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grey’s anatomy

how i pretend to be a cool mum, lists you should paste on your fridge, stuff best described as not safe for parents

To game or not to game

Gaming runs in my blood. My brother is a gamer, my sister is a social gamer (she does it when I’m missing a player and I force her to), I’m a gamer and I married a gamer. When I took a shopping trip to Bangkok with my mom and my sis, the husband was over at my house gaming with my brother for 5 days straight (most days without sleeping). Me, I spent 90 hours on Final Fantasy XII alone and I’m pretty sure I’ll top that when FF XIII is out.

So it’s not surprising that my son is also a gamer. I say you can tell a gamer from the way they hold a controller because it’s your best friend, your weapon. You can’t just hold it like it’s a potato. The grip must be firm but not too tight and your fingers must have enough room to maintain dexterity. This you can’t teach.

While some parents freak out at the fact that their kids are playing computer games at 7, I’m proud to say that my 17-month-old boy holds a controller like a pro. Peruse exhibit A.

truett controller

That's how you hold a controller. See the concentration it takes.

That's Winning Eleven. No fighting games till he turns 21.

That's Winning Eleven. No fighting games till he turns 21.

You should probably know by now that my parenting style is rather unorthodox. I know all about the research that shows a correlation between gaming and violent behavior in children (if you try hard enough, you can also find correlation between a caterpillar and ballroom dancing). And the argument that it hinders social development or promotes parasocial interaction. And the fact that it’s bad for the eyes, or how the flickering light can cause epilepsy.

But in my defense, here’s what I’ve got to say. Gaming is wonderful because

1. It trains your fingers to be dexterous. Everyone knows that dexterous fingers are vital to becoming a surgeon. (just watch Grey’s Anatomy) So just look at it as giving him a headstart to becoming a top class cardiovascular surgeon. I bet Christina Yang can kick some serious ass at Viva Pinata.

2. It trains you to think fast and think out of the box. How else would you be able to rescue the princess and fight your way out of a burning castle with 20,000 minions with katanas on your tail? Mental strength and creativity, that’s how.

3. It relieves stress through catharsis. You have a crappy day and gaming helps you to let off some steam. It’s not good to keep all that bad emotions bottled up inside because then you become a sullen, angsty teen that uses your parents as punching bags. The secret to a happy and *fulfilled* childhood is to take it out on all the baddies in Metal Gear Solid 4.

4. You can learn to play musical instruments and eventually form a real rock band like the Jonas Brothers U2 and become a superstar. If you want to succeed, you can’t be sitting around on your ass pretending to do assessment books because you’re afraid your mother is going to whip your ass. It takes practice. On Rock Band 2.

5. You can play computer games for a living and get rich by winning competitions. Now that’s job satisfaction for you.

Funny or So I think, milestones & musings

Why I’ll probably never have a ginormous jacuzzi in my bathroom

You know how sometimes you look back in life and there’s that moment where everything changed. Where there was a fork in the road and you had to choose one or the other. Red pill or blue pill. When your heart is telling you to go one way but your head is screaming out to take the other path. And you’re like “eeny meeny miny moe, let’s flip a coin” because you’re too scared to choose wrong and regret it for the rest of your life. At least if it screws up you can blame it on the damn coin.

Right about this time last year, I had one of those lovely moments.

I did the one thing every person fantasized about doing at one point or another in their career. I swaggered into my boss’ office with the Eye of the Tiger blasting in the soundtrack of my head and threw down my resignation letter. “Hey boss, I QUIT! BTW, this job sucks and I’m being paid way less than I deserve. Plus I’ve been posting ads in the men-seeking-men-classified-column in your name, which should explain all the weird calls you’ve been getting.”

I totally did that in my head, except that my boss was a really nice guy and I kinda liked my job (because I kicked ass at it and it paid me relatively well) and I hate the Eye of the Tiger.

But I did resign from my job to chill out at home and watch Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, and also to watch the little squirt after I wake up from my afternoon siesta. (I only had one back then – kid, not nap).

