Explaining sadness… And the concept of death

Read “Inside Out” at bedtime to Little Foot and the questions of why sadness as an emotion is necessary and why it is okay to feel sad at appropriate times came up.

I gave her the example of this…

“If a mummy has just lost her baby, and the baby goes to heaven (this is how I simplified death for her to grasp at her age), should you be sad or happy?”

We talked about how odd it would be to be laughing out loud in such situations. And how it is okay to cry when one feels sad.

And then Little Foot asked me to tell her more about the mummy and the baby that went to heaven.

And so it was that I shared with her a little-told story of how my mother lost her toddler (My elder brother) to meningitis.

These are difficult things that as a family we seldom talk about, as I related the story to her, she wanted to know details – how does he look like? What is a virus? Do you have it?

And then the final explanation of why it was extremely heart-breaking to lose a loved one – never being able to hug again, never seeing the face in person again, till we meet again in heaven.

Little Foot is 4.5 years old, but I can tell the idea of the finality of death sank in by her expression.

There are stories that we hold in our memories that sometimes becomes useful teaching material at the most unexpected moments.

And in revisiting this little spoken of memory of our family, I am made to also try to imagine the anguish my mother went through back when it happened. It made me hug my child a little tighter.

And so it was that both Little Foot and I shared a learning moment in somewhat different ways.

Death is a difficult topic to discuss and yet when asked, I felt like we shouldn’t shy away from using it to develop the emotions of our young ones and helping them to manage certain feelings inside.

Let’s hope the next learning lesson will be something a bit less heavy on my heart.

Advertisements

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!

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.

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.

 

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? 

Little Foot noticed !

Got home unexpectedly early this evening. 

As I approached our unit, I called out “Baby, Babyyyyy!!!” as usual and was greeted with the ever-enthusiastic “Mameeeeee!!!!”

She gleefully informed me,  “I cut the cake!! You see? Birthday Cake!!” Referring to the toy birthday cake she was playing with. Then when I walked through the door she stunned me with the next question. 

Little Foot: “You change bag?” 

Me: *floored* ummm yes. I changed my bag. 

Little Foot: Why!!?

Me: because the other bag too small for my laptop. 

Little Foot: Why!!? 

Me: Because I have to bring laptop home.  This bag is bigger, the other one cannot fit the laptop. 

Little Foot: Mummy change bag? Yes!

And then she moved on to the next line of questioning (about my top and my pants).

The thing is…I have a lot of bags and I change them ever so often. Who would have known that my daughter would notice the mustard laptop bag was different from the Jujube bag I carried out? 

W.O.W. Still overwhelmed with amazement. 

Looks like she’s gonna grow up to be a bag addict like me.