Mothers’ Day… dilemma dilemma

Mothers’ Day weekend was a flurry of activities for us, and from the floods of postings on my Facebook wall, everyone too, was busy showing some family love. 

So what exactly is the dilemma I want to talk about?  For a mother of a toddler, me to be exact,it is this: 

Actually on Mothers’ Day, the inner voice is asking to be let off from being a Mother with all the duties and responsibilities for one day. 

Really how odd, that on a day that celebrates me being a mother, I just want a chance to siam!(the word means escape in Hokkien, but so much better expression-wise). 
Motherhood can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Especially when, unlike work, there is no “I quit!”. I think SAHMs get it worse. There is no leave to take, no calling in sick, 365 Days a year, except for those few precious getaway moments. 

SATURDAY 

So on the morning of Saturday, I woke up wondering if I would get to sit back, put my feet up on a chair and relax with a book and coffee. 

One can always dream… and I got that one proper “me time” slot. While baby went for her class. I sat at Yakun with kaya toast and coffee using a $10 note Papa Long passed to me. I left my purse in the car accidentally (#truestory).
And then the day found a momentum of its own.

Mothers’ day lunch for me at Yacht Club –  Little Foot continued with her usual demanding self and she thought the complimentary  cake was for one of her countless “birthdays”. Cute. 

Papa spent the entire evening fixing the new bunk bed that arrived. That left me and Aunty Lily to entertain Little Foot and keep her away from the “site”. I couldn’t resist trolling Papa Long with the popcorn shot. 

I spent midnight to 3am working on slides for work after Little Foot finally went to bed. 
SUNDAY

No helper day. 

Woke up and end up bathing the princess. Papa Long has blisters on his hands from fixing the bunk bed, I decided to relief him of the duty. He slept for awhile more.

Went to music class, and we were informed that class size was big for this day (quite a few kids came for trial), so we could only have 1 parent accompanying. Again I looked at him and said you go la kopi. I knew he was aching all over. 

Lunch and shopping at United Square.. after Udon and animal rides, I end up carrying Little Foot in carrier while she snoozed. Backbreaking nowadays. 

Went to my parents’ place to chill… Little Foot woke up and there goes my chance for a nap. Papa again snoozed. The bunk bed fixing really no joke! Luckily, he bathed her before we left. 

Dinner with Papa Long’s family for celebrations. Papa was very good – he fed Little Foot, sharing the seabass, mushroom soup and she got a milkshake too. Then a lot of running around by the Little toddler at the open space outside the restaurant and several rounds up and down a set of escalators until we had to conduct “Ops Extraction” and carried a meltdown toddler crying all the way to the car. 

Throughout the day,  I was so exhausted at some points that I simply dozed off while we were on the roads. We arrived at our carpark… me with my head leaning back, mouth hanging open..about to drool in my snooze when I was woken up by the sound of the engine turning off. 

I need my bed…

MONDAY

Celebrations in Little Foot’s school. A Kawaii sandwich-making session which was mainly us mothers trying  to make something decent while the kids kept trying to eat everything up. I loved the singing performance by our toddlers and the tear-jerking photo montage they played to kick off the celebrations. 

Unable to convince Little Foot to stay  on in school for the rest of the day, I walked her back to my parents’ place… and tried to interest her with nature. She loved it and we had a happy walk together. I showed her dandelions and mimosas, the little plants which my mum showed me when I was a child. 

And so she followed me to Hai Di Lao for lunch with my mother. Luckily Aunty Lily also came along. We all could eat decently when we took turns to look after her. I think I actually enjoyed it more than if she didn’t come along.

Went home and I finally cannot take it anymore.. knocked out cold for a late afternoon nap. 

There you have it… this was Mothers’ Day weekend for me. I wanted to rest but I am also aware of my roles and responsibilities… and in the end, at so many junctures of decision-making, I chose to give love, rather than insist that I am queen for the weekend. 

