Dangerous Minds

Becoming Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds… If only it was as easy as it seems

I now write as a teacher, an educator in the year 2019. I’ve been in the teaching service for about 13 years and there has been so much change that some are hard to fathom and some are hard to keep up with. Some are carried out with great love while other directives are carried out with great resistance. But our main characters will always be the students (at least for a good number of us).

I feel this great paradigm shift in who we expect as students and who we eventually get in our classrooms. We walk into our classes with a mindset that these group of students should fit into the mold that we have virtually created for them. We expect them to or at least try. Imagine trying to fit a full grown elephant into a tiny 1 x 1 x 1 cube. I know its impossible… But that’s what we were trying to do.

In the initial years (early 2008 to 2013), the students did their best to squeeze themselves into the mold. We made them. Now in the past 5 years, systems have changed. Students start to speak up. They are more transparent with their wants and needs. They no longer choose to fit into a given mold. They have finally started to understand that they too have a voice and are not afraid to speak. Freedom of speech at its highest.

These days we have a higher percentage of students undergoing depression, looking for alternative outlets to relieve their pent up frustration. With the inclusion of social media that has inter-twined with their lives, the internet, online gaming and far more other online sources have been their preferred outlets. They no longer feel the need to speak to anyone.

Daily, we meet students, who have the mind of Einstein but choose online gaming as opposed to school. Is online gaming bad? Oh well, if they are playing such violent games and returning to school with only 2 hours of sleep and are constantly angry, then I presume yes.

Our youths these days have a beautiful mind. Beauty set with amazing abilities and a bright future carved for them. But it breaks our heart, that no matter how much we try, some youths keep rejecting our help and simply did not want to be saved. But I feel every child should be saved. Yes?

I am no marine. I am no saint. I am no psychic either. I can’t seem to break the rules to change their lives. What do I do when some youths these days “choose to die” Death in this case is not about going 6-feet under. Death to them is the disconnection with people and society and immerse themselves in their personal bubble.

What do we do… When they choose to “die” and be disconnected from society?

Dear Youths… Why fit in when you were born to stand out… believe that you can achieve greatness. Let us help you…

Horrors of Nursery Rhymes

Imagine reading a few nursery rhymes to your child, only to come across something that makes your jaw drop. It’s a good thing my three year old can’t make out words on a paper. I feel like I am lying to her while I have to scramble to rephrase the rhymes.

1.Ring-a-Ring O’Roses

Ring-a-ring O’roses.
A pocket full of posies, Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down.

I had no idea there was actually a true meaning behind this rhyme, till my husband told me about it. Then it hit me. And I started reading up on the rash-like plague that took many down. And how people walked around with a pocket full of herbs (also called posies) to ward off the smell from the plague. Ashes, being the cremation of those who did not make it through the illness. Why…why am I singing this? Please enlighten me. I literally thought it was a song where kids were singing in a garden full of roses.

2. Goosey, Goosey Gander

Goosey, Goosey Gander
Wither shall I wonder?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man Who would not say his prayers, I took him by his left leg and threw him down the stairs.

I was just reading this out loud, this I came to a halt at the last phrase “and threw him down the stairs“… Why are we printing out such violent acts in a children’s nursery rhyme? Are parents required to censor that part on their own while reading? Is it suppose to be funny? Are children suppose to think that throwing / pushing someone down the stairs is a hilarious act? I am appalled.

3. Three Blind Mice

Three Blind Mice.
Three Blind Mice.
See how they run!
See how they run!
They all run after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife.
Did you ever see such a thing in your life, as three blind mice?

I used to sing this song so many times as a child. There was another version too. I really do not remember the part about the tails being cut off. But these days as I read out this rhyme to my daughter, I have to rephrase the tail part of the song or totally eliminate it. Once I read it out so fast but my daughter caught on to it. She started to get upset when she heard that the tails got cut off. I know my daughter can be a little emotional, but how do I tell a toddler why and justify the act of cutting off an animal’s tail? I know they are pests and rodents. But the most we’ve said is “they are not clean, they carry germs…” *slaps forehead*

4. As I was Going Out

As I was going out one day, My head fell off and rolled away. But when I saw that it was gone, I picked it up and put it on. And when I got into the street, a fellow cried “Look at your feet!” I looked at them and sadly said. “I’ve left both asleep in bed!”

