Monday, 15 October 2018

Fiesty baby Yu

Kai and Yang wanted to continue watching the first Harry Potter movie at Mum’s place. Yu was playing with trains in the room and came out to watch too. But when he saw the three-headed dog, he said he was scared and wanted to go back to the room. I brought him in and left him to play with AhYe. Who knows, he opened the door to look for me - come, Mama. Come, Mama.

So I sat down with him watching the train go round and round. He looked so cute. I don’t think either of his brothers did that - sitting quietly to watch the train. I looked at his royal roundness sitting there, a soft mound of human baby ball, and I felt so contented.

Later, when the scary parts were over

Recently he’s been into singing and videos. We sat facing each other at bedtime to sing wheels on the bus. I especially love his expression at the baby crying verse - need to find an opportunity to take a video of that. I also started him on the same video schedule as his brothers when he turned two. Not too consistent yet but he really enjoyed the videos! I let him watch on the TV next to his brothers coz no more phones :p But last night he watched on my phone coz his brothers had their privilege taken away for mischief.

I meant to write only about the train incident but I have more to say about Yu :)

He is the only baby to know how to blow his nose before two. Kai learnt about two but quite certainly not before his second birthday. Yang was cutest - he could only make a hnngh! sound until some time last year. My fault actually - I always said hnngh! when I wanted to wipe his nose.

Yu is also a feisty boy. He doesn’t take it lying down when his brothers bully him. Got punched? Punch back! And always go for the head or face! But he loses out due to size so he would usually end up in tears. When he cries, he pushes his lower lip to one side, awww....

He also had the most sensitive bum. Kai really had a golden bum - inert matter unaffected by anything. Yang had a bit but more like his skin dryness than anything else. Yu leh? He had rashes here and there. But during his birthday week, he had a couple of loose bowels and his bum turned fiery red! There was even a small spot that was bright pink - raw flesh :( Diaper change at night was painful. Cream hurt. Aloe vera hurt. But at least aloe vera healed him a bit. I wonder if it’s his new milk formula - will monitor. Hope this stage passes quickly.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Taking the first step

So I tried applying for a job for the first time since 2015. I thought it was 2003 but I found a cover letter for my current job in my CV folder. I also found an incomplete resume, dated 2012.

I didn't get far coz it was late at night. So I decided to call the recruiter the next morning. No experience, many applicants, thanks and bye. Oh well, at least I didn't waste too much time on it!

But I'm prepared to leave.

Last Friday after the depressing train ride, I told Sito about my work-family situation. He gave me a simple response - 做得不开心就不要做了!

I did not expect this response and was pleasantly surprised.

Previously, I would think of the need to contribute to family finances and continue to burn this candle at both ends. Now, with my financial responsibility towards the family now absolved, I am able to look at my work-family situation again but from a different perspective.

I've come to realise that neither work nor family is getting enough of me. And critically, I'm not indispensable at work but I'm my kids' only mama.

Just this afternoon, Yu hurt himself accidentally and chose to go to N instead of me. Kai rubbed it in, saying that he didn't want me coz he didn't love me. Ouch.

And Kai has been difficult recently. There is a lot of punching that has since spread to his brothers. Yes, even Yu. And he also started resisting going to school on Saturday - he noticed that his classmates don't go on Saturdays. If I let him stay at home, Yang would not go as well and Yu would be the only kid there. But if I keep Yu at home, I won't get to work. It is a matter of time though, coz Kai would have no child care centre to go to from next year.

But I'm feeling very... 纠结.. I do like my work. I just don't care for the load. Seems drastic to just up and go. So I had an idea yesterday - to do part-time and get someone in to fill in the other part. Need to see how to get it realised. Also need to have a timeline in mind - if this doesn't work out, bye bye!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Baby Yu turns two!

Yu likes the birthday song a lot. I told him about his birthday coming up, and he was happy about the song, the cake, the candle. This was the first time he was cognisant of his birthday celebration. His brothers still blew out his candles before he could do it himself - I had to relight his candles for him - but no more such thing from next year!

Celebrations started Saturday, 6 October. We bought the scooter some weeks or months ago but kept it hidden until now.

Papa opened the present for Yu

"My very own scooter!"

We went downstairs to scoot around and played a little at the playground. Then we kept the scooters and went to the BPP playground. But the slide was wet after the rain earlier so we left to go to the library.

