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Gasp, Only One Year Left!

I used to think that I still had a lot of time with the children… After all, Kor Kor will only be starting school in Primary 1, i.e. when he is seven years old (actually, when he is six years and 10 months old). As a stay-at-home-mum, that means I have many, many days of 24/7 with him!

But to my horror, the past year had zoomed past. The years before that… I was either pregnant or taking care of a very small baby, so I forgive myself 😛 But at the beginning of 2014, Meimei was already sleep-trained. By June she was no longer breastfeeding, which freed up a lot of time. I had tried to be more purposeful in our homeschooling – still not going the academic path, but nevertheless I had hoped to be more structured and productive. But looking back on the year… Hmm, we did many interesting activities and visited many interesting places, sure. But they felt rather scattered and random.

And you know what, I did not manage to fulfil even one of my 2014’s New Year resolutions. This is very jia lat, cos quite a few of them are supposed to have direct impact on the kids’ well-being, such as learning to cook better (health and appetite), and learning sewing (to teach them a new skill). While a few resolutions have direct impact on my well-being, a happy and content mother would benefit the children too.

Over the past few days as I read others’ 2015 New Year resolutions, I had initially not wanted to make any for this year. What’s the point when I fail to achieve them, or even think much about them over the course of the year? But since I do want to be purposeful in how I spend the time with my kids… and I did feel a kick on the butt when I realised I had fulfiled none of the previous year’s(!!!), here goes…

First and foremost, I hope to be a better mother to my children. Gentle, patient, kind, soft-spoken, nice, understanding. 100% difficult. But I must try.

Remember structure and priorites when planning activites/outings. Main focus shall be Making, including woodwork, general tinkering, sewing, Lego, and hopefully robotics if I can figure it out (ha). But around mid-year I have to start on academic preparation for Kor Kor’s P1 journey. I have done daily planning for January. To do for every month.

Health is very important. The usual – eat better, exercise more! Sleep is also very important, but I know I cannot 😛

ONWARDS for the new year! All the best for your resolutions!

exactly one year to P1…..

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Honey, I Brainwashed The Kids

Kor Kor loves to watch televsion, to play on the iPhone, to watch other people playing games, etc. But I don’t like the kids to spend time on such gadgets, especially since it’s bad for their eyes too.

A few months ago, we started letting the boys play on the iPhone for a while at night as part of our reward chart system. Now, the chores/habits we wanted to train are pretty much ingrained in the boys, but the iPhone has also become part and parcel of our nightly bedtime routine. I don’t begrudge them the 5-10 minutes lah, but I still want to let them know how I feel about it. So…

Me: “Can don’t play iPhone tonight?”

Boy: “Why? I want to play!”

Me: *disappointed look* OK… Just that I don’t want you to become stupid… Playing too much on the phone makes you stupid…”

In the beginning, the boys just went ahead and played anyway. But recently, usually just as I am finishing up their evening shower, they would tell me (separately) “Mummy, today I don’t want to play iPhone! Because I don’t want to become stupid!”

So nowadays, the norm is No More iPhone at night! Yay! An extra Hooray here because it means we cut 15 minutes off the bedtime routine, which means we have more time to read more books, or if it’s already late (after an outing), we can send the boys to bed earlier!

Of course I am ecstatic that the boys are giving up their iPhone allowance on their own accord. Just want to clarify for the record that I have nothing against iPhone games per se – it’s an individual choice, and ‘iPhone makes you stupid’ is just a very simplified way of explaining my preferences to the kids.

The thing here is, our words really have a lot of influence on our children. Even though I didn’t impose my preferences on them, didn’t make it sound like it’s a horrible thing, just expressed my opinion in a mild manner, they still took my advice in the end. And this is a big deal, cos iPhone time is a big deal to Kor Kor.. gosh, how many other ‘small-deal’ things in life are we influencing the children???

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Personality-Based Parenting

Often, we see articles proclaiming a certain style of parenting is THE way to go… a particular way of putting the child to sleep… how/what to feed the child….  when/whether to toilet train…. And these are only the basics of childrearing!

There are times when I feel guilty and inadequate when I see what other parents are doing with their child… for example, crafts are definitely my weakness. And yep, I know many of you have probably felt somewhat guilty/inadequate when you see what I do with my kids.

But, when I look at your children, when I look at my children, when I think about you/me as a parent in general, I don’t see bad parents. What I do see are different parents.

I have a high tolerance for mess, so I have no problems letting my kids play with mud or sand or flour.

I can’t do crafts, and I don’t like arty stuff, so I won’t spend the time doing crafts with my kids.

