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Hayley

Hayley

And then I was like…

I had thought that after 11 years and 5 kids, I’ve seen all the hilarious things babies get up to, but I will say that baby Hayley has managed to surprise me.

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Last week, Theo was having a particularly emotional day after being told that he wasn’t able to have a third round of afternoon snacks. You know how it is when they start talking and increasingly feel all of the feels and their speech escalates into a high pitched “butIonlyhad3snackspleasemomI…hadfhefafkjhjeshkjfha

I was about to give him a hug and ask him to take a breath for a bit when a baby voice quipped, “It’s ok kor kor Theo, there’s no need to cry. Just talk like a normal person.

We were all like “wait a minute, did that come from baby Hayley??” and indeed it did and the big kids (even Theo) all cracked up like it was the funniest thing ever.

It’s one thing to know how to tell someone to take a chill pill, but to nail the timing and delivery with such finesse? That’s something else.

//

I’m not sure how this developed but Hayley now speaks like a valley girl and I’m so here for it.

Mom, can you like, bring me to like, the playground or something?”

I’m like a bit like, y’know, hungry…can I like have a snack?

That’s way too many likes in one sentence and I like cannot. I don’t know what it means to like have a snack. Does that involve having an actual snack or just pretending to have a snack or having something that’s like a snack but not actually one?

It’s so adorable though and we have a running tally of how many likes she uses in a day. 53 is the record so far.

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I also have to tell you about the time this baby hatched an elaborate plot to sneak in some candy during bedtime because this one is impressive.

We had come back late one evening after a long day out and it was an “everybody wash up and go straight to bed” situation, which usually translates into a fair bit of mayhem. Amidst all the baby showering and pre-bed routine, nobody noticed that a pack of skittles had gone missing from the dining table.

So everyone went to bed and Hayley was climbing around my bed for 20 minutes when she was suddenly all like, “I think I want to sleep down on the mattress by myself now.” This is where I started getting suspicious because Hayley never volunteers to sleep on her mattress. She wants to be in our bed every chance she gets.

Do you want mommy to lie down with you on the mattress?

“No need!” she replies hastily.

Alright fine, as you wish.” I’ve learnt not to question it when a baby decides to do something uncharacteristically mature such as wanting to sleep in her own bed by herself. “It’s progress and I’ll take a win when there’s one,” I told myself.

All was quiet for several minutes and then I start hearing a rustling from the mattress. I turn on the light to check and sure enough, this baby was trying to open the bag of skittles as quietly as she could. I was like “Is that a bag of skittles? How did it even get here and wh…

Sorry sorry, mom! I was like trying to…um, you can keep this in the fridge!

Okay, many things had to line up for us to get here. First, she needed to plant the bag skittles strategically under the side table to keep it just out of view or she would have been busted straight off the bat. Then she had to bide her time on my bed and find an opportune moment to relocate herself to the mattress while playing it cool and convincing. That’s forward planning, delayed gratification, reading situations and improvising on the fly all happening in her brain and she might just have gotten away with the whole thing too if she had been more skilled in opening a bag without rustling.

To be clear, I don’t encourage candy-sneaking or sneaking of any sort, but I do recognise resourcefulness and this is next level.

//

On an unrelated note,  here are some photos of Hayley enjoying a shake shack (took us 40 minutes in the queue) and a delicious beverage.

And this, this is what I call the just-got-busted-but-trying-to-figure-her-way-out-of-it face. I love this face.

Hayley

Almost three

I try not to rave too much about my babies…okay that is totally not true and I rave about my babies every chance I get, but consider this my full on rave mode because this baby right here is in the most perfect stage (she’s been for the past year or so). She brings me so much joy but at the same time, every day that passes makes me a little sad knowing that I have one less day left of her babyness.

As it is, I’m devastated that I’m done having more babies and will henceforth have to be content with holding other people’s babies. I’m now the kind of person who does a double take when I walk past a newborn.

Nobody’s newborns are safe from now on – friends who have newborns know that I’ll be all over them in a heartbeat and even strangers, well let’s just say that I may or may not have used my baby as bait to start up a conversation.

Having big kids is great and I’m all for the benefits like savouring my full nights of sleep or having some semblance of my life back but I’m not prepared for this sadness that comes with letting go of 10 years of enjoying the weight of a tiny baby on my chest any time I want.

**

Hayley is a everything I could possibly want in a baby right now. She is so easy that it makes my life easy and some days I wonder if it’s because I’m a much better mom than I was when I started (those days were brutal) or if it’s just that this baby is such a dream. Probably the second one.

