Friday, January 30, 2009

Shooting Hoops

Our son the aspiring basketballer

A very belated Ox Year greetings to all! =)

We've decided to bite the bullet and enrol D in the somewhat expensive Gymbaroo for this coming semester. Yesterday was Open Day at the Traralgon branch, so I took the little tyke down to see if he'd be keen on all the play equipment.

At the far end of the hall, he spied a little girl toddling up a series of steps to a platform with a netball-sized ball in hand, and shooting the ball through a hoop into a basket below.

Shouting "Ba-ketball! Ba-ketball!" he made a beeline for it, and was quite happily occupied there for the next half-hour. I never taught him the word basketball, I wonder where he picked it up from? Puzzling.

Wait for me, little girl!

Aiming before taking a shot

He shoots... he scores! Observe the many differently colored balls, and how he gets progressively sweatier with each shot!

After a successful shoot, look at me amble down to get another ball!

A more quiet pursuit saw him playing with a shape-sorting traffic cone...

Looks like he really wants mommy to sign him up for Gymbaroo here!
With the father looking to return to school this Monday, I guess this will be one way to distract the kid from suddenly not having Daddy around all the time.

We'll both be missing that, I think.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Poop Time

Be warned - what follows ain't pretty so if detailed descriptions of the excretory nature disgust you you may excuse yourself from reading further.


Our Dylan told his first ever toilet joke recently.

One evening, as we sat round the table after dinner, the little prince let off a long, loudly audible whoosh of gas. Not a mean feat considering the thickness of his diapers.

After a slight awkward moment, this mommy gave him a disapproving stare, and said, "Dylan?!"

Looking perfectly composed and right back at me, his reply in our short repartee -

"Who's that?"



Probably the most unglamorous of jobs associated with being a parent is potty training. Since the new year, we've resolved to finally not put it off any longer. The plastic potty has been sitting the loo unused for the last 4 months, and because he's never shown any interest in staying seated in it, we went ahead to buy the seat that fits over the toilet for him.

I had one successful attempt at coaxing him into relieving himself one morning, but the attempt hasn't been replicated since.

This afternoon, I spied him beginning to take a poop, so without delay I stripped him of his nappies and put him on top of the seat -

"Go poo poo in the potty, D-!"

"You can do it!"

But after 12 months of exerting standing up in his diapers, he just couldn't do it. Struggling against my effort to stay him seated, he put his feet up on the seat, stood up, strained, and I had to do all I could to hold onto him while a wet mess of poo shot straight down his legs.

Most of it ended up in the bowl, thankfully, but to save the details let's just say it got pretty messy.

Thank God for a husband who's around during school holidays! My darling E rushed in after I yelled for help and without further ado, went ahead to sweep our son off my hands for a bath and a good clean-up while I attended to the crime scene. Love him to bits.

I guess the lesson here is that you can't undo what's been a learnt behavior for the past 12 months at least of a toddler's life. We've never seen the need to get D to sit down for the big job, so I guess it is going to take a lot more messy episodes before he feels comfortable doing so, and doing so on the toilet.

I welcome any suggestions on helping D with this milestone!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chinese New Year cookies

Looking on
"Look at the love-letter moulds!"

We've been blessed with getting to know some good people who have migrated here from our part of the world. Yesterday, we visited one of them and caught a glimpse of what life is like making a home away from home. With CNY just around the corner, M had arranged for her Chinese friends - a group of overseas Singaporeans, Malaysians and PRC - to come over to bake some Chinese New Year goodies.

I've grown to take the various CNY goodies for granted - the pineapple tart, the love letter, the assortment of yummy festive cookies. In Singapore, stacks and stacks of them can be bought from NTUC neatly packed in layers in plastic containers. In fact, I have never seen CNY goodies made from first principle, so being invited over to bake them was a real treat.

We first made the 蜜蜂窝 - a honeycomb shaped deep fried cookie.

Later that evening after a delicious dinner of homemade satay complete with ketupats - rice-steamed in little square packets - the ladies tried their hand at traditional love letters - made in metal moulds dipped in batter and then held over charcoal. After it is cooked, the waffle is placed around a baton to mould it into the cylindrical shape we're familiar with.

