the sweet in the car on the way home. As usual, Micah fell asleep before we reached home.

Later when Micah was asleep, I went downstairs to relate what he had said to grandma. She could not even remember the kind of sweet we had. We were both just stumped by Micah's amazing memory for details of the obscure.

When Micah was born, we used to sing him "Jesus loves me" as his lullaby everyday until maybe he was four months old. Last Christmas, the speaker at the Children's Christmas party sang the same song as part of his story telling. When we got home, Micah asked me to sing it to him. Just after one time He started singing it too. It's like he found an old recording in him and could just click "play". Astounding!

It is really amazing how powerful his memory is. I guess that's why he can speak so well and sing so well. He can just remember stuff we talked about; stuff that we are intentionally or unintentionally teaching him each day.

EEeekk! He can be really scary...the things that he may repeat back to you, or worse, repeat to you in public!!

Update (27 March 07, 1:55am):

The last few days, before Micah falls asleep, he will roll on his bed trying to find a comfy spot and mumble stuff to himself. What I have heard amazes me. It's words that he remembers from the day's activity. Once there was a mumble of "tour guide, tour guide." That was what we saw in the cartoon Higgly Town Heroes in the late morning. Another time he was holding a lorry, and he suddenly said "Aunty Laurie, Aunty Laurie," a lady we just met a few days before that. Many times I just look at this boy and shake my head in disbelief and wonder what is going on in his marvelous brain. Such a mystery.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Communications Baby-Pro

It is amazing what messages Max can get across without saying it.

Micah started talking really early, maybe about 9 months he was already doing double syllable words: apple, purple, turtle and tractor. By the time he could walk, on the day of his first birthday, he probably had more than 70 words vocab (I never counted and can't quite remember, but he could communicate every intension and everything he wanted). He could say good morning, goodbye, his own name and a whole bunch of other stuff. I never actually looked at growth and development charts before but after people kept saying he was remarkable I looked at a few. These days he uses phrases like "I think..", "Remember ...?", "Maybe..." He loves to repeat long words like umblical cord and intestines and reservoir. He is also experimenting with the article "an" so almost everything is an "an", i.e. "an orange" (ok, that's correct), "an cracker", "an chocolate milk", "an banana"... the list goes on. Sometimes when he is in a happy and funny mood, he will talk gibberish and then give you the translations, e.g. "wattataweheuu means tractor" and he will even get you to speak it: "Say wat-ta-taweheuu. Wattataweheuu." Of course we comply and play and we all giggle. He is a really funny boy. He also loves to sing and dance and make his brother laugh.

Max just makes lots of sounds, "eengh!! eengh" and "arrh" and "aw" and "O", and with these he will get your attention and "tells" you what he wants by pointing. He also uses the same sounds, but with different stress to make animals' sounds ...if he is in the mood to respond and to entertain. But yesterday he stumped us. First he took grandma by the hand to the kitchen and said "eengh" and pointed at the rice cooker. He wanted dinner. This was after grandma shared a few spoons of rice from her plate. Obviously it was not enough, but he sure got the message through. Later, he took grandpa's hand led him to the toilet, pointed at his butt and said "aah, aaah." I went to intervene. He had soiled his diaper. We all cheered him and laughed. Boy, were we impressed!

Today Grandma and grandpa took Micah out for a CNY celebration at the community centre, mainly to catch the lion dance. Max was still asleep when they went out so I stayed home with him. Well, of course the main reason we did not take him out was because he has chicken pox. So when Max woke up it was a good time for us home alone. I nursed him a little then we had dinner with Sir David Attenburough on Astro 51. We had rice in a big bowl of soup. I was just giving Max plain rice because I did not want the soup to drip on the sofa. After a few spoons, Max pulled the bowl to his mouth and then tipped his head back. I thought he was funny so I called him "funny boy" and we laughed. He did it the second time, and we reacted the same way. The third time, he actually pulled the bowl down low enough till the soup touched his lips and he tried to slurp it. Then I got the message. Obviously this mommy still has not caught on as to how extensive his communication skills had become. After that he was a much more happier baby, sipping soup off the side of our big bowl, refusing the spoon. He sure had a good dinner.

Everyday, Micah and Max just blow us away with something astounding. They are so funny and also so entertaining. But most of all, they just overwhelm us with what they are learning. When i look at them, be it at play or rest, I just catch myself musing, "Our Creator is amazing... Awesome!"