Jay’s First Birthday

1st-birthday-cakeA few weeks ago I wrote about Jay’s 8th birthday and how he had a small party with only his best friend. And being an expat family that’s how most of his birthdays are spent, with SO, my wife, and I, and maybe one or two of his friends to help celebrate.

You see, the problem is, my parents and one brother are back in Australia, and my other brother and his family are in Canada. SO’s family, on the other hand, are all in Indonesia, Jakarta to be exact. Which creates the peoblem that we have to travel internationally to celebrate events with family. So as a result we tend to celebrate our birthdays a long way from our families. Except for Jay’s first couple of birthdays anyway. Christmas and Chinese New Year (SO is ethnically Chinese) are other times that we try to travel to see family, but I’ll write about them elsewhere.

Jay’s first birthday was a special event and so we decided to take him back to Jakarta to celebrate with family there and so he could begin spending time with his cousins (he has ten of them in Jakarta).

As a little background, SO comes from a big family and has 3 older sisters and 3 older brothers. And when we adopted Jay, we couldn’t take him out of Indonesia until all the paper work had been finalised, so he stayed with SO’s second oldest sister for a month until we could bring him home.

This is an important point, because part of our reasoning for taking him to Jakarta for his first birthday was so that she could spend that milestone with him. And we stayed with her family for that trip.

We all had a good time during that stay, although how much a 1 year od could remember it is questionable, but we do talk about it so he knows what happened even if he doesn’t really remember it.

It was an important occasion for all the family to. They got him a special cake and the whole family, about 25 people in all, went out for a special dinner together. The dinner was at a karaoke restaurant and we all embarrassed ourselves by singing. Even I went up and sang a couple of Indonesian pop songs while holding Jay. He was my shield and I felt protected holding him. And if you knew me, you’d know what a huge deal it was for me to sing in front of people, even if they are family.

It really was a great time and showed Jay’s acceptance into the family. It was also when he started to bond and form relationships with his cousins, and even though we’re a thousand miles away from them he’s very close with several of them and he always looks forward to seeing them when we visit or when they come to visit us.

Why A 3 Year Old Shouldn’t Clean An Ipad

ipadA little over 4 years ago, my 3 year old son, Jay, decided he needed to clean our iPad 1. And if it hadn’t been for the fact that he was so cute and adorable, and my wife holding me back, he may not have seen 4.

So how did we get to that point? I bought the iPad about 2 years earlier because I could see how much it would help me with my work and I could become much more productive. Okay, okay, the truth is I had spent some time playing on one with my wife’s nieces and nephews and I wanted to play the games at home by myself.

At first I did take it to work and tried to use it as another tool to help me with my work, but I just didn’t have the knowledge to know how to use it properly for that then. Over time that has changed and I now use my iPad Air 2 much more effectively, but back then it was basically just another toy.

The best thing we found was that there were a lot of apps and games that we could get Jay to use to help him learn, whether it be counting and math, or the alphabet and spelling. So I started leaving the iPad at home so he could play on it when we weren’t around and he was in the care of our maid.

We had given him strict instructions on keeping it safe and clean so it didn’t get damaged. In hindsight, we should have also told him how to properly clean it, but that he should leave the cleaning to Mummy or Daddy. Unfortunately we did not, and we ended up paying for it quite literally.

So on the fateful day that he decided to clean it, my wife got a call from our panicked maid telling her what happened, who then called to tell me. You know it’s not good news when the first thing your wife says is “Don’t get too mad”.

What happened? I hear you ask (or am I hallucinating again?). Jay had apparently been using the iPad with dirty fingers, he was only 3 at the time and I’m pretty sure 3 year olds attract dirt like a magnet, and he decided he needed to clean the iPad. I can’t really get that mad at him (now) for thinking like that, we had told him to keep it clean, we just hadn’t told him not to clean it himself.

So he took it to the sink and, you guessed it, he washed the iPad. Washing with water is the best way to get things clean, right? After all that’s how we clean Jay, and clothes, and dishes. So for a 3 year old little boy, it’s the most logical thing he could do.

Luckily the maid was nearby and stopped him before it got too wet. But the damage had been done. The iPad was water damaged. We did what the websites all say, we dried it, we put it in rice (which rarely if ever works by the way) and waited a few days before we tried to turn it back on again. It was dead, wouldn’t turn on, wouldn’t respond in any way no matter what we tried.

