Finally graduated.

“Enjoy your babies while they are little. They will never need you quite the same way ever again.”

Realising the difference between “new moms” and “old moms” is that one thing every experienced parent tells you from the beginning but you couldn’t begin to understand, let alone take heed. “They’re at their most adorable now”, people would say. And all you could think about was all the poop you’ve been cleaning up after, the screaming, the repetitive stories and songs, the refusal to be put down and the 101 things such a tiny person requires. “This is the worst”, most moms would be saying in their heads.

It’s taken quite a while – three kids to be exact – for me to FINALLY GET IT. Now it’s about grabbing every available sane moment to cherish the neediness, and praising the growing marvels they are – each of them unique and wonderful in their own ways. To muse on their inherited traits, giggle at their quirks, to spur them on, fawn over their achievements and relish their being in existence.

At 4am, it might be an odd time to be enlightened but I had just done a second round of rocking an unwell little one to sleep. And you know what? I’ve never been happier feeling this completely zombied out. :)

Motherhood Mysteries

How strange that
what the peace & quiet
I envisioned in my head

is nothing but

an awkward loneliness
that I wasn’t
quite prepared for

And all only because the littlest one has started her first step towards an increasing independence – school.

As my emotions spin out of control, Christina Perri’s “Human” keeps playing on loop in my head. Because yes, I’m nothing but human.

In a blink…

In the blink of an eye, my children have all graduated from their baby stages and gained newfound independence and confidence.

This morning, Kee exasperatedly announced: “You guys are so slow. I’m going downstairs myself. The school bus is already here! Mommy, can I go down by myself?” To which of course I replied positively – with an understandable amount of mollycoddling mumsy concern – and he gleefully closed the gate behind him as he shouted goodbye.

Moments later, I tried to glimpse for him from the corridor, but only saw the tail lights of the school bus blinking and it drove off! So I called the driver just to double-check Kee’s safe arrival. He said: “Keegan came up the bus by himself. He said all of you were busy so he came down by himself. Your son is growing up to be very independent just like his older brother!”

*cue mom pride*

As for Josh, he has been walking himself to school for the past couple of weeks. I don’t think it started out willingly, but rather under Daddy’s constant nagging. Dad certainly doesn’t mollycoddle his future commandos like the way I do, and whenever the boys are slow or late, he yells at them to hurry up instead of helping them get dressed like the way I would. (He also often forgets to feed them breakfast, citing that the boys should be aware of their own hunger instead of being served.)

The little lady is still very little (in my eyes) but her temperament is slowly improving. Less tantrums, more manners and greater independence. She puts her empty milk bottle away in the sink each time after she’s done, and if I allow it, I’m pretty sure she would get her own snacks. Problem is, being the glutton she is, I don’t allow her to do so because she would polish off every single food item in the kitchen!

Now comes the time when I am counting down to the loss of their baby-like innocence and the gain of my long-lost freedom. It is both exciting yet sorrowful to look forward to. Thus, the neverending contradiction of motherhood.

 

Recap & Loot: Parenthood Fair 2013

I can’t deny it. I’ve got this thing for pregnancy/baby exhibitions and fairs. There’s just something about seeing lots of pregnant women and cute babies that starts some sort of unknown joy running through my body. It’s all just so… lively, you know?

So it is no surprise that I brought Lisa along to the Parenthood Fair 2013 at Singapore Expo Hall 5B today, and came home with… THIS bagful of stuff:

Were there really great deals aplenty? Not really. They just happened to have a few fairly enticing offers and some interesting new products being launched. Below is the list of items (and prices) of my loot, and I will list some of the other offers available – to the best of my partly senile mommy-brain – to help you decide if this is an event you should take time to visit.

kidzloft lootFrom KIDZLOFT booth (in clockwise direction): TAGGIES plush $23.45, Bright Starts Peek-a-boo Mirror $14.95, TAGGIES carrier cushion $11.45, Bright Starts Carrier Toybar $19.95, TAGGIES Strap Covers $7.45. All prices stated are after 50% discount. 

All items at KIDZLOFT are on 50% off as part of their 10th anniversary celebration! But as their booth at the Parenthood Fair 2013 is small-scale, you would be better off visiting their warehouse outlet at Tagore Lane instead. The 50% storewide discount will run between 11th to 16 November and there will definitely be way more items available for amazing deals than at the Fair. For more details, visit the KIDZLOFT website.

