Monthly Archives: December 2014

Our 2014 in summary

2014 was a year about happy family time.

In a blink, another year had gone by. For us, the turn of a year was more definitive than ever because we would end the year with Z’s birthday and commence the new year with X’s birthday. To be honest, it seemed all too fast to us.

It was at the start of this year when we celebrated X’s first birthday. It coincided with the changing to a new job. 2014 was a refreshing year. There was much more to learn but I was also blessed with more time for family. With more time for family, we taught Z how to read, how to scoot on a 2-wheeler and how to cycle without the training wheels.

This was also the year where we saw Z’s babyish looks disappear. This transformation was also a reflection of his maturity. He was a full fledged K1-er and there was a really marked difference. We had many quality conversations, and we taught him how to continually try and thrive. We taught him to always put in his best efforts and gave him lots of time to play.

At the same time, X was growing into a toddler. We had funny moments, we had frustrating moments but his cute acts would grow on us. We were also finally unlocking the key to his terrible twos, though he had yet to turn 2. I loved his babyish-toddlerly looks. I loved how he would scream “Mummy” both in excitement and bossiness.

This year, we brought the boys to Bali, Korea, Malaysia’s Legoland and Australia. We created these special travel memories for the boys to grow up with and for family bonding.

In this year, we had also been able to spend more time with family, friends and even made new friends from work and community.

I had to thank 2014 for blessing us with a year of health, love, safety and happiness for  our family and friends. I hoped that 2015 would be a wonderful and blessed year.

I hope to have more time on my hands in 2015. With the boys being older, probably less of a handful or I assumed, and lower learning curve in my job as compared to freshly embarking on it, perhaps we could find the chance to help other people in our own ways. I also hoped we could guide Z to become a better boy than he is, to be able to give X undivided attention more and to jet off somewhere with Mr H for a 2-persons’ holiday.

P.S: We had never travelled for leisure without the kids.

Anyhow, here’s to a Happy 2015 to all, especially to my friends who were expecting Jubilee babies!

The weekend for us

A typical weekend for us would be soccer class on Saturday morning. We would usually head out after Z’s soccer and that would be around 1130am. A Saturday afternoon was always short lived. There would usually be a birthday party, some shopping and presto, it would be dinner with the family or friends.

On Sundays, sometimes we would have brunch/dim sum dates or if we chose to laze at home, we would bring the kids down to the pool. The part time help would be over too. Out of 4 Sundays, one of the Sundays would be dedicated to facial and manicure/pedicure.

By afternoon, Z would go for swimming at 3-4pm. After which, we either run errands, go for afternoon tea, shop or meet some friends. For the last few weeks, it was to shop for Z’s party stuffs.

Sunday evenings were wrapped up with dinner at my parents’ place. With that, a weekend would be gone in a flash. I suspected the lessons took up significant time in a weekend. I missed having the flexibility of planning cycling to East Coast Park or even to Bishan Park for that matter.

For the upcoming year, I would probably shift Z’s swimming class to a later slot.

We would continue with soccer, not because Z was a prodigy, but because it built stamina and instilled a sense of discipline. I liked how it toughened him up and would be helpful in going to primary school.

As for swimming, we would like him to continue till he cleared all the strokes he had to know.

Meanwhile, X would turn 2 in a few weeks’ time. We were looking to start him on swimming in 2016 July because Z had started at that age too. The routine for 2015 should be largely the same as 2014, unless we could find some music based lessons for X. We were quite happy that Z had mastered cycling and scooting on 2-wheels. We were thinking of letting him learn rollerblading. I could almost see the kids’ learning roadmap plotted against our weekends.

In terms of holidays, there would be a cruise in Jan and a trip to Bali in February at the moment. What laid beyond, we had yet to establish.

Come 2016 when Z would start on primary school and X to started N1, it should be quite chaotic.

Recapping our typical weekend in 2014, envisioning the next year of weekends and possibly the next, next year of weekends, did someone say parenting was life-changing? 😂

Growing tantrums

If there was a growth spurt for breaking into tantrums, that was what we had been going through. Inconsolable moments triggered by nothingness. There was a Saturday morning when X woke up and cried the entire morning away. There were intermittent breaks but the gist was there.

As problem solvers, we thought hard on how we would like to crack this puzzle.

What didn’t work:
1. Giving in
2. Stooping down to his height and talking to him gently
3. Pretending to throw a tantrum like him (Distracting him)
4. Finally understanding what he wanted

What worked:
1. Playing with water

Lesson learnt and reiterated – A problem could not be solved at the level it was created at.

Squabble over toys

Z had always been a really good brother. He was known in school to be very nice and giving too.

It surprised me when he took over a toy from X.

X had been playing with a toy when it slipped out of his grasp. Z immediately picked it up and played. X flew into a mad temper because Z had taken over just like that. Z, on the other hand, felt that X had stopped playing with the toy.

While I did not expect my firstborn to always give in to X, I would not want him to be seen as a bully in the eyes of his brother. To placate X, I asked Z to return the toy to X.