Apple wasn’t any help, we could buy a refurbished one from them but that’s all they offered. Luckily we saw another shop after we visited Apple and went in to see if they could do anything. And wouldn’t you know it, they said they should be able to get it working again. $100 later and we had it back in working condition. Sure, the volume controls have never worked again, but other than that we haven’t had any other problems with it over the past 4 years. Yes, we do still have it and it works just as well now as when it was first repaired.

As for Jay, he now knows the proper way to clean electronics, and how much damage a little water can do to them. He still gets the iPad dirty with his magnetic fingers, but at least when it needs cleaning he’ll get SO or I to clean it.

Jay’s 8th Birthday

birthday-cakeSo Jay’s turned 8. Which seems strange to say because he’s exactly the same as he was when he was 7. Okay, he’s changed a lot in the last few years. How could he not? He’s getting bigger and learning more and maturing. But on a daily basis, we don’t really notice those changes. It’s only when we look at how our kids are different than they were a year or two earlier that we really notice how they’ve changed and grown.

Not that that is what I’m writing about today, but it seemed the right way to start. What I am going to write about is Jay’s birthday. And more specifically, how we celebrated it.

He decided he didn’t want to invite a lot of friends for a party, just his 1 best friend (who we’ll refer to as R for simplicity sake). As his birthday fell on a Monday, which was a school day, we (as a family) decided to have his friend over on the Saturday before. Since they both have lessons on Saturday morning, the boys and their Mummies (that’s the English English spelling I’m using cause that’s how we always spell it) met after their classes at a nearby mall and came home together.

Once they got home, the ladies set up camp in the kitchen, and I got locked in the bedroom (not literally but Jay did tell me to go in there and not come out) and the boys proceeded to demolish the house. Or at least did there best. Fortunately the walls were stronger than them, but not by much.

For afternoon tea, they had Indonesian fried bananas, and Jay delivered a plate of them to me in the bedroom (he seriously didn’t want me to come out). I’m going to mention the other foods they had here because if I don’t I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until I do. As well as the fried banana, we also had a banana cake that Jay made the night before, which stood in for his birthday cake. They made pizzas for dinner, completely from scratch (meaning they actually made the dough and everything), which is one of Jay’s favourite things to do. Jay likes pepperoni and R likes Hawaiian, so they made one of each, which turned out to be more than enough for the 5 of us. For dessert they made a massive chocolate chip cookie. It was from a packet and supposed to make a dozen or more smaller cookies, but someone (aka SO) decided having one big cookie would be better. It didn’t turn out the best, but it still tasted good, and we had it with ice cream.

Okay, enough about the food, although I am strangely hungry now. And yes, that was all the food we had. There were no sweets/lollies/candies, whatever you want to call them. Jay didn’t want them and Asians don’t seem to do that as much as us Westerners do. Or maybe that’s just my wife and her family. Either was Jay isn’t a big sweet eater anyway, so he wouldn’t have enjoyed any more sweet stuff, and I would’ve been the one to eat it in the end.

Anyway, the rest of the time Jay and R spent running around playing games, playing with the PS4. And one of SO’s nieces is staying with us, so she got stuck playing hide and seek with them for an hour or so. I don’t think she’s read the article I wrote about playing hide and seek with Jay.

And that was it for his big 8th birthday party, but we couldn’t do nothing on the actual day. So we secretly ordered KFC for Monday dinner, and actually had it delivered and sneaked it onto the table without him even noticing. Which was a feat in itself since he was sitting on the couch playing his new PS4 game (one of his presents) with me. which is right in front of the door, and he was well aware when the door bell rang. I’m still not sure how SO got the food past him without him seeing.

For dessert we had Kueh Lapis Sagu as can be seen here, which is an Indonesian cake and one of Jay’s favourites. Unfortunately the Kueh Lapis I like is this one, but it was Jay’s day so we had what he likes.

The important part is that Jay had a good time, and I’m pretty sure we made it special for him.

My Son Can Be Sneaky At Times

math-1547018_1280Jay can be sneaky when he wants something, and this is a story of how he tricked my wife, SO, into giving him an answer and access to something he wasn’t supposed to. This happened when he was 4 years old, and he’s only gotten better at tricking us since then.

