4 and looking fine

We’re almost at the end of birthday season but first, it’s all about this baby bear turning 4!

Let me say straight up that this boy is one of my most favouritest people in the world. He’s got that enthusiastic, endearing all in all the time kind of boyish charm that’s so hard to resist.

He’s super fun to be with too, I mean, this is a kid who knows how to show you a good time.

Theo is the kind of boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t play it cool or dial down his emotions because there’s no need for that sort of thing. If he’s happy, it’s all over his face. Joy will radiate from his eyes and he will break out into the widest grin I have ever seen. Ain’t no one else looks happy like Theo looks happy is what I’m saying.

There’s the full on happy face…

And the I can’t help it my face can’t contain this much joy happy face.

It works the same way when he’s sad. There will be great big tears welling up in his eyes and that sad baby face that goes along with it? This momma can’t handle.

I don’t suppose he’ll do too well at being a super spy or in casinos for that matter seeing that his poker face game is basically zero. But if you’re not planning on a career in espionage or gambling, it’s not a bad way to approach life, not having to ever have to hide how you feel.

He still loves green and all of the slimy animals that are of that color family. I was hoping that would be a phase that he outgrows but if anything, he’s surer than ever of his love for green and gross animals. Every time we go to the library, he heads straight to the non-fiction section to pick out books on frogs and salamanders and newts. And I read them to him over and over because love makes you do crazy things so now I know that frogs lay about 4,000 eggs at a go and also how to identify a golden dart frog (FYI when you see one, you RUN!!).

Okay, the testosterone is strong in this one. He’s a classic boisterous boy whose favourite game is called “DESTROY ENEMIES” wherein the game mechanics work exactly like you’d imagine. In involves identifying enemies and systematically eliminating them with a variety of methods including super turbo nuclear blasters and elemental electro energy forcefield.

He’s the only kid who seems to be actively considering the things I try to teach him. Like 20 minutes after I have a word with him about snatching his sister’s stuff, he comes over to me and says “I’m so sorry mom for grabbing Hayley’s toy earlier. I’m really sorry. I won’t do it next time.” It’s not the kind of flippant apology that you deliver reluctantly because you have to, but one that’s heartfelt and thoughtful and what kind of 4-year-old does this?

And then he’ll go and kiss his baby on the head or hand her another toy just to love on her a little. It’s not to say that there are no more squabbles or fights over toys because it takes time to learn these things but I feel like he’s trying to internalise them.

Theo was always a kid who couldn’t wait to grow up. He was already off running with the big kids trying to fit in once he was stable on his feet, and he talks like he’s several years older than he actually is. He may be #4 in the pecking order around here but it doesn’t stop him from making the most of his big brother status, always being protective of his baby and fussing over her. Whenever we pick him up from school, he’ll start waving at Hayley once he spots her and he’ll tell everyone around him who will listen that Hayley is his baby. Last week, his teacher was amused when she heard it, like “this is your baby??” and he nodded with so much pride. “Yes, Hayley is MY baby,” he said.

Although there’s still the baby side of him that I get glimpses of once from time to time and I live for these moments. He still makes his way to our bed in the middle of the night. I’ll find his baby feet jabbing into my liver at 5 in the morning and he’ll whisper, “I miss you mom, I just want to snuggle with you pleeeease…” and I’ll mumble something like “ok just for a bit” and there it’ll be, that look of absolute delight all over his sleepy baby face.

What he doesn’t know is that I enjoy his morning snuggles as much as he does and I want it to last for as long as possible, which I know from experience isn’t much longer.

Happy birthday, Theo!! I’m so happy I get to be your mom. :)

from around here

H to the F to the M to the D

It’s been a proper circus around these parts over the last week because not one, not two, but three kids have been stricken with the dreaded HFMD.

In itself, HFMD isn’t the worst illness one could be stricken with; it’s not life threatening nor does it even require any real medical intervention. The doctor looked very sympathetic, then prescribed them paracetamol and a small dose of leftose syrup to reduce inflammation in the throat, which was clearly an afterthought placebo sort of situation, like here, take this to make your throat less painful (it won’t).

The worst thing about HFMD is mostly the discomfort of having your mouth covered in ulcers, although that’s a lot of discomfort for a baby (or adult) to handle. I had two ulcers that merged into a huge one some weeks back and I couldn’t shut up about it for days. I showed it to the kids frequently as an exhibit of my great suffering and this time, they returned the favour by making me peer at their ulcers many times throughout the day.

