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

 

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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Happy birthday Inuka!

We were invited to celebrate Inuka’s birthday yesterday morning¬†at the Singapore Zoo! Yes, that little cub that our nation fell in love with is now the ripe old age of 26 years old – which is over 70 human years! Thanks to Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the boys got to¬†be part of his birthday celebration at Frozen Tundra on Thursday¬†morning (and spent a good half day at the zoo!).

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David’s Dinobot Party

img_6725Until recently,¬†party prep for the boys’ birthdays have typically begun a few months in advance. Partly because I like spreading all the DIYs out so it’s not hurried, and partly because I’m always itching to plan the next one. This year, however, with the recent spate¬†of Dottieshop¬†workshops, it has been challenging to find time to do things at a leisurely pace. So I decided to enlist the boy’s help in planning this year’s party, and the then-almost-6yo boldly declared that he would be in charge of everything and tell me what to do.

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Birth Stories: David

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Every year when each boy’s¬†birthday comes around, I can’t help but think back to the eventful day of his¬†birth. It’s¬†bittersweet, isn’t it, mums? Amidst the joy and celebrations, we get all misty-eyed thinking about that first time we set eyes on our teeny-tiny babies. We marvel at how much they have grown in a year, yet we wistfully long for that baby smell that is now just a memory, and the feel of soft newborn weight in our arms.

I never did take the time to pen down the boys’ birth stories, so it took quite a bit of thinking to remember all the details for this post. But it was good to relive the moments of David’s birth and to share it with the boys. (David was shocked to know that mummy was in labour for that long) Hopefully I remember to write about¬†Daryl’s crazy fast¬†birth before his next birthday!

Here is David’s ¬†story.

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Pince & Pints

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We celebrated the hubby’s big 4-0 today with a day of feasting, errands run, and just time spent as a family.¬†There were no birthday surprises or loud fanfare, for the hubs is a fairly reserved guy and doesn’t like too much fuss. However, we did try to make this day an extra special one for him, and to let him know how much he is loved. ūüôā

For dinner, we made it to Pince & Pints, whose pictures I have been drooling over on Instagram. Since lobster is kind of vaguely-related to our¬†early days of dating (haha!),¬†I thought his birthday would be just the right occasion to check it out. Hubby was pretty pleased with the choice, and we decided to go down for an early dinner, since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations for groups smaller than 8pax.

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Party, we did.

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Not once, not twice, but three times, for the birthday boy. I know some friends¬†think I’m slightly crazy, but honestly, I love planning the boys’ parties, and I love the joy that it brings them and us (and no, I don’t¬†think I’m spoiling them in the process). Both boys are pretty involved in various aspects of party prep, and this year in particular, David had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted from as early as March. He wanted a Star Wars party with light sabers, a chocolate cake with “lots of chocolate”, pizza making for his friends and a “big pi√Īata”!

Well, his wish was granted on all fronts, except that we bought the kids pizza because 15 kids making pizza in our house might have knocked us out… and his Pirate themed art class made him interested in treasure maps too, so we had some piracy thrown into the mix!

I lost my phone the day before his party weekend, which was unsettling to say the least, but also meant I left all the photo-taking to the hubby and friends. Sorry that we couldn’t capture every single guest who came (some of the shots are too blur or pixelated), but we were SO happy to have you come and celebrate with us!

Here are some of our favourite photos of the boy’s three celebrations – one with our friends (Star Wars), one with our families (Pirates themed) and a short-and-simple cake-cutting session¬†with his kindergarten class (Star Wars).

Dear David, welcome to the year of being Fantastic and Five!

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