Why every mother should have a daughter

Before I had Lisa, I was constantly asked why did I have two boys and not a single daughter. First off, that question is a bit dumb, considering that a child’s gender is hardly decided by the push of a button. Secondly, I never felt any sort of “lack” from not having a mini-me. Sure, it’s cute and fun to dress up little girls, but considering how whiney most of them are, it kinda throws me off my boat just thinking about having them. Boys, on the other hand, with their (mostly) boisterous rough and tumble attitude are generally easier to care for – both financially and psychologically. That said, it definitely irks me when the boys mumble. -_- C’mon, you’re a man, SPEAK UP!

When Lisa arrived, I did not feel any difference towards her as I did to her brothers when they were newly born. She looked… androgynous (like almost all babies) and behaved no different than the boys did as they wailed to breastfeed and wailed to get changed, etc etc. Then… something magical happened.

She grew into this tiny little walking, talking baby doll that looked so much like me when I was her age. She adored all things pink, and would pick up any toy that was girl-specific. She would play with her hair, and asked for me to fiddle around with whatever little she had growing on her head. She giggled and grabbed at all things shiny, pretty or Hello Kitty. One of her first words were “Kitty” in fact, right after “papa”, “mommy”, “gorgor” and “eat”. She was so ultimately girly that it was hard not to bond with her.

She also shows great cognition at a terribly young age. Understanding concepts and emotions that the boys weren’t able to. Just the other day, Keegan received a scolding and started to cry. She rushed off to grab a tissue and wiped his tears, telling him: “二哥, don’t naughty ok? Mommy love you, right?”
She gave me a dirty look, as though I did something bad. Then, she reassured that her brother was loved: “二哥 be good boy k? Come, Lisa hug hug. I love you.”

The tenderness she displays towards everyone just melts my heart. And at barely 2.5 years old, she would often ask: “Mommy, are you soooo tired? Go, lie down. Lisa (can) play (by herself).” 

This little girl just loves and loves, and tickles my socks off whenever she helps “take charge” on my behalf. She would clap her hands to get the boys’ attention, yelling instructions like “Booooys! 来! Dinner time now!” or “Oh my god, so messy!! Booooys! PACK UP NOW!”

How could any mother not possibly love a child like that? 🙂

Now, I am unsure if all girls are as adorable and sensible as this, but it must be a gender difference since I raised all my kids the same way and none of the boys were ever as sensible and loving as this.

As for myself, I’ve seen a surge in patience and love as a mother that I never seemed to have achieved before. Despite her illnesses, vomiting in the middle of the night, and dramatised “OH MY GOD MOMMY, MY NAIL POLISH SPOIL”, I find that I hardly get irritated with her. (Maybe this is favoritism, I cannot be sure.)

I only know I enjoy any time I get with her, and cannot get enough of her antics and requests. Despite the countless times she asks me to tie up or blow dry her hair, or how many times she would try on shoes at the stores, or how she would go through several outfit changes a day… Well, you get my drift. 🙂

 

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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. 🙂

Older and jader.

I’m pretty sure age has caught up with me, because things that used to seem SO IMPORTANT are now like… pffffft.

The fancy weddings that last only a night, its memories though may endure a lifetime yet brings nothing more to a marriage except its hefty bill.

True, I might still wish for a lavish wedding if I was rich enough… But nah, I’d rather have that money for a trip around (half) the world and a shitload of fancy things. :mrgreen:

If these young ‘uns are gonna have kids, they probably have no idea what’s coming for the rest of their lives… *evil chuckles*

Hopefully one day I will see through “much needed vacations” for what little significance they really hold. Meanwhile, I’ll just have to learn to make the best out of the 3D2N Legoland trip that the kids so enthusiastically paid for. (Expenses excluded, of course.) But w00t my kids are bringing me on a vacation!

It’s not the gifts.

I have come to realise that the reason why I shun my own birthdays is because no one bothers to celebrate it with me. It’s not about the gifts, but the fact that nobody actually wants to spend the day with me.

Maybe it’s because I’m a terrible person. Maybe I have severe body odor. I don’t know, and honestly at 31 now, I probably shouldn’t even care anymore. Except I do.

It’s about the chalet BBQ where few turned up and proceeded to cluster among themselves instead of around the birthday “celebrity”.

It’s about the year where the husband almost forgot my birthday.

