Monday, August 31, 2009

Protecting Against Sexual Predators

Good touching, bad touching, secret touching?

Every few days, there is news of children being abused. The latest is of course Jaycee Dugard but there are so many other stories as well. I think Aaron is reaching the age where I need to start "tarnishing" him. One way to look at it is "protecting" him but in another way, its also "tarnishing" his innocence. Introducing him to the concept that there may be people who want to hurt him when right now, he trusts everyone.

Perhaps at this age, its not so much telling him about people who want to hurt him but getting him accustomed to talking about things as a sort of safeguard against the future.

I read about the good/bad/secret touching from this article. Good touches are hugs, pats on back or a kiss on the cheek. Bad touches are if somebody hits or pushes you. And secret touches are when somebody touches you and asks you to keep it a secret. The idea is to talk to your child about the day and then incorporate these aspects into normal conversation.

It sounds simple enough. Too simplistic perhaps. After all, if Aaron understands the concept of a secret, then why wouldn't he keep it? I'd have to first establish with him that he and I will share ALL our secrets. (Is that fair though? Everyone (even little ones) are entitled to some secrets....) He has only recently learnt about whispering "secrets" into another person's ear and we play games like that all the time.

I was also reading a transcript of an interview with a lady whose 11 yr old son was molested by their neighbor. She quoted some extremely scary statistics:

* One quarter of children sexually abused are abused by a biological parent.
* One quarter of children are sexually abused by stepparents, guardian etc.
* And one half of children are sexually abused by someone that the child knows.

Hey! Where are the strangers? Why is there the saying "Don't talk to strangers"? I haven't been a lot of research on the statistics at all so I don't know how accurate these are. Perhaps they are general numbers but many of the child abuse stories that do make the news are committed by people known to the children.

I did come across another statistic while looking up what has been written about how to protect children. This article mentions that a man is most likely to be a victim of sexual assault at age 4 and a female at age 14. *sigh* I guess Aaron really is coming up to the age where I have to start talking to him about these things.

I don't think my parents had this particular talk with me. And they probably didn't have to worry about internet safety either. I'm sure that's going to be something else I deal with before too long.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Flying Kites In Perumnas

One of my favorite scenes in Palembang is that of the local children playing in their narrow streets. I always thought that I'd love for Aaron to have that experience. Unfortunately, the area we live in has not provided many opportunities as there aren't as many kids who play in the streets here. Affluence tends to move children indoors and in front of TVs and computer games.

When we were out today, Iwan, our driver, needed to drop something home to his wife. I love it when that happens because I get to catch a glimpse of life in Perumnas.

Today, there were a bunch of little kids between 4 and 7 playing with their kites. We watched for awhile...

The area immediately in front of the houses were too narrow for these little ones. The big kids manage to navigate the low roofs but it was too hard for the younger ones.





They eventually moved to a more open space where Aaron looked on....a little lost.





I really wanted him to at least get a taste for what its like to play freely in the streets (even if I was hovering) so we got him his own kite and set it up.





Initially, I tried to show Aaron how things were done, but, it was hopeless. I never played in the streets this way :).

Iwan was the expert. I'm glad he was around to help us get the kites up so that Aaron could try 'flying' them. The other kids asked to 'challenge' Aaron to a kite fight but Iwan laughed them off for picking on the little guy. (But then, in the real situation, it would have happened and Aaron would have had a lesson in dealing with the bigger guys)





The kite is now home with us in Kedamayan and we did try to take it out but there was absolutely no wind on this side today! We'll try again tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sneak Peak

Guess who's foot?



My Next Little Man! Yes, its a boy :)

I've been sitting on this news for a week now but have been telling people that have asked me via IM or email. I know there are many more friends and family members that visit my blog so I wanted to share it here too.

Admittedly, I've had some apprehension in sharing because the responses so far made me wonder if broadcasting this widely was a good idea after all.

A couple of months ago, when people first heard that we were expecting No. 2, there were huge smileys and congratulations all round. It was fantastic news!

A little under half the responses this week were along the lines of:

"2 monsters huh?"

"The next one will be a girl."

"WHAT?! Another boy?"

"Ah....I C...."

"You can have another one."


He hasn't even been born yet and already people are overlooking him, feeling disappointed (on behalf of us I suppose), categorizing him and continuing their wait for a girl. So what if I don't have a pigeon pair? He's not a temporary fill-in for a future baby girl!

