Reminisce

Back when I was a new Mum, I started a blog with a friend about our early days in motherhood. It was great, but sadly, it didn’t last for very long.

I’ve often thought of reviving it since having my second son, but have been delaying it because the site does kind of need some kind of sprucing up, and just as with every other project I hope to embark on, I am always hoping to devote enough time till I am satisfied with the result before making it public/known.

But aargh. Will it ever happen? Or will it be like almost every other motherhood related project I’ve ever dreamed up: Never executed, only to have my child grow up. Pfft.

I intended to recruit a bigger pool of writers this time, and to maybe extend the content contribution to go beyond just writing to maybe even art forms or any other kind of expression that can properly encapsulate the journey of motherhood.

So far, I’ve only mentioned these intentions to the original friend whom I started the blog with and another Mum friend. Heh. I wonder will I be creating unnecessary expectations that I can’t meet. I seem to be always doing that.

Anyway, it was kind of quaint to revisit those old blog posts and to briefly remember what it was like in Jamie’s first year of life. Oh how well I wrote back then. How I pen words these days seems to be but a shadow of my past writer self.

I can’t stay for long at the moment (isn’t that always the case nowadays?) but I’m glad I popped in.

Dear reader, I hope you are well. I certainly haven’t blogged as frequently as I had hoped (again, normal behaviour by my standards, isn’t it?) but I hope you’re still hanging on every word. Rest assured that whenever I am not posting something here I am actually endlessly thinking of what is worth writing about here. But self censorship prevails way too often, unfortunately.

Well, the morning’s coming so I’ll catch you later.

Almost there

Jamie showing his yet unborn baby brother some love.

This pregnancy is almost over and I almost cannot believe it! (I’m at Week 34, FYI.)

I guess in some ways I feel a bit sad about it all because this is likely going to be my last one. Deric has said before that ideally he’d like to stop at 2 kids, so that’s what we’ll go with (barring any accidents that might happen along the way, of course).

Jamie has been nothing short of positive this entire time, right from the moment he found out he was about to gain a sibling. I guess what helped a lot was that many of his other friends at church had also recently inherited new siblings or have one on the way. So it’s like he feels he is part of this cool growing gang of peers who have brothers and sisters and who can call themselves “Kor Kor” (big brother) or “Che Che” (big sister).

Of all things, that has been the greatest source of relief. To know that he is looking forward to this new phase of our family life, and that he intends to love his “Di Di” (younger brother) to bits.

Although we’ve been making effort do get certain things done in preparation for baby’s arrival (which is just next month aargh), it still feels like it’s not enough. We do need to step up the pace. It’s just that… it’s tiring enough as it is being pregnant, and sometimes I do feel like I’d want to be doing things I enjoy for a change and not just the stuff that needs to get done.

Due to my personal health quirks and upon recommendation of the Ob/Gyn that we are consulting, I will most probably have to go for a planned C section to deliver this baby. The very thought of it somewhat scares me because I had an emergency C section the last round and recovery was not fun at all. But I tell myself, perhaps a C section may be a good thing this time round, as it helps eliminate some of the unpredictabilities of the onset and duration of labour, and other ad hoc decisions that tend to take place in a normal delivery.

With a preschooler on hand and parents that aren’t exactly very involved when it comes to babysitting, I guess being able to say I will be delivering the baby on such and such a date and time will make things easier for everyone. Just perhaps not so convenient for me.

I do not look forward to confinement month (due to the expected painful recovery and the usual fare of responsibilities I might have to shoulder at the same time) but beyond that, it’s going to be loads of fun with 2 boys at home with me. (Not being sarcastic here, I do honestly look forward to happy as well as crazy days with them). I only hope we can continue with this arrangement of me being at home with the kids yet carrying out some form of freelance work. (Finances are undeniably a concern).

