Monthly Archives: October 2011

Memories To Warm The Heart

Partners in crime , best friends at heart

Ally and Max may fight like cats and dogs but at the end of the day they are really best friends.  The other night I heard singing coming from their bedroom, mind you they were meant to be asleep ages ago. I opened the door and there was Ally, cradling Max in her lap singing to him. I asked her what she was doing and she said Max wanted someone to carry and sing to him.

Just yesterday the children were playing with a mat which I had told them not to cos I knew one of them would slip and fall. Sure enough within minutes Ally fell face forward. She knew she was in trouble with me since I had just told her to put the mat away. Max walked over to her, picked her up and said ” don’t cry Ally, it’s ok, don’t cry”

I hope they stay sweet and loving to each other for the rest of their lives, there is nothing like having a sibling to pick you up when you fall or hold your hand through the bad times.

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Bedtimes And Sleep Training

Both the kids go to bed between 8-8.30pm every night. This also means they wake up before 7am on most days. Ally takes about an hour’s nap in the afternoon while Max naps between 1.5-2 hours. Their early bedtime is crucial for both theirs and my sanity. Both kids are a nightmare when they are tired and frankly, so am I.

Truth be told, Ally was a terrible sleeper as a baby. She would hardly nap and would wake up crying after each nap. She and all of us who looked after her were constantly tired. Once we took care of her medical issues, we begin to put her on a schedule. Nothing rigid but we made sure meal and nap times were consistent each day.

We stopped carrying her to sleep, this was easier said then done and it was thanks to Matt that we managed to wean her off it. It wasn’t easy and took a long time, Matt would place her in her crib and sit beside her. Night by night he would move further and further away till he could finally leave her alone to fall asleep.

When Max came along, we started the “Eat, Play, Sleep” routine with him. He could fall asleep on his own and was generally very contented. I couldn’t believe my luck at how easy it was! To be fair, Max had no medical issues and is generally a more laid back character than Ally is.

Now that they are older, they share a room and a bed. We moved Ally into a super single bed after Max took her crib and one fine day Max decided he didn’t want to sleep in his crib anymore. He asked to sleep with Ally and it has been that way ever since.

For a long period of time, everything was great. Both the kids went to bed without any fuss. Then Max started his ” I need Mama to sleep with me!” mantra. Thankfully Ally can sleep through an earthquake so it didn’t bother her.  Since Max has Ally for company, we usually leave him to fuss if he wants to. Eventually he stops and falls asleep.

With baby no.3 on the way, we’re going to use the “Eat , Play, Sleep” routine again. Hopefully that works out, I’m not sure how giraffe is going to nap with all the noise that goes on at home but he/she will just have to adapt. For the first few months giraffe will sleep with us but I hope to move him/her in with the other kids later on.

Of course not everything is as perfect as it sounds. There are nights that the kids would stay up and play in bed, laughing, joking . Matt and I usually ignore it unless it goes on for too long. Part of why we wanted them to share a room was to have those sort of experiences as siblings. I remember whispering to my brother long after my mom had turned the lights out. Some nights I would creep over to his bed and try to squeeze in because I was scared of monsters. Matt and I would usually stand outside their door and listen to their chatter, most of the time we have to stifle our laughter cos they are just so cute and say the funniest things.

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Pure Joy and Happiness

Kids are so easily pleased, for a special treat the other day we bought them mini ice cream cones and they were thrilled!

Waiting for their treat

Ice cream!

I love the happiness on her little face

Max showing us the remains of his cone

Guess what flavor she had?

It makes me happy just watching them enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

 

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Getting Through A Meal – Updated

If you have young children, you will know that going out for a meal is never a quiet affair. A familiar sight at restaurants and food courts is now the ipad or iphone. Children will have their eyes glued to the screen while mom or dad try to shove food into their mouths. I can’t blame parents for whipping out these devices, sometimes all you want it to eat a meal in peace. For us, it is a family rule that such devices are banned from the dinner table. No one is allowed to use their phone at the table, this includes us parents of course. Meal times should be a time for the whole family to sit together and talk about the day, now that the kids are still young, I would like to cultivate this habit of sharing. Of course there are moments ( especially dinner times) that mom and dad are just exhausted and want to have an adult conversation without being interrupted. This is when I whip out my sketch pad and box of colored pencils to keep the children entertained.

