Tag Archive: Thoughts

Baby-unfriendly SBS

Brought little man out with my mother yesterday.

As there was no cab in sight, we decided to take a bus to the nearest MRT station. Just then, a bus 52 came. I asked my mother to carry little man up the bus, while I managed the large diaper bag and a rather heavy Mclaren stroller. The stroller was opened so that I could push it all the from my unit to the bus-stop without having to carry it.

When I saw that the bus was not packed, I told my mother that we will board this bus, knowing that my stroller would cause inconvenience in a crowded bus. I waited for every one to board the bus before boarding. Somehow the stroller got stuck as I tried to close it. When I saw that I was the only one left behind, I started to board the bus with a barely half-closed stroller.

Then came a rather rude voice. It was the bus driver. He refused to let me board the bus without closing my stroller. I told him I couldn’t close the stroller and asked him to let me board the bus first. Not wanting to let the whole bus wait, I quickly boarded the bus, with my big diaper bag, a half-closed stroller, my card pouch and ez-link card.

After boarding the bus, I immediately moved to the vacant area designated for wheelchairs, and fully opened the stroller so that it can stand on its own, and I will have hands to properly keep the card in my card pouch, and eventually would be able to properly close the stroller.

Then I realised the bus is not moving. The bus driver turned back and gave me a hard stare and told me to close the stroller again.

I told him, I will close the stroller. I just needed a little time to keep my card in my bag before I can do so. And he just stared on and watched how I struggled with everything I was holding onto until I finally managed to close the stroller. He only started driving when he was finally satisfied to know that the stroller was closed.

By then, I was fuming and my entire face was red with embarrassment and anger.

I do not think I have done anything wrong to deserve such treatment. I tried my best to not be an inconvenience to other passengers, yet this very bus driver seemed to be out to make sure I inconvenience them. I felt that I was being “punished” for bringing a stroller onto a public transport.

If you know me, you would know that I am a rather petite person. Handling a mid-weight stroller and a big diaper bag is the not the easiest thing, especially when I also have to board the bus with a very unfriendly driver.

After I calmed down, I have so many thoughts and questions in my mind about what happened.

  1. How is it that an opened stroller, standing steadily on 4 locked wheels, more dangerous than a closed unstable stroller that still requires someone to carry?
  2. If such strollers are considered dangerous on bus, wouldn’t those metal marketing trolleys that old people always bring on bus be considered as dangerous as well?
  3. If closing the stroller is so important for the bus driver, and he saw that I am struggling with everything, shouldn’t he come down from his seat (since he is doing nothing anyway and just waiting with a disgusted face) and give his passenger some help, instead of half-shouting at me?
  4. From everything I have experience within that bus ride, I feel strongly that Singapore public transport, specifically SBS buses, do not welcome people with young children and strollers. Unfortunately, most of the time, these two will always come together because our young children need to nap. And they are often too heavy (like 13-kg) to be carried around while sleeping for 3 hours. If our government is so looking forward to having more head counts for the future generation, shouldn’t our public transportation company change their attitude towards these “unwelcome passengers”?
  5. Does it mean that unless I have the money to take a cab, I should not even consider bringing my toddler out (with his much-required stroller)?

Because I understand that not everyone can be understanding towards young children and their parents, I have tried not to be a nuisance whenever I can. However, it bothers me a lot when I receive such treatment that I do not think I deserve, especially when it comes from a public service company.

Faces of time

I was scheduled to invigilate a Primary 6 class for their CA Science paper. My lessons were back to back that day and I had to rush to the classroom after a stretch of 2-hour lessons. After settling down what seemed to be a class of unfamiliar faces, I had a look at the class name list. It dawned upon me that these were students I have taught before back when they were merely adorable little Primary Twos.

I started walking around the classroom, taking a good look at their faces while they were scribbling hard on the papers. An indescribable feeling came over me. It was amazing and scary at the same time how much these little people can grow within just a few years. It brought me to think about my little man. A few years down the road, he will also grow from the current cutie pie, into a different human being, perhaps towering over me, with breaking boy-man voice and very hairy legs.

