Category Archives: Daily

Day 173-2019: half year

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the tings circa June’19

‘the year is almost over!’ daddy Ting exclaims when we were talking about how a friend was lamenting half of the days off he had taken was over.

just another week to the end of the school hols. and it would be July. Indeed, the year is almost over. Just blink and it would be the end of the year already. As it is, Alex is already 7 months old.

Half a year in, we are learning. Learning more about our kids each day. As they surprise us.

My children, I hope you know that your parents are not mind readers. As you work a way to sort out your emotions, your parents are learning to handle yours. Remain open. There are no secrets in this household and we try not to judge when we can.

It has been a tiring June holidays. I made plans in mid-May, with places to go with the kids. Places that would not cost us a lot in terms of entrance fees. The meals do cost us a bit sometimes, but towards the end, we brought out more packed food from home so that we don’t have to buy more outside. It has worked out well. You, my children, did not complain and I am thankful for that.

I tried my best to take you guys out as much as possible. Same places, new experiences, and hopefully also new places. Chores were cast aside whilst we went out to have fun. Mondays and Fridays were catch up on chores days; you complained and groaned and moaned, but you did it when I nagged and complained.

By the third week, I was so done with outings. I didn’t want to go for family gatherings anymore. I was tired. All the yelling, quarrelling & fighting between the kids were getting to me. I longed for peace and quiet. I had started to block out a lot of stuff from the kids and anyone. It was just too much. Some days, I still just pushed myself ahead, but it was enough. I constantly felt I was running out of time. Out of time to bring the kids out; out of time to maintain a household (laundry laundry laundry); out of time to teach the kids (not all just about play); out of time to work; out of time..for myself.

Then one of the days, my husband unintentionally guilt tripped me. And I exploded at him. I was already feeling that I wasn’t doing enough despite the amount of things I had on my plate (I know..go figure). To have him say that I should stop looking at my phone and focus on my kid..despite spending the day at the bird park and only then getting a chance to reply to a query. Wah, not cool.

Fortunately, next week, I’d be getting one or two days to myself and allow myself to regroup and prep for another new school term for the kids. Regroup to sort out some finances, some meals for next week, and pondering about life.

tonight, I told Oliver that we say things we don’t necessarily mean when we are angry, and that I do that too, when I got angry with Donald. That it was normal but when we calmed down, we would apologise to each other and make up. I wondered if he understood and took it to heart.

today, I spotted a little gap in Alex’s lower gum. She was finally sprouting a tooth. And she has started caterpillar crawling on her mat and all over the floor. Hahaha. I told Donald, quite cute to have a baby in the house, watching her toothy grin and laugh as we play with her. Just..nice to have someone to baby and not talk back hahaha.

last night, we understood Quentin a little more when he cried in Donald’s arms, feeling wronged that his father scolded him at bedtime. He is really an awesome big brother to his sisters and even to his elder brother. Naggy, but big hearted. I need to understand him a lot more. It’s a matter of reframing, isn’t it?

ah..Sarah, my Sarah. the one who imitates me. It is hilarious as she tells her brothers off with a stern look on her face, before breaking out into a smile. It is so amazing to watch her analyse a situation, then break out into the little girl cries for help, wanting to be babied. I watch her cling to her father, face buried into the nape of his neck.

I am afraid I don’t have time to provide the best that I want for you. A clean home, experiences outside of home, teaching you what I know, loving you all and bringing you laughter. Instead, sometimes I find that I am bogged down by so many things. Would it matter to you now? Probably not, but hopefully next time it would. Yes, a clean floor may not be important, but you cannot be sloppy. Folding clothes is not a skill you need to have now, but you need to be independent in the future and not depend on me. Would it build character and independence? Probably.

But as long you know that I love you. That’s enough.

Category: Daily

Day 76: choices

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the tings, sans Alex

today, the boys talked about getting married. I was telling Donald about a friend and his girlfriend.

Oliver: eeee girlfriend!
Quentin: hey! Don’t say eee girlfriend!
Me: Yes, you’re right, Quentin, there is nothing wrong about saying girlfriend. I was daddy’s girlfriend before getting married, and Daddy was my boyfriend.
Oliver: what!

And we got into a discussion about what getting married was about. I asked them what they thought getting married was about.

