Daddee Yah!

A working Daddee learning to cope in a big big world

So I was in The Gardens for dinner the other night, with Caleb, Caitlin, and our helper.

We were in the food court; there was/is a small corner near its entrance that has a play mat – you know those jigsaw foam thingies that assemble into a mat. Caitlin was already eyeing that when we entered, insisting to go play there even though there really isn’t anything there to play with- maybe only a small table and chair(s).

During dinner I had noted a couple of boys, very likely brothers, walking in towards their table, where their mum was already seated when we arrived. Presumably the boys had finished their meals and went out wandering whilst mum was still chowing down her meal. I noted their entrance because one of the boys was kicking his sneakers on the floor while he walked, making loud squeeks along the way….. brat.

It was after Caitlin and I had finished our dinner, and whilst our helper was still feeding Caleb, that Caitlin insisted that we moved over to the playmat. Okay what the heck, I thought.

So she was on the mat, Rather dirty one at that, playing for the sake of playing on a new someone-else’s-as-long-as-it’s-not-mine mat. The brats came over. One of them nonchalantly lay on the floor mat, not that far from Caitlin. Then the other lay down too. Caitlin didn’t think anything of it, continuing to reach for stray pieces to assemble on the floor. The younger brother grabbed some of the stray jigsaw squares pieces threw up in the air, probably hoping that it’d land on my daughter, and probably would continue throwing each time getting closer, just to get some kinda reaction from someone.

I knew this was going to be bad news. “Put your shoes on darling, we are going”. Not very reluctantly, Caitlin started getting her shoes on. It wasn’t really a fun place- these weren’t fun toys anyway; not because of these brats.

The younger brother, still lying on the ground / mat, started kicking the furniture; kicking and kicking that it started edging and pushing into Caitlin. Caitlin looked at me. She had a WTF look on her face- if 5 year olds can muster a WTF gesture that would be it.

I grunted at him. But- yup, you guessed it, he didn’t care. Like I wasn’t there, like it’s all fun and games still.

What he did next really took the cake. Earlier he had come over with a mouthful of ice, from his cup from the table where his mum was. Here, he took out pieces of ice from his mouth, and threw them across the court towards the far wall. If you were seated in that area you wouldn’t have missed it- the action of someone throwing something would easily catch your peripheral vision, if the smashing sound of the ice didn’t.

Repeatedly.

I saw this, and looked over to his mum. She didn’t care. I am sure she saw. I couldn’t believe it.

Another smash. I looked over to the mum again. She saw me. I looked over to her kids, and back to her, and shook my head. She looked away, arrogantly.

At school only this week; Monday (blues) in fact.
Grandma and Hot Mummee dropped by to settle some issues with Caitlin’s schooling.

The school had suggested we check out a neighbouring suburb’s franchise which is offering the Pre-2 Chinese medium, that we could transfer Caitlin to that school if we choose to.

After “spying” on that school / class and knowing that they still conversed in English in that class (whereas the present one they speak in Mandarin fully), the two ladies decided to let Caitlin remain.

After informing the principal of the decision, the two ladies were in the vicinity of Caitlin’s ongoing class.

Hot Mummee’s remark to me that night was something like this:
“.. she’s actually quite disciplined…”
“.. she saw us from the class, and only smiled and waved a little wave. She didn’t run out crying “I want Mummee…” or anything like that ..”
“.. she was even behaving when the class was let out to wash their hands; not recess time yet. It was only on Grandma’s insistence that she came over for a hug, and one for Mummee too..”

Reminds me of her first day at school. Walked straight in. Never looked back.

Recent scalding accident
Despite the I-can-only-imagine pain from the accident, she’s actually been quite steady about the whole thing. Sure, she was sobby on the same night, being “banished” from her usual arrangement to sleep in the other room / bed cos of the medication / cream (we did keep her company). But she didn’t really complain.

The next days she was very conscious of the burn site, heeding our advise to watch our for small accidents that may rupture the blister. She had to wear only shorts, folding up the right leg to keep it exposed / uncovered, being very careful when going to the toilet. She walks with a limp, right hand holding up the folded shorts; which we are not sure if it’s put on or that it does sting from the impact of foot / leg connecting with the ground. In any case it was quite amusing / cute / heart wrenching to see this.

Other than these physical quirkiness, she was / is her usual happy-go-lucky self.

Update on the scald site
This morning after she was ready for school, I applied the SSD again. This is the second time she exclaimed it was ticklish rather than painful; I think the first ticklish time was last night but she still say it hurt.

It also felt harder, like soft scabby, under the pad of my finger. Meaning the site is no longer raw. Which to me is good news.

I was just reading this article about disciplining children, and reminded me of what had happened only this morning.

