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Kirsten

Hayley, Kirsten

Girls team!

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It’s no secret that I think girls are awesome. <<Okay, hang on, here’s a disclaimer for my boys who are reading this/will eventually read this: Mommy adores you and hand on my heart, I love you guys all the same, I promise.>>

But having a decent sample size of 3 boys and 2 girls, I’ve can definitively say that boys and girls are entirely different.

How different?

With girls, you’re basically getting an iPhone – gorgeous, sleek, well thought out, user friendly, pre-loaded with all the necessary apps – just have fun unboxing and you’re good to go.

With boys, you’re getting an unreleased beta version of the galaxy s7 – excellent potential, possibly a better processor, faster speed, more space, but unstable and very likely to set your house on fire. Boys are like incomplete downloads that glitch every now and then, and you have to constantly download patches to keep them stable.

Impulse control issues? Boys. Sensory issues? Boys. Difficulty expressing feels issues? Boys. Roughhousing until someone gets hurt issues? Boys. All manner of odd behavior issues? Boys. All of the epic meltdowns in my 9 years as a parent? Boys.

When I’m out with my boys, I have to be on high alert mode every microsecond because the chances of them destroying stuff at a store or getting lost or eating leftover food from tables is very high. Once, we were at a playground and there was a piece of half chewed/trodden on pandan cake on the floor. Baby Theo went straight for it and put it into his mouth. AND ATE IT. So these days, I also have to flying tackle food scraps out of his hands when we’re out.

Which is why I really enjoy these girl team outings with Kirsten and Hayley. We were out for a quick lunch last week and I was about to go buy our food with the baby in one arm like I usually do but Kirsten was like “don’t worry mom, I can watch the baby while you get the food.

So I did. It was so relaxing to be able to carry food with both hands and not worry about destruction of public property while I was gone.

Best of all, I got back to the table to see this.

Kirsten

Happy birthday, baby girl!!

Kirsten turned 7 last week. :)

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When I had this baby 7 years ago, I didn’t realise how much better my life would be with her in it. I suppose all parents are obliged to think that their kids are pretty rad, but in this case, I happen to have one of those kids whose radness, is in fact, out of this world.

Have I already mentioned that I really really really like this girl?

So Truett and Finn love surprises for their birthdays and we’ll usually surprise them with secret presents that we’ve picked out and wrapped. Kirsten, like me, prefers to know exactly what she’s getting and also have a say in picking it out, so this year, I asked her what she’d like to have.

Actually you don’t have to get me anything because I’ve already got the best present…baby Hayley!!

And she meant it too (even though we also got her an extra present in the form of a sparkly pen set).

She’s been so thrilled by the arrival of baby Hayley that not a day goes by without her fussing over her baby all day. I often forget that she’s 7 because she handles the baby like a pro – far better than most adults do. You know how when you get your kids to handle small babies, it’s mostly perfunctory and they’re not really helping because you have to supervise both kids to make sure none of them gets hurt. Kirsten so good at it that I can count on her to watch the baby when I have to attend to any of the other kids urgently. She’ll cradle Hayley with one arm and shush her gently while patting her head and walking around. Pro level = very impressive.

All day, she’ll be all “Can I carry her, please please please pleeeease???” and I’ll be like “WHY YES! Here, take the baby!!

One of the best scenes in the final season of The Good Wife was when Eli Gold turned to his daughter, Marissa (who had done something quite spectacular), and said, “Now I get why people have children. So that they can admire themselves in someone else.

This is how I feel with Kirsten sometimes. One of the unexpected joys of parenthood is when you see the best parts of yourself in another human being, and you know that they’re going to be even more awesome when they grow up.

Speaking of, we were talking about babies one time and Kirsten told me that she was planning to have 10 kids when she grows up.

“10??!! You know that’s insane right?” I told her.

“I know. But I can do it and I’ll have so many babies to snuggle all day.”

She’s right though. If anyone can pull off having 10 babies, it’s probably gonna be her. And no pressure here, but if that happens, I’ll be the happiest grandma on the block. The husband says it’s not normal for people to dream of being a grandparent when they’ve just had a newborn and I told him that we’re here having our 5th kid – we’ve been done with normal 3 kids ago. Besides, the next best thing to having your own baby is having your babies have more babies when they grow up.

