Motherhood is no walk in the park

A few days ago, we were having lunch and Kris took Kai for a walk because he needed a nap. The ladies behind me were staring at us throughout. After a while, Kris took him around the block to make him sleep, while I tried to inhale my lunch so that I could take over and let Kris have some hot food, when he cycled back to us.

After we were done, the ladies walked up to Kris and told him, “You’re such a good dad.” Which make no mistake, everyone seeing how they two interact knows that. More importantly, I know and acknowledge that. Kris is a great dad, and Kai is very lucky to have him as a father.

Here lies the however.

However! I really feel that the bar to be a good mother is much harder. Parenting is not a competition, that much I know. However! I do that all the time alone, if I go out and have a meal with Kai, I sacrifice hot food, I sacrifice whatever conversation I have with my friends, in order to make sure he eats, he sleeps, he has enough water. I do that everyday, willingly. But NOBODY has once gone up to me and told me I was a good mother. I say this not because I want random praise from strangers, but to illustrate my point that, its much harder to be a regarded as a, “Good Mom”.

I feel like sometimes, women judge other women too quickly, and the bar for being a good parent, is much higher on the other side. I know my husband disagrees with venom, but he’s not me and I’m entitled to have an opinion, regardless of whether I am a SAHM or CEO.

This is why, I feel very lucky to have a #MOMSQUAD. A group of moms, I hold close to my heart that I am willing to be open and honest with. With whom, I do not feel judged when asking for advice or sharing my struggles as a mom with.

I do feel however, that I’m doing a little better with this mom thing everyday. There are now more days that I feel like I’m killing it, as opposed to being defeated and crying in the corner. Yes, it happens. Especially, when you baby doesn’t sleep. He’s sleeping a little better these days. Thank goodness! 

Motherhood is no walk in the park, but its true, that time makes everything so much better. To new mothers out there, go out and find your tribe. I’m not a cliquish kind of person and, avoided girl cliques, all through high school and college, but as a mother, there are some things, I hold so near and close, that I’m not willing to share with just everybody, so having a tight knit group, really has worked for me. Plus, new mothers are busy, you need a few, so that in times of need, someone will be there for you, as you would for them.

Motherhood, is no walk in the park, but a cute, cherubic face with two teeth and a cheeky grin, really makes the days go much faster.

 

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9 months in, 9 months out.

Our little chubbathron5000 is 9 months old tomorrow. He is such a character. This photo below describes him to the tee, always always curious about new things, loves to play with whatever he’s not supposed to, and always up to mischief. When you tell him, “No Kayen”, to him it means, YES NOW! GO FOR IT!

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Just now, he had a full on – ‘pre-toddler tantrum’, with his head tilted all the way backwards, moaning and screaming at the top of his lungs, because he wanted to be off the high chair. Kris and myself were struggling not to laugh and maintain a stern face, because he was SO DRAMATIC, it was hilarious.

Curious, Determined and Dramatic is the top three characteristics of this child, at this point of his life.

He’s often a ball of fun, when he’s in a good mood. He loves to give his two teeth grin, which literally melts my heart.

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He still is, a reluctant crawler and would just scoot forwards with his butt. He side walks with aids, like a little crab and it very cute to watch. He loves to mumur ‘DADADADA’ and reluctantly yells ‘MAHHHHHHMAHHHHHHHH’ from time to time. But he clearly knows who Kayen, Mama and Dada is. Whenever Dada comes home from work, he would call out to him super loudly and try to get picked up. When Daddy doesn’t immediately do his bidding, he breaks into a really really upset cry. He needs to learn to get positive attention instead, something that we’re working towards.

We love him, more than words can ever describe adequately. He truly is the most exhausting project of our marriage, but also the most wonderful addition to our family.

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We love you so much little bug!

Current nicknames: Chubbathron5000, two teeth, chunks, chunky, happy potato, whiny potato, cutie patootie, cheeks, kapoh.

On learning to be a parent.

Yesterday, after a particularly challenging day with Kayen. I texted Kris and told him, you need to come home straight after work. He got the message and came home as soon as he could. He walked into the door and I stormed right out, because I was really going to lose it with the kid and I really really really did not want to yell at my baby boy. I went downstairs to do a pedicure, took a deep breath and tried to reflect on my parenting style.

