Oh the sand and sea!

Little Foot headed with Papa and Mummy to Banyan Tree Bintan over the weekend, thanks to her Aunt (Papa’s sister) and a couple of Papa’s friends.  

Oh, she so enjoyed the swim times in the pool in our villa… just had to guard her from floating out to infinity!

She also got her 2nd experience with the sand…and managed to walk a little on it!

But oh the sea, she totally liked it but feared it at the same time!

Overall a nice and relaxing holiday for us… even though it did rain quite a bit.

The only rough patch was the ferry rides.  Little Foot (and Mummy) had motion sickness and she really broke out in cold sweat when the ferry rode through choppy waters in the rain on the way there. Didnt help that we got tossed all around as it happened just as we were in the handicapped toilet because she had tummy ache.  Thank God for the carrier… we managed to tuck her in and she finally fell asleep after she tearfully told me she wanted to go home. 

Well…. the ride home was also sick for her, but all was forgotten when she got home! 

Overall a good trip! Thanks 姑姑!

And now we know, no long boat rides until we figure out a remedy for seasickness for small kids. 

Till our next adventure! 

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Motherhood makes me feel like a wise old granny some days

If anyone ever asks me if there ever was a life-changing, coming of age moment for me, my simple answer is Yes, the day Emma came to be.  

I had a chat with a colleague I’ve known for quite some years recently, and during the conversation, she shared a little with me about the stresses from every part of her life that was simply just not within her control and it’s taking a toll on her health.  She too is a mother. 

What I can say is that, as she spoke and I visualised myself in her shoes, it simply felt impossibly exhausting. 

A working mother,

A supervisor holding a heavy portfolio at work. 

An only child of two retirees.

A mother of a young child taken care of by her parents who regularly sends her on emotional roller coaster rides. 

Bills and mortgages to pay, and she is the one bringing in more dough.

I sense her frustrations and her tension. And it’s apparent to everyone as well.

I finally told her my take on this whole work thing — we just do what we can. No point putting up fights and resistance unnecessarily. And the work, it never ends. We are always hard on ourselves and we feel so overwhelmed by the deadlines and the worries that something bad will happen if we don’t try to get things done asap. 

And I said, “it (the work) can never be finished. Tomorrow if we die, someone else will take over the work. We are not indispensable.  We are only indispensable to our children.” 

I’ve never been clearer about my priority in my life. 

I was trying to slowly get her to wrap her head around the idea that if we let all the work and the other stresses affect our health. If anything bad happens to us, what will happen to our children? So take it easy, learn to let go and go with the flow at work. 

Whether anything I said got through, I  don’t know… but at that point, I felt like an wise old granny. And I wonder where the old me went.  

Thrown away with the placenta I suppose. 

The current me stood, staring at the sky, holding a chocolate chiffon cake I had bought for Little Foot. 

At that point, nothing could be clearer. Unspoken.

When you notice the difference, maybe you aren’t being around enough

This morning, knowing I was not going to be able to send Little Foot to school with Papa Long, I was extra diligent helping her get changed and ready for school.  Usually, Aunty does it while I get myself ready. 

And when I grabbed a rubber band to tie her hair into the coconut tree hairdo, I was suddenly aware that “hey! Little Foot’s hair has grown quite long!”

And then I note to myself, I haven’t done this for her for too long. Which is why I noticed the difference. 

It’s like how I carry her daily to the car, to the school….every chance I get.  I don’t really realise that she’s grown heavier.  My mother would however exclaim that she’s a big girl already! Whenever she gets to see her and carries her, which is very seldom. 

I don’t marvel at how steady she is at water painting, because I see her do it almost daily and I see how she had improved her grip and control bit by bit over time. 

I see her everyday and don’t realise she has lost a lot of her baby fats, until I see a photo of her half a year ago… 

And the list goes on. 

So parents, what difference did you notice in your child today? Maybe like me, you have delegated the mundane tasks like tying hair and brushing teeth to your helper. 

Are we doing enough for our Little One? Are we around enough? Or more pertinently, are we there in mind and body, or just there but not there? (Sitting around checking WhatsApp while the Little One is being fed by your helper? Guilty as charged some days…) 

Its a good reminder to myself. They are only babies and toddlers for awhile…. don’t wait till they are too old and suddenly too heavy before you realise that you’ve missed out a chunk of their childhood.

I gave her my word…

​This evening, I fulfilled a promise we made in the morning. Because it is important to her, and it is important to keep promises to the little ones. Otherwise they won’t buy your empty promises anymore.  

Morning, Little Foot  wanted to buy bread from the vending machine (the latest thing in the neighbourhood). Papa was running late, so he didn’t stop to let her dawdle with the machine. She cried when we bypassed the machine to the car. 

So in the car we told her, “we don’t have any coins, the coins are with Mr Rabbit (My coin bank), and Mr Rabbit  is at home. Tonight you ask Mr Rabbit to give you coins, and you can buy bread. Ok?”

