elliott · family · lil' things that make me happy · moments · thoughts

The little yellow ball

A few days back, Elliott received a small yellow rubber ball as part of his classmate’s birthday gift pack. He has been playing with it and this evening, he asked if I can play ball with him. It was time for bed and I was a little hesitant but what the heck, let’s play ball for a while.

He sat on the bed, rolled the ball towards me, and I’d roll it back to him. Sometimes, the ball rolled off the bed and he’d get excited because he was afraid that it’d roll under the bed and he can’t get it out.

Throughout our ball throwing/rolling session, he kept squealing with excitement and broke out in fits of giggles. One time, I hit his head with my throw (what are the chances, right?) and we both shrieked with laughter. I found myself wondering: Roll ball also so happy ah?

It reminded me once again that a child finds joy in the simplest of things, and it made me happy that I was part of that joyful experience. 🎈

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moments · thoughts

4.30 am

It is 4.30 am.

I had to wake because my boobs told me that it is time to pump and wouldn’t allow me to fall back to sleep because it was too uncomfortable. I contemplate for a second that I continue to sleep and ignore the discomfort but common sense prevailed – I had to get up or I can’t get back to sleep. More importantly, my babies need the milk.

I stumble groggily into the living room, extract the various pump parts from the steriliser and plonk myself on the sofa. I turn on the familiar machine and it whirs to life, extracting precious mama milk, drop by drop. It is pretty hypnotic. The sound from the machine, that is. I try not to fall asleep because a split second is all it takes to spill all that precious milk.

I get about 110 ml. For one newborn, it may be enough. For twins, it disappears in the next feed. But it’s ok. Some breast milk is better than none. Formula milk won’t kill them, I tell myself. 

I am thankful that this time round, we have a confinement nanny who takes the night feeds and I can sleep a decent amount of hours. I am talking 3-4 hours at a stretch, sometimes even 5 on a good night.

But you know what? I am still tired. Exhausted on some days. Some days, I sit stoically by their rocker as they cry their lungs out. Their little faces red from all that crying and I just sit and stare

The truth is, it gets a little…overwhelming. Despite having help, on some days (especially when I lack sleep), I am too exhausted and mentally spent to…care. I just wish they’d stop crying and sleep because I want to sleep. No, scratch that. I am usually too exhausted to sleep. My brain is trying its best to be awake and present but my body is too tired to react. Which is why I just sit and stare at my crying babies. I don’t even cry because crying takes too much effort. 

You know how you read about mothers who cry when they meet their babies for the first time? Or how emotionally attached they are the moment their babies exit the womb? 

Well. I don’t quite feel this way. On some days at least. On those sort of days, my brain does not register that these squawking babies came out of me. That I carried them in my womb for 37 weeks. I stare at their cherubic faces and instead of mad gushing love pouring out of my heart, I feel…exhaustion. And on really bad days, I feel like I don’t deserve them because I dont think I am doing a good enough job as a mother. As their mother. 

I should have more breastmilk for them.

I should cuddle and hold them more often.

I should be feeling overwhelming love that mothers feel for their child(ren).

Perhaps it’s the hormones (and exhaustion) talking and when the fog lifts, I will look back at this entry and wonder what the hell I was rambling on about. But right now, at almost 5 am this early Sunday morning, it is all very real. 

family · moments · the twins · us

8 years

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Today, miss ene and the boy celebrate 8 years of marriage. It is also a time of anticipation as we await the arrival of the twins. To say that these 8 years has been a rollercoaster ride is putting it mildly.

Marriage is not all sunshine and fluffy clouds. It takes (damn a lot of hard) work and effort. Often, we take each other for granted as life takes over and we run in automode. Through the years, we adjust and adapt, and learn how to work effectively as a team. We are no where near perfect, but it’s a constant work-in-progress.

Happy anniversary to my best friend and partner for life. Thank you for being the calm in my kan-cheong world.

I am glad we found each other. ❤️

elliott · lil' things that make me happy · moments · note to elliott · thoughts

And you are 3.

Dear Elliott,

I have been a bad mummy. A very very bad mummy.

I was supposed to be writing you a note every month since you were born but I fell off the wagon after the 32nd note. I meant to write you notes until you turn 36 months so that you’d have 36 notes to read, but I fell short of…4 months. And this eats me up because your mother here is obsessed concerned about keeping to my words, deadlines and the such.

