woes of parenting

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To my three children,

if you only knew how much each of you mean to me.

How you were connected to me in-utero via an umbilical cord and hence, creating that little belly button of yours.

How each of your every achievements are my joy and pride, and each hurt and disappointment, my pain.

What hurt the most was not seeing you appreciate the things that were given to you at times. And it showed earlier today, and I raised my hand to smack you, Ollie, and you, Quentin. Sarah, you cried as your brothers yelped in pain. You weren’t sure of the me that was disciplining your brothers.

I was tired and frustrated. I felt like a failure, failing to raise my children properly. How could I instill the love that I had for them and have them translated into action?

I had a 6 year old who was nonchalantly eating his dinner, ignoring the fact that there was a 6.45pm deadline to keep the toys, otherwise it will go into the bin. Why? Because he didn’t really care for the toys anymore, and couldn’t be bothered about whether they went into the bin or not. Afterall, his brother was the one who played more with it.

I had a 4 year old who wanted everyone to ‘suffer’ with him and refused to keep it alone. The task was ‘boring’ and ‘it would take forever’. This was despite trying to explain to him earlier today that keeping the toys properly was for the next user, and to ensure that the toys were being taken care of properly.

This is despite drilling into them that they had to keep their toys at the end of the day, EVERY FUCKING DAY. This is despite telling the 4 year old that he will have shit loads of stuff to put away when he kept taking drawers of train tracks out from his room.

‘I will keep it later’ he had said. I gave him the benefit of doubt and held him to it. Was I stupid to do so? He is only 4 year old after all.

Maybe I had too much expectations of the 6 year old. He is..smart afterall. And I don’t mean that in a boastful way. It is so enjoyable to have a conversation with him because he speaks like an adult, and ask adult questions. I can explain concepts and principles to him and he understands it quickly. It was just so much easier to discipline him, to explain the rationale behind my actions.

The 4 year old is on another plane altogether. Trying to deal head on with him brings out the childish side of both Donald and I. It really does, it makes us mimic his behaviour just so that he can get a taste of his own medicine. But at the end of it all, he doesn’t get the morale of the story.

It made me question, what was it that I had done in my every day interactions with them that made them this way? What was it that I had ended up instilling into them?

Smacking obviously wasn’t the answer. I apologised for smacking them, and I had the 6 year old not angry at me anymore, and the 4 year old saying ‘no problem!’. And we all agreed to try again tomorrow.

The baby of the family is an empath..sorta. She cries when she sees her brothers in pain. She cried when she saw me crying whilst disciplining Oliver. I picked her up and she was stroking my face and crying as I teared. And tonight, she requested that she got put to bed in her cot when our usual was to co-sleep together until she fell asleep before I transferred her into her cot.

Are our co-sleeping days over, just like that? I should be glad she wants to sleep on her own I guess. Donald was just complaining about how Sarah needs her space and would fuss each time she came into contact with Quentin in the single bed. I rolled my eyes. Tell that to the dad who wants to co-sleep with his daughter EVEN THOUGH she is ready to sleep on her own bed. Good one.

This game of parenting, so tough, so arduous the journey. A love hate relationship/ Trying to maintain that balance between sanity and insanity, not wanting the kids to turn away from me. Setting that groundwork and building it up together for the years ahead.

Will you still love me tomorrow?  I sure as hell hope so, cos I love you guys shitloads.

Category: Daily

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

Review: 3M Safety Film with Jestac

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Thanks to the team at Jestac, I was offered an opportunity to redo the safety films for the shower screens in both the ensuite toilet and common toilet in my home. Thanks so much Jestac!
The shower screens in both toilets are not the easiest to deal with. The common toilet was small and there were 4 panels of glass to work with, and has 2 overlapping glass panels where they slide open. With the ensuite toilet, there was a narrow gap between the glass panel and countertop. Mr Chen and Raju definitely had their work cut out for them.

Master Room ensuite, narrow gap between countertop & glass panel

The tiny space to work with for the common toilet!

What appeared to be a seemingly simple job (at least to me!) took about 2.5 hours. The duo had to strip the previous safety film, clean the glass before applying the new sheet of safety film on the glass panels. So the job sequence was like:
– remove existing film;
– spray soapy water on the glass, and clean;
– spray film with water for it to adhere onto the glass;
– stick film on glass, slide film to adjust and fit;
– spray on film again, and use a fabric wrapped taping knife to smooth out any bubbles and to prevent any scratches; and
– trim the excess film off the edges.

smoothening out the film with a taping knife

assessing how to slide the film into the thin gap

What I liked about how they went about the job:
– They tidied the silicon edges by trimming (my glass had fraying, uneven silicon finishes where they fitted into their frames) before they even started so that the glass would fit nicely without any bumps;
– They used a penknife blade to clean the glass, making sure that it would scrape any dirt or residue from the previous safety film. The previous contractor used a taping knife to scrape off. I personally felt the penknife blade would do a better job haha;
– No bubbles in any of the glass! So so happy with that.
– One of the knobs of the glass panels couldn’t come off, making it harder for Mr Chen to trim around the edges (btw, they do it freehand). But the ultimate result was done really really well, compared to the square the previous contractor did;
– they redid one of the glass panels in the ensuite when there was a speck of dirt under the film. I was worried about them having enough film, but they did! And they cut a fresh piece out to fit it on the glass.
– Most of the edges were trimmed really smoothly! There were some uneven edges but it was all corrected after we told Mr Chen.

trying hard to remove the stubborn knob for one of the shower screens

Jestac’s freehand cutting vs…..

previous contractor’s ‘wonderful’ freehand. WTH, they cut a SQUARE around the knob okay. 

small space meant..sitting on toilet bowl haha

What I didn’t like about the job:
– Most of the edges of the films were trimmed smoothly, however there were some inconsistencies where the film was trimmed shorter for the film that was redid for a 2nd time;
– There is a pipe running through the ensuite shower screen panel, and they didn’t cut out the shape of the pipe enough to fit, so the film was not flushed against but slightly away from the frame;

film not flushed with frame in Master Room ensuite

the pipe in question

Overall, I am fairly satisfied with the job, given what I felt was difficulties in doing the job (Mr Chen had to sit on the toilet bowl at one point to adhere the film). I was a little disappointed with the 2nd sheet of film for the ensuite glass panel but I did suspect it was due to the lack of time. They did complete the rest of the panels with no further issues (ie no short trim, edges nicely trimmed, smooth and no bubbling).
Post job, we were given instructions to not wet the films for 2 weeks so that they would set properly. It wasn’t much of an issue as the films were stuck on the exterior of the shower area so no water would be splashed on it. Mr Chen did explain that consistent splashing of water on the films over time will affect the durability of it.
It’s been almost a week and we are pretty happy there’s no bubbling so far!
Category: Daily