Daddee Yah!

A working Daddee learning to cope in a big big world

Caitlin had to be in school early today, for an excursion to the zoo. Their chartered bus would have to leave at a time when we are usually only leaving home, effectively some 20-30 minutes out.

So there was an idea for Caitlin to spend the night at Grandma’s, since it’s so much closer to school and not risk missing the bus- which is departing earlier than when we leave our own home.

So, the previous night, only Caleb came home with us.

I wasn’t the only one feeling somewhat “empty”. 2 Year old Caleb waved goodbye to his jie-jie when we left Grandma’s, yet kept asking “Where jie-jie? Where?” most of the night. Our usual routine at that time of day is for them to chill out, usually with Playhouse Disney on the tube, and they are either or all of lying on the beanbag watching, or making small projects with the scrap paper we collect (colouring, making makeshift toys like wands, pretend-anything), or having their last milkies for the day.

Caleb pretty much had to do most of these alone. In fact he was almost subdued on this night, only mainly watching the tube from the beanbag.

He obviously takes the lead from jie-jie, which obviously leads to other behavioural “problems” when jie-jie hasn’t exactly been good! More to come on this!

I started this blog about 2 years ago now. Caitlin would have been about 2.5 years old then.

If memory serves me right, I would have already done this memorable (at least to me) routine with her already: HM was always working late, so it was up to me to tuck Caitlin into bed. At her bedtime, when we are both all cleaned up and lying on our bed, I’d whip out my Windoze PDA and run the slideshow of the mugshots of relatives I have saved as their respective caller ID.

We’d be lying in bed on our backs, and I’d run them for Caitlin to identify who they are.

“Yeh yeh..” (Paternal Grandpa)
“Nai nai…” (Paternal Grandma)
“Gong gong..” (Maternal Grandpa)
“Po po..” (Maternal Grandma)
.. and so on, on both HM and my side of the family.

Till today I still think that was a “nice” exercise. Our culture practises calling / addressing / greeting our elders upon meeting them. And this exercise familiarised Caitlin associating the “titles” to the respective relatives.

Caleb is 1.5 years old now. He has started calling the ones he sees everday.

“Gong gnng…. Po po….”

And yes, even “Dad-dee…” these days :) But alas, it wasn’t his first words.

So I reckon I’d soon start him on this exercise too. Only that I’d have to find a conducive environment; Caitlin had the luxury of being the only child at that time; now with Caleb, Caitlin being her usual cheeky self will actually be a nuisance for this…. I’d have to find a compromise somehow.

Anyway.

I see this view, and it never ceases to amuse / amaze me how the little human man can have such a “large” head on such slender necks :)

I am kinda struggling with this one.

Caitlin, in general is sweet to her younger brother Caleb. Since she was able to walk, she’d been fascinated by other humans her size. So, I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that she is so, to her little brother.

However, having been the only child for her first 3 years, the first grandchild at HM’s family side (Caitlin makes the 14th grandchild on my side!) I dare say she is kinda “spoiled” in that she’d be used to being the sole attention-getter.

For myself, I have made a conscious effort to be conscious of how she may feel when this happens. Especially when relatives are “re-living” having a rugrat and who’s just learned how to walk, Caleb has been getting all the attention of “How cute!”, “Look how he likes to walk in circles / spins / tiny stamping feet..”, Caitlin has been “relegated” to be the second favourite.

Touchwood- so far she doesn’t seem to be showing any ill feelings towards her brother as a result. The only hint of jealousy that I can readily observe, is when either is holding onto a toy and the other will want it (yes, only when the other has it!), or when one is embracing Grandma, the other wants to rush over for the same… the same doesn’t seem to apply to Daddee though! Caitlin embraces Daddee and Caleb is like “Ho hum ah well now what was I doing again?”

When this happens, I try my best that the other also gets the “equal opportunity”; either by embracing both, getting them to share, or even a simple look over to Caitlin offering her a reassuring smile. She usually reciprocates with one too, which is always heart-warming for Daddee. One thing I gotta do reverse too, is that in the mornings and evenings Caitlin rides with me in the front, with Caleb in the baby seat in the back with the helper. I spend most if not all of that time chatting with Caitlin on just about anything, whilst Caleb is kinda left on his own ogling at the window to the world zooming past.

One thing that I am a little impatient waiting for, is for Caleb to soon understand and speak more for us to also rationalise with him, so that Caitlin is not always the one having to give in; which she does now “because he doesn’t understand; and you’re the jie-jie..”

But that of course also means that Caitlin will no longer be the 4 year old that she is now, and that Caleb would have outgrown his current Royal Cuteness…. sigh.

How was your experience with growing up with a sibling, either as a younger and/or older one? How did your parents manage your different characters?

Caitlin said something the other night and we shared a good laugh.

I mean a good laugh, you know the type that makes you laugh heartily, not the I am only entertaining or humoring you laugh.

It was in the evening, after dinner but before bedtime- I can still see it in my head. I was seated across her, she was in her blue short sleeved jammies, somewhat looking up at me, from her schoolbook homework; pretty sure she had a pencil in her hand.

She said the punchline. I found it really funny, and laughed longer and harder than usual.

She wasn’t conscious of herself like I thought she would, now that I think about it in retrospect. In the past she’d get somewhat self-conscious and demanded “Why you funny at me??” to which I often try to explain to her the difference between laughing at you, and laughing with you. I think she got this idea from possibly being teased at school, but not something or at a level that we should be concerned about.

So she laughed along. I think it was initially because she too thought it was a funny punchline, not going the “Why you funny at me” path; and then I think she kinda realised that Daddee was enjoying the joke, and joined in the hearty laugh.