Are you for real? Was this supposed to be metaphorical? Or was this rhyme writer trying out for a horror movie script? Am I losing my sense of humour? Why would I even want to read to my child about her head falling off. Three year old kids ask TOO many questions. Why this… why that.. Mommy why did his head roll off? Why is his feet on the bed?” I have managed on numerous occasions to successfully skip this page. I wish I could tear out the page. The picture in the nursery rhyme book for this rhyme, is an untidy bed with only two feet sticking out. And there’s no body or head. Even I’m scared. It’s like a page from a horror story. *shivers*

5. Sing a song of sixpence

… The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes, when down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose.

It was all good from the beginning, though my daughter did ask about blackbirds in a pie. I brushed it off as a joke. But I just froze when I saw the last line. I had to think of something fast. “… when down came a blackbird and kissed her nose“. I do not think my child is ready for acts of revenge, with a blackbird coming down for her nose in revenge. I am trying to see if it could be funny or perhaps a tad bit humourous. But I can’t bring myself to sing that line out. I am sure kissing her nose sounds so much better. *keeps fingers crossed*

6. Rock-a-bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby
On the tree top
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. Down will come baby, cradle and all.

Is someone trying to indirectly hint to parents not to build a cradle on a tree branch? Well, I think it may have worked. I’ve read the origins of this rhyme. When I read it out, my daughter cried for a while because she felt sad that the baby fell. And then she wanted to know if the baby was well. Or if the baby was bleeding. Or if the baby was caught. Told ya… it was the age of unlimited questions. Perhaps, I’ll just repeat and repeat and repeat just the first 4 lines till, the cradle will rock and totally eliminate the parts after the bough breaks. Now, that will save the day.

I guess some rhymes are just stories from different perspectives. Maybe a five year old or six year old will find it hilarious. But I honestly doubt my child will sit and take it with a pinch of salt. I guess these days, parents may need to sieve through age appropriate materials for their children. Be it YouTube videos, Netflix kids shows or even our age old nursery rhymes. Some rhymes are totally unbelievable and make little or no sense but we read it while growing up. Perhaps when my daughter is much older, she too would laugh it off – when she is more emotionally stable and mature.

Letter to my mother…

Read the heart and not the letter for the pen cannot draw near the good intent

– Michelangelo

Dear Mother

Each time I start to pen my letter, my heart is filled with overwhelming emotions of regret, guilt and pain. What should a daughter write to her mother?

I should be thanking you for bringing me into this world and for raising me through the storm to be a strong individual equipped with the tools to bash my way through thorns and impenetrable hills. I thank you from the whole of my heart for the sleepless nights when we were ill and for doing everything in your power to provide decent meals in times of hunger and financial crisis. I must admit, we were not the easiest children to raise.

Mother, now your daughter is a mother too. Learning and trying her best to be just like you. But why do I feel judged in your eyes? Why do I feel as if anything I attempt for my child is never good enough for you?

Your grandchild is three years old now. It’s been 36 months since her birth. And not once you’ve looked at her with approving eyes. There is always something lacking. There is always something I should have done more. There is always something not good enough. Why do I try so hard to get you to smile with approving eyes, eyes that say “daughter, I’m happy that you are doing your best for your child”

36 months it has been and counting since I yearned to hear you say I am trying my best to be a good mother to my child. You have never once told me that my daughter is growing up well. Each time we visit, you inspect her and noticing the slightest bit of weight loss, you chide with a subtle accusing tone that I failed in someway to feed my child well. It does hurt a little.

Perhaps I have become more sensitive. Perhaps I might be reading too much. You’ve seen me struggle and yet you stayed away when I asked for help. Perhaps you thought I could manage. Perhaps you thought I was learning to be strong.

