Monthly Archives

May 2012

I can't categorise such entries

Pain in the ass

May 30, 2012

I assure you this blog is still family-friendly.

Pardon the crude title of this post. But I really have some serious pain in my bottoms.

Last week proved to be a challenging one for the Kao family. First, Ben had gastric flu. A few days later, Becks had fever. Some sniffles and chesty cough followed. Then fatherkao had the sniffles too and didn’t feel very well himself. While this was all happening, our littlest baby’s nose started to run and he started having a bad, bad cough.

The construction downstairs hasn’t ended (are they building a palace in the flat or what?), so there were sick people in the house who couldn’t get any rest. It was noisy. And smoky (the workers downstairs were all chimneys needing their tobacco fix almost every hour). And dusty. We couldn’t really ventilate for fresh air. So I guess the viruses must have had a heyday mutating.

So when they finally attacked the last [wo]man standing, who already had many sleepless nights herself taking care of coughing children, she was knocked out flat for days. This time I fell really sick. My nose ran marathons and my cough was so phlegmy chesty, I was bummed out. And that was the reason for the bum issue.

Let me explain in detail. You see, after pushing three kids out from your v-box, things aren’t really the same again down south. Everything is stretched. Worse still, you get pathological swollen tissues and engorged blood veseels in your rectum because pressure from the fetus during pregnancy causes them to enlarge, and pushing the baby out with all your might (when the midwife yelled, “Push like you’re really angry!”, I got into the role and gave it my best, ok!) leads to increased intra-abdominal pressures. Simply put, do this three times (nine months of pregnancy, plus natural delivery, multiply by three) and you’ll get piles.

But piles have different grades, as I’ve learnt. Wikipedia says Grade 1, no prolapse. Grade 2, prolapse but will spontaneously reduce. Grade 3,  prolapse but can be manually reduced. Grade 4, hopeless! Prolapse and cannot be manually reduced. After the first delivery, I was at Grade 2. After the second and third, I was hovering between Grades 2 and 3.

This recent phlegmy chesty cough was so annoying. I coughed day and night. As with the coughing, incontinence was inevitable (bummer!). And the last I checked with Google under “Can excessive coughing cause hemorrhoids?”, the answer is a resounding yes. This evening, I had an inflammation. All the tissues were prolapsed. And I couldn’t manually reduce them. I was in great pain.

Congratulations, motherkao, you’ve reached the level called Grade 4 in the universe of piles.

Google also said when you’re at this grade, you need to seek. treatment. immediately.

So excuse me while I make an appointment with a doctor for stapled hemorrhoidectomy. Meanwhile, in case you didn’t understand a single word I’ve written, let me show you what it means to have pain in my ass.

You’re welcome.

Update: I’ve got my problem fixed. No fancy stunts; just good ol’ surgery done in twenty minutes at the specialist’s. I was sedated and the problematic piles were removed. Yay.

What to Expect... As a Mother

Painless torture post-partum

May 24, 2012

I wished they had a little reminder service at the delivery suite after you’ve popped the baby. You know, like the kind of public announcements you hear over the PA system. Hospitals should so get the midwives to do a recording and have it played immediately as they hand the mother her baby. Or at least have one midwife read this out loud.

It should go something like this:

“Congratulations. You’ve just delivered your baby. See that little bundle… ahhh… Now, whether it will be, in the days and weeks and months to come, a bundle of joy or tyranny solely depends on how you and your baby work some things out. You two gotta cooperate; work together, y’know. So first, there’ll be the feeding and if you choose to breastfeed, how the two of you fare in the first month will determine if the baby will be breastfed for more months after. It’s a make or break thing, so Momma, you gotta try. Massage your breasts, stimulate the supply, drink lots of horrible papaya fish soup. Baby, you gotta latch on. You gotta suckle awake and not doze off. Your Momma will be counting on you to relieve the pressure and pain from her breasts. She actually needs you more than she thinks.