I can still see it: In her blue jammies, the all teeth squinty eyed giggly hee-hee and occasionally mouth agape haha laugh.

Don’t ask me what it was that made us both laugh. I honestly cannot remember! The next morning I asked her, in the car on the way to school, and she too cannot remember!

But it was something else for me. It signaled that she is growing, that it wasn’t just simple things that made her laugh anymore; no, indeed it wasn’t what made her laugh but what she had said that made me laugh like I did.

If you have nieces or nephews, you will forever see them in a certain light. By this I mean; let’s take my perspective on these particular niece-nephew brother-sister.

This niece was one that was rather colic. I actually avoided going near her fearing I’d make her cry, cos she’d cry at high decibels and long periods. Her brother was one who seemed rather reclusive to me- while cheeky, he didn’t seem the type who was interested in a lot of things.

Fast forward 16 or so years.

And, since being a father, I had always wanted to participate in activities with my kids- doesn’t matter what activity, so long as we do them together. Sports, activities, games, hobbies. Since my kids are still so young, to date it’s mainly been real kiddie-stuff like going to the kids gym or movies or just a dip in the pool. Other than assisting her in developing these motor skills, I haven’t really thought much more beyond these current activities.

Tonite, I dropped by my brother’s house with Caitlin, just because. I caught my brother jamming with his two kids.

I found myself regretting.

I am not musically inclined insofar as being able to compose or write stuff, but I am not tone-deaf. My regret is that, while I was a young’un, my parents did send me to guitar classes. For whatever reason; likely due to simple no-discipline, I didn’t follow through and never continued with the lessons.

This bother however, self-taught how to play the guitar and the keyboard. Through repeated listening of songs he can replay them on these instruments. Of course having a good ear helps too.

And perhaps its also genetic, for these two kids seem to have that talent too.

jamming_tilt

I found myself admiring this scene on different levels.

This was very obviously not the first time they do this, cos they were jamming to a few songs in sync.

That they have very similar talents.

That they were doing this family activity together.

That they are not kids anymore.

And, I gotta find me something unique to do with my kids too!

I know- this something will come naturally. I just hope that I will be home or around them enough for this something to develop or be discovered.

PS: That’s my mum in the background, who taught me how to sing!

“Back in the day” when I was single and first started out having my own (bachelor’s) pad, I went and got myself a beanbag- a double seater beanbag, for bringing dates home, cook them dinner, maybe get them to watch a DVD with me on this beanbag hoping to lead somewhere *wink* :P

Somehow it was always only me on it, usually falling asleep on it watching the Discovery channel ALONE; finding out that it’s not really all that healthy for my lower back either. Even when Hot Mummee and I were dating, the double seater was never “used”. She always thought it was dirty, I guess ‘cos it was always on the floor and never really been cleaned. Heck she’d even tell me off about that when I do lie on it.

Never had two persons on it, until recently.

Tonight, the kids were on it again. Rolling, climbing, jumping and plopping themselves on it. Tonight however, was a little different: Either one of them had moved her/his head, and their heads connected- I think Caitlin got a bump somewhere on her face.

She starts crying (which usually means it must’ve been quite painful ‘cos she doesn’t cry much). Caleb sees her jie jie crying, he starts crying too!

HM goes and comforts Caitlin, since Caleb was just “reacting”. I think HM kinda tickled Caitlin, because Caitlin starts to smile, and starts giggling and laughing.

Yup, Caleb starts to laugh too!

It’s actually quite a funny/interesting “connection”. I would like to think that Caleb starts to cry simply because he hears another child in distress. But when Caitlin (then) starts to laugh, that he too starts laughing must also mean that the “contagiousness” of this works on both sad and happy too!

Not that I am complaining, just interesting. Also good that the two are indeed playing with one another. Just hope this keeps up, but that the snatching will stop soon- that Caleb starts understanding more and starts talking, so that we can be less one-sided than we are now with Caitlin having to give in 99% of the time “because he doesn’t understand yet….”

Funnily, Hot Mummee hasn’t really said anything about it being “dirty” for the kids. She’s always let them lie and roll around on it.

I think she knew my intention with the beanbag during those dating days. Darn it.

That’s what the kids call it.

My camera and iPhone can take videos- videos of them, generally, on the bike, monkeying around, trying to capture their growing years. Often I’d play it back for them on my laptop- they do like to see themselves in action, over and over again. I think somehow along the way, in their own respective years and development, they’ve grasped the idea that these are recorded images of themselves, and others- moving pictures of people of past events, captured and able to playback.

Folks would know that I have been away from home for a few weeks. I have been using Skype to video-chat keep in touch with Mummee, and generally remind the kids that they still have a Daddee, and that Daddee really really misses them.

Caitlin has used this “service” before, when Mummee was away. This time she and I would chat quite happily after she gets over giggling that Daddee is now inside a small box on Mummee’s computer screen.

It would be a wonder for Caleb, however, that suddenly Daddee, in these moving pictures of him (albeit only a headshot of him) is suddenly able to respond!

Aren’t these moving pictures supposedly a captured series of past events? How is it that Daddee is able to talk to Mummee, jie-jie, and I?? I remember Daddee saying bye-bye, and now he’s suddenly trapped inside this small box? Inside Mummee’s computer??

He does say “Hello Daddee”, as per instructed by Mummee. And I’d respond “Hello Caleb”. We’d be doing this repeatedly, because, well, he doesn’t really have much to report unlike his jie-jie. No- he did try to tell me once over video-chat that he fell and hit his head….

Now, I am wondering if the next time he sees more moving pictures on my laptop, that he’d try and get the attention of the people inside…