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Happy five, Finn!

Birthday season 2017 comes to an end with this little guy turning five!

Hey Finn,

Woahh I can’t believe you’re five! You need to stop this superspeed growing right this moment. Slow it wayyyyy down okay? 

Spending the last 5 years being your mom has been such a dream and I am grateful for it. You are the sweetest, gentlest, happiest, sunshiniest, awesomest, most helpful and polite little boy. 

You’re the kid who will come help me make coffee in the morning, and fix lunches for everyone and prepare snacks for your siblings. Egg mayo is your specialty and I have to say, it is quite delicious. You make it so hard to say no to you because I have to look at this face and also, you ask for things in the most polite manner. 

“Please, mom, may I have a sandwich?” 

There is no universe in which this mommy is ever able to say no to that. 

The other day, Theo burst into the kitchen yelling “MOMMMM I WANT GUMMIES!!!” and you patted him on the head and said “you can’t just yell I want gummies, you need to ask nicely like mommy may I have some gummies please?” Theo looked at you like “whatttt??? How many words is that ain’t nobody got time for that!!” then proceeded to yell “MOMMMM GUMMIES…PLEEEASE!!!” ūüėā

Daddy was just telling me about the time you went out with him to buy lunch from the food center. After picking up stuff from several stalls, everyone else was like “ooooh nice food om nom nom” but you turned to him and said “thanks for buying all the food dad!”

You have a way of making everyone around you feel super special, don’t ever change. 

I know this year hasn’t been the easiest for you. From the moment you were born till about 4 years old, you were like a little rainbow of joy. I’m still not quite sure how all of that happy managed to fit in your little body; I suppose it didn’t all fit so some of it had to spill out to the rest of us. And how about those terrible twos? Not even a little bit. Throughout your twos and threes and fours, you had none of the tantrums and meltdowns. If anything, your twos were quite delightful. 

But then 4-5 was the year that you started to feel all of the other feelings like sadness and disappointment and frustration and rage and it’s been hard for you to deal with them. You would struggle to process these negative emotions and I can see your system shutting down like it’s too much to handle. 

On your birthday, you didn’t want presents or surprises so we decided to spend the day together, all of us. You wanted 5 blue balloons, some time at the playground and a little craft activity. It was a fab day right up to just before bedtime when you had to pause the game with your siblings and go take a shower. You were sad about missing out on the fun and after a tearful shower, you said “I wish it wasn’t my birthday because it’s the worst day ever.” The sadness was so overwhelming it overshadowed everything else. 

Hey, I’m 35 and it’s still hard for me to deal with negative emotions too so I get it. I used to wish that I could go through life without negative emotions; just an endless high of joy and euphoria seemed like the ideal way to spend one’s life. I know that world doesn’t exist but sometimes I wish I could put you in a little bubble of joy and keep you safe from bad feelings. 

I can’t make all the bad feelings go away but I promise that we will always be here to hug you or talk it out until it gets better. 

You were a perfect baby and now, you’re the most perfect little boy. I love you and I like you. A lot!!!


Pretty perfect

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I managed to sneak in some alone time with Finn this¬†week while Theo and Hayley were down for a long nap (a miracle!!). Special dates with Finn¬†don’t come around as much as I’d like, and it’s such a treat to have him to myself, even if it’s just for a while.

If there’s one kid who’s had to deal with being the¬†middle child, it’s probably Finn. He’s not quite in the big kid club with Truett and Kirsten just yet, but too big to be in team baby with Theo and Hayley.¬†These days, with¬†the¬†high maintenance babies always¬†getting dibs on mommy time, plus¬†the big kids needing help with exams and school stuff, Finn has to make do with what’s leftover, which isn’t much.¬†In the midst of all the day to day firefighting, I don’t always remember that Finn is just here quietly growing up.

He’s super sweet about it though, just waiting for his turn and being so thrilled when it’s date day, like “are we really going for a special treat today?? Just me?? WOW THANKS!!”¬†

I had picked him up from school and we were discussing our snack options at White Sands shopping mall because all proper dates have to have snacks. On the list was ice cream, chocolate white chocolate chip cookies and soft chocolate buns.

Finn: Mom! Mom!! Can I also have a waffle please??? I like waffles!

Me: Sure! Which flavour would you like? There’s plain, kaya, peanut, cheese, blueberry…

Finn: *peering at the board with the flavours and prices listed* Ummmmm, how about plain?

Me: You sure? With nothing inside? Don’t you like¬†cheese?

Finn: I don’t want you to spend so much money. Just a plain one will do. It’s only $1.40.

Me: It’s ok Finn, you can pick any flavour you like, don’t worry about it.

Finn: No need, I also like it plain.

Me: Sure, one plain coming right up.

Finn: Thanks mom, you’re the best!


As we were about to head back…

Finn: Mom, is your life perfect?

Me: Whaaat? Why do you ask that?

Finn: Is it?

Me: Yeah, I think it is. My life is kind of perfect.

Finn: I know. Because I’m your baby so that’s why your life is perfect.