In the meantime, I’m just really glad to have this girl as my baby.

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Kirsten

Learning to listen

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as a mom is to listen. Like really take the time to hear them out when it matters.

So this happened yesterday evening.

It’s our usual evening roundup where the big kids will go shower themselves while I sort out the babies and clean up the house before we all gather for our book/chocolate milk/evening snack session. By the time Tru, Finn and Theo were showered and changed, I went in to check on Kirsten to discover that she had spent the past five minutes going to town on the entire bathroom (walls, ceiling, shelves, mirror, lamp) with the shower spray. Everything was soaked. Meanwhile, she was still very dry and noticeably un-bathed.

When I’m presented with a situation like this where my child is doing something they should not be doing, my immediate solution is to SHUT. IT. DOWN. and put a swift end to it.

This is where I suppose the listening parent would take the time to find out why this is happening but I’m still in the process of acquiring this skill and I’m not one to be all, “Um sweetie, may I enquire as to why you are causing a tsunami in the bathroom? Is something on fire?”

Instead, I delivered one of my perfected mom geyser beams and told her she had exactly 60 seconds to get her act together. As I walked out of the bathroom, I heard her sobbing while frantically trying to set a new shower record like it’s the third act of an epic greek tragedy. Which it isn’t. I mean, she’s in this predicament because of the poor choices she’s made and I was also considering having her sent straight to bed for a timeout.

But after I got her dried off and changed (all the while still sobbing), I thought I’d try the listening strategy. It was very uncharacteristic behaviour from my most responsible child who tries her best to be a good kid. This girl is the one I can count on to do the right thing at the right time and nothing crushes her more than to know that we’re disappointed with her actions. She’ll take any disciplinary action we dole out in stride but it breaks her little heart when she knows she’s been less than exemplary.

Also, I was very interested to hear what possible reason she could come up with to explain away my water-logged toilet.

“Hey baby, what was that about?” I asked as gently as I could.

She just kept sobbing.

“I’m really trying to hear you out. I’m sorry I was fierce. Talk to mommy, ok?”

“I wasn’t playing. I just wanted to make sure there were no lizards in the toilet,” she said between sobs.

URGHHHHH, I did not see that coming. That was a very good one indeed. I couldn’t have come up with a better explanation if I tried.

//The back story is that last week, she ran out screaming after getting ambushed by a fat, juicy lizard mid-shower and has been traumatised ever since. And as a first-hand survivor of a mid-shower lizard attack, I know exactly how terrifying this is. I, too, have a lizard radar to secure my surroundings before every shower, except my system is more advanced and does not require hosing down the entire toilet.

This was turning out to be a greek tragedy after all. Poor helpless girl gets raided by scary lizard and while trying to check for more lizards, she gets yelled at by tyrant mom.

There was a lot of hugging and some more sobbing and I told her I was sorry for getting mad and that I’ll teach her my anti-lizard perimeter sweep.

***

In the midst of the mayhem that goes on everyday, it takes a very conscious effort to hear them out especially when it seems like a waste of time. And the truth is, most of the time, it won’t be legit because kids act up without thinking things through a lot and then we’ll have to yell at them to wake up their idea. But occasionally, it is legit and if we don’t take the time to listen, we’ll never know the difference.

This is really hard. I thought having them as infants was the hardest part but that’s just physical exhaustion to deal with and they make up for it by looking at you with adoring eyes all day like you’re the greatest human being on earth.

The growing up part, that takes so much more out of you. We’ll just have to figure this out together.

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Kirsten

Kirsten’s Birthday Time Capsule 2015

Several hours into Kirsten’s sixth birthday, I asked her, “how does it feel to be 6?”

She grinned. “I think I like it.”

We have a birthday tradition (for all the kids) where they curl up with me on the couch and look through a whole bunch of their baby photos. They’ll ask me about where this one was taken, and why their face was so squishy and what manner of fun they were up to.

kirsten

kirsten 2

kirsten 3

I feel like this daughter of mine was born to be a big girl, and she’s enjoying every moment of growing up. She started walking and speaking and hitting all her milestones earlier than the other kids, just growing on superspeed. She’s always been ready to be a big girl, like she is so much wiser and more mature on the inside and she’s just waiting for her outside to catch up.

