Z’s First Week in School

Thought I should weigh in on the first weeks in school before I forget to capture this milestone!  So yes, Z has been going to school since the first week of January and I couldn’t be happier! After months of feeling this weird, contradictory I-want-him-to-grow-up-and-go-to-school-but-he’s-still-a-baby-and-I-will-miss-him tug of war in me, it has finally come that he’s packed and sent off to school.  He was reeeally excited about him being a big boy and following Jiejie to school for the first day.  After that, not so much.  I guess he figured out school is over-rated and he’d rather stay home with mummy and go to the playground everyday.  He’s really quite poor thing also cuz I just pushed him to go for the full-day programme from 9 am – 2 pm as I didn’t want to pick him up at 12 pm.  Cuz… I’m lazy to walk down twice and pick K up at 2 pm.  Heniways… so that’s the situation.  And the first day of school, he was so overly-stimulated that he slept… in Chinese class… Carrying on his father’s proud tradition of frustrating the Chinese teacher, I see… But he’s been good since then.  A bit of crying and clinging in the mornings when I drop him off, but with a bit of distraction by godsend Teacher C, his attention is soon drawn elsewhere to something more fun than crying.  And it’s awfully sweet when he exclaims “I love you Mama!” when I pick him up in the afternoons.

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First days in school working with the Knobbed Cylinders

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He’s pretty good at self-feeding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really proud of K as well… Apparently, Z just follows her around school like a little duck glued to his Mother Duck.  And K is taking on her role as Big Sis very seriously.  But just that day, she said, “I think I’ve had enough of Didi following me in school.  Can you let him stay at home please?”  Aww… honey… Nope.  He’s been following me around for 2 years.  It’s time to share the love.

Just like that… it’s a new season – the schooling season.  The physical clinging ons and childcaring season is sorta behind me.. It’s a little bitter that the baby years are so short, somewhat sweet that the baby years are so short, mixed with some regrets that I could have done it better with more cheer, laced with relieve and thankfulness that in my trial-and-error methods in feeding, bathing, sleeptraining, no small helpless baby was harmed in the process.  At the risk of being frustrating and irritating to newer mummies (or mummies caring for their more laterborns), I still have to say, “This too, shall pass… and you will look back on this period with rose-tinted glasses and say, those were good times…”

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Aw man… think I just had a glimpse into how the empty nest season will look like.
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*Just reading through some of my old posts and it’s amazing what a long way we’ve come. It’s a good reminder to live in the now instead of reminiscing about the past or  anticipate the future.  May you too, find fulfilment in whichever part of the journey you’re on!*

Personalized Blankets – a Great Keepsake Gift

I honestly didn’t think my blankets would get so many positive responses.  But thank you all for your kind words and encouragement!  The story behind these blankets started off with us wanting to find a blanket for K and we realized it was actually pretty difficult to find a nice one for kids!  We didn’t think we were looking out for so many criteria all at once until we set out on our quest.  It had to be:

– pretty and pink.  Because K will not use anything that is not pretty in pink.
– In some characters that she liked – i.e Ariel the Little Mermaid, sometimes Sophia, it used to be Dora a lot more last time but she’s changed her mind, no longer Elsa.  Elsa was so last year.  So it was always changing and I couldn’t get one in the character du jour.  In pink and pretty.
– It mustn’t be too warm because her metabolism is so high, she actually perspires when she sleeps.
– Not a quilt bed set because she doesn’t actually have a bed and I don’t want to get an entire set that we weren’t going to use.  The quilts are usually quite thick and warm too.
– Not those flannel kinds you see they sell at pushcarts.  Since it’s for kids and they use it for more 1/3 of the day, I’d like to use some good and safe materials that I know are good and safe.

