Friday, July 30, 2010

I love my baby

It still affects me each time I remember those words I read about how terrible the disciplinary method we are using is. Under normal circumstances, I'd probably be angry for that day but not cry over it that much.

Blame it on my pregnancy hormones (conveniently) but since then, each time AN acts up now, those words come back and I would question my next move: to correct her or give in. The evil me will say: "Give in! And then when she starts behaving like that all the time in front of those people, just tell them that is the result of being too lenient and wasn't that what they were expecting??"

And yes, I turned away from AN to cry in exasperation instead of correcting her. That's how powerful simple words can be, even if they appear harmless to everyone else. Powerfully discouraging, even though my first reaction when I saw them was firmly insist that I am not going to care what others say.

After praying against these negative thoughts, I went online again to search for help on 3 year old behaviours and found AN to be going through a normal phase that will pass with age and correction. And I found this:

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2004/2004-05-06.htm

Yes, the bible did talk about discipline! And the many verses. I am responsible for AN's upbringing. Was that not why I stayed home full time? She is my ministry, my work and responsibility. If I were to give up just because some people spoke without senses, my work will not be complete.

I have to be firm and strongly trust that through prayer, I can continue with the work our Lord has has blessed me with (Phillipians 4:6-7)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I've been requested not to post some thoughts but it bothers me, very much.

Without revealing too much, I'm just going to voice out what a SAHM feels.

The last thing a SAHM needs, is criticism for her teaching methods, especially from people who have not lived with the family long enough, and does not even understand the child enough to know what the child likes to eat besides vege and mushroom.

Once upon a time, there was a mum who gave up her job to take care of her 2 children. And there was a mum who continued working and left her children to grow up without parental care. There are families who operate the way best suitable for their lifestyle. No one has the rights to tell the other family how wrong they are to be doing this and that. No rights at all. U are just an outsider when it comes to internal affairs, family or not.

A SAHM has to bear with the kids nonsense day in and out, right from the beginning of the day, till the child goes to sleep. The child goes through different periods of sleeping patterns and on some days, the child simply has too much energy to be tucked in, whether the parents are tired or not.

On some days when nothing seems to go the way the child wants, the child acts up and gets punished, be that a simple verbal warning, many reminders or time out. Not all situation calls for the same sort of punishment. And we are trying out what we can do at different times of the day, at different stages of life, targetted at different sorts of bad behaviour. Every course of action is personalized.

And then a SAHM has to worry about the child's education when the time comes, without having to relax on checking back constantly on the child's social and moral behaviour as well.

For all the hard work and sleepless nights put in, for all the researching from nutrition, to behaviour and punishment, from spending quality time with the child, to teaching the child to read and write, for every single thing a SAHM mum does for the good of her child, all the thanks she got was criticism and more criticism.

Our reward for staying home does not come in the form of good apraisal (in this case, it's plain shitty appraisal..I must be damn damn lousy, really!!). No bonus, no positive affirmation or encouragements. People prowl around to catch you at the slightest thing they disagree with.

I probably should consider working full time and blame someone else for my daughter's behaviours that are not acceptable, even if majority of the 3 year olds are going through this same phase as my child is. Isn't that so much easier? Push blame, point fingers. My child, I have the right to blame whoever is not up to my standard in teaching her to behave. Who else has the rights to judge me and tell me that I am torturing my child with time out and that what I'm doing is ineffective when they do not even realise what the punishment is for and when the behaviour is already corrected the way we did it?

Who are you who have never once been of any help in bringing my child up, judge the effectiveness of every single method I hv tried on my child? How many methods have you seen me use on her? How many methods of discipline have you used on kids you have brought up?

And I do not even use the cane on my daughter, yet people look at us in disgust, claiming that what we are doing is abusive and wrong.

Tell me, what is right? Tell me, what is right that works for EVERY SINGLE CHILD?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

AN, lawyer in the making

AN can be real sly. She had milk right after we got home, couldn't finish her bread with peanut spread coz she 'had enough' according to her, so we tried to tuck her in earliest possible. She asked for milk soon after and I told her no. She just had half a cup less than an hr before and couldn't even finish her bread. She then changed topic and we started talking about something else.

After a while, she asked if her little brother needed to drink "mem mem". I told her yes because little babies do not have teeth to eat with, so they can only drink. She then asked if she could feed her little brother milk. I said yes, if mummy does not have enough for him. She asked if he could drink her formula milk, I said not till he turns one year old coz that was for big children. And then she asked if she could drink her that, to which I said yes. She then started pleading: "can I drink my milk, please please please?"

It took me a while to realise she was asking for milk again, in a different way. And to think I was tricked by her into saying yes!! My little trickster!

She insisted I said she could have her milk when I said yes, which was only because I meant she could have that formula because she passed her first birthday.

Well, at least she tried tricking me and almost succeeded in coaxing me out of the bed to make more milk for her. I would if I wasn't that tired.

Cheeky baby.

A day out with AN

Met PJ and Cailyn yesterday in the afternoon for lunch but we all ended up having only dessert. Both kiddos were not hungry then, and neither were we. Had a very short chat and then we proceeded to Toys'R'Us so that the kids can play and I thought we would have more time to chat but AN had to have me follow her around and when both girls started catching 'scents' of different category of toys, we got separated for a while.

I had to settle my HPS issue by yesterday coz I've a wedding lunch today and CPF will have closed by the time we are done. Thank God CPF and SINGPOST are within walking distance at Tampines. PJ and C kept us company while we waited to enquire about my situation but once at Singpost, I thought it would be better they carry on with the rest of the day without us because the line at Singpost was SUPER long. It's probably normal for the line to be this long but I hardly had to be there to find out. Given a choice, I rather pay at the machines!!! Lesser waiting time...

AN kept herself entertained by singing her own songs (existing songs with her own lyrics). Is embarrassing coz she was quite loud in a fairly quiet environment but I can't possibly ask her to be quiet coz she was not being naughty. I let her be, and she caught the attention of a lady in the line. Hehe. That lady kept looking back and giggling from the front and at some point where we 'met' at a curve, she started talking to AN.

After an hour of waiting (thereabout), it was finally out turn. I almost freaked out when AN told me she needed to pee just as I was the first in line, finally!! She insisted she was urgent and when I turned to look at the number of people after us, I prayed hard she will not pee in her pants and decided to continue waiting.

She managed to keep her pee till we finished the transaction. Thank God her urge came at the last minute else we really would have to leave the line for her to go potty..Phew.

AN got hungry and asked for noodles right after we went back to CPF to present the receipt. One more issue down, and I am now left with Renewal of my IC. We went to the foodcourts again and I got beehoon to share with her. She was hungry and tried to eat but bring very tired as well, she actually dozed off while eating!! Poor baby. I carried her lying down and continued to finish the remaining (almost full bowl of food) on my own. It's one of the rare times I dine out alone. Never enjoyed eating without company outside home.

Called Mr Liow to see if he would be getting off work anytime then coz I had to carry AN and 2 bags. Quite a feat considering my poor back conditions these days. If he wasn't able to, I'd take a cab home.

He said he'd try, so I waited. There wasn't any seats within sight that I could rest on while waiting!! And I was too tired to move around looking for seats, so I stood outside TM waiting for about 30mins, till we both started to perspire. I then went into TM to wait. Didn't know why I was so silly to be waiting outside when it was much cooler inside

-_________-"

I noticed some empty seats at Mc.Donald's that some people had also been sitting on, without having to be a patron. I grabbed the next available seat ! It was sooooo comfy to have a place to rest my butt and aching limbs and shoulder. AN was still fast asleep!

We waited for Mr Liow and it didn't matter how long more he would take coz having a place to sit and put the bags down was enough to make me happy. He arrived soon after, we had dinner and then met PJ and C up again for bubble tea.

We finally got to sit down for a chat before PJ had to rush off to fetch Torres. C is a very smiley girl, so sweet! She's less shy compared to the first time we met a month ago but at this age, I think many girls are still not ready with strangers rightaway. AN wanted to hold C's hands as they walked earlier and C wasn't ready to. And at the end of the day when C wanted to give AN a goodbye hug, AN turned her down. By the time we left, C was tired. Glad she had dinner so she wouldn't feel hungry later on.

AN didn't have much herself, only that few scoops of noodles before she dozed off and a few more scoops of more noodles after we met Mr Liow up, and oh, LOTS of ice while we were catching up over tea! She kept going: "Mummy look! Small piece of ice!" and then popped them one after another into her mouth each time I nodded my head. She knew I was too distracted to limit her. Hmm.