It’s about the time when I was 9 (or 10) and my mom slapped me in front of all my birthday party guests.

This year, I thank the special people in my life who took the time, effort and money to send gifts and spend time with me:

  • Elaine, who sent a Starbucks gift card all the way from Hawaii
  • Charlotte & Ben, who brought their 2 boys and a large durian cake, along with Hello Kitty pastries from Breadtalk
  • Joshua, my firstborn, who gave me 50 cents to “go holiday with daddy”
  • my mom-in-law, who delivered a velvet miu miu angbao  with $xxx inside

As for the husband… more could be done after all that he’s fucked over. So no special mention for him. *flips hair*

 

 

31.

A not-so-happy birthday to me. The boys nearly toppled the entire fridge yesterday.

Fortunately Josh was strong enough to push the fridge back in place, but it couldn’t prevent all the food from falling out. Sigh. Naturally I went berserk and got all ape-shit on them. On the bright side, no one was hurt (except the eggs that were broken).

There are no plans for any celebration of any sort. Not sure if there will even be a cake, since there has been no talk of it.  Everyone has gone on their usual routine, and so must I. So when asked about my birthday plans for this “special day”, I have simply been telling everyone this is what I’m going to do:

  • clean the floor
  • do the laundry
  • take care of Lisa
  • pick up Josh at 1pm
  • pick up Kee at 5.30pm

Yup. Those are my grand plans for turning 31. Basically the same shit that I do every weekday. Nothing special about today at all except legally I am now 31.

2014 has been an awful year so far. Hopefully since everything has pretty much been rock bottom, the only way left now is to UP. *fingers crossed*

 

One day I might write a book…

And title it “Married to a Pathological Liar”…

Barely a month into 2014, and already it has delivered its first major bomb of the usual “promise made just to be broken”.

I need more freedom to achieve my own financial independence, so I need not rely – let alone trust – a man with my own happiness. I’m going to take that trip to Disneyland on my own. No, it’s not going to be the same, but it beats waiting around for it to happen. Especially when I’m waiting for it to come from someone who has repeatedly lied so many times over.

Screw romance. I’d rather fly solo.

Vacation Options

✓ limited budget
✓ limited babysitting options
= very limited options
= no choice
= no vacation

Somehow when he said we would go for a holiday again for our 9th wedding anniversary cum my 31st birthday, I had already foreseen this coming… but I decided to give it the benefit of doubt. Now I wonder why I was positive-minded enough to do that – repeatedly.

Like a fool being taken on a (figurative) ride, I am.

Liberation of the 30-year-old brat

As the year draws close to an end, I’m once again emotionally charged as I do with the turning of each new year; looking back at 2013 is somewhat spiritually satisfying, yet sordid in its ways.

The Coming of the Storm
The year started like every other – typical of my stay-at-home mom lifestyle – yet with one significant difference: I was undergoing psychiatric help for postpartum depression. You know what they say about the rainbow after the storm? I think that is how I am living now each day; fresh air in my head and rainbows in my heart now that the storm is finally over. It has felt like a long journey, from the start of my pregnancy with Lisa until she was around 9 months old. The accidental pregnancy came as a joy but reality (and my somewhat unrealistic expectations) slowly turned my life into a painful dread, dragging along the lives and emotions of the people around me…

I don’t remember exactly how or why it happened but I would believe it started when I had to be on bed rest due to a low-lying placenta that was threatening to fully detach itself and kill my unborn child. Forced to stay home each and every day brought on a sense of loss I cannot begin to describe… All the living I was missing out, and how much more I would continue to lose out on after having a third child… Almost all my “good years” had already been given to my first two children, and turning 30 wasn’t going to make things better. I had always dreaded the big three-O, and arriving at it as the main caregiver of 3 kids, still no driving license (let alone a car), no stash of cash parked away, no fancy things to my name… It grew into something I could not live with.

Throw in the handful of (eventually broken) promises Hubs made when we found out about the pregnancy, life seemed out of control and pointless. It was as if I would never get to where I wanted to be.

The Daily Storm
For the first six months of Lisa’s life, I spent most of my time escaping reality through slumber. Whenever I was awake, I would either be yelling or crying. I was always angry, lost, upset. I would look at my beautiful baby girl and feel a mixture of awe and awful. Days blurred, I lost track of time, each day was a challenge on its own.

