Friday, 31 August 2007

On: LAD (Language Aquisition Device)

Max is now 20 months old. These are the words he says every day:

Top 5:
no more



Character names:
Bob (the builder)
Gordon (not so distinctly)
James (not so distinctly)

Animal sounds:
ark-ark (duck/bird)
ssshh (snake)
aarrr (roar)
ooh-ooh (monkey)
park-park (chicken)
mmmm (cow)

I am sure there are a few more, but I just can't remember right now. By that you can guess that he is a boy whose actions, and cryings, speak louder than words.

THEN, yesterday, he started this: As if he suddenly switched on his LAD and started trying to repeat what the rest were saying. He said "cocoon", while I was talking to my sis-in-law about another science experiment we were doing in a jar. He also picked up one of his cars, Ramone (there are 3 different colored ones), and said "puh-pur" (purple). Mommy, not paying full attention at first said, "yeah, it's Ramone."
"Puh-pur. Puh-pur."
"Oh, yeah! Purple! Well done, baby!" Mommy amazed.

This morning, when my mum-in-law's goddaughter called, he picked up the phone in our room and started going, "Ello. Ello. Ello...", but just the next moment when my sis called from Singapore, he refused to say anything but held the phone to his ear and nodded his head every now and then. When I mentioned to my sis what's happening, she laughed and said, "So he has finally decided to talk, eh?" Yeah, sure seems like it.

I think for the days ahead we are going to have many thrilling moments of Max actually saying words and not just blabbers. Yeah, and this is the time Mommy will start getting excited and try to make him do demonstrations for others. Hehehe...

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Micah's Nose

Micah has a very keen sense of smell.

Today, while we were playing in the room, he suddenly said to me, "Max smells like he poo-pooed. Check, check!" He said excitedly. Sure enough, Max had made a mess.

Other times, it would be in the car. Once we were all in the car, with Micah in the car seat in front, Max with mommy at the back. I opened a container of cereals for Max and Micah exclaimed, "Is that honey stars? I smell honey stars." Another time grandma was secretly giving Max sweets to stop his crying for want for Mommy. She does this in secret because she knows I disapprove. I had also caught the scent many times, but as not to get Micah in her ploy, I usually keep quiet about it. But there had been a few time Micah would suddenly ask, "Mah-mah, what do you have? I want to see that. What is that? Is it sweets?" When she had a Listerine strip in her mouth, he said to her, "I can smell mouth wash. Did you use the mouth wash, Mah-mah?" and yet another time when she had put some "minyak angin" because of a headache, he said to her, "Mah-mah, I can smell the hot-hot oil. Do you have a stomach ache?"

Sometimes when we walk into a public wash room that is clean, especially at the Science Centre, Micah would say, "I cam smell strawberry. Mmmm." Yeap, it's a strawberry scented cleaning agent. In a new environment, when uncertain, he would ask, "what is that smell, Mommy?" It could be a spice or some other detergent kind of smell. "Chemicals," he would say. At church it would be, "I can smell orange. Mmmm."

Once, January this year, we were at a shopping mall and I walked into The Body Shop to get a birthday gift for a friend. He was attracted by all the colourful bar soaps on display and he began sniffing at them. So I helped him along, not wanting him to be unsupervised in a store. I handed him different ones and asked him what did it smell like. After all that, we concluded they are fruit juices! The next time we walked pass a Body Shop, he would say, "Mommy, lets go smell the fruit juices."

I recall now that when he was very young, maybe 10 months or so, I carried him around the back of the house and gave him different plants to smell: pandan leaves, lime and bay leaves. In the kitchen I gave him orange, banana and mango. And of course durian when it was in season. I don't know if that is what made him so sensitive now, but he sure is amazing.

These days he has this thing where he wants to smell all the bottles on the bathrooms counters. It can really drive us crazy as he will press on the pumps or open up the bottles and squeeze the soap, shampoo, cleansers, etc. and sniff at them. He does the same with lotions and whatever else he sees lying around the house (on the shelves or on dressers) and being a child he has powdered the floor, rubbed lotion on the bed, oiled the kitchen floor, salted the dining table with soy sauce, and yesterday, sniffed and licked a bar of butter from the fridge. On hindsight, it is all very funny, but when you have to deal with a mess, it can be such pain.