The first question people asked after I told them we were expecting again was "Do you want a boy or a girl?". Actually, some just jumped straight in to say "I bet you want a girl". My response from the start has always been "I want a healthy baby." And he's healthy.

So to answer the question again, because of course, I did spend time wondering what the gender was....

I couldn't decide. I knew that if it was a girl I would be able to go crazy shopping for all the cute baby girl clothes. But, I also thought a boy would be a good mate for Aaron. And, maybe I've already learnt a few things being a mom to a boy and another boy would be easier. In the end, I really didn't care.

Now that we know its a little baby boy, we're excited over all the fun two boys can share. Maybe I should invest in some more Thomas & Friends stuff now. I'm feeling a little protective over him, wanting to shield him from those who may not immediately send of cheery vibes but I know that nobody was intentionally being insensitive. I can see how their responses may be 'natural'. So, I'm hoping that sharing it here will get rid of the bulk of those responses before the baby actually arrives.

To those who shared in our joy and helped balance things out, "THANK YOU". You can't imagine how much appreciate it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

3yr Old Man

Aaron hasn't been feeling too great this week. So of course his crankiness led to extra work for me and ultimately got me feeling a bit tired today too. I'm sure his germs are making their way through me. And guess what? It was Aaron to the rescue.

I was lying down for a few minutes when Richard was home for lunch. I heard Richard leave and tell Aaron to play by himself for awhile. He did for about 2 minutes then I heard him come towards the room. I was determined to make use of my final few seconds of down time with my eyes closed.

I couldn't see anything but I could feel him creep in quietly. He came near me and (I think) took a long look before putting his hand on my arm. I didn't move and expected him to slap me or something similar but he went away slowly. Then, I feel one of the soft toys being pushed against me. I hear his little feet walk off and I realize that he is turning the CD player on. He put on his sleep CD for me and then left the room, once again, quietly.

This is what I do for him!

It was all so unexpected. On normal days, he would have pounced on me and wouldn't have given me a millisecond of rest. It made me want to get up at once and go play with him, make him happy for giving me such a pleasant surprise. I didn't though. If I did, I thought it might send him the wrong message and he would never do it again in the future. So, I waited about 5 minutes - that should be about the 3yr old's equivalent of 15 mins.

Maybe this is part of growing up to be a man. Y'know, never doing things when they're expected to but then springing a surprise like this at the least expected moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bumps

I wonder when women started taking "glamour shots" of their pregnant bellies? I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been the done thing during my grandmother's time. In fact, I've often heard her mention how ugly the pregnant form is.

I don't think this was done during my mother's time either. As we were browsing through the Facebook photos of one of my friends, we came across some photos of his wife's bump. I think her exact words were "OMG! Why would you want a photo of that?".

At some point during my last pregnancy I remember telling her I was going swimming and she asked me what I would wear. I told her I'd wear my bikini and after that, it was just silence. Guess she didn't know what to think then. I also remember her commenting that she would never have dreamed of stretching a T-shirt over her bump.

Its not that ugly is it? Well, I don't think so. I know plenty of people have professional photos taken of their bumps and a lot of them look beautiful. And of course, a lot of us these days just whip out the digital camera for a few at-home shots as keep sakes too. I know I took one every month with Aaron so that I could see the changes. I must go dig those out (from the secret folder embedded in another secret folder) to compare with what I look like now.

I know I'm not one to go for the professional photo but I do like looking at some of the cute ones in this blog. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the 3rd last photo. It may or may not be a fake one but still interesting to look at.

This is one of my favourites :



Alright....now where was that folder?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Country's Tidbits At LCCT

Of all the airport shops I've been to, this is easily one of my favorites. It is at the Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier Terminal. Forget about duty free cosmetics or electronics, its always the food that will get me.

The place is called Country's Tidbits And Candies Cottage and it isn't your ordinary candy store. It still has the usual gummy bears, jelly beans and more 'western' style sweets but the rest of the store is Asian. By 'Asian' I mean that they have the widest assortment of dried and salted fruits and peels I have ever seen. There are lots of these types of places in Malaysia but none with a range like this. There were also some 'herbal' stuff there...I can't call them 'sweets' because they definitely aren't sweet.






And then, a special enclosed room for all the dried cuttlefish. Stinko but YUMMY!



I ended up getting just three items:

Dried mandarin skins. These taste sour and bitter at the same time.



Dried lemons. Sourish and salty too...



