Time Out for First Class Photo…

Malachy 1st Class Photo
AFTER
BEFORE
BEFORE

We didn’t know what to expect for Malachy’s first class photo.  When I first saw it, I was like, “Where’d he learn to smile like that?”  When Shien said, “He listened to you,” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.  Then, I remembered!  I DID briefly coach him!

On Picture Day (which seems so long ago), before going to work, I had told Malachy not to smile too big.  He was like, “Why, Dad?”  I told him I wanted to see his eyes.  I imitated his smile to show him what I meant.  For a while, he was smiling with his eyes squinting, and baring all teeth (the BIG “CHEESE!”), in photo after photo.  I was afraid he’d do that with his class photo, so I told him to just hum when he smiled.  I told him to think, “HMMMM.”  Lo and behold…  he listened!  Uncle Chris and Stella called it the “Evil Genius” pose.  PoPo says he exudes wisdom beyond his years.  Mom and Dad are just proud of our little boy!  One for the ages…  😉

Time Out for Quirky…

Always Ready, Always Steady
Always Ready, Always Steady

So, my brother-in-law introduced me to this site, quirky.com, and ever since, I’ve been a big fan. It keeps the creative juices flowing. Basically, you can submit ideas, rate ideas, comment on ideas, but you can also become an influencer if your logo design, tagline, or name gets chosen for selected products.  A few months back, they picked my tagline for DigiDudes, a mini tripod on a keychain – Always Ready, Always Steady!  And now, the cents are adding up!  And then, they taketh away…  Why?  Because silly me decided to submit an idea.  They usually charge 99 bucks, but I was able to bring it down some with a coupon code.

My idea?  A credit card flashlight – really  really thin.  Thin enough that it could fit in my wallet.  Bend it to light it.  Wouldn’t it be cool if they actually picked it?  It’s a long shot, but hey, I thought I had to try.  After all, I own over a dozen flashlights (for real), and I think there’s always room for another one.  At least this one wouldn’t take up so much room… 😉

Time Out for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2009

When I think about all that I have, it becomes apparent how fortunate and blessed I am.  Malachy has been up and down with his colds and coughs, and he’s becoming more and more… let’s say, “determined!”  When he wants something, it’s hard to convince him otherwise.  (i.e., TANTRUMS AND MELTDOWNS)  This morning, he wanted a bagel (among other things, of course).  Well, we didn’t have any bagels in the house.  So, he cried and he yelled and he cried.  I sat him down and here was Dad explaining to a 3-year-old that you can’t always get what you want as soon as you want it.  His reasoning was that he likes bagels and therefore, he had to have a bagel.  So, I gave him a plan (inspired from Agent Oso).  Step One, take a deep breath and calm down.  Step Two, apologize to Mom for getting so worked up and demanding what wasn’t possible.  And, Step Three, we’d go together to get a bagel.  (The beauty of living 2 blocks from the Bialy Store)  So, the moral of the story is…  Never be bagel-less, cuz you just never know… 😉

Time Out for Sports

So, the Yankees won the World Series on Wednesday.  I’ll never forget watching this one in particular because Malachy was still sick, threw up all over his bed, and I wound up doing laundry until way past 3AM.  Thank goodness for TiVo, as there was constant running back and forth between Shien and me to his room every time he was coughing, even after the first incident.  Shien also had a huge case study to finish.  Aiya.

I’ve been wondering a lot about why it is that I could turn on sports on TV and just sit and watch it for hours if there is any team I am remotely interested in.  I know it sometimes upsets Shien and I’m sure she doesn’t get why either.  After all, it can’t be good for my health…  the excitement or the stress and “anger” at times.  So, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it may be an “id” thing, especially, but not exclusively, for men.  We want to be on the winning side and we want our side to win, no matter what.  We might even wish ill-will towards the other team and their players.

Isn’t it amazing how we can so dislike an opponent and find out all of these reasons for not liking him, but as soon as he’s traded to our team, we might even start liking and enjoying having that person on our team?  I watch the news and whenever there is news about war, it’s impossible to explain to Malachy.  How do you explain why one side wants to destroy or annihilate the other side?  I think I’ll watch sports with even more guilt now.  Maybe, just maybe, sports provides that feeding of the “id.”

Time Out for Medicine…

Halloween 2009
Halloween lasted two days this year because it was on a Saturday, and everyone started the celebrations on Friday. So, Malachy had a blast at school with a Halloween Parade around Chinatown and Halloween activities all day at school. On Saturday, he woke up at 6:30am, not feeling so great. After nap, it was even worse because he complained of his ear hurting. He never did that before, so we had a strong feeling he had some kind of ear infection. It was confirmed today when we went to the doctor’s. Having your child get sick is one of the hardest things because you see them suffer and you want so much for everything to just be okay again. This morning, he woke up at 6am crying and crying. Shien went right into Mommy mode and was able to calm him and soothe him. One thing that us dads lack… the Mommy touch. Hopefully, all will be better in a few days.
Another thing that we have been contemplating about, along with every other parent, is the question of whether or not he should get the H1N1 flu shot. He already got the regular flu shot. It puzzles me because we never received flu shots as kids. Now, if we don’t, it’s like we’re doing something wrong or not taking all the precautions to keep our children safe. I guess one big difference is that Malachy is in school and is exposed to a lot more germs than I was as at that age. More kids = more likely to catch something.