Of course, by now, Momma, you’ve already heard: you’ll have the two hourly feeds, incessant baby waking and crying, engorged breasts, pain from your episiotomy, constipation (because you probably wouldn’t dare to push anything out anymore), the bulging tummy (still!), stretch marks and really, really dark eye rings. You won’t be able to figure out why Baby is crying on most days and may even suffer from post-natal depression. Your hormones will be adjusting again, and you would sometimes laugh or cry, or laugh and cry for no reason. You’ll also feel really, really weird that Baby is no longer inside you and may live in denial for a couple of days. The above-mentioned applies to any mother, regardless of the number of children you’ve had. In short, you’ll feel shitty.

And that is not all, Momma. On top of that which you’ll have to deal with (and how long they last cannot be predicted by anyone), you’ll suffer from two kinds of torture. The first begins about two months post-partum. It’s called itching. The area around your waist, tummy, thighs and bum will have you scratching like there’s no tomorrow. Good news is, it’s painless. Bad news is, it’ll drive you crazy. Nobody can explain this, really. Perhaps it’s hormonal. Or stress. Or both. Some lucky mommies don’t get tortured, while some do. Good luck on that.

The second begins three months post-partum. When your baby starts to smile, it’s almost a sign that this will begin. Good news is, it’s painless too. Bad news: it’ll drive you even crazier. It’s called hair-loss. Supposedly no hair fell off while you were preggers. Now they will all begin to do so – in clumps – and will last six to nine months. You will also start crying in the shower when this happens. Be prepared. Get hair tonic. Or shampoo with XO. That’s what old gramps used to do.

So to sum up this very long announcement, you will need to figure out this baby yourself. You’ll also need to watch your diet and exercise should you want to lose the bulge and not have colleagues ask when you’ll be due when you return to work. You will also have to handle after-birth pains, breastfeeding problems, lochia and perineal care, constipation and hemorrhoids, mood swings and depression, the itch and hair loss in the days and weeks and months to come.

Good luck, and enjoy your baby.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the hospital.”

 My youngest son, Baby Nat, has gone all chuckly and giggly on me. For the third time now, I’m scratching like a monkey, gasping at every strand of hair falling off and thinking I need to go “staple my piles” (in the exact words of my gynae).


Motherkao loves...

Craving for something homemade

May 21, 2012

Sung to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”:

Baking 2
O KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
How awfully I’ve missed you;
O KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
Look, how much dust you’ve gathered;
We’ve had much fun before the kids,
Churning out tasty little treats
KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
How awfully I’ve missed you!
KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
O how I wish to use you!
KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
You should have batter in you;
It’s really cold to sit alone
We should be churning tarts and scones
KitchenAid, O KitchenAid!
I’ll very soon be with you!

Baking 1

(Self) Examination Mommy guilt Thunderstorm days

Snappety snap!

May 21, 2012


I’ve been running the household based on my mood these days and have become quite the arsehole at home. I’ve never taken well to stress all my life and I can snap at anyone who comes close with my alligator jaws when I feel like I can’t handle life anymore.

So, life with three has. been. stressful. I have three now crying for every single piece of me whenever I’m available, which is 24/7 and even beyond. This week upped the stress levels to the max, thanks much to the construction that’s been going on a floor below us. I’d wished my neighbors would at least have the courtesy to tell us they’ve sold their place so I can check in to a hotel and have some sanity. Add to the unbearable noise pollution sick kids and you can pretty much picture me tearing my hair and yelling whenever someone gets whiny or misbehaves; after which I’d feel so bad I’d swing to the other extreme of plonking them in front of the tv and giving out special treats.

Much to fatherkao’s dismay, I’ve strayed off the path of our parenting agreement. I lost control (of myself). I became inconsistent (with discipline). I think I’ve also crushed my kids with some really harsh words and outbursts. I’ve been a bad mother.

I don’t know how other moms deal with such days. I’ve given up having pity parties and beating myself up. I don’t know how anyone can look after three babies and still smile and chill. For that matter, how does Michelle Duggar do it? She’s absolutely incredible; well, at least on tv. I’ve never seen her lose her temper. I read her blog for inspiration – she has 19 kids and all of them are talented, well-behaved and God-loving. I’d wished often enough to be more patient and less edgy. I wished I was a better mother and not swing from one end of the pendulum to the other, scaring the crap out of my own kids. I’d wished I had more love (and then some more) to give to these babies who mean the world to me. I wished I had a bigger capacity to fill their lives without being drained myself.

