Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2018

Life with boys, summarised in one night.

Adam had his good friends, Alden and Rayden, over on Sunday for his belated 9th birthday party and also because exams were over and the boys wanted to unwind.
When your bestie's kids are also your kids' besties, you can expect nothing short of a mayhem every time our families get together.

That was kinda what happened last night.
Everything was going fine, the kids had cake, they played Nerf waterguns in the pool, champagne was free-flowing for the adults, and the kids were having fun playing Catching when suddenly Rayden came running over to look for me.

I marched into my bedroom and saw blood everywhere on Ashton's entire left cheek. He had a laceration just slightly above his eye and the blood flowed as freely as our champagne.
Thankfully I had copious amounts of alcohol to help me deal with the ordeal calmly.
I simply scooped Ashton up, pressed a ball of tissue to his gaping wound and instructed Andy to drive us to Mt Alvernia as it was nearest to our home minus the long wait as compared to KKH.

After a consultation with the A&E doctor, it was decided that Ashton needed a plastic surgeon to stitch him up.
Another hour or so was spent waiting for the plastic surgeon and anaesthetist to arrive as it was already midnight.
Ashton was a champ, he didn't cry at all! He was just super brave about the whole thing.

I changed into scrubs and accompanied Ashton into the OT and when Ashton was comfortably sedated, I rushed home to pack some overnight stuff before rushing back again.

When I returned to the ward, Ashton was fast asleep with his favourite stuffed penguin.
I bunked with him that night. 
We were finally discharged some 14 hours later in the afternoon of Monday.
The hospital bill came up to be the equivalent of a Birkin bag, thank goodness for insurance.

This wasn't how I'd imagined my Sunday night to end.
Parenthood is seriously one heck of a roller-coaster ride and I'm sure you agree - it's not for the faint-hearted.

Anyway, here are a coupla photos from the party earlier on.
Alden (11), Adam (9), Ashton (coming 6), Rayden (9). They all spontaneously wore the same Star Wars shirts!

4 boys - 4 times the trouble.
I briefly imagined us to have 4 sons and my ovaries simply committed suicide.

My bestie Twinkle and I. Aiyo why I so dark from all the swimming.

Happy 9th Birthday my firstborn son. 
I love you for who you were before, who you are now, and who you will be.

Glad you kids had fun.
Next time, playdates at our house shall be Bible Studies, no more rough-housing!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Stay-at-home-son no more.

In the first week of February, I took leave and had dreamed of spending my days sleeping in till noon, going for high tea, doing CNY-shopping, getting my hair and nails done.
Except I did none of those.
My mornings were chaotic trying to get both kids dressed and out of the house on time and settling into The Routine.

You see, the last chick in my nest has started nursery and I'm feeling a little bit sad.
My Stay-at-home-son no longer. I'm like a Mother hen who wants to keep all her chicks in her nest. I get clucky when they start growing up and spending collectively more time away from my nest. At the rate they are growing, I will need new babies to replace them every other year.

Anyway, Ashton took to school like a champ, which made my panicky worries come to nought. That's how my last chick is - good-natured and "easy peasy lemon squeezy" (quote Adam).
He's the kind any mother would love to bring out on errand-runs and meal dates because he's non-fussy and totally compliant to your instructions.
Needless to say, I love both my chicks but I'm extremely fond of this last chick of mine.

Here's a photo of both my chickadees on a school morning:
Adam is sulking because I had literally extricated him from his bed,

Both of them were running late and Adam even missed his school bus because I woke up late, because I woke up at 4am to pee and stayed up surfing Facebook till 6am before dozing off again.
Both kids start at 0830am so Hubby and I dropped Ashton off to his childcare first so that he wouldn't miss his breakfast, then Adam to his Kindy for his (late) assembly.

In case you're wondering, both boys are in different schools because Adam finds the hours at childcare too long for him. He doesn't nap and prefers to go home to play and do his stuff (watch TV/ play iPad) instead of being confined in an institution all day.