Another things he does, which drives his grandparents crazy, but does not bother me, is that he wants to smell all his food before eating them. Most of the time he will go, "Mmmm. Nice." Sometimes we get a "I don't like that," or a "what's that?" response. The grandparents thinks that it is rude, but I think it's fine. Let him use his nose. He's got a good one. :)

Laundry Laws

I'm the laundry person. I have been doing the laundry for my family since a pre-teen kid (on gaps where we did not have a maid) and this is my refined process, which helps me work with order and more efficiently:

1. Soaking: separate dark and light colours. Bleach Mike's work shirts (for maximum efficiency, his work shirts get washed and ironed only once a week, so he has 5 shirts "running").
2. Washing in the machine (delicate clothings always go into the washing mesh) and then
3. (The Order) hanging the clothes: all the hangers face the same way; the clothes belonging to the same person hang side by side, preferably same kind together, i.e. shirts, pants, etc.

Why the fuss? Well, when you bring in the laundry, you already have the clothes in some kind of order (same kind, same owner), so when you are folding the clothes, you can begin to pile the clothes in neat stacks without having to look around and wonder where a piece goes. Very fast and efficient! Can do it on "auto drive" or "screen saver" mode!

As for the hangers facing the same way, in case of sudden rain, you can grab in as many as your two hands can hold a pull a whole bunch of clothes in with one clean lift!

It's funny how when I have had this running for so many years, I actually find a disruption in my home-world when my mum-in-law, in all her kindness, helps me with the laundry. I really appreciate her doing so, considering she is already cooking for the whole family, which includes doing the marketing in the morning before the rest of the house wakes up, and helping me with the kids through the day, i.e. watch them while I go to the bathroom, eat or do the laundry(!). She also does the gardening and cleans the fish tank. Many times out of guilt and a slight irritation I have said "Thank you" and " you are already so busy, it's OK to just let the laundry be and I will do it." Her reply: "It's ok, I just drop them into the machine. It does the washing" (but she does not use the washing mesh!). But she hangs the clothes not in my order.

Last Friday (which was what amused me and got me into writing this) I woke up at 5am after 2 babies stirred and cried in their sleep. I thought I'd get to the laundry, especially since we were going to go to playgroup that day. I had soaked the laundry the night before. When I got to the other bathroom where we do all the washing, I was shocked to see the buckets all empty! Just then my mum-in-law rushed up and told me the laundry is done. I said, I hear the machine still running. She said it's actually the "last" round. The Extra thing she does is to rewash the clothes one time round with the softener, which she says is to get rid of all the odour. Eerr.. that's what soaking is for, I thought, besides getting some stains off. Besides, not all the clothes need the softener. I find some clothes have an icky coating after a round in that stuff which also tickles my nose, depending on the materials.

At least I managed to get to the machine to put the laundry out in my Order this time round. I sneezed a little...but I am glad I did it.

There have been times she had raided my laundry basket and done my laundry without mentioning anything to me, and my father-in-law will be cross because my clothes have been sitting in the machine the whole morning and he needed to use it. Eh? I have clothes in the machine? Or if she had hung them out, they would be hanging there, not in Order, for days, literally, as I usually wait for a full load before I do anything (the kids clothes get done on separate occasions). Sometimes I will plan to do the laundry that day because it's time to change the towel or for some valid reason only to find my laundry basket empty! It can be so baffling. Then I will have to go hunt for some clothes or other towels to put into the wash at "water level: Low."

So when it comes to doing the laundry around here (and I have not mentioned anything about ironing cos she stays clear from there, phew!), to borrow Mary's term:
Zephyrgale: gentle breeze blowing savagely.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Happy Weekend

It must have been one of the best weekends for the boys despite the fact that Max was still recovering from his running nose.

On Saturday we played in the house the whole day. Micah skipped his nap because he woke up only almost 10am and so I figured it was OK for him to skip his nap and hope that he would sleep earlier that night. Mike had to go work and got back about 3pm. By then Max was up from his nap and so Mommy decided to give the boys a treat: take the train to mid-valley. We needed to get new shoes for Micah. Max has inherited many pairs of shoes from his brother and so for now that is no concern. Micah, however broke both his shoes and sandals this week, so he down to the croc-look-alike sandals which he says are "pokey" and won't wear them for long.

