Thursday, October 19, 2006

More birthdays

B's birthday was yesterday and we went out for a meal at la Brasserie. We go there quite a lot. Our first and second choices were all fully booked so we reckon it's better to go for a reliable place where you know what you will get instead of trying a new place. I had lobster and mango salad to start, and for main course, my favourite dish at the place, braised ox-tail and ox-tongue. Have been reading Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, I am completely sold on the glory and beauty of cheap cuts of meat that have been slow cooked and subtly seasoned. For desert I had warm chocolate pudding with white chocolate ice cream.

All sounded really good, no? But the sad fact is, last night in my sleep and pretty much all of today I have been suffering from stomach cramps. Sometimes I get that when I've eaten too much. The pain comes every now and then and even though I had came home early with the intention to go up Cloudy Hill, I had to stay in bed instead.

B's birthday presents from his parents arrived. He got about 15 pairs of socks. Some casual socks, some sports socks, three pairs of Ron Hill designed high-tech trail running socks. He has massive feet and it is impossible to get socks (or shoes for that matter) that fit him. We know. We looked for the past ten years.

He also got a bottle of very nice looking Tanduay rum, from our domestic helper. I shall be sampling it in a minute. Heh heh...

And tomorrow, is my elder son O's birthday. He will be turning eight. He thinks he is going to school as usual. But I am going to surprise him by taking him to Ocean Park instead. Why not go on Saturday? You ask. Well, you go free on your birthday, you see (yes I am a cheap skate!). I will be saving a not to be sneered at sum of $93. Even better, is that my younger son J has been coughing like mad tonight, which means I will have the perfect reason/excuse to not bring him along. So, another $93 saved! Ha haha!

Not that I don't think school is important, mind you. However, I'm pretty sure he won't miss out much if he skips a day or two every now and then. This term I have made much more of an effort to make it a habit to ask him what he's learnt at school. They don't have homework, text books, tests nor exams. And nothing is ever written in his home-school diary. You get to know what he has been doing at the END of the year, when the teacher sends home all the workbooks and worksheets and projects he's done in school. In order to get him to agree to tell me something about school everyday, I had to let him get out of swimming class this term. Still, he only ever gives me the absolute minimum, he handles it strictly on a need-to-know basis.

He told me a little while back that all his teacher does is deliver "long, boring lectures... blah blah blah blah blah...." in class. Lectures about what? Human anatomy? Report writing? Air pollution? I asked. "About nothing", was the reply as he looked up from his Asterix comic.

He then explained to me how he hasn't learnt anything new at school this year, so far, at all. And he is not completely lying. Most of the stuff he knows, he learned from either watching TV, reading books, or talking to adults (including his parents and according to him, excluding his teacher). He really wants to get the idea through to me that there is no point in asking him what he has learned at school today, because they don't teach him anything.

Is this a display of great honesty or great cunning? I cannot tell.

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