And something I forgot to identify. They're sort of sourish, salty AND sweet at the same time!


Anybody want to take a guess what that last one is?

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Month Long Worry Is GONE

Finally, we're back and I feel great!

The trip was a much anticipated one. In fact, I have been waiting for last Friday since the 22 July 09. As laid back as I have been about this pregnancy, there was something bugging me between the 22 July and 21 August. "Bugging" would be a mild word. This issue was hanging over my head day and night, making it difficult for me to fall asleep and making me wake up even more than usual.

I failed to prepare myself for the results of the Triple Test. This was something that I did with Aaron. I read all about it, and familiarized myself with the notoriously high false positive rates that it yields and then mentally prepared myself for it. TRUST ME, this is something that pregnant women should prepare for. In a nutshell, it measures 3 hormone levels in your blood, takes into account your age and age of the fetus and tells you the risk of the baby having Downs Syndrome or some other neural tube defects.

So on 22 July, I was surprised to receive an email from my doctor. I didn't think anything before immediately clicking it open. Now imagine the words "1 in 230" and "elevated risk" and "call me" suddenly taking up the whole screen and bouncing back and forth. That was all I saw. I was short of breath and felt as if I received a physical blow. It took me the whole night to regain some level of calm, and it was a fragile one. I couldn't talk about it but of course it was always on my mind. After a day of reading all the good and bad on the internet, I banned myself from Googling it. It worked, as long as I didn't read about it or talk about it, I found it a lot easier to keep it at the back of my mind. For some things, its better to share it with other people but I found that I had to keep this all to myself. So after day 2, I never said anything about it, not even to Richard. And it just ate at me.....slowly.

Rationally, I had read enough to give me some little bit of comfort. All over the internet, other mothers warned against doing the test because of the high rates of false positives. Plus 1 in 230 means 229 times out of 230, the baby is fine. Thats a 99.56% chance that the baby is perfect right now. If I knew my odds of winning a lottery worth $1 Million were like that, 0.44%, I'd probably think nothing of throwing the ticket out. But this was different, it just hung over me like a dark cloud, always threatening to push to the front of my mind and cause all sorts of panic.

At the same time, I felt guilty for fearing this so much. So what if the baby had Downs Syndrome or some other problem? I would never think of getting rid of it. And, why should I love it any less anyway? Why couldn't I just embrace the idea of a child with extra needs? Anyway, these are just a few of the many possible problems that can arise with a baby or a child. There are so many other things that can't be predicted. I felt so wrong about it.

After about 3 weeks, I started to feel the panic rise again. I was going back for a detailed scan. And, the day before we left, I decided to lift the Googling ban to go read about that. It got me worried again because they now mentioned the scans not being completely conclusive and could cause even more worry. Did I still want to do it???

We arrived an hour before the clinic opened and then waited another half an hour. It was A.G.O.N.I.S.I.N.G. The doctor was very comforting and did a really detailed scan from the brain to the toes and everything in between. The baby is developing normally. PHEW! The relief I felt was unimaginable. I do understand that no matter what my age and what the statistics, there is always a risk of this or some other problem, but I'm comfortable now. I'm happy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - Air Asia To And From Palembang

Today, we'll be heading to KL for another short trip. As usual, we're flying on Air Asia. I agree that since 2001, the airline has lived up to its tag line "Now Everyone Can Fly". At least everyone in Malaysia seems to be flying!

We have used it every time to travel between Kuala Lumpur and Palembang. Its cheap and direct. So, I can't complain about that. I am thankful that the flights exist and has become like hopping on a bus to go home for me. But thats about all the good I can say about it.

I know that there is a difference in your flight experience depending on your destination (especially if you're going somewhere like the Gold Coast or London) so my gripes here are specifically regarding the Kuala Lumpur - Palembang flights.

13 Reasons Why I Don't Like Air Asia's Palembang-Kuala Lumpur Flights

1) Flight attendants are rude and unhelpful.

2) Seats are always sticky.

3) Headrests always appear oily.

4) The tray tables and back of seats in front of you are always spattered with whatever the last passenger had to drink.

5) They are always out of the food you are willing to buy.

6) They also never have the duty free items you are willing to buy.

7) There are no dedicated check-in lines for Indonesian destinations at the Kuala Lumpur Terminal. They are all lumped under "Indonesia" and is crazier than the local market.

8) We have experienced two trips where the airlines sent out an SMS informing of a flight delay when there wasn't any. One of the times, Richard ended up missing the plane because he showed up at the time the text message said to.

