Tuesday, 12 August 2014

After dinner TV rituals

Growing up, I remember every night after dinner our family would sit in front of the TV while eating freshly cut fruit. We would sit in front of the TV until it was time to go to bed which was around 10pm. I remember watching the movie Jaws and Critters as a young child. Those were scary shows for a 7 year old! I remember my parents were pretty lenient with the amount of TV we watched. But as we entered our teens and American TV series started becoming popular, my dad in particular, was strict about what we watched. I remember we were not allowed to watch Beverley Hills 90210 and Friends. Once, my brother got hold of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes and we decided to watch it while my parents were away one night. They came home before the movie had ended and were upset that we were watching it. I didn't really understand why my parents didn't allow us to watch certain movies/tv shows but I respected it. Until today, my parents still sit in front of the TV after dinner every night. But since the invention of smartphones and the internet, they multi-task by doing stuff on their devices, half listening and watching TV and eating fruit.

After I got married and we set up our own home,I would still carry out my after dinner TV ritual I was so fond of. Unfortunately, I was often the only one in the lounge room and there was no freshly cut fruit! I often wondered why my husband would abandon me until I observed his family. I observed that they had their fruit at the dinner table after they had finished their meal. Then they would all disperse to their own caves. The only time they all sat in front of the TV together was if there was a football match. It could be any time of the day or night, if there was a good match on, you can bet they would be there in front of the TV (mum sometimes joins in, depending on time).

We have now been married for 5 years and we have come to a compromise about our after dinner TV habits. If there is a TV show we both enjoy such as MasterChef, then we would almost religiously adjourn to the lounge after dinner. It has even come to a point where if you ask Isaac if he wants to watch MasterChef, he eagerly nods his head. However, I don't really enjoy a lot of the TV shows or movies that are shown after dinner. Since we have a study room, we rather spend our time there on our laptops. Our fruit eating habits have also changed. We normally have fruit as a snack during the day rather than what our families did which was after dinner. We still have it after dinner sometimes. We always try to bring a fruit to work. And we have somehow adopted the habit of having a sweet dessert after dinner instead. The ice-cream here is delicious so there's always a tub of ice-cream in our freezer and a bar of chocolate in our pantry. Bad..I know!

Now, how has our TV habits affected our young toddler? Well, Isaac is a speed eater. He chomps down on his dinner and is done in 10 minutes. If we don't take him out of the high chair, he starts playing with the leftovers and makes a big mess. Once he is out of his high chair, he then wants us to play with him. But to put it bluntly, we don't want to play with him. We want to eat our dinner in peace. So on a few occasions, we switch on the TV and have the Wiggles entertain him with their song and dance. He loves it and we can eat our dinner in peace for 15 minutes which is how long one episode of the Wiggles is. He loves watching it so much that now he carries the DVD case around, grabs the TV controller and pesters you to play it for him all day long. He even chews on the plastic case..this is how much he loves it! According to all the parenting resources I have read, children under 2 years old are suppose to have no TV time. None. Nothing. So I am faced with the dilemma of - switch on the TV for some peace and quiet versus impede your child's development by letting him watch TV. It is much easier said than done if you're not at home all day with a very demanding toddler. I find that having the TV on from time to time relaxes me and takes my mind off certain things. It is also entertaining to me and if Isaac is watching his program, I get to complete tasks without any disturbance. I reckon the TV benefits the mother more than the child.

It is reading about things like that that causes me to be a very anxious mother. Even though I watched quite a bit of TV growing up, I still did all the things I was suppose to do - study, homework, etc. I guess sometimes you just don't know how kids can turn out so these parenting resources have to take a safer stance. Anyhow, this TV issue with our toddler is really bugging me! At the moment, it is very unpredictable when he gets to watch the Wiggles or not so he just pesters you all day. However I don't really want to make it part of a routine either because he is not suppose to have any TV time. Hmm...don't know what to do...