Andy accuses me of spoiling the kids but I'm the sort of parent who will listen to what my kids want. Even if they're only 3 years old.
Certain things are non-negotiable to me, such as safety and manners. Other than that, I'm really easy on the kids.

I did offer to transfer him to the same childcare as Ashton, but he rejected the idea.
"What if Ashton has no friends?" I asked Adam.
"Then he has to make friends or be lonely!" came Adam's reply. 
Adam is a little non-conformational like me. I can totally emphasize with this boy. I let him choose his school since he's the one attending it and it's been win-win so far. If I had insisted on making him adapt to childcare, we might lose our minds.

I'm quite a softy and probably not the best disciplinarian in the family.
If you're thinking of getting someone to adopt your dog/ cat/ tortoise/ kids, that someone would be me.
Speaking of which, the other day I tried to convince the husband we could adopt another dog - a Golden Retriever. He asked if we could have sex on alternate days. I said could we not, I'll be more tired than anything. He then finished off with "There, you have your answer".
Oh my wickedly funny husband. I'm trying hard not to want to smack him at times.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My kids are the most annoying farts in the universe.

I'm convinced that I have the most ungrateful children in this whole wide world.

Last night, Adam was running a fever and I stayed up the entire night sponging/ oiling/ feeding water/ TCM/ Panadol, getting up umpteen times bringing him to pee, and attending to his million needs.

I ended up being a zombie this morning and couldn't go to work because my head felt like it was floating and my body felt like it was gravity-defying.
I seriously thought I might collapse in a heap.

Instead of getting plenty of rest and letting me get plenty of rest, the kids are now fighting over the same stupid toys, passing germs, refusing to sleep, giggling on the mattress and getting up and prancing around the house. These, despite my nagging for 540783 times.
My head, at this point in my life, is about to explode.


I should never have had children, and spend all my time and money going on dates and looking fabulous.

Tonight, NOBODY is getting any TV or toy time. The end.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Uninterrupted time with the husband - our Friday date nights.

For a couple of months now, Adam has been requesting to have sleepovers at my in-laws' on Friday nights.
My condition is that he finishes his homework, and in exchange he gets to sleepover and play on my brother-in-law's iPad for a while before bed. (We did away with the iPad at home. Like totally.)
Andy & I get to go on dates on Friday evenings for a couple of hours before fetching Ashton home.
It is a dream arrangement for everybody.

I don't know how other couples do it, but even though it is only for a few hours on every Friday, this alone-time with the husband is much needed and works great for us.
Some time to ourselves without the kids getting into our hair. 
Tonight, we were at Akashi Japanese Restaurant for dinner.

Otoro (fatty tuna belly) and Uni (sea urchin).

The uni is sweet and delish!

Sukiyaki beef noodle set.

I'm in a white-tee-and-ripped-jeans phase right now.
White tee: Gap kids (it has a breast pocket which is so cute)

Ripped jeans: Mango
Orange beaded necklace: eBay
Shoes: Tory Burch wedges
Bag: Hermes Birkin 30

 When I got to my in-laws' after dinner, Adam was finishing the last two questions of his abacus homework without my prompting, both kids had been fed and bathed.
This is one of the better nights where everything is falling in place. Stellar moment when I walked through the door to see Adam beading his abacus. 
I swear, some days are so dark I don't even know how I made it out alive.
When I was little, or maybe in my teenage years, my Mum used to exclaim in exasperation "Wait till you become a mother!"
That was probably the most profound advice she's given me in all her life, and mine.
Wait till I become a mother. That's it.