Granted it would always be the parents’ fault if children don’t get sufficient sleep/not going to bed early enough. Of late, I have found that Caitlin would still wake at around the same time in the morning, even if it wasn’t a school day (much like last week’s week-long break), even if she did not retire on time. She still gets her afternoon naps, so I am a little relieved that she would still be getting some growing-time (research says that baby lambs can actually grow cm’s while sleeping; let alone the rest the brain requires).

Still, no excuses though.

Of late on schooldays, I have also started waking her a little later than earlier this year- I have started waking her almost 30min later now. Decided on this because, other than both of us getting a little more sleep, I had also found that she used to be waiting to leave, all dressed and ready and catching a bit more of Playhouse Disney in the meantime.

Waking her this morning wasn’t as difficult as Monday morning this week (cos we were all at a relative’s wedding dinner and all retired very much later than usual). Still, being her usual self she was moping around and taking too long doing everything (getting her morning dose of milk, teeth-brushing, washing up).

Instead of grunting at her, I tried this: “You know, if you wanna do things so slowly, then Daddee will have to wake you earlier so that you won’t be late for school… Either you do things quickly and not be day dreaming and wake up a bit later/get to sleep some more, or I wake you earlier.”

Knowing that sleep is quite precious, I think it may actually work. “OKAY OKAY..”

Not to contradict myself, I didn’t have the time to go get the recent “toy” I bought her. I got her a cardboard clockface from MPH for RM6.90 (if I recall correctly) with movable hands and hour and minutes on the face. I have been trying to teach her how to read the clock.

I had wanted to show her what I meant about waking earlier. But “I will have to wake you even before the sky turns bright” was enough to drive the message home.

Let’s hope she sticks to it.

It’s not always that we get to eat like kings.

But one doesn’t have to be kings to be able to eat like this in mostly all Australian cafes…..

big_brekkie_tilt

Okay okay, this may not be a big deal for some of you guys, but it is for me; cos it’s not always that we get real bacon at home… You could find them in Malaysian supermarkets, but I don’t think I’d be able to get a “complete” meal like this!

And this is only for breakfast :)

Heh….

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 :)

Friday morning we were getting ready for work and school respectively. Fridays are when Caitlin’s school has a wading session in their small pool. Since she’s always loved the pool it was always a welcomed day; that as well as an early-age adoption of the adult TGIF concept (she doesn’t seem to like school as much this year).

She’s still got some audible phlegm in her throat, though she isn’t coughing anymore, it’s still there. Apparently she had also promised Teacher Rachel a show-and-tell of her collection of fridge magnets from home. She told me of this on Thursday night when I was tucking her in.

That morning I made the mistake of reminding her that it’s swimming day. All psyched up, she had been carrying her plastic bag of swim gear all morning wherever she was whilst getting ready. HM reminded me of her still-present phlegm, that we should wait for another week before she is allowed back in the pool (the last time I forgot, her cough came back in full force after a swim with Daddee; and we know how easily she pukes when she gets into a coughing fit).

I told her “no, can’t go swimming; wait for another week”. She wouldn’t have it. Repeated Elmer Fudd vs Bugs Bunny of yes no yes no only aggravated the respective individual emotions of our positions. Of course being the Daddee I managed to almost wrestle the bag off her. Okay I did it as gently as I could.

We were already in the car, basement of our building. Every morning we’d be lugging not just our respective bags; there is also Caleb’s gear for the day, some washing to be done, and Caleb himself aided by our helper. Settled in, buckling our seatbelts, feeling pretty shitty about the whole ordeal already, and she says, between the teary jerks of breaths, “DADDEE WE FORGOT THE MAGNETS!!”

There were really 3 options to handle this: (1) Go upstairs alone. That would be the quickest. But that also means leaving them alone in the car in the basement- toddler, 14 month old, a foreigner; (2) All go up together. Safest option. But taking the longest, making us late for school and work. (3) Fuggedaboutit.

I declared option (3). Caitlin goes into a wailing fit. Feet kicking, top of voice crying protesting she wants to go back upstairs to get the magnets, why wasn’t I listening to her.

I respect that she wants to honour her promise to Teacher Rachel. She was even looking forward to this- I could tell. But either (1) or (2) would mean we’d both be late. I even twisted the argument back at her; not a very nice thing to practise on a toddler I admit; that she didn’t listen to me either that morning when we said no to swimming, that she didn’t listen to us.

I felt bad about her not able to indulge in a simple swimming activity. It didn’t rain that day and the swim session did go ahead. She would, like before, have to remain in class hearing all the cheers and splashes downstairs.

