Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Dark Clouds

She's schizophrenic.
I have been brooding over a friend. She had been on my mind for a while now and today after talking to another friend who is familiar with mental illnesses, my fears are more or less confirmed: she's Schizophrenic. Of course you need a psychiatrist to look at her and confirm that for sure, but she has all the tell-tale signs: delusional about herself, her past and other people. It's really awful...

We were schoolmates. We were only in the same class for 2 years and even then we sat at different ends of the classroom. We were not even close, but strangely we share some kind of warmth in our acquaintance. After Form 6 (Pre-U) we lost touch. Then, at the beginning of this year, thanks to our St. Marians group, she called and we celebrated her birthday with a couple of other old school friends. It was great to see hear and catch up on what happened to us in the last 16 year gap. I thought I had recovered an old friendship.

Yeah, so my world of friendships is still that of rose tinted windows... I value friendships a lot and letting go is the hardest thing for me to do. People are precious. Inspite of some painful experiences with difficult characters, I can't live to think other wise.

So how do you cope with a friend like that. It's really difficult and painful because suddenly I don't know how much of the stories she's told is true, and if she is what she claims herself to be. At first it was just upsetting and maddening to get e-mails and SMSs about herself and other friends - she tells strange stories, full of non-sense and illogical accusations... It was really emotionally draining. Now it's just heart-breaking.

Somehow she has a special place in my heart... and I am lost...
So I am brooding... dark clouds over my head... and I can't sleep thinking about her...


Friday, 15 June 2007

Wordless Wonder

Max is still not talking yet. He mimics animal sounds, like baa, meow, wuff wuff, (r)aaar (for all growling animals) and aak aak (crow and duck calls). But most of the time he still goes "Eeeh! Eeeh!" or "Aah! Aah" and points to what he wants.

Amazingly he also makes the same sounds and can get the TV channel changed, a song on the CD skipped and the menu on his plate replaced.

But these are the things he does really well for one not quite 18 months yet:

#He can feed himself with a fork or spoon with minimal mess and get most of his food into his mouth. He drinks from a regular cup and also with a straw.

#He can draw straight lines as well as circles with a pen/pencil. He also draws curvy lines and dots and dashes. He can draw with both hands still.

#He can identify more than 60 kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures from pictures and miniatures, including camel, gorilla, black panther, lemur, bat, parrot, woodpecker, kingfisher, flamingo, owl, iguana, scorpion, dolphin, clown fish, shark, stingray, crabs, jellyfish... and a whole list of others. His favourite wild animals are the giraffe and the zebra. He, of course, loves the usual pet animals like cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish and turtles and frogs.

#He has very good hand/foot and eye coordination and can (dribble?) kick a ball around the driveway with no problem. He plays toy golf quite well and can climb up the rungs of a ladder without help. He can climb up onto a stool and wash his own hands on the sink (of course we always stand by him just in case he looses his balance), and he loves racing around the house with his big brother. Max is trying to jump off the ground with both feet, and is almost succeeding.

#He has amazing fine motor skills: he can pick up a grain of rice and a hair from the floor. He loves picking up small tiny stones on our walks and holds one between his thumb and forefinger.

# He has begun to identify colours, using colour markers. He started with orange and then blue, yellow and red. This was just last night before he went to bed.

I think it's because he is not talking yet that we still treat him like a real baby. Whereas Micah was talking from 9 months and very often we forget he is just 3 and we talk to him like a 5 year old (well, he does ask for meaning of complex words everyday, like what is a tour guide, speed limit, comfort, boulder, evil, etc).

We enjoy both the boys. We give thanks everyday for the joy and challenge they bring us everyday.

Friday, 8 June 2007

A Toe in Homeschooling

Micah wants to be home-schooled.
Not that he knows this word, but he pretty much said it when he said, " I don't want to go to school, Mummy. I just want to learn at home. You be my teacher, ok?"

Yesterday we tried drawing some lines to match pictures on a work book. I also tried to get him to read 3 words phonetically. It was work demanding sweat and blood for both of us.

Today we were both much more successful. It took a lot of coaxing and some threatening (I think you don't want to learn from mommy. You go to school, ok?), but we sat through about an hour of hard work, with some whining in between... So all in all we did some more of drawing lines to match pictures, looked at sequencing some pictures of a simple story and got him to read 5 words, rewarded by mommy's drawing.

Then he played a little bit on the computer and watched a cartoon video on animal migration.

Sigh... maybe I can pull this off... at least for a while more.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

His Toothache My headache

Micah has bad teeth.

It's been a problem I did not deal with from the start, maybe because I was uncertain and I sat on the issue. Sometimes I forget. Mostly I was just clueless.

Micah's first 2 teeth popped out of his gums at four and a half month. After that they just kept coming out 2 by 2. The first set of molars, 4 of them, came out together. By the time he was one and a half he had all his teeth and signs of tooth decay.

I read a bit of a book about caring for your child's teeth and concluded that it was due to his bad habit of drinking milk from a bottle while sleeping. Of course there is also his love for sweets and chocolates which his grandparents give without any qualms. Yeah, yeah, they just can't help but spoil the grandchildren.

