Published 1 August 2012
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…
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.
Published 16 June 2012
Child Capers , Mama Musings
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. -_-
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!
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
Published 20 March 2012
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?
Published 31 December 2011
Child Capers , Mama Musings
I slept most of the day away. (It’s a weekly thing required by my pregnancy, apparently. Like how I get cramps all day long each Wednesday.)
The boys was in a lot of trouble for not needing their naps, using their bedroom door as a train door and fighting constantly.
Joshua redeemed both of them when he followed the usual daily routine and showered Keegan and himself – on their own accord – at 8pm sharp. Daddy sauntered out of our room to find a clean towel-dried Keegan loitering outside their bathroom, and Josh toweling himself dry too. Both boys were squeaky clean (no sign of suds on their body!) and the bathroom had not been destroyed nor defaced.
I am amazed that my 4-year-old can take up the responsibility of showering his 2-year-old brother. Much less without any prompting from us. Seems like 2012 is going to be a great year full of love, joy and the usual sibling bickering!
The downside to having more than one child is that you have to go through potty training for each one. It doesn’t make it easier or less messy, you just learn when is best to start and how best to go through it. For me, this means several things:
- Do not attempt when child is too lazy to even walk to get his water bottle.
- Recommended not to attempt when child is unable to communicate needs.
- Let them wear comfy thin cotton shorts – easy for you to wash, easy for them to access (probably only applies to boys).
- Prepare tons of paper towels and small plastic bags for clean-ups.
- Keep the floor free from clutter. You really wouldn’t want pee (or worse, poop) on your things.
- Remind child to go toilet every so often. (This time, it’s about 1.5 hrs per reminder for Kee. Josh had to be asked every hour.)
- When accidents happen, appear nonchalant and remind them to go toilet next time. For stubborn kids who are able but forgetful, display slight annoyance.
- Cause discomfort by washing up child with cold water to deter recurrence. (This is purely because I’m a psychotic mom.)
- Do not offer treats/rewards for going to the toilet. Peeing in the correct place is a GIVEN. It should not need to be rewarded. (Yes I am a nasty mom too.)
We are halfway into the first day of things, and so far the score is:
Floor – 2
Potty – 0
Despite being able to tell me “pee pee must go toilet”, Kee insists on coming to bug me and yelling “I want bear bear candy!!” both times when he needed to pee. I have yet to figure out why.
Come to think of it, Josh was fully pee-trained at the age of 2, just before Kee was born… And he couldn’t even speak yet! Kee has some serious catching up to do!
Published 19 November 2011
Mama Musings , Pregnancy Pizzazz
Despite not being prepared for your conception, Daddy was extremely happy (and might I add, somewhat cocky) when we found out.
Please be a pretty, independent baby girl with lovely hair like your 二哥 and a sweet disposition like your 大哥.
Please also remember that while I may curse and swear about being pregnant (again), it is nothing personal and I will still love you as much as your two brothers if not more – just because you will definitely look cuter than them and not start talking back for at least a year or two. If you do turn out to a heterosexual girl, the pains and perils of pregnancy may just present themselves to you at the right time.
Until we see your cute little face, here’s Mommy telling you to grow well, be well and we’ll see you soon. Love you! <3
Despite not being one who enjoys cooking, I seem to have earned the chef’s honor. Today, Josh asked if I could cook mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrot) with butter because he was “soooo hungry”. As I was defrosting the frozen veges, Kee had to come along and declare: “Kee Kee want!” I ended up cooking with a spoon cos I had packed away all the cooking utensils.
Next thing you know, they’ll be asking for dinners that take 3 hours to prepare and homemade desserts.
So much for pre-packaged healthy snacks for convenience.