A movie tale

Hubs and son posing outside the cinema hall after our first successful movie watching session as a family.

Yesterday was a momentous day for our little boy. It was the first time he sat through an entire movie and actually watched it and was completely absorbed in it.

I suppose this isn’t a big deal for other parents or kids, but for our son, this was significant.

We once took him for another movie screening two years ago, while he was only 2, and we had to leave the cinema just minutes after the movie had commenced.

It was disappointing for us because my husband had specially applied for leave from work for us to go on this cinema trip, and both he and I were really excited for our son because it was a movie about Disney characters that he already liked. We also booked tickets for the screening at the family friendly hall at that cinema.

The reason this happened? We believe it’s mostly because of the large screen images and the loud volume of the audio. Mostly the audio, I think.

My son is mostly a gentle soul, and he is slightly bothered by loud noises and huge visual displays. It is such that when we visit electrical stores and walk pass the TV section, he will hesitate and ask to walk through another route. This is so he can avoid going past multiple TV screens that are blasting varying imagery at louder-than-necessary volumes (which is typical at such shops because they are trying to showcase the merits of each product).

When we are at shopping malls over a weekend and there is some event going on, he will also seem uneasy and eager to be at a comfortable distance or to exit the scene as quickly as possible.

This situation has improved slightly in recent times, especially since he is fed educational content via TV both at preschool and also at Sunday School in church. He has been able to sit through and concentrate on short videos. And at a visit to a friend’s place not so long ago, we witnessed his ability to sit quietly and watch videos and parts of various movies without too much hesitation.

So we figured why not try taking him along for a full fledged movie. We chose a movie that we thought he would like (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) which was being specially screened under an Oscar ’19 themed celebration at TGV Cinemas. It was a movie my husband had wanted to catch when it was first released, but was unable to due to our current family circumstances.

And guess what? It was a huge success. Our son managed to endure all the trailers and ads prior to the movie (something we were also worried about, since we had no idea what they would show and whether it would stress him out even before the movie began), and also enjoyed watching the movie. I even caught him smiling/laughing at one point. 🙂

So it’s a big deal for him. And for me too.

(He did, however, ask to wear his ear muffs throughout the movie, as I guess the loud volume still bothers him a little. But he claims he was still able to hear everything with the thing on, so I guess I should just let that be as long as it helps him enjoy the movie.)

It’s so different being a parent and living through these little life experiences with your child. In many ways, we become so jaded as adults that it feels like a rebirth of sorts to be seeing life through their eyes and doing our level best to cheer them on as they go through growing pains and overcome challenges along their way. It revives your resolve to want to live life more deliberately and fully.

And it makes you dwell, even if just for a little while, on the wonders of small things. Those tiny milestones that perhaps, someday, will mount into something big.

Probably someday I’ll tell my son about his aversion to big screens and loud noises. He might even doubt what I say, unable to fathom how such a trivial thing could have bothered him so much. But I’ll remember these days. Just as I’ll remember how proud I was when he overcame this fear.

Here’s to many more victories in his life both in the present and beyond! 😀

Visibility

It was Valentine’s yesterday. We didn’t celebrate. We never really have.

Although, in the early days, when we were dating, we did make Valentine’s night a time where where we would cook dinner together. I think I have some vague memories of doing that at my parent’s home a long, long time ago. Although… I really must ask Deric what we cooked because I don’t seem to be able to recall.

Yes, it’s really been QUITE SOME TIME.

Mostly, we don’t do the typical Valentine’s date thing because the thought of being out and about when dozens of other couples are too just feels like too much effort. Also jostling busy joints just to get a meal or grab a coffee. Not my cup of tea. Heh.

And the only time Deric ever bought me flowers was, actually, in our first month of dating. It was a rather funny thing to remember. We were having lunch at Pasta Zanmai in Sunway Pyramid and he had excused himself to make a trip to the washroom.

I remember thinking he was taking awfully long to be at the toilet by a guy’s standards. And then at long last he finally reappears at the table. With flowers. That is and was the only time I ever got anything of that sort from him. I guess I told him somewhere along the line that I wasn’t too big into caring for dying blooms and would rather have more practical gifts that last way longer so he took heed.

We did go out yesterday, but it was to the hospital, and it was with Jamie in tow. No one was ill though. It was checkup time for me. While we were there, there were visible reminders of others celebrating Valentine’s. People toting pink balloons walking around the hospital and the hospital staff joking amongst one another about Valentine’s.

Deric told me yesterday that he noticed many of the ladies at his office had flowers sent to them.

I’ve always wondered how that feels like because I never had that done for me. Ever.

(In fact, the only time I ever had a Valentine’s gift, it was from a guy I had no feelings for. It was a really sweet initiative on his part and I appreciated it. But I actually accidentally lost his gift a few days later. Note: It wasn’t flowers he gave, it was jewellery. I wore it to uni, and it fell off somehow. Yup, that’s the kind of person I am, I guess. :|)

Anyway, back to what I was saying… Valentine’s. Flowers. All these public professions of love.

