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Truett

Truett

You’re 9, Truett!!!

Truett turned 9 yesterday, so here’s one for my grown up little man.

♥♥♥

Hey Tru, happy birthday!! Can I just say that I’ve really enjoyed being your mom for the past 9 years? People ask me why I have so many kids and you know you’re part of the reason right? You made the experience of being a mom so great, I just had to have more of these tiny humans, so thanks, I guess.

You’ll always be my first and firsts are something special. Remember the first time you tasted your favourite strawberry shortcake and your squishy face lit up with delight? Or the first time you rode on a rollercoaster and you couldn’t stop talking about it for days? Or the first snow angel you had so much fun making at Mt Buller? You’re like that for me, except waaayyyy better.

There are some downsides to being the first kid, for sure. We try to be ready for what’s ahead, but we’re always going to be noobs when it comes to you. We had to learn the hard way that babies scream uncontrollably at 2 in the morning on their first night home; that newborns are hella slippery in the bath and may slip out of your hands when you think you’ve got this bathing thing down; and that gummies at 9.45 isn’t a great idea. In my defence, we were out late with you and we thought, “3 gummies can’t be that bad…look at how happy he is!” 30 minutes later, so much regret. There are probably a couple more hard lessons ahead of us (hopefully not too many!), but stick with us ok? We’ll figure it out together.

But you know what? Being the first is great because life with you is like watching an awesome movie for the first time without any spoilers. You get to have the full unspoiled experience.

And as far as first kids go, you’re the best any mom could have.

//

This jump from 8 to 9 has been a big one. 8 still had one foot in little kid territory, but 9, 9 feels all grown up somehow.

Remember Finn’s pokemon sports day event a few months ago? The preschool teachers got us to join in the warm up dance, which was less of a serious warm up exercise and more of an adorable singalong session with cute dancey moves. Your siblings were all in, enthusiastically getting their groove on, but as you gradually came to the realisation that this was a kiddie dance, your moves got decidedly noncommittal, the way cool kids phone it in when they’re doing something that’s beneath their coolness level.

It was adorable and I teased you about it, but it’s when I suddenly realised that you’re done being my baby and I’ve got one of them cool kids now.

You’re just the right kind of cool too. Like when Kirsten came back with news that she was made chairperson of her class, you were so proud of her even though you didn’t care much for this sort of thing. You hugged her and said, “woahhh that’s so awesome!! You did really well, Kirsten!” I could tell that meant a lot to her.

9 is so amazing to talk to. Talking to you is one of my favorite things to do. I hope it stays that way because there are so many conversations we need to have. We need to talk about the best patronuses (patroni??) to have, whether we’d rather eat a live worm or a cooked cockroach, and discuss the best strategies for the most epic day at Disney World.

I love how responsible 9 is – helping to clean stuff, watching out for the little ones, giving me killer shoulder massages. It almost makes me look forward to the day Hayley turns 9. Okay, wait, no. That day can take its time to arrive. Although it will be so relaxing urgh I can’t decide.

Most of all, I want to say that having you changed my life. You’re an amazing kid and I can’t wait to see what life holds for you.

xoxo,

Your biggest fan.

Truett

My #1 fan

When I started the blog, I knew that one day, I’d want the kids to read it. After all this time spent writing, this would be a time capsule built for them one post at a time over at this little corner of the internet.

And when they’re ready, they’d be able to draw out all the memories of their growing up years strand by strand like in a Pensieve and experience what it was like for me to live through them. They would have a collection of words and pictures to look back on; to know that in every single moment of their lives (in all the good and bad and difficult ones), they were so loved.

From time to time, I’d show some posts to the kids and previously they’d be all disinterested like “um, okay cool“, which is a patronising way of saying “that’s really boring, mom“.

But recently, Truett has been asking to read the blog using his allocated weekly screen time, which is kind of a big deal because out of all the awesomely fun things he could be doing like playing the Wii or watching his favourite shows, he actually wants to use it to read the blog like it’s a treat.

I asked him if he was ok having all these moments in his life being out there on the internet. It wasn’t a conversation I was able to have when he was younger but now that he’s 8, I’d want to respect his right to privacy if he wanted it.

Hey Tru, if it’s weird for you, you can always tell mommy ok. I won’t write stuff about you unless you’re comfortable with it.

Of course it’s ok! I like reading it so you can write more,” he said, before proceeding to instruct me on the kind of posts I needed to do more of. “I like the ones with a lot of photos of the cute babies and them pretending to say stuff.

You mean like this one?”

Ya, it’s very funny. And I also like those about me.

Yes, sir! But if you ever feel like you don’t want to be on the blog, you’ll talk to me?”

Don’t worry, you can keep writing. I’ll be your biggest fan.

