Category Archives: Special

how do you (I) do it? – two years later

I vaguely remembered writing a post on this. And I Googled myself. hahah. Eh, that is the fastest way to find a post okay.

And so I did. I wrote a similar post 2 years ago. Has anything changed since then? Well…we added a new member to the family and boy, are things even more hectic. I was ‘inspired’ to write this post because in a span of a couple of weeks, I had this question posed to me: how do I do it, with 4 kids? 

I don’t. Let me tell you as it is now: I’m seriously sleep deprived, clocking 5-6 hours each night. I have been shoving the kids to their father because I cannot deal carrying a newborn and 3 kids having a shouting match. The last 3 weeks was probably a vacation for me cos at least I have the option to simply tell my husband that I was going to take a nap and just waltz off and do it.

Except I got a shit brain who makes me a light sleeper and it takes me forever to settle and by the time I actually wind down enough to sleep, the baby wails for a feed and I gotta restart all over again. BOO.

The same shit brain also makes me feel inadequate, makes me feel that I am not doing enough despite knowing that I have clocked a lot of stuff in an hour, just cause there are still veggie peels in the sink, breakfast dishes not washed, I am stuck on a chair nursing the baby with my now lukewarm yoghurt sitting in front of me, and a toddler sitting outside playing by herself. START PACKING FOR YOUR GUILT TRIP  says the brain.

And I do just that. Why are there stuff still not done? And oh, your shit eyes also decide to spy a dried patch of god-knows-what on the floor and you add mopping the dining room to your never-ending list of stuff to do. But you know what? The smart thing to do would be to practise self-care. To say it is okay to leave some of the stuff to be cleared after you are home from running errands outside.

That you have done just enough, and it is okay. That it is time to head out with your kids and spend some time with them, away from the chores. Those chores CAN wait, well, except if everyone is running out of undies, then sorry that cannot wait. Hahahaha.

But how do I do it some days? I do it because of this man who makes me feel I can do it.

Daddy Ting and his minions

I laugh to myself recounting the messages between him and me whilst I gave birth to Alex, and him missing out on the birth. All because we thought the labour would take a while, and he could go home, check on the kids a little and come back to the hospital again. Oh what a story to tell Alex when she grows up.

This man handled 3 sick kids and looked after me after we got discharged from the hospital. He tried cooking my meals for me, but I kicked him out of the kitchen on day 5PP. Hmph. I want the food I want to eat! Then he had to handle the 3 sick kids AND keep them away from the newborn. That was week #1

sick kids means mask on all the time!

Week #2, he fell sick but still looked after the recovering kids sans Sarah who stayed over at my parents’ place so he could rest more. Then things got better, we still stayed home a lot. Sorta, this momma went out a bit cos I was getting cabin fever. I got to meet some friends! Oh happiness. Trips to the polyclinics for jaundice checks were the highlights of my week!

Week #3, Ollie broke his toe. Sigh. So dunno who kena confinement siah. Daddy Ting really got his work cut out for him lifting his 20kg son around cos we were trying to keep the cast clean (else how to sleep in bed?? Yucks). On the other hand…Quentin had a lot more opportunity to be out of his brother’s shadows cos Oliver is out of action. That would be another post in itself.

bai-kah-chu

We are into week #4 and we are catching up on errands. A LOT of errands plus sending Quentin to his day camp. This is a trial run of how it would be like when the kids go back to school next year, esp when Oliver commences primary school. I told Daddy Ting that we cannot do enrichment classes for the kids, cos it is just not our style. We are way to chill to do the mad rush on weekends. Even swimming classes was pushing it a little (5-6pm, and then the rush back to have dinner wth).

But this man, my husband, takes all these in stride, and still takes time to make sure that my mental well being is taken care of. Once that is taken care of, everything else goes. He was there when I needed him (well, except when he missed out on Alex’s birth hahahahahah.) He is almost at my beck and call, at this time, if the kids are not all piled on him, hounding him to play Uno with them.

mummy not free, nehmind, teh-bao daddy!

we played copious amounts of Uno.