Sometimes, we are so caught up with surviving day-to-day, we forgot to cherish the present. I need to constantly remind myself to savour every minute of cuteness and babyish demands my little man lavishes on me. One day, I know I am going to miss it so much.

My little darling who loves to sing.

Just like that, in a twinkle of an eye, two weeks passed.

Time flies when Mama goes back to work. I feel constantly short of time. Not enough time for the unmarked assignments of my students, not enough time for the stack of unironed clothes, not enough time for the dusty house, not enough time to cook a proper meal for my little man, not enough time to accompany and teach him, not enough time to rest and not enough time to sleep. On top of all those, it became quite impossible for any self-time and couple-time.

The Chinese New Year had me very tired as well, considering the packing and unpacking for Malaysia. I was not able to catch rest even when we came back to Singapore. I am quite amazed that I am still in one piece after all these.

After going back to work for almost a month, I think the one thing I miss most is time with little man. A tired Mama is a lazy Mama. I am not able to be as committed as I was in ensuring his daily nutritious meal. I am also not quite able to teach him as much as I intended to. I just feel really tired most of the time.

However, going back to work brought me fresh thoughts and perspectives. Going back to teach the young ones reminded me of why I stay on in this profession. The young ones, though not mine, are as endearing as my own little man. Sometimes, while teaching them, I myself relearn about life as well.

I think I just need to catch up on more sleep and get stronger in health and immunity. There is so much more I want to do for little man. Just putting in down in words so that I do not forget even when things get busier at work.

I want to:

  • Bring him to the library at least once a week.
  • Bring him to the playground whenever I can.
  • Revise his learning in school every weekend.
  • Read to him at least a book a day (Hubby has been doing well in this aspect.)
  • Cook dinner for him whenever I can.

I don’t know how much I can do, but I must try. It’s never easy, but I believe the results will be rewarding. 🙂

It takes a village

To raise a child.

I often think to myself how apt this verse is.

For some lucky parents, the “village” are loving extended family who can help them look after the child when the parents themselves are unable to due to unforeseen circumstances. For us, the “village” also consists of understanding colleagues and bosses who make it easier when one is unwell and unable to split oneself between work, family and self.

I was lucky to have such colleagues and bosses.

I think parenting would have been very difficult if the working environment of the parents are not supportive at all. Having said that, it is of course not a priority for an organisation to be family-friendly. Hence, I am utmost grateful when both Hubby and I landed in one.

I often tell Hubby how difficult it is for working parents to be rasing a child/children without any external help, and how ridiculous I felt when I am constantly reminded of our government’s plan to encourage mothers to go back to work and grandparents to work till they are unable to. So, we will have a big workforce, but what about our children? Hubby says, that’s where the foriegn workers come in. Domestic helper. Maids. That is also where the infantcare and childcare centers come in. In fact, they are in high demand, a blooming industry.

I think it is sad. And I think that is where all the social problems come in.

Sometimes I still bear a little grudges that my own mother does not want to care for her grandchild, but some things cannot be forced. No matter what, she is still my “village” although not as much as I would like her to be.

Now, as we start to think about having a second one, we ponder if we need to expand our “village” so that we will not drown in the vast seas of parenthood.

Missing Mama

It’s been almost a week of going to school without Mama.

We have been anticipating major outbursts of emotions in the morning, but instead Hubby told me little man just quietly murmured “Mama” as he sobbed every morning. He was not as emotional and fussy in the evening as he was in the first few weeks, but occasionally he would still make a fuss out of no reason. However, it is getting easier to calm him down and communicate with him.

On Tuesday, after I brought little man home, I went to the kitchen as usual to prepare his milk. Usually, he would sit on the sofa and start to doodle with his boogie board. But that day, he came to the kitchen and demanded me to put down whatever I was doing. I thought he needed help in something, hence I went to him and asked what he wanted. He came and started hugging me. He said he wanted me to “baby” him. And I spent a good 20 minutes cradling him like I used to when he was just an infant, carassing and kissing him while he just laid in my arms. He did not want his cartoon, nor did he want his toys. He only wanted Mama to hold him like this, and refused to let me go anywhere.

