My little merlion… and the mother who is not in control

We had an eventful weekend… plenty of activities lined up for Little Foot. And four puke sessions. 

Unfortunately for our poor baby pie, she was bloated since Friday and ended up vomiting 3 times on Saturday and once on Sunday. 

Somehow beyond the projectile sessions, she seemed completely fine and was her usual active and inquisitive self.  

Merlion #1 – 7early8early

First thing in the morning, she asked for milk when she woke up late ( Yay! It’s public holiday so we get to sleep late!!). Shortly after finishing her 120ml, half of that came out onto the mattress.  

After bath, she was fine…and restless. So we went to view the slide a neighbour put up for sale and brought it home.  She had about 20 rounds on it immediately. 


Merlion #2 – most memorable award

After an outing to Punggol settlement and a play session at BFF’s  place, we headed out in 2 cars to Ikea Tampines. Little Foot had been drinking green tea from the Hello Kitty Bottle, when the car was reversing… she suddenly made that oh-so-familar  face. Next thing we knew… she created a projectile inside the car….complete mayhem! Papa hurriedly got to us and carried her out where she vomited more. The seat and carpet inside our swanky new car…and my pants were the collateral damage. So we managed to clean our crying toddler up first. And parked her in the car boot while we waited for my bro and family to swing back to his house to get me spare pants. And waited for Papa to get some water  to try to clean the car. Luckily she was happily self-entertained by the 2 plastic bottles. 


Merlion #3 – silent in her sleep

We gave her very light dinner at Ikea. And when she got home she went to sleep after a bath. In her sleep near midnight… she suddenly turned to her side and puked. Without warning! 

This time I’m so worried… really wondering what’s wrong with her tummy. Nevermind…  we went to sleep after washing her up. Its not like going to KKH to queue up would make her feel better.  Let her sleep. 

Merlion #4 – and we thought it was over

Sunday. Bright and early we went for a birthday party…  cheerful baby was all ready to play! I pretty much put Saturday’s vomit sessions behind me. 

The party  was good…she won herself a sticker tattoo at one of the party games, played a lot in Cool de sac and then ended with a nice stars body painting done.  


Went to my mum’s place with a balloon in her hand…. she had milk lying down on the bed together with Kylie. Done, got up and out to look for Papa… next thing I knew, I heard the shout that she’s puked again. 

Didn’t dare feed her dinner…. gave her a few mouthful of oats. And then I nursed her to sleep.  

What a weekend…. 

What didn’t help was all the “wise words”…

The Papa had to guilt trip me about her diet. Ya… my fault that no one cooked her lunch on Saturday before we went out. He had all these “don’t give her this…. don’t give her that”… but she had to eat something right??

My fault that we go to some eating place and there’s no healthy kids meal (name me a place that does). And she ends up eating the ice cream when I didn’t ask for a float. 

As to why even her daily home food is too flavourful and like adult food…  also my fault? Maybe I’ve left it too free rein? I don’t know when it started, but her food became like our food…. I didn’t say retire the blender. I didn’t say add salt or soy sauce….c’mon, I was the crazy OCD mama who didn’t want her to touch any sugar in her first year! Of course the food in school doesn’t really help too, since it’s quite tasty. Foodie Little Foot is starting to be fussy now about tastes…it has disturbed me a little but I’ve kept quiet after my “suggestions” don’t seem to register in anyone’s head. And frankly I’m too tired with work and giving her all my free time to be a hawk. Some days I give her the ice cream so it buys me time to eat my dinner, since no one wanna help me there.

I’m the mother…I think I’m entitled to offer her an ice cream or a pack of chocolate milk. Maybe that gave everyone else around me the wrong signals that they can do it freely too. I can’t control what I’m not around to control. Or maybe I’ve closed one eye for too long. 

And sometimes I wonder why nag at me only… he keeps quiet and not tell our helper himself if he’s not happy about how she handles certain things. 

So Little Foot will now need to go into “rehab” back to healthy baby food…. Oh yah, I say only lor… Will anyone listen?  He say lor…will he do the disciplining and get her to follow his dream regime? Or I’m just the person who gets drenched in puke, pat her back to sleep throughout fitful nights and still get to hear the incessant chants of “you let her eat this eat that….”, and the person who has to sort everything out.  Oh yah… me. Just me. 

Why? Because I’m the mother. And anything happens, it’s my fault by default. Nevermind that I feel the most heartache when I have to watch her in her fitful sleep the whole weekend and I didn’t even sleep well. That’s the way the world works. 

Sad that I feel like I’m not in control and yet I get to bear the brunt. 
I guess when the little one is sick… tempers fly and fingers are quick to point at each other. You judge me, I have many things to say about your behaviour too. And we can start this crazy war…but I’m tired and I really just want to sort this out. I want to sort out many things, yet I am a lone ranger here. Obviously when I have a toddler trying to get a go at me and yanking at my top while I try to eat some dinner tonight and the father just sits back and half-heartedly act like he’s even stopping her, I don’t feel like I’m getting much help here. And everyday it is the same….every meal of mine is spent fending off the little one. While everyone pretends they are temporarily deaf and blinded. Some days I want to smash my dinner plate really. Some days I wish I could just eat outside so my food can actually go down the right tunnels and not cause me to also want to throw up from gastric pain. 
Just for once, I wonder what really went wrong. Maybe my general uselessness domestically is the problem. Or maybe I don’t make myself clear enough. 