I love K with all my heart, with such a fierceness unique to him that I have never ever ever felt before. I love my husband plenty, but with my son its so different. Its so fierce, so primal and at times so overwhelming. From his poo frequency to his organic purees to his developmental milestones, to tons and tons of researching on how I can make him a better sleeper. I read up about everything baby related, talk about it with my mom friends and try so hard to want to be the best mom for my little heart that’s beating out of my physical body.

I began to see that, that was the problem. I need to tone down my mama bear mode and learn to roll with the punches with my kid. I need to be less obsessive with tracking his sleep and just accept the fact that like any human, babies have good and bad days. My baby is unique and different, some babies have schedules but maybe mine doesn’t. I need to stop trying to fit him into a ‘good baby’ mould and accept and love him for who he is, from his big wide gaping open mouth smiles to the fact that he takes 20 min cat naps. I keep seconding guessing what I am doing as a mom, what I can be doing to make him a better sleeper, a baby who keeps to a schedule. I need to realize that its nobody’s fault, that I am doing the best that I can, he’s doing the best that he can and I need to treasure and appreciate this time more.

Even if I sleep a little less, take more naps with him and ‘waste the afternoon away’, its perfectly okay and alright. Even if I have to leave engagements earlier to put him to bed in the afternoon, its okay. Even if I decide to stay out late and have fun for a bit, its okay, I don’t have to feel guilty because he acts out, he’s a baby and if he’s not completely happy all the time, its okay. Even if the laundry is not done its okay. Even if I need to get help with cleaning the house sometimes, its okay. Instead of feeling inadequate, I need to utilize my support systems and stop thinking or feeling like I need to do it all. Instead of feeling like I’m so overwhelmed, I need to ask for help, accept help and appreciate the fact that I’m lucky enough to get help.

Learning all these is surprisingly difficult but so humbling at the same time. I’ve always held myself to high standards and wanted to give him everything I didn’t have as a child, but I’m not perfect and the sooner I accept that fact, will I be the best parent for my little boy.

 

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My little heart.

Motherhood after 12 weeks

 

I must confess, I started out wanting to write something at 8 weeks, then it become then 10, and finally it bore fruition at 12 weeks. Better late than never they said.

In the last 12 weeks, I have spent an inordinate amount of time cuddling and kissing my little one. Many afternoons were lost just staring at a sleeping infant, not daring to move lest it would break his very short afternoon naps. But like they said, the days are long but the years are short. I love my little man with all my heart, but truth to be told, it did not come instantly. I thought it would initially and was a little disappointed that my primary emotion upon bringing him home (in the initial two weeks) was being overwhelmed. I am glad its no longer the case. In the last couple of weeks, I have started to have so much fun with him!

I attribute my initial feelings to the long and difficult labor that I had to endure. The labor was long and difficult but the emotional toil was the one that hit me like a ton of bricks. The 2 weeks after his birth, were one of the most difficult weeks in my life. The crazy emotions and trying hard to figure out what the baby wanted and was so so so tough. I hope I am better for it. Kris as usual took up his new role like a champion and was the greatest dad to Kayen and most supportive husband to me. For that, I’m supremely grateful.

Over the weeks tho, things slowly got better and better and better. As I sit here typing this entry, I feel like we have come so far in this parenting journey. Almost everyone told us, it gets better over time. It was hard to envision that in the early weeks, but it really has gotten so much better and so much more enjoyable as I watch him grow and develop into his own person.

My little Kayen, oh my little precious ball. He has grown into such a little man. Every single day, I seem to love him just a tiny bit more. He drives me insane somedays, but he would smile and coo at me afterwards, and it makes everything alright. This little tiny being, has captured both our hearts and minds, and we would do almost anything to make sure we try our level best to be the parents that he deserves. Its quite so special that in terms of looks and temperament, he’s a little bit of the both of us.

Random baby milestones/memorable stuff at this stage.

