Category Archives: Daily

a reminder

I just wanted to remember today.

It was one of those days. That moment when that sense of overwhelming frustration just hits. There I was sitting at the edge of my bed, trying to nurse an agitated Sarah who was overtired. Second windI had been sitting there for 15 mins and counting.

Prior to trying to get Sarah to nap, I had given the boys instructions to tidy up their tables, living room and the Lego on the floor. This was the lead up to a movie once Sarah was asleep and the living room cleared. Dinner was not cooked and I was getting annoyed cos I knew the brown rice was going to take 2 hours and it was already 4.30pm.

With an agitated Sarah, who was tossing and throwing herself around in my arms, and the silence outside in the living room, the pressure started to mount. I needed to vent and texted the husband. The mental overload was getting overwhelming. The silence outside..was too loud.

What were the boys doing outside?
Are they tidying up?
Would I still go out to a mess?
How was I going to deal with them apart from withdrawing the movie? 

I needed dessert. Sugar. Something nice. I told the husband that. But I also know he was on my case about cutting down sugar. Argh. That got me riled up as well.

What flavour do you want?’ he replied.

As I thought I also heard the door, I decided,’screw this, she is not yet asleep, let’s go see what is happening outside’. 

No one was at the door. The living room was 95% cleared to my satisfaction (which happens very rarely), and the boys had been keeping the toys quietly so that Sarah would sleep faster, something that I had sorta drilled into them in the early days but..there are days that they still make enough noise to keep Sarah awake.

The pressure was released. I felt some load lifted off. Dinner was not cooked, but all of us were going to be in a better mood. I felt better, not as frustrated as before.

Went back into the bedroom to try and put Sarah down for a nap again. She finally does so by 5pm, and I hurriedly got around to setting up the movie and chips for the boys, whilst telling them to sort out one last area. A promise was a promise.

I couldn’t help but feel that I had the best boys in the world. Tell me that again when I get ready to want to kill them again. hahaha. But heck, it made me feel that for all the moments I felt guilty about not doing stuff with them, I probably did something right to get them onto this path.

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Once I got them sorted with the movie, I went ahead with dinner preps, quickly running through my head what I needed to do first to optimise the time. Cook the rice, preheat the oven, boil water, prep the chicken to be roasted, cut up the veggies and soak, wash the dishes and make some fries. Sarah woke up mid-fries marination, but it’s all good. The major stuff was out of the way.

As I did the dishes, I smiled to myself.

Last weekend, the hubby and I had gotten into an argument cos I had accused him of not helping out with the chores and focusing on personal work. The laundry to be folded had piled up and I had shifted it from the ‘laundry chair’ to a ‘laundry bed’ for the weekend cos the bulk of the clothes belonged to the kids. It had gotten to a point where I was sick of thinking about what household chore I needed to do next. There was always catching up to do.

Just as Donald had naively assumed back in the early days, that as a SAHM, I had nothing much to do, I was guilty of thinking that he doesn’t really do much to help out around the house. He offered to do the dishes, but he would sigh or groan whilst washing, which made me feel like he was ‘judging’. We have since agreed that he will happily wash the dishes without any ‘comment’.

Throwback to yesterday, he came home, stared at the sink full of veggie scraps and then grinned at me before exclaiming,

I’m so happy to be doing the dishes! It’s so great..to see the sink full of veggie scraps!’ 

I couldn’t help by laugh at the absurdity of it. The argument seemed silly then but it had allowed me to vent about the internal pressure I was feeling and to tell hubby what exactly he needs to do (including exclaiming happily about washing dishes! hahahaha)

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It was the school hols last week. The kids were recovering from a cough and cold so playdates were out. I had a busy weekend just before the school hols started, and decided that I was going to take it easy the next week as I was also recovering from a cough and cold. I was spamming lozenges, flu tablets, vitamin C and manuka honey..just to feel alive.

Post school hols, I felt really rested. The boys stayed over at their grandparents some nights, I took them out for lunch, we had a family photoshoot by Gideon from Grow Old With Me (the sneak peek photos were awesome!!), back to the shop over the weekend, rethinking some priorities. I slept early (I mean like 10.30pm) most nights and Sarah was being nice by pulling longer hours! Ahhh what luxury.

Then I had to pay it back with a growth spurt plus teething baby this week. Urrrgh. Why you hate me so much? And why you no call me mama!! >:(

Category: Daily

5.75 years on

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.

Having kids: not for the weak hearted. 

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.

As they grew up, and learnt to venture future and explore their boundaries, how they make your insides cringe as you watch them climb up the ladder at the playground, half wanting to hold their hand to guide, half wanting to stand back and see how far they would go. How they surprise you all of the sudden with their newfound skills. How I squealed ‘bebe! she’s walking!’ to hubby when Sarah grinned and took her first two steps.

I remembered the emotions that I felt in every photo. The joy. The happiness. The excitement.  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.

The husband

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.

Discipline. Hygiene. Diet. Engagement. Parenting. Health.

There sure wasn’t the ONE manual for this we realised. But hell, there was a book for every topic for sure. And there is Google..and Facebook and WhatsApp groups, we soon realised. By the time we got to Sarah, we were pretty sure we were proficient in dishing out the meds in the right dosage (‘it’s viral, they will just have to ride it out’ sounds familiar?), we learnt that it is okay for the kids to be bored, that tv is bad for attention, we don’t use the cane, traditional weaning has been taken over by baby led weaning, and because we no longer use reusable diapers, we also don’t use regular diapers, they need to be chlorine free with wood pulp from sustainable forests.

Or whatever our budget allows for.