Ok, now time for another tradition: Kirsten’s birthday time capsule 2015.

***

Hey baby girl,

Is it ok if I still call you my baby? I know time is running out on this baby calling with each passing year. **sad eyes emoticon with a tear on the side. But then again, I still call your daddy my baby and he’s 35, so there’s that.

You’re finally 6!! You’ve been so excited the past few days, just counting down to being another year older. Adding years to your age loses its charm after a while, you’ll see. I know you can’t wait to be as big as Truett, and in many ways, it seems like you are. Sometimes, I forget that you’re still a preschooler, because you talk and do things like a 7 or 8 year old.

You do all these crazy grown up things like putting yourself to bed, washing your little brother’s poopy bum, making your own sandwiches, reading to your baby, packing up stuff around the house (without being asked??!!). You’re like my supersub, and when things get out of control with the babies (which happens often), I can always count on you to be thoughtful and do the responsible thing.

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But dial back on the superspeed and wait up for me a little, ok? I like it when you still ask to snuggle at bedtime, or when you want to sit on my lap to read, or when you want to hang out next to me just to load up on mommy time.

You’ve got the most infectious laugh, and your enthusiasm for life is like a cannonball of sunshine that hits me right in the face. You wake up and get excited about sort of ordinary stuff. Library day today? YEAHH SO MUCH FUN!! We take a detour to get ice-cream after school and you’re like “WHATTT?? THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.” You go watch a game of waterpolo (you’ve never even heard of waterpolo right up to that point) at the SEA Games and you cheer your heart out. Your radness level is ridiculously high for someone this tiny.

This photo taken by one of the MCCY photographers at the waterpolo match is so quintessentially you.

kirsten copy-2

Hang on, we have to talk about your artistic ability for a moment. Where did this come from?? Not me, that’s for sure. I love your drawings!! They’re so whimsical and happy and full of you-ness. FYI I’m your biggest fan.

Maybe you’ll come to think differently as you grow up, but know that you’re so beautiful inside and outside and every possible side. And we’ll be here to tell you every day just how beautiful you are.

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Happy birthday, sweetheart. I’m really glad you’re my girl.

We’ve got so much fun in store for us, you and me. Stick with me, baby girl, I’ll show you how to have fun.

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Kirsten

Big sister level 999

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I was planning to write something else today but then this just happened.

This morning, while I was still in bed catching up on some sleep (ahem, rough couple of nights with a feverish baby), Kirsten quietly levelled up on her big sisterly powers. She went and washed Finn’s poopy bum all by herself. My 6-year-old cleaned my 2-year-old’s poopy bottom. I’m still letting that sink in, y’all. She discovered that Finn had pooped in his diaper and instead of holding her nose and yelling for one of us to sort it out, she took him by the hand, brought him to the toilet and got. it. done.

Big sister level 999.

I asked her why she didn’t wake me up to do it and she said “I know you’re tired so I just let you sleep.”

That she is knows how to do this is pretty remarkable but that she wanted to do it without being asked to…seriously, I have no words. I mean, most big sisters don’t mind holding the baby or singing to them for a few minutes. Giving up toys? Sharing snacks? Letting them drool all over your possessions? Okay. But even big sisterly duties have a line and scraping poop off your baby brother’s bottom is way across that line.

How did I manage to luck out with this girl? I can’t even.

//

This reminds me – a few nights back, I had Kirsten and Finn snuggled up in bed with me and Kirsten leaned over to kiss her brother on the cheek.

“Don’t kiss my cheek, jie jie!”

“Why not??”

“I only want momma, I don’t want you.”

Not cool. I had to tell Finn he couldn’t say things like that. “Hey, don’t say that, you want…”

Kirsten interrupted. “It’s ok, I still want you.”

“You know Finn doesn’t mean it right? He adores you.” I whispered to Kirsten.

“I know,” she whispered back. “Babies just like to talk nonsense. I know I’m his favourite sister.”

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PS. **IF** I ever have another kid, it’s because I have this girl on my team.

**The IF represents a very small probability. Pretty much close to zero. Although another girl would be ridiculously cute. And awesome. Okay, my ovaries are out of control. I should stop now before the husband gets a cardiac arrest reading this.

