Monthly Archives: April 2011

Shorts For Max

I love sewing shorts for the kids, it’s a quick and easy project with satisfying results. Since Max is Thomas crazy at the moment, I decided to sew him a pair of Thomas board shorts. I used an existing pair of shorts to trace a pattern.

They were a perfect fit and he was so excited when he put them on.  Now I need to tackle the PJs that I’ve been putting off.

Leave a comment

Filed under Max

Trip to the Podiatrist

My mom was the first one to point out that Max had a funny gait. Back then I dismissed it as nothing since I thought he was still finding his balance. But recently we have noticed that his left leg would turn in pretty obviously when he walked and he was always tripping over his own feet.

So I made an appointment with the podiatrist and off we went. I was more concern that the problem could stem from his hips, which we could and should correct while he is still young.

I was so proud of myself for driving the two of us down to Rochester Park where the clinic was located, AND successfully parking the car in the tiny parking lot.

The podiatrist was very friendly and fantastic with Max. First he asked both of us to take off our shoes and immediately he said ” Max’s feet are exactly like yours” which isn’t a good thing cos I have UGLY feet with low arches. We saw that when Max stood still, his left foot did turn in and his toes were all sort of crumpled together. Then he got both of us to walk up and down the room, we made it into a little game for Max and he was more than happy to play along. Once that was done he examined his hips, knees and legs.

The results are hardly surprising, Max is indeed bow legged but only his left leg. The problem doesn’t stem from his hip, in fact he has very good movement in the hip area which is great. His knees are fine but the lower leg where the calf is, is bowed. His foot is straight so that’s another piece of good news. Since Matt is flat footed and I have low arches, Max is destined to follow either of us. There is nothing we can do for his leg now, we just have to wait and see how and if it changes as he grows. I checked with the podiatrist regarding his shoes and he says anything that is soft and flexible is fine for his age group. He always reminded me that if a child is flat footed, no amount of artificial arches in their shoes are going to create an arch for them. It’s predetermined by their genes. I really appreciated his patience and thorough explanations. He answered all my questions and never once made me feel like I was asking silly questions. I left feeling reassured and with a follow up appointment in a year’s time.

If you have a toddler and think that they might be bow legged, rest assure that bowed legs in toddlers are very common. By ages 3 or 4, the bowing should have diminished and their legs should have a straighter appearance. The main reason I took Max in was because we noticed only one of his legs was bowed. If it were both, I wouldn’t have been as worried. His right leg is perfectly straight while is left isn’t. Whenever you feel in doubt, consult your pediatrician to see if he/she thinks you should bring your child to a specialist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Max

The Clingy Boy

Max has been kola kid for the past few days. Every nap/bed time is a battle , he cries and call out “Mama! Mama come!” And of course this hard hearted mom just ignores his cries and waits for him to fall asleep.

Throughout the day he runs up to me numerous times and says ” carry? carry?” and generally just wants to be with me MOST of the time. My Mr Independent is now Mr Clingy and I suspect the teething bug has something to do with it.

Like everything else, I’m just waiting for this tiring phase to pass.

Leave a comment

Filed under Max

What It Means To Be A Mother

With the two monkeys lying in our bed, I look over at their sleeping faces and I start to think what does it mean to be a mother?

I officially became a mom on 9th July 2007 when Ally emerged screaming into this world. Since then, powerful and sometimes terrifying feelings have engulfed me. I remember the first time she stopped breathing, the fear, the panic and that huge sense of heart ache when I thought I could lose her. Literally my heart ached. She was sitting in the bouncy seat looking at me and the next minute I noticed her mouth and lips turning blue. I didn’t scream, instead I calmly carried her up and started petting her on the back till she got her breath back. Once I knew she was fine, I handed her over to my mom and went to the room to have a good cry. My body was shaking and my emotions were all over the place. She was less than a week old and meant the world to me. We had other similar episodes after that and each time I reacted calmly but after each episode I would break down and cry.

Nearly 4 years on and two children later, I am still doubting my abilities as a mother. Some days I suffer from extreme “Mummy guilt” I feel guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with the children, that I wasn’t patient enough, that I wasn’t doing all I could for them. Despite my confident exterior, I still doubt my mothering abilities like any other mom. Am I doing the right things for the kids? Am I teaching them the right values?

To me, being a mother means making sure my children are well looked after and protected. It means making sure they grow up to be responsible adults and compassionate human beings. At this point in my life it also means waking up various times a night whenever Max cries or if Ally has a nightmare. It means surviving on as little as 4 hours of sleep a day. It also means not being able to take a shower in peace cos the kids just want to be with you and talk to you all the time. Yes it’s tiring hearing their cries of ” Mama! Mama!” at least thirty times a day. But I know that this phase of their lives aren’t going to last forever.

