Daddee Yah!

A working Daddee learning to cope in a big big world

School kids nationwide are on holidays from this weekend on.

Caitlin has some holiday homework to do for the week off school, from (as far as I can see- gotta check her bag/books) 3 subjects of English, Malay and Chinese. Each of them have a date on the homework pages for respective dates of the week- yes, the teachers are pacing the kids so that they have homework each of the holidays.

Hot Mummee and I are of the opinion that Caitlin, whilst it’s a lazy-ish Saturday afternoon, that she can do as much of them as she can, even to have them all completed. Caitlin on the other hand, quite vehemently objects, saying that she should follow the pace that the teachers have set, to listen to what the teachers have told the class.

HM herself thinks that Caitlin is just being lazy, whereas I was seated beside her surfing whilst she was quite happily completing the homework that was set for the first few days- so I know she isn’t lazy per se.

What would you do? I kinda respect Caitlin’s respect for what the teachers have said, despite also somewhat agreeing with HM’s rationale to complete her homework early in the holidays.

Holiday homework

My dad’s talked about this since the early 90’s: Of bringing the whole extended family for a visit to his hometown (more like village).

Not that we minded the idea. Back then we only loathed about what the likely quality of basic amenities would be like. After all, there were stories of toilets with no doors, toilets with no toilets but a hole in the ground. Somehow it never eventuated.

Through the years, the kids (my nephews and nieces) grew, and my parents have also continued keeping in contact with his relatives (well, they are mine too). They too have made visit(s?) here (but I was away studying/living in Adelaide at the time). A recent idea my dad had was to contribute toward a memorial of his ancestors, to keep the roots alive.

Recently, that idea came to fruition. And what better timing to also time the visit to the completed site with bringing the family there as well.

We had spent the week leading to, and including Christmas Day 2009, in Xiamen China. Xiamen city is only about 2-3 hours bus ride to the village, so it isn’t like a real trek too deep into China (please mind my poor knowledge of Chinese geography). That has worked out quite well all this time for my parents, making it easy for them to visit our relatives all these years.

My dad organised a tour group for this visit- which was actually just us, the whole 29 of us! It was a fun time for all as there were no outsiders and we were as our usual silly-carefree selves :)

I can’t say there was a sense of belonging, personally. After all, we were all born in and grew up in Malaysia. As a father I reckon my dad feels some form of achievement in finally bringing his own children together to see his birthplace, to see where we are from, his and our roots, connect with some distant blood relatives, and his contribution back to the community when he left with his father to seek, and found, a better life in distant shores. He had done well for himself with very humble beginnings, and by extension my generation (and later) are now a lot better off comparatively.

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Take away the brick houses beside and behind this structure, and you have the house in which my father was born.

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My grandfather built this house in the ’60’s apparently after the ethnic unrest in Indonesia, fearing the same for Malaya/Malaysia, with intention to bring everyone back to China to live in this bigger house.

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This is (almost) everyone, infront of the “shrine” cum community hall that my dad funded and built

For Caitlin, at 5 years old I don’t think this will be a lasting impression. Ideologies of family ties is too mature for her. She will remember the some of the places we visited, and the fun with the cousins. She probably won’t remember how cold it was; she may remember what she wore; but she’s worn that same jacket before elsewhere.

One thing I’ve been saying to people who asked what I thought about my first visit to China is: “We were on the bus, driving through very long tunnels, to emerge to drive on long bridges.” I was rather awed by the landscape- it’s one thing to read about it and watch it on tv, but it’s another to see the natural landscape: mountains and valleys. Also, the technology deployed in this developing country is actually also more advanced than Malaysia. Tunnels bored through these mountains; long tunnels, and impressive world class bridges to carry you further. The highways are also multi-tiered, criss-crossing each other at higher and higher levels.

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It is a big big country, there are uneven developments everywhere. I personally only saw 3 beggars on the street, only in Xiamen city; 2 of whom are disabled, the 3rd looked able-bodied but with a toddler probably 2-3 years old.

More pictures here:

Caitlin likes to go shopping. Make the slightest inkling that we are going shopping and her adrenalin gets pumping.

Typical female I guess. But at least for now she is not keen on checking out shoes….

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However, I gotta be fair. I do like to go check out gadget shops too. When we passed the Machines store (Apple and accessory store) Caitlin actually recognised it. “Daddee you wanna go in there?” I didn’t have to, so we didn’t. Much as I’d like to repeat the ritual of making at least 1 round and probably see the same stuff as the last visit.

Hee hee.

I can’t say this shoppaholic gene runs through the whole family though. The little man was actually already asleep in the car on the way even though his big sister was all the chatterbox that she is (even more of since we were going shopping).

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Nice way to spend the public holiday that we had this week, I reckon :)

It’s school holidays next week, and I have kinda made promises of more mini adventures with her…. Only that now I don’t think I can get days off work anymore- looks like this Daddee may have to break some promises, or only do them on weekends and cram the shopping malls and carparks with the rest of the city folk …. Yikes.

It’s the school holidays this week. I had taken Wednesday and Thursday off with plans with Caitlin.