I tried hard to control my tears, and I wondered to myself, what have I done? Was it a right decision I have made? Was it right to deny my baby of such a simple need of his, to be with his Mama every day, just like the past year.

My baby misses me. He is unable to verbalise it, but he has shown it in all his unusual crankiness and emotions. He only wanted Mama to bathe him and sleep with him. But Mama is trying to avoid spreading her viruses and germs to him, hence she tries to avoid being too close to him as much as she can.

It tore me up to see little man like that. Yet, going back to work has been so tiring, I was not able to be as patient as I used to be. To wake up so early in the morning and tend to his demands and needs till late at night is a very draining affair. It doesn’t help that my health has been bad. I am so grateful for Hubby, but most of the time, little man only wants his Mama.

I need to get well faster and stay strong and healthy.

I want to be the Mama my boy needs. I need to be well to do that.

Getting there

A friend once posted on his FB, asking which is worse, a sick adult or a sick child. I replied saying that I would rather be the one sick, than to see my child suffer. But if you ask me again, I probably pray hard that none of us will be sick.

It pained the adult to see her child suffer. Yet it is no less painful to not being able to fully focus on taking care on your child because you are unwell.

I hate to say this, but I have been sick again last Monday, down with a bad cold that very quickly escalated to the lost of voice and bad cough that wouldn’t go away. There is so much going on in little man’s life that I wanted to record down, but all that filled my mind is that unknown ailment from a month ago, my bad cough and going back to work next week.

This is not how I wanted it to be.

I wanted to spend my last free week with my little baby cuddling him, kissing him, playing with him and revising with him all the things that have been taught in school. But no, instead this last week was spent trying to avoid being too close to him so that I do not pass the virus to him. I practically wear a surgical mask every single minute with him. And I am so thankful that neither him nor Hubby has gotten any of the sick bug from me.

Little man has slowly gotten used to going to school. He now has teachers whom he adores and that really makes it easier to persuade him to put on his uniform and go to school in the morning. Although getting him to wake up without fuss is still impossible, I believe it takes just a little bit more time.

Next week when I go back to work, Hubby will have to deal with him alone in the morning. I don’t know how he is going to manage as little man still cries for me every morning when he wakes up. But I have faith in Hubby. He will survive. 🙂

Little man’s temper has simmered down a little. However, he can still be very stubborn and aggressive sometimes to get what he wanted. At times, he doesn’t even know what he wants, kicking a big fuss over nothing. He has also started to be rather rude to Hubby, pointing to him fiercely, telling him to go away. That hurts Hubby a lot, but he is trying to be as understanding as he can be. For me, I will always make sure I step in as the discipline mistress, telling little man off and asking him to apologise to his Daddy.

Once, I tried the naughty corner with little man. He refused to have his dinner, insisting to draw in his room. Hence I switch off the lights in his room and left him there. He was upset that we started having dinner and ignored him, he started to kick a fuss beside the dining table. I then dragged him to his room and left in at this strategic corner. He came out crying, and I dragged him back again. This went on for a awhile. I was waiting for him to calm down, but knowing my boy, I know he can probably go on forever. He is too egoistic. In the end, I carried him up, gave him a tight hug and asked him to calm down. After he calmed down, I started telling him what he has done wrong and I do not want to see him behaving like that again. After that, he obediently sat down and had his dinner, as if nothing has happened at all.

My little man is definitely growing up in ways we cannot anticipate. He is now learning his boundaries, and it is our responsibilities to teach him. In what ways do we teach? That is something we must trial and error. Little man is one stubborn mule. He is like a hard rock if you try to get to him the harsh way. I find it easier to get through to him when he softens his stance. It really takes a lot of patience and tender loving care. But we will get there.

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