9) The Indonesian number for Air Asia rarely works. Its not that you're put on hold, it just doesn't connect!

10) No matter which language the announcements are made in, nobody understands them because they are always mispronounced and recited at the speed of light.

11) Same goes for announcements made by the pilot. Its not right to judge their skills from the way they speak but I can't help wondering if we're safe. They always sound like they're leaning back with their feet up and a coffee in hand.

12) Everything about the airline (except its bottom line) seems so unprofessional. What about their maintenance??

13) Oh no....I don't have a thirteenth and I'm running out of time.

Have a good weekend everyone. Next post on Monday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're Halfway There

I think I start on my 20th week today. So, we're halfway. What have I done about this pregnancy? Nothing. So far no panicking, no planning, no shopping.

The first time round, I spent two weeks wondering if I was really pregnant or I misread the seven or so home pregnancy tests. Then, there was this long period of freaking out about labor and delivery. I scoured the internet and scared myself even more. I rang up several birth educators pretending to inquire about their classes but actually just wanted to ask them if it was going to be as bad as the Dr.Google says it was going to be. That whole fear lasted right up to the moment Aaron popped out....then I knew.

This time, I've spent the odd moment or two being resigned to the fact that I'm going to have to go through all that pain again but it will eventually pass. Big deal but survivable.

With Aaron, I read all the pregnancy sites. I read the week-by-week developments DAILY. I made an excel sheet of my nutritional needs and then charted what I ate each day, tallying up the totals to see if I was short on anything. I made lists of everything I would need to purchase. I researched products.

These days? All I know is that the baby must getting bigger because I feel it moving all the time. Fingernails yet? I don't know. Hair? No idea. I do make an effort to eat right because I've always felt that we don't always eat properly over here in the first place so I have made special efforts to make sure my meals are more balanced than usual.

Its not like this second pregnancy has been so easy that I haven't noticed it. In fact, I got the morning sickness (didn't have it with Aaron) and as mentioned previously, I'm getting fatter quicker. So, its physically very obvious. PLUS, a simple trip to the doctor would require planes!

And, its not that there is no excitement over this baby. There is, but I feel so laid back about it. Shouldn't I be doing some preparation? Or maybe, all that preparation I did do the first time round didn't help all that much so perhaps, there is no need?

I think it'll hit me all at once someday soon and then I'll have to do everything twice as quickly. Maybe when I find out if its a boy or a girl. Yes, we've decided that we want to know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Panjat Pinang

I finally managed to upload a video! I'm not sure how long it took because I just left it going overnight. The size is a bit disappointing but better than nothing right?

This is from the Independence Day activities I mentioned on Sunday. I think its the highlight of the day for the people here. Panjat Pinang translates to climbing the palm tree.

The trunk is greased so its very slippery. The objective is of course to get to the top and untie all the prizes hanging there.

The video is of the 11th or 12th time that the men were trying to get up there. They tried so hard! Over and over again!

video

Richard left soon after this but Aaron and I waited, hoping to see these people succeed. Unfortunately, and rather disappointingly, they called a timeout when it was time for the Maghrib (sunset) prayers. They ended up tying a knife to a long bamboo pole and cutting the prizes down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TV Shows Growing Up

We're still trying to limit Aaron's TV watching as much as possible. It has been relatively easy because he can't take the excitement from any shows except the Thomas DVDs he has already watched, The Wiggles DVDs and some new Richard Scarry DVDs a friend lent us. Oh, and of course, Hairspray and Mamma Mia. I know the day will eventually come where TV time is probably going to be an issue of contention but we're not there yet.

I've been thinking of the TV shows that we watched when growing up in Malaysia. My mother had it EASY. Back then, there were only three channels and even up to the time we left Malaysia (1988) they didn't start broadcasting until 5pm. (Or was that just what my mom was telling us? Not sure...) The stations has really imaginative names: TV1, TV2 and TV3.

I think the third station only came on in the last couple of years before we left. And this one was special! The previous two station had zero advertisements. This shiny new third one was a commercial one and FULL of them. And guess what? I actually remember my brother and I looking forward to the ad breaks. We LOVED them! We watched the shows for the ad breaks. Silly kids!

To give you an idea of maybe why we liked the ad breaks so much, here are the only two shows that I can remember watching.

Battlestar Galactica - The original one. Our bedtime was 8pm but every Tuesday (I think), we got to stay up to watch this from 8-9pm.





