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5.75 years on

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Nostalgia. I took a walk down memory lane last night and this evening, trawling through the highlights of my life as a mother, looking at photos that I posted on social media.

Most of the photos on Donald and myself were on Facebook. I was on Friendster back in 2004, and only go on the bandwagon for Facebook in 2005. I finally got on Instagram in 2012, because of Oliver.

Now my albums are mostly about the kids, and the kids & myself.

And they sure as hell brought back some memories. The amazement and wonder as we welcomed Oliver into our lives; the fear as he got hospitalised for UTI; the joy of him getting discharged from UTI; the excitement as we got pregnant with Quentin; the worry as I continued getting contractions at 34 weeks despite medication to stop it; the inability to bond with Quentin cos he was in SCN; the guilt as he got UTI as well (FML); the concern that he still wasn’t speaking at 15mo; to more fear that there were issues with his kidney and potentially ultrasounds for many years to come; to shock of expecting Sarah (a girl!!); and back to the fear of the possibility of her going through what her brothers went through.

I remembered the emotions that I felt in every photo. The joy. The happiness. The sadness. The fear. The guilt. The tears.

At the end of the day, they are still my pride, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.

But as my social media feeds show my life as a mom with 3 kids, a lot goes behind the scenes with a man called Donald aka Daddy Ting.

A silent pillar of support that sometimes I take for granted for. Living together overseas had made the move back to Singapore a lot easier. We didn’t need the transitional period that most newly married couples would probably need when they first moved in together. But parenthood was a different matter altogether.

We started the journey with ideals and expectations. There were certain things that were a major no-no we decided. But as we all know, reality was a whole different matter. The SAHM who craved adult interaction vs the husband who wondered what the wife could be doing at home the whole day. Those were the early days. As we worked that hurdle out, of course there were new hurdles to clear.

Self-care. When we get too busy looking after everyone that we forgot to look after ourselves. I broke down then at the realisation. It even took me awhile to figure out what the issue was. Because I was too busy feeling guilty that I wasn’t meeting up to expectations. My self-imposed expectations.

Expectations to manage the household, to remember vaccination appointments, to remember school schedule, to remember to do the chores, that everyone had clothes to wear, that the house is clean, to buy groceries, that the kids are engaged, that I come up with activities for the kids to do.

These days I berate myself when I forget to cook Sarah’s meals. OMG. Bad mom! It is just putting the rice into the food jar and pouring hot water in. How difficult can it be?? How can you forget about it?? But why did I forget? I forgot because I was busy decluttering a cabinet that was so messy it made it difficult for me to access some of the materials/toys for the kids. I was busy thinking what I could do whilst Sarah took a nap when the boys are at school. I was busy thinking what I needed to drop off at the shop later in the day.

It helped a lot more when Donald took over some of my mental load, giving me more time to take care of myself and when he started taking care of me as well. Sometimes, in the midst of the mayhem, and focusing on the kids, it is so easy to forget that the other half needs the attention too. It should remain the same, not lesser. We then made it a point to allocate some time to regroup together as a couple. It helped. It really reminded us that we were once a couple and not just parents.

Ah the early days. So much turmoil and drama. Just felt that with Sarah turning 1 soon..these little hiccups will be experiences that make us feel that this parenting game isn’t too bad.

As Sarah took her first few steps, Donald put one arm around me and said, whilst looking at her

my turn liao. Now that she walks, I will take over. You can retire’

Yar, he takes over the life skills, whilst I handle the emotional bits. How bittersweet when he said that. I also felt a huge load got lifted off my shoulders for some reason. Like I almost got through the first year; she’s hit a lot of her firsts and soon will be hitting her first year too.

It was also the time I felt that I wanted to give myself a lot of other firsts too. Having a decent photoshoot for her birthday with a nice dress and make up on (argh still sitting on the fence about this one). Cos I didn’t have stuff like maternity shoot (not that I wanted one..but yar). Cos I dun get a chance to dress up and feel all pretty. Cos I haven’t felt pretty for the longest time.

I struggled with the make up bit, wanting to be real, like this is how I look like on a daily wah lao, wear wedding dress and dun put make up abit cui right. #firstworldproblems meh. And is not as though the kids are bothered about their mom being made up. But the boys know enough to compliment when I actually make the effort to dress up.

Wow, mummy, you look so pretty.’ Eh, this kind of compliments are rare. So it must mean something to them when I do dress up right?? WTH I think I just answered my own question. I will have the make up done up! hahaha.

This shoot was also more like..time for me to have someone take photos of me with the kids kinda rationale. I have shitloads of photos of the kids, some loads of photos of me and the kids (mostly in selfie mode), very few photos of Daddy Ting with the kids (which is like damn sad). So I do genuinely think we need some decent family photos, which allows us to fully engage with the kids and yet have the moments frozen in time.

Else all the photos we have comes with parents’ faces with mild annoyance, and reluctant smiles on the kids’ faces hahaha. damn fail.

But it was nice to be able to consider a few firsts for myself when Sarah turns one. It is a milestone for both of us. There is another milestone in 2 years time when she goes to pre-nursery haha. I promised myself a short trip without the kids and husband! We’ll see how that one goes. =P

Category: Daily, Special

Oliver: 5 years 8 mths

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Solo parenting tonight. The hubby is out for a course till late. My parents came over for dinner n helped by hanging around till i put Sarah to bed and then left when I put the boys to bed.

