Happy five, Finn!

Birthday season 2017 comes to an end with this little guy turning five!

Hey Finn,

Woahh I can’t believe you’re five! You need to stop this superspeed growing right this moment. Slow it wayyyyy down okay? 

Spending the last 5 years being your mom has been such a dream and I am grateful for it. You are the sweetest, gentlest, happiest, sunshiniest, awesomest, most helpful and polite little boy. 

You’re the kid who will come help me make coffee in the morning, and fix lunches for everyone and prepare snacks for your siblings. Egg mayo is your specialty and I have to say, it is quite delicious. You make it so hard to say no to you because I have to look at this face and also, you ask for things in the most polite manner. 

“Please, mom, may I have a sandwich?” 

There is no universe in which this mommy is ever able to say no to that. 

The other day, Theo burst into the kitchen yelling “MOMMMM I WANT GUMMIES!!!” and you patted him on the head and said “you can’t just yell I want gummies, you need to ask nicely like mommy may I have some gummies please?” Theo looked at you like “whatttt??? How many words is that ain’t nobody got time for that!!” then proceeded to yell “MOMMMM GUMMIES…PLEEEASE!!!” ūüėā

Daddy was just telling me about the time you went out with him to buy lunch from the food center. After picking up stuff from several stalls, everyone else was like “ooooh nice food om nom nom” but you turned to him and said “thanks for buying all the food dad!”

You have a way of making everyone around you feel super special, don’t ever change. 

I know this year hasn’t been the easiest for you. From the moment you were born till about 4 years old, you were like a little rainbow of joy. I’m still not quite sure how all of that happy managed to fit in your little body; I suppose it didn’t all fit so some of it had to spill out to the rest of us. And how about those terrible twos? Not even a little bit. Throughout your twos and threes and fours, you had none of the tantrums and meltdowns. If anything, your twos were quite delightful. 

But then 4-5 was the year that you started to feel all of the other feelings like sadness and disappointment and frustration and rage and it’s been hard for you to deal with them. You would struggle to process these negative emotions and I can see your system shutting down like it’s too much to handle. 

On your birthday, you didn’t want presents or surprises so we decided to spend the day together, all of us. You wanted 5 blue balloons, some time at the playground and a little craft activity. It was a fab day right up to just before bedtime when you had to pause the game with your siblings and go take a shower. You were sad about missing out on the fun and after a tearful shower, you said “I wish it wasn’t my birthday because it’s the worst day ever.” The sadness was so overwhelming it overshadowed everything else. 

Hey, I’m 35 and it’s still hard for me to deal with negative emotions too so I get it. I used to wish that I could go through life without negative emotions; just an endless high of joy and euphoria seemed like the ideal way to spend one’s life. I know that world doesn’t exist but sometimes I wish I could put you in a little bubble of joy and keep you safe from bad feelings. 

I can’t make all the bad feelings go away but I promise that we will always be here to hug you or talk it out until it gets better. 

You were a perfect baby and now, you’re the most perfect little boy. I love you and I like you. A lot!!!

from around here

Thoughts on moving 

1. I like to think that I’m the sort who’s always ready for a challenge but I will tell you straight up right now that I will not be doing this simultaneous moving/renovating/living like gypsy again ever. Or at least until the next time it happens and I have to question my decision making ability all over again.

This moving in first then renovate and sort out furniture along the way plan seemed considerably less problematic in my head than it has been in actual execution.

In reality, it has meant living without lights for 2 weeks (so romantic doing everything by candle light, but mostly just a lot of “guys be careful, please don’t set the toilet on fire!!“), eating on the floor like it’s a picnic every day (okay, that part’s pretty fun), emergency laundry at my mom’s house while waiting for the washer to arrive (I learnt that the number of days we can go without doing laundry is 3 and a half) packing, repacking, moving things around and cleaning ridiculous amounts of dust caused by all the drilling and installing of various things.

On the bright side, we’re about 80% done and I feel like I can finally come up for air.

2. Basically unrelated but look at these two sharing lollies. Who needs furniture, mom? We have lollies!

3. I’ve lived in the east all my life and it’s a bit of an adjustment moving to Punggol. I think about people moving across continents and here I am moving 15 minutes to a new neighbourhood feeling like we’re discovering a whole new place. It’s been an adventure looking for new eating places, new playgrounds, new parks, new heartland malls.

The first Sunday we moved in, we woke up feeling rather brunchy, so of course the husband turned to google for assistance. We were thrilled to discover a cluster of hipster cafes at Tebing Lane, just 2 minutes from our new place because now we can have all the avocado toasts we desire on Sunday mornings, which turns out to be zero avocado toasts. I try to be hip but sadly, I’ve never been able to desire an avocado toast. I’m an old fashioned kind of girl, just give me all of the bacon.