Me: You know what? You’re¬†right.

Finn: Because you’re my mom so my life is perfect too.


I really miss alone time with Finn. I need to do this more.


Finn turns four!!

Look who’s turning 4 in two days! Uh huh, this guy.

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There was a time when he was all goofy and gummy like this.


And the hair!! Remember the hair? This baby had the most gorgeous windswept hair. Maybe one of these days the hair will make a comeback.

Be still, my heart.

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I was showing Finn his baby pictures with the long hair and he was horrified that I made him have long hair as a baby.

That’s¬†not me because it’s a girl,” he insisted.

I really miss Finn as a baby but I gotta say, Finn as a little big boy is another level kind of dreamy.

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4-year-old Finn is¬†like golden light¬†sunshine and rainbows sprinkles and fluffy cotton candy. He¬†is¬†all¬†sweet and warm and gentle and so full of happy it’s almost ridiculous. It doesn’t take much to make him smile and this is the one kid who will¬†laugh at all my jokes, even the lame ones.

He’s not the flashy sort that needs to be front and centre in a crowd because he’s mostly content¬†to just hang out in the background while someone else¬†takes the spotlight. But there’s something about him that makes you want to be around him.

It’s probably¬†that disarming smile (that aunties find irresistible!), and that soft-spoken manner, and the way his eyes sparkle when he’s happy, which is often.

It sounds unreal but this boy doesn’t have meltdowns or tantrums and he rarely¬†insists on getting his way. He’s just an easy, obliging kid who’s as low maintenance as they come. He did punch me in the eye that one time but it was mostly out of love, like a love punch. Usually if¬†he wants something, he’ll ask for it politely and if we say no, he’ll try his best to be ok with it and be like “how about next time, mom?” Which is genius because it immediately makes me go like, “you know what, you can have it¬†now. Mommy will give¬†you anything you want.

With so many¬†kids around, I’ll occasionally¬†have all 4 big kids talking at me all at once. Baby Theo is the loudest and he usually gets heard first due to the sheer force of his personality. Then Truett and Kirsten¬†will take turns getting a word in while Finn waits patiently for his turn to speak.

Mom I want to tell you…” he gets cut off by one of his siblings.

Mom, do you know…” he starts to speak but¬†gets drowned out again.

10 minutes in, my subconscious brain realises that everyone has had a chance talking except Finn, who is still getting his sentences hijacked by his siblings.

Did you want to tell mommy something, Finn?” I ask.

Is it my turn to talk now, mom?

Yes! Sorry baby. Ok everybody stop talking and listen to Finn.

Then he’ll smile, pleased¬†that it’s finally his turn.

Maybe¬†it’s¬†a middle child syndrome¬†but I feel like Finn is the one¬†I have to keep an eye out for to make sure he doesn’t feel neglected. He gets ordered around by¬†his two older siblings and even gets bulldozed by baby Theo, who’s like a hurricane next to him. I was watching them play during nap time a few days ago¬†and Theo was yelling instructions at him like “TICKLE MY TUMMY, KOR KOR FINN!! TICKLE MY EARS! NO, THIS SIDE!!! AND THIS EAR! AND MY EYEBROWS!” And Finn was just his usual obliging self, offering tickling services¬†like he was told.

Between you and me, this kid is a keeper. I don’t know how I landed this gig of being his mom but¬†I know I lucked out big here, no question about it.

Happy birthday, Finn! It’s been a dream being your mom and I’ll try my best to do a good job. :)


The Finn Effect

Finn came along for my pregnancy check up last week – this little guy has¬†been super excited to¬†say hi to baby Hayley and I’m just happy to have some catch up time with him.

These single kid outings are my favourites, mostly because they’re so¬†easy.¬†I don’t have to be on my high alert sheep-herding mode every moment, chasing down runaway kids or mediating squabbles or fielding more requests than my brain can process.¬†With one child at a time, it’s relaxing. I feel like I’m out with a good friend and I’m able to really¬†enjoy their company, just talking and having fun.

I was supposed to do a blood test during this check up and Finn is not a fan of needles or blood or any kind of pain in general. I can’t say I’m fond of it myself, but I told him that I’d feel better if he held my hand. So he did, with all the seriousness of someone performing a Very Important Task. He peered at the needle with his face all frowny while squeezing¬†my hand so tightly it was starting to hurt more than the needle prick.

I didn’t mind though – this sort of pain, I’m ok with.

He didn’t let go of my hand the whole time¬†we were walking to the waiting area, and he kept asking if it still hurt. It actually didn’t, but I was rather enjoying the attention so I showed him my finger and said, “yeah, still hurts.”

Clearly,¬†he took this to mean that things were getting out of control, so he made me stop right there in the crowded clinic¬†and¬†said very loudly, “DEAR GOD, THANK YOU FOR MOMMY. YOU NEED TO MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY NOW SO MOMMY’S FINGER WON’T BE IN A LOT OF PAIN ANYMORE…”

It was the sweetest thing ever, but also kind of too loud¬†because it was also clear to the other 45 people waiting there that I was milking it over a tiny finger prick. If I was in labor, fair game, y’know. But blood test, not so good for my street cred.

