Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A father's chronicle (Love is beyond mathematics)

Now that Gracia have arrived, we are especially conscious about how we "transmit our ideology about love" to Theophilus. Somehow through a TV commerical, he gotten the idea that if you love someone, you would have less love for someone else.

I like how Piero puts it in his book (What Our Children Teach Us):

I am convinced that we unconsciously transmit our ideology about love. We regard love as if it were a cake: You cannot have the whole, but must divide it, and as it is in scarce supply, you have to compete for it in order to obtain some of what you want. Thus rivalry and conflict is born.... Even though I shall have to divide my time between the two, I shall not have to divide my love, which is beyond mathematics, and cannot be sectioned.

No, no, no... I can still love both of them... and yes, my time is not just halved, but much much reduced. Yet, this is no scarifice at all.... like how Piero puts it (again):

Sometimes all it takes is a laugh from Emilio or Jonathan, a word, a gesture, seeing them alseep, or half an hour's play together, for me to think, Now I have reached a state of happiness so complete that I could die at this moment.

So true, so similiar to my personal experiences as a Dad....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A father's chronicle (Rereading a book)

I was staring into my bookshelf and wondering what are the books that I've there... also trying to atone for my many sins - I have the tendency to buy more books than I could read!

At the middle section, was a book that my mom bought for my birthday 2 years back. I was only able to start on a few chapters before life caught up with me (excuses again, but that's all I can come up with )... so, I stretched forward and grabbed it. Second attempt at a good book.

Interestingly, the title is one that I really like - What Our Children Teach Us by Piero Ferrucci. For those who like to read this series of my following, this book is very much like it. It is written by a father about his encounters with his children... difference, of course, is that he is trained in psychology.... while I am not.

Anyway, I want to share a few lines on the chapter on Attention.

Without presence, there is no relationship, no reality. To think about past and future is of course so much easier than living in the present. Transported away from the present, we find everything: fantasy, worries, memories. Worlds far more intriguing than watching a child jump.


There is a sense of healthy lazines that I have learned in being with children: Slow down, take it easy, be here, enjoy yourself. You are allowed to have no purpose.

No purpose.... hmmmm... no purpose. We don't do that often in real life. Go to meetings, you have the agenda drawn up. You go to shopping mall ... well, a shirt to "hunt". Even the other day when we were watching a movie (Chicken Little), a parent popped the question to her children immediately after the show - So what's the moral of the story? (btw, the children were tasked to write about what they learn when they reach home. Boy....)

But with children? We need to slow down and be here. Be here. It is a lost art to "be here".

I guess, we have somehow been "programmed" to have a purpose in everything.

Enjoy yourself.... You are allowed to have no purpose (when you are with me).

Actually, I like it very much. I like to walk to my children and just sit around. Just to be beside them. No purpose.

I am here. I am here, now.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A father's chronicle (My son's first swimming lesson)

OK, his first lesson was on Wednesday not today. I am late again in my blogging effort. Terrible at ensuring the events synchronized.

I really like the idea of sending him for swimming lesons... even though I am a swimmer, wife is a swimmer... our parents are swimmers... but well... it is the holidays and not letting him expand some of his energy is as dangerous as trying to cool down a nuclear reactor in 2 seconds flat.

Yet, I must admit that I really enjoyed it. Seeing him learn how to kick his legs, and do it with the rest of his classmates (or should we use the word 'poolmates'?), really is fun to watch. He have had so much fun! The learning process starts again for him. He is tired after the swim and famished too (great!) It is also nice to make a few new friends too. I am pleasantly suprise to find that they were very good kids. Kids with pretty good up-bringing.... with a little child-playfulness attached.

One little girl, Olivia, even say 'Thank you' when I encouraged her that she is doing a great job. Admittedly, most kids don't know how to take encouragement and praises (maybe adults too?).

There are so many "First time".... the first time Theophilus completes his maths worksheet on his own, the first time he ate all by himself, the first time he bathe himself (without the help of Daddy / Mummy).... the first time he caught the tail of a chameleon....

His first swimming lesson.... was great!

Monday, November 28, 2005

A father's chronicle (Nearing the threshold of fractual point)

It seems uncommon for me to meet a 7 or 8 year old boy running at the 4 km mark in the forrest yestarday, so as I approached from the back, I could not but get a glimpse of him. To my horror, I really think he was in trouble. Strangely, his parents were at least 30 meters ahead. The poor boy was struggling behind.

A fellow runner heading towards us voiced out his concern, and I second it. Guess what was the response of his parents... yup "He is OK". OK? What OK? We are regulars here and we know when a kid is getting into trouble! You don't want to get to the point when he roll his eyes then discover he is getting into trouble, right?

It was not until I saw that his parents slowed down and let him take a break that I continued on my run (sure, I will miss my timing, but heh, what's that anyway? I can try that again the next round). I was also prepared to carry this boy out (yes, yes, yes, I am tired).

This incident caught me thinking how far we stretch our kids. To be honest, I can't tell what is the limit the boy can be pushed, only the parents know intimately. Yet, I think often times we danced on the thin line of crossing the fractual point. Some kids can take more pressure, some don't. Some kids just break down and never recover from that.