I love sports, so I am very keen and diligent in giving my kids such opportunities.

I am not the sort to heart-pain my kids, so they don’t get much sayang-ing when they fall down or bang their head somewhere.

I am naturally energetic (even though I complain a lot about being tired, haha) so I do time-consuming and messy activities with my kids on top of housework.

I am way more task-oriented than people-oriented, so I don’t spend time lying next to the children and waiting for them to fall asleep.

It’s all based on my personality, my preferences, my choices. Though one could argue that my decisions are influenced by theories or parenting experts’ advice, the information still has to go through my filter. Other than negligent, abusive or obssessive-compulsive parents, I would say there is nothing wrong per se with parents’ choices, just a matter of preferences, right?

Many friends have told me that they just can’t do what I am doing or what I have done (in a positive way, as in they do want to do it). Same same, there are many things at which I go ‘wow’ but I know I definitely won’t be able to do what the other mummy is doing.

So, there is no good or bad, right or wrong, we are just different : )

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Mummy Guilt: It’s All In The Mindset

Every day while I was preparing lunch or dinner, I would try to rush so that I could spend more time with the kids instead of with the stove. But somehow, I usually still ended up with next to no time to play with or just sit with the kids. And that made me feel guilty – I was supposed to be a stay-at-home-MUM! Not a stay-at-home-COOK!

But try as I might, I just couldn’t manage to squeeze out extra time.

Then one day, I had an Eureka moment when things just fell into place for me. There’s nothing wrong with spending time cooking good food for my children! It’s as much a part of my duties as a mother as spending time with the kids.

Fast food, processed food, takeaways would take less time to prepare. But I want to give my children healthy REAL food.

Cooking just the same old same old dishes would take less time to prepare. But I want to expand my children’s repetoire. As it is, Kor Kor is already a very picky eater. I am very encouraged cos I notice him trying more new foods nowadays. Maybe because he’s resigned to mummy’s many new dishes 😛

Very simple dishes would take less time to prepare. But I want my children to appreciate the process (the fine art!) of cooking and to learn to cook well eventually. And of course, I want to whet their appetites so that they will eat more!

Image source

Image source (By Robin Green, LAc. of KidsLoveAcupuncture.com, Reprinted with Permission from Robin Green)

 

Ultimately, what we mummies do is always for the good of our children!

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Life Of Mum… In Photos!

8AM Breakfast. I think Meimei is trying to imitate my dazed expression. LOL

8AM Breakfast. I think Meimei is trying to imitate my dazed expression. LOL

 

830AM After breakfast. Sigh

830AM After breakfast. Sigh

 

9AM The boys get to watch some TV after breakfast, and they usually choose Thomas.

9AM The boys get to watch some TV after breakfast, and they usually choose Thomas.

 

910AM My morning coffee

910AM My morning coffee

 

920AM Hanging the laundry while the kids are watching TV. Very lucky today, cos usually Memei doesn't let me go outside without her!

920AM Hanging the laundry while the kids are watching TV. Very lucky today, cos usually Memei doesn’t let me go outside without her!

 

930AM Yesterday suddenly thought of letting Meimei play with flour! Setting up

930AM Yesterday suddenly thought of letting Meimei play with flour! Setting up

 

945AM Preparing the ingredients for lunch

945AM Preparing the ingredients for lunch

 

10AM Meimei's first flour play!

10AM Meimei’s first flour play!

 

1030AM Meimei down for nap. The boys want to continue playing with flour. So we didn't have our lessontime.

1030AM Meimei down for nap. The boys want to continue playing with flour. So we didn’t have our lessontime.

 

1050AM They usually have their morning snack around 10am, but were too engrossed just now

1050AM They usually have their morning snack around 10am, but were too engrossed just now

 

1115AM Helping with lunch preparation

1115AM Helping with lunch preparation

 

1140AM They ask to play with stickers

1140AM They ask to play with stickers

 

12NN Meimei up and eager to join in!

12NN Meimei up and eager to join in!

 

1210PM Steaming tofu & minced pork

1210PM Steaming tofu & minced pork

 

1215PM Chicken wings in my trusty Airfryer

1215PM Chicken wings in my trusty Airfryer

 

1230PM Lunch!

1230PM Lunch!