I am a mum of two boys today, and have been mummy status for slightly over 5 years now.
Nobody has given me any advice about being a good mum.
Well, I know anyone can be a mother. But a good, terrific, nurturing and loving mum, now that's seriously tough shit.
I would think I'm faring OK on some days - the kids hardly get sick, I try to provide them the best nutrition I can afford, I am selective (fussy) about the toys I buy for them (safety first and reputable brands only please), and they don't watch DVDs other than those from Leap Frog.
I must be raising prodigies!
The not-so-ok days are those where I receive feedback from the teacher/ helper/ family member/ part of the village who's helping me raise my kids.
Feedback about how I'm not reading enough to Adam/ Ashton climbed on and flew off the coffee table and hurt himself/ both boys fighting/ child so-and-so did this and that, blah blah blah.
Feedback that make you worry about what you're doing wrongly or inadequately.
Feedback that make you cringe and wonder how your own offspring can be like that.
 Parenting is like taking two baby steps forward, and one step back.
You keep going and going and hopefully one day you look back at your grown-up kids and think you did an OK job after all.
Five years into this mothering job, I'm still absolutely clueless.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Being a good wife makes me a bad mother. Vice versa.

Being a good wife makes me a sucky mother. And vice versa.

I haven't been posting much about the kids and our lives at the moment but this incident got me thinking.
Some time back, the husband suggested watching Transformers at the cinema. A mid-week dinner date without the boys. I obliged.
We checked ourselves into the Platinum Suites at Cathay, had a nice dinner while watching the Autobots, and by the time the movie was over and we got home, it was 9:15pm.
We reached our lobby and I saw the kids, my maid, and mil waiting for us downstairs because my mil forgot our house keys and the kids were locked out of the house.
It was 9:15pm. They were sitting at the lobby of our block waiting for their Mummy and Daddy to get back so they could go into the comfort of their own home.

We rushed upstairs, I opened Adam's bag to check his homework and discovered he had forgotten to do his abacus homework which I had specifically instructed him to when I called home in the afternoon.
 I was mad at him and reprimanded him and he apologized for forgetting.  More so, I was angry with myself for not being there to supervise Adam's work.
I hadn't showered all day. 
When I finally stepped into the bathroom for a shower, the kids came out of their room and wanted to play with toys while waiting for me to put them to bed.
It was 10:30pm. I hurriedly changed them into their pyjamas, made them milk and sent them to bed.

I lay in bed with Adam and Ashton and fell asleep sandwiched between them and didn't wake up until the next morning. From the corners of my eyes, I saw it was day break. I jumped with a start and checked my phone because my alarm didn't ring at 6am. I woke up at 7am. My alarm didn't ring because my phone went dead because I was so tired I forgot to charge my phone.

I felt horrid all of the next day.
I tried to be a good wife at the expense of my two children.
Sure, we all need a break from the kids sometimes. We all need to spend solo time with our spouses to keep the spark in marriage. But here I was, causing the kids and my helper to forsake their rest, waiting downstairs for us to get our bloody arses home. I was out of the children's sight from dawn to late into the night, and as a result neglected coaching Adam in his abacus work.
The only time the children had with me, was spent lying in bed and hushing everyone and trying to get both of them to sleep so that I could sleep.
I am a bad mother when I try to be a good wife.
Likewise when I get too caught up trying to be a good mother (so much coaching/ playing/ planning/ activities) the husband thinks we need some couple time too.

Not many people I know admit these stuff. Most of the time, people on social media try to portray a nice image of how wonderful married lives are and how they've got it all together. Which is not wrong to think so, of course.
I do love my kids and husband to the moon and back, but certain times, times like these, make me feel that marriage and motherhood can be major contradicting & oxymoronic.

There. I said it. That's what married life with kids does to one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Moms with maids - the dilemmas of a FTWM.