We only had two books to return so of course Kai and Yang snatched them for the book drop, leaving Yu with nothing to return :( So we waited around until a family came by and I thickened my skin to ask one of the kids if Yu could help return a book for him. New job scope for this mama... Lesson learnt: Always borrow three books!

Dinner was at Swensen's. We thought it would be nice to get the baby an ice cream cake. And they have kids' meals.

Yu had fish and chips with sweet corn

Happy birthday, Yu!

The wait staff's photo-taking skills left much to be desired.... But since we don't bring N out much these days, we make do! And wow, check out the number of baby chairs behind us!

Yu liked the frozen apricot

And he shows strong signs of being a lefthander...

Kai and Yang had an ice cream treat too

We had fun on kiddy rides before going to the supermarket just before going home

We continued the celebrations on Sunday! Shared an iced Milo with Yu during his brothers' swimming lesson, and collected his cake. Mum they all came over after the swimming lesson with presents, and we went for lunch downstairs.

Paw Patrol cake!


He didn't like the cake much though *.*

Managed to settle Yu down for a nap but not his brothers. Ah well, I went to nap too :p Kai and Yang were playing on their own coz N was off. Turned out pretty well, except that Kai and Yang finished up nine mini bananas at tea time, leaving none for Yu! :(

On our way from one end of blue line to one end of puple line - with two changes *.*

I was surprised that Yu was able to sit on the train for quite a while. Good boy :)

Good boy with small hands compared to Papa's

We got to Punggol Waterway Point - so far!!! Grabbed a cake and took a cab over to YQ's.

Having fun feeding fish

The little elephant was comfy too!


So stately, this one...

Dinner was steamboat. Kai and Yang liked to scoop things inside.

Yang ate a lot of rice that day...

Of course they must jump on the soda...


Yu waited patiently for us to light the candles, sitting right there next to WaiPo - good boy!

On his actual birthday, Yu went to school :p But not before we had a little cake for him!

Singing for our little boy :)

Checking out the cupcake

Yu finally had the chance to play with this!

It was real fun watching those wheels move...

Kai and Yang took over the train set on Sunday while Yu was busy with his little tricycle. It was a couple of days later that Yu managed to play with it! Again, no such thing next year!

My baby is growing up!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Ironies and contradictions

The ironies

My work is in improving marital outcome and child outcome for vulnerable families. But I found that I no longer do little things for Sito, and I snap at the children when their call for attention eat into my working time at night.

What does that spell for my marital outcome? What does that spell for my child outcome? I worry.

Luckily, Sito is pretty low maintenance. But still, I do want to do little things for him like I did when I was in my previous job. Gosh, I gave up all that work-life balance for job satisfaction and now I'm feeling strained.

The children are super high maintenance though. Every so often, I tried to be a better Mama, a happier Mama. But when it gets late and they are still not sleeping, which I worry is bad for them, and worse, they come out looking for me, I snap at them - go back to sleep or else, I count to three and the cane comes out... All that guilt.

I recall writing a speech back in 2016. I wrote something along the lines of how parents should be more involved with their children rather than relying on the digital nanny. I wrote that on a Sunday at home - maybe Mum they all were away - with Kai and Yang sitting on the sofa next to me, a phone in each of their laps. My eyes were rolling to the skies as I typed away...

And then:

The contradictions

These are more about general policies. Our system is not coherent.

1) Have more children (NPTD)
- We have three! (Though that has nothing to do with government policy.)

2) Children need to sleep (HPB)
- Our babies go to bed early, mostly by 8 pm for Yu and by 9 pm for Kai and Yang.

3) Encourage women to work (MOM and all that ECDA childcare subsidies)
- I work full-time!

4) Better work-life balance through flexible work arrangements (NPTD, MOM)
- I leave office at 5.30 pm every day to settle the kids so I bring fucking work home every Monday to Thursday and Saturday, else cannot finish. In fact, still cannot finish.

5) Family life is important (MSF)
- 2+3 = no time to play with them after work on work days + need helper else no dinner, no clean house
- I’m too tired to play properly with them for the rest of the weekend

Partially written on the train after the last post. Less tears. Just anger.

Depressing thoughts on the train

I suddenly thought of 千手观音 on my way out of office. If I cannot have 10 more hours every day, how about 998 more hands? Can hold kids and laptop, and can type!

Had two pretty bad weeks. A mild case of sinusitis aside, the work has been suffocating. I really feel like throwing in the towel - go no pay or just quit. But the mortgage. The bills. The children. Our retirement.