For a little background, we are a fairly techy family. We have a couple of iPads, a tablet, desktop and laptop computers, and of the wii, PS3 and PS4, and an old PS2 that doesn’t work anymore. This story involves the first iPad we got and which we had installed several apps/games for Jay to play that would help him with his learning. You know, like the alphabet, spelling, counting and simple math.

Most of these apps have areas in the settings that are only for the adults/parents to access. To stop kids getting into those areas the app will ask a question, quite often a math question, that is too difficult (supposedly) for the child to answer.

Some of you have probably already guessed what happened, but for those who haven’t or just want to see how it played out, here goes.

On the day in question, Jay was trying to get into the parent restricted area. I still don’t know why he wanted to, and I think that maybe it was just a challenge to see if he could and/or curiosity for what settings were in that area.

So he did what he thought would work and he called me. He asked me what 8 X 8 equalled, but instead of just telling him, I asked him why he wanted to know. Being as sneaky as he is, he didn’t tell me why he wanted to know and we ended up with a stalemate, where neither of us would tell the other what they wanted to know. and that was the end of that, or so I thought until I got home that night.

It seems that when I wouldn’t give him the answer, he did the most logical thing he could and called SO. Now being naive and not at all suspicious, my wife simply gave him the answer (it’s 64 if you don’t remember your times tables) without a second thought, just assuming he was doing some math homework/activity and he was stuck on that question.

On arriving home that night she discovered the error she had made and decided she wouldn’t fall for that trick again, at least until a few weeks later when she may or may not have fallen for it again.

On the other hand, he’s learned how to trick us in other ways, especially SO who still falls for his traps, but at least she’s trying not to let him manipulate her as much.

Jay And The One Day School Week

examsI’m fairly certain (at least 20% anyway) that most parents are like me and think that kids get to many holidays from school. So you can imagine how I felt when a couple of weeks ago his school decided that they would only have classes for one day that week and the kids would have a mid term holiday. But it wasn’t just his school, all the primary schools did it. And no, it wasn’t an official mid term school holiday.

So why did they close the schools down for 4 days in one week? Because of the PSLE marking. What’s that, I pretend to hear you ask? It’s the Primary School Leaving Examination, which all grade 6 students do to determine which High School they can get into. Now, I don’t know about most people reading this, and I don’t know if the system has changed in Australia since I went through it. But when I finished primary school, we didn’t have nationwide (or even statewide) exams to get into high school. Although I think there were some private high schools that had their own entrance exams.

And let me tell you now, Singaporeans take these exams extremely seriously. There was even an 11 year old boy who killed himself earlier this year because he failed an exam. The pressure doesn’t just start at the end of grade 6 either.

Singapore likes to get the exams and testing started early. In grade 1 Jay was already taking exams, and now at the end of grade 2 he’s taking exams that will determine which class he goes into in grade 3. From what I understand (and I don’t understand much it’s true) most schools will rank all the students and the best will go into Class 3A, with those just behind in 3B, and so on until they’ve assigned all the children to classes. I dread to think about how it would feel if your child was assigned to 3Z.

Jay’s school is a little different though, they only assign the top students into classes 3A and 3B, with the rest of the students assigned randomly to the remaining classes. Which I guess is a better system, but I’m not convinced it’s what is really best for the kids.

But anyway, back to that 1 day school week. To mark the PSLE exams, they let all the students stay home from Monday to Thursday while the teachers were marking. Which seems a bit strange to me, when I was teaching we had to keep up our normal teaching schedule and mark any exams in our time outside the classroom. Yes, that meant we took exams home to mark, but it was part of the job. And for major statewide exams, like the ones we did at the end of high school, the education department (or ministry or whatever it’s called) would employ (or use their staff) to mark the exams, so that the student’s teachers weren’t involved in the grading at all. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems a better option than taking kids out of class.

So what did Jay do during that week? Well, SO tried to get him to do some studying for his upcoming exams, but I don’t think he really got that much done. Most of the time he spent playing, on the PS4 or his other toys, or reading. The thing is, the school has a system in place so that if the school has to close for any reason, the kids can complete classwork on the computer. They just have to log on to a website and there are activities and material for them to complete. I would’ve thought that closing the school for marking they could’ve used this system so that at least the children weren’t losing to much time away from learning. But for some reason, the school decided not to do that, so for those 4 days they had an unscheduled holiday.

