Archive for May, 2017

Practicing Patience

May 31, 2017

This month, I’d like to practice more mindfulness when I respond to irritation and annoyances. It’s been hard for me to take that step back and breathe and think through my response. Many times, the annoyance makes me snap and before I know it, I’d talk with a snarky, nasty tone that I wish I didn’t have. On the one hand, it’s normal especially when an introvert has to deal with the constant barrage of words, many of which are nonsensical or irrelevant or a running account of what happened in an imaginary world that I do not care about. The incessant talking wears me down till my nerves are raw and sensitive. I hope to teach little C to be more focused and succinct in what he wants to tell us. Sometimes, I encourage him to make a drawing or write a story (he has a number of comics that are improving in narration). But I also don’t want to be disinterested in what he seems to enjoy…..

On the other hand, I don’t feel good about the way I behave, so I’ll keep trying to work on it. One thing was to make sure I get sufficient sleep because I’m definitely short tempered when I’m tired and I seem to need quite a bit of sleep to function.

We’ll continue to work through it together, through small changes on both our ends. At the end of the month, school will end so I may need it even more since we’ll be together for a longer time each day.




Why I Joined the PTA

May 17, 2017

Years ago, I never thought I would actually join the PTA. I thought it was the domain of type A, extroverted parents who have something to prove.

As I challenge my son to keep learning and take in new experiences, I decided to walk the talk and do what I never thought I’d do – volunteer for the PTA board. When little C starts his time in the new school, I will be forced to have those dreaded social interactions with people I don’t know very well. Even now, after attending the first meeting and beginning the process of becoming a board member, I have the urge to dig a nice warm cozy hole and snuggle into it, never to be seen till it’s comfortably safe to poke my head out. And then I may make some new friends for myself and maybe new playmates for him.

I guess more importantly, while I dislike the awkwardness of social interaction, I recognize that hiding from it just makes the problem worse. In fact, I’m especially anxious in novel social situations. So I want to face my fears and just get with practicing. I mean when I’m fine once I actually talk to other people but the prospect of beginning to do it scares me. Well, we’ll see how it goes. It’ll be an exciting school year for us.

Moving on to Chapter Books

May 6, 2017

Little C is starting to read more complicated chapter books that don’t come with pictures on every page. He devoured two Geronimo Stilton books the day they came back from the library. I inducted him into the series via the graphic novels before moving on to the chapter books. For a while, I was wondering how I could help to encourage him to move on from picture books and graphic novels and the dreaded Captain Underpants series.  He seems fully capable of reading and comprehending the more verbose books but showed little inclination to read them. He really enjoys audio books of the classics like Roald Dahl and the Narnia series but never picked up any of the books. I guess reading stamina isn’t something that happens all at once. Hopefully, this will open up a wider range of books for him to enjoy.

I remember when I was young and at that stage. I was reading mainly Chinese at that time since I barely have 10 English books in our house at that time. It was my brother who introduced me to the first interesting novel – 侠客行 by 金庸. It is a martial arts novel but it had ‘funny’, crude, curse words which appealed to me then.  Kinda like potty humor that my son enjoys >.<

Calvin’s School Games

May 6, 2017

Worm Regeneration Center

It was a rainy day and they found some worms on the sidewalk. They decided to “help” them by moving them to a new home amidst and old carpet that has a hole in it?? The worms kept trying to wiggle out so they made some dirt walls to protect the worms while they regenerate.

During those wet weeks, he also came back many days with a totally soaked and muddy shoes. I had to show him how to dry his shoes with stuffed newspapers.

Woodchip wars

This was a rare snowy winter week. The snow had melted and refroze, making great big lumps and sheets of frozen wood chips. That became the coveted booty for 1st graders. They split into two gangs who tried to steal the “loot” from each other.

Boy Alliance

It started with one boy, F, who threw berries at them. One of the boys, K,  suggested to have an alliance instead and fight a common “invisible” enemy. Both K and F wanted to be the commander and lil C mediated by assigning one of them the vice commander role. There are some other ranks with commander troopers and some such. Sounds like C’s job was to relay instructions/ queries from the commander to the troops and vice versa.


He was biking around with his friends after school and really enjoyed it a lot. He said it was the best part of the day. Seems it was even better than getting his new Lego star wars set.

These boyish games are full of imagination. I feel bad for moving him away from this gang of friends that he has gotten to know.



Mommy Guilt

May 2, 2017

So I finished reading the book by Sheryl Sandberg and one of the things that struck me is the mommy guilt. It’s funny how no matter what you do, a mother will never feel like she’s done ‘enough’ – did I spend enough time with my kids vs did I develop my career?

I’ve thought about my worry in giving up a corporate career to support my family at home. I’ve felt inadequate many times, mainly because of the perceived low social standing of stay at home parents. I mean after all, there’s no one to really evaluate your performance and say ‘okay, you’ve exceeded expectations’.

But when I thought about my time at work and right now, I can truly say that I am much happier and I feel more like myself and I’ve grown a lot more than the 5 years I spent working. In time, I may be ready to try it again but meanwhile, I am enjoying the meandering explorations I am allowed to do.  I am starting to really enjoy cooking, much more than I expected myself to. I really think this is a good place for us right now.  Our time is a limited resource and this is all an optimization problem where you think about where you focus that resource to maximize utility.  So I need to stop feeling guilty about the things I decided were not worth my time right now.