Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting Lost in Oz?

If you are a new migrant in Australia and have no access to GPS, is the way to go in getting instructions on how to reach your destination. They are now providing landmarks together with the turn-by-turn instructions either by foot or by car.

But, if you are using public transport in the state of Victoria, I recommend that you check Metlink Melbourne before travelling to plan your trip and get instructions on how to go to your next destination. It includes bus, tram, and train schedule, turn-by-turn instructions when you need to walk, and, of course, a leg and stop map.

In case, you're heading my way, let me know so I can prepare a cuppa!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Massa, get well soon!

I was not really an avid follower of Formula 1. But, my husband is hooked so I also end up up to date and sometimes watch the races even if it's shown during the wee hours. Ferrari's Felipe Massa underwent an emergency surgery after a high-speed crash during the qualifying race in Hungary GP on Saturday. He sustained concussion and a fractured skull when he was struck on the helmet by a damper spring.

On a positive note, the CT scan were good. If it were not for the accident, he could have shared the podium win with his team mate Kimi Raikkonen (2007 Formula 1 Champ).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What's the Fuss about?

Kimi was only 3 months when he left Geelong for Sydney and was only back to Geelong a couple of weeks ago. He has taken the CityRail numerous times on his Sydney escapades but it was only last Sunday that he took the V/Line train to join in the Melbourne Open House. The train's set-up was different with seats fixed and facing with another row of seats. There was not much space to move around compared to the city rail with an area reserved for passengers with prams.

During the first 5 minutes of the train ride, Kimi was silent than usual. It was like he was still assessing the new environment. His eyes were wide open, observing everyone around him and the scenery outside. Two friends who joined us for this trip, sitting next to the window, facing each other, took turns of putting Kimi on their lap to tell him things on the road, from the birds, the dogs, the grass, the people, the hills of the You Yangs, the buildings, to the ferris wheel. The explorer in him was not satisfied with what he saw outside. In between, he was clutching my hand to walk towards the middle of the carriage which joins two cars together. Eventhough I needed to hold on the railings to make sure we would not fall over, Kimi was not even scared a bit. In fact, he seemed to be excited standing on the adjoining portion for a few minutes before heading back to our seat.

Upon arrival in Southern Cross Station, we transferred to the suburban train to get to Flinders Station, which is nearest to Federation Square where we can get a map of the MOH. We arrived early than the official opening time of the participating buildings so we decided to take photos of the facade of St. Paul Cathedral, an Anglican Church and have breakfast at Hungry Jacks (Aussie's version of Burger King). We had burger and Kimi had hash brown. Not healthy, I know, but he doesn't fancy the banana I brought for him.

Capitol Theatre in Swanston St was our first stop. We walked past a long queue of teenagers, waiting for a concert at a nearby building, everyone having a chit-chat. I felt like we were lost in their midst. It was good though that there were a lot of tourist information volunteers roaming around the area, always ready to assist and smile at you. The accommodating lady directed us to a second shorter queue for those going to Capitol Theatre. It was still a long wait that Kimi already started to be fussy even after a bottle of milk. I knew he was already sleepy but we couldn't put him to sleep with all the distractions around him. He wanted to ran around and go up the stairs in the foyer leading to the insides of the theatre. I was always running after him to make sure he would not bump his head. Since it's dark inside the theatre, I held him in my arms and he screamed in a loud high pitch disturbing everyone listening to the guide. I quickly brought him out to the foyer and waited for hubby and our friends. Thus, I was not able to carefully observe the design and architecture of the theatre. But, hubby, eventhough agitated with Kimi's screaming, was still able to take a few photos that I can look at.
We went to our next stop, the Melbourne Town Hall, since it is only across the street. I managed to put Kimi back on to his pram. I pushed him to the Council Chamber at the second level. Kimi behaved for a few minutes so I was able to look around in awe of the grand and intricate designs of the Chamber. It's small but it looks like a miniature council hall of kings and queens in movies, with all the wood sculpture and the chandeliers. To my mind, it has a distinct feel of the Gold Rush period. Other rooms were also open for viewing but I was not able to enjoy them as much since Kimi started to be fussy again. One security lady guard even talked to him to appease him. To my surprise, he held his hand up to the lady guard and the lady guard carried him in her arms for a couple of minutes. There were many other visitors so we stayed in one area to wait for hubby and friends, wandering around and taking photos. Since Kimi is already restless and sleepy and the wind was blowing chills to our spine, we decided to go to the Direct Factory Outlet in Spencer St instead of continuing with the MOH visits. Kimi was not be able to sleep much but at least, we could take a seat while taking turns in looking after Kimi and at the same time doing a bit of window shopping. We took the tram to DFO and stopped at Rialto Hotel Intercontinental. The hotel is also one of the buildings open for viewing so we went in to have look. I am not big on architecture and art, but, I thought it was not as grand as I imagined it would be. There was no intricate designs and chandeliers of old times. But, it shows a contrast of past and modern designs with the steel and glass railings against the brick archs and walls.
At the end of day, when Kimi and I are exhausted and tired, hubby and I made a realisation. It is no longer an easy day to be out and about tugging our little one with us. A lost sleep and a disrupted routine for our toddler can mess up his day and ours. To prevent future frustrations, we will now consider Kimi's rest time in our trips.