 

1PM Wash up time again

1PM Wash up time again

 

105PM Meimei doing her own exploring

105PM Meimei doing her own exploring

 

105PM The boys at our Sodor Island

105PM The boys at our Sodor Island

 

130PM The scene that greets me when I finish the washing up

130PM The scene that greets me when I finish the washing up

 

140PM Kor Kor being very serious about it

140PM Kor Kor being very serious about it

 

220PM Send the boys in for nap/quiet time and breastfeed Memei before putting her down for nap.  Blanching pork ribs for dinner's soup and clearing out expired ingredients

220PM Send the boys in for nap/quiet time and breastfeed Memei before putting her down for nap.
Blanching pork ribs for dinner’s soup and clearing out expired ingredients

 

250PM Taking a break and checking FB

250PM Taking a break and checking FB

 

3PM Kor Kor is up (didn't sleep at all). We have a snack together

3PM Kor Kor is up (didn’t sleep at all). We have a snack together

 

320PM Asks to play with flour again

320PM Asks to play with flour again

 

345PM Didi up and joins Kor Kor

345PM Didi up and joins Kor Kor

 

350PM A rare break while the boys ignore me and Meimei still napping!

350PM A rare break while the boys ignore me and Meimei still napping!

 

430PM Cooking dinner while carrying Meimei *gloomy*

430PM Cooking dinner while carrying Meimei *gloomy*

 

6PM Out at the playground!

6PM Out at the playground!

 

830PM The kids are in bed. Cleaning up. (It is a blur of events after playground time, going through the bedtime routine, totally forgot about taking photos!)

830PM The kids are in bed. Cleaning up. (It is a blur of events after playground time, going through the bedtime routine, totally forgot about taking photos!)

 

9PM Folding clothes. Last chore of the day, yay!

9PM Folding clothes. Last chore of the day, yay!

 

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Free Range Kids

An interesting and thought-provoking book by Lenore Skenazy which I happened to pick up at the library. It’s about how parents have become overprotective and so many times, I went HMMM as I recognized some of the examples given, oops.

“You can’t be too safe!” as the modern-day parenting mantra. Better be safe than be sorry, right? I am guilty. I had thought about it and decided that I would pick up my kids from school until they finished primary school. That means they would have their mummy walking them home even at 12 years old. My worry wasn’t so much of them getting abducted etc, but more of peer influence. But perhaps I should reconsider. (As of now though, I don’t think I can bear to let Meimei walk home by herself. The boys, maybe still OK.)

‘The safest kids are the confident kids, and the confident kids are the ones who have been allowed out into the world where they develop street smarts and an air of ‘I can take care of myself.’ The author suggests that the best way to keep your kids safe is to worldproof your children, instead of trying to childproof the world. And that means to let go.

My eldest is only four years three months old now, so free-range or not, I can’t really let him go out on his own. Not even to the playground downstairs, cos he might not be able to find his way back! (Sudden thought: Or maybe he can’t because he has never got the chance to try and learn and practise? Hmmm.)

What I have been trying to do is to stop keeping an eye on him every minute. When we are at the neighbourhood playground, I resist the urge to look at him climbing every structure. (I do let the boys go off on their own at indoor playgrounds which are padded and enclosed.)

As usual, it’s the firstborn who has to blaze the trail for his younger siblings. I wonder how he will feel about freedom and independence when he gets older. Hopefully I still have a few years to figure things out!

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It’s Not Enough To Be Not Busy

Not attending school…. No enrichment classes… Hardly even any homeschooling (like ten minutes a day!) Sounds like my children are very free and leading a very relaxed & laidback life, right?

Well, I for one thought so. Until recently.

I had already started being more relaxed with the boys. To be more conscious of when I wanted to rush them, and to stop doing it. My main motivation though, was to reduce the frequency of tantrums and me scolding them, i.e. unpleasantness in general. I say ‘being’, because it is not enough that we are not busy, we have to make use of this unbusyness.

It is why the boys have been going to bed later. Because I do not want to rush them during the bedtime routine. When they still want to continue to play instead of brushing their teeth or drinking their milk etc, I wait. I wait instead of nagging at them or scolding them. (Which results in the entire bedtime routine being dragged out. And a very tired mummy.)

Then another mummy blogger wrote about her unhurried experience with her children, and I was almost drooling as I was reading. YES! That’s what I want for my children too!

OK, calm down a bit. Realistically, my kids are younger than hers and I need to be mindful of their naptimes & mealtimes etc. But it definitely won’t hurt anyone to occasionally skip a nap or even skip a meal, ya? As long as the kids are enjoying themselves and we do let them nap/eat when they want to, it should be alright!

I know the problem is me – Type A, task-oriented, punctual, coscientious… those are the words people often use to describe me. Easy for me to stick to a schedule, not so easy to be spontaneous and relaxed!

More inspiration here.

Linking up with A Juggling Mom

www.ajugglingmom.com