Tag Archive: Words from Mama

To my little man

Do you know how much Mama love you?

You answered yes.

Yet I wonder if you really do.

There are so many times Mama wants to just hold you tight and never let go, especially now when your baby brother gets to cling to Mama, and you only get to watch on.

Mama tries. Mama tries very hard to make sure you are never left out. If Mama has to breastfeed you baby brother with one hand, my other free hand belong to you as long as you are willing.

You have been such a good boy, such a loving brother, although sometimes I can see doubts and insecurity in your eyes.

Just now you ask me out of the sudden, if I like you. It just broke my heart into a million pieces to hear that question. I do not only like you my baby boy, Mama loves you more than I love myself.

Mama really enjoys having time alone with you, running errands, doing grocery shopping and bringing you to the doctor. I am happy to see you enjoying simple things like that. That day when we were alone, you asked me if I am happy. Yes, my darling. Seeing you so satisfied and smiley makes me day, even though Mama feels so tired.

Mama is sorry that I have to push you away when you try to get close to Didi these days. Mama tried to explain to you that you are sick and must refrain from passing the virus to Didi. If Didi is sick now, given his young age and the strength of your virus, he may need to be hospitalised. That is the last thing Mama wants. I know it hurts you when I tried to get Didi away from you. It hurts Mama a lot too. But this is something that must be done, lest Didi gets sick.

I love you, my not-so-small-anymore baby. And I will try my best to let you know that every day.

A mother’s guilt

I woke up this morning, missing my little man very much. A sudden overwhelming emotion came over me and brought my heart down to the bottom. It must be the lack of sleep and the adjusting hormones that are causing all these.

My little man just left for school an hour ago. I did not manage to bid him goodbye with kisses and hugs at the door, something I would have done before little pea came along. I was exhausted, lying in bed, hoping to catch more winks. Before I realised it, little man and Hubby left the house. Many times this morning, little man called out to me. I was either busy with little pea, or unable to get myself out of bed because my head felt so heavy. Before he left for school, he came to my bedroom door calling out to me for the last time. I beckoned him to come onto the bed to sit beside me. But he did not. And then he left for school.

I really miss little man so much. I miss spending time with him, reading to him and playing with him. He has been such a good boy and a loving brother ever since little pea came into our lives. Yet, I am unable to spend more time with him. Every night, I make sure I spend a little time with him to pray and tell him how much I love him. And I wonder if he truly understands how much I love him, and how sad I feel not able to spend more time with him.

My dear little man, bear with Mama until your little brother learns to sleep through the night alright? Mama needs to regain her sleep and sanity while we try to figure out a schedule that can work best for all of us. Mama loves you so much. Don’t ever doubt that.

To my little man & little pea

My dearest darling J,

Mama has been wanting to write to you for the longest time. But every time something will crop up, either you are sick, or your eczema starts to act up. And then Mama has not been feeling the greatest lately.

You are almost 2 months past three now. Time flies. Mama often go back to your old photos and videos, and wonder where has all the time gone to.

You are such an adorable, playful little boy. Acting like a three-nager at times, and then wanting to be a sticky baby again whenever your emotions get to you.

Mama understands that it has not been easy for you, accepting this foreign idea that there will be a new addition to the family who is likely to contest your status in the family. Mama is sorry that the news make you sensitive little soul so unsettled. It breaks Mama’s heart to see you like that. But you are getting to understand that this new addition will not change Mama and Papa’s love for you. In fact, the existence of little pea in Mama’s tummy constantly reminds Mama how deep my love is for you.

Mama hopes you had fun when we brought you to Pororo Park and Sentosa. Seeing you happy and contented is the greatest joy I can have. As little pea gets bigger, Mama will not be able to do a lot of things with you. But please, never doubt Mama’s love for you.

Mama loves you so much, Mama is willing to suffer all that you are suffering on your behalf. The love Mama feels for you is just so overwhelming and beyond words. I wonder if you will ever understand.

Please be well, my little man.

Be strong, be happy, and be well.

Mama will always be with you every step of this journey.

Like what I always tell you, “不用担心,妈妈一直会在这里。”

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To my little pea,

This is the first time Mama has written to you (and about you).

You are 16 weeks now. Very often, Mama wonders how you are doing inside.

Mama is sorry that I have not been doing much for you, Mama has been very busy with Korkor.

Mama is also very sorry that I have not been able to give you as much nutrients as I did for your Korkor. Mama has been throwing up very badly, and not able to eat well. It has also been difficult for Mama to down the supplements Dr Tham has prescribed Mama for you. But Mama will try. Please be well too.

That night, Mama was telling Papa that if you have been a strong baby, despite Mama’s insecurities about you. (Mama kept wondering if you are still well, alive and breathing in Mama’s tummy). Mama wants to give you a name that reflects that. No matter what silly thoughts Mama may have throughout this period, please continue to remain strong and healthy.

Mama, your Korkor, Ah-yi and Popo will see you next week. Show us a strong heartbeat alright? And if you can, show us your little thingy to confirm the blood test results?

Mama loves you too.

Rat race

Recently, it dawned upon me that perhaps, I should be starting to think of little man “future”, specifically the Primary School we hope for him to be in. If I decided to do parent volunteer (PV), grassroots volunteer or join a clan association, I should be embarking on this route soon so that I can be in time for little man’s registration.

I spoke to a few colleagues to enquire about some schools that I am interested in. One colleague has children in a particularly famous all-boys school around my neighbourhood. She told me about how the level of Mathematics goes way beyond the national level, and how stress her son is. The Primary 5 child actually requested to go for more Mathematics tuition, fearing that he will not be able to catch up with his peers from China. She also told me how most of her children’s weekends are spent studying and revising school work.

Somehow, the whole idea of putting little man through this, puts me off.

I was from “branded” schools, all the way from Primary to University. I remember feeling really upset about the whole studying situation that I was in, a rat who couldn’t refuse to run the race. I felt that life is so much more than studying, yet because I have been in such a system for so long, I have no idea how to get out of it, or rather how can I survive if I ever get out of it.

Looking back, I think I have benefited much from being in a more competitive and all-rounded school environment. That is why I wanted little man to go into a “better” school. Yes, every school is a good school. But there is a limit to how good a school can become given its existing students. The kind of peers little man get to know in his schooling years are very important. Peers can shape young little minds and development more than parents would like them to.

However, as much as I believe in the merits of a “good” school, I do not want little man to turn into the rat which I very much hated when I was younger. We must be very careful in finding the balance for him. Like I’ve said before, I do not need little man to be the best, he just needs to do his best.

I was telling a friend earlier about this. It is my responsibility to try to get little man into a school that can benefit him most, allowing him to grow not just academically but also mentally and emotionally. As long as he completes his tertiary education and gets a recognised degree, I am satisfied. I do not need him to be a doctor or a lawyer, or whichever earns more money. If in the future, he decides to take the journey less travelled, I will still support his decision. My bottom line is, he must be able to support himself financially, not having to worry about daily expenses.

I think, instead of turning little man into a rat, we will all be better off enjoying this learning journey with him.

Building a relationship

Little man had an unusual meltdown last night.

He was left in his cot after shower just like any other night. Usually, he will play on his own for a while before sleeping by himself. Last night however, he demanded to have his sticker books and toys, and wanted Hubby to take him out of the cot. Hubby refused and little man immediately threw a terrible tantrum.

I was in the shower all this while, listening to those shrill cries for Mama. I took my time, waiting for Hubby to calm him down. But little man was adamant about having his Mama and wouldn’t let it go without a fight. His constant “我不要爸爸!爸爸走开!” (I don’t want Papa! Papa go away!) angered Hubby so much that he was not able to keep calm himself. The episode ended with a very angry Hubby and a badly shaken baby.

After calming little man down, I tried to explain to him that he should not say those hurting words to Papa as Papa will feel very sad. He softened after some coaxing and I brought him to Hubby to apologise, to kiss and make up. However, Hubby was still pretty upset and did not seem willing to forgive him, although little man seems to have forgotton the racket he made minutes ago. To him, all was forgotten as long as he got his Mama.

I had a good talk with Hubby that night. I think we all need a refresher course on building and maintaining a good relationship every now and then, and it’s no exception for the parent-child relationship. These are some learning points I want to note down, for us as parents to reminding ourselves.

1. Keep calm & Do not take things personally
As much as I understand how infuriating little man can be at times, we as adults must always be the one to keep calm and level-headed. It is not that little man did not want his father, he just wanted his Mama and nobody else. Hence, he will reject anyone who is near him at that moment of his, anyone but his Mama. It is not easy to NOT take it personally, but as adults we must do that.

2. Think before you act
We are adults, we are not children. We should be able to rationally think about the situation before reacting to it. This is especially so when you are reacting to a child. Your reactions should not be just about how you feel. It is more important to think about what you want out of your actions, before reacting to the child.

If the child does not take well to the hard approach, the more you talk to the child in an angry and harsh manner, the stronger the reaction of the child will be. In the end, other than a screaming adult and a wailing toddler, you achieve nothing from the episode. This is especially so for little man who requires the soft approach to be able calm down and listen to reasoning.

