Despite their constant bickering, Ally and Max really do enjoy each other’s company. They love making up imaginary games which only makes sense to them. At night long after we have turned off the lights, two of them would be whispering in their bed, giggling and laughing. Despite shouts of ” mama! He hit me!” and ” Mama! She won’t share!” I know they do love each other dearly. My hope is for them to be best friends for life, cos no one really understands you like a brother or sister.
This is what they did when I told them we had to leave the indoor playground. " but mama, we are sleeping!"
Pretending to be explorers during one of their make believe games
The only picture I took of them this Chinese New Year
A friend asked me this question the other day, ” what’s the one thing you wished people knew about your children?” I thought long and hard but couldn’t come up with one answer. I’m lucky that most of my friends either have children of their own or are very understanding. They know that I can never make a lunch appointment cos it clashes with the children’s nap time. They also understand that we eat dinner at an insanely early time of 5pm. But I do have one or two friends who don’t understand why the kids catch a cold every other month, why they need to be in bed by 8pm and why they need a daily routine. They are the ones who offer “advice” or adopt a holier than thou attitude.
To these friends and to others who give me strange looks when my kids misbehave, I would like to say, my kids are not miniature adults, sometimes they fuss, cry or throw a tantrum. It doesn’t make them bad or naughty children, it just means they are children. I don’t expect them to put up with my children’s bad behavior since I don’t but a little patience and understanding would be greatly appreciated.
It’s been 3 weeks of school and Ally is still trying to find her place in class. Most of her classmates were from the year before but there are a couple of new students.
Her teacher had said to me that Ally has started to follow whatever anyone is doing, even if it’s something silly or naughty. We concluded that she’s trying to be liked by her peers and just blindly follows. I spoke to her about it briefly and I know that it’ll all work itself out once she finds a group of good friends. It’s just struck me that while the academic side of school is fairly easy for her, she’s still struggling with the social aspect.
For this year I’ve only one resolution, to try and be more patient with the children. Many times I forget that a toddler does take forever to put on their shoes and I stand there impatiently saying ” hurry up Max!” while the poor boy is struggling to get his feet into his sandals.
Yesterday I had errands to run, boring things that involved long car rides and some waiting. The children had to tag along but I did promise them a special treat after dinner. They were well behaved the entire afternoon and didn’t complain the entire time. We sat down for dinner and the kids took AGES to eat, they were busy chatting to each other, fiddling about and well, just being kids. Instead of telling them off like I usually would, I took a deep breath and said nothing. After all, we didn’t have anything else planned so what was the big deal ? Both kids were too excited about their special treat and hardly ate their dinner. I decided to let that go as well, one meal wasn’t going to kill anyone.
And so we walked down Holland Village hand in hand and headed for some ice-cream. I gave them the freedom of choosing whatever they wanted. The looks of joy on their face was priceless, I love that they are at that age where the simple things in life are still delightful. We took our time eating our treats, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company.
They definitely had an overdose of chocolate and were giggling in the car all the way home
Today started off like any other day, I dropped Ally off at school but just as I was about to leave, her teacher pulled me aside to have a little chat. It turns Ally has been rather rude at school, as I stood there listening to her teacher, I was shocked, embarrassed and disappointed. Actually I should have seen it coming, she has been rather rude to all of us at home lately and especially towards Max.
It is easy to excuse her bad behavior with the changes in her life, new school year, new teachers and a new baby on the way. But that doesn’t condone her bad behavior. Neither Matt nor I tolerate rudeness from the children, especially if they are showing disrespect towards another adult.
As I drove home, I pondered over how I should handle the situation. My gut feel told me not to come down hard on her like I usually would. Ally can be very rebellious and sometimes the soft approach might work a bit better. But I didn’t want her to think that I wasn’t taking the matter seriously as well. Obviously when God gave us Ally, he left out the thick manual that was suppose to come with her, the manual that explained how to deal with situations like these.
When I picked her up after school, I spoke to her gently and calmly during the drive home. I asked her about the incident that her teacher had told me and she admitted that she had indeed been rude. Then I asked her why she reacted the way she did and further explained that when she spoke rudely to others, it would hurt their feelings. She started to cry a little so I said since she did something wrong, she’ll have to bear the consequences. She’ll have to apologise to her teacher tomorrow morning and would have to forgo her TV time today. She agreed that this was a fair punishment and didn’t argue when the TV stayed off.
I don’t know how much of our conversation she absorbed but for now I’m going to leave it as that and monitor her behavior. In the meantime, I would really appreciate if God could send down the forgotten manual.
I’m sure not everyone is going to agree with me but I have found that to be a better mother, sometimes I have to put myself first.
Before the start of the new year I was going through the children’s schedules and realised that there was no way we could continue with it. I was getting more tired and really didn’t enjoy running around each afternoon ferrying them to their activities.
So I decided to scale back and just keep to 1 class per child for now, I chose their swim class since it’s the closest to home. But in the last few weeks my back has really been bothering me and I realised that if I accompanied Max for his swim lessons, I would be exhausted the rest of the day. I made the decision to stop Max’s swim class and just let Ally continue since she swims independently. Then the mommy guilt hit, was I wrong to deprive the kids of their activities that they enjoyed so much? Thankfully the ever practical husband came along to save the day, not only was he supportive of my decision but he said don’t forget to look after yourself as well.
You know what? He’s right. To be a better mom I had to look after myself first and foremost, both mentally and physically. My mother provides me that breather when she takes the kids on Wednesday nights and Matt helps out a lot as well..
I would do anything for my children, but not at the expense of losing who I am as an individual. I feel it’s important for Ally to know that a woman isn’t just a mother and wife, she’s also her own person who has interests and needs like everyone else. When I look at it from a practical point of view, I’m sure the kids aren’t missing out just because they aren’t attending their music and gym classes, in fact, these few months of down time could do all of us a lot of good.
Every year we arrange for a family photo shoot, usually we prefer to take the shots outdoors but it was raining for most of December. We love Hart’s work (http://www.tomato.sg/) and he has done our family photo shoots since Ally was a year old.
Here are some of the pictures
My little girl is all grown up
My two favourite boys
My favourite shot