I’m sure Jay enjoyed those days though, and it gave him a break before his exams that will decide his future and the rest of his life. As for SO and I, we just want Jay to try his best, and if he doesn’t get into the top 2 classes, so be it. There’s more important things in life.

How Much Studying Is Too Much Studying

math-1547018_1280Have you ever wondered how much studying your child should be doing? How many hours should we expect from them after school? What about weekends? Holidays? Do they have time for sports or other activities? Do they even have a childhood of fun and play anymore?

Let me set the scene. My family and I live in Singapore, and if you missed it I’m Australian and my wife and son are Indonesian. The school that Jay, my son, attends has classes on Monday from 8am to 3pm (with 2 breaks for a snack and lunch), and from Tuesday to Friday from 8am to 1.30pm (with 1 break for a snack). After school he used to have 1 tuition session on Thursday afternoons, however the tutor was unable to continue the class and we haven’t replaced it with anything else.

So afternoons Jay will spend doing his homework (which takes anywhere from 1 to 3 or 4 hours), play, read, watch TV and any other leisure activities he wants. On Saturdays he has 2 extra classes, for his Chinese, that run from 9am to 1.30pm (with a 30 minute snack break at 11). On Sundays he might have some homework to complete, and he’ll sometimes do extra study for Chinese or his favourite class, Math, but that’s about it.

Sounds pretty typical right? When I was growing up we didn’t have any extra lessons, unless it was for a musical instrument or sport, we just did the homework set by our teachers and maybe did a little extra self study if we were so inclined.

But here’s the thing, by Singapore standards, we are far behind. We know of kids here who have extra tuition every, or almost every, day, seven days a week. If they’re really lucky they might have Sundays off, but it’s not likely.

There’s such a push for academic achievement here that they seem to be sacrificing their children’s childhood. From the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, they’re forced to study, to improve their grades. It’s not unusual for kids to be up until 11 or 12 o’clock at night, and I’m talking about 6 year olds, and getting up at 6 or earlier. You can see kids on the train or bus sleeping going to and from school because they’re not getting enough rest. So how can they be performing their best when they’re exhausted and sleep deprived?

Where should the limit be set? If they got more rest and had more fun, would their grades improve? Would they be less stressed and healthier? Is Jay doing as much as he should? Should we be pushing him to do more? Should we force him to stay up past his 9pm bedtime to do more work?

Personally I think Jay is doing about right, he’s consistently near the top of his classes in all subjects including Chinese. So unless he really has a much higher IQ than his schoolmates, their extra work is not helping them significantly. The problem here though is that I don’t have the data to support anything. I know how much Jay studies but confirming that for his peers is problematic, then comes the problem of determining IQ testing.

I think all I can really give is my opinion, and that is kids should be getting enough rest so that they can actually stay awake going to and from school. There should be a balance between schoolwork/study and recreation (all work and no play makes Jack a psychopath – REDRUM REDRUM). And above all our kids should be able to enjoy their childhood.

How Important Is Dinner With The Family

family-dinnerWhen I was growing up we always had dinner as a family. Well, okay, there were times when one or both of our parents were out. But the majority of the time we sat down and ate together. And whilst the TV was quite often on, we did talk to each other while we ate. It wasn’t just a case of sitting at the table eating and watching TV at the same time.

Since Jay came into our lives, we’ve tried to eat together as a family as much as possible. We don’t even have the TV on while we’re eating. And even if it is on, we can’t see it from the table anyway, so it’s not important.

What seems to be happening with a lot of people these days is that, with our hectic lifestyles, families aren’t eating together as often as we did when we were kids. The other thing is that with the proliferation of electronic gadgets (which we’ve mostly banned from the dinner table) even when families are eating at the same time, they’re not really communicating.

Just the other day SO, my wife, pointed out a nearby table at the place we were eating at. Around the table was an extended family of about 10 people, ranging from teenagers to middle aged. The interesting thing though, is that every single one of them (and I do mean all of them) were playing on their phones or tablets. So what we had was a group of people sitting at the same table, eating at the same time, but they could’ve been complete strangers.

I also remember another incident that happened shortly after SO and I moved to Singapore. We were eating at the local hawker centre (a type of open air cooked food centre) and their was a young family sitting at a table nearby, Morther, Father, and young child (about 2 or 3 years old). After they ordered and sat down, we didn’t see or hear the parents speak at all the whole time they were there. The father sat and read his newspaper, and the mother looked after the child. Even when he was eating, the father didn’t interact with his wife or child, merely sat reading his paper while the mother fed their child. When he finished eating, the father stood up and left the mother and child to finish their meals. We assumed he had gone home, as we didn’t see him again before the other 2 left.

