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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.



Finn’s Birthday Time Capsule 2015

We’re rounding up birthday season 2015 with this dreamy dreamboat who turned three last week. Three is such an adorably fun age, you know what, three can put on its jammies and get real comfy because three can stay for as long as it likes. Three makes my heart skip a beat.

Then again, maybe it’s this face that has turns my heart a little squishy.

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Sometimes, I think Finn was meant to be born in another time, like maybe a hundred years earlier in a victorian aristocracy. Such a proper little gentleman, this one. He’ll remember to say “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome” all the time, and if I forget to say “bless you” after he sneezes, he’ll turn to me and say “you forgot to say “bless you” to me, mommy.”

“Oh sorry, bless you, Finn!”

“No need to say sorry, it’s ok mom!”

And I’ll smile because I feel like I’m having a conversation with the Duke of Buckingham, and I should maybe curtsy or twirl or something.


Birthdays wouldn’t be complete without a time capsule so here we go.

Hey Finn!

//We’ve been calling you Finn Finn since you were a tiny baby, but you’ve recently decided that one Finn suits you just fine. These days, when I call you Finn Finn, you’ll look at me with that serious big boy head tilt and say, “I’m Finn. Finn Kao.” Reminds me of one Mr Bond.

So hey there Finn Kao, happy birthday!

Can I just say that being your mom is such a dream? I’ve spent 1,100 days being your favourite person in the world and we’ve had all kinds of crazy days during that time, haven’t we? Some started out as super fun days, best day of my life kind of days, mediocre days, lousy days, boring days, and days that I don’t want to talk about ever, but every single one of those 1,100 days have turned out to be terrific days because I’ve had you in them.

You really are a sweetheart. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about you that’s so sweet and endearing. Maybe it’s those surprise kisses that you give generously and so purposefully (with both hands holding my cheeks), like you’re taking the time to do something big and important. Maybe it’s that earnest, gentle, soft spoken demeanour that’s so out of place next to your cheeky grin. Maybe it’s the way you somehow make everyone feel like they’re really special. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s hard not to be drawn to you.


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Your dominant emotions are joy and sadness. Mostly joy, followed by a little bit of sadness when things don’t go your way. (So different from baby Theo who is a combination of joy and all out hulk-smash fury. You boys are like ice and fire, so adorable.)

In your entire 3 years, you’ve never had a full scale meltdown. That’s remarkable. Which is not to say that you’ve never gotten upset. There have been tears (mostly of the heartbreaking sobbing variety) and indignant hollers of “HEYYYY!!!”, but never the hardcore melt into the floor tantrum. At first, we were just waiting for that one epic outburst to happen, but it’s been 3 years and…we realised that it’s just not how you deal. You get sad and a big fat tear falls out of your sad smouldering baby eyes and you hide in a corner and say mournful things like “kor kor and jie jie don’t want to love me.”

Hey, I want you to know that sadness isn’t bad. When you’re sad, it’s ok to talk about it and your daddy and I, we’ll always be here to listen. Or if you’re too sad to talk, we’ll just be here to sit with you in your corner and hold your hand. Things always get better when you have someone to hold your hand, you’ll see.

I know sometimes you get overshadowed by your boisterous siblings in the stampede that goes on at home everyday. Even your baby brother is like “Did somebody say stampede?? YEAHHH YEEHAWWW!!!” And you’re all, “guys, let’s chill out and do some puzzles…” That’s ok, you know. That’s more than ok. You bring the ice cubes to their fire and they adore you for it.

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Want to know a secret? Being your mom is also really hard because you have a manner that is so disarming. I don’t know what to do with you. The other day, you drew on the walls with a pen (right after you drew on the curtains and bed and sofa with a marker), so I made you stand at the spot which you drew for 5 minutes to ponder the error of your ways.

At the end of those 5 minutes, you mustered your most innocent face and said, “I’m sorry mommy, I’ll listen and be a good boy.”

I know there are more drawings on more walls to be discovered in my immediate future but how do I stay mad at this face? Urgh, incorrigible.

I guess you make up for it by being delightful company. Which you absolutely are. I love our little ice-cream dates and grocery dates and walks at the park dates. At the end of each day, you’ll tell me about all the adventures you had and round off with “I had so much fun with you mommy!”

You always know how to make a girl feel special, that’s for sure.

Have fun with being 3 ok, you’re going to be legendary at it.

I love you, Finn Kao.

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