I decided not to make a big deal out of the New Year this time around.

Typically, I would start journalling in a whole new notebook once the new year rolls in. But this time, I think I’ll just carry on at whatever random page I left off at last year.

Because I don’t want to waste the unused notebook pages. And maybe also because it would be a strikingly painful reminder each time I start off a new notebook how meagre my writing has become.

The kind of writing that fills up my private spaces. Not that commercial kind that I am forced to craft to help make ends meet.

It’s only been a few days into the New Year, but honestly, I feel it’s already gotten old. Or maybe it’s me that has.

Find your feet

Hello, I’m back!

It’s been a pretty decent start to 2019 so far.

Our little family of 3 has more or less gotten used to waking up a whole lot earlier every day, in order to adapt to the new preschool routine that we all have a part of now that Jamie has started kindy.

On the whole, it’s been a relatively positive experience. I think we’re all benefitting from waking up earlier and trying to have earlier dinners and bedtimes. It’s not been perfect, but I think we haven’t done too badly either.

Jamie started off his first week of school with lots of pee episodes, sometimes changing up to 2 sets of uniforms in just one morning. But the situation has improved tremendously since then, I am glad to report.

I am happy to see him learning lots of new stuff (which he will randomly inform me of we are spending the day together, like while having lunch or when I am bathing him or grooming him). He is indeed growing up so fast!

Since Day #1 that he stepped into kindy, Jamie has not ever cried at drop off time. In fact, I notice he is the kind of boy who goes right in to join in the action and doesn’t look back. I am so proud of him.

Deric is also turning up at work each day earlier than before, thanks to him joining us for the morning commute to school and hopping off at the nearby LRT station to catch the train to work.

Now February has rolled in and Chinese New Year is almost upon us. It’s going to be a week long break from both school and work (Deric’s on leave as well for this period), so I do have my concerns on how we’ll adjust back to the regular routine afterwards.

For now, I’m looking forward to having lots of enjoyable family time this week and hopefully having plenty of yummy cookies and other delightful snacks to munch on over this festive season.

I’d like to share more about the other stuff going on in the background right now, but I am still struggling with regards to how to do so.

In particular, I note that people sharing their parenting journey online tend to reside within some extreme camp or another.

Some take on the cool and collected stance, sharing their truckloads of wisdom and zen. Others are constantly spitting out profanities and making light of every possible thing, sometimes in the most irreverent and distasteful of ways. There are those who go out of their way to snap pictures of life at its worse, just so they appear more relatable. And then there are the others who upload picture perfect snapshots every time: Holidays, fancy food and sponsored posts aplenty.

I’m not sure I fit into any of those categories.

To be honest, I just want to share candidly what we have been through, and hope to inspire others in some form or another. But I feel like my words are so dull and flavourless, and my stories so ordinary. So I hesitate.

So far, though, my son seems to be growing up just fine, and we aren’t in dire straits financially yet. I have still managed to maintain at least ONE steady client at all times. And I have a bit of my sanity back now that I have time alone for a few hours every school day.

There are some other changes coming up which I am already aware of, but for now, I guess I ought to be thankful for what I do have. And I really ought to talk more with you guys about these many thoughts in my head.

I’m off for a Mandarin orange for now. Will be back soon in another post (I sincerely hope).

A year full

We’re off into 2018 already, but it doesn’t entirely feel like a Happy New Year to me.

Well, I suppose it could be worse, but nevertheless, I feel somewhat reticent about another beginning.

I sometimes wonder why we measure time this way, breaking it up into days, months, years, etc. Why not just keep going as if life is just one continuous story? These time markers sort of give you the false illusion of a fresh start when, in all honesty, you really are just the same person that you were yesterday.

So after all the celebrations of another New Year, what do we really hope to get out of it? Are loftier ambitions really worth the effort? Or is the mere determination to “keep on keeping on” more than enough?

I do not know what this year holds for me, or for us as a family. I’m not entirely sure I want to find out. Perhaps it’s a certain degree of jadedness that comes with having weathered a few decades of living. Whatever the cause might be, that dreadful cloak of melancholy has come to envelope me once more.

The only thing that is maybe pushing me onwards is that I need to be strong for my little boy. That I need to give him an example to follow, a guide to help him on his way in life. That if I do right, point him towards God, implant those precious virtues into his soul, someday he will become someone significant in this world.

If I can live just to see that day, I think I will die happy.

For now, my work is far from done though so I guess there’s nothing to do except soldier on.

New year + Thoughts: Canine-human relations

Zoe with ribbon around her head
Photo courtesy of Tan Eng Choo.

Happy new year, everyone! A little late, I know, but over here, Deric and I are making the most of our week-long break so blog posts did take the backseat,  I’ll admit.

But that’s as it should be.  Real life should always be our top priority, and online obligations should be viewed as an activity only to be taken up in our spare time.

Anyway, I’d like to share my thoughts on something else as well…

I awoke this morning to the sound of dogs crying out in heartwrenching tones. Apparently, some guys had come to nab stray dogs around our neighbourhood.

I’ve never heard dogs scream as pitifully as they did this morning. I daren’t imagine what fate awaits those dogs that were caught. Most likely they will be mistreated,  catch deadly diseases from being in close quarters with other sickly dogs at the pound, or die tragic deaths from fights or worse still, be put to death by some human induced scheme.

It’s sad, really. Not only do the dogs lose their freedom when they get caught, most of them experience a deterioration in their quality of life right up till the end of their lives from then on.

I love dogs and feel sad to see them mistreated, roughly handled as though they are the scum of the earth.

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think the problem of stray dogs should be left unattended to. Someone in authority should deal with the issue, just perhaps in a more organised and humane way.

As much as possible,  dogs should be put up for adoption as soon as possible after they are taken off the streets.  Before being given out to willing new owners, they should be given a medical examination, treated for injuries, properly vaccinated and neutered if necessary.

Only in extreme cases where a dog cannot be rehabilitated and is mentally unstable or terminally ill should the issue of putting the dog down be even considered.

However, the more important issue is this: are we dealing with the people who caused there to be strays in the first place?

Many people abandon dogs they have purchased, simply because they find they cannot handle the dog or cannot afford to.

I have visited dog rescue centres such as PAWS before, and was appalled to notice purebreds among the pack of rescued canines. This would not have happened if someone out there hadn’t abandoned their pet.

How would you like it if, as a child, your parents chose to abandon you just because they couldn’t understand you, or because you had messed up their living room or front lawn, or were taking too much out of their monthly expenses?

It would be too much to ask for everyone to cultivate a heartfelt love for dogs and all animals in general, but the least we could do is come up with better regulations to punish irresponsible owners or ex-owners of mistreated or abandoned pets.

There’s plenty of evidence today that shows that more than half the time,  it is us humans that are the root of the problem, instead of the animals themselves.

Remember too that God holds us accountable for all our actions; including the way we treat animals, whom He has also created.