So yup.  A.Lot.of.Criteria and I’ve been putting it off.  Then LimpehZ casually said one day, “YOU really need to make her one.”  Oh really?  I REALLY need to make her one?  Yeah.. okay, that seemed like fun so we went to Chinatown (my all time favourite hangout now – Oh No… a sure sign of Auntiedom) to get the materials.  After paying the bill, I realized it amounted to far more than just buying that cheap flannel downstairs.  Plus, I haven’t even put in the time and effort yet!  Heniways… armed with a lot of cloth and a lot of excitement, I got working on it – Z’s first then later on, K’s.  Finally after many hours of work, I got a finished product that I was mighty pleased with!  And of course, I just had to personalize their blankets with their names and wow… they were so so happy with them!  It’s really nice to see the kids wrapping their blankets around themselves at various times of the day, like a cape.  I figure it must be really comfortable.  There was even 1 night when Z was fussing, refusing to sleep.  Only upon making him cry (yes.  I’m a terrible person who makes my son cry, almost everyday because only after closing his eyes and crying, then he realizes he’s tired and will guai guai settle in and sleep), he wrapped himself in his blanket and promptly fell asleep.  Wow!  I’m impressed with my own blanket, if I may say so myself.  It must be magic, I’d say!!  😛

Really soft cotton knit with car motifs with organic cotton backing

Really soft cotton knit with car motifs with organic cotton backing

My Little Pony cotton with pink minky backing

My Little Pony cotton with pink minky backing

These are the magic materials I use:
– 100% cotton top layer (choose the print that you know your child will love to hold and be held in)
– 100% natural cotton batting
– Organic cotton or Minky (my personal preference is the former because it’s safer, softer and cool to the touch, which is great for Singapore’s weather.  Minky is still nice and gives a plush, luxurious, velvety feel, generally recommended for older kids.)

I would love to construct a personalized blanket for your child in the fabric that he/she will adore.  It will be a great gift for a newborn all the way to toddlerhood and beyond as he/she will grow up having a cherished, snuggly comfort item for security.

Baby Blankie (0-3 years) – 35″ x 30” (77.2 cm x 88.9 cm) –> $64.90
Preschooler’s Coverlet (3-6 years) – 45” x 36” (114.3 cm x 91.4 cm) –> S$89.90

How to customize your order:

  1. Choose fabric at www.facebook.com/kaynzac  –> Photos –> Personalized Blankets
  2. Choose your font.
  3. Send me a private message and let me know:
    – Fabric
    – Font (Curly / Block) 
    – Size
    – Name to be sewn on the blanket

We Can Be Like Lee Kuan Yew

I am a lot more affected by the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew than I expected to be.  While I’ve enjoyed reading the various tributes and tidbits of his life, I am most saddened by the poignancy of life and the inevitability of death. I’ve suddenly realized, ah… Death also comes to such a giant as he;  one day it will come to me as well.  Perhaps that explains why I couldn’t finish reading the story “I’ll Love You Forever” to my kids today without choking up. One day, my children will grow up and I will grow frail and weak and will pass on, just like LKY.

I’m not a great wordsmith or writer but I just wanted to pen a few thoughts running through my mind today as I was obsessively going through article after article about LKY.  Here are 3 things I noted about him as a man and what we can all learn from him.

1. LKY had vision and passion.  
LKY had a vision of where he wanted to bring Singapore to while others couldn’t see it yet.  With a clear vision, he was able to lead with boldness and conviction.  With a clear vision, he was able to channel his passion and bring others along with him into making Singapore from third world to first.

It’s fortunate that having a vision is not limited to great minds like LKY.  As ordinary people, we can and should have extraordinary vision and passion – for our families, our workplaces, our communities.  Without vision (in other translations vision = revelation, divine guidance, prophetic vision) the people cast off restraint.  If we don’t know where we are going or what we are supposed to be doing, then we are running around in our busyness like headless chickens.  What is your definition of success?  Do you know what you want to see in your children in 20 years?  I may not see a teacher or a lawyer but whoever K and Z become, I hope they will find their divine calling, stay close to God and be generous and joyful.

2. LKY was not just a speaker but a doer.
LKY was a great orator.  But more than a politician’s words, he made sure he and his people did the doing and the building.  They built HDBs, set up government offices, schools, industries and multi-racial communities.

What am I building today that will last beyond my lifetime?  Conversely, what am I tearing down with my words, my complaints, my sarcasm?

3. LKY was first and foremost a husband and a father.  
His love story with his wife moves me most.  That they were both esteemed so highly in each other’s eyes, that they chose to place each other’s needs above their own are beautiful building blocks of a successful and long-lasting marriage.  That LKY and KGC were husband and wife and parents first stood out most for me.  Am I the best version of myself to my husband and children?

