Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Day 2: Crazy Clocks

4.30am - Max cried and woke up. Blocked nose. Micah then woke up at 5am and was delighted to see that grandma had come into the room to check on the boys. Micah started jumping around so grandma decided to take him out of the room. Wrong move. The next moment Max sat up and was crying at pointing to the door. He too, wants to go with his bro. So at 5am, both the boys went downstairs and played with their cars. Grandma put on some nursery rhymes. 6am - I took a dose of benadryl and went back to bed. The grandparents took over the babysitting bit.

10.15am - I woke up to an almost silent house. Then I discovered both boys asleep. Not sure what time that happened, but took the chance to sweep and mop upstairs and the stairs. Just as I finished, Max woke up. A little after that, Micah woke up. We all got ready to go out.

By the time we got to my mum's it was lunch. The boys had a bowl of pumpkin soup each. When we got back, the boys played a little and then Max took his nap at 4pm. Micah took another bowl of pumpkin soup for tea. Then he and I watched a bit of educational cartoon online and read a book about Nature Experiments. Max joined us about 6pm and then about6.30 I showered both the boys. At 6.40 we put on the Cars dvd. Micah fell asleep at 7pm, woke up at 9pm.

Max and I had quite a good time on our own doing some scribbling, racing his cars down a race track and eating dinner. Then Micah joined Max in bouncing on the bed. After a few rounds play, they kinda settled down to watching Barney (Grandma's vcd) while Micah had his dinner: 2 egg tarts and the last bowl of pumpkin soup.

11pm - Max fell asleep.
12am - Daddy called so Micah managed to say "hi" but did not chat as he was kinda drowsy.
12.30am - Micah finally fell asleep.

Day's done. Now my turn to knock off.
Tomorrow - National Science Centre.

Under the Weather

We are all under the weather.

Micah had just recovered from a sore throat and now came down with diarrhea. Max has fever off and on and a running nose, and me a real sore throat and a nasty cough.

Mike left for UK last night for a week, so I am getting a taste of a single parent's handle. It's soooo tough. Already middle of last night I felt Max burning up, so at 3.30am I took him down to give him a dose of medicine to take the fever down. I was just totally surprised he was so co-operative. But alas, he was too excited to go back to sleep and decided to play with his cars for an hour before he finally snuggled up to a very drowsy mommy and go back to sleep (Now I know why I was so sleepy this afternoon). Somewhere in that hour Micah actually woke up, looked around and said to his brother, "It's sleeping time, Max," and went back to sleep. Surprise, surprise! I had thought and worried that he would jolly well join Max, but he did not.

We did not go to our playgroup today since we were all unwell. It also rained quite a bit this morning, so we were lazy at home: the boys stayed in their pajamas till noon and all we did the whole morning was play with the cars and trains. By 1 pm, Max was asleep again, and by 1.30 pm Micah was having his afternoon nap. I ran an errand for Mike and bought cough syrup for myself.

We spent the rest of the day playing cars and trains (this is what the boys want to do endlessly). We watched a bit of TV. We tried to do some reading but the boys ended up fighting over the books and mommy. Then Micah's diarrhea started about 4 pm so I put him on diapers and had to change that 3 times. By 7pm we were at the doctor's. By the time we got back was 8.30pm. Micah fell asleep about 9pm, Max about 11pm. I am glad my in-laws are around. It really helps for me to be able to do other stuff without worrying about the boys: take my shower, clear up after dinner, etc.

Now that both boys are "out" I can do my own stuff, like go online and maybe later do some chores... or not.

So the day is about done. Mommy survived Day 1 without Daddy.

Tomorrow we shall visit my Mom. My sis had promised to make pumpkin soup for the boys, so that's something for them to look forward to.

That will help the day to pass much faster! Phew.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Next of Kin

My sister and her family came up from Singapore a couple of weekends ago.

It's their son's first trip back to Malaysia. It was great to see them, but the weekend was just too fast. They hitched a ride from a couple of old schoolmates whom have now settled in Singapore. It's just too young for Xue Han, 2 months plus, to be exposed to a big group in an enclosed place for 6 hours, i.e. take a bus ride back to KL from S'pore. But every time they come back, we are all excited to see them.

Micah and Max love their cousins Teh Xue Bin, she turns 2 years old in a week's time, and now Teh Xue Han. They are my mom's other grandchildren so these four little munchkins keep Ah Ma busy and entertained. :)

These two sweeties are also the closest cousins to Micah and Max. Mike has only one brother and he is not married yet. I have one other brother married but no kids yet, and another brother and sister not married and they stay with my mom. So Xue Bin and Xue Han are the closest next of kin to my boys. Other cousins they have are second cousins and that they have a lot. Mike has quite a few cousins (paternal side) married and with kids and so do I (cousins on my maternal side.).

