Monday, 23 April 2007

Meet Mrs. Mouse

When I was very young, maybe about three, my father showed us his interest in art. He could draw really well, and I remember a piece he was working on: It was a jungle scene with some ladybirds on the leaves on the foreground. That is the most vivid in my memory. My fathr's interest in drawing sparked off something in my older sister and I. We loved drawing, especially human figures - petty girlie ones. We would draw on all the walls of the rented flat we stayed in down town. We really drove our parents up the wall. By the time I was five, I was most famous in my kindy class as the best artist. All my friends came to ask me to draw a picture for them. My first day of school in primary one won me immediate friends because I was drawing to kill time and my classmatess, total strangers, just started talking to me and asking me to draw for them.

Now, looking at my boys: Micah is not much into drawing. Maybe because we did not give him the room to cultivate the interest when there could have been the "season" when he was younger. I tried giving him some crayons at one time but I caught him chewing them more than once and after that I just kept all writing equipments from him. It was only until recently that he stopped putting almost everything into his mouth.

Max is more privileged. I suddenly "discovered" the magnetic doodle pad. I would have given this to Micah, but at that time I forgot its existence. So this is the first time I managed to capture Max's drawing. He actually did a couple of really nice once before, but I was not quick enough to get a shot before they were erased. So here is his first drawing on display. He can't speak yet (being just 16 months), so mommy's calling it "Mrs. Mouse".

Monday, 16 April 2007

Packing for a Trip

I am one of those people who tends to do things right up to the last minute. Actually the action comes last minute but I actually spend a lot of time mulling over my course of action before you actually see anything happening. Some people call this incubating or ingestation period. Of course that is very useful when you need to write a thesis or a lesson. But I tend to be in that modus operandi even with chores.

We were suppose to be in Singapore this week to visit my sister before her second baby comes at the end of the month. We thought we could make an extra trip to spend more time with her and her little girl before the addition of a baby boy. My mom, younger sis were going to make the trip with us, me and the two boys, and we were going to take a 6 hour bus ride. Then my younger sis caught a cold. Then both my boys started to have the running nose so we decided it would be best to stay back. Anyway, I had started packing for the trip in my mind 4 days ago:

For the boys: pajamas and diapers covered. Toiletries covered.

- 6 pairs of clothes each for going out. Extra shorts for Micah in case of toilet accidents.
- 4 pairs of socks.
- 5 bibs.
- Micah's milk bottles - 2 x 8oz, 1 x 5oz.
- Micah's milk powder.
- Stroller??
- ....

As I ran through how much I had to carry, the cloud brooding over my head was the journey:

What to carry up with us on the bus (as oppose to leaving it in the luggage compartment):
How much water and milk powder to carry up to the bus?
What kind of snack and how much?
A sarong/towel in case it gets too cold?
How shall I carry our travel documents?

A must have:
My handphone.
My wallet.
My Singapore purse (holds some important numbers and a Singapore public phone card along with some Singapore dollars and coins)
An extra change of clothes for both boys.
Diapers and wet wipes.
Toys and Books!!

It felt like I was physically carrying a bundle on my head. Every time I thought of the trip I would be excited but at the same time my head would be spinning and I would feel like I was wearing a metal helmet that was a size too small. And I would be running over the lists again and again and the same concerns kept popping up:

How much toys? How to carry them? Which bag for toys... and books?
How much milk? How to carry? What if there isn't enough in my hand carry for the journey?

At the end, no actual packing was done. We are not going this week. The boys are not well.

We are making a trip at the end of the month with Mike. He will be driving down. It will be a lot less stressful. We can carry as much as we need and can make as many stops as we want. I am a little more calm now, not as frazzled...

The list still runs in my head though. Now I also have to look into:
How many shirts and pants and briefs for Mike.
His toiletries and
Snacks for the driver.

Must remember to take the maps...

A little cloud is brooding.....

Friday, 13 April 2007

Movie Buff?

I'm no movie buff but I sure miss watching a good movie in the cinema.

The last movie I watched, or rather, tried to watch in the cinema was maybe two years back. It was Shark Tale. Mike and I experimented with taking Micah into the cinema with us. After all, it was a cartoon and he loved fishes and sharks. Micah was maybe about a year old, just started walking. Micah was actually asleep when we went in. We bought the seats in the last row so that we would not disturb others in case Micah cried. A parent with 3 children had the same idea, so we weren't the only ones in the last row.

