Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Shopping Trip & A Great Birthday

Baby Angel was still running a block nose and the awful cough, and I wasn't sure if I should bring her along for my niece's birthday dinner. Well, we went ahead anyways, we simply cannot skip this wonderful celebration. My brother's daughter celebrated her 1 year old birthday last Sunday. Much preparation was administered, and it was a fantastic family dinner. Our friend and colleague Paul, was robed in as the official photographer for the highly anticipated event. Everything was prepared thoughtfully. I even survived “Giddy Palace” shopping for our lovely niece Xinyue's birthday present.

I am sorry the correct moniker should be “Kiddy Palace” instead , but in my dictionary of meager vocabulary it must be referred to as “Giddy Palace”. Giddy Palace you see, is a massive super chain store for everything baby and children. Need a flirtatious Barbie doll in hideous pink mini skirt, go to Giddy Palace. Need a gayish look alike male companion for Barbie the doll, go to Giddy Palace. Need an overrated dinosaur in purple suit, hop to Giddy Palace. Need a VCD that plays Barney's version of American Idol, sing your way to Giddy Palace. Need a baby cot, milk bottle, lullaby CDs, baby jumper, sleeping suit, toy gun, wrapping paper, stroller, pampers, and the oversize maternity wear, head over to GIDDY PALACE.

If you haven't already had a spinning head digesting the products listed above, try surviving and breathing inside the superstore physically. I had a better chance surviving the current credit crisis. On the left alley you spot a crying toddler, on the right intersection you see a defiant toddler screaming at the top of her voice. Behind you a crying baby wailed, and above you (ironically) the store music plays a happy song with an Elmo vocal that sounded like a 40 year old man faking orgasm.

I know I am being ruthlessly crude here. And I apologize for offending anyone out there if I ever did. I never meant any harm. I just never fancied an excursion up the king of toddler superstore. Which is why whenever the missus suggested popping over, I needed a construction type pull up crane to heave up my inverted smile.

By the time I stepped over 3 spoiled toddlers, wrestled with Hello Kitty, flip over baby strollers with 5 year olds still sitting in them, pushed away selfish parents, and probably stabbed Barney with a Swiss army knife over and over again we finally arrived at the sales counter with the item in hand. The gay music continued to play above, but the mood isn't particularly gay or rather, happy for the sales staff behind the counter. I have been to the place a couple of times but I have never encountered a smiley sales attendant. Their facial expression suggested they were forced to watch Barney VCDs every morning as part of the norm before they kick start their work day. For Barney fans out there I am sorry if purple is your cup of tea, I just cannot agree wearing that color on a dancing dinosaur, and I am from the creative industry. Creativity must be encouraged but it cannot be absurd. But interestingly the kids love the big cuddly dinosaur. I guess that is the reason why adults can never quite comprehend the imaginative world of children.

No prizes given out for what I did not buy for my niece as her birthday gift. Yes, no Barneys. Just a useful Fisher Price brand shopping trolley designed to aid her in learning to walk. The useful product has an extended handle for the girl to hold on and then walk as she pushes it. Interestingly, those folks at Fisher Price does possess a children's perspective when designing products meant for the kids.

Happy with the purchase, we had the gift wrapped up in teddy bear wrapping paper. We also bought a Polo Ralph Lauren dress for the one year old queen a few days earlier. As a known branded 'xiao' to my friends and family, there is absolutely no way I will pass off shopping for a designer apparel for my niece. The end result had been more than rewarding. Seeing the joy on Xinyue's face meant she was more than delighted with the propositions. The gift unwrapping ritual must be the most exciting highlight for any Birthday kid. The chuckles and excited body language from your child will definitely make any parent feel rewarded. I can see that in my brother's eye. A long anticipated 1st Birthday for your kid is perhaps the joyous occasion of the year. It was such a fantastic Birthday, not only for Xinyue, but for everyone, including my mum and dad who held on tightly to their 2 granddaughters, Xinyue and of course our little Angel.

With one great Birthday over, another one arrives in another 6 months time. And I am already wondering what to buy for our little Angel when it is her turn for her birthday. How about a chic Armani Kid dress complete with the signature eagle logo? Top it off with sparkling crystals sewn over the logo. That would be perfect.

But I can already hear the missus ratter in my head now, “Please don't make your daughter into a spoiled brat! You vain bastard!!”

I am itching all over now...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Culprit

I am wearing a mask... and I am writing a diary.

No, I am not renacting the scenes of the comic character 'Rorchac' in the film “Watchmen”. Although with the mask down I look perverted and sick enough at times. At least the missus thought so. My habit of mimicking a film character after every inspired movie is a near push factor for a divorce paper from my wife. There were many examples to quote. But probably the most irritating one was when Brad Pit played an insane character in the film “Twelve Monkeys”. I was so inspired that I wore that idiotic expression for an entire week. The missus should have dumped me for a real Brad Pit lookalike, but the woman had an amazingly steep threshold. Places switched, I would have lost the will to live (it was that bad). However, it was not easy to spot a potential Brad Pit. So she stood by me all these years.