LKY and KGC

While LKY is an exceptional leader, he was also extraordinary in the ordinary things – things that you and I can do.  Unlike LKY, I won’t be a well-loved leader of a nation but like him, I can be an extraordinary spouse and parent. Unlike LKY, I won’t have a state funeral but like him, death will come upon me someday.  Unlike LKY, I won’t have accolades pouring in from around the world, but like him, if I can be fondly remembered by a few good friends, my children and family can call me blessed, and my husband esteems me highly, I think I can be happy with that kind of a full life.

Thank you Mr Lee for demonstrating that 1 man, 1 family, 1 generation of pioneers and leaders, 1 small country, when imbued with a spirit of excellence and tenacity, can achieve great things.

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Z and LimpehZ wefie

LimpehZ’s 1st letter to his children – 15 Oct 2014

Dear Kids,

I realised that you are growing up so fast.  I barely have time to get the hang of things when you outgrow what I have gotten used to.  I rarely write anything nowadays (apart from short notes to your mum to remind her to do things around the house) since I write so much (angry letters) at work, I thought it might be cool to write you a letter which you can read after you grow up!  Talk about snail-mail.  This is the ultimate electronic version of snail-mail.  I hope it gives you some incentive to be literate.

Anyway, my first letter is about you… my children.  I have sometimes wondered what crack Solomon was smoking thinking when he wrote Psalm 127:3 – “…Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him…  I wonder because what Solomon asserts as a fact is being challenged in my day and age.

Being the practical (some may say money-face) Chinese man that I am (so racist! Sterotyping!  So…sue me), I sometimes think of children in terms of affordability.  And I am not alone.  In the society I live in, (Chinese) people often think, can I afford a child?  Or 2?  Or 5? Actually the ones who have 5 or more often don’t think, they just do.  Can I send my kids to the best cram schools so that they can trash everybody in their studies? So from this angle, it looks like I’m giving you the best and I’m your reward kids, and Solomon got his words the wrong way round. 

On a related note, I know of people (not me) who think of offspring as a financial liability and definitely not a reward.  Well, in Singapore, it is probably accurate to say that you will never make a monetary profit from having kids (unless you sell them at birth, which happens to be s l i g h t l y illegal). 

I also know of people who have no… guts (substitute with any appropriate body part) to have kids because of fear.  Fear that their lives may forever be changed for the worse… fear that they can’t have as much fun anymore… fear that they finally have to grow up… fear that their wives won’t be attractive anymore (now this is silly, because genuine non-surgical good looks are fleeting in real life anyway).

I know some people who willingly choose to have dogs or fish or other random pets but not children… you know where I’m going.

Fortunately for you, my experience is consistent with Solomon’s wise words, and I write to you to explain why you are a reward from God so you can tell your spawn in the future. Wow I love the word spawn, I hope you’ve learnt what it means..  It’s so primary school science.  So… here are the reasons why:

  1. You guys are so cute! For now.  By the time you can read this, probably not so much anymore.  TOO BAD…  but I will love you anyway.  You’ve always known that.
Z and LimpehZ wefie

Z, with some snot coming out from his left nostril, hanging out just above his lip. Sorry please don’t kill me. LimpehZ don’t believe in photoshop. Photoshop is fakery.

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K, posing so naturally for the camera. Check out those bruises on her shin and you will know that she is not as lady-like as she appears.

2.  More importantly, you guys make me God-like! (Not the way the commentator screams when I play DOTA2).  Let me explain, before I get ex-communicated from the church that we attend.  You guys make me more like God because:

You train me in patience. Love is patient, love is kind… I do raise my voice at you sometimes, especially when it’s dangerous (think of carparks, you sticking your stubby little fingers into sockets etc) or when you rebel.  K is old enough to cry and ask: “But you still love me right?” (To which I will always kiss/hug K and say “Of course you silly goose.  Papa always loves you”).  When disciplined, Z (who is not yet 1 year old yet) just looks away and carries on doing whatever he’s doing (acting cute or innocent usually).

From my experience with you, I learnt an important truth – In the same way, however messed up or wrong some of us may be in life…  God our Heavenly Father still patiently loves us.  Sure he dislikes the disobedience or rebellion – but His love NEVER diminishes and our statuses as his children remain unchanged.  My love for you is never diminished, even in the midst of discipline.  Something for you to think about: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.  For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7.  It’s a rhetorical question btw.

