Tag Archives: parenthood

A letter to 8-year old C

<This started as letter to C for her 8th birthday, and for some reason, it was not posted.> 

Dear C,

Time flies, and in a blink of an eye you’ve turned 8. Ever since you’ve started primary school, the clock hands seemed to turn even faster. It’s a mad rush everyday… 5am mornings, homework, music practice, bedtime. With all the activities going on, it’s easy to miss how quickly my little girl has grown.

The change was gradual… then one day, you complained that your uniform was getting too short and you couldn’t fit in most of your pants(!) It was then that I realized that it had been quite a while since I had restocked your wardrobe. I guess that subconsciously, to me, you always remained that little girl who fit into the smallest sized uniform. 

Then, there was the day when you came up to me, proudly showing off your neatly tied ponytail (you had practiced for days by yourself).

I teared. My little girl had grown up. 

You still believe in magic, but I’m starting to sense some skepticism about the existence of a tooth fairy (“Why does she have the same handwriting as you, mummy?”). You used to say that everyone is your friend, but now in our daily chats about school and friends, the word “enemy” has popped up. You ask about world affairs, and have found that google is a way to learn new things. You’ve started the habit of keeping a diary (“a real diary, mummy, no one else is supposed to read it.”) We discuss my work at the office.

I’m trying to cope with the changes. On some days, it certainly feels like you are eight-turning-eighteen.

Yet, with all these changes, you remain a pure-hearted, generous, kind-hearted soul. Your tenacity and perseverance never fails to amaze me. I hope these qualities will remain constants as you continue to bloom.

I’ll always be proud of you, my dear daughter.

With lots of love,

Mummy

8-year old C

 

 

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A new milestone… but I’m not ready!

All ready for primary 1!

All ready for primary 1!

The day has arrived. Come tomorrow morning, C will no longer be a pre-schooler. She will officially start her primary education on 2nd January 2014.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been busy with the preparations for this day. Uniforms were fitted, altered, washed and ironed. Books and stationery were bought and labelled. Bag was packed. Hair accessories were prepared.

There were last minute tutorials – how to tell time, how to calculate change, what to do if she misses the school bus. We did a trial run at the beginning of the week to make sure that she could wake up in time (5.30am!!)

C has been in bed since 8pm, with nary a care. In fact, I think she’s wondering what the big fuss is. I’m still taking deep breaths to calm myself. She’ll be taking the school bus for the first time tomorrow, and I’m worrying if she will fall backwards from the heavy school bag. Will she be able to buy food from the canteen? Will she finish her food in time during recess? Will she be able to cope in class? Will she make new friends?

My logical mind tells me that she is as ready as can be, that she will do just fine. Emotionally, I’m still struggling with the fact that my baby will be turning 7 this year. Why do they grow up so fast?

I’ll be in school with her tomorrow. I suspect that I’ll be the one having a panic attack, not her.

Wish me luck.

A timely reminder

I’ve been under the weather the past week, down with an eye infection (I’m now sitting in front of the pc with one swollen eye), and a throat infection leading to a high fever. Today, due to the throat infection, I completely lost my voice – all that comes out is a pitiful squeak when I try to speak.

Obviously, I’m not feeling on top of the world, but not all is bad. A Chinese idiom goes “因祸得福” (literally translated, it means to profit from a misfortune). I actually benefitted from this bout of illness.

Being down under the weather forced me to slow down, to take life at a slower pace. This in turn allowed my children (especially C) to take a break without me breathing down their necks. In an earlier post, I had written about letting my children play, to let them have the time and freedom to explore freely, but in the course of the year, I had reverted to be quite the tiger mum again. Sitting down and taking a rest gave me a reminder to let it go (there is really not much energy left after dealing with a raging fever).

Today, my voice was non-existent. For the kids, it meant no nagging, no screaming, no instructions. Forced to remain silent, I was shocked surprised to find out just how much I nagged spoke each day, and how many times I would have scolded the kids for minor infringements. Because of the sore throat, all I could do was to squeak my disapproval, but no harsh words could come out of my mouth. The kids actually started giggling when they heard me, and at that moment, all my anger disappeared.  I laughed (noiselessly) together with them.

Perhaps, I really needed this reminder.

p/s: I’ll get back to completing that draft on my Bali trip soon (right after that eye gets better).

Graduation

Last Saturday, I attended C’s graduation concert. My little girl. Graduating from kindergarten.

During the introductory speech by her principal, these words flashed on the screen

It’s only just beginning
This is what we dream about
But the only question with me now
Is, do I make you proud?

As I listened, I recalled her first day in school four years ago. While the rest of her 3-year-old classmates were bawling away, she was the only one who strode confidently into class and sat in front. I was the one with attachment issues, peeping into class, secretly wishing that she would be crying for me (alas, she simply turned around and gave me a little wave to say good-bye).

