Friday, 30 May 2008

Reward?

This morning I was driving to work and listening to the Morning Express on radio and they were discussing a rather interesting topic, Rewards for kids. They were trying to gather feedbacks from their listeners on whether or not they think it is a good idea to offer physical rewards to their kids. There were of course a whole load of feedbacks from the general public.

Most if not all are in favour of rewarding their kids but while there are some that prefer to offer only non-physical rewards such as love, more attention and time as well as encouragement, others are perfectly fine with a new pair of trainers, an ipod or even cash.

This certainly brought back memories because my mum would offer us gifts should we do well (actually more like okay in my case) in school and if I recall correctly even my Aunt would offer cash. This was certainly an extra bit of motivation to study that much harder for my exams but looking back now I am not sure if I want Isaac to study for the sake of a new game console (ok bad example since he will not have to as I will most probably be buying it for myself anyway) or should he study for his own future and benefits?

A listener added that the good grades obtained from the child’s own effort should be a reward in itself hence they normally celebrate it as a family and no physical gift is handed to this child. FD (host of Morning Express) then asked for his own benefit if this child gets a sense of jealousy when he sees that his classmates are getting new toys for their effort while he did not and in some cases he may actually do better than those that did received some form of physical rewards. I did not get to hear the listener’s response as I had arrived work already. This is an interesting point too and as FD pointed out he just wanted to learn for himself who this parent will tackle the jealousy issue.

Maybe it is due to Isaac’s age now because my first thought was not on his jealousy of his classmates but more on whether or not he will understand that obtaining good grades is for his own good and future and it does absolutely nothing for us (ok, not quite accurate there as we parents do get bragging rights). Will a primary school kid really understand the magnitude of having a good education? I know I certainly did not. Not that I don’t understand that good education equates to good job and ultimately better pay but I don’t think I fully understood the difference in pay and lifestyle between a CEO and say a Manager or Supervisor. Not at that young age anyway.

However I have always heard that children these days are all much smarter than we ever were so who knows maybe Isaac will hunger for education for his own benefit after all.

Another listener said that he will actually offer rewards for his son for doing the right thing and not caving in to peer pressure and also for standing up to the bully as opposed to achieving good grades. He feels very strongly that it is more important for his boy to develop good character rather than just academic results.

Funny thing is the Mrs and I had talked about what schools to send him to but we have not touched on matters such as this. Right now I am actually on the fence on whether or not it is a good idea to offer physical rewards. I guess I do not see the harm if it is saved for the odd occasion otherwise it will lose its meaning.

I do agree that to allocate more time with the children is a much better reward but it is only when they're young. I know the Mrs would like to stick to Sunday being a family day but being a realist I have a strong feeling the kids will want to go out and have their own fun when they're older.

Based on what I heard these days the children are really groomed to be more of an all rounder so does this mean that we may have to reward them for their achievement in sports as well?

I wonder how long can we offer ice cream and sweets as rewards.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Routine

I am finding it harder and harder to find something interesting enough to blog about these days. Not that fatherhood is boring. If anything it is rather exciting and challenging.

The reason there is nothing much to update you is because of mainly 3 things. One, I am pretty tied up. I don’t know about you but to do up a new post will usually take me anywhere between 2 to 3 hours of writing and rewriting (and yet this blog is littered with numerous grammatical and spelling mistakes). I also try and stick to an average word count of about 800 with the exception of a few posts.

Two, when I started out with this blog I have set myself certain guidelines and I would like to stick to it as much as possible. I rather not have it as a blog totally on Isaac but more of my experience as a dad. Personally I thought it will be a better read since most of you readers are ladies and the blogs out there are mainly by you ladies too. I thought you may find it more interesting to see things from the other side (in case you’re new to this blog I am not referring to the eerie kind of other side ya?!).

Lastly and most importantly our daily lives have been a little more off colour as we are trying to set a routine for Isaac. To give you a glimpse without boring you with details, we start the day bright and early and Isaac would be at my parents’ place by 7.40 and he will have his 210ml of milk. Once he has settled down and started on his breakfast we will head off to work, reluctantly I must add.

The next time we see him again will be almost 11 hours later at about 7pm. We will go over to my parents’ place for dinner and will normally spend about an hour there before heading home. The only real play time we have with him is from the moment we finished our dinner till when we try and put him to sleep at about 9.30 which equates to about 2 hours during which we will have to shower and feed him his supper also. To me our real bonding time is when we shower him. We actually enjoy this time with him so much that we have to share and alternate the days between us. He really enjoys the water splashing down on him and to see that smiley face after a day’s work is really gratifying and soothing at the same time. We can usually sense his anticipation once we removed his clothes in the bathroom. He will be smiling and kicking his legs eagerly.