It is to be a long day today starting early. Going to be fun! YH is back and will be back for a short while before he goes back to Utah. Hoping to see him today after ministry meeting, after church wedding. Hehe.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ah Gu loves AN

Mum found a pack of bird's nest on the table and we think it was my brother who brought it home. She called him and realised he bought it, and she told him off

-_______-"

She thinks he should have asked her to get it for him if he wanted to get because he is not familiar with bird's nest and when she heard he paid slightly over a hundred for that amount of supposedly top of the line bird's nest, she got even more upset, believing that he got conned. Those should easily have cost more than $300.

After they hung up, I couldn't help reminding me mum that it's always good to be thankful. I can understand how she feels upset he might have gotten conned (which may not even be the case). But it's just not right to call someone up to tell them off for 'wasting money' on 'unmatched quality products' or saying 'you don't know how to get the right stuff'. His intention was good in the first place. Poor Andy.

I felt even worse when mum said bro got it for AN. He really dotes on the little girl. He came back with treats for her, toys and now even bird's nest. I've never imagined my brother would splurge on my little girl at all and I'm touched.

Anyway, told mum that it might sound less hurtful if she told him to let her know the next time he wants to get herbs or more bird's nest or anything he's not familiar with. Beats putting him off by saying he wasted his money on something lousy. Sounds so mean...

Moreover, even if my bro did spend over $300 on the bird's nest, he wouldn't have told her the truth. She would probably get even mote upset coz he 'wasted THAT much money on equally inferior products'. Sigh...

My brother loves AN. aww... That's so sweet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Administrative Issues

Being away for 2 years means there are tonnes of administrative issues to be settled..

I am supposed to have my IC re-registered by Mar but still have not done so. Thank God I will be allowed to do so with just my passport to prove that I was out of the country during this period of time.

I asked for turn-on of utilities before we returned home and was supposed to submit the application form together with our IC to prove our ownership of our home but couldn't do so till we returned. By the time I remembered to have it done, it was way pass the deadline and we were given a letter of warning that they may turn the power supply off anytime soon. NO!!!! The contractor needs the power to continue with the reno!! Thank God once again that they were flexible and willing to put a note next to our account so that we had time to do something about it.

And then my HPS premium has also expired. This time, I got no flexibility of time to renew it. I was given till only this Saturday to do so, else I have to apply for new coverage. I was supposed to go all the way down to CPF building to get a form, and then make payments at Singnet -____-" There is no other easier way out, neither will CPF wait any longer for me to renew. Too bad, for me.

What else? I can't even remember till we receive another warning letter....Blame it on my bad pregnancy memory...sigh...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missing Tucson

People had been asking us if we missed USA. I thought I did not (but I do miss the friends we made there.) I had been enjoying local food back home and been too busy with AN and the baby bump (that's been causing me constant backaches and breathing problems), plus some admin matters that I've yet to settle (get my new IC done, top up my HPS premium which us already expired etc..).

Now being sleepless, I'm starting to miss more than just people.

I missed bringing AN to Gymboree to meet her friends. I missed watching her climb, dance, sing, paint, tear, paste and make messes without a care. I missed driving her around and missed having a mix of routine including play and 'studies'.

I missed driving her to get food for BM, missed bringing BM to Lambert Park, missed driving AN to Isabelle's place where AN gets so much attention from Kimberly who loves her so much (Isabelle said Kim unbashfully proclaimed that her she cannot live without AN. So cute. Haha!).

I missed the occassional potluck gatherings, especially during cooler seasons. I missed being able to promise AN a swim if she behaves, miss watching her enjoying herself in the pool (she didn't even want to stay in the pool at SIL's plc 2 wks back).

I missed looking out of our patio to see people casually walking their dogs, missed bringing AN for strolls in the evenings when Mr Liow was on afternoon shifts. Missed AN waving at neighbours who waved back with a smile, missed the very spacious everything, the mountains, the cactuses, the moon that's almost always visible, the feeling of carefreeness that borders along the line of boredom sometimes (being busy with only AN and BM, and cooking).

I don't quite miss travelling or online shopping as much as I thought I will. I did enjoy doing these but think we had an overdose of both for 2 years. It's those things I missed about Tucson that one can probably never get sick of.

Here, AN attempts to wave at drivers who either never notice her waving, thinks she's not waving at them, or simply can't be bothered to wave back. Waving and smiling at strangers simply do not belong in our Singaporean culture. AN will often tell me:"Mummy, they never wave back." Someday, she will lose the urge to be friendly (wonder if it's good or bad). She's still shy when strangers approach her though. As long as there's a certain distance, AN is a friendly stranger. Hehe.

She misses her painting sessions at home. And since we came back, she's not been practising writing, not been cutting random magazines, not been drawing. We didn't have the tools (they are all in the boxes) and we didn't have the routine to do them anymore. I don't even know how we go through each day now, with AN not doing much.

I think I now know why AN's behaving the way she had sometimes: a bored kid is an upset kid. She starts to demand for things at the wrong time because she doesn't know what to expect next and has nothing to do...and when rejected, she gets upset of course. Back in Tucson, she knows where to find her stuff and knows what she's allowed to do what at stipulated times of the day.

I finally see the importance of a routine that those books keep talking about when it comes to disciplining children.

I really should start getting her into a routine of something again, real soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Im not 53.8kg

Went for my checkup this morning and realised I am 52.2kg instead of 53.8kg! *phew* Be warned: The weighing machine at T3 is faulty...

Baby is about 1.3-1.4kg today so my weight gain is mainly his. He's still making me heavier than AN did but it's ok. As long as he's growing well and as long as those extra weights are not mine.

AN was so cute just now. She wanted Oreo biscuits so we said we would get it for her after we've seen the doctor. She said ok and asked for 2 packs. One was for her little brother. She said she wanted to feed him and we asked her how she would be doing that. She said: "Mummy, you open your mouth when I feed you, and then the little brother will eat when the biscuits go into your tummy." it's so sweet how she's constantly asking for things in double the quantity now because she wants one more for her little brother. I think she's going to be a loving sister, at least before she feels upset with changes to come.

Dr Henry asked if AN is toilet trained. We said yes and he warned us that she may suddenly become 'untrained'. THAT EXPLAINS THE ACCIDENTS SHE HAD THE DAY BEFORE! He asked coz he noticed AN was really asking for my attention a lot when we were with him this morning.

He advised that we give her lots of reassurances of our love. It reminded me of our fight last night. I think we will just give in to her a little more for this period of time.

Sunday School and Girls' Gathering

AN attended her first Sunday School yesterday while Mr Liow attended Sanctuary service. It was fun and AN loved the worship session. She didn't know any of the songs we sang but kept turning back to me smiling.

The big group got divided into smaller classes after worship, according to age and AN was in the same class as Isaiah. The topic of this Sunday was about growth and who helps us grow. The 3 year olds were given pictures to see and they got to do a tiny bit of colouring. They said grace and were given sweets at the end.

I really do not like AN to have sweets but couldn't deprive her of it since all the other kids were helping themselves to them. AN promised to allow me to brush her teeth as soon as we got home if I allowed her to have some. She got her first piece, was offered a second which I allowed her to have after she asked me for permission, and then a 3rd piece coz she was offered one again. It's really hard to reject her coz I don't want her to wonder why she couldn't have any when all others are having sweets. I told her that was to be her last one and she said ok.

She was offered another one soon after, which she rejected. Was so proud that she not only remembered her promise, she kept it too! I went to get one more for her and told her how proud I was of her that she kept her promise and that was bonus for her. Hee.

Met Ting up to leave for Shirley's place together. I couldn't wait to leave the room after the Sunday School session ended coz the longer we remained there, the more AN will be tempted to accept more offers of sweets.

It was good time of gathering again! AN warmed up to Ting very soon and I was surprised. Ting said she probably was already warming up to people in church although she was quiet and didn't want to mix around much then. She didn't take long to warm up to the kids too. Was glad we brought some toys there so the girls had some things to play with.

AN enjoyed following Joshua around. Hehe. He's the only boy whom she would follow around. He sat down to play on his psp and she went to sit beside to watCh him. Else she would be following him around the house.

Genevieve started to follow the 2 of them soon after and the 3 of then were busy walking around. AN would share her trolley bag with G but didn't know how gentle she had to be with the young baby G. Was so afraid she would hurt her and we had to keep reminding her to not grab things from G till G was ready to let go in case she made her fall. I hope she didn't when I wasn't watching!

