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 🙂

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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.

I wanna hold your hand…

 

Oh… we woke up on a bad note this morning.

Little Foot didn’t wanna wake,

she’d much rather sleep in instead.

We roused her from her morning slumber,

“Oh mummy, what a bummer!”

Yet as we sat in solitude strapped up in the car,

Our little lady held my hands as she gazed afar.

I looked at our fingers curled around each other’s,

I think, “yes this is what it means to be a mother”.

I wanna hold your hands, it read,

This feeling, it melts my heart,

I know I would forever and ever reciprocate.

 

Of working mothers and our unnecessary guilt

…don’t think of working mothers as people who just leave office on time and do less than you. Think of us as people who have to try to do 48 hours of work in 24 hours.

It’s been half a year since I returned to work. As I gear up at work (not really by choice, but one should always have an honourable sense of responsibility), I find that I’m stretched thin when I try to be my best at home and at work.

It’s not just the past two weeks, but it’s a nagging guilt that I suppose every working mother carries.

I think I give myself a hard time too much and too unnecessarily.

I feel bad when I am home later than usual.

I feel bad saying goodbye every morning when Little Foot would sputter and burst into tears, try to reach for me, try to stop me from leaving.

I feel bad when I go do ” me things” like get a haircut after work instead of running straight home.

Heck, I feel bad even about slowly sauntering home instead of brisk walking home from the train station!

Imagine how bad I felt when I had to pry myself from her on Sunday morning while she was kicking up an epic tantrum,  because I have to go be somewhere for work.

Some days I wonder if I’m the only mum in this world that beat myself over every second not given to my daughter.  Maybe not.

As I grapple with my feelings and try to continue to keep work and life separate, I sometimes pause to ask myself “why am I making things so hard for myself?”

And I would remind myself that it’s ok to have “me time” it is ok to still want to excel beyond motherhood. Otherwise,  there is no me left. I cannot simply be Little Foot’s mummy without also living for myself. My hopes, my aspirations,  my needs and wants, they still matter.

To the other folks out there… don’t think of working mothers as people who just leave office on time and do less than you. Think of us as people who have to try to do 48 hours of work in 24 hours. We juggle, we struggle…sometimes we look like we aren’t putting in as much as you.  I beg to differ if you think that way. We are just forced to become more effective and efficient. The work of a mother never ends. At 1am, we may be dealing with a kid awakened by nightmare. At 3am we could be dealing with a dirtied bed because baby puked… we have teething and fevers, flu and vaccinations to deal with. These things don’t make appointments with you. They happen whether a mother likes it or not.

AND we still reply the Whatsapp messages related to work at night, or boot up the laptop at odd hours to get some work done after the baby is asleep.

AND we still turn up for work the next morning (after dealing with a whole set of morning routine with the kid), grab a caffeine fix, and proceed to try to meet whatever deadlines we have, and look sharp at meetings. We would like to dream of our beds, but we don’t.  We tell ourselves not to waste time thinking about the bed. Because then the unnecessary guilt kicks in and we say “Hurry up,  get the work done. Baby’s waiting”.

We don’t bring our moods to work. Because moods and tantrums makes us less effective at work. And we know, we know there is always that one unmarried/childless colleague or boss who is lurking in the corner, waiting to see us trip up and think, “see, these mummies… they aren’t as committed, they aren’t as good….”. So we try harder than anyone else to be professional, because the odds are not in our favour.

Of course, there may be some working mothers who really don’t commit as much as the bare minimum,  those are not the ones I speak for… I speak for those who are like me, trying to be the best on all fronts and always guilt-tripping ourselves unnecessarily all the time because, really we wish we could do more on all fronts. We’ve given up gym and spas and “chill out after work” sessions with colleagues, all so that we can give more to work and home. Think of us while you chill. Have a beer in our honour.

The road ahead as a working mother is long… somehow, I know things will pan out fine. Because when in doubt, I come home to hug my baby and let her smiles wash all my worries and fears away.

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Every morning, Little Foot waves goodbye to me tearfully. A shot taken from the lift landing that peers into my balcony.

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Any day can be Papa day

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I revisited these pictures a few times today.

Each time, it brought a smile to my face and warmed soul.

Today was “Papa day” for Little Foot. She gave Papa Long a lot of special moments.

Morning, she went on and on “papapapa…” for a very long time while playing around on our bed. We tried to catch it on video but she froze the moment the phone appeared.

Then they had a good baby bath session today. I felt him reminiscing about the newborn he used to bathe when he towel-dried her on his lap. And she was quiet and cooperative. (Usually,  there would be a lot of “eh eh eh” and squirming). Maybe he was also thinking about how there will come a day when he has to stop being the bath IC for her.

And then we had this father-daughter hug that melted my heart. It was at Wang Cafe at Bukit Panjang Plaza. We decided to go for our Kopi session in the afternoon. And it was such a spontaneous thing they did.

What amazed me was she quietly hugged him back and also allowed him to enjoy his coffee.

(Little Foot hardly hugs. She usually doesn’t even wrap her arms around our neck when we carry her. And she usually fusses if you sit down and stay still for too long while she’s in the carrier.)

Yes, anyday anytime, your child will decide that it is Papa day or Mama day. As a parent, be deeply involved in your child’s life or you might miss the moment that could happen anytime.

Thank you, Papa Long, for being the involved and loving father of Little Foot. XOXOXO

 

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