Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hubby's home!

It is only that he is here, that I realize how different my life was without him.

When he wasn't around, I was trying my best to just cope. I really put all my needs second place. Up to the point that after 2 and a half months, I was getting desperate for some of my needs to be met. Not those kind of 'needs' but needs as simple as wanting to go for a drive without anywhere in mind. Or my desire to eat tau fu fah without having to hunt for it myself in the midst of my already busy dropping off and picking up.

In fact I realize that my daughter has stopped asking me to go out kai kai/shopping. It used to be a weekly Friday affair, eating out and shopping. But when hubby was not here, my parents didn't favor eating out. So, even if we were to go out shopping/window shopping, it would be after an early dinner. It was half the fun. But for me to do it every Friday would be more stressful since my mum would not be able to handle it well.

In fact, now after 2 days at home, my son is complaining that we should go home earlier and not go around town. We have been admittedly doing so since it is 2 more days to CNY and I have not done alot of things. Hubby is the kind who likes to go out and I don't mind moving around doing errands etc. But to the kids, this is a far cry from what they have been experiencing these pass 2 months.

Another fact is that by 8.50 pm, Christopher gets chased upstairs coz my parents can't stand that the 2 kids fight and cry. Hubby and I seem more immune to this kind of chaos. Or maybe since hubby is mostly on his phone, he doesn't see as often as my parents a misdeed.

At any rate, on the 2nd night, I was shocked that it was already 9.15 and my son was still happily playing downstairs. I have had more work to do since my parents left to stay in their own home, so I never realized the lateness of the hour.

During lunch today, I thought about the errands I had to do when I get home. And I realized that I was not stressed about the work that needed to be done. So as much as I have more housework to do with my parents gone, I am less stressed about juggling that with the outside chores.

And strangely, before hubby went away, he always used to ask me questions like 'What did you cook today?' and I would sometimes get irritated that he would ask such a question. So my answers will be very short or I would tell him to go back and check for himself. But yesterday it didn't even irk me when he asked what I cooked for the night. It seemed like the kind of question my dad would ask my mum anyway. So, I answered in much detail, in fact asking him if he wanted to add anything else. I feel that this response has rubbed off from my mum's 'reporting' to my dad everything about dinner. Especially since my dad is very particular if there is enough food for his grandson.

So, in some ways, this feels new to me. Some things from my mum are rubbing onto me making some of the questions hubby used to ask no longer a source of irritation. I still have to nag for things to be done since my parents have left, that has not changed. And the relieve of external work no longer feels heavy in my mind.

There is good and bad in every situation. Hope I can keep the good and discard the bad. Hope everyone else steps up to the situation they are in.

What I miss most...

That day while waiting for my daughter to finish her class at English Champ, my eye caught upon a notice on the board which made me so excited.

It was a notice to invite students to join an essay competition. One of those competitions that had a few words on how the essay should start. And then some key phrases they wanted in that essay.

My heart started to beat very fast and my head started to fill up with ideas.

Gosh, I miss that rush.

I love writing. And I love it even more when they challenge me towards a specific topic or some specific phrases. I find it hard actually to just write an essay without any particular aim. So, this kind of competitions add just the right amount of direction without making it boring, which is what the STPM/SPM english exam essays do. The Malaysian essay exams are literally a matter of filling in the blanks.

I wonder if as an adult there are any competitions like that. I don't mind that the prize is small, or nought at all. But I would love to get my creative juices flowing again.

Oh, what bliss.....what satisfaction when you pen the last full stop.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Extra activities for a 7 year old?

My objective for Christopher this year was to fill up his time with activity. Reduce the ipad fiasco and mindless TV.

So, for the year, he will have Eye Level on Mon and Wed evenings. Tue and Thurs he has to stay back at school for his activities. And then after CNY will start him on Mandarin and swimming.

It has been quite a feat trying to fit in Mandarin in his schedule. I can't do it on Mon and Wed coz those are the days he comes back late from school and with Eye Level in the evening, it may be too tiring. Tue, his activity ends at 4 pm so I reckon give him a break after that for homework and then rest. Thurs his Taekwondo ends at 2.30 so that leaves him some times in the evenings. However, most Mandarin classes seem to prefer to have 3 classes a week.

As of now, homework for him is scarce.

Had a chat with his Eye Level tutor and we concluded that he does take a longer time than others to conceptualize things. Like 10 + 15 is 25. Other kids will take maybe 2 lessons to learn it. But he will take 4. So, help with his maths is very important.

Language seems to come easier to him. I have little trouble teaching him BM, at least not yet. And he seems to pick up Mandarin pretty well when he is forced to focus.