Etched in my memory forever:

1) Watching him put Sarah on the toilet and him squatting next to her waiting for her to be done, and then cleaning her up. I laughed, and he chuckled as well, shaking his head. There was just something about that scene that made it endearing and funny.

2) We have a recycling box at home, and he spied some ziplock bags in the box earlier today.

Him: are those ziplock bags in the box??
Me: oh yeah, they are the ones that the clothes came in. I didn’t know what to do with them, but they are in pretty good condition eh?
Him: yeah, I was surprised to see them there. I thought you would use them to store something.
Me: waaah, not bad hor. You noticed!
Him: Of course, I was thinking how can it be that you would put those bags into the box?? Where’s my wife and what have you done with her??
Me: Bwhahahahaha. You’re an idiot.

The little actions he does to support the things that I do or want to do. They remind me that we have a thing going on always.

So how do I do it with 4 kids? I will run solo with them when Daddy Ting goes back to work, but I do it with some help from the village I have behind my back. It pays to have a big family and have the kids close to them.

It pays to have married my soul mate and knowing he has my back. 😘

 

Category: Special

This June

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The last week of school is usually a little more hectic. There are some school holidays because of the preparation for parent-teacher meetings, and then for the parent-teacher meeting it self. Everyone is kinda on a holiday mood, but this year I had no direction absolutely. No idea where I was going to be taking the kids to, nor what I was going to do with them.

I was dreading the school hols. I was still in a funk, and given certain circumstances, I was exhausted. Torn between wanting to cater for the knowledge thirsty Oliver, to a chillax Quentin, to a little shadow/tag-a-long Sarah who just has to sit in the stroller wherever we went. I was absolutely dreading it. But winging it was probably the best thing we did ever.

We had some play dates, we went for outings at Gardens By the Bay, for media events, for a Biodiversity exhibition, a Singapore Police Heritage Centre tour. We took our time, and sweltered in the heat. Some times, Daddy Ting took days off and we went to Pulau Ubin, Singapore Zoological Gardens and he took them to a playground at Sembawang Park whilst I was at a meeting. Some days the grandparents took them out, for a play, for a cycle in the park, for meals. Last week, a cousin took the boys out to Sentosa and a swim.

It ended up being a super packed June holidays and time couldn’t have flown any faster. And it ended up being one of the best June holidays I have had with the kids. There were many firsts for all of us and I am so so glad we did all of it together.

It was heartwarming to watch the two boys entertain themselves on the long train rides. Sometimes Quentin would pack an activity book along and do it on the ride, Oliver would bring a book along. Sarah would be happy snacking, or if she got bored, the boys would take turns to entertain her in their nonsensical way.

The three would gamely pose for photos, and if I needed help, the boys would be ready to give me a hand. It was awesome to see them enjoying themselves and just fooling around outdoors.

The time spent with them made me appreciate them a lot more for each of their idiosyncrasies. It made me appreciate the time the boys were ready to help when I needed it. It made me appreciate that time spent with each of them is precious and that they will remember it. It reminded me that each of them are different and I need to spend some one on one time with them whenever possible.

It reminded me that they will grow up quickly. I can only hope that we are still as close as we are now when they grow up.

Category: Kids, Outdoor, Special

grieving

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writing has always been cathartic for me. it’s been a while since I actually used this blog as a outlet.

I had to write an eulogy for my grandma. It was the hardest thing I ever had to write. It started off easy, I had an idea for the direction of the eulogy. Memories came flooding and the words just flowed. Then I burst into tears, at the realisation that she would really be gone after I read out my eulogy for her.

It’s been a long while since I have had to grieve for a closed one. The last one being my maternal grandfather and even then, I wasn’t close to him cos he wasn’t always around.

This time round, she was someone who had been a big part of my life and she had also gotten to know my kids, well, some of my kids depending on where her memory failed. She definitely remembered Oliver, the rest, probably a little hazy.

It all started on 25th March when she first got admitted for UTI. A week’s staycation, then home for a week, and then back in the hospital for another 2 weeks, home for 2 weeks, and then she left us on 5th May in her home.