We were going to include the following activities, initially in no particular order:

  1. Go watch the fireworks (it’s not a very well designed website, by the way, so if you are keen do be patient)
    Caitlin’s always been quite excited watching fireworks. When it used to, we could watch it from afar from my parents’ house on weekend, when they were letting it off at Titiwangsa after launching Visit Malaysia Year. This was when I started explain to Caitlin what “expensive” means, when they eventually stopped it!
  2. (Re) Visit Genting Highlands.
    For obvious reasons
  3. Go shopping.
    She likes to just window shop; be out of the house.

We managed the third and first item on Wednesday day and night respectively. The fireworks event was an adventure in itself. Wyluxx had wanted to try his hand at photographing fireworks this time, so given Caitlin’s likely interest to watch too, we went along.

20 minutes of straight booms and bangs and flashes was quite worth the ride all the way to Putrajaya, and the 2 hour wait- we went early, to secure good parking and viewing spots, but mainly cos we weren’t sure exactly where the venue was going to be. Anticipating the crowd (very likely learned from past experience) the local police had set up clear directional signs for the traffic, and had areas properly cordoned off for orderly parking.

I think Caitlin enjoyed it.

But because of these activities on Wednesday, Caitlin didn’t manage to get any afternoon nap, and also that the fireworks only finished at 10:20pm, we got home quite late. So I had wanted her to sleep in as late as possible on Thursday morning.

I had planned on doing item 2 on Thursday. But wouldn’t you know it, it rained. And rained, and rained and rained. Caitlin must have been psyched about going to Genting too, cos she auto-woke early.

I had to let her down by saying we cannot go after all. So, Daddee’s Plan B was to bring her for a movie. Her first ever movie experience. The only suitable one available was WALL-E.

And how did it go, you ask?

We went to Midvalley. After checking online the showing times I aimed for the first session of 11:45am; with the 12:30pm one as back up. I mean, I knew it is the school holidays, but wouldn’t the teenagers be more interested in Star Wars than WALL-E?? Why did I have to get the 12:30 one?

So, we got the tickets, and hung around for just over an hour and a half. It was ok; we ate our prepacked lunch, checked out the nearby pet store to talk to some parrots, went to the toilet before showtime.

Also, I didn’t know it was a 2-hour movie. But that’s not the “bad news”. 20 minutes into it, Caitlin asks: “Is it finished yet?”

She also has a slight runny nose, and the cinema was quite cold even for me. We left the cinema for a while just to get her a nice jacket to wear (she doesn’t have a nice one anyway). I got her a Pooh Bear World of Cartoon denim jacket which I do think is quite nice. It’s dark denim with orange stitching, straight cut buttons all the way like a shirt pattern and shirt collared. I got her a size 6 knowing it will fit her for a few more years.

Went back in, and time for another leave-the-cinema for a toilet break. Soon after, she didn’t like it, and we left the movie completely.

So that was my first experience with her on her first movie experience.

Few things I noted:

  • Toddlers have no sense of time.
    While she understood that the movie will start “when this hand reaches here where it says ’30’ on Daddee’s watch”, I had trouble explaining to her how long 2 hours was. I tried saying “It’s as long as 8 episodes of Jo-Jo” but it really didn’t work.
  • Toddler have no sense of length of time.
    Again, only 20 minutes into it, she was getting bored.
  • Toddlers can be prepared, somewhat.
    She was made to expect the dark hall of the cinema. She was made to expect the potentially loud sounds from the movie. She was made to expect not to talk too much. But she wasn’t told not to be fidgety, she wasn’t told not to lean too close to the seat (the patron) infront of her, she wasn’t told not to exercise the folding chair by folding it repeatedly.

So for tomorrow, being the weekend before the kids go back to school, I may bring her to the Aquaria with Moomykin and her boys. Anyone else interested?

Kids had only just gone back to school after a really really long year-end break.

Being the rather laid back parents that we are; okay maybe “lazy” is the better description, we had only left it to the kids to entertain themselves with repeated playing of their favourite DVD’s.

One in particular this season was/is Ice Age 3 (as opposed to last season, being Bee Movie). If you don’t know the franchise, the main characters are a couple of mammoths, a sabre tooth tiger, a sloth, and two brothers of possums. In a previous installment these have banded together as a herd, sharing with us viewers their adventures. I wouldn’t call them “adorable”; maybe because it has been repeatedly played-to-death so often that it has definitely lost its appeal.

They say kids and people dream about what they thought of or saw the most of during the day. Yup, you guessed it: Caitlin dreamt about these characters. Two nights in a row, in fact.

She shared this with me over a few “sessions”, first being during our car ride to Grandma’s in the morning before going to work, and then continued when she saw me afterwards.

She dreamt of Manny and Elly, the mammoth couple.

I asked if I was there. No. I asked if they were big. She said not really. I corrected her that mammoths used to be huge like a big car or bus (I try to watch Discovery channel as much as I can; will explain “try” another time!) I wanted to ask if they were friendly, but she quickly offered that they were, ‘cos they and the herd were travelling together with her; except Diego the sabre tooth lion. I guess Caitlin doesn’t quite fancy him all that much.