These days, apart from the wishing, I tell myself this: 

Onward with the motherhood journey.

Family life as we know it I ♥ lists Milestones and growing up Nat Kao The Kao Kids

Enter Lil’ Nat

May 19, 2012

It’s now triple the madness. Ever since little Nat entered our world, the Kao household is never really quite the same again. Here’s what has changed:

1. We’ve all gotten used to Nat’s crying as part of ambient sound. Because this is our third baby, we don’t pick him up as and when he calls. Although I sometimes indulge him a little; this being the last time (hopefully!) I’ll be holding a baby (that’s mine) this small.

2. Peak hours have extended. It used to be crazy from 6 to 8.30pm, but now it’s even crazier, with peak period officially ending at 10. This is because everything gets delayed with Nat in the picture (see #3).

3. My kids have become more clingy than ever. When I was pregnant with Nat, Ben and Becks were pretty ok with feeding themselves and having someone else shower them. But now, it’s “Mama, feed me“, “Mama, change my diapers“, “Mama bathe me“, “Mama clean my mouth“, basically, “Mama, [DO EVERYTHING]“. They would burst into fits and throw ginormous tantrums if fatherkao or the helper were to come along and do what they want me to do. Becks would refuse to eat if I didn’t hold the spoon. Ben would hold on to my thighs. They would both sit on the floor and cry because they want Mama. This is the reason for the extension of peak hours – the three kids would take turns to be fed / cleaned / showered by me, which means that by the time all is settled, Mama is an exhausted wreck. All these would happen on a daily basis while the helper and fatherkao watch helplessly at a corner.

4. My kids have learned how to be considerate and helpful overnight. The clingy part aside, they have turned into helpful little troopers, refilling wet wipes and entertaining Nat when I need a break. They’ve also learned to shush each other up and whisper. This never happened when there were only the two of them.

5. My husband and I have started asking each other for permission to go to the toilet. Usually, when permission is granted, we’ll also furnish each other with details of why we are going and how long we would take.

6.  Our house is filled with a lot more laughter amidst the madness. Yes, we are all stretched thin but when we see the two clowning around the little one, and the little one chuckling repeatedly, we can’t wait for the day when all three of them would start playing together. What fun!

Ben Kao Milestones and growing up The darndest kid quotes and antics The Kao Kids

Nice Ugly Dog

May 18, 2012

Ben’s been staying home with me more days than he’s been to school this week. He’s been down with a bout of stomach flu. Feeling chirpier today, we decided to head downstairs for a stroll and get some lunch.

It was mid-day and the estate was relatively quiet. An elderly man was walking his dog (a Maltese, methinks). The dog was sniffing grass, minding its own business.

Then my son broke the silence.

“Mama, see! An UGLY dog!”

The elderly uncle gave me a look and I returned it with a contorted embarrassed smile. When we shuttled past, I told Ben it was not nice to call a dog ugly. Though truth be told, it was. It was shaven bald and its skin was so raw there were patches of pink and brown and all sorts of blotches –  the dog did look horribly ugly.

Me: It’s not nice to yell “ugly dog”, dear.

Ben: Why?

Me: The uncle might feel hurt that you called his dog ugly.

Ben: Why? The dog IS ugly what.

Me: Maybe he thinks its the most beautiful dog in the world and you just hurt his feelings. (This, I know, was complete bull.)

He stated his point of view and I did mine, and that was it. I was honestly tickled by my kid who says the darndest things. At the darndest moment. Oh well, it’s just a dog. I was glad he didn’t march up to someone and declare that he/ she was fat / ugly / gross.

When we returned from getting lunch, we walked past the dog and the man again. This time, Ben yelled:

“Mama, see! A NICE dog!”

