Monday, November 30, 2009

A Rocking Big Day

The day began like any normal weekend. We went out, had lunch at one of our favourite coffee shops (with you asking how come we couldn't eat in an air-con restaurant.. ) then we headed home. Nope, we missed something so we headed to Island Plaza to buy “apple juice’ as you had insisted. Then we headed home. You needed your afternoon nap. No way are you allowed to miss today’s nap. Why because the day is still young and you've got a many more things to do during the long night ahead.

The day is Uncle Sin Tien’s big day. This is the day that he and Aunty Ean Na picked to be their wedding day. Many days and months have been put in to plan for their perfect wedding. And more than a month ago, they had asked me if you’d want to be. But knowing how shy you were I was hesitant to promise that you’d be it. I tried asking you, explaining what was expected of you, but when I met Aunty Ean Na a couple of weekends ago, I was still unsure.

Anyhow, while you were napping, daddy and I quickly got ourselves ready for the big day. WE had to be at Hard Rock Hotel before 6pm as Ah Ma was the tea time provider. She’d been busy the whole afternoon, collecting the kuih and curry puffs for the big day. After we were almost ready, I had to try to wake you up from your beauty nap. Sigh... that is one of the toughest thing a mummy has to do. Wake their sleepy son up! After a while and a lot of persuasion, you woke up.

I quickly gave you a shower, dressed you and you were all nice and handsome. And then it was my turn to get ready. I was clean but not ready yet. So at top speed with your daddy asking me questions in between I got ready. Then off we all went.

Before that we had to make a stop at the condo. We needed to drop something off. And then the traffic jam began! Yup, just after Tanjung Bungah the traffic crawled all the way to Batu Ferringhi. The was another function there and I guess everyone was heading there. When we arrived, most of the family members were not there yet. So everyone started with tea first then since the Phuah’s were late, we started with tea ceremony for Aunty Ean Na’s family.

You had a wonderful time, eating the cream puff and following Annabelle che-che who instantly became the ringleader of the 3 of you. After the tea ceremony, we headed downstairs to the ballroom. The ballroom was rather cold, but I'm sure you didn't feel it much. You were busy running around entertaining yourself.

At last it was 8pm and time for the bride and groom to make their appearance. Of course I was also very excited. After all, it's everyday my little boy gets to be the page boy. Hehe.. yup, that's the question that I've been asking you if you'd wanted to be.. the page boy and you agreed and I have to say, a rather handsome one you were...

Oh yeah.. and here's the beautiful bride and her handsome groom (the only picture daddy took of the bridal couple)..

The bride and groom on the cake...

Then dinner was served. Your job which Ah Ma had secretly "trained" you (she taught you to walk slowly.. although you were way in front of the 2 girls) was over in a few minutes. Dinner was rather long and by the time we were done, it was 11.30pm.

As there was a big time gap in between the dishes, you and the girls kept yourselves entertained. Here you are "break dancing" on stage:

And when everything was all over and all the guest had left, we took a family picture. By the time we left the hotel it was 12midnight and it took another 30 minutes for us to reach Tanjung Tokong. What a long night...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After a long day at work

The best part of going home is always seeing you up and about playing around the house or cycling. Last Thursday as we drove into the porch you came running out, asking to go to the playground. So you hopped into the car after I'd dropped off our things into the house and off we went across the road to the playground. Here you are enjoying the slides.

You used to be so afraid of the swings when we went to the Youth Park. Now as you grow older and bolder you are not afraid of the swing anymore and you can even ask to go higher.
I'm glad that we could squeeze some time to go to the playground and the weather was very good. It's been raining most evenings for the past few days.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Riding or racing?

Or should I call it a torture session for mummy. Most days you’d have ridden your bicycle by the time we come home. Otherwise, you would be just about done and the moment you see us, you’d abandon your bicycle (for Ah Kong to wheel home) and hop into our car. We’d either bring you for a car ride or go across the road to the playground.

That one Friday we’d left work early and Ah Ma was just about to bring you out for a bicycle ride. So I changed into something comfy and brought you for a ride. Our house is somewhere almost in the middle of the housing estate and so we could either ride to the left or the right of the long pathway. You decided to turn right (thank goodness.. since it’s the shorter path) and started to cycle. What started out to be a quick walk quickly got faster and faster. As we were walking, Nanna called and you decided to start to ride faster and faster. And no matter how many times I called to you to slow down, you refused to listen. Instead, you seemed to go faster and faster! In the end, I had to hang up on Nanna and start running (yes! Running!) after you and yelling like a crazed lady.