My son just told me he’s my biggest fan. :) 7 years doing this and I think this is the most glorious moment I’ve had as a blogger.

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side effects of motherhood, Truett

The beginning of birthday season!

Look who turned 8 last week.

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It’s still taking a while to sink in, that I’m the mom of an 8-year-old. I’m not ready for this, I need time to process this information.

I mean, I’ve got babies all figured out. They’re intense but all they need is milk and sleep and cuddles. I know toddlers too. They need milk and sleep and cuddles and playtime.

But an 8-year-old, that’s unchartered territory. It’s all new to me, figuring out when to be a mom and when to be a friend, a confidante. When to just hear them out without judgement and when to offer sagely advice. When to shelter them and when to let them go even if it means they might get hurt. Making decisions that will shape them into the kind of grown up people we hope they’ll become.

On that note, it’s getting harder to phone it in, or to get away with the little parenting inconsistencies that toddlers will give you a free pass for. Big kids, they’re sharp. They’ll notice when you say one thing and do another. They’ll question every decision you make and point out when you’re not being fair. They’ll spot every flaw and call you out on every parenting misstep because now, they know.

I think I’m getting better at this though, and it’s largely because I’ve had Truett as my big kid to figure all this out with.

***

If you’re wondering, here’s what 8 looks like:

//The most delightful conversations about all of our favourite things. Books, movies, music, babies…

The other day, he said “I didn’t know that watching babies is such hard work. Sometimes, I spend 10 minutes with them and it’s like 10 hours.” I laughed for a long time.

//Truett has turned out to be such a voracious reader. This boy loves books and I love introducing them to him. Recently, he’s been into Tintin and now I have someone who gets me when I say “Blistering barnacles!!”

//He’s still bringing the hugs and kisses, even when we’re out. I can’t tell you how glad I am about this.

//Tru really likes surprises. Which also means that he loves giving them out. Last week, he made me a coupon booklet with very cool vouchers for stuff like “1 hour of babysitting” and “20 hugs” and “a head massage”. I asked him what the occasion was and he said it’s a surprise just because.

//This doesn’t happen very often but on the rare occasion that I get to tuck him into bed, he still holds my hand till he falls asleep. :)

//A super star sub on Team Too Many Babies. Part of the reason why we have so many babies is because the big kids have been incredible babysitters and they make my job so much easier.

Happy birthday, Truett! You really are my rockstar.

Truett

So very Clark Kent

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How about Truett’s dapper new look? He had to get glasses done (sigh, that’s definitely a result of my visually defective gene pool) but on the bright side, boys with specs? So very Clark Kent. (Hang on, I shall be done with my swooning in just a bit.)

Speaking of, I’m like the world’s best person to fool with disguises because I’m very easily thrown off by things like glasses and facial hair. We saw a poster for the new Victor Frankenstein movie at Cineleisure a few weeks back and the husband was immediately like “whoa, Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy.” I stood there peering at the poster for several minutes, and at the end of it, I was still “wait, which one is whom?? No way that’s James McAvoy. I’ve never seen that face before in my life.”

Moustaches, messing with my facial recognition ability since forever.

But I digress. What I’ve meant to say is that this brainy geek look has coincided with a far more exciting development, Truett’s newly-discovered love of books.

CAN I JUST SAY THAT I AM SO THRILLED?!

Truett has always been just ok with books. During story time, I could always tell if a book was going too slowly for him. His eyes would glaze over and he’d start to fidget if too many adjectives were used. I know that he loves a good narrative, but if he could choose, he’d go for the movie version over the written one anytime. And I get it. I love movie versions of things too. I mean, did you watch that scene in Deathly Hallows where Snape duelled McGonagall? Can cry.

But books! I wanted the kids to experience being so engrossed in a good book that they couldn’t focus on eating or walking or sleeping. I want to be able to nag at them to put down the book because it’s dinnertime, but be secretly pleased that they wouldn’t.

So far, it’s just been, “Alright, story time over, books down, it’s time for dinner” and they’re like “Ok!” and I’m like “we need to work on this, you guys.”

Over the years, we’ve amassed a small library for the kids. Dr Seuss, Eric Carle, Shel Silverstein, Oliver Jeffers, Mo Willems, Roald Dahl, CS Lewis. Rhymey books, adventure books, picture books, talking books, wordy books, books that make you do things while you read. They’ve all been met with a passing interest, at best. We saw some success with the Gerald and Piggie series but after reading every book in the series, Truett has evidently outgrown it.

Last week, I introduced Truett to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I wasn’t sure if it was too early, considering the liberal use of words like morons and wimps. Sure enough, we had this conversation.

“Mom, what’s a moron?”

“Someone who is exceedingly stupid.”