Here are some snapshots we took during lunch at Mid Valley.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

New Bugs on the Blog

The Ladybirds are out!

We missed them coming out of the cocoon. Too bad.
I checked them last night before I went to bed about 12am, and still no signs of any movement. Then when I remembered to check later in the morning, about 10am, I was shocked to see the cocoons have shriveled. My first thought was, "Oh, no. Did something go wrong?" Then upon a closer examination I noticed they were empty. Then I saw the 2 pinkish ladybugs near the rim of the jar. They were still there.

Micah was delighted!
"Let them go, Micah. They need to find food."
"But I want them..." Micah moaned.

-Lengthy discussion and more moaning -
- 2 boys fighting over whose turn to hold the jar -
-Distractions...got ready to go our to the Science Center -

On the way back from the Science Center both the boys fell asleep.
I was surprised to find the ladybugs still in the jar. It was not covered. So I decided to give the bugs a break and send them off into the bushes while the boys were still asleep. We may have to look for more bug's grubs...

"Just Pretend, OK?"

Micah is at the age of great pretend play. It's really fun and funny when we do it. All the adults get dragged in without being asked. That's how the kids invade your world!

Thanks to his big bro, Max is starting pretend play at a much younger age, and he seems to understand what's happening. He loves to copy his big bro anyway.

"I am a puppy. 'Woof! Woof!' Can you pat pat me?"
So mommy said, "Come here, lil puppy." Pats him on the head.
The grandmas would SO disapprove! Pantang.
"Max is a puppy too. Pat pat him," he ordered.

Micah was bouncing on the bed. does a bit of panting. I was holding a bunch of small potato crackers and he said, "Can I have some dog food?" I gave him one and he went barking away.
Max was holding a cracker in each hand and gave one to Micah who ate it straight from his hand. Then he said, "Thank you, other puppy."
It was just too cute. I burst out laughing.

"You are the Mommy seal. Max and I are the baby seals."
Both baby seals snuggle up to mommy seal on the ice (bed), then..
SPLASH! One baby seal jumped into the sea (the mattress on the floor) and started swimming. The the smaller baby seal jumped in too. SPLASH!

"Help Mommy. Please rescue me," cried the tired baby seal.
Max also waves his arms. "Uuungh! Uuungh!"
So Mommy seal has to pull a baby seal out of the sea, and then the other.
Both baby seals are safe. They snuggle with Mommy seal for a moment on their icy home. Then..

This goes on for quite a few rounds until the boys decides to play something else or Mommy gets too tired to pull them up the bed and will get them to take a drink of water or have a snack.

"Look! A baby dinosaur hatched out of the egg." He cupped his hands and brought them close to my face.
So Mommy asked, "Is it a carnivore or herbivore?"
"Carnivore. Can you give it some meat?"
Before I could do anything he picked up a stone and gave it to me. "Give that meat to the baby dinosaur."

"Oh, look! Another egg hatched!"
He cupped his hands and brought them close to my face again.
So Mommy asked again, "Is it a carnivore or herbivore?"
"It's herbivore. Please give it some plants... here, here.." He had pulled some leaves from a growth on the ground and gave them to me.

"Mommy, you be the T-rex and chase me."
So Mommy had to growl and run slow motion after him while he ran in circles around me. Max gleefully runs around mommy too. Of course when either one gets near enough the T-rex will pounce on him and sink her teeth into his ribs. Peals of squeals. The the small dinosaur will escape and the chase begins all over again. After three to five rounds, the T-rex stays slow-mo for a while. The roar becomes a low "Grrrr.."

Then Max comes to Mommy's rescue. He will stomp his feet and point to my mouth - his request for a song. So we sing and dance to the dinosaur song:

We are the dinosaurs marching, marching;
We are the dinosaurs what do you think of that?!
We are the dinosaurs marching, marching;
We are the dinosaurs we make the earth flat.
We make the earth flat, and we ROooAR!
Coz we are the dinosaurs.

We took Micah to a barber last week. We usually take him to a hairdresser who is a family friend. She is really good at doing kids' hair. Fast, clean and chatty. But she just had a minor surgery recently and can't stand up for a long period of time. Hence we had to try the boys out at a barber.

Two days after that, Micah and Max started shaving each other's head. A toy plane was used as a shaver and a pillow case used as a cloth around the neck. Micah sure was busy shaving max and then Mommy. Then Max shaved for Micah. They sre did a clean job. No hair to pick up after them. :)

The pretend play is endless. Sometimes we are all cars or trains or caterpillars becoming butterflies or tadpoles becoming frogs. They love popping out of eggs (pillows piled on them) and they love to live in their own houses (stacked-up pillows with a blanket over). Sometimes Micah will come and offer you treats of sweets and ice-creams, and at other times make you take medicine. The kids really makes you go through childhood the second round. :)

Monday, 23 July 2007

Experiments @ Home

I have come to realise Micah's learning style. He is very fast at picking up things, especially information and new words, and he has a really good memory. He loves hands on, and sometimes I think the dirtier the better... much to all the grandparents' dismay, because they have low tolerance for mess.

