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My Perfectly Imperfect Life

I never thought I’d feel the pressure brought about by social media. But I do. And I don’t want to. Neither do I want other people to feel that way too. So I wanted to share with you moments in my life that aren’t perfect, unlike what information on social media tend to portray.

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Messy Messy Messy!

My place is in a constant mess. If Aurora isn’t taking out her books from her shelf, she is clearing out my kitchen cabinets. I’ve learned to clear as I go throughout the day. I can keep the same things more than 3 times in one day. But to be honest I like my place the way it is. Messy means an active home. 🙂

Also, when the furkid and Aurora plays too close to each other, he sometimes mistakes Aurora’s toys for his chew toy. And that’s how the Duplo piece ended up bitten. But it’s nice that Aurora doesn’t mind. In fact, most of the time, she is the one who gives furkid her toys and that’s how they end up bitten. Oh well. As long as they are sharing.

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Baking Tragedy

My bakes NEVER turn out the way the pictures show they are suppose to. I mean look at those. Goodness. I feel tremendous pressure to perfect my baking, coming from a family who bakes. Between my mom and my sister, they can open a bakery. But to be honest, it’s mostly because my mom turns herself into a critic whenever she has a chance. It puts so much pressure on me that I’m most probably not going to bring over the mango cake I have baking in the oven right now because the edges are burnt. I can almost hear her say “oh it’s burnt!” or “It’s too sweet la“.

Yea I don’t need the extra stress in my life.

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Mealtime Madness

Meal times are messy businesses. Seriously. I have avocado stains on my shirt, tomato sauce on my beanbags and brown sauce on my curtains. Aurora stained so many of her clothes, I’ve decided to feed her naked at home. Bibs only make the mess worse.

And yes, I do not have a traditional dining table. We sit on the floor, like in korean and Japanese drama. And yes, we do not have a high chair. So yes, she walks about during meal times. And we turn on the TV.

I’ve heard it all before. No TV during meal times. You need to teach her to sit still during meal times. No talking during meal times. (I know, right!)

You know what, I like it that Aurora talks baby talk when we eat together. I like sitting on my beanbag and have her smear food on my face. I don’t mind that she can take up to an hour sometimes to finish her meal. As long as she is eating, I’m happy.

Also, there is so much information and pressure about your baby eating healthy. No sugar. No oil. No water for infants. While it is important to stay healthy, I don’t mind the occasional chocolate cake (just a taste) and some biscuits. And maybe a lick of my ice cream. Ok maybe 10 licks. It’s not like I feed her fries for lunch every day.

People are always comparing how healthy their cooking and diet is. I used to feel so scared of what I cook for Aurora and so pressured to make sure my cooking was as healthy as can be.

Then, Aurora went through a period where she refused to eat anything I made her. Now, I just try to strive for a balanced diet. I don’t want to take away the fun of eating for her. Having said that, there are certain foods that babies can’t eat and foods that we shouldn’t give them too much. There is so much, way too much, information on the internet. What I find helpful is a good qualified book to go to. And a good pediatrician to consult. I guess what I’m saying is, we have to be cautious of what we feed our babies, but I don’t wan to go overboard.

And I’m happy to see her enjoy food. When she’s older, I don’t mind her doing some cooking for me, too!

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Late Night TV

There are days where Aurora just can’t fall asleep. I think many times I have mentioned here that she’s always had problems sleeping ever since she was an infant. On some nights, she’d fall asleep and wake up an hour later and just can’t fall back to sleep. One particular night, she did that so many times that she herself got frustrated. She climbed out of bed, took my hand and led me to the TV. I knew immediately what she wanted.

Some nights, you just want to lie down and watch some mindless shows to make it easier to fall asleep. So there she was, watching some Dora. And half an hour later, we all went back to bed and had a good sleep. Well, for my and Aurora at least. I think poor hubby got kicked a lot that night.

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So there you go. I don’t always follow all the parenting rules. My life isn’t perfect, like what social media would have me believe other people’s lives are. And sometimes I feel the pressure to be perfect, or at least perfect the way the internet defines it. So I guess this is my rebellious post against all that. And to remind myself that the ones who matter don’t mind and the ones who mind don’t matter.