Both of these incidents, to me, are sad. What’s the point of even being there at the same time if you’re not going to talk to each other? I wonder if they even like each other.

For me, we don’t just eat at the same time, we actively engage with each other. We always talk, whether it’s serious or we’re just joking around. This is a great bonding time away from the distractions of TV, games, friends and everything else that distracts us in this electronic age. It’s something I plan on continuing and hope that Jay is a better person because of it.

Jay Versus The Tic Tac

faceHave you ever wondered how common it is for children to get foreign objects stuck in their ear? Well, last Friday we found out, after Jay, our son, decided to put a Tic Tac in his ear. Apparently it’s very common, even for 7 year olds who should know better.

Let’s go back a moment to Friday morning before it happened. My wife, SO, and I had taken the day off. SO was at home because her Mother and Sister were her for a couple of days so her Mother could see her Doctor. I, on the other hand, had an appointment to get injections for my Torticollis, which I’ve talked about here.

So off I went and got 21 injections, I counted them, in the muscles of my neck and shoulders. If you’re wondering, yes it does hurt, much more than normal injections which aren’t into the muscles themselves.

It was while I was getting the injections, literally at the same time, that Jay decided to see what it was like to stick a Tic Tac into his ear. It was his right ear, if you were wondering, although why it would matter I don’t know. But then, we do tend to wonder about things that don’t really matter, don’t we?

Anyway, SO found out that he’d put it in there, and could see it sitting in his ear, just a bit to far in for her to safely remove. Fortunately, our local Doctor is less than a 5 minute walk away. Unfortunately, he was closed at that time.

So then I get a call while on my way home, with the full intention of resting in bed all afternoon because my neck was sore from being a pin cushion and containing an extra 300 units of BOTOX in my muscles. And no, it doesn’t remove any of my wrinkles, it’s inside the muscles to make them relax, and to far away from the surface to have any cosmetic effect.

On getting home I had a look and, yes, could see the Tic Tac sitting there in Jay’s ear nice and snug like a bug in a rug. So, being the take charge kind of guy I am, I flipped a coin to decide whether or not to take him to the emergency room. Okay, I didn’t really flip a coin, but SO and I did decide to take Jay to the emergency room instead of waiting for our local Doctor to return from his mid day break, where, I found out later, he was taking a nap. I didn’t make that up, I actually talked to him the next day and he admitted he was taking a nap.

So, off we went to the children’s emergency at NUH (Singapore’s National University Hospital), which is about a 5 minute taxi ride away. Fortunately it wasn’t terribly busy day and we got in to see a Doctor in less than half an hour. She was very kind to Jay and that made him relaxed and okay with having to be there. She was only an intern though, so she had to get a fully trained Doctor to try to remove the Tic Tac. She did tell us it’s extremely common for kids to get things stuck in their ears and she’s seen plenty of cases. This was the first time it was a Tic Tac though, so at least Jay was unique in that way.

The head Doctor though, didn’t have any instruments that could get into his ear and remove it. He did try several different things first but none of them could get it since the Tic Tac had swollen and blocked the canal and he couldn’t get a firm grip on it to pull it out. So off they sent us to the ENT clinic.

The worst part of this was that we ended up having to wait over an hour to see someone there. I guess this was because it wasn’t really an emergency, the Tic Tac wasn’t causing any damage and Jay wasn’t feeling any pain or discomfort. Unless you count embarrassment as a pain or discomfort.

Once we got to see someone it only took a couple of minutes to get it out. As much as I never wanted it to happen and definitely don’t want him to do anything like it again, I think it’s given him a good lesson and I doubt he’ll ever try putting things in his ear again. The staff at the hospital were kind and patient with him and I don’t think he’s been adversely effected by the episode.

On the other hand I now find I have a strange desire to put a Tic Tac in my ear just to see what it’s like.

A Pokemon Hunting We Will Go


A few weeks ago I wrote about how I installed Pokemon Go on my phone to help get my son out and more active. This post, I guess, is an update on how that has been working. Or not. See, the thing is, after the initial jump in activity, we’ve fallen back a bit. He’s not as eager to get out and about to catch them.