We are both wearing masks now, surgical masks to be exact. With the masks on and a syringe pumped up with medicine, we looked very much like the doctors in “Prison Break”. Our subject now though is not the famed Michael Scoffield (the lead hero in the show). We are working on our Baby Angel instead. And I am the culprit for this operation.

Yes, baby Angel had fallen sick for the first time in her human life. And I am to be blamed. Viruses from my gastric flu had probably invaded her weak immune system, or the lack of it. Born with a hole in her heart, she has a tendency to be weaker than her peers because her lungs have to work harder due to the presence of the tiny hole in her heart. And that means she is more prone to viruses.

Our subject wailed and kicked while doctor daddy is holding her close to thy chest. Playing nurse, the missus had to speedily squeezed out the drug from the syringe into baby Angel's mouth, and then we wait for more kicking and wailing. This is breaking my heart out while she is desperately plucking out the hair underneath my armpit for comfort... Yeah, as if coming back at me with a vengeance, baby Angel is resisting all her might to thwart the doses of bitter drugs. And in the event of this saga, it looked like I might have lost a few strand of body hair. But surely this is nothing compared to the discomfort baby Angel is experiencing being sick for the first time in her life.

I felt really bad for this. To make it up, I am teaming up with my wife to give our little gal the best attentive care we can give in exchange for her speedy recovery. And in the event of this, I am willing to let go of some of my bodily hair while the little one is being coerced to down the few ml of those nasty drugs.

The pediatrician advises against stepping out of the house the entire week for baby Angel, a welcome suggestion in the view of her grandpa, who until today continue to threaten grounding his son inside the kitchen. I guess parents will be parents despite how old you are. And it is only now that I am a parent myself I can somehow relate my dad's irrational actions.

I once mentioned this to Angel's mum. “When she grow up I am not sending her for overseas studies.”

“Why?” mused the missus.

“I just can't bear to do so.” I said.

“Don't be silly. By habouring such thoughts you are not helping to nurture an independent child. You are not doing good for Angel.” The missus was right.

Protecting your child does not mean fielding her from everything. Your children need to experience the necessities of life. Life is never meant to be a bed of roses. I grew up under the roof of overly protective and strict parents. I used to dread my father for calling me up at the age of 25 when I was still hanging out with friends in the night. My dad was so strict and protective that made me, once a immature lad, into a rebellious kid. No, I wasn't a gangster, mischievous as I was, I still adhered to the good values that my parents impresses upon me. But I could be rather ill-tempered during those days. Mostly because I wanted to break free the norm that my parents wanted me to be in. I am not blaming my parents for this, they meant me well, looking back I was just an immature lad. It was just food for thought, because whatever actions handed out by me to Angel will definitely trigger a reaction. And I would like those reactions to be positive actions.

But in the heart of doting and anxious parents, how do we measure the balance? How much to let go and how much to reel in. I have no idea, and it is a profound knowledge every parent have to seek, in our very own ways, because we tend to be the culprit of our children's actions, and it is a course we need to tread carefully.

The future may be full of learning curves for me, I am guessing steep ones mostly. And I have to learn to let go of our little girl when the time calls for appropriate actions. But right now one thing is very clear, Angel should not step out of the house as advised by the pediatrician. My old dad is right in this case.

And being the lone culprit for Angel's misadventure, I must work towards having our daughter well again. Do whatever that is necessary. Whether it is donning that surgical mask for preventive measures or having the entire family grounded for the rest of the week, I will just have to do it. All in the well-being for baby Angel's recovery.

But on second thought, I will probably be hunting for the shaver now..

*I must thank fellow bloggers for popping by now and then seeking for Angel updates. When I started blogging, I never thought I could connect with great, warm and nice people, you people!! I merely wanted to document my simple life and a dose of my family story so that I can look back in time and reminiscence the memories in time. By now I can probably gather the familiar handful lot of you that kept popping by in anticipation of Baby Angel's progress.

I am deeply touched.

The past weeks were a mash up of hectic workload, friends and family issues for me. I was not able to keep up with more updates as much as I wanted do. One of which was Angel's special act of biting everything she fancied. I could have written a light hearted tale on this, but right now I simply have to be contented with the below photograph that somehow tells the story.

One very easy culprit to point finger to is of course my work. The economy is bad, and that means me getting my hands dirty doing some major design work in the office on top of the other daily operations.

I would like to share with you a recent project I completed last month. It is a children website for the International Friendship Day. I am not much of an illustrator, I am more of a graphic multimedia artist. This production is interesting to me because I have to draw a lot of cartoons which is so not my usual style. There is game component in this website It is a Q&A game testing your knowledge of ASEAN countries, have a go at it and see how well you fare. It is quite interesting, I couldn't answer all questions correctly relating to Singapore myself. And feel free to comment on the production. If it sucks, just be frank. It will improve my direction in my future projects.

With that, I end my post. And I wish all of you a very pleasant week ahead!