A MOTHER'S LIFESTORY: MEMORIES IN A BOTTLE

It has been a period of headaches, backaches and heartaches. That's why a 2 week long absence from any writing. There were lots of my mind, words to express and a spirited heart yearning to shout out my feelings - and therefore there has to be some sense of control and restraint when it comes to blogging, after all, it's LIVE to the world. And so I begin today's lifestory-

When I became a mom, memories of how my own mom brought us up when we were young flash back more frequently and I also started sharing them more often. I like to ask my mom about my grandparents and how they were, how they raised the children because a part of me now as a parent, want to learn from and be inspired by my own family and want to strengthen the bonds of family, hold tight onto our values.  Sadly I've realised this too late. I wished I was closer to them and that I could speak their language.

My mom told me my grandfather worked different kinds of jobs and so met many people from various backgrounds. One thing she remembered very clearly is that my grandfather used to regularly bring her along to visit his friend who lived near the Cantonment Police Station. And whenever they visited this friend, she will always get to drink a bottle of Fanta Orange. She really enjoyed the visits because as a kid, she liked sweet drinks and snacks.

This is my favourite story, no matter how short it is because it is the fondest memory that my mother had of her own father and she was smiling like a little girl again. A simple outing, a simple drink and yet full of loving memories. It is a reminder to me that it's not all the time about giving the big gifts, or holding the big celebrations, sometimes the simplest action touches the heart and leaves a legacy of love behind.

I'm sure my grandpa will be happy to know that my mom remembered those visits so fondly. That memory has a therapeutic effect on my mom too, perhaps that memory helped her to get through some tough days, on days when her children may have been very difficult to manage.

What memories will I create with my husband, my children? What memories do I want them to have of me, of us, of each other? And I hope those memories we have as a family, will continue to resonate in our hearts and continue the family's legacy of love.

HEADGEAR OF THE DAY: LIGHTNING MCQUEEN

Nat only read ONE Lightning Mcqueen story book and he was totally into the character. He has never even watched the whole 'Cars' movie. Either he really likes cars in general or he is super impressionable... maybe it's both. He puts on a mean look with his eyes and people mistake him for being angry - actually he is just pretending to be Lightning Mcqueen, in a serious race for the Piston Cup.

DIY HEADBAND

I'm not much of a girly girl now. I used to be when I was young but now I'm a minimalist. Dressing up just gets in the way when running around with the active kiddos. However recently, Noe kinda inherited my husband's hairstyle and has a boyish hairdo, so thought it might be nice to dress her up more girly but not super girlish because it's not my style. 

Remember those kiddo pants/leggings that I made? I still had leftover cloth so decided to make some headbands for Noe. And then I also used leftover ribbons collected from over the years to make some flowers. Trying to put the ribbon flowers together was a bit difficult, somehow I lack the girly power in me to do it, sheesh, and the tutorial I followed was meant for little girls. Then I sewed button studs onto the flowers and headband so that I could interchange the flowers.

Doesn't she look like one of the dancers in the movie 'Flashdance'? But alas, the cuteness moment is rather short-lived, after 2 hours, she pulled the headband off her head. Well, it was a good run and didn't cost anything to make since they were all recycled materials.  I shall attempt to wear another one for her on her birthday for some sweetness :) 

 
How to make ribbon flowers

How to make ribbon flowers

Check out the tutorials for the ribbon flowers which older children can make,  I think it is great for teaching simple sewing and the simple headband which just takes 15 minutes to make.

Free simple headband tutorial

Free simple headband tutorial

5 things i've embraced in parenthood

As Noe turns 1 year old next month, I'm already getting nostalgic of the newborn and infancy stage. I've been busy preparing her 1 year old birthday party and making a photo scrapbook for her, makes me reflect on the whole parenthood saga. Knowing that if I've another kid, I've to go through the whole process again and it's like those movies that keep having sequels.

Here are 5 things that no one ever told me when I was preparing for a newborn and preparing for to be a parent - no class, no books - and I wished someone did.

