Thursday, 27 September 2007
Last year we were at my mum's for the Mid-Autumn Festival and it was sure festive. This year, because it fell on a weekday, and because my brother-in-law and wife said they would be back for dinner, my mum-in-law made steamboat for dinner.
The evening started out early after Micah and I went out to look for some lanterns and candles- yeah, last minute decision. By the time we got back it was already 7pm, so I started lighting and out putting some of the lanterns around the driveway. Some of the neighbours took that as a sign that it was time for dinner and everyone went indoors. Suddenly all seemed quiet, except for my two boys running and playing in the driveway while I quietly put on the lanterns. My in-laws were watching TV and the other adults were still not home yet. Mike was going to be late, 10pm, he said.
The quietness was so unfamiliar with festivity that it made me feel a little lonely and "homesick". It was like the feeling I had when I spent my first Chinese New Year away from home in the US. I was there doing some research for my thesis and a friend travelled with me coz she needed some time away to figure her life out a bit. We stayed with Mike in San Francisco as he was there on a 1 year stint. Even though they were both my closest friends, both my soul mate and prayer partners, it still did not make up for the absence of my family.
Anyway, it was this evening, the Mid-Autumn Festival 2007, that made me see so clearly that my boys are different from other kids because of the way I am bringing them up (All these kids, from 3 families, have both parents working and 2 families have the grandparents looking after the kids for them while they work).
For starters, when the neighbours had finished dinner and came walking down the street chattering and the kids carrying lanterns, they found both my boys sprawled on their bellies on the driveway trying to catch a spider. I overheard one of the boys (he's maybe 7 or 8) exclaimed in disgust that they were lying on the ground.
When they had caught the spider, Micah exclaimed loudly at the gate, "Everyone come look! I've got spider! I've got a spider! Look! Look!" Another boy (about 5) came, saw the spider and went, "Eeek!" Then a girl (maybe 12) came and looked and said to the others in slight shiver, "He dares to hold a spider in his hand!"
Hmmm... my boys, especially Micah, hunts for insects everyday. You mean that's not normal? (We keep them in a transparent box/jar for a day then we let them go so that they don't starve to death.)
While all this was happening, Mommy was actually walking around the driveway with a bowl and a spoon in her hands, the boys' dinner. I was trying to feed them while they play. I know this does nothing for table manners, but most of the time, when Mike is not having dinner with us, I try to settle the kids first.
The boys went indoors for a while: showered and played with grandpa while I took my dinner. Then Their uncle and aunt came so I made a quick escape and hopped into the showers while they helped watch and entertain the boys. After that Mike got back, had dinner and took the boys out for another round of lantern and candle lighting. By the time we all came in, it was 11pm and the boys needed another round of cleaning up.
We all went to bed about 12am, happy.
p/s- Mike's mum cut opened a pomelo and gave the boys a beret each in the afternoon. It was just like my childhood days too. :)
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
We got back on Saturday and I fell sick immediately. Actually I was already flu-ish when we were there but my body seemed to be having too much fun to succumb to the bug until we got back.
For the last 3 days I have been sleeping so much more than I can remember ever doing so for the last 3 years (apart from my confinements).
The highlight of the trip:
We were on a round trip on the cable car.
We almost skipped this because Micah fell asleep during lunch and we went to an indoor park while he slept. As we decided to call off the cable car ride and head home, Micah woke up and asked: Are we going to ride the cable car now? How could anyone refuse. So the whole day, with just the cable car on the agenda actually started at 12pm and ended at 9.50pm.
The boys got a whole load of riding on the MRT, buses and taxis (even that is exciting for Micah, and he always wants to talk to the drivers. So funny and sometimes a little embarrassing).
They spent a lot of time playing with their cousins and Micah jus simply loved patting Xue Han on the cheeks. With Xue Bin they did lots of jumping and running around. One of the nights I did my usual "tossing the baby"/ "human helicopters"/ "human elevator" thingis and it was a real treat to Xue Bin and the boys. My sister's flat's ceiling is quite low, so Micah even managed to touch the ceiling when I lifted him up.
