Tag Archive: Thoughts

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.

When your child is hurt

unintentionally by another child of yours, what would you have done?

Something happened yesterday. Little pea was lying on his baby throne and I was sitting beside him. Little man was at the other side of little pea, looking through photos of jet-fighters in my mobile phone and drawing them on his Boogie Board. He wanted to show me the photo he wanted to draw, hence he took the phone and attempted to show me by holding above little pea. All of a sudden, the phone slipped out of his small hand and dropped right at little pea’s right eye.

Immediately, his eye was red and there was strains of blood. I screamed, shoved the phone away and carried my crying pea. When he has calmed down, I tried to inspect the extent of his injuries, praying very hard that he suffered nothing serious. There was a small bleeding cut extremely near the corner of his eye. The bottom of his eye was swollen and red. He was crying softly, making voiceless husky sounds. Throughout all this, little man was crying very loudly. He kept saying that he was sorry and he did not do this on purpose. He wanted me to carry him.

However, I did not.

I was badly affected by what happened, tearing badly as I inspected little pea’s injury. I was trying to hold back my words and emotions towards little man and calm down, before deciding what to say to him. At that moment, I just felt really sad for little pea. He had gotten a bad cold from his brother and now an eye injury. I just felt so sad he had to suffer so much.

I know at the back of my mind that it was not little man’s fault. He adores his little brother and would never hurt him deliberately. Hence I knew I had to calm myself down and deal with the situation carefully.

After making sure that little pea is alright, I reached out to little man, who by then was feeling hurt, scared and isolated. It took awhile for him to make sure I was not going to be angry at him. I hugged him for the longest time. When he finally calmed down as well, I tried to explained to him that he has to be more careful in the future and asked him to sayang Didi and apologise.

When hubby called that evening, I broke down while trying to tell him what just happened. And I realised how thankful I am that little pea’s eye is alright. There must be some angels watching over my little baby. That cut is so very close to his eye that something very bad could have happened. Thank God for your protection of my little ones. Please continue to watch over them.

I also realised that I could have reacted better. My first reaction was to scream. And I think perhaps unknowingly, I threw an angry glance at little man. My poor boy must have been very scared too. For a while, he doesn’t dare to go near his baby brother. It was an accident, it could happen to anyone.

It made me to think of the discussion topic in a motherhood FB group that was brought up. What would you do if a child of yours unintentionally cause the death of your other child? Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. For now, I just pray very hard every day for God’s protection for them.

SAHM

A few days ago, I spoke to my big boss again about my plans of taking long leave to take care of little pea. I needed her approval for my submission. Once again, she tried to help me think of alternatives. She sounded disappointed when I told her that this is my only option, and the conversation ended with her saying, “Think about it again. The long break will jeopardise your career.”

This stuck with me for awhile after our tele-conversation. I felt sad and indignified to hear that from her, although I understand her perspective. There is a reason why she is now up on the ladder. She did not “sacrifice” her career for her children. But why in the first place is that a sacrifice?

For me, this decision is not a difficult one. I have tried to put my career before my child, and look what happened to little man’s immunity. I dare say that all his current problems are due to those early days in infant care. Before he went to infant care, he was never sick. When I put him in there at 6-month old, within a short period of 6 months, he was hospitalised 4 times, given endless antibiotics that caused his gut flora to mess up. All problems are stemmed from those days. Hence I told Hubby that if we are going to have another child, I will not let him go through that mess again.

Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is not easy. Go ask any SAHM. It is not a break. It can be more tiring than work, because you are “working” 24/7. You can have a nice lunch break at work. You have to gobble down your lunch at weird timings because your baby may wake up anytime. You sometimes have to hold your pee and poo because your baby needs you more. In between breaks aka your baby nap time, you have to try to do some housework. You are stuck at home with no adult conversations. And then you will start to feel like you have lose your shine, especially if you do not make an effort to keep yourself in touch with the outside world. The worst part is, people do not recognize what you do. They think that you are having a “break”. Best still, your husband’s words sometimes reveal that he thinks that way too.

That is SAHM for you. A thankless job. But why do I still decided to do it? Why do so many capable women still decided to do it? Because anyone can do your work, but not anyone can be a mother to your child. My children are my priority for now. Because I have made the decision to have them, I must be responsible for them. This is especially so when I am not able to get any reliable help to take care of them.

I think our society has not been very fair to SAHM. I don’t know about the past, but most SAHM whom I know are doing much more than just housework. Because they are much more educated, they try to make a difference in their children’s learning and development while they are at home. Of course, they do not do these for recognition, but the society’s perception certainly needs to change.

First family outing

With an active 3-year-old and an infant in tow, is no easy feat.

Hubby and I were feeling rather brave and capable, hence we decided to bring the children out on the Hari Raya Puasa holiday. Little man has been asking if we are going “shopping” every weekend, and truth to be told, I have so many things I want to buy, my shopping list is getting longer and longer.