Ah, I am sharing too much personal details which may be boring you, my dear reader. But you know, some days, it feels almost as if there is no one else to listen to my thoughts or to take an interest in what’s going on at my end. So it might as well be you that’s reading this and keeping me company.

Thanks for stopping by as usual. I certainly hope to write more frequently in the coming days (I know, I know… I always say that… sigh).

Got tons that need doing around here so that’s it for now!

Provision

Life, it seems, is this odd collection of events, jumbled together in seemingly random combinations.

Just when I think I’m finally about to get a breather and play catch-up with things I’ve been neglecting for too long, something new springs up and my attention is diverted again.

For once, I actually managed to get my work done way ahead of schedule. And so I thought I’d have this considerable amount of time to get the home organised and perhaps, even be able to indulge in some hobbies for awhile.

But alas, something evil lurks about in the background. Well, somewhat.

I get a new ad-hoc request for work. My son falls sick and has to skip school.

My life is topsy turvy once again. Goodbye, plans.

I ought to get back to bed soon. I fell asleep not intending to earlier, and then was awakened twice in between all that by my son, who is currently running a fever.

I had a shower after we took his temperature and gave him meds. And now I’ve just finished having a midnight snack (way past midnight, really) of air fried frozen nuggets and lettuce with Kewpie sesame dressing. Listened to some new music via Facebook and indulged my curiosity for a bit in the singing couple, Us The Duo, who are currently doting over their firstborn infant.

Ah, why do so many women look so gorgeous post delivery and during the first year of their newborn’s life? I remember looking worse than crap and feeling pretty much the same too. I was stumped on what to wear, and struggled to locate breastfeeding friendly clothes from my wardrobe (didn’t really want to spend unnecessarily on nursing wear, so tried my best to use what I have). My hair was pretty much in a bun most of the time, unless I finally chopped more than half of it off in an attempt to simplify grooming (which I clearly had no time to do, especially in that first year of parenthood).

I guess I don’t expect to feel any better when #2 makes his/her entrance into the world. Only good thing is, as my ob/gyn says, I have the benefit of experience now. So I know what to expect, more or less. Ha.

International Women’s Day has just passed lately and being a Work-At-Home Mum (WAHM), there was no employer to surprise me with flowers or delightful treats at my (non-existent) work desk. In fact, I spent last Friday mostly working in a silent home while being grateful that I actually could find the time to work because my son could attend preschool that day as his flu seemed to be getting better. (It has since morphed into a cough and fever. Bah.)

Anyway, social media reminded me through the many posts of others that this significant day was being commemorated. So it made me think for a moment about my womanhood and how it has been so far.

In some ways, it’s sad to think that I had to choose to become a WAHM because my former employer had no options available for me to explore in terms of more flexible work arrangements. Perhaps it might have been different for my career had I been able to remain a journalist in some form or measure while raising my young son. But that was not to be.

So ultimately, being a Mum came with certain choices that needed to be made. Essentially, this is part of being a woman too. As much as men sometimes like to belittle the female gender saying we harp too much on gender equality and all that, the truth is sometimes that we do have a different set of life circumstances dealt to us just because we are female. And we do need every bit of support we can get from others (men included) to help make it possible for us to become the best people we can be. And to not let being a woman become a hindrance in any way.

Just my two cents.

On another matter, I am marvelling at how God is graciously providing for us during this pregnancy so far. I am thankful for a uni friend who so happens to be also pregnant at this time (our EDDs are like just weeks apart, with me being in the lead). We are both also expecting our second child, so that makes our experiences pretty similar in nature. This makes me feel not so alone in my journey.

I remember I had a similar situation last time during my first pregnancy with Jamie. A friend I knew from my days in iBridge (a Christian ministry to support young adults who are just entering the workforce) and I were pregnant with EDDs that were also just weeks apart.

It was cool. We shared so much with each other throughout our pregnancies, and we also discussed so much together throughout the first year of our parenthood experience. (However, things changed rapidly moving from then onwards, and we haven’t been as much in touch as before – but that is a tale for another time).

