Surviving another long night without becoming zombified, when your irritable baby or troublesome teenager keeps you wide awake.
Loving your child is given, but liking him as a person is a grand thing. Such a blessing it is to experience both, especially when some parents find the latter challenging.
My fun loving teen loves the sense of thrills running through his veins. Stuff that makes his heart jumps and skips a beat are often deliberately sought out. He’s always game for any adventurous pursuits or scary rides at theme parks. This boy rarely thinks twice before getting himself in what a sensible adult considers dangerous.
Then there’s the tween who’s an avid collector of everything under the sun. When other kids played with toys, he started his collection of Barney the dinosaur and The Wiggles VCDs. Since young he developed a great sense of navigation to where the shops can be found in a mall. Each year there’d be something new that caught his attention. Once it was the Beatles and he spent hours googling about their life and looking up for memorabilia on eBay. Thank goodness he didn’t pester us to buy any!
As for Little Missy, she’s an outdoorsy kind of girl who enjoys going about with our neighbour’s boys. Riding her bike, playing footie and running around. After becoming confident to ride without the stabilizers, she coached her friends to do the same. Little Missy often gets annoyed when hearing girls and boys shouldn’t play the same games or be good friends. A good thing though, she has her own mind and is not listening to those party poopers.
My 3 year old bambam, is exactly like her older sister, but much braver and bolder. That’s not really a problem until you realized she’s only a little girl who has no sense of danger…just like her eldest brother!
One thing for sure, we should learn something from the kids. No matter what, be happy in your own skin by doing stuff that makes you feel good.
So, tell me what’s yours?
Whether you’re a mum or a dad, a stepmum or a stepdad, a single mum or a single dad, an aunt or an uncle, a grandma or a grandpa, a sister or a brother, a woman or a man who’s responsible for looking after a child, you’re a parenting idol. Being the carer, you’re known as the parent of the child. A role that comes with huge responsibilities and quite a number of occupational hazards.
Because of the risky lifestyle that you keep facing everyday, your amazing achievements in numerous feats that only a parent knows how, should be celebrated. Such as,
- preparing meals and snacks for a picky eater and a ravenous monster, so they won’t go hungry throughout the day (regardless how the food gets to the table, isn’t an issue here)
- ensuring a clean supply of clothes for daily wear, despite only seeing the piles of washing that need to be done, in the laundry baskets and on the floor
- your expertise in finding lost items from the most treasured underwear to the easily missed minuscule hand of a lego minifigure
- being the most reliable alarm clock that doesn’t run on batteries and can wake everyone at different times, without having to reset it
- a walking and talking dictionary that possibly has a bilingual option, with interchangeable explanation and translation tools
- a Google expert who finds the answers by a simple touch and swipe, and best of all, it’s able to function without wifi sometimes
- a homework helper machine that can provide support and coaching in most areas of the curriculum- when it can’t, the Google expert will step in
- a life skills’ coach who teaches those functional stuff like cleaning up after your own mess, boiling water in a kettle for times when a hot water dispenser isn’t available, taking trash out on collection day, washing dishes before there’s none left to use, turning off electricity when not in use for energy conservation and saving costs etc.
- fixing things using tapes, super glue and whatnots
- DIY, art projects and research work advisor
- kisssing countless boo- boos to make it better and tries hard to believe that it actually works
- highly sought after problem solver who’s on demand round the clock
- a skilful driver, professional chauffeur and bodyguard all rolled into one
Though being a parent can be a nightmare at times, do know that you’re doing just fine by loving and caring for your children in the best possible way. No one should undermine what or how you do it. As a parent, you’re simply wonderful ❤
On Monday, after arriving home from school, Mr Teen related the sweetest news ever. Coming from someone who wouldn’t put any extra efforts for anything academic, he actually volunteered in class to share his PowerPoint presentation that was given for homework. Looks like miracles do happen at the most unlikeliest time. I told Mr Teen how proud I was of him. Though it’s only a tiny step, it makes a huge impact on his confidence. I’m sure.