So yesterday, we let little man sleep in till 9-ish (not us, as we barely really sleep ever since little pea arrived), had breakfast and started to get ready at 11am, thinking that we should be able to get out of the house for lunch. Then little pea had to poo. Then Hubby had to poo. So I ended up showering both boys by myself within the short span of half an hour (I never fail to amaze myself). When I was trying to get myself ready, little man started shouting for me. And so I ran out of the bathroom with just a towel, thinking that something has happened, only to find out that little man wanted my company in the living room because he was alone. Just then Hubby came out of the bathroom, hence I was finally able to shower in peace. Then little pea started to fuss, so Hubby fed him again. Then he regurgitated a big mouthful of milk and left us wondering if we should change him again.

The short 2 hours is so eventful that when we finally got out of the house at 1-ish, I felt like calling it quits and plonk my tired self onto the sofa. But I did not, so we pushed ourselves forward and finally reached Marina Square for lunch by 2pm.

After lunch, we went to Kiddy Palace and Mothercare to look for some items for the boys. Every time I start to look at the things to buy, little man will shout for me to come because “he wanted to show me something”. When Hubby finally got him out of my way, little pea started to fuss, and that’s when we realised he is hungry again. At one point, I felt a little light-headed with so many things going on, I’ve lost all my mood to shop. Then little man wanted to nap, so I took out the baby carrier and wear little pea. But he got so excited with all the children running around at the playground, he decided he was not tired after all. So I put little pea back in the stroller. After a while, he got so tired that he really needed his nap, I had to take out little pea again to wear him. Little pea became so frustrated with his disturbed sleep, he started fussing again.

At the end of the day, I told Hubby that although I am very proud of ourselves for keeping our cool and managing the children well for the entire day, I think I may need a long break from “shopping” before we attempt another day out. The lack of sleep definitely adds on to the weariness and lack of stamina as well. So for the time being, I shall just be contented with my online shopping.

If I am not Mama

Yesterday, I had an almost fainting episode at home.

I was home alone and with thousand and one things on my mind, I started decluttering and planning for our new arrival who will be here in 2 months’ time. With my tummy getting bigger each day, it is hard to imagine how would it be possible for me to do more even though I will be taking a month maternity leave prior my EDD.

I was trying to take measurements of the children’s room and imagine how would the new furniture arrangement be like. Probably I pushed myself too hard, I started perspiring profusely. The next thing I knew, I blanked out while on my way to the sofa. It was scary. I immediately looked for my mobile phone and started calling Hubby with my limited consciousness at that point in time. I was scared that I couldn’t reach anyone before I lose consciousness completely.

Well, I did not lose it completely. I did manage to feel better after lying on the sofa for a while, but this episode left me feeling weak and generally unwell.

This morning, when I woke up and recalled about what happened yesterday, a sense of nonsensical sadness and fear came over me. I started thinking about the days when I was just me, not Mama nor anyone’s anything. And I think, sometimes at the back of my mind, I miss those days a lot.

The other day, I was reading a friend’s post about feeling guilty for feeling sick and tired of being a SAHM, and I can totally feel her, except that I am currently a FTWM. I don’t know which is worse, being a FTWM and feeling guilty about not being able to do more for your children, or being a SAHM and feeling guilty about feeling sick and tired of not having any time of your own. Frankly, I have been both, and as a matter of fact, both are as tough.

It will only be easier if you learn to let go. Like some lucky souls out there who rarely need to take childcare leave because they can just leave their sick child in the hands of parents or in-laws. It is always easier when you have help that you can trust, and you must just let go and not dwell on the nitty-gritty. And that, is no easy feat.

Just trying to figure out the future sleeping and feeding arrangements give me slight depression. I guess it is never easy, even though this is the second time we are going through it. And truth to be told, as much as I am looking forward to be able to see my little pea, I am so not looking forward to the sleepless nights and breastfeeding woes.

For some reasons, I am missing my sister and Mother who were having fun in Hongkong now. Okay, I am not making any sense here.

A while ago, I met up with a close friend CW for my birthday. She was telling me how put off she was about having children when she met up with another close friend, a mother of two. She looked so dishevelled and tired, unlike what she looked like before children. And she kept telling her how tiring it is to be a mother of two. CW, who is currently attached with marriage on the cards, went home crying to her boyfriend that she doesn’t want to have any children if that is going to be her future.

I was amused as I listened to her, but I fully understood where she was coming from.

Personally, having children was never a mandatory for marriage. I have told Hubby before little man was conceived, it is alright if in the end we are not able to conceive. Similarly, before little pea was conceived, I told him the very same thing, that it is alright if we are unable to have a second child before I turn 35. Of course, we feel blessed and thankful for little man and little pea. But if it turned out that we are not able to conceive, it is alright.

I will not lie. Having little man is an important turning point in my life I would have never imagine. It does not just change your lifestyle, it changes you as a person. I would not have imagine giving my love and myself so selflessly to another person, until I had little man. But sometimes, and perhaps this is one of the time, especially when I read how much others are enjoying their overseas trips and breaks, I wonder what would life be, if little man had not come into my life.

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