Milestone: Dentist

So another milestone is passed.

Jet went to his first dentist visit yesterday.

Now, some parents might disagree, and some might agree, I actually more or less subscribe to the fact that my little fler is more intelligent than he lets on, so for discipline I generally go the route of reasoning as opposed to taking a huge stick and beating him into submission, which might constitute abuse, but you know, my dad was raised like that and he’s still pretty cool. My dad to me, however, was to lecture me to submission. In fact during punishment, I remember clearly I would look wistfully at the big rotan and wished he would just whack me with it and let me go as opposed to have me standing there in the ‘lecture’ room for half hour to an hour (to a kid, standing still for that long is worse than middle ages torture). I can promise you, that lecture nonsense was a brilliant move. I never wanted to go out of line again. I would stare, I recall, at his belt buckle the whole time and listen to my dad go on about discipline, responsibility etc. I was around 5 or 6 I think.

So anyways back to Jet. We went to the dentist The Tooth Doctor, on recommendation from our doctor. They are located at Dataran 3 Two at Section 19/1. Actually more familiar landmarks will be around the Jaya area, the old mosque and Toyota showroom. Just google them.

Anyway, he went in and everything started ok, he brushed his teeth, thought it was a game. We went because he had these unsightly teeth stains for some time now, and we were worried it could be caries or something. Till recently I just thought Carries was a diaper brand. Apparently it’s a tooth disease that might carry risks of tooth decay and cavities. It sounds scary. So we set up an appointment and we ended up in his first dentist visit.

The hardest part was to convince him to sit on the chair. He is a strong kid, so it’s no longer an option to hold him down because he will start kicking and yelling. So, mum sat on the chair, we put on his favourite video on the iphone of himself dancing to Jackson 5 song, and soothed him enough for the doctor to have a look at his teeth.

First, she said it was just stains from eating fruits like blueberry etc. She also asked about our diet for him – and yes, we do allow him to snack a lot. And snacks range from small biscuits, to oreos, to ice cream to cream crackers to iron-man cereal (nutrigrain). She cautioned it would be better to eat these (fruits etc) right after a meal as opposed to 2 hours after the meal, to ensure the acidity of the mouth is stabilised. Also, strangely she said for kids, it might be a better option to give small bits of savoury chips as opposed to sugar loaded nutrigrains or cornflakes. Best option – non sugar cream crackers. Darn, we’ve been feeding this kid wrong.

Anyways, back to the dentist experience. So mum sat with him, and the doctor began brushing away the stains with a rotary brush like our electric toothbrush, just much softer and smaller. It worked for the main part but he had some really stubborn stains built up in there which she had to either scale (for a 3 year old, not possible), or manually get it out. I guess that was when he freaked out after the strawberry brushing ended.

We managed to get about 80% of the stain out but we still had more before he just gave up and escaped mum and ran off.

Knowing my kid, he will need a few visits to the same dentist before he gets used to the environment. We need another bout with him, so we have another appointment set up with him and my wife in 2 weeks.

Meantime, I took his session and got my scaling and polishing done. Good dentist!

This is why I stay in Malaysia

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As we go into a weekend that may (or may not) define our future as a country, many posts/FB/tweets will be about how we love our country. We are celebrating Hari Merdeka in a few days time and we are in a situation that is, well unprecedented. 4.25 RM to 1 USD. Nuff said. For business people like me, I am considering to just shut down everything for a while and take a sabattical till the economy recovers. And play golf.

As for staying in Malaysia? If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve been in Australia a few years and I fail to see why it’s so attractive to people here. Except, yes, if you want to make a decision to go to get better education or for your children, then probably that’s the main motivation. However, to say staying in Australia is preferable to Malaysia (let’s take away the currency, economy and politics for now) – why?

In Australia, how are you going to get the delicious Nasi Lemak I have on the picture here? For RM7? WHERE??!?!

One thing I like about having my own business is that work times are quite flexible. This whole week, having a project in Sydney and Texas, I am teleconferencing around 5 am to get everyone on board. Around 9 am I take a break and go hunting around for breakfast.

Around my place at Bandar Utama, if you wander around in your car around 9 am, you will see a number of nasi lemak stalls, and I have tried all. By far, the uncle at Tengkat Bandar Utama right outside the Oasis Bandar Utama is the best. This is a chinese muslim uncle. It’s ridiculous how much food he gives for RM7.

Here’s a map of where this guy is. He’s the reason why Malaysia is great.

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Co-Sleeping or Separate Sleeping?

