Tag Archives: cheatsheet

Small puzzles in the big picture 

I felt bemused whenever people exclaimed about difficulty of raising a child.

Believing the parenting was a difficult chore meant losing half the battle before you even started.

Parenting was just a part of our lives which we had to integrate and enjoy the ride while we could. I wished people would stop thinking that this was foreign and tough. 

It was like learning mother tongue.

It was like executing a new project at work.

If you had not tried it but deemed it as difficult, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. We only had to focus on the big picture and not let unfamiliar puzzles derail us from our goals.

Just like how we treated life, stay positive, think positive and it would be better than we expected. 

Parenting shortcuts

It had been a long time since I contributed to this tag – cheatsheets. I had been creating my own version of life hacks that once the fundamentals were built, we just rolled along.

These days, we were far beyond the weaning, sleeping, eating type of problems. Being the disciplined and consistent parent I was, it made parenting easy. My children knew what to expect from me and what was deemed reasonable or unreasonable in my books.

Some aspects of parenting which we dealt with of late, a far cry from the days of weaning, sleeping and other infant-related issues.

1. Concentration & Learning

Z had been honed to the concept of working hard and playing hard. We did not skimp on play time. If anything, any free time was dedicated to play. The kids had access to sports, entertainment, touristy attractions, holidays and our attention. We explained hard work was required to support play time. On our end, we had to work when it was time to work. On their end, they had to study when it was time to study. Z had full respect and understanding of this trade off. Hence, he never uttered any forms of complaints if he had to spend 2-3 hours to complete assignments given by me. He concurred with our philosophy of clearing the week’s work in 1-2 days and played for the rest of the week. All I looked at was the integrity of the process and the final output, not the number of days used to complete the assignment.

On X’s end, he was trained on using Luk Bambino, in our bid to build his concentration and to nurture his speech. 

2. Sibling management 

I made a conscious effort to remind the boys how much they loved each other from day 1. Everyday, I told X that Z loved him and told Z that X loved him. It reinforced the positive thinking and vibes between the brothers. 

When they did something nice for each other ie giving in or sharing, I always attributed to the love for each other. If they fought, I usually explained that X was too young and unreasonable as a toddler to reason with. Z was usually agreeable to discount X’s bad behaviors such as biting. With X’s increased proficiency in speech, we had less of such issues.

I was also adamant about showing respect for each other and no one was supposed to snatch each other’s belonging. We must be mindful of each other’s feelings despite the haste. On good days, the boys would remember and approach each other with care, we had a lot lesser fights to break up.

3. Fatigue, tantrums and lack of cooperation 

This was an easy one. If we deprived the kids of sufficient rest, we were most definitely responsible and at fault. I would usually let the child win at all costs.
4. Leveraging on sports on sportsmanship and discipline 

It was difficult to help young children visualize the need to focus or instill discipline. Picking a good team sport would teach them valuable lessons such as training to improve performance, to be gracious losers (aka sportsmanship), to build up stamina and to always enjoy a spot of outdoors.

Greenery and runs aided in broadening of the children’s mindsets and maintaining a balanced mental state, instead of throwing full blown tantrums to express their frustrations 

5. Delayed gratification 

Children must learn to wait. They had to get used to the lack of instant magic and that they could not always have everything at their fingertips. Loving them did not mean that we would enslave ourselves like a genie and grant all their wishes. Magic and credit cards did not sound aligned.

6. Being considerate 

Children must learn to think for others, for something as simple as standing at the side of the lift when we entered in case someone had to push a stroller, wheelchair or shopping cart in. It was not rocket science. We needed to teach them to think for others and care for the environment. They had to think about the repercussions to others if they chose to be selfish. Was that what we wanted them to be? If they were kind to their friends and society, that would be the best contribution we could give. 

These were some of the values we hoped the boys would bring with them when they grew up. I thought to start these basics when they were young, so that they became better persons as they matured and grew up. 

Squeezing more time

I wrote about our typical day previously. I hoped to improve the processes and efficiency over time. With the kids swinging their preference towards pork ribs’ soup, I had been obligated to boil soup the instant I woke up in the morning. I threw all ingredients into the soup pot and would leave it on the stove from 7-745am before turning off the fire. I would continue to cook for another 30min once we got home so that the pork ribs would be juicy and soft. One might ask, why don’t you just use the slow cooker? I was particular about taste of meat and did not like the way slow cooker stripped the taste and juiciness from the meat. In doing so, I realized that I saved some time when I reached home. I could use the time to do other things like… Going down to the pool and watch the boys play.    


I considered this Work Improvement Project at home. We had WIP at work, why not apply it at home?

I was really glad to have created a pocket of 5-10 minutes to see the boys swim and play with water. I sure hated to repeat this so many times – time flew too fast for my liking, especially when kids were our walking indicators of time. 

Me vs X – one of the many rounds

One morning, X pointed to a bottle of Pokka straight red tea. This was right after the day where he opted to pour away the tea from the cup when I refused to give him the whole bottle.

He looked like he was on the verge of a meltdown on a Monday morning when we were rushing to school and work. He even tiptoed and plucked his “trophy” from the kitchen table top. I had every intention of letting him win this battle.

I lowered myself to his height and told him, “I can’t let you have this but why don’t I give you something better?” He paused and looked at me. At this point, I knew I had his full attention. I rummaged the kitchen drawer and offered him a box of Pocky sticks.

He looked very pleased with the offer. I asked him if we could exchange and he nodded happily. We had averted a meltdown.

I must say I had been very impressed with my toddler’s level of integrity. It was not like he took the Pocky and still insisted on having the bottle of Pokka red straight tea.

Enjoying his new “trophy”



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.