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Resolutions

Happy New Year! 🙂

My new year starts today because I finally feel more alive after the hectic travelling to and fro Kluang for a family wedding over the new year’s weekend.

Travelling with a child is tiring. Travelling with a baby and a small child is worse. But you know what is worst? Travelling with a baby, a small child and a blur-like-sotong sister who brought her passport cover without the passport and only realised it at the Singapore customs. In the end, we arrived at our Kluang accommodation at 3am instead of the planned latest 1am. Having to get my rather awake children who thought they have slept enough in the car journey to bed, I only manage to catch some winks at 4am. The next morning was another tiring day to get the children and myself ready to receive the marriage couple at my in-laws.

Okay, to be fair, Hubby and my family who went along help out a lot. But you know how the children sometimes only wants their Mama. Hence, those late nights and continuous lack of sleep took a toil on my body. It took some days for me to feel good enough to run the household as per normal. Because of this lack of sleep, I was as not as cautious as I ought to be, and did not manage to stop the unfortunate incident of chubby pea falling off our K-size bed while the both of us were napping together after Hubby and little man left for school and work. I cannot help but kept thinking back how badly he fell and how hard he cried. Thank God, he did not suffer any injuries. Thank God for His protection.

Anyway, I have been missing for a while because life have been very busy with decluttering, baby-sitting and future-planning. As I am going to be a SAHM for a long while, there are so much things I want to do for my children, my lover boy and the household. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and make myself so tired. But seeing the results make one so satisfied.

Hence, these are some of my resolutions for coming year, just for my own references.

  1. Learn more about homemade kefir and kombucha, eventually make for family and save on costly probiotics.
  2. Get children to sleep (not just get on to bed) earlier. Latest 9pm.
  3. Sleep latest by 10.30pm. Get off bed at 8.30am. (Not wake up, because I wake up according to my baby feeding needs, sad to say, hence I often try to catch more sleep after feeding him at wee hours, resulting in getting out of bed late because I AM REALLY TIRED.)
  4. Be more discipline at keeping with routines so that bedtime will not drag.
  5. Plan our meals and cook more nutritious food for the family. Perhaps try to decrease the grains and go more towards Paleo.
  6. Plan a learning and play schedule for little man and keep up with it.
  7. Spend more time reading to the children.
  8. Continue to declutter.

Just a rough guide for me to work on. I feel so good about this year already 🙂

May we all be well in the new year. Eat well, sleep well, live well and try harder to be a better person than we were in 2016.

Of rainy November

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.

Beliefs

Little pea just passed his 4th month. It was not an easy 4 months, but I know it could be worse. Somehow this little chubby pea’s existence makes me count my blessings every single good day more than ever. And on bad days, some real bad days, I just pray really hard.

One fine day, during one really bad period where everyone took turns to fall sick and little man’s skin condition was getting worse again, I was taking a break from all the housework. I was so tired and sad that I stared for a long while into blank air, and I took a good long look at my sick, sleeping baby. I started thinking about little man who was in school, and I started asking God why do my children have to suffer. Suddenly, I do not understand what really happened, but suddenly I felt at peace. I suddenly understand that God send these little angels to me for a reason. He wants me to take care of them to the best of my abilities and believe I can do that for them. I suddenly felt not so alone, worried and scared. I felt that I just need to try and do my best for them. And that everything will eventually fall into place.

I have never told anyone about this.

I was born into a family who believe in a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism, whichever works for them. I grew up a free-thinker. I studied Buddhism in my primary school and the bible in the first half of my secondary school. I was very put off by how the pastors in that school “hardsell” their religion to us non-believers and actually told us that all other religions are devils. Somehow, I went to a Catholic school in the later part of my secondary years. There, I was not forced to study or read any bibles. Then fate has it that I spent a good part of my working life in a Catholic school and I started to grow close to the religion. I have never attended Church, nor do I see myself as a Catholic, but I started to find out more about the religion.