“Orhhhh, you said the S-word…”

“Yeah, remember mommy told you not to call anyone stupid? Moron is possibly worse. You can add that to the restricted words list.”

“Hahahahahah um ok. KIRSTEN!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS WORSE THAN THE S-WORD? MORON. HAHAHHHAAHAHAHAHA.”

In my defence, they’re going to be exposed to these words soon enough. At least this way, it’s in a controlled environment and we can talk about it.

And just like that, he’s turned into quite the voracious reader. He’s been reading after school, during dinner, in the car, out on errands, before bed. He’s already done with book 2, and asking for books 3-8. As a bonus, he’s also stopped asking for the iPhone, or describing in detail the precise level of his boredom throughout the day.

I’m really enjoying how I get to nag at him to put down the book and go do his assessment books (hey, it’s exam season!!) and now he’s all “please just let me finish this chapter and I’m done…ok one more page!!”

Like I said, so pleased.

Truett

Truett’s Birthday Time Capsule 2015

Truett turned 7 when we were in Melbourne. 7!! If it was up to me, you know I’d choose to have my babies remain babies for as long as I could. Basically forever. Which is why I’m glad such things not up to me because this way, I get to meet Truett as a 7-year-old, and that is turning out to be such a delight.

***

Hey Truett,

One of these days, you’re going to wonder what you were like as a 7-year-old and when that day comes, I’ll be happy to give you this little time capsule made up of words and pictures.

Ready?

7-year-old you is a pretty cool cat. You know how it is when you really like someone and it turns out they’re yours and you can’t believe you lucked out so madly? That’s how being your mom makes me feel all the time. Looking at you reminds me of how good I’ve got it.

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You’re enormous now, all limbs and joints everywhere, but I like that a lot. It’s the perfect height for me to put my arms around your shoulders as we walk. Daddy hopes that you’ll be as tall as Jeremy Lin, and who knows? At the rate those limbs are growing, there’s a chance of that happening. On the flip side, I tried to hoist you up onto a chair the other day and I couldn’t even lift you off the ground.

“It’s ok, mom, I can do it myself.” you said, half amused. Yes, you can. I’ll just need a little time to get used to this big boy version of you.

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Much as I want to be your entire world, I’ve come to terms with relinquishing control of Sole Provider Of Fun For Truett LLC so you can form your own friendships. It’s such a joy watching you hang out with your friends, and hearing stories of all the fun you had.

Although I’m not sure what I feel about all the semi-crushed handwritten love notes you bring home, which reads along the lines of “You must promise to call me everyday. I’ll be your friend forever.” I suppose you need to remember to put the notes into your folder so it doesn’t get crushed. Also, we’re going to have to talk about phone privileges/restrictions soon.

How about food? One of the perks of having a big kid has to do with food. Remember our epic food battles when you were a baby? You probably don’t. Why would you? Because you didn’t spend hours slaving over the stove to have all that nutritious baby food spat out, flung away and screamed at. I’d try to force you to eat and you’d show me your impressive collection of patented vomit faces.

Just the other day, you tried some of my egg white wrap with spinach and feta cheese! And liked it!!! I was fully expecting the return of Truett’s Vomit Faces®, but you nodded thoughtfully as you ate and then asked for more. This marks the beginning of a new chapter, one where we are not eating the same soup and fish for dinner everyday. I’m so relieved.

I like your company as much as you seem to still enjoy mine. Cheap thrill, but it’s so nice to have someone get my jokes and send some right back. These days, I don’t have to wait for daddy to come home to appreciate my wit because I have you and Kirsten.

<<Finn was feeling emo and he wanted me to carry him everywhere but I got really tired so I put him down for a minute. “CARRY ME, MOMMY!” he said, tearfully. “You WANT to carry me!” “Umm, no, I actually do not,” I mumbled. You caught that and started laughing uncontrollably. That was our moment.>>

Speaking of, we were playing charades the other day and Kirsten was walking up and down the room with her hands holding an imaginary backpack. We were all “What is that?? Exercise! Shoulder roll!! Catwalk!!” She got so exasperated, saying, “This is so easy, what am I holding??”

“Holding…your nipples?!!” you blurted.

I never laughed so hard at a game of charades.

Watching you attempt the tree surfing in Melbourne, I could tell that there were moments where you wanted to give up. It was freezing, your hands hurt, and parts of the obstacle course looked terribly daunting. Several times, you stood at the edge of the platform, considering if you should take the next step.

“You can do it, Tru!!” I cheered. You smiled, gave me a thumbs up and kept going, even when it was hard and tiring and scary.

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You’ve been asking us about having more siblings (?!!) I usually respond with how there are already so many of you kids running around and I couldn’t possibly handle another baby. Besides, you’d have to share what’s left of your exclusive mommy time with another baby.