One day my kids are going to be teenagers who no longer want to hang out with their mom. I’ll be able to sleep in, take my showers in peace, have a meal without being interrupted. But a part of me will definitely miss being the center of their lives.

Being a mother doesn’t mean giving up who I am as an individual, instead it has added another dimension to my life. I’m not just a mother, I’m also an independent, slightly careless and sometimes forgetful but perfectly capable woman. As a role model to my daughter, I think it’s important for her to see that Mama has her own interest, her own hobbies and needs time on her own as well.

As a woman you’re really the anchor of the household, yet it doesn’t mean you give up everything for the family. I have one morning off a week just to do my own things and hang out with my friends, just those couple of hours off helps me to refresh and makes me a much better mother and wife.

What does being a mother mean to you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Musings

Hanging Out With Max

After dropping Ally off at school the other morning, Max and I decided to take a detour instead of heading back home. We landed up at Tampines so we headed to Giant to do some supermarket shopping. It was only 9am and the car park was already 1/4 full. I have to say it’s so much faster just doing the supermarket shopping with one child. It’s usually a family affair and with two curious toddlers, it can take quite a while to buy the things we need.

Once that was done we crossed over to Ikea for some breakfast. Max had his first taste of baked beans which he LOVED. I for one, wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Baked beans, French Toast and Sausages... yummy!

Ikea is absolutely insane during the weekends, but on weekdays it’s quiet and a really nice place to shop. Definitely one of the highlights of being a stay at home mom, you never have to jostle with the weekend crowd.

It's rare to see him eating and enjoying his food so much, I couldn't help but take some pictures.

And of course, what’s a trip to Ikea without some play time? For once Max was the only child in the little play area. He had run zooming his Thomas train all around.

He kept asking "Where's Ally?" Poor little guy was missing his playmate

Since the store was relatively empty, I allowed Max to wander around till it was time to pick Ally up from school. Not a bad way to spend the morning, beats sitting at my desk having to work!

Leave a comment

Filed under Max

Ally’s Easter Dress

I managed to finish Ally’s Easter dress just in time but somehow the collar still looks a bit funny when she wears it. Oh well, she loves it and so do I, the bright colors make me smile 🙂 Blessed Easter everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Ally

More Sewing Projects

I have been in a sewing mood lately so I decided to whip out some clothes for the kids. Ally as usual requested for a pink dress. I used the pattern Habitual Sundress Pattern and finished it off with this tutorial from Freshly Picked.

Unfortunately the measurements from the Habitual Sundress were HUGE. I cut a size 2 and even then Ally was swimming in it. I had to make lots of modifications and even then the armholes still need some tweaking. Unfortunately that will have to wait for another day since Ally was asleep by the time I had finished and I need her to do another fitting. I used store bought bias tape to finish the armholes cos I simply can’t be bothered to make my own. After pricking myself numerous times with pins, I wasn’t keen to burn my fingers with the iron trying to make double folded bias tape.

Once I finished the dress, I found some seersucker material in my stash and decided to sew a pair of shorts. I have been trying to find THE perfect shorts pattern and though I’ve come close, I still haven’t found it. So I decided to take a pair of Ally’s favourite shorts and disect it to make my own pattern. I measured from the waist to the crotch, then from the crotch to where I wanted the shorts to end. I must say they turned out better than I expected and I’m really pleased.

My next project is to try and master the PJ pattern I purchased from Fishsticks Designs. She has the cutest outfits for boys but at the moment it’s a bit of a stretch for a beginner like myself.

1 Comment

Filed under Random Musings

Our Furry Friend

I just realised that I’ve not written a post about another important member of our family. We adopted Neesha when she was about 2, Ally was just shy of a year old. Neesha had been abandoned by her previous owner and the pet shop had taken her in. We hesitated for a while before we finally decided to adopt her. We weren’t sure how she was going to take to Ally and vice versa, as it turned out, we had nothing to worry about.

How could anyone abandon this face?

Neesha has always been kind and gentle with the children. Of course there have been times she has accidentally knocked them over just because she isn’t aware of how big she is. But for the most part she is such a sweetheart and puts up with a lot from the kids.

Ally use to love sitting on her, now Max does the same

Between the two kids, Max is the one who really has a soft spot for her. He looks for her each time he wakes up and really loves playing with her. Ally is more of a cat person but even she loves having Neesha around.

I know Golden Retrievers are known for their placid personality but Neesha has an excellent temprement. Ever since we had her, she has barked a total of 10 times? If that. She is eager to please which makes training her quite easy. She hasn’t dirtied the house except the one time when she was sick, other than that  you really cannot fault her.

