Monthly Archives: December 2011

Saying Goodbye

A few days before Christmas we had to say goodbye to our dog of 18 years. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but he’s become so senile and arthritic that he no longer had any quality of life.

We bought Zack when he was just 4 months old and since then he has been a much-loved member of the family. He was extremely intelligent and lovable, my best friend through all my teenager years. When I got married and moved out, I had to leave him with my parents as he had already lost his eye sight and it would have been cruel to change his environment.

It was heart breaking watching him grow old and succumb to dementia, I like to think that he knew he was loved till the very end. He died peacefully in my mother’s arms. We made the choice to euthanize him, and from the time the appointment was set, it was an agonising week, especially for my mom who had become his main caregiver.

Now that he’s gone, our other dog is mourning his loss. The poor boy has been depressed, obviously worried and wondering where his brother is. I once read that ” grief is the price we pay for love” and though it’s been so painful losing Zack, he has given us so much love the past 18 years.

Our beloved Zack

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It’s Party Time!

I swear, the children have better social lives than I do, at times I feel like the driver that just ferries them around to parties.

Recently we were invited to a few birthday and early Christmas parties and needless to say the kids had a blast.

One of Max’s favourite parties was for Ally’s classmate who had a construction theme party. Right up Max’s alley!

He loved all the different machines but this was his favourite

I always appreciate some healthy food at kids parties, if not I end up with overtired, over sugared children at the end

Every year the cleft centre organises a Christmas party for the children at the hospital. We love going and the student volunteers always do an amazing job organising games for the children. I didn’t manage to take any pictures of Ally cos she was too busy running around with the other children.

Max enjoying his treat

Another party was held at a friend’s house, it’s our yearly get together. All the children have known each other since they were babies. Imagine 6 4 year olds running around! Oh, and don’t forget the younger siblings of course. It was and always is chaos but the kids really enjoy each other’s company.

Thanks to the talented Uncle Ian, the kids had marverlous face paintings!

Ally loved her butterfly and didn't want me to wash it off at the end

Max's Thomas, drawn from a tiny picture on my iphone

It’s the week before Christmas and the parties are starting to wind down, Ally is really excited about Christmas this year. We’re going to spend it with family as usual and I can’t wait to see their reactions when they open their presents from us.

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Games Kids Play

The best thing about having two kids is that they think up all sorts of games to entertain themselves. This morning I woke up to the sounds of the children playing “wedding” . Ally is in a super girly phase at the moment, she loves frilly dresses and of course Grandma obliges and buys them. She has a frilly white dress which she calls her ” wedding dress” and this morning she decided that she was going to marry Max. Someone will have to explain to her that its morally wrong and highly illegal to marry her own brother.

From wedding they moved on to playing restaurant, one of those games that usually ends up in an argument cos no one wants to be the customer. But all was well this morning, they took turns being the chef and no one cried.

The crazy chef

At times they play games that no one seems to understand but them. At this exact moment, both of them are rolling around on my bed laughing hysterically. When I ask them what’s so funny, I’m greeted by more hysterical laughter.

This is the face I get when I interrupt their play and ask them to smile for a photo

When I ask them what was so funny they both looked at each other and started to giggle again

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Our Furry Friend

Neesha is one of those really special dogs, we have another rescue dog that lives with my mom and even though he is a great dog, he comes with emotional baggage.

We adopted Neesha over two years ago and from day 1 she has always been fantastic with the children. Even then the kids are always supervised whenever they are around her. After all she is a dog and animals can be unpredictable. Ally is really more a cat person but Max has really taken to her. He refers to Neesha as his best friend and the two of them really have a special relationship.

She is so tolerant and gentle with the children

Best friends having a nap together

With the two kids, it’s hard to find time for Neesha, she gets walked three times a day but she really loves swimming. The other weekend both the children were staying with Grandma so I took the chance to take Neesha for a swim. She loved it and its great excercise for her especially with her bad hips.

She is a fantastic swimmer

Seeing her enjoy herself makes me happy

Splashing good time

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Holiday Shows at Shopping Malls

It’s that time of the year again when various shopping malls bring in different stage shows to draw the festive crowds. Last year we took the children to watch Hi-5 and Barney and this year was the same. The Hi-5 show is always fantastic, they have such high energy and all the kids get up and dance/sing along. Ally loved this year’s show so much that she has seen it 3 times.

Once again United Square has brought back Barney and his friends. Last year the entire show was Barney, BJ and Baby bop. This year they mixed up the characters a little so he appears with Pingu and Fireman Sam. The children didn’t enjoy it as much, both Ally and Max only wanted to see Barney and were so excited when he appeared. Max enjoyed this show a lot more than Hi-5, I guess the songs are more suited to his age group while Ally sat quietly till they sang one of her favourite songs before she got up and danced. It’s a much younger crowd at the Barney show as you can imagine. The different characters come out one at a time to sing some songs, Barney, being the crowd favourite stays the longest. Pingu makes a very brief appearance but the kids enjoyed seeing him.

These shows get extremely crowded and having survived the crowds, let me share with you a few tips.