And if you are wondering, yes, I brought the mango cake over in the end. And yes, mom did say it was too sweet. But who cares. Now I know I can bake a mango cake, and that’s what matters. 🙂 Just maybe, make a smaller portion so it doesn’t get burnt.

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Keeping In Touch With Friends and Nature

After having Aurora, naturally I go out less often and therefore meet up with friends less as well. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep in touch! It’s just so troublesome sometimes! So, here I have compiled a list of things I thought I’d like my friends to know, in case they think I don’t want to hang out anymore (because that is sooo not true).

1. I do want to meet up! But it would be so much more convenient if we met at my place or somewhere near my place, especially if the hubby isn’t tagging along. I suppose it makes it even worse that I don’t drive. But even if I did, I don’t have a car. haha.

Another thing is that the public transport here is such that strollers aren’t allowed to be used on the bus; they need to be folded up. I can’t hold both my stroller and my baby at once in a packed bus. That’s just not going to work. Also, Aurora isn’t exactly the sit-still type. She isn’t easy to bring out alone. So I feel more at ease if I knew home was nearby in case of any baby accidents.

But it’s not very nice of me to keep having my friends come over instead of me going out to meet them, that’s why I don’t ask for meet-ups very often. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to, though. >.< Also, I have a dog. And furkid is a licker. So if you aren’t a dog person, well, things can get a bit messy.

2. Please do not hesitate to message me! Don’t worry about me being busy, or whether your messages will disturb me in anyway. Being home with a baby and dog all day means that a little distraction is always welcome. I just take a little longer to reply, that’s all. Don’t take that as my not wanting to text you back. God knows I welcome conversations (which brings me to my next point).

3. Forgive me if all I talk about is my baby and food. Because honestly, that’s all I’ve been wrapping my head around since Aurora’s arrival. So I really don’t know what else to talk about. Feel free to be the conversation starter. I’d listen to anything – TV shows, what you do at your work, family gossips…

4. I know things have changed. We are all at different stages of our lives. But I’d like to think that deep down, I am still the same person I was before – a little weird, a little childish, a little awkward. Just that now, I can add ‘mom’ to that list. So please don’t look at me too differently.

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For the first time in a very long time, we finally had friends over at our place. And it was finally a complete group. We had steamboat and everyone had a good time catching up and growing our bellies together. 2015-07-18 16.59.29

I don’t have a picture of all of us together. But here’s Alvin and Kathy preparing the broth for the steamboat. Yes, she is crying-laughing. Those onions got to her bad. Haha. Poor thing.

We’ve also started bringing the furkid out for runs. It’s amazing to see him running and chasing the birds. And it’s funny because it almost seems as though the birds are playing with him and they fly and let him chase them. Of course he can never catch up with them.

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Oh how we love our beautiful boy.

Aurora is growing up to be a very cheeky, active, playful and mischievous baby. If she isn’t running about the house chasing furkid (bless him for being so gentle and patient towards her), then she’s ransacking my kitchen cabinets and rearranging my baking stuff. Meal times are particularly difficult. She can’t sit still. The good thing is that she does want to eat. The hard part is getting her to eat her fruits and breakfast. She just isn’t a breakfast person. I guess she takes after me in that aspect.

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Those eyes… and those chubby fingers!!

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Before we say goodbye for this post, Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim friends! 🙂

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Time For Celebrations

Since I last posted, we had celebrations, meet ups and stay overs. Aurora has had so much fun the past few months!. First, we celebrated my dad’s birthday, then Aurora’s then my mother in law’s.

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Here she still doesn’t enjoy being carried by others. But in just a month or so, that changed. She now asks to be carried and then she’ll start ordering you around, pointing you to the direction she wants you to go. Such a lady boss. 🙂

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For her birthday, we brought her to the zoo. Because her birthday is also a public holiday, the zoo was packed. Aurora was not too amused, I must say. We were home by lunch. But we had homemade cookies with chocolate and rainbow coloured sprinkles. For the tradition of candle blowing, we got her an egg-less cake.