The moment the advertisments started Micah woke up. We never realised before how loud it is in the cinema. We tried entertaining him for a while, pointing out interesting things on the screen. Five minutes into the movie, Micah decided that he had had enough of sitting down. He discovered that the colourfully printed carpets were more interesting than sitting down. After that watching the show was like a relay for Mike and I. We took turns watching the show for maybe 5-10 minutes then relief the other who was watching Micah play just outside the theatre. When the show ended and we were in the car, we pieced the story together. About a year later, they showed Shark Tale on Astro (cable TV) and we got to watch it proper. That was the last movie I saw in the cinema.

When Cars came out last November, we thought maybe Micah was now ready to sit in the cinema. He had seen the trailer um teen times and was really excited about watching the movie in the cinema. That fateful day, it was a family outing. We went to a cinema that was in a shopping mall. Grandma, grandpa and I took Max around while daddy and Micah went in for the show. Half an hour later, Mike messaged on the handphone. Micah was too distracting walking up and down the aisle. They both came out and grandpa and Mike went back in. Grandma and I went around with the two boys. Later we bought the DVD and Micah watches at home eagerly, wanting certain parts to be repeated or skipped. That's how he watches his movies.

These days Mike will just go to the cinema on his own. I sometimes find the butt of a ticket in his shirt pocket. He is quite a movie buff. So now he screen's the movies and when the DVD come out he will get for us at home. Sometimes he borrows from a friend. The last few movies I saw recently (in the last month that is) were The Ant Bully, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Holiday. I really enjoyed all three of them. Now we are waiting for the release of Meet The Robinsons.

The only thing is, we watch the mid-night show, starting at 12am or after and there's no popcorn or coke. Sometimes there may be some chips. Of course there is occasionally an interval where I have to attend to a crying child. But I do get to enjoy a show anyway. :)

Monday, 9 April 2007

Bedtime Chatter

We are trying to get Micah to sleep. There's playgroup to go to tomorrow. This is after we had a round of playing with his trains, some strawberry milk, brushed our teeth and changed into his pajamas. We were snuggling into bed...

"I want to be a fireman," said Micah.

"Sure," I said. "What can you do then?"

"I can rescue people from the fire."

"Oh yes, and cats from the trees too," I said exciting him more.

"Yes," he said delighted.

"Then you can ride in the fire engine," I said.

"Yes. Then mama (grandma) and Max and kung kung (grandpa) can ride in the back with us," He added with a huge smile on his face. "They will be the passengers. They will have to buy a ticket and then they can ride in the fire engine."

"No, darling," I said with a little chuckle. " If you are in the fire engine then you don't need to buy a ticket. You will be there to help rescue people anyway."

"No, no," he insisted. "They are the passengers. They must buy a ticket."

"OK... Then you can put on the siren."

He just nodded eagerly.

"How does the siren sound like?" he asked.

"Neee-naa neee- naa..."

"Nope," he giggled.

"Nee- nor nee-nor..."

"No." Giggling and shaking his head.

"Neee-nuu neee-nuu..."

"No." He is now laughing.

"Woooo woooo..."

"No." He is now laughing and rolling in bed.

"Baawd! Baawd! Wooo...wooo... "

"No. No..." Now laughing hysterically and rolling on the bed. "It's woo-wooooh! woo-woooh!"

"Woo-wooh.. woo woooh? That sounds like the bird at ah mah's house (my mum's)."

We both burst into laughter.

"No. It's poo-wooh poo-wooh! No, no. It's yabayaba-tatatah..." Now he is trashing the bed.

"Ok, ok. It's time to sleep."

"No, no. Its ......." (More gibberish and trashing of the bed.)

We laughed.

After that Micah ran to daddy and played with him a little more. Mommy kept telling him it's time to sleep. By the time it hit 12am mommy was very serious already.
"OK. Sleep now or I will turn off the light!"
I think it took him another 15-20 minutes before he finally fell asleep. By then I, too, had a foot in dreamland myself.

*yawn* Good night.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Easter Reflection

It was a Wednesday and Micah was in kindy for the day. We were a bit early for Max's playgroup, so decided to hop out for roti chanai and nasi lemak. I was holding Max on my lap (no use hording a high chair as he would not sit in for more than 10 minutes unless he has his own food) while grandma and my sister ate at ease. Then my food arrived and I wanted to wash my hands, so grandma held him. When I sat down again grandma let Max off her knees. Almost immediately he wandered off to the old man sitting at the next table. I am sure he had been making funny faces at Max. Now they both exchanged greeting for a few moments before I picked Max up.