Oliver: kiss and get a ring!
Me: well, getting married is more than just about a kiss and rings. When we get married, we do have same rings, but getting married is more than that. It is about a promise between two people. I promised to take care of Daddy, love him and be with him for as long as possible. Daddy has promised to protect me, love me and be with me for as long as possible too!
Oliver: when did you become daddy’s girlfriend?
Me: I became his girlfriend in 2005.

The realisation that 14 years has gone by. And that we don’t really feel any different from when we were 23 and 25. And now..we are 37 and 39. Age is just a number. It really is. But how quickly 14 years have gone by, and we barely realised it. How many 14 years would we have together?

I recently made a decision about our family. The business would have to take a backseat. With Alex turning 4 months and being more awake for longer periods and more aware of the people around her, I wanted to focus more and be there for the kids. A few events with the kids had made me realised that I wanted to remember more about that.

Quentin was growing up and proudly taking his role as an older brother to this two sisters. He is awesome. I can always count on him to emotionally care for his sisters, to not them be upset or distressed.

Oliver is in primary school. His time with us has been reduced significantly, and as his interactions with his siblings. On the other hand, he was getting some one on one time with his father on the way to school. Donald’s time has come in to be the role model to his son. I would still pick him from school, and one day, he asked if I could pick him up without his siblings. I had the rare few occasions of picking him alone when my dad would come over in the afternoons so that the other two kids did not need to tag along.

My heart ached for him. Ollie asks the most questions about everything, about life, about concepts, about principals. He thirsts for knowledge, any kind of knowledge as he thinks about it. And I try my best to answer it as much as possible. I love talking to him as we go through life. And he tries his best to understand the way a 7yo can. I have resorted to hiding notes for him in his school bag so that he is reminded that we are there for him, and he is not forgotten.

One other reason why I wanted to focus more on the kids was…the trust they placed in us. Yesterday, I was upset with the boys, who had promised to keep their Lego sets before I released the new sets to them, only to have them break their promise when they were completed with it. It had happened so many times. I reminded Oliver that the trust had been broken time and again, and I was so done with it. I told him that I was disappointed in him. And he knew that I rarely severely discipline him.

Donald stepped him to talk to Ollie, and made him aware of his emotions. There was anger at not being able to play Lego anymore, and there was sadness, as I was disappointed in him.

And there was reconciliation, something that I didn’t have as I went through a very tumultuous relationship with my mother. I made sure that there was reconciliation after every scolding, and trust was built again, and there was love. I reminded Oliver that I may be angry with him, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Reconciliation is when he voluntarily gives me a hug and kiss, walks away and comes back for another hug and kiss after saying good night. He goes to bed reassured and secure, and we start again the next day.

This is us with our kids. We are not perfect, but we move on and try again the next day, and we talk.

Earlier last week, I dreaded the school holidays, about breaking routine and catering to all four kids. Would we have cabin fever?

Then I had fun at our outing yesterday at East Coast Park. Sure I had my mom watching a napping Alex in the tent, whilst I spent time with the kids. It made a diff. But it also reminded me that the school hols should be a time to remind ourselves of the flexibility we had before Ollie went to primary school and that all the more, we should head out and spend time together. So I started looking around at things to do for the school hols.

As it is, I am typing this and prepping cookie dough so that the kids could cut the cookies out tomorrow as an activity. And Oliver has requested to learn about temperatures and the earth-moon-sun rotation tomorrow. WTH. My brain is gonna hurt reading about it. We borrowed books from the library too, so we will be reading some books together.

Donald told me something, when I told him I wanted to focus more on the kids. I was feeling guilty as we were financially tight, and every cent from the business does help us to go along.

‘well, do it. You became a SAHM to be with the kids, not build a business.’ And I am very very thankful for his support and very fortunate to be able to do so. The assurance and peace to be with the family. Today, I am reminded again that I probably have another 5-6 years before I have even lesser time with Ollie as he grows and makes more friends.

If not now, then when?

Both Donald and I have had to make some decisions, regarding work and family. It has always been a no brainer for us, to have as much time as possible with the kids is top priority. Almost everything else can wait. Well, except money for insurance. No insurance and 4 kids is a disaster hahaha.

Adulting sucks but ah well, we’ve got the 4 monsters to look after, it’ll all be cool.