Hubby helped with the cookies! 🙂 And furkid even got to taste a bit of the cake. It was a lovely, sweet, family affair. 🙂

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I’m glad hubby made us go on our first overseas holiday to Melbourne with Aurora. I was very apprehensive, as always. Baby on the plane. Dog with my parents. I was not only afraid of how Aurora would react, I was also afraid of how my mom’s neighbours would take to furkid going back there, since now they have a baby of their own. I was afraid furkid might bark too much.

But mom told me that furkid did well for the short time there. So I was glad.

Aurora did well too! At first in the waiting area, she cried so badly, everyone was staring at me. Luckily the moment we boarded the plane, she fell asleep for the whole flight. Thank goodness for allowing parents with kids to board the plane first! And thank goodness for all the wonderful flight attendants. Yay for Singapore Airlines! haha

Over there, she finally got to meet da yi zhang! She took over the whole place, from the dog, jasper’s, bed, to TV time. Everyone had to watch Cinderella with her on the last night we were there.

But I must say she really took well to the weather. The first 2 days I had really bad body ache and cold shivers, while Aurora still wanted to go about the house naked!

She also really likes Jasper, and I’m so glad Jasper felt the same way! See how he slept next to her on the mattress. 🙂 Dogs and babies are a-ma-zing.

It was a short trip but it was wonderful, staying with my sis, watching them go about their day, being part of their lives in such close proximity again is just.. so warm and homely.

One of the highlights of the trip is that we got to meet Godma Sim!

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I haven’t got the pictures from Uncle Meka so I stole some from Godma Sim. haha. Thank you Issy for being so nice to your Godsis, not shying away when Aurora hugs and kisses you. I absolutely love that pic where Godma Sim carries both the kids! Soon, Godma Sim. Soon. haha!! And you can see that even though they are 1 year apart, Aurora is almost the same size as Issy. In fact, they are about the same weight! Haha.

It was good to return the favour; Godma Sim has always been the one coming over, it’s about time we went to her instead. 🙂 Again, credit goes to hubby for convincing me to go. Haha. And thanks to Godma Sim for driving all the way there to meet up. Also, thank you Issy, for interrupting your nap to come see us again. I know we didn’t get to bond much this trip. You’re shy, I’m awkward. But I am always here if you need me ok? And if you like the Klutz book I got you, just let me know and I’ll definitely get you more!

Time moves too quickly. Aurora is 1. Its June already. And soon I’ll be planning christmas and putting up the tree. At least this year, I hope there will be one. 🙂

 

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The House Is Now A Home

Having been absent from this blog for a while, I know I have a lot to post about. Firstly and most importantly, we have finally moved into our own little nest! Thinking back on all the packing and designing, I feel really grateful to have had so much help.

Firstly I want to thank Pebbletree Designs for all the designing help! Honestly, we couldn’t think of any 2 better interior designers to work with. Just make the whole process so much fun, which is what moving in to your own home should be. Really. We could not thank you enough.

Also, I need to thank my parents and godparents and friends who happily helped out. All that heavy lifting while I took care of my 2 babies. Honestly, I got the better end of the deal. 🙂

And lastly, for my hubby, who designed the whole place to my liking, not compromising one bit of detail. The house would not be the home it is now if not for you.

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So let’s go from up to down, left to right.

That is the uniquely design shelves in our living room. You can see the living room better in the picture below. Hubby and I combined, we have lots and lots of books. Take it from a literature student and a man who spends most of his nights reading.

Then there’s the bomb shelter door. Every flat in singapore has one. We didn’t want to spend a lot to conceal it. As you can imagine, it doesn’t look very nice. So I got this cute doggie decal from Etsy. And when sis came, she helped me put it up with much precision. haha

And of course this super expensive but working vintage phone, which we actually use, I might add. Also a very convenient coin box.

On to the centre column. That is the shoe shelf that hubby insisted I have. Yes, because I am a shoe fanatic. haha! We used Ikea shelves and have our designer fix it up for us. And it is right in our bedroom open wardrobe. A whole wall of shoes… a thing of dreams for a girl like me. haha!

