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Daphne

Hayley

The end of co-sleeping

As part of the move to the new place, the plan was for baby Hayley to transit out of of co-sleeping with us. She’s been sleeping on our bed since she was 3 months old, right around the time where she decided that she was having none of that baby cot nonsense. And I let her. Because a sleep-deprived parent always takes the path of least resistance, however misguided that path might be.

Since then, I’ve grown fond of having her sleep on our bed.

For months, this baby slept like a tyrant who would immediately wake up if I breathed too loudly, but she has since realised that it takes too much effort to get all screamy. Now, she just scrunches her face into a pout to communicate her displeasure. Sometimes, she starts to pout but then decides that even pouting takes too much effort, so she gives up halfway and flops back onto the bed. It’s adorable.

I like being able to inhale those chubby cheeks as I drift off to sleep. Even though she’s all warm and snug in her jammies + blanket, her squishy cheeks get super cold because of the aircon and by the time I get into bed, it’s at the perfect temperature for munching. Falling asleep as you munch on deliciously cold baby cheeks is as close as it gets to a taste of heaven.

Technically, baby Hayley can go a whole night without milk and she’ll be fine, but she still nurses 2-3 times a night. I’ve been planning to wean her since 3 months ago but we couldn’t quite get there and I’m starting to think that it’s because I’m enjoying this sleep nursing sessions as much as she does.

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Last week, we transitioned her out of our room and I was totally hovering, all ready to swoop in and take her back if she showed any signs of distress.

She didn’t. She adjusted like a champ so for the first time in a long time, I went to bed without having to tiptoe in or regulate my breathing. I could turn on the lights to read in bed if I wanted to. I could watch the latest episode of GoT without having to whoop into my pillow. My brain was telling me that I should celebrate. This is a good thing, my baby is growing up and I’m getting my freedom back.

That night, I didn’t do any of those things. I went to bed feeling sad, much sadder than I was prepared for. I was full on going to cry big ugly tears level kind of sad.

Just writing this makes me sound insane. My baby was literally in the next room, just a few steps away. I could go in to kiss her anytime I wanted – she’s still here and she’s ok, but I felt this deep and profound sense of loss.

I think I’m slowly having to come to terms with the knowledge that this is the end of baby road for me. I mean, the ligation was a big moment, but it doesn’t hit you then because there’s this beautiful baby and you’re just basking in the newborn baby glow. But now that Hayley is getting bigger, it’s starting to sink in that this is my last baby. After this, I’m done. No more sleepy cheek munches. No more night nursings. No more middle of the night scrunchy baby pouts.

It’s such a cliche and I’ve spent 14 months trying to prepare my brain to deal with this but still, I cannot. I took the baby back to my bed on the second night and we’re easing into this with alternate-night transitions because mommy can’t adjust.

I’m going to be such a mess when this last baby turns 3, or 4, or 5, or 18. :(

Theo

You’re 3, Theo!!

We’re still in the middle of moving madness (so exhausting!) but baby Theo turned 3 a few weeks back so today’s post is all about my littlest boy.

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Hey Theo,

You’re 3!! Look at you, all grown up like a big boy!

I know I’m supposed to love all my babies regardless but I need to tell you that you’re such a delight to have around. I like hanging out with you so much. Which possibly explains why you’re still not in school. All your older siblings were in preschool from 2 years old but you spent the last year hanging out with me at home, running errands, making sandwiches, going to the library, working on our very poorly done art pieces that nobody should ever be made to see. I’d pretend to call it homeschooling but the truth is that I liked having you all to myself so much, I just wanted a little more time with you before you started doing all that rapid growing up.

You are super advanced for your age. It’s very disconcerting looking at your tiny 3-year-old body when you’re telling me things because 3-year-olds don’t talk like this. You have a remarkable understanding of things and you’ve also got an explanation for everything.

In explaining to grandma why you had to go home yesterday, you said “I need to go home now to be with my family. I’ll come back next time ok?” FYI, grandma is your family, but I know, mommy is your entire world right now and I’ll have it that way for as long as I can.

Last week, I told you that I couldn’t bring you along to KK Hospital when Hayley was ill and you were like “but then I’ll miss you and you’ll miss me, so you should just bring me with you.