Here’s what a day with this baby looks like:

– go for walks along the Punggol waterway where she tells me about fending off lizards and alligators. (It’s my duty to prepare her for life’s catastrophes so she knows that if she’s ever attacked by an alligator, she needs to “JAB IT IN THE NOSE SO IT WILL LET GO AND RUN AWAY!!“)

– have snacks!! This baby is a snack monster whose entire life is about eating more snacks. “I haven’t had gummies for a long time (not true, it’s only been 24 hours)”, “how about tomatoes? Tomatoes are good for you right?“, “Is that chocolate?? I love chocolate it’s so delicious!

On the topic of gummies, she will try to pick out clumps of gummies that got stuck together after being in the fridge and try to pass them off as 1 gummy. “Look, this is stuck together into 1 piece so I have no choice but to take it.” Even when they’re not stuck, she will pick one piece and roll it around the bag like a katamari in hope of picking up more pieces. It’s genius.

– have a nap. Her, not me, although one of these days I’ll just live dangerously and join her for a nap.

– have fun with all the other kids. Her favourite time of the day is when everyone is back from school.

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Eating together is always more fun than eating alone.

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– fix dinner. I remember a time where fixing dinner was an ordeal, having to bounce a fussy baby while scrambling to throw stuff into a pan. These days, she enjoys helping to crack eggs and wash rice and hold vegetables to determine how squishy they are. And me, I just enjoy the company.

She hardly ever has a bad day. No terrible twos to speak of, no meltdowns or overall grouchiness. One time, she woke up 20 minutes into a nap and was generally upset at everything so I recommended a follow up nap to solve the problem. She laid down next to me, then sat right up and said, “I don’t need to nap, mom. I won’t be grouchy any more.

Are you sure? You’ll feel better after a nap and I’ll be right here till you fall asleep.

I’m sure. I will be cheerful now,” she told me, flashing me a huge grin.

It was worth a shot and just like that, she was in a fabulous mood for the rest of the day. Later that day, she came up to me looking very pleased and said, “see, I told you I will be cheerful right? I did it.

I have to give it to this kid. She’s made the experience of having a last baby pretty perfect.

Hayley

The babiest baby of all

Baby Hayley has been keeping me company while her siblings are off at school and I’m having the best time.

This baby at this age is perfection.

We go to the library, run around at rooftop water play areas, go swimming, shop for groceries, share sandwiches, do workout videos together, take long bus rides and even longer walks. And the whole time, she gives me a hilarious running commentary of the experience, like “Look at me, I’m doing exercise, mom, ooofff this is so hard I think I need an ice cream…” or “WAIT FOR ME MOMMYYYY DON’T LEAVE ME BEHIND I’M JUST LOOKING AT ORANGES!!

I’m telling you this is a baby who knows how to have a good time.

Maybe it’s a last baby situation where I know this is the last time I’m ever going to enjoy this or it could be a fifth baby thing where everything is less stressful or maybe it’s a bit of both but wow, these days have been the greatest.

Sometimes I do wish that I enjoyed the process with the bigger kids a bit more. I remember being so overwhelmed with Truett and Kirsten as babies and just wishing the days would go by faster. Every day was a desperate crawl towards bedtime where I could take a breather from being a mom for just a moment. We’d go to the park and I’d be flat out exhausted the moment we got there. People would be telling me to enjoy the moment and I would try but deep down inside, I’d be like “I’m drowning here and it’s hard to enjoy this feeling of not being able to breathe.

If I could do it all over again, I don’t know, I really would have tried to soak in the moments a little bit more. I miss Tru’s baby giggles and Kirsten’s legendary cheeks and Finn’s heart melting smile and Theo’s cuddles and now they’re off doing their big kid growing up things.

::

Baby Hayley right now is ridiculously adorable and she knows exactly how to make this momma swoon.

Out of the blue, she will walk up to me and say “Mom!! I love you!” and smile sweetly like the thought just occured to her and she needed to share the sentiment with me immediately.

And her sad bambi eyes? My heart can’t take it.

Baby Hayley is the master of turning on the charm with a “Please mom, pretty please??? Just a tiny bit? Please??