Down we went and back by train. The journey back was tougher. We actually let 2 trains go before cramming into the third one. The weekend is just too crazy on the Kommuter. But both boys were thrilled coz they also got a new toy each. Not Mommy's intention, and when we were going to Mid-Valley, Micah did say, "I want to see Thomas (at Toys'R'us). See only, OK? I have enough already." Well, we did not even make it to Toys'R'us. We bought his shoes at Jusco and he saw the "Thomas and the Jet Engine" and whined his way into getting his dad to get it. So, to be fair to Max, we lwt him get something too. He, of course chose a car!

On Sunday we did not go to church because Max was still having a drippy nose. Actually the week before he was ok from his cough and we went to church. There he played with some kids with running noses and they had their own 'picnic' at the back of the church, so I guess that's how he ended up with a running nose again. Sigh...

Anyway, we decided to go near noon and I suggested we go for a boat ride at The Mines. No more walking in shopping malls and tempting our kids into getting more toys or junk food even. When I found out how much it would cost for 2 adults and 1 child, I half regretted making the suggestion. I thought we had already spent enough for "entertainment"on the toys the day before. But having taken the ride, I felt it's worth it. I am glad we did it. That was our Sabbath. It was actually spiritually uplifting for me when I looked at the lake and thought of the wonders and mystery of God, like all that is so mysterious under the surface of the sea (yeah, we were just on a lake, not a sea, but still sorta same context). Micah was chatty all the time, and we pointed out different things to the boys. Max fell asleep in the middle of the boat ride. We took a simple lunch/tea and headed back. That was 5pm already.

By the way, should you want to go for this boat ride, let me say that the special feature of the ride is that there is a channel built to take us to the outer lake, which is supposedly the biggest former mining lake in Malaysia today. It's about 5 meters 'drop' from The Mines' 'river'. They have this huge water gate and you sit in the boat like an elevator while they let out/pump up the water. Quite interesting.

That evening we had a simple dinner and the day was done for the boys by 12am (which seems to be the trend these days).

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Just before Bed

It's already Friday and I still haven't started on the "Savages" book. My new hobby is visiting my Blog Buddies and see what are they up to. :)

I was going to hit the hay when I remembered I have one more load of laundry to put out. So as I did that, I came to this realisation: Micah is growing up too fast. I have always put out the boys' clothes on a spoked hanger. But for the last few rounds I actually have to use a regular hanger for some of Micah's shirts, especially the nice collared shirts and long sleeved pajamas shirts.

I also had to pull out some grass seeds from his pajamas pants. I was wondering how those got there, then I remembered that he took a walk yesterday morning with grandpa to the end of the block to look at some tractors and dump trucks at work. I remembered while in school days I hated having to pull grass seeds out of our socks after a sports practice. Now I don't quite mind. I guess patience comes with age.

I remembered talking to this lady, Jodie, who helped out in the playgroup about having kids at our age (she's in fact quite a few years older to me) and she said how she envied the young mothers because they have all the energy to run with their kids, boys especially (she has 2 boys too)! Then she said, "well, at least we can make up our lack of energy with more wisdom...hopefully," and grinned.

Hope I can get some sleep now...and not be too tempted to start reading. Mike has to work tomorrow, which means I have to be fully with the boys....

Maybe we will go visit Ah Ma again...

Thursday, 23 August 2007


"Every cell eavesdrops on your thoughts, so make them good ones."

Got this quote from a friend's blog. Awesome!

Yesterday I was really mad at a person over a small thing. Actually I thought it was a small thing which he blew out of proportion and it made me mad, so I guess I then made that small-thing-blown-big a big thing too. The whole evening I was just boiling inside.

I started making speeches in my head should I confront him. I was so so annoyed. I had to be so so careful not to take it our on the boys, to be careful not to bark at them because I am edgy. When Mike got back from his game, late and tired, he still listened to my complains and frustrations.

Sigh... let it go.

There are many things to be thankful for.

Yes, I forgive him... Yes, I have forgiven him.