So why did I spend a total of $77.45 at their small booth? Because we don’t drive and Tagore is inaccessible for us. Also, the daughter dearest just grabbed these toys off the rack and refused to put them back… She’s a totally “pink” kind of girl.

aden+anaisFrom Global Outsource Solutions Booth: aden+anais 2-piece muslin swaddle pack at $19.90 ONLY!!

Global Outsource Solutions has got to be one of my favourites whenever they show up at baby fairs. They usually offer significant discounts on the various reputable brands under their distribution belt, including my all-time fave aden+anais! Some of brands and promotions available at this weekend’s Fair:

  • aden+anais
    • Buy 1 Get 1 Free for security blankets and burpy bibs, priced at $25.90 each
    • 20% off selected Bamboo Muslin range
    • $19.90 for the following items: 4-piece plain white muslin swaddle, plain white washcloth, plain white dream blanket & 2-piece printed muslin swaddle (as in image above)
    • $29.90 for selected sleeping bags and dream blankets
  • 3 Sprouts:
    • Hooded towels at $29.90, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
    • Discounted prices on wall organizers and other small storage solutions
  • Baby Banana Brushes
  • BabyBjorn
  • Charlie Banana: Select swim diapers/training pants at $19.90
  • Clevamama
  • Babymoov
  • Heico Lamps
  • JJ Cole
  • Mum2Mum: Select 3-piece pack bibs at $25.90. Others are Buy 1 Get 1 Free.
  • Silver Cross
  • Tommee Tippee: Full range of products available on discount!
  • Unimom
  • YBike

Apologies that I’m not able to provide a comprehensive list of discounts because certain brands/products just aren’t applicable to any of my kids anymore. Also, my brain capacity is fairly limited. :p

misc
From left to right: Munchkin Snack Tower $11.90, from Infantino booth. Dermo-Cleansing Fluid at 3 for $55, Mustela booth. Cotton Tights $8, from Luvable Friends booth.

Mustela is having great discounts off their full range, including a super-value newborn starter pack. We have been using the brand since Joshua was a newborn with sensitive dry skin, and swear by the No-Rinse Cleansing Fluid, Diaper Barrier Cream and Dermo-Cleansing Fluid (it’s a top to toe wash, in simpler terms). The entire range is suitable for sensitive skin, even with eczema cases. We use the facial cream, massage oil and I’ve used their “9 Months” range for all of my pregnancies.

And look out for the launch of an interesting new product at the Infantino booth: The Diggin Active Skootcase!

skootcase

It’s similar to the Trunki ride-on suitcase for kids, except this one allows the child to steer! The Trunki unfortunately only moves straight and can’t handle even the slightest turn (and yet we have three of those…) -_- They should have brought the Skootcase here earlier! As a special limited time launch offer, the Skootcase is now going for $69 instead of the $99 RRP. It is currently only available in pink and blue, even though it’s also available in red and purple in the Diggin Active online store. Lisa was lemming for the pink one (obviously), but I seriously don’t think we need another (overpriced) child-size suitcase in this household. Unless… they start bringing the red one in. :p

And for my final loot share… the totally unexpected purchase of some I’ve-never-seen-them-before Korean organic baby snacks.

koreanorganicsnack That little foot is in the picture because Lisa is trying to “steal” a pack to eat…

Depending on the flavour, they are either going for 3 for $10 or 4 for $10. Lisa started screaming to taste them when we walked by, and ended up wanting to buy the Cheese, Banana and Strawberry flavoured puffs. All three were priced at 3 for $10, so I bought 3 for each flavour and ended up lugging home ELEVEN packs of these snacks. Somehow the lady boss gave us 2 extra Cheese ones, saying they’re free gifts. Maybe it’s because Lisa kept screaming “mum mum!!” at their booth and then exclaiming loudly with a “mmmmm…” that drew quite a bit of attention – and business – from the nearby parents. But this little girl did NOT like the onion flavoured ones AT ALL. Her reaction was a sordid “NO!” after trying the samples. It made the staff giggle quite a bit.

CONCLUSION: Can you afford to miss the Parenthood Fair 2013?

YES. Unfortunately there really isn’t much to offer unless you’re a big fan of Mustela and aden+anais – the only two brands that are having significant discounts – or just simply like to carry home multiple cartons of diapers. More than half of the booths are a combination of blogshops, pushy insurance-type companies and baby/pregnancy related services – which doesn’t make for much to actually buy. The other half aren’t having significant discounts justifiable of a trip all the way down to the Singapore EXPO.