Yes, we have a fake grandfather’s clock, courtesy of Ikea. Again. I actually like this statement clock. Puts a little something into the living room.

The top 2 pictures on the right are of my kitchen. Kudos to Pebbletree designs again for the colourful cabinet doors!

The 3rd picture is Aurora’s room, which she is seldom in. If you can spot it, there’s a night light that looks like a dog. Haha. Couldn’t help it, we needed to get it.

And lastly, a picture of Aurora in her play area in the living room. Best Idea Ever. Furkid, Aurora and I will spend most of our time during the day there, just throwing her books and toys around. Yes, now she’s into making me read and re-read her little miss and mr. men books. But of course there’s Dr. Suess too, which I rather prefer. Oh those rhymes!

There are actually a lot of small details that make me love our place so much. When I have the time, I’ll take some pictures and share them with you. They are affordable things you can do to your place that totally brings colour to it. Also makes me happy when I see them. Haha! Like decals, and door knobs, and lights, and curtains…

Anyways, on to Aurora updates.

There’s no talking about her without taking about furkid. She follows him wherever he goes and sometimes it tires him out. Poor fellow. He use to jump onto our bed to get some peace. But now that she knows how to climb onto the bed, he has to look to me for help.

That’s not to say they aren’t enjoying each others’ company.

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These 2 are thick as thieves. When ever I remove her toy from furkid, she’d take it from me and give it back to him. She loves to feed him her food too. Oh well, the good thing is that she’s sharing and he’s caring. 🙂

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I Know A Girl, She Puts The Colours Inside of My World

I’ve been having a hard time with Aurora’s meals and sleeping lately. (A huge thanks to Godma Sim for all the support and help.) Aurora has always had trouble sleeping ever since she was an infant. I remember when she used to feed every 2 hours, she’d still only sleep 15 minutes each time. I could hardly get anything done. And as her nap time drew farther apart, she started to sleep later and later. Come to think of it, she has always slept late. Most nights she wouldn’t sleep before midnight.

I tried many things, turning off the lights, playing baby songs, playing disney movies, reading.. And when I wanted to get her on a schedule, she’d just make a fuss if she wasn’t ready to sleep. And because her meals are usually affected and dependent on her sleep timings, her meal times aren’t always on schedule either.

It took a lot of tweaking, and still does. It makes it hard for me to plan my day. It also makes me worry a lot, thinking whole day whether it’s a good time to feed her. If I feed her too early, she won’t eat. If I wait till she’s hungry, she’ll just keep crying until I’m done preparing her food.

But I am having fun trying to introduce to her new food and different food combinations. There’s so many recipes and things I wish to try once I get to use my own kitchen. I can’t wait! Things are going to be so different…

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Every time we go out, I try to get a picture of the hubs carrying Aurora. They just look so adorable together. And I thought a collage of the pictures would be something hubby would like. 🙂

Here’s to all the dedicated fathers in the world. And in the words of my teenage idol John Mayer, “Daughters will love like you (fathers) do.”

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My Forest

First of all I want to apologize for being away for so long. Well, apologize to whoever reads this blog. *waves hi*

I have been preoccupied with a lot of things – visits from relatives, renovation, and many other stuff that are too boring to talk about. But I just wanted to share a few updates, just so when I’m free I can scroll down to reminisce on how much Aurora has grown.

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The little dumpling has definitely grown since my last update. I worry much more about whether I’m feeding her right, playing with her enough, teaching her enough. But when we go on walks with the furkid, I especially think about whether I am showing her how to be a good, kind person. I see the wonder and innocence in her and I don’t want it to disappear. We all know how cruel the world can be at times.

A big question to parents out there. Do you ever think of what your child will think of you as they grow older? I have been thinking a lot about that. I want to be someone Aurora can be proud of, someone she not only loves, but like as a person. What if she found out certain things about me that she finds distasteful? I’m not talking about the phase we go through as teenagers and how we complain about our parents. I’m talking about later as a person to person, will she like me?