1. All Babies Cry Extremely Loud and All the Time

You probably think that your baby cries louder than any other baby in the world and cries the longest, the most frequent. My brother did tell me about this but it was only after the baby came out, well better late than never. One thing I couldn't handle was the incessant crying and sometimes I will go crazy literally. When number 2 came out, I told myself objectively that crying is a language and I need to understand and learn that language. The Dunstan Baby Language helped me a lot in this. Well, some people may not subscribe to it but I think it's the attitude and perspective behind the concept that's important to manage the crying.

2. Free Things Don't Come Easy - Breastmilk

I've learn that breastfeeding is a skill for both mother and child to learn. As mothers, we learn so much of breastfeeding and how to breastfeed. And then we take all the responsibility upon ourselves to breastfeed. When it doesn't work out, we blame ourselves. Truth is, the new mother is learning and the new baby is also learning. My lactation consultant told me that at day 3, my firstborne had developed a bad habit in using his tongue. And I spent 3 months trying to teach an infant how to correct his bad habit and it came with a lot of tears, struggles and tension. Finally when the second one came, I adopted a new mantra, breast is best but not at the expense of our health, and not at the expense of our bond.

3. You'll Never Ever Get to Sleep In Again

Maybe not never ever but not for the first 6 years of the child's life... I was really astonished at how the limits of the human body can be pushed to such a great extent when it comes to caring for another human being without any sleep. Days are nights, nights are days. I don't even keep track of dates and public holidays. The baby is having jet-lag and I'm trying to help him/her manage the jet-lag. And it's the nights are the toughest, it's when the energy level is the lowest, the brain power at its limit and the mood at its heightened sensitivity. During these nights are the times that I've prayed like never before because that's the only thing you can do, pray and hope for the best. 

4. Your Emotions Often Take Rollercoaster Rides

The variety of emotions, the ups and downs, I've never experienced them in such a way before. One moment, they're playing, the next day down with a fever and I'm worrying my butts off. One moment they're feeding well, 2 days later, they are fussing and I'm frantically cleaning the thrown food on the floor. We celebrate for a month when they sleep through the night, 3 months later they wake up every night looking for you. I've learned that these tiny people are human beings, not robots. They're learning, and being exposed to so many new things. Their bodies are changing and developing every single day. So I'm the constant for them, their safety net and I need to be responsible for how I express myself.

5. The Husband and Wife Needs to Support Each Other Mentally

In the antenatal classes, husbands are encouraged to attend with their wives so that they can learn how to support the wife during labour, care for the newborn like feeding and changing diapers, etc. But there is so little said about the psychological needs of the couple during this period of time. I don't think I could have ever made it through if not for a very understanding and supportive husband. Those times which I struggle to breastfeed the baby, just his presence with me is ever so reassuring even though he could not physically take over the task. And the times that the husband feels so helpless and alone, the wife tell him that he's still the man of the house. When the couple is happy, then the children are happy and you have a happy family.

And in this parenting journey, there is a beginning but there is no end. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. It takes a village to raise a child. But since that physical village is getting scarce, a virtual village through sharing online can also help families support each other. What are some things you will tell parents-to-be that will inspire them in kick-starting their journey?

shape and colour matching

Have you ever come across an activity that you wanted to do with your child, but then by the time you got to doing it with him, somehow he has already progressed and the activity is way too simple for him. Taken from Teachpreschool's "Exploring our shapes with blocks on table top", I made a similar kind of table stop setting but with a big piece of paper so that I can reuse it as and when I want to do the activity again. I did this with him when he 2.5 years old (about a year ago, so this is like a #throwback post :P) and he completed it like in super lightning speed and it was too easy for him so he got bored of it.

I attempted to increase his interest level by getting him to colour sort his trains, and obviously that was too easy as well, so in the end he created a 'map' and 'interchange' for his trains to travel about and park at. Well, at least it got him interested. But I didn't throw away the mat I made, it's still stored somewhere, perhaps one day I'll think of something of a higher level to engage him in or he can teach his sister how to do it.

So the moral of the story here, when it comes to kids, you can't procrastinate :P