Sometime he fusses about when we put him to sleep but the maximum time taken is about an hour by which time I will feel like strangling him. See how fast the emotion changes from showering to putting him to sleep time?

Once he is asleep that is when we can have a little of our own ‘Me’ or ‘Us’ time. The Mrs will usually hit the SMH forum and also read up on Isaac’s development. I’ll usually be watching some TV but lately I am hooked on this new Jeffrey Archer’s book, A Prisoner of Birth. It is really quite good and I am almost done.

Usually we have some ‘Me’ time before the ‘Us’ time and as I have mentioned before we follow the latest TVB Cantonese drama serials, we will be watching it till around midnight before we turn in for the night.

The next morning the same routine continues.

I have heard of people saying that it is important to set a routine for your baby but it never quite occurred to me that the parents will also have a routine to follow indirectly too.

Isaac wise, I like to think that we did a good job with his routine. Feeding is at around 7.45am; 12 noon; 5pm and 9pm. Showers are at 10am and 8.45pm. We are still working on his nap time but I suspect even this has been sorted out. Will have to check with my mum and maid.

Speaking of ‘Me’ time and routine, I am having trouble slotting in some ‘Me’ time for my Xbox 360 games. Imagine I bought the game, Army of Two for almost 2 months now but I have not touched it. Maybe I am subconsciously waiting for Isaac to grow up and then we play it together. Having said that I am still able to squeeze out some time to play the notoriously fun and very politically incorrect game, Grand Theft Auto IV but this is usually limited to Sat or Sun mornings if I can wake up earlier or when the Mrs is at work (Sat). A couple of times Isaac sat behind me and watched me play and I felt bad and wondered if he will pick up the undesireable language and not to mention the scenes when I (er I mean my character) had to visit the strip joints.

Guess this routine will have to do for now until the second child come along and then who knows I may have to sell my game console.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Contest

I was never interested in Baby Contests before Isaac's arrival for obvious reason. I always thought that parents being parents will always be bias and will naturally find their own baby cute. I even told the Mrs once that babies are actually quite ugly during their first few hours after been born. Only parents will claim that they are beautiful. Honestly I did not find Isaac beautiful when he was born because how could I when he was bluish right? Maybe this is a Mother's thing.

These days it is a different story of course. Since he has learnt how to coo, smile, laugh and respond to our voices and facial expressions, he has definitely become cuter. And I have not even gotten down to his physical attribute such as his size yet. But signing him up for a contest was never really in my mind. That was until a reader suggested that we do it.

Last week The Mrs was just reading through the comments that you ladies have posted and she came across Astee's suggestion in Kidnapped that we should sign Isaac up for Baby Contests. Since she was already at the laptop she signed him up on MumCentre's Picture of the Week contest right away. With just a few click of the mouse and some input from the keyboard Isaac's picture was submitted.

When we were asked to insert friends and relatives emails so that they will be notified and cast their bias votes (it wasn't really phased this way of course), I told the Mrs to let's leave them out of it. I thought we should let him win on his own merit.

So imagine my surprise when The Mrs told me today that without anyone's bias votes Isaac is already in the top 3. That got me thinking maybe we should engage some help and see if he can actually win the contest. Hence this shameless post.
When my sister learned that Isaac is in the top 3 now she protested that even though no one (including us) voted for him, he still has an unfair advantage as he is the only one baring his body. To which I replied "Hey, the end justifies the means right?! Perhaps we had a clothes malfunction that day?!"

We have submitted the topless picture so in case you would like to cast your bias votes too click here. No obligation but should Isaac win then I will again fight for lift upgrading in your area.

Besides this, we have also entered the Harvey Norman Cutest Baby Contest. What happened was we were going to print a few photos to be hung on this wall at home dedicated solely for that purpose and we learned that by printing so many pictures you can actually submit a photo for the contest without any charge. So again we submitted the same topless picture.

In case you're thinking we cannot use that one picture all the time, don't worry because we will be getting the neck float and Isaac will be going to Godma's place to swim again this Sunday. Stay tuned for more topless pictures of Isaac here.

UPDATE

Thanks to all your votes Isaac came in first from the contest! I'll make sure he learns to say "Thank You" and then post it here in the future so stay tuned!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Laughter

Isaac: From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq) which meant "he laughs".

One of the reason we like the name is the meaning behind it. It basically means laughter so we hope that Baby will always have laughter in his life and also may he bring laughter always to his loved ones as well.