Anyway here are some photos of our recent trip to Lake Mountain where we had fun tobogganing.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The 18 month mark

Our little man is now 18 months old and getting much smarter. He loves using delay tactics such as when he has finished taking his bath and needs to come out of the bath tub to get changed. He is also starting to be aware of how strong he is by knocking things down, dropping his plate on the floor and resisting getting into the car seat. These days it takes much longer and more effort on my part to get him to do something. It is rarely as straight-forward as it is. Often it involves some reward or bribery, negotiation or using my stern voice. As much as he likes saying 'yeah', he also likes saying 'no' even when talking to himself. It's funny hearing him talk to himself. We just joined a Playgroup and our first session is tomorrow, Monday. It is run by our church but many people from the community come along with their children. I am looking forward it..at least Isaac and I have other things to focus on rather than step on each other's toes when we are at home!

Working three days has been swell but since the second semester started at uni, it has been hectic and working part-time is really not ideal. I often start my week trying to catch up on all that I have missed out on. I end my week having to pass on all my work incomplete tasks to my colleagues. As much as I love being at home with my boy, my job is a big part of me and job satisfaction is important to me. I return to work 5 days in January so that should help me manage my work better but it would also mean Isaac spending less time with me and more time at childcare. Sigh..the dilemmas of a mother..

Having said all that, my 18 month old boy is a real entertainer and I love making him chuckle. He also loves imitating his father and enjoys moving and dancing to action songs. I am really enjoying and appreciating these early years.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

When life doesn't go your way

I can't believe I am writing this post so soon after announcing that we are expecting our second one. Unfortunately there will not be a second baby. When I found out that the baby's heart beat had stopped beating and stopped growing, I was shocked and devastated. I was in my second trimester which is meant to be the 'honeymoon' period where you do all your shopping and enjoy seeing your tummy grow. It is meant to be a time where the the chances of a miscarriage drop dramatically.

When I had Isaac I didn't know what it was like to love your own child. After he was born, it took time to bond with him and over time I experienced what it is like to love your own child. It is an indescribable feeling and one that a child may never understand until he/she becomes a parent. When I found out I was pregnant with my second one, I fell in love with him/her very quickly because I knew what it meant to love your own child. I imagined all the things I would do differently with this one that I didn't do so well when I was a first time mother. However having had a very easy and straightforward first pregnancy, I took this one more lightly as well. I was still careful and did the things I was supposed to do but I guess I thought I was superwoman and didn't rest as much as I should have. I guess I was also in a state of life where there is so much to do such as looking after a toddler and the mess he makes. I also went back to work.

Nevertheless we will never know the cause of this tragedy. We can only rest in the assurance that our baby has gone to heaven to be with the Lord. I am forever grateful that at least I have one child..my little Isaac and perhaps more in the future :)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

How do people do it?

With our second child on the way, we have been thinking about getting a bigger place. However we have decided not to take such a big step so soon and try to make do with what we have at present.

Every week or so, the real estate magazine gets dropped off in our mailbox. I look at all the beautiful properties that are up for sale and wonder how people could afford such properties. I guess some people earn more and have more spending power. Others probably just take on a bigger debt and take time to slowly pay it off.

Every time I look at the properties in the magazine, I just wish we could own one of them! I really wonder how people can afford them.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Sick + winter = house bound + toddler = bored + stressed

The formula above pretty much sums up how my week has been. It has been cold, windy and wet which has made it very uncomfortable to go out. Isaac loves going out to our backyard but because of the weather, he/we have been inside pretty much the whole day. I feel so bored being stuck at home and I'm sure Isaac feels the same way too. At times like this, I think about home...Malaysia...where we would go out to eat all the time, go to the padang (field) opposite my house and spend time chatting with my family.

Winter is so depressing but it is worst when you are down with the cold. Sobs.. I have been trying to fight off the cold and an awful dry cough. But it seems to be hanging around and I'm wondering whether it's because I am pregnant. When you're pregnant, your immune system is weakened and you are more susceptible to falling sick.

Of course there are plenty of things to entertain yourself with while at home. I have books that I have been wanting to read, videos to watch, recipes to try out, etc. But my priority is not to keep myself entertained but to keep the toddler, who has a very short attention span and a very inquisitive mind, entertained. I would come up with these ideas and stuff for him to do and after 10 minutes, he wants to do something else. So I am constantly on the look out for new ideas to keep my little one entertained! I need to remind myself to take care of myself and to do something rewarding for myself. So here I am writing my thoughts down :)