Hi guys! As promised in my previous post, I am now sharing my woes about my maid having a boyfriend.
Not too long before Chinese New Year, I was playing with the kids in the playroom (also my helper's bedroom). As she was charging her handphone on her mattress, Adam happened to press her phone and showed me this photo:
A photo of her and her Bangladeshi boyfriend. As you can see, the man was caressing her from behind and staring at her chest. He arm was also placed across the chest.
As it was Adam who chanced upon the photo and showed me, my immediate reactions were disgust and worry.
We travel, or are at least away at staycations several times a year. I'm just worried that she might bring men back to our home without our knowledge.
And no, we do not have CCTV installed because we didn't see the need to when the maid and kids are at my MIL's during the day and only come home in the evenings after we fetch them.
Since this incident, I have questioned her about it and warned her that if I ever hear our neighbours mention, or we catch her red-handed bringing strangers to our home or stealing from us, we will send them to the police for theft and trespassing and we will also send her back immediately.
My family, in-laws, Andy and I have discussed about this issue over and over ever since we found out and my friends / colleagues and I have debated about this fiercely over gatherings and lunch-time chatter.
We have come to a conclusion that we will still keep her.
Reason being she has 2 days-off a month, and she is entitled to do what she wants on her days off.
The MOM law states that foreign domestic helpers are not allowed to get pregnant otherwise they will be repatriated back to their country, but no mention has been made about them not allowed to have boyfriends.
Besides, we found this photo of her and her boyfriend in her handphone. We did not personally catch them in the act in our home.
In such a scenario, will you still keep your helper?
In Singapore, I think most working Moms will face maid problems, give and take the seriousness of the "problems".
Life-giver vs caregiver: this is the constant (almost) daily battle I face as a FTWM who has to depend on a foreigner to "mother" my children.
As much as I try to leave work on time, spend time with my kids on weekends, take leave during school holidays, I simply cannot be there for their every single moment.
Moments where they need help in simple tasks like getting dressed/ a change of diaper/ toileting needs/ feeding... the basic activities of daily living and I am not the one to provide such care for them.
It's driving me insane.
Lately, due to a shortage of manpower in my department, I have had to work on almost every Saturday till the late afternoon.
The only times I have to my family, I spend locked up in my room catching up on lost sleep.
 My kids want to go to the playground on a weekend evening but all I can muster is enough energy to instruct my son, to ask our maid to bring them down.
The last thing I need right now, is to deal with BGR problems of someone totally not related to me but whom my kids have to depend on!
Fun times.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My kind boy.

I went for Adam's teacher-parent meeting last Friday and got some updates from his teacher (who also happens to be his Principal).

She told me he was improving in his work, and he is good in his Mandarin and Math. I got similar feedback from his Chinese teacher 古老师 who said that Adam loves Mandarin and he could recognize many Chinese words.

The only thing that we need to work on is his handwriting, which can be quite messy.

Books aside, Adam's teacher (who also happens to be the school principal), shared with me that there is an Autistic child in his class, and much to her surprise, despite Adam being usually a cheeky and naughty one, he was the only one in class who was helpful and kind to this Autistic child. He was also the only one who was willing to sit beside the child, while the rest of his class mostly stayed away from this child because she was different.

She said overall, Adam is a lovable child. Adam's principal then praised me for doing a good job. #proudmummymoment

Last Christmas, we attended a church gathering and there was another Mummy who encouraged me - don't worry about making mistakes in parenting, we are all learning along the way.
That was a humbling & wonderful encouragement to me, especially since I was considered a young mum- I had Adam when I was 26, when most of my friends were not even married yet.
The only advise I had back then were from forums and other mummy-friends made online, and through my personal trial and error.

Dear son,
Although I'm so strict on you, and that I make mistakes some times, I want you to know that I love you, and that I am very proud of you.

To all other Mummies out there - don't worry about making mistakes in parenting, we are all learning along the way.
Please share this encouragement with other Mums if you think it's true!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My 4 year old has been naughty lately.

