Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mullet Begone!

Jordy and his mullet enjoying Baby Einstein.

Jordy's mullet was beginning to have a life of its own (or at least deserving of its own nickname), so before things got too out of hand, D and I decided that today would be the day we embarked on Jordy's first milestone in hair removal.

I had no idea how he'd react - I've heard all kinds of horror stories, so was prepared to take things as they came. Armed with a little pair of scissors, and a vague idea of what sort of style I'd aim for, we began!

Not much of a reaction from the first snip!

I worked as swiftly and decisively as I could, taking out rather huge chunks of hair as I went along, as you can see below!

The tools of the trade!

And as quickly as it began, it ended. Barely two minutes! And now presenting, Master Jordy Version 2.0, sharper, sleeker and stylier. As D put it rather nicely, he's gone from lout to lad! Heh heh.

Jordy attests to the hypnotic effect of Baby Einstein.

Not a bad job if I can say so myself, ahem.

Obligatory back view

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

They Should Build a Roller Coaster Ride Called "Motherhood" (Or, Day Eight of Childcare!)

Today marks the eighth day that Jordy has been in childcare. And also the eighth day that I've experienced four seasons of emotions in one day.

The mornings start out like Spring; you wonder what the day will bring. Everything hints of possibility and new-ness. Jordy smiles and feasts on breakfast like the nestling that he is. We read some stories and play his favourite music.

An hour later and Jordy is dressed for childcare and suddenly Autumn is here. He seems slightly older in his yellow and blue outfit, and the spring in my step is suddenly gone, replaced with a little heaviness that mirrors the weight in my heart. The colours of the morning seem a little muted now.

He gets into the car happily enough, even smiles at his little robot backpack. We pull up the driveway of his little school and he senses the first frost in the air. He is tentative, but still puts on a brave face as we walk into the din that is morning drop-off time. He understands what is to happen when I remove his shoes and rub some insect repellent on him. He is in denial though, and only really cries out when he sees his teacher coming to get him. When she carries him into the Centre - and to his new routine in the day - Winter blasts its icy entrance into my heart and I always freeze for a moment. Don't move, lest he cries more. But then I regain my senses, and walk briskly to the car. Pause, deep breath, and drive off.

The next six hours pass in a bit of a blur - of activity, of emotion, of movement. I run errands, I catch up with friends, I watch a movie alone, I read in a cafe, have a pedicure, take my time while choosing produce at the market, I listen to a lot of music. Winter gradually gives way, warmth creeps back, Spring again.

Three o'clock. I pack a couple of his snacks, some sand toys, perhaps a ball, and drive to the centre, my heart beating a little faster than usual. I reverse park in the driveway, stop the car. Pause, deep breath. Wonder what he will be doing when I next lay eyes on him. What expression will be on his face.

Every single time I see him, he is always happy, always busy, and pretty content. His eyes widen with recognition, and he runs up to me. Never clinging, but always to show me something he's learnt, or a new favourite toy. This afternoon, it was a pasta music shaker he made himself. I leave him in Winter, and return in Summer.

And if there's one thing to remember, it's that kids have fun in Winter too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Apron Strings and Other Things

First morning, dressed in his childcare kit, not knowing what lay ahead.

This is a bit of a bittersweet post. Hmm, maybe bitter is a little too harsh sounding. More of a semi-sweet post. Heck if this post was a chocolate bar, it'd be a Whittaker's 70% Ghanaian cocoa bar.

Apologies for the clumsy metaphor. What I mean is this: the last two days have seen me vacillating between emotional extremes. On one end, it's fear, anxiety, guilt, doubt, and these gut-wrenching regular twitches where my heart used to be; on the other, it's pride, liberation, love, and the great, overwhelming desire to WRAP MY ARMS AROUND something, preferably my child.

Yes, Jordy started childcare this week.

I thought I had psychologically prepared myself by reading a plethora of online articles from various mum and bub sites and working mum forums. I read the fantastic chapter on working mums in Kate Figes' Life After Birth. I was mentally prepared for the swirls of emotions they all said you'd feel. But alas I have learnt that the cerebral is no match for the visceral.

In plainer English, my brain thought I was ready and would be okay with my firstborn going to daycare for seven hours a day, but my insides rebelled and I suddenly found myself on day two after dropping him off, sitting in a car wash and crying. All this before 9.30am! The stuff they don't tell you about motherhood! (By the way, the car is clean and sparkly, so that's one good thing eh?)

Jordy's first day at Carpe Diem Kidz (yes, unfortunate spelling I know, but they have a petting zoo and tree house so there!) started at 8.3o and ended at noon. His second day started at 8.30 and ended at 2.45pm! My intention is to pick him up around 3pm everyday, once I go back to work.