A friend SMSed me and asked what I meant about forgiveness, after having read my blog on meeting up with old friends (Old Pal, Aug 16; St.Marians 89, June 1). So these are some thoughts on forgiveness:

Forgiveness is when you can look at the person in the eye and still be glad to be in his/her presence regardless of what had happened in the past, i.e. disputes, misunderstandings, episodes of jealousy/envy on both sides or unfairness towards you. All those bad stuff that happened was in a context of time and space that we had no control over. The world is actually bigger than we see it: a spiritual dimension, six degree of separation, cosmic powers, etc.

Forgiveness is when you are still sad/sore over an incident between you and a friend but you choose to be kind and love and help the person and still call him/her you friend. You act or treat the person with love because you know/see that he/she is worth more than one hurtful incident in your friendship. He/she is precious.

Forgiveness is when you still care and wish the best for the person who has hurt you many times over and over because he/she has problem with self-control. They cannot help but let their mean streak take a hit at the people around them, and because of their personality they may not feel sorry or be sorry for just a moment and forget it. You on the receiving end will bear the wounds for a long long time...but you still remember the person's strengths and the good times that you shared.

Forgiveness is being happy for the success of your friend today, appreciating the competitions there were yesterday, and hoping to see him/her again tomorrow.

Forgiveness is when you can talk about how silly and childish we all were 10-20 years ago and know that we are all better and more mature today. It is not belittling the other person or the issues that may have caused conflicts, but it is to acknowledge that we all now see the world differently and we are no longer self-centered babies. We recognise how we can all make the world we live in a better place with our different gifts, contributions and ideas.

Forgiveness is when you make the effort to give the friendship a second chance...and yet another.

Forgiveness is when you can say in retrospect (we all know this phrase) : it takes 2 hands to clap. You acknowledge that you too had been part of the problem and not just blame the other person. We see a bigger picture of how we could have helped or defused a heated situation but did not or maybe did not know how then.

While writing this, I was thinking of a few old friends who had really hurt me or made me feel used, cheated or treated me without respect. And I wonder how are they doing now, and if they are happy where they are. I hope they are well.

But I also remember of friends that I had been unkind to because in the past I had been a more rigid and self-righteous person.
I had said things I still regret until today;
I had responded insensitively or inappropriately because I was afraid/defensive/big-headed;
I had thought less of the other person because of his/her different values/ideas;
I was unconsciously/subconsciously taking advantage of my friends' generosity and trust;
I was a wet blanket to some, tolerated non of their "nonsense";
I thought the world revolved around me.

I hope I am forgiven by those I have hurt.

p/s - 2 phrases that was said to me and had helped set me free from my sense of guilt were:

"All the "what if's" do not count"
(Mike FW Kong), and

"We are all responsible for our own actions"
(Margaret Yong).

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Current Projects

Sometimes I get this surge of creative inspiration and will do stuff for my kids. Stuff my mum and mum-in-law would call waste-of-time: Better to buy from the shop. But to me it's somewhat therapeutic and I feel it's worth the hassle to recycle and be original.

I did this crawling-ants "toy" out of toilet-paper centers and a string some time back. Just wiggle the string as you pull in and you'll get a couple of ants running across the table. I had intended to put three ants on the string, but was interrupted at work, so it's just two ants.

Right now I am making my own stickers with a pond theme. I draw on the empty parts of a sheet of sticker paper after all the original stickers have been used.

Now that I have 2 boys, I will have to be fair and make everything ina set of 2. When I am satisfied with my stickers, then the next thing to do is to get art block and paint the background for them to stick the stickers on. The only thing is I doubt that we will keep their "art" at the end of the day. It'll all probably get trashed into the paper recycling bin or be stashed away among some books and papers on their toy shelf.

When Micah was a little over one, I made him a pull-along train out of 3 empty tissue boxes. He would put all kinds of stuff into the train and Mommy was asked to pull the load most of the time. Then after a while, they were used as storage boxed for his small toys and things that had come apart. Those have since been trashed. No evidence to show for now.

More on a personal note, My sis has lent me this really interesting and funny book about a woman and her family, namely children. It's entitled "Life Among the Savages"! She had told me some of the funny stuff in there and I can't wait to get started...except that I am afraid of another sleepless night of non-stop reading. So I shall wait for Friday to come.

Road Roller

Today on our way back from grocery shopping at Giant we saw a road roller being loaded on to a lorry. What a sight for my boys!