3.  You make me willing to give my life for you – When I married your mum, who fortunately for me is still very attractive after having both of you (or all of you, if I somehow am satisfied that my chineseman accounts can support another kid), I promised her that I will give my life for her.  The verbatim extract from my wedding vow (which I wrote myself btw) is as follows: “I promise to love you as myself, to honor you and to protect you with my life.”  That is so romantic… until you consider the nerdy points of contract law governing specific performance of such promises but it’s true, I intend to keep my promises without having to be sued.

As for you, I made no such promise to any of you in the presence of witnesses or in some holy place or anything.  Fatherhood (parenthood) forced me to value you above my needs/wants/comfort.  When you are a screaming baby/toddler who is hungry or dirty or scared of thunder/the dark etc, your mum and I will have to drop everything to attend to you first.  It’s a strange but wonderful thing, this living for somebody else.  At first it’s uncomfortable, and I do complain at times (forgive me), but it somehow grew on me, and the strange thing is the more I give, the more I discover that I have more to give to you.

So kids, I chose your mother when I married her and both of us made various promises to each other on that day.  Both of us (though unrelated) chose to become related by covenant.  But kids, you didn’t choose me.  There was no courtship or any such democratic process.  God chose me to be your father when you were made.  It is a sacred calling and a non-delegable responsibility which I gladly embraced.  When you were born, you inherited every single one of your parents’ promises – so no further promises are needed.

I will honour, love and protect you.  And that may involve roughing up someone else’s kid who bullied you at the playground.  Or as a more graphic illustration, I have also recently drafted the wording of a solemn vow as a template for all future fathers, and it goes something along the lines of: “I shall murder, and with my own hands castrate, anyone who tries to be funny with my daughter.”   You may wish to bear my template in mind if you have a daughter of your own in future.

So kids, I hope you learnt something from reading my letter today.  If anything, just remember that  LimpehZ loves you [insert your name here in case I have more kids after K & Z] very much.

Running on empty – Part I

I wonder how many of us can honestly say that we are running at our optimal on a day-to-day basis? Do we even know what is our optimum?  Do we know what we are running for, why we are running?  What is the purpose?  I think these 2 questions are quite closely related and it’s important to answer why we are running before we answer the second question of how we are running.  [The how was what I was thinking about when I started writing, so if it feels a little disjunct, I apologize.  It will hopefully all be more cogent next week in the second part of the post.]

Why we are running is a question to do with purpose.  Some of you know that I was a teacher before this stint as a full-time mum (ok, stint sounds like this job is temporary. Then I take a look at my 2 puppies… Nope.  Not growing up anytime soon, so this full-time, stay-home thing is like, semi-permanent).  Teaching was way hard.  It’s a never-ending go-go-go kind of life that starts way before you reach the school.  In fact, it never ended from the night before!  You’re running through in your mind your first lesson of the day, the various admin matters you have to take care of.  If I get a first period free, that was great because I’m in the printing room furiously printing worksheets needed in the next 15 minutes.  If the machine breaks down… Dun dun dun dun….  Don’t worry don’t worry…  I’ve got a couple of English movies in my laptop that I can still whip out and plan my follow up lesson from there.  It’s called… winging it as I go along.  It’s all good cuz I teach English. If it was Math…  Not so good.  But still, no worries because I’ll be taking half the lesson berating the kids for not handing up their maths assignment.  That’s called – good classroom management.  And this frenetic pace will not end even till after school, after all my remedials, department and staff meetings, ccas, lesson prep for the next day, marking, setting papers.  Of course I still get lunch breaks and have nice times gossiping with my colleagues professional sharing with my colleagues (best part of the job) but you get the crazy pace of my day.  And my pet peeve when I’m going through my game plan for the day in the cab is for the taxi uncle to tell me, “Wah… Miss!  Very good hor.  1 pm can go home, still got holidays…  Being a teacher very ho tan…”  I feel like slapping him with a bloody, red-marked piece of composition.

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Totally unrelated but it cracks me up cuz I do do that!

