Theo

In which Theo goes to school: the reboot

Six months ago, Theo went to school for the first time in his life. He was not thrilled about it and every day that he had to spend apart from me filled him with great sadness.

He called himself my homeboy (“I’m a boy who likes to stay at home with you, mom!!” he used to say) and even after two months of school, he wasn’t a fan. School was what it was and he was determined to reluctantly tolerate it, not enjoy it.

“HIIIIII Theo!! How was your day today? Did you have lots of fun in school?” I’d ask every afternoon.

“No. I missed you so much, mom. I was so very sad.”

Then at the end of last year, a miracle happened. We shifted to Punggol only to discover that all the preschools in the area were full. I got him on the waiting list for 5 schools and they all told me the same thing: the list is long and his chances were slim at best.

“You mean I don’t have to go to school anymore???? YEAHHHHH!!” Was there ever a boy more delighted than this? I think not.

We got to spend 3 whole months together and it was such a treat for us both. Morning walks! Late morning snuggles in bed! Cosying up with books! Library outings!! It was lovely and I know this because as with all things that are lovely, those days ended way too quickly.

Two weeks ago, Theo started school for the second time. This short break seemed to have worked wonders. While he’s still sad about being away from me, school suddenly doesn’t seem so scary after all.

“Bye mom!! See you after school!” he yells as he holds Finn’s hand and walks off together. (If there was ever a case to be made for having siblings, this is it. Forget companionship or learning about conflict resolution, it’s all about sharing in the misery of early childhood education.)

Just look at this boy all grown up. He’s taken this feather and stuck it to his cap like a champ.

from around here

Eleven – my kind of heaven

Last Sunday, we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, yayyy party hat emoji! confetti emoji!! cake with strawberries + candles emoji!!

11 years is where you spend the day doing practical things like buying school shoes for your kid who’s starting Nursery 2 the next day, followed by trying to run errands but actually end up running after your 5 kids in a mall yelling at them to please not destroy stuff, and then having your big kids walk past a cake shop only to stop and be super excited like “Hey, you guys should get a cake since it’s your anniversary!!” but you’re like “Ummm, nah, we’re good“.

11 years is where you steal a moment in the crazy day to say “Happy anniversary, babe!! I still really like you.”

11 years is where you get to the evening and everyone is in bed and it’s finally all quiet and you just sit and enjoy a warm drink and some silence together.

11 years is where you feel like you should write a moving blog post about this momentous occasion because you’ve done it every year before this but then the husband is all sweet like “never mind lah, I won’t be offended if you don’t” but deep down inside, you want to do it because he’s kind of special.

11 years is waking up every morning being thankful that you’re opening your eyes to see your favourite person in the world.

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.

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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. :)