On reflection, it was probably a more fulfilling weekend than if I had been left to veg out alone at home while Papa brought Little Foot out. 

Next year, I will still ask for time to rest. And hopefully there won’t be unexpected events like the delivery of the bunk bed to thwart any best laid plans, but I really do enjoy the company of family and I would still want to spend time with them. 

The book and coffee can wait. Ok maybe give me the coffee hehheh. 

For my third Mothers’ Day, I was presented with this flower made by Little Foot. A gift that money can’t quite buy is the best gift of all 🙂

In Little Foot’s words…

 “THE END!”

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A Mother’s Perspective – Mothers’ Day, A Day of Gratitude 

Saturday Morning. Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day.

I walked past a confectionary and saw the long queue. Among them are harried men holding little kids’ hands. I know they must be thinking, “better do something else sure kena!” 

I smiled to myself…. Papa Long did this last year too when he strapped Little Foot to him and secretly went to print photos to make a last minute card. 

Sitting down with my breakfast, I wonder – Has Mothers’ Day become as commercialised like Valentine’s Day? Perhaps, could every day be a special day to show love to your mum? 

This will be my 3rd Mothers’ Day with Little Foot, and Monday will be the first time I take part in the school Mothers’ Day activity with her. 

At this point, I felt that one word describes what I think this day is about. 

GRATITUDE. 

Not just me, as a daughter grateful to my Mother, but me being grateful as well that I am and still am a Mother. 

Over the week, we read about the conclusion of a young mother who felt too overwhelmed with the role and life, that she lept to her death clutching her 2-month-old baby with her. 

Yesterday we read about the sentencing of the Taiwanese murderer who had decapitated a 4-year-old girl in front of her mother. 

Some mothers bury their child…

Some mothers are battling illnesses to stay alive for their child…

Some mothers are raising funds and doing everything they can to keep their ailing child alive…

Some ladies are waiting and trying and still waiting for the day they can hold a child in their arms and say “I am a mother”…

And some children do not have a mother to buy flowers for or cut a cake with. 

And hence Gratitude. 

Because I am have my Little Foot, getting bugged incessantly by her, sharing food with her, able to hold her in my arms. By God’s grace. 


A little gesture from her to me, from me to my mum simply acknowledges this. 

Nothing fancy needed. In fact, just some time out to recharge will be the most appropriate for mothers like me… but end of the day, let me hold her to sleep, let me say, 

Thank you Little Foot, for being my daughter and choosing me as your mother. 

Love as always, 

Mummy Joyc

P.S. Thanks, Papa Long for attending classes with Little Foot today so I can actually eat and drink leisurely and write this post. 

And then we reached 29

Over the weekend, Little Foot turned 29 months.

I had the pleasurable challenge (read daunting situation) of being alone with her till late afternoon on Sunday when Papa went for wedding lunch and Aunty was on off day. Not the easiest kid to be with especially when dealing with a stomach bug (me) but we had some fun … music class as usual,  picking out bread for ourselves (Baby chose a rainbow donut while I chose a Mentaiko covered baguette and a ham&cheese sandwich) then hanging out at my mother’s place where she is very familiar with.

We ate our bread and sandwiches, her seated in the baby chair, me beside her…

We had conversations revolving around the food, the weather, where Papa was, about “Papa Mister Moon, Mama Mister Moon and Baby Mister Moon” (a continuation from the night before when we pointed out the moon to her and she said it was a baby Mister Moon)….

I sang and played with her, at times sat aside and watched her play…

Finally, carried her in the carrier around the estate I grew up in and felt her doze off… went back upstairs, laid her down and watched her nap.

What I would give to watch her grow each day (each day that she isn’t hopefully throwing a tantrum).

And for the first time in a long time, I wondered whether I could ever handle another Little Foot.

Everyday, I am greeted with my floor to ceiling mirror in my living room covered with photos of Little Foot in her first year. Little Foot had happily pasted them all up. And whenever I’m wearing my shoes, working on something on my laptop,  or having my dinner, I get a glimpse of how much she had transformed.