On the bright side, it is one of the least crowded baby fairs I’ve been to in a long while, especially since I was there from 11.30am to 2pm. Most other baby fairs usually have people queueing up prior to opening hours!

If you would still like to take a gander at some of the discounts and promotions available, click here to view the Fair’s discount brochure.

The Parenthood Fair is at Singapore EXPO Hall 5B from 8th to 10th November, 11am to 9pm daily.

Expectations Extraordinaire

I have just realised why I find mothering such an emotionally tiring task: Because I expect a lot from my children. It’s not because I’m a kiasu “Tiger Mum” (though I’d admit I am somewhat inclined to behave so in some settings) but because I believe that my kids can achieve so much more.

Take for example an article I just read in the July issue of “Young Parents”. It was talking about encouraging kids aged 5 to 6 to be more independent in preparation for primary 1; for them to get dressed on their own, wash their hands, visit the loo themselves… Honestly I was quite appalled as I read it.

My soon-to-be 3 year old is getting dressed/undressed and making loo trips on his own – even being able to clean his own ass pretty decently. No one ever helps him wash his hands, we only need to help with him with the soap dispenser in the loo. (Even I have difficulty with the button at times.) And if no one is available to help, he is smart enough to wash his hands in the kitchen sink instead where we have hand soap in a pump dispenser that’s a lot easier to manage. I cannot imagine what life would be like if at the grand old age of 5, Josh is still unable to do such simple tasks. I’d most likely go berserk going around helping him with such menial tasks daily.

Is independence such a hard thing to foster in kids from a young age that it has to be specifically mentioned in articles as part of primary school preparation??

Damn, I’m even expecting my 1-month-old to fall asleep on her own! (Of which she does so beautifully most of the time.) All it takes is a feed to keep her full, 5 minutes of hugging and lullaby-singing, then I just lay her down while she’s still awake and tell her it’s time to sleep. Most of the time she stays awake for a few minutes – inspecting her surroundings – then falls asleep on her own with no fuss.

If my 1-month-old can go to sleep on her own, I don’t see why preschoolers can’t. And while having such “high expectations” on my children does do me in while I’m training them up for it, it’s for the benefit of everyone! Parents don’t get frazzled out having to literally babysit the kids, and the kids have a sense of well-being – emotionally and physically – as they’re not reliant on others to help with almost everything.

I have totally no clue how parents of dependent children cope. And in a way, I pity the kids for not being given chances to be more self-reliant. I guess most parents just don’t realise how important the lack of independence could potentially ruin a child for life…

 

 

Lisa’s idiosyncrasies

At three weeks old, this is basically what we’ve caught on:

  • Likes being warm to the point that we constantly mistaken her for having fever. We’re talking about windows closed, fan off, wearing long sleeves and pants, and still wanting to be wrapped up in a blanket!
  • She only sleeps well in 2 positions: tummy down in her cot (the small crib in our bedroom somehow doesn’t pass her test) or within a crevice “dug out” in the beanbag. The beanbag works best during the day. Oh, and she only likes to sleep in her room.
  • Must be held for another 10 to 15 minutes after she’s done nursing. Regardless whether she’s awake or asleep, if you try to put her down to sleep immediately after a feed, the likelihood of her waking up within 15 minutes is as high as 80%. 
  • Hates being dirty. HATE. She will scream as if someone just broke her arm.
  • Ironically, she also hates being undressed but loves warm water baths. But as expected, starts screaming the moment she leaves the tub.
So far she behaves nothing like her brothers when they were newborns, but I think we’re slowly getting the hang of it. 

Poltergeist?

For the past few nights, my crazy 33-month-old keeps talking about “I’m so scared my bed turn around and around and go outside the window” every single time he goes to bed for nap or sleep. Despite being patient, reassuring, etc all good things from us parents, he never fails to bring himself into a self-induced state of panic to start screaming and crying. All whilst being 100% awake only, mind you. Once he falls asleep, he stays asleep and doesn’t wake up with any night terrors or nightmares unlike what Josh had during the same developmental phase. (Thus the total bullshit factor of Kee’s “fear”.)

While I generally hate to dismiss any of my kids’ fears – however unfounded and absurd they might be – I have very little tolerance for most anything these days being a 37-weeks very swollen preggo, so tonight I told him if he didn’t stop this nonsense I’ll just have to slap some sense into him.

