Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Move to the Groove

Our young gymnast got to display his agility recently, when his playgroup held its Christmas party at a local gymnasium. A rather run down facility, the gym was nevertheless a veritable toddler paradise, equipped with an adult-sized trampoline, , beams, parallel bars - and most importantly, lots of padded ground area to prevent bruised knees!

First event: Floor. It's a great way to warm up to the more challenging events - just listen to the big speaker emitting upbeat music, and move to the groove!

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Second: Flying trapeze - another demonstration of why mommy and daddy love to call me "cheeky monkey". Me Tarzan, you Jane?



Third - and our little gymnast's absolute favorite. The Trampoline Marathon. In fact, he spent so much time on the trampoline other kids climbed on and off and he was still there!



After a while, the layers started coming off - it was just getting too warm with all that jumping going on!


Mommy is kicking herself for not bringing the camera to catch the action - hence the videos' poor resolution. All the vids were taken with her trusty Nokia mobile phone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mums and Bubs Swim Class

The little tyke has been going for swim classes. And loving them.

Just a stone's throw away from E's med school here in Gippsland, the indoor 25m pool where the classes are held at is heated, oh blessed reprieve from cold days. Surprisingly, though we're in the thick of spring, one rainy day can bring temperatures back down to the 10s here.

Here he is, all changed and getting ready to take the plunge!

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I was a little concerned at first about whether I could competently keep D safe, even though the class is at the .8m shallow end of the pool. Cheryl, the swim instructor for the Mums and Bubs class, said that other than being alert to how D was taking to the water, the best thing to teach such a young child about not taking in water or swallowing, is to teach him how whenever his mouth and nose are under water, he should blow bubbles.

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"Getting used to these floaty rings around me body!"

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With the other moms and bubs, swimming around and singing:

Ring-a-ring o' rosies
A pocket full of posies
A-tishoo A-tishoo
We all blow bubbles (mommies to push bubs' heads under water for a second)

The Story of D's Haircuts

As any parent would testify, getting a squirming toddler a haircut can be one harrowing experience for both the toddler and the scissor-handler. And we've decided that this is probably one battle that we'd be better off not fighting.

My folks advised that we could do it on our own, and they tried to explain to me over Skype how I should just hold D's hair up with me left hand like chop sticks and "cut downwards at a 45 degree angle to his head". It would have worked, I think, if my little one would only cooperate.

When the moment came, E and I set D in his high chair in the bath tub (to reduce mess and for easy cleaning up), I could only manage 3 snips before D started wriggling and squirming and screaming his head off. We had to stop, I think if we persevered his head really would have come off!

So, we ended up bringing D to the professionals.

In another genius stroke, we brought along the portable DVD player, all loaded and ready to play Hi-5's "Music Machine" - one of the little tyke's favorites. We thought it would distract D from the snipping and clipping going on around his head.

And it worked! Amen!

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I'm concentrating real hard here, Aunty Katie here is real amused that I - this almost-2 year old monkey - can sit so still! Aunty Katie is thinking to herself - "I gotta get me one of them DVD players!"

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Mommy's laughing at my real serious look - can't you tell? My furrowed eyebrows?

Monday, November 03, 2008

What Obama means to me

Tonight, the United States has chosen its new president-elect. Topping news headlines all over, Obama's historic campaign to become America's 44th president is stirring an excitement that seems to ripple through the rest of the world.

I'm watching all the coverage on Aussie telly with a somewhat detached fascination.

My interests for the last year and a half, after all, has been of a more parochial nature. Now as a homemaker, even more so - my days are filled with questions, not about injustices in the world, but if our "larder" is stocked, or the kids (wink!) are well fed and entertained - altogether pretty mundane stuff.

Yet, I wonder about this - there's something about America that holds the rest of us in its sway. We can't help but watch, vicariously enjoying the country's gaffes, its excesses, but also its successes. Maybe it's because America epitomizes the best and the worst of humanity for us, and really compared to us, they are just more honest about it.

And now, with an African American president-elect who will actualize Martin Luther King's famous speech "I have a dream", it is showing the rest of the world that ideals are powerful and can dislodge established norms.

So I guess, in a funny, remote way, I am excited that Obama is going to be the next president. And worried too, because it is reminding me that Dyl will be growing up into a mixed up world.

Think about it - though professedly Christian, this president is going to be one who does not decry diverse sexual orientations, endorses women's right to abort unwanted babies, and excessively uses celebrity endorsement to extend his popularity in an increasingly media-centric populace. And new media too - facebook users, you know what I mean.

It's reminding me that the values that are Biblical, will not be the ones that in Dyl's world, are easily accepted.

Not that these values are accepted in today's world by any stretch of the imagination, and not that I'm not struggling with them myself! But I'm worried nonetheless, maybe precisely because I've fallen victim myself, made so many ill-choices in my lifetime.

Some may say that I'm paranoid to be reading so much into all this. It isn't popular to make sweeping links between American TV and celebrities' influence on our youth, for instance.

But guess what? Now I've got a bit of science to back me up.

A recent scientific study has "caught up with common sense", and definitively found that teenagers exposed to sexual content on television are more likely to find themselves involved in a pregnancy.

I mean, that's just a case in point. The point is, as a Singaporean we're particularly vulnerable to American influence - both good and bad. I'm a case in point, quite frankly.

So in a nutshell, here is Obama as president, means to me. It means:

1. That my child/ren can, and must, fight for their ideals - ideals that matter, and can make a difference in the world, even if at points in time they can seem unattainable, or - ahem - not "pragmatic".

2. That growing up Christian isn't going to be easy. There are too many conflicting messages coming at them. But hopefully with diligence on our part as parents that is coupled with authenticity (as opposed to always being "on the moral high horse type!"), and a whole lot of help from the big guy, he/they'll turn out alright.