Category Archives: Parenting

The toddler and his wants


This morning. He woke up crying.

“Mommy go outside! Bread!”

So we went out and got him bread. He took 2 bites and threw it on the floor.


Do you want milk?


I took out the milk anyway. Are you sure?


So I heated up the milk, put it in his bottle and gave it to him. He laid on the beanbag and drank 3/4 of it.

5 minutes later, “more milk!”

But you haven’t finished it.

“More!” Starts wailing.

So I pretended to pour more milk.

“No! No!” Does a raspberry. What new habit is this.

Ok fine fine. So I actually heated up another 50ml of milk and added it to the 1/4 he didn’t finish. I offered it to him.

“No!” Starts wailing.

I gave him water instead. No!

I ignored him and made my own sandwich. He pointed at it and said “bread!”

So I gave him a slice of bread. “No!” He pointed at mine.

Oh so you want butter and kaya?


So I spread a thin layer of butter and kaya for him. I folded the slice into half and gave it to him.


I look at the ceiling.

“Honey stars!”

Where the hell do I find honey stars! We don’t eat honey stars in this home!

Starts wailing.

How about banana nut crunch?

“No banana!”

Opens the cereal box anyway. Pours a little into his bowl. Offers it to him.

He takes one and looks at it. “Eee dirty!”

Just put it in your mouth and eat it. I walk away.

He follows me and sits at my foot and starts eating his dry cereal. It’s sweet enough to keep him happy. Silence descends on our household once again.

It’s only 849am.

Review of Smiggle school bag


If you ever have to buy a school bag for your toddler, don’t get a Smiggle bag.

When we were hunting for a trolley bag for Liam, we had very few choices for someone his size. When he transferred from infant care to play group class (18 months and above), we wanted him to be independent and carry his own bag to school, or at least pull it along behind him. It had to be fairly sizeable because his bag had to hold 2 changes of clothes, towel, bedsheet, swaddle cloth or blanket, sweater, 4 pieces of diapers, but not too big that it would fall on him.

So we bought a Smiggle. Except for the occasional incident where it falls on its face and I had to pick it up for him, it was treated fairly well. In fact I spent most part carrying it for him because the novelty of a new bag soon wore off, and he was going through a rough 4 weeks adapting to his new class and routine, I found myself carrying both child and bag sometimes. 2 months after we bought the bag, this is the state of it.

The whole in the front pocket was an inch wide 3 weeks ago. Now it’s twice the size.

This morning while packing his bag for school, his zip fell off.

I could probably ninja a new zip but really, for a bag this expensive ($40? $50?), it really shouldn’t be this crappy.

If anyone has suggestions for a trolley bag suitable for a 20 month old about 80cm in height, do let me know!

Mom life


The minute I got home, a long list of things to do popped up in my head. 

  • Sweep kitchen floor of stray litter 
  • Unpack pump bag
  • Put breastmilk in fridge
  • Keep ice pack
  • Unpack cooler box
  • Pack frozen fish 
  • Pack vegetables in fridge 
  • Charge breast pump
  • Bathe and dress child
  • Play Elmo’s world for child while I poop 
  • Read the Gruffalo
  • Feed child milk
  • Sit with child for an hour until he falls asleep
  • Try not to fall asleep while sitting in darkness
  • Child asleep. Cut his nails. 
  • Put him gently in cot
  • Wash cat bowls
  • Wash child’s food container 
  • Clean cat litter tray
  • Throw trash out at rubbish chute
  • Go back to car to carry the rest of the bags up. That’s one duffel bag, 2 shopping bags and 3 grocery bags
  • Unpack grocery bags
  • Fold grocery bags
  • Wash and sterilize milk bottles and flanges
  • Unpack duffel bag, toss everything into laundry basket
  • Pack child’s school bag for Monday 
  • Pack child’s clothes for Tuesday to Friday
  • Pack child’s clothes for overnight stay at grandparents tomorrow 
  • Pack my work bag
  • Pack a new pack of breastmilk bags in pump bag
  • Open new milk bottle teats 
  • Prepare 2 bottles of milk for child’s school tomorrow 
  • Bathe
  • Take cough syrup 
  • Try to put eye drops in child’s eye while child is sleeping face down. Mentally curse PD and her stupid suggestion 
  • Climb into bed

By the time I was done, there’s was no time for myself. Time to sleep! Another day awaits!

  • Realise humidifier turned itself off coz there’s no water. Get out of bed to top up humidifier
  • Climb back into bed
  • Child wakes up crying. But of course. 

