Hello! Yes it’s me. I am still alive, evidently. The blog, on the other hand, isn’t looking too great.
Well, it’s been a while and what can I say, life gets in the way. There’s always work to be done, littles to be cuddled, wine to be drunk and life to be lived. I used to think that writing was cathartic but these days, it sure doesn’t feel that way. So I took a break. Didn’t pressure myself to write.
The husband is off on one of his trips again and I have been playing the roles of both papa and mummy. It’s hard, but really not that hard because I am so used to it by now. There are days when the boys are absolute assholes and I have to channel my inner OHM to keep from exploding. Some days, I am successful. Other days, well.
Today was one of those days when I was not quite as good at keeping it together. Mr 5 was building a house using the PicassoTiles that we got him for his birthday (PS they are awesome and if you want a review, let me know!), and the house was filled with Duplo people. Inexplicably, Mr 2 (and Impossibly Cute) decided to do a Godzilla on him and stomped all over the house.
Poor Mr 5. He burst into tears and I had to wrestle the little Godzilla away. Gave him a pep talk, cuddled him a bit (just in case it was due to his love tank being empty) but it didn’t take him more than 60 seconds before he was at it again.
In short: Mr 2 was being a total asshat and destroying his big brother. Yes, that happens.
The third time they clashed, I lost it. Completely. Hauled the littlest into my bedroom and gave him a very stern talking to, accentuated with some finger wagging. I warned, I threatened, and then I forced him into his high chair to eat his dinner. He whined about not wanting dinner until I decided to let him have his fruit and main meal at the same time.
By then, Mr 5 was done with his meal and we sat at the piano together to practise, leaving Mr 2 at the table by himself. What do you know, that did the trick. The littlest calmed down and fed himself dinner while A and I tinkered at the piano. After the practice, we all sat down at the dining table to have our usual after-dinner yogurt.
“Hey Zac,” I said casually. “Is there something you need to say to gor gor?”
He nodded. “Sorry Aidan.”
“What are you sorry for?”
Without a break, he said: “Sorry for breaking your toy.”
“Aidan, didi has apologised.”
Aidan didn’t bat an eyelid as he replied, “It’s okay.”
In one evening, my little people taught me two things. Never be afraid to apologise for something you did wrong and never hold on to grudges.
I am getting better at saying sorry as the years go by (getting older and mellower and all that haha) but I have a hard time letting go. Not deliberately but sometimes I have a tendency to relive certain moments and conversations. I replay them over and over again, wondering if I could have done or said things differently.
But look at my five-year-old. He forgives so easily. In the next moment, they are the best of playmates again. He doesn’t forget – he sometimes stuns us with his memory – but he doesn’t hold it against people. He moves on with his life and he continues loving with his heart.
So yes, my kids teach me about life and living every day. While there are days that are harder than others, I still thank my lucky stars that I have them.
We are delighted to introduce our latest little bub on Bubsicles…
… Baby Candace!
The tiny one arrived on 15 June (yes, sorry that we’re now into July and this news is no longer as HOT AS THIS HORRENDOUS WEATHER. UGH.)
We look forward to sharing more snippets of our chaotic life with 3 kids 3 years & under on this blog.
But for now, this mama needs to get some beauty sleep.
The past week has been a bit of a downer for me.
For starters, the boys’ coughs got better and then THEY GOT WORSE. I was all HURRAH! when Aidan started hacking again, and then Zac’s nose started dripping. That limp and deflated balloon sobbing in the corner? Yeah, that’s me.
They now sound like a truckload of phlegm is stuck in their chests and we have taken to sucking out the gross stuff from Zac’s nose three times a day because it’s affecting his breathing. He, of course, HATES it and screams bloody murder. Don’t quite blame him, though.
(Tangent topic, you got to have a NoseFrida Snot Sucker in your arsenal if you don’t already. This thing is GENIUS at removing disgusting mucus and snot from the littles’ noses.)
Anyway, so yes, sick babies equates shitty sleep.
The amount of work at, well, work has been piling up for me as well. I am literally flying by the seat of my pants these days. I do what I need to complete in a day just to meet my deadlines and then, crap, it’s 6pm and I have to drop everything to pick up my boys. I rush out of the door, grab Child #1 from daycare, grab Child #2 from GrandMotherCare (GEDDIT!!) and then drive like a possessed woman home.
Once home, I feed the kids, feed myself, break up fights and then haul them both into baths. I scrub one, scrub the other and then dry them both. Once they are moisturised and massaged like little Kobe cows, I stuff them into their jammies (one is usually kicking and screaming and twisting away like the scary thingamajig on The Poltergeist), turn on the AC and flop onto bed with a huge sigh of relief.
BUT WAIT. It’s not over.
I read books, bounce babies and dish out hugs before the lights go down and I attempt to put Child #2 to bed before 8pm. After what feels like an eternity, he goes down and Child #1 and I proceed to the other room while we sing, play puzzles and make believe that we are being chased by sharks. Finally, he stops chatting to drift off into sleepy land at about 915pm.
By which time, I am ready to call it a day too.
So, last week.
I sat down in the bathroom one evening in exhaustion. I felt so overwhelmingly bogged down by the daily routine. While I knew that it was not forever, I simply lacked the energy to carpe, as they say, the freaking diem. Day in day out, it was all the same, and in the process of juggling all these hats, I was losing a piece of myself. When I am not working, I am trying to be the best mum to my kids. When the kids are asleep, I am busy with the home front.
How do I do this?
I suppose the answer is simple, I don’t have to be the perfect anybody. In my drive and desire to ensure that everyone is happy, I forget that I have to be happy too. There are many things to be thankful for, certainly, but at the same time, I came to the realisation that I have to be selfish sometimes. If saying “no” at work, to my mother, to my in-laws, to my kids, to my husband means I get a sanity break, I will do it.