Me being the private person I am, I often think that the best kind of love is the quiet, steady kind. The type that isn’t so readily visible to the rest of the world, but yet is strong and undeniable. Sort of like a well kept secret. It is more special that way, because even though the rest of the world is oblivious, you know it’s there. And it brings a smile to your lips, even in the moments you are on your own.

Not going to belittle Valentine’s traditions that you and your significant other may have, of course. We all ought to do whatever we need to in order to keep our feelings and commitment to each other alive and well.

Just that… This is my view of love. Or rather, the version of love that I have been afforded in this life. But I am thankful for it.

For the love that is expressed through dishes done and meals made when I am too tired to handle it and have passed out in bed. The little snacks brought home just for me. The responsibilities shouldered to bathe, play and put Jamie to bed on most nights. That sloppy kiss and that cheesy smile. Punny jokes and those same old stories, told over and over again.

All those little things and more that make being together special. Even if it’s not Valentine’s today.

CNY again

Chinese New Year decor at a mall in PJ.
So we’re midway through Chinese New Year (CNY) already. Or for the picky ones, Lunar New Year. 

To be honest, I find that the older I get, the more I find that I don’t feel much of anything for this entire festive season at all. 

Well, for starters, since our family are Christians, we don’t observe much of the rituals surrounding CNY. We just celebrate it for the fact that it’s part of our cultural background. So a lot of hustle and bustle is already cut out of the equation. 

Then, there’s the current situation with my extended family where no one really gets together for Chinese New Year anymore, with the exception of the few that we usually reach out to and make an effort to meet. There’s no massive family gathering like there used to be in years past. It’s a bit sad, really, but that’s how things have been ever since the passing of my last surviving grandparent (on my Mum’s side of the family).  

Even amongst my cousins, the closeness really isn’t there. Well, truth be told, even if we did meet up over the CNY period, it would feel somewhat pointless since we don’t connect at all during other times. Like it would be just something we do for the sake of keeping up appearances. Or something along those lines. 

That’s for my own family. With Deric’s family, it’s even worse because we only meet his cousins. His father has passed on, and his mother isn’t even in the country. 

So there is no balik kampung for us. There isn’t anything to look forward to during CNY for us actually. 

It’s just that now that we’ve got Jamie around, there’s angpaus to be collected whenever we meet friends and family. But that’s about all there is to it. 

Oh, and of course, we have to prepare our own set of angpaus to hand out to other children too. And to have gift packs ready to cart along for visits to homes. 

Last but not least, there’s that stash of Mandarin oranges we habitually will buy and consume over the CNY season. 

But that’s that. That’s our CNY. 

I guess you could say it doesn’t necessarily mean if we had big family gatherings and lots of family activities over the CNY that things would be any cheerier. I do know of some people who dread meeting their relatives as they aren’t really the sort of people that they’d like to hang around with in the first place. And whenever there’s older folks around, there’s bound to be lots of unsolicited advice and nagging and awkward situations. 

Oh well. We Chinese ARE a complicated bunch of folks after all.  I bet every Chinese family has their own brand of domestic drama to contend with. 

I’m generalising, definitely, but it’s mostly true though: We’re loud, money minded, food centric and steeped in loads of tradition. 

Speaking of tradition, I’d really like to build our own set of CNY traditions to observe with our little immediate family, but I haven’t really got round to thinking what that should look and feel like. It doesn’t help that my husband isn’t the kind to get into the spirit of things during any festive season (even Christmas, I might add). 

But it’d be nice to, someday, see the kids excited to usher in CNY and bustling about the home making cookies, decorating the hall, etc. 

Kids, I say. We only have one son at the moment. I dream plenty. I wonder whether we’ll ever get there. 

Since we’re on the topic of CNY, I might as well address my sentiments about being Chinese. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about my racial heritage (the other bit about being Malaysian is another story altogether, which probably will warrant a separate post of its own). 

I like that as a Chinese, the general perception people will have of you is that you are hardworking. Also, the fact that the Chinese have a long history of success to their name and are regarded as being very resilient, able to survive and thrive anywhere that they are found all across the globe. 

But that’s probably as far as my Chinese pride goes. 

I’m not so happy to acknowledge that being Chinese means also being associated with being frugal , conniving and selfish. Being perceived as having an attitude of looking down on others that are of a lower socioeconomic standing than you are. Being loud and brash, inconsiderate towards the needs of other races in the community. 

I guess the only saving grace I have going for me is that I am not from China (or not anymore, anyway, since my ancestors had migrated years ago) and was born and raised a Malaysian. 

What does it mean that I am a Malaysian though? That’s something worth pondering. I will need to think more about this and come back at a later date to write a decent discussion about this. 

Does the world think anything good of Malaysians anyway? Do they remember anything about us and our nation other than the curious incidences of disappearing planes and the fascinating array of food we have to offer our guests? 

Oh, this post is such a disjointed collage of my thoughts. I should take my leave now.