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Monday, August 20, 2007

Counting One Two Three Four Five

I grew up with an eight year younger sister and we both adored and revered our dad. We loved to spend time with him and everytime if we were asked to choose if we wanted to follow our mom or dad to go out, my dad always won out. My mom on the other hand didn't feel inadequate about herself but rather prefered it and accepted the defeat of the parental popular contest graciously. She would much rather go off on her own to enjoy a day of shopping by herself than having us tagging along. My dad would usually take us out hiking or swimming and we would have a good time poking fun at each other and doing silly things.

That was the lighter side of my father. The other side of my father was the disciplinarian at home. His rod would come down even if he had to chase you down. I was chased several times by him in my life. His words were final if a decision was needed to be made. Me and sister would not even dare to look him in the eye if he found out we didn't do what we were supposed to do. My dad simply commanded our full respect. I remember one of our neighbor's puppy was stolen and my dad saw the actual act itself. He chase the teenage thief down and simply gave him a very stern look followed by strong words. That was my dad and we knew if that teenager was one of us, our butts would have been flattened!

As for me being a dad to a four year old, I am trying to follow some of my dad's footsteps, but I think i am a gentler dad so far. Prior to disciplining, I would always give a warning or a count to 5. My son usually knows when it's 5 what's going to happen if he doesn't act appropriately. I would have to say, this counting thing has worked well for us most of the time. It worked so well that he is using it on his mommy.

My son usually wakes up early and he would try to get mommy to wake up as well to fix him breakfast or to allow him to play on the computer. There was one day that mommy was simply too sleepy to wake up. After a few failed attempts to wake up mommy, my son simply said, "I am couting to five, you don't wake up I time out your pillow!" One, two, three, four five, and mommy's pillow was stolen from her, and guess what?! She woke up!

I think my discipline is working, on both my son, AND my wife *grin*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creative Discipline or Creative Interior Design?

Some of my son's favorite toys are of course his one thousand piece train sets, then his ten thousand set lego train set and not to be outdone, his one hundred thousand piece whatever train toy set. He is so into creating, building and playing with all these little toy pieces that sometimes it becomes a big problem. We can't get him to do anything ELSE! He simply won't stop. I think he gets this from his old man. We both have addictive behaviors when it comes to something we are passionate. We get very agitated and frustrated if we are interupted or even distracted. We are not to be disturbed because an artform is being created! Every inch is crucial and every angle makes a difference. I was in to building futuristic aero dynamic space fighter planes and I know what goes on in his mind as he lays the tracks and creates a whole new train track neighborhood or community. Once he's done, he gets so excited jumping up and down trying to win our praises.

The problem is sometimes, his creativity conflicts with other important events that take place on a normal day. For example: taking a bath, going to sleep or even sometimes dinner! We have a house rule and that is we always put away our toys when it is time for the next thing on our schedule, like dinner. However, my little guy seems to prefer leaving his thousands of little pieces of toy everywhere and therefore we have to resort to "time out." No, not time out for my little guy, but rather "time-out" for his toys which he leaves behind. We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, and finding a spot that our little guy can't reach is sometimes challenging because he can be very resourceful when you are not paying attention. We ended up timing out his toys by placing them on the very top of our shelves, our kitchen cabinets, our fireplace..or wherever we can find a flat surface that is beyond our son's reach.

Our friends came by to pay us a visit the other day and the funny thing they told us was the fact that they loved how we had decorated our home with toys everywhere on eye-level! And each time they come, our place looks a bit different depending on the kinds of toys being timed-out! Like today, the theme of our decoration is... Legos! Discipline for our son AND creative interior design, one stone two birds!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rice Rice....Everywhere!!

As some of you readers may know, dinner times are almost a ceremonial like time for us everyday. We all look forward to congregate at our dinner table and EAT! Our family loves to eat and we eat with speed. We can finish a three course meal in less than 10 minutes even though it took one hour to cook and then another thirty minutes to clean the dishes. My son is well known as a very messy eater. If a stranger walks in to our home, they would immediately know who sits where at the dinner table. We are an Asian family and one constant food that we consume almost everyday is rice. Rice is sticky and it can get very messy. My son is a great rice lover and in fact we can foresee that his future wife must know at least how to cook rice which means the girl would most likely be Asian. My son would always finish his rice first, ask for more then starts on his veggies and meat.