I cried.

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First day of school in 2010

Four years down the road, she has grown into a little lady. A feisty 6-year old who has just crossed another milestone, ready to step into primary school. I felt my heart bursting as I watched her perform on stage with the same confidence she displayed four years ago. Then, I heard her name called out to receive her graduation certificate.

Again, I cried.

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C ready for her graduation concert

I had not expected to be overcome with emotions on both occasions, but I was. I could not control those tears – tears of pride and joy.

Do you make me proud?

Yes, my dear C. You make me so, so proud. Happy graduation.

Thankful

I just spent 5 hours with a wheezing G at the A&E department of the children’s hospital. Although being at the hospital was the last thing that I wanted, I’m thankful for several things:

I’m thankful that I had someone to look after C, and she didn’t have to go with us to the hospital.

I’m thankful that we were ushered in almost immediately by the nurse, so we didn’t have to wait in a long queue.

I’m thankful that G was a trooper who took the nebulizer without complaints, twice. He remained a cheerful and happy boy throughout.

I’m thankful that we decided to bring G in to the hospital instead of self-medicating. He was diagnosed with a mild chest infection that could have worsened if we held back for a few more days.

I’m thankful that we went to the hospital, where the x-ray machine was available to confirm the diagnosis.

I’m thankful that the medical bill was subsidised 😛

What are you thankful for today?

Note: G’s cough and cold started with mild symptoms (slight cough, a runny nose and a low-grade fever) last Friday night. We decided to self-medicate, but somehow the cough got worse this afternoon, and he started to wheeze slightly. Wheezing is never a good sign. We gave a call to the hospital and was advised to go down immediately. G remained very active throughout the entire process so we had thought initially that it was just a normal cold that would sort itself out. We were wrong. If your child has chesty coughs and a fever, do bring him down to get checked for a possible chest infection.

“Nothing”

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Credits: jimbenton.com

When I saw this picture on my Facebook wall, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. This is EXACTLY what I am facing with 5 year-old C.

Typical conversation when I get home from work:
C: Hi mummy, you’re back!
Me: How was school today? Did you enjoy yourself? What did you learn in class?
C: I don’t know. Nothing much. *shrugs shoulders*
Me: You had science class today, right? What did you do?
C: we played games and sang some songs.
Me: Sounds fun! Can you sing me the song?
C: I cannot remember… Mummy, I saw a funny looking bird today! (and goes on to describe the bird)

Don’t get me wrong. C loves school and she chatters on in detail about other things (about how she saw a leaf skeleton, about the ants that crawled in a row, about white flowers she saw on a tree on the way back from school…)She just chose not to report her activities in school (probably because she didn’t see the need to)

I’ve come to realize this: for C, the discovery of a pretty flower weighs far more in her mind than the phonics that she learnt in class. And that she is telling me about the things that matter most to her right now.

So I’ll just listen to what she has to say, instead of hearing what I want to hear.

What did your child tell you today?

The not-so-perfect mum

motherhood

Ok, so there are the days when everything goes perfectly. And then there are the times when I really feel like kicking myself. Today was such a day. I realised that I had completely forgotten to pay my daughter’s school fees. I had mixed up the dates on the notice – it was due on 7th December, not 7th January. Reading further down, there is a statement stating that her place in school would be given up to the next person on the waiting list if fees were not paid on time. Great. My daughter might not have a place in the next school year. Granted, the chances of this happening are slim but “what if?”

These are the moments that I dread. What happens if I forget to do something that will affect my children for the rest of their lives? Or worse, what if I do something wrong? This is when worst-case scenarios start appearing in my head and panic mode sets in.

*deep breath*

To some, I may be overreacting, but the feeling of inadequacy and guilt is real. Social media updates from friends remind me constantly that I’m not the perfect mom- I’ve friends who manage successful careers, cook healthy meals for their kids everyday, spend quality time going through homeschooling curriculum, volunteers and still manage to look fabulous everyday (all documented on Facebook posts or blogs). I don’t cook, barely have time for the kids after work, and look like I badly need a haircut.

When I was a new mom, I expected everything to be under my control, to somehow know the exact thing to do at the right time. Now that my older child has turned 5, I’ve learnt to accept the fact that I cannot do it all, and that there will be times when I make mistakes, and I’ve got to take a deep breath, learn from them and move on. It still feels terrible when I blunder, but I need to be able to move on.

I’m not the perfect mom, but I’m trying my best.

For those who have children, do you ever feel the same way too?

p.s : On the issue of my daughter’s school fees, I called the school and rushed down to make payment. She will have a place in class next year. Phew!