Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Social Development

February 22, 2020

Sometimes I get so frustrated with little C when he doesn’t pick up subtle/unspoken social cues.

Smiling when a staff member was reprimanding him after finding him wandering in the wrong place and he was explaining himself. Got misunderstood to be trying to be snarky/ funny and was brought to the office. He managed to go and explain that he wasn’t aware that he was smiling and wasn’t trying to be rude. Think he had a run in with this same teacher before for answering back and relentlessly asking Why about a certain rule.

Hanging around outside my door during bedtime when he wanted to ask about where his watch was.

Ran off after a conversation then came back thinking I might not have been done, but starting hanging around wondering instead of just asking.

Some of the social problems lie with his issues with directing which I misinterpret as defiance or rudeness. Like when he started erasing something while I was talking. I told him he is being distracted but he kept on doing it. It felt like he was being disrespectful and ignoring what I said but he said it was difficult for him to switch his focus even when he thinks he should.

At this point, I’m just trying to raise his awareness of what happens and how it is perceived. (Sometimes he doesn’t even know why he is in trouble)

I’m not looking forward to him turning into a teen who would be less likely to listen to me.

House Hunting

February 14, 2020

Now that we are more certain about living here, we are finally looking for a home. Well not quite yet,  since the market here is so competitive, we need to have a loan practically approved first before we even start looking seriously so I’m just getting all the paperwork done. As I do so, I start to get a bit jittery about making a big decision. It’s strange, because I’ve done all the math, I know all the reasons why we are even looking and we are not even certain we will get one for sure.

(One of the prospective lenders I talked to said I was more pessimistic about my prospects than he is. He seems to think we would be able to land a suitable one but then again, he only knows the upper limit of what we want to pay, but I’m not really wanting to spend the whole budget on an old house that probably needs some work in the near term.)

I guess it’s always kinda scary when you lose the flexibility to just move on a whim. (Then again, getting married and having a kid were also big changes where you lose flexibility/ freedom, but I never had any qualms about those.) In hindsight, we don’t utilize that flexibility anyway. We’ve been staying in this same apartment for 4 years all, even through all the screaming/ shouting/ banging/ stomping from our neighbors upstairs until they moved away last year. I really want to stay put for little C’s sake, because he needs more stability in his teen years.

So we’ll see where this adventure ends.


Strange Fever Mutterings

February 3, 2020

C sits up in bed and flaps his arms in front of him on the bed, saying “Only Transformers can calm me down….. Translucent green one… (mutter mutter)”

Tokyo Trip

December 19, 2019

Our Tokyo trip to celebrate little guy’s 10th birthday was over in a flash. It was a total of 10 days, 2 of which was spent traveling. At first we thought we wouldn’t have much to do just in Tokyo alone but we ended up everyday simply exhausted from all the walking and sight seeing. On the bright side, we didn’t end up with much jet lag either. I’m not sure if the melatonin pills helped or that we were just so tired we adjusted to the local time right away.

It was also unexpectedly rainy so my shoes were wet and squelchy for days. They became super stinky and I bought some new insoles that’s supposed to reduce the odor but they were so terrible that my knees started to ache so I had to deal with a gimpy knee the whole trip. The perils of old age…

We saw all the robots we had hoped to see in action — Aibo, Paro the seal and Asimo. Got a lot of Gumdam loot for little guy ( unfortunately came with a lot of conflict since little guy wasn’t the most careful with the clippers which caused a lot of problems when assembling the parts that have to be flushed against each other)

Also ate a lot of yummy food. Though as we had feared, the sheen on some of the food we loved before has been lost. We tried wagyu in many forms (gyukatsu, gyudon, wagyu steak) before concluding that it wasn’t quite our thing. The surprising favorite was probably beef tongue, which only I was eager to try at first. The sashimi bowl wasn’t as good as I remembered. Little guy’s choice of unagi there was awesome though. The convenience store onigiri and ramen were still good but not as exciting as it had been before.

We also tried some new stuff like the katsudon that came with a surprisingly good carrot dressing for the cabbage. Handmade udon had an interesting texture but not something I hanker for. One of the kaiten sushi place was really good though the first one at Nakano Broadway was pretty mediocre. I think our palettes have been spoiled over the years with my own cooking.

Oh and J was having a great time eating up the convenience store desserts. And we did get a crepe from Harajuku that was crispy on the outside just like how I like it. I remember getting a soft one there years ago and was feeling disappointed.

I think Little C’s favorite place was Odaiba and the obstacle course park we went to on the last day.