Today, when I came back from work, I heard from my husband and maid that Adam had been rude and disrespectful this morning while waiting for his school bus.
For the past few mornings since last week, I worked the 8.30am shift at my centre, and Adam's school bus pick-up is at 8am daily, so I brought him to wait for his bus every morning.
It happens that there is a patch of mimosa on the grass near the pick-up point (which is at the side of the road) so under my supervision I let him touch the mimosa during our wait.
My rule is - never go to the road-side, and always come back when I tell him to.
This morning, I had to reach work at 8am so I let my helper send Adam down.
As usual, he was playing with the mimosa and one aunty happened to pass by and commented that there could be "gao sai" (dog shit in Hokkien) on the grass.
My helper then asked Adam to come back to her side, which he disobeyed.
He replied that dogs will shit at the side near the pavement, not near the road (what is he? 10?!)
As it was a time with morning traffic, I had always warned him to be careful and listen to whichever adult was with him. And he broke my rule this morning.
When I came home from work and heard about this incident, I was mad at Adam.
I reprimanded him and removed his iPad privilege for the evening and nagged at him over and over about the importance of safety and the consequences of not listening to his caregiver.
Thing is, he is only like this when he is with my helper as he knows that she is not the "boss" nor his Mommy.
I've tried time and time again to make him obey the maid - I talk/ reason/ spank/ threaten.... until I have no more saliva, and it is driving me crazy.
I know it is unreasonable to, and I never expect a domestic helper to be a disciplinarian and mother to my children, but these are some of the issues faced by working Moms on a day-to-day basis.
And these issues are very real. Issues of your children's safety resting on a non-family member's shoulders, issues of caregiver substituting lifegiver.
It's impossible for me to be there to police his behaviour all the time, and by the time I reach home to do that, it would easily have been 10 hours later.
My maid is not worry-free, either.
Not too long ago, slightly before Chinese New Year, we found out (through Adam, horror of horrors!) a photo of her with a Bangladeshi man hugging her from behind.
** I will share about this issue in another post.

It is a known fact to our friends and relatives that Adam and Ashton are polar opposites in terms of their character and behaviours.
In all due fairness, Adam is a darling who will plant kisses on you, says he loves you, and he is a happy pill who is hardly angry or unhappy. 
He is a very kinetic child, who thrives on being on the move. He is also witty and vocal.
Both my kids are different from each other, and I love them differently.
For Ashton, I love him tenderly and affectionately. He is a sweet, quiet little child who is happy by my existence alone. He's the easy baby who makes parenthood a joy.
For Adam, I love him intensively and impulsively. When he hugs, he hugs with all his might. When he laughs, his laughter is etched on my mind for a long time. He is intense and does things never in half-measures.
 As I always say, I love my children differently, but I love them all the same.
I just wish parenting could be a wee bit easier. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

What a refreshing weekend I've had.

Sunday in-the-middle-of-the-night, it started raining cats and dogs and thunderstorms, which woke my poor Adam and he cried "I'm scared of thunder Mummy help me please!!!"
So I got up and slept beside Adam and hushed him back to sleep. I then walked out to drink a glass of water and looked at the time. It was 2.40am.  Went back to sleep in the boys' room, with Ashton on his mattress as it is more spacious.

Suddenly, at Godknowswhat time in-the-middle-of-the-night, I woke up feeling terribly cold. Someone had turned on the aircon on top of the fan which was already on, and was snoring on Adam's bed. It was The Husband.
I pulled the covers on Ashton and myself and went back to sleep.

Suddenly, again, at Godknowswhat time, I was stirred from sleep.
This time, Ashton woke up for milk, crying. Which woke Adam as well.
Adam realized it was Andy asleep beside him and said he wants me to sleep with him instead.
I walked to the kitchen to fix milk for Ashton, put him to sleep beside Andy on his mattress, and climbed into Adam's bed. It was 5:30am and my first alarm went off shortly after.

I decided to sleep a little longer and be careful not to wake Adam because he had been weary from the night's thunderstorm and I know he's not sleeping soundly from all his tossing and turning. Got jabbed and elbowed by him several times.

At 6am, I finally crawled out of bed to start my Monday.
What a refreshing and rejuvenating weekend I had!
I'm having a great start to a brand new week already.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Do you travel without your kids?

The other night Andy and I were discussing a weekend trip to Bangkok for massage, street food and shopping when Adam chimed in and said he's never been to Bangkok before, can he come with us? Suddenly, thoughts of relaxing with drinks at the bar after massage are replaced by mental images of kidnapping and human trafficking. Needless to say, we shelved the plan.

Prior to that discussion, I had walked out of the shower and my kids pounced on me and stuffed a ball under my t-shirt. Adam asked me to have more babies as he loves babies, and asked if he can have babies.