*takes a deep breath* Welcome to 2017. Where it appears 3 kids quite the norm (dammit, cos Daddy Ting said 2 is too mainstream. Now we really need one more kid).

But yes, Donald works hard to be a hands on dad. Just like the working mum struggles to split the time amidst her child, spouse, work and household, it is the same with Donald. And because he has lesser time with the kids, he has to work harder at building that relationship with them, on top of splitting the chores with the wife AND attending to her emotional needs.

Oh and he has to work doubly hard at making the wife trust that the kids will be fine in his hands so that she can get a break *narrows eyes* It’s true! I mean, sucks to be him but…sorry hor, Ipad babysitting is no count!! Okok, he has improved a lot and settled for National Geographic on TV most times.

On a serious note, no Donald, no reassurance that I am doing a decent job and reminder that we should look after ourselves.

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. Put that on repeat every month. And no, it doesn’t happen when I am hormonal. This overwhelming sensation just comes in waves unexpectedly.

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. It helps remind us that at the end of the day, we have a common goal, regardless of how we get there.

That we all want the best for the kids and family. And for that, I love this guy cos he puts in so much more that I realise.

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. 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 basis..to 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.

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\

This post is part of the ‘Mothers Make It Work!’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other inspiring stories please click on the picture below.

Category: Daily, Special

missing out

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glam sleeping

last night, Daddy Ting walked into our room and then walked back into the study where we were doing some work.

Do you know that Oliver is sleeping on our bed?’ Huh?

Oliver hasn’t slept in our room for the past 2 years or so. As a first time mom, I was determined to not have any kids in our bed. Obviously it didn’t happen. Hahahaha. You just throw every bit of logic and sense out of the window when all you want is to sleep. We had been co-sleeping with the kids for 3.5 years before I kicked the boys & Daddy Ting out of our room cos I was pregnant with Sarah and 4.5 people on a queen sized bed meant only I wasn’t getting any sleep.

I probably missed them for…2 nights? Hahahaha. But for the first time in a looooong loong time, I slept through the night.

mummy milestone met.

Wah..never looked back since. Okay, granted I enjoyed it for like another half a year before Sarah came along. I’ll take what I can get! And yes, we are co-sleeping again..kua kua. At least from 3am onwards only.

But yes, we were surprised he wandered in on his own, settled himself down at the base of our bed and continued sleeping. I realised that I haven’t watched him sleep or be asleep for the longest time. You know how kids look different when they are asleep? Maybe it’s cause they don’t struggle when you try to get a good look haha.

He looked a little longer, more matured and peaceful. And he definitely looked different.

Was it because I saw him all the time at home that’s why I miss out on the differences? It does feel that way.

He is in K1 now. There has been a bit more homework for him after the June holidays. Simple spelling tests, writing of Chinese characters and Show & Tell. We don’t have a proper area for the kids to ‘study’ per say. Our living room has been taken over by them but the layout is all over the place cos of Sarah’s play yard. They do their writing/homework on the floor, either lying down, or crouched over.

So we did some rearranging this morning. Sarah has been wandering around the house like she owns it, refusing to be confined in the play yard, so I figured it’s time to pack up the playmat and play yard, and open up the living room a lot more for the boys.

On a side note, seriously.

With Oliver, we only packed up the play yard when he was almost 2 years old.
With Quentin, we packed it up when he was 15 mths old.
With Sarah, I just packed it up today, when she is 10 mths old.

But hey, my living room never looked more spacious!! So the shifting began. Lego area in one corner, two red rectangular Mammut tables, bookshelves shifted, so Sarah has access to her board books. Oliver calls it the ‘new place’ now. Quentin loves that he has a space of his own. And Sarah..couldn’t care less about not having a space of her own cos the whole living room is her space and anywhere that her brothers’ are is also her territory.

eskew me!

Case in point.

I’m sorta gradually transitioning myself to get ready for Oliver attending primary school with all the recent primary school registration talk going on my feed. Not fun. So much things about the system that I am annoyed about. Urgh.

Quentin. He wakes up and he comes into my bed for morning cuddles. Something that Oliver did when Quentin was Sarah’s age. First point of connection in the day, and they are happy to lie quietly for a while before deciding that breakfast is the next call of order. I do enjoy it. One day, I told Oliver that I enjoy hugging him, and that I’d better hug him before he doesn’t like to hug me anymore. He gave me the most bewildered look ever, like how can that be even possible?? hahahahaha. Oh boys, one day, you’ll find another to hug.

balance biking

I’m thankful for school. Being at home squashed between two siblings..makes it hard for this one to shine. Being at school means he is on his own, and he has his own voice. And it shows. He didn’t have any issues going to school, cos he is familiar with the environment and the teachers, thanks to picking Oliver up. But it took him about half a year before he stepped out of his shell and became more interactive in class.

The way his eyes lit up when he identifies his friends and they respond back (Oliver sometimes ignores him when he calls out to him). It is so so so cute.

Now we’re at the point of splitting the boys into two sessions. Argh. Headache. On one hand I feel bad for separating the boys cos it would mean they would only see each other after 2pm; on another hand, I think that splitting them now would make it easier for us to transition to the P1 schedule, and will allow Quentin to stay with his new friends for 3 years instead of moving him the year after. So half hearted on either decisions.

Whhhhhy. Oh..and of course there is the consideration if splitting them will officially screw my life up cos there will be no more 3 hour breaks for me, I’d have to cook lunch (oh wait, that is void cos I’d have to cook lunch for Sarah anyways..). Okay, I think I can live without the 3 hour break. *sigh* Must think about kids, must think about kids.

I think hor..parenting decisions are just going get a whole lot harder cos the kids will eventually want to have a say in it. Not looking forwards to tween-agers.