For a mummy who has so much strings attached to her one and only child, it is a bittersweet encounter each day. Some mornings, I kiss one of the photos before I leave the house. I love you, I said. As much as I love the you now, I love and miss the little you too.

Still, such thoughts are fleeting. We have so much to do with Little Foot and already so little time.

Once she wake up from her nap, all fleeting thoughts like this are out of the window. Gone like the wind.

“Come, Mummy! Runaway!!” ~ her cute little voice always rings in my head, even when I am busy at work.

And each time I hear it, I can surely say, I am ready drop my work and run with her, until my back doesn’t allow me to run no more.

And the rest? I will leave it in His Hands… as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…

For now, one is still enough.

 

Kentang Little Foot Reads Chinese 

Last June, I wrote about how I am trying to raise my baby to be a book lover like me. 

I can safely say, if like me, you have introduced the tablet and YouTube, you know know how challenging it is, to try to lure them to the world of reading while something more exciting is the other option. 

Luckily for school. Little Foot’s preschool is huge on literacy and reading. So other than storytelling time, there’s also natural literacy sessions weekly and every Friday, our toddler drags 2 little books home in her trolley bag. 

That’s homework for the weekend. 

READ. 

So from very sporadic moments of flipping books for novelty, Little Foot has recently been asking me to read to her. She would suddenly walk to her cupboard and tell me that it is reading time. 

Yesterday, we breezed through 3 books and 2 short stories in the Baby Bible.

And today more impressive – I read two Chinese books to her. Complete story! And she skimmed through a third one from the same series. And she could tell me the animals’ names in Chinese “小熊”, “小兔” and “大象”. 

I could leap for joy! Because we’ve been fretting about how she refuses to engage us in Mandarin , and would always reply in English. (Or maybe I am being too demanding of my 28 month old, who has been extremely impressive with her speech and singing). 

Papa had spotted this series of books when shopping on Ezbuy. The characters in these books were the same as the ones in the Chinese books that Little Foot brings home on Fridays.

Familiarity with the characters probably contributed to her interest in going through the books. 

We like the storylines, simple, engaging and teaches some manners/values/habits, like saying “thank you”. And the illustrations are cute and easy on the eyes. 

So yes, good find online!

So pleased to see Little Foot growing in love with books. 

Guess what? Her favourite is reaching the end of the book and saying “The End”. 

Too Cute.

A promise of cake

28 months is a lovely age to be…

It is the age when Mummy is your fairy godmother who grants all your wishes  🙂

This morning, we were scrolling through my phone gallery and Little Foot saw a photo of her eating cake (from the previous weekend). 

She agreed to stop being fussy about changing out of her diaper and PJs after I said I will buy her a chocolate cake. 

So, fast forward to evening. Work tied me down (again!), but I was determined to complete my fairy godmother mission!

I walked really fast to the MRT station, got on the train (Aunty Lily texted to say Little Foot is waiting and keeps talking about the cake. She’s singing ‘Happy Birthday’) argh…. prayed for the train to go faster!

Dashed to the Chateraise shop, bought the cakes, walked as fast as I could home. 

On the way, Aunty Lily texted again.- “We go dwn n wait for u dwnstair…  dwnstair wait for u coz she screaming at home”

Extra pressure. Ahhhh….Walk faster! And don’t fall and smash the cakes!
FINALLY! Reached my void deck and there she is! Eyes wide open looking out for me.

“Mummy!!!!!”

“What is it you buy?!!”

“Is it for me?” 

Ohhh my heart melted…. I made it! Phew! Happily carried her to the lift. 

Happy baby got her cake and party…she was do happy to put the candles, sing the birthday song, and ate the cream and fruits.

A promise is a promise. And I’m glad I managed to keep it. Happy times… just thankful I decided to leave the office with a “whatever!”.  

And before she slept,she kissed us, played and got me to read stories to her. Rare and precious mood for books! 