The Wild Wild West - I know this was on Wednesdays. For some reason, my mother always let us eat and early dinner in front of the TV to watch this at around 5pm. After that, it was straight off to some dreaded piano lessons. This show was OLD! I just checked and it came out in 1965.


These are the only two that I have vivid memories of. I think there were a few cartoons here and there but not a lot. So, our TV watching and overall addiction didn't really start until we moved to Brisbane. Thats when my mother started to use the 1 week TV ban....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Independence Day Weekend

We have had a great weekend, mostly at home. It has been rainy so staying at home has been very cool. Not like the recent dry, hazy and oppressively hot days we had recently.

Last night, we went out for dinner with some friends at Horizon Hotel. The kitchen at this hotel is my favorite in Palembang and so far, it hasn't failed me. So, needless to say, we had an enjoyable dinner last night. We also saw this funny sign at the entrance to the hotel....



I had this image of the bride and groom in their formal Indonesian wedding costumes but with a joint hanging out of their mouths.

Today, our neighborhood had the annual Independence Day activities. Just like last year, Aaron participated in the Kerupuk eating competition (they have to eat it without using their hands). Some one took pity on him this year and gave him a bit of help - boosting him to 2nd place!!





It was a simple weekend but lots of fun.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who Needs Grass?

For those of you that have been reading my blog for some time, you might remember me saying that there are absolutely no parks here in Palembang. There isn't a place where little kids can really go to just run around in the grass.

So, there are no parks here AND it so happened that we rented a house with no grass. Many houses here do have a nice lawn in their gardens. Unfortunately, we don't have a single blade of grass. The soil we have is very much clay and even weeds don't grow well. I'm amazed that I managed to have such healthy four angle bean plants.

It hasn't rained in awhile and all the sand/dirt has become extremely dry outside. Aaron has been having an hour of fun or more outside each morning.

Some days, he makes 'cement' by mixing in water with the dirt and stirring it around. He then transfers it from one place to the next doing what he calls construction work.

Other days, he gets his big machines out to do the heavy duty work. He becomes a complete mess by the end of it all but its so worth it. I find that I've been becoming increasing slack on the cleanliness levels here for the sake of fun!

The lack of grass is turning out to be a blessing in disguise after all.







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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not A Complete Copycat

I always assumed that most parents got at least part of their parenting skills from their own parents. Of course, these would be modified for generational differences but at least some of all the good as well as not so good practices would filter through. I also thought that perhaps there were people out there who developed their own parenting skills by consciously NOT parenting the way their own parents did. However, even with these people, something of their parents ways must trickle through.

Yesterday, I came across an interesting article. Research conducted by the Ohio State University showed that women do in fact mimic what their own mothers did. So, I was right there. However, it seems that nothing was passed on to the men. (So, maybe dads just make things up as they go along. I had a feeling that was the case anyway!) The study didn't go on to show if men mimicked their own dads.

I know I have partly become my own mother but there has also been a huge chunk of parenting advise from her that I just couldn't follow. Everything about the way Aaron was fed and put to sleep as a baby is completely different and I think it was because I breastfed and she didn't. I'm thankful that she has been open minded enough to see that I had to do things differently to her.

For all the other basic things like, bed time now, limiting TV time, lots of reading, not buying too many toys, not purchasing the toys in front of Aaron, avoiding sugary foods and many many others, I hear her words coming out of my mouth!

As a young child, I LOVED LOVED LOVED stickers. I think all kids do. Unfortunately, my mother thought they were a waste of money. So, the only stickers I got were the freebies in cereal or sometimes inside a loaf of bread or maybe something from a generous friend. I did eventually build up a decent collection that I was proud of.

These days, I've noticed that stickers are unavoidable. If my mom was a mom today, I'd HAVE stickers. All the activity books for young kids come with stickers - cute, colorful, 'educational' stickers. So, both Aaron and I have been enjoying them. What surprised me today is that a part of my mother has still managed to trickle through.

We finished using up all the proper stickers and were left with just the frames. And what thought should enter my head? "What a waste this is. The remaining parts are all stickers too!"

So here's what we did:


I stuck the 'frames' on pieces of paper and they were now apartments. Aaron continued to have fun drawing people and other stuff inside the apartments. The black was night time and the white, day.