Every evening they see me at the door, their eyes light up like a pack of lions who seen prey and I know my hopes for a wind-down evening is gone.
My kids are totally obsessed with me, I'm not sure why even though I'm a FTWM, but I guess it means I must be doing something right.

I gave up so many holidays for them - there are so many places I want to visit but I can't stand the thought of them pining for me (and me, for them) everyday till I'm home.

It's been years since we travelled alone, ever since Adam came into our lives. Therefore, I can't quite understand how some couples can go on vacations without their kids. Will I really enjoy my trip with a nagging worry for how my kids are doing so many nights without me sleeping by their sides?
I think the separation anxiety might just kill me.

But more than anything, I know my kids would never allow me to walk through the door, luggage in tow, without them!
Even a trip to the neighbourhood 7-11 becomes a family excursion.

I think holidays are out for the next 10 years.
Andy captured this photo of the boys and I. I had just stepped out the shower when they clung on to me, and Adam stuffed a ball under my shirt.

I have cling-wrap children!

Siblings are the first people who teach you that true love encompasses kinship, jealousy, fights, making up, and being in love all over again.
P.S. Contrary to the universal Law of Parenting, I love my kids.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The sound of silence.

Tonight, the only feelings I have toward my children are: anger, frustration, disappointment and resentment.
The kids have not been cooperative when I'm home, to say the least, but I dealt with them extremely well - I shouted at them on the top of my lungs until my maid also dare not talk to me.

I made the kids cry, but at least it made them behave for 5 minutes. 
In the first place, if they'd behaved themselves and not need me to nag 482619 times/hr, I wouldn't have resorted to screaming and cussing.

They fight over anything and everything!
They fight over a peach cut in half - which half do they want??! The one that the other sibling is having, duhh!
They fight over toys and they fight over whatever item the opposition is holding. Even an ubiquitous piece of Lego brick.

When it came to time for bed, both of them start tossing and rolling, and suddenly one child starts wanting milk, so I exit the room, and both kids start following me all the way to kitchen. I make milk, and chase Adam back into room while carrying Ashton.
Only this time, the other child wants milk.
Cycle repeats.

It must be some universal Law of Physics that children don't sleep and get a kick of sucking every ounce of their parents' energy.

If they are gonna behave like this for the next 2 years, I think I might have to rehome them.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ashton turned ONE!

Our last baby turned one. My baby is rockin' ONE year old!
When I first started producing my debut pink, squirmy little thing called a baby, I was only 25.
Now, I am 30 years old and my second born is ONE.

I remember when I had Adam, I was thrown into a world of uncertainty. Suddenly I was to become a Mom but I knew nuts about the world. I hadn't travelled the world enough. Heck, I hadn't even been out of Asia! I had to shelf my plan to do my Degree, we hadn't even applied for our first home, and among many other things, I was green in more ways than one.

I simply "went along with the flow" of things back then. Because my pregnancy with Adam was a complete surprise, I wasn't prepared at all.
When he was born, I was still staying with my in-laws because we only managed to apply for our own home somewhere in my last trimester when I was heavily pregnant and our home wouldn't be ready for the next few years.
So I delivered Adam, and did my confinement at my in-laws'.
My MIL cooked for me and did the washing and laundry. She had zero experience with using the steriliser, the correct way to hold a bottle, or how to use the bottle warmer. She had a thing about warming it too hot and made me paranoid about "killing the good stuff" because she said cold milk makes a baby colicky.
She thought my breastmilk was diluted and not feeding Adam enough.
She didn't allow me to bathe initially so I had to sneakily take a quick shower with the running tap when she was doing her marketing in the mornings.
She spent hours at the market on the day the cot was to be delivered (because Adam arrived at my Week-37 and we had to amend the delivery schedule ASAP as Andy spent the previous few nights sleeping on the floor. See, inexperience!). When the delivery man came to deliver our cot, I was breastfeeding a hungry Adam and was nearly naked on the top, fumbling with my latching techniques and a squirmy newborn, in front of a male stranger no less. The person who was supposed to help me with my confinement was nowhere in sight. Neither was the 50% shareholder who contributed his sperm to create our baby.
My in-laws' place is run-down and they don't have air-conditioning because they are afraid of rheumatism. I had to make do with a small rotating ceiling fan in Andy's room. 1 cot, 1 queen-sized bed, 2 dogs and 3 humans all in a tiny bedroom.
I had not washed my hair in 12 days. No wonder married couples with kids do not have sex.