However, as the months whizz by, I stopped beating myself up. I may be taking a lot less photos and videos of you now as compared to your first year (have you seen how many photos you have?!) but I tell myself that it is ok. Motherhood does take up a lot of energy and time, and typing on a laptop is really the last thing I want to do at the end of each work day.

Yesterday, you turned 3 years old. That’s 36 months of you. It’s cliche but one moment you were a tiny ball of cuteness in our arms and suddenly, you’re an individual with your own (chatty) personality and quirks.

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These days, I find it hard to remember the newborn days. I think this is what people call ‘mumnesia‘ where we block out the crazy newborn days from our minds like those crazy moments didn’t happen. It is hard to remember because these days, you are truly a toddler with a mind of your own. Let me count the ways (as much as my hazy brain can remember).

You say the most hilarious things. Like that day when we stopped at the lights beside an ambulance with its lights on but no siren.

“Ambulance! Mummy look ambulance!”
“Yes that’s an ambulance! See the flashing lights?”
“Yes! But why no sound? Who take out the batteries, mummy?

You left me speechless with that question, my dear son. And I laughed. I laughed out loud as the lights turned green and we continued on our journey home. At this age, you say the funniest things (without meaning to, I’m sure) and I wish I can record every single funny quip because they are oh so fleeting.

At this age, you have a strong idea of what you want. Or don’t want. Like how you have decided that you only want to wear t-shirts (not shirts) and ‘soft’ shorts (not pants or proper ‘going out’ shorts). You also get obsessed about shirt labels and will insist that ‘Mummy cut’ if you spy the offending pieces of tags on your clothes. You also tell us that specifically that ‘you don’t want this green thing‘ (vegetables) or ‘no chicken, mummy. Only noodles‘.

Speaking of noodles, you have been in a noodles phrase. Before each meal, I get hopeful and ask: Elliot, would you like RICE (emphasised for effect) or noodles for dinner? You pretend to think for a bit and then say with conviction: Hmm, NOODLES! I am just glad that you are not too fussed about the type of noodles we give you – pasta, bee hoon, kway teow, mee tai mak, mee sua, yellow noodles, udon. You are good with all of them. You love them with soup and will always ask for more soup.

We have also, in recent weeks, switched you to full-day childcare. Your Ah Ma worries constantly about whether you are getting enough sleep and food as she thinks that you are such a “poor thing” to be in school for the entire day. The thing is, the majority of your classmates are there for the entire day. I’d admit that for the first week or so, you were constantly on my mind as I was also concerned if you were adapting well to the change in routine.

As it turns out, I am proud to say that you are adapting better than us adults. Other than the first few days of taking a while to fall asleep on your own at nap times, you have managed to fall nicely into your new routine without much drama. Oh, your teachers tell us that you do ask them wistfully if mummy is coming (my heart!) when your friends are picked up earlier but you do understand when they tell you that mummy is coming. And yes, my sweetie. Mummy will always be there to pick you up from school. It is always the highlight of my workday and I drive and walk a little faster just to get to you.

So as I was saying, you turned 3 yesterday and what a well-loved boy you are. You had 3 birthday cakes (THREE!) and received so many presents, I lost count. The day before your actual birthday, we celebrated it with your friends at school for the very first time. I was worried that you’d freeze up or cry when you see us but instead, you did very well! For the record, you told me repeatedly that you want a “chocolate cake with blue car” so we got your school cake from Prima Deli and topped it with a vehicle set from Toys R Us.

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You were a little stunned to see us but realised soon after that we were there to celebrate your birthday with your friends. It was wonderful to see you interact with your friends as it is not something we see everyday. I have a video clip where you are telling your friends excitedly “See? Car, truck, helicopter…“. Aiyo, everyone was so darn cute. I cannot.

The same evening, we headed over to Ah Ma and Ah Gong’s house for your 2nd birthday celebration. I am not sure who was more excited, you or them 🙂 And yes, you got a Paw Patrol cake (Bengawan Solo) and 2 fat ang baos from your doting grandparents.

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You asked to go to the zoo on your birthday and so we did. We’ve done so for the past 2 birthdays so it is a bit of a birthday ritual now. We also became Friends of the Zoo so hopefully, we’d be making many trips to the zoo this year. We only managed 2 exhibits (the sea otters and the Zoo-Rassic Park) before the rain came down in sheets. Pfffft. Never mind. Another time then.