“It’s a miracle, I’m fine now, thanks baby!!” I whispered.

“Ok! I’ll always come with you to the doctor so I can pray for you, mom.”


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How sad is this sad baby?

Finn’s been having a hard time adjusting back to preschool after 3 weeks away (2 weeks in Melbourne and 1 week on sick leave).

He’s usually such a happy waker upper but now, every morning, the first thing he asks when he opens his eyes ¬†is “Do I have school today?” And when the answer is “Yes, baby“, his little eyes will slowly fill up with tears, then he’ll flop his head onto the pillow¬†all melodrama like and sob these great big sad sobs. He’ll tear up again while putting on his uniform, or eating breakfast, and when it’s finally time to go, he’ll put on his shoes reluctantly, trying to hold back the tears. It’s just the saddest thing.

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While driving him to school a few days ago, he started crying really bad so I pulled over and just held him on my lap for several minutes. Finally, he stopped and asked, “Is it I cannot cry because I’m a big boy? I think I don’t want to be a big boy. I want to be a small boy because I’m sad.”

I usually don’t tell the kids not to cry because it’s ok to cry. It’s a healthy expression of sadness. I cry all the time when I’m sad and sometimes, crying is good. I always¬†feel much better after a good cry. Exhausted, but better.

So I told him that¬†big boys cried too, and that I’d be here for him until he feels better.

I don’t feel better, mom,” he said.

Is there anything mommy can do to cheer you up? Would you like to watch something on the phone?

No thanks.” This is serious. He must be really sad to refuse the iphone.

Maybe we just need more time. I think you’ll feel better after a few more days and you’ll get used to being back at school again. How about I just hug you for a bit before we go to school?

Ok,” he nodded, looking at me with his¬†puffy eyes.

Sometimes I don’t need you but sometimes I need you,” he added quietly, after a while.

That got me. I’m still coming to terms with having 2 big kids who mostly don’t need me anymore and I’m in mild denial about this, but¬†it does feel¬†like they’re slipping out of my hands. They’ve got friends and school and activities that they don’t need me for so I’m figuring out how to just watch the from the sidelines. That’s the hardest part about being a mom – letting them go. Right now, I’m not quite ready to let go of any of my babies¬†just yet.

Can I tell you a secret? I’m happy when you need me, y’know? Because I need you too, Finn.”


Baby got back

My baby’s home! And it looks like I’m not the only one who missed him.

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Finn had the best time in Melbourne going camping and fishing and dog walking and playgrounding with my mom and sister but 14 days is far too long for my baby to be away.

Two words: NEVER AGAIN.

It’s been awfully rough for this momma who started out holding his blankie to sleep for a couple of days and then towards the end, it got really, really bad. Like full on hallucinatory episodes kind of bad. I saw this kid who had hair¬†like Finn at the mall the other day and it took all the self control I had not to run over to¬†bear hug someone else’s kid. My brain was telling¬†me that my baby was in Melbourne and he’s not this kid (whose face doesn’t even look that much like Finn), but that rational part got overridden for a moment.

I’m just glad my baby’s home and now my life is complete again.

Last night, Finn was telling me all about his adventures during¬†bedtime, then he suddenly stopped and said, “Never mind lah, I’m so happy I’m home because I get to see you.” Sweet talker, this one.

I may have taken this for granted but let me just say that I cannot describe the bliss that is having all my babies home and being able to hold them all to sleep.


And we’ll have Finn take us out with some shots¬†of his time in¬†Melbourne.

(*photos by the sister)








Some kind of sassy

Somewhere in the last month or so, Finn¬†made the jump into the kind of smartypants that only three-year-olds are capable of getting away with. A special kind of full-on sassy¬†that’s made up of 2 parts irresistible, one part obnoxious. And it’s killing me.

Bed/nap time now looks like a variation of this.

Me: Finn, please lie down and go to sleep.

Finn: Ok mommy, is it like this?

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Me: No.

Finn: Is it like this?

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Me: No.

Finn: Is it like this?

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Me: Sort of, but with both eyes fully closed.

Finn: Is it like this?

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Me: Yes.

Finn: Mmhhrree zhree lihhdissss?

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Me: Shhhhhhh.


I had hoped that I’d see the end of the drawing-on-non-paper-surfaces phase, but¬†no, we’re still deep in this fun chapter. Consequently, Finn has been spending time¬†getting acquainted with his spot at¬†the wall of contemplation several days a week, mostly for drawing on various non-paper surfaces. To his credit, he’s been quite creative with finding new not-approved spots to draw on.

Last week, during yet another drawing-related timeout, I overheard this monologue with Theo.

Baby Theo, can we draw on the floor? No.

Can we draw on the wall? No.

Can we draw on the table? No.

Can we draw on the chair? No.

Can we draw on the curtain? No.

Can we draw on the piggy? No.

Can we draw on the bed? No.

Can we draw on the blanket? No.