Tuesday, June 21, 2005

6 year old birthday

My younger son's birthday is coming up. He 'll turn 6 on his birthday. Everyday he'll keep asking me, " Is today's my birthday?" Then I'll tell him when will be his birthday and the number of days to his birthday. His brother will also constantly remind of his impending birthday and will daily give him an update of the number of remaining days. So the countdown begins. And as the day draws nearer and nearer, the younger boy starts to feel high and mighty.

Last night , we were at the supermarket and were greeted at the entrance Madagascar mechandise of all sorts. Stationary, toys, watches, and what not.
" I want the watch!" the younger boy demanded. I had actually gone into the supermarket to buy a packet of rice. So eager is he to get his watch, he takes the initiative to hunt for the rice I wanted. "It's there," he cries. I go to the direction he points. It is a false alarm. Meanwhile the two boys are wrecking havoc in the supermarket. The peace and calm of the supermarket ( it was late at about 9 pm and few shoppers around) was disturbed by the extreme excited shouts of the boys. " Ice Cream!" they yelled. There were a whole lot of other stuff which drew their loud cries but I forgot what they were. Going out with the children is enough to leave a sane person in a nervous wreck.

I went to the Madagascar mechandise to have a second look. I tried to bargain with the little one telling you to settle for something cheaper like some cheap stationary. He refused and followed me to the cashier with the madagascar watch and presented it to the cashier. " I am not buying the toy watch," I told the lady cashier. Then the younger broke down and brawled loudly. What a stressful evening, I thought. The grandparents had inculcated or programmed the children to buy every toy in sight! I told them money doesn't grow on trees. On the way back, the sulky younger child kept saying angrily , "Stupid daddy. " I told him not to be rude or he'll be punished.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Playing with your kids

Since it is the school holidays, it is a good opportunity to interact and spend some time with the kids. How do you interact with your kids? Simple , by playing with them. You will be surprised to discover and learn more about your child. They enjoy playing games. I encourage them to play games with me. The children love to play board games like snake and ladders amongst others. Then I realised how competitive the children were. To the extent of trying to rig the dice. Or jumping steps on the board game. There was one occasion when my younger child was leading the pack and nearly reaching the destination point. There was a snake ahead just 3 steps ahead and the older boy and I started chanting when he held the dice. " Three, three, " we kept saying. Then the dice rolled and it was a three. Then all hell broke loose! The younger child began his fit of temper. He was so mad with us that he even took a plastic white stool and kept hitting me repeatedly. Later on, I had to teach the children it is alright to lose a game. What's more , you shouldn't be a bad loser. Lastly, you must not cheat to win the game.

The younger kid also enjoying ball socccer in the house. I would stand in the passageway and consider this to be a goal. The child would put the ball a short distance away and kick the ball and try to score. The elder boy would play the role of refeere. Some of his shots went pass me while others knocked against the wall. Not bad for a 5 year old kid!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Child care center

My elder son is in his third week of school holidays. The younger boy goes to a child care centre which doesn't have holidays. Of course during this period they only have minimum of lessons and mostly fun and games. It is also a relief for me during this period as I do not have to pratically be involved in teaching him his spelling.

I notice the child care center has given the children more and more work to do and more spelling to learn. Actually, there is very little time to study and do homework coupled with the fact the younger child needs a lot of time and attention just to complete his homework and to learn his spelling. The child has spent the five weekdays in school only to spend the weekend doing homework again. The only time available for learning his spelling is after picking him up from the childcare. Again it is kind of crazy to conduct lessons for his spelling especially after having spend the whole day at school.

My younger son has started to ask questions wanting to find out why Elder Brother does'nt go to school while he needs to. It is an awkward moment for me and I have been trying avoid it. Sheepishly, I told him that the child care provides full day care and there was no holiday and that when he goes to Primary shcool next year, he will also get to enjoy school holidays.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


The children came back home last night beaming. Their grandparents had bought them a toy each. Bionicles, I am told. Well, actually, everytime the grandparents would buy them each toy whenever they go out with their grandparents. Then the other set of grandparents will also compete for the grandhildren's attention and affection by buying toys too. Every soon my house will be jam packed with toys and maybe I can open up a toy store! It is already ingrained in my children to buy toys. Whenever I bring my children out for shopping , or a meal , invariably the children will be drawn to any toys on display in the shops we walk past. I got to teach them that money doesn't grow on trees. I will give them toys only on such occasions as their birthdays and Christmas.

I really envy my children. They get toys from their parents and grandparents, not to mention an avalanche of toys during Christmas from relatives too.

The television is to be blamed too. When I was a child there was only one or two hours of children's programme and only on the weekends. Whereas now there is a whole channel devoted to children's programme from nine to six each day. I bet if I had not restricted their TV watching time , they would be gladly sitting in front of the tube all day. Let me see what children's programme are available. You have Bleyblade, Crushgear nitro, Jackie Chan, X -men, Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse, Incredible Hulk,Garfield , Masked Rider Ryuki. The list goes on.
There will be breaks during the show with advertisement for all sorts of toys including those of the TV cartoon show.

