Thursday, 29 January 2009

Reunion Dinner

Since the time we had Micah, MiL had decided it would be easier to have our reunion dinner at a restaurant than at home. It also works out well too for my mum and my two not-yet-married siblings who would join us to complete a table for 10pax.

So here's the dinner we had... of which we had to pack some of the food back, because there was really just too much food.

And so the menu goes...


4 seasons

Sharksfin soup

Steamed fish

Suckling pig

(Sorry, did not manage to capture a photo of this
as I was too busy feeding Max and myself. Hehe...)


Mushroom and abalone with broccoli

Steamed wax-sweetmeats rice

Dessert: Sweet sea coconut with lotus seeds.

Mum and MiL had loads to chat about.
Ee-ee was really good at keeping a sleepy Micah awake and entertained.
He did eat some of the food.

Mommy and Max ate and talked and talked and ate. Max was also busy talking to Gadget-daddy.

Then everyone headed back to our place and we had a surprise birthday celebration for Tua-Ee who's birthday was on CNY eve itself.

It was a circus with a total of 9 children present, all under the age of 12 and all calling her by 3 different titles, plus the 12 adults, to sing Happy Birthday.
We loved the mango mousse cake!

Hope you all who celebrates this festive season had/are still having a good time too.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

More Pre-CNY Activities

Our house looks so much more into the festivity of Chinese New Year because the boys are in school!!

Chinese calligraphy done by Micah, with the help of his teacher,
decorates the pillar at our porch.

Micah and Max came back with a bag each with crafts they had done in the theme of the Lunar New Year celebration.

The booklets had all the significant things of the celebrations:
Reunion dinner,
Tea Ceremony,
Lion Dance,
Mandarin Oranges,
Fire crackers,
and Visitations.

The night before the eve of CNY, grandma was busy doing up some decorations and the boys insisted on helping... putting "cherry blossoms" on a real cherry blossom plant.
The boys slowed her down a little, but no harm done.

The boys are so much more involved with the celebration now that they are older.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Meals On Wheels

The boys had their favourite snackie / lunch on the way home today:

Black noodle. Cooked by Grandma.
We had packed the food in a thermos tumbler.
Special thanks to Ee-ee who provided the containers and forks.

By the time we hit the toll, Max was already fast asleep. I had to pull over at the Toll office to lower his seat down and give the rest of his noodle to Micah who was happy for seconds.

Micah did not nap and had the rest of the afternoon to play.

Such is a life of pre-schoolers.

CNY Crafts For Show

These were the crafts the boys came back with last Friday.

Micah is actually quite possessive of his and would check his name to make sure he is holding his and his brother his own.

Anyway, Here they are on display:

Lanterns made from ang-pow packets.

The greeters for the New Lunar Year.

Drama In The Morning

Ee-ee and I figured: This boy is just pushing for luck.

In the Morning Max kicked up a big fuss about going to school.
He insisted it was already the last day. I explained that this is a new week.

He refused to change (forget about taking a shower), didn't want any breakfast and insisted that Grandma was to stay home and not go along so that he too could stay home.

I carried a wailing-and-kicking 3 year-old to the car.
He refused to get into his seat, so we both sat at the driver's seat for a while, while I talked to him.

Finally I managed to get in into his seat, with some coaxing and persuasion.
He was still protesting.

When we got to the main road he was alright.

We chatted about the different cars we spotted on the road and looked out for trains.

Mommy talked about how Mom and Dad both loved school from the first day of school and we never cried because there's just so much to do and it's so fun to be in school (this is all true, btw) and our teachers were all good and helpful.

When we got to school, Max protested a little at the stairs. He wanted to go buy sugar with Ee-ee and bake cookies with her. But when he got in and put his bag down, he was already running off to see what a teacher was doing in preparation for that day's craft. He never looked back.

Well, we might have... or we should probably expect a few more days of morning drama but I think he's ok.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Breaking Out Of The Clouds

Today I drove the boys to school as Gadget-daddy had taken a train to work much earlier.
MiL tagged along. She is always worried that one adult, me, is not able to handle two noisy boys in the car.

Along the way, Max was whining that it's not a school day and that we are not going to school.

I was trying to reason with him, telling him it's the last day of the week.

MiL said in Cantonese to stop talking about school and making him cry.
Then she started distracting the boys with what's out of the window.

It sure works in stopping him from whining and crying, but I am always wary if such tactics would have some other negative effects later on in life, i.e. in their coping with stress, etc.

Anyway, when we arrived at the school, grandma stayed close by the car while Ee-Ee and I walked him half way up the stairs and gave him a hug good-bye. We promised him red-bean bread and prawn crackers after school. He complained as he walked in to school, but no real tears. We were all relieved and impressed!!