The quitting was easy once I had made up my mind, but the month leading up to it was agonizing to say the least. The moment Tru was born, I knew that I would be happiest taking care of him myself. We considered every possible childcare option but after 8 days with a maid from hell and visits to countless infantcare centers, I couldn’t bring myself to pick any of them. They all seemed so cold and sterile. I had no doubt that they were all prolific at feeding and nappy changes, but honestly, it just wasn’t good enough.

I need my kids to grow up giggling themselves silly everyday. To stuff cookies up their nostrils and fingers into other orifices and not be taught to sit quietly in a corner. They’ve got to know that Mommy wasn’t too busy chasing the next promotion to sit down and read to them. That when they bump their head and get a boo boo, Aunty Minah is not they first person they run to for comfort. That when they look back on their childhood years from now, they won’t struggle to remember having fun with mama save for a handful of weekends to the zoo and goodnight kisses when they’re already half asleep.

So that’s my heart talking.

But on the other hand, I like having a job. Having adult conversations over a Caramel Macchiato. Having Caramel Macchiatos, period. Dressing up and feeling important productive. Being able to bark orders at minions and use words like “commoditization” and “media engagement”. And most of all, being paid enough to fund my shopping sprees and holidays.

If I really quit my job, that’s half the income up in flames. How would we ever survive? I would  have to stay home and eat raw potatoes everyday (to save on the electricity, duh).

For a month, we butchered the budget and sold off internal organs (only useless ones like the spleen and appendix) and did everything we could to make the numbers add up while I cried myself to sleep every night thinking of Tru all alone in a fancypants infantcare centre. Then finally we decided to bite the bullet and do it. Take the plunge.

It’s been twelve whole months since and I still haven’t eaten the babies (out of hunger or insanity), so great success! I even have my retort all planned out for when the kids ask me why we don’t have an 8-seater jacuzzi in the bathroom. First I’ll whip their asses and then I’ll be all like “Kids, you should be thankful that we don’t have a large ass hot tub in the bathroom because you’d have grown up being tortured by a nut job and become delinquents and eventually incarcerated while daddy and mommy jet-setted around the globe. Then what good would a jacuzzi be? You’re welcome.”


14 weeks and counting

I’m well into the third trimester of my pregnancy, and this is where the fun really begins. The first two trimesters are easy-peasy. You hardly even notice that you’re pregnant and you’re still able to resume around 95% of your normal activities (cravings notwithstanding). But now, all the pregnancy symptoms are in full swing and ALL I WANT TO DO IS GIVE BIRTH.

I don’t walk anymore. I have to get around by waddling, which makes me look like a fat duck. The stomach is getting heavier by the day, my back is breaking, my legs are cramping up, I’m retaining water (and fats) like a reservoir, my formerly-tight ass is ballooning out of proportion and worst of all, I am losing my ability to sleep. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also incontinence, carpal tunnel syndrome, cellulite and stretch marks to deal with postpartum.

If you think about it, insomnia is one of the biggest ironies of pregnancy. I mean, there will be no more sleeping after the baby is born, so there should be some mechanism to allow the body to hibernate and store up on sleep just before the delivery. In fact, I should be retiring into a cave for the next 3 months and sleeping the winter away.

Last night was like the turning point. I was up at 2.30 in the morning developing ulcers watching Manchester United struggle at home against Porto. (GAH!) After which, I lay in bed tossing and turning till 6.45 waiting for Tru to wake up. I hate insomnia. The harder I try to fall asleep, the more awake I feel, and it’s so insanely frustrating. Besides, the whole counting sheep thing is rubbish. I reached up to 6,245,953 sheep before I decided that it was futile.

I’ve still got 14 weeks to go, and now that I think about it, it’s a really long time. Although, I suppose it would make it easier if I could just lie in bed all day with servants feeding me grapes and massaging my toes while I catch up on Grey’s Anatomy. (hint, hint)