We went to Chinatown to look at the lantern displays and I ended up buying a Chinese shirt for Mike and Ah Ma bought all the kids their Chinese New Year clothes! Of course we were delighted coz it was a good bargain!
(Sorry, no pictures of the lanterns coz I forgot to bring my phone out that day.)
What we missed:
We did not manage to meet up with any friends because my sis was actually rushing an assignment's dateline and my boys and I were slightly fluish. Plus both my sisters' kids were restless most of he time too, so we just hung around and enjoyed being with the family. Ah Ma did some scrumptious dinners for us too! Oh, do I miss my mother's cooking! (Once while carrying Max I actually craved for her friend bee-hoon and asked her to cook for me for my brunch!!)
The other thing we did not manage to do was to go swimming or to the beach simply because the boys and I were flu-ish. So much for packing in the swimming gears.
Some interesting pictures:
Balloon animals: This was an attraction by some child-investment programme targeted at Singaporeans. So, since we aren't Singaporeans, our kids just enjoyed patting them without the parents being harassed. ;)
Cow shade: While Micah slept, I took the other two running kids out for a walk so that the other adults could eat at greater ease. This was where the 2 little cuities ended under in their hot afternoon stroll on the "rooftop" of the mall.
There was this animal ride available for the kids at the "indoor"park (it's inside the shopping mall, but actually an open air park.) Max and Xue Bin are actually too little for the ride but they were allowed to "play" with the animals and pose to have their photos taken.
Max sleeping in the bus ride on our way down to Singapore. He's such a darling of a baby still. He will be 2 in December. Micah was super fast in his speech and dexterous development, so his "babyhood" flashed passed us like lightning. So we really are enjoying Max in his baby-ness. :)
Just need to put up this photo of the mom who baked her son's superb birthday cake! She really amazed us with the fire engine! Needless to say, all the kids just could not take their eyes off them, especially Micah!
Btw, last year, she baked her son's birthday cake, and it was of a volcano with lots of dinosaurs all over it (yummy rich chocolate cake)!!
Happy Birthday Ethan!
(Boy in blue.)
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Normally by Wednesday I will feel like the week days are almost done. So if it's Thursday, I can already see the weekend.The days just flew by this week. There are times like these that I'll just have to sit down and try to recall, "What happened?"
We went to church and amazingly we stayed till the end of service without rushing the boys off (which happens quite often - when they are tired, restless or cranky) and we managed to even do lunch with some friends, Mummy-Yeoh and family and another guy. I really miss talking to other adults, even if it's just talking about the kids. But it was also funny talking to another adult who does not seem to want to have all the "troublesome" tags that come with a kid.
He's worried about
"Not getting to watch a movie/movies in the cinema" (watching the kids discover and play is even more interesting and exciting and rewarding than a movie. This is a movie LIVE!!);
"Not getting to go out with friends and hang out with them in his leisure" (What is leisure but when you have empty gaps to fill you life with something meaningful. What could be more meaningful than time with your baby?);
"Can't hang out with friends" (you will find true friends who will try to spend time with you still, even just to call or e-mail, and remember to invite you for milestones in their lives);
"Gotta do all the troublesome things like putting them to sleep/nap, change diapers, etc. (well, this is why you are the parent: To give basic care and nurture plus all other needs).
Daddy is a title that comes with a whole list of responsibility you can't begin to quantify.
We went to playgroup and we all had fun. As usual when we were going Micah said he just wants to stay home and play with his toys/watch TV, but when it was time to leave playgroup, he had to be chased and caught and carried to the door to put his shoes on and say good-bye.
Had a quick chat with a friend cum former colleague in the morning before the boys woke up. That was a good start to a good day. We visited Beth and played in her house till after lunch. Micah became insistent on having a bulldozer (he had one when he was bout 1+, which had been broken and thrown away, but now is asking for it again!), so while he napped, i went out to hunt for a bulldozer, and ended up buying 2 sets of vehicles, 2 sets of puzzles (plagued by the need to be fair to Max who is not yet as demanding for toys) and a new Thomas and friends CD.