There are so many things I recall from my childhood that I don’t wish to be repeated in Aurora’s. There’s so much I want to share with her. I don’t want to shield her from the world, rather to show her the world and remind her that although there are some things that we can’t change, we can always change our mindset and not let society take away the light in us.

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I’ve also been letting the little ones play together a little bit more. PT is a little frightened of her right now because of her grabbing tendencies. She has pulled out a fair bit of his fur. We’re trying to teach her to be gentle. It takes time. Meanwhile, we are keeping her away from him. Who’d have thought the baby would be a danger to the dog, not the other way round?

But when she isn’t grabbing, they like each other’s company. He likes to snuggle up against her when she’s asleep. And she follows him around to see what he’s looking at, or playing at. Above is a picture of them looking out the window to observe a little bird perched on the fence.

It’s nice to see them together. They remind me to be kind. To smile, even when you sometimes find it hard to. It’s the best thing you can offer the world. Who knows, it may be enough. 🙂

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I recently saw this quote that came up on facebook one day.

I couldn’t help but feel some comfort in it, especially after recent months. I think the quote speaks for itself. And I just want to say to those who have stuck around and made your way through the thorns, thank you. And to my better half, I want to apologize. Perhaps my forest has engulfed you a little too much ever since the day you put that ring on my finger. And like Will McAvoy has explained, our boat may have holes that cannot be fixed. But since we’re stuck in this boat that we have made ours, there is no one else I’d rather be stuck with. In fact, I am beyond grateful that I’m stuck with you. You literally keep me from self destruction. And I’m sorry no one else sees that but me. You deserve more credit than people give you. I love you.

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Things My Dog Taught Me About The World

Compassion

There have been many times I find myself in a position where I feel alone, scared, uncomfortable. The little buddy always seems to know and he’d just sit by my side. When I have a bad dream, he’d use his nose to nudge me to wake me up and comfort me. When I was vomiting throughout my first trimester, he’d sit with me beside the toilet bowl.

When I’m out in the living room watching TV with my cousin and hubby is alone in the room, he’d go and lie beside hubby on the bed.

Compassion is slowly lost in our society. How many times have I seen people rudely shooing animals away. There’s no doubt the world will be that much better if all of us just learned a little compassion.

 

Trust

Dogs trusts us infinitely. At least I think furkid does. He trusts that the food we are giving him is safe, that we will come home to him at the end of everyday. He trusts that when we train him to do a certain thing, it is for the best. And the moment I lose trust in myself when I train him, he senses my lack of confidence and thus the training fails.

He taught me to trust myself, and have more confidence in myself. Because he will only follow if you lead him right. And over time, I had to learn – and I am still learning – that I can provide the best home to furkid. And that takes a lot of work. Very slowly but surely, I see myself becoming slightly more confident in myself. And in return, when furkid sees the trust we have in him to be able to do the things we teach him, he learns.

Of course dogs will be dogs and I belive in ‘leashing the one you love’ when it comes to pets. But this isn’t an issue of trust. Animals have instincts. And this instinct may lead them to do certain things that may or may not be harmful to others and to themselves.

What if he hears a sound and decides to run across the road towards it, not knowing the dangers of moving vehicles? Or licks something off the ground that may be poisonous to him? The world is filled with a lot of human things that animals do not understand, and a lot of animal things human do not understand. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking we know all and therefore are ahead of the rest. We should respect all living creatures.

Respect

Respect. Like not to pull his fur (Aurora still can’t quite control her muscles). Like not to disturb him when he’s asleep.Like not to snatch his chew toy away from him. Although he has been such a gentle soul towards her and doesn’t get upset when she does all that, that’s not to say Aurora can continue to do those things to him.

The simplest respect we can give each other shouldn’t be too much to ask for. You wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – behave in anyway towards creatures in a demeaning manner. From the most majestic of creatures, to the littlest, hardworking, humble, quiet ones. They all deserve to be respected for who and what they are. And this respect can only be learned through compassion.

We are all after all just trying to make it in this world.

