Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anger Management

On Saturday mornings, Little A has Occupational Therapy. It's in the next city about a 20 minute drive away from home. During the hour he's in class, I try and fill my time productively. Today I'd booked an appointment that was timed to finish in barely enough time for me to pick him up after the session was done.

Since the therapy centre is in an office building, it's fairly quiet on Saturdays, and only two or three out of six lifts are in operation. Apart from us parents and our special needs kids, the only other floor that seems abuzz with people is a call centre two floors up.

Little A's session time coincides, apparently, with breaktime for a particular shift of call centre agents. This means that after leaving him with his therapist, it can take up to 15 minutes to get a ride down the elevator, because every time one stops, it's already packed with people. Big A says to get into one that's going up, since once it stops on the call centre floor and fills up, it heads straight down with everyone inside.

Today I did just that, and found that Big A was right. I stood in a corner as the lift filled up with young people sporting bright orange ID lanyards proclaiming their employment for whatever business outsourcing firm they belong to. One smart aleck by the door thought it would be great fun to keep popping his arm between the doors every time they started to close, causing them to open again. The other people waiting on the floor for the lift to go down so that another would arrive, and we crammed like sardines inside, were far less amused.

After about 2 minutes of this unbelievable behaviour, I snapped, "Could you kindly stop that and allow the doors to shut? Some of us have better things to do with our time than stand around while you amuse yourself." The young man quickly pulled his hand in and allowed the door to shut, finally.

The lift started down, and I would have shut up if I didn't hear a sarcastic comment whispered by someone else inside the lift. I then retorted, "There's floor full of special needs children working below you, and not one of them behaves as badly as you do in a lift. If you can't observe proper elevator etiquette, you should just take the stairs in future." At this everyone fell silent.

Once we got to the ground floor and everyone poured out, I tapped the offending character on the shoulder and asked him to apologise. Perhaps his other companions found his antics amusing, but I certainly didn't.

I don't know if a mother's voice of authority works on anyone other than her own children, but I certainly hope I shamed some of those uneducated young people into better behaviour today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Once on This Island

There's song that goes, "They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot..." In this case, they paved paradise, but brought electricity, sewage treatment, solid waste management, clean water, a team of teachers, healthcare and job opportunities for the residents of the island, while keeping as much of it as possible au naturel.

A win-win trade off, in my book. Balesin Island off Quezon province in the Philippines is a pristine piece of land that for three decades was largely left untouched, apart from an airstrip graded by the pilot who owned the island. Since sold to a corporate entity, development has been quick, but all of it sound, thanks to the capable hands of the sustainable island developer spearheading the work.

Big A and I spent a day here recently, at the invitation of said corporate entity, who are selling a limited number of membership shares to what will be a stunning vacation spot with six themed villages and the usual island recreational activities.

If we had the cash to spare, we may have purchased a share; unfortunately we've still got a large debt to pay off for the business we started a few months ago. But we hope for the next best thing - that our friends invest, and then invite us over.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Date Night

Lately, every time I get home from work in the evenings, which is right about the time Little A finishes his evening meal, he comes up to me and takes me to the door to indicate we should go out.

Where we used to walk to the playground or around the swimming pool outside, these days he likes to go further abroad - specifically, down the road to where a row of restaurants and cafes is situated.

He has decided on a favourite restaurant and heads straight for it and up the stairs to a preferred table. He sits and reads his book in enough time that it takes me to order and consume something. Since these regular dates are getting quite painful on the wallet, this means a small salad, an interesting appetizer, or even just a drink.

Some nights I convince him that we could go to Starbucks instead. He likes this too, after initially needing to be carried inside and shown that it wasn't a frightening place to be.

While Little A still has a long way to go improving his communication and social skills, this is a little help in that direction, I hope. And it's a wonderful way to bond with a child.