He didn’t stop. So I slapped him – literally.

Then it all stopped.

So much for possible poltergeist activity in his room. -_-

Self serviced!

I can’t believe that my 33-month-old just executed a “big mission” on his own! I heard someone fiddling with a stepping stool, but didn’t think much of it until minutes later, Kee shouted: “I need help to clean! I poop!” Half thinking he had done it in his pants again like last week, I scurried to him only to find him standing outside the bathroom sans pants, his head covered in sweat. The child seat was on the toilet, with a stepping stool in front of it.

Proudly he announced with a grin: “See! All my poop inside the toilet!  See korkor, Kee Kee so clever now!” 

Oh yes, you’re clever alright. And you’re faring better than your brother did at this age!  I’m atrociously amazed that at 33 months, he had setup everything on his own and had a poop without anyone’s help – until he needed his bum cleaned anyway.

I wonder how old he’d be when he can clean his own ass… That’ll really be the day to really celebrate 100% toilet trained independence!

Mama’s Pride and Joy

It has been a triumphant day for me as a mother! Despite my pregnancy ailments, I actually managed to make a dinner of nuggets and fries, and bake a batch of butter cookies on just three hours of sleep.

Granted, I would have skipped making the cookies because my lower legs are swollen so badly and the lower abdomen cramps kept coming all day long from Lisa’s (seemingly) nonstop growth spurts. But Josh is home no thanks to HFMD and he had wanted to spend some “quality time” together by going out. Given that we’ve already splashed out $160 at the doctor’s just over the past week – 1 inner ear inflammation and 2 cases of HFMD – I had to honestly tell Josh that we’re cash-strapped and there was nothing we could do even if we went out. Fortunately it wasn’t something hard for him to understand, so he suggested we make cookies “together” instead. (However he ended up mostly watching because he claimed it was such hard work.)

There were several highlights today that made me feel extremely blessed:

  • When Kee woke up in the morning with a 100% dry diaper, smiled when I helped him brush his molars, went to pee in the potty urinal, and headed off to school sans diaper. And he said “I love you mommy. Bye!!” as the auntie helped him onto the school bus.
  • When Josh was presented with 3 egg tarts for breakfast, and he gave the brightest cheeriest grin while saying: “Mommy, I love you so much! Thank you!” 
  • When I wiped down the dining table and Josh said: “I like you mommy. Thank you for cleaning the table. You’re so nice, I want to give you a present.” It’s nice that he notices the little things I do, and how it all comes together to make our home more humane. :)
  • When I read Kee’s communication book on how his first diaper-free schoolday went, and his teacher expressed that their anxiousness was unfounded as Kee was able to express himself with ample time to be accident-free. They did, however, make him wear a diaper for naptime because they are still cautious about his bladder abilities. I’ve replied to them via the comm book that it should not be cause for concern at all since he has been napping at home the whole week (for at least 2 hrs each time) without a single accident.
  • When the boys did a happy dance and yelped as the butter cookies came out of the oven, saying: “Wow mommy! You’re so good!”
  • When Kee exclaimed he was having “stomach pain” and ended up with a successful poop in the toilet! He did his first one on Sunday evening and if all goes well, it should become a daily habit. :)
  • When I thought Kee was trying to be irritating when Josh was pooping, but in actual fact he was trying to brush his own teeth in preparation for bedtime! He started whining because he still can’t squeeze the toothpaste out onto his toothbrush. This little guy has a pretty amazing mind, because we didn’t even tell him to go brush his teeth yet! Josh usually brushes first, but I guess he figured since Josh was pooping, he might as well go first. :)
  • When I walked in on Josh reading a bedtime story to Kee. Both of them were seated on Josh’s bed, and smart Josh had picked the book with the least words “My beak, your beak”. When I praised Josh for the nice act, he said: “Because you are so tired and your legs are so swollen and fat, so I read for didi lor.” *sigh* I simply couldn’t not read to them after hearing that.

Thank you God, for blessing my day with so much maternal joy. These 2 boys are so lovely at times, it almost feels like a privilege to be their mother. On other days… oh well, let’s not talk about those today. :p

DAD vs MOM

In response to Kee playing with the flashlight:

Dad: “If you play with the flashlight, I will keep it because it’s not a toy.”
Mom: “Don’t play with the flashlight, if not later when you need it, the batteries won’t have any more power.”

I would assume the boys listen to me because I make more sense?