She has skills like I’ve never seen. The other day, she managed to talk me into getting her a surprise egg during a supermarket run and for some context, this mom doesn’t do surprise eggs for any of the kids ever. We were at the checkout counter and she saw a kinder surprise egg and said “Please mommy, can I get one?” And of course I said no because what?? no, I’ll get you a fruit instead. Hayley was all “Please mom?? Just a tiny one??” and I’m like “There’s no such thing as a tiny egg. They’re all the same size and oh, how about these cherry tomatoes?” Finally she said “Can I just hold it for a while? I’ll put it back.” And she did. She said bye to her egg and stacked it back on the shelf cheerfully when we were about to leave.

Okay yes, that was the point I wavered. I glanced at the shelf and it so happened that the egg was priced at $1 instead of the usual $2.10 and I looked at her face and I said “Would you really like to get it? Just today ok? This is a one time thing that probably won’t happen again…” and her eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. “You mean this is for me? I can bring this home and eat it??? Yeahhhh thanks mommy!!!

So that’s the story of how baby Hayley got herself a surprise egg and enjoyed it tremendously.

These days, bedtime with this baby is a 3-hour affair that would have driven me mad 8 years ago but not now because these are 3 hours where I still get to have a baby to cuddle every night. We play supermarket check out where she sells me things for 2 pounds each. She orders me to hold her like a baby on my chest. She tells me about her favourite snacks and I tell her stories of a baby char siew bao who loved snacks and adventures.

“Tell me a story!!” she would say over and over again and I’d be like “I need time to think of these stories, and this is the fifth one tonight. I’m all out of char siew bao stories.

Please, please mom? Just one more.

Okay, so this one time, the baby char siew bao met a siew mai…

❤️

Hayley

Bionic Baby

I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the trauma to talk about it, so here goes.

Yeah, this happened.

Poor baby fractured her arm very badly last week and is now Bucky Barnes.

***

Here’s how it went down:

8.00pm

Theo and Hayley go to bed. More accurately, they begin the process of going to bed, which can sometimes last for 2, maybe 3 hours depending on how robust they happen to be feeling that particular evening. It always starts with a nice warm bottle of milk to get them feeling a little sleepy because I’m an optimist.

8.20pm

Hayley turns to her brother and asks sweetly, “kor kor, can I sit unicorn?” Theo’s love for her is deep so the answer to that question is always yes.

What is this unicorn game, you might wonder. Is it a magical gentle calming ride across a rainbow and into the sunset? No. I don’t know what kind of unicorn they have been exposed to but I would describe it as a very angry and violent mechanical bull on steroids. Theo will attempt to throw her off his back (as gently as he possibly can, which is not gentle at all) while she holds on to his ears. I repeatedly tell them that this game isn’t going to end well but these babies don’t ever listen.

Thankfully, nobody gets hurt from this, so they decide to move on to a more exciting game.

8.45pm

They move on to Theo’s favourite game, something called Destroy Enemies. They build a fortress around the perimeter of the bed with pillows + bolsters and proceed to fight imaginary enemies.

Meanwhile, I’m like “You guys need to go to bed. All the enemies have been destroyed, it’s calm and peaceful and it’s time to sleep. Mommy will be on watch duty, I’ll make sure the perimeter is secure” but Theo will not be fooled. He’s all “I need to check…oh wait, I spy some new enemies coming. WE MUST FIGHT THEM.” This goes on for another 20 minutes.

9.15pm

You would think that it’s time for bed after all the enemies have been defeated but that would make my life far too easy. They start throwing their stuffed toys onto the floor and I am appointed the designated toy picker. At first, I refused to be part of this madness because that would only encourage more madness but Hayley was all “please please please mom? My meh-meh will be sad all alone on the floor.”

I tried to be like “well you should really have thought of that before flinging her off the bed” but she flashed me her bambi eyes and with great reluctance, I sighed and went right about my toy picking duties. They clearly thought this was hilarious because they started throwing more and more toys for me to pick.

9.35pm

Next thing I knew, Hayley leaned over too far off the bed to fling a toy and fell off the side of the bed. Instinctively she stretched out her left arm to break the fall and ended up breaking that arm instead. She screamed like I have never heard her scream before. I rushed to pick her up and she managed to get in the words “MY…ARM…HURTS!!

I took one look at her arm and my heart sank so fast and so far I could barely breathe. Her left forearm was bent backwards and it was dangling like a pair of nunchucks. I’ve never been more terrified in my life and this image has been permanently seared into my brain.

I ran to the kids’ room and told the husband “Babe it’s an emergency, we need to bring Hayley to KKH now.” The husband came in, took a look at Hayley’s arm and said “ok yeah that’s broken, let’s bring her in now.