I use the lure of toys as a carrot for the children's good performance in their activities , piano ,swimming or studies. We all know how busy us parents are here is a toy for kids site where you can easily get toys online.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Today, the children's grandparents are coming and will bring them to their home. I do not tell the children the news. Why? On every occasion in which they will meet their grandparents, I will not a say a word about it. In fact, I try to make sure they do not get a whiff of this information at all. You see, the children will start to turn wild and uncontrollable. My best bet is to let the visit be unannounced so that will minimize the amount of chaotic time.

Besides giving the children the opportunity to meet their grandparents, this will give us parents a breather. I will take this chance to go out and enjoy myself. Perhaps watch a movie or shopping. You know , it is really tiring to spending all the time with your children. You have to go out to keep your sanity level.

Monday, June 13, 2005

New fish

The elder boy was still suffering from cough and running nose and the trip aggravated his condition. His block nose cause him to breathe with difficulty during past two nights. I brought him to see the doctor. The nurse dispense the medicine and we made our way home.

"Let's go throught the market ," I told my child. We encountered an aquarium and was inspired by my holiday trip to take a look. My chief concern was getting a fish that was hardy and didn't need oxygenation of the water. No problem said the shopkeeper. He showed some fish which didn't require any oxygen pumping system. Do you like this fish ? I asked my son. Yes he said. The shopkeeper even took out the fish with his bare hands and rubbed it. The fish grew in size suddenly. "It's a pufferfish." I exclaimed. I also brought a small plastic fish tank and some fish food as well. The shopkeeper placed the fish into the new fish tank and gave it to me. " Will you carry it home?" I asked my son. He refused as he found it too heavy. Instead he decided to hold his medicine.

Back home we place the fish tank on the sideboard in the living room. The fish tank looked very bare. My son suggested we put shells into the fish tankwhich we had found at Tioman or even pebbles which I had gotten for him for his school art project. I wasn't too keen about it. However he persisted many times and finally I let him put pebbles in the tank.

Both children were fond of the fish and were very keen to feed the fish. We did it twice today. But somehow the fish didn't eat. The fish food remained on the surface of the water.

Before heading for the bed for the day, the children also asked me to change the water as it was getting cloudy from the food and faeces.

I caught some fish

The tioman beach was teeming with marine life. On the 2nd morning, we trekked out to the beach and discovered it was low tide. . I walked through the shallow waters with my head down looking for any signs of life. There were a few young prawns and fish scattered here and there.

Then I saw a shallow pool of water covering a large area cut off from the sea. "There are sure to be fish swimming here , " I thought. I called the two children over and pointed out to them the fish swimming furiously whenever I made a sudden movement. The children gathered around me while I took the toy spade and tried to catch some baby fish. I managed to scoop a fish once or twice onto the spade and the fish was smart and jumped out into the water.

In the end, I managed to catch three tiny baby fish and put them in a toy bucket. The children looked with interest at my catch. It was time to catch my flight back home. I couldn't bring back the fish as I was sure they were sure to die. The children were disappointed and so was I. Just before we left Tioman, I brought the pail back to the beach and dumped the contents into the sea.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Marine Park Tioman

I approached the counter of Tourism Association of Tioman at the hotel lobby and enquired about Marine Park. The personnel there told me they could bring us there. "When?" I asked. "Now," they replied. We got on the shuttle bus and then the driver dropped us off at our chalet to collect our swimming gear. After a short ride we reached the Marine Park. I told the driver to return at 2.30 pm to pick us up.

The marine park was rather crowded. The sea and beach were filled with bright orange spots. I met a kindly Indian scuba instructor who also had life vests for rent. I rented them for my wife and the two kids. These were snorkellers wearing the life vests. I brought the two kids to the changing room and changed them into their swimming trunks. I also put on my swimming trunks. It was bright and sunny day at 12 noon. After a lavish appication of sun block on the boys we headed to the beach. Actually , we are interested in the fish at the jetty. But my younger child couldn't swim. So I waded into the beach along with my elder boy to check out the waters. Well , surprise of surprise, there were different fishes swimming in the water near the sandy beach. There were even fish that looked like Nemo except they had brown stripes instead of orange. Next, I brought the little one to see the fishes as well.

Now, I was eager to see the fishes at the jetty. We left the beach and headed for the jetty. The jetty was rather high relative to the level of the sea and a safer way to get into the water was by using a vertical ladder steps fixed to the side of the jetty. I got down first, followed by the elder boy. I held him and brought him to a floating platform where he could see or feed the fish or enter the water to see the fish at first hand. It was such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by lots of fish. I have never experienced this before.

The younger boy was still in the jetty unhappy at being left behind. I told the elder boy to remain on the platform while I went back to the younger boy. I was taking a risk letting the younger into the deep sea as he couldn't even swim. Seeing his pitiful face, I had no choice but to bring him to the platform as well. I will hold on to him and the life vest should keep it afloat as well. He was bold and unfraid. In fact , I was a little taken aback. I told him to put his head down and look at the fish while swmming towards the platform. The two boys had fun on the plaform feeding the fish. I checked the time .

It was already ten minutes past two. We had to leave the jetty as the driver was comming soon to pick us up. It is one thing to see creatures in captivity and another to see them in freedom. You almost feel you are part of nature and one with the world. It is such a wonderful feeling to be with the fishes in the open sea.