Responsibilities. They beckon the WHOLE FUCKING TIME.

In between work and child care, I have no time to be nice to my family. 1000 hands or not, I’m not really 观音 leh, with that stately smile and 慈悲-ness.

I even had to write this on the MRT. My family is not with me on the MRT. The MRT. Gosh, it’s my saviour, the only time I have time to be myself, no talking, no fear of neglecting / ignoring my dear little family. And now great, for the third time in my working life, I cried because of work. On the fucking train.

Swear words had not left my head, heart and mouth the whole damn day.

Tmd. 真当我三头六臂吗?

5 October, 6.12 pm.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Kai on his own errand

Yesterday, Kai complained of "vomiting pain" just before we left for school. I put some oil on his belly and shoved him out of the house. But he was still feeling the pain when we got to the school. I had my doubts but I relented - no more such things comes primary school!

I happened to have no meetings so I decided to teelcommute and watch over him. I sent him home with N while I grabbed breakfast. When I got back, I found him looking forlorn on the sofa so I let him watch Monster Hunt - he thought TV, I thought Chinese :p

Coz OKTO doesn't start until 9 am

I think he was all fine before it was 9 am *.* So he spent the rest of the day watching TV, jumping around, playing toys...

At first, we wanted to have Swensen's for lunch but when we got downstairs, we thought prata was a good idea! But then we would need his water bottle coz they don't give water.  So I asked him if he wanted to go get his bottle by himself. He looked at me for only a split second and asked me for the door access card :) As he was leaving the prata place, he made sure I would stay where I was.

I watched my boy go into the walkway leading to our block, just a few steps away from the prata place. I didn't feel as scared as I would be if he had to go through a lot of public walkways. When he came back clutching his bottle under his armpit and the card in the other hand, I thought that was the cutest thing I saw the whole day - he looked pleased. I was certainly pleased :)

He told me the security guard asked him where I was. I asked him what he said. He said nothing. Duh. He also told me N was surprised (he paused a little on the word coz he used to use it exclusively on Kinder Surprise!) when he got back. He also said no one else spoke with him - I think it was coz we told him to be careful about tricky persons who might strike up a conversation with children.

Enjoying his prata which came while he was away

And then we had ice cream but shhh, don't tell your brothers!

I was thinking about coaching him more on practical life skills. I want to co-opt him into housework for example :p But perhaps the more critical ones like going to places on his own, using money, etc first.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Revisiting our old neighbourhood

Yesterday was the first time we had dinner at Holland Village since we moved away six months ago. Gosh, time really flew!

Crystal Jade Kitchen had just renovated. The new shopping mall has been up for a while and Yakun is back in the neighbourhood. I took a quick look around the hawker centre area and other things seemed unchanged.

We still go to Mum's place almost weekly so we pass by Holland Village all the time. Kai and sometimes Yang would ask about our old house. Yesterday Kai even asked whether we could go have a look at our old house. Awww. I just said I had no keys and he said oh.

To be honest, I felt quite sad whenever I saw the empty house back in March as we were moving out and when I went back to settle loose ends. It’s so... empty. I could even hear my own echo. 有一点心酸……

I asked the boys sometimes whether they missed the old house. Yes, they said. About the long room where they all slept on the floor together - this coming from Yang who is the only one sleeping on a proper bed now that Kai sleeps on Yu's bed. I miss that room and the setup too. The Sunday mornings of playing guji guji in the room.

I would not expect Yu to have any memories about the old house. But I’m glad they all spent some of their early years there, that I would always remember bathing three infants in the little basin and then the kitchen basins, much as I would have loved to move earlier.

Holland will always be special to us, having been our first marital home, our first home where we spent crazy infant care days, our boys’ first home.

The windmill that is no longer there, just like us

Monday, 17 September 2018

My boys like Macs (and more)

Coz the boys want to watch TV until 8.30 pm :p

We were at Ah Yee's place for Grandma's death anniversary earlier this month. It just so happened that some people were later than usual so the kids got really hungry! Sito had to buy macs for them.

Digging into Macs!

We had Macs again last weekend. Then we headed to the carnival outside and spent $20 on expensive rides for Kai and Yang. Tried to give a ride to Yu but he backed out after I paid! So we grabbed his brothers back from the magic show for their bonus second ride...