What does that makes me? I have no idea. Why do I write this? I have no idea too.

Actually, this post is supposed to be about how well my baby is growing and sleeping through the night, and how loving my eldest is to his little baby brother. Sorry I digress.

There are just so many things on my mind right now, I want to relive that moment, that moment that I feel God speaks to me, that as long as I do my best, HE will be with us too, that whatever nasties will eventually come to an end, no matter how bad.

I am tired. Let me continue another day.

May we all have a blessed and well-rested night.

Seeing me in him

Little man has shown strong interest in performing arts, hence we enrolled him in the Performing Arts Class for toddlers at SHHKact since the beginning of the year.

Yesterday, the teacher got all the students together and put up a simple performance for the parents who were there. Hubby told me that little man volunteered to be the first one to perform. On their way home, little man told Hubby that he felt like tearing when everybody clapped after his performance. (表演完后,我的眼睛好像有眼泪要掉下来了。)He came home, and told me the same thing, and went on to tell everyone he met that day (namely my family) the same thing.

I feel really emotional when I hear that. He was not able to express and explain how he felt then, but I understand. It must be an emotional moment of mixed feelings when he felt touched by his own performance and the audience response. I totally understand because that is why I almost went into theatre. That is why I chose my first job to be at The Esplanade, even though the pay I was given was so pathetic.

I too participated at SHHKact at a very young age. Shortly after, I was selected after numerous rounds to join the children radio division of Singapore Broadcasting Centre, the previous Mediacorp. And needless to say, I was actively participating in school plays, performance and outside competitions. It was a past that brings back many memories, and even now thinking about it gives me goosebumps. Hence, I absolutely understand what little man was talking about.

When I decided to enrol him in such a class, I do not plan for what he is to become. I just want him to enjoy himself, and perhaps if possible find his own interest along the way. However, it really touches me to see so much of me in him.

I hope that I will be able to help him achieve his full potential, and maybe one day, I would be able to share my experience and love for theatre with him, not only as a mother, but also as fellow theatre lover.

Habits of mind

It’s always such a joy to converse with little man. The way he put his thoughts to words never fails to amuse me. Sometimes the way he thinks amuse me as much.

Just like today, we were preparing to bathe and go to bed when he suddenly declared that he needed to poo.

Me: 快!爸爸陪你去厕所。(Quick! Daddy will accompany to the toilet.)
LM: 我不要。我要妈妈。(No, I want Mama.)
Me: 乖,妈妈要帮弟弟冲凉,爸爸陪你好不好。(Be good. Mama is going to shower Didi now. Daddy will accompany you alright?)
LM: 不好。爸爸陪我,我大不出便来。妈妈陪我,我的大便才会出来。
(No, my poo will not come out if Daddy accompany me. It will only come out if Mama is with me.)
Me: …….

Later in the evening, I was about to put him to bed after reading bedtime stories together. I told him about our plans for Saturday, that I will bring him to his Speech and Drama class instead of his father.

LM: 我们上完课后,去 Uniqlo 好不好?(Let’s go to Uniqlo after class alright?)
Me: 为什么要去 Uniqlo? (Why do you want to go to Uniqlo?)
LM: 我要买衣服嘛。 (Because I want to buy clothes.)
Me: 你已经很多衣服了。你的衣服比妈妈的还要多。 (But you already have a lot of clothes. You have more clothes than me.)
LM: 可是我的衣服都不是很好看,我要买很好看的衣服嘛。
(But all my clothes are not really nice. I want to buy some really nice clothes.)
Me: ……

I think my little man has developed a very logical and sound sense of reasoning. Sometimes the way he tried to talk/argue his way through left us speechless. But I do not feel that it is necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I do not need absolute obedience from him. Instead of saying “you have to listen to me because I am your mother”, I prefer to explain to him my point of view and discuss with him while guiding him. By teaching him that way, I hope that certain values are internalised rather than forced upon. I hope that he will develop the habit of thinking through his thoughts before putting them to actions.