We probably won’t be returning to Japan that soon but it was really fun. Our next big trip will probably be back to Malaysia and then thinking about Hawaii and England next!

10 year Old’s Image of the Future

November 16, 2019

C: When I grow up and move to my own place, I would need to earn money for myself.

Mom: (teasing) What? You are not going to earn money for mum and dad?

C: Yeah, but I need money to buy my equipment (presumably for his 3d printing/ toy making/ robotics?) Oh and maybe you’ll give me some money also.

Mom:  Hmm, like an allowance?

C: Like maybe $5 for parting money.

Mom: $5 isn’t enough for even a meal for you then (>_<);


Thinking of Buying a Home

October 28, 2019

Had to do quite a bit of thinking about little man’s choice for secondary schools and what might be a good fit for him. Finally decided on a place that’s a compromise of all the different things we considered – school, proximity to close friends and to a lesser extent, commute to work. Of course that’s all within the constraints of price. This is probably the one time I kinda wish we had more money so we won’t have to worry about it.

So after sitting on it for two years, we might finally be ready to buy something if it looks right.

Standing up For…. Justice?

October 28, 2019

Little guy came home with the story of how he got a classmate, A, to apologize to someone else for messing up their game. So A apparently hates chess and decided to knock down all the pieces some other classmates had set up on the school giant chessboard. He even went as far as teaching him how to apologize properly by getting the other person’s attention first before saying sorry. I’m quite impressed, perhaps my words to him do sink in after a while.

Frenzy of Competition

October 19, 2019

By Asian parents standards, I’m probably too relaxed. While we do some extra work at home just to get into the habit of working, I do not usually adhere to any quotas or strict requirements. In the early years, I think I was more concerned with keeping him engaged, maintaining skills and just establishing the habit of finishing work before play. Now that he is turning 10 and quickly moving into tween/ teen territory, the imperative is shifting towards getting better quality work.

I have to say that I was probably also taking the time to ease into the role of educator where the only models I knew were of the strict Asian variety. I’m not entirely convinced that it is what I wanted, so I tried different things like doing math talk and deemphasize getting things right all the time. I think part of it is also trying to get myself to be more accepting of mistakes and learning from them.

Teaching is definitely not the same as learning and I feel like I’m having a better handle on how to adjust myself to him but sometimes, the feeling that I’m not preparing him enough fills me especially when I hear about the other kids who have private music lessons or attending Kumon.

I really want him to enjoy his learning though because that’s more important for him in the long run than cramming him with information. Once he learns how to learn and is motivated enough, he will be able to pick up a lot more when he is ready, as long as we didn’t neglect the basics. I didn’t have as much curiosity and exploration when I was young and I’ve felt like I didn’t know what I liked or had a chance to delve deeper into it. There was just so much work and more tests to prepare for.

Phone Anxiety

September 20, 2019

Hurrah for exposure treatment. I still dread the calling so much (quickening pulse, cold hands etc) and I felt pretty tense even though it was just a call to make a doctor’s appointment. As scripted as it can get. The call itself went fine so I’m not sure why it bothers me. I think what some people said about not doing it often is true. I noticed I didn’t have any problems with calls to family, but I rarely talk to strangers. I think I’m just worried that I’d sound foolish if I suddenly don’t know what to say or don’t say the right words. It’s irrational, I know but I guess that’s how phobias are. I’m just proud that I managed to do it without too much procrastination this time. It did take some mental prep and even went as far as writing down what I needed to ask, just in case my mind blanks out.

I know for sure that uncertainty is one big trigger for me. Like if I had to drive to a new place I’ve never seen before. That makes me all jittery too.


September 13, 2019

Yesteday, me and little guy went for our first kendo lessons. It was hard! I think the wooden sword they gave us was too heavy for him. On the other hand, swinging this thing around is definitely going to build some badly needed muscles for both of us. When I got home, I was so sore I thought I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms today but surprising, all I got was a gentle ache. Hurrah for a good workout!

All I can think of now are the kendo manga I’ve read before and how the high school kids would practice that basic swing daily and they would say have 1000 swings a day or something like that. I don’t think I even did a hundred in that 1.5 hour session.

Little guy was marvelling at how cool the kendo uniform, especially the helmet it. I’m not sure this is a sport suitable for my skinny guy but it sounded like fun so we gave it a go. I’m not sure if we are a little overcommited this fall – karate for 2x a week, kendo 1x a week + instrumental music in school. He wants to do the violin and they are expected to practice 30mins five times a week (Not going to happen….I’d be pleased if we could do 3x) I’m guessing I’ll have to scale back our daily homework to mainly reading in chinese for a while.