“But babies are so cute and if you have another baby, I will help you,” you’d tell me. Amazingly, I know that you actually mean it.

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I love you, Tru. I’m so glad I get to be your mom. :)

Truett

School’s in!!

It’s January 2nd and the year has well and truly begun. The kids are all back from their first day at school and I’m hiding out here munching on my mom’s leftover fruitcake to recover from the day.

//A digression coming your way – I’m somewhat of a fruitcake connoisseur, and this is an excellent fruitcake that my mom makes every christmas. Some fruitcakes, you have to munch through a whole bunch of cake to get to the rum-soaked fruit, but this one has awesome fruit to cake ratio where every bite is a wonderful surprise.//

Truett started Primary 1 today.

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I’m usually unfazed by this sort of thing but I have to admit, I was all nervy about his first day at Primary School. I labeled all his belongings, ironed his uniform, then packed and repacked his bag several times, only for the husband to take everything out from his bag upon discovering that he doesn’t need to bring textbooks to school this morning.

I think all this anxiety could be due to my own experience with Primary 1 many years ago. I don’t remember much else about Primary 1 except for these 3 very vivid memories.

1. I was a bawler on the first day of school. And second and third and fourth and fifth day. While other kids were saying their hellos and making friends, I hid at a corner and cried my eyes out because I’m averse to change and in Primary 1, everything changed. New school, new friends, new teachers, new classes, it was terribly overwhelming for a 7-year-old.

2. One time, a kid forgot him homework and the teacher went absolutely bonkers on him. She yelled and hurled his jotter book across the length of the classroom and right out the door. I don’t think I’ve ever been as terrified in my entire life as I was in that moment. My thoughts weren’t advanced as a 7-year-old but I remember thinking thoughts along the lines of “holy macaroons, it’s about to get real. No more of that “come, teacher give you a hug” preschool nonsense. You forget your homework and you’re barbequed satay bee hoon.”

3. Closely related to the second memory is that time where I indeed forgot to bring my homework. I ran to the payphone during recess and with trembling fingers, I dialled home and begged my mom to bring it down for me, because if she didn’t, I was sure that I’d be EXECUTE! before that day was over.

Fast forward 26 years and my son is starting his illustrious career as a Primary 1-er. First day of school and he’s already way more responsible than I was. He was up at 6 this morning and ready by 6.15am. He then spent the next 20 minutes reading his Math textbook??!! before making his way to school with the husband.

When I picked him up from school, he ran to give Kirsten a hug and said, “Primary 1 is quite fun and the chicken rice is nicer than any other chicken rice in the world. Next year when you are big like me, we can both go together.”

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1 day down, about 200 more to go!!

Update: Upon inspection, I found this ball of kiam chye in his bag. I think it’s supposed to be his time-table but a crucial piece got chewed off?? and now I have no idea what PHE, AC, PAL and CME are supposed to mean. So begins the first of many chats with his form teacher. :(

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Truett

Preschool – Nailed it.

tru graduation

4 years ago, Truett went to preschool for the first time. He stood at the door with a look that can only be described as absolute terror, with tears streaming down his sad baby face as I kissed him goodbye. That first day of school didn’t go very well at all.

Right up to that point, I was there for him every minute of every day. We were a team and we did everything together. I was there for his first step, his first words, the first time he fell and scraped his knee. Our world was all about playgrounds, mid-morning grocery runs, snuggles in bed, books at nap time, walks in the park, and I was there for all of it.

It took us both some time to adjust to a life with preschool in the picture. I was sad too because I felt like I was sending him off on a grand adventure that I couldn’t be a part of.

Everyday, I would tell him I missed him and ask about his day. How fun was school today? Missed mommy? Did you make new friends? What was your favourite moment of the day? He’d reply with a “ok, yes, yes, nothing.” Sometimes, he’d say, “I had fun.”

At first, the teachers told us he was painfully shy and a bit of a loner. His best friend was the only other quiet boy in class and their idea of being best friends was playing with toys alone within the vicinity of each other. They would sit near each other and hang out alone.

Over the past 4 years, he’s become this sweet, self-assured little man. When I picked him up from school last week, his friends yelled “BYE TRUETT!!” and he yelled bye right back with ease and confidence, giving one of them a bro hug before running off with his backpack. After school these days, he’d tell me about funny conversations he had with his friends, the crazy stuff they did and all the fun he had, and I’d listen with so much pride because I was listening to a boy who just 4 years ago, would hide in corners and close his eyes so others couldn’t see him.

In a few months, he’ll be graduating from preschool and heading off for new adventures in Primary 1. I couldn’t be happier for him.

I told him he’s grown to be a really fine young man and he said “I’m a young gentleman, mom!”

Yes. Yes, you are.