Met my mum in town and we bought bus tickets for Singapore this Saturday - she and I and the 2 boys. It will be Max's maiden trip on a bus (he's never been on a bus at all!) and it'll be Micah's second trip, but he has no recollection of his first trip when he was about 1+ (while I was about 4 months carrying Max). Mike will come get us next weekend, so we will have like 9 days there! That will be a good break for grandma here and more exercise for Ah Ma.
We went back to Ah Ma's and played there for a while and do our usual "routine" there with the whole works of rolling with the dogs in the porch, plucking coconuts and bathing before leaving her place. Max found an old coconut and used it as a ball to kick and throw around. Then he used it as a basketball, baby's garden version, shooting into pots instead of hoops!
Daddy got home unexpectedly "early" - he was suppose to have an appointment but that was canceled, so he was home for dinner. So I got him to take me out to do some shopping. ;)
Well, since the day has just begun, I hope to run some errands before going off for the next week. Maybe try to see a friend who had her second baby a few months ago (time flies!) or call on a friend who is expecting her 3rd baby Anytime Now! Then must pack for the trip and get a few baby gifts ready...There's a nagging sense at the back of my mind. I think there's something I'm suppose to do, but I just can't remember right now...
Micah and Max have a birthday party to attend. It'll be at playgroup. Have got the presents ready.
Must make sure everything's in order for our trip. Packing for a trip is always a headache, especially sine we are not driving... I am always worried about not bringing enough and I don't want to over pack: clothes, swimming gears, diapers, Micah's milk, toys and snacks for the 5hr journey... double check our documents and money.
Get the boys up and ready to leave about 9am. Pick my mum and take her for breakfast with us before our long journey. Our journey begins at 10.30am.
Singapore, Tua Ee, Tua Teowgn, Xue Bin, Xue Han: Here we come!!
Saturday, 8 September 2007
This grand uncle is my dad's cousin. He is the youngest of 7 brothers and sisters and he is the same age as Mike! His wife is Shirley and she is a nurse.
Our encounter was a sweet but short one:
Last night we were suppose to meet them for dinner at my mum's but they were down in Petaling Street, Chinatown, doing their touristy thing, and got caught in a bad jam. By the time they arrived it was 9.30pm and we had had dinner and also a fun time playing with candles and lanterns in Ah Ma's garden. We chatted for a while and then we left for home about 10.45pm while they went out for dinner/supper.
This morning they left for a 2 day holiday in Sinapore. From there they will head straight for Taiping and then to Penang and fly back to Canada from there.
This uncle of mine, Eng Wan, actually is more like a cousin to us since our childhood days. Whenever we went back to Taiping during the school holidays, he would join us in all our outing to the swimming pool, the waterfall, the lake gardens and our our gastronomical revelries. We played hop-scotch, board games, game-and-watch, tag and all sorts of pretend-play in his front yard and in our garden (he visited and stayed with us for 2 weeks once).
Micah of course entertained our guests with all his chatter. We gave the newly weds a gift, and another uncle, Eng Wan's second brother who brought him to my mum's place, teased Micah and asked him where is his gift. Micah's response was: You have to wait for your birthday, ok? Everyone laughed.
Even though the meeting was short, I am glad we did manage to see them. Secretly, we hope to make a trip to Calgary sometime in future.
Thursday, 6 September 2007
My late dad once said: Sanity is all that counts.
Of late, the last few months, there's been a kind of inner stress and frustration that' s been building up. And I am the type who will "give face" (gracious enough) and not put another down outwardly out of malice. But bearing an inward struggle like this wears you in the soul.
I thank God for my boys. They are a good "distraction" and "occupation". They keep me sane.
They help me laugh when I feel like crying;
They help me look outside, outward and not succumb to inwardness and self-indulgence;
They help me to have hope for tomorrow and not hold on to hurtful pasts;
They make me feel young and not be a hag nor haggard (err... but look just a tad sloppy, according to my mum, hehehe..);
They entertain me while I entertain them;
They give me some exercise in running and dancing around the house;
They are so adorable that you cannot help but hug and kiss them umpteen times a day;
They are so wonderful you overflow with love;
They are so marvelous you overflow with awe;
They are so funny you overflow with laughter;
They are just so cute you overflow with delight;
They give me an outlet for my creative surges;
They let me be myself and they love me for that;
They remind me time is precious and you cannot do a "rewind" or an "undo" in real life.