These are just little stuff, but it really does help.

Got plenty more things to be worried about this pregnancy (costs of healthcare being one), but I’m trying my hardest to take things one step at a time.

Meanwhile, I am also thinking a lot about whether I am doing enough to bring out the potential in my eldest child. I have seen him grow so much in the past few months, and I’ve never been prouder. But I also know there’s going to be a lot of changes ahead for him. I wonder whether we will be able to help him navigate through this season well.

Guess I have to trust that God will provide for us in every way, be it in terms of physical needs or even the emotional/mental/spiritual aspects of this part of our family’s journey. He has been faithful all throughout past seasons, of course, so I have literally no excuse to believe that things would be any different now.

(Small note: The image you see at the start of the post is my son’s masterpiece of arranging magnetic music notes on my old music board which my Mum kept since my preschool days lol).

Happy CNY!

Happy Lunar New Year to all who are celebrating! (Or Happy Chinese New Year, as they say over here in Malaysia).

It’s already February, and not only that, we have just whizzed past the 1 week of school holidays and it’s already over. Boohoo. 😦

To be honest, CNY isn’t quite as cheery an occasion as it used to be for me when I was younger, and mostly it’s because it is often a stark reminder of all the complex histories and offences and heartache surrounding the relationships between various family members.

What helps though is having a young soul in the family like our little Jamie here. He was all excited about the fireworks and lion dances and cheerfully giving loud “Happy New Year!” greetings to relatives as we visited their houses.

My Mum actually enlisted his help to hand out cookies when we were at their place and an uncle and his family came over to visit. Jamie took out every single snack jar and managed to successfully get every one of them to take a piece from each jar. I’ve never seen them eat so much during a CNY visitation before (at least from what I remember of past years). Haha. I guess it does make a difference when a child is around.

It’s wonderfully refreshing to see Jamie so enthusiastic about all these CNY traditions. In fact, he got really sad one time when we had to cancel a trip to a cousin’s place because they forgot about our appointment and were out at that time. So kesian.

I guess sometimes as adults, we need these reminders to find joy in the small things. I hope when Jamie gets older and more jaded about life that at least one of us in the family will still cling on to the positive perspective of things. I will certainly miss these simpler days where he is so young and easily pleased.

Tomorrow there will be a Chinese New Year party at Jamie’s school. From what the principal tells me, it sounds like it’s going to be a whole load of fun for the entire student population (which isn’t that big, since this is preschool after all heh). I’m kind of excited for what’s in store for him, and we are preparing a simple dish for him and his schoolmates to enjoy.

Just as he is levelling up in life, so are we. It’s still a fairly new thing for me to be signing as a parent for his Message Book from school, and talking to teachers etc as an authoritative figure in his life. Makes me feel so grown up. Haha. I am in charge! (Whether I handle the responsibility well enough is another matter, of course).

Speaking of parenting and family matters, there’s actually another fairly current story to tell about that. But perhaps I shall leave that for another post. Perhaps tomorrow?

Toddler time

Hello from the Land of Sloppy Kisses and Terrible Tantrums!

It’s been busy as usual over here with our bright and super active three year old. In fact, it’s been another one of those sick seasons and I am just only about to finally recover from my week long flu whilst Jamie here is still battling some unknown bugs that seem to be altering his mood fairly often. (Above is a photo him eating an extremely messy gooey chocolate pretzel on the same day that he threw up in the back seat of the car, just a few hours later.)

Well. I shouldn’t complain, I suppose. At least he’s over his fever phase. And thankfully this round Deric didn’t fall ill so at least there was one fully functioning family member around here.

Anyway, I’m not gonna dwell on the gloom and doom of Sick Season for this post. I’m actually here to blog about parenting a toddler in more general terms. I’m not writing about my parenthood journey as often as I’d like to (well, because, I’m occupied with the challenges of parenting itself hehe), but here’s one of my attempts to make up for it.