Good day indeed… no working mothers should be deprived of this precious window of time to spend with their child. 

#alittlefootprint 

Of tears, snot, poo and tantrums

Over the past month, Little Foot and I have been falling ill, getting better then falling ill again. 

Worrisome and tiresome times. 

We’ve counted 5 consecutive cases of HFMD thus far in her school, so we have been on tenterhooks, wondering if we were the next victims of the dreaded virus. 

Crossing fingers that we have somehow escaped unscathed somewhat. 

Perhaps all the essential oils we were diffusing and applying helped to shield her from catching it, perhaps we were just that little bit lucky.  

Still, with the cough and flu came crankiness. Dealing with a tired yet resisting sleep toddler, who had skipped her afternoon naps because of vomitting bouts was completely no joke. Much less when I am also flu bugged.  


One of the random tantrums

Being a considerate Doc when I told her “Mummy is sickypoo

But I do remember, of all things, some thing that Pink (the singer) said in and interview long ago -it went something like ” motherhood meant that you had traded tears alcohol and cigarettes with tears, snot and poo”…. a sacrifice she said was worth it. 

For me at this stage, I have to add tantrums to tears, snot and poo…. to what I traded my old life for. 
There are days I think about how I had traded my orchard road trips, Friday date nights, drinking sessions, movies and self-pampering lifestyle for the life of rushing home, anyhow swallowing down my dinner, reading books, singing along to “Wheels on the Bus”, helping Little Foot dress her “baby”, wiping snot, battling terrible twos tantrums and going to work feeling like the bus just ran me over some days. 

All groggy in the morning

And on those days I think I am crazy.  

But yet dig deep, I find that it is a purposeful existence, despite the appearance of it being a dull, mundane, unadventurous life to onlookers. 

Seriously, in fact it is anything but mundane if you live the moment! 

  • I have sang so many kiddy songs nursery rhyme and “Happy Birthdays”, that if I had a dollar for each song I sang, we’d be on the next plane to London! 
  • I have gotten drenched in puke, splattered by poo, and had baby weewee drench the front of my shirt and pants in public places. 
  • I have done 28 months and counting of disrupted sleep since she was born. 
  • I have conjured up countless stories and “drama” antics just to attract/distract Little Foot as mitigation before she swings into full blown meltdowns. 
  • I have carried a 2.65kg tiny tot to the current 12.6kg toddler strapped to my small frame, and still counting. (These days, I tell myself… smell her hair, ignore the weight!!)
  • I have received much unabashed affection from Little Foot… who now asks after me with phrases like “Mummy, you eat full full already?” Who plants kisses on my lips and give me big hugs. 
  • I have also received many a bruise and strained muscles from dealing with a toddler trashing around in tantrums.  

I could write on and on… but my point is, I have traded my old life for this. It isn’t a basket of roses, all the time, yet it never stops to amaze me how, as a parent, I have found courage and strength to keep going and learn to enjoy it along the way. 

Even if on days I lose my temper at the fussing toddler…. even on days I’m so ill or exhausted  I just want to lie down and hide in my wardrobe. 

I keep going. 

There is only one reason. Her. 

And I borrow strength from Papa Long ans Aunty Lily… between the three of us, we somehow will wing it. 

And my only regret these days is not being able to be around the tears, snot, poo and tantrums more. 

Hard to fathom. That’s what parenting is I suppose.  

 For the storms will always pass, and we ride them out anticipating the brightest rainbow that will greet us at the end of it.  Your smile is my rainbow, my little one…  did you know? 

An incomplete post…

I found this incomplete blogpost in my archives… never published. Written when Little Foot was about a year old.

Everyone around me knows, I didn’t want children.

As a Catholic,  it was a real struggle… from the time we went through Engaged Encounter, this question repeatedly haunted me. Soon after marriage that tiresome question of “when are you having a baby?” Would keep cropping up in conversations.  And then the horrified “whyyy? !!!!” would follow when I said no kids.  Rude/insensitive people would actually tell me in my face, “then you get married for what?”. Yet I was very clear I didn’t want to be a parent. I was happy to play with my niece and nephew and then return them to their parents when i was tired of playing. Why make life difficult?