That part of my mother (the don't-waste-your-money part) often annoys me because it has permeated all aspects of my life and I find that I refrain from buying a lot of things that I want because of it. There is good and bad to that but at least for today, we saw the good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm Supposed To Be Pregnant, Not Fat

In Grade 2, I think I was about the only girl that I knew, that didn't go for ballet lessons. It was all the rage back then (don't know about now). All my friends went and I often saw them in their pink leotards and their hair done up in little buns. I wanted IN!

So then, my grandmother said that she would take me for lessons. Unfortunately, it wasn't in any ballet schools that I had seen my friends come out of. It was some after school activity at a school that I didn't attend. And, they didn't wear pink leotards. They just wore these white, short dresses. Never mind. It was still ballet.

After the second lesson, the teacher supposedly pulled my grandmother aside and said that I wasn't ballerina material and that it was better if I stopped. More specifically, my backside was too BIG!

I wasn't particularly upset about not going for ballet anymore but the big backside thing.....that was burned into my brain. On top of that, my father thought it was so funny that he joked about my big backside all the time. And that made my brother do it too. And somehow, my other grandmother got in on it too. They didn't do it in a mean way and its not like I developed any eating disorders from it but I'm always trying to see if my backside is getting any bigger.

Unfortunately, it now is. I don't know what it is with this second pregnancy but things are getting bigger, faster. With Aaron, I didn't even really look pregnant until close to 6 months. I'm not even at 5 months yet now and things aren't fitting anymore. Yesterday, I walked out with a couple of rubber bands to hold my pants up because I couldn't do the buttons up.

Supposedly, this is all to do with that bump growing in front but I can't help it, I'm spending a lot of time looking behind. There has been some expansion there too!

It seems to me that there isn't a whole lot of difference between feeling fat and feeling pregnant. I'm so looking forward to starting the breastfeeding. Hopefully it still works to melt away this fat.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Three and Talking About Marriage

I've had a couple of really funny conversations with Aaron today. The concept of marriage and being a husband/wife is SO HARD to explain!

He has been pointing out people that we know and identifying who is 'wife' and who is 'husband' correctly so I thought he got it. Well he does, but just on the surface (of course!). And then this morning, we had this conversation:

Aaron: "Mama, you're my wife."

Me: "No. I'm Papa's wife."

Aaron: "Is a wife a girl?"

Me: "Yeees.....wives are girls and husbands are boys". I think he was trying to confirm that the wife was the female of the pair.

Aaron: "I'm your husband!" It was like an 'Aha' moment for him.

Me (after laughing a long time): "No no no......Papa is my husband. He and I got married."

Aaron: "Why?"

Me: "Sometimes, when people love each other. They get married." I knew it wouldn't satisfy him but I couldn't come up with anything better. Then, we got distracted and it was the end of the conversation.

Later in the day, he says to me "Mama, I love you too. I'm your husband."

"No no no, you're my son. When you grow up, you might get married and then, you'll be somebody's husband."

He didn't seem to like the answer. Or maybe, he just couldn't comprehend it. Maybe he was wondering who he could possibly marry. I ended up trying to explain that he and I had a special relationship. I tried to throw in that people get married, and then they get babies and have these new special bonds with the babies. All the simplification and trying to avoid further traps into explanations of other things got me confused in the end!

Monday, August 10, 2009

3rd Birthday Party

This has been an incredibly tiring weekend! We spent the whole time preparing for Aaron's birthday party on Sunday afternoon. The party itself was tiring with 14 kids running around. And of course, there was the clean up.....

We tried to get all the kids standing still and smiling for a decent photo but this is the best there was. The photo is also missing 3 little kids that arrived 2 seconds after they all dispersed from this. I'm a little disappointed I didn't think to take another photo of all of them later on. (Not that I would have been able to round them all up again....they were running all over the place)



Richard planned for 8 games but it was extremely hard to get all the kids, all different ages co-operating. We ended up playing just 3 or 4 and handing all the prizes out the easy way.



I think the kids managed to have a good time but I really couldn't tell about the grown ups. There were about 14 of them too and our house really got very hot with the extra 30 people in it. Hopefully they had an OK time too because we're more than thrilled that they all joined us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Photostory Friday - My Little Man Is 3

There are so many aspects in my life that seem to have zoomed past. All of a sudden, today is Aaron's 3rd Birthday. The funny thing is that the past 3 years with Aaron has moved at just the right pace. Yes, my days are often excruciatingly long but maybe that is a good thing. I have LOTS of (extra) time with him to cherish.