But all I want is for you to say “Daughter, you are doing your best to be a good mother.”

Mother I am not perfect. I have flaws that need reflecting upon. But I yearn for you to say those few words. Now I try to be hard on my daughter so I do not disappoint you with her upbringing. Am I doing the right thing? You won’t say perhaps because you want me to figure it out on my own.

Perhaps I should stop trying to impress and gain your approval. Perhaps I should try to do my best to be a mother to my child, who will someday write to me saying “dear mother, thank you for believing in me. That is all I ever wanted.”

Love

Your eldest daughter

The eyes of Maldini

Walk with me as I wonder curiously towards the meaning of “mid-age crisis“. Let’s not get too affected by words here. Allowing the teacher in me to surface, lets break down (not define) the terms “mid-age crisis”. I can’t define what I can’t figure out.

Mid-age – let’s not go there. Let’s all just agree that age is a number. Perhaps I would start feeling the effects of age when my body starts aching and my muscles resist the climb of just 3 flights of stairs. Riiiight…. Now that is most probably not a mid-age problem. It’s just my body screaming that I am terribly unfit and I desperately need to head to the gym. Yes I shall just add that to my new year’s resolution for 2020 or perhaps for 2021. Age… I want to do so many things yet I have only 24 hours a day.

Crisis – It’s a crisis if you think it is. It’s a problem if you think it’s causing one. It’s a worry if you feel yourself brooding over it every night. How does something become a crisis? I don’t know… Is it because I’m awake at 1.30am in the morning trying to figure out if life is going as it should or I should be doing more to make it worth it?

I am no psychologist. I cannot speak for anyone.

But I just realised that I was falling… somehow I am so sure that I am not going to land with a spine breaking agony. Perhaps I feel something is going to cushion my fall. My fall towards long uninterrupted slumber.

As I lie in the comforts of duvets and pillows, hearing the rumbles (snores) from my dear husband by my side, I think back to younger days. Days when I was prancing around, soaking in the transition from teenage-hood to adulthood. How life has changed. How gawking and staring at guys brought absolute “peace” to our already stirring hearts. Oh please, we were only 19? or was it 18? I was not alone in this. I had a full battalion of girl pals who felt ogling and sometimes drooling was just part of growing up. Of course, we had to keep re-directing our attention back to our books. Some of us failed miserably. But still, I must say my adventures sort of stopped just at the ogling. I was too afraid to do anything else. *shrugs* I just needed my friends to pass me lots of tissue to wipe off the drools.

I remember watching soccer with my girl friends. Sitting up all night, watching a game so we understood what the boys were talking about. Don’t judge. We just wanted to feel included in conversations. And then we watched A.C. Milan. Who would have known… We (now i speak for all my girl friends) were watching just.one.person.

Paolo Maldini. *swoons*

When he walks into the field, you feel an Alpha male stalking his preys (opposing team), eyeing their every move, moving like the wind, faster than you can catch your next breathe. Watching how he claims his side of the field, standing his ground, and so no one can get through that wall. Very powerful. Very mesmerizing.

He was most probably in the prime of his career, being the captain the football club, some say he was one of the best defenders yet. What would I know… What would we, young girls know… We were just watching him and perhaps only him.

His eyes… Yes those eyes… What colour are they? Grey? Blue? A mix of both? How those eyes used to sing to our youth and cradle our dreams. Those were the days… younger days… We’ve only seen him on TV for interviews (which we tried not to miss). And watching him talk, the 6 of us girls, swoon and just stare. It was too rude to drool then. You can’t drool at Paolo Maldini. Gotta give him respect for that. You had to savour those eyes. Just let them drag you down into eternal abyss. Drowning us in our youth, eyes holding as we fall… crashing. Painfully sweet.

It is funny now that I reflect. How those eyes just toyed with our minds, gluing us to each game, watching and admiring his every move made. Enthralled by his dance. It was just youth.