And no you did not stop nor slow down. Instead you kept laughing gleefully and glancing back at me. That was scary as I was afraid you’d veer off the pathway into the road. At long last you stopped only as we got to the end of that road. But of course as we turned back you started to speed away and again I was that mad lady yelling after you. Later on I told Ah Kong that everyone living along that road probably knows your name by now, with me shouting away.

When we reached our road, I wanted to go back, but you were still full of energy. Sigh.. so what to do? I had to make you promise not to ride too fast (or else we’d turn back immediately) and we almost made it to the other end.. er.. probably another 5 roads away before I had to give up. So we headed back home.

So my torture session ended or so I thought. My legs ached for quite a few days and I KO-ed before you did that night. Hhmm.. maybe I should come back early more often for this free exercise and bonding time with you.

It’s Moving Day

Well, actually moving day was almost a month ago. The only problem was work was piling up and worst of all there is no internet connection where we are now. So where are we? Hehe.. nope, Ah Kong’s house renovation is not done yet and yes we have moved.. to a temporary place to stay in. We were supposed to be moving again today, but instead we’ll be here another 2 weeks more.

We moved from what was home for just over a year on the replacement holiday for Deepavali. Most of the things we would (most likely) not be using for a while was packed into boxes and moved to Minden. And for the next month (or so) we were to stay in a temporary accommodation with whatever we brought along with us. In actual fact, as at 5pm that day after everything was moved to Minden, we did not yet have a place to stay in! This was because the landlord of place Ah Ma had picked was not able to be rent out in the last minute. In a way that was a blessing in disguise. Instead of the planned 1 month, it looks like we would be here for a little longer. And that first place was a lot smaller than this house that we are staying in now. So where are we staying?
All tired out.. your last nap on the condo's sofa

Ahh.... it’s still nearby to our condo. It’s in Tanjung Tokong and you’ve learned how to say this place “Tanjoing Tokong” when you’re in a good mood, and “Tanjoing Kong Kong” when you’re in a cheeky mood! All of a sudden we’re living in a house with stairs again and of course you are amused with this. You were told not to climb up the stairs alone and that warning was only heeded the first few days. Just a few days ago Ah Ma caught you climbing upstairs.. and not to the first floor, but to the second floor!
This place is rather different from what we’ve been used to , but having stayed here for a month, we’ve all gotten used to this place. And one thing that we like about this place is the area. It is a gated community and we are staying in one of the terrace houses. This side has a nice pathway where you go riding your bicycle. The playground is just across the main road from our house and there is also a nice pathway along the seaside to cycle along. On top of that you’ve made friends with the little boy staying across the road, Thomas. Most days as we approach the house you’d be outside playing with Thomas while his mummy and his little sister watch and chat with Ah Ma.

One funny thing about this place is that some of the things are made for giants:

Super high rack and super high towel rail

.. while some are made for little people, like you. See.. you can reach the switches easily because it's only waist high (for an adult):

Our room is the bigger room and it’s got an adjoining bathroom with:
...two sinks and a bathtub just for you. The stool that Ee-ee bought for you is just right. When you stand on it, you can just reach the sink and brush your own teeth.

Our room has a view of the airwell outside too:
One thing is for sure, we’ll miss living in the Tanjung Bungah/Tanjung Tokong area when we move back to Minden. Then again, that place also has it’s own charm. After all we’ve been living there for quite a while. Maybe when we’re there, Kelvin and Kaitlyn will visit us more often.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jigsaw Mania

I've bought you several jigsaws and you've also received jigsaws in several forms from many people: magnetics, in books or just one type. But you never showed any keen interest in it. Then all of a sudden, I noticed that you were showing more interest in your jigsaw puzzles. Here's one of you enjoying yourself with the puzzle that I'd bought as a present promised to you for being a good boy in school and no crying when we dropped you off. You were happy to receive this little gift. It took you a while but after showing you to fix the corners first, you could do it and now you can complete the puzzle in record time!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Come on, let's rock!

I know that this is so very outdated, but of course i still need to blog about it. It's Annabelle's 5th birthday and her mummy and daddy had decided to throw a birthday party in the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel's pizzeria. Annabelle enjoying the food

We celebrated her birthday a day before our big moving day. So we stopped all packing and headed to Hard Rock Hotel for an afternoon of pizzas and cakes. No swimming for you as you were still coughing. Poor thing. But you seemed nonchalant about not being able to swim. We ate some of the pizza which were nothing to shout about and you had chippies with lots of tomato sauce which you thoroughly enjoyed (I'm not too sure which you liked more, the tomato sauce or the chippies..). Later while the other kids played with the water features, we went to explore the hotel area while daddy spent time with his camera.