Parents play an important role. We need to constantly learnt and discover what is this threshold. This level is not a constant level. Due to environment (say, incidents or happenings in our kids' lives), it can vary. So, at times I find it unrealistic to push Theophilus too hard.

In fact, I was very forthright to let his maths teacher know that it makes no difference to me whether he scores 90% or 100%. In fact, it does not matter whether he gets a B- or an A+. Stretching him beyond realistic level is just going to make him pay a price that I felt is not required.

Life is more than just A+ or even a B-.

Train but don't strain.

A father's chronicle (When I am bored...)

Vandalism in Singapore is a serious offense. People get caned for that.

When I am bored at home, I "vandalise" too... but only on the toes of my gang.

Son is not spared....

Don't even think that I will let her off.... come here! Arrrrggghhh....

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A father's chronicle (Still marching on)

It has been more than a month since I've blogged. Terrible, isn't it? For those who have been missing A father's chronicle, .... thank you for missing it. A month have quickly gone... and now Gracia is more than a month old already. I am not sure whether the weighing machine is quite right today, but she has doubled her weight! Anyway... now that I've two kids, I find time is really too little. I've not been reading, have not been running (OK, there was a 10 km run that I did last week while everybody was sleeping). But I've enjoyed Theophilus even more immensely, and awaiting somewhat impatiently that Gracia will talk to me asap! I've already "stolen" so many kisses from her already.

So, I am still trying to keep up with as much reading as possible. As much programming as possible. As much exercise as allowable.... it is good to be a father of two. Somehow, at least I know what is "going to happen" next. I can understand why my patience is running thin at certain hour (late in the night or rather dead early in the morning).... and I can understand the frustration of my wife better.

Today, Theophilus woke up a bit too early and we managed to catch sunrise together. He marvelled at the beautiful colors of sun rise... he is already very captured by sunset (which is my favourite, unlike Yan who likes sunrise... but today she finally could not keep her eye lids up to the mark).

Son: Dad, sunrise is very beautiful. It is so colorful... but sunset is more beautiful...

Dad: Ya, I like sunset.

Son: Where does the sun goes when it is in the night? Does it go home to sleep too?

Dad: (Huh? Ha ha ha ha ha ...)

OK, what happened after that is so within expectation... I took two balls and began my lesson on the solar system, how the earth revolve around the sun and with the earth still spinning... quite a feat to ensure the revolution and the spinning... I think he understand it slightly better now.

Children... they are so pure in heart. I wish to be like them. I want to be like them.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A father's chronicle (Incy Wincy VS Archibot)

I don't know when they started to make themselves at home. But when I was working at my desk... I noticed one of them walking (or do we say "crawling") across my desk non-chalantly. Yes, it is a spider. I took a container and caught it as part of a "science" lesson for Theophilus. We named it - Incy Wincy. Much to his delight and laughter.

Later in the night, I notice another one while I was reading the papers! Oh no... SpiderMan must have somehow passed by our place without my noticing. Rushed to get the same container (heh, I am not being cruel to them, OK? the container if scaled to size... could well be the size of a large bungalow in our human context).... put the new "captive" into the same "home". We named the second occupant - Archibot.

It is just going to be till the weekend.... we will release it.

Well, guess what? My words cannot be fufilled. Incy Wincy ate up Archibot. Extended (unintended) science lesson - food chain.

Really! I couldn't find it any more. It is impossible for Archibot to leave his "bungalow" without writing us a note or something... that's unbecoming of a spider.

I didn't notice Incy Wincy grow any bigger.... just gave me that innocent look. .... and seem to say

"Heh, don't look at me. I don't eat spiders. It is like a professional courtesy?"


Incy Wincy: Survived.

Archibot: Lost-in-Action.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A father's chronicle (Reflections of being an "elder brother")

Being the youngest among my siblings, I don't often think about the "elder brother" effect. What I mean is: the amount of adjustments and changes in the level of attention or even the changes / adjustments of the elder siblings for the younger one.

Out of a sudden, everybody is warning Theophilus to be careful with Gracia (the new girl of the block).

I've my own thoughts on that actually . I am trying not to make it too much a fuss to Theophilus. He is a boy and naturally brings along with him a certain level of roughness. But since he is a sensible boy and his language and reasoning level is very high, I just need to explain that the girl is very fragile at this point of time and we just need to beware of how we move around her. There is no need to "scold" him or constantly remind him again and again and again... I somehow observed that this kind of behaviour on the adults' part tend to add to the rivary between the siblings. They feel that the new arrival needs "special attention" and now they are somewhat "de-throned" (utter nonsense). I think Yan is right - the girl need to get used to this brother of hers too! Wise girl.

Not only movement must be adjusted, he needs to behave "properly" to avoid influencing the younger sister in a bad way. There are so many things happening and is like "forcing" him to grow up... and I just want all these forces to slow down a little on him. He is still a kid. Cut him some slack.

I am also trying to keep up with the same level of attention and time in playing with him. It can be tough, since there are additional chores and errands to do, but ... heh, I am Daddy, right?

This weekend is filled with alot of playing with him. I really enjoyed it... though... exhausted by now.

I am Dad, and I am handicapped with only 24 hours. I need a few more hours!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The journey begins here

Well, this is the first post.... more blogs to come, I sense. Continue blogging, I should....