Kirsten

Being 5 like a boss

Every single day, I’m thankful that I’ve got a little girl and that girl is Kirsten. She’s like an old soul who’s too cool for her current age. This kid is 5 but sometimes, she says and does things like a 10-year-old, and in a good way.

She’s the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and spunky. She’s like the yin to all the yangs in this house, or is it the other way around? Either way, she’s got enough in her to balance out the 3 crazy boys.

***

One time, she sees the husband holding baby Theo with one hand while trying to pour chocolate milk for the bigger kids with the other hand.

Kirsten: Dad, you know what? I think you need 2 more arms.

Husband: Yes, I think so too. But 4 arms would look so weird, don’t you think?

Kirsten: Well, if everyone had 4 arms, then it wouldn’t be weird at all. It would be normal.

Husband: It’s like you have an adult brain in a 5-year-old body.

***

Kirsten: Hey mom, I’ve got a secret. //whispers I actually don’t really like angry birds but I know kor kor likes it when I play it with him.

Me: That’s so sweet of you, baby.

Kirsten: But don’t tell him that, later it will hurt his feelings.

Me: It’ll be our secret. I’m just going to tell it to the Internet, is that ok?

//thinks for a moment.

Kirsten: Is that your blog thing?

Me: Yeah, the blog thing.

Kirsten: Ok, sure. And please put a picture of my new water bottle.

Me: Way to be random, but sure.

water bottle

***

Kirsten: Kor kor, I can’t believe I’m going to say this but…I think I like bananas more than potato chips.

//gives an audible gasp.

Kirsten: Ok, there I said it.

***

It was one of those afternoons where it was just me, Kirsten, Finn and Theo at home.

Kirsten: Mom, we can do this. You put Finn Finn to bed and you can leave baby Theo here with me.

Me: Are you sure? Ok, just holler if you need help, I’ll come running.

Kirsten: Don’t worry, just put the iPad here so I can watch Tangled.

I was fully expecting Theo to protest but I peeked at them several minutes later and they both just stayed in the same position I left them in, with Kirsten stroking his head and Theo babytalking back at her.

kirsten and theo

It sounds so braggy to say this but I have the raddest daughter in the whole world and I’m so glad she’s mine.

Kirsten

The proud wearer of sparkly pink earrings

So hey, guess who went to have her ears pierced?

Good try, but not me – I’ve already got mine done some 20 over years ago. Never mind that I haven’t worn earrings for the past 20 years, the important thing here is that I could if I wanted to. My mom was a visionary because it’s a good skill to have, if you can call it a skill. The ability to put sharp objects through my earlobes. I’m sure it’ll come in handy someday.

Right, yeah, this sweet little girl is now the proud wearer of these dainty earrings. And yes, they had to be pink, it’s not up for discussion. The only question was whether she wanted them pink AND sparkly, and pay attention, y’all, when given a choice between boring or sparkly, the correct answer is sparkly. Always sparkly.

pretty ears

ready for earrings

Seriously, how pleased does she look? I consider it my life’s greatest achievement that I produced a daughter who’s waaaay into pink and sparkly earrings.

It’s like a personal growth opportunity for me here, learning to appreciate the pink and sparkly things in life. Maybe one day, I might even sport a matching pair. One day, that is not today…let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

She teared up during her last vaccination so I was half expecting that there’d be some tears during the ear-piercing but she took it like a champ. Truett, who was there to provide moral support, was all nervy for her (and covering his own ears) but she just furrowed her brow and put on her game face. She looks so grown up here, I think I’m the one tearing up a little.

ear piecing in action

On a sort of related note, I had no idea how difficult it was to find a ear-piercing place around here. We went around asking the shops in the Tampines area and the only 2 we found were kind of dodgy.

One was a charming (and also dusty) little shop along Tampines central. There was a huge sign (it was so old the edges were turning yellow) that said something like “Safe and Hygienic ear piercing, no Hep B or other viruses” which unfortunately, didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. In fact, it seemed exactly like the kind of place one would go to if one wanted to get Hep B or other viruses.

The other shop was less germy and I’d probably hit that joint if I was in search of a row of nose studs plus a belly ring. I wanted neither of those things.

My sister finally found a place in town that seemed least likely to cause a horrible infection. It was also the most extortionate but like I always say, there’a price to pay if you don’t want to get syphilis.