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not feeling so supermom

not feeling so supermom

Taking a slow day

It’s been a merry-go-round of flu viruses around here lately. Everyone’s been down, well, except Theo, who seems to have developed the body resistance of a little baby Hulk (a cute one!) and is soldiering on with large doses of my super immunity breastmilk. He was chain-sneezing a little bit for a day or two but then he turned the corner and seems stronger than ever. Yay for breastmilk.

Everyone else, though, has taken turns falling ill. Like hey, who wants a ride on the carousel of sniffles? Step on up! It’s tons of no fun and you’ll get off stricken with drippy noses and chesty coughs. I guess that’s what happens when there are 4 little humans in one house. I need a force field against viruses, urgh.

I’ve been trying to fight this off for days but CODE RED! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! this fortress has finally been breached. My limbs feel like lead and I’m all sorts of woozy so you probably shouldn’t take what I’m writing too seriously. Also, I’ve taken to spending my time curled up in bed with my sweet little chubby baby, going on marathon nursing sessions. I figured I’d give baby Theo as much antibodies as possible, plus it makes him sleepy, plus it’ll also make him fat and juicy in the process, plus I get to stay in bed all day. WIN to the power of four.

Sometimes, it’s hard to slow down when we’re so used to going at full speed all the time. I feel like I need to have a legit reason to hole in, y’know? It has to take something like a bout of overpowering illness to make us stop. In a weird way, it’s been good for us. This body could do with a reset.

And I realise how badly I’ve needed this. A slow day in bed with my sleepy baby just nursing and dozing off, listening to the comforting rhythm of his heartbeat and his contented baby sighs while the big kids are off spending the day with my in-laws.


Mandatory slow days are nice once in a while but here’s hoping we all get past this real soon.

not feeling so supermom

The countdown to sundown

I used to have a life where I did productive things and went for nice lunches and had lovely pockets of me time. Those days were good but they’re gone now.

These days, I have just one goal in life – to survive from wake-time to bedtime. And by survive, I quite literally mean to exist without dying because multiple times a day, I feel like I might actually die from exhaustion. Also, as a bonus, if neither one of us spent the day in tears (that much), then it’s considered a huge, huge success.

My countdown starts at 7.30 in the morning when the baby wakes up and I watch the minutes tick by till it’s time for bed at 9.30 at night. It’s not like bedtime is some kind of welcome relief where he falls into a deep and restful slumber because oh no, it’s not. The nights are definitively worse because having to wake up to an angry baby at 90 minute intervals is a whole new level of wretched. But it just seems like bedtime is a reasonable milestone to break up my day into two slightly less overwhelming parts.

If the future me was looking at myself right now, I’d tell present me to suck it up and get it together because in 6 months, things will get better and I’m going to wax lyrical about how I should have embraced the moment.

And present me would then proceed to punch future me in the face.

Not because it’s terrible advice but because it’s exactly what I need right now. Urgh, I hate it when my smug future self is right in giving me sagely but difficult advice.

Especially since this is going to be my last baby and I’m never going to be able to breathe in that newborn baby scent once this baby stops being a baby. But then my exhausted brain tells me that I ACTUALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT USELESS THINGS LIKE SMELLS BECAUSE ALL I WANT TO DO NOW IS LIE DOWN FOR 30 MINUTES IN SWEET SILENCE. And then I feel like a terrible mother who’s not seizing the moment with my precious little snowflake.

I guess the only good thing about being in survival mode is that I also have very little bandwidth left to feel that choking mommy guilt. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Besides, I just embraced that one moment last Wednesday when Theo gurgled at me for the first time so that should last me for another week or so.

Today, I just have 9 more hours to go. And this baby face that’s so deceptively demanding.


not feeling so supermom

Déjà vu all over again

We’re 7 days out from our epic NYC – Orlando trip and I’m already dreaming of long walks in Central Park stomping on autumn leaves, doing a burger & shake at the legendary shake shack, introducing the kids to the awesomeness of FAO Schwartz, dance parties with the Disney Junior crew, having enough dole whips till I turn blue in the face and *squeal* TEST TRACK, the greatest ride ever made!!!

