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Day 226: sleep & motherhood memes

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the brood, circa Aug 2019

last night, I slept at about 9.30pm.

After a week of high fever, roseola and then back to fever AND a cold, Alex slept better, waking up every 4-5 hourly, which meant I had more sleep. That was how I woke up this morning at 6.30am feeling like a decent human being. 9 hours of sleep. Good grief. How to sleep so early every night siah haha.

The house looks terrible. With Alex crawling all over the place, there were palm and foot prints all over the place. I couldn’t really swiff the living room properly, cos the playmat was right smack in the middle of it. Mopping wasn’t really an option either. Didn’t help that Alex is super clingy these days after her sick stint, which effectively meant I was doing everything with a baby on my hip.

But really, the clean up is not so much of a priority. The house is not that dirty (I promise you, my friends, if you come visit). I have a fairly high standard of cleanliness hahah. Clean uniform/clothes, keeping the kids alive, are top of the priority.

So in between packing my suitcase for the multiple guilt trips, pondering about life, freaking out slightly about our #YOLO trip to Taipei, I scrolled through the multiple Facebook parenting groups I am in and laugh about the memes about parenthood/motherhood. After four kids, I have my version about what they don’t tell you about being pregnant and life post pregnancy.

1)  Breastfeeding for moms.

Not only do you have to deal with engorged boobs, or mastitis, lack of supply, feeding position, say hello to a hunched back. I..don’t have the luxury of getting a nursing chair, budget or space wise. Maybe in the early days when the laundry doesn’t really pile up on the only other chair in my room. At some point in time, you do what helps easiest. Pick baby up from the cot, sit at the edge of my bed and feed. Instead of bringing baby to my chest, I usually hunch over to latch. Sure, I could probably lift them when they are newborns. But how to lift an 8kg baby?? I do see a lovely chiro at Kissun Chiropractic, they sort out my back.

2) Babywearing

I wrote in a post before, about how mummies need to be not only educated about proper support for baby, but also for the mummy. How improper babywearing could also lead to poor posture to counterbalance the weight. I am not saying babywearing has lead to me getting cervical spondylosis, but it could have been one of the factors cos I use the phone a lot (cue sticking your head forwards alot more to look at the phone), I carry my kids improperly (with or without a carrier) and I use the computer a lot in my younger days (compounded).

3) Mummy the contortionist

Given the way you would be sleeping when you have kids in the bed, dear mummies, you are wonderful contortionists. Marvel at how you can squeeze your side to the edge of the bed whilst sleeping and not fall off. Wonder in disbelief as you can twist your body to side latch a baby and yet still allow your toddler to sleep on your jelly belly. Co-sleep, and more often than not, we are curling towards our little ones. How to sleep straight or in a proper position leh??

Cirque du Soleil hiring? hahah

4) Rich/Poor diet

Damn if you look after yourself, damn if you don’t look after yourself. Kidney stones aren’t the only stones that can appear in your body. Say hello to its cousin, gallstones.

According to the surgeon who was attending to me for gallstones, gallstones can appear if you have had a rich diet whilst pregnant. I didn’t really have a rich diet, but I had a poor diet during my latest pregnancy, which meant a lot of junk food. And gallstones formed. OMG, I was in such pain during one of the attacks. Worse was not being able to get the stones out earlier because I had just only popped. FML. Fortunately I didn’t have any attacks in between the time I got diagnosed and the surgery to remove my gallbladder.

5) Exercising

When crunches and ab curls could be bad for you. Get familiar with the term diastasis recti. Multiple pregnancies later, I read about this condition and discovered that I actually do have a gap between my abdo muscles. Whilst pregnant with Alex, I had been trying to strengthen my core to help with labour, incontinence (helloooo pee pads) and my posture. So I guess it did help a little. No, it has got nothing to do with NOT doing postnatal massages, nor not wearing a binder. Wearing a binder doesn’t help to strengthen the muscles. Proper exercise/physio would get the gap closed. In serious cases, an operation may be required. I would like to believe I am not there yet haha.

6) Knee replacement wannabe

All that bobbing baby to sleep? Yep. Dancing from 10pm till 2am at Zouk in heels is nothing. Pfffpt. Bobbing since 2012, bitch please. Now with school pickups, I clock nearly 7000 steps a day with an additional 8kg stuck to me most of the time and rarely get to sit down at home cos I keep walking around the house, constantly clearing stuff or doing chores, or prepping food. I think I do have worn out knees, given the number of times they have buckled slightly whilst walking down stairs or the occasional locking of knee joints causing some sharp pain.