Being a mother, and the stay-at-home variety is definitely the job for me. I wouldn't want to miss any part of his life. He is such an amazing little guy and I am grateful for the bond that we have developed. I'm so proud of the little person that he has grown into - loving, caring, funny, cheeky and sensitive.

Here are some of my favourite photos of him:

This was his favourite sleeping position. Even if we put him on his back, he'd roll over and do this. He still sleeps this way now...


He was really easy to feed...


First contact with grass...


I think this is my absolute favourite. Just look at those innocent eyes...


He loves his pencil and paper...


And also his guitar...


PhotoStory Friday
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Happy Birthday Aaron!

Thursday Thirteen - World Breastfeeding Week

Did you know that August 1-7 was World Breastfeeding Week? Well, I knew there was such a week but I didn't realize it was this week. I am proud that Aaron and I continued for 2 years and 7 months and I sincerely hope that new mothers out there will seek out support for starting and maintaining a breastfeeding relationship. Its not always easy. I can go on and on about nursing to anyone who will listen, but, I won't.

Instead, here are 13 Simple Reasons To Nurse For As Long As Possible

1. Breastmilk naturally changes composition as the baby grows and nutritional needs change. You don't need to do anything, except feed, to ensure the best for your baby.

2. It saves money. No need to be running to the store for formula.

3. It saves time. No need for sterilizing bottles, preparing the formula and then cleaning up afterwards.

4. It saves more money. No need for gym or personal trainer fees because the nursing will help shed the pregnancy weight. For some women at least.

5. It saves more time. No need to make sure that you make up a bottle for baby before going out. No need to wake up in the middle of the night to prepare a feed. Mom is a walking milk bar.

6. It cuts down on one possible factor for constipation in young babies. In fact, it might save you time again since a breastfed baby can go days without taking a poop. Think of the time NOT spent cleaning up that mess.

7. Breastmilk can be used to clear stuffy noses and sticky eyes in babies.

8. Nursing fixes all hurts and soothes instantly. It really was a big help for the tantrums too.

9. Nursing may give a new mother a better night's rest if they co-sleep and feed in bed. Just doze and feed at the same time.

10. Breastmilk boosts a baby's immunity.

11. Some studies have shown that breastmilk contributes to higher IQ scores in the child.

12. Nursing minimizes the risk of childhood obesity.

13. OK. Here is my favourite. For those that lose weight with the nursing, you can now eat whatever you want. Guilt free! Imagine eating anything and everything without worrying about when you'll need to work off those calories.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Don't Argue In Front Of The Kids

This is something that I have heard over and over again from my mother. I heard it before I was married, before I had Aaron, while I was pregnant with Aaron, and of course, after Aaron was born. This isn't to say that my parents never argued in front of us. I guess there was nothing major since I can't remember any specific incident but I know they did.

Just like lots of things our moms tell us, we don't always listen. So here, I confess. I'm always the one that starts an argument with Aaron around. He's always around! I'm not proud of it but I'm being honest here. No, we didn't have an argument today. Its just a point I'm wondering about.

What am I supposed to do anyway? If its morning, I have to wait a full 12 hours before Aaron will be out of the way. And even if its something that happens at lunch time, thats still 6 hours for the fury to die down. Maybe thats the whole idea but whats the point then. It just ends up being another point to be harbored and dug up at some future explosion.

Occasionally, I'll have a grip on things and won't say anything. Instead, I send out evil text messages. LOL! Once again, not the same as just letting it all out and being done with it.

I Googled it - Don't Argue In Front Of The Kids. The first link is to a CNN parenting article and here is what it say:

Myth: Don't fight in front of the kids

When moms and dads fight, it's scary. Babies can tell when you're angry (and will probably get upset) and bigger kids will worry that the two of you are on the verge of a divorce.

What we say: It can be valuable for children to see their parents work through a disagreement with good will. Kids also need to learn that even people who love each other don't get along perfectly. "It's unrealistic to expect no conflict," says Smith. "If you never have a difference of opinion with your spouse, then you've obviously found someone who agrees with everything you think. How boring!"

In other words, it's fine -- even healthy -- for kids to witness your arguments. But there are caveats. (Aren't there always?) "When you argue in front of your kids, it's important to fight fair," says Reivich. "Instead of shouting 'You're a lazy slob!' say 'It really bothers me when you don't take out the trash.' Take issue with the action, not the person, and don't hurl insults." So if the fight is too intense, or there's no resolution in sight, table it until the kids aren't around.