In his more formal uniform for day two!

He did pretty well on both days, considering it was his first time being cared for by strangers after hanging out with me as his main caregiver these past 17 months! He started each morning cheerfully enough, clambering to get to the dining area to see what was being served for (second) breakfast - omelette yesterday, cereal this morning - then walking around the garden and looking at things. Both days he didn't cry when I said goodbye and walked away. But both days, I saw him look for me after I'd gone (I spied at him from afar of course) and then, when he was unable to find me, would start crying.

The teachers had to carry him for much of the first two days. Strange considering he normally hates to be carried.

D said a very insightful thing, that Jordy had been so secure previously, and that's why he was so independent and would walk and run all over the place and not ever asked to be carried. So he is probably craving the cuddling now that he is in an unfamiliar situation, and is not feeling all that secure. Do you hear my heart breaking yet?

Ah. But everything I've read has also led me to believe that it will be worse before it gets better. I'm expecting disrupted sleep at night, increase in tantrums, and perhaps, even weight loss if he doesn't eat as well in the next few weeks. I'm preparing myself but the realities are just so tough to face!

Anyway, don't get me wrong. It's not all doom and gloom. It's just that the challenges are so out there, so obvious, that I've had to address them first.

What I'm getting to is what I think will be the longer term benefits. The amazing toys and resources they have at the centre. The well-trained teachers who seem genuinely caring and compassionate. The presence of a dedicated Mandarin teacher (yay!), and of course, the fact that as Jordy is broadening his horizons and his world just a little, I'll be able to get back to the workforce! So I'm taking a long term view on things.

Having a little play at home before heading off this morning.

I'm going to keep this short as Outrageous Fortune beckons on DVD. But it's only the end of day two, and I'm already getting a little inkling of what lies ahead. I see in Jordy's future... a pile of school reports, much like the one below...

Isn't it fantastic? The teacher will prepare one every week to explain what the week's activities have been centred on, as well as what is to come.

And the very best thing? You turn over the report, and you get this!

Almost as good as being there? Perhaps not, but it certainly allows an overly-imaginative parent like me to keep a few images in my head.

These early childhood teachers do an amazing job. I salute them, as I do the wonderful kids who inspire them (I hope!).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Plagiarism Alert (Or, Somebody Stole My Blog Post!)

I just discovered another mummy blogger stole a couple of lines from a post I did about my day with Jordy.

She stole my opener.

I wrote this:

I was inspired by what Aunty Adora blogged about one time about her daily routine with your friend Poppy. It made me see the little wonders in our daily routine, simple and quiet as it may be. So I thought I'd just pen a little something about how our day normally goes right this moment. Just for posterity's sake.

And she wrote this:

"It made me see the little wonders in our daily routine, simple and quiet as it may be. So I thought I 'd just pen down a little something about how our day used to be. Just for posterity's sake."

And she stole my closing. I wrote this:

It's a simple life Jordy. But rather charmed. Magically real, or really magic.

And she wrote this:

"So that's it. Our life before work. It's a simple life, M****. But rather charmed. Magically real with simple happiness and bliss."

I don't know whether to be flattered or flabbergasted.

Now. I am OK with borrowed references. I after all, have used a few ideas from other bloggers but have always credited the source. In fact, my post on a day in the life of Jordy was inspired by Adora's post. That's OK. That's all part of the creative process. But to just STEAL someone's words and cunningly dump them in your blogpost? NOT OK. NO, SCHMO.

My only consolation is that it is obvious the blogger in question has plagiarised as the rest of the blogpost is riddled with grammar mistakes and structural lapses.

And the worst thing? The mum stole my words to describe a day in the life with her daughter. I think that's the saddest, most unoriginal thing I've seen in a while.


Off to the Chocolate Cafe with Sandy and Olive soon. Will need a good chocolate tart to get rid of the bitter taste in my mouth!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jordy Eats With a Fork!

For some reason, this wouldn't load in Firefox, but was no problems in IE. Hmm... Anyway, it's meant to accompany the previous post. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy 17th Month Birthday, Jordy!

One plus point about sweating heaps? Easiest way to get a mohawk to stay up!

Dear Jordy,

17 months! Wowee! Who would've thought eh?

We celebrated today by going to the Laurent Bernard Chocolate Cafe at Portsdown. Your dad and I were both aghast that we'd never stepped foot in there despite living so close to it! Thank goodness Aunty Sandy told us about this divine little spot - if not who knows how long would've gone by before we discovered it for ourselves.

Sorry Jordy, we are bad parents... we know... but we just couldn't resist giving you the mohawk do in public. Thank goodness you couldn't see the styled mullet at the back.

You were very pleased with the cafe and its surroundings, especially when you discovered a little slope which you just delighted in running up and down on. You didn't mind that mum didn't offer you her chocolate tart (HEAVEN!) and that dad gobbled up his chocolate truffle cake. You were somehow sated with your brown rice rings and tomato and corn crackers! We'll see how long this lasts, heh heh.

When things just got a little too sweaty for you, you were cool just chilling on the big, deep rattan chairs, reading your book and looking up at the birds flying overhead. It was a lovely hour and a half.

That's not my pony! (Thanks Aunty Jackie for the Christmas pressies! Loved em all!)

We then went for a lovely walk all around Wessex Village, then ended up at Hort Park where you ran around and did a big round trip walk! Very proud of you.

Which leads me to the greatest surprise on your 17 month birthday. At dinner time, you decided to show us all how eating with a fork is done! You were amazingly dexterous. Well done Jordy!

(I was supposed to post the video here but for some reason blogger is not complying. Will try again later!)

I'm still amazed you managed to stuff three wholemeal Vegemite and cream cheese pinwheel sandwiches in your mouth. Goodness gracious. Anyway, congratulations on mastering the fork. Dining etiquette and manners will come later. You just enjoy your mealtimes with gusto now, my boy!

OK mum is rather tired after today's adventures so will sign off. Dad and I have been enjoying the Politically Incorrect Parenting Show and are off to watch Episode 3 now.

Love to my little man (who is starting childcare in a week!!!). Ceteris paribus, mum heads back to work on your 18th month birthday! I know, probably not the birthday treat you were hoping for, but I think in time, you'll be quite proud of mum and her work. I know I certainly was proud of what my mum did (and does).

Big changes ahead little one, but I think in the big scheme of things, for the best!

Love you heaps and heaps,

Your mum

Thursday, January 07, 2010

100% Pure New Zealand

Jordy revelling in the hay at the Waikouaiti races on New Year's Day

Sorry everyone for the long absence from the blog! Bloggie silence usually is an indicator of one of two things: either we are having an amazing time so no time for online chatter, or nothing exciting is happening and I can't think of anything to write. In this case, thankfully, the former holds true!

Since I don't have the time to do a blow-by-blow account of why our trip to NZ rocked (and rock it really did), thought I'd post a few pictures to show the emergence of Jordy, the 100% Kiwi Boy. It was as if a secret part of him suddenly was unlocked and like a little phoenix rising from the flames, he grew into this more aware, more evolved little person who became even more comfortable in his own skin. It was very special to witness.

He loved that being in New Zealand was like leaping into his Baby MacDonald video and his farm books. He had a great time looking at and chasing all the animals - lambs were a favourite, as were cats and dogs and seagulls!

Little lamb leading Jordy up the garden path at Lindale in Paraparaumu

But more than the animate things, he especially treasured the spectacular natural environment that is New Zealand. He must have touched every flower - from tiny white weeds to roses in full bloom - in his Mama Maree's garden.

Nature baby in the garden

He had his longest walk (round trip too mind you!) at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens - a full 45 minutes - where his eyes (and mind probably) boggled at the splendid colours in front of him. He studied tiny plants in the rock garden, tried to hold on to a ladybird, and marvelled at the sheer scale of the trees.

Figuring out his place in the world

But I think what he loved best of all was the beach. And I think that's where his two very different cultural identities merge - he is the child of two Island people. His dad was born in a town by the sea, where seagulls try to peck at your fish and chips, and his mum was born in a city island state, where you cannot swim anywhere without seeing boats or oil tankers on the horizon!

He was Himself at the beach. He loved the feel of sand through his fingers, and he would often stop to look up at the sky and wrinkle his nose at the clouds floating by. He smiled at the seagulls who fixed on him with beady eyes. He cruised along on a boogie board pulled by his Uncle Nick.

Trying to bury himself at St Kilda beach

He invented games at the beach - there was the jump-on-the-crackly-dried-up-seaweed-and-laugh game, the toss-the-peach-backwards game, the fill-up-my-plastic-turtle-with-sand-and-then-try-to-fill-up-the-picnic-basket-with-sand routine, and of course, bury the ball!

Jordy demonstrating a stellar peach toss at Waikouaiti beach

When he finished playing his games, he walked around looking a bit more, often stopping to look at the little sand pools the other beach goers had dug out with their shovels, and of course the surfers.

I am King of the Foreshore!

We're now back in Singapore, all sporting tans of various shades of golden-brown. But Jordy gained a bit of an inner tan I reckon. Having his feet planted firmly in New Zealand soil has added more soul to his already spirited self. And of course it should, that's what going home does to you!

I'm very proud of my little island (x2) boy.