This is part 2 of our autumn 2017 stories.
On 20170912, after meeting my clients in the morning, I rushed to pick Little Prince up. Thankfully, I was allowed to eat at his school cafetaria (hence I had energy to meet my afternoon clients). School food tends to be cheaper than restaurant, and healthier than take-aways. For only ~ USD 4, we could have a main course, salad, and a drink. Since the mango juice has sugar, Little Prince who wanted to drink it initially yet suffered from a toothache, agreed to give it to the kind taxi driver, at the end of our journey. He was trying to lower the temperature for the passengers (us) at the back given that it was a hot afternoon, as everyday here.
We also bid farewell to Little Prince’s first nanny who would be flying via Tokyo for her Master study.
On 20170918, I saw a bed bug-like insect near my breast pump bag. I quickly flushed the insect down the toilet bowl and rinsed to (thankfully washable) bag (together with a winter hat that I used as a cushion to protect the pump) with boiling water, before I put them into a washing machine. Searching the bed bugs images turned me off for my meal, yet our safety from bed bugs are more important! Though Honey Panda said that it looked like a bed bug, I have prayed that there will be no bed bug in our hotel apartment. If necessary, we can request for a change of room.
On 20170919 at almost 7 pm, we left our workplace. The taxi driver told us that he has a child of smilar age to Little Prince in Colombo, Sri Lanka and misses his little one very much. At the end of the journey, I gave him almost 10% of the tips, but while walking towards our apartment, I thought that I should give him 25% of tips (in two notes, simple!) because he kindly waited for us walking towards his taxi. No use crying over spilled milk, I could not change the past and accept it. I could be kinder next time to others, especially those who earn and/or have less than me.
In the morning of 20170920, since we received a text message that the school bus will be late for 20 minutes, I allowed Little Prince to sleep longer and took his sweet time. In the end, the school bus waited 4-5 minutes for us, while Little Prince finished brushing teeth, changing clothes (with my help though I usually let him to wear his uniform by himself), wearing his shoes, rushing down to the lobby, in such a short time. Next time, we must go down to the lobby by 7.10am.
To have stress-free mornings, I created a daily routine version 20170920:
- 5 am : the latest for me to wake up if I am pumping mother’s milk (for a max of 30 minutes). I will cook Little Prince’s pasta for his lunch box and allow its temperature to drop before closing his lunch box’s lid. I also cook our oatmeal porridge for our breakfast and keep it warm in the rice cooker while I am pumping milk. This will also leave me an ample of time to wash myself, have a change of clothes, and pack my stuff for work.
- 6.30 am: the latest to wake Little Prince up (I used to wake him up at 6.45 am, but I noticed that it was too rush for us).
- 7.10 am: go down to lobby. We can have a quality chat while waiting for the school bus to come at 7.15 am.
On 20170930 ~ 7pm, Little Prince accidentally broke his Burj Khalifa miniature that he unexpectedly received as a gift on 20170929 due to his passion in storytelling and being on stages. It’s a nice miniature with light, but he could only play with it for less than 24 hours. I told him that his sister and he are more important than any toy. They are irreplaceable, whereas once a toy is damaged, we can repair it or buy a better one. I am thankful for the housekeeping service that allows me not to do vacuuming of broken pieces of glasses!
On 20171001, in spite of waking up at 4.50am, I was still late to reach my workplace from what intended to be (before 8am, and ideally after I brought Little Prince down for his school bus, I could immediately board a taxi to work). Starting at 5.55 am, I wasted about 10 minutes plus to reply to a demanding customer. Next time, I must use only official work hours to reply customers and not to check email the first thing in the mornings (I know this rule for effectiveness and efficiency yet I need more practice to adhere to this rule, so that I could work better). I also observed that I felt annoyed as I could only start pumping milk at 6.40am (I also need to practice more to be calm). Little Prince woke up at 6am, hence I decided to prepare him for the school bus, and I could pump with less worry. He is so sweet that he would appreciate his old encyclopedia, occasionally raising his tiny hand to ask me questions (though I prefer that he is sleeping while I’m pumping milk). Next time, I would start pumping at 5.45am instead of my previous plan to pump at 6am. This morning, I only obtained 85ml from 25 minutes of pumping, too little amount for a breast milk bag for freezing for Little Princess, hence I gave it to Little Prince. Hopefully, it can help him to fight the naughty bacteria, viruses, and allergens that are causing his cough.