If the below video is anything to go by then I believe he will definitely achieve both.

I noticed from the last post that clearly Isaac has a much stronger pulling power than what I have to say so in this post I shall not say too much.

Oh, I want you to know that the voice you hear is actually me talking to Isaac (trying to get him to laugh) but I have to stress that this is not how I normally talk. I'm sure you parents will understand that when you have children you will have to exaggerate your tone, pitch as well as facial expressions. So this is how Jim Carrey feels whenever he acts in one of those silly shows. I have to hand it to him because lately I'm beginning to understand that talking continuously with exaggerated facial expressions and mouth movement can be very tiring indeed.

Another thing to note is you will be able to see Dino walking around and when I moved Isaac to one side in the video, it was due to Dino coming over to either lick Isaac or my face.

It takes a few seconds for Isaac to warm up but give it some time and I'm sure he will bring laughter to your life even if it is only for that few minutes.

Enjoy!!

video

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Kidnapped

Wow! Time really fly by when you have a kid and with so much going on in my life such as the new maid, new business idea, balancing my jobs and trying to publish a book, I am finding it a little tough keeping this blog up to date recently.

Interestingly enough the weekends are no longer our own. I do a bit of work over the weekends but I am not referring to this. These days Isaac will get “kidnapped” during the weekends. The “culprits” are none other than his grandparents and godma.

The Mrs works on occasional Saturdays so I will drive her to work with Isaac in tow. I will normally wait in town for my mum to finish her work at about 9am before we all head for breakfast and then home. Since the birth of Isaac till date, there is only one day that my parents did not get to see Isaac at all for the entire day and that was last Friday. Not bad huh, considering Isaac is 4 months old already. The Mrs and I will try our very best to let them play with their only grandchild at least once a day even though it may be for only an hour or two.

Now, what happens is on the way back to their place after breakfast my mum will ask about my plans. No matter what they are, she will be able to always find an excuse (I mean reason) to somehow link sending Isaac to her place until much later in the afternoon. I know that they just want to spend time with him so I always obliged. Actually come to think of it, this is not all bad as it allows me a little time to play my Xbox. I have games that were bought 2 months ago and they are still sitting there gathering dust. I remembered the first time this happened I called the Mrs after dropping them off and told her that Isaac was “kidnapped”. Since we are neither rich nor powerful people you’ll understand why the Mrs was not worried or scared. She merely asked me calmly “What happened? By whom?”

2 weeks ago, the same thing happened at Isaac’s godma’s place. Since the very beginning she had already made a “deal” with us that she must see Isaac every week to monitor his progress. Actually I finally understood that she is just afraid that if she does not see Isaac often enough he will not be familiar with her and the last thing she wants is for Isaac to not follow her around when he is older. She does not want him to treat her like a stranger. I understand how she feels because deep down we are worried that Isaac may be more familiar with our maid than us since she spends the most part of the day with him. Hence we always insist on doing everything ourselves when it comes to Isaac in the evenings and all day during the weekends. These are to be our bonding times.

Side tracked a little here, since last week I showered together with Isaac in the bathroom instead of the usual tub of water that we were trained to do when he was an infant. I must say it is a joy showering him because he loves the water. I will bring in this chair sit on it and then Isaac on my lap. He is always smiling when it is shower time. To me this is the best bonding time besides playing games with him when he is older. You’ll understand for the lack of pictures to elaborate right?

Anyway, so we were at godma’s place one Sunday and after about 2 hours we said we had to go and meet other friends in town and she conveniently suggested that we leave Isaac behind and come back for him when we’re done.

Frankly speaking, we preferred not to because weekend is really the only time we can spend with Isaac. During the weekdays we will only be at my parents’ place by 7pm and by the time we’re done with dinner and arrive home it is usually around 8.30 and we are trying to put him to sleep by about 9.30 so in actual fact we have only about 3 hours max with him each night. However we relented still because we knew she genuinely wanted to spend more time with him. So from an initial planned visit of about 2 hours Isaac ended up spending about 5 hours at her place.

Looking at the hindsight, this is a good problem to have because this shows that Isaac has so many people who love him and can’t get enough of him and I have not even touched on my in-laws because they too felt that they are not seeing enough of Isaac.

Hence these days, weekends feel like Chinese New Year visiting for us.

Below are a few pictures that we took of Isaac during last Sunday’s visit to godma’s place.

I won?!?! The "cutest baby in your heart" award?!?!? Thanks!!!


Isaac with his God-Sisters and cousin.


The Mrs dipping Isaac into the water.


It was a happy outing for all.


What do you think? Send him to Japan for Sumo Wrestling training?