Kids Day at Work – When kids invade the sanctity of your work space

“Yes, yes, yes!!! I wanna go to Mummy’s office!”

Uh huh, I had about 200% enthusiasm from Little Foot when I asked if she would like to go to my office on Children’s Day. It’s the whole “bring your kids to work” gig that workplaces do, to prevent the office from becoming a ghost town for a day, because you know, schools are closed for Children’s Day. (Frankly, I signed up, and then kept asking myself for a 100th time, “why did I do that?!?!”)

D-Day

Early in the morning, of course we overslept, and so I conveniently chickened out on her request to take the “high speed train” (seriously, where do kids learn these terms???) and booked a taxi to office, with the promise of a ride on the MRT at the end of the day.

When we turned into the porch, I was totally amused at the line up of taxis and Grab cars turning into and dropping off the big and little passengers. In my head, I was thinking, “Heyyy, so I’m not the only one who thinks bringing the kid out on public transport is as arduous as climbing Mt Kinabalu!” (nope, I haven’t ticked that off my bucket list yet). Not to mention the number of helpers that came in tow, carrying the diaper bags and pushing the prams. I silently congratulated myself for bravely signing up on my own without bringing Aunty, but then again, if I had another kid, I bet you I’ll be bringing every extra pair of hands I can grab!

The Invasion 

To be honest, after 3 years back at work since Little Foot came into my life, the workplace has become appreciated as a place where I can be myself, and where I can sit and quietly hear my own thoughts, and also go for lunch in a sane manner, i.e. a lunch without nagging “Little Foot, eat your noodles!” while battling the 100 repeated requests for YouTube while her wriggly backside cannot sit still on the chair for the meal. You get what I mean, so the idea of bringing her to work always makes me hesitate, like asking if Day and Night should meet.

Mind you, not all women are naturals as mothers. At least I think I was never meant to be a mother, and here I am, nearly 4 years in this role that I cannot resign from.

And so, when people like me, when we bring the kids to work, we literally let the two roles converge as one for a day, which sounds like a nightmare. But of course I exaggerate. Everyone is bringing their kids, I tell myself it can’t be soooooo bad right? And so I gave myself courage and went ahead and did it for the second time in my life.

The programme for the day had a magic show, movie screening, play time at the bouncy castles, popcorn and candy floss machines, face painting and balloon sculpting, I decided to let Little Foot play whatever she wanted, but we ditched the free lunch and movie screening (Papa screens Disney and Pixar movies at home regularly anyway), so she got to have lunch with my colleagues, and then sat beside me at my workstation while I did some work. She snacked and watched Tayo the Little Bus on her Mi Note and then did some drawings and cut out her artwork after that.

If anything, my personal target that day was to show her a semblance of what Mummy really did when I say I go to work. Work isn’t all bouncy castles and playtime. Work usually involves me staring at 3 screens and getting into discussions with my colleagues.

So it was that I did complete a piece of assignment, managed to get up to speed on my emails, while she enjoyed a big bag of chips and ice cream from me, some candy floss, popcorn, a flower balloon and a good time on the bouncy castle.

And so just before 5pm, I put her into the stroller, carried my JJB BRB, packed to the brim with my laptop and her barang barang and toys, and set off for the train ride to run an errand en-route home.

Going Public

It would have been easier to take a taxi home of course. But a promise is a promise.

There was the painful need to make detours on the stroller/wheelchair routes as opposed to what I would take if I were alone. Just imagine, I had to take 3 lifts at Doby Ghaut station just to change from the purple to the red line. There was also the dirty looks from the train riders who were probably silently cursing me for my pram which took up the standing space of 3 to 4 people, and they were probably wondering why my kid still needs to be in the stroller (because I cannot carry her for long distance and our house is a 10-min walk for an adult from the station).

Along the way, Little Foot fell asleep, and I patted myself on the back for a tantrum-free, temper-free day from both of us.

Bought myself a Koi along the way as reward for saving the cab fare. Sweated profusely.

At night, when Little Foot woke up from her long nap, she told her Papa very seriously – “Daddy, you know, Mummy’s office is like a cinema!”

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

Till the next time you follow me to work on a weekend, my big baby.

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First time to the movies: Preparing Little Foot for a great experience

During the long Hari Raya weekend, almost on a whim, we brought Little Foot to the cinema for the first time in her life.

Little Foot is 3.5 years young now, and I did begin to wonder if she would be considered rather suaku to not have gone to the cinemas before. After all, she has become quite acquainted with the watching Disney movies on your home TV, and her deft fingers find the spots to touch, swipe and press when she’s having a dose of PJ Masks on her tablet phone.