*I would like to point out that the sketch pad is just to keep them busy while waiting for the food to arrive, once the food comes, everything gets kept. If we’re at a food court, where food comes almost instantly, the kids just learn to sit and wait without any toys or games. Only after they have finished their meal and are waiting for others to finish, are they allowed to doodle or play with their little toys. Usually once they are done, both kids would ask to get down from their high chairs/chairs. They are always told to sit and wait till everyone else is done, firstly I think its good for them to understand that it’s polite to wait for everyone else to finish before leaving the table, secondly I don’t want them running/playing in the food court or restaurant and disturbing everyone else. Or worse, running into someone carrying hot food and getting burned. To keep them in their seats, out come the sketch pads.

Both Ally and Max have learned to feed themselves from a very young age, Ally is fully capable of feeding herself , while Max needs a little prodding at times. He isn’t the world’s best eater and would just leave food in his mouth if you let him. By and large we let him eat on his own but there are times that we do help him along.

Max and his toys to keep him occupied

A dinosaur joined us for a meal

Does it work? Yes for now, but I foresee that the novelty won’t last forever. I plan to change my box of color pencils to markers or even crayons. I might throw in sheets of stickers and even some stamps , if I keep rotating the art supplies once I sense them getting bored, we should be alright. Max gets bored a lot quicker than Ally so I always keep a few small cars in my bag to keep him occupied. I might sew a little car playmat that I can just roll up and take along with us if I can find the time.

I have nothing against technology, in fact I am a huge Apple fan and owned a Mac long before they became popular. I just feel the dinner table isn’t the right place for it.

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I’m Proud Of My Kids

I know many parents, especially Asian parents don’t say this but I am proud of my kids. They are well-behaved ( generally) , come up with all sorts of funny games to amuse themselves and both have an excellent sense of humor.

When we were children, if any adult praised us in front of our mother, she would modestly say ” oh no, you know they are….” and proceed to list our negative traits. It’s not because she wasn’t proud of us but it’s just not the Asian culture to openly praise one’s own children.

I personally tell the children when they have done something well, I try to acknowledge good behavior and at the same time, help them with areas where they are struggling. My kids are by no means angels, stop by our house on any given day and I’m sure you’ll hear Ally and Max quarreling with each other. But what matters most to me is that I know they try, they try to listen , well as much as a 4 and 2 year old can anyway.  So yes, I am proud of my kids and I’m not ashamed to say it .

My pride and joy

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Learning To Be Responsible

Ally had to learn this the hard way yesterday. Some Mondays it is a pain to get her ready for school. She is exhausted from the weekend and finds it hard to wake up. We had one of THOSE Mondays. It took her forever to get into the shower and dress herself. As usual, I packed her lunch bag and reminded her about the things she needed for school. Before we left the house, I reminded her once again.

By the time we reached school, she realised that she had forgotten her lunch bag. She was clearly upset and said that I had forgotten to take it for her. I had to remind her that her school things were HER responsibility , not mine and that I had reminded her time and again to check her things. She then asked me to go home and pick it up for her but I said I had to work so since it was her mistake, she had to go without her snack for the day. Now if you know Ally, you would know that food is very important to her. To go without her snack is just about the worst punishment she could ever get. But she took it in her stride and went off to class.

It was heart breaking to see her face but it’s also important for her to take responsibility for her own things. This morning she packed her school bag, took her lunch bag and laid them neatly by the door so that she wouldn’t forget. Hopefully she has learned an important lesson from this incident.

 

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My Little Man

Max is growing up to be a real rugged boy, he loves wrestling with his father and always leaps before he thinks. Combine that with his natural clumsiness and it’s a recipe for disaster. He’s hardly without a train or a car in one hand and would rather run/jump instead of walk.

Drawing with Ally

Unlike Ally, he likes everything to be in an orderly manner. When he plays with his trains, he lines them up neatly and gets upset when Ally pushes one out of line.

Lining up chairs to form a train

He reminds me very much of his father, a quiet observer with an explosive temper. He enjoys his own company and is very contented playing by himself.

Playing with his cars and trains while waiting for Matt at the showroom

In a couple of months, he’ll go from being the baby of the family to a big brother. I’m not sure how the transition is going to be like but it’ll be interesting to find out.

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Battle Of The Wills

Most of the time Max is rather easy going, but like any 2 year old he has his moments. Take this morning for example, we came home from the market and he refused to take off his shoes. Instead he demanded that I do it for him. He can put on and remove his own shoes, no problem, he just wanted me to do it. So I said no and walked into the house. He stood at the door and screamed. I said to him ” if you want to come in remove your shoes” and left it as that. He continued to cry and scream for the next 20 minutes , I would ask him if he would like to come into the house, he would say yes. Then I told him to take off his shoes, once again he’ll scream No! and start to cry. This went on and on, so I just stayed in the living room where I could see him and started to do some work. Eventually he got tired, sat down, removed his shoes and came to me for a cuddle. I told him that he had to learn to do things on his own, and that it’s no fun sitting at the door crying when he could have been playing.