AN was tired by the time we left and had no patience left to wait. She got frustrated and started asking about every toy she brought. I had to stock-take the items in case any of them were not in her bag. Was surprised she remembered what was in her bag when she asked for them item by item -_________-"

She was in no mood to share her bag by then and started snatching it back from G who was still holding on to it but G was so sweet! Instead of snatching it from AN, she streched it out to return it to her. G is so smiley, so cute! Hehe.

AN didn't sleep on the way to Tampines (we sent Ms Teo home) and got even crankier by the time we got home. She acted up and was in one of her worse behaviours by 9pm. She refused to walk to me and insisted I walk over to her. When we finally resolved the issue, she was so tired she couldn't even keep her eyes open. She fell into a deep sleep right away in my arms! Sigh....

It was probably the fight we had before she slept that caused her to keep waking up screaming and crying and kicking few hours later. Her eyes were closed but she was speaking coherently while throwing a fit! After we finally settled her (she got up twice doing the kicking and crying and shouting her intentions out loud in her dream), I did a search online and realised it was probably night terror and not a nightmare.

Night terror happens when a child appears to be asleep but behaves as if she was awake. No amount of speaking to or attempts to calm her works because she is still in a deep sleep! A nightmare occurs when a child is asleep and is calmed with a hug or some reassurances when awake.

Made us wonder if we should have given in to her then since she was obviously vey tired when she got demanding. We decided to be less strict with her near bed time so that she need not have to sleep through the night feeling negative. Poor baby.. It pains me to see her sobbing and pleading in her sleep last night.

My parents are away at Genting for a holiday from today till Wed. The house feels so silent an empty and for the first time in a month, I actually felt 'lonely'. Hehe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Week 28 and already 9kg heavier!

I just saw on my gynae records from Tucson, that I was 45kg (thereabouts) during my first visit. I thought I was heavier (I was 47kg on avg around that time from our scale at home).

We had coffee with the ministry this evening at the airport and we all saw the weighing scale (for luggages), so the kids took turns to weigh themselves. Soon we, the adults couldn't help it but want to see how heavy we are and weighed ourselves too.

AN is 10.9kg. Nearly 11kg but not yet. I am 53.8kg!! Oh my goodness!! If my pre-pregnancy weight was accurately taken for the first time, it means I have put on 9kg!! I was only 50.3kg last month at Dr Henry Cheng's clinic!

9kg at 28th week...I put on a total of 9kg during my first pregnancy. I have about 8-9 more weeks to go! This is not good news! I hope it's all baby's weight and not mine..but then baby should be less than 1kg now...

Pam said it is a good sign. This is a boy, so that probably explains why I'm heavier this time. Come to think of it, I'd rather have a boy with more mass. AN being small at birth (and still petite now) was not too bad, coz she is a girl.

Oh well, I should be thankful that he's healthy and growing well.

Been worried that I may not be as fortunate as I was on the day AN arrived. It was early Sunday morning and traffic was smooth when we had to rush to Mt A. This time being the second, I keep hearing how second and subsequent ones pop too fast for epidural to even be considered, I'm worried I may not survive the labour pains..and I'm worried contractions may start building up fast on the peakest hour of the weekend where CTE will be packed.

So many worries :(

I think I'm feeling one of those pre-natal blues now. I got upset over some issues that wouldn't have bothered me much normally (AN peed in her training pants twice today when she could and would usually have told me when she needed to pee). I would not have made noise about it so I don't make feel lousy. I did just now and kept asking her why she did not tell me she needed to pee..and I made her cry when I finally told her I felt so disappointed with her :(

This is the first accident (not exactly an accident...she was either too sleepy to tell me, or probably already fallen asleep. I don't know coz I was in the toilet when she confessed that she peed in her training pants). Accidents happen. And she did admit that she peed in her training pants instead of keeping mum about it. Why did I still tell her off? I shouldn't even have said anything about feeling disappointed to make her feel sad or lousy :(

Bad mummy...I felt so overcome with guilt I couldn't stop crying after she fell asleep. I really have to watch my words...this is only an accident..why am I saying things that may likely put unnecessary pressure on her??

Bad mummy :(

I pray against foul feelings. Go away, bad behaviour! Shoo shoo shoo away naughty words that will only hurt my baby instead of build her up. Go far far away!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

New fringe

AN needed some trimming of her bangs and MIL has a pair of shears at home (we need to get a pair for ourselves soon).

AN loves curry

She wanted Roti Prata the last time mum had that for breakfast and liked it, with curry. So this time, mum asked if she wanted that for breakfast and she said yes.

AN had Roti Prata with CURRY this morning. She liked the curry so much she asked if she could drink it with a spoon. The curry was not too spicy in my opinion but for a 3 year old, I thought she did quite well. hehe.

Not all spicy dishes catch her attention though. She still turns away from some spicy-looking food, even if they were just red from sweet and sour sauces.

At this point, the only spicy food she had taken would be the sambal fried rice she had when she was 16 months old, Sambal Kangkong, Laksa and Curry this time. Not really a lot, but definitely more to come.

Finally Talking

Mum was home the next morning after the tension, to my surprise.

I actually heard my brother talking to her when I woke up but I didn't want to interrupt in case she walks away when she saw me. Then bro left for work and mum went back into the room. I continued to nap a little more before waking up for the day.

Soon after, bro sms-ed me asking me to have a talk with her and that he thinks she felt hurt. So when she finally came out of the room again, I stopped her in her tracks to ask her what was wrong. Her eyes were puffy, obviously she cried through the night.

She said she was sad that I'm always against her, that since we came back, we have already argued twice. And also she felt she got no respect from Mr Liow each time he asked her a question. He sounded like he was interrogating her and she didn't like it. Mr Liow does have a problem with probing too much. I didn't like that but have gotten used to it. This is something he has to change, not just towards my mum but to everyone else.

And even though mum had been assuring me that the incident that left us unhappy last year when they came over was past and forgotten, she had not really forgotten it. She was still hurt and for this past month, whenever Mr Liow's tone was less than respectful, memories all came back.

I listened to her and I think as she shared, she felt a little better.

I then gave her my point of view: From what I see, she gets upset whenever someone does not agree with her. She said she was upset that Mr Liow would question her to the point that she wouldn't know how to reply him and even my brother does not do that with her. And Mr Liow would retort her when he disagrees, something her own son does not. To me, she has to learn to deal with discussions (I am not agreeing that Mr Liow being disrespectful in his tone of voice is condonable and have spoken to him about it. He does not use that tone with his mum and I am upset he speaks like that to my mum too...). She flips whenever someone disagrees, that's why my bro and father has reached a point they remain silent even if they do not agree...

I told her that if she's upset with anything at all, to speak up like this time, instead of shutting herself up in the room and disappearing the whole day after that. Who on earth will know what is wrong, except that she's being very angry (and unreasonable).

She was upset that I walked into the kitchen to 'tell her off' when she said she wanted to wash the mattress up 'later'. I corrected her (she thought too much and remembered it all wrong!!!). Fact was, I was already in the kitchen making milk for AN and she went in to wash something. I wanted to agree with her that it was too late to do anything to the mattress but she was not responding to me, till I asked if I could have it up earlier coz I was having a backache from sleeping on the old mattress to which she asked a question seemingly thinking that I only brought the mattress over for my own sake.

I repeated myself numerous time that I did not go into the kitchen to tell her off and that I was already in the kitchen (firstly), and secondly that I AGREED WITH HER THAT IT WAS NOT A GOOD TIME TO WASH THE MATTRESS. I was in agreement with her! She was not listening, and simply assuming that I was against her, and I don't know how she even thought I was 'telling her off'. I had to remind her a few times before she heard me that I AGREED WITH HER!

And then she said that after things have cooled off between her and my father, I had to walk out of the kitchen to continue telling her off saying that I should not have brought the mattress over and cause this tension to arise. I did say that, but then things were not 'cooled off as she said'. She was still scolding my father and I couldn't help jumping to his defense by commenting that this whole mattress came at the wrong time. She told me that my dad is always telling her off when we are not around and never agrees to what she wants, even if it has nothing to do with him. I told her that he never told her off in front of us because he did not want to cause her disrespect by doing that, just like she said I had been being disrespectful towards her in front of Mr Liow causing him to lose all respect for her as well. She remembered that I said all that in the presence of Mr Liow and my brother but again, she was wrong! My bro and Mr Liow were already downstairs carrying the mattress up...

That is the problem with processing thoughts overnight and not settling it right on the spot.