7) the closest thing to a solo vacation

…is getting hospitalised! hahahha.

I’m a SAHM. I don’t have that much of a budget to go on holidays, and I am a kinda clingy mother who wants to spend as much time with my kids possible when we are all happy (not cranky and not when I wanna strangle them cos of that shitty attitude). So solo vacation out of the country is out of the question for me.

Those 5 days under observation for gallstones at CGH, in an A class ward, fully paid for by insurance. BLISS. I don’t have to yell at kids, nor hear the kids fighting. I don’t need to do housework (got housekeeping everyday!). There is a legit reason to be away from the kids. Okay, granted I missed them a lot, they came to visit for an hour or so, then they left. I watched HBO the entire day. Hospital food wasn’t great but hey, I don’t have to cook and clean. The outfit wasn’t fantastic but I’ll take it. It was so nice and peaceful.

I hesitated writing this post. I could almost hear the ‘see, tell you take care of yourself, you don’t want la’, on the basis that I didn’t do confinement for all of my pregnancies (I don’t believe in them). But I chose to write these cos it didn’t matter whether or not I did confinement, these issues would still appear. These are some of the ‘ugly’ sides of motherhood, that we may need to put up with until at least kiddo grows older. I was even worried about getting pubic symphsis after reading Cindy’s post cos my babies have been on the L scale during my pregnancies.

So yeah, these are the things they don’t tell you about life after having kids! What are yours to add on?

Category: Daily

Day 193: mental loading, sleep regression

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3 more days and Alex turns 8 months old. She has sprouted a tooth (lower left), belly crawls and she can go from prone to sitting position. My dad caught her in action yesterday for the first time, and then I saw it.

And you know that feeling as you watch your baby does something like this, that amazement as you wonder how they worked it all out so quickly.

Then bam, they are in university. hahahaha. I kid. I wish *roll eyes*

The past two weeks, Alex and I had been sleeping terribly. She would wake up at the slightest noise, co-sleeping wasn’t even helping and she would cry almost every 2 hourly. And then she would wake up around 4-5am, and decide to be semi-awake, drifting in and out between catnaps. What happened to my star sleeper?? I was so zombified each morning cos I was half-awake the whole night trying to put her back to sleep, and trying to keep her from falling off the bed.

We’d take a long nap after dropping Quentin & Sarah off at school. Which meant lunch wasn’t cooked, chores weren’t done. Wednesday was the last straw, she took a 5 min power nap and decided that was it. I was getting stressed from watching the laundry bin pile higher and higher and that stress didn’t help with my lack of sleep. Urgh. When she finally slept, I took a short nap too and then felt guilty about having to buy lunch later cos I had to remain next to Alex just so she would nap.

Cue guilt cycle. A very vicious guilt cycle. Until hubby told me it is okay to do a few lunch takeouts, the kids are old enough. I struggled with it abit (cos I’m particular about nutrition esp on school days) before I caved. Not chicken rice or Macs everyday…okay lah. I should let go a little.

Then got one Alex who is still on store bought purees cos this momma cannot keep up with the cooking much. 8 mths liao wor! Double argh. i shall try harder.

7.5 mths into the year and I am still struggling a little to find a groove to settle into. Pretty hard when everything is pretty dynamic with a baby who is hitting milestones and throwing off any routine every few months. I struggle between wanting to move on and yet, wanting to savour the every bit of babyness left cos she is the last baby. How she snuggles, how she reaches out for me, how she breaks into a smile when she sees me, how she stops crying immediately once she is in my arms.

ah my babies, what do you do to me?

It’s gotten to a stage, where dinner time can be funny, as the boys crack silly jokes, Sarah tries to join in, Alex just happily bounces in her high chair, watching her siblings.

I am content, I am happy. I try to manage things better, but I am happy. I spend mornings like this trying to reflect and regroup, and hopefully pick myself out of a funk. Sometimes, a good night’s sleep (hahaha who am I kidding, okay maybe 5 hours stretch is considered a good night), is all I need to kick start. That and..ahem, mebbe a cup of fruit tea from Tea Folia. Hubby would say expensive perk me up siah.

Finances also another issue. Haisssss. Trying to understand more about my retirement funds. Let me get my head around it one day.

Till then, it’s off to the ArtScience Museum later today! So excited to be out with the kids!

Category: Daily

Day 185 : watching their backs

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the tings @ #HPAdventureTrails

Post first week of school. I watched the kids head off to school on the first day with glee. It was the start of my daily 3-hours pseudo me-time! Well, as much as I can get with the soon-to-be minted 8 month old Alex.

Yet, whilst they were in school, I missed the time we had during the school holidays. The flexibility, and us being together. It didn’t help that I saw how they had grown, walking after them, watching their backs.

How the kids had grown a little taller.
Sarah’s hair had grown a little longer.
Quentin’s writing had gotten a little neater.
Oliver talked about his relationship with his friends, how there were teams (cliques).

They stilled wanted their good night kisses from me, they still held my hands when I asked. But slowly, they were growing.

Today, I spoke with Quentin’s teacher to ask if things had improved from the last term. And things weren’t looking good. If anything, they had progressed worse. I had spoken to her at the PTM in May, and mentioned that I would spend more time and tried to see how we could improve things. After hearing today, I felt I failed.

The failure was not at not being able to improve things. But I felt I failed to understand my child.

The teacher agrees that..Quentin is a very straight kid. Straight as have to take what he says at face value. There is nothing underlying at all. And no forward planning. This kid lives for the moment, at the present and nowhere else. He doesn’t remember much what he did the day before, nor will he plan what he wants to do tomorrow. And he says what comes to mind.

Isn’t that such a wonderful thing? To live in the now and not have any worries at all? But society would dictate it to be otherwise. That you need to plan for your future, and be ready.

Today, with Oliver staying back late in school, Quentin and I could spend more time together. He could talk to me in his own time, without the worry of being interrupted. I asked him about school, and in his usual fashion, he would say ‘I forgot’. But today, I encouraged him to remember with some retrospective memory. And he spoke about the letters he learnt at school. I gave him some activities to do whilst I was about to put the girls to nap, then decided that he would join us in the air-conditioned room as well. The girls can take their time to nap, they will nap eventually, and since we weren’t in a rush to pick Ollie up, we had time. And it was time owed to him.

He glowed under the praises I heaped on him as I corrected his writing. And he willingly attempted again without much prompting, in hope that he would get more stars for his corrected writing.

It was a really pleasant afternoon, no yelling, just a lot of affirmation, and he would listen as I tried to explain to him about why he shouldn’t cut his magazine up even though we could still read it, how he should use the bidet without wetting the whole roll of toilet paper, and what are the steps he could do to minimize mess so he doesn’t have to do any or much clean up.

And we agreed that we would try to improve bit by bit each day.

What happened then? I wondered. He went from being the #foreverbaby at one point, to being the middle child when we had Sarah. And he adored Sarah, became the big brother. Then even more so when Alex came along. He would goof around to make his sisters laugh. He took that role with pride. But he got sidelined even more somewhere along the way.

It is a very thin line at comparing him with his siblings, feeling like I owe a lot to him and then getting frustrated cos he doesn’t think like the rest of us. hahah. So different.

Gaah. This allocating time for all the kids is shitting me. We get lots of together time. But the kids don’t get one on one time with me much. If any, Alex pretty much LL has to do whatever we all want to do cos she can’t say much, neither does she have a say either. Yet I know how they bloom and flourish under one-on-one time with either Donald or I. Then again, they are a different level of fun when they are playing with each other. Damn mad cute.

Every day, I end up going to bed wondering how I could have handled the kids and the day better. And I tell myself, I’ll try to be better tomorrow. Telling myself to be more patient and not yell at the kids, tell myself to spend more quality time with the kids, to do more activities and less chores, and to take them outdoors more. And there’s the lack of sleep and with that, comes frustration.

And sometimes I want to give up and walk away. I throw like 5 minute tantrums and rant to the husband about how I want to order food in instead of cooking and decide that I will be going out after dinner. Then common sense kicks in after I cool down and I do a quick dinner, money is saved and Donald comes home and takes over the reins so I can recollect myself again.

Urgh. This is going to be the same argument with myself for the next 15-20 years. Wondering if I can do more with the kids. Hopefully they outgrow of this phase faster haha so I can ‘retire’ okay. But till then, I will just want more of them before they grow up too fast!

Category: Daily