Archives for posts with tag: parenting

A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}IMG_3514

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DINNER is invariably one of the happiest part of my day. I love trying new recipes, prepping and cooking, but what I enjoy most is when the 4 of us sit around the table, chatting openly just about everything. I am always fascinated by the range of conversations (some new, some were continuation from last night/week) rolling around the dinner table throughout the week. The topics of discussions vary widely from school/work life we reflect on that day to world events, finances/investments, government, drugs, health, education, history, sports and so much more. We share opinions of family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and give each other a chance to tune into another’s affairs. Sometimes we reminisce our travels, and then brainstorm for next destinations. My boys are always impressed by the wealth of knowledge Mr. Piggy has about almost everything. I love to watch the boys as they listen with great admiration when their dad speak while learning a thing or two.

Tonight Dai Bee told us about his field trip to Angel Island with his Chinese class. From there, we switched to the success of business moguls such as Li Ka Shing (the most influential businessman in Asia), Jack Ma (founder and chairman of Alibaba), Warrant Buffet (one of the most successful investors of all time), and Bill Gates and his focus on philanthropy.

I love our dinners are never ‘just dinner’ at our house. Besides exposing the boys to new food (and yes, we even talked about the types of food and their origins), there are always a lesson learned. We always leave the table with either a wacky or a in depth conversation. For this, my heart is always full. I wonder how many families get to spend this meaningful time together, as a family?

This is the first spring break we didn’t go anywhere (because of the boys’ different school schedules). Between Mr. Piggy and I, we took off a day here and there. He also spent some time with his cousins (my sister took the week off for her kids). When Mr. Piggy stayed home with him, there wasn’t much productivity [frown]. Today, I took off and got him 1) to clean his room, 2) to bake and 3) to do his laundry. Of course, he complained! I just had a little more patience than him. I nagged until he gave up and did it. That’s one of the many differences between a mom and a dad.IMG_2450These came out beautifully and just in time for Dai Bee’s afternoon snacks. He scarfed down 3 without much hesitation.IMG_2412

Didn’t realize Dai Bee has some sort of social anxiety…until yesterday….

Tonight we attended a preseason meeting for soccer referees. Since I didn’t have much information, I went to the meeting place with them. The place was packed with kids his age or younger. He knew a few of them (from his elementary/middle schools). After talking to the director, I met up with him, as he was in line to sign up. I noticed he was sweating like crazy (sure, given that place was a little warm). He kept asking me if he could leave. That was when I spotted a couple of kids (who went to same elementary/middle school with him). He kept his head down and totally looked uncomfortable. He walked all the way in the back of the room and stayed there the entire meeting.

When we left, he asked me how could I not noticed he has this kind of anxiety before?  I didn’t. What I also didn’t understand why he was nervous to (some) people he knew?! Yes, these are not people he hung out with, but still, not like he did anything bad to those people, why the fuss? Anyway, I guess I have to read up on this issue and find ways to help him overcome this anxiety.

Mr. Piggy is giving the boys auto mechanics lesson. We have tandem parking in the garage. When we don’t drive the car parked further in, battery just dies. So it’s good for the boys to know what to do when it happens. IMG_1950

After a couple of years of encouragement, nudging, some nagging, Dai Bee finally bought into the idea of “giving back to the community” by volunteering his time to tutor younger kids. I suggested he reached out to his elementary school and the elementary school close by him. To my surprise, he jumped on it, sending out emails left and right and followed through the process.

Today he received calls/emails from both schools and are working with them to arrange for the schedule. I am guessing he’s mainly tutoring kids with math and/or helping some with homework (in different subjects). I am proud that he’s taking the initiative and staying on top of it. It’s a big step for him considering it took 2 years in the making. Hopefully it’ll work out and he’s able to help other kids.

I guess when the kid is ready, he’s ready.

My nightmare has started – I knew it was inevitable, but was hoping it wouldn’t come so soon. Ah Lo has always had a temper, but he has never gone overboard.

This morning, he yelled at me to ‘shut up.’ And all hell broke loose.

I told him to sweep the floor after he’s done with breakfast. He had his headphones on but acknowledged my request. After breakfast, he did as told, swept the floor, but only the area where he sat. He went back upstairs when done. When I noticed the floor was still dirty with crumb, I asked him to come back down to finish the job. He was already triggered and busted with “you only told me to sweep that area.” Here I am thinking – how would that make sense?

Anyhow, my sister was there at the time, and I made a sarcastic remark “see when you have a teenager, this is the attitude you have to put up with.” Somehow this got him even more upset and told me to shut up.

Of course, like all parents would react, I was furious and gave him a piece of my mind. I took away all the electronics and left him alone when we went out for lunch.

When we came back from lunch, he acted like nothing happened. He asked me something and I scolded at him, “don’t talk to me like nothing happened. Don’t expect me to respond like nothing happened. Because if I did, I’m telling you it’s ok to treat me like that, and it isn’t.”

Later that evening, he came back from basketball practice and apologized for his behavior. He did what he does best – sweet talk his way. I resolved it with him by asking him to write me a full page essay on what he did, reflect on it, and come up with solutions on how he can manage his temper better.

I know this won’t be the last time we are going through this. I know, it’s all part of parenthood.

This is our latest gig – I ask everyone (including myself) to bring one new vocabulary (one we don’t know before) to dinner on “Meaningful Monday” or “Wordy Wednesday.” We have been doing this for several weeks now. I realized my vocabulary is so poor. At least now, we all learn at least 4 new words a week. I also decided to pick up a book and started to read, as I know this is the only way to learn new words. IMG_0725

Ah Lo wakes up the tiger in me. People often asked me if I am a tiger mom, and some even told me I am one before I can answer. With Dai Bee, I don’t have to be one. He works independently, and I am very hands off. I support him whatever he needs, and that’s about it.

With Ah Lo, the tiger can no longer rest still. I need to be fully awake to check homework, meet with teachers, help study for tests, monitor his progress, remind him to practice piano (and to sit in just to make sure he does the required time). Above everything else, dealing with the pre-teen attitude. I don’t necessary believe the tiger parenting. It works for some kids only, not Ah Lo. Nevertheless, he needs a lot reminders, discipline and lots of reasoning and explanation. I want to be a doting nurturing parent and hate to be that person who constantly nags and wears a frown. Knowing him, I have to play both roles. Ever since he was a toddler, Ah Lo likes to test his limits. He can be the most lovable kid but can be one of those who will blow off the roof for no reason.

Lately, I’ve been stashing a lot of patience in my bag because Ah Lo has been draining it pretty quickly these days. I tried my best to stay calm though I can feel the blood boiling inside of me. I already foresee the battle ahead of me, and am not looking forward to it. This is the only beginning…

Without his older brother by his side, Ah Lo has been taking the bus by himself this summer. He takes the bus to my sister’s in the morning (to get a ride to school), and then bus home himself after school. I know many of his friends at his age are still being chauffeured around. With the child spending so much time in the car, under constant adult supervision, not so sure if it is the right way to go. Having him on the bus seems like a win-win to me (more exercise for him and less chaperoning for us).

Though I still get nervous when I don’t get the phone call from him at a certain time, but being able to ride a bus independently is a great accomplishment! So proud of him!

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