Here's to a year of actualization! Hope he progresses on smoothly.

Update on Caylee

My girl has become quite a negotiator since she started school.

She has only cried 1 more time since my last post. I don't send her to kindergarten anymore since I start work earlier. Not sure if that helps. I never used to want to send Christopher either in the earlier days cause I cannot stand them crying and maybe having mummy around makes them more clingy.

She does tell my mum once in a while that she doesn't want to go to school today when she gets up from bed.

When my mum fell sick, she feigned illness too and told my mum she is too sick to attend school. She even started coughing a bit and making nasal sounds. 

She has also reasoned that grandma doesn't go to work. So why can't I stay at home with grandma? Grandma can teach me too. Not necessarily the teacher!

And the next best way out of kindergarten is a ....but why can't I go to the 'other' school. The 'other' school is the classes she goes to on Saturday. 

And if she can't get out of school, she will approach us with questions like "Why do I have to stay the whole day?" or "Kor kor can come back half day, why can't I?"

So almost every other night, she will try to wiggle her way out of school. She sometimes even twists her question to confuse you so that your answer to her would be to stay home and she will hole you to that.

My dad asks me "So how ah? Why doesn't she like to go to school?"

I reckon after 3+ years of absolute freedom and crying without reprimand, she is doing well as it is. At least no screaming and crying and throwing tantrums. Just clever negotiations and skillful conversations. Hope lying won't be the next thing I have to tackle soon with her.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2 Jan 2014 for Caylee

Caylee concerns me more than the brother in some ways.

She was ever so ready for school and was looking forward to it so much.
She was upset when she saw her uniform was not pink.
But her excitement for school superseded her need for pink!

On the first day, she was already half a foot in before she said good bye. I had to catch her attention to say good bye to her.

I was so proud of my little girl. And the teachers were amazed that a girl can be so cool about entering a new place.

Then the Friday incident happened.

Her first scolding from her teacher. It was boo hoo cry (which stopped quite fast I heard and this surprised me knowing my girl's cries) and a refusal after that to go back to school.

Monday was heart wrenching for me cause I dropped her and she hung on to me for dear life. It was quite comical when the teacher tried to 'catch' her and she kept dodging the teacher while still hanging on to my leg. In the end I had to tear her away from me and walk out to the sound of her crying 'Maaammeeee...'
Aaahhh....you know that feeling. Tough love.

Perhaps it was only the Monday blues. She has not been crying since. I hope it stays that way. She is mimicking the teacher most evening, making me act as her student. And she willingly takes out her own workbooks to do 'homework' like her kor kor.

On her 2nd day she had water play in kindy. When I asked her if she liked it, she said NO! Why not? Coz the boys were so naughty. They splash and splash until all the water went out. I prefer playing at home with kor kor only. I don't like boys.

Hahahaha....girl and girl. But you still want a boyfriend!

2 Jan 2014 for Christopher

A leap for Christopher from kindy to primary 1.
A step for Caylee to kindy.

Both kids took on their first day with excitement and bravery.

Christopher literally jumped out of bed when I woke him up on Thursday morning. No fuss about brushing his teeth at all. Had his breakfast as fast as he could and dressed up in his sports wear.

We received his timetable on his Orientation Day, 31 Dec. And the first day, he had PJ. So, a couple of us parents decided to let them wear their Sports Wear. But since we could not get their Sports house Tshirt yet, it would have to be white T and track bottoms. It was a mad rush for me coz I did not get him any white T yet. Not sure why it never crossed my mind to get it. Anyways, I went to Tesco to get it but the Back to School promo was done with and they were out of white Ts. So I rushed to Jusco to get it in the end. Bought him 2 white Ts and an additional track bottom. In the end, on the first day of school itself, the stock for his sports wear was available and I bought him 2 of his sports house shirts. What a waste of effort and money rushing to get the white T. And although I was too tired to be stressed, it affected my parents as well. 
Hiccup #1.

When Christopher and I walked into school on the first day, I was not at all concerned that not everyone in his class was not in sports wear. Good thing he was not concerned as well.

Unlike during orientation when we went in normal clothing and was anxious when we saw almost all other kids wearing their school uniform. We literally stood there debating if we should go home and change! But we didn't in the end when at last we saw one other girl wearing normal clothing!

To my surprise his class was almost full. There weren't many places left to sit and Christopher insisted on sitting at the back by the window.

He has since moved a row behind and is now sitting all by himself in that row. Reason being on the second day someone came slightly earlier and took his seat! The good thing about him sitting alone is that he doesn't have much opportunity to talk to anyone. On the other hand, it does become harder to make friends. And it can become too quiet that he dreams!

