The Diaperbag family.

We are the Diaperbag family. There are Jordan, Evan and Dylan (also known as Muffin) and they are fondly known as JED. We are their parents. Ondine and Packrat.

This is JED

Always playing or planning and plotting to take over the world. Always up to shenanigans.

This is Jordan, our first born

Actually she's part of a twin set. She was known as Twin 1 in-utero. She loves to draw what she dreams, dances what she draws.

This is Evan, reluctantly the younger twin

He's Twin 2 by two minutes because it took the doctor that long to find him. We don't think he'll ever forgive the doctor!

This is our youngest, Dylan (also known as Muffin)

He fancies himself the Lion King. His favourite activities are to climb, jump, pounce and roar at the world. The world is his Pride Rock.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A good teacher

Thankfulness is having a teacher who understands the child's learning style and is aware of her gifts enough to capitalise on them to make Chinese much less intimidating and much more fun.


Not entirely certain why it's Rapuzel rather than Rapunzel. Call it creative license. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Muffin bakes cheese buns

It's the 3rd week of the school term and I've finally got enough of my bearings working to actually start baking again for JED. The twins have been going to school with sandwiches, fruit or Pocky. While they don't mind, I'm not quite sure my conscience allows me to let them bring Pocky every day.

So, this morning, I baked. Or rather, Muffin baked. JED all love playing with flour and dough so to Muffin, this was nothing more than an extended play dough session. He saw me get out the flour and asked immediately to play with dough. Since he is soon to be 5, I figured it could be a collaborative effort to bake 40 minute cheese buns.

I prepped all the ingredients and kneaded the dough.

He proceeded to roll, flatten or rather pound the dough and then spooned the cheese onto the dough.  He wanted to seal it together by gathering all the ends and crush it shut.

And that's when I had to step in.

I told him it wasn't a good idea so I pinched it shut and he did the egg wash and the cheese garnishing.

Then we waited.

But what fun he had and how chuffed he was to be able to make cheese buns for Kor Kor. Evan loves, loves, loves cheese and what an act of love on the part of Muffin when he spooned a mountain of cheese onto the dough. When I told him it was too much, he told me that Kor Kor loved cheese and it wasn't too much for Kor Kor.

True that.

10 minutes later the buns came out smelling divine and oozy. Muffin, who had earlier elected to bring Nutella rolls to school (same bread recipe essentially!) changed his mind, took out his Nutella rolls and carefully stuffed an oversized cheese bun into his lunch box.

The only thing I want to right is to get the buns smooth rather than little erupted volcanoes. But that's just me. The little people eating them wouldn't really give two hoots about how it looks. In fact, if it had lava of cheese flowing out from it, Evan would not stop eating it!

Yet another reason to love The Domestic Goddess Wannabe   because a recipe doesn't get anymore dummy proof than a 5 year old succeeding in using it to make cheese buns for his beloved big brother. All in 40 minutes with enough time to shower, change, put said bun into his bag and get onto the school bus!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Keeping entertained

School has started and with that homework.

But that seems to have caused JED to play more furiously. Often, it's home-lunch-homework/ Chinese tuition and then play.

They've come up with some hilarious play activities.

At the start of every school year, the kids are often involved in setting up class rules. So Jordan's done a version for the house There are Bible rules that sound like the 10 commandments paraphrased and then some grammatically questionable house or 'family' rules which also include  "Never say 'boring' or 'stupid' to your family." She nags everyone to keep the rules. Doesn't sound like play but to her it is and wait till I tell you about the school she has created. (Next post)

Excellent.



The boys, who have been influenced by Packrat, are going through a Transformers phase. They constantly pretend that they can transform from vehicle to robot. Muffin hands me his play pipes and demands that I make him 'smokestacks'. I did not know he knew what smokestacks were. I failed miserably and when I admitted defeat, he said comfortingly that they were guns instead.

At the same time, Evan has had a thing about looking out for Transformers' decals on cars. He's asked if we could get one for our car. Our reply was that he could do it to his own car next time. No, he wasn't going to 'beng' our car. Instead, they decided to badge themselves. They shaded the badges off a Transformers box and scotch taped them onto themselves. When in school, the increasingly tattered insignias are stuck onto the wall and stuck back on their shirts once they'd changed out of school clothes.

Evan has chosen to be a Decepticon able to transform across vehicles and Muffin, an Autobot who had similar powers. The house has been filled with noises of the 'vehicles' transforming.



Whatever. No fighting noises and definitely taking to heart Jordan's rules of no complaining of boredom.

Excellent.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pack ratting

My husband's online moniker is Packrat. A pack rat is someone who keeps everything and throws nothing. In this age of trying to have live with less and to simplify our lives, pack-ratting is non kosher. I'm the one who goes into these decluttering frenzies where things are mercilessly thrown out. Jordan remembers how I packed off one of her fairy books (That wasn't because I wanted to declutter, but because I didn't want her reading the fairy books). Evan reminisces about the kiddie bed that he had and we gave away. Muffin fears it when I brandish the bin at his toys that are carelessly strewn across the floor. They all know that when Mommy threatens to throw stuff out, she means it.