Actually this was taking place on the other side of the road, so Mommy U-turned and we stopped by the curb behind the lorry and watched the road roller rolled it's way up to a tipped lorry. After that we had to do another U-turn to get back home, so now we stopped on the other side of the road from the road roller and watched how the mad hitched it with a chain to secure it and finally we waved good-bye as the lorry drove off.

When we got back, Micah refused to take his nap, although it was almost his nap time. He was too excited. He wanted to play with his road roller, George (from Thomas and friends series). After a whole hour he finally climbed into his hammock cradle and feel asleep in no time.

When daddy got back after a game of futsal with some colleagues, I asked Micah to tell Daddy our "adventure" of the day. After he told Daddy the incident, Micah turned to me and said...

Micah: When I grow up, I want to drive a road roller.
Mommy: OK. May I ride in it too?
Micah: Sure. You can ride in the seat behind me.
Mommy: Ok Thanks. Is ther a seat at the back?
Micah: No, you need three seats. One for you, one for Max and one for Mamah (grandma) and one for kung-kung (grandpa).
Mommy: Oh, then you will need more than three seats.
Micah: It's ok, then you can walk back. And Daddy can walk back too.
Mommy: Walk back?!
Micah: No, no. I will send you home, ok?
Mommy: OK. Thank you.
Micah: I love the road roller. I will send you home, OK? Don't worry I will send you home.
Mommy: OK. Thank you (giggling under her breath).
Micah: I love the road roller... (blah...blah...).

Micah can be so funny. It's such a ticklish pleasure to talk to him most of the time. Earlier in the evening he was trying to explain something to grandma about how he and Max were playing marbles together. I can't remember what was it exactly now, but Grandma and I had such a hard time keeping a straight face.

Micah and his speeches: Such amusement!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Books A Bundle!

95% of the books I buy these days are for the boys!

I really love books but personally I am a slow reader. I love words, so I devour every one of them. My older sis could read like 6 Famous Five books when we were in our late teens, just for fun, but the best I could do was one a day. Even the last book I read cover to cover, Taming the Tiger by Tony Anthony, took me the whole night. It was a book I could not put down and so I read some in the afternoon when the boys were napping and finished the rest through the night. I think I slept at 6am that day.

This was my advantage but also my set back when I did my MA in English Literature. I did not miss a thing, but it sure took me ages to finish my reading. It was most torturous during coursework terms coz we had to do 2 novels a week! I sure almost died, but enjoyed the group discussions 110%.

Last Friday at playgroup we got our stash from Scholastic: 16 books and all for a mere RM140. That's less than RM10 a book. And it so happened this time round there were just the very timely titles for my boys. So what's a stay home mum to do? Make the daddy sign a cheque for them. :)

Then on Saturday, while the boys napped, Mike and I successfully went to the movies: Rush Hour 3! Yippy! I saw my first movie in the cinema after 2+ years!! And I am glad we saw RH3 cos it was just plain adrenalin rushing and it's really not a title I would want Mike to buy a DVD. Anyway, apart from the exciting action and comedy, I spotted the bad guy right from the start.Hmmm... I think I didn't see RH 2. No recollection of it at all.

Anyway, after the show Mike walked into a computer games shop to get a new Wii game for Micah. I told him to meet me in Popular book shop when he is done. I really did not plan to buy anything but just love to be around books, rather than to loiter in a c-games shop. Well, to cut the story short, we ended up buying 5 books for the boys.

Honestly, right now I am in such a quandary: Which book shall I start looking at with the boys? All are just as interesting... but the boys had a go at the books we bought from Pop-bs first. Tha's only because just as we drove into the driveway, they woke up and greeted us at the door. Micah's first greetings, rather, interrogations, were: Where did you go? Do you have a surprise for me?
Then only his confession to mommy: I cried for you. I wanted you. I miss you.

What a tugger of the heartstrings.

When we got indoors Daddy showed them the new game - Cars!! - and only later in the evening did we look at the books. By the time they boys hit the hay it was almost 12am.

For now, I am still reading through the bundle of books from Scholastics first. Apart from Eric Carl's (He is my favourite children's0 author at the moment) House for the Hermit Crab, I have yet to introduce them to the boys.

Oh, yeah...There's also the books we just got from the National Science Center's Library last Wednesday...