Life was hard.  It was so bad that every Sunday evening, I would get mildly (sometimes maniacally depressed and anxious) as I saw the sun going down and feel the last ashes of Sunday slipping away and I know Monday will come really really soon and there would be all the madness to contend with again.  There were nice kids, there were naughty kids. There were rebellious kids who couldn’t stand the sight of me, then there were the same rebellious kids whom somehow God changed our antagonistic relationship for the better.  Life was hard but there was purpose. So much purpose and meaning and then you look back and realize – hey!  Those were pretty amazing times when you poured yourself into a cause bigger than yourself and got something intangible.  Know that just by showing up, I (hopefully) enriched someone’s life and these amazing kids too – just by them coming to school, being in class made me happy.  That, plus having less admin to do chasing them down, [“Hello Sir, your son/daughter is not in school today…” *pregnant pause*  “WUT?? THEN WHERE WAS HE/SHE???”  *drama begins*]

Then I went to HQ and did an office job for 2 years.  I learnt a lot, like how to write a proper email;  how paragraphing is very important in a paper.  But it was the hardest 2 years in my job because I felt like quitting every day.  Ironically,  I got through the everyday in school because of the bond – when you have no way out, you tell yourself I’m not paying any money to escape.  I will survive and overcome.  But when you are bond-free…  Wow…  The possibilities are endless!  That’s when I found myself dragging my feet to work and I couldn’t see how I was doing anything meaningful – apart from not dropping the ball and make things inconvenient for my colleagues, I couldn’t quite see how I was making a difference.  Purpose.  I honestly think life’s too short to slog 8 -12 hours of your day at something you don’t believe in.  I’m not saying quit and not take care of your financial needs, but I think it’s good that once in awhile, we all evaluate to see if the choices we have made are making us happy.  If not, how do we then work ourselves out of it and get to someplace where we are more fulfilled, more in line with what we think we are supposed to be doing?  Hence, this explains why this is an evaluation kind of post.

Now that I’m here, I’m super happy.  Ok.  You probably can’t tell from all the griping on this blog.  But yes.  Everyday at about 9:30 pm, my happiness chart shoots all the way up because the kids are finally asleep and my life has just begun – not anything hiong like mountain biking or sky diving, just you know, stuff mums really find a luxury doing – eating Kinder Bueno UNINTERRUPTED, stuffing my face with potato chips, checking email, doing work (yes, it’s something I do AFTER the kids go to bed and it makes me happy), sewing, reading Facebook and watching kdramas without itchy, grubby fingers trying to pry the screen off your hands or bang and swipe with their palms and feet and hence, disconnecting you from Dailymotion, which took forever to load.  In the thick of the action, the tantrums and emotion, you can’t process the joy yet.  But at the end of the day when LimpehZ (my husband shall henceforth be known on this blog as his chosen namesake) asks how’s your day, you kinda just think back at all the cute moments, the ridiculous things they do (which led to the tantrum) and you splice your day and you can say, hey… despite all of the nonsense, it was a good day.  It was spent with them, in the trenches and in the hills.  I was there – in their ups and downs.  K said she loves me and gave me a heart.  In the next heartbeat, she said, “Stop singing! You don’t sing!”  I found out later that she didn’t like it when I ended the song.  Ok.  Like whatever.  Recently, she sits really close to me and I ask her why.  She says, “Cuz I like you.”  Aww…. And Z, Z, Z… where do I even start?  His “Mama…?” is enough to lift the dreariest spirits and make me go running (almost skipping) to wipe his dirtiest bottom.  Showing up for work and trying to bring my A game to these little people who need me gives me purpose and meaning.  When you find you can get through the roughest days and still find something to smile about and be thankful for, I guess you have found that sweet spot.  I am learning to embrace it, find respite in it, boast about it, not be falsely humble and feel bad about having happiness in a nation where complaining seems to be the national past time.  Changes hit us all the time whether we like or are prepared for them, so we might as well roll with them.  Rock on people!

