Category Archives: Special

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

growing up

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If you could turn back time, would you?

baby selfie

the little miss sprouted 2 teeth. She turns 10 months old in 3 days time. she cruises around the living room and hallway, pushing her walker. If something gets in her way, her brothers help move her walker so that she can continue her way.

She has a temper. If she is unhappy, she grabs and pinches the closest piece of flesh. And she’s got a mean pinch, wth. Oliver blocked her from grabbing his Lego and he got pinched haha. Oops, poor Ollie.

But she’s mostly all smiles. Smiles she saves for the ones closest to her. Pats she saves for her immediate family. Good job she seem to say.

90% smiley. 10% super mean temper. Not sure if I should be glad for that, or should I wish for a 50 smiley – 50 even tempered baby. Hmm..tough one.

I love the way she cups my face in her hands, and looks at me. I love the way she closes her eyes in anticipating of a nuzzle from her brothers. I love the way she giggles/chortles at the way her brothers play with her.

I love the bond the 3 of them have with each other.

Oliver is 5.5 years now. It is fascinating to have a conversation with him. This year has been a little rough on him, as Sarah grows older and robs more of our attention away from him; as he learns to care for his younger siblings and realise that the world doesn’t really revolve around him.

As he learns that..sometimes discipline isn’t always bad. There has been lesser yelling, tho the frustrations are more intense as expectations rise. But we work it out. He understands a little more about tough love and he tries his best.

Mummy, are you proud of me?” Always, always.

Just because we get angry with you sometimes, doesn’t mean we don’t love you okay? Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the 5.5 year old does have insecurities, and we need to reassure them that anger doesn’t mean the absence of love.

His thirst for knowledge..is still unabated. Space. Words. Languages. Art. He is like a sponge, absorbing everything that is novel to him. Down side? He gets bored easily. Argh.

He has a sense of humour which sees us laughing more these days as we crack silly jokes. Or rather..his assumption of certain things cracks us up so much.

Case in point:

#shitolliesez #mandarinfail #jiakkantang

Oliver: mummy,why 名子 got a 女 part.
Me: whut??
Oliver: yar, on my homework. Got a ‘nv sheng ming’
Me: *wtffff* let me see!
Oliver: there *shows me* i am not a girl, why 张老师 put that there..
Me: that is 姓名lah!!!!!!! What 女生名…

Yup, definitely my child.

He’s learnt how to ride the 2-wheeler and scoot on a 2-wheel scooter. He is willing to coach Quentin in a lot of things: spelling, reading, Lego building. He has mellowed a lot, and is a lot more patient. And he is willing to accept explanations.

Next milestone, primary school.

Oh time, where have you gone. 

someone proud of his coloured peranakan tile

ah the middle child. The one who has to speak loudly to be heard, amidst the older brother who communicates better, and the younger sister who cannot communicate.

Speaking of Quentin makes me pack for my guilt trip. Just when I wasn’t done babying him as a toddler, Sarah came along and he got shoved into the backseat. Sorta. Donald and I constantly remind ourselves not to make him the middle child, but we unconsciously do so.

But thankfully, it is not being so much of a conscious effort these days. It was heartening to watching him fall into his own persona in his class. Watch him speak to HIS friends (not his brothers), go to HIS class, do HIS homework.

Watch him sing the same songs as Oliver, put on the same uniform as Oliver. You know, also doing the big boy stuff.

Watch him play and care for HIS sister. Sometimes, Oliver doesn’t really care much for Sarah, and Quentin steps in. Cos Sarah will give him her full attention, where mine are tied with chores and Oliver, in a world of his own.

I am thankful to have been able to be there at every step of their lives. Watching my boys grow into the little men they are. Watching my baby gradually stand unassisted. Watching the kids move on with life.

Would I turn back the time? Probably not. Why go back, when there is so much more ahead that awaits? =)

Category: Kids, Special | Tags:

2017:老豆

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Dear 三只马骝,

Yes, you. The 9 month old too. Why are you cruising so quickly?? We barely had time to enjoy your babyness and bam, there you are standing and cruising around at 9 months old. I think I saw you letting go and trying to stand on your own for the past couple of days.

Bah.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day. So what have you kids gotten planned? Meh. Who am I kidding. What can a 5.5yo, 3.5yo and 9mo come up with?

So…last year I wrote you kids a letter about your 老豆. How has things been for the past one year?

————————————————-

Dear Daddy Ting, 

daddy ting & his toys

Happy Father’s Day! You wonder about all this hype about Father’s Day. You gripe about expensive meals on this day. You bemoan about the crowd every where. You stare at the boys and struggle between wanting to take them out and getting work done.

So, let your dear wifey put things into perspective for you this year! This 18th June, it would be the..

37th year of your life;
12th year of our courtship:
7.5th year of our married life;
5.5th year of fatherhood; and
1st year as a father of three kids.

Three kids leh. Three kids are the new norm. Haha. I remembered the day you told me ‘two kids is too mainstream’. 

So let’s walk down along memory lane cos as you age, your memory fails you. Actually, scrap that. You just got shitty memory. *roll eyes* Come on, I’m pretty sure the wivess out there will agree their husbands never remember significant moments.

I remembered the morning I told you I was pregnant with Oliver. You came home from your morning run and barely had time to catch your breath, sweat dripping down your face when I excitedly told you.

I remembered the day I told you I was pregnant with Quentin. I sent you the photo of the test kit and you were cautious to not feed my excitement cos of the chemical pregnancy we had the month before.

I remembered the night I told you I was pregnant with Sarah. I had wanted to keep it a secret but I just couldn’t. She was to be our very special baby cos of so many reasons.

The moment you laughed over the phone when I told you we were having a girl. It was the laughter that came out of your heart. The special kind of laughter I love cos I so rarely hear it. And I smile to myself as I type this.

When we got together, it was hard to imagine you being around kids. We moved to Perth and you got to know a little girl who would call your name. Even then I thought you were awkward around kids.

Then you had kids. You told me about what kind of father you would like to be to the kids. I’ve seen the look on your face that shows how much you are bursting with pride over your eldest child; the look on your face that shows how bad you feel after you discipline your middle child; and that look on your face that shows amazement and wonder at your youngest child.

The way you laugh as you get outsmarted by your kids;
The look of resignation as your kids grin cheekily at you;
The way you excitedly tell your kids about Michael Jackson and they are more interested in Backstreet Boys (hahahahahahaha).
The way you moaned about how your kid beat you to breaking their arm;
The way you rush into your son’s room the moment you hear he is having a nightmare;
The way you exclaim ‘mayday mayday!’ when your son gags and pukes, and then having to comfort him later.

Best of all, how that fatherhood really suits you well with that *pats* tidy belly of yours. =P Thanks for finishing up what the boys cannot finish so I dun grow too fat. hahaha

There are articles about how the husband should start helping to take photos of their wife with the kids, cos mummy is always taking selfies with them. Let me speak for the SAHM me. For every 5 selfies I take with the kids, there is only one photo of you with the kids. I live the moment with the kids; you live that moment through photos. You get the updates from me, from the kids.

I’d be more than happy to stick with the selfies and take more photos of you and the kids, so that all of us will have our moments.

So have your moment tomorrow with the kids, I’ll be taking the photos. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy Ting. Couldn’t ask for a better man to be the father of my kids.

love,
Mummy Ting.

Category: Daily, Parenting, Special