What seems to be the eternal debate (among many) – would you want your kids to sleep with you or separately in their rooms? Of course to a certain age that matters. Most people would say up to toddler age.

Well – Jet is considered a toddler. Although I am not sure if I consider him a little boy or a toddler or whether those two means the same. He’s 3. And he’s snoring in our king size bed.

Of course, when he was an infant, we would put him in the cot and he would sleep and we would do some transference here and there every night. After around 6 months or so, he wisened up and insisted on sleeping next to us around 3 am every night when he would wake from his cot and grunt.His head hardly cleared the top of the cot but his eyes would be staring through the cot bars like a jail bird and continue grunting to be picked up. Irresponsible and completely knackered from long days work, I would just pick the fler up and put him in the middle and sleep.

After a while, he doesn’t even go into the cot anymore.

I know, people say, you will suffer like crazy when he gets bigger and still wants to sleep with us. Yes, sometimes he kicks me in the nuts. And yes, sometimes I wake up with his feet firmly planted in my eye. But I don’t mind. In fact, we like cuddling up like cave men to keep warm because Mum turns on the aircond like the North Pole. I don’t mind sleeping without the aircond but its always easier to get warmer than to get cooler, as my wife says. So me and my son huddle up for warmth – of course with the added benefit that we are totally saving cost with only a single aircond.

If we had only one kid, I wouldn’t worry too much – I guess he will outgrow it sooner or later and want to go into his own room. Of course, now with No 2 coming in, we have to accelerate this a little urgently. He obviously cannot be sleeping on the same bed as Mom when No 2 is born even if No 2 starts off in the cot. It would be disruptive to everyone.

So we are preparing him a little to move out of – if not the room, then at least sleep with dad somewhere in the room.

I don’t know about the debate for or against co-sleeping past infancy. I do it because I am a frugal chinaman who wants to save money. I would love to just say, “Oh, because research says it makes our kids more independent blah blah”, but you know, I guess I am just lazy in teaching him how to sleep alone, and it’s a lot more cheap and convenient to just bundle all up together and stay happy and peaceful. And warm of course.

I don’t really look past those or feel guilty or feel justified or feel smug – or research or argue which one is better or worse – everyone will have their amazing theories about co-sleeping or isolating your kid into the far corners of the house and let him work out his life on his own. I am not a super-dad who knows everything. I am just winging it mostly and working out on how to be a father and making like tons of errors along the way. I guess where I am improving is covering up those errors as if I know what I am doing.

Co-Sleeping/Bedsharing/Cavemensleeping, whatever you call it? I do it because of convenience and because I love to talk to my son before we both end up sleeping. We play a lot of trivia about Thomas and the Engines, and sometimes go on for half hour or until my wife smacks me and say, “Oi, both of you go to sleep!”

 

So now Jet has a bro

So today we confirmed it through a scan. Aside from being an entirely healthy and active baby, he also has a cuckoo bird.

Two boys.

In some ways, there is economic sense in this – now that the ringgit has plunged to the depths of the value of Jet’s 4 day old crap; at least they can share clothes. Getting Jet to share his toys is another story. He seems firmly bent on being territorial despite me telling him that the toys belong to dad since I bought it and I am renting out to him for good behaviour. Yes, I bribe my kids. After 3 years, the perfect vision of fatherhood had succumbed into reality – we bargain with our kids, and we buy time for ourselves. Father of the year definitely not me.

Anyways, will write longer on this.

The first thing I said after seeing his peepers was to turn to my wife and said, “looks like we will go for No 3 and try to get a girl!!”.

She did not find that very funny, for some reason.

Preparing for Number 2

Part of the revival of this blog is that of course, after 3 years we’re embarking on the same dejavu journey again, preparing for No.2.

I think parents who have 1 kid generally will try for number 2. I said generally because I know of some of my friends who has one, and that’s enough. Every family to their own.

But I feel that it’s the number 2 that is really a huge deciding factor as to whether a No 3 is in the making.

For instance, a lot of people ask me: Do I prefer a boy or girl? Most just assume I would want a girl, since I have already a boy and I want a girl to spoil.

Actually, I don’t care. As in not ‘don’t care’ as in don’t care about the baby, but I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl. I know, people will say that but they secretly will wish for one gender or another. But I really really don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I get a boy and never have a daughter and we stop at 2. Sure, I might miss out in bringing out a daughter or walking down the aisle on her wedding day to give her to her husband; but then, I will miss out on the experience of bringing up two boys as well. There’s always something you will miss, and something you have. That’s life.