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Why I Would Throw a (an elaborate) Birthday Party for a Kid

I used to think, why would kids need to celebrate their birthdays in school or throw an elaborate party complete with a bouncy castle, clown and fireworks?  After all, I didn’t have them as a child and I grew up fine.  I don’t think I was deprived and besides, my family made sure the day was remembered and celebrated.  But I did remember my 12th birthday when my youth group gave me a surprise party at my house on a weekday.  They (poor secondary school students and young working adults) even pooled money to get me rollerblades, which was like, way cool and awesome then okay…  I remember I felt really touched, not at the gift but at the effort and gesture of love.  Ahh…  So this is what it’s like to be surprised and celebrate birthdays with friends.

For K, I didn’t think I needed or wanted to throw an extravagant party for her.  In fact, I was a bit hesitant about throwing a party in her school, complete with cake and goodie bags for her friends.  Would it be spoiling her?  Am I doing this just because I cave in to peer pressure?  But since January, all her friends (Really.  ALL) will have some celebration.  They will walk around a “sun” x number of times depending on how old they are, representing x number of years has passed.  Then birthday girl/boy’s friends will gather round and and say “Happy Birthday” and he/she will sit on a chair and call out her friends’ names one by one to receive their goodie bags and they will hug him/her and wish him/her happy birthday.  It’s quite a well-rehearsed ritual, considering there are 30 students in her class, you’d think the kids will get bored of celebrating birthdays right?  But NO….  They are still crazy over it.  Crazy crazy.  Like stars-in-their-eyes-googly-crazy.  Especially K.  She was so excited at her birthday drawing nearer that everyday (for the past 8 months) she walked past the birthday calendar chart, she would point to her name and say, “My birthday is coming soon right?”  

So yes, she had her school birthday party, will be having a family birthday party, and another mini one at an indoor playground with her friends (ok, more like my friends with kids her age) during the September holidays and the idea was to keep letting her blow candles (her favorite part) and celebrate the momentous occasion.  I might have gotten carried away as well cuz’ since the idea is to GO BIG OR GO HOME right, I sewed her a birthday outfit – the Elsa dress (a poor imitation) to fit her Frozen theme.  Admittedly, it was because I procrastinated too much and cannot pre-order the dress in time. 

'THEE' Elsa Dress

‘THEE’ Elsa Dress.  Not quite the reaction I was hoping for, but she went wild and was super happy.  So I was pleased. 

 Her grandma spared no expense sourcing for gifts and packing the goodie bags.  (We did involve K in the work session of packing goodie bags and it was a good opportunity for her to practise counting and sorting.)  Is it extravagant?  Not in terms of money, but I think it exceeded my initial expectations in terms of effort.  But yes… It made her really really really happy so it’s all worth it.

Compilation of photos from K's birthday party in school

1. K’s Frozen birthday cake from Bengawan Solo.
2. Lots of kids crowding around the cake.
3. Walking around the sun very very very slowly, savouring her moment of glory.
4. K’s beloved teachers.
5. Z: Wait. What’s going on? It’s not my birthday? Then why did you drag me out from my nap?!
6. Grandma and K.                                                                                                                                                                                 I discover (belatedly) that I have all my pictures taken on my iphone are blurred, hence this puny, sorry picture collage.  Is this a ploy to get me to buy the iphone6 in Sept?!?

Of course, this is not considered crazy (but don’t forget, this is only Part I.  There is still Part 2 and 3).  So why do we do crazy, elaborate things for the kids?  Because seeing the smiles on their faces is priceless and so precious. The day will come when even if we parents want to do something crazy for the kid’s birthday, it cannot compare to a simple celebration by his/her friends in school, or the efforts of a significant other.  This is the season and the time, so why not, according to your means and what you think is appropriate?  Don’t hold back, just Let It Go… Hah… Now the song’s stuck in your head right?

Happy 3rd birthday Baby!  Yes, you are a Princess because you are the daughter of the Most High.  Let no one cast doubt on how precious you are and how worthy you are of extravagant love. You are worthy not because of your external appearance, or talent or gift, things the world can take away and fade with time, but because God says you are beautiful and well-loved.  May you discover your place, position and purpose and learn to see the good in every situation.  Always dance, like you already do.

Love, Papa and Mama

A Check-in with the Second Child – Baby Z

If you haven’t read this letter of apology to her second son, go read it!  It’s hilarious but oh-so-true.  It definitely hits the nail on the head for me – the sentiment, not exactly having the first child pee all over the second.