Last month we went to the dentist for the first time because Micah's been crying about a toothache. After the visit I was pretty upset, almost depressed, by that the dentists said: His teeth are beyond repair. We will just have to hang in there for the next 2 years until his permanent teeth come out. Worse case scenario we put him under general anesthetic and pull out all his bad teeth, which totals about 8 - 4 top front and 4 molars. EEK! I almost feel off my chair. Or If I had no self control I would have burst into tears. It sounded almost like a death sentence.

So what is a desperate mom to do? She takes the doc's advice to brush his teeth as often as possible and immediately when he has had a sweet or cookie. Also we had to buy this tooth mousse which cost me RM80! Almost fell off my chair again!

I brooded for a week. Micah's daddy could tell. He'd ask often, "Are you ok?" and knew what I meant when I said, "yeaah... I'm.. ok... *sigh*" Now there is this cloud hanging over my head, a preoccupation at the back of my mind. Brush Micah's Teeth! So I get him to brush when he takes his shower and before bed. And if he has had sweets/ chocolate/ ice-cream, it's almost immediately. Brushing his teeth sometimes is like a battle. Most of the time it's also trying to get him not to mess with the stuff on the counter. Occasionally he would co-operate and it would be a breeze. So Micah has 3 toothbrushes and 4 tubes of toothpaste on use. One set is downstairs in grandma's bathroom - he usually showers there. Another set is in our bathroom and one more in my backpack.

I know.. I know.. There will be better days ahead with better teeth...
Now I am dutifully brushing Max's teeth too...

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Closer to Nature

June 1-4, 2007. We had our first church camp as a family and it was great for the boys.

Well, because they were so restless we could hardly sit in for any of the session, but we sure had great fun with friends and nature.

For the boys and myself our treasured moments had to do with a stag beetle, 2 bats, a moth, frogs and earthworms, plus some cats and a couple of lizards. We also enjoyed a wading in a stream, and watching dragon flies there while we plonked stones into the water and waved good-bye to leaves the floated down stream.

Food wise it was not very good for Micah as he can't take anything spicy... like his dad (so not Malaysian). But Max actually enjoyed rice with ikan masak merah (which made Micah cry and spat his food out instantly). Max is really mommy's boy. *grin* I enjoyed the ulam and sambal at every meal.

We were also made to be in the center of attention because 2nd June was Micah's birthday, and it was also our 6th anniversary. Wow! We have passed the 5 year mark. We gave Micah his birthday present there, a train set, and it kept him occupied in times we needed to do other things, i.e. bath Max, or when daddy had to play the guitar and mommy needed to nurse Max. It was a rather useful "babysitter".

Other activites that the boys and mommy and daddy got involved in were a football game and banner painting. At other times we were either entertaining the boys or they were entertaining the crowd with their running around and rolling on the ground. Sigh. Boys will be boys. Confession: Most of the time I am more concern about getting stains off the laundry than anything else.

When we got back today, Micah's grandparents out did us in giving him a motorised motorcycle for his birthday. Talk about pampering grandparents!! Well, they actually won it at a lucky-draw!! Both boys enjoy it. So we are all lucky.

Friday, 1 June 2007

St.Marians '89

This has been the highlight for me for the whole month.

I got together with some old school friends, class of 89 and we had a blast at Starbucks.

It was great to be able to catch up with old schoolmates and see so many of us looking and doing so well. It was also great to see so many expecting a baby... actually 7 pregnant ladies out of 30+ of us, so that makes it almost 20%!! OK.. so my figures are not accurate cos i really lost count of how many of us were there... But it was great.

Upon arrival, we registered ourselves, got a name tag and a goody-bag (filled with really good stuff, like muffins, chips and scented candles, and a RM150 voucher to a spa owned by one of my former schoolmate!!).

After a too-short-a time of free and easy chatter, we got down to the agenda:

First, we all stood up and sang the school song.
Then there was a quiz which was a test of our memory of things 18 years ago and beyond that even!
Then we did an "award" session of various categories, i.e. who has the most kids; who is still as cute as in our days in school; who travelled the furthers for the gathering; who has changed the most (physically); and best dressed.
After that we did a "treasure hunt" of special items, including a memento from days of old.
There was also a gift for those coffee cups were on a secretly marked table spot.

Almost everyone walked away with a gift. The organisers were just fabulous. Hats off to Rima, Normi and Ojai.

Finally we did a special collection for one of our girls who is 5 months pregnant and was diagnosed in the last 3 months with stage 3 leukemia.

After an official photo session, some of us had to take off, while others (so reported on our yahoo group) hung around till night fell.

I wish I could stay back but I had to run back to two boys who constantly want their mommy.. but as I walked to my car and drove in silence back home, my heart raced and cheered and bubbled. I felt recharged and young all over again.. My head spun.. It could not have been caffeine. I had a small hot chocolate. It must be the spirit of St. Mary's. It was great to see old friends who have enjoyed school days in a place as special as St. Mary's.

What a day.

School Song

United and strong, sing we a glad song.
Of the school and the rules that guide us;
Of the colors and crest, of the work and the rest;
Of the things that our school provides us.

Chr: For God and for school afar be it known
We stand by the badge of our school;
The yellow and blue shall ever be seen
To the fore in sports and pure knowledge.

We'll aye seek her fame, yea make good her claim
For the name and the fame, the dearest;
So work for the whole and sing from the soul
For the sake of St. Mary's the dearest.