Fast forward 3 years later, Ashton was born.
It was a much, much more pleasant experience this time round.
I was armed with experience and a "don't F with me I've been there, done that" attitude.
I specified that I did not appreciate visitors to my residence during my confinement as I wanted to recuperate after my 2nd-time Csect. If people had to visit, please arrange with us beforehand so we could anticipate them and make arrangements for my rest.
Most importantly, I also had my maid and MIL helping me out with the chores, cooking and child-minding.
This time round, I was treated like a Queen and it felt fabulous.
Everything went like clockwork - breakfast, rest, lunch, herbal bath, rest, dinner, rest.
I enjoyed my last birth very much and the pleasant experience made me enjoy my children to the max of my capacity.
It's not that I do not love Adam, I just did not enjoy the baby-bearing experience first time round since I was living with my in-laws till Adam was 2.

Ashton is my special baby.
With him, I take things very slowly because I just want to savour every parenting moment.
I'm not bothered about when he starts rolling over, teething, sitting etc. I know eventually he will get there.
I felt like he was meant to be in my life because he kind of balances everything.
He is the polar opposite of Adam! That is how the balance comes about.
As I said it before and will always say, Ashton is an easy baby. The type to feed and sleep and not fuss much.
He is extremely sticky to me.
He breastfed like a champ since Day 1.
He is quiet and reserved but he observes and is very much in tune.
He let everyone at his party carry him about and did not fuss or cry or even whine one bit. He is such a star.
He is our last baby and I want him to be a baby forever.


Ashton's awesome 3.5kg cake from Sweet Perfection.

We booked the entire of Peekaboo indoor playground at Kallang Leisure Park that evening and received about 80 guests.
Thanks to all our relatives and friends who made time to attend Ashton's birthday party, even though Kallang Leisure Park may be quite inaccessible to some.
Really appreciate all your time and effort!
P.S. Will share photos of Ashton's party when I get them from the photographer :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Straits Times feature.

Hello peeps :) I was recently interviewed by Straits Times and featured on Sunday Life!.
The article talked about play and how parents viewed playing with children, as more and more parents are sucked into the notion of work-home-sleep-work and spending less time with their children.
Also, it is becoming a common thing that children as young as 3 years old or even 2.5 years old are sent to enrichment classes on weekends instead of doing stuff like building sandcastles on the beach, or simply just spending time playing with their siblings and parents. 

 Not long ago, a worried Mum posted on The New Age Parents board asking for advise on her child going for phonics enrichment classes. She asked whether enrichment classes would improve her child in terms of phonics and language skills.
I replied that what was her purpose of sending her child to enrichment class? Was he/she having problems in school? And to gauge a child's improvement, she should compare him or her knowledge level before attending enrichment classes VS after enrichment classes see if those enrichment classes are benefiting her child, and not compare Child A with Child B of the same age on their knowledge levels.

The topic of enrichment classes are discussed to death on every parenting board, and anyway, here's the article:

Interestingly, when I said I look for the brands of toys, I actually meant I prefer buying from established brands which are safe for my kids, ie. using toxic-free paint or will not have brittle parts which fall apart easily.
And yes, I am rather fussy in the selection of toys I buy for the kids (I'm actually fussy in many other aspects as well). They must be value for money (best if on sale), yet be reasonably good quality and preferably serve a purpose (teach hand-eye coordination and the above as I was quoted verbatim in the article).

That said, there are certainly some things which no toy can substitute in a child's life, such as bonding time with his or her family.

Playtimes like these do not cost a thing, are not "branded", but make family togetherness.