I have an older brother, although I didn’t really grow up with him, as he was sent to Singapore boarding school when I was around 10, and he was there for six years, then was sent to Australia and by the time he came back to work, it was my turn to go to Australia. By the time I came back, we stayed a couple of years together but I hardly saw him because he was always out and I was always out and before I knew it he was married and gone from the house. It would have been grand if we got into scrapes together.

My brother and I are separated by 3 years and 3 months. Jet and No 2 will be exactly separated by 3 years and 6 months so it’s around the same distance. If it’s a boy – well, I would want them to grow up watching each other’s back, and it would be cool if I could play a round of golf or basketball with my two boys. If it’s a girl, I am sure the experience would be different but no less rewarding. There would certainly be things I would be doing that I wouldn’t be doing if not for her, and I suppose teenage angst would be different – instead of worrying about my boys getting into drugs and porn, I would be worrying about my girl getting together with boys getting into drugs and porn.

Anyway, we will know the gender by end of this month – whether it’s a pink or blue room!

Giladad is back?

I actually completely forgot I had this site, Giladad.com until a kind soul sent me an email encouraging me to write some more of my journey and travails as a first time father.

Well, a quick update after 2 years.

Jet, my first son just passed his 3 years.

Yes, we are still staying at the same crazy neighbourhood but the crazy woman who locks out her kid no longer does that, and the screaming is less now, because the kid is suddenly grown up. The noisy ferrari is gone. The crazy beeping lorry is also gone, but the dogs have multiplied.

Thankfully, my son is a big kid now and can sleep like a stone.

And now, number 2 is also on his/her way, so it’s a good time to start blogging again!

First topic after 2 years hiatus? Why not about bringing up a 3 year old?

When we started out as parents, boy, we sure had a lot of ideals of how a parent should be. We had no. Idea. How. To. Be. Parents. Not even now I think. Anyone who says they are experts are liars. Most of us are just winging it as we go along.

Take punishments for instance.

We didn’t know whether to smack our son or not when he was naughty. Not smack on the face, but you know, just hit his hands and legs etc. I mean wasn’t the rotan part of our childhood lore?

But here we have baby experts telling us online that if you hit your kids, they will be traumatised for life. So I am sort of stuck in the middle.

So now, I just generally go through the route of threatening my son with physical dismemberment of parts of his body.

“Son, if you don’t hold my hand on the street, the car will knock you and and you will lose your arms and legs. Forever.”

“Son, if you play on the escalator, your hand will get caught and you will lose your hand. Forever.”

“Son, if you play hide and seek with me in a crowded mall you will get lost and kidnapped and sold to China and get your legs chopped off. Forever.”

“Son, if you don’t brush your teeth, cockroaches will come and eat the food in your teeth and make your teeth fall off. Forever.”

Or the garden variety

“Son, if you continue screaming like a banshee, your trakea will burst and your head will explode. Yes, Forever.”

Ah, parenthood.

Welcome to the Stupid Neighbourhood

As parents we all know the pain of putting a baby to sleep only for something that is not within our powers to wake him up again, bawling his eyes out.Unfortunately, I live in such a neighbourhood. It’s a nice location around BU, but God, the neighbours we have are seriously from a nightmare.

Neighbour 1: Shrek Mother who locks out her kid

I have a good mind to report her to the authorities. How she disciplines her youngest son, who is about 4 – 5 years old maybe is by locking him out of the house in the dark. This happens around 11 pm and sometimes midnight. I’m saying locked. And the kid will scream and bang the door, waking the whole freaking neighbourhood. At one time she locked him out of the GATE. As in on the road. She is like Shrek, as in the size and demeanour, and has a smallish husband who probably had lost his manhood decades ago. She keeps her home filthy and I believe is seriously mentally ill. I can only pity the kid growing up in such a crazy household.

Neighbour 2: Cinapek with a Ferrari.

This fat cinapek lives opposite and has a Ferrari, which he starts at around 8 am in the morning, startling the entire radius of 10 km with his car, which sounds like a WWII B2 bomber. It’s noisy and extremely annoying, yet again, startling my kid out of his skin. This Cinapek sometimes starts at about 10 pm as well, when my kid is asleep with the same result. I doubt the Ferrari is his though. In my fantasies, I have dreamt about planting a C4 under that bloody car and detonating it into a billion pieces. Without the fatty of course, since his body parts would stink up the neighbourhood.