And my younger sis called earlier today to say, in great excitement, that she has got a book for the boys!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Cars Craze Kids

"We are racing!"

Off went the three kids running round and round the sofa in their Lightning McQueen shirts. It was great exercise for them while the moms watched to make sure no one got knocked over and that all of them were racing in the same direction.

Beth would have loved to watch the Cars movie here with Max and Micah, but we figured it's not worth the time while they can get together. So we played with Cars stickers, look at a poster we have stuck on our store room's door and snacked on fruits. Of course it was a thrill for them all to be in their Cars shirts. It sure felt like a clubhouse!

It would have been great if they could sit down to do a Cars quiz, just for the fun of it, i.e.

What does Lightning McQueen always say?
Who is Lightning's best friend?
What is the fire engine's name?
What cars does Luigi like?
Name a blue race car.
Name a green race car.
What is Lightning's registered race number?
What is the cup (trophy) Lightning is racing for?

I am sure Micah and Beth can answer all these easily. As for Max, If there are pictured answers, he would surely score full marks too! Hehehe. For now, their idea of fun was just racing and pretending to crash. Micah and Max would stop by their Mommy for a pit stop, which looked too ticklish and scary for Beth. Mommy used a toy rolling pin (meant for play dough) and stuck it to their sides and made a "wrrrrr" sound while twisting it, changing the tires for the race cars. :)

Beth is our regular playmate. In fact, when you ask Micah who is his best friend, he would say "Bethany". His other favourite friends/children are Mia, Xue Bin and Xue Han.

Old Pal

This was a very special meeting with an old pal.

We were in school together from primary one till we were 17. That's 10 years of friendship. Of course we were not always like 2 peas in a pod, given that we were not in the same class most of the years, but we were together in the Girl Guides and that was a very cozy community in our days: did lots of fun stuff in school, though some not very productive and could be considered as a waste of time, and we also took BM tuition in Damansare from a retired school teacher, Puan Sarah. There were special memories we share: an inter-school Girl Guides' peace camp we attended in Titiwangsa, some camp fires and over nights in our school, taking part in the Merdeka parade and a Hari Raya visitation.

It was great to get to catch up a little. 2 hours is not enough for anything more than just doing a rewind of the last 20 years on both sides. Of course the 2 hours was interjected by a lot of "Micah, ...." and "Max, ...", but we managed to have a very good time.

I have come to this conclusions, which was what I realised from the last gathering with my St, Marians 1989: We are all adults now and what ever misgivings or misunderstandings we had in school, it's in the past. No more Miss popularity contest nor awards given to the talented or the brainiacs. We are all better off in some ways and worse in others. We are all humans. Most of us are wives, not as many are mothers, but we all have a treasure chest in our hearts for keeping friends.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Happy Birthday Xue Bin!

We were down in Singapore for Xue Bin's birthday. She is now 2!

The trip we make is always too short. We left on Saturday about noon, after picking up my mum and Xue Bin's jelly-cake. By the time we arrived at my sister's place, we had enough time to settle in a bit then freshen up and go out for a lovely dinner at Rio Brazillia.

The next day we were at the zoo from 11am till 5.30 pm. The three younger children took turns napping on the one stroller we brought along. Micah throughly enjoyed every part of the zoo trip. He did not show a single hint of being tired. He is really like the Energizer Bunny that goes on and on and on! The most wonderful sights were the three white tigers, the elephant show and a crocodile in a glass enclosure. It's awesome when it swims right next to the glass!

Of course the other highlight for the kids was the children's playland. This was where we took KFC for lunch.

We wisely went straight for dinner after the zoo then back home to wash up. Amazingly Micah was still up and about. So we decided to be adventurous and took the train out to do a bit of shopping. We left the 3 month old baby with his daddy. By the time we got back it was almost eleven. Got the kids changed into their PJs and finally all went to bed almost 12am. It sure was a full day of fun for us all. Of course Micah was most delighted we got to go on a train ride. :)

My mum stayed on for another week to spend more time with her other grandkids. We left Singapore on Monday about 3 pm. By the time we got back, it was dinner time and then they boys gave the grandparents their gifts and finally hit the hay at 11pm. I stayed up to do the laundry and ironing and finally to read some mails and check out some of my blog buddies' updates. Lights our for me was 3+am.