I sit here now (still hearing the snores), I married my anchor, my husband, who stole my entire being with just his chestnut brown eyes, lifting and cushioning me from my fall in the abyss. I cannot define what I can’t figure out. But I know for sure, when I fall, he will pick me up from whichever crisis I land on.

Introducing… Pingu

Wait for it…

Have you ever looked at a YouTube show and just watched it in awe? Wondering how on earth your mouth curves up and you just burst into random giggles and laughter especially when you have no idea what the characters are talking about?

Don’t fret! My husband stumbled upon PINGU on YouTube and he insisted that we allow our daughter to watch one episode. I was the least bit willing because our daughter was currently queuing sesame street episodes for almost an hour.

Now is that too long a TV time for a 3 year old? Please I beg of you to not judge…

So I watched Pingu… And I must say…

I LOVED PINGU!!!!!!! Sarang hae

I was initially concerned about what a penguin and his parents were going to do for a 10 minute show. But oh boy was I amazed… For the record, Pingu is the elder son of a family of three. His parents have a younger baby nestling (chick), who is slowly introduced in later episodes. The episodes pride themselves as short mini films that broadcast the teaching of values such as tidying up your toys after playing with them (we call it housekeeping with our daughter), finishing dinner before playing with toys (includes finishing the vegetables and greens! plus cleanup), daddy-son work/play time. Mummy-son play time (with many many hugs). But what melted my heart was Pingu being an amazing and doting brother to his younger sibling. (am i using the right word here?). From changing diapers to baby sitting and bringing out the little nestling for walks… I just say WOW!

But of course… there’s bountiful humor, mess and chaos… they are kids afterall!

I would have expected mindless throwing of snowballs throughout the episodes and penguins chasing each other in the southern hemisphere. I am actually speechless now. More like struggling with words… I have always preferred my daughter watching a show in which she would be able to learn about values and there is no age too young for that. Although she is laughing hysterically while watching Pingu waddle with his family and friends, I try to sit with her to explain why he’s doing what he’s doing… And that too because… I don’t trust advertisements on YouTube…

Is it 100% worth it… I can’t say it for you. But please just perhaps try one episode to see if it appeals to you. It’s fun for all.

A full circle

Your holidays are here. It’s time to catch a break from the mundane life that you so badly want to put behind. You plan your days and weeks.

You want to do your hair, visit your hairstylist and perhaps sport a new color. Burgundy highlights perhaps?

Then you want to do a full body massage and facial. Relax and breathe. Head to your favourite quiet spot and meditate. Breathe and relax away the stress that you’ve carried for the semester.

Start writing your book. You’ve always wanted to do that…

Oh wait… that’s all a blur now… everything you’ve planned for fades away like sudden ripples.

You are stuck at home now. 24/7. Because your daughter spotted the most opportune time to catch the influenza.

While she cuddles next to you, you feel like crying and screaming because before you could realise, you’ve been home for 2 weeks and your holidays are almost over. Your daughter is still having a fever and your hair still remains undone and uncolored. Your book still remains untouched.

Life has a way to teasing us. Pray God that my daughter recovers. Soon. Her body is tired and fighting so hard everyday.

Essentials

Searching for alternatives for natural healing

My husband is currently studying to be an aromatherapist. We’ve been around very supportive circle of friends who have been guiding us towards natural healing. We have, when desperate, sought medical intervention but we are trying to start off our natural healing process and boost our body’s natural immunity through alternatives means. We have added a new page ‘essentially yours’ to this blog to introduce the different oils we’ve been using for our family over the past 3 years. Most of our oil choices were experimented and tried with various diffusers and blends and we’ve finally shortlisted a few which have worked for us.

Please kindly note that essential oils must be used with great care. Excessive and incorrect use of any oil can have negative effects on the body which could worsen the symptoms. As such I am obligated to also highlight caution when using oils with infants and toddlers. Too much of anything will eventually amount to nothing.

Please refer to the page ‘essentially yours‘ for more information. All information was updated after rigorous research, sharing and recommendations from experienced parents and aromatherapists.

We will update the page regularly.

Photos courtesy of depositphotos