Zara – The Girl Who Doesn’t Give Up

Let’s talk about my youngest and the one who doesn’t give up. Or more like #NeverGiveUp!

Zara is the more dominant and determined daughter among the two who will insist on getting whatever she wants whenever she wants. One who never take no for an answer. Many times I do try to take control of situations where I want it my way, and guess where these usually end? Hysterical crying little one! Zara always seem to win.

Unlike Zara, the elder sister is less aggressive but she will be reluctant to do things that she is not confident at. Like reading and being the centre of attention. She do have her never give up times – like that Sunday where I refused to bring them into the indoor playground after her weekly Eye Level class. She repeated “I want to go playground” multiple times from 1pm till 130pm! I kid you not!

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With such spirit and determination, I hope they will apply it the same when they enter the Singapore education system. 10 years of unavoidable school where they will be taught so many subjects that I do not find necessary after I am out in the real world! “Oh why do I have to learn this? I am not planning to be a politician what!” That was my exact sentiments when I was doing history and geography in school.

Over the past weeks, I have seen the stress and pressure of some P6 students and their parents, in my own home (my husband tutors a few of his ex-students) and on my Facebook feed. Both my husband and I agree that we will not pressure our girls to be top in school, or must hit our set targets. Like how my parents had brought me up, just do our best and pass the exams. It’s just one of the many passages of life as a Singaporean child. So chill and just do it!

I know this is just us thinking what we feel is right at present, that first PSLE in our household is still a long way to go, and with the changes and all that’s going to be taking place over these years, maybe things will be better. I look forward to a day where every child is seen as individual and they can choose what to pick up in school and what to drop since they really don’t like it. No matter what the future be like, as long as they grow up to be good ladies (like Mummy!), everything will be alright.


Photo credit to Lemon-film

From a recent panel discussion I attended, experts shared that the most important thing for a growing child (and every human being too) is to have breakfast! So simple right?

Having proper breakfast and eating habits are one of the factors in bringing up resilient healthy happy kids.

But this daily important ritual is not something we practice every day. Every morning the rush to get everyone ready for childcare and me to work is just too crazy already. Where got time for breakfast??? The girls in the household all feel that the 20mins more snooze is more satisfying than time for breakfast.

This must be addressed and improved in my family. Mummy me must remember that not all breakfasts are created equal and should look for healthier breakfast choices that are low in Glycemic Index (GI). Food with low-GI releases energy slowly and prevents the sugar level from rising or dropping too rapidly, helping us feel full, longer.

A bowl of cereal or a slice of whole grain with a cup of Milo with low fat milk is sufficient for a quick morning charge. For kids even if it’s just that small cup of Milo will do too. You know how kids always say no to healthy food but is ok to down that cup of yummy Milo. Oh and I am looking forward to the day where I see Milo truck all over Singapore for FREE (thanks to Nathan)!

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I hope our new morning routine will get better as we work on it together. Onwards to nurturing resilient girls who will never give up, just like Mummy!

If you would like to find out what went on during the panel discussion with Milo, you can check out this live recording from that morning on Facebook.

Things My Three Year Old Is Teaching Me

Zara officially turns three today.

Flashback to the day she was planned to come into this world (few weeks before she was due because of placenta previa) – the c-section procedure where you can hear and feel everything happening in the bright and cold operation room, that first cry of joy, the first touch with her in my arms and my first kiss on her tiny forehead. That day was magical and an emotional one for my husband and I.

Now a three-year-old, my little adult, who so often emits that strong mature aura that frightens me. Over these years I have learned and is learning so much from her. My pride and joy, my dearest baby girl Zara, thanks to you I’ve got a teacher that shows me what is it to live life with less stress and agony.

It’s ok to cry.

She is the drama queen in the house and in class. Every little thing that frustrates or irritates her will make her cry, and sometimes drive her crazy. She will cry, even if it’s just a short while, and there after she’ll be fine like nothing has happened. Learning from her anytime anywhere also can cry character, I have learned to sob and melt down when I have to. Whenever I have too much bottled inside me and didn’t know how to react I will just let myself go. After releasing those bottled up emotion and thoughts I get my focus back and am able to move forward. So cry when you want to, it helps one forget and move on.

Kickback, slither and lepak!

Zara sure lives up to her Chinese zodiac sign! A slimy slithering snake who is always ready to curl right into her act whenever wherever. The Mummy and Grandma are her favorite targets – slithering and twirling herself all around our body like a snake with its prey. She would throw herself in the most relaxed and bo-chup manner just to get that stretch or comfy rest on her back. Thereafter she’ll give a very satisfied smile to show how much she’s enjoying the moment in the comfort of our embrace. I do that whenever I can too, and it sure feels damn shiok.

Demand And You Shall Get It (Most of the time)

Being the youngest in the house usually means she get whatever she wants and is able to do whatever she want to do. Most of the time the girls will be keeping themselves occupied with toys, books or the iPads. Once a while, the girls will fight and cause havoc just because Zara wants whatever the sister is playing or using. Or the other way around. Usually when that happens, the one who cry the loudest or demands first win.