Quentin slept very quickly as I pat him to sleep. Oliver is still awake, tossing and turning. He makes a request to sleep in his bed. The three of us were on Quentin’s bed. I acede.

Crazed biker

As he settles himself in his bed, he grabs Elsa, an Elsa-dressed bear that he chose as a gift from his godparents. He hugs it and buries his head into the bear, trying to sleep.

It has been….3.75 years since I last spent any time with them at bedtime. I rarely did. Hubby takes over from shower till bedtime. It was something we worked out gradually, so that I could have some time to myself after the day.

Watching the 5.5yo sleep…makes me 心酸. The request never changes. ‘mommy, can you pat me to sleep?’ he only asks this of me.

What changed is his bed, the things in his bed, how much he has filled the bed.

He has grown a lot taller. Had we converted the cot to a toddler bed, we would have needed a new bed for him now. He is of course no longer a toddler. He is a boy. My boy.

I missed the times he snuggled up to me as we co-slept when he was younger. When Quentin came along and we co-slept for naps, Quentin would sleep in the middle and he would reach over to caress my arm or ear.

He still obliges for hugs and kisses. For now.

I am going be such a wreck when he goes to P1. Aaargh.

Big brother reading to his siblings

The parenting bit gets to me all the time. Sometimes I struggle with him when he does the most annoying shit. When he says the most self-entitled shit. When he behaves like a privileged, self-entitled brat. I definitely do not want to raise my kids this way. But I have probably unintentionally raised him to be so. Where almost everything and anything is available to him without any request. Gonna have to rein him in a bit.

When he is being a bully to his brother. When he lies. OMG. He has started lying. It is not the malicious kind..but more so lie to make an excuse. Like saying he did something when he didn’t despite repeated confirmations. So so trying. And so hard to try and explain why lying is not the way to go.

Entertaining Sarah with Flexils

But sometimes I remind myself that I really do have it good with him. When he spurts out random nice & polite stuff without any prompting. He speaks gently to his siblings and guides them on what they can do and cannot (Sarah just has this look of awe when he does that to her hahaha). He takes Quentin’s hand as they walk together into the assembly hall. He offers to share some of his bread when Quentin is not allowed any.

You know, the stuff that makes your ovaries scream and make you want to have more kids cos of such behaviour? The behaviour that makes your heart melt and tell you that you should reward him with whatever he wants. The behaviour that makes the world right and makes you feel that you did something right in the midst of raising the three monsters.

Yup, that validation that the way I raised my kids is okay. Okay is a good pass. Doesn’t have to be good. Okay is good enough. about lowering expectations right? I mean, what expectations siah.

Sigh, gonna be entering another phase of my life soon. Not sure how I am going to deal with it. But we’ll get there.


Category: Kids | Tags: , ,

#itsagirlyting: 11 months

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She turns 11 months tomorrow.

I told Daddy Ting that I am not ready for her to turn 1 year-old yet. I am dreading it. Urgh.

She started walking last Saturday. 4 steps. When she took her first two, I squealed ‘bebe, SHE’S WALKING!’ to Daddy Ting, who was in the study doing some work. She grinned as she took her first two steps, before launching herself into my arms.

She’s not a baby anymore. My heart sank a little.

She has picked up a lot more skills lately, finally signing ‘thank you’ after 5 months of signing omg. She offers flying kisses, pats her brothers, gives slobbery kisses..AND she cries when I say ouch & pretend to cry when someone hurts me, her included! Hahahaha. So damn cute lah. If no crying is involved, she would snuggle up to me and give me slobbery kisses.

Earlier this evening, we had a shower together. She was tired, but she enjoys playing with her bath alphabets, so that keeps her occupied whilst I shower her. Then I picked her up for a rinse off and she rested her head against me, letting the warm water run over her. She sighed and ‘mmmmm’-ed. I ‘mmmm’-ed internally too. One day, she’ll struggle against me and not want to snuggle so. Better enjoy it whilst I can.

It took her awhile to settle down, she rolled around on my bed, then pulled at my hair, pat my face and nibbled on my finger, all the while babbling to herself. She then crawled to my pillow, rested her head on my pillow, and stared at me, continuing her incomprehensible babbling. I leaned over, buried my face into her belly and took a deep breath.

baby smell. the kind that identifies your kid out of the so many other kids. You know how you can identify your child’s cry in the midst of a crowd? You will be able to identify based on smell.

she is the last baby. She will join the ranks of her brothers, and they will wreck even more havoc in our lives. Haha..but my heart cannot be fuller that it is now. Just seeing the three of them together.

We have no big plans for her first birthday. No party. Downsized from the huge party Oliver had for his 1st, to a shared 1st birthday for Quentin (cos their birthdays were only 1 week apart), to no party for Sarah.

No budget. Hahah. I settled for a photoshoot with Grow Old With Me. The boys had their shoots when they turned 1 year old. But this was going to be a special one. Cos it was also for me. A milestone for me, closing of one chapter of my life. It was a shoot where I wanted to doll up. Where I wanted some part of it to be about me. Odd but I thought, hey let me put some effort into this one and feel a little special.

I sent my wedding gown to be altered into a shorter dress for the shoot..cos jeng jeng, her birthday is 5 days before our wedding anniversary. I thought..might as well right! The excess tulle was going to be made into a tulle skirt for Sarah. Omg. I hope it turns out right. So exciting!

But..sigh. let me mourn the growth of my kid for now. Argh..

Category: Kids | Tags: