Category Archives: kids inc

The happiest birthday ever

For the first 25 years of my life, birthdays were a massive affair. It’s the only day I get to act like the Sultan of Brunei and be the high-and-mighty-princess-of-the-universe. I get well-wishes (even the perfunctory ones like “Happy Birthday, hope you have a great time”) and plenty of useless presents that eventually end up on the shelf or worse, in the trash. But still, it was nice knowing that I’m important enough for folks to pick up another photo frame from the store and have it wrapped up and all.

It’s the one day in every year that you get to stand and shout “Look out world, here I come!” The only chance you get to celebrate your very presence in this world and all the potential greatness you hope to achieve.

But after 25, it’s all downhill. You start to realize that birthdays are nothing more than a reminder that you’re quickly moving past the age of being a “sweet, young, thang” and into the “frumpy, middle-aged” zone. Before you know it, you’ll be steep into the “nasty, old hag that tsk, tsks at other sweet, young things” phase.

I used to think I was invincible and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. And then the years start to slip through your fingers. “Like the sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives“. (Don’t ask, I was a fan of daytime soaps) Suddenly, you start to consider Botox and facelifts in a desperate bid to hang on to what’s left of your youth. Not a good place to be, if you ask me.

And with a kid and a half, it gets even worse. Somehow after giving birth to another human being, it kinda takes away the gloss of birthdays. Ok, so it’s the day you were born. Big deal. It’s not like you had anything to do with it. EVERYONE’s been born before so what makes you so special. If anything, birthdays should celebrate mothers for having to go through the ordeal of childbirth.

So unlike all the other years before, I found myself missing the anticipation of celebrating my birthday. More of like a “Oh, it’s my birthday already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was still 26.” 27 seems so old. Sportsmen approach retirement at 27. Britney’s 27 and she’s got 2 kids, a whole bunch of plat albums and more moolah than she can spend.

When I was a kid, I used to dream that by 27, I’d do something great like invent the cure for cancer or be a rock star or write a New York Times bestselling novel. But I actually turn 27 and I realize that my life is just… well, painfully ordinary. And every year, I’m running out of time for greatness.

But now I understand why so many mothers put their own dreams on hold for their kids. I look at Tru and I know that he’s going to rock this world when he grows up. He can be anything he wants, and we’ll make sure he gets a decent shot at achieving any crazy dreams he has. And best of all, I realize that maybe all the fame and recognition in the world can’t take the place of having my kids draw me a butt-ugly picture (that resembles giant blobs) and say, “I wuv you, mommy, Happy Birthday”.

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Taken – The Ultimate Parenting Guide

Had a hot date with the husband to watch Taken a few days back and I must say, it was surprisingly good. Taken is your typical, no nonsense, action movie where Liam Neeson went around beating the living daylights out of everything that moves. The intro was a little slow, but once the fun started, the action sequences were tight and somewhat realistic, so all in all, it was thoroughly enjoyable. (I have a weakness for these swashbuckling, one-man-show CIA super agents)

Thanks to Luc Besson, Neeson’s character is like James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer all rolled into one incredible fighting machine. I particularly loved the sequence where he stabbed 2 metal sticks into the Albanian mafia dude’s thigh (who abducted his daughter) and proceeded to electrocute him senseless.

But underneath the carnage and destruction, the movie actually has many important messages that parents should drill into their kids. It’s like the ultimate parenting guide (or propaganda). When Kirsten turns 16, I’m gonna make her watch this with my own running commentary in the background.

Lesson 1: Going on a road trip across Europe with friends will result in abduction.

I’m pretty sure at some point she’s going to want to travel with her friends to whatever is the next big travel destination in 2018. I’m going to instill a rule where there will be no traveling alone until she turns 24 or gets married (which should not happen before she’s 24 anyway).

It’s a catch 22. If she goes with a bunch of girlfriends, there’s no way any of them will be able to put up a fight in the face of imminent abduction. (Don’t believe the Alias female Kungfu fighter nonsense) A bunch of adolescent girls on a holiday is like spreading honey on your chest. You can’t be surprised if a swarm of killer bees sting the crap out of you.