10.00pm

At KKH, the doctor confirmed that both her radius and ulna on the forearm were fractured and they put her on ketamine before resetting the bones and putting her arm in a cast. It was all very traumatic.

***

These are some of the things I learnt through this ordeal.

1. Broken bones are not fun. But the doctor says that Hayley should make a full recovery and she could go on to be a baseball player if she wanted to.

2. This baby is a badass. After the initial screaming, she took it like a champ. She came home and told her brothers that she has acquired a new super bionic arm with special powers.

3. She will have to be in the cast for 2 months, so that’s 2 months of “MOMMY SCRATCH IT!!” Every night as she goes to bed, she instructs me to scratch the inside of her cast, which I pretend to rub gently and she’s like “DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT, MOM. SCRATCH IT SUPER HARD!!” I tell her that scratching is going to make it worse so we compromise and I offer to blow her armpits / upper arm area to ease the itch, which I do remarkably well.

4. Has she learnt not to put herself in danger from now on? That’s a big fat no. She has since attempted to climb the double decker bed + ride the scooter with her single arm and is running everywhere like her giant stump of an arm isn’t even a thing. I seriously don’t know what to do with this baby.

Hayley

Look who’s two!

Also celebrating her birthday in June is little squishy cheeks right here, who despite my best efforts in telling her to stop growing, is now two years old.

Happy birthday sweetheart, but also this is entirely unacceptable.

How did it happen? Clearly this baby needs to work on her instruction-following skills. Right now, I’d rate it a 2/10 if I’m being optimistic. It’s like she’s not even trying.

I would be a lot sadder about this development but as it turns out, two years old happens to be my favourite age so I’m reluctantly allowing it while strongly registering my disapproval – all this growing business is to be halted immediately.

//

Two year old Hayley is a dream and I can’t get enough of this baby. She’s sweet and adorable and feisty and funny and perfect in every way.

As an infant, her cuteness level was very high, but I had to pay the price (in the form of sleepless nights and exhaustion and long-suffering) in order to get to the good parts. Remember those days? I do.

But right now, it’s all just good parts and I’m enjoying this phase immensely.

She’s all talky talk non stop these days, which is the cutest thing. For the record, I’m all down for babies learning to use words because it’s been a huge turning point in our relationship. I tried watching those youtube videos on deciphering babies’ cries (THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME!!) but I always had difficulty understanding her very loud and angry high pitched screams. And now that she’s using words that I understand? Yes please!

Like when she’s tired, she announces “I’m very tired, I need to sleep” and I bring her to bed and she sleeps and problem solved. When she wants a snack, she asks for it and I fix her a snack. When she wants some momma lovin’, she yells “KISS ME, MOM!!” and grabs my face for a kiss and I cannot even.

Maybe its all that interaction with her siblings, but she’s got a wonderful sense of humour. She saw Theo trip and fall the other day and started laughing really hard and I was like “Hey, don’t laugh at your brother, falling down is not funny!” and she retorted back with “It’s a bit funny” and okay fair enough, it is a bit funny. Just make sure they’re fine before laughing.

She adores all of them though. Her favourite thing in the world is just to follow them around and be part of their madness. She’s finally big enough to get in on all the action and she’s terribly pleased about it.

One of the benefits of being the baby around here is that she’s got everyone wrapped around her tiny little finger and she knows it. She makes her 3 brothers take turns giving her unicorn rides (on their backs) and bouncy castle rides (on their tummies) and airplane rides (on their feet). Whenever she’s bored, she saunters up to one of them and says, “kor kor Finn, I want sit bouncy castle!!” and he will be like “ok sure!

If it so happens that Finn is busy and replies with “later ok baby? kor kor is reading a book,” she turns on her bambi eyes and says “Pleeeease?? Just small tiny one?” and immediately, her brother will be all “”aarrgghh, ok fine fine come sit here on my tum tum…

Sometimes I think about how close we were to not having this baby and I’m so glad that we did the crazy thing and went for baby #5. :)

Hayley

Just what the doctor ordered

As you can imagine, having 5 small humans in one house is a recipe for things to go viral pretty frequently. And by things, I’m referring to actual viruses, the kind that are accompanied by sniffly noses and too-warm babies.

So who’s lost the battle with a nasty flu bug this time?

This little Hayley bunny.

Poor baby just got out of KKH for a bad stomach bug last month and now this but you know what’s the one good thing about sniffly babies? They are the babiest babies of all. And you know that’s exactly how I like my babies. Babies who can’t wait to grow up are ok I guess but babies who are all baby and all out milking it? My heart doesn’t know how to resist that.