Kai has no problem polishing off his happy meal

Yang always struggles with the burger

First time that Yu polished off the nuggets all by himself!

On his second ride

Think they enjoyed their first more - bouncy castle! 

Yu had milo again the next day while his brothers were swimming

And he ran amok in his socks when I was changing his diaper!

Victory shot after he put on his pants 

That day at Mum's place, I played patient to Yang's doctor - and look, his hair is no longer all standing up!

I realised I have many shots of Yu so here goes:

Little Yu enjoying the bathtub

Showing off his fat fat!

And the little daredevil can swing off the rail already

On the way home today, he just rested his head on the stroller :)

Picnic time just now!

Ok just nice, end of TV show!

Awesome awaits!

TV has been showing Legoland commercials so Kai exclaimed "AWESOME AWAITS" when we got there!

Tuesday, 11 September

Again, we chose to go on weekdays coz our last experience was fabulous except for the rain. This time, I purposely chose the week after school holidays but I did not factor in Malaysian public holidays - turned out that our arrival day was the second consecutive public holiday and another one was coming up end of the week! We were warned the day before we left that people might take the whole week off! But wait, those who took a week off would likely go overseas and not Legoland...?

It was slightly more crowded than the last time but still manageable. By the second day, no more crowds, yeah! Another yeah - we were expected rain but it drizzle for only five minutes on the first day! Happy!

Bright and cheery at 8.30 am

Yup, we left Yu behind... The last time was the first time he was quite cognisant of what was going on and it was sad seeing him left outside all the rides. So might as well let him go to school!

After checking in, we played in the lobby for some 30 min before we set off for the park, just in time for opening!

Sito and Kai tried the volcano splash ride for the first time, slightly wet despite ponchos

Meanwhile, Yang discovered his arms were long enough to:

Yang was a jolly good boater!

And a fantastic driver!

But he was apprehensive in the show coz of the spider the last time

Sito and Kai were cool

At our fave Ninjago game!

Sito topped the score board of the day in his first round!

I totally gave up - just slept through!

We were very tired this first day. Instead of playing until 6 pm, we lured the kids out for tea time ice cream and went back to the hotel after that :p Waited a bit for the room to be ready. I went up to unpack a bit while the boys stayed in the lobby.

Cool door!

The Ninjago room is brighter and slightly bigger as it's a premium room

Design is great for hanging clothes, haha!

Sat next to Yang when I got back downstairs

Sito also enjoys building!

Sunflower for me! :)

Recording a video for Yu, in case we couldn't Skype him

Mum was going over to check on Yu so I sent the video to her. Heard from her that when she told Yu about N sleeping outside his room, he said no and brought her to N's room!

Yang dozed off in weird position on our way to AEON

Bought some clothes and one yam mooncake before settling down for dinner

Sito and I had Thai food while the boys shared a chicken sandwich. Of course they didn't like the vege much! But it's ok; we would go on to eat more later...

Managed to Skype Yu at the massage place - so cute and happy!

The boys had an hour of YT Kids while the parents relaxed...

Blackball time!

Three of us sharing three little blobs of coconut ice cream

And then we went to buy diapers for Yu before settling down for dessert round 2 at Baskin Robbins! Went back to the hotel after that. I can't remember now how we got the kids to sleep coz I was very tired and sleepy! Both Sito and I fell asleep quite early..

Wednesday, 12 September

Kai woke first just past 6 am. He came to ask if he could get up. I told him to wait until 6.30 am. Found Yang on our bed. But we didn't feel him coz king bed :p At 6.30 am, Kai and I got up and did our morning thing a bit before Yang woke too. Then we woke Sito to do his morning thing.

Brothers playing with a rotating toy while waiting for Papa

I timed it quite nicely - changed the boys when I heard Sito starting to shower :p I was a little hungry but Yang had already eaten the leftover hotdog bun from the day before so I tried a bit of the fruits complimentary for returning guests - not nice :(

Breakfast finally!

For once, we were seated at a small table. And after putting our stuff down, all of us went to get our own food! Gosh, can't wait for Yu to turn three or four!

Sito and Kai went out to play first while Yang continued eating

Of course they built a big structure

Of course they quarrelled and the structure was destroyed

We also had a crying episode here. Yang took a rabbit from a little girl. The girl came to tell me it was hers. I knew we were missing a bunny from the room safe but I also knew Yang did not bring it down for breakfast. I returned the bunny to the girl and poor Yang burst into tears! It was only when we got upstairs and I found the bunny that he stopped crying.