But if she goes on a trip with some adolescent male friends (we all know what teenage guys have on their minds 24/7), I can bet my life that there will be some hanky panky going on when she’s halfway around the world. Not an appealing prospect as far as I’m concerned.

Lesson 2: Don’t talk to strangers, especially if they are handsome and French.

Handsome guys are usually up to no good, so avoid them like the plague. If you must talk to boys, choose those ugly-ass ones with pock-marks, buck-teeth and giant, geeky specs. Better still if they are with their mothers and speak only Mandarin.

handsome french guy = bad

handsome french guy = bad

geeky guy = good

geeky guy = good

Lesson 3: Don’t make the sexytime unless you want to get sold off to prostitution and die.

I couldn’t help but notice that the two girls ended up with very different fates. Amanda, the promiscuous one, ended up DEAD after OD-ing on drugs. Kim, on the other hand, who showed some restraint in having her cherry popped too early, was rescued by her super spy of a father who went on a rampage across the whole of France.

amanda-kim2

Kim was saved thanks to the fact that she was certified 100% pure (exact words from the movie), so if you’re reading this eventually, Kirsten, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE THE SEXYTIME until you get married. Your father will hunt down the unfortunate chap who is responsible for the deed and after he’s done, the poor fella will wish he was the Albanian dude who got electrocuted.

Adventures of the Hunky Pool Boy

Some may say that comics aren’t legitimate literary forms, but go ask Neil Gaiman, the god of graphic novels (it’s just a fancy name for comics) and he will probably tell you that you’re an illiterate fool. 50 years from now, high school students will be dissecting the genius of graphic novels as part of their pursuit of literature, alongside Shakespeare and Harper Lee.

For me, I’m a fan of all forms of literature. I enjoy Harry Potter as much as Jane Eyre (btw, John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer novels are my guilty pleasure). When I stumbled upon the Sandman series by Gaiman, I was absolutely riveted. Comics are an art form, mixing visuals and prose to form a complex tapestry in which the narrative is masterfully woven.

Which is why I’ve decided to try my hand at comic creation. It’s probably too short to be a graphic novel, so maybe I’ll just start off with a graphic novella.

Enjoy.

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Picture Perfect

If there’s one thing I should have done more as a mother, it’s to take more pictures of Tru. Most mothers have a gazillion pictures of their tots and I have a grand total of about a hundred since he was born (Most of them not even taken by me). I bet strangers have more pictures of my kid than I do.

That’s the thing though. We’re totally not trigger-happy people. During Tru’s delivery, we didn’t even bring a camera to capture the pivotal moment. I was lying on the operating table with my stomach flapping open, witnessing the following conversation take place.

Gynae: Ok, where’s your camera? You can standby to take pictures of the baby.

Husband: Er, we didn’t bring one.

Gynae (incredulous): Camera phone? How are you going to take pictures?

Husband: Actually, our phones have no cameras.

*Awkward silence*

From time to time, I browse through some of Tru’s old photos (yes, all 100 of them) just to look back at how tiny and helpless he was back then. Here’s a few.

Every time I look at how small he was back then, and it makes me go all mushy inside. That’s it, my middle-of-the-year-resolution is to TAKE MORE PICTURES OF MY KIDS.

Truett’s top 5 TV shows

The topic on whether TV is good for kids has been debated to death. So I shan’t keep flogging the dead horse. My philosophy is that there are plenty of good programs out there and when consumed in moderation, there’s probably not much harm.

What’s more, I LOVE TV. It’s one of the best discoveries of all time, right next to sliced bread.

My son has come up with a list of top 5 TV programs on Playhouse Disney.
(I’m not sure if I agree with all of them though)

5. Higglytown Heroes.

Higglytown Heroes

First of all, what’s up with the giant storage pouches in their stomachs. Believe it or not, they can hop inside each other’s pouches and hide, which is so wrong on so many levels. And why are they mutated pudgy, legless beings? Most annoyingly, they keep coming up with retarded suggestions, plus they take advice from an ugly talking cat. Go figure.

4. Thomas and Friends.

Thomas and Friends

The husband claims that the trains are possessed. They are supposed to be youngish trains but it’s so disconcerting that they’ve got overly-large eyeballs that roll around and deep-baritone-grandfather voices. And the accent. The only people who speak like that are old farts drinking in the taverns of Manchester.

3. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

There’s Mickey Mouse and his exclusive Clubhouse of which JT, Britney and Christina are members. The social status alone is a big enough draw for any kid.

2. Pocoyo.

Pocoyo

This is Tru’s alter ego. The only problem is that he wears the same clothes ALL THE TIME and he’s got a duck, an elephant, a dog, a sleepy bird and a mysterious, old  narrator for friends. Other than that, he’s hands down the cutest 4-year-old on television.

1. Bunnytown.

Bunnytown

Definitely the best cartoon on Playhouse Disney. They’ve got all kinds of awesome music, ranging from hip hop, rock, rap, gospel and jazz. It’s also got a very witty script and lots of colorful bunnies. Tru’s all-time favorite segment is the Bunnytown Hop, a bunny-concert where all the bunnies go all rock and roll. Good stuff.

I’m a big boy now

It was a momentous weekend for my baby boy, who’s made the transition to becoming a big boy. I feel like one of those cheesy parents who make cliched comments like “Aw, my baby boy’s all grown up”. But cheesiness comes with the territory of parenthood because these cliches first start out as truisms until 2 billion parents start saying the same thing.

When you’re watching your kid everyday, it’s hard to notice that they’re getting bigger, taller and smarter. And bit by bit, they start learning to assert their own independence. But it happens so gradually that it takes moments where you look back and wonder how they managed to grow up so fast.

Tru is officially a big kid now. Over the weekend, we just got him a toddler car seat (the forward facing type instead of the infant ones) and shifted him to his new nursery so he’s all grown up and independent. The husband had to clean out the guest room and do it up all nice and cosy with colorful mats and a whole bunch of toys. I was prepared for some separation anxiety and resistance on his part, but he seems to be loving his new digs.

Mama, on the other hand is struggling to cope with the new sleeping arrangement, so much so that I’ve been sleeping with the baby monitor attached to my ear. I was really dreading the shift but it was a matter of time before we had to make way for for the new baby in July. We figured it would be too traumatic for him to have to cope with the shift and a new baby sister all at the same time, in case he felt like he was kicked out of the room.

But now that I’ve adjusted to having back our room (although it will be short-lived), it totally rocks.

1. No more bathing in the common toilet.

2. No more brushing my teeth in pitch darkness.

3. No more whispering in the bedroom.

4. No more tiptoeing around.

5. Bring back the sexytime!

Unlimited Power

Question: Why do guys always resort to brute force to solve a problem?

I have a theory. It’s all thanks to He-man and Conan the Barbarian. Notice that all the male-oriented cartoons all feature muscular alpha-males that have bulging biceps and tiny underpants.

He-manConan

In recent years, the metrosexual male has taken over, but despite their floppy hair and chiseled, feminine features, they still can’t escape their roots, which is to grunt and shout (i.e. the louder, the more powerful) while displaying their special powers.

Ben 10Pokemon

In the world of men, there’s always a BAD GUY to destroy and life would not be complete if we all lived in peace and harmony.

So it’s inevitable. Boys grow up with the misconception that brute strength is synonymous with masculinity. Tru is already showing signs of it at 10 months. His favorite past-time is banging stuff in the house. Like when I put him in his cot, he’ll have to bang the wardrobe and SHOUT AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS for a good half hour before he’ll settle down to sleep. It’s a manly pre-sleeping ritual he’s acquired.

Or he will grab a toy in each hand and smash them together repeatedly (with an evil grin) to get that loud smashing sound. He’s drawn to the sound of destruction. I think it’s a very primal instinct. I should stop buying toys and just give him two bottles to pound.

I’m thankful girls don’t have that problem. We are peaceable creatures and we like to avoid strife where possible. We’d be happy to hold hands and dance around the campfire before braiding each other’s hair and giggling ourselves silly. There are no evil forces in Strawberry Shortcake and life is beautiful all the time. It’s practically utopia all year long and we can prance around smelling roses and eating strawberries.

Strawberry Shortcake

I’m hoping Kirsten will bring order to the house after she’s born. There’s too much testosterone in the air as it is.