It was not entirely a whim, as I have seeded the idea to her some days before, and mentally prepared her for what a cinema experience was like. The last thing we needed to her to freak out when the lights all went out!
So here’s how we got it to work out:

P.S. you may not agree with all that’s on this list, but hey, sometimes we should just loosen up really.

a) Choose the right movie

At her age, children in her class are carrying all kinds of cartoon characters on their bags and water bottles. She has a classmate who is a fan of The Incredibles, and so she has heard of it and recently watched the first version and told us she liked Violet (oh well, because she’s a girl with long hair). So this June, it was a no brainer that we went with The Incredibles II, considering that there weren’t other Disney options.

b) Choose the right day

Toddlers have moods, and boy oh boy, does mine have a temper to reckon with. There are just some of those days when they wake up incredibly grouchy remain disagreeable for the better part of the day. Well, those are not the good days that’s for sure. Hence I said we went on a whim, because I assessed that it was definitely a good mood day for her and we thus have a higher chance of having a good time, so let’s just go now, now, now!

c) Helping the little one visualize and imagine what is a cinema

Days before, when I first seeded the idea of going to the cinema, Little Foot asked “What’s a cinema?” and so I pulled a photo from Google images, showed her this is how it looks like, and what people do. We go through questions like “Can you talk loudly in a cinema?”, “Can you cry and say you want to leave halfway through the show of want to change to other cartoons?” and I explained that only the best behaved children get to go watch the cartoons on the giant screen. She was all excited and fascinated at the idea of going to the cinema filled with other people.

d) Getting the right ammo

Yes, indeed, I call that giant popcorn and large iced lemon tea my ammunition. Little Foot loves iced lemon tea, so much so that Pokka Green Tea has been relegated to 2nd string on her choice of drinks whenever she has a chance to choose (Don’t worry, she still drinks a good dose of her Nan Pro 3 daily). The best part about the drink? There was an Incredibles II collectible cup and she got to choose one with a Violet figurine on top. Yeap, you can call me a carrot head, but it’s an outing and when you wanna have fun, just go all out for it! And she did in fact behave well throughout the show while sipping on the lemon tea which we shared.

e) Holding hands

In the dark, it is easy for us to get absorbed in the show, but we are also mindful that Little Foot may get anxious. And she does get scared whenever there is a villain or monster, or some fights going on in the shows she watches, so we held hands through the show. In fact, she hugged Papa’s arm throughout most of the movies (I’ve said many times, she’s just like his little lover!)

f) Preempting toilet emergencies

So proud that our little girl has started her toilet training this June, and she has more or less gotten the hang of it, but to prevent any mishaps, we got her to wear a pull-up pants anyway, so that we do not end up having an “accident” which will surely spark her cries. Anyhow, this brave little one sat throughout 95% of the movie and only towards the end kept telling us she’s gotta go, and dead firmly refused to do it in her diaper. So after the villain was defeated, Papa whizzed her off to the toilet.

All in all, we really had a good time. And I think this means that there will be more to come, when the stars align again 🙂

June Holidays Giveaway!

Yay! Giveaway time!

Has the holiday fever hit you yet?

Well Little Foot’s mummy is also restless at home wishing for some sun, sand and sea time fun! Remember to protect yourselves from the sun when you are out to play!

Mummy Joyc decided to share some love from her Ju-ju-be collection this June, and will be giving away one Ju-Ju-be Iconic 2.0 Be Shady to one lucky reader of A Little Footprint.

How to take part

Simply complete the following steps:

  1. Like A Little Footprint Facebook page.
  2. Like and share the Facebook post of our Giveaway (make sure you make it a “public” post!)
  3. Comment “I need a Shady for my Shades!” and tag at least 5 friends in the post.

Terms & conditions:

  • Contest is open to participants residing in Singapore only.
  • ONE comment per participant, duplicate entries will be disqualified.
  • The giveaway runs from now till 8 June 2018, 2359hrs.
  • Winner will be announced on A Little Footprint pages and will be contacted via Facebook message. The winner shall provide A Little Footprint with your Singapore mailing address for the prize to be mailed to him/her via Smartpac.
  • The draw will be conducted using Random.org.
  • Decisions relating to the results of the giveaway is final.
  • The contest is in no way related to Ju-ju-be or its subsidiary entities.

Thanks for supporting Mummy Joyc’s random musings over the past years, and stay tuned as I intend to pump some life back into this blog again.

XOXOXO,

Mummy Joyc & Little Foot

Reminiscing Waterplay

Dear Baby Pie, I write this as I am on the way to the hospital…

Just a simple gastroscopy, but still unsettling nevertheless, to think of undergoing sedation.

