Men's Articles

A Blast From The Past

It all started when a school bully burst a balloon in my tender ears. I immediately burst into tears, but as children are wont to do, this only encouraged him to repeat his performance. Loud blasts continued to ring in my ears for that day - and a long time after. He had traumatised me for good.

Invitations to birthday parties filled me with trepidation, because balloons were always part of the deal. Everyone thought I was mad not to be crazy about such colorful things. But to me, balloons were - and still are - nothing but one big fat threat. I was at a mall on New Year's Eve a few years ago (before I had children) joining the crowd for the big countdown.

When I realised that they were about to release balloons from the huge net on the ceiling, I quickly made a run for the exit. It was an instinctive, almost primal reaction. There were shopping vouchers in those balloons by the way - but I would rather skip the freebie than risk an en masse explosion. Yes, I was paranoid.

For a while, everything was peaceful in my balloon-free life - until I had children. There was no escape from them. On our shopping trips, I often find myself on the wrong side of the mall (read: where someone appears out of nowhere and gives away balloons for free). My two tots would start chanting "I want!" at the sight of these eye candies.

Any attempts to dissuade them would only result in wailings so heart-wrenching that one might think this mother is depriving her children of something important. Resigned to my fate, I would let them jostle for the freshly-blown balloons with the other kids. And just as I try to veer my children away, the mall would suddenly be filled with a whole tribe of children who, to me, are "armed and dangerous". I would do my best to go.

But it doesn't end at the mall. With two balloons swaying around the limited space in the car, I would sit frozen for the whole journey and pray they wouldn't blow up in my face. At home, I would ask my husband to take off the sticks that hold the balloons (because if there is one thing worse than burst balloons, it would be poked little eyes). The balloons would be on the loose, and I would avoid them like they were time bombs ticking away.

When the kids are finally bored with their blowups, I would discreetly hide them (the balloons, not the kids) in the storeroom until they "expire" - and before the kids have funny ideas on how to speed things up a bit. After a few episodes of "tried and blasted" balloons at home (courtesy of my kids), I was once tempted to deal with it with the strongest muscle in my body (ie. my tongue).

Oh, how I wanted to tell them that the blast would make them go to pieces. But I did the next best thing- I was honest and simply told them the crushing truth: poor mummy is seriously frightened of balloons. I hoped for a small measure of understanding, but too bad for me, my plaintive plea did nothing to melt their hearts.

They clearly don't give a toss about my balloon fears and continue to want them whenever they see one. But all is not bleak in this tale. My own irrational fear has enabled me to be more tolerant of my children's little fears, such as my three-year-olds fear of having his hair washed, or his elder sister's fear of the darkness.

As silly as these fears might seem to others, they are certainly very real to those who are concerned. For now, it seems that my only option is to wait until balloons (bursting or otherwise) no longer thrill my little ones. Then again, that wouldn't necessarily mean a progression to something better. When the kids come of age, they might just find another ear-piercing subject of fascination, like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit (whose music can be just another form of ear abuse to me).

Tickle Baby's Tastebuds

Now that your baby is ready for a whole range of tastes, what can she have? Your baby can take a while to accept new food. You might have to keep offering the same item 10 times before gaining her approval. So be patient. Keep it interesting for her by offering a variety of new food items along with those she enjoys, and don't force her to eat when she is full.

Let her decide how much she'll eat. Sometimes, just seeing you or other family members eat the food will pique her interest in trying it, too. Don't forget: you are there to offer support and encouragement! Food to try when your child is...

4-6 Months

Apple, apricot, banana, avocado, carrot, peach, pear, potato, pumpkin.

6-7 Months

Green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, plum, porridge, yam, egg yolk, melon, meat puree, rusks, toast fingers.

8-9 Months

Cabbage, beancurd, berries, creamed corn, kiwifruit, lentils, pasta, smooth peanut butter, peas, pineapple, orange, spinach, tomato, yoghurt 

Note: If there is a strong family history of allergy to peanuts, delay until the child is three years old.

My Girl Started Primary School This Year. At First, She Loved Going To School, But Recently She Complains A Lot About Her Classmates, Saying They Are Very Irritating, Very Rude And So On. I'm Worried That As Time Goes By, She May Not Want To Go To School.

A good start to a school year often loses its appeal when the child has settled into a routine. It is not surprising that children tend to find that school is no longer fun when problems occur. In this instance, your child's pet peeve is her irritating classmates whom she can't get along with. Not every seven-year-old can understand the social dynamics of accommodating different personalities, especially when it comes to brashness and aggression.

Your child may also have a heightened sensitivity towards such irksome behavior. What she may perceive as constant annoyance may be a case of low tolerance for boisterous conduct. You can listen to her woes and empathise with her feelings. However, the long-term solution is really to equip her with life skills. Take time to teach your child to be a team player who can negotiate her way around difficult people.

Never try and enter into her arena to fight for her right at every instance. Instead, continue to affirm positive character traits and engage her into an understanding that patience and a forgiving spirit speak volumes when dealing with insolent friends. Winning over their trust rather than ostracising and demeaning her friends constantly for their shortcomings may serve her better at school. Who knows, her exemplary conduct may be recognised as leadership qualities!

Finally, partner with her teacher in educating your child. A friendly email exchange will help open the communication channel for mutual consultation. Make each day of school a celebration of fun and creative learning!. Be the ace life coach for your child. She will catch on your positive outlook and will soon forget the dread of going to school.


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