4. The school situation has been a logistical challenge. The plan was to shift the kids to a school in the punggol vicinity (there are 3 schools within a stone’s/javelin’s throw, if the person doing the throwing is the Night King) but apparently, one does not just anyhowly shift one’s kids in the middle of the school year. All the schools we applied for are presently full so we can either wait it out or take our chances and apply for a transfer using MOE’s Student Transfer Exercise for Primary Schools at the end of the year. It would require giving up their spots in the current school and accepting the school assigned by the system (within 3km) but I’m not sure if playing roulette with my kids’ education is a good parental move. We don’t need them to get into the best school but it has to be a good fit so we’re still mulling over this one.

The kids have been really good about the move though. Having to transfer schools is a big deal and they are sad about leaving their friends + a little nervous about adjusting to a new environment but they’ve been really positive about it, trying to focus on important things like “WAH this school got a Popular bookshop inside??!!!” or “this canteen got chicken rice?? I love chicken rice!”

For now, commuting to school is a 20-minute drive in the morning and a 50-minute trip via bus + bus + LRT in the afternoon each way.

5. Much to the delight of baby Theo, we discovered that there’s a family of komodo dragons living at the waterway just behind our house. They would come up to the pathway for a tan or a meal (of small children, as I keep telling the kids but no one will listen) on most afternoons while we go for our little walks. Evidently, I was far less delighted to discover this.

On one of our brunches at Whisk and Paddle, my beautiful children whom I love with all my heart took one of the rubbery toy komodo dragons from the play pit and casually put it on my shoulder. Kids, mommy loves you dearly but if this nonsense happens again, I am not above giving away my offspring, am I clear?

*Edit: so apparently there aren’t any komodo dragons living in the punggol vicinity and it is most likely just friendly neighbourhood monitor lizards. I will however, maintain that they still might eat small children for lunch so one should avoid them as one would avoid an actual dragon, komodo or otherwise. 


The end of co-sleeping

As part of the move to the new place, the plan was for baby Hayley to transit out of of co-sleeping with us. She’s been sleeping on our bed since she was 3 months old, right around the time where¬†she¬†decided that she was having none of that baby cot nonsense. And I let her. Because a sleep-deprived parent always takes the path of least resistance, however misguided that path might be.

Since then, I’ve grown fond of having her sleep on our bed.

For months, this baby slept¬†like a tyrant who would¬†immediately wake up if I breathed too loudly, but she has since realised¬†that it takes too much effort to get all screamy. Now, she just scrunches her face into a pout to communicate her displeasure. Sometimes, she starts to pout but then decides that even pouting takes too much effort, so she¬†gives up halfway and flops back onto the bed.¬†It’s adorable.

I like being able to inhale those chubby cheeks as I drift off to sleep. Even though she’s all warm and snug in her jammies +¬†blanket, her squishy cheeks get super cold because of¬†the aircon and by the time I get into bed, it’s at the perfect temperature for munching. Falling asleep as you munch on deliciously cold baby cheeks is as close as it gets to a taste of heaven.

Technically, baby Hayley can go a whole night without milk and she’ll be fine, but she still nurses 2-3 times a night. I’ve been planning to wean her since 3 months ago but we couldn’t quite get there and I’m starting to think that it’s because I’m enjoying this sleep nursing sessions¬†as much as she does.


Last week, we transitioned her out of our room and I was totally hovering, all ready to swoop in and take her back if she showed any signs of distress.

She didn’t. She¬†adjusted like a champ so for the first time in a long time, I went to bed without having to tiptoe in or regulate my breathing. I could turn on the lights to read in bed if I wanted to. I could watch the latest episode of GoT without having to whoop into my pillow. My brain was telling me that I should celebrate. This is a good thing, my baby is growing up and I’m getting my freedom back.

That night,¬†I didn’t do any of those things. I went to bed feeling sad, much sadder than I was prepared for. I was full on going to cry big ugly¬†tears level kind of sad.

Just writing this makes me sound insane.¬†My baby was literally¬†in the next room, just a few steps away. I could go in to kiss her anytime I wanted – she’s still here and she’s ok, but I felt this deep and profound sense of loss.

I think I’m slowly¬†having to come to terms with the knowledge that this is the end of baby road for me. I mean, the ligation was a big moment, but it doesn’t hit you then¬†because there’s this beautiful baby and you’re just¬†basking in the¬†newborn baby glow. But¬†now that Hayley is getting bigger, it’s starting to sink in that this is my last baby. After this, I’m done. No more sleepy cheek munches. No more night nursings. No more middle of the night scrunchy baby pouts.

It’s such a cliche and I’ve spent 14 months trying to prepare my brain to deal with this but¬†still, I cannot. I took the baby back to my bed on the second night and we’re easing into this with alternate-night transitions because mommy can’t adjust.

I’m going to be such a mess when this last baby turns 3, or 4, or 5, or 18. :(