Motherkao loves... Parenting 101

A beautiful five-letter word

May 16, 2012

I used to be as blind as a bat. I could never see my toes in the shower. If I wanted to, I had to wear my glasses. That was how epilation and exfoliation were ever possible. The way I knew shampoo from shower foam was strictly by the colour of the bottles. I moved about in the house at night by the number of steps I had to take to get to the kitchen or the toilet, if I wanted to go there without my glasses. I could never wear cool Raybans. If I needed shade, I had to hold a brolly or wear a visor. Or use ugly clip-on sunglasses (there were no cool-looking Transition back then). I did start wearing contact lenses and tried them in all forms – hard, soft, monthlies, weeklies, dailies – but my eyes would get so tired from the wearing they would be puffed up and sore. And I could never put make-up on if I had to wear my glasses to work.

Over the twenty-one years of being a bat with optical defect, I’ve had 61 pairs of spectacles, and have spent much money on contact lenses, solutions and saline. They usually cost more than the average because the glasses had be high-indexed and the contacts had to be specially ordered. Although I have heard of the wonders of LASIK, I never really had the guts to try. I have a friend who went to get her myopia fixed and ended up with astigmatism instead (true story). No thanks, to that.

Until that fateful day when six-month old Ben grabbed my glasses and flung it to the floor. And the rest, they say, is history.

I never looked back ever since I got my severely blurred and distorted vision fixed. LASIK was the next best thing that ever happened to me, besides God and the husband. I’m telling you, it changed my life. For one, I could now see myself clearly in the shower.

“Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.” – Walt Whitman


Becks Kao Ben Kao Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up Nat Kao The Kao Kids

Somebody stop time, please

May 16, 2012

To my precious ones,

You are all growing up too quickly for Mama to handle.

Ben, wasn’t it a while ago you were asking questions furiously? Now you speak like a little man; I miss the cheeky, curious you.

Becks, didn’t you just start walking and talking? Now you rattle non-stop to anyone and everyone, and your two little penguins have become your imaginary friends. I thought I heard you ask them to hold hands and hug each other yesterday. I miss your babblings and high-pitched giggles.

Nat, wasn’t it like yesterday I held you in the delivery room? I just heard you chuckle this morning. You’ve grown from the small helpless baby to one enthusiastic trooper doing mini push-ups every waking moment. I will miss holding the little baby that was you.

Not so soon, darlings, not so soon. I still want to baby all three of you.

With all my love, and more,


Going Out!

The grass is greener here at POLW

May 13, 2012

So I’m a little late in posting this. Almost everyone I know with young children have gone to POLW, the new kids’ water theme park at Sentosa.

We figured since Jake and the Neverland Pirates is all the rage now with the kids (they are watching reruns of Season One on Disney Junior every day at 7.30pm), we’d bring them to see a real enough pirate ship – one that spews water and has lots of other jolly buccanneers running around onboard, pretending to be Jake, Izzy and Cubby, just like my kids.

Picture from

Unfortunately for them, the pirate ship didn’t appeal much. It was honestly, just like many of the other water playgrounds they’ve seen. They did get wet but wanted to abandon ship as early as they could. They didn’t like the foam party either. The activities which could be paid for with the curios they were given (sing: “It’s time to count our GOLD DOUBLOONS! Yyaahhyy!!”) didn’t interest them much too (watering a pot of plants for 30 curios? They do it for free at their grandparents’!). So they found themselves a corner at the little sand pit at Curiosity Island and built sandcastles for their little pirate-selves.

What was great about this outing was that the adults (seven of us!) went in free and had a nice picnic. What was even better was the lawn grass! No red ants (think East Coast Park) and no coarse sand (think any beach in Sentosa); just nice green, albeit artificial, grass to sit on to enjoy the sunshine and laughter from the children at the sandpit nearby.

The nice lawn grass was totally worth the thirty bucks. Because we had all the fun as a family there. And it was cool, soft, and insect-free.

More Details:
  • Port of Lost Wonder (POLW) at Palawan Beach (opens 10am to 6.30pm daily)
  • Kids pay $8 on weekdays and $15 on weekends (any kid under 12, but my infant went in free, of course)
  • Things to bring: swimwear, sunscreen, sand toys, picnic mats (unless you want to pay $13 for one there)
  • Go early. Once they hit maximum capacity, POLW will deny you entry. We saw many longing faces at the entrance when we left at 1pm. Bet they were all waiting to get wet!