From my other blog site, www.patientking.blogspot.com, I have stated the fact that my son has a weird habit of stopping in the middle of a meal and goes to the bathroom to make a deposit. Well he does that and the result is a trail of rice all over the place. I mean it's rice rice everywhere!! I decided to resolve this dilemma by telling him a sort of traditional story with a little twist. One night, during story time before bed, we were sitting at our regular reading spot next to his bed. Our home is carpeted so it's very comfortable sitting on the carpet floor. As I start to read the book, I notice a speck of dry up rice on the carpet. I told my son to take a look and ask him where did the rice come from. He said, he didn't know. I told him it's because you don't clean or pad yourself down each time after the meal and you leave a trail of rice. If the rice don't get picked up, then it will dry up like this one and then guess what will happen.

My son looked at me with his innocent big brown eyes and said, "what daddy..what!?" "Remember the book about ants..the ones with big shinny smiley teeth, they love rice. Do you want them to come here at night because they can smell rice all over this place and mistaken you for a big pellet of rice and carry you away? so what must we do each time after a meal or if we still see a little piece of rice on the floor?" My son stopped for a second and had a little uncomfortable distress look on his face and began to say, "I have to pick up the rice and throw it away". I told him that's right! son. Well the story didn't end there, that night my son had a hard time falling asleep. We thought it was just him being a boy full of energy. He just simply refused to go to sleep. Finally, after a few hours of battling, he finally falls asleep.

Around 3 am that morning, I was awaken by a strange noise. I went out to look around and found my little guy looking at the floor very attentively with great care as if he was looking for a lost contact lens. I ask him, "son! why aren't you asleep. It's still dark outside." He said to me, "daddy... I don't want to get carried away by the ants. They have shinny big teeth! so I don't want no more rice here".. I just gave him a smile and said to him, it's OK, if the ants come, they will carry your mommy away first since she knows how to cook the rice." He looked at me with such relief on his eyes and almost instantaneously fell asleep on the carpet floor. Around 8 am he woke up and immediately came into our room to make sure Mommy was still around.

I remember my dad told me a similar story except it was a giant gross looking bad dragon instead of ants. It was a lot scarrier and I was up several nights!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I WANT to be a TRAIN

Boys are boys. They are just simply built differently than girls. I guess most folks know the difference between boys and girls. Yes, there are the biological differences between the two sexes, but another big difference is emotional and behavioral. My son, ever since the first day until now, I have never outwardly or distinctly encouraged or promoted in him the idea of what a boy is supposed to be like or do. He somehow learned it and acts on his own natural instincts. One example is his fascination with trains. The fascination with trains started at about six to eight months of age. He will be turning 4 in a few weeks and his fascination only grows and grows. He is able to name just about all the characters from the Thomas the Tank engine series. He can spend hours building tracks after tracks. He would design a new layout for the tracks each time. He is simply borderline obsessed with trains.

Besides trains, he is also very much interested in cars, engines, trucks, planes and playing with all sort of balls. He doesn't mind being dirty and he would prefer not to take a bath if he is allowed to make that choice. Normally when one's diaper is full, the baby would cry immediately. Let's just say, if we didn't check on him (when he was a baby), he would not voluntarily get our attention regarding his diaper status, even if it was fully "deposited."

There is also something about him expressing affection. My son hates it when someone tries to kiss him, instead he would settle and much prefers a head-butt with me as a form of showing love. When we say "I love you" to him, instead of saying the same thing back, he would solemnly say "thank you" until we almost tickle him to death before we could squeeze I-love-you out of him.

I have asked him a few days ago of what he would like to be when he grows up. He answered without hesitation, "Daddy I want to be a Train" and in a few months he might be telling me he wants to be a computer.

I just can't wait until his teen years, when he asks me about girls or maybe he won't since he has done everything else so far on his own instincts!


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Every body's GrandChild

Even at a tender age of 4, my son is always excited when it's Friday. It is not because it is approaching the weekends or the fact that he knows daddy won't have to work but rather, he seems to look forward to a volunteer job that he gets to participate on some Fridays if he is not sick. He gets to go to different elderly households and deliver meals.

Each Friday, the volunteer meal deliverers gather at a local church to pick up boxes of special meals according to specific dietary constraints. Some folks drink butter milk, some would take skim and then there are the minorities whom would be allowed to drink whole Milk, followed by different meal plan for different diets. So far, my little boy is at least helpful in helping out picking the right kind of milk for the right folks since the milk cartons are in different colors. He becomes more helpful when the actual delivery takes place.

He would YELL out "MEALS on WHEELS" to get attention prior to the knock on the door. Usually folks are already opening the door prior to the knock because they do look forward to a cute 4 year old delivering a meal with a smile and a mischievous grin. He would normally deliver the meal and then ask "what about me? but I am Hungry too." The response is always a grandpa Santa Claus type jolly laugh then a hug followed by a pinch on the cheeks and finally a candy or lollipops. He has become the Every body's Grandchild on Fridays. This does serve two purposes. My son's grandparents are far away in Asia and most of the elderly folks don't have their grandchild's nearby.