Two years into the marriage, Pico, our dearest dog passed away… he was already a senior,  and we knew it was a matter of time… but not amount of prepping yourself every makes you quite ready to face death when it comes.

Devastated, I reflected a lot on our childless marriage. I thought about how if either of us were to leave this world,  the one left behind would have nothing real to hold on to the memory of the one who passed on. Photos were just photos…. I know how inadequate photos were.  I wanted to smell him, touch him, hear him… and I know if I died, I hoped my husband would be able to see glimpses of me still here on this earth.

And so I opened my heart and prayed. After 2 years of confessions over and over for being unable to keep the vows I made on my wedding day that I would welcome the children that God blesses me, I finally opened my heart and prayed. I still remember what I told Him. “Father, I am ready if You are”. I prayed after we had a false alarm when we started trying after our Switzerland trip.

And a month later, I tested positive. A simple prayer, yet so powerful to me… it was my reconciliation. And He breathed life into my prayer.

The transition from “no kids” to “ok, let’s have 1 child” was a long road of struggles. I could list down the reasons why I didn’t want children : it’s going to change my lifestyle, and i like my dates with husband on friday nights, traveling 3 times a year, drinking leisurely and meeting friends when I felt like it…weekend cafe hopping, why have a kid to make life so complicated? Furthermore, I always felt children were one of the most sure – lose investments. You pour love, time, money into your child. You get heartaches, and a kid that would grow up to be angsty teen who find you troublesome, naggy, old fashioned…..  (I was relating to the me in my youth).

Yet once the Little Foot started growing in my tummy, all these “rational” stuff that I used to believe in just became irrelevant.  I spent my pregnancy loving this baby… I sang to her at night, I talked to her unabashedly while I walked home each evening, I prayed a lot, and I let Him lead the way. No need to be afraid,  this is the child that God gave me. I started seeing life very differently. My footsteps slowed down and I started to be at peace with myself.
Giving birth to Little Foot, via emergency Caesarean, I thought I could deal with whatever came my way. Yet it was so trying at times, I do ask myself the rhetoric question of “who ask you to have a child?” on trying days.

Yet, when I see her smile, giggle, yawn, stretch her arms…. made O shape with her mouth, sleep soundly…. even her cries…all these stupid questions become irrelevant.

I surprised many people when I insisted on persevering with breastfeeding.  I further surprised many people when I decided to take time off work and be a stay-at-home mum until Little Foot was nearly 11 mths old.

I don’t have time to think about my old lifestyle…. on some occasions I think about how Friday nights were so chillax. And then I move on. The present was more important. There was always something to do.

 

Revisiting this train of thought, I am reminded of the very small Little Foot made such a big change in our lives, and the power of believing. When you threw caution to the wind, and leave things to the Almighty, a new door of happiness, hope, adventure and opportunity opens.

I am also reminded of how the little bubs has grown…. when was the last time I saw her made O shape with her little mouth?

Frankly, where was I heading with this post? I couldn’t quite recall.

Perhaps I wanted to write about how we were happy to be a one-child only family. No apologies, no shame.

Perhaps I wanted to reflect on how a death had opened an impossible door for me.

Who knows…

Today,  as work takes me away from my feisty toddler more and more, it does make me think of my days as a SAHM. I know Little Foot misses me a lot these days.  So do I. Such an irony, to work so that we could enjoy all the comforts that life can give, but what the little one really asks for is my time and affection.

What she would give to plaster to me 24/7.

So a year on, did this incomplete blog make any sense to the present me? Yes, still very much so. Parenthood is an irrational decision, and an investment that doesn’t make sense in all practical terms. However it is the priceless moments and memories build as a family that makes it worth its while.

All the things money can’t buy.