We had a good time and daddy took some nice pictures too. I love this one:

After the kids were done swimming and playing in the pool, it was cake time. Daddy tried to take a nice shot of the birthday girl and her cake, but too many photographers that day. We left shortly after that. You were even given a set of stickers with your name printed on it. How nice...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's All Fine?

I wonder.. No tears for the past 2 days. Only problem is poor daddy could not give you a big, tight hug for fear of you breaking down in tears instead! He's been giving you quick hugs and so you were fine on Tue and today. On Monday you were all teary and yet you stopped to laugh at Teacher Farah!
Why? Because she was trying to console you and she accidentally dropped her thermometer. With tears in your eyes, you could smile and say "You clumsy". Haha.. so I guess your tears probably make a very short and quick appearance when we drop you and quickly disappears as you join the class.
Ah.. the simple things that brings a smile to your face!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Will You Remember?

What I wanted to say in this post is you only have memories of Ah Tai up till this tender age of 3 years old. Would you remember who Ah Tai is when you grow up? So far you still remember her so well. You recall having sat in a bus to go to her "other home" (how does one explain "grave" to a little child?). You recall her bathroom was the one downstairs which was next to the room she slept in the last few months of her life (calling it "Ah Tai's bathroom"). You know that Ipoh means Ah Tai as you asked me early that morning about Ah Tai and you asked me about Ah Tai not having any money (what you meant to ask is still a mystery to us...).

Would you remember Ah Tai based on what we tell you? We've got a few precious pictures of you with Ah Tai. She's rather camera shy and would usually look away when we take pictures.

So let me share with you a little that I know of this wonderful lady. The first time I met her, she also became my "Ah Ma'. Everyone of the younger generation (daddy's generation) called her Ah Ma or something equivalent to that in other languages. I could never hold a conversation with her. The Hokkien that I spoke and understood was not really the same as hers which was the original Hokkien direct from China. And everyone spoke to her in a jumble of Hokkien and Cantonese.

I was so happy that she made it up to Penang just for our wedding. Daddy and I wanted her to sit at the main table with us, but she was shy and wanted to sit at another table. Less than 2 years later, she made a trip up to Penang again, to visit us. You were just over a week old then. She was happy to hold the next generation of the Ban family in her arms. She even made another trip to Penang to celebrate your full moon.

We made many trips back to Ipoh and she would be ever so happy to see you each and every time. Soon you learnt to call her "Ah Tai" much to her delight. She'd smile and say "kuai" to you. Your Kor Poh and ChimPoh would tease her asking if she'd like you to stay in Ipoh with her. Sometimes you'd give her kisses and hugs and she's be so happy. I wonder if she missed you when we weren't visiting. There was one stage where you weren't too willing to kiss her, but I'm sure she didn't mind. You still gave her hugs especially when it was time to go back to Penang.

Festive occasions were a time when most of the family made their way back to that large house in Ipoh to celebrate together and to catch up. The first time I joined the celebration was Ah Tai's birthday dinner. It amazed me that everyone ensured they were there to celebrate her brithday with her. A few years later (even before our wedding), the dinners stopped as a medium had advised her not to have the celebrations anymore. But the family still converged to Ipoh for Chinese New Year and again on the 9th day of Chinese New Year to "Pai Tee Kong". Chinese New Year saw a feast being prepared for the family members. There would be close to 30 or more Ban's gathered at the house during dinner time. The same goes for Cheng Beng. We'd either travel to Ipoh the night before of leave early in the morning to make it for the prayers at the graveyard. On top of that wedding celebrations also brought the family together.

This amazing woman never has much to say, but somehow she seems to be the magnet of the family, ensuring that everyone was around where there was a festive occasion. As her life was reaching the end we all gathered to celebrate the life of this wonderful woman. Almost all her children made it back to Ipoh to bid her a final farewell. In the final days of her life, the Ipoh house had more people staying there than during Chinese New Year though everyone was in a sombre mood.

I hope that although you barely know this amazing lady and would probably forget about her as you grow older this post would serve as a little memory of this amazing lady whom you call "Ah Tai".8

P/S: I just found this post and wanted to ensure I shared it with you. It's a pity Evelyn never got to meet her. But at least she got to meet your other two Tou-tou.