They give me a reason to live and not just to exists;
They show you the "magic" of life and living;
They show me God's unconditional love.
They really reflect their Creator's power: They save me... they keep me sane.
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
Read this on my Big But Beautiful friend's blog and found it such a piece I had to put this here. For me, it voices many of my unspoken thoughts...thoughts I sometimes don't let myself take a sniff at for fear that it will certainly rock my rose-tinted world.
HAPPY 50th INDEPENDENCE DAY FOR MY COUNTRY, MALAYSIA.
What's Merdeka to me? Wanna hear the standard anwers or the truth? The standard answers will be......"erti kemerdekaan bagi saya ialah Malaysia telah bebas dari penjajah....""orang putih keluar dari tanah melayu...so merdeka lah".....duh! Truth is, I trully can't answer the question.
Bagi orang lama yang 70+, 80+ of age....YES! Merdeka amat bermakna. For me at age 35....Merdeka is more of remembering the event yang dilalui oleh datuk & nenek moyang kita dulu but honestly can't feel it.
Saw the Merdeka Celebration on TV tonight......jiwa rasa kosong....like my daughter I was lebih teruja nak tengok bunga api.......plus I was curious, is Merdeka only for the UMNO people? Is Merdeka only for the Barisan Nasional components? Is Merdeka only for rakyat Malaysia yang menyokong parti kerajaan sahaja? What about PAS? What about DAP? What about Keadilan? What about those opposition parties in Sabah & Sarawak?
I know that they are the 'pembangkang'......but isn't Merdeka was supposed to be a national celebration? Kenapa ada situasi macam ni walaupun after 50 years of independence? What if I sokong the opposition party.....don't I have the right to celebrate Merdeka? Pembangkang or not, kita semua rakyat Malaysia kan? Why can't we put all the political differences aside and embrace the special day. Is this the Merdeka spirit? It's really bugging me. Are we really free from the so called penjajah or are we still dijajah by our own people? Do we actually have the freedom of speech? Oh! my.....there's the ISA if you say something 'they' don't wanna hear. So much for being merdeka......it's clogging in my chest. I don't feel merdeka. I can't feel freedom. I don't. Still don't.
Talking about the history of our country's independence.....lots are still unclear, well at least to me. It's Tunku, Tunku, Tunku all the way......I'm not saying Tunku tak important dalam sejarah kemerdekaan kita.....memang dia played some part in the process of independence.....tapi rasanya macam terlebih promote Tunku aaaa..... What about nationalists like Dr Burhanuddin Helmy, Ahmad Bustamam, history of how Tunku 'took over' UMNO from Dato Onn Jaafar.......well, yes partly being told but cerita tak penuh kot?.....
What about wira - wira yang betul - betul berjuang menentang British untuk mendapatkan kemerdekaan like Tok Janggut, Datuk Maharaja Lela, Mat Kilau, Tok Gajah, Datok Sagor, Datuk Bahaman, Dol Said, Mat Seman, Datuk Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong, Mat Salleh, Rosli Dobi.......most of these heroes died sewaktu berjuang menentang penjajah. Berjuang dengan darah....Tunku? Well, after all the adegan tumpah darah & susah payah oleh wira - wira ni, Tunku hanya mengisytiharkan kemerdekaan........Nenek I pun boleh isytihar kot? No, No, No.....before you bombard me with maki - hamun yang I ni kurang ajar dan tak bersyukur and what not......all am saying, 'somebody' should highlight sejarah - sejarah perjuangan wira - wira yang terdahulu dengan jelas dan adil. Especially to the younger generations, those yang lahir in the 70's yang paling penting sebab generasi batch yang lahir in the 70's ni yang akan mengambil alih tampok pemerintahan kerajaan selepas 'group' yang ada sekarang retire. So kalau batch 70's sekarang pun blur about national history.........lagu Beatles....."Imagine all the people sharing all the world....."
Annnnyways.........selamat menyambut hari merdeka kepada yang menyambutnya. Ya! Ya! Ya! Laungkan Merdeka 7 kali....MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA!.....lepas tu? Hmmmmm......Happy holidays, have a wonderful long weekend :-)
Lupa , lupa....of all Malaysians in Malaysia.....Mr KJ which happens to be PM's son-in-law took the limelight and honours of raising the Jalur Gemilang ceremony last nite......50th Merdeka celebration, big event tu......Sejarah negara beb......so KEKKWA nominated Mr KJ as the man to do it? Why aah? Must pemuda UMNO led the event semalam? Agensi lain cannot aaah? Agenda besar macam ni why not PM sendiri yang naikkan bendera kita? Lagi bermakna kot? But no.......Hmmmm.....choop! Zip mulut :-}
Monday, 3 September 2007
Short Take #1: Merdeka!
Our Merdeka celebration: Since the boys had a late nap and woke up only about 6pm, I though we could go out to watch some fireworks. So grandpa, grandma the two boys and I drove up to a hill somewhere in Cheras to have a clear view of the Petronas Twin Towers. Much to our disappointment, there was no fireworks. It was only later through e-mail, that I found out that there was a fiesta down at the twin towers and fireworks were only let off at about 1am. We were all in bed by then.
Short Take #2: Swiss Ms
Got a post card from my old pal (she is actually half Swiss) who was in Switzerland for a family reunion. Great to get something lovely and personal in the mail box rather than all the junk mails and bills.
Short Take #3: Ikea
We went to Ikea today to look at some shelves and a table for me, which we need desperately to get My world a bit more organised. The boys had fun running through all the "rooms". Finally we took off for a late lunch at FastaPasta (great food, but the drinks burned a big hole in the wallet). By then Micah was tired and, complaining of a tooth ache, fell asleep and missed all the good stuff. Max ate well and after a while realised the brother was missing. "Koh-koh?" he asked, gesturing empty hands. Then when daddy told him where Micah was, Max was delighted to discover his brother fast asleep on the seat. Glad we took the booth seats.
Saturday, 1 September 2007
10. Write and publish my own silly stories for children and for the memories of my family.
9. Own a music & creative arts center/studio and run all kinds of classes for the kids, the elderly, the bored and the workaholics.
8. Build a clubhouse in my housing area which has a super sports center, including an Olympic size swimming pool, and a cinema that plays all the classic musicals and shows, i.e. My Fair Lady, The King and I, Mary Poppins, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Chitty Bang Bang, etc, PLUS P. Ramlee's comedies.
7. Own a fleet of different kinds of vehicles for all kinds of purpose, i.e a motor caravan (for an adventure), the clean and green SMART car, a jeep, an MPV, a couple of vintage cars (just for the pleasure of the old and sentimental), a tow-truck (because my boys would love it!), a luxury bus (because sometimes there are just so many people we want to join us in a trip), a fire engine and an ambulance (always handy to have around). Oh, and a scooter for running an errand on my own around our housing area (but in actual fact, I can't ride a motorbike)... And a carriage with REAL horse power!! ...OK, throw a helicopter in there too, though it's an aircraft and not a vehicle.
6. Own a cafe where I can offer free soup and friendship to all everyday.
5. Take my family on all the different kinds of train rides in the world, i.e., the bullet train in Japan, the TGV in Europe and Thomas the tank engine in UK.
4. Own a chalet on an island on Kenir Lake/dam, Trengganu. Must have a speed boat and 2 jet skis tagged to it.
3. Own a bungalow in Cameron Highlands and make sure that there's always fresh fruit, vegetable and flowers for the picking in the garden.
2. Build a dream house where there will be a big study filled with books on 3 walls from floor to the ceiling, a few day-bed kinda seats and lotsa cushions on the floor which is covered with a thick carpet. Plus fresh flowers in every room everyday. Dream house could be in Camerons or Teluk Chempedak, Taiping, Taman Desa, Cheras or maybe even in Staffordshire.
1. Travel around the world with my family and bring a different friend (and family if he/she has spouse and kids) along every time.
For all the selfish reasons above, I cannot but have my friends and loved ones in mind all the time. Guess being a stay home mom is already the richest experience I have. It gives me TIME which all the money in the world can't buy.