Teachers’ Day Cards & Tags in the making

It’s our second year getting ready for Teachers’ Day in school and still as much a scramble as last year!

By chance, tonight was going back to basics with Brushables markers & watercolour pencils…

Little Foot (32 months old) had done stamping in the evening on normal drawing block paper after picking out her preferred stamps. And she had also tried her tiny hands at using the Brushables markers.

I believe in helping her do these “thank you” gestures rather than simply do a scrapbook mama session and hand nicely handcrafted cards out to her teachers. I mean, to be fair they are her teachers, not mine! Hence I try to get her to be involved in the making process. And she had fun (that is, until the part she wanted to take wet wipes and wipe the drawing block to clean off what she had stamped, and we had to whisk her away).

To make the Teachers’ Day cards meaningful, I didn’t redo the stamping, but simply inked in what she had started.

Also, at this late hour everything else thst wasn’t taken out was in the bedroom where Aunty Lily was sleeping. As a result, it was back to the basic colouring tools I used 7-8 years ago when I first discovered the joys I found from these wooden stamps from Penny Black.

I loved how everything turned out. On hindsight, thankfully I had let her use my Versafine pigment inkpad instead of those washable ones for kids. Otherwise, nothing would have stayed once the ink from the Brushables went in.

All done for now, and to continue tomorrow evening. Just two more days to the celebrations! *gasp!!!* Somehow, I will have to turn these into nice cards (for the main teachers who have been teaching and caring for her) and gift tags for the gifts we will be giving to all the teachers and assistants at the school.

Frankly, I am zonked out but happy to touch my scrapbooking materials again. Especially as it has been really draining at work these days. The inking really is cathartic. Heals the soul.

Alright…time to turn off the lights. Will share the end results when I am done. Stay tuned!

*UPDATE*

Visit A Little Footprint Facebook page to see photos of our finished products. Happy Teachers’ Day!

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Do one thing every morning

Begin the day by making your bed. You’ll feel better. (And if you’re male, shave) And the rest of the day, never give in to the sharks.

One weekend, I saw this text from the boss in a work chatgroup, and I didn’t dwell much on it, except secretly say “oops!” because I hardly ever make my bed.

AND yet another crazy week went by.

This week, I had several appointments for work, with so many early mornings I had to take Grab cars almost every morning just to make it in time. And so I mused again about this line “Begin the day by making your bed” because, actually, while I do not make the bed every morning, thanks to Little Foot, I begin every day by having one good task done – I change Little Foot’s diaper.

Just some months ago, she had taken to insisting that only Mummy can change her diapers, so whether I was supposed to sleep in for some days or whether I was rushing off for work, so would be rejecting everyone and cry “Mummy change!” while still half asleep.

And so this week, everyday I made myself get up earlier than I needed so I could get ready, and before I left for work, woke her up, changed her diapers, got her ready for school, as if it was any other day, waved her off before I grabbed my bag and took the next lift down to set off for work (otherwise she will be demanding that I send her to school in Papa’s car).

I must say I am mighty pleased with myself for having been able to still do the morning diaper session despite the tight schedule. It keeps me sane, knowing that I have done that one task every morning, so I don’t feel like I have not accomplished anything as a mother.

Next term, Little Foot’s school will start their toilet-training, so this arrangement won’t be forever. Oh Little Foot is growing up too fast! So I am enjoying the responsibility as much as I can for now.

When the time comes where there are no longer any diapers to change, I will have to find another task that I can do every morning.

And so, this week didn’t go so badly after all. Glad to have conquered it.

And in case you are wondering, I still don’t make my beds *shhh!*

I had a quiet lunch but it felt so empty

Today I had a quiet lunch before I set off for work in the afternoon.

Having the chance to sleep in later, to walk around the market at leisure, to sit down and quietly enjoy my hipster cafe lunch.

It felt like I had my old life back. And it felt strangely empty.

A mama walked into the cafe with her toddler in a Tula, and sat 2 tables away from me. I watched their interaction and it made me smile and feel an ache deep inside my heart.

A glimpse of my life not too ago.

I missed my Little Foot sorely (she went to her childcare preschool as usual). Her demands, her constant “why?”, even her tantrums which disrupts my meals a lot.

I really missed her presence at this meal.

And tonight, she will reach home to find biscuits and the papaya I just bought for her. And no mummy. And she will wait in vain until her eyelids are too heavy. Only Papa will be around.

For the umpteenth time, I wondered what I had gotten myself into, this job that takes me away from her more and more.

And I have no answer… really.

Sigh

Closer to Mother Nature

11 to 13 Aug 2017

Post-National Day (and my birthday), I wanted to make the most of our time together this long weekend. I feel a sense of urgency because this baby is growing so fast. And also because of the dreadful feeling knowing that next week, work duty calls again.