Thinking about thinking.

Habits of mind.

How apt.

Time to go through the “Habits of Mind” book I bought for him ages ago.

14 months Steroids Free

Hubby told me that there were many people who came to this blog while searching for information regarding eczema. He said that I should probably update little man’s progress more often as it might be helpful to others.

Often, I hesitated posting about little man’s skin progress as I do not want that to be the main focus our lives. This is especially so for little man. It is definitely unfortunate that this has to happen to little man who has never ever gotten eczema before, but other than that, there are greater and happier things happening in his life that we want to focus on. Although his condition has always been on my mind and in my prayers, I hide this concern at a corner of my heart and tried very hard not to make it an issue for him. He is still a positive and happy child despite what happened, and that is the way it should be.

Another reason why I did not post every single trial we went through while trying to find a “cure”, is that we actually went through a lot. Just going through all those trials, anticipation, disappointment and all sorts of emotions are tiring enough, I sometimes do not even want to relive them. I want to spend my remaining energy to find something that works for my little boy. What doesn’t work, doesn’t matter. I just want to move on. However, if these information can be helpful to anyone at all, I will try to update more often. This is a tough journey and we wouldn’t have come so far if we have not come across people who went through it and are willing to share their experiences in dealing with it.

First of all, I changed the tag from “Eczema” to “Eczema/Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW)”. Little man is not suffering from eczema. He never has been. His condition is caused by a strong steroid prescription by a pediatrician. You can read more about it here.

The last I updated here, we were still with a naturopath at City Osteopathy. At the recommendation of my brother-in-law, we decided to stop seeing her for a while and tried the TCM physician who managed to help improve his son eczema. Having seen his skin improvement, we decided to give it a try. We are also hoping that the physician can help to strengthen little man’s immune system as he was getting sick every month.

In mid-March, we started to see him. The physician is an experienced, kind man whom I would describe as 医者仁心. From the way he treated little man, we can feel that he truly sincerely hope for little man to get well. Unfortunately, little man’s skin did not agree with his treatment. It started to flare up and go back to square one after seeing him for more than a month. I was devastated, even though I know it is a risk we have to take when trying to see if something works. However, one good thing that comes out of his treatment is that little man seems to become stronger in immunity. When he did not fall sick for the 2nd month, hubby and I were so happy.

We figured out the few herbs he prescribed that are meant to improve immunity and do not cause any reaction to little man’s skin, and tried to tweak the remedy in hope to continue his strong immunity. Sadly, before anything is tried, he fell sick again.

Since this TCM physician is not able do anything for little man, I started searching for other ways. Coincidentally, I developed PUPPP during this period. It was extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Hence I decided to see this new naturopath from Back2Life who is highly-raved about in a nutritional and health FB group. Let me be the guinea pig this time, I thought to myself. Instead of letting little man go through the trial again, I wanted to try for myself if this naturopath is really that good. And so the story goes, she managed to treat my PUPPP within 2 weeks and has been treating little man’s skin since early May.

I wouldn’t say we are coming to the end of the journey, but little man has been getting much better after receiving her treatment. Below are some photos for my own reference. They do not reflect the exact condition of his skin as it can fluctuate depending on many factors, but they are good enough to remind us that we have come very far and should not lose hope.

3rd April 2016

4th May 2016

16th May 2016

25th May 2016

5th June 2016

6th August 2016

These photos do not show the true journey we have been through. There are many times my heart is just too weak to even have a proper look at little man’s foot, less to say take photos of it. Out of sight out of mind. It works the same way. However, no matter how bad it is, I force myself to examine his skin condition every single day to make sure that I am up to date with his skin progress. Still, there were many times I am still not strong enough to take photos of it.

I wish that no one has to go through what we went through. If unfortunately you are currently, do know that you are not alone. Hugs, and God bless.

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