Time Out for School

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It’s hard to believe that Malachy is 3, and he’s in full-day PreKindergarten. I keep thinking how things have changed for kids today. Today’s 3 year old is like yesterday’s 5 year old. Grandma (Po Po) rightly questioned us about rushing him into “growing up” too quickly. We felt that if we didn’t put him into a quality school, then he’d fall behind. We felt he was ready and he has definitely shown us he could handle it… better than we could have ever imagined.

One thing that I kept in the back of my mind was Po Po pleading with us not to get caught into the mode of waking up and rushing him and hurrying him to get ready for school. So, I promised myself that we would try to give him some happy home time before beginning the day. Yes, in the beginning, there were some tears… him on the outside, me on the inside. But, after a week or so, he was okay… better than okay. He soon accepted that Daddy had to go to school for work, and he went to school, too, as did Mommy. Yes, there are days when we are tired, and it’s hard to wake up, but at the end of the day, we’d always meet again.

It melts my heart whenever I come home and he asks, “How was your day, Dad?” Good… very good.

Time Out for Eating Together

One of Malachy’s homework assignments has been to say grace during mealtimes. It’s quite simple. “God is good. God is great. Thank you Lord for our food.” With that, Malachy adds, “Enjoy!” It’s taught me what a blessing it is to be able to eat together. Of course, it helps to have the best chef in the house prepare such wonderful meals for us. Thanks, Mommy! YUMMY.

Time Out for Television…

We have always been wary of allowing Malachy to watch too much television, especially Mommy, but I always felt that there were some sound educational programs out there that could provide some enrichment. When he was first born, he was exposed to lots of baseball, football, golf, and the news. And guess what? He doesn’t seem to like playing sports at all. BUT, he does like watching Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos on the evening news. They are his “friends” and when they are absent from the show, he notices and will sometimes even say he misses them. He does recognize Obama, Clinton, Bush, and other politicians he grew up with. As for regular programming for children, we found some programs to be of great educational value, and I think it has helped him to become a reader. He has watched every episode of Word World and Super Why many many times. He enjoys Sesame Street and Ni Hao Kai Lan. He enjoyed Thomas the Train, but watching full episodes never seemed to capture his attention the whole time. His latest favorite is Special Agent OSO. He has watched a lot more PBS than any other station in terms of children’s television programs. These programs don’t go crazy with the flashing and quick shifting from scene to scene. They provide a literacy enriched environment and teach lessons. We often watch them with him and make references to them when there’s a conflict or a problem that needs to be resolved. The key is not to let him watch hours at a time, as it seems so easy at times to just plop him in front of the television. I think that’s what gets some kids overstimulated or superstimulated, where they then need that constant visual stimulation in order to sit still and focus.

Time Out for a Treat… or NOT…

So today, my wife sends me a link to a TIME news story from Yahoo! News called, “Eating Candy in Childhood Linked to Adult Crime.” Basically, a study reported that “69% of people who had been convicted of a violent act by age 34 reported eating candy almost every day as youngsters; 42% of people who had not been arrested for violent behavior reported the same,” and this was across the board regardless of other environmental factors. The study didn’t surprise me, but it sure made me feel guilty about treating Malachy to a treat. The study questioned whether it was something in the sweets themselves that caused this or was it a matter of lack of discipline and self-control that caused this impulsive behavior in adulthood. Is it the candy that makes the child impulsive or is it the impulsiveness of the child which causes him to crave sweets? In other words, is it the diet that affects the behavior or the behavior that affects the diet? I’m guessing it can’t be all of one or the other, but it certainly makes you constantly question whether what you’re doing to/for your child today, will ultimately shape how he or she is as an individual later on. Ai ya.

Time Out for Reading

Reading to Malachy
I remember speaking with a colleague of mine one evening, when I was in the Aspiring Leadership Program. He had a daughter just a few weeks younger than Malachy. He told me about how he read to his daughter every night since she was a “baby.” Here, at 4 months, I was thinking I had missed so much time reading to Malachy! What was I thinking? I was a teacher, too, and I wasn’t reading to my child! So, from 4 months onward, we have missed only a handful of nights. (And the only excuse was that we had come home late from a gathering, and he had knocked out.) Before bed, and after brushing, we have read to him and with him EVERY night. The book of choice? The one we read the most? Goodnight Moon, almost every night, for over a year. We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar many many a time. He loved it, and we loved it. And, before age 3, he started to read! I never would have thought that was possible.

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because Dads need to take time out to STOP and THINK…