This is going to be a long post because, well, I have been away for a really long time even though there are so much I wanted to write. Every time I wanted to sit down and type something, other more important things will crop up.

So it happens that everyone in the household, with the exception of little chubby pea, has been taking turns and succumbed to the nasty flu bug that most likely came from little man’s school. Hubby had it worst, and now I am its latest victim. To prevent the bug from making its rounds again, I wore a mask most of the time. Hopefully, it will its journey here.

Despite being unwell, I decided to go ahead with our plans to go Ikea after little man’s enrichment class because we really have things to buy. So I went ahead to prepare chubby pea, put on some nicer clothes that I am finally able to fit into (though still 6 more kg to pre-pregnancy weight), slapped on some colours on my pale face, tried to squeeze chubby pea’s barang barang into my bag and finally covered myself up with a mask and baby-carried my chubby pea who is going to break my back soon. All these done in about 1 hour after little man and hubby left home. Hubby and little pea came to fetch us in a cab, and off we went to our destination.

Less than 10 minutes into our car journey, little man started to look pale and sweat profusely. He complained of being unwell at his abdominal area, but he was unable to pinpoint where exactly. Then he started crying, telling us that he wish to go home. Hence, our trip out ended 10 minutes later. Once we were back home, little man started to “feel better” and played with his toys. Chubby pea was extremely happy to be back home too, shouting, screaming and rolling around. And the parents? We were simply worn out. However, we were really glad to know that all is well with little man. We suspect him to be suffering from motion sickness because of the taxi driver’s driving skills.

Anyway, that’s parenthood for you.

I have been wanting to write more on little man and chubby pea. Chubby pea is so different from his brother, yet so alike. Appearance wise, chubby pea is bigger in size. He is 6-month-old now and currently wearing little man’s 18-months clothes. He has smaller eyes and eyebrows that say “I am so innocent. Please come and sayang me.” His puffy cheeks make one weak at the knees. But do not be deceived by him, for he is definitely the more playful and cheekier one.

Chubby pea has been a better sleeper than little man, perhaps due to more experienced parenting? Well, I have no way to know. Actually Hubby and I couldn’t quite remember how little man was like when he was still a baby. We can only refer back to the old photos and videos taken. But one thing I clearly remember was how I had to rock little man to sleep in the afternoon and it can go on for an hour before he finally goes to sleep. This was before he was 6-month old. Anyway, chubby pea has been rather fussy these days due to teething and leaping into another learning phase. Hence from sleeping through the night (9pm-6am), he regressed and woke up at odd timings these days. Hopefully he will settle down soon again and give us our much needed sleep.

Little man has been a wonderful and loving brother so far. Yes, there have been times where he was more emotional and broke down easily, but he is still adapting to his new status and learning to take charge of his emotions. He is only 4 and it takes time, so I do not want to push him too hard. To be fair, even adults find it hard to control their emotions sometimes. It takes a lot of practice from him, and understanding and patience from us.

As for chubby pea, he simply adores his older brother. Nothing makes him as excited as seeing his brother come by his cot in the morning and play with him when he gets home in the evening. It’s vice versa for little man as well. This chemistry between them is so unique and charming, there are no words to describe the joy in me to see them loving each other so much.

Having two little people in my SAHM life now also makes me think a lot about how I should teach, educate and nurture them. Not that I don’t think about it in the past, but now that I have more empty slots of thinking time, eg when I am doing mundane housework and parenting duties that do not require me to think, I can think about it more in depth.

This is especially so when the news of an 11-year-old boy who committed suicide because of some unsatisfactory mid-year examination results broke into headlines.

I think we are in no position to judge his parents because we do not know what exactly is going on. His parents and family must already be in great agony even without public judgement. May they find acceptance and peace within soon.

This incident, however, serves as a reminder for me. As a parent in Singapore, it is easy to lose yourself in the rat race, even though you may not intend to be in it in the first place. Hence I am always careful about signing up little man for extra-curriculum classes. As much as I want to expose him to more things and develop his potential to HIS fullest, I must learn to balance it well with time to bond, rest and play.

Hubby and I sometimes talked about it when we are having our couple time together, and I asked myself, what kind of person do I want my children to grow up to be?

Academically, I just want them to do their best. If their best does not allow them to be the cream of the crop, so be it. Not everyone can be the first, you will need a second and a third to make the first meaningful. A society cannot possibly have everyone be a doctor or a lawyer. You will need the fireman, the policeman and even the teacher to teach and nurture your future leaders. This is something I’ve learnt while watching one of Sir Ken Robinson’s speeches.

From this, I hope they will learn to do their best in all they do in life. It is definitely tiring to always have to do your best, but the regrets you get from not doing your best, is worse. It is something you can never undo, because in life, most opportunity only come by once.

Ultimately, I would want them to complete their tertiary education and obtain a degree. That is the most basic to have in order to survive in this country, in my opinion. With that, I would expect them to have a proper job and pay for their own educational loans, bills and whatever assets they want to have in life. I would expect them to be financially-independent and able to support themselves.

On top of that, I hope for them to grow up loving life. Life has many aspects. Many people love life for various reasons, it does not have to be the same as mine. But as long as they love life, they have passion for something in life, they will not even have the intention to end it although things might not be going well. In my opinion, loving life does not mean YOLO. YOLO has a sense of acting without a care in the world. I hope that my children can act responsibly while pursuing their passion in life.

In addition, I hope for them to be kind and have empathy for the others as well.

Recently, a dear family friend whom we lovingly know as “Papa” passed away. At his wake, his daughter recalled how his father has touched the life of a foreign worker who cleans for his estate with his little gestures of kindness. When the foreign worker realised that the wake in preparation at the multi-purpose area was for him, he broke down and cried. He also went up to his house to see him and pay his last respect.

This story touched me deeply. I think one of the hardest value to teach, is kindness. Many children wanted to be kind, because they wanted to be praised. They wanted to be kind in the eyes of others. But I think real kindness is what you do when no one is watching. And to teach that, you need to set an example and practise it in your daily life. My children may not be a PSLE top scorer, but I certainly hope that they are kind at heart and empathetic and caring in their words and actions.

I think we do have a lot of work to do here. Often in our lack-of-sleep state-of-mind, we do not act on the values we wanted to inculcate in our children. But that should not be used as an excuse. I think my children make me want to be a better person, because I hope for them to be a better person. That is one of the greatest lesson I take away from this chilling, rainy November.

There many other “things” I hope for them to be, but today I shall leave it first. Nurturing young children is one of the hardest job one can ever have, so one baby step for me at a time. I must always remember 欲速则不达.