Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids Amaze Me

Kids continue to amaze me. They develop intricate communication systems and ways of interaction that boggle my mind. I do not remember ever having to figure out ways to establish a relationship with my friends; a set of rules and regulations of how to treat one another. 

Last night, after my son and I had a long discussion, on the bed in a dark room, I came out in awe of him and his friends. I realized that there were so many little details of his relationship with his friends that I had no knowledge of and I was humbled. 

He told me how he got along very well with one of his friends, a lovely boy of four, J. He first said he liked him and before I had the chance to ask him why he corrected himself and said, "No,  actually I love him." I asked him why, not because I didn't know the answer to that question, but because I wanted to hear his thoughts. He told me what a good boy J was, how they played well together and how he sticks up for him. 

He then said that J listens to him and at that point my eyebrows shot up in the dark. I have to admit that I was a little weary of his last comment. I asked Jad if he bossed J around and he said, "No, mom we have a system going." 

A what??? A system?

I had to choose my words carefully in this situation so as to get the whole truth and a better INSIDE picture of what goes on when the parents are busy chatting away or preparing dinner.

And this is what he explained:

"Mom, J and I have a system. He listen to two things and then I listen to one." I was very confused and had to clarify what he meant since, to my mommy mind set, he was not making any sense. It was either that or that I was so clueless as to what goes on between kids that I failed to understand. The poor young man kept trying to explain but after the third time over he gave up and presented his information in layman's terms.

"OK mom, this is how it goes. I ask J to do two things for me and then he asks me to do one thing for him. For example: I ask him to please give me a toy he is playing with because it is my favorite or if he can hand me a toy next to him and he asks me to open something for him or get him a drink of water." (Because my son can reach the top shelves of our fridge and take out the water bottle).

"Ahhhh", I nodded, "but is this ratio like this now as well? or has it change? Because it sounds to me a bit unequal."
He said that this was some time ago but now it is a 2:2... my kid talks in ratios????

At that moment I remembered that there is a third little person in that group; my daughter. My curiosity took the better of me and I asked about her and how the system is like with her. And with all confidence my son replied,"Oh it is 4:1! I ask four things of her and she asks one thing of me."

And when I asked him whether this ratio will continue for a long time he said,"No, it will change to 4:2."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Invented People


I feel sad for individuals whose knowledge of the world is limited, who come out and make drastic comments about another people. How can one deny the existence of a culture with history, traditions and values? How can one deny people and their rights to exist to satisfy a few groups to get further in elections? It is all about greed and ignorance. Nothing is thought out, no feelings involved, just plane outright cold and inhumane. I feel sad for such people as their hearts are so small and so full of hatred. It is a shame that such people exist in the world but then again it is such people that help us appreciate the people on the other end of the continuum. 

Have a read if you wish of what this man has said just recently and then enjoy some pictures of the people he thinks were invented but in reality have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years. You cannot INVENT people... How can one invent a people? Just the fact that they live on this Earth means they exist... One cannot erase them or any other... disregard or think they are just a figment of millions of peoples' imagination.

Here are the pictures that say a thousand words.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Parents Must Say "No!"


I should make something clear before anyone reads the words below. I am only venting and trying to get my head around it as a mother myself. Furthermore, I am not an expert on parenting, in fact, I am still learning and will continue to learn until I am old and gray. However, one thing that I learned from my parents is the importance of placing boundaries for children, teaching them to become responsible adults who care for others and their feelings.

Therefore, sometimes it boggles my mind when parents bring up their children on the idea that they never do anything wrong. I have read so many articles online and books saying that parents MUST say NO to their children especially when they do something that either hurts themselves or others.

Saying NO at the right time, and when it is appropriate, is extremely important in teaching our children how to be centered, happy and responsible human beings. If children never hear that word NO in their childhood, they WILL soon enough when they are older. And then what would they do? They would be so surprised and overwhelmed not knowing how to react to this new word or reaction from others.

Granted that parents need to learn HOW to say NO and there are many website out there that can provide them with tips on how to address this... but the fact remains that parents must say NO to their children if other ways of explaining it to them did not work. For example, "Please try to use your Big Boy voice and tell me what you want." Instead of "Stop whining!"  However, if that did not work after the 10th time then parents must say, "No, please stop whining or I will not listen to you." If we, parents, listen to everything the children ask for, especially when they whine, we are only reinforcing the behavior that we basically did not want from the beginning.

It is the same when children hit or play tricks on one another. We must always understand that kids will be kids but we must also comprehend that both behaviors are wrong. If we ignore either behavior without addressing the hurt feelings of the kids involved then our children would learn that we are ok with it and they would do it again. We would also be teaching them to ignore their friend's hurt feelings helping our children become unsympathetic towards others. We need to teach our children empathy by saying NO and asking them to apologize for the hurt feelings they caused. It is of no benefit to our children if we believed they never did anything wrong... that they never hit other children unless they have been hit themselves or they would never play tricks on anyone unless they have been pushed to. BOTH actions are wrong whether it was instigated or retaliated.

If we ignore such behaviors, we would not only be reinforcing the bad behavior when they are little but we would need to deal with them when the children are older. Dealing with such behaviors when the kids are 15 years old would be a hand full and doubly hard. We would help to create unmanageable children and adults later on in life.

I am not sure if you all agree with me, my friends, but I would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Flood Pictures

Childlren catching fish and crabs in the water that took over their village streets.

