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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Story telling at bedtime

I usually tell bedtime stories to Clarissa since she was 2 years old. Those stories were related to anything or any character that she could relate to (e.g. flowers, butterflies, cats, dogs, oranges, apples, Mr Bean, Penguins from Surf's Up). These were evident in providing a foundation for introducing good character and a sense of responsibility and kindness in Clarissa. She seem to look forward to these sessions and then go to sleep easily after the stories.

The art of story-telling is just like communicating to children in the manner that they would like to hear their stories. It takes lots of practice and simple grammar with lot's of humour to spice it up.

Try it regularly and it should make your relationship with your child more meaningful.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Surf's Up!

Clarissa (almost 4 yrs) was very excited when I told her we were going for a movie about Penguins called Surf's Up. She quickly finished her milk, changed into clean clothes and put on her Barbie shoes. When we reached Cathay Cineleisure, she couldn't wait for me to purchase the tickets. Since we still had time, we decided to 'grab' something to eat. She protested that she didn't want to eat but soon we saw the model of the evil Darth Maul in the shop, she decided to be quiet (in case her yelling woke up the Jedi). Christa (almost 2 yrs)just kept herself busy talking to Mommy in her 'modified English'.

The movie was made as a running commentary on Cody's (Cody is the main cartoon character)life starting from scratch to glory. He was inspired by Big Z (the greatest penguin surfer of all times) who visited his island when he was little. By some chance, Big Z gave him a shell pendant with Big Z's initials when he pushed himself in front of the welcome crowd. Since then Cody's dream was to be like his icon, Big Z. Big Z was believed to have been killed during a fierce competition against Tank (the big bully who was in love with his surfing trophies).

Clarissa and Christa's attention span got till that point and they started munching on the Sausage cuts. Mommy and I thought they were great seated at both ends of our 4 seats and would not quarrel. Soon, we found out that Christa was only interested in the sausages, but Clarissa wanted to watch the movie. We kept the sausages with Clarissa as we knew that she would be a good steward of it.

......... Several seasons passed and Cody was 17 yrs old when a Talent scout, Mikey (a confused bird who wandered off from another place) was searching for new skilled surfers across the Antartica on a whale! Despite not getting his attention initially, Cody managed to out-manouvre the whale and surfed his way to catch Mikey's attention.

Thrilled with the prospects of being a competitor in the Big Z Memorial Surf Off, Cody shuffled across the beach meeting new friends. He met Chicken Joe (the one and only Chicken who surfs!) and Lani (the lifeguard lady Penguin). He comes to the rescue ot Chicken Joe and ends up challenging Tank for a surf.

Christa was restless and wanted Clarissa to give her more sausages. Clarissa relented and I was given the responsibility to pass the sausage on to Christa.

As they paddled away from the beach a gigantic wave developed, Tank kept his balance and swerved into the 'tunnel' but Cody fell rapidly to the bottom of the sea. Despite several attempts to resurface, he just could not fight the current. He was knocked-out cold when repeated waves plunged him into the corals. Lani came to the rescue and revived him but he went into unconsciousness again.

Mommy prepared Christa her milk and then took Clarissa out for a toilet-break. Christa was horrified as she thought that Mommy was abandoning her in the theatre. Despite my attempts to pacify her, everything failed. Conscious of the protests from other viewers, I quickly took Christa out of the hall and waited for Mommy and Clarissa to return. We returned to the cinema hall but Mommy decided to bring both the children to the lobby as they were very restless. I stayed on and watched (guilty leaving Mommy to take care of the girls) the movie.

Lani was really thoughtful as she dragged Cody into the jungle to get some treatment from her uncle (a plump, unshaven, untidy huge Penguin). As it turned out, this uncle was knowledgeable in treating penguin ailments. He pulled out a long spike (from a sea urchin) from the foot Cody and he was much better. After several days, Cody fully recovered. He somehow figured out that Lani's uncle was Big Z. He had a misunderstanding with Big Z over the making of his surfboard and leaves.

Lani met Cody and managed to convince him to return to Big Z after showing him the lava tunnels and a waterfall. He then carried a wooden log and worked on another surfboard. This time he put his heart and soul to his work. Upon completing the surfboard, Big Z jumped on the surfboard to test it. The bewildered Cody then started training on land and water to surf like a champ with his mentor, Big Z.

Cody joins the Big Z Memorial Surf Off and finally make it to the top 3 finalist i.e. Cody, Chicken Joe and the arrogant Tank. During the final surf, Tank goes after Chicken Joe and ..... . Guys! Don't want to spoil it for you. Go and watch it yourself!

I came out after watching the movie and brought everyone home after buying supper. Thought I would never be caught watching an animated movie alone with the children and wife sitting in the lobby. It was an entertaining movie with great graphics but I wished the storyline was more interesting and the characters appealed more to my two girls.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feel him kicking...!

I always thought it would be great to have Mommy hold my hands (in bed). It was a nice feeling but she took my left hand and brought it across her abdomen to her right side. "Hold it there and don't move", she whispered. For 10 seconds nothing happened. We waited for another five seconds and there was a thud. Felt like a foot or hand hitting out. After another 30 seconds, there were another 3 thuds and some scratching movement.
"Hmmm ..., am I glad I don't have to be the pregnant one!", I thought quietly.

I fell asleep shortly after that as I was way too tired after attending to my hockey matches. But, Mommy was still smiling away while taking notice of every movement that the baby made in her womb.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What do you do when the children are sick?

"Daddy, come and help me!", called Mommy while I was working on my laptop. "Daddyyyy!!! Christa vomited!", said Clarissa (almost 4 yrs) while running out of the room to get me. It was another episode to clear up the mess and comfort Christa (almost 2yrs) who had her face, part of the hair, the neck and chest covered with fermented milk and rice from dinner. The stench would make anyone sick for a moment but I drew courage seeing that our little girl needed things sorted out quickly.

Christa was half asleep, drenched, feeling nauseated, confused, perplexed with the lack of assistance. I went to get some Scotties and a container (in case she throws up again!). "It's ok, Christa! Mommy is here! (so is daddy?)", said Mommy holding Christa while stroking her forehead.

Mommy told me that she started coughing a few times followed by 2 bouts of vomiting. After wiping off the vomit, I took Christa for a quick wash with Johnson & Johnson's Baby Bath to get rid of the stench and dirt (see How to give your baby a bath). Clarissa was quite supportive, helping to hold her clothes and diapers while calming her sister with a few kind words.

"Good girl! Wahh ... you are soooooo pretty in that dress!", said Mommy. She soon overcame the whole ordeal and felt hungry again. Just before I set out to continue my work, she came out and tugged on my shirt saying, "Daddy, I want milk!".

Saturday, June 2, 2007

You know they are growing up when...

Christa (22 months) woke me up this morning asking for her morning dose of milk. I quickly went to the kitchen and came back with her bottle. She took it and climbed onto our bed. After finishing the milk, she passed the bottle back to me (clean it up, daddy!).

She went back to sleep but I was wide awake. So I started on my e-mails. An hour later she came back telling me she wanted to 'pee' and insisted that she used the toilet seat and not the potty. Before I knew it, she took off the ScoobeDry diapers and tugged onto me. After taking her off the toilet seat, she refused to be assisted to wear her pants (she is already potty trained) and want to wear them herself.

We went to grandparents place and had brunch there. She took her fork and fed herself noodles without dropping any pieces. She wanted to eat her own orange slices but grandma did not allow that as she would swallow it whole. She stared back in protest but relented as she wanted to be in grandma's good books.