Hmmm... So we all let babies invade our personal space. Sometimes we even welcome them.

It made me wonder if that is why the world welcomes Christmas so much more than Easter? Because we welcome Jesus the Baby more than Jesus the Crucified-Resurrected? We see a lot of Nativity scenes at shopping complexes' Christmas displays, but the few that have a note on Easter it is of bunnies and eggs. Ever seen a crucified Christ at display? Empty tombs? Scenes of the Ascension?

Babies invade our personal space. My boys sure do. There is now hardly a room that is successfully marked "Keep Out" since Micah could turn the doorknobs. That was actually the last barrier. He could already pull out drawers and open cupboard doors, even the sliding ones at 18 months. The only way to keep things out of his reach now is to put them high up on a shelf... and even that it is not always successful because he is also a climber, ever ready to carry a stool from the kitchen or a chair from the next room.

Babies invade our personal space. My boys sure do. They play in every room in the house. Max nurses in every room in the house, except the kitchen and bathrooms. They have marked their territories with their toys, books, some pencil markings on the walls and their exploits. Every where you go in this house tells you "Micah/ Max was here!"

Babies invade our personal space. My boys sure do. We often walk around proclaiming their invasions. Our clothes are marked by drool and food smears. We must smell of their sloppy kisses. Our voices ever riddled by exclamation marks of excitement and anxiety. And sometimes the way our hair is done, or undone, tells you of their invasions.

I think anyone of my old school friend see me now will be able to assess that I am a mother. The way I look, the way I talk and what I say. If they have the nose of a dog, I am sure it would include the way I smell... I am a mommy. You can't miss that...

It's Good Friday. This Sunday is Easter.

Jesus is Risen! Lord, please invade my personal space.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Thirty Something

My birthday's coming up and I normally don't make a big deal of it. Most of the time we do the usual birthday song and cake thingi, and I do a little reflection/ stock check/soul search... maybe because it is usually Lent/Easter at this time too, so it's all timely. Of course I am always glad for the few friends who still remember birthday.

So this is suppose to be when you hit mid-life crisis... Hmmm... Since the time we hit the twenties, my sisters and I have this phrase we use and then laugh at ourselves on our birthdays. It's the question of, "So how old do you feel?" We laugh because our answer is that we always feel younger than we actually are. It's not the typical "young at heart" mind set, but rather, it's the emotional and psychological fact that time is passing by too fast on us physically for the rest of us to catch up to. Very often we find that we are 2-3 years behind our actual age. There was even a time when I forgot my age. A friend asked me how old is Mike and I could not answer because I remembered the 3 year difference, but I could not remember how old I was!! Age becomes really fuzzy when you are no longer determined by a class room that tells you this is your age, this is where you belong, with everyone else the same age as you; with others a year ahead of you and still others a year behind you. When I entered university and then out to the working world, age suddenly seemed rather meaningless, invalid. We are all adults.

Recently I glanced through this article in The Star that talked about how irrelevant age is to the women in our modern society, i.e. a woman in her thirties and a woman in her sixties would experience life the same in it's routines and stress. Of course the article referred very much to women at the market place and the workplace. What they eat, how they talk, how they dress, driving through the rush hour... basically the same. A forty year old woman can die anytime of a critical illness or accident like a sixty year old woman.

So what do we make of it all?

"Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 1:2, NIV)

So it really does not matter if you wear Prada or Mimi, sip coffee at Starbucks or Kedai Kopi Teng Teng, have wan ton mee or alfredo for lunch. Life goes on and these things don't really mean if all is better or worse. Don't get me wrong. I love the mamak stall's mee goreng and nasi lemak bungkus as much as I love sipping hot chocolate and munching on chicken finger sandwiches with my boys in Starbucks (that's pretty yuppy I may say). Anyway....

Mid-life crisis? I don't think I have time for that right now. Just too busy with my boys. But I gotta admit it: I wish I have as much energy as when I was in my twenties. Otherwise, no complains.

As for my reflection, the word that stayed with me:

Ecclesiastes 5:19
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.

Thank you, Jesus.