After 2 days of bringing him to school and picking him up, I began to notice that his trolley bag is quite hazardous. When he pulls it, it can sometimes knock into other bags and then it topples over. Especially when the kids are running or waling fast with it. And then there are the drains which they have to avoid. And if someone spills something in the canteen and the kids don't see it, I can't imagine the dirt! Also the next week it would be my dad alone dropping him off. If as we planned, my dad drive pass the gate and Christopher has to get out and walk in himself, it would be too difficult to carry his bag up the stairs. So, on Monday afternoon, it was a rush to buy him a backpack. In the end I bought him a Swan backpack. Noticed that Swan will repair the bag for you.

For the pass 3 days he has only been carrying his required text books to school. He does his workbooks in class itself and leaves it in class. Also he has had no need to bring back any of his exercise books either so far. All his workbooks and exercise books are left in class. He only brings back his text books, and homework if any. So, to put 3-4 text books in a trolley bag with his pencil box, tumbler and lunch box seems ridiculous! Hiccup #2.

On Christopher's feelings with regard to school. On the first day itself he refused to let me carry his bag for him. I think the joy of pulling their own bag is exciting. And he didn't want me to help him in front of his friends. In other words - no mothering him! He tells me only half of what happens in school. The rest of the blanks I get from other mothers.

Yes, on Orientation Day itself we mothers exchanged telephone numbers and have since started a WhatsApp Group - A1 !

Christopher's schedule is rather full now. I have warned him NO TV on weekdays. But he is still watching some since homework has not started. And neither has some of his co-curriculum. He is in robotics and Taekwando every Tue and Thurs. Mon and Web will be Enopi. Sat am planing to start him in swimming. And then I have to slot in Mandarin somewhere. Yup, it will be a fun filled schedule for him. No more mindless TV! And no, I don't feel it's too much at all. I am a mean mum!

Caylee....in my next post!

Moving In.

29 Nov marked the end of my pre-moving in planning.

Although I had everything planned to the dot, as usual things never turn out the way you intend it to be.

I had the mover to go to the condo in the morning, followed by my old house. And then 1 lorry load to the new house. I expected all this to happen in the morning. Followed by the 2nd lorry load later in the morning or after lunch.

However, much to my annoyance, UNIFI which was scheduled to come in only in the afternoon decided to call me and come in the morning. It was such a rush for me to drop my last minute packing in the old house to open the new place for UNIFI to setup. The whole process of setting up UNIFI ended only at about 11 as the dock I was supposed to be linked to was already 'used'! So, they had to call in office to get approval to use another dock 3 poles down the road! It was a good thing hubby's friend was there to help me talk to them. And he dropped everything to come over and help me. God's blessing #1.

The first lorry load arrived shortly before 11. So, it was a scramble dealing with the UNIFI setup as well as telling the movers what goes where. God blessing #2 - Simon, Wai Yin and the 2 girls came with whatever hand held-s they could carry - including my handbag. God knows I had to pay the UNIFI people since my installation was considered not direct. Mine had to go above the ceiling!

Unpacking of most major stuff happened quite fast. In the span of 3 days I would say almost all the boxes were unpacked. Some things even moved again to increase the convenience factor. I had to wait another week before the rest of the furniture came in from Ipoh. Only then could the remaining things be put in place.

Round 2 of moving from Ipoh to PJ was more hectic. Perhaps coz 2 houses were affected, my parents had to also unpack, no one else to help, we were already tired. Tempers were short and many a sleepless night due to emotional stress.

It's been 1 month and 2 weeks now. I can say I am done (90%) with my settling down. My parents are 75% done. And we are down to the last packing and unpacking of the condo. It would take another 3 months before the 2 houses will be settled in. And all previous places sold and settled.

I love my library in the new house. Although the shelves are mismatched, I love that my books are all arranged nicely. The family room upstairs in fact is rather cool. I also love my new porch - ability to park 2 cars and still have space for the kids to kick their ball around. I love that the house is walking distance to a reasonably well kept park. And even walking distance to food and other necessities.

Parquet flooring upstairs is reasonably easy to maintain. I do the dry wipe every day. Marble flooring in the living room takes alot from me coz I feel that it gets oily faster. The tiles in the dry kitchen also irritate me coz they seem to be very porous and thus easily stained.

What I hope to be rid of is the ants in the house. And I will need to get used to the 2 Rottweilers and their poop.

I can't say that my house feels new anymore. Or perhaps it's me that is feeling jaded, and not so much the house.