Before my eyelids grow heavy, I wanted to remember our weekend, a weekend of play and play.

The school excursion on Friday was a trip to the water playground. You have never been to one properly to play, and I know you were apprehensive as I was about running through the jets of water.

“Be careful!” Must be ringing in your mind whenever you ran through the grounds. My bad. Yet you ran when your favourite teacher and your good friend came to bring you along. And you enjoyed yourselves so much, so did I as we got soaked through and didn’t give a care about it.

And then the next day you wanted papa to swim with you because he had missed the excursion. And so we ended up at Punggol Safra for more waterplay.

Watching you play to your heart’s content made me happy too. It also made me a little wistful that I spend too much time away from you… that is, till your next tantrum.

You take after me too much, baby, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Wearing your heart on your sleeve too much – your happiness, sadness and anger shows all too easily. And a mind of your own, wanting to walk your own paths, a thing that I’m not sure the world truly cherishes.

Grow up well baby, and I pray that I will continue to kiss you good night every night at bedtime.

Love you lots and lots!

~ Mummy Joyc

Dare to be, my little lady

8 of March, a day we celebrate women, Happy International Women’s Day to myself, my daughter and all the ladies in this world. 

And really, I ask myself, why do we need just a day to celebrate ourselves, rather than celebrate ourselves everyday, but that is a topic for another day.

 This year, I haven’t written much, as I  tried to refocus on family, and attempt to be more conscious about making what little time I have with Little Foot quality time. Purposeful time. And, even in my absence, I hope she feels my presence and love. And so I slowed down on the various things I like to do in my leisure time, and focused on her.

Yet, some things going on around us, have been setting me thinking about various things.   And so, I will try to find some time this month to pen them down. 

This is the first part to a series of thought bubbles that have been forming lately in my mind. 

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 The world we live in.

As a nation with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, with capital punishment, with caning, jail and effective policing, it is easy to become a complacent parent in Singapore. Where we are perfectly fine to sit back and watch from a distance while our toddlers are at play, we have primary school children who walk home or take a bus alone after school. A place where adults feel it is okay to leave our children unattended in a food court to “chope” seats during a meal. 

Yet it may not be the case at all, that we can always be assured that our children, especially our daughters will be able to avoid the dangers that this world have to offer.

 I said this because of late I have been feeling disturbed by disturbing reports published in the media, of middle-aged men being convicted for sexual assaults which involved statutory rapes, and more disturbingly, from the reports, the sexual grooming of young girls. 

  • In one case, a 52-year-old man raped his neighbour’s daughter some years ago, ran off to Malaysia and was only caught when his wife, spotted him in JB. The girl was only 11 when she was repeatedly raped over a period of time. Here in Singapore, rape carries jail and caning. However, because he had fled and was only caught at 52, he was spared the cane. Understandably, netizens are angry. Had he been caught there and then, surely he would have gotten the caning as deserved for the heinous acts.
  • In another case, a 47-year-old man raped his son’s supposed “ex-girlfriend” and then convinced her that he had feelings for her, and the girl was led to believe they were in a relationship.  And continued to be sexually involved with the man.  The girl was 11.

 There are more such cases. 

Just reading the headlines are sickening to say the least. My heart cried for the girls and their parents.

11 years old. An age when perhaps puberty has just started, at an age when a child starts to have awkward feelings and wasn’t quite sure if she was an adult or a child. An age we call them “tweens”, not yet a teenager.

11 years old. An age where as parents, we want to baby them just a little bit more. When mummies would sit and watch wistfully as their babies start to sprout and perhaps grow as tall as themselves, and wonder where the diaper-wearing, toothless grin, chubby cheeks baby had gone, and wished time could stand still and they still had their little girl.

And then to have to face a situation where their little girl’s innocence was stolen by disgusting old men. I am not mincing my words. I will not. If they are not disgusting, what are they? These are men with wives, and even children. And they prey on the daughters of others. Imagine the parents’ anguish and pain. 

Parenting today is complicated, and yet parents have so little time to navigate the complex terrains because of the demands from work commitments. It is not the easiest reality to grapple with, but we have no choice, we have to try to wing it. 

In the past, when our parents took away the house keys, restricted access to the house phones, and set curfews, they could more or less “protect” us from going astray.

Today, the internet, smart phones and social media leaves a door open for the world to come in. Friends and foes alike. In the second case, the girl had foolishly sent naked pictures of herself via Facebook private message to the man’s son (purportedly her boyfriend), and that was how everything went downhill from there, when he saw the photos on the account.

