Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting Ready for the Big One

One week into Little A's summer school session, the teachers sent home a letter that informed parents that each child must bring an emergency kit packed with food, water, comfort objects, a flashlight, whistle and emergency contact information to school as part of their earthquake and disaster preparedness initiative.

Apart from finding out that your child is seriously ill or disabled, nothing can be more sobering for a parent that having to prepare such a kit. 

It took me over two weeks to get Little A's things together, and I am still waiting for his plastic Emergency Contact card to arrive. Knowing his challenges, I included a notebook and pencil, a pair of scissors for his box of cornflakes, a handheld bell on a key ring (he has a hard time blowing a whistle) and broke the safety seals on his bottles of water. 

Even still, I hesitate to send the bag to school because there might be something else I've missed out. Or maybe I don't want to accept the reality that Doomsday might happen when our family is separated. 

The students and teachers spent the summer school session running repeated earthquake drills in between academic sessions. Better safe than ignorant, particularly in a school with a significant population of young special needs pupils.

So Little A is as prepared as he can be. He is actually safer in his one storey school that I am in my ground level shop at the mall, or Big A in his low-rise office building. 

I've also updated our home emergency kit and put togeher one each for our cars. Now we can only hope and pray that the Big One doesn't happen in this lifetime.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Amazing Eight


Little A is no longer so little. Coming up nearly to my shoulder, he still seems like a small boy when he slips his hand in mine and runs into school in the mornings. But besides being taller, he is growing up in all other ways boys do and becoming more independent. This is a bittersweet truth all parents realise.

We celebrated his eighth birthday in our favourite mountain getaway, and this trip my parents, sister and two nieces came along too. Little A was delighted when they set up a surprise birthday welcome in their room, working late into the night and early in the morning inflating and hanging up balloons, buntings and preparing presents he joyfully opened.

The cousins went horseback riding together, tried bowling and just hung out, spending time in each other's company. I am truly grateful for this latest memory of family fun Little A experienced, and look forward to many more. As the ages of my sisters' children range from 20 to seven, no two cousins are the same age, making it that much harder to arrange suitable play dates. But we make do when we can.

On our return to the city, a storm resulted in summer school being called off for three days. Little A's school birthday celebration took place a full week after his birthday, and consisted of cupcakes in a paper ferris wheel at school, buntings, balloons, and loot bags for his half-dozen classmates which he wrote on carefully and distributed properly.

Birthday parties are much less stressful for us now that Little A is learning to tolerate noise and bustle. Also, as he gets older parties are less frenetic than those for younger children, with smaller numbers of children attending and less organised activity.

The last weeks of summer are upon us. Soon, a new academic year begins. We will enjoy these final days of freedom from the alarm clock. Cheers to summer!