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Plan B was to head to Future World exhibition at the Art Science Musuem but 2 of the exhibits were closed for renovations so we were done pretty quickly as well.

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In the evening, Yiyi and Popo came over for your last celebration at home. You were really thrilled to see them. I ordered a bunch of Paw Patrol balloons but you took one cursory look at them and erm, that’s about it. Tsk. Never mind. They made for a nice photo backdrop.

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This year, you sang your own birthday song with gusto, insisted that we all sit beside you for a photo and gave everyone big hugs. You also ripped your presents apart on your own. 3 seems like a terrific age to be and we can’t wait to see what the year has in store.

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Happy 3, dear Elliott. May you always  be joyful and healthy. We love you very much!

Love,
Mummy xoxo

moments · thoughts · us

And then it was 7.

Truth be told, I almost forgot about our wedding anniversary. It was only when I was punching a new entry into my calendar on the phone did I realise that our 7th wedding anniversary was round the corner.

7 years. We are 3 years away from being together for 10 years. Officially, on paper, that is. I don’t exactly remember how long we dated for, to be honest. There was no real date that we got together officially as a couple. We do not celebrate ‘monthsaries’ or even our dating anniversary because honestly, we don’t remember.

I read an interesting blog entry about an imperfect husband and found myself smiling at certain bits because I could relate to it. Like how the boy does not celebrate Mother’s Day for me because (quote) “you’re not my mother” (unquote). I especially like this line that says:

“The fact of life is, when life overwhelms, we become careless, thoughtless, mindless.”

How very true.

When we were just us, it was easy to carve time out for ourselves. To go on dates. To watch movies. To dine with each other leisurely. To binge-watch HK dramas till our stomachs growl and we had to get out of the house to get some food (at 3.30pm on a weekend). As many parents will attest to, life takes a huge change when a child enters the picture. Each day become routine. Each day becomes a matter of completing one task before starting another – wash clothes – hang clothes – shower child – dress child – make milk for child – read to child – wash dishes – pack child’s school bag…you get the picture.

And sometimes, it does get overwhelming. Even boring, mundane. Day in, day out, on weekdays, we are going about our tasks like clockwork.

Also, according to the 5 Love Languages, I am pretty sure that we have different ones. I am taking a wild guess here but for the boy, I believe his Love Language is ‘Acts of Service‘ and ‘Quality Time‘. I just did the online test and this is my top 3 Love Language:

  • Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

  • Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

  • Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

Anyway.

I know I speak for the both of us when I say that even though we know that couples need to have their “own time” and to go on “date nights”, we both want to spend our non-working hours with Elliott. We barely see him for a good part of the day. I find it almost mean to not hang out with him in the evenings.

This is where our “couple time” takes a backseat. A far far backseat.

Sometimes, it is easy to get disgruntled amidst the humdrum of daily life. It is easy to get frustrated with the boy when things are not “going the way” that I want it to. It is easy to lose my temper over seemingly “small” issues, like having a crazy-loud alarm ring out loud at 6.45am, shocking me awake.

Then I stop.

I stop and remember that the alarm goes off at 6.45 am because the boy wakes earlier to boil water for Elliott’s milk feed. He wakes earlier to change and take Moon for her morning walk and to feed her first meal of the day.

I also stop and appreciate that he helps out with housework, like ensuring that we have clean underwear by doing the laundry. He also takes care of Moon by ensuring that she gets her weekly shower on Sunday evenings. When the pile of dirty dishes get a bit too high, he helps by washing them.

I also stop and remember that he struggles on a crowded bus on weekday mornings and evenings to get to/from work, while Elliott and I take the car and get to school/work in comfort.

I also remember that at meal times, he orders food that Elliott can eat so that I get to eat what I really feel like having.

There are too many to list and sometimes, it is easy to forget so I’d like to make a note here that I appreciate them all.

Of course, he’s not perfect la. But neither am I. I am sure there is a whole laundry list of things that I do (or not do) that annoy him. But that’s marriage, isn’t it? To accept each other, warts, imperfections and all.

Happy 7th anniversary to us!

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PS. Last year, we had a lovely dinner for 2. This year, we had to bring along a very happy and cannot sit still 电灯泡 to dinner.