But I felt worse that I couldn’t let her carry out her simple request of going back upstairs to get the magnets. This wasn’t something bad at all. For the longest time I had been instilling in her to honour her word/promise, and this was one example- that she wanted to show the magnets as promised. I was consoling / coaching her to say to Teacher Rachel that she is sorry she forgot to bring the magnets, but that she would be late if she/we turned around to go get them, that she didn’t want to be late, and that she would bring them on Monday instead.

In some ways I was also just lazy.

But what would you have done?

When this happened; when it dawned on me the whole rationale and intention behind the lie, I honestly did not know how to react, because I did not know which stand to take.

Last night, as usual, I headed over to Grandma’s after work, for dinner and the trip home with the kids to call it a night. While I was there, Grandma said Caitlin hadn’t pooped yet, again. We were talking about it and her diet during the day and the day before, and how else to ease the problem for her. Caitlin, in her time with her grand parents, has actually picked up some Cantonese being spoken and also from the Chinese serials on tv, that she can actually understand most of what is being discussed between the adults; only that she may not be able to speak it, yet. (We exclusively speak to her in English, though I’ve started practising Mandarin with her from her classes).

Sometime after dinner then, Caitlin, being the monkey that she is (born under the same animal year too) was being cheeky and was rude to Daddee. She wanted to be carried, I refused and she grunted / growled at me pulling her lips back. For the rest of that time / the night, I declared to her that I wasn’t going to speak to her at all and wasn’t going to friend her because I was both sad and angry at her, and also that there was not going to be any tv or Sesame Street podcast watching for the night, as punishment.

It would have been over an hour between that and the time we got home. Almost time for bed and she says to me she needed to poop. Knowing that this was more important, I carried-put her on her toddler-toilet-seat on the dunny, and kinda forgave her and sat by the door keeping her company; chatting and encouraging / supporting her knowing that it was likely going to be painful pushing out her hard stools.

In all, we sat there for over 45minutes, passing her usual bedtime. In that time, she says to me that there was a total of 3 plops; our reference to poop-progress. Knowing that usually the first plop would be the hardest, the rest of the “session” should be smooth sailing, pun intended.

In between there were the somewhat expected sobs of pain, and she used the toilet tissues to wipe her tears, dumping them into the toilet.

Since there was already 3 plops, I was getting impatient in that it was taking too long and she really already needed to be asleep. I asked her to start pushing, despite her refusals.

Then she tells me she is done. I can’t remember the exact conversation but when I already had some drops of soap ready to wash her bits, she tells me that she didn’t poop at all in all that time.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Initially I didn’t realise that she was lying. I made her repeat herself and what she did to confirm. I couldn’t check the toilet ‘cos there was dumped tissue floating on the surface. I specifically asked if any of the 3 plops ever occurred. She shook her head.

After washing her up, I took her out of the toilet and sat down face to face with her. I reminded her of the evening’s events, that she was rude to me, I was angry at her, but that I had forgiven her; and then she downright lied to me within minutes of that.

I smacked her on the ass. Twice. She knows we don’t stand for lying, and she should be reminded of it.

In choosing my words carefully so that there wasn’t going to be a repeat, I got her to recap what had transpired and to explain her actions.

She tells me that she lied because she didn’t actually have any (ready at the time) poop. Somewhere in there, it dawned on me that she had simply wanted to please me.

In all the adult conversations she has learned that we were concerned about her bowel movements. In the time leading to the lie, I was mad at her. This, apparently, was an attention seeking move, to “wag the dog”, to either possibly to get me to friend her again, AND / OR that I would be relieved to know she was free of her alimentary knots.

In a twisted way, she had my interest at heart.

It bugged me the whole night what had happened. I replayed and weighed the whole incident, her’s and my thought process, rationale, approach. Yes it is wrong to lie. But she lied not so much for her own interest because I said I forgave her after we both sat down to chat (her on the dunny and me on the floor just outside)- she said she needed to poop when I was still mad at her and hadn’t forgiven her yet. She knows I could very well leave her there and be on about my usual evening business at home.

It also occured to me that she may have confused her own body signals. It was knocking at the door, but not quite ready to come out yet; and she thought it was. But since it wasn’t ready after all, to please me she said there were 3 plops already, to follow through with the whole act of now-that-Daddee’s-put-me-on-the-toilet-I-had-better.

Something in me made me think I wrongly smacked her; after all she did cry her usual pain-in-the-ass-cos-of-hard-stools cry. A voice was also telling me that this whole thing is warped, twisted, about how she approached and dealt with and followed through with the whole incident, the way she thinks, the way she felt she had to follow though a possible mistake (knock-knock but no one’s there mistake) by covering up with lies.

That she woke up about 30 minutes later with real poop didn’t make my state of mind any easier. I seem to be as confused as she might have been last night…