My marriage started falling apart because I couldn’t let go of what Hubs had promised but did not deliver: the doula he said he would get for me, a vacation, more time and attention for me during my pregnant days. In stark contrast, the reality was him working overseas several days at a time, back to back around major Southeast Asia cities during my pregnancy. One time I had to carry the 19-kg firstborn to the doctor for his HFMD when I was seven months pregnant.

Then when the baby arrived, Hubs left me home alone with my freshly healing third C-section operation and a wailing newborn on the first day I was discharged from the hospital. Imagine that! I was popping powerful painkillers every 3 hours just to not feel like dying. (On this topic, I would like to add each consecutive C-section is more painful and takes longer to heal. True story.)

He said he would take care of me throughout the duration of my pregnancy, but the truth was he did not (and could not). We went through two bouts of HFMD – in Nov 2011 and March 2012 – and both times he was not even in the country. There was only so much a weak-willed woman like me could withstand without crumbling. So we started fighting. Each and every day, there was always something I could bring up from yesterday or 8 years ago that could start a row. I was unhappy and I made sure he knew it.

The fights brought us to the brink of divorce. The in-laws were told, the close friends knew. Everyone told us to mend the relationship, but I was too far gone into my own self-afflicted sorrow. I even went to the extent of throwing him (and his things) out of the house.

Then one day, my mom-in-law handed me a stack of dollar notes and said (in Chinese): “Shelly, be good. Go see a doctor for this. There is something wrong with you emotionally and we are not going to sit and watch you spiral. Before you decide if this marriage should be ended, you should still get yourself better. For yourself and for the kids.” 

So I did. And it was the best damned thing anyone has ever told me to do.

Mending The Soul
With my emotional healing, there came a need to heal the marriage that was now basically torn to shreds by my vindictive bitterness. There was essentially nothing really wrong about my husband, just the usual male-oriented carelessness and a myriad of other little issues. As a father he’s great, but as a husband there is often a lack of affection and *ahem* resources. I cannot begin to count the number of things he said he would get for me but still have not. (9 years and counting for some.)

So he took us to Bangkok in February 2013, just the two of us (and Lisa because she was breastfeeding). Finally we went on this “honeymoon” we had talked about so much through the years but never got round to doing. There was always the issue of babysitting and finances. ALWAYS. I came back a new woman. It was like an invisible boulder was lifted off me and I could breathe again. The numbness in my heart started fading away with the completion of one of the many promises we had. Finally, something had been done. There was hope again. Maybe this man isn’t just full of big words and little action. (But sad that it had to take a major emotional breakdown to finally kickstart something.)

The recovery process could not have been possible without the support of my bestie. She would sit through entire nights with me, talking it out with me until dawn broke. She lent me her eyes for a different view of the situation, something that was sorely needed. Through her eyes, I saw the beauty of my accidental daughter and how damn lucky I am to have what I have despite of it all. Sure, things could be better, but it could also be a lot shit worse. Why compare with the grass on the other side since you’re not on there and can’t ever be?

And while I can never regain the precious first 9 months of my daughter’s life that I’ve unwittingly thrown away, I have the rest of my life with her. I’ll be damned if I am going to live it out with guilt and screw that up again. Ironically, while I initially cursed at God for granting me an unwanted child, I now cannot give thanks enough for bringing this beautiful little angel into my life. Daughters are so precious, everyone should have one! :mrgreen:

Growing The Mind & Heart
While my relationship with the mom-in-law had been decent ever since I gave her grandbabies, we grew closer than ever after my ordeal. Now we often talk on the phone about everything and nothing. She’s become the mother that I always wished I had! The husband and I have also grown closer and our marriage is stronger than ever. The kids, well, they’re still the same kids except they now know mom has the ability to go “all loco” too just like on TV. 😆

And as the pieces of me starting falling back into place better than ever, there came a change in attitude. I got myself a work-from-home job that pays fairly well, started going to the gym again, cooking for the family, spending more time with the kids, keeping in touch with friends. You know, the stuff that actually matter. I stopped pining over the things I couldn’t have and couldn’t be, and started trying to be a better version of me. I even started a small sum of savings, something I never could have done previously due to my “shopping to fill a void” habit.

