Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lying to kids

Telling kids about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Boogieman, the policeman who will miraculously appear when you don't eat or sleep or pick up your toys.

When is it right to tell lies to your kids?

This topic came out when Pohpoh came for a visit and Han admired the sequins on her skirt.

Pohpoh: Nice ya? Pohpoh sewed diamonds on her skirt so that thieves won't be able to take them away.

Ahyee: Ai yo! Why do you tell stuff like that to them. I wonder what kind of things you use to tell me when I was growing up.

Me: Ya la! I know of someone who is still resentful of the lies he had to grow up with.

When is it acceptable to lie to the kids?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My boys enjoy using all available furniture, cushion, basket, push car...anything to build forts.

They would push and drag the rosewood chairs together, jump on the table and proclaim it as their pirate ship.

Set the scene, set the mood.

I feel that the boys have an innate need to create shelters. Lately they have built in a bed of cushions for the 'baby' to lie on. They take pride in being able to take care of Ean.

They would then hunt and gather food and fend off invading enemies.

My living room is always in a state of utter chaos. I have to restrain myself from forcing them to clear up their 'mess'. Mess to me is a fort/castle/ship/farm to them. It is only when they have moved on to play with something else do I insist that they clear up.

Me: Are you done playing in your ship?

Han: It isn't a ship, its a farm

Me: Are you done playing in your farm, Han?

Han: No

Me: But you have been playing with Lego for the past 2 hour and the farm has been abandoned since you started on Lego

Fai: He is building a tractor for the farm

Me: Oh sorry boys.

Grandma (while 'destroying' the farm): **mutter**no place to sit, never keep things, what will people say when they come to the house **mutter**

They would come running to me with crestfallen faces whenever their grandmother 'destroys' their constructions. And I would have to explain that they have intruded into her space (the praying altar and the tv room between 3-8pm) and they would have to respect her need to keep the area free from toys.

It is tough balancing between respecting my boys' needs and respecting their grandmother's feelings.

A lazy Sunday afternoon in PD 26 Sept 2010

Millipede hunting.
Millipedes were abundant when the house was overgrown with weeds. Once we started clearing the garden, their population dwindled and the boys had given up looking for them.
Looking in the drain and under the plants, the boys were surprised to find quite a number of them that afternoon.
The millipede gives off foul smelling hydrogen cyanide when stepped on (it was an accident, I promise!)
The boys' hideout

Kent's hideout

Ean was busy perfecting his motor skills by transfering pebbles and pouring them out repeatedly
I dried an ear of corn and somehow it was left to sprout on a pile of construction sand. Han was the first to spot the sprouts and came running while shouting "Jagung is growing! Jagung is growing!"
Our corn was stunted when we planted them too close together a few years back, so this time I spaced them out.

The boys scooping up tadpoles in the sump pit.

Fai caught this grasshopper. He pointed out the claws at the end of its legs.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kuala Selangor 25 Sept 2010

Hungry after the tree planting in Raja Musa, we headed for some seafood in Bagan Pasir. I have yet to get over my addiction to food blogs, so I had to try out the famed Suang Le restaurant.

Beautiful scenery. It was low tide and a few people could be seen digging for clams by the shore.

This toilet was made famous in a food blog. The boys were fascinated by it. Fai tried to coerce his brother into using it so that he could see pee trickling out from the bottom

Han counting mudskippers.
Lunch was disappointing. I have officially stopped reading food blogs.

After lunch, we met up with a gang of horrifying monkeys.
Look at that evil glint in the mother's eye.
We didn't know they awaited us up on Melawati Hill.

We paid for a tram ride up the hill.
We brought along 3 bags of ground nuts to feed the silver leaf monkeys.

I thought they would be tame, sit down patiently waiting for you to hand out food. I thought 3 packets of groundnuts was plenty and would last a long time.
I was not prepared for a whole troop of monkeys to leap and grab at anything that resembled food.
The moment the boys brought out their packets of ground nuts, it was snatched away!
3 packets of groundnuts lasted a mere 5 seconds.

Next time, I will bring more food.

Grab, grab, grab.

This lady attempted to touch the baby. Its mother was very protective and instantly huddled the baby into her arms.

Nice observation deck. We spotted a few Brahminy Kites.

There was a museum next to the lighthouse. The boys ran around looking at the weapons on display.

On the ride down we skipped the 'Beheading Stone' stop and thought it would be the end of the ride once we reached the base of the hill.
Surprisingly, we made another stop at a 'Pusat Ikan Tawar' - Fresh water fish park. There were a few aquariums with native fresh water fishes.
The Pacu reminded me of Kebun.

Han wanted to get into the enclosure to pick up that egg.

Banyan trees make a nice setting for imaginative play.

A pond full of blooming lotus. Gorgeous eh?

A nice shot by Fai.

Tree Planting @ Raja Musa peat swamp 25 sept 2010

Hmmmm...tree planting. Go green. Do my bit for Mother Nature. Sure I will give it a try.
I looked through their websites and prepared some Powerpoint slides to prepare Fai for the trip (I had time :)) The slides managed to get Fai excited, so I guess it was worth the extra effort.
We left the house at 8am, took the North-South highway towards Ipoh and exited at Bukit Tagar Exit 119.

It was difficult looking for this dirt road leading to the Raja Musa forest reserve. If not for the car parked by the roadside, we would have missed it.

Walking along the dirt path flanked by oil palm trees.

The boys got a close look at the palm fruits.

500hactres of peat forest was cleared by illegal loggers and planted with cash crops such as pineapples and bananas.

Barren landscape. No trees as far as the eye can see. Just lots of lalang.

After a 1km walk from the main road we came to a white tent. Volunteers who had arrived earlier got to change their footwear into rubber boots.
A huge pile of marcotted Mahang trees needs to be transported to the planting site
The volunteers with their arms full of mahang trees.

The Mahang tree was chosen because it is 'sun-loving' and has a high survival rate. In about 3 years it would be able to provide shade for the introduction of other trees such as jelutong and meranti which are native to peat forests.

Those twigs sticking out from the lalang are Mahang trees that were planted by other groups.

We walked another 1.5km to this red tent. It provided much needed shade from the sweltering heat. One teenager collapsed from the heat. He had difficulty breathing due to his asthma.
The humidity level is much higher in the peat swamp. Methane gas is released as well.
Humidity + Methane + Heat = Grouchy Boys
At this point the boys wanted out.
Luckily after a short rest, the boys were up and going.

Youthful energy provided most of the labour to transport the marcotted trees. It would have taken ages without their help.
Sitting in the shade of the red tent, we observed the other volunteers.

The strings securing the bags had to be cut before planting.

Transfering the trees over to the planting site.

Rubber boots kept their feet dry.

The logs and planks left behind from the illegal settlers were used as a bridge. It was a balancing act getting over while holding on to the trees.

Fai, Han and their Pa with their trees.
It didn't take them long to plant their trees because the soil was soft and easy to dig. The trees were meant to be planted 6 feet apart but most of the tree were seen planted in clumps 1feet apart due to the impenetrable lalang.

The lalang was 6feet high. These girls got lost and one of them ended up waist deep in blackish peat water. Lots of screaming and laughter could be heard.

Walking back after planting 2 trees - 1 each for Fai and Han.
Han took off his shoes and socks because he couldn't bear them wet, soggy and covered with dirt.

Everyone made a beeline for the ice cream man. The mid-day sun was merciless that day. Fai and Han had 4 sticks of ice creams each.