  • If your kids want to do the character Meet and Greet, be prepared to queue at least 1 1/2 hours ahead of the show.
  • Being stuck in a queue for more than an hour is not much fun, bring along things to keep the kids entertained. I usually pack crayons, paper, some snacks and small toys.
  • If you are late, have the courtesy to sit where you are told, we have had so many parents try to squeeze in front of us despite being late. Not only is it rude, it’s plain annoying especially when the rest of us have been queuing up for over an hour.
  • Queue in an orderly manner, it’s amazing how we forgot basic courtesy and act like our kids. After the show there is usually another queue for the Meet and Greet and this is where chaos happens. Everyone rushes to the side of the stage like the world is ending.
  • Most of the shows run through mid December, you can check out the websites of the different shopping centres for show times and dates.

 

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She’s Just A Child!

We had a rather unpleasant encounter at the neighbourhood playground yesterday. There were two other children playing, both older than Ally and Max. At first the older boy blocked the ladder so that Max couldn’t climb up, Max looked at him and decided to use an alternative route instead. Then the older girl tried to push pass Ally to get to the slide, Ally stood her ground and the child had to wait her turn. The mother was sitting a distance away, looking at the kids and occasionally saying things like ” Girl, you have to share ah girl” but not being proactive about correcting her child’s behavior. After a while she started talking on her mobile phone.

There were a few other minor shoving incidents that I let slide, mainly because Ally was standing firm and not letting herself get bullied.

Then Matt came over with Neesha so I sat on the bench with her while Matt watched the kids. Soon I saw the girl’s mom walk over to Matt. Turns out that her daughter had tried to kick Max down the slide cos she wanted him to go faster. Matt had told her not to kick and the child’s mother got upset. She said that we should have spoken to her about the kicking instead of telling her child off. I think a simple ” don’t kick my son” was more than appropriate in that situation which is what Matt did. And then the mother goes on to say ” she’s just a child, she doesn’t know any better”  Oh, I love it when parents use that excuse. That got me started!

Yes she is right, she is just a child, it is up to us as parents to teach them what’s right and wrong. Having earlier witnessed her child’s behavior, she chose to do nothing about it then use words which obviously had no impact on the girl. At age 6, this child is old enough to understand that we do not kick or push others, especially children younger than she is.

By this time the woman has gotten all worked up, she then asks why didn’t we remove Max if we thought he was in danger. Obviously that angered Matt and myself even more, why should we remove our son who was playing nicely just because her daughter couldn’t behave?  Matt and I weren’t going to back down, she eventually apologised and made her child apologise to Max as well.

Matt has always stood up for the children whenever they get bullied or picked on, he isn’t one of those parents who would remove their child just to avoid creating a scene. I’m proud that he protects our kids and will always back him up. The children understand that we are there to protect them, but they also know that if they were to hurt another child, they would be severely punished by us as well. It works both ways, Matt and I are not delusional, we know both our kids are not angels. Hence whenever they are in a public play area, one of us is always around to ensure that they are safe and treating others nicely.

Thinking back about this incident still upsets me, as a parent you never want to see your child being hurt by others. But I think I would have been even more upset if my child was the one that did the hurting.

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Hanging Out With Hi-5, Part 1 and 2

We saw an advertisment for Hi-5 camp and immediately thought that Ally would be interested. Then we saw the price and thought again and then we reconsidered and signed her up. We thought it would be good for her, good for her confidence as she would have the chance to sing and dance throughout the two days of camp. It would be her first time being alone from 9.30am-5pm but I did promise her that I would stay outside on the first day in case she needed me.

It’s been half a day and so far she’s loving it. When we first arrived she had a small meltdown and said she changed her mind but after calming her down and talking to her, she started to warm up. It helped that she had her penguin with her to make her feel secure. The minute they started singing Hi-5 songs, all her fears were forgotten. When she came out for lunch she was all smiles and eager to tell me about her morning. Then she ran into one of the Hi-5 members and that made her day.

After lunch the campers had front row seats for the Hi-5 show held at the shopping mall. Ally behaved like such a groupie, she squeezed to the front of the stage, screamed, danced, sang and just enjoyed herself the entire time. It makes me happy to see her enjoying herself and so full of confidence. What a change from just 2 years ago where she would cry over every little new situation.

Part 2

It’s day two of camp, Max is along for the day as grandma has to work. Ally was all excited this morning and ran off with her new friends immediately. Poor Max wanted to follow her to camp but I told him he was too young. His reply ? ” I am a big small boy mama”  Indeed you are my little man.

Ally’s group spent time with decorating cakes and cupcakes with a member of the Hi-5 cast, it looked like a lot of messy fun from where I was sitting. Most of the cast have been really excellent with the kids, Lauren in particular but there was on exception. That particular cast didn’t seem very interested in hanging out or interacting with the children , maybe she was having a bad day, who knows.

The camp ended with the kids doing a performance with Hi-5, Ally was fine at rehearsal but when it came to the real thing, she was star struck.  After her performance she had a chance to meet Lauren and take some pictures. By the end of camp, she was extremely tired but very happy, we are so proud of her for being so independent and settling in so well.

Welcome Campers!

Group Photo with Hi-5

Getting Tim's autograph

Lauren's turn

Her favourite Hi-5 member

One last hug before going home

 

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