Mum cooled off after listening and I assured her that quarrels in the family is common (she keeps feeling envious that her friends have kids who obey every single thing they say. I told her no one else other than people in the family knows what's going on, whether problems they have are big or small ones). Her friends are probably envious of my parents who get to visit us in the States too, isn't it? The grass is always greener in the other pastures...

I have to watch how I speak to her (I can keep my cool with my dad but not with her. It gets on my nerves that she does not listen to me when I speak and respond with something that's off topic or simply what she assumes she's hearing me say. We can agree to disagree, only if she hears what I am actually saying).

And about what happened in Tucson, I reminded her that she was the one who asked me to forget what was past and reminded her that if everyone keeps records of wrongs in the family, the family will break up anytime. We, in the family, sometimes say or do things that are hurtful, we apologise, and if we say we forgive, we do not let it bother us anymore. It's not easy to forget of course, but if we are not willing to let go, we will never be at peace with each other.

She heard me when I also reassured her that Mr Liow and I love her and that she's always on our mind, even as we travel. Things she only has to mention she forgot to get when she came the last time, we would get it on our next trip for her.

She's also worried about being 'in charge' of my confinement. She's never bathed a baby, only AN once in a long while when she was an infant. She's aching in her arms lately and is worried she may drop the baby during morning baths or while carrying him. She's feeling all the stress having to answer to the whole world for this great responsibility that she has to take up. She had no intentions or confidence to be solely in charge of my confinement but Mr Liow's mum kept prompting her to do it saying that she's the other grandma and it would be best that she helps me with confinement instead of anyone else. Mum felt pressured into doing it..

sigh....I told her that if she's not comfortable with it, she should have just told me that. But then I understand how that's happening. MIL is good at 'pressurising' people into doing things, since preparation for our wedding long time ago (when she kept changing dates of our food tasting to suit her sister's timing, for whatever unreasonable reasons... and her suggesting we get married on a day before my brother even returned from his studies in Australia..), till now. One has to be very firm to reject her, something that I have not even learn to do till now, let alone my mum.

I have not asked if she will continue to help me with the confinement but she's been telling me what she has in mind to cook for me after baby pops. I think her main worry is handling the baby. That should not be much of a problem for me since this is the second time. I'm just worried that I might not be able to squat with the pain 'down there' right after delivery and that means I will not be able to bath baby too. We'll see how..The nurses at Mt A did mention that babies in their first month do not perspire so much as to need a bath everyday anyway. Oh, I just remember I have a bathtub with some attachment to bath baby in without fearing that baby will fall into the water! It's in one of our cartons! 

Guess that hour or so of talking did some good. Mum cooled off but had to rest more in the room coz she was having a headache from the whole night of crying. She seems ok yesterday and even talked to Mr Liow. I was glad this episode is over and prays this time of talking covered some existing issues.

Told mum not to walk out or keep quiet the next time something unpleasant happens again, that no one will know what's on her mind unless she tells us.

Phew..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 30: PLMC Covenent Kindergarten

Had an appointment with PLMC Covenant Kindergarten's Mrs Soh at 2.30pm. AN had to miss her nap because she woke up late and would not have felt sleepy by noon to wake up on time to leave for the appointment.

I like our Convenant Kindergarten. I've been to our church of course, and am very familiar with the compounds. I just need to find out more about the nursery classes. If AN DOES get in, she will be schoolmates with Elijah, or very possible even classmates. I like the environment, peaceful and shady. There is space, LOTS of space for the kids to play during playtime, and even classrooms are spacious and air-conditioned (it's important coz AN perspires a lot, just like her daddy).

Unlike that of Cambridge in which school is a whole day affair (children are given more time for everything because they have the whole day there, or at least 6 hours), Convenant Kindergarten's time table is solely made up of lessons and kids need only to be in school for 3 hours at most. Snack time is shorter by 10mins (AN is a slow eater...I don't know how much she will be able to take in 20 mins). But then again, because she will be coming home to me in the next couple of hours, I do not really need to worry about her going hungry.

Can't really decide on which to put her, if we happen to hear good news from both sides.

I like it that AN gets to learn to be independent in Cambridge because she will not have me by her side for the whole day, and she gets to interact with kids. I like how Mrs Cheah described Cambridge's teaching style, and a half-yearly report of how individual child is learning and socialising. There are only 10 - 12 children at a time in each level as compared to 20-25 in church (effectively, it's 1: 4 at Cambridge vs 1:10 at Covenant given that there are at least 2 teachers in class at a time, not including a chinese teacher when it's chinese lesson time).

And because she will be in school for most parts of the day, chances of her ending up aimless and getting hooked to TV and laptop will be way minimised.

But I really like our church environment, and of course the 20mins of devotion time when they get to learn about creation and our Lord Jesus. AN knows Jesus died on the cross for us. She sees crosses (either made up of X or +), she will naturally go: "Jesus died on the cross." That day, she went into details and told me while pointing at the 2 intersecting lines: "This is where Jesus' head is and there is his legs at the bottom. They pin his hands onto the cross, and it's very very painful you know?"

I was amazed by her description because it's been a long time since we talked about Him. The bible stories I told her did not have details like that. She probably saw these on youtube and remembered it till now (the last time we watched anything related to Jesus' crucifixion was some time near Christmas last year).

Back to Cambridge vs Covenant, also due to the fact that she will not be away from me the whole day long, I can personally be responsible for her upbringing, to correct her at the first sight of something she does or says that is not right. Good teachers try, but they do not bring up children the way parents want them to grow up to become. Is this not my duty for staying at home? But will I do a good job with an infant, and a preschooler? It's 1:2 at home (me vs the 2 kiddos) as compared to the very ideal 1:4 at Cambridge.

We really need to pray about this.

AN is excited about going to school. She's been asking when she will get to go to school and tells everyone she's familiar with that she's going to "secondary school" whenever we meet (it's "nursery" but she's stuck to using "secondary").

And since we came back, she's learnt some Chinese!!! Yesterday, she asked if I could speak Chinese and I told her I can. She then replied me that she only knows her "Jiao(3)". I went "huh?" and she pointed to her legs. So cute! I then asked her where her "Shou(3), Tou(2)Fa(3), Yan(3)Jing(1), Bi(2)Zi(3), Zui(3)Ba(1), Er(3)Duo(1)" are and she got them all right, except her ears (Er Duo) where she looked blankly at me. And when I asked her about her "Tou(2)", she pointed to her toes (hehe) thinking I was asking about toes. She knew "Tou(2)" refers to her head and remembered it the next time when my mum and Mr Liow tested her. I know it's a little late for her to learn these, but better late then never. hehe.

And then she started chanting 1-5 in chinese to my dad's amazement for the first time, then me in the room soon after. It's my fault I've never taught her even numbers in Chinese, so we (Mr Liow and I) started chanting 1-20 in chinese with her trying to catch up with us (like a game, as if I was competing with Mr Liow).

It's scary coz Mrs Cheah at Cambridge said that the principal at her daughter's school, during the 1st parent-teacher meeting for Primary One, informed the parents that they will not be teaching students number words from 1-20 and the students are expected to recognise these words by the time school year starts. And her daughter was at a neighbourhood school. I have no idea how slow AN is but she definitely needs more catching up, at least in her chinese, to be somewhere near kids who grow up in Singapore!

Welcome us back to Singapore where it's paper-chasing right from a tender age of 4. hehe....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 29: visit to Cambridge CDC + once a month conflict

We had an appointment with the owner of Cambridge CDC near my parents' place at 3pm so I tried making AN nap earlier. She usually naps from 2-4pm. From 1pm, she tried to go to sleep but couldn't fall asleep. I fell asleep myself but could feel her happily talking to herself and helping herself to games on my iPod touch -________-"

she finally fell asleep by herself at 1.45pm AFTER I gave her the last call that if she did not sleep, I would not bring her to 'school'. It was easier then coz the 45mins of being active tired her out finally, together with the warning that she would miss the chance to go to 'school'. She woke up willingly after a 45mins power nap because she was really looking forward to 'school'. She was so excited!

This was more like childcare with a curriculum incorporated in the hours spent there. Sounded quite good that I could leave her there for most parts of the day and she gets to have activities rather than rot at home in front of the TV or computer, espcially after the baby comes. I was thinking of a half day session so that she could spend time with her little brother and Mrs Cheah suggested we can do half-day sessions on certain days of the week and full-day on the others. Sounds like a plan.

I'll be bringing her to our church nursery today at 2.30pm to have a look too. Got a call from Mrs Soh and I didn't even realise Covenant Kindergarten belongs to PLMC till I went online to check.