But recently, I've been thwarted. My mother's to blame. She's been clearing things out and asking if I wanted them. And that's how I fell off the wagon. The things that she was asking me if I wanted were old stuff. When my dad saw them, he scoffed at them and asked why my mom was trying to unload 'old junk' onto me.

The thing is I wanted all of 'old junk'. All of it.


To me, none of it was junk. All of it was tied to a one childhood memory or other and it's a sign of age that they mean something to me.

I ended up home with a set of fish knives and butter knives made from ivory - I am sorry, elephants who died for them!- (even though we eat fish with our fingers and I abhor the taste of butter) and 2 painted food carriers.

Why?

Because I used to use the butter knives when I was young, for everything (except butter); Spreading Nutella, peanut butter, kaya and jam on bread, slicing and skinning fruit (unsuccessfully) and cutting up loads of play dough, they are intricately linked to my childhood.

Because I grew up seeing the food carriers in my grandma's house. My grandma's house holds a very dear place in the hearts of all the cousins of my generation. We all, at some point or other lived in the house and I grew up first, visiting it and later on living in it. The food carriers, when I first saw them,  were actually used to carry food; rice at the bottom, vegetables and meats on top. As I got older, they were behind the glass doors, on display where I could look at the floral design in detail and muse at how beautiful they were. That was until my grandma passed on and we sold the place. And that's when they went to my mom. 

So to hear that they might be thrown out, despite my lack of space and despite my house already looking like a child care centre from all the toys all over the place, I had to take them.

I really didn't need to think twice.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Words not to describe a 7 year old


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Dear People out there in the world,



We as parents of young children would like the opportunity to allow our children to stay as children for as long as possible.



This means that we don't really appreciate adult characters stylized in skanky clothes shaking their booties in cartoon programmes meant for children under 8.



It also means that we would like to ask the People in the fashion industry to please stop making mini versions of adult clothes for young kids. It won't be all that long before they are grown up enough to wear the adult versions.



And it really really means that if you are People who run courses for young kids like dance or modelling courses, please refrain from using the word 'SEXY' to describe how my child is supposed to move and make my child for terrible for failing to be 'sexy' enough in how she moves.



This was what happened when Jordan took part in a fashion show and modelling workshop for children under 10. We let her go because we thought it would be good fun and building some confidence along the way, which it did. But despite all the fun, her one take home had to do with the 'sexy' comment, unfortunately.
After all, she is only 7 and because we've raised all three children, not just our daughter, to understand that sexy is not something to be associated with children, she now feels very guilty for having followed the instructions of the trainer. We have instituted a rule in our household that the word sexy not be used to describe our children under any circumstance. And when the children talk about their own bodies or other people's bodies, it ought to be done with respect. The connotations of sexy have the idea of desirability mixed in with sex and a certain amount of sluttiness associated with it. All things that should not be part of a 7 year old's vernacular.



It doesn't matter if you need the child to strut down the run way and pose. There are tons of animal imagery that can be used to demonstrate to children how to strut (peacocks and apparently, even turkeys strut!) and pose (cats! Cats are good!) instead of invoking images that I hope to God these children have not been exposed to yet.



Children today already face such a gamut of challenges. We are already so worried about the pandemic of sexting that occurs with tweens that we don't need another source normalizing sex for younger and younger kids and putting pressure on them to be okay with it.



Miss Bour from Tulsa's "Think Before you Click" social media campaign
We like that our 7 year old daughter reads Star Wars comics, transforms Autobots with her brothers and engages in light sabre battles both imaginary and real with them. We like that she has tea with her stuffed animals and makes up stories about ponies and animals. We like that when she plays pretend make up, she ties a piece of cloth round her waist, uses talcum powder on her face and markers on her finger nails.



We love that she improvises and has the child like sense of wonder in her eyes.



What we did not love was that even when she went to bed a week after the workshop, it was still bugging her enough to keep her up; that she was so confused because what she was taught at home and was expected to do outside were in conflict with one another. We hated that she could not sleep because she was thinking about how she had failed at what the trainer told her to do but doing more was something she couldn't muster, making her feel inadequate. And what we totally and utterly hated was her distress trying to reconcile this criticism and expectation with that budding moral compass she had growing inside her and coming up confused and distressed. 









Many out there may say that we attended this out of our own volition and think us as prudes. Many may think that our way of child rearing is antiquated in this day and age but this is how we choose to do it. Many may also accuse us of being ridiculously puritanical in the way we bring up our children and they might grow up sexually repressed, Amish in the future. I hope not. I hope that when the time is right and when they are old enough and with the right people, they have wonderfully physically intimate relationships. But to us and right now, for the want of a better phrase, it's all about being age appropriate and there are some things that aren't. And for now, at 7, these are some of the things that aren't.


So, we're asking all those out there who deal with little kids in one way or other, please think of what message you are sending across when you say certain things to them. Some other parents may not mind or may laugh it off but not all parents will and not all kids will either.



Yours truly,

Parents from another age.