Right after his morning meltdown, hugging his favourite soft toy for comfort

We’re definitely going to have the battle of the wills from time to time but I believe that consistency will be the key to riding out his toddler years.

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Drip, Drip, Drip

Recently I have noticed that Ally’s palms start to get sweaty after writing for some time. I have lived with sweaty palms my whole life and since it can be hereditary, I was praying that none of the kids would inherit it from me.

To give you a rough idea of how badly my hands sweat, they don’t just sweat, they drip. You can literally see sweat dripping off my fingertips. As a child they were a plain nuisance. I couldn’t swing on the monkey bars cos my hands would slip off, when we had to line up in pairs, no one wanted to hold my hand. At that time we had these huge cupboard folders for Art, those would disintegrate in my hands within minutes.

Everything affected my palms, needless to say if I was nervous they would sweat more. If the temperature changed, they would sweat. Walking out of an air-conditioned room into a non air-conditioned room was enough to trigger it.

Oh, did I forget to mention that my feet would sweat as well? Not as badly as my palms but bad enough. I carried a hanky with me where ever I went and at the end of each school day my mother would have to fish out this damp hanky out of my pocket. Writing was a nightmare cos paper just dissolved and pens would smudge. I would place a face cloth underneath to absorb my sweat in order to write. When I sat for my PSLE exams, my mom requested for extra time for me to finish my papers. A lady from the Ministry of Education came to assess how bad the situation was so that they could determine how much extra time they would allocate. I remember she had a stack of thin papers and asked me to place my palm on it, I soaked through those papers with ease.

As a teenager I no longer wanted to carry a hanky, that was just not cool. I kept a small white towel in my pocket at all times, my friends knew about my sweaty palms of course and were used to it by now. When I went for my first internship I was horrified at how many people I had to meet. Shaking hands was extremely difficult, I knew how gross my wet clamy hands must feel but not to shake someone’s hand was equally rude. In the end I would give my hands a wipe, with a quick apology, quickly shake their hands.

As a mother, it had its share of inconveniences as well. When the kids were babies, I would soak through their romper just from carrying them. As toddlers they didn’t seem to mind holding my clamy hands but I found it uncomfortable.

Even going shopping was a nightmare, I couldn’t carry any paper bags. Picking up a merchandise to take a closer look at it was a no-no since I would leave wet fingerprints. Looking at something in a display case is the worse, you know how those cases usually have little spot lights? Well those spot lights are HOT which makes my hands sweat like crazy. Filling up forms are another hassle, worse if the sales person is waiting for me to fill up a registration form of some sort and I have to do so standing over the display case!

Many doctors believe that sweaty palms are due to over active sweat glands. My hands are so sensitive that they have started to sweat as I typed this post. Before writing this they were stone dry but just thinking of them being sweaty has made them sweat. I can actually feel when it starts, there is a tingling feeling before the flood gates open.

Over the years the sweating has decreased slightly, my hands still drip but they do stay dry for longer periods of time. You can understand why I am concern that Ally’s palms have started sweating as well. Having lived with it all my life I know how inconvenient it is.

I have tried many treatments to try and stop the sweating, creams, lotions , they seemed to make it worse instead of better. My other option is surgery or Botox injections, none that I am keen to explore. It’s become a part of me, but hopefully in the future someone might find a cure that is less invasive.

 

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The Big Giraffe

We have decided not to find out the gender of baby no.3 but Max has decided that it’s a giraffe. At least that’s what he says each time he sees the baby on the scans. I have to admit that even after two kids, I can hardly make out the parts of the baby on the scans either. The other day I thought I was looking at the face, my doctor kindly told me that we were looking at the baby’s stomach.

As it turns out, giraffe might be the biggest of all our kids. Ally was tiny, just 2.6kg when she was born. Max was slightly bigger, over 3kg. Based on recent scans and measurements, giraffe looks set to be around 3.5kg. It’s no surprise that I’m feeling enormous and it doesn’t help that giraffe is one active child. She/he moves about constantly and kicks vigorously after meals. During our last scan, we could see giraffe yawning , playing with its hands and finally putting its hands over its face. It was quite cute actually, even if giraffe’s face resembled that of an alien.

In a couple of months we’ll finally find out if giraffe is a boy or a girl, but for now, it’s just a big giraffe.

 

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