The other day, Truett told me “I’m so super excited that we’re going to Disney World” and I was like “Not more excited than me, son. Do you know how excited mommy is?” and he was all “I’M THE MOST EXCITED, YOU KNOW? I’M SO EXCITED I’M GOING TO SCREAAAMMMM!!!”

And he did. Scream, I mean. One moment we’re having a civilised conversation and then he just starts yelling “DISNEYYYYYYYYY!!!”

So he wins, obviously.

As excited as I am about the trip, there’s also the familiar heart-sinking feeling in my stomach because we won’t be brining baby Finn along. It’s déjà vu all over again. The last time we traveled without baby Finn, I didn’t do so well. In fact, the husband had to hold me while I cried myself to sleep at night. I really, really want to bring my baby along so badly and I’ve gone over it a thousand times in my head, figuring out a way to make it work but then I think about the logistics and it seems like a physical impossibility. Throw in the fact that the husband is working and he’ll be out for meetings in NYC so it’s very likely that I’ll be navigating the streets of Manhattan alone with all 3 kids. I don’t think I have enough mommy powers to manage that.

So it’s sort of become like a sad countdown of the number of days I have left with my Finn Finn before I have to leave him for almost 3 weeks. 3 WEEKS??!! I know it’s totally a first world problem to have and I don’t have a right to be bummed about a trip as epic as this but I think about missing my baby and my heart hurts so bad I can’t breathe.

I feel like baby Finn has a piece of my heart and no matter where I go or how much fun I’m having or how full my heart feels, it’ll always be like a piece of me is missing because it is.

My heart says just do it, just bring him along and wing it but my head says be a responsible adult and think things through.

In any case, get ready for an overdose of baby Finn coming your way this week because I intend to spend every moment of the next 7 days enjoying my baby – breathing in his intoxicating babyness, listening to his head-grabbing chuckles and memorising every inch of his chubby baby face.

baby Finn

//How will I survive not seeing this face for 20 days??

//I feel sadder than this sad baby face.

not feeling so supermom

Somebody’s getting a little shouty

I’ve missed almost everything about toddlerhood – the drunk shuffling, the chubby thighs, the squishy toddler face, the animated gibberish with a handful of half-English words thrown in and I’m glad I get to do it all over again with baby Finn, but guess what I don’t miss about toddlerhood? Tantrums.

Toddler tantrums are a special kind of suffering specially designed to make parents feel like they have failed in life. Like a baptism of fire. You spend all that time figuring out what to do with a newborn and finally you make it to the 1-year mark and you’re like “ok, I’ve got this baby thing under control” and next thing you know, a tantrum comes at you like a flaming asteroid of baby fury.

There’s no reasoning with a tantrum. You can’t sit down, have a cup of tea and talk it out like civilized people.

Tantrums are like honey badgers, they do. not. care.

Baby Finn had his first full scale toddler tantrum last night and I’m still a little shell-shocked from the fallout.

Every night during bedtime, my littlest baby will crawl up next to me real close for a snuggle and I’ll sing him a lullaby. Or 300. The deal is I have to sing until he drifts off to sleep beside me. Last night, I thought I’d give my fluish throat a break and play him a lullaby on youtube, which was a huge mistake because to him, iPhones = LET’S PLAY!! Rookie mistake on my part so I hastily said, “all done baby, mommy’s going to keep the phone and sing to you instead.”

I took the phone out of his hands and he lost it in epic baby tantrum fashion. First, he got all shouty at me for 15 minutes straight while I sat beside him and tried to calm him down. Then he flung his head onto my chest like he wanted a hug but when I hugged him, he pushed me away so I just let him be and he got more upset and tried to grab my hand to caress his head and when I did, he’d fling it off. While yelling at me the entire time. He was all “I HATE YOU! SORRY, I LOVE YOU! DON’T TOUCH ME! COME BACK, I NEED YOU! GO AWAY…” wherein I got to meet all 25 versions of his tantrum-induced multiple personality disorder characters.