Baby Z is almost 10 months old and I really wonder what have I been doing the last 10 months that they just flew by and I don’t know or remember what I did with him.  Quite a lot of guilt comes up in times like this, because I knew with my firstborn K, I was constantly reading, finding out her developmental milestones, trying to help her develop cognitively, emotionally, physically with age-appropriate activities.  I was always talking to her, pointing out stuff to her, naming objects.  But I have to be honest and say that with Z, I was just happy to go through the mundane routines, happily lost in my own thoughts.  It was a bonus that he did not demand for me to engage with him in pretend-play and force me to be an ice-cream auntie or make me buy ice lemon tea at $5.  And then forcing the exorbitant bath water down my throat.  Z is just happy to get a bath.  He’s just happy splashing away, exploring his chubby little hands, running them through the bubbles.

While many things with K were celebrated like epic milestones and memorials, e.g. crawling backwards for the longest time and then finally taking a tentative shuffle forward, many things with Z were so fast that they seemed to be non-events.  He flipped and started rolling (off the bed) in no time.  Once upon a time, I would have freaked out that he rolled off the bed.  Now, he tumbles off, gives a cry and then gets right back into the action – and I don’t even bat an eyelid.  Terrible, I know.  Hey, at least I’m honest.  Z crawled backwards for 2 days and learned how to go forward at 7 months.  At 8 months, he suddenly decided to stand and grab anything to lean his weight on (not so wise) but he now learns which furniture will bear his weight.  And now, he’s trying to cruise and lifts off 1 leg as he balances with the other (with his hands supporting).  They all happened so fast that at every stage, I didn’t even have time to let it sink in and marvel and grab my camera (iPhone with the lousy battery) and when I do remember to take some photos, my phone will be out of batt at those inopportune moments.

My memories of Z sometimes seem to stay stuck in the first 3 months period – when he was a more unresponsive, cry-ey, whiney baby just demanding to be fed.  I often found myself thinking, “Z, please go and sleep so that I can ________ (do various random things).”  It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with him or playing with the baby, but there’s only so many times of peek-a-boo and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star before your brain turns to mush… and then you yawn…  That’s the signal you’ve fulfilled your peek-a-boo quota for the day.  Just 2 days ago, I played some game with Z where I hid the rubber ducky under a cup and he had to find it (there was another empty cup).  And even after shuffling the cups, he could still find the rubber ducky pretty well!  I realised… wow!  He is starting to develop his personality and mind now and is no longer just stimulated by food anymore!!  Wonders of all wonders.  He won’t stop eating and will harass anyone and everyone who has food.  He has perfected his large, twinkly-eyed look and lip-smacking that you can’t resist not giving him what you’re eating.

Finding the rubber ducky!

Finding the rubber ducky!

Z loves his sister K and adores her, though she is frequently trampling on him, sitting on his arm and shouting at him to “go away”, not in the malicious sense, but he tends to want to get so close on the action that it might be dangerous for him, e,g. putting his hands on the hinges of the play pen gate.  He knows deep, deep, deep, deep, subterannean down, beneath the rough play and loud shouts, she loves him and he does too, often grinning and showering her with his undivided attention, mostly meant for me, but I’m happy to share the load – his generous, overwhelming affection.  He’s pretty clingy still and if I step out of his 0.5m radius, he starts bawling and clinging to my legs, demanding to be carried.  So you can see his love is pretty overwhelming at times.  But he’s a natural charmer with his crazy, gigantic eyes and dimpled smile – that’s probably the survival instincts of a second child.

My beautiful baby Z

My beautiful baby Z

So Baby Z, I once wondered if I can and how to love you as much as Jie Jie.  But now I know.  It just happens and it’s like with another child, your heart just enlarges and God puts in more love that isn’t shared and halved, but doubled many times over.  You are my first son and I’m going to pour everything I have to train and teach you to be man after God’s own heart.  Part of that includes doing housework and cooking – so your future wife won’t look at me with contempt, like what have you been teaching him these past years.  It’s gonna happen, albeit at weird times, like your sis being in school and knocked out at her afternoon nap, but it will happen and you will also get my undivided attention.  Love you lots Z!  Grow up happy, strong and healthy!

This post is just an excuse for my photospam

This blogpost is just an excuse for my photospam