There were moments of quiet when I visited her at the hospital and when she was awake enough, she would see me and then smile. I would hold her hand and she would then pat me on the face if I was close enough and made a funny face at her. Those pats, seemed like pats of assurance and her comforting me. It was easy to think that she was already 96 and that she had led a good life. But it was hard to let go.

Listening to the doctor explain her CT scans (thank God I didn’t forget my neuropsych) was painful. Hearing the doctor say that Mama probably had dementia for the past 10 years was a revelation. None of us would have known. She acknowledged us when we visited, never had tantrums (something I would have thought dementia patients would do). Then again, we had no reason to suspect she had dementia, given that we rarely carried a conversation with her cos she was hard of hearing. She was just quietly sitting in her wheelchair and watching us, smiling when she caught us looking at her.

There were tears a plenty. It was a loss after all. The first thought that came to mind as I stood in her room, ‘have fun with Kong Kong, don’t nag him too much.’ Her husband passed away 27 years ago. I wouldn’t be sure I could survive that long without Donald..haha.

Do I have any regrets? Fortunately, no. At least I felt that I spent enough time possible with her since she got admitted. I couldn’t bring the kids along, but it bought me a lot of time with her, coaxing her to drink, to try to eat, make movements and taking a lot of photos with her. I got to celebrate her birthday with her, with a balloon and a slice of cake.

But it doesn’t make the loss any lesser. Oliver wasn’t super tactful when he caught me crying (‘what now..?’roll eyes* haha dammit you brat), and Quentin would come over and stroke my arm when he saw me crying. Sarah would of course whinge when she saw me crying in Donald’s arms (‘MAMA!!’) and tried to pull us apart. The crying took a few days; I..just wasn’t ready to say bye yet. And Donald encouraged it, haha I think he rather knows how I am feeling than to hide it in.

And then you get the random Quentin quirks:

Quentin: mummy, is it cos Chor Chor eat alot that’s why she die?
Me: no..she is very old that’s why she died.
Quentin: *sees me spooning macaroni into my bowl* mummy, i don’t want you to eat. You cannot eat.
Me: why?
Quentin: because if you eat alot, you will grow old fast and then you will die. I love you and I don’t want you to die.
Me: *?* oh Quentin, I still have many years to go..and I need to eat some food so I don’t fall sick too. Okay, how about I eat a little each day so I don’t grow old too fast?
Quentin: *perks up a little* okay! Just a little every day ok? So you dun grow so fast. Only I can grow so fast.
Me: Quentin, I will try n live as long as possible for you. Mummy wants to watch you grow up too.

Then we had a chat about him growing up, how one day he may become a daddy, travel on his own, cook for us and grow old.

It obviously set off the waterworks that afternoon.

I didn’t really like what I was feeling to be honest, the crying coupled with swinging hormones wasn’t a good combo. I kept reading the eulogy I wrote as it had a lot of memories of her and me. I thought if I kept reading it, I would not forget about her. I would end up in tears each time I read it. I was afraid that if I accepted that she was gone, the memories I had of her would somehow vanish, like she wasn’t a part of my life. That her gone, would be a new norm. It took many talks with the hubby before I came to a compromise/understanding. He reminded me that the memories were here to stay, regardless of her gone or not.

She was there in the many photos I have together with her. And they won’t disappear.

It took awhile. But I read the eulogy for the last time, I had another good cry. And then I said a quiet bye. Bye Mama. 

The days are better, but there are moments when I get reminded about something and the tears start welling. Heck, just even watching a video about a girl and her grandma trigger the tears. Poor Donald came in to find his wife sobbing away at her desk and he had to stand there comforting me till I could stop crying.

So super thankful for Donald who was a champ and handled the three kids whilst I attended the wake. He took over once I was done putting Sarah down for a nap. And he put all 3 to bed for a couple of nights! It gave me more time to spend with family and my late grandma. Thankful for the help from my mil who cooked for the kids so that they don’t have to eat junk food nor do I have to worry about meals.

I still miss you terribly. But I do know that you are in a better place, so I will seek comfort in that you are in the arms of my Heavenly Father. 

Category: Special