And about the once-a-month conflict...sigh... Mum is up in one of her foul moods again, just because my dad disagreed with her...????!!!

She wanted the mattress we have in FV so we brought it over. I agree it's probably a long wait to have the mattress brought over after a month but no one has a truck big enough and we had to find someone who has one!

We finally arranged to have it sent over and Mr Liow suggested we clean it up tonight so we could use it immediately. Mum said it was late and suggested cleaning it 'later'. Dad was only wondering loudly why not do it immediately instead of waiting. Mum got upset with him and told him to "shut up if you don't know anything" (hate it when she uses that on my dad!)

I was in the kitchen a short while after the tension, alone with her and agreed we clean up the mattress tomorrow. Mum got upset with me too saying she wants to take her time to clean it after we move back to our own place. She wants to leave the mattress in the room to collect dust for the next few months?? (just to update: mum suggested I stay here for confinement coz she has a problem sleeping at night away from home. For her convenience and comfort, we agreed)

I told her I'm having backaches sleeping on her current mattress now and she looked at me with disgust, asking: "Oh...so you brought the mattress over now bcause you have problems sleeping?"

hello...in the first place, if she didn't want the mattress, we wouldn't have even brought it over! Since it's been shifted over, I didn't know she would mind me asking to clean it up ealier so I could use it (I am not asking her to clean it for me..I can do it myself!)

I am now sleeping on the same mattress I used to sleep on before I got married and never had problems. This backache problem came early this pregnancy. I've seriously thought my mum was more understanding than to think we got the mattress over for myself...

She stomped out of the kitchen and dad innocently commented that if I needed the mattress, he could clean it up for me there and then. Mum got even angrier and accused him of being afraid of me thus making suggestions in my favour and then saying that he's always talking more than helping (which is NOT true!)

Democracy is non existent in this family. If dad doesn't agree with her, he gets it. If he agrees with someone else who disagrees with her, he gets it worse. She started scolding him for the next few minsa (why do the 2 mums enjoy scolding people so much????????!!!) and then went into the room slamming the door shut.

While she was ridiculously scolding my dad, he kept silent.

She came out of the room for the toilet, and then went back into her own room slamming the door for a second time. AN asked me why popo banged her door.

My mum has the cheeks to wonder why AN had been locking our bedroom door lately. I jokingly said she learnt it from her the first time she saw popo flare up and lock herself in the room. Mum, in a good mood then, said AN was like me coz I used to lock my door at night. As if AN knew I used to do that.... We've never had locked doors in Tucson. Obviously she mut have learnt to lock the door only recently.

Let's see when AN will learn to slam doors shut now.

People always say it's a blessing to have old people at home to help with their kids..I don't see behaviours that are going to help AN watch and learn to be a better person when she grows up. Not mum, not MIL. And they are our first 2 choices if I am to be working.

MIL talks about money whole day long and smiles when she mentions her genting shares, frowns when she speaks to the maid. Mum gets into one of these cranky crazy behaviours upon minimum provocation, starts ignoring people (or whisperig things under her breath as she walks by) and slamming doors for the next few days. That is, after she's been out the whole day for the next few days..

So, I get to choose if I want AN to grow up angry and domineering, or angry and money-loving.

How do I choose? Which is better?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 27: Dinner with SIL and family

We had wanted to go to church but AN had a late night and couldn't wake up. Will try again the next Sunday. Was thinking of putting her at Sunday School. I'm sure she'll love it!

She had been asking to swim for a long time and since we were going to my SIL's place, I brought her swimming gear along.

She wasn't as brave as she was back in Tucson. It's wierd how different she has become since we came back! She would go into the water with Mr Liow and would even float on a flat floating surface as long as Mr Liow held on to her, and she would kick water to move. This time, all she would agree to was sit in the swimming float and shiver coz she was halfway out of water. She wouldn't allow Mr Liow to carry her into the water too, and wouldn't even sit by the pool with her legs in it. Sitting with legs in the pool back in Tucson was no big deal to her, just like showering in Tucson was no big deal then, but she would scream and cry if I shower her now in Singapore. Hmmmm?

Since she didn't wanna be in the water, I suggested changing her into something dry and she could go play at the playground but she preferred to remain sexily dressed in her swimsuit and started playing with her cousins happily that way, so I let her be. The girls gave in a lot to her. Time flies...it didn't seem too long ago when they were her age and everyone else were coaxing and playing with them like they played with AN.

We dined in at my SIL's place. BIL went to pack dinner for us. AN was eating too slowly so I had to finish my food fast so I could feed her. While feeding her, MIL was scolding their helper in the kitchen for every little thing, from turning the tap down, to something which appeared to be a case of miscommunication that she keeps insisting the helper was trying to lie about and all.... Sigh.....she still seems to enjoy scolding people and the helper is getting it that day instead of my SIL. Being financially stable now stabilizes her emotions so much more stable too, so less people get it from her now. It was only my SIL 2 wks ago, and the helper this time.

I wonder if AN had been subconsciously listening to her scold the helper so much so that she's picking up the same attitude and tone of voice when speaking to my parents back here..hope not.

Before we know it, it was time to leave. It was good time of catching up, minus the hour or so of listening to seriously dressing down the helper got while I fed AN right outside the kitchen. It got on my nerves, got into my blood and I could feel myself losing patience with AN in the process while she ate. No good, too. And I thought the once-in-a-few-weeks tension was bad enough. Guess it was just that we are not staying with MIL, not because she's much easier to get along with now, than my mum.

It's the same...sigh...

Times like these make me miss having a place of our own. I miss our home once again...

Random Pictures

That's of her at Las Vegas, our last trip, while waiting for the yi yis to shop.


This is not the end....These boxes here total up to 40boxes at most and there were more upstairs..We left with 92 boxes... And then we have Mr Liow and AN and the 2 furkiddos enjoying a nap on a cardboard after all the boxes finally left the house..

Ok, I'm having problems getting used to blogger's new style of putting pictures and I can't seem to caption them!!! They should be dated in order..enjoy, while I try to figure out how to put pictures in properly the next time round.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 26: Ministry Day

This is our first ministry meeting since our return although we've already met the gang up before today. It was a good time of sharing and prayers.

We have new members who have been to India for mission work. I was distracted by AN on and off so did not get to hear the whole sharing but there were pictures along with the sharing so I had a visual idea how their work was like. Like Jonah (and some missionaries we know), he went somewhere else when God told him to go to India. He is Indian but wasn't keen to do work there when God told him to. God then spoke to his wife, which was further confirmation that the calling was not just an imagination. So they went with 3 young kid aged 3, 5 and 7 then. They revisited the places they were at that many years ago (his eldest is already near 20) and spent a few weeks there. Their main purpose was to train the Indians in areas of leadership and life skills.

They had been prepared with all the necessary certifications even before God called them to India. They only saw it when they realised they had the necessary credential to meet requirement to be accepted there. According to them, entering India as missionaries wasn't permitted. They welcome your skills and contributions but if you enter with religious intents.

Would I step out of my comfort zone, especially with kids now? Supra said it was actually easier when the kids were young. It used to be on my heart but as years went by, somehow I think my calling is to start with people near me..

It was dinner together after that. Felt like before except that there are addition of even more children now. It's fun watching them. AN had a good time with the girls and is still learning to do away with her "all boys are rough" mentality. I think she cried because Elijah simply touched her stroller (she was tired and cranky by dinner time) while I was away getting dinner for us but with minimum coaxing, she forgot about it and started tickling E. Soon, both started playing again.

AN had been asking for sweets a whole lot more since we returned. She had 3 pieces at least, each time we were at CJ's mum's wake, and my bro got her chocolate coatd sunflower seeds, Mr Liow's nieces have sweets at home to share with her. And that Sat night alone, she almost had a tiny tube of Menthos (a little girl just passed a tube to her...so sweet!)

Was glad she was willing to share with the girls and Elijah so each had one. And then she shared chocolate frap with her at Starbucks, and a chocolate muffin Pam got her for breakfast the next day that she wanted to have immediately. Oh my goodness...all the sugar. Was so thankful she did not crank up further with sugar rush.

And for increasing consumption of more sweet stuff, I noticed stains that do not appear removable by simple brushing now *oops* We brush her teeth twice a day by the way, but still, those stains... It wasn't just sweets that cause them. She's been either asking for milk or peanut butter bread AFTER we brush her teeth every night and I would be too lazy to brush her teeth again after that. It's no wonder... I'm trying not to be lazy anymore, so she has to drink and eat whatever she wants BEFORE brushing her teeth, or I will have to make her brush her teeth after that.

