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 in..you 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

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

Getting the Right Fit with Baby Slings & Carriers

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our first Manduca.

We bought our first soft structured carrier (SSC) back in 2011, before the arrival of our first kid. The carrier came highly recommended by a work colleague. I was eyeing the baby bjorn then. But when I read up about SSCs, there was no turning back.

Back then, babywearing didn’t get that much attention. It was just another alternative to taking your baby out. My parents never used one, much less hear about different types of carriers. I had seen people using sarongs to babywear, but never really took notice of it any further. But heck, look at how much babywearing had come. This basic Manduca has seen me through 4 kids, and has reached a faded brown hahaha. But we use it more often than the black one we got in 2014. It is so soft now that it has been worn in.

When we received our first Manduca, we fumbled with the infant insert. We panicked when Ollie cried so hard in the insert. We weren’t sure if we were wearing him the correct way. Looking back, I could almost tell what we were doing wrong, hyper-extended legs without the insert, not wearing close and high enough, footed pjs..

Of course there is Youtube. When in doubt, nothing like a video to ‘walk’ you through the process. But Youtube can’t tell you a fair bit of stuff. Let me tell you why.

After 6 years of babywearing in a SSC and trying out a wrap, I thought I had it all figured out. Until I went for a fitting session at Baby Slings and Carriers. Case in point, me with Alex in the JPMBB stretchy wrap before the fitting session, and a next day after a fitting session. I had started wrapping Sarah in 2016 after watching a Youtube video and hoping for the best that she doesn’t slide out of it.

left, my crappy wrapping skills; right, after having proper lessons on wrapping!

What I learn at a fitting session was having Pearline, a babywearing consultant and owner of Baby Slings & Carriers, telling me how tight I can wrap Alex without hurting her and providing both her and myself better support. Seriously, it felt SO much better. I had been constantly lifting her to re-tighten the wrap prior to the fitting session. As the JPMBB wrap was stretchy, there was actually alot more leeway and I could have wrapped her tighter and higher. Poor kiddo was always ‘drowning’ in my slack wrapping skills. Hahahaha. I was told that I could wrap up to a 2yo..very tempted to wrap Sarah one of these days just to give it a shot!

they have a wide range of wraps for you to try!

Not only are the team at BSC all about just getting you the right fit, I had a chat with them about support for the babywearing momma as well. In 2017, I found out that I had mild cervical spondylosis. I had been experiencing some neck problems and after an xray, we found some degenerative discs in my neck. Bummer. I also had been seeing a chiropractor for my back problems. After 6 years of babywearing and realising that A LOT of information was about having the right spinal & hip support for the baby, but nothing much was said for the wearer. I was really glad to be able to speak with Pearline about such issues and how babywearing should support BOTH the wearer and baby. I was realised to hear some of their advise does tie in with what my chiropractor says, about wearing baby closer to spread out the weight across the body, as opposed to baby hanging off me.

chatting with Pearline about wearer support

Obviously BSC have their own range of baby carriers that they retail (helloooo Manduca!), but they are not biased about their own products. There is no one fit cos well, we are all of different size, and one might just feel better using another carrier based on the support it offers. But heck, I am biased towards the Manduca so obviously I’m gonna be raving A LOT about the XT that we are using!

crash course on the XT

No fiddling with an infant insert any longer. Best idea evah, and it is f****** cushy! The shoulder straps too! I could easily want to rest my head against it to rest on it. This photo was when Alex was 2 weeks old. Back in Ollie days, we would have panicked if he as much shrieked his head of in the infant insert. Under the watchful guidance of Pearline & Michelle, and A LOT of shushing to soothe Alex, we got her nicely snuggled in the carrier and left her as that! It was the first time I actually had the shoulder straps crossed behind my back so as to make the carrier more snug for Alex, curving the panel around her. Steep learning curve siah. Back carry and side carry I can handle, but crossing the straps was another level altogether.

upgrade!

Now that Alex is 4 months old, we upgraded the XT with the ellipse ZipIn. Without the ZipIn, the zipped up panel was too short for her (her head was bobbing backwards); extending the panel fully meant she would drown in the carrier. Having the ZipIn meant the panel would still be able to provide her with the necessary neck support whilst being in the carrier. Major upgrade for us compared to the previous versions of Manducas! I had the opportunity to borrow a Size It and ellipse ZipIn to try old Manduca and they still worked like a breeze. You can always get this accessories if you managed to get your hand on Basic or Blackline Manduca.

look ma, no insert!

how the size it looks

How the fitting session felt:

You don’t feel pressured to buy anything. There is a charge for the consultation, $20, which I feel is worth it because you are paying for their time to guide you into making an educated decision about the carrier that will suit you.

Ask them ANYTHING. Okay, maybe not questions like recipes for their best bak kut teh recipe or something. Ask them anything in relation to babywearing. Tell them your concerns. When in doubt, ask! Else how to get the right fit?

Definitely bring baby along. They are really patient and will want baby to be comfortable before fitting you. No one breaks out in a sweat. Just a nice calm carrier fitting.

meet the team

They’ll be the ones to walk you through your fitting! Have an awesome and calm fitting!

Category: Reviews