So, for three days in a row, we went close to nature. I am hardly a nature lover, because mozzies just love me too much, but since I had decided on a whim to sign myself up for a school field trip with her, I bit the bullet and just went.

Of course I made sure I overpacked my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back with every cream and ointment we would need plus other toddler essentials.

Loading up my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back for the trip

(This mama really one kiasu mama!)

The field trip to Gardenasia was rather fun. Little Foot had been anticipating the visit to the “plants farm!” since I started mentally preparing her for it a few days ahead.

And so here we are, accomplished plant potters!

❤Little Foot’s first plant! ❤

To many parents, a day out alone with the Little One is nothing. For me, it is still a leap of faith… taking baby steps to overcome my anxieties and irrational fears. I am hardly out alone with her since that near-fainting on the MRT episode when she was 8 months young.

As I consciously worked towards overcoming my anxieties, every little achievement seems like I’ve conquered a mountain.

And so it was that I successfully did this field trip with Little Foot without Papa Long in tow. Celebrate with me!

Then on Saturday, by chance, a trip to Little Foot’s BFF’s place brought us to Seng Kang Riverside Park. A little piece of mangrove and a floating platform…. the two toddlers had fun holding hands and walking around, and then chasing some bubbles.

After her flirt with nature, we had a situation in McDonald’s… sighhh… someone tell me why she always misbehaves when she is with me and Aunty Lily… but that shall be another story for another day.

At night before bedtime, Little Foot talked about feeding fishes. So it was that she went to bed holding that thought. I went to bed wondering if I shouldn’t have threatened to put her in the dustbin for her atrocious behaviour.

On Sunday we woke up and I tried to get us all ready to go somewhere as painlessly as possible. There were of course the usual procrastinations when it came to taking a bath and brushing teeth.

And then we asked ourselves, “Where shall we go?”

Papa Long suggested the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden before we went to feed the fishes at another part of Botanical Gardens.

Our first visit to the place, which would have rivalled all the nature walks we did in Perth, if not for our tropical weather which also meant the place is a home for all kinds od insects including mosquitoes!

Little Foot was distracted by her packet of Jagabee which she has been demanding to rip open while in the car. So Papa made it a game — every house you reached is a checkpoint, and you get one chip when you get there. And so began the exploration of the little garden.

Some of the areas were undergoing construction/upgrading, but there was definitely enough for a kid to be entertained.

1st checkpoint!

Conquering her dislike for sand for awhile because she likes going down the slides more!

Let’s cross some bridges

And find some fishes

And look for some herbs too!

Finally we fed the fishes and had lunch at Food For Thought (incidentally, it was their last day of operation)

And so as the sun starts to set on this week, I do think a little bit more of nature will be good for Little Foot. Even if my legs are now peppered with mozzie bites.

A piece of memory from the past

Because of a conversation among some mummy friends of mine, about our younger days, a long forgotten memory surfaced. The first person who held my hand, albeit for awhile.

Everyone celebrates their present, but try to ignore their past… perhaps that is basic human coping mechanism. I don’t know.

Or we think we respect our current partner, so we try to pretend no one came before him/her.

Remembering doesn’t mean a piece of me is still in love. Remembering simply is remembering, because we are also made up partly of our life encounters. And because we can’t delete memories like how we delete files from our computers.

So here goes…. a recollection based on faded memories.

February 1997.

Not yet 16 years old, this was my final year in Chung Cheng High School.

Our school band was putting up an evening performance by the lake. This is the band I lived and breathed for… finally a decent size after a couple of rough years when the combined band was forced to split up. Alumnis were coming back for a gala event and we were one of the performances for the night. All I had on my mind was the performance. One of my last before we bowed out and focused on our O Levels preparations.

I saw a bunch of seniors from the band turn up too….and didn’t give too much notice. I remembered most of them from my Sec One days. The days when the band was a combined band between the two Chung Cheng High Schools. They wouldn’t remember me I figured.

And then the lamest screw up happened. Halfway across the school with the performance about to start and we forgot our coins. The darn coins we needed to tap on the music stands as part of a piece of music.

Desperate. So I went and borrowed coins from one of them. And it was there I spoke to him again. Nervous, not because I was talking to anyone I fancied. Just nervous because this was someone 4 years older. When you are 16,  a senior that much older can feel like 老祖宗! And he lent me the coins we needed. Didn’t think much about it, not even the good natured bantering during the conversation because too stressed.

It should have been the end, after that evening.

And then I got a phone call. I think. (back then we had pagers. And friends called your house phones. I wasnt even sure I got my mobile that early in ’97). Or was it that I called him to return the money? Also possible.