Grandma and I went over to Ah MA's to help her in her last session of making love letters.

By the time I had to leave to pick the boys up, we were 3/4 way through the batter, so grandma stayed to help in my place while I went to pick the boys up.

Ee-ee helped to get the bread from a bakery a few doors from the bookshop she works in. She then picked the boys up and led them to my car which was double parked in the very busy street.

When I caught sight of them, I stepped out of the car. Both the boys raced to me and gave me a hug.
Max's greetings were, "MOMMY!! I didn't cry today, you know."

Then both the boys showed me the handcraft they made - a lantern for Chinese New Year decoration.

Both boys were happily starpped in, Micah with the sausage from a sausage roll and Max with with a prawncracker.

We made our way to Ah MA's house in no time and with no drama of any sort. All 3 happy people in the car.

I hope for Max, school will be as good as today from now on.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

NOT Without A Shadow Of A Doubt

Poor Maxwell.
Going to school is a major adjustment for him.
He has never been away from Mommy.
The times Mommy was not with him, he was at least at home and with his family and all his toys and things he is familiar with.

Yesterday I asked him in a quiet conversation about his friends in school.
He declared that the only friend he has is his brother.

Today, at the door of his class, he clung on to my shirt crying in the most agonizing way,
"I want to go with you... I want to go with you..."
While his teacher pulled him away, prying his little hands of my shirt.

Last night he held me tight as he was falling asleep and just kept calling "Mommy... Mommy..." until he was finally asleep.
He didn't want any song sung to him.
Then in the early morning he cried in his sleep a lot.

Throughout today he kept me within sight.
If not engaging me in an activity or conversation, I had to be in the same room at least, even if I was doing something else and he was playing by himself.
The moment I disappear, he will cry and yell for me, not wanting me to go away.

Just now, during dinner we talked about what to do after dinner.
He asked if we were going to school.
I said, "No, not now. School is tomorrow, when we wake up from our sleep."
After that he kept saying to me over and over,
"After we sleep and wake up, it's not tomorrow, ok?"


This is so painful to deal with.
Did I make a mistake in signing him up for school at 3*?
He is still so much a baby in some ways, although we have been preparing him for the arrival of the baby brother in March.


I was already contemplating pulling him out if he does not adjust well to being away from Mommy.
I was planning to see how he is by the end of the week.
I don't know how much "trauma" he can handle.

Some relief/improvement:
At least today he didn't cry when I came to pick him up from school.
In fact, he quite happily showed me what he was doing and what he did in class: some colouring and some pasting.

Just as I was leaving the school grounds, I mentioned my intention to the teacher.
The teacher says hang in there. He is getting better.
He actually talked to the teachers today when he was not crying.

So all will have to bear this pain and burden together:
Max, his parents, his grandparents and his ever-doting Ee-ee.

* I also tried this with Micah when he was 3 and he had really bad nightmares.
He would wake up middle of the night and tell me he does not want to go to school and that he does not want to go anywhere. He only wants to stay at home. He would even hesitate going to my mom's and refused to go for playgroup with anyone else but me.

At the end, I pulled him out and we started again last June when he turned 4. He cried for a few days, but we were able to talk about it without him crying. Also, no nightmares this time.
Now he has forgotten his crying days and kept telling his brother he MUST go to school which really upsets him to tears.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Getting Into The Festive Mood

Last Sunday, because a relative was visiting from Penang, we took her out to Midvalley to see the decorations.

Of course the crowd was just unbelievable
(you mean there is an economic crisis going on?)
and we had only a couple of hours to walk before heading back to Ah Ma's house as she had an appointment.

The boys behaved unbelievably well and we did not need to do any running-after-a-run-away-boy scene. Maybe because we had a "stranger" among us.

The next day, while Gadget-daddy worked from home, Mommy slipped out to do a few thing: to meet up with a friend (we were to meet at Ah Ma's house as it is more convenient geographically), and to get a hair cut.

But when I arrived at my mom's a little earlier, Ah Ma's was busy in the kitchen and I ended up doing one extra thing:

Making kuih-kapit (love letters) with Ah Ma.

She handles the batter and the molds over the charcoal...

and I fold the hot fragile biscuits and store them.

Of course Ah Ma kindly gave me a tin to bring home for her grandsons who have been "raiding" her kuih-kapit tins when they came over the last couple of times.

Thank you, Ah Ma.


The secret to Ah MA's delicious kuih-kapit:

1. The coconut milk must be hand squeezed in your own kitchen. The machine squeezed ones are not fragrant enough.

2. Charcoal fire is the only way to bake them.

3. Must be made on a fair weathered day. On a rainy day, the biscuit will be soft before they cool due to moisture in the air.