 I had so many questions running through my head: Why didn’t they speak up? They did not think they could confide in their parents or an adult? Did they think no one would listen, no one would believe them, or that they would be “punished” or shamed for having been sexually abused? 

 There are no easy answers. 

There are many more of such reports, and with each one, I hug my child tighter. How can I shield my Little Foot from this very complex world, where children seem to mature younger, parents seem to lose tab on them earlier, and with psycho men out there?

 And so I pen this now, for my baby girl. For a time not to far away. 

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Dear Little Foot,

If you ever read this years later, and we have somehow reached a stage where you find it difficult to understand my intentions and hard to have a decent conversation with me, I hope you read what my heart wants to say to you today and everyday. 

As a woman, you are empowered. To believe in your own self-worth, to define your own self-worth, to love yourself. In weak moments, it may not seem true or possible, but it is, and I tell you I know. I have been there. Many times, doubting that I can be anything worthwhile. And in the end I am, because I became your mother. 

First, don’t let anyone make you feel lesser than you should be; don’t let anyone make you think that you are incomplete or nothing without them. With or without a relationship, you are complete and perfect. 

You are and always will be the most perfect in my eyes and your Daddy’ eyes.

We loved you from the day we knew you existed, and we fell even more headlong in love with you the day we first set eyes on you. This love we have grew and grew, so much so that we would not be able to breath well again if you were taken away. And this love will be.

In some places, women are treated like commodities, but this is Singapore, where you are as worthwhile a human as any other person, man or woman, whatever your skin colour or religion. 

It is a place where we can dare to be. And I hope you will be.

Next, your body is your own, God gave it to you, we gave it to you. Cherish it, protect it and never think you could or should use it to gain anything, because when a person want you not for the person that you are, but the body that you are in, that is not true love. And it will not last.  It hurts when you hurt. Just because we are your parents. We may not say it, but it does. And so, love yourself well. 

I will always remember that first nail clipper accident when I ran blocks carrying you to the doctor because my newborn was bleeding from a small cut. The blood had drained from my face, but I hugged you and ran frantically to get help.  

I will also remember the day you fell and hit your head on the marble floor, and had the biggest bump on your forehead ever. I didn’t sleep that night, thinking if you would feel sick because of the effects of the bump.

My list can go on… but you get it. It hurts us when you hurt. So take care of yourself. 

Third, never feel like you could not approach us to talk about something or ask for help. Within and beyond our capabilities, we will help you or find help. Always. Unless we are no longer in this world. And if that day came, you have my sisters, your Yiyis, to turn to. I would trust them with my life, and you can too. 

A nun I knew once told a story of a teenage girl who found out she was pregnant, and the girl told her “My mother will kill me if she found out”. The nun’s reply was simple – “Don’t be dramatic. No mother has ever KILLED their daughter for getting pregnant”. Nothing can be more true. Being furious is one thing, and one ought to face the music if one has gotten into trouble. But yet at the end of the day, we will sit down and sort out whatever mess it is with you. Because you are our child. That is simple. We have a duty to do what we can for you, and we love you.  

 Dear Little Foot, it is International Women’s Day. 20 years from now, 50 years from now, women may have finally reach an enviable social standing, on par with their male counterparts in all parts of the world, and in all parts of society. Who knows? Yet we will always be just a little different. Because we are daughters, girlfriends/wives and mothers. We love, we listen to our heart, and sometimes we will feel burdened by these roles. And yet we will and must plough on, because we are strong that way.  My mother was like that, and I try to be like that too. 

May you grow up to be brave, street-smart, and most importantly discerning. See through the superficial, be aware of the dangers this world has to offer. Let your head lead the way, not your body, and I daresay, rein in your heart.

Dare to sing your own tune. Be not afraid. 

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 I am not saying that you should restrict yourself because there is much to fear. I am saying dare to be. And dare to say no. Dare to ride the rainbow, go after that pot of gold at the end of it. Along the way, there will be dangers and harms, you will fall, you will and must pick yourself up. Dare to be. and dare to do some ass-kicking along the way.  

Life will be full of potholes and craters, but discern my child, and don’t lose sight of your destination. 

And finally, just know that no matter how old you are, you will always be our baby, you can always come home to us. 

 You are only three now.  And I hope that the years we have together will allow me enough time to prepare you for this world. You will never be quite ready, but we will try. 

Till then, as your mother, along with other parents, I can continue to trust, support and even advocate the policies that will do its best to keep you and all our children safe. If tough laws will keep Singapore just a tad safer, then let’s work hard to make sure the laws are adequate and effective deterrence, and allow due justice to be served to those who destroy lives and families. 