So that was our Sat. Long day out but fun :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 25: Baby & Kiddo Update

The little boy is getting increasingly active. He just can't stop moving. And he's situated somewhere near enough to make breathing a little hard for me nowadays: I have to straighten my body to catch my breaths.

His movements can be seen from the surface by now, since couple of weeks ago in fact. I like how AN comes close to my tummy to speak to him or play with him and when she does that, HE RESPONDS WITH EVEN MORE MOVEMENTS! It's cute watching how they 'interact'.

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I brought her into the room at 1.30pm to rest because she said she was tired but she wasn't as easily coaxed into rest without 'mem mem'. She started fidgeting, and then telling me LOTS of things and kept coming in and out of the room.

Mum managed to bath her (that is an achievement given that she will not even allow anyone else to help her to the potty!!) while I took an hour's nap. My little stinky bum bum then had to come into the room, rouse me up from my nap and made me sniff how nice her hair smell after the bath (even though mum did not dare use shampoo on her in case she scared her off the first time she bathed her). She then told mum she wanted to sleep and came in to lie beside me in the room. For the nap, in case she wet the bed, she put her own training pants on before lying beside me. hehe.

But she wasn't really sleepy enough to fall asleep by herself and started talking to me again. She must be feeling bored. haha!

I woke up to keep her company. Would appreciate a little more time to nap-in but this power nap was good enough.

We played a little more while waiting for Mr Liow to come back. Before he did, she got cranky and asked to sleep. That was already 5pm and I didn't want her to nap too late else she would have a problem sleeping at night. Set the timer for an hour's nap which she agreed to so that she could wake up by 6.30pm.

She was really tired and was knocked out the moment she hit the pillows, without even bothering to ask me for mem mem. Cool.....so the trick now is to tire her out totally so that she forgets about mem mem.

Nights are now mem mem-free! She no longer nags about mem mem. In fact now without nursing to sleep, she is able to sleep through the night without waking up. In the past, she would wake up in the middle of the night to search for them..

That's about all for the day. It's weekends again...We love weekends....who doesn't? hehe.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 24: School search updates

Got a call from Cambridge CDC at Sengkang regarding AN's nursery enrollment. They are also fully booked (what's with all the hurry? I should have started sourcing since before we came back.) but the lady who contacted me suggested I enroll AN from Nov since it's holiday period and some parents withdraw due to the holiday seasons and with older kids graduating, places become available again.

I don't quite understand what she meant. I though once a kid is in that school, holidays or not, parents do not withdraw them just to go on holidays, or do parents these days do that? Also, what have graduatin kids got to do with next year's nursery class, I wonder. Don't kids graduate from nursery every year to make room for the next batch of students? Either way, I think I hear higher possibilities of getting AN into this school.

This Mrs Chia was very helpful over the phone. I've arranged to meet her on Tues to check out the place with AN. She said it's a whole stretch of kindergarten where they are situated, so I can go 'shopping' around a little after meeting her. Sounds good.

We were actually considering another one that's very near to FERNVALE, at Jalan Kayu. But school fees for that school is on a high side: $1550/term. Why is it that nursery classes cost more than my diploma huh?? Even though Cambridge and our church's nursery appears more affordable, they still amount to higher fees annually than what I spent.

Have I mentioned that we are more than 10 behind others on the waitlist at both PLMC and SKMC?I would prefer to send AN to church nursery if given a choice. Mr Liow agrees too that it will be nice AN learns about our Lord as she embarks on her path of education. This is one aspect of her life that is no less important than phonics and life-skills building.

We are still praying for a place in PLMC. Else... We'll pray about the rest later :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 23: AN at her best

She has to be spoken to about her attitude towards my parents at least once a day since a week after we came back. I'm glad that she's been watching herself today and so far up to this point (6pm), she had been rather polite with her speech and manners towards them.

Update about AN's weaning:
Last evening at about 6.30pm, she told me she was sleepy. It was too early for her to go to bed so I tried to distract her, till she insisted that she's going to fall asleep by 7.30pm. I took her into the room and she asked me: "Mummy, it's not night time yet. I can drink mem mem to sleep right?"

So there is a reason why she's asking to sleep so early!! Oh my goodness, this little rascal has actually been planning ways out of our rules!

I told her that it's going to be night and mem mem is only allowed for day time, mostly naps in the afternoon. She then decided that she is no longer sleepy and asked to go out to join the family in the living room. No, she was not sleepy at all, from the looks of how active she was the moment she stepped out of the room.

By night when it is finally time to sleep (about 10pm which is a big improvement from the past few days when she would only fall asleep near or past midnight), she was good and mentioned nothing about mem mem. We chatted for a while, she asked to have music from my Ipod touch and started moving to her music. In no time, she stopped moving much and soon, I was able to turn the music off.

And slept through the night without waking up to ask to suckle.

Seriously, there had been lots of changes that AN had to adapt to: weather change and cultural change (AN had been refusing to sit by herself at coffeeshops and foodcourts etc coz she thinks the seats/highchairs are dirty, and she puts her fingers in her ears sometimes and complains that it's noisy when we eat out, and not to mention, really dirty toilets that I'm also trying to cope with. Only toilets at shopping malls are of certain hygiene standard..). She's also learning mandarin from our families (and she's been replying bits and pieces of mandarin to my parents), learning to sleep without mem mem, learning to live in a totally new environment, learning to live with a fan (she hates it when the fan blows at her and is learning to get used to it), and soon, she will have even more to learn about sharing with her little brother and tolerating his cries whole day long, and school, and our place once it's renovated.

Sounds overwhelming for a 3 yr old.

I have to constantly remind myself to allow AN time to adjust slowly and not get overly particular when she acts up. I'd probably not be able to cope well too if I had to relearn everything all over again.

My girl's actually doing rather fine except for how she's reacting to more attention than she asks for (my mum's paranoidal restrictions over tiny issues). Pray with me for wisdom to train her in the right way to deal with situations with the right attitude.:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 22: AN went out with mum again

This being the second time. I'm ok with wherever mum brings her, as long as it's not to the temple. Mum comes home looking troubled and upset each time after she returns from the temple. Seriously, I am not sure what sort of temple she's visiting. I won't rate her behaviour as 'peaceful' as she described whenever she comes back. I'm not the only one who thinks that. The whole family (Mr Liow, bro, even my dad) feels the same too...

Mum said they will be going to meet my 7th aunt and I'm taking her word for it.

AN was like a little angel when she left the house with mum. She had her sling bag with biscuits and a bottle of water with her, and was "ok" with everything that I told her to (to behave and not be rude to grandma, to listen to grandma's instructions, to remember to drink her water etc). I think I'm going to suffer from separation anxiety when she goes to school next year (if we can find her one).

She called home less than 15mins to check on me -______-". That's what she said when I asked her why she called. Before hanging up, she reminded me that I have not given her the Klacid (last 2nd dose) and that I must remember when she comes back, asked me to call her if I need anything or if I miss her and asked me to behave myself at home (hehe. so cute).

My little girl was an angel last night too! She went to sleep all by herself without asking for mem mem at all. I mean, NOT AT ALL, not even in the middle of the night! She slept through all the way till morning, and woke up at about 9.30am. By then, it was bright and she actually was awake enough (even though she still looked half asleep) to ask me sleepily: "Mummy, it's morning now. I can have mem mem in the morning right?"

I said ok but limited that to 10secs on each side which she was quite ok with, after whining for a while. She then went back to sleep on her own after that for the next hour.

I'm praying that she will be able to go to sleep on her own again tonight. Once she's used to it, I'll slowly cut down on her afternoon nap nursing.

Day 21: Search for a School, CJ's mum's wake, weaning update

Uh-oh!!!!

I just called Paya Lebar Methodist Church to enquire about their nursery classes and places are all TAKEN!!! F.U.L.L! We're more than 10 behind on waiting list. And I was still taking my time to find out about schools for AN.

Next up on my list is Sengkang Methodist's nursery classes. The person in charge will only be back tomorrow so I won't be able to know it AN will get a place by then. From the looks of it, I don't think so.

We are hoping to place AN in PLMC as first choice coz we're serving there. Am praying for an opening somehow. Else I'm going to be a very KS mum next year and enroll her as soon as registration starts for Kindergarten. It will be best for sure, if she can start with nursery there. It's going to be easier transiting into Kindergarten the following year with less changes.

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We went to attend auntie's wake in the evening. Knowing how superstitious my mum is, we decided not to let her know we were going for that. My dad knew and was open about it, and he also reminded us to keep it from mum.