Seafood Special

The day Gadget-daddy went off to camp, Mommy took the boys to Ah Ma's for a visit and we had the most delightful surprise in her kitchen (she had just come back from the market):

Gigantic Mantis Prawn!!

They are over a foot long each.
Sold by weight, she had paid RM46 for the four pieces!!
Talk about indulging the palate!

At the end, she just had them steamed and we ate them without any sauce nor salt.
It was just superb as it was!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Souvenirs From A Camp

So Gadget-daddy got back late Sunday evening from his waterfall trip.

He has this motto from his scouting days regarding being one with nature:

"Take nothing but photos; Leave nothing but footprints."

Well, he took quite a few shots, and here is just a small sample of it...

The actual seize of this fall: over 100feet fall.

At a lower section of the fall.
Pic taken with a slow aperture.

Crossing the stream.

The stream from a different perspective.

Plus, he brought back another kind of souvenir:

Leech bites and scratches!!

Well, this is the leg that has he leech bites concentrated around the front of his ankles.
The other leg, the leech bites were scattered all over. We didn't even bother to count how many there were.

According to him, it's due to the rainy season. In all his years of camping and hiking in the jungle with the Scouts, he had hardly any leech bites.

Well, this sure made a record!!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Gadget-daddy Gets The Camping Bug

Gadget-daddy's gone for a couple of days.
He's taken off with a bunch of strangers to go hike up a waterfall and camp in the jungle for a night.

This started back a week before Christmas when we were at a friend's Christmas get-together and he chatted with someone about going to waterfalls around Kuala Lumpur.

It seems there's this group on Facebook called Waterfall Survivors and he decided it was time to revive an old passion.

He was all excited about buying a new tent and some camping utilities.

The boys had a great time when Gadget-daddy tested out the tent in the hall.
That was when Micah decided he wanted to go too.

The really funny part was that he wanted to make the new tent look a little worn so that he would not look like a rookie, while he felt he has had more experience camping out (was very active as a scout in his school days) than most people. But of course we didn't do anything to the tent.

Mommy's fun part, of course, was going shopping with him for the food supply and amazed him by knowing which aisle to head to for the specific thing he wanted at the supermarket. :D

Micah's wanting to go along were expressed thus:
"Yes, I want to go. I'm coming along."
"Mommy's not going? Max not going?"
"OK, I'll sleep with you, Dad. We'll sleep in the tent, right?"

Of course we all felt he is just almost ready, but not quite.
Maybe when he turns 5.

He was quite disappointed when he discovered that Gadget-daddy had left early this morning.

Both the boys missed him and asked a few times:
Where is he?
When is he coming back?
Why is it so long?
I want Daddy...

Well, Gadget-daddy will be back tomorrow, and we'll then share some photos.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Back To School

Today was the second day of school.

Max still cries when he discovers that I have disappeared after a few minutes of him stepping into class.

At the end when he is let out of class, he greets me with the saddest pout before bursting in to a heart-wrenching bawl. But the bawling stops quite easily when he gets distracted.

The teacher says he's doing well for a first timer.
In between he is quite alright.
Seems he cries now and then because he misses Mommy.
His favourite time is snack time.
I have also been told by the teacher that Micah has been a good big brother.
He tries to comfort his brother.

Even in the car on the way back today, just the boys and I, Max told me that
"Koh-koh takes care of me."

So I asked, "What does he do to take care of you?"

"He does this... (puts a hand over his mouth) to stop me from crying."

"Micah, that does not really help you know. You should tell him that Mommy will be here soon, and there's no need to be afraid."

Max quickly said, "He did. He did."

Well, Max will soon adjust to not being with Mommy for a few hours.
That would be good for him and me.
The most important thing is that he is not traumatised, no nightmares,
and he seems quite OK all the way from the prep for school in the morning and the car ride too.
So all should work out well soon.

As for Micah, he's been very happy getting back to school.
Most of his friends are still there except for three students.
Max and another girl, Natalie, are the new ones so far.

He did his usual, "Bye, Mom. Love you" at the stairs (the school is on the floor above), which was our usual practice from last year, but Max called out to me and asked me to walk him up the stairs and into the class. So I did.

Hopefully after next week I can just say good bye to the boys at the bottom of the stairs.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Patting Max To Sleep

Max always request for Mommy to pat him and sing him to sleep.
He usually picks a song himself, but Mommy will sing others that follows, either of the same tune or the same theme.

Today he said to Gadget-daddy that he wanted him to pat him to sleep and sing him a song.
His song request: Hush Little Baby Don't Say A Word.

Usually Mommy will sing this one in her own version*, which usually ends with us all giggling, before singing 'Five Little Ducks' and other animal rhymes.


Guess what Gadget-daddy did?

He Googled it from his i-Phone in bed with Max beside him and had it played out to him.
So we all heard the actual version of Hush Little Baby for the first time.

Yes, yes... we all learn something new everyday, even a lullaby.

But in the end, he still snuggled close to Mommy and lay quiet and sleep blanketed him.
Such a sweet little boy.

* Mommy's version:

Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird.

If that mocking bird don't sing,
Mama's gonna buy you a big brass ring.

If that big brass ring don't shine,
Mama's gonna buy you a bottle of lime.

And if that bottle of lime's too sour,
Mama's gonna get you some solar power!!


Feeling Awful

Yesterday I sat alone on my bed and cried.

Today I felt awful.

Both incidents were in relation to dealing with Micah's mischief and my inability to cope with the stress.

It is the toll of living with other adults in the house that sometimes frustrates and infuriates.
(I won't go into any details on this.)

In the end, my fuse is shortened because some things really get the better of my nerves. Then along comes my cheeky-experimenting- boundary-testing - four year old and trips off a time bomb.

Mommy yells.
Boy stomps off in silence and hides from her.


Emotionally I see how we are so alike.
Micah and I are both actually very sensitive. And often when bruised, we need to be coaxed and soothed. Then we are OK and can go off hopping like a happy bunny again. We forgive easily when some form of effort of reconciliation is made.

Unfortunately we were both bruised... so Mommy needed sometime alone to release stress, sit and cry for a while, and then go coax the other bunny.

We are usually OK within the same hour. And we will exchange out "I love you"s and long hugs.

These are the times I feel like I just want to pack a bag, grab my boys and move house.

Gadget-daddy's back at work, and
I need to get out of the house to have some space with "positive vibes" with my boys.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year, New Goals

I am weaning my three year old.

I am one of those moms who have really enjoyed breastfeeding and now, as we are getting ready for No.3 to come along, I am weaning Max.
But I must say that I miss holding my boy close to me, chatting with him while he nurse and sometimes even just joking around till he just doesn't want to nurse (at this stage his nursing is more of a comfort and also to touch base) but chat and play with me.

Anyway, it was a deal we struck from months back:

When he turns three, he will have a certain present and no more "nan-nan" after that.

At first he wanted certain trains from Thomas and Friends series, but then he decided he wanted Speed Racer.
So, of course we got him Speed Racer for his birthday, and even for Christmas.

And so the weaning began.

Max has been amazingly good in keeping his end of the bargain.
Of course occasionally he asks, just trying his luck to see if Mommy would forget the deal, but he would giggle when I give him a surprised look and say, "Nan-nan? You mean non-non."

So, for the past week, he has asked me to just pat him and sing to him to sleep. Well, there were a couple of nights he just feel asleep while watching Speed Racer.

The only exception was when he cried for nan-nan the first two nights. I am sure it was out of "cold-turkey", and since it was in his sleep, I relented, so that we all too, could sleep.
But after that he was ok and has slept through the night.

The other amazing thing Max has done is that he has declared he does not need diapers at night, and so far he has been able to sleep without wetting the bed.

Good job, Max!!

You are a big boy already!
Three years old!

You will start school in a few days' time, and Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to you enjoying school with koh-koh and coming back with loads to tell.

As for Micah, we are trying to wean him off the milk bottle.

I know it's a hard thing to do, and my MIL's ever concern is that he would be consuming less milk from a cup than from a bottle. The reason for the need for milk is because this boy does not eat meat or vegetables. His source of nutrition, besides plain noodle or creamy pasta, is porridge or an occasional toufu and fish with rice (he does not like rice either, but I will force him to take some).

So I don't know how far this is going to be successful.

As for toilet training, Micah still uses the diapers at night namely because we figured his taking in 4-6 ozs of milk at bed time, plus some water after that would be harder for him to go off diapers anytime soon. Also, he will occasionally ask for milk in the middle of his sleep too. So, till he can sleep well through the night, the diapers is still in need.

For Mommy and Gadget-daddy, we can't believe that in no time, it'll be March and the third one will arrive. We still can't decide on a name, but we have already received a huge bag fill of babies clothes from my sister in Singapore.

It'll be another round of holding a small one, night feeds and diaper change. Fussing over a bath, mittens and booties and all those lotions and oils needed.

*Aye, the Little one is kicking me. He knows I'm 'talking' about him.*

It's partly exciting and partly scary... to start all over again with a new born.
Each one is precious.
Each one is different.
We wonder how this one will be.

Even both the boys are waiting and asking how long more?