Of course, I knew Z would be upset.

I explained to him that I was not forcing him to give in to X in this instance. He had read the situation wrongly and X had still wanted to play.

1. Z was leveraging on the fact that he was older, faster and stronger to take over the toy. It was a case of ‘bullying’. I asked him if Superheroes used their powers to help others or to help themselves first. The strong should protect the weak and not take the chance to walk over the weak.

2. If Z continually did this, jumping on the toy as though it was free game when it fell, X would do this to him in future. Was this what Z want to teach X?

3. Ownership of toys – who ultimately paid for all the toys at home? In name, most of the toys were under Z. If Z really wanted to lay claim to the toys as ‘his toys’, it was unfair that X, the latecomer, would have lesser toys to his name. To balance that, it meant Mr & I would need to buy more toys for X to adjust the equation. Did it make sense to have duplicates of everything or the potential to have new, interesting toys?

Z understood the concept vaguely, and it was for us to remind him constantly.

Trying

It would seem that the resilience spirit in my little boy took a break. Z was back to his ‘I cannot do this’ phase recently.

We had been away for a 2-weeks holiday so Z did not practise his swimming. When we were home, I asked him to practise his ‘freestyle’ strokes. He told me that he forgot the strokes. Fair enough, we understood that children had these moments when they were out of practice. The next day, after his swim class (which I observed that he was too busy playing and chatting to pay attention), Z said he remembered his freestyle strokes. I told him that we had a bit of time and to ask his coach if he could practise freestyle swimming in the main pool.

Z immediately replied, “No, I cannot ask. He will scold.”

To me, it was either a fear of asking questions or trying to get out of swimming. I asked him to try. There was no harm in making the request, the worst was being rejected. Z refused to ask and gave the same reason that his coach would scold.

I did not want Z to grow up to be a boy who was afraid to ask questions and speak up. I was very firm and he still refused to ask. I had no idea why he was so fixated in his thinking without trying. Eventually, I ‘stormed off’ and told him that he was apparently only afraid of scolding by his coach. He seemed to have forgotten that I could scold him too.

In the end, after the melodramatic fanfare, he asked and the coach agreed. I was not expecting the moon. I only wanted to see that he really remembered the freestyle strokes like what he had claimed. Z also learnt that there was no harm in asking questions.

There was another day when he brought his iMath kit home. I asked him on how to use some of the tools. He simply said he forgot and did not want to try. It was certainly a frustrating moment that he forgot our emphasis about trying. No wonder that was how the Chinese saying went, “,“.

Boxes

This is not about Boxing Day, but about the piles of boxes we have been collecting since deciding to do a Gotham themed party. We have loads to do for the party.

There was a time when we returned from Friday night dinner and shopping with friends. We were so tired but we still stayed up to paste stickers on the water guns for the party. We even discussed the flow of program for the party.

It was nearing midnight when I said,”I really have too many ideas some times. Look when it landed us!”

Mr H did not say a thing but still patiently continued what he was doing. That was the best thing about Mr H. He was always supportive, no matter if I had crazy ideas or if I had wrong judgements (which was rather infrequent)! I put us through so many man hours of preparation. He definitely was the better handyman of the two and ended up doing a lot more menial work.

It was important to find the best project mate in our lifetime. Someone who would support, trust and go through thick & thin with you. Someone who believed your ideas and accompanied you all the way. Someone who loved you no matter how much you veered off the tangent.

Christmas baby

5 years ago, we spent our Christmas Eve countdown with a midnight movie and were even half tempted to watch a 3am movie prior to reporting to the hospital for the 7am surgery.

I was not able to anticipate what life would be like 5 years’ later. Now that I was at the 5-year mark, the entire parenting journey was nothing short of amazing, frustrating and yet, rewarding. It was rather warped to think of it as rewarding considering the amount of energies and resources zapped up.

Being a really young mother amongst our peers, I guessed I had taken parenting rather differently. Being Gen-Ys (at least the Gen Y parent in the household had more influence), we were more hands on and intimate with our children. We had been fiercely independent, debunked myths and created our own rules because we understood every child was different. We did not subscribe to the mainstream thoughts but chose to analyze the situation as a whole and designed our own solution. We taught him the way of life, we taught him to dream big, we taught him the importance of fighting spirit, we taught him to respect the boundaries and yet learnt when to challenge the limits.

We taught him the best we could based on what we read, what we saw, what we experienced and what we knew.

We spoilt him because we loved him so much that we wanted to give him the best of everything.

Yet, because of how much we loved him, we knew we had to refrain ourselves from giving him everything we could afford. That would grant him a sense of entitlement which we knew would bring more harm than help. We had to restrain ourselves, we had to be firm and even disciplined him when the need arose.

We hoped that Z would grow up to be a fine man who could contribute to the society and the world. We might be from a little red dot but I knew that Z would always be a special boy who could touch the lives of people around him.

It was also very timely that shortly after I wrote this entry, I came across this article on how to make our kids more grateful by giving them less.