Thank God for a saved soul. Auntie looked so different from our last gathering 2 yrs ago. She lost so much weight. I wouldn't be able to recognize her on my own. Finally her battle with pain is over. CJ did mention they had already been prepared for this day and he's relieved that she's no longer suffering.

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AN is such a darling today! She sat through the few hours we were there. She pleaded to go home after about 2 hrs but did not fuss. We spent almost 4 hrs at the wake and AN kept herself busy snacking on peanuts and melon seeds.

Once in the car, she asked me: "Mummy, I cannot have mem mem at night anymore right?" I said yes and she did not argue or bargain with me. Usually if we were out till this late, she would naturally ask to nurse and fall asleep in the car. Not this night. I was so pleased with her willingness to accept reality and told her I love her so much I can still hug her. She returned my hug for a while before pushing me away and then told me: "Mummy I want to look out of the window."

once home, she had milk, spent a short while colouring and then went to sleep on her own. No more bargaining for 10secs more like past few nights! It is so amazing how calm she is tonight! I pray she will sleep well without waking up to nurse tonight and that this is the start of the end of her night feeds.

I know I am already missing her so close to me. My baby us growing up, and I can't stop her. I am thankful for the 3 over years of privilege to give as much as I can to my baby girl. Now it's time I concentrate on my boy like I used to concentrate on AN. There are other aspects of AN's life now, more than nursing and night feeds.

Life is amazing. Fragile, but amazing...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 20: House Hunting

Before I sounded my father out about his willingness to shift with us, the guys (Andy & Mr Liow) had already made an appointment with an agent to see a clusterhouse in the afternoon today. Since the appointment had been made, we went ahead with house viewing despite chances of shifting being almost zero now. We can't afford to get a cluster house on our own without having to sacrifice a comfortable spending pattern we have always enjoyed, plus we certainly do not need a 4 storey terrace with 5 rooms for our family of 2 with 2 young kids. Cleaning alone is going to kill me. Bro will not be able to share half the cost with us as well if our father isn't willing to sell the flat either.

Still, house viewing is gratifying. Each time we step into a showflat, we get all excited and start counting how much we can afford to squeeze ourselves (till dry), to get a beautiful apartment with that sort of facilities and tenure (if we seriously are thinking of profitting from future sale).

We saw The Waterline at Serangoon (or Kovan. Can't remember coz we just so happened noticed the showflat while driving around. The agent stood us up for the 1pm appointment.). They were showing their larger unit and boy was it impressive! It got even my brother interested even without funds at that point. Agent says for FH properties, $1000 psf is a steal. Plus it's soft launch now and there are additional discounts for staying within a 3km radius and another 1% less for multiple purchase, there is a total of 12% off which makes the prices even more desirable for a FH property.

But that makes the unit we were drooling over, at least $2M!! Mr Liow is entertaining thoughts of getting a unit about about as big as our HDB now, and that's still slightly over $1.2M. Waterline TOP in 2013 so we can sell our HDB by then and take a (slightly) lower loan.

To me, if my HDB is as tastefully interior decorated as a showflat, I'm more than contented. Hehe. Some of those units come with private pools. How cool is that?? But still, good to have but not something we can't do without.

We left for another viewing, something we originally set out for. We had no appointment for this second unit but managed to find an agent to bring us in. This is $433 psf! *drools at price* and I've not mentioned it's also FH! The pool is right outside beyond the balcony and we could unlatch a door to jump right into it! Again, how cool!!

It's a total of 44xx sft for 3 level + basement so each usable area is effectively smaller than the 2xxx sft Waterline showflat we saw earlier. Plus the original fittings of this terrace house wasn't impressive and workmanship in putting everything together wad shobbily done...

One can expect a budget of another $100k at least, to have it madeover to the standard of Waterline showflat. This still ends up cheaper than Waterline after factoring in the Reno for double the floor area.

But rooms are so small...something I do not like. If we have to shift, I want to have bigger rooms in future. There's too much 'wasted' space in this house (part of the flr area goes to the 'private parking' for 2 cars)

The guys went ahead with the calculation while mum and I watched over AN. This girl happily went declaring to my mum that these were our houses. One of the rooms in wateline was covered in a similar carpet to our ST home in Tucson and she excitedly exclaimed smiling so widely that "this is the carpet we have at home right?" She then started distributing room and said her little brother will sleep in the same room as her (on carpet) till he's old enough to have his own room.

And at the second house with a door that opens to the pool from the balcony, she kept pleading to go swimming...

This girl was totally being very interested. But sorry, my girl, maybe we can afford these standard of living in a few more years, after you grow up.

That was our day. I had fun fantasizing.

But towards end of the day, Mr Liow got an SMS from CJ and it was bad news. His mum passed away. I have no details but I think Mr Liow mentioned that she stopped breathing and the doctor was on the way.

Mr Liow was shaken. The guys used to visit CJ's home often as teenagers and you can say CJ's mum watched them grow up. I joined them after Mr Liow and I started dating. She saw me as a stranger visiting along with Mr Liow, then we got married, and she even carried AN that CHinese New Year before we left Tucson. She had already recovered from cancer then but the evil things came back. We didn't even know she was very ill in the past year till the guys met up 2 weeks ago.

I'm tearing now as I type. All those memories of her during our visits, and her cooking. No matter when we drop by her place, there's always food for us. And she is such a good home manager I never recalled seeing domestic help. Usually there will be help when one stays in a terrace like them. I know I will cry for help if I was her.

We've not had the chance to visit her yet. My memories of her remain at when she was still healthy. CJ mentioned that she was constantly in great pain. This is probably a relief.

I think she's safely with the Lord now. It will be hard for the family from now on, but she is now safe from the pain. Praying that the Lord will comfort the family through this time of separation but we'll see her again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 19: Fruitful Day

Sort of.

We went down to place order for our tiles and shopped for toilet accessories after Mr Liow knocked off from work last evening. He came home quite on time actually but realised his wallet was in the office and had to rush back to PLAB. Rushed back here to meet Edwin at Sengkang MRT but Edwin was still caught up with work at Ponggol. We went there to meet him but he was 40mins late. Mr Liow was a little frustrated by then because he had been rushing here and there, from office back home, from home back to office to get his wallet, from home to Sengkang again, and then to Ponggol, only to have to wait another 40 mins.

He joked that with even with a larger budget for reno this time (as compared to our first time renovating our home), no one would take this job (Edwin was too busy to take it and offered his help out of goodwill and by the time we knew Edwin had no time for us, it was too late to get another ID to come up with designs and plan for things to happen by early Aug). And it is indeed hard for Mr Liow who has no experience at all, to coordinate when he doesn't know who he should be contacting first to do what before what else should happen in a renovation. All that, plus new responsibilities at work..

So anyway, we got the more important things settled (tiles and toilet stuff) and once these items are up, it's almost live-in condition for us. There will only be some carpentry work here and there and I think we are almost done.

We went to check out our pebble wash which had been hidden under the platform at the entrance of our home for 6 years. We were hoping to keep the pebble wash because we still like it that way, provided the stains that have been accumulated over the years can be cleaned off. It appears to me that the stains looks like they are not permanent and will come off with some cleaning (be it professional or with household cleaners) but I can't be sure. The contractor will check tomorrow, if I'm not mistaken, and then let us know.

It was a funny sight when we stepped in the house. All the tiles had been hacked off, including the sink and toilet bowl in our common toilet. AN laughed when she saw the toilet bowl lying lifelessly among the cracked tiles. She commented loudly: "Mummy!! They took out our toilet bowl!" and started laughing.

After leaving our place, we went to expo, supposedly to order the swing and slide door for our shower area but we ended up not getting it because it seemed a little costly and we may get to have something nicer at similar prices. So the shower area is still pending.

Before meeting (part of) the TP gang inthe evening, we aimlessly walked into a condo showflat to take a look. The units are too small to attract us, and prices now are definitely above our comfort level to pay off, especially now when there's another tummy to fill.

And the investment plan between bro and Mr Liow is likely to not work out this time because dad is not keen to sell their home. I understand his concern: at this old age, having his own home is a security. Even my MIL is reluctant to sell her home despite being loaded for the same reasons: security (in case she needs somewhere to escape to, there's always home).

So, we can continue to have what we want in Fernvale without wondering if we're actually doing a potential new owner a favour by doing everything up nicely for them. I love our Fernvale home and can stay there forever, once it's clean and nice again.

It was a nice time catching up with part of the gang! We felt like we have never left. This is our family. The kids are all grown up and the new addition, Darius is soooooo cute!! It'd amazing how 'filial' Phillip is to his darling Darius. I thought it's usually 'daddy's girl', but in this case, it's 'daddy's boy'.

