Sunday, October 31, 2004

Under mommy's armpit

When a baby is tiny, mommy's is afraid of germs and want to protect baby. When a toddler, mommy's is afraid of toddler tumbling and scratching his knees. When a child enter kindy, mommy wants to stand by the fence and keep an eagle eye on her precious child. When in primary school, mommy makes sure that her precious son adapts well to the basic necessities available, like dirty toilets, lousy canteen food, fierce teachers... Mommy worries constantly when her son has to take the school bus on his own. When it rains, she fidgets in her office. When the weather is too hot, she feels guilty in her aircon room. When she tucks in a nice lunch, she wonders if he is hungry in daycare.... Sigh.... how mommy wish she can protect the child every minute, keep him under her armpit. (a Malay proverb for a protective mother, di bawah ketiak mak).

But sooner or later, the sons grow and need to spread their wings. Mommy cannot afford to keep them under her armpit or else they will be in for a major shock when they reach adulthood. They are going to be pretty screwed up and mama's boys aren't exactly everyone's favourite kind of friends.

Spreading their wings start with finding their own circle of friends. Good or bad. Then, simple steps like learning to take the public bus, going to public places, crossing the road safely, be away on their own for a few nights....... All these usually give every mother sleepless nights and restless days. And when her sons are scouts and go jungle trekking (at midnight!) or camping in the jungle, more worries. But what can a mom do but pray? Pray and keep her child in her constants thoughts. These are all necessary.

Hilarous as it sounds but there are women who check on their sons at camps, bringing pajamas, food, clean water... Doing more harm than good. Because her son is ridiculed for having to change into pajamas at a scout camps. Turning her son into the clown. Or the moms who fetch their children in the midway of camps to go for tuition or watching some Cantonese serial. When I heard of these (cases not from my sons' school but a premier Chinese school), I shudder to think what kind of boys are these women bringing up? Too much of under the armpit treatment may bring up men who has personalities that stinks.

So, here I am, sighing and wondering what are my two sons doing? On a lazy Sunday afternoon, both have asked for permission to go to the internet cafe for a few rounds of games. Games they can play at home with our broadband but games that will have more oomph if they play in a large group. What I can do but to agree to let them take the public bus, nagged them to promise they will use the proper place to cross the road, never accept any food or drinks from anyone and to stick to each other only. This may sounds like a brainless thing to do - let my children go to those sinister internet cafes. Which could be filled with porns and casinos sites. Or loaded with criminals out to kidnap or molest or sodomise boys. But the thing is to build trust. I trust them to do what they enjoy - playing online games with the camaderie of good friends. I trust them not to betray my trust. And also a process to detach themselves from mommy's armpit.

So far so good. At least, I know I won't be shocked and run complaining to the Government to take care of my own children. (mothers had written to the Government demanding for the closure of internet cafes/banning children from entering etc etc) At some stage in life, our child has to learn to spread their wings, flying on their own. And with God's grace and constant prayers, a mom can help by guiding her children to go in the right direction.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tuition, tuition, tuition

Our Malaysian children are going to have their year-end school holidays starting from 8th Nov. I am sure many of us adults know the meaning of school holidays. It is purely holidays, no early morning, no study, no schedule. But what are we having now? I am already receiving many pamphlets dropped in my apartment's post box about tuitions starting November??!! And leaflets announcing 'lessons for Form One' when the UPSR (Primary Six exam) has just completed!!?? Or camps to build self-esteem, self-confidence bla blah. In the first place, who is UN-building the self-esteem of our children that warrants them to be sent to camp to re-learn them?

This is sad, so sad. We are robbing our children off their rights of a happy, carefree childhood. We are pushing them to excel in things we perceive as important. We forced them to lessons they do not need and certainly do not love. When they failed to live up to our perceived standards, think how they feel? Do the parents know that their poor kids cried in class whenever they received their examination results? These children feel that they had failed their parents.

It is the year end and once again, it is the dreaded 'meet the parents' day'. Oh how I hate them. Don't get me wrong, I love meeting with their teachers, to say thank you for guiding and teaching my sons and sayonara. That's all I want to do. I do not want to hear the same old thing like 'your son daydreams during lessons, your son talks too much, your son could improve just a little bit more, your son writing is horrible.....' Year in, year out, I met the same teachers because they go to the same school. Year in, year out, I hear the same complaints because after all, my kids are brought up by the same parents. The teachers will be facing the 'blank look' mommy because I am too polite to tell them 'oh what the heck, my sons are happy and that's all that matters. So what if they occassionally turn up last in the class? I do not care. They are still cream of the crop as long as they hang around the top class of the form.'

History will repeats itself. My sons who always fall behind in class will still emerge with all As in their Govt. exam (psst... they are real easy, btw), the smart kids of the class will fail to cinch 'just one more A' and ended up crying in class while awaiting the 'thunder' from their parents whom had taken them from tuition centre to tuition centre from day one they entered kindergarten until Std 6.

No tuition for my kids, now or ever.

Techie Kids

My kids are those who think they are smarter than mommy, know better than mommy and hate it when I meddle with their computer. We have two computers at home, one for me and one for them. Of course, theirs is a much better, bigger, newer and more expensive model. (that also reflects whom papa favour more, don't you think?)