As we grow older, we somehow forget how to ask or demand for things. We have learned to take on responsibility on our own and avoid troubling others with our demand. But sometimes we really neeeded that extra help to make things work or a demand from family or friends to make oneself happier. I’ve learned to never be shy or afraid to ask for something, as long as it is legit and no harm caused, just ask and usually you’ll be surprised how much support and help you will get in return.

A big hug a day keeps bad thoughts away.

Every day we hug, a great big teddy bear kinda hug, for comfort. That few seconds of touch makes all bad happenings, thoughts and emotions go away. It is that magical. When Zara is feeling down, I’ll give her a hug and she would throw herself into my lap and surround herself with Mummy’s love. These contacts not only help calm her but also makes me forget my bad day and how tired I may be after a long day out for work.

Thank you Zara for teaching Mummy these little things and more in life, thank you for your love and hugs. Happy Birthday my feisty princess. Let’s grow old together. To an awesome year ahead!

Love Mummy.

Zara and That Bright Screen

We have 2 adults and 2 children living in the house. We have 2 iPad minis, 1 iPad, 4 mobile phones, 1 android tablet, 1 television, 3 macbooks and 1 laptop. The number doesn’t match up right?

I am always looking into either one of these bright screen every day, at least 14 hours a day. Looking into the screen for work, for play (Tsum Tsum anyone?), for entertainment (Viu lah what else!) and for communication (even the kids get to FaceTime their gramps few times a week). I find it impossible to live a day without looking into these bright bright screens.

And both my girls are doing the same, especially Zara.

Being home with them these two days (as they are unfit to go to childcare), I observed how much more reliant is Zara to the screen than I thought she is. The moment she wakes up, she looks for the iPad, and without realizing it, it was time for lunch. Soon after she’s back watching videos on YouTube and it just went on and on till she eventually fell asleep while the screen was still on. And then there’s the before bedtime video time again! On days she goes to school, her screen time will only be limited to that 10-15 minutes before leaving the house and the hour or so before bedtime.

Many times, we did try to distract her and keep her occupy with other activities and toys, but soon after she gets tired of doing whatever the thing is on hand, she will be back to the screen. But she never seems to get tired of watching videos on YouTube!!!

Is it too late for me to put a stop to this?

We tried hiding the iPads for a day and minimise our time on our phones, but whenever she sees the bright light from the screen, she’ll squeeze in-between me and the phone and pretend to see what I’m doing. And when there’s an opportunity to, she’ll take over the phone and slide to the folder where I hid the YouTube app.

It is rare that we get to sit through a meal in peace without the screen appearing. They eat the most when they are distracted by the video on screen. I recall reading somewhere that this is actually bad for digestion! But without the screen, they wouldn’t eat! How leh like that?

Both myself and my hub agree that there are advantages to allowing screen time for the girls. But on days when we are stuck at home and nothing planned, we will end up looking down into these screens for a very long period of time. This is one of the reasons why I try my best to keep my girls outdoor or in the shopping malls on weekends, to minimise idling time which will end up becoming screen time again.

As you scroll through this post, you will see the frequency and the any-where-any-time-also-screen-time for the girls. I really want to improve this situation, especially with Zara. If there’s any tested and proven tips on getting kids away from screen, please do share with me!

Will Zara grow out of it eventually? Or will it just get worst?

It’s very worrying.

Zara The Terrific Two

That day when I walked out from the kitchen with your huge rainbow cake, that smile on your face lighted from within you, that precious moment I wished I had captured it on video or photo. That sweet innocent delighted smile witnessed by myself and your grandma, I wish I will never ever forget. Now a yellow memory ball stored in my core memory powering my family planet.

Today you turn two. My second born, the one who reminds me of me.

You may be the stronger headed child, with incredible will power and that special instinct to know exactly when to do what you know would drive everyone insane. The totally opposite as your elder sister whom you just have to snatch every single thing she is holding in her hands all the time! And yes she does that a lot too to you. Mummy is slowly getting used to this and started letting the two of you sort things out on your own.

Zara you are such a lovable and forgivable little girl. Your crazy laughter is insatiable and will forever be contagious. I love mumbling into your tummy just to hear you giggle and laugh, tickling you so much that both of us would lay flat laughing together.

You love to squeeze between me and my computer whenever you have a chance to; squeezing my thighs, blocking my view with your baby scented head, and the occasional head tilted back with big round eyes asking for my attention (or to let you watch YouTube on my mobile).

Our body clock seems to be working in sync every night, with every gentle stir in your bed (which is in no way connected to mine) I get awaken too. And when the clock strikes 0330/0500 we would both be awake and we know what you will ask for next. Then it repeats again around 0800/0900. It’s ok you know to ask for milk, but Mummy really hope you can sleep through every night so we can all have good undisturbed sleep. Oh and Mummy is still very puzzled how you can transform your sleeping position so many times every night! Some of your favourite pose are with both arms and legs wide open spinning 360-degree a couple of times, snuggling on your tummy with all arms and legs hidden out of sight and the most disturbing one must be you climbing up onto my bed and pushing yourself into my underarm and smelling it through the night.