Friday, July 17, 2009

16 month check with MCHN

When Kimi was still in Sydney, it has been a regular activity for him to visit the Child Health Nurse a few days before or after his monthly birthday. But, he did not visit them for his 16th month. So, I booked him right away for an appointment with the Maternal and Child Health Nurse to re-establish his records in Geelong and discuss a few things with the MCHN on what activities he is expected to be doing now until the 18th month. The MCHN tried to do an 18 month old assessment. But, Kimi were not doing some of the things being instructed to him. The nurse informed us that it might still be really early to expect them from him especially the things that we have not done with him yet like putting blocks on top of each other, make-believe games of pouring a cup of tea or drinking, etc since he is 6 weeks short to 18 months.

So many things can be learned and acquired in a matter of 4-6 weeks especially with toddlers who are always at their feet exploring their world. I was, however, concerned about his speech development. He can say a few words he wanted to say like mama, tata, baa baa, ba-bye, jay jay, ba waw (for his wiggles CD), and dede for his milk. But, if we ask him to repeat what we are saying he can't do it yet. He can't be bothered to even say his name. On a ligther note, he understands instructions in both English and Filipino and responds to them pretty well. If he wants to say something he usually signs and demonstrates it to us although there are limitations to this.

His motor skills are developing quickly as expected of boys. He can go up an adult chair, sit still and stand up quickly without any assistance. He can run, run and run and go up and down the bed or the sofa. He knows where to turn off the TV and the computer, tinker with the remote control and the mobile phone. At the moment, he learns what he wants and dismisses anything that does not interest him. I know babies develop at their own pace. We need to expose and stimulate him further to learn and discover the skills at his own time. It is needs a lot of patience.
To start off, we bought a 7-in-1 set of wooden toys for him to stack up, group, and sort. He quickly did the stacking up. But, it did not interest him to do it for a long time. I am lucky if I sustain his interest for 10 minutes before he wanders around the house again or asks to do something different like read a book, piggy back ride, or sing and dance depending on his mood.

We also started to introduce him to washable colored pens and crayons but he still tries to put the crayons on his mouth so we are really watchful that he does not swallow them.

Since he learns a fair bit from watching his DVDs, I am now on the look for DVDs that could assist his speech development. I found them really expensive and I am not even sure if they will work fine with Kimi so I am now waiting for something to come up on ebay in the next few days. Otherwise, I will be forced to buy a brand new one to trial. I just hope they have a money back guarantee, which I doubt.

Sometimes, we ran out of new things and activities to stimulate him. Do you have any suggestions that we can do before his 18 month check in September?

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Men are Taking over

Straight from work on Thursday night, I took a Jetstar flight from Avalon to Sydney. Not for my regular visit but for packing my son and hubby’s stuff and bringing them home in Geelong. The entire flight was really bumpy, with my stomach turning upside down a few times. It did not in any way, however, change my enthusiasm and excitement for the upcoming weekend. Wondering why? -- because Kimi and hubby would now be staying with me.

Yes, they moved back to Geelong over the weekend. We all drove down to Geelong early Saturday. In contrast with my flight to Sydney, the 8 plus hours land trip was "smooth sailing," something we hoped and prayed for. However, driving an old but well maintained car with a 16 month toddler, who can be fussy at times, would really make you a bit anxious during the trip. It was good, though, that Kimi cooperated. He slept most of the trip. He ate, played and sang with me when he was awake. He screamed a few times but they did not last long. Overall, I can still say he is my happy baby.

Upon arriving at home, I thought the battle started. Kimi did not want to go out of the car. He was observing and looking around. He knew it’s not his nonna’s house. With a bit of a struggle, I was still able to get him out of his car seat and put him inside the house. He did not want to touch anything, he was still observing. I let him sit in his new toddler chair and table. There was resistance for a few minutes. I left him inside the house with hubby’s uncle to help hubby get their things in the car. Lo and behold, when I came back Kimi was already walking around the house, following me whenever I put bags in our room, the kitchen, and the laundry. He was already inspecting his new abode. And in less than an hour, he was already so comfortable that he wanted to take control of the TV/DVD remote and press the desktop computer’s keyboard.

Kimi’s first night was not as bad as I had imagined it would be. He wanted to be put to sleep by his Tatay. He was tossing and turning when the clock hit 4am. But there was no big drama, no long loud crying at all.

So far the first four days of Kimi in Geelong went well. A lot of it attributed to hubby’s good care. He is keeping Kimi well adjusted first before he hits the road and look for work in Geelong and Melbourne. Whenever, I’m home they are maximising my presence. Hubby is taking over the desktop computer and Kimi is following me everywhere from the kitchen to the bedroom and even to the door of the toilet. They are now both running my life and I like it, especially their big hug and kisses, and the dancing, and the singing, and the laughter and the meals together.

Now, I can say we are truly a family.