You can read all about the other marital myths here.

Thats food for thought. I don't mind giving that a go. But first, I think I'll need some sort of dictionary to translate the everyday angry language that people normally use to the more issue oriented one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No Green Thumbs Here

My okra plants have been doing extremely well for the past couple of months. They provide enough for me to have one or sometimes two meals with okra each week. I started to feel good about it. Recently, they've gotten so tall, I need to get on a stool to harvest them. I've been proud of them and it has felt great eating my own vegetables.

Here they are from their good side:



Unfortunately, things have recently started going wrong. Last week, the leaves on one of the plants all wilted. Overnight! And, it only happened to the main branch. So, I cut it off and am hoping that the remaining branches will stay healthy. So far so good....

After that first plant, I had three other plants start wilting the same way. This is really getting scary. Supposedly, okra is susceptible to verticilium and fusarium wilt but what if only part of the plant is wilting? I think my tomato plants had this problem too previously, they never lived long enough for me to get any tomatoes.

You can see the naked looking stalks here. The wilted leaves don't show up well in the photo.



And look at this one. No leaves at all!



I've bought some fertilizer so we'll see if that helps. Otherwise, I'll have to start from scratch again soon.

I'm Still At The Calm Phase

I came across an article today titled "Nothing can prepare you for having children". I definitely agree with this. You really don't know until you're in the middle of the poop, kisses, vomit and "I wuv yous".

So, I didn't know what it was going to be about the first time round but what excuse do I possibly have now? I suppose I now know about all the good stuff. Even before we had Aaron, I always asked myself (and whoever would humor me) "Why do people want children?". Back then, I thought to myself that I would probably eventually reach the stage of wanting children, for whatever reason, so, I might as well do it now instead of waiting for my eggs and body to age. I know its not the most intelligent answer but it was the only one I had. Thankfully, I haven't regretted it.

So now, I find that question coming around again. Perhaps slightly modified to "Why do I need a second child?" It really is hard work. BUT, some people have told me that two are easier than one because you now have help with the entertainment. Yet other people have told me to watch out because the jealousy is a major issue. Whatever! It will be what it will be.

Once again, I don't have answers for myself or anybody else. Not even going to try to answer it.

All I know is that in comparison to those newborn days, Aaron is now super easy to have around. We can go out for meals and enjoy them. We don't need to be rushing home for naps. He can take himself to the toilet. He feeds himself. He goes to sleep by himself. He communicates, tells you what he likes and dislikes. He gets me drinks. Fetches this and that for me. Cleans up after he spills his drink.....EEK! Why tip the balance now?

At least I can prepare myself for those hard early days. This time, I know for sure that life will eventually stop revolving around feed times and nap times. Eventually. And, I'll have Aaron as a little helper. Its not exactly 'worry' that I feel about being a mom of two but more like "can I be as good a mom to two as I was to one?"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

No Power Means Eating Out

Each afternoon, I let Aaron play some computer games while I do my exercises (to a DVD). Later on, with the A/C on or sometimes just the fan, we go through all his activity books, read or perhaps play with his lego. Sometime after 5pm, I'll start on my blog post for the day and dinner and Aaron will watch his Thomas DVD.

Well, at around 2pm yesterday, everything stopped working. Another dreaded power outage! I kept hoping that it was just a short one but it dragged on the whole afternoon. The surprising thing is that the heat didn't seem to bother Aaron much at all. I sat by the door hoping to catch any breeze that might come through but he moved about as normal. We still had a decent afternoon doing most of the things we normally did.

By 4.30pm, I said we would go out for a walk. The sun was still pretty strong outside but by this time, it was cooler outside than in. And when we got back, the power still hadn't returned!

No power means no water and that means no cooking either :)

Richard took us to this place that he's been to a few times but I've never been. Its called Bang Kumis and specializes in cooking all the parts of a leg and behind.


The food is laid out and you have to go pick which parts you want, then tell them if you want the clear or coconut cream based broth.



It was alright. I didn't find it all that special but there are people that really love it. Cow tendons, marrow, tail, knee caps and these eggs. Of course, they're not really eggs....



Anyway, the place was pretty shabby, the food only average but the prices STEEP! I just didn't think it was worth it. At least I know now otherwise Richard will continue raving about it....

Power came back while we were out but we got home just in time for another short outage. I just went to sleep.