Later at home when she was relating her dreams during her later sessions, we overheard Hot Mummee exclaiming how she’s got a headache. Caitlin whispers to me “Maybe Mummee didn’t have nice dreams like I did; please don’t tell her I said that, okay?”

I like when she shares stuff with me. I hope she keeps this up forever through the ages, for obvious reasons.

For the end of Ramadhan month here in Malaysia, we had a really long weekend off work. Caitlin’s school, in fact, had the whole week off (they had a couple of Saturdays of school to make up for closing the whole week).

It was also Hot Mummee’s birthday on the 21st :) Also, Yee yee (HM’s younger sister) is also back from Hawaii for a month; and it’s also going to be HM’s cousin’s wedding this weekend!

So we had quite a few activities lined up in the last 2 weeks or so!

As a nice little “cheap” treat, I brought Caitlin for a swim in our pool downstairs (of the condo building). Off and on I have been taking her floats out of her swimgear the last few times we went for a dip- she is tall enough already and can stand at the shallow end. She really surprised me by “going under” (as she calls it) and even remembering that one time I tried to teach her to exhale through her nose. I was watching her submerging and blowing bubbles out of her nose and really enjoy exploring this new skill and sensations!

The other highlight was also the rare times that we as a family ventured outdoors together! HM’s not really an outdoorsy person, and with Caleb being still somewhat waddling, we don’t venture outdoors much. But being somewhat bored with the days-off, we contacted Moomykin and Cuddlyfamily to see what they were doing.

We ended up planning a picnic!

Islands in the stream!

The kids had the most fun, whilst I enjoyed (not enough of!) Moomykin’s decadent potato and egg salad and Cuddlyfamily’s homemade cookies! Most of my time was spent watching over the kids; more so with Caleb and (possibly?) his first visit to a playground.

Wrong end buddy!

Oh, we had also bumped into See Ming (aka xmocha) and Sim and Max!

The picnic wasn’t as scary as we had feared (okay we are city folks after all). The dreaded rain held off just for us, where it had been raining every 12 hours or so the previous umpteen days regardless of day or night, and also the kids weren’t too much of a handful.

After the picnic morning HM, Yee yee and I, and their brother and some friends went for karaoke (don’t laugh- all are quite good singers and it’s also good stress relief!), followed by seafood dinner- it was after all HM’s day, and she got to choose which crab, and the cooking style to eat!

Choose your fish!

Yup- it’s already going to be Friday already tomorrow.

Took today and Friday off from work, just to “do stuff” with Caitlin. All week so far she’s been holed up in the apartment with Hot Mummee working from home, and really working. Poor kids haven’t been outdoors at all for some 72 hours or so earlier in the week.

Today I took Caitlin for a long-awaited swim. Long, cos as you know she’s not been well, and then there was the hazy spell. Not surprisingly it was a good fun-time in the sun; we both got a slight but much needed tan from it. She hasn’t forgotten what she’s learnt from the pool- not that I had taught her a lot, but she still managed to paddle from the ends of the pool to the other, still with her floaties of course.

Later in the day I had wanted her to catch some shuteye before the replacement art class- again, replacement from when she was down with fever, but she won’t have it. 35min before the class was to start, this is what happened- I reckon she had only dozed off 5 minutes before I snapped this.

Who refused the catnap?

I still woke her up though, partly cos I was “selfish” and wanted her to still attend this cos, after all its paid for. But partly also I know (hoped?) she would still enjoy it.

Woke her, asked if she still wanted to go.

Rubbing her eyes, “Yes….”

When I signed her up for this replacement class last week, I had noticed that this session, being on a Thursday afternoon, only had 4 names. Today, she was the only one who turned up.

So, given the undivided attention, when I went to get Caitlin at the end of the class the teacher told me that because she was the only one, they had finished one, and resumed to make another :)

Not one but two!

So for tomorrow, Friday, I was thinking I’d bring her to go watch Up. Let’s hope the plan goes well; cos I have a feeling somehow it won’t….

UPDATE

Well, we managed to catch the movie Up.

As usual Caitlin didn’t catch her afternoon nap. I had to force her to lie down with the threat of no-movie if she didn’t try. As the protesting died down because she eventually dozed off, I snuck out to get the tickets in order to maximise her shut-eye time, waking her only at the last minute.

As I woke her, it crossed my mind that she may want to continue sleeping as she normally does when awoken “prematurely”, ending up being a grump for about 30 minutes. Waking her, I popped the make-or-break question: Do you wanna go for the movie (or not)? It was quite the waker-upper question- we were on time and all for the movie.

To my slight disappointment, being her third ever movie outing, she still asked “Is it finishing yet?” some 3/4 way into the movie. She is still obviously not mature enough to follow a storyline yet the first time (meaning she’s gotta be watching a movie repeatedly like on a DVD before somewhat understanding what’s going on.

Ah well, at least she did go to a cinema and catch this movie, after months of requesting we do each time we drive past the poster on the highway every morning.