Then, when the school bus was about to come, Little Prince wanted to defecate. Upon hearing the missed call from the bus conductress, he shared that “poo is very funny, now I could not poo anymore.” I think he was tense and I need to teach him and allow him to discover how to relax, even in tense moments. I was prepared to bring him to the school and called the school bus conductress to leave without us (she asked us how many more minutes that we needed, I said 5 minutes), but the school bus driver was kindly wanted to wait for us.
I have felt dizzy since the mid of my 2nd 50-minute presentation today. The room was so stuffy. Initially, the clients told me to ask the security guard to lower the AC, but no security guard at the post and I could not leave the clients. Thus, I asked them in the future to kindly help inform the ground floor security guard. Combined with sleep deprivation (I slept at past midnight and woke up at 4.50 am plus), hunger, the stuffiness made me feel dizzy. I realized that I presented wrongly (they are few minor mistakes, but I did not like to make mistakes) and thankfully I was still awake enough to correct it. To make matters worse, half-way through my presentation, the computer just froze!
On 20171011, I had an unexpected extra work. Then, I had to arrange for the second nanny (Little Prince’s first nanny in autumn 2017 has flown to Japan) because I didn’t feel safe leaving him alone in the evening. In the end I learned that some children can be dangerous too.
The nanny-providing company sent the nanny to the wrong building. It’s partially my mistake too because I informed them to bring the nanny to a friend’s home (S), whom I visited only once. I was unaware that there are two identical shops in two different buildings in a close vicinity.
After I waited for 20 minutes and futile attempts in calling the company, I decided to cancel the nanny service. Little Prince stayed with S’ mother and she had to wait for the school bus that would drop S’ daughter at 4.30 pm. While I was already on a taxi, the company informed me that the nanny was sent to the wrong building, I felt sorry for her, but what I could I do.
Little Prince played well with S’ daughter (J) who was few months younger than Little Prince but fatter and of similar height, until Little Prince showed an interest in J’s tablet (I was at the dining table chatting with S’ mother, who suffered a hearing loss). J suddenly pushed away Little Prince, not only once but twice. The shocked Little Prince was frozen at the position resulting from the pushing. Not enough with pushing, J suddenly beat Little Prince’s chest, he told me that it was painful! Upon it, Little Prince broke into tears. I quickly hugged him and listened to him. In his understanding, we must share toys as he joyfully shares his toys.
Before, I taught him that he needs to (i) seek other’s permission before playing with their toys and (ii) plays with other toys or our self-brought play materials (e.g. coloring sheets) if others reject to share their toys, i.e. have plan B. However, I did not anticipate that other children may be aggressive or unfriendly.
Simultaneoulsy, both solemn Little Prince and I need to learn, re-learn, and remind ourselves not to provoke any aggressive behavior from others and avoid those that are aggressive even without any provovation. I remembered teaching the then-toddler him to say “Stop it!” in a firm tone.
While we strive our best to be kind and respectful people, it’s better to have minimal or no expectations on kindness from others so that we won’t be disappointing. We do believe that when we focus on the good, we will only attract good people, yet life is a test (this event was Little Prince’s and my lesson on not to be too naive). When we meet kind people, we must truly appreciate and cherish them.
The next day (20171012), Little Prince returned home sharing a brave act that he did. His school bus mate wanted to take a flag (of our country of residence, given by the teaching assistant of Little Prince). Since the boy took a thing from Little Prince and did not return it, Little Prince thought that he would do the same.
Little Prince firmly told the boy who snatched his flag, “it’s unkind and not respectful.” Thankfully, the school bus conductress moved Little Prince to sit elsewhere.
Little Prince also shared that the same boy often teased him “baby”, yet Little Prince declared that he didn’t believe that boy. He only believes in himself, his mama, his Daddy, and God.
Little Prince has also perhaps sometimes practiced the art of distraction (i.e. use diversion). He shared that at school, when someone took the toy that he was playing, he would give him/her many other toys, and the toy-grabber would forget about it and Little Prince could have it back.
In the morning of 20171013, Little Prince, Little Princess and I enjoyed a detox breakfast of grapes, cranberries, a banana, a plum, an apple cut into different sizes according to our physical sizes (it reminds me on the big, medium, small sizes of Goldilocks and the three bears story). I felt so joyful seeing their tiny fingers pincing the fruit chunks into their tiny mouths. I didn’t give all the fruits at one go, but one by one as I finished cutting them. This way, I also minimized any possible spillage by Little Princess.
Little Prince also enjoyed my oatmeal porridge (sweetened with honey) and eaten with yogurt – a new way of eating that he tried this morning.