Tender Loving Self-care


Every evening when I sit down to have dinner with my husband, he will ask me how my day was.  I used to launch into an offloading session where I update him on the latest progress or gossip at work or amongst social circles. These days, instead of just blabbering about my day, I will stop and think about it, before telling him whether it was a good day or a bad day. 

Last Thursday was a bad day. I was having a grand self-pitying moment while driving home from work. My shoulders had been aching for 2 weeks and I couldn’t find a time to get a quick massage. Weeks of carrying my 10kg son in the baby carrier with his school backpack on my shoulders have taken a toll. Add to that my terrible posture at my work desk, and handling an ill-adjusted steering wheel of my new car (I haven’t figured out what’s a good height), it just aggravated the situation. 

The Mommy Mule. That’s my pump bag (breast pump and ice pack) hanging off my son’s school backpack because it kept sliding off my shoulders. 

My work was piling and I didn’t see any end in sight. One of my junior staff had recently resigned and we have not  found a replacement for another position, which meant in a few weeks time our 5-men team will be down to 3. The thought of all the work I had to cover until we hired someone makes me want to throw myself  onto the bed and wail.

I was on my way to my mom’s place to pick up my child. There had been a case of chicken pox at his school so I was keeping him in that week so he would not catch it and pass it to me. I have not had chicken pox before and I have been putting off getting a vaccination jab. On top of all the things I had to do, I had to get myself jabbed soon. That went right to the top of the list. 

Since my mom was helping me take care of my child that day, I was rushing through peak hour traffic to relieve my mother from having spent the day taking care of an active child.  Added to that, my husband was waiting for me at home so we could go have dinner. He sent a text message with the words “ASAP”. 

The letters “ASAP” were going round and round my mind as I sat in traffic. I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and the car in front of me wasn’t going anywhere. I glanced at the clock and mentally calculated the number of hours my mom had been watching my child, and felt slightly guilty. Guilty at having to ask my mom the favour although she would gladly help me take care of my child anytime. Guilty that if I had been pox vaccinated earlier I wouldn’t have to take such precautions. Guilty that if I had gotten married and had a child earlier, my mom would have been much younger and have the energy to manage a young child. My thoughts started spiraling down the list of things I could possibly be guilty about. 

By the time I got to my mom’s, I was almost in tears. But there was no time to cry, as the minute my mom opened the door, she was updating me on what my son did, what time he ate and slept, how often did he poop, how he fared in general. And because she’s my mom and not a childminder, I asked her how her day was and she began offloading onto me. Her aches and pains. Her grumbles. As I listened, all of that became my aches, my pains, my grumbles. 

By the time we fed, burped, diapered, the baby and packed his bag, 45 minutes had passed. In between all that activity, I found time to call a few clinics in the area to check if they administered the chicken pox vaccine. I was also very conscious of the fact that my husband was still waiting, so I quickly bundled my kid into the car and drove off. 

And then it’s another whirlwind of activity getting dinner, getting jabbed and getting the kid to bed. By the time he fell asleep, I was too tired to care about anything else. My shoulders were aching so badly I was feeling nauseated from the pain. Sitting in the darkeness, I unwoubd by scrolling through Facebook while my child slept. That was when a Facebook link popped up on my screen about finding time to take care of oneself. 

“Self-care is not selfish; it’s one of the best things you can do for your kids. Taking a break from family can cause guilt and anxiety in mothers and fathers alike. But a few hours away can re-energize you so you can get back to playing with Legos, making dinner and taking care of everyone else.”

And that was when I decided that I needed a little tender loving self-care too. Ever since I had my child, I have been so caught up in caring for him, on top of taking care of the house, that I had forgotten about myself. I can’t remember the last time I had a pedicure, my eyebrows were a mess, my roots have grown out past my ears. I look, and feel, like a total mess. 

So taking baby steps, the next day I booked a 20 minute shoulder and back massage appointment at one of those China massage centers near my office during lunch. The masseuse commented that my muscles were all knotted up and spent and extraordinary amount of time on my shoulders before moving to my back. He kept telling me to relax. I told him I didn’t know how to. But it felt SO GOOD after that. 

Then I rewarded myself with a steaming hot pot of kimchi stew. I love eating by myself. You eat at your own pace, you don’t have to talk to anyone. You basically do your own thing. 

So. Good. 

And my day slowly got better. That night, when my husband asked me how my day was, I thought about what I did, and I smiled and told him, “Today was a good day.”