With all the little changes that took place over the span of 2013, I have become a better and happier me. Someone who finally has her priorities right: Family, friends, finances (in that order); and no longer needs to be a mean bitch to get her way because she can look past it. To let go is to let myself live happily. I don’t know why that took so long to get into my thick head, but I’m glad I finally got it. I have never felt more carefree in all my years, now that a lifetime of bitterness has been laid to rest. I see with renewed clarity and resolution, especially on the things that matter. In celebration of my (way overdue) wisdom, I got a new tattoo that also serves as a reminder of what’s important.

An EKG-inspired design that reads “love life”: symbolic that as long as my heart is beating, I will love life for what it is.

Christmas of 2013 – The Best One Ever Had
This weekend, as our family of five celebrated Christmas with a Swedish dinner buffet at IKEA and festive partaking at Universal Studios Singapore, I was overwhelmed countless times by the simple joy of us being together. We talked and laughed throughout our 2-hour dinner, despite the oppressive diners who insist in snatching up food and us initially not even having a table. Josh muttered to himself with a smile several times throughout the meal: “It’s a good day! It’s a good day!” Kee had an extra bag of his usual funny antics and was impeccably well-behaved. And Lisa, oh our dear Lisa, was just happily stuffing her face with chocolate desserts and giggling from the sugar high.

At Universal Studios, as we huddled together under the (fake and foamy) snow, surrounded by cheery festive tunes, my eyes welled up. Our children full of glee marveling at the “snow” and I was there to share it with them. We shouted Merry Christmas to each other and exchanged kisses. It was a beautiful moment. This is what life should be about. This is what living should feel like. Sure, there will always be shitty days, but THIS is what I am going to live for.

The boys experiencing “snow” for the first time at Universal Studios Singapore!

Dinner at Chili’s was enjoyable again as well, heaps of laughter and good spirits going around the table. The boys had free flow drinks with their kids’ meals, and Kee was up to his usual nonsense saying he was going to drink “soooooooo many cups of Fanta Orange because can top up what.” We tricked Lisa into eating the mashed potato even though she had made it very clear she hated it and wanted the fries instead. Everyone laughed at her expense, and yet she giggled along with us, even making funny faces to entertain us.

Lisa being funny during dinner. Hehe.

A post shared by Shelly (@whimsg) on

Then to keep the festive mood going, we came back home and opened presents! No one received anything expensive or fancy (Hubs didn’t even get a gift at all *gasp*) but everyone was happy. Josh received an Angry Birds pajama set, Kee got a dark grey hoodie jacket (so that he can look that Darth Vader or Batman he says) and Lisa loved her new dresses and Hello Kitty bracelet. Hubs got me the GUND Boo plushie that I had been eyeing for months but refused to buy because it’s a non-essential. It’s a good Christmas, the best by far. 😀

Merry Christmas & Happy 2014, everyone. I hope the new year brings you spiritual abundance and the best days you will ever live. I know I’m looking forward to more great moments like these!

Browsing the Blues away…

If only I could hit the CHECKOUT button without consequences…

I don’t know why I waste my limited time like this
staying up way past bedtime
adding things I want
into virtual shopping baskets…

But never ever hitting the “checkout” button and paying for them

Maybe it soothes the savage shopping beast within me
by tricking my mind into thinking we’re actually buying all that stuff
A coping mechanism maybe
Or maybe I just like to play pretend because
I have nothing better to do that makes me
temporarily happy

But the truth is
I DO WANT TO PAY FOR THOSE THINGS
the only problem is
I just don’t have that kind of money

No, not even $171.68. =(

Letters to Santa

Many many years ago, when I was still a little girl, it was always around this time when I would start penning extravagantly long wish lists to Santa – asking for typical childhood desires like puppies, pretty dresses and new toys.

In the midst of material things I wished to own, there would always be one that wasn’t quite so superficial: For my mom and dad to stop fighting. And even though no one ever came right out to tell me that Santa didn’t exist (anymore), I eventually stopped believing in Christmas Magic because that wish never came true.

Now as a parent, I am wondering if I should encourage my kids to write letters to “Santa” so I can slyly find out what their true desires are. Needless to say, the psychic mom in me can almost predict that Josh will have a list containing stuff like Angry Birds Telepods, trips to snowy destinations, and other typical kid stuff. But part of me does wonder… would he ask Santa to make his mommy “less fat”? :mrgreen: