Monday, December 30, 2013

Undoing the damage

We have been back for almost two weeks. It feels like an entire life time ago that we were in the US. JED still talk about the holiday. It's the basis of their in jokes that no one else understands. We're finally over jet lag and we've had to start facing the reality of

a. Unpacking 9 pieces of luggage and facing Christmas at the same time and finding space for two sets of Primary One books; and that is paralyzingly overwhelming.

b. Buying uniforms, school shoes, bags and other school paraphenalia during Christmas week.

c. A spelling list of over 100 words. Even though they are simple words that the twins know, we still have to go through them to make sure they haven't fallen out of their heads.

d. The fact that they actually have a second language. A month of only speaking a smattering of Chinese has made their Chinese word recognition take several steps back.

But more dire is the need for us to undo a lot of their habits that they have inadvertently picked up over the last 5 weeks.

1. Stop eating junk food.

JED's grandparents like many others live to indulge their grand children and one way they do so is to ply them with junk food. They have eaten more ice cream, chocolate, french fries and burgers this last month than they have in their entire life time. Now that we're back, Evan continues to ask for ice cream after lunch and dinner. They ask for french fries at random times of day and ask for burgers when we eat out. I continually explain that it is different at home. We have access to other foods and the burgers here are crap; the burgers we fed them in the US were had fresh lettuce and tomatoes spilling out of them and we were constantly giving them burgers from In and Out and other joints that promised fresh rather than frozen crap.

2. Jumping into the water at all times of day.

Having spent 2 1/2 weeks  in the ocean or in the pool for 3 to 4 hours a stretch, being in the water became part of the every day routine. And this need to be in the water hasn't gone away. In fact, it has been the reason for many tantrums and tears. The weather now is blessedly windy and cold. This means that swimming is often not an option for them, from a mom's point of view. Of course, they don't get that and think that I am depriving them of pool time out of malice or ill intent. So it's been a battle every day when the first request the twins have once they wake up is to go to the pool or the beach.

3. Watching TV

The rule in our house is that TV is something that only exists for them on the weekend. On vacation however, they had free access to the TV. We needed it to be like that because we had to cook, wash their swim gear or basically just get a break from their incessant noise. Muffin, especially, thinks that he can still sit in front of the TV all day and not move, speak or blink. The twins are a little bit easier to convince and it is tempting to go back to that because they get pesky but as long as it is just Packrat and I, we try to hold out.

4. Sleeping early.

Traditionally, bed time is 7.30. On vacation, because they ate with us and we had to clear up and wash up after, bed time got pushed to 9 pm. That also meant, they didn't wake up at the crack of dawn. This continued back in Singapore because of Christmas and all the merriment. But with school 3 days away, we need for the older two to wake at dawn. So, we have already warned them that they were going to have a quiet New Year's Eve!

The adjusting and unpacking after the vacation makes me exhausted and I have declared over and over again, in the last 2 weeks since coming back that I need a vacation to really recover. I really has been an overdose of domestic parenting and part of me cannot wait for them to go back to school and for me to go back to work.


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