Little Foot stopped crying and said solemnly “Ask Mr Rabbit for coins for Little Foot..buy bread. Dong dong coins take bread from machine.”

And she repeated it several times en route to school. 

(I continue to marvel at how well she is now at expressing verbally)

*****

Evening when I got home, she was already changed out of her uniform and playing around …  I told her we can ask Mr Rabbit for coins now. And I brought the coin bank out. 

After her pasta dinner, we were off with a purse full of coins on the Smartrike to the bread vending machine.

Looking at her delighted face when she finally got to pick up the bread after putting in the coins, and proudly eating it in the playgrounds, I’m reminded that what I say may not mean much to an adult, but it means the world to her. 

And I am glad I remembered to fulfill what I said we would do. I would otherwise have missed out on the chance to make her day, had it slipped my mind.

Well, looks like Mr Rabbit may be emptied very soon! =X so he is back hiding in the umbrella cupboard!

Finally the 1st weekend of 2017 has arrived!

And so the first week of 2017 has finally come to the end. Phew! Welcome weekend!

Little Foot is slowly adjusting to the idea of lunch times without Mummy, even though she probably can’t quite understand why… and the idea that I may not be there to pick her up from school in the evenings.

Most challenging for Mummy is actually the idea that home is not quite so near anymore…

Having to join the majority of working Singaporeans in the daunting daily commute to and from work  (and which everyone b***hes about a lot) after having blissfully escaped the madness since 2011 is extra painful. Yes, it is a major perk to one’s sanity when you live close to work. 

And 5 years down the road, one does wonder where all these humans (and cars on the roads) come from! It never used to be THAT packed and congested!

I’m thankfully that Papa Long is able to do the afterschool pick ups. So there is some stability to our arrangements for Little Foot. 

It is still early times to say if it will all work out, but for now, one step at a time, have a little faith. I need to gain back the confidence I used to have. 

And when I’m feeling low or lost, to focus on what I’m doing all these for. 

Even if I miss her acutely.

It’s ok when it doesn’t work out

Recently,we threw in the towel on Shichida Method classes.

I’m not going to say whether this is a good programme or not, because frankly, I think half a year wasn’t quite long enough for us to judge.

We just decided it wasn’t quite so suitable for Little Foot and we called it quits in Dec. Much to the relief of Papa Long, who usually attends the classes with her.

Why? We think it wasn’t the best programme for her, despite some of the rave reviews. She was simply not interested and hardly participated willingly unless there were songs involved. We think she needs more time and space to enjoy life, and well, frankly, the real reason? We too were getting burntout from waking up on a Saturday to run to class with her.

Some time ago, my colleagues gave me the “you kiasu mama!” look when I told them Little Foot has classes 7 days a week. So I explained, myself. She’s in childcare during weekdays, and we have a 1-hour Shichida lesson on Saturday mornings (signed up when she was 3 months old, but only enrolled when she was about 19 months after several admin hiccups on their end). And she has her favourite Kindermusik lessons on Sundays, which we actually stopped for awhile, but brought her back when we saw how her face would light up whenever she heard the music from those classes. She still enjoys them as much as she enjoys going to the playgrounds.

Eventually, Mummy and Papa burnt-out before the little lady did.

She had boundless energy, but she didn’t enjoy the way learning was conducted in the Shichida programme. We also didn’t like that while one parent went in and tried to learn the methods to replicate at home (which we hardly had time to, since she’s in school for a full day), the other (usually Mummy) was loitering at Toa Payoh Hub eating roti prata or kaya toast or ran around trying to do some errands to kill time in that hour.

On hindsight, as first time parents, we (mainly Mummy actually) was rather a tad too ambitious.

I wanted to give my daughter the gift of a photographic memory, a gift of being able to grasp things easily. Which should make learning a breeze. And I thought I got it right. Wrong.

The end came when I almost hyperventilated watching the flashcards when I sat in for one of the later classes (because there was a change of teacher). In my mind, I was asking myself, “what in the world am I doing to my 20+mth old baby?!”

There’s a full road ahead for learning. Why make a toddler sit in a class and get bombarded by flashcards and velcro-ed activities? If it created anxiety for me, what does it do for a toddler? No wonder she was always exhausted after that hour and would crash out, with a frown on her face in her sleep.

And so finally, I admitted, it was time to leave the stress to another time, I’ve had enough. Let’s go get some fresh air, go learn to live like a human being, look at the clouds and watch the planes fly by. Breath the air, and marvel at the stars. Visit a farm, feed some animals and plant some plants. 


No hard feelings to other Shichida parents. It works for you, it didn’t for us. And I think as adults, we should just admit it and cut losses when we realise something doesn’t quite seem to be a good fit.

For now, we will let the world be the weekend tutor, and just retain the fun music sessions for her.

Ice cream anyone?