LOOK CLOSER, MOM, it’s right in there at the back,” they instructed me. I was already so close I could feel the condensation of their breath droplets on my face and the whole time, all I could think of was “I’m breathing in HFMD germs why have I brought this upon myself??

I still did it though, the peering. My babies were in pain and if my excellent observation skills could make them feel better, then here, I’ll volunteer as tribute. I was already mentally prepared to partake in their affliction so I really got in there to peer at their ulcers and hugged them and kissed them each time they wanted some mommy tlc. “Are you allowed to kiss me, mom? Will I make you sick?” Theo asked with mild concern. I gave him a big kiss and said “It’s ok, mommy has super immunity powers” and he beamed so wide, it was definitely worth it. For the record, I don’t have any immunity powers at all but I loaded up on all of the supplements and thankfully, I’m still clear, phew!


So how did this happen?

I don’t know. As in, I literally have no idea from whence cometh this terrible virus upon my kids because I’m paranoid about HFMD. When Finn’s school had an outbreak last year, I kept the kids at home for a whole month as a precautionary measure until the school was completely cleared. They were so thrilled to be on preventive HFMD holiday.

I was dropping Theo off at school last week when his teacher discovered a whole bunch of ulcers in his mouth during the customary health check at drop-off. She asked me to take a look and I was horrified when I saw it. The top and back of his mouth was speckled with white ulcers. I immediately led him away from the queue of kids behind him, half expecting a swarm of SWAT level CDC personnel to descend upon him yelling 23-19 like that scene in Monster, Inc.

I would have kept him at home if we even suspected any sign of HFMD but he had no fever and he didn’t even complain of any pain in his mouth. He was his usual cheery self and in fact, that morning he just had a full breakfast of pancakes + cereal like it was nothing. Clearly, his pain threshold is far superior to mine.

Upon confirmation at the doctor’s, I tried to quarantine him at my mom’s house for the next 2 days but it was too late, Finn + Hayley started displaying symptoms of HFMD the next day. And that’s how we have 3 babies down with the HFMD.

On the bright side, they were really happy to be able to hug again because hugs do make everything a little better.



Happy Birthday, Kirsten!

Birthday season round 3 continues with Kirsten turning 9!

Look at how big my baby has gotten. This girl is perfection and I’ll never know what I did to deserve her.

So things have been very eventful around here lately. We just transited to a new helper a few days ago and Hayley had the hardest time adjusting, she’s been very sad about having to say goodbye. And I suppose there’s never a good time for the kids to be ill, but this is possibly one of the worst times for Finn, Theo and Hayley to be down with HFMD. In these few days, Kirsten really stepped up, like even more than usual. She basically took over my pervious helper’s role in feeding baby Hayley, showering her, playing with her and holding her to sleep.

She’s like “my plan is to take over Aunty Muan’s role so baby Hayley will be my BFF forever“, which is the sweetest big sister thing to do ever.

As far as big sistering skills go, Kirsten is legendary. She’s got a way with all the smaller kids, like she knows exactly how to handle them in any given situation, at times arbitrating disputes and being all firm with them; other times, she’s sweet and huggy and attentive, coaxing them with impromptu made up games.

Whenever we go out, she watches out for all of them, making sure their fingers don’t get caught in elevator doors and checking to see that nobody is trailing behind too far and getting lost.

I often ask her if she feels pressured to do these big sisterly things, like maybe she thinks it’s her job and she doesn’t have a choice but she’s always like “these babies are so cute and I like them so much.”


This is my first time having a nine-year-old girl and I have to say it’s better than anything I could have imagined. I really enjoy spending time with this kid even if it’s just doing boring stuff like talking or sharing a bubble tea.

I also have to talk about her comedic timing, it is straight up hilarious. The other day, Finn was trying to sell me a game of UNO for 50 cents per round, which is extortionate but seeing how much I adore him, I was willing to pay him imaginary money for each game. Kirsten was grinning as she watched the pointless transaction go down. Few minutes later, she came up to me with a stack of UNO cards + a deadpan face and said “Mom, want to play? Um, it’s free” and I seriously laughed very hard for a long time.

She also does killer impressions of her siblings and yeah, also me. Sometimes, I’ll just ask her to do a impression of me for kicks and it’s one of the best things in the world because she nails it spot on.

It’s been 9 wonderful years of being Kirsten’s momma and each day that I get to do this makes me so happy.