It wasn’t really working so I figured he needed a change of environment and put him back in his cot, upon which he totally went berserk. He threw himself everywhere and shrieked really loudly and I just watched him thinking “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SWEET LITTLE BABY???”

Finally, he decided to pull out his trump card – you know, the one with a picture of vomit on it. I would have already been impressed if he managed to conjure up a small amount of vomit but this kid went all the way. He vomited and vomited and vomited until there was puke all over his jammies and cot and started spilling out down the sides onto the floor. Super impressive.

After the vomit episode, he went right back to his sweet normal self like nothing ever happened. Toddlers are so emo and weird.

Dealing with toddler tantrums is a little bit like having a kungfu showdown where both parties are testing the waters, trying to figure out each other’s weak spots. Once identified, those weak spots will be mercilessly exploited so the way to do it is to show no weakness at all.

Baby Finn and I, we had our first dance and like most first dances, it was tense, awkward and somebody had to throw up. Let’s hope it gets better.

getting all shouty

i embarrass myself sometimes, not feeling so supermom

Spitting. Not cool since 1997.

It’s probably my fault for teaching Truett how to spit. I don’t know why I did it but it was one of those things that just sort of happened.

He was brushing his teeth and gargling his mouth with the water the way most people do. You know, like standing over the sink and letting the water fall out of his mouth. And then I thought, ok he could do that, or what would be even cooler is if he could learn to spit like a real man.

At this point, I blame Leonardo DiCaprio, who spat with such finesse in Titanic that I remember watching it as a 15-year-old and thinking that one day I would teach my son the proper way to spit so that if he ever needed to win a girl’s heart by spitting, he’d know how to.

Admit it, you thought it was cool too. I won’t judge.

Fast forward 15 years and even though my rational mommy brain said “that’s a terrible thing to teach your kid”, some part of my residual 15-year-old subconscious mind was all “shut up, spitting is cool.”

So that’s the story of how I taught my son to spit.

Which was a while back and it was a one-off thing. Not like we made it a daily practice session or anything.

A couple of day ago, I was picking the kids up from school and I was preparing to load them into the car when this elderly man wearing an ah pek white singlet walked past where we were standing. The kids politely made way for him to pass and just as he ambled past, he cleared his throat with a loud, manly grunt. You know, the kind that sounds like the throttle of a speedboat, “HRRRR-EHHHRRRM!!!” So we all turned to look and right then, he spat out the biggest glob of phlegm I have ever seen. It flew like 5 metres from his mouth and landed right smack into the drain beside him.

Kirsten immediately covered her mouth and said “EEEEWWWWW” while Truett looked on with fascination. I would even go as far as to call it awe. He looked at the old uncle and then tried to peer into the drain to locate the massive globule.

In comparison, my feeble attempts at spitting must have seemed terribly lame. This, this is how a real man spits, he probably thought.

“Son, remember the time mommy taught you how to spit?”

He nodded, a little too enthusiastically.

For the record, I deeply regret ever teaching him that. “Ok, don’t ever do it, it’s gross and germy. If you have phlegm, use a tissue ok?”

“Only can do it when I’m brushing my teeth?” he offered helpfully.

“Um, I think let’s not ever do it at all. Spitting hasn’t been cool since 1997. We’ll find something else to learn, how about that?”

“Like swimming?”

“Totally like swimming. Let’s do swimming.”

not feeling so supermom, seriously somewhat serious

Not quite time to panic yet.


Admittedly, we’re not entirely on the ball when it comes to the academic side of things for the kids. We’re big on learning through play around here. Or to be more precise, playing through play, forget the learning bit. We don’t send them for Phonics or Math or Chinese classes. We don’t make them practice penmanship or use the abacus. And as far as they’re concerned, Shichida is something they eat at a Japanese restaurant, not some fancy flash card memory thingamajig.