She loves swimming at Sentosa

Neesha has brought so much joy and love into our home, we are so grateful that she’s ours.

Her rather unlady like sleeping position. Think the flash from the camera woked her up, hence her funny eye

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Musings

Tiger Mother

I have just finished Amy Chua’s book, ” Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. It was a quick and easy read, I managed to finish the book in one day. A friend of mine loaned it to me and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

Last Tuesday at gym, Ally had a meltdown and we are talking the mother of meltdowns. Ever since we’ve changed her class, she has struggled at the beginning of most lessons. She is intimidated by the older children and just by the sheer size of the class. Her coaches have been nothing short of wonderful through it all. Each week before class starts, we have a prep talk. I explain to her what I expect her to do and at the same time, warn her of the consequences if she doesn’t behave.

We walk into the gym and once the kids gather for their warm ups, I can see her lower lip beginning to quiver. I stay next to her for the first few minutes than slowly make my way to the mat beside the children. The minute she saw me walking away, she lost the plot. She screamed and cried and no one could calm her down. I took her aside since she was disturbing the rest of the kids and spoke to her. But I could tell that she wasn’t listening , she was too absorbed in her crying and screaming. I knew the only way to snap her out of it was to do something drastic, so I became the Tiger Mother. I threatened her with punishments , she screamed. I scolded her for her behavior, she screamed. Basically you could see where this was going. In the end I got extremely upset with her and walked her back to the mat and told her to pull herself together. I walked away, ignoring her crying and screaming. Max chose to act up at that same moment so he got a telling off as well. I could feel all ther other mother’s eyes on me. The majority of parents were expats and one mother had this look on her face like she could not believe how I had just treated my child. I knew everyone was watching and judging my parenting skills, I even overheard one mother telling another about how Chinese mothers are so hard on their children.

Am I proud of the fact that I had to threaten, scold and punish Ally in order for her to participate? No. But I needed Ally to know that we had paid for her classes, I spend my afternoon driving her to and from the gym, dragging Max along and therefore she was expected to do her best. The funny thing is, once she gets into the class, she is absolutely fine. It’s always the first 10 minutes that are an absolute nightmare. I don’t expect her to become an olympic gymnast, but I expect her to put in 100% and to try her best.

I don’t necessarily agree with Amy Chua’s parenting tactics, yet I can see some of her points. She pushed both girls to learn a musical instrument. Her younger daughter reminds me very much of Ally, she questions and argues whenever you ask her to do something or does the direct opposite of what you’ve asked her to do, just because she knows it will annoy you. Yet Chua pushed her to continue practising and learning the violin cos she could see that her daughter had the real potential to become a great musician. I feel the same way with Ally and her gym, she has great potential and is the ideal built for a gymnast. She loves the sport, but obviously has to work through this huge hurdle. Which is why week after week, I go through this stressful routine with her.

Chua once locked her younger daughter outside in the snow because the girl was being defiant. I once placed Ally outside the gate of our house because she was rude and disrespectful. I said to her if she wanted to live under my roof, she would have to learn to obey my rules. She was 3 years old. I know many parents would be appalled by what I did. I had to make a point and made sure it stuck in her mind. True enough to this day she has not made that same mistake.

I am the first to admit that I run a tight ship with the children. I expect them to toe the line, when they cross it, they know there are consequences and they know that I will carry out those consequences. On the flip side, I praise them when they are good and throughout the day I give them hugs and kisses.

Am I a Tiger mother? Maybe to a certain extent, I like to think that I’m a fair parent to the children. One who isn’t unreasonable but not one that they can step all over. At the end of the day, I’m trying my best to raise my kids in the way that I think it’s right.


Filed under Ally, Random Musings

Come Into My Classroom Day

Monday was Ally’s ” Come Into My Classroom Day” where parents are invited to spend the morning with their children in class. As usual, Max came along for the morning as well and he really enjoyed himself!

Ally was using the letter stamps

to "write" her name in clay

It was interesting to watch Ally in her school environment, she seemed confident and well settled which is more than I could ask for. Max was like the class pet, everyone wanted to pet him/play with him but he wasn’t in the mood to socialise and spent a lot of time trying to avoid the enthusiastic children.

Max enjoyed hanging out with Ally and wanted to copy exactly what she was doing

He found this trolley especially facinating. Unfortunately the wheels were hard to manouver so he spent a lot of time yelling at it in frustration

When it was time for outdoor play, Ally decided to hang out with me instead of playing with her friends. We sat on the swing together for quite a while and I seriously think age is catching up with me cos I actually felt a little sick with all that swinging. When I asked her what activity was next after outdoor play, she replied ” after outdoor it’s time for inside doors”  Sometimes she really cracks me up!


Leave a comment

Filed under Ally