Still these were what we did for our "science projects" this week:

Ladybugs Metamorphosis

This was accidentally introduced by grandma. A few days back I caught a ladybug and we kept it in a jar with a pin-pricked paper and rubber-band for a cover. By evening I told Micah he has to let it go so that it would not starve to death. Of course he was excited and opened the jar's lid. He blew into the jar and the ladybug disappeared. Then he cried wanting the ladybug to come back. So the ever-resourceful grandma came to the rescue. She brought 2 bright yellow ladybug grubs from a bittergourd creeper and we kept them in a bigger jar. After two days they began to form into chrysalises. That's the whitish bit. Now we are just waiting to see ladybugs burst out of them. Everyday mommy is the one to check on any changes (in preparation for "class") before bringing Micah to have a look at them. We are still waiting.

Bean Sprouts.

We actually did one round about 2 weeks back and we had a really successful growth of 10 sprouts (This was actually inspired by a kid's programme "Out of the Box" on TV). Then we went to Kuantan for our friend's wedding. However when we went off to the beach, I did not ask the grandma to water the plant. Actually I thought we could just "forget it". But Micah got really upset when he remembered 2 days after we got back and discovered that the plants were gone. They had dried up and grandma had thrown them out. So we started another round this week. Now there are 3 sprouts sitting on on our kitchen counter. Micah proudly brings them round to any visitors to the house and tells them, "Look! My plants have grown." We will wait for a few more days before we transfer them into a pot with soil.

For now I can't think of anything else that is simple enough for us to do at home. But it's been fun so far.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Cars Craze

Max has the Cars fever.
Micah had this a year ago, and now Max has caught it.

Every morning when he wakes up and the last thing he wants to do before going to bed is to watch Cars (Disney-Pixar's). Max can now identify all the main characters from Cars: Lightning McQueen, Sally, Tow Mater, Doc Hudson, Sheriff, Luigi, Guido, Flo, Ramone, Mack, Sarge, Filmore, The King and Chick Hicks. Sometimes I watch the movie with him, but most of the time I am watching him. I can't believe how absorbed he is. You can really see that he is concentrating on the show. The other thing that is fascinating is that at the musical parts he will quickly scramble off he couch and dance and grin at you. So cute!! He can really tug at your heartstrings!

My sister visited today, with my mum and brother, and she was totally impressed by his "knowledge." A few days back while we were at the market for brunch I bought some Cars stickers and he two boys have been busy decorating a toy box and a file. The stickers are broadcasted all over the file, with multiplicity, and yet he can locate the character you ask for.

Everyday he will play with the toy cars and will call out "AR!" when we are on the road and points at cars that overtake us. Today we were at Petrosains KLCC and boy were the boys excited when they saw the F1 car on display. We really had to hold to them back from climbing into it, especially Max.

For now, I think Max wants to be a race car diver, only because he cannot be a race car.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Maxwell's Blurps

Something out of the blue... to entertain himself and us all.

This was on our journey back from Kuantan on 8th July 2007.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Sea Side Super

We were in Kuantan, Pahang, for a wedding and we made sure the boys got to go to the sea side, even though it was a very short trip.

The night before we left, I got them ready for thr trip. I told them we were going to Kuantan, it's the seaside and (sung to the tune, chorus, of "I could have danced all night" in "My Fair Lady"):

We can build sandcastle, and we can swim in the sea/ And drink some coconuts/ We can pick sea shells and we can run in the sun / And we'll have lots of fun/ We'll take a drive, we're going to Kuantan/ It is a place beside the sea. So... (repeat whole chorus)/ We are going to Kuantan.

And both the boys made mommy sing this over and over many times that night and also on the journey there. Well, it's a good four hour drive, so it entertained them a bit.

We stayed at the MS Garden Hotel and the place was a full-house. I think there were maybe three weddings being hosted there because all the rooms were taken. We couldn't even get a double bed room for ourselves. On top of that, I think the staff themselves were blown away because they really didn't know how to cope with the volumn of guests.

The joke of the trip was when I said to our KL friends that we must go to the beach before we leave and one said, "Got beach here-ah?" Well, for a lot of them it was their first time to Kuantan, so can't blame them. So off we went and had a great time.