Times like this, I  try to find strength by focusing on my Little Foot. 

I can do better.  I must do better.  

Or at least die trying to do better.

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What space?

A personal take on this unfortunate small spaces remark taken out of context. All sparked by the headline on ST’s article “You don’t need much space to have sex”. 
Granted, Mrs Teo had bravely soldiered on to clarify that her words were taken out of context (according to CNA article), but it has sparked a conversation, and a very important one, that is needed between the government and Singaporeans.
What Space? 
It was never about space for making the babies. It has always about the space to raise that baby. It is about providing a safe haven, a suitable environment for raising children the way we want it. Singaporeans have expectations, hopes and dreams. And we expect to be given that freewill to plan how they want life to pan out, what kind of standard of living and environment they would like to provide for our children. That’s what we studied hard, slogged hard for. We didn’t ask for matchbox size flats, but we have adapted to the reality that living spaces will shrink. So, even if matchbox size, we take it, because we want that space to start our own family and have a roof over our heads. Our own roof. Not our parents’.  We are Asians. Culturally, that roof over the head has always been very important to us, at least that’s what my parents have always said. As long as we have a roof over our heads, everything else can fall in place. 
 
In other countries, it is normal to have kids first (sometimes accidentally), then marry (or not). Do we want to go down that route to up the fertility rate? I think our society is not yet ready for the Brangelina arrangements (that is, prior to their marriage and now dramatic divorce). Pragmatic Singaporeans are not ready to live on love alone – not when a giving birth can cost nearly 10K or even more when things don’t go quite as planned, and that’s just the “start-up cost” to parenthood. Childcare, medical care, everything costs money. Singaporeans plan and plan, perhaps over-plan. I’d take this attitude over reckless one-night stands any day where you get knocked up, then you go home and ask your parents “How lidat? You can help me raise my child?” and expect to continue to lean on that support from our parents who have slogged half their lives away and burst their bubble of retiring and going backpacking around the world. 
 
Personally, we only started thinking if we should have a child after we have finally settled down in our own flat. We had lived apart for a year after marriage for a myriad of reasons. And it was only when things stabilised mentally, emotionally, financially, then we finally felt ready and confident that we can provide a good home for our child, then I started to even entertain the idea of being a parent. 
“Home” not “House”.  
Home is that place where make memories, where we get to decide how the sleeping arrangements will be, have our own cosy corners, babyproof it, and ensure it is a feasible place emotionally for the child. Our way. At our parents’ place, we wouldn’t be able to decide many things. Space is limited, you can’t tell the smoker not to smoke, can’t decide on whim to redecorate the spare room (what spare room?) etc. Living three generations together adds a layer of complexity in the family dynamics, sometimes adding stress, which may rub off on the kids.
Sure, there are pros to living with parents too… extra pair of hands and eyes, but we also need to understand that not all parents want to be that pair of hands and eyes. My mother quickly swatted off the idea of quitting her job to help any of us look after our children. Fair enough. Why should she? She too wants to look after her career, and not all grandparents are the “coochie coochie!” kind. She’s happy being a weekend grandmother.
I ramble, but put simply, living separately from my parents made relationship better and healthier. We see them every weekend, we call and Whatsapp regularly, share photos and nuggets of information. It’s all good. Let’s face it, they too deserve a break from us.
One can say “you can just make the baby first”, then everything else will fall in place. True, Mrs Teo’s got a point. Perhaps there lies in our society a growing population of people who want to do first think later, live the YOLO life. Not me. If you are, then good for you. Being responsible for another human life is a huge huge responsibility, and I’m not going to just say YOLO and do it. 
Yes, the clock continues to tick when we wait for the flat. For many like me who will lose sleep over this unstable/uncertain arrangement, we will say, “so be it”.
In the end, you can nudge, you can bait, you can try to influence, but it will always be a personal choice, how early/how late, how many kids to have, between the couple.
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The arduous journey for a flat….
We balloted for flats since I was 27. From Blangah Heights to Senja in Bukit Panjang, to Punggol… even various sale of balance flats. Each time we would put the $10.70 and later be informed that we were unsuccessful, sometimes with a 4-digit queue number. I still remember how I cried in frustration when even Senja, so near my in-laws, was not successful (while 2 other friends of his balloted successfully). By the time we finally got to choose our flat through the DBSS route, it would be ready in our early 30s. Little Foot was born when I was 33, a year after we moved in.
It wasn’t even about the $10.70 each time… it was about the painful disappointment because you wonder why, you supposedly accumulated more chance with each unsuccessful attempt, and yet, you keep getting your hopes dashed. Eventually, we did think, we should go for resale or something else. Finally we got queue number 899 for the estate where we live now. That day of selection, was sweaty palms moment when we were waiting for those before us to select their units, holding hands and fervently going , “don’t choose that, don’t choose that!”
A long long journey to finally getting the key to our own home. Can you understand? That’s all we want really.
 

My little rainbow

“Lemme be your baby just a while longer, 

Let me be your rainbow at the end of a shower,

Just a little cuddle, 

Just another snuggle…

How I hope our lives will always be intertwined together.” 
Inspired by the Tula blanket I got customised by a nice work-at-home mum in Malaysia. 

Do support mummies who are juggling having a second career and taking care of their children.