My Dear Readers,

I have received many requests to post more of the flood pictures that I took on my trip to the Bang Khae area. Many of the pictures show the devastating powers of the moss, sewage and fish infested waters of the khlongs. 

We visited the house of one of our school staff member's and his grandmother's. Joke told us that no matter how many sand bags they used or cement walls they constructed to keep the water out, their efforts were in vane because it seeped through the walls of the house. He was forced along with his family to evacuate and I am glad that his grandmother had not yet returned to see what had happened to her house or she would have been heart broken. Her house was old style and one had to walk down some steps to enter it, which meant that it would act like a giant indoor pool when water occupied it.

As I mentioned in my previous post, What an Attitude, the trip took a toll on my emotions but the people, their smiles and their warm inspirational attitudes gave me the boost to continue snapping pictures. During the whole experience, and although I took pictures of the damage done, I tried also to balance everything out and find some beauty in my surroundings.

Below is also the message that was sent to us thanking the team for providing them with emergency and food bags.

In Thai:
เรียน   คณะครู  นักเรียน โรงเรียนนานาชาติใหม่  และทีมจักรยานจากหมู่บ้านฟ้าปิยรมย์
ดีใจค่ะที่ได้รับน้ำใจจากกลุ่มคนกลุ่มเล็กๆที่เต็มไปด้วยพลังที่ยิ่งใหญ่ พวกเราทราบซึ้งในความตั้งใจอันแรงกล้าของพวกคุณที่ได้ส่งความช่วยเหลือมาถึงพวกเรา
ความช่วยเหลือของพวกคุณ  สามารถทำให้คนอีกมากมายได้มีกำลังใจในการใช้ชีวิตอยู่กับน้ำที่ท่วมขังต่อไป สิ่งของที่พวกคุณนำมาให้ทุกชิ้นมีประโยชน์ต่อพวกเรามากจริงๆค่ะ


                    จาก      ผู้ประสบภัย

Dear teachers and students of the New International School of Thailand and the Biking team from Baan-Fah Piyarom village,

We are so happy to have been touched by such a small group of people with such big hearts. We are very grateful for your courage that has made you reach out to help us. Your help has given so many people hope to stay strong in this time of crisis. The things you brought for us have been very helpful to our community.

And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The people of our village

The inside of a house in the village.

The streets of the village covered in garbage and dog poo. The person responsible for the village said that the government did not visit this village once to help out. 

One of the narrow allies in the village. As you can see it is impassable as it is filled with water and garbage.
I went walking while the others were waiting for direction on what to do next. I had to take a look at other places around the village. This run down house was adjacent to a well kept rich one that was protected from the waters by walls and hundreds of sandbags and plastic covers.
The Thais have a sense of humor. They chose to save this torn couch by placing it on top of the small bridge.
You can see to which level the water reached from the marks on this white wall.
The man was pumping the water off the streets and into a khlong near by. I could not help but snap the picture because of his bright contagious smile.
This and all the below pictures are form the inside of Joke's house. You can see a black boat floating in the background.
A beautiful garden... such a contrast between the bright pink flowers to the dirty water lying beneath their pot 'houses'.
The inside of the grandmother's house.
They tried to save as many of their belongings as possible placing them on top of table and basically anything that had legs.
Joke and his family kept geese in their backyard.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning to Trust

My son, his sister and his Pirate friend
We had a long weekend due to The Thai King’s birthday and what a weekend it was. Not only did the country celebrate the birth of their revered king but three International Families celebrated their sons’ birthdays as well. Yup… we had a birthday every day of the long weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  

One of our dear friends’ son was born on October 20th, a day before but 2 years after my son was born and therefore it was only logical to have their birthdays celebrated one after the other. The festivities were actually planned two weeks apart in October but we had to postpone them both due to the flood warnings and this week was THE week we chose to do them. I certainly could not have picked a better week. 

I was a little nervous at the beginning to have them so close in proximity to one another because even though I love baking my children their own cakes, I knew that nothing I did would live up to the creativity of my friend. She is an amazing talented cook and party organizer who has a knack for all this. She is a master at constructing complicated structures of sweetness and every cake she makes out does the previous one. This was why I had butterflies in my stomach before my son’s Birthday party.

What started the butterflies was the look of awe on my son’s face when my friend’s Pirate Ship cake was placed on the table and the candles were lit. His eyes opened wide and he had a huge smile on his face. Anyone could see the look of utter satisfaction when he helped his friend blow out the magic candles and took the first juicy bite of the cake. And that made me wonder if he would have that same feeling when it came to blowing out his own candles and tasting his own cake the next day.

Didn't I tell you it was a super duper cake?

I need not worry though as the first person to actually give me a compliment on my son’s UFO cake in the fridge was my talented friend. And even though my UFO cake did not need the skill her Pirate ship needed, she thought that I had done a good job. I knew then that my son would like it and I would get to see that same satisfied look on his face.

My son's UFO birthday cake

Suffice to say, it was a good day and I enjoyed planning the activities as well as the food the people enjoyed. So our guests left with happy feelings, full bellies and well entertained. And the one thing I should learn from this week is that I must trust myself and my abilities more. I need to learn how to breathe and have more faith. I know I can do something if I worked hard enough... I just need to remember that when, as the saying goes, “The Going Gets Tough!”