We had a very rare opportunity to pick Little Prince up on 20171016, hence I did my best to optimize the opportunity. I thought that Little Princess could savor the school cafetaria’s food, but it’s closed at 2 pm! Then, we attended a workshop on reading for kindergarten children, in which I learned about deconstructing the letters (e.g. cat into three parts) and family of words (e.g. bat, cat, mat, rat). These are simple tips, yet for people who have advanced to teach the grown-ups, we need reminders and re-learning so that we can share our knowledge with people of all ages. I am also thankful that Little Princess keep quiet for almost throughout the 40-minute workshop (we were late for 15 minutes!).
Then, Little Princess had the opportunity to walk a little in her brother’s classroom, while her parents talked to the teacher. The worrywart Honey Panda was concerned seeing Little Prince sitting at the back alone (there were four children in his table, but two of them were some where when Honey Panda passed by). His teacher informed us that he behaves very well. Honey Panda asked if he has any best friend. Not yet! This week, Little Prince started to talk more to his teachers (I wonder if he inherits my quiet personality). When Little Prince was playing with his train tracks, he could be very focused. If things happen, he would move on.
Little Princess later rambled around the middle field (thankfully with a shade), while her brother rode on a tricycle. I also obtained the contact number of the mother of Little Prince’s classmate B who helped him with his water bottle and consulted his music teacher. Yes, I would like to optimize every opportunity to be efficient! Unfortunately, I could not make a payment for the school bus fee as nobody was seen in the office.
On 20171024, we went to the parent-teacher conference, bringing Little Princess alone with a hope that the visit to the gym, library, and playground will expose her to new things and inspire her to learn; she could focus on books/magazines in her play pen and sometimes wipe her books, funny!
All teachers gave positive feedbacks on Little Prince (in contrast, Honey Panda was a challenging student, too talkative and received some punishments in the presence of his mother). They said he is friendly, helpful, and often smiling. Nevertheless, Honey Panda was worried that he would grow up believing that he is smart and expecting the same when challenges get tougher (that’s why there are many instances that in university, students could not accept low grades as they were accustomed to being praised and helped, and getting good grades). This experience ignited a dream in my heart, perhaps via a possibility of Honey Panda’s career, to live, learn, and work in a more competitive city across the oceans.
Things that I am thankful for:
- Little Prince can sing better than me, as we learned from his music teacher.
- We got to meet his Arabic teacher, in spite of me not being fast enough to secure a booking. His Arabic teacher called all students Habibi. Hopefully, he would learn to sing the National Anthem properly in spite of knowing no Arabic.
- Little Princess and Little Prince enjoyed their time in the gym.
- Little Prince’s beautiful class teacher, with her long blonde hair (he loves seeing girls and women with long hair!), was delighted to assist him for his upcoming performance (an aspect that he needs to work on is to be patient enough to follow the music). I first asked the music teacher for a help but she informed us that she won’t have the time for rehearsing 20 students, which we understood. Again, this is a practice of considering alternatives.
- Little Prince is making more friends. Before that, according to his class teachers, he could focus on his independent play alone, but my wish for him is to play with others (as he needs to play by himself at home) and learn about others’ culture, likes, etc in the school.
- Honey Panda enjoyed his music teacher singing to us.
On 20171107, I am very thankful for the bus 52 driver who kindly waited for me ~ 12.50 noon hence I didn’t have to wait for too long under the hot desert sun! Though the bus frequency is relatively low, the bus fare was only 1/6 of the taxi fare.
On 20171126, we had a Burger King dinner as I had a coupon of free mozarella (AED 10) for a whopper (AED 21) purchased. Then, we went to Lulu Hypermarket to buy our groceries. I noticed that the bananas sold by the nearer neighborhood fruit and vegetable store are cheaper! I need to support local vendors more: buy locally, explore globally.
Since we wanted to buy an eclair get 2 from L’Artisan Gourmand (I thought the offer starts at 9 pm, but it starts on Sundays 9 am!), I planned to shop until 9 pm, but Little Prince fell asleep on the trolley. He did neither cry nor complain (好贴心), he just used his arm and hand to support his head, closing his eyes decorated with long eyelashes. I felt sorry that he had to endure such a hardship (every child deserves sleeping on a proper bed), next time we would go shopping earlier!
 In order to be able to wake up at 5 am, I need to sleep by 10 pm. This is because when we set to sleep by 10 pm, we may sleep later than 10 pm. According to Joseph Murphy, we need at least 6 hours of sleep daily and based on my observation, I need more hours of sleep than average people to be at my optimum level.