The school held a celebration for mothers on the Friday before Mother’s Day.
The event clashed with a lecture at work that I had been keen to attend. But I knew what I had – and deep down in my heart, wanted – to do.
Besides, the last time I skipped a presentation that Coco’s class put up after a speech & drama holiday workshop, I was confronted with a pitiful “Mummy didn’t go”, to which I could only dredge up a feeble, “I’m sorry, mummy had to be at work.” (Oh, the guilt, THE GUILT.)
Heck, even when I sat out on a weekly visit to the in-laws, and greeted the girls and husband with open arms when they returned, Claire centred an accusatory finger between my eyes and menacingly deadpanned, “YOU. DIDN’T. COME.” Gulp. Hell could have frozen over under her icy Claire Bear stare.
My mum accompanied Claire to her playgroup activity (because it’s not humanly possible for me to be in 2 classes at the same time) while I waited for Coco’s nursery class to make their entrance. Seeing her clutching her hand-made flower pot filled with colourful paper blooms and her little face searching anxiously for me in the crowd of mothers made my heart wrench with the realisation of how much she must have been anticipating this moment. I can only say that I’m proud of myself (and hugely relieved) at having held myself together even though those few minutes of song, dance and gift presentations almost reduced me into a bawling, blubbering mess. [Of late, I’ve been under the ruthless assault of these damn pregnancy hormones and anything – even friggin’ mall advertisements for Mother’s Day (yes, Yann, I’m talking about the one you shared on the Bubsicles Facebook page) – make me look like I’ve been chopping enough onions to fill a room.]
Amongst the Kodak moments of proud mothers and delighted children, I spotted the little ones.
The little ones who clutched paper bouquets for no one. The little ones who returned their crepe flowers to the teachers for safekeeping till evening. The little ones who obediently went through the motions of singing and dancing but remained rooted to the spot while their friends ran into their mothers’ embrace. The little ones who partnered the teachers during the mother-child aerobics segment. The little ones with glum, downturned mouths and stone faces – hardened by the effort to hold back tears while the teachers offered words of comfort that “Mummy will come later, okay?”
It broke my heart. And yet, all I did was to helplessly continue bopping to the beat of the workout (and to Coco’s complaints of the outdoor heat – yes, she is one fragile thing.)
I wondered why their mothers weren’t there. It was all too easy assume that they had chosen work over children. Too easy to write them off as “working mothers”, “corporate warriors” and “career women”. Too easy to be all judge-y and self-righteously tut-tut that they could have made more effort. Too easy to feel one-up against these mothers.
But it couldn’t have been easy for these women to make that choice not to be there. Maybe they were healthcare workers who couldn’t get time off. Maybe they were teachers who had to be in school to help other women’s children deliver the joy of Mother’s Day while missing out on receiving this very same gift. Maybe they were community helpers whose services were very much needed by the less fortunate. Whatever the reason, it couldn’t have been easy to sacrifice their special time that day for others.
As sorry as I felt for their kids that morning, I knew that these women weren’t any less of a mother than I was simply because they were absent from an hour-long school activity. I fervently hoped that they wouldn’t be too hard on themselves for not being there.
With that, and Coco’s tiny hand in mine, I hurried to join Claire and her classmates in decorating cards for their mothers – including those who couldn’t be there.
And that’s okay. Because no one is judging.
I don’t know how it happened but in the blink of an eye, my little squishy newborn became a toddler. Elliott is now 14 months old. His personality is coming through and he now takes up twice the amount of space on the bed. This also means that I have been getting this question ALL. THE. TIME. From the random stranger at the playground to the colleague that I speak to once every few months. This question comes up every single time, even when we are chatting about completely unrelated topics. They take on a couple of permutations:
- “So when is Number 2?”
- “Planning for Number 2?”
- “Time for Number 2!”
- “So are you going to have Number 2?”
You get the idea. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is concerned about Number 2. I have started to dread the question as much as the other question we had to put up with pre-Elliott. For the record, that other question was “Planning for baby?”
Number 2. That elusive Number 2.
Truth be told, I would love for Elliott to have a sibling. I grew up with a sister and it is wonderful having someone to share (and fight over) toys with, chat to and hang out.
The thing is, it took us a long time before Elliott came into our lives. I remember my BFF saying that people jump through hoops. We had to jump through fire hoops and hungry lions waiting below. It was a good and apt metaphor.
In simple words, the fact that we are parents today is nothing short of a miracle.
Which is why my heart breaks just that little bit whenever someone asks me about Number 2. Because it was such a difficult journey getting our Number 1. We are thankful every single day for him and I do not actually dare dream of a Number 2.
As the husband wisely said: Elliott is a blessing. Anything else is a bonus.
Yes, yes and YES. He is a our miracle baby. We have a healthy and happy baby today and we feel immensely blessed. It would be lovely to have Number 2 but if it doesn’t happen, we will be ok.
I just wish people would stop asking me about Number 2 because I have run out of polite things to say.
“Yes yes, soon.” I’d usually mutter with a smile. “Not now la. Must wait until Elliott is older”, but this doesn’t quite work because I then get chided for waiting because I am “no longer young”. Thanks. That was nice.
So the next time you meet someone and feel inclined to ask them about their personal life (why they are single, why not have a kid, why not have a second kid, blah blah blah), do stop and think. And think again.
Then shut up. And compliment them on the nice dress that they are wearing, or complain about the terrible weather.
Many a times, that happy smile belies a long and heartbreaking journey. And it is not nice to dredge it up repeatedly.