It was Max's maiden trip to the beach and he loved it. He grabbed sand in his hands and threw then at the waves. He and Micah tried building a sandcastle but found the sea too alluring so we all spend most our time there wading the waves and picking a few seashells.

I asked Micah what did the sea taste like and his answer: Lemon.
Lemon?! I told him it's salty, like his favourite mushroom soup (but Mommy's not really accurate either).

A couple of days later when Max was crying over something I just said, "Let mommy kiss away your salty tears," and Micah wiped Max's tears with his finger and tasted it. Hmmm... I wonder if he though it tasted like the sea?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Train! Train!

"Train, Micah. Train."
That's what grandma and I would call out as we drive to playgroup or the science centre. We are always on the look out. Now Micah will also call out to us to look at trains he had spotted.

Micah loves trains. His favourite is, of course, Thomas and Friends but he will gravitate to all locomotives.

Once my mom needed to meet some old friends at the Sentral train station and of course we took the opportunity to drive her there and hang out there for a while just to watch the trains go by. We staked out at Starbucks simple because it is not as crowded there and you can really get a good view of the trains arriving and leaving the station. By the time I got us our hot chocolate, Micah had counted four trains already.

Well, I must thank Thomas and friends for this: they taught Micah to count and recognise numbers. Micah was really not interested in numbers at one time but we were really amazed that he very quickly learnt his numbers and remembers which train is what number: 1 Thomas, 2 Edward, 3 Henry, 4 Gordon, 5 James, 6 Percy, 7 Toby, 8 duck, 9 Donald, 10 Douglas, 11 Oliver. Well, Thanks to Thomas and Friends too, all cars are nicknamed Caroline, all cranes are Cranky, all helicopters are Harold and planes are either Tigermoth or Jeremy. The list goes on actually. These days, doing math is easier when everything is either a truck or an engine.

On our home turf, Micah is Thomas, Max is sometimes Percy and sometimes Mighty Max, Daddy is Rocky (a big and strong Crane on wheels), mummy is Harvey (always there to rescue Thomas when he is stuck), grandma is Emily and grandpa is Toby (an old tram, also because grandpa's name is Tony). Micah and mummy also get to take turn to be Thomas and Annie/Clarabel, one coupled up to the other by the pull of the back of the shirt. But these days he just wants to be the express and run real fast around the house going "chug-chug, chug-chug."

For now, Micah's ambition is to be either a train driver or a train engineer.

Yin Yang

Mike and I are really the 2 different sides of a coin. We really are so different sometimes that there's no denying that opposites attract.

I have been reading this book called "The Developing Child" by Elizabeth Murphy and have read aloud to Mike and we had laughed together about how different we are. To illustrate (in "childish "manner):

Mike and Kin went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water;
Mike came down, balancing the pail on his crown
And Kin rolled down the hill in laughter.

If Mike was Little Red Riding Hood, he would have beaten the wolf to grandma's house, despite the fact that the wolf took a short cut, because Mike would be so focussed and fast in his task. If Kin was Little Red Riding Hood, she would have found the wolf fast asleep in grandma's bed because she had taken her time to smell all the roses along the way and talked to all the creatures of the forest on her journey.

If all the earth was apple pie,
And all the seas were ink,
Kin would also look like an apple pie
and Mike would have written till he's pink.

If Mike and Kin were Hansel and Grettle he would have found the way home with no trouble and we would have not discovered the gingerbread house that belonged to the witch, saved for Kin's nose and love for bread. Then we would have waited for the witch to leave and then taken a whole wall home to share with our villagers.

But this is what we do for each other because we love each other:

He will stop to let me smell the roses and be glad to see me so thrilled, then get us on with the journey to make sure we arrive. I will exclaim upon every rose we chance upon, but will just let my eyes feast on the beauty and deny my nose the pleasure.

When we are at a steakhouse, I will order fries to go with my meat because I know he likes that and will give them to him. He will order the baked potato and give that to me. He will pass his salad and I will give him an extra cut of meat. "And so between us both, you see, we lick the platter clean."

He reads almost everything on-line. I love the feel and smell of the printed page. So he "hogs" the computer and pays for the books I buy and collect. But we both know we have the problem of lack of space, be it on the floor or the hard drive.

But we are not just good to each other, we are also good for each other. Like the Chinese concept of balance in YinYang, we are becoming a better person every time we accommodate the other, and in doing so, we are becoming more whole as a person, just as we are complete with each other.

For our Kids, they will be brought up in balance because of mum and dad's difference: technology and bedtime storybooks, racing and dawdling, mouse clicking and finger painting, fast food and fried noodles, computer games and wooden trains, sleeping in tents and cuddling on the sofa, catching insects and watching Animal Planet, playing football and Scrabble, etc.

I'm sure a lot of people know what I mean first hand;
"It's A Small World After All."