Daryl’s Paw-some Party!

The littlest turned F I V E earlier this month, and we celebrated his birthday on a Saturday morning with family and friends. Big big thanks to my grandma for letting us set 16 kids loose in her garden, and to my aunts, their helpers and my parents for settling most of the food. This was truly a family-event, put together with much love, and the birthday pup had an awesome – or should we say PAW-some – morning to remember!

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To my newly-minted F I V E year old

Dear Daryl,

Today, you celebrate reaching the ripe old age of F I V E. Where on earth did all the time go?! Mummy wishes there was a stop button I could press, to freeze and hold on to precious moments – too many of them to count – but there just isn’t one. All I can do is to be thankful for every single moment that we have spent laughing, crying, fighting and hugging each other.

Last night, I crept into your room to watch you sleep. I find myself doing that more and more these days, when the problems and struggles of little-boys-growing-up are no longer issues to be glossed over in a single heart-to-heart talk. So many little and big things weigh on my heart, for you and your kor kor, and it is only in the quiet of night that I can look at your sweet sleeping profile, sit by your bed and pray for you. Praying, too, that your daddy and I will have the wisdom and insight to know how to parent you and your brother, two completely different personalities, whom He has brought into our lives to cherish and cheer on.

Your teacher told me today that you are a “lovely” boy. You exasperate them endlessly with your running around and short attention span, then you charm them with your sweet hugs and smiles. You can be a tad too rough at play (thanks to the kind of antics you and your kor kor get up to at home I suppose), yet you cry when your friends are fighting or hurt each other. You are equal parts feisty and affectionate, a beautiful bundle of contradictions.

How can someone so lovable and cuddly be so… strong? But you are. You are so, so strong. Some days I feel like I am fighting battle after battle, and too many times I lose my cool and scream at you. This normally doesn’t happen in public, which is why so many friends say that I am such a patient mum. Uh, no, I am not. You know it well. ūüėČ

All those parenting articles on raising a strong-willed child – they offer much needed perspective and practical help, and yet they are SO hard to practice. I’m still learning, as are you. To choose my battles wisely, to look for common ground instead of taking a stand, to listen before I react, to hug and hold instead of pushing you away, to give you choices instead of making them for you, to understand your needs before I demand that you meet mine. And yet, to be firm when it is necessary, to set clear boundaries and rules, and to teach you to respect authority.

I often look at this quote that hangs on your bedroom wall. It’s just something I printed off the web when I was expecting your brother, and it’s been hanging on your wall ever since. It challenges me, it inspires me, it reminds me that I am not just parenting a little boy, but a man-in-the-making. That’s you.

He has mud on his nose
And stars in his eyes
A good man
In a little boy’s body

Happy fifth birthday, my little Spuddie/Pup. Looking forward to more exciting missions and adventures with you in the year to come!

love, Mummy

 

Just another mum making it work

How does one begin to write about the big, chaotic, colourful, exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, heart-breaking whirlwind adventure that is Motherhood?

After almost seven years of mothering two rambunctious chaps, I’ve come to the conclusion that no two mothers’ experiences are ever alike. It’s the little moments and the unexpected encounters and a myriad of factors that shape each woman’s completely unique journey of motherhood – and yet, we each make it work, in our own ways. Here’s a snapshot of my experience.

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Taipei Travels: On separation anxiety

A couple of years ago, the hubs proposed the idea that we would take an us-only trip for a change and leave the boys behind. Back then, the boys were both quite young, and the mere thought of leaving them on their own – granted with loving grandparents to care for them – made me tearful. The idea was swiftly passed on by… but earlier this year, as we reconsidered the option, we both felt that perhaps it was time to try, with the boys a bit older and our parents willing and¬†able¬†to help us look after them. This year, we celebrate 10 years of marriage too, so we thought it would be a fitting milestone trip to make as a couple – kind of like a “second honeymoon”!

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A grandparent’s heart

There are moments when it feels like life has come full circle, even though I know (well, I hope!) that I still have a lot more life to live.

Like this afternoon, when we celebrated my dad’s birthday with a very satisfying lunch¬†at¬†Baba Chews Bar and Eatery. The¬†two¬†monkeys were fascinated with the bar counter, but I told them not to climb the stools in case they fell off. So grandpa gamely went with them, supposedly to take a look at the counter too, but actually¬†to make sure they didn’t fall off the stools and break their little heads. And there he stood, supporting one with each hand, and then later carrying them to the ground¬†safely.

And I flashbacked to my own childhood, and the many outings I had with my grandpa, and remembered the feeling of him hoisting me onto his shoulders although all my uncles and aunties and grandma were all “Put her down, you’ll break your back!” How I loved that feeling of being on grandpa’s shoulders, and I knew he was indulging me back then, and it mattered to me.

I’m sure it matters to my boys too, now.

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Yesterday once more

A few weeks ago, I took a stroll around my grandma’s garden.

It’s been a while since I did something like that. These days, we normally sit on the front porch on Thursday evenings, our weekly extended family get-together time, and watch the kids playing on the swing or scooting up and down the driveway. We chat about our week, snap photos, and chase everyone in when dusk falls and the mozzies start their nightly rounds.

Perhaps it’s because David¬†has recently¬†started reading his first ever Enid Blyton book – The Magic Faraway Tree. (We have a good deal going – he reads one page, I read two) Or maybe it’s that article I wrote last week,¬†about¬†the importance of boredom. Either way, I’ve been thinking about the past more these days, and remembering the high jinks we cousins got up to when we were young. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, other times I remember it like it was just yesterday…

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Celebrating small adventures

As you have probably guessed by now, blogging has taken a little bit of a backseat this year, as it’s been challenging to juggle mothering my two adorable rugrats with managing Dottieshop and housework and church work. But I’m still going to blog as often as I can, and today’s rainy afternoon was the perfect opportunity to huddle up in my cosy sheets with my laptop while the boys took an afternoon nap. (I LOVE the sweater weather we’ve been having the past two days! Except during the school drop off and pick up times…)

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I remember…

Today, I watched the boys chasing their friends amidst jets of water under a blazing sun, and I marvelled at how a mere two years ago, both were afraid of the “scary water shooting”.

My friend and I had a decent chat over lunch while our five boys enjoyed their meal at a separate table.

They trooped, single file and noses to the ground, searching out every lizard, fire ant and pretty flower they could find, and even found a dead frog in the process.

We watched as the older two laughed at each other’s jokes, poured water into each others’ beakers, and went into the Gents together. These two, who have known each other all their lives – and now they are six.

And our second borns are at that age now, the age where they are losing their baby fats and picking up the mannerisms and attitudes of an almost 5yo. Wanting to be independent like their kor kors, but not quite ready for it yet.

A wistful sigh escaped my lips more than once, and I felt my heart torn in a way that has become familiar to me now. That longing that time would stand still and this moment could be captured forever, mingled with a sense of loss of the sweet innocence of babyhood, and a burst of pride that they have come this far.

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I love you anyway

motherchild-1024x682I first read The Five Love Languages when I was dating the hubby. Fast forward some seven years later, and I found myself¬†reading The Five Love Languages for Children when David was just starting to walk. It became apparent, pretty early on, that words of affirmation and acts of service¬†rank quite highly on my elder boy’s list, while Daryl is all about the physical touch.

At face value, it seems easy for me to fill up David’s love tank, because I myself am someone who enjoys giving and receiving words of affirmation. But a recent encounter showed me how thoughtless my words can be, and reminded me to be more mindful of the assumptions I make and how I speak¬†to my tender-hearted boy.

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