Neighbour 3: Stupid lady with dog

I don’t know why people with terrace homes think that they deserve to have an untrained pariah as a dog. This stupid lady’s dog bark at EVERYTHING. Even when I go out to get something from my car. But the worse is when she comes back late or throw the rubbish at 10:30 pm and the dog just go ballistic barking. WTF are you barking at your own owner, you stupid dog?? And yup, you guessed right, baby wakes, parents’ has to do this over and over again.

Neighbour 4: Nincompoop Lorry Driver that comes home at midnight

I don’t have any discrimination against lorry drivers. But this jackass opposite my place owns a lorry that beeps like it’s sounding the trumpet for Armagedon everytime he reverses into his tiny house. He comes home at midnight and everytime he reverses in, it’s like a house alarm going off. He has to reverse very slowly as well, that drags the ridiculous beep, beep, beep noise to alarming length and decibels, waking up the baby. ARGH! I wished the darn lorry will crash into the stupid Ferrari with all my heart!

Fantasies like letting Shrek bite off the dog’s head, and then putting Shrek into the Ferrari, and crashing it headfirst into the beeping Lorry, before detonating it are of course fantasies. As such, we continue to suffer from these imbeciles as they continue to ruin our nights and mornings with their retarded activities. The neighbourhood has truly gone to the dogs.

Fever Time

Jet is 7 months and to celebrate it, he has decided to have fever.

It started out pretty normal, where he was just heaty. But as the day wore on, in the afternoon, his crankiness went up the scale. I mean, how else could he conveyed that he was hot and feeling highly uncomfortable? I had to take the afternoon off and spent a few hours consoling him until our neightborhood clinic re-opened at six.

His reading was 38.1, which wasn’t in the panic level of 39 for a 7 month old, but still, as rookie parents, we didn’t want to take the risk. He was by now absolutely frustrated and kept crying. The doctor said to have him monitored at home, and if it goes higher, to give some paracetomol and ibufuren. I think that’s what she said.

Any parent know that night time with a sick kid means no sleep, and it was exactly that. We each took turns taking care of him, coaxing him to drink, and sleep. It was his first fever, so we took nothing for granted. We had a thermometer from Omron, which was good, it just took 25 seconds to get the temperature. We had another one that took 60 seconds, which just wasn’t possible for a stressed out child.

This morning, his temperature is back down to 35 – 36. Looks like we passed the test!

Progress in 2013

So we’ve made it to 2013!

6 months ago, a screaming, reddish guy was yanked out into the world butt first, and now he’s reached proud milestones in his sixth month:

1) Sitting up – He can’t get up on his own yet, but prop him up and he sits without assistance

2) Eating Solids – and he loves eating everything he sees

3) Grabbing everything, and then proceeding to eat it

4) Learning to crawl – He does a Michael Jackson crawl where he goes backwards before screaming in frustration

5) Scream, Scream Scream – This guy can belt it. He’s going to be an opera singer when he grows up.

Looking to see what’s happening in the next six months!

Christmas Reflection

Christmas Day, and both mom and baby are asleep, and both probably not even aware that Christmas has come, the former almost sleepwalking and the latter obviously unaware of anything except for the new sensation of food entering into his little mouth.

I spent the time watching, for what seemed to be the 10th time, Real Steel. This is quickly becoming my all time favourite. It’s mainly not so much due to the robots fighting robots. That’s not the big deal, because if I wanted robots fighting something, I’d go for the scale of like Pacific Rim.

 

I mean monsters vs robots? Man, that rocks.

Real Steel wasn’t so much of the acting as well, although Hugh Jackman ain’t bad. And of course, you’d think it’s Evangeline Lilly. I mean, seriously. Evangeline. Lilly.

Ok, Evangeline Lilly did really make it a worthwhile movie to watch again and again and again….and again, and just put in infinity times here…but the one great aspect of Real Steel was that at the heart of it, it was a Father and Son story.

And that really gets me. Hugh Jackman and that little kid, Dakota Goyo, seriously has a great chemistry. The scene when Hugh Jackman was going berserk just whacking the big robot, with his shadow robot, Atom, and doing his uppercut, and it cuts to slow motion with the amazing, amazing theme song behind. And the tear running down his son’s face. I mean, hey, that’s hollywood 101 right, but it gets me. I want my kid to grow up looking at me like that. Of course, I’ll probably not be air punching a big robot in an arena filled with thousands of people and watched by an emotional Evangeline Lilly; and I probably won’t have the biceps of Mr Wolverine….but I could be doing something else. The thing is, the way his kid looked at him: man, I want Jet to look at me like that too.

Greatest Father and Son movie ever.