  1. He discovered his hands, and loves to put them in a prayer position.
  2. He’s obsessed with mummy and tracks her by turning his entire head as she moves around the room.
  3. His cries have evolved (Cranky, Hungry, Play with me/Attention, Pain. Sometimes they evolve to Uncontrollable Screams!!!!! if you haven’t found the source of his cries after a few minutes) This kid has very healthy lungs for sure!
  4. 3 to 4 naps a day (Ranging from 20 to 40 mins)
  5. 3 to 5 hour stretches at night (Although his pacifier drops in between and he always whines for us to pop it back in, mighty annoying because then our precious 3 to 5 hour stretches are always broken up!)
  6. Poops around 5 times a day
  7. Eats around 8 times a day
  8. His big fat gummy smiles! That heart melter!
  9. He adores his baby floor play mat with hanging toys and can spend 20-30 mins playing around and coo-ing cutely.
  10. He has begun ‘chatting’ with us. We talk to him about whats going on around him, what we’re doing (i.e. making an avocado sandwich for lunch) and he responds accordingly. He does that a few times a day if we’re lucky, with random baby noises. Its SUPER CUTE!
  11. Someone gifted us a Boppy Napper, something I wouldn’t have bought on my own, but it has been a lifesaver during the day. He happily would lay down on it and play with his rattle toys. We would read and sing to him while he’s on it and he seems v comfortable.
  12. He loves his cocoon-ed car seat (J.J.Cole Bundle Me) has kept him snug all winter. He can sleep for an hour in the car seat if we’re constantly moving, although as he grows, he has more awake time and less inclined to want to be in there for longer stretches. Probably wise to get more toys for it.
  13. He has met some kids around his age, stares at them for a while and then gets bored.
  14. He loves to blow bubbles and drools lots! (Apparently his gums are preparing for teeth and is kinda white and itchy, because he loves to chomp on his baby teether!)
  15. He recognizes adults who are not his parents and stares at them cautiously!
  16. He dislikes tummy time with a vengeance. He cries longer for it, compared to his 2 month shots!
  17. He calls for attention by having this, “Aiieeeee, Arrrrgeeeee” sounds. SUPER DUPER CUTE! Unless it escalates into a full blown cry of course.
  18. He loves his Mama and Dada! He greets us with happy ‘arrrrrrr’ laughs and cheeky smiles.
  19. Loves to grab my finger and hoist himself from a sleeping position to a sitting position. Its a colossal effort for him because his head is almost 1/4 his entire body. Its funny to watch him huff and puff his way up.

He’s undoubtedly our greatest love! Make no mistake tho, he requires my attention 24 hours a day and sometimes I miss the days I could just shower languorously, put on some non-nursing clothing and go have fun. These days everything has to be timed and organized according to His Lordship’s feeding/sleeping schedule. But I would have it no other way. He’s so so precious! At 12 weeks old, he has a pretty fun temperament, he’s supremely curious about everything so the sure fire way of cheering him up is to carry him upright and walk everywhere.

Happy 12 weeks my sweet sweet baby boy, Mummy loves you so much! Daddy is enthralled by your cuteness!

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How to dispel the fear of labor

Darling Baby Boy,

As the day creeps closer, mama gets a little anxious from time to time. So here are some of the tips, I have personally found useful!

 

  • Self empowerment – I remind myself that millions of women have done it, so will I. I remind myself that if it was really so bad, then why would people have repeat babies. I remind myself that child birth is a natural process, part of the cycle of life. I have achieved a miracle thus far – this body, MY body has grown a life sized human being from just a collection of cells. HOW AMAZING IS THAT? Therefore what goes in, must come out naturally! 😛

 

  • Fear and Pain are psychological – What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve! I am going to accept that child birth is painful, excruciating perhaps but my mind will be able to handle the pain if I accept that pain has to come before the reward. I will keep my eyes towards the prize, and know that each contraction comes with a release, and the final release will result in your birth.

 

  • Collect Positive Birth Stories – I enquire about positive birth stories around me. I offer support to new moms and rejoice (with them) in their happy birth stories. Remind myself that labor is doable just like what they went through and stay away from overly dramatic people or people who sensationalize their births. The 3rd trimester is not a good time to partake in negative birth stories! Focus on the good!

 

  • Focus on the END PRODUCT! – Finally getting to labor means that I will get to see YOU! My lil precious pie after about 40 weeks of waiting! Seeing you, smelling you and hugging you will be my greatest reward.

 

 

 

39 weeks!

Hello Lil Tater Tot!

Mummy and Daddy recently bought a new toy called Amazon Echo so we have been listening to all sorts of different music. A key favourite of yours seems to be nursery rhymes and lullabies!

We have been randomly asking Alexa to play lullabies and your favourite seem to be a selection of songs from Lisa Loeb, she has a song called ‘Lullaby Girl‘ and that seems to be your favourite song! When I play the song, you almost always perk up and kick cutely! Kinda counter intuitive since the lullaby is supposed to help put you to SLEEP!

The end of the third trimester is a very exciting period! You feel so real to me, mostly because you’re kicking cutely inside and reacting to sounds, music, warm and mummy’s accelerated heartbeats/excitement. Today while online shopping for the cutest bibs/mittens/little hats, I was clearly excited and you joined in the excitement too! Shopping for you makes Mama very excited. Daddy hasn’t been very good at stopping me, in fact, he’s always replies with, “SO CUTE! GET IT!” I fear that you’re going to have a new outfit everyday for 2 weeks straight! But other mommies have said some babies change 5-6 outfits a day and drench tiny mittens very frequently, so maybe mommy instead will have to do laundry less and have more free time kissing n cuddling you instead. Daddy was very cute, he was telling me that he hopes he will get some cuddles in when you’re born. I guess, I have been crazily protective of you! As I should! You’re my most precious pie!

I bought you your first Christmas outfit, on the way home from the doctor’s last week.

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Everyday I’m so excited because, everyday I am one stop closer to meeting you! My sweet sweet baby boy that has been baking inside me for 270 days now!

Its amazing really, how I can be so excited to meet you, but yet still a little terrified about the labor process, but a little bit of fear is alright I guess, hopefully it will kick off the right hormones! I keep reminding myself that nothing worth doing in life is easy!

Speaking of what’s really not easy. Its all the random advice that my growing belly has generated! I was reading this article in the middle of the night, because of pregnancy insomnia and acid reflux (http://time.com/4989068/motherhood-is-hard-to-get-wrong/) Its really so true in so many ways. Being pregnant is hard enough, what ia gratingly annoying is people around me, trying to tell me that I’m not doing this and that, or doing this and that wrongly. By and large it comes from the goodness of their hearts, but some people really rub me the wrong way. Of course I want the best for my child, of course I don’t want to harm my child but there are so many different schools of thought on, “How to raise the perfect child, How to have the perfect pregnancy and How to be the perfect mother.” Coming from Singapore and giving birth in NYC, makes it even worse because sometimes the people back home expect me to do ‘X’ and people here expect ‘Y’. I’m sick of explaining my rationale for how I want my birth to be, and how I am taking care of myself. I don’t quite understand why personal decisions suddenly become a room for debate? But the good thing is, over this pregnancy, I have polished the art of going,  “Thank you for your advice” and not say anything more.

But I suppose, this is a glimpse of what motherhood will be like. I imagine that lots of people will have comments about my parenting style and how I should discipline, what I should feed you, what developmental milestones you should be hitting, etc etc. So all in all, pregnancy is good preparation for standing firm in my beliefs. At some levels, I do feel that raising a kid is based on guttural instincts too, I will spend the most time with you, observing your habits and needs, thus I would be the best person to gauge and decide how I want to raise you!

In the past week, you have been showing various signs of wanting to come out, at least according to traditional labor signs, but every other day, you display some symptoms and then the next day, you’ll be like, “Just teasing! Not today Mom!”

OH YOU LIL TEASEBALL! We’ll see you whenever you’re ready then!

Lovingly, Mummy.

PS: But if I want to be completely honest. This is how I really feel like right now.

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Happy Birthday DaddyBot!

Dear Kai Kai,

Today is Daddy’s birthday! On birthdays we get to eat cake! Mama didn’t make a cake this year but instead ordered a sailboat cake for Daddy because he’s just so so special!

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Daddy wouldn’t stop looking at the boats in the marina and wishing he could have another boat! Oia is the name of the first boat daddy bought in Singapore, it will not be the last boat he buys for sure! Daddy can’t wait to take you out sailing on a boat, but Mama made him promise that he has to teach you how to swim first. So get ready to be plunged into a pool as soon as your first summer rolls around!

Grandma and Grandpa sent Daddy the loveliest birthday card ever, it made Daddy very very very happy! If Mummy and Daddy does right in parenting, I hope you will turn out to be exactly like your daddy!

You got really lucky in the Daddy lottery little one!

Love,

Mama