AN is again, the lightest, bEing even lighter than Darius who is slightly over 1 yr old

-______-"

It was late by the time we finished dinner, so the ladies went home with the kids while the guys continued to chill out with their soccer match.

Looking forward to meeting them and the rest of the gang again.

Time to change my disciplinary tactics

It's been time out for a year and seems to have worked but as AN grows older, she becomes more stubborn. As she becomes more stubborn, she's also becoming increasingly rude and is lately starting to get slightly physical by sweeping or slapping things or hands away from her when she doesn't like the attention.

As I lay down now, I wonder what I've been doing wrong to seem to have made her even more I'll disciplined than she was at 2 yrs old.

I'm glad I came across an article (let's see if I can find it again) that suggests that if time out does not work on a 3 years old anymore, it may be time to change tactics. At this age, they are able to reason and what worked in the past may not work anymore. The article suggested that at this age, they observe and imitate. I guess her behaviour now is pure reflection of myself as I discipline her.

I hardly hit her but I did 2 days ago when she was extremely stubborn and when I hit her, she daringly told me: "I don't like mummy to hit me!" I smacked her thigh once for each time she told me that. I told her I had to smack her because she does not listen to me anymore and she replied that she heard me but just did not want to do it my way. Discipline time is now debate time with her insisting that she is not in the wrong.

At this point, I guess, punishment is no longer a good way to discipline her.

From now on, I'm going to try listen to her more and tolerate her nonsense (to see if she had been mirroring my reaction when she misbehaves). I'll try positive parenting. Try searching online and reading books and you'll find all sorts of conflicting solutions to bringing up a child, and one tactic may work for a while but not forever!

I hope to be more cheerful than firm this time round (some parenting guides tell u that u have to show the kid who is in charge, some tells u that u are a friend, some tells you that you are like a coach to guide and not to discipline). I'm desperate. If one doesn't work anymore, then forget it.

Let's see, maybe instead of time out, I'll try going into a room together with her to listen to what she has to say for misbehaving. Maybe I'll tell her where she went wrong patiently instead of firmly, whether or not she is willing to acknowledge that she hears me instead of firmly insisting that she replies me if she understands me.

I feel very terrible each time I recall how I seem to be traumatizing her. To me, it's discipline but to her, it may be that mummy's overpowering her. For a child, I wonder if I terrified her so much she had to protect herself by being defiant..

I want her to know that I love her...I'll take a different approach tomorrow..

Update about her weaning off night nursing:
She had her suckles in the afternoon for short periods and I reminded that there will be no mem mem for nights anymore.

She agreed but as hours passed, she pleaded with me that she wants mem mem still.

At midnight, she tried to not sleep (like past 2 days) and told me she wanted to drink something, and then she wanted to "colour something". Just when I brought 2 books out to read to her, she said she was sleepy (it was way past her bedtime, so she has to be sleepy)

We struck a deal: 10 secs on each side. She kept her promise and did not ask for anything else. I wanted to stroke her back to sleepy but she angrily refused to let me do it. Minutes later, she angrily said: "Go away. I don't want you." She was facing away from me so I am not too sure if she was sleep-talking or talking to her bolster which is probably in her way..

This "I don't want you" concerns me because I'm worried she will turn into an unloving and unhappy child.

I am going to change how I discipline her. Will do anything to help AN recognize that we love her despite her tantrums.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Breakdancing foetus

Our boy has been breakdancing whole night long in my belly...

One kick here, one bump there. There had been a few movements so intense that I actually jumped along with him, while lying down sleeping last night.

AN instinctively comes hug and kiss my belly whenever I flip my t-shirt up a little, and she 'plays' with him when she feels him move as she hugs my belly.

Feels good, and I pray AN will be a good elder sister like she appears to be now.

Seems like this boy is really going to be more active than AN is.

Day 18: more changes for my poor baby

She was aware I'm firm about reducing night nursing time and asked for all sorts of things to do before she goes to sleep. From 9pm, we went into the room. She asked for stories one after another, asked to do her 'homework' (some kumon workbooks that I got for her and she loved them: mazes, tracing, join the dots etc), asked for bread and then milk ..finally near midnight again this time, she felt sleepy.

There was less whining to suckle this time. I allowed her 10 secs on each side and let her count. She usually lets go before 10 secs is up. She sobbed a little after her '20 secs' and curled into my arms to rest. I sang her some songs, took about half hour and she was asleep. Not much fuss this time.

The first night of 'no mem mem' she couldn't sleep well. There were tantrum fits in the middle of her sleep (with her eyes shut...) and cries telling me: "I don't want to sleep by myself!".

Last night was fairly manageable. She woke up and dreamily pleaded for it. I gave but limited her to 10 secs each time. She would let me count, let go at 10, and then continue sleeping by herself. She still needs me by her side though. Will work on that after she's not too needy about nursing.

I'm happy to see that AN has all the attention she can get from my parents and bro. Take a little load off me at times when she's willing to leav my side. But when there are so many people around, it's hard to discipline her.

My mum is one big distraction. She nags when I discipline AN but when AN is rude to her, she grumpily scolds AN. When I'm pointing out AN's bad behaviour to her, mum will be interrupting at a side, asking AN to "look at what's on TV!" She thinks I need not be so strict with AN but then gets upset when AN misbEhaves.

Does she think well-behaved children fall from the sky?? She keeps comparing AN with my cousin's daughter when the girl was younger, how the girl would follow mum around and was well mannered. The last I met the girl, she was aloof and rude to her domestic helper. Each child goes through different stages of growing up, so I will not comment on how her parents discipline her. Moreover I am up to my neck disciplining mine now, it's no business of mine how others discipline theirs.

My point is, see a mistake, correct it on the spot. See a behaviour deserving of praise, praise her. Mum keeps distracting AN when I'm trying to correct her bad behaviour and keeps talking and talking when AN is in the midst of telling me something. It's no wonder AN is not very patient with her (AN goes: "I'm still talking!Keep quiet!", which sounded rude, so I have to correct her tone, and to which mum is obviously not aware of and continues talking to AN despite tension arising. Mum has poor SA.)

Told mum that kids probably enjoy their grandparents better if they do not stay together. Kids act up in front of people they are familiar with, most of the time, right? Mum thinks otherwise, and says she visits my cousin very often. How often? 3-4times a week? How does that compare to living together?

AN enjoyed my MIL's company whenever we met (on 2 separate days so far since coming back) but wasn't keen to let MIL help her with anything anyway. Different kids, different behaviour. Plus I've already noticed the trend that mum hasn't noticed and wouldn't acknowledge when I point it out to her.

So whenever AN is rude to her, she goes: "U want to go playground?" does that teach AN that her behaviour was rude? It doesn't link at all!! She only goes "yes!!" at the mention of the playground, and then continues to be rude again the next time.

Mr Liow and bro has plans to move in together in a bigger house for investment purposes. I have my reservations because I am unable to teach my children under the persistent interference from my mum. But I agree to the arrangement because I feel it's time I do my part as a daughter, to give them a better life now that it's possible, and we can take turns to care for my parents so my brother doesnt have to bear the whole load.

This conflict of disciplining is affecting me and I am trying to tolerate it till our Reno is done and we shift home. I will have nowhere to hide should the arrangement become reality.

I am confused...I want to take care of my parents but I want the freedom to be a mother to my kids as well. Now mum tries to dictate what I feed AN, how I discipline AN, where I bring AN, and what time AN sleeps or wakes up (coming into the room to check on AN and AN IS A LIGHT SLEEPER!!!!!)

I've talked to her about not interferring when AN is being disciplined and we've had some tensions since (thank God she's not in one of those walk-out-on-the-family moods lately). I hate it that when I'm already boiling from disciplining a misbehaving kid, and my mum has to add on to my temper by banging the door at me for disciplining my own child...

I can hide for as long as a year. After that, these issues will come back again. I pray for wisdom and even more patience now, to handle cranky kids and my aging mum...

Thank God my dad is a good listener. He listens, anD understands. I appreciate my dad for being a man of few words, with impressive patience (he can tolerate my mum for longer than bro and I before exploding). AN goes hug him on her own accord but not my mum, something that mum's ego is bruised over (coz most kids who visit, like mum better than my dad).

I pray for wisdom to handle these relationships, and I pray that the Lord will lead us in the right way. Given a choice, I don't want the profits from whatever investments the guys are planning for... I really just want peace and a happy family...