And so the phone conversations started.

How I spoke with ease with him, I can’t quite fathom. What we spoke about, I can’t quite recall. Me trying to be a decent percussionist on top of a trumpeter… him and some of the seniors and friends from the Branch school still playing music, having his band….family, his NS, my studies… I don’t know.

Meeting again.

To the world, it was an army boy walking alongside a girl in a school uniform. 

I asked him why he was serving as a clerk. And then I had the answer.

“Listen….” and with the side of my head leaned against him, I heard it for the first time in my life.

In my mind I thought, “How can it sound like an ocean?” The sound of waves, instead of rhythmic beats.

Hole in the heart.

Born with it. His doctor said his condition was probably more scary. He could do anything… run, swim, play basketball without issues, but the heart may give up without warning, unlike those who turned blue when exhausted.

I liked walking with him…. the big smile, the matter of factly way he treats things that came his way. It was always confortable.

As days went by, I felt an affinity for this person.

One who was once distant and who was simply “the Sec 5 senior” who was so good at his percussion and drumming  and just a little cheeky/playful in his mannerisms. And who liked another senior. 

And so it was that I would call him the first one, by accident. 

It didn’t last very long. We were always nice and respectful…. but the conversations ran dry…. and finally we both came to realise that deep down, 
I couldn’t replace of the ex. And he apologised. 

I don’t remember doing anything drastic like crying or being angry.  Which is rather unlike me. I guess without ever having dated anyone, one did not know what to expect, or what should a “typical” reaction br. 

We parted amicably. And I engrossed myself in my music and schoolwork, refusing to let the loss creep up on me. Eventually, when the reality finally hit me, it got to a point I felt I needed a bigger distraction. And so it was I forced myself to sort of move on. Date someone else. 

But for years 3 things kept their place in the depths of my drawer – a photo, a pair of earrings and that 20 cent coin I never returned him. Until sometime in university, I cleaned out my wardrobe and gave the earrings away and put the coin into a piggybank to be lost amongst other coins. And the photo too, was gone. 

Between 1997 and the time I did the final spring cleaning, I continued to wonder occasionally if he was well and fine. An ache that finally was eroded over time to nothing, until it was all forgotten. 

A relationship at a time where there was so little technology to connect us. 

No mobile phone , only pagers. When the best one could do was put a 10cent coin into a public phone and press “1771554” when in camp and let the numbers appear on the pager to convey so much in a string of numbers. It sounded cheesy, but it was enough then. 

At a time when there was no Friendster, Multiply, Facebook or Google+ to continue to stalk your ex after he had walked out on you…. goodbye meant goodbye for real. More so when we had almost no mutual friends.

You couldn’t call the house phone…. and paging became too intrusive… so you bottled up any random mad feelings and just simply stared at the photo, fiddled with the coin, then closed the drawer and continued with life. 

I finished my Os at the top of my class (the last class)…. and eventually here I am. With my own family.  

But the sound of waves, I never forgot. Because it made me realise from that day on, that one has to live each day to the fullest. 

**********

人, 往往一直向前冲。。。日子一天,一天的过, 直到一天, 发现已过了20 年。

而岁月会不知何时, 替我们埋没一些宝贵的少年记忆。

或许老了…  突然今天偶然想起了你。

不是应为念念不忘, 或还对你有任何感情, 而是应为一种不知怎么形容的眷恋, 也是一些好奇。

你, 好吗?

你, 的心还在撑着吗?

你, 是否还是没有放弃你的音乐, 你的鼓?

到最后, 你, 有实现年少时的梦想吗?

我很好奇。也回想起, 从16岁起多年仍一直偶尔为你担心的我… 直到我忘了担心你。

是在什么时候, 渐渐放开了对你的操心与思念?

过了20 年了。我, 忘记了许多, 却还记得你的心的声音。

今天想起了你, 勾起了很多蒙蒙的回忆。

你, 现在长得怎么样了?

也会有丝毫担心。。。你, 还在吗?

听见 Beyond 的 《海阔天空》 时, 我还是会不知不觉的想到你。 

不管怎样, 仍是跟当时一样, 希望你, 健康快乐。

************

Every encounter, every relationship has shaped me … some broke me more than others, one particularly bad one led me to discover God when I almost wanted to give up on life  

Looking back, I am thankful that the first love was a nice memory consisting more of a respectful friendship than some turmultous 要死要活 kind of thing. 

And so he lives in my faded somewhat wonky memory, but no longer in my heart. Time has a way of setting things in order, and I hope one day, my child will believe me when I say it does. It really does. Strip away any romanticism and really only what is normal human feelings towards any old friend is what is left. 

May you be well, as always.