Hey Theo, my squishy snugglebums,
We made it through our first 4 weeks, you and I. I know it’s all been so new and strange and scary but I hope you’ve been happy to be part of this little family. We’re all really, really glad to have you. Truett says you’ve got his eyes, Kirsten says you’ve got her chubby char siew bao cheeks, and Finn, well, he doesn’t care much about finding resemblance but you’ve certainly got his debonair boyish charm.
After spending 4 weeks with you, you’re like a little piece of my heart that’s beating outside my chest. I’m so glad I get a chance to love you.
Y’know, they say that the first 3 months are usually the hardest. It’s true and I know because I’ve done this 3 times before. But don’t you worry, we’ve already survived the first so just 2 more to go.
I won’t lie, we’ve had some really rough days (and nights!) these past few weeks, probably the roughest I’ve ever had with a newborn. I’ve never had a baby look and feel this miserable – you’d grunt and strain and shriek all day like you were giving birth. None of your siblings had it this bad. The doctor says it’s just gas and it’s normal (??!!! ) but it makes me hurt to see you in such awful pain. You couldn’t sleep more than 15 minutes at a stretch before the whole grunting/straining/shrieking cycle would start again. I’d try burping, carrying, the sling, the swing, the hammock, none of it would work. Sometimes, nursing would calm you down, but only if I carried you and danced and sang to you at the same time. I was happy to hold you till I lost all feeling in my arms but right after the nursing, it was back to the loud, painful grunts.
During those many hours where nothing I did could make you feel better, I sometimes wondered if maybe you needed a better momma than I could possibly be. But then I remembered that God gave you to us so that means we’re going to make it no matter how bad it gets.
You and me, we’re a team now.
This morning, you couldn’t get comfy in any position and finally, I put you on the bed next to me for a few seconds while I tried to get some blood flow back into my arms. Putting you down usually drives you nuts but then you settled down almost immediately and your eyes started rolling back into your head. (YES!!!) Slowly, you gave a little smile, which got wider and wider until it became a proper full-bodied laugh. Like an actual hur hur hur kind of goofy giggle. You’re too small to be laughing but you did. And then I laughed because that was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. That little baby laugh just made my morning beautiful.
I’m sorry it’s been tough couple of weeks for you and mommy doesn’t always know how to make you feel better. But I’ll always be here to love you and hold you until it gets better.
And it will get better, I promise.
When I started Primary 1 many years ago, I was given a dollar a day as my pocket money. It was my introduction to the world of money and I loved it. The dollar was all mine to spend on anything I wanted. Candy! Snacks! Pretty Stationery! Little trinkets that were basically useless!
For a 7-year-old, being able to make financial decisions with my dollar was liberating and so much fun. I felt powerful and grown up. But as the days went by, let’s just say I made enough dumb purchases to know that having my own money meant (gasp!)…responsibility.
Very quickly, I learnt that money management was a lot harder than I thought and I had to find a way to make the most of my $1. So I’d spend 50 cents on a bowl of noodles, another 20 cents on a drink/snack and save the remaining 30 cents. At the end of every week, I’d put whatever money I had left in a little piggy bank and when that got full, my parents would deposit all of it in my POSB savings account. It was strangely satisfying to see the account grow, even if it was just by a little at a time.
Now that I have kids, I realize how important it is to inculcate the habit of saving at a young age. Truett will be starting Primary 1 in a couple of months and we’re starting to teach him about the concept of money. He knows the basics, like how daddy works really hard to earn money and that money is used to exchange for stuff in stores. He also knows that ATMs are AMAZING MONEY MACHINES THAT GIVE OUT FREE MONEY and that credit cards are better than money because you’ll sometimes need many pieces of money but you’ll always just need one tiny little card.
At this point, the kids still come to us with their shopping list when we’re out and daddy’s like the genie that magically makes toys appear. Well, that’s going to change really soon. By the time he starts having his own money next year, it’ll be farewell genie and hello save-your-own-money-to-buy-toys.
I’ve been doing some research on the market rate for P1 allowances and it seems like the average cost per meal is now $0.80 to $1. So we’ll probably start him out at $1.50 a day.
At the same time, we’ll also introduce some incentives to encourage saving.
1. Special lunchboxes
For starters, he’ll have an option to request for a pre-packed lunchbox to bring along to school. If he wants to eat the food bought from school, that’s cool, but if he decides to eat from his lunchbox, then that’s $1.50 extra for the day that he gets to keep.
2. Daddy’s dollar matching system
We thought of having a sticker system to motivate him but this kid is so over stickers so instead, we’ll have a good old-fashioned dollar matching system where daddy will contribute an additional $1 for every $10 saved. So the more he saves, the more he’ll accumulate.
3. Piggybank & POSB bank account
There’s something about having their own piggybank and proper bank account that makes kids feel really grown up. We’ve already got him his first piggy bank to start putting his savings into and soon, we’ll be bringing him to POSB to open his first savings account. I think he’ll be so thrilled to have his own bank account like a big boy.
4. Buy his own toys
He’ll get his first taste of financial freedom once he starts saving. Instead of having to depend on daddy and mommy to approve of any purchases, he’ll be able to make his own decisions as long as he saves up for it. He’s had his eye on a Marvel Lego set for a while – we’ll bring him to the store and let him buy it himself once he saves enough for it.
We want to encourage him to start saving right from the point where he gets his first dollar and hopefully, saving will become a habit that stays with him for life.
//I’m curious, how much do your kids get for pocket money? Any tips to encourage them to save? Take it over to the comments!
//Also, Head over here to participate in a short POSB survey about savings by 22 August and stand to win S$50 NTUC vouchers; there will be 10 sets of vouchers up for grabs.
Finn finally started school today and I’m both happy and teary-eyed all at the same time. You know the feels right? I look at how thrilled he is and I’m so awfully proud that he’s earned his big boy badge but I’m also sad to be losing my baby.
I feel like I should be a pro at this by now but I’m not.
It’s probably a third child thing to baby them more, like I need him to stop growing up so quickly. I look at how big Truett and Kirsten have gotten (they talk like little grown ups!) and I love it but they have no more babyness left in them for me to hold on to. With Finn, I’m trying so desperately to hang on to his babyness for just a little longer. On the other end of the spectrum, I have a newborn whom I’m hoping will grow up quicker, or at least sprint to the 6th month mark and then stop. Life’s so complicated, I know. I have very specific growth plans for my kids; if only they’d just listen.
Back to the milestone. So today’s the big day and we were hyping it up for him all through last week. He’d wave bye to his older siblings every morning and I’d sit him on my lap to tell him how fun school was.
I’d be all “Want to go to school, baby? You get to go kai kai everyday next week, isn’t that great? You’ll have so much fun” and he’d respond with “SCHOOL! AWESOME! YEAHHHH!!!”
This morning, he put on his uniform, wore his shoes and skipped off with a huge grin on his face. I thought maybe he’d transition without flinching but once he got to school and it was time to say bye to daddy, he started sobbing. “Bye daddy…*sob sob sob*…” it was so heartbreakingly cute.
The teachers say that he was ok right after and he did really well for the rest of the morning, running and playing and learning important academic things like peekaboo.
He did get all emo when I arrived to pick him up, like “momma momma momma” with outstretched arms and tears welling up in his little eyes.
I thought it’d be easier with this being the third kid but it’s still so hard watching them grow up.