Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas!

During the Christmas holiday, our family decided not to subject ourselves to the costly and freaking-time-consuming experience that is going to the US, and instead we opted to stay closer to home: Thailand.

We were there for 10 days, and while I could sit here and recap every single thing that we experienced, I don't feel like getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome today, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to go through what would surely be the literary equivalent of looking at someone's vacation slides!

So, in order to consolidate information, I am going to briefly touch on our trip while using a popular holiday song:

On the twelve days of Christmas, the universe gave to us:

1 stomach virus that we ALL shared at one point or another during the holiday. Combine that with a hotel in which the water pressure was almost non-existant, as well as the maid service and fresh towels, and it could turn into The Stuff That Nightmare Vacations Are Made Of. Fortunately, we soldiered through.

2 ferry rides to and from Phi Phi Island. All I am going to say about that is that ferry rides sound better in theory than they are in reality. Especially with kids. Sick kids.

3 nights of eating at Gastone's, an awesome Italian restaurant that we found one block away from our hotel in Phuket. They had good food (gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce! Caprese salad!) and VERY generous pourings of wine, so needless to say that after a week of eating the same food on Phi Phi Island (and drinking the same bad chardonnay), Gastone's was like paradise.

4 sick people who took turns being miserable and bed-ridden. That is really all I am going to say about that. You're welcome.

5 hours door-to-door to any hotel in Phuket (including airport time and the taxi ride from the airport). You just cannot get better than that.

6 families reuniting. We traveled to Thailand to meet up with 5 other families, a big gang of us who all met when we lived in Doha. Some still live in Doha, some live in Vietnam, others in Jakarta and some live in Singapore. But for 11 days, it was as if we were all still back in the desert together again. Except, of course, that instead of a desert, we had a beach! A nice one, too. So, really, it was the BEST reunion possible.

I'm not going to lie, though- all of us with our two kids per family? It was like a circus parade everywhere we went. But we were back together again, so how could it possibly bother us? Bother everyone around us? Maybe. But bother us? Not in the least.

Another truth being revealed here is that we did not go ONE SINGLE meal in a restaurant without at least one panicked person saying, "Wait- where is my kid???". Those kids were fast and wily, and they ganged up on us.

7 days of vomit. Yep, between the four of us, there were only FOUR days when no one threw up at least once. Not to be boring or redundant by throwing up in...oh, say a TOILET, the list of places where our kids threw up included the middle of the bed, the breakfast table in the hotel restaurant, and in the taxi on the way to the airport.

8 episodes of "Elementary". I had to do SOMETHING while I was holed up in the hotel room with sick kids, so I caught up on this show. I had been saving the episodes for such an occasion, and I watched all eight of the episodes that I'd accumulated. 

I am a HUGE fan of the BBC series "Sherlock", so I was a bit nervous about the new American version of Sherlock Holmes. All I can say it that it did not disappoint. It almost made sitting in the room while everyone else was out kayaking or romping on the beach worth it.


9 tantrums daily. So, I think that by now we all know how well Skye reacts to ANYTHING when she is at home in her usual routines, right? Well, take her OUT of those routines and throw in a new, strange place, along with a dodgy stomach and then just imagine the possibilities!

That is pretty much all I can say about that without withdrawing into some kind of toddler-induced PTSD and crawling into the corner to chew on my hair.

10 kids surrounding. All the time! See my previous explanation of the 6 families, and remember that we had AT LEAST 10 kids around us at all times.

The kids had a ball, and the parents actually got some time to relax and hang out, because there is no better babysitter than other kids. Well, with parental supervision, of course. We like to keep some semblance of responsibility.

11 pizzas eaten. You know how our kids aren't the most adventurous eaters on the planet? Well, throw in some vegetarianism and the fact that being on an island meant that every menu pretty much consisted of seafood or chicken, and the result is that they ate pretty much nothing but pizza and french fries the whole time.

Skye would try some vegetable pad thai once in a while, but as far as Kaia was concerned, if it wasn't covered in cheese or ketchup, she wasn't eating it. No, she was not.

12 My Little Ponies. That was the extent of Skye's Christmas list, so our room literally looked like a My Little Pony factory exploded and our kids looted the aftermath. 

Well, that pretty much covers our trip to Thailand. So tell me, what did YOU do during your holidays?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Fickleness of Youth.

So, since we have moved to Singapore, Skye is not able to attend the school where we work, as she is not yet old enough. She is attending a private (that is code for "expensive") preschool which many other staff kids attend, as well.

A few weeks ago, I was summoned to the school for parent/teacher conferences. Of course, they were only offering times that were during the day, when I was to be working. Of course, Jabiz was out of town during that week, leaving me as the only parent who could possibly attend the conference.

Between you and me, I wouldn't have felt too, TOO sad about missing the conference, because really? It's for a 3-year-old. Not that I don't support Skye's education, but I was pretty sure that I knew what the teacher was going to tell me- she's a nice kid, she's on track developmentally, and she acts a lot better at school than at home. You know, the usual in our household.

BUT, I didn't want to be THAT parent (you know, the ones that the teachers talk about while making tsking noises and pitying the poor child for being put second to work. Maybe that's not EXACTLY how it goes, but it does in my head.) so I chose a time during my lunch period and hurried off as soon as the bell rang, eating a sandwich in the car on the way.

I was right, I knew exactly what the teachers were going to say, and they said it all.

Well, almost. There was something that I definitely WASN'T expecting.

I believe that I've mentioned a time or two (hundred) what a Mummy's Girl Skye is. Her favorite phrase to scream is, "No! I want Mummy to do it!" whenever Jabiz tries to do...oh, anything for her.

Only MUMMY can carry her, only MUMMY can lay with her while she goes to sleep, she will only sleep next to MUMMY when she crawls into our bed...and the list goes on and on. And on. And on even still.

So, you will imagine my surprise when, during our conference, her teacher turned to me and said, "Skye talks about her father all the time, I assume that she is closer to him?"

WHAT? I swear to God.

"Really?" I asked, "No, she's actually quite close to me."

Her teacher look confused. "Oh? That's funny, she never talks about you, she just talks about her father all of the time."


I sat there for the rest of the conference with a smile plastered on my face, but all the time ruminating on what a fickle little traitor my beautiful daughter was turning out to be.

I admit that I began plotting my revenge. Really, Skye? You want Mummy to brush your teeth? GO ASK DADDY. You want Mummy to help you get dressed? GO ASK DADDY. Snuggling before bedtime? I GUESS DADDY WILL DO IT.

Yes, the Super Mature part of the conference had begun. Clearly.

Obviously, when I walked in the door, determined not to fall for her ingenious deceit any longer, I immediately caved when she came running into the room, screaming, "Mummmmmmmmmy!!!" and jumped straight into my arms.

It's just another reminder that I need to stay on my toes when it comes to this parenting thing, because these kids will throw you for a loop when you least expect it.

At least life is never dull around here!

 What are some things YOUR kids have done to keep you on your toes?