Wait a moment, this is starting to sound like my masochistic subconscious acting up and being all “I’ve been enjoying all this delicious uninterrupted sleep for far too long, let’s see how we can set that straight…oooh feverish baby for a few nights? Exactly what the doctor ordered!“, which might be a little bit of what’s happening here but its mostly just me enjoying all the extra cuddle time with this baby. Right now, I’m at the point in my life where I’ll take cuddle time any way I can get it. At 2 in the morning? I’m down with that. At 3.3oam for the third night in a row? I’m all in.

To be clear, if I could choose between a fluish baby or a non-fluish baby, it would 100% be the non-fluish baby every single time. I’m not sure what it says about me that I have to clarify this but umm yeah, here we are.

My point is that I’ve been around babies enough to know that the flu happens and yes, the baby will become a clingy, needy tyrant covered with an extra dose of grumps sauce. But all that misery comes with a silver lining and you bet I’m hanging on to that silver lining for as long as I can.

The flu usually shows up with a drippy nose followed by a fever and then comes the cough. We’ve weathered the first two but this cough, it’s been the worst. It’s the kind that sends her into a breathless fit until she’s struggling for air in between coughs.

Hayley vomit,” she says with tears.

It’s a cough, baby. I know it’s bad but you’ll feel better soon okay?

Look at these sad baby eyes. Sad baby eyes needs extra hugs and me! me!! I’ll volunteer my baby hugging services.

Today, I had this baby lie on my chest for hours because this is the most comforting place for her to be. For me too. My arm is dead and my shoulder is twitching involuntarily but I’ve missed feeling this warm baby weight on my chest so much. When you hold a baby for long enough, your chest gets all warm and toasty in the most incredible way possible; I highly recommend it.

I tried to put her down when she fell asleep but she instinctively wrapped both arms tighter around my neck and I was like “you know what, baby? They’re gonna have to pry you from my cold dead hands because mommy will hold you for all of eternity. Or until you feel better in a few days. Most probably the second one.

Hopefully this baby will turn the corner tomorrow but while I get to still feel her arms wrapped too tightly around me, I’m going to enjoy that too.

Hayley

21 months

Okay how big has this baby gotten? Too big is the answer.

And more importantly, how long have I got left to baby this baby before I’m all out of babies??

It’s a strange thing, after 10 years of having my life revolve around one or more babies, to suddenly be all done. Knowing that my babying days are numbered, I’ve been actively trying to soak in as many baby moments as I can, constantly aware that today could be the last time I hear her refer to herself as “baby Haaaay” because she’s now able to pronounce her “L’s” with the astonishing clarity (and swagger) of a precocious toddler. She now emphasises the “Hay-LEY” with a grin, letting the L slowly roll off her tongue, evidently pleased with herself. Or today could be the last time she wants me to hold her face to sleep or the last time she needs help opening doors.

I can feel all these moments slipping out of my hands and it makes me a little sad.

I suppose my only consolation in all this is that as she grows out of her babyness, she’s growing into my favourite baby age ever, right around the 18-month to 3-year-old window.

//

Baby Hayley as a 21-month-old is out of control adorable.

She adores dogs but gets very angry with them when they get too excitable because she’s a delicate flower. She’ll be all over the dog wanting to pat it and cuddle it but the moment it tries to play with her, she’s like “nuh-uh, okay I’m done here.

She also adores her brothers + sister but gets very angry when they get too excitable because yes, she’s a delicate flower. She’ll be watching them play their crazy games and part of her will want to join in but once she’s part of the madness, she’ll suddenly be like “WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?? MOMMMM MAKE THIS STOP!!

There are a lot of things I like about having a 21-month-old, such as the way she toddles around on tippy toes when she’s having a good day. I like the way she tries to kiss me 10 times in a row like Theo does but can only count up to 4 before getting stuck. I like all her mispronounced words and her uncoordinated enthusiastic dance moves. I like the way she holds on to my arm when I hug her to sleep as if to make it clear that I’m not allowed to take it away.

But most of all, I like the way she still looks at me like I’m her entire world.

Having 4 bigger kids, I know this doesn’t last forever. The big kids have started to catch on to this whole my-mommy-is-the-awesomest-human-in-the-world myth. They’re now looking at me like I’m a pretty okay mom who does a decent job and that’s ok but for now, I think I’ll enjoy this baby’s looks of adoration while it lasts. :)