Okay, I panicked a little when I saw this English worksheet for a Primary One kid. Seriously, with my Comms degree, I couldn’t even do question 1. If this is what my kids are supposed to know at age 7, I’m in for some fun once they go to Primary School. And by fun, I actually mean the opposite.

Me and the husband, we’re products of the typical Singaporean education system. We’ve gone the traditional PSLE > O’Levels > A’Levels > University route so we know how important it is to see those A’s on the report card at the end of every year. Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune once Truett goes to P1 but I look at the amount of stress kids these days are under and I think it’s up to us as parents to find the happy medium between the pursuit of academic excellence and just chilling the hell out.

I guess if there’s one thing we are big on around here, it’s reading. Tru and Kirsten are able to memorize the words of their favorite books but they’re still not at the ‘pick up a new book and read it to themselves’ stage yet so we’re the ones who introduce them to the awesomeness of fiction.

They didn’t use to enjoy reading as much when we used to read them kiddie books like “this is an orange ball…” But ever since we started reading them proper stories about princesses and talking monkey trucks, they’ve been captivated.

My favorite moment during story time with the kids is when I’m halfway through a story and I pause to clear my throat and they look at me with anticipation on their faces before one of them asks, “then what happened?” In that moment, I know that the words on the pages have stopped being just random words and become something far more magical. That’s when I know that they’ve fallen in love with the story.

I can’t wait to introduce them to the world of Hogwarts and Narnia and Secret Gardens. To dance around with them in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and hang out with Charlotte and Wilbur, my two favorite talking animals.

The rest of the school stuff, we’ll all throw up our hands and shriek together once they get to Primary School.

And then maybe we’ll find a way to figure out whether G, P, S or B is the odd one out.

not feeling so supermom


Ever since Finn’s epic bout of illness last month, his sleeping habits have regressed to that of an infant. There once was a time when he slept from 12 midnight to 7 in the morning but those days are like a fuzzy distant memory, mostly because one does not have much of a memory without any sleep.

Now, not only is he waking up every other hour, he has developed a sensor to detect if he’s being carried or not. He can be sound asleep in my arms but once I transfer him into his cot, he’ll immediately open those peepers, eyeball me for two seconds and then launch into a screaming fit. He doesn’t care much for pats or repeated shhh’s or that bizarre Japanese water gurgling method.

He wants only 2 things: to be carried and boobs, preferably simultaneously.

Putting him down without waking him up is like a art form, one that I’m evidently not very good at despite having tried numerous methods like the ones below.


ways to put down a baby

1. Swift and Decisive

You know the tablecloth pulling trick where you yank off the cloth without smashing the utensils? Sort of the same concept. Do it in one swift motion and hope the baby doesn’t notice that he’s no longer in mommy’s arms but in his cot.

Effectiveness: 28%

Downside: There’s an equal chance of the baby getting startled and becoming FULLY AWAKE.

2. Nice and Easy

The other extreme is to ease the baby into it via small, barely noticeable steps.

Shift the baby’s head from your arm to the palm of your hand. Gently lower him into the cot. Place baby on pillow. Ease your hand slowly from underneath his head.

Effectiveness: 34%

Downside: If he wakes up at any point, you have to go back and start from the beginning again.

3. The Boob Trick

When the baby is almost done drinking, lower him into the cot without breaking contact with the boob. Hold the position for like 30 seconds and when he’s settled in his sleep, remove the boob and voila.

Effectiveness: 69%

Downside: This move requires you to be a contortionist or you’re probably going to get a hernia.

4. Develop Consistent Sleep Triggers

Use certain repeated actions to induce sleep like stroking his head or kissing his cheeks or shushing. Keep these actions consistent before and after putting him down so he gets lulled to sleep.

Effectiveness: 2%

Downside: Don’t bother, it doesn’t work.

Anything else I should be trying?