I’m writing for the benefit of the outsiders looking in. Those who have yet to navigate this wonderfully engaging and rigorously demanding phase of parenting. Or even those whose child has yet to join the real world (read: expecting). Or who are eagerly planning for a child, but have qualms about what it all entails. Hope what I pen down will be useful to you.

So here we go…

If you’ve ever wondered what the Toddler Phase of parenthood is like, this is the gist of what you’re up for: Caring for a bursting bundle of energy that’s rearing to go the moment his/her eyes flutter open in the morning and counting down the moments till the next nap/bedtime. Haha. Brace yourselves!

But honestly, it’s not as bad as some might paint it to be. Either that, or my child is unusually good natured (and I’d be inclined to believe it, seeing what a joy it has been raising him thus far).

Every child is different, as they say, but I believe there are some similarities that all parents of toddlers face:

Boundless energy. There is this trick that we parents of toddlers sometimes like to use. We conspire to put together the most intensive, energy sapping of activities back to back with the hopes of tiring our enthusiastic toddler out so they will either have a long nap (and we can get stuff done in the day time) or pass out really early at night (so we can chill or get rest ourselves). But unfortunately, this tactic does backfire. Toddlers can surprise you with the energy reserves they have. It’s entirely possible that they will keep themselves up way past what you thought was the limit of their waking hours. Or a sugary treat or cat nap may suddenly rejuvenate them and completely cancel out the outcome you were hoping for.

Genuine adoration. As naughty as they might be at times, as much as they seem all out to make your life a living hell, toddlers actually really adore you from the very depths of their heart. Every little kiss or hug, every loving phrase that leaves their lips is guileless. It’s something I love most about this stage of parenting. It warms your heart and keeps you going on the more difficult days. You can scream at them, punish them, make them cry… but in their eyes, you’re still the best person in the whole wide world. That is a lot of power in your hands. It can be misused, of course, but let it be the motivation for you to leave positive imprints on their lives.

Inability to hide. Toddlers have yet to master the art of deception, so when they do try to be manipulative or to conceal their crimes, it is often badly done and extremely hilarious. You will find yourself stifling a grin or an outburst of laughter as you are trying to discipline them. It’s such a tough thing to do. Lol.

Content with simple things. Here is another gem from the toddler phase. The fact that they are easily satisfied. Sometimes all you need is just to present them with their favourite treat or take them to that same old place that they love to play in and you have on your hands one happy little fella. (I don’t suppose it’s as easy to make them happy once they are older and more calculative, but anyway, I’ll be sure to report my findings when I finally reach those later stages). The reward for us parents is just seeing how happy it makes them to enjoy what we have given them, as cheap or trivial as it may seem to us. If only all of us could just readjust our perspective on life and live in the moment just like they do. How much more straightforward life could be… *sigh*

Desire for independence. It begins this early, yes it does! In a different form from the rebellion of teenagehood, I suppose, but nevertheless it’s there. They want to do things for themselves. It’s time consuming, it’s sometimes downright frustrating, but we should let them try. It’s something to be proud of too, when they succeed at a task they’ve been trying hard to master. And it’s made me realise too how much we take for granted all the things we are able to do effortlessly as adults. Things as simple as putting on and taking off our shoes, knowing how to open up food packaging or turning a page in a book.

There are plenty of other things I could say about raising a toddler, but I guess this should be enough for this round.

For me, living through this toddler phase with Jamie has made me reflect on what life was like back when I was younger and more helpless. It has made me ponder about what my own parents went through with me and made me view them through different lens, so to speak. I am also keenly aware (thanks to the many online articles out there talking about the fleeting moments we have with our children) of how brief this phase will be, and how quickly Jamie will grow and live his life apart from me.

I hope what I’ve shared in this post has been helpful. I’ll be back at other times with more tales to tell.