Category: Daily

one of those days

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‘mummmmmy’ I heard a whine from outside my door, and a tiny little person wanders in.

mummmmmy.’ Sarah comes over to the side of my bed. I lift her up whilst lying down and place her on me. She quiets and just lies on me. I look at my phone, it is 5.22am. I sigh inwardly, my morning is starting very early today. By 6am, she whines for some breakfast, and I follow her out of my room before she launches into a loud wail and wake the rest of the household up.

I spread some chocolate hazelnut spread on a slice of bread, give her a container of expressed breastmilk and watch her eat. Just two of us. And my thoughts wander, at the things I planned to do for the 2.5 hours I get each morning.

Debating if I should..

head to the market to get some eggs because I would need them for waffles;

mop the floor cos it has been a few days since the last mop and there were foot/hand prints around;

change the dehumidifiers which I didn’t manage to do yesterday;

do work;

or head back to sleep.

And then I thought about the events that happened yesterday, where I got frustrated with the kids over laundry folding, over keeping the toys, and over the newly minted 5-yo who decided to spit veggies into a prepared bath tub of water for Alex’s bath.

I snapped. I was dealing with a cranky toddler who was sleepy and wanted dinner; dealing with the 5yo who wasn’t eating and being selective about the food he wanted to eat; dealing with a baby who wanted my attention. And my 5yo decided that I wasn’t handling enough and decided to spit veggies into the tub. I yelled at him and I was so upset that I cried.

I told him that I really didn’t like him at the moment, and he could just go do whatever he wanted to do. And he burst into tears. I didn’t feel bad about it then. I was that upset. I was tired. And tired of attending to my needs last again. Dammit, I bought my favourite yusheng from Din Tai Fung yesterday so that I could just share it with Daddy Ting and not eat scraps. WORTH EVERY SINGLE CENT.

Last to eat and food is all cold cos I had to feed the baby/put baby to bed;
first to be awake so the other two kids can sleep in longer whilst I prepped Oliver for primary school, last to sleep cos I had to catch up on some work;
I couldn’t even enjoy CNY cos I was too tired.

6 weeks into the year, and I am still slowly figuring out a routine that would work for me and work for the kids. I find I barely have enough time for anything else, a very thin line between wanting to take a quick break and catching up on work/chores. A slight change/delay in routine basically means having my sanity tested at 5pm onwards. I run a very tight schedule from 11am onwards.

My social life has been digitised – I depend on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp to catch up with my friends. Self-care, is officially a luxury. Haha.

I wondered about some of the decisions I make and made.

When Quentin had UTI and we decided against some of the tests and medication as we did for Oliver, and later we found out that there were some issues with Quentin’s kidney, I wondered if we had made the right choice and those issues with his kidney were the result of the choice we made.

When I decided that I was tired of being pregnant and wanted Alex out once we hit 37 weeks, got her induced.

When we decided that changing primary schools was a good idea cos it was nearer to us and we would be saving heaps on transportation fees but the younger kids ‘suffer’ cos they get lugged around for school pick ups.

How do you even know if you were making the right decisions there and then?

And when you make decisions because you think they are the right ones, or you want to do it, but when you get bogged down and get comments like ‘nobody ask you to do it.’, like damn sian right? *roll eyes*

(Backstory: Okay, I was deciding if I wanted to make waffles at 6am in the morning cos Oliver had requested for it yesterday and it was a flat out no cos it meant I had to wake up extra early to make them. But since I was already up early, so I thought I could make some right..I realised we were short of 1 egg, so I was deciding if I wanted to make the effort to half all the ingredients…before deciding to just scrap the idea.)

Bam, and it is 6.30am. These thoughts and in between answering the toddler’s questions and shushing her to keep her voice down so she doesn’t wake up the rest, and keeping the dried dishes, tidying up the kitchen.

I had also decided that I will

– get the faffing eggs so we can make waffles (cue ‘you don’t need to entertain Ollie’s request for waffles what, that is not important’ vs ‘dunno buy one waffle machine put at home for what’) BECAUSE I WANT TO OKAY (f***ing mental conversations);
– screw
mopping the floor cos I am NOT going to pick up the toys;-
write this post cos I think my blog deserves some attention and a post to remind me of this period; and
– skip sleep so that I can write this post, haha. is this #humpdaywednesday happening for you?

Category: Daily