Discipline

We all need a little structure in life. A foundation or principle in which we live by. They don’t need to be sophisticated ones. They can be simple rules we live by.

I truly believe that furkid is a happier dog because he has that in his life. There’s a proper place and time for him to poop and pee. A proper place for him to sleep at night. A bowl where he can eat from. Simple rules like no biting, and understanding simple commands.

This doesn’t only benefit us as a family, but also him and us individually. He doesn’t bite Aurora even when she sometimes put her hand into his mouth. He doesn’t accidentally eat human food that are potentially poisonous to him.

Discipline teaches us a lot of things – from respecting others, to respecting yourself. To be able to have discipline in your life, you need to respect yourself enough to instil discipline, just like the students and children listens to their teachers or parents because they respect them; just like a dog listens to their humans and vice versa out of mutual respect for each other.

Patience And Understanding

It took me a while before I understood what furkid is trying to tell me. It takes me a while to train him to do certain things too, for him to understand my language. And it doesn’t help if I were to lose my temper and just scream and shout at him every time he does something wrong. I think some parents will agree with me on that point.

Learning to understand each other is not easy. It is difficult enough between humans when we speak the same language. But it is well worth the effort.S~A1hears Aurora’s muffled cries, to the barks he make in the middle of the night when he hears a stranger outside. Learning to read his body language and the different sounds he makes has taught me to try to listen to people differently too.

I starting thinking that maybe I should listen to Aurora too, let her tell me what she wants or needs. I think this is something missing in a lot in our upbringing. Parents traditionally make the decisions for us, from the food we eat to the subjects we study. But when I started to try to listen to Aurora, I learned a lot of things. I started to try to read signs from her, that maybe she is ready to try to walk. That maybe she is thirsty. That maybe she prefers toys of a certain colour. Or that she doesn’t like long sleeved clothes.

We like to think that babies can’t make decisions for themselves. But what I’ve seen says otherwise. Perhaps if we have a little bit more patience to try and understand others, see them differently from our point of view, we’d learn something new.

Enjoying The Simple Things In LIfe

A warm hug, a long belly rub, a quick run in the park, a blueberry treat every now and then. It is so simple to make the little guy happy and to put a smile on his face.

Sure it is important to have discipline in life. But it is also important to have some fun and celebrate life. Even the furkid gets a birthday cake. I don’t think he understands the concept of birthdays. But I’m pretty sure he enjoyed that sweet treat. 🙂

Often times we dwell too much on what bothers us that we forget to appreciate all the good stuff life has given us. I know I am guilty of this.

Let Things Go

Ever time we get mad at the little furkid for going through the bin, or nibbling on our lunch when we are unaware, he never holds a grudge. Sure he’d be giving us the puppy dog eyes and maybe tear a little when he’s being quarantined to a corner of the house. But the second his punishment is over, you will see that smile on his face, as though nothing happened.

When he’s out having his walks and some people run away from him, frightened. Or when other dogs come at him. The furkid just walks away and let it go. He never fights back, or feel hurt for too long.

In fact, the amazing thing is he doesn’t let anything change his friendly and cheerful demeanour, even when people have been mean to him, or treated him unkind.

If there is only one thing Aurora can learn from the furkid, I’d want it to be this. But I have a feeling she’s learning so much more from him. 🙂

 Second Chances

I remember watching an episode of Cesar Milan and he mentioned that amongst the dogs he keep are some that have bitten people.

I understand that not anyone has what it takes to look after dogs, especially those that may seem more difficult (I can’t think of a better word here and for that I apologize). But I’d like to think that we are a society that gives second chances. We are after all living in such close proximity that we rely on the kindness we show to each other to survive. Often we are quick to judge and condemn certain persons (I use this term philosophically) and their actions, and we forget that upon closer inspection, the ones we punish aren’t always the only ones at fault.

Could we have done more? Or more appropriately, what can we do now and in the future? Are we really that harsh that we simply eliminate things in our society that we do not like? I think experience has shown that that will only backfire in time. Have we asked ourselves that by doing so, what are we then teaching our children?