It was eye-opening for me to see how each love letter takes a good 10 minutes to make, especially since back home I'd just be popping them into my mouth one after another without regard! I guess the ones sold in supermarkets are mass produced and machine made, but these ones were absolutely yummy.

Little D was busy entertaining himself and playing with gor gor R's toys, while the ladies were hard at work and the gentlemen were busy eating up the products. E earned his share of the goodies by throwing the kiddies up in the air.

Playing in R's backyard
Clambering around M's backyard with her son R ... feels like playing in a kampong, doesn't it?

Cheeky boy
Mommy I'm too busy to eat any dinner... but not busy enough to give you a cheeky smile!

dump truck
While the rest tuck in, I'm busy tugging this dump truck along!

look at the love letters!
Mommy's drooling over these charcoal flamed love letters in the making...

The party
With just 4 moulds in action, the rest just supplied plenty of eye-power...

good throw!
"Yippee! I'm flying I'm flying!"

playing with gor gor R
Ahh... kids at play. Just love it!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello, 2009!

Starting a new year is a little like going on a blind date for the very first time. You aren't sure how special the person you meet will turn out to be in your life, but you are willing to give it a shot.

A little nervous - why not? Lots of reasons to be apprehensive with so much uncertainty at stake - but you know if you don't give it that one shot, it's a missed opportunity that's never going to come back for you.

At the same time, it's hard to meet this metaphoric "someone" new when I'm still mourning the loss of 2008.

Truth is... in the moments after the flash and bang of the final celebratory fireworks fade in the sky, I wonder how the revelers ushering in the new year feel... do they feel as I do? A little lost? Forlorn, even?

Central to the pathos I'm feeling is this question: The past. Where do all the years go after you stop thinking about them?

Do they disappear, like chaff blown away by the wind, ashes swept up and out to sea, never to exist anymore?

Somewhere, every event in the year will get recorded in pages and pages of history books, political journals, or sports almanacs, in ways that make sense to specific groups of readers with specific interests.

For instance, 2008 will surely be remembered by the Chinese for its devastating Sichuan earthquake, and the Beijing Olympics. For the Americans, it will go down in history as the year that the first Black American was voted to be the country's next president, also a year of global financial crisis. For Singapore, in certain quarters, I'd expect that people will remember the passing of colorful opposition leader JB Jayaratnam, ruined and perhaps politically martyred because he chose to stick to his guns loudly.

But what about our own personal stories? Who will record the years that saw each of us age a little more? Do these volumes exist in dust-filled bookshelves, to be picked out and read by A loving Critic who passes fair judgement with a Divine compassion?

I believe so.

I find it hard to believe that atheists place so much significance in the ability and omnipotence of man, and yet they've not found the answer to the question of their own personal significance. The militant atheists like to call believers superstitious weaklings who rely on religion as a kind of crutch to explain away their own failings.

How do they reconcile with their belief that at the end of their own life, is nothing?

I digress.

There is a story from BBC about one of the seven wonders of the Industrial World - the Robert Stevenson's Bell Rock Lighthouse which was completed in 1811 off the east of the Scottish treacherous coast. In fact, the lighthouse lays claim to being the oldest offshore lighthouse still standing today anywhere in the world.

Built 11 miles out to sea, it was an architectural and logistical impossibility, yet brick by brick, mortar by mortar, it was completed against all odds, and today continues to provide precious light to ships approaching the Scottish east coast.

I want to remember this story, because when Dylan is old enough, I don't want him to think that every passing year is just a matter of course. I'd tell him that each moment of his life should be as useful as each brick on the lighthouse. And that at the end of it, his life should bring light to others from right at the top, a shining beacon amid the troubles of life.

Wow - talk about a post with a whole bunch of mixed metaphors.

So here's a big hello to 2009!

I look forward to getting to know you - even though you'd agree I'd be carrying some baggage into this new year - hopefully they'd be the useful ones.

Here's a verse to remind myself about from 2 Corinthians 5:17 -

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"