Brushing teeth together in their swimming gear!

Went with Kai to relax in the pool

Managed to convince Yang to go later

Yang finally tried the Joker Soaker!

Which meant I also tried it for the first time! Soaking wet... And I really didn't like the long tubes - I saw only small lights, so scary! Scariest was when I was waiting at the bottom for Yang to appear and he took so long to appear!

Then we went up to do the big slide on a float. Four of us did it together then Kai and I went for a twin float while Sito and Yang went for another float.

Then the boys had fun racing boats!

And finally Sito got his relaxing turn!

I stayed with Yang at the baby slides when he had plenty of fun too. Kai came to join us and did the baby slides facing down. But somehow he managed to convinced Yang to do the middle red slide which was faster than the rest - Yang did not want to do that after he first did in one year ago! Happy to see them playing well with each other :)

We went back to wash up while Sito went to get lunch. The boys fed themselves, freeing me to clean up stuff etc. They didn't want to nap so I told them to be quiet while Sito and I napped. Kai came to our bed to join us shortly while Yang eventually dozed off in his bed.

We slept past our 3.30 pm by a bit :p I got up first to make some hot milo for the boys' tea. Then we decided we had to go out already. So back to the park we went!

Yang waiting for his brother to be done before exiting

Then we parted ways coz Kai wanted to take rides that Yang couldn't take. We agreed to meet at the gate at the end of the day.

Building on a big mat

Yang took a photo of me!

That was done I conned him into taking a photo too :p

He remembered the stage and posed there

Selfie with Yang on horsie

Yang got distracted quite a lot along the way. He had wanted to go to the airplane but we went to build LEGO, watched Star Wars, horsie etc. The rides were all starting to close...

We ended up at a playground

It was past 6 pm by then but no one was chasing us out. But eventually I persuaded him to move along. We met up near the big shop and he started whining. So we went into the shop on the premise that we were not buying anything! After a while, we left happily enough.

Yang was watching people dance

Managed to Skype Yu in the lobby - spotted him coming home!

So happy again!

Heard from N he was very good while we were away. One night, he came out and refused to go back. So he slept on the play mat with N. And the second morning, he threw out his cereals and said no kakak, mummeeeeee! Awwww.... I think he felt our absence more in school - his teacher said he was more whiny those three days. Poor boy...

Kai and Yang interacting peacefully while waiting for dinner

Our dinner and us!

The boys were so happy laughing over their videos! Yup, we were back for another massage!

Got them some ice cream from the supermarket and had ice cream waffle at A&W before heading across the road for the massage. And after the massage, we packed two big cups from Blackball to drink back in the hotel :)

Having the nap helped. We were more alive! And so were the boys! They wanted to watch TV so I let them, on my sneaky condition that they had to watch under the blanket. Of course they dozed off!! :p

Thursday, 13 September

I didn't sleep too well. Woke at 4 plus and slept again after 5 am. When I woke again, I was surprised to see that it was 7.15 am - woohoo! I got up to prepare for the day. Kai woke soon after me. Then I had to get Sito. Yang woke while Sito was in the bathroom - he must have been quite tired.

Breakfast was a breeze again. Of course the boys were eating mostly junk food. At least I got them to eat hardboiled eggs both days!

Yang and I stayed back again

This time, they played the small bricks

The boys didn't get to play the puzzle coz they found the safe unlocked! So sad...

And that was it - we checked out of the hotel, sobs! But this time, we arranged for the car to get us at 2.30 pm instead of 11 am so we had more time to play!

Group shot at the entrance

"It's not real, you see"

Playing outside the Ninjago ride which was closed

We finally got on the airplane!


Yippee again!

Yippee too!

Took the above photos while videoing them. I did it too but only video, no photo :p

On the choo choo train

Kai so wanted to join Yang but he was overaged!

We had dessert before lunch!

Rainbow for Yang

Order a chicken wrap for them to share but I had to feed Yang

First time at the cafe and we liked it. But our annual passes all expired by end of the month. Thinking of renewing it if we go in December - then we will go again in June and next December. I figure it's quite worth it when we go to the park three times every trip!

The boys were tired out and dozed off on the way home

It was only 45 min door to door, no jam at all. Totally worth the leave :) The boys are already saying that they want to go again. Have to plan how... It can be quite tiring for the parents!
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