I am paranoid when it comes to broadband because I can imagine the kind of junks that can flow in to our computers, unseen. And these viruses, trojan horses, worms and blahs are like the kind of germs that cause us to get the flu, loose bowels etc. Unseen and yet, lethal.

But hey, they refused to let me instal virus protection for them because they claimed it slowed down their games. OK, mommy will nag and nag about the dangers. I suppose they are immune to mommy's nags. Wash your hands, trim your nails, wash behind your ears, change your underwears...nag, nag, nag, check your computer for viruses, scan for spyware, defragment your drive...nag, nag, nag. Do they listen? Nope.

Great! Their computer kaput-ed, after less than one month of broadband because the viruses or whatever had stopped the computer from surfing the net. So, it has to go back to the shop to get configured again. So, my kids are now having withdrawal symptoms, whining about being bored, got nothing to do, no books to read, exam over, no good show on TV, no new DVD.... And me? I am laughing at them with glee, rub it in to them - I told you so... nye, nye, nye, nye... Padan muka!

I suppose like most lessons in life, one has to fall before one learns their lesson. Now when the computer is back, I know my kids are going to look up to mommy, a milimetre higher, probably. Mommy is sooo cooool, she knows lots about computers!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Making love with the mop and broom

Yikes!!! I just realised that I am holding the hand(les) of the mop, broom and dustpan more than the hand of my man! Each night, these will be the last thing I do, each morning, these are the things that I look for. Throughout the day, I am also close to them. What is becoming of me???!!! Am I bordering on getting obssessive compulsive behaviour? I hope not.

OK, I am not such a neat person. I have a part-time helper to do the 'real' chores. But for a lazy bones like me, I realised that this is not healthy.... Oh no.... I musn't domesticate myself so much. I am losing it. But one cannot help it when one have 4 kids who make constant mess, stains, spills, puddles.... So, I ended up making love with the mop, broom and dustpan or else the ants will come marching in one by one (oh dear, I am hearing the Barney song in my brains) and my lil baby will get so many ants' bites. So many tiny red dots that I am beginning to feel ashame of myself when I bring him out.

So, how does a woman balance the domesticate front and the 'I want to be an independent woman!' role? I don't want to live with brooms and mops! I don't want to get intimate with sticks like these. This is so un-me. This is so un-cool. But... this is so necessary.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Quality Time?

5xmom: 5xmom

I love Zig Ziglar and of course, I agree with most of the things he wrote. Here's what he said about Quality Time, taken from his book 'Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World'.

The question of quality time is one that has been kicked around for several years. Initially it was, in my opinion, a term invented by the "experts" and used by many parents as well as husbands and wives as a cop-out. They justified their lack of time with their children or mate by using the phrase as a catchall, as an excuse for the limited time they spent with their loved ones.

As adults, we can label what is quality time and what is not. But then, how do we expect our kids to tune from normal to quality? Are we there for them when they really need us badly or when they have something proud to share with us? Do they have a built in tuner that says... ok, I shall keep my hurts or my joys until it is quality time with mom and dad. No! So, we are kidding ourselves if we say 'oh, I do not spend much time with my kids but hey, it is the quality that counts, not the quantity'.

Is this full-time mom here hitting on the conscience of others? Of course not! I do spend a lot of time ('cos I am forced to!) with my kids but those are not necessary quality time. But knowing that I have more 'normal' time available to tune to 'quality' time on the demands of my kids is certainly better than say, to allocate every Saturday morning to 'do' quality time.

So, like Zig says, quality time is a myth cooked up by guilty parties!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Love is spelled -T.I.M.E.

Sunday is sermon day. Today, all the 9yrs (Std 3) old boys and girls and the 16 yrs (Form Four) old youths from my church had their 'coming of age' ceremony (1st Holy Communion and Confirmation). The boys and girls are soooo adorable, especially the girls in their white dress and white flowers head band.

So, the parents, as usual, will get a long sermon from the Bishop about bringing up children. One would think that the Bishop will lecture us with a long list of do's and don'ts. But no such thing. Bishop just ask us parents to give the children two things. TIME. And also telling our children who GOD is. (Actually the sermon/homily is really long but that's what this tiny brain of mine heard.)

TIME - The Bishop reminded us that in our twilight years, we will need our children to be by our side. When we are weak, the only thing we look forward to is our children. How then are we going to make sure that our children will be there for us at that age? He said give them our time when they are young.

GOD - Our children will not be forever in our protection and care. They will go on their own way. So, assure them of God's presence.

Hmm... that sounds simple enough. But can I fulfil that? Let me go ponder...

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Bloggers are weirdos

I thought bloggers are weirdos who talk to themselves 'coz they have no human friends to talk to and they are attention seekers. But heck, I lurve blogs and stalk blogs so might as well join the bunch of weirdos.

What am I going to blab in my blog? 5xmom = is mom, mom, mom, mom and mom. Which means I am best in blabbing about my role as a 5 times mom. To me - parenting just need one ingredient - LOVE. Anything else is 'kiasu' and 'kiasi' driven. Oh no.... I do not subscribe to the two things. Or rather, I am trying hard to stay away from it in bringing up my children.

(kiasu = afraid of losing, kiasi = afraid of dying but actually also means afraid of losing)