One of the worse thing you can do to a young child is to start a cold war and start ignoring the child. Firstly, the child probably does not understand what you are doing. He will not apologise to you just because you stop talking to him, mainly due to his lack of understanding for such behaviour of yours. Secondly, he learns nothing from your actions. He does not learn what he has done wrong and how he can change for the better. Thirdly, your relationship with the child could be worse if your actions make him think that you do not love him anymore. The foundation of a parent-child relationship is love. It is important to make your love known to each other in order for the relationship to flourish. The child needs to know that you love him no matter what he has done wrong.

My personal experiences with cold wars taught me that they do nothing but drift both parties further apart. My father is the champion of cold war. When I was in my college years, we had a major disagreement and he started a cold war on me. Days became months, months became years. The war went on for almost three years. I do not remember how the war stopped, but from then, everything has changed. Hence, do not start a cold war. Not on the child you love so much.

3. Spend quality time together
It is not difficult to understand why little man only wants me. Other than the fact that I take care of him 24/7, the quality time I spent with him also build towards our relationship. Quality time meant no distractions, no mobile phones, just focusing on little man, be it playing, reading or learning together.

You will know if you have spent quality time with you child, because when you do, you realise you have gotten to know him a little better. You will see his progress, his emotions, his little actions and gestures. You will not feel bored or in a hurry to finish up the game you are playing with him, because if you feel that way, you are just patronising him. You are not spending quality time with him, as much as you would like to think so. The child maybe young, he can feel what you are feeling. He will know if you are truly there for him.

4. Verbalise your love
Hubby grew up in a family where love is rarely spoken. Hence, he does not have the habit of expressing his love verbally and physically. Even as an adult, I sometimes request Hubby to be more expressive of his love for me. It does not need to be much, just a hug and a simple “I love you” will do. He would often retort, “Think about all the things I have done for you, would you not think that I love you?” And I will accept it at that because indeed, he has done a lot of me and the family. I am an adult, I can try to rationalise my emotions and needs. But for young children, they need you to show and tell them the love you have for them.

The knowledge and reiteration of such deep love builds a strong foundation for future relationship between the parent and the child. It is not a given that all parents love their children, hence it should not be a given that the children should know that their parents love them. A strong relationship built during their younger years will help them to open up to you as they grow up. You do not want to be just a discipline master in their heart. You want to be their guide, their light, their friends and their shelter. They will come to you no matter what age, because they know you love them no matter what happens.

5. Put yourself in the child’s shoes
Whenever little man is in one of his moments, I will first try to take a step back to think if there are any underlying reasons for his tantrums. In the case of last night, little man was already very tired from a eventful weekend over at his grandma’s. To top it up, he was overstimulated by the meeting of so many new faces at a birthday party we brought him to that evening. He was still in his playful mode, although he was already very very tired. He did not understand that he needs to sleep and rest to feel better. He is only a toddler who is still learning to make sense and control his emotions. If we can see things in that perspective, we can be more understanding towards him. And truth to be told, little children can only learn to be more understanding towards others when they experienced such compassion and consideration towards themselves through others.

6. Make sure the lesson is learnt, not just brushed aside
As little man progresses in his abilities and skills, he also starts to test his limits in many ways I would never have thought of. Many times when he was reprimanded, he would throw a huge tanrum and cry nonstop. When he is in that state, nothing can go into his ears. Instead of continuing to scold him, I will soften my stance and try to calm him down first. When he is calmer, I will go through with him what exactly happened just now and what he had done wrong. I will ask him to repeat after me what he had done wrong, and make him apologise and say that he will never do that again.

The scoldings are not as important as the lesson the child should be learning. Many times, the scoldings are just for the parents to vent their pent-up frustrations. That goes back to my second point, think before you act.

Building a relationship is never easy, especially when it is with your very own child. It is a life-long learning journey. But I believe, with plenty of patience and love, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of a loving parent-child relationship in the long run.

I will do my best. I hope you will jiayou too.

Separation anxiety

Hubby and I went to little man’s preschool this morning for a Parents Orientation. I was pretty emotional after that.

Although I knew at the back of my mind that little man will be going to school next year, reality did not set in until now. My little baby is really going to school, and Mama will be going back to work.

I have not been sleeping well these days, constantly plagued by bad dreams of going back to work or little man going to school. The thing is, I actually look forward to going back to work, having a stable income again and spending without too much reservations. It’s just that the thought of not having little man around me 24/7 makes me miss him so much.

Having little man away from me, is not new at all. He was put in infant-care when he was 6-months old. I took it rather well then. Little man cried abit at first, but eventually settled down after a week or two. Somehow it felt tougher this time round. He is no longer a baby, having his own thoughts and words. We have grown so much closer over the past 9 months spending almost every minute together.

I really hope everything will go well for him in this new preschool.

No matter what happens, my little baby, Mama will always be here for you.

Spending every minute together.

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