You’re also actively working on overcoming your fears, which is incredible for anyone of any age. Like you used to hate the feel of sand on your skin; just a few grains of sand would drive you completely nuts. We’d try to bring you to the beach, but you would stay in the middle of the beach mat where it was safe. But after seeing how much fun your siblings were having playing with sand, you decided to give it a go. At first, you were like “eww eww eww why am I doing this?” but you powered through and now you even let your siblings bury your entire body in the sand. Achievement unlocked.

Look at this face. This is the face of someone who knows he took on his irrational fear and won.

Your favourite colour is green, and by extension, you like green frogs, green turtles, green lizards. I try my best to be a supportive parent, but really, who likes green things? You don’t see adorable green baby seals or green puppies or green unicorns; in fact, even the word green can go full on alliteration with gross, so that should tell you something.

But a boy likes what a boy likes so we got you a collection of favourite green friends, which you adore. On this note, I will cuddle your stuffed green frog but the line is drawn at an actual slimy, jumpy, very much alive green frog. You will not, under any circumstances, bring a real frog home, understand?? Your poor mother cannot deal with that. This momma loves her green-loving boy but if those green things are reptiles or amphibians, that’s where the line is.

You love hanging out with your older siblings but I know you have a soft spot for your baby sister. You’re really good with her too, always remembering to check in on her or running back to kiss her gently when you’re off having fun.

You will save some of your snacks for her, and even though some of the pieces were so tiny, I know how much it means to you and I suppose the thought (and tiny crumb) does count.

Last time I checked (this morning), you’re still a foodie and I still enjoy watching you enjoy your food. The highlight of your birthday was the chocolate cake that you chose on your own. We went to several cake shops to take a look before you decided on the nicest one. “This one looks delicious, let’s get this mom!” You looked so thrilled watching the lady write “Happy birthday, Theo!!” in squiggly white frosting (they didn’t have green frosting). Excellent choice, by the way, the cake was indeed delicious.

Being a 4th kid can feel like you’re lost in the crowd sometimes but mommy will always have time for you. Always. :)

from around here

Moving day

These past few weeks have been crazier than usual because we’re moving this weekend. After being in this rental apartment for almost two years, the owners  have decided to sell the place so what this means is that we will have to vacate the premises at the end of the lease, which is in two days time.

Amazingly, we received notification that our new place is ready ahead of schedule and we’ll be getting our keys today (cutting it very close, I know!). This gives us no time at all to prep the new place before shifting but on the bright side, we won’t be homeless so that’s something to be thankful for. We’ll have to work on the minor renovations after we shift in, which is not ideal, but I’ll take it.

Since the start of the month, I’ve begun progressively packing stuff and clearing our furniture on carousell. The kids were like “MOMMMMM where’s the sofa and dining table and bed??? Where will we sit and eat and sleep?” and I had to tell them that minimalist living is all the rage these days. I don’t think they bought it.

This process of packing up my life into large boxes has been very cathartic. Shifting homes is an excellent time to go all out and ruthlessly declutter like Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo. I’ve been very inspired to Kondo my life after watching a video of this dude who has less than 50 items in his entire home. Like a spoon is 1 item, a tshirt is 1 item, a toothbrush is 1 item…the guy has a total of 50 items in his life. So I’m like, okay, I have 8 people living here, we are allowed 400 items, surely I can make it under 400.

I grabbed a large trash bag, double bagged it as a signal of intent, and went around my home looking for stuff to clear. First stop was the kids’ toy bin. I peered into the lego box and there were about 200 pieces in there, mixed in with random stray parts from other toys. This was going to be more challenging than I thought. Maybe if I build it into a large structure, it would count as 1 item? And then maybe if I stuff that and all their other toys into a large bin, it would also count as 1 item? Looks like I’ll have to improvise the nesting doll application of the KonMari method.

I also tried to explain the concept of decluttering to the kids, like “guys, we need to be ruthless. If you look at an item and it doesn’t bring you joy, we need to let it go to a better home” and Truett immediately went to his stack of 新天地 magazines and said “mom, I think we need to let these go, they bring me zero joy.” Smarty pants. I told him to consider if it would bring him even less joy to have to explain to his Chinese teacher why his homework has been sent away to a new home. That would be in the negative zone of joy.

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We’ll miss this place we called home for the past two years; it’s been good to us and we’ve made some awesome memories here. The next couple of weeks will be exciting though, but then new beginnings always are.

More updates to come after we settle in to the new place. :)