For everything you do and will be doing in the days ahead, Mummy hope you will always have your goofy and cheeky planet working; bringing more laughter into our house.

Happy Birthday Zara!

May you one day (soon) stop looking for your Tu-Tu and show everyone more of your unblocked adorable face. Love you ge zillion!

Terrible Two Even More Terrible with Number Two

Oh boy! I don’t know where or how to begin recording this core memory of ours with our number two. With Zara turning two next month, we are already feeling the strain and exhaustion from guiding her to learn to understand herself, expressing herself, controlling her emotions and knowing what’s right and wrong, what’s acceptable and not acceptable behaviour.

Being the strong-willed child in the family, she is constantly challenging our limits and tolerance to her high pitch screams. Her signature antic is the plunge-self-on-floor-scream-and-lay-face-down-and-cry motion. This happen almost every single day! When she couldn’t get the chips she wanted, when her sister didn’t want give in to her demand, when Mummy’s hand was too busy to carry her, or when she couldn’t get us to let her do what she wanted to. When we are at home, we would just let her cry herself out and leaving a small puddle of saliva on the floor; because she needs to learn what is wrong and not acceptable, so we try not to give in to her. But when we are out in public, we would try not to let her get to her extreme stage unless absolutely necessary. Either we try the distract-till-she-forgets tactic or we grab on to her preventing her from getting to first step of the plunging antic.

One of those days where she got cranky while in the train home.

It’s MINE!” she would insists when we have our phones or tablets in hand and proceed to snatch it off our hands. “Can you help me?” will come next when she require our password to unlock the screen. Then she would swipe through the screen like a pro and tap on the too-familiar YouTube icon and give us her million dollar smile. Zara sure knows how to cool off any kind of heat we may get from her!

Since she was 20 months young, she started requesting to do things on her own. “Eat… self“, “Do… self” and “I can!” are the commonly used phases when we are feeding, changing or trying to help her wear her shoes. This I’ve to thank the child care for starting their toddlers young. Zara is also able to tell us she needs to poo and would do it in the toilet, we didn’t even try to train her. Probably because she sees her elder sister doing it and picked it up on her own. That’s toilet training in progress already. Can’t wait to get her totally off diapers, hopefully by end of the year!

As we move towards the Terrible Two phase for the last time with our number two, I really hope I be more patient, more kind, more forgiving and more tolerable with what may be thrown at me by this little cheeky daughter.

Zara, oh our dear precious Zara. Please do learn to control and express yourself ok. Mummy and Ayah really do not want to scold you every day just because you don’t want to listen to us. And please stop giving us the “I don’t care nor give a damn” look. It really drive us crazy! Come what may!

The Chapter of Zara and Her Staycation at KKH Children’s Ward

Sleepy Zara is still in bed and I can’t put myself back to slumperland so this post. 

We are now at KKH Children’s Ward 85 awaiting for Doctor’s clearance for us to “check-out” of our one night stay in our private A1 Ward at KKH. I shall keep the details and lengthy story for another post coz writing it is not possible to share the whole episode typing on my mobile and with just a couple hours of sleep over the last 36 hours. 

This chapter is on the things we did to keep the little one busy while confined in her metal baby cot bed at KKH Children’s ward. 

Things To Do With Toddler (While Stuck In Bed) at A Hospital Ward

1. Meet New Friends

As there were no rooms available for us to admit into on Tuesday morning, we were put in the High Dependency Ward at Ward 65. Zara got a corner “unit” and immediately turned on her busybody self and got acquainted with her neighbor.

2. Attempt to wear a second pair of pants on their own

3. Eat hospital food

4. Let them take selfies

5. Discover they get big ass TV in their “hotel room”, while walking around in socks

6. Give them stickers, crayons and sketch book

7. Let them tie their own hair (even when it’s too short)

8. Make them clean up the mess

9. Let them watch TV before bed (and knock out soon after)

10. FaceTime with Cousin

And most importantly let them get plenty of sleep (and recover quickly so they can return home to play)

Thankful for Zara who behaved very well throughout our episode at the hospital. She was mostly cooperative except the few times when the nurses had to measure her pulse. She just doesn’t like the “massage” on her legs.

Can’t wait to be discharged and head home to catch more sleep in our own beds.

She was playing with paint. What happened next will make you cry. 

It was Tuesday evening when we decided to have some painting fun. Zara was going crazy with her paint brush and decided to ditch it and used her fingers instead.

Happily dipping her fingers into paint and rubbing her hands in glee.

Then in an unknown seconds, mummy caught her rubbing her paint stained hands on her eyes! Oh what horror!

So what happened next was too funny and we just couldn’t control our laughter.

We burst out laughing till my hands were trembling and tears bursting out from side of my eyes.

We have got Zara the Robin in the house!

Upon seeing herself in the mirror, she cried. Frightened by her own reflection.

Too comical and it deserves a blog post!