On the other hand, I’m more active now. I walk further when I’m out during the day, stopping at pokestops to collect items, and walking around to help catch pokemon and hatch eggs for him. I’m doing this, not just for my health, but also because he is still excited about the game. He’s just not as excited to go out and catch as he was the first couple of weeks. And when I get home in the evening, he wants to see what pokemon I’ve caught or hatched.

Which brings us to last weekend. Saturday mornings he has extra Chinese tuition, which has improved his Chinese greatly by the way, which he finishes at about 1.30. Afterwards we like to get him out and doing things, even if it just means going to the shops to walk around. Like a couple of weeks ago, we went to VIVO City, a large shopping centre, to catch pokemon there. But we try to do more active things like swimming or bike riding.

In that line we have heard about an exercise program run by the Singapore government, called Active Kids, to get kids more active and playing sports. Like many places now, Singapore has a weight problem with its children and this is part of how they are tackling this problem. Anyway, one of these programs is run at West Coast Park, which isn’t that far from where we live, every Saturday afternoon about 5.30pm.

See where I’m going? We decided to ask if he wanted to go to West Coast Park with the idea to catch some pokemon. Of course, he loved the idea, so just after 4 we headed off there, with the intent of accidentally seeing the activity they were having that day. As all great plans do, it failed. Sure, we went catching pokemon, but then Jay got distracted by other things. First by a nearby marina, where we sat and watched the boats for a while. And then by all the playground equipment. And before we knew it, we’d missed the Active Kids program.

We ended up having dinner at the park and went home. We did have fun and caught a couple of pokemon, it really didn’t seem like a great place to catch them. And most importantly, we got out and about and had some exercise. Not the exercise we had hoped Jay would be doing, but any exercise is better than none. Who knows, maybe we’ll have better luck next time.

Having Torticollis And Raising A Child


Eight years ago I was diagnosed with Torticollis (or wry neck), three months later my son, Jay, was born. Whilst I am nowhere near disabled, it does effect my life and consequently how I can interact with Jay. And that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

First, for those who aren’t familiar with torticollis, a little info on the condition. There are 2 ways it can develop. The first is through an injury or other physical trauma, which can normally be rectified by fixing the underlying cause. I know of one person who had it from bad posture sitting at his desk, and all he had to do was rest for a few days and correct his posture when sitting. The other cause is genetic and is passed down through the family. This can not be fixed and will be a continuing condition for the rest of your life. This is what causes my condition and every 3 or 4 months for the past 8 years I have had around 20 injections into the muscles on my neck and shoulders to reduce the tension and relax the muscles there.

Torticollis causes the muscles in the neck and shoulders to contract constantly, and in my case my head is tilted to the left. On good days it isn’t that noticeable and I can move my head up and down and rotate it relatively normal. On most days though the muscles are stiffer and I have trouble moving my head, and tend to turn my whole body when I want to look from side to side. As you can imagine there is also a fair amount of pain and discomfort from the muscles constantly working. I do have pain killers and muscle relaxants that I take, but I try not to take them to often as I don’t want excessive mediation to effect me in other ways.

So how does this effect my relationship with my son? Basically it’s a limiting factor, not so much in what I can do, but how much I can do. So far we haven’t come across any activity that I flat out cannot do, but there have been times when I couldn’t do it at that time. For example, we go swimming, bike riding, bowling, play soccer and so on. But there have been days when I couldn’t bowl with him because of the stiffness and pain. I did go with him to support and encourage him, but I just couldn”t bowl alongside him.

In most cases though I can do the activity with him, but afterwards I’m stiff and sore, which limits how much we can do on any one day. Weekdays are usually the worst, since by the time I come home I’m already tired, more tired than I used to be from a days activities prior to the condition. But even then I’m able to spend time with my son around the house, playing games, watching TV and helping him with his homework. I just can’t be as active as I’d like.

And how does Jay react? He’s normally very understanding and will ask about Daddy’s sore neck. On days when I’m exhausted and just want to lie down, he’ll look after me and offer to get me drinks or things, and make sure I’m comfortable. Fortunately I’m not that bad very often, and most days I can do things with him in the afternoon. And weekends we try to do all the things that most families will do.

Overall I think I have a good relationship with Jay and we’re as close as any father and son, but there are times when I wish I could be more normal and do more to make him happy.