Would like to share an article written by another Mum, who blogs at A Magical Childhood:

What should a 4 year old know?
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.
Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.
It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.
So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.
    1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
    2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
    3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
    4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he couldn’t care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
    5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
    1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
    2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
    3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
    4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
    5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.
And now back to those 4 year old skills lists…..
I know it’s human nature to want to know how our children compare to others and to want to make sure we’re doing all we can for them. Here is a list of what children are typically taught or should know by the end of each year of school, starting with preschool.
Since we homeschool, I occasionally print out the lists and check to see if there’s anything glaringly absent in what my kids know. So far there hasn’t been, but I get ideas sometimes for subjects to think up games about or books to check out from the library. Whether you homeschool or not, the lists can be useful to see what kids typically learn each year and can be reassuring that they really are doing fine.
If there are areas where it seems your child is lacking, realize that it’s not an indication of failure for either you or your child. You just haven’t happened to cover that. Kids will learn whatever they’re exposed to, and the idea that they all need to know these 15 things at this precise age is rather silly. Still, if you want him to have those subjects covered then just work it into life and play with the subject and he’ll naturally pick it up. Count to 60 when you’re mixing a cake and he’ll pick up his numbers. Get fun books from the library about space or the alphabet. Experiment with everything from backyard snow to celery stalks in food coloring. It’ll all happen naturally, with much more fun and much less pressure.
My favorite advice about preschoolers is on this site though.
What does a 4 year old need?
Much less than we realize, and much more.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Doing our share to preserve our Earth for our children.

When you're a Mom and you keep reading about pollution, man-made disasters, war and animals nearing extinction due to over-hunting for ignorant use of their parts, you start worrying for your children's future.
Recently, the Indonesian forest fires sent our Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) soaring to 400, sending our people into a mask-buying frenzy.
My family & I walked around in masks and I was worried how long the haze would last.
Relatives and friends approached us for masks because firstly, pharmacies and shops ran out of them, then there were unethical people hoarding masks and re-selling them at atrocious prices. Which made me realise, in times of adversity, you know how strong a nation is by the way her people react.
Countless animals died and their homes were destroyed forever.
This photo made me want to cry.
Did you know that in our home, only food waste and diapers make up our trash?

Everything else is recycled - boxes, empty cartons, plastic, paper, glass bottles, so on and so forth.

We also use biodegradable and natural products as much as possible, from washing liquids to our shampoo and bath soap.

We also do not subscribe to any newspaper or magazine subscription because we are seldom home and we prefer to read the news online.
Here are a list of other things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Switch off the power mains of whatever electronic device you are not using. By doing this, you are also saving on your electricity bills.
- Bring your own reusable bags when you do your marketing/ shopping. Nowadays, many places sell reusable bags which fold up nicely like these that I have, so you can easily dump them into your bag.
- Use recycled plastic bottles and paper.
- Look out for the sign when you purchase things from the supermarket:
- Choose energy-saving light bulbs and electric appliances such as air-conditioner, refrigerator, and washing-machine. Use LED bulbs and look for the number of ticks on your appliances:

- Use a napkin and fabric bib at meal times instead of tissue paper and wet wipes to clean up after your children.
- Don't leave the shower running when you are applying soap or shampoo.
- Adjust the temperature to about 18-degrees when you turn on the air-con, otherwise, use a fan.
- Do you know that vinegar and sodium bicarbonate is an effective and natural way of cleaning stains in your home, as compared to harsh chemicals and detergents?
I've used this home-made formula ever since I had a Sheltie with chronic skin problems.

- This is a simple but important principle which I learned from Nursing school: Clean to dirty.
Always do the clean things followed by the dirty things is not only hygienic but also reduces the need for excess use of soap and water.
Eg. Clean the mouth after feeding, then change a diaper. Clean the milk bottles (clean) then use the detergent to wash pots/plates/utensils (dirty).
Mop the cleaner part of a house first and any dust or spills last: this way you don't have to wash and re-wash your mop or cloth several times as in if you cleaned the dirty parts first.
My aim of using organic and earth-friendly products is very simple: I love our Mother Earth for all she has given me and want to preserve her for our future generations to enjoy.
Do your part today and do not destroy our children's future.