To my precious brood,
Growing up is a journey heading towards the unknown. In its path, there are plenty of adventures that you’ll recall with great fondness or will leave you scarred for life. Of course there are also the in-betweens. Memories that you won’t be able to remember, but would resurface from a sudden trigger that comes out of nowhere. However, don’t let your fear of the uncertainties stop you from experiencing life fully. Be a curious adventurer and brave through the storms as best as you can, by using all the skills and wisdom that you’ve acquired along the way. Looking back, you’ll feel a sense of pride for getting to where you are.
But, remember: when you’re over the moon and can’t keep your feet on the ground, I shall be there pulling you down. When you feel lost and disheartened, I’ll firmly hold your hand, guiding you until you’re ready to let go. When you’re too full of yourself, I’ll give you a smart slap to pop that bubble, so you’ll be humble again. If you need someone to listen, I’ll be all ears. If you want a shoulder to cry on, I’ll be ready with a hanky. If you think you’re unworthy, do know you’re the most valuable gift- unforgettable, unexchangeable, irreplaceable gift in my life.
Thanks to you I get to taste the bittersweet journey that is filled with unimaginable adventures. Sometimes they’re so overwhelming that I want to call it quit. Sometimes they’re light and fluffy that I keep wishing for more.
I will always be your champion, darling. Never ever doubt. That’s my job, and that’s what I’m good at. Being your champion for life.
Three would do
Four should be more
Loud chaotic days
Messy home endless laundry
Rules get ignored
Deafening screams contagious laughter
Beware troubles brewing
Catastrophe about to begin
Equally troublesome as
Terrible 3 & Snappy 7
Already I’m floored
Four too many, no?
After a repertoire of movements that involved every limbs of my body, from almost 4 a.m, I was so ready for my third cuppa by noon. My youngest was taken ill, so for the last couple of days her disturbed sleep naturally affected the quality of mine. No surprises there at all.
Coffee is an indulgence that I’m not giving up for its wonders to my busy schedule. It’s the best pick-me-up that works like magic. Soothes away an achy body, energizes the fuddled brain and restores order in chaotic times. Life is sometimes hard, surely one deserves a little treat now and then.
I decided to go for my workout at 7 ish for a quick energy booster that would help me stay alert come noon. Unfortunately, that didn’t last today. Hence, a second cuppa at 11 a.m. was direly needed. Then, a little incident triggered the panic button as my father-in-law seemed to be in a state that needed medical attention. When everything was sorted, it was less than half an hour before school pick-up. Thankfully I got the kids on time, plus a quick stop over to get some ingredients for lunch.
Upon reaching home, lunch preparation involved listening to three kids talking at once. Typical of them to chatter away about their day but oblivious to the rule of turn taking. Since everyone was trying to get my attention, they ended up bickering with each other. Enough to say that was an unwelcomed distraction, so I sent them off for some TV time. The idiot box is truly a blessing when it comes to this. Considering the level of caffeine in my bloodstream was running low, I was terribly well behaved.
As I brought in the laundry, my youngest needed a diaper change. And changed her I did about 20 minutes earlier. Now another trip to the toilet. Sigh. Didn’t even get a chance to sit down for some rest. Sigh. Again.
Naturally, I caved in for a third cup of 150ml piping hot liquid delight. A little treat to keep me going for the rest of the day. Oh, also that was to celebrate not having to pick up my eldest from school. An absolute bliss at 2 p.m. when the temperature was just right to stay indoor!
Parenting has its moments. The good, the bad and the ugly. Neither predictable nor understandable, every event unfolds the way it wishes to be. No amount of preparations from attending workshops to self-help books, that can provide the answers to new or seasoned parents on the art of bringing up a child. Trust your own judgement and pay close attention to your gut feelings. In fact, it’s terribly useful to sharpen your common sense for it will be an asset to have on you.
With my brood of four, there’s a basic guideline that I follow for general use. Whether it’s for achieving milestones or disciplining them, I leave some space for improvisation, and I definitely improvised a lot. What seems to work for one won’t necessarily bring similar result with the others. Naturally, taking into account individual’s personality and circumstances, my approach varies accordingly. It’s not a foolproof method but it allows me to make mistakes and deal with the outcome objectively.
Emotional outbursts and moments of dejection are aplenty, but these are normal in all relationships. Crying your heart out is truly the best way to clear the broken system, well that’s how I see it anyway. With the kids, I let them be until they cool down and ready to chat. Sometimes I get impatient too. Sarcasm and angry words would flow without stopping. My bad.
A successful parenting should not be measured by the outward achievements of a child. See what’s within him as a person and how he fits in the society with his faults and all. Has he got the right balance of empathy and selfishness, in order to get along with others, but not being taken advantage of? Can he function as an individual and at the same time contribute to his community?
Perfection has zero value in the real world. So does perfect parenting.
Earlier today, Mr.Teen went off for a netball competition over the weekend with his team mates and he’d only be back on Sunday. When I sent him to the train station, I found it hard to simply let him go and wait for his friends on his own. Of course he insisted that he’d be fine. Why wouldn’t he? So after failing to convince him that it’d be better to wait in the car, called out the last I-love-you, I reluctantly drove away while still glancing at the rear mirror watching the boy whom I had to leave behind.
That brought back to mind the chats we had last night.
Me: No fava beans. Mr.T: Who eats that these days? Me: They’re in mixed nuts snacks. Oh, no nuts. Just don’t eat nuts. That’s safer. Mr.T: (Rolled his eyes) Me: Don’t touch mothballs or anything suspicious. Not even smell. Mr.T: I know! I’m not stupid to do that.
Those were just snippets of what took place between us. He was probably frustrated with being treated like a novice on his first sleepover. This wasn’t his first at all. He has made many trips without me or his dad, and he managed just fine. In fact, there was a sleepover for a friend’s birthday treat at a hotel without hovering parents nearby.
Now, it struck me how trite it sounded especially when I recalled all the things I repeatedly saying. At the same time it’s normal for parents to become a worrywart when they aren’t there to protect one precious child (no matter how super annoying he is) from unknown danger. I have every right to worry how ever much I want to but I must remember to do one thing. Take a chill pill. Mr. Teen told me once to stop thinking negatively about people. A little trust is all it needs.
Oh, did I mention that Mr. Tween had a sleepover at school last weekend? I did exactly the same thing. Reminders and more reminders…the best one I reckon was this: pee before your bedtime. As if he doesn’t know, right?
Luckily that boy didn’t become all annoyed and brushed me off. Perhaps there’s still a little room for patience in him. Must thank my lucky star for this!
At our home kids get to choose what they want to do. They get choices for stuff like having chicken or fish in their meals, wearing long pants or shorts for an outdoor play, joining activities that are outside or at school, getting a rest or playing a little longer etc. The young ones usually start the day with ‘Do you want to get dressed by yourself or do you need my help?’. The usual reply is obviously the former. All kids love challenges especially the ones that show others how capable they are. My 2 years old happens to be quite good at this as she keeps pushing herself to be just like her older sister.
By giving an option between two reasonable outcomes, I’m getting the kids to focus and make an informed decision on what they want. At the same time, this helps them to feel independent and accountable for their choices. My teen and tween boys are now able to express their thoughts better when trying to make up their mind about something. They can reason out, although it may only be ‘reasonable’ to them! Well, at least they are well aware of the impact of that particular choice.
I don’t simply let them do what they want that’s not the case here. This mum can behave like a vicious dictator, but of course, not everything is negotiable in life. Just like rules are created to benefit the society and control chaos, there are certain things that we have to conform without making a huge fuss. And choices come with responsibility. That’s what I want my kids to learn; to become a thinking adult who can make judgements based on a sound mind and not merely doing it ‘just because’.
What do toddlers and teens have in common?
Sulking in the corner
when not getting their way
Slamming the door
for some much needed attention
as you open your mouth
Taking it out on a sibling
’cause it’s you they can’t touch
Talking back big time
only they know what’s best
can be frustratingly hard to understand
Fearless adrenaline junkies always game for some thrills
while catastrophe and injuries are adults paranoia it seems
So called eclectic style
works beautifully (only) on them
Ignore all the No’s and make them a Yes
a mantra they keep day in and day out
Oh, it’s all about me
P/S My Mr. Teen and Missy Toddler get along famously. Having shared many irresistible traits, they recognize their special bond through and through. Here’s to peace and quiet at home…
The little ones think that it’s high time I start baking to satisfy their sweet cravings. Well, it’s not like I don’t know how to bake, I’m only doing my bit in supporting home bakers and their small business. All the tasty treats will go to waste and these talented people won’t get to share their masterpiece. Okay, it sounds unbelievably lame. After a couple more attempts in turning me into Mrs Baker, the kids stopped trying. So that was when I felt bad and promised them we’d be baking real soon. But first let me find those simple non-bake recipes to start the ball rolling!
Have you got any good ones to share? Send them my way pretty please!
Such probing questions from a 10 year old mustn’t be taken lightly, so I answered them as honestly as I could. He wasn’t fazed by my responses except for the one on the number of boyfriends I had. Instead of mentioning numbers as it’s very important to be politically correct here, I said there were a couple of them. What? More than two? Probably he found it shocking because he thought his dad would have many girlfriends, but not this boring old mum. Hah! Little that he knows about mum’s cool life once upon a time, not too long ago. Here’s a poem inspired by one of the love stories.
I wear my heart on my sleeves
Thinking it’ll be easier to be seen
I am wronged.
You trampled on with the sweetest pleas
Taking advantage of what can be seen
My hurt is more than I can bear
Aching heart, bleeding profusely
I am wronged.
Your constant leeching leaving me bare
Everything you’ve taken so freely
I often wonder, what’s left in here
When empty shell is all I see
I am wronged.
Your presence never help, dear
A killer is what you turned out to be
Death calls I hear ringing from a distance
I am wronged.
Your conscience’s clear, no sign of reluctance-
In fact could that be a silent cheer?
*Photo credit: Tim Marshall (Unsplash.com)
Time flies, days turn into nights and birthdays pass by. Before you know it the kids grow up and what’s left of yesterday remains in the past. Deep in your heart, you wish the moment won’t come but there’s nothing that you can do about it.
The other day, while enjoying tea with my teen, we looked at a collage of old photos that I made when he was younger. What a great time we had talking about our family and of course, so many fond memories reappeared. Everything started to flow as we recalled the details of different events that took place in the photos.
A strange feeling of melancholy and lightheartedness filled my heart. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. Then I looked at my son and he was clearly having a wonderful time reminiscing while listening to me. That smile on his face was etched firmly in my memory.
During one of our daily chats, Ms. Smartypants, dropped a huge accusation against her dad. Apparently, she noticed that he hasn’t got a clue on how to be romantic. Ok, so what does she know about romance? Well…
Why wasn’t there a surprise dinner to celebrate my birthday? What about giving flowers or gifts to make me happy? And oh, why wouldn’t her manly dad carry me in his arms (I guess with my arms around his neck and my head resting on his chest kinda thing) up the stairs, to our room? Playfully I responded, perhaps I’m a little heavy for him. She huffed and rolled her eyes at me.
Looks like Ms. Smartypants truly believes in romantic dates and heart shaped chocolates. In her understanding, when you love someone, you shouldn’t let the romance die down. Though she’s too young to be a love guru, she’s probably right!
Anyone with children can relate to this predicament. You can have so many rooms at home and yet you don’t even own one. I tried many times to create my little haven, a tiny hideout for a wee bit of respite, but not for long. That space would be soon invaded by my little army. None of them have any sense of privacy (unless it’s about them) when it comes to getting this old soul to listen/make/do whatever it is that crops up at that particular moment. There was a time when I pretended to sleep thinking they’d be sorry looking at my tired body slumped on the sofa with a mountain of unfolded laundry. No. That didn’t work either. I’m still working on it…