And in the end, it if you could read my mind, you would know I fear too. I fear to let you go, but I know one day I must let you spread your wings. 

Dare to be, my little lady, because you can be all you want to be. 

I love you. Always. 

Love, 

Mummy 

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Dear Dad, I bought you socks…

Hey, this is Little Foot’s mummy, and this is written to my dad, Little Foot’s grandfather.

On Christmas Day, I gave my Dad four pairs of socks.

If I am not wrong, this is the first time in my life I had a Christmas present for him (our family is not Christian, and I am the lone Catholic convert in my family).

I didn’t add a note to the gift package, just “Merry Christmas!” Written on the wrapper and signing off with my name and Little Foot’s. And he received it amidst the mayhem of our family gathering.

The point is, when I finally had time to sit down and pause for awhile, I regretted not writing a proper note.

So here goes…

Hi Daddy,

Hope you like the socks. They aren’t the most sexy or expensive things to buy, but I know you need them, and I tried to choose the colours you used to wear.

Since the diabetic diagnosis, and having been there with you on a few of your check-ups, it finally dawned on me that the years have caught up with you and Mummy.

I see the lines on your face, the shuffles of your feet getting more obvious, and I see you slouched over, dozing off while we wait. And I felt heavy-hearted. Mummy too, looks washed out.

“Where had all the years gone?” I wondered… and I have to choke back my emotions.

We never had many deep conversations, in fact we hardly talked. Over the years, sometimes I did wonder if we could have had a better relationship … I guess we just took for granted that you will always be you, polishing your beloved cars and watches, letting the TV watch you sleep, eating your favourite things like canned fruits and drinking teh-O…

That you suddenly didn’t look so good, and suddenly was diagnosed with diabetes, it was a wake up call for us.

The doctors have talked quite a bit about adjusting to things, taking better care of yourself – diet, exercise, hygiene etc.

And you needed to start wearing shoes and socks for better footcare.

Hence I bought you socks.

I hope that with baby steps, we can all help you adjust to the new way of life, make it a sustainable lifestyle and one that isn’t so dreadful to bear.

Children forgive their parents always, and whatever inadequacies or absenteeism from our growing up life is really already water under the bridge.

End of the day, deep down, we just care.

And so, with four pairs of socks, I just wanted to tell you, we care, and we want to see you continue to enjoy the life and routine you always had, with a little bit of extra effort.

I hope you wear them and know you are loved by your children and grandchildren.

And I wish you many many more Christmases spent with us.

With love,

Joyc

Reflections on Two… a year of grow grow grow

Little Foot turned Three in what feels like a blink of an eye…As with each year, I take time to reminisce this motherhood journey, and find time to write my Little Foot a little note.

No one was kidding when they said the days are long but the years are short. It never fails to amaze me that it wasn’t so long ago that I had a little bundle in my arms, so tiny we were afraid we would break a bone of hers if we were not careful… and now? She’s more than half my height, and twice the personality I am. Everything has moved so fast, but I am thankful and grateful each day that she is growing well.

What a year it has been…

From Hello Kitty to Elsa

Remember how she loves Hello Kitty soooo much? Well, she’s kinda outgrown Hello Kitty, but still “alright” with the Sanrio character which I also love. And now she has moved on to being a big fan of Elsa, so we made her wish come true and got her the full works for her birthday party.

Just play….

It was also a year of play and play, as we cut back on enrichment classes and allowed her (and ourselves) time to roam free.

We went out to meet Mr Sun..

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We had picnics…

We took selfies…

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We sang, we danced,

We giggled and we laughed…

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We had so many “birthdays” because she loved it so much…

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And we went out to see the world…

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And through it all, Little Foot learned and we learned too.

It’s been a year of great self-exploration and adventures, I daresay.

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It’s was also a year where I was more absent… And also a year where we found it trickier to deal with her tantrums and antics.

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Through it all, we learned and she learned too. We grew stronger and closer.

Dear Little Foot, this year, we all had to adjust a lot to Mummy’s new work routine, which would take me away from you a lot more, and see me more distracted when I am around. I can sense how much you miss me these days, and I feel your anguish at my sporadic absence. And I thank you for your neverending, overflowing love for me.

As we approach THREE, things may not be easier, but hopefully you will be able to better understand and be more patient with me, as I try to be with you. Let’s continue to grow together!

Thanks for a year that was filled with so many Little Foot memories that I thank God over and over again for you. As always, Mummy and Daddy hope that your days be filled with happiness, and may you grow up well and healthy. Know that through good times and bad, you will always be my baby and I only have the deepest love for you.

Happy Birthday, my dearest girl… let’s celebrate all through December!

Love as always,

Mummy