Young lady, you’ll not be seen in this ever again. Do you understand?
Not even if you’re going to Hawaii.
You’re nine months old! You’re crawling, cruising, clapping and making all sorts of monosyllabic sounds. First you said “ma ma”, then you said “bah bah”, and then you started playing with your tongue and blowing saliva bubbles I think you forgot your “mamas” and “bahbahs’.
And boy, you must be wishing you can run and jump and move around! I bet you’re wishing to be as fast as Ben and Becks. Every time they disappear into the rooms, leaving you alone, you’d wail for them to come back. Sometimes you’d give up halfway crawling after them because they’re moving around too fast for you! I can see that longing in your eyes – how you wished you could take part in their little hide-and-seek game and ring-around-the-rosies prance-along. It won’t be long, little one – you’ll be chasing them in no time!
Till then, please take your time to grow up, will you?
With all my love and more,
We’ve been fighting mealtime battles a lot lately.
What went wrong? Strict dinner rules have been laid. No tv. No running around. Eat what’s on your plate. Treats only after you’ve finished. My kids don’t snack. They don’t eat candies either. They should be hungry by dinner time because I never give them anything three hours before dinner, except water.
And yet, I had to send the kids straight to bed without a full dinner a few evenings ago. For a few consecutive days prior to that evening, they’ve been balking and gagging at what they were supposed to eat, taking forever to chew and swallow, and doing nonsensical things with each other, like kicking each other’s legs, laughing for no reason and blowing bubbles in their soup. After a few days of that, enough was enough. I gave my last warning to chew the food that was in the mouth (which wasn’t heeded anyway), marched right into the kitchen, grabbed the trashbin, emptied their plates right before their eyes and sent them straight to bed.
Never imagined needing to do that.
I know reality discipline advocates that. For a while, I’ve always tried not to resort to this. I’ll nag, threaten, cajole, play close-your-eyes-don’t-see-what-you’re-eating game and, of course, when all else fails, spoonfeed.
That night, I stayed up to rethink my strategy. I want them to eat – without me having to feed. I want them to love food. I don’t want to send them to bed with the reality of an empty stomach. I don’t want hunger to teach them anything – for now. I want them to have fond memories of the times we spend at the dinner table.
My new plan is to make food appealing to them and hope it whets their appetite.
These days I’ve been cracking my head to see how I can make the food more “picture bento”-like just so they can get excited about eating their dinner. It’s like a project everyday: give instructions to the helper to cook the dishes for dinner, but at the back of my mind, think about how to morph what the adults are gonna eat into fun things on the plate. These were my very humble first attempts.
I’m glad to report that the children look forward to dinner a little more now than they used to, and Ben has been finishing his portions since I tried this out two days ago. He has even made requests to see leopards, pandas and lions in his bento. I’ve much to learn, but am loving every minute of this; and I really hope to announce my decisive win in the Battle of Wills at the Dinner-table soon!
Christmas is our favourite time of the year. Here’s why:
Here at the Kaos, once again, we’ll be bringing on the Christmas CDs, blasting christmas carols and singing Jingle Bells all day long.
We’ll also be smelling fir again. The smell of a real fir tree in the house does wonders to put everyone in the festive cheer. If you don’t believe me, go get one this year. It’ll probably set you off by about 60 bucks or more but the smell that lingers every day is worth every cent! We used to decorate artificial trees until one day, fatherkao decided that it was just too much of a hassle to set it up and take it down. We buy a real one every year and haven’t looked back since.
Tis’ also the time to give thanks; to take stock of the year and be grateful for the little and large things in our lives. It’s not only the season to be jolly but also the season to celebrate the reason for Chrismas: for unto us, a Child was born.
And best of all, Christmas is the time to PARTY! With all the merriment in the air, we hang out at friends’ and indulge in great food and some wonderful fellowship.
This year, Christmas comes early for us. We’ve been invited by The Forest Friends to The Enchanted Christmas Party at Fort Canning Centre on 16 December! I hear the children will get to see some snow and be entertained with endless merrymaking and festivity fun, including magic & puppet shows, picture taking in a photobooth, balloon sculpting, getting some christmas tattoos and decorating a christmas tree. There’s also gonna be christmas stockings for every kid and a yummy buffet candy table. Ben and Becks would *finally* get to try some Christmas candy and get some tattoes on, something that I would probably allow, just cos’ it’s Christmas.
If you’d like to join us, (and watch the Kao kids sink their teeth into their very first bite of candy, hur hur hur) do check out The Forest Friends’ event page or email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) for ticketing details.
*With that, it’s time to do a giveaway!*
And just so we spread the Christmas cheer, Forest Friends is giving away a ticket (worth $50) to the Enchanted Christmas Party!
This is how you can stand a chance to win in 4 simple steps:
1) LIKE The Forest Friends Facebook Page
2) SHARE the Christmas Party event on your Wall
3) LIKE Motherkao’s Page on Facebook
4) Leave a comment to tell us ONE reason why Christmas is your favourite time of the year. Remember to leave your name and email address so we can contact you if you’re our winner.
We’ll be picking a winner on 3 December and updates will be posted here. Do watch this space!
**Disclosure: Motherkao and the kids received media invites to the party organised by The Forest Friends. All text and opinions are our own.**
UPDATE: We’ve randomly picked a winner using the old-fashioned draw-a-lot way! Congratulations to Irene! We’ll be in touch with you shortly.
*We won a Limited Edition Skiphop Zoo Pack “Dragon” (Little Kid Backpack), courtesy of MummyMoo and JED Packs! JED Packs will be having their Christmas Fair @ The Orchard Hotel (The Ballroom & Lavender Room) this December (4th, 5th). Check out more Zoo Packs and other pretty things for the little ones there! More info on their fb page here.*
** Disclosure: We received no monetary compensation for this post; all opinions and texts are Motherkao and Princesskao’s own.**
(P/S: I really wanted to keep it for Baby Nat, since he’s born in the year of the dragon; but oh well, anything to make the princess-her-royal-highness happy. She looks great carrying it anyway!)
I’ve always led a largely sedentary lifestyle (read: lazier than Garfield’s). I don’t fancy being outdoors. I dislike being in the sun. I have little ball sense and two left feet. My pyschomotor skills are often found wanting and it is usually quite frustrating for me to play a team sport.
I have a different vision for my children.
In order to make sure my kids have a balanced and holistic homeschooling education when I stay home next year, it’s crucial that the sporting and physical training aspects be outsourced. In light of that, I’ve singled out two suitable candidates to handle assignments in that department: enter their more athletic father, and Ready Steady Go Kids.
Ready Steady Go Kids is a multi-sports programme for preschoolers which focuses on developing a child’s motor skills through sports. Under their programme designed for age-specific groups, Ready Steady Go trainers introduce 10 sports and cover 5 sports per term, with each term being 12 weeks. The 10 sports – football, tennis, basketball, hockey, golf, AFL or also known as Aussie Rules Football, rugby, athletics, cricket and T-ball – will be taught in an inclusive and fun manner, while challenging a child’s gross and fine motor skills, as well as balancing skills.
Ben and Becks had the opportunity to try out hockey at Burghley Lifestyle Hub last weekend. I was given a choice of a free trial lesson between golf and hockey, and I thought perhaps hockey might be more accessible, since they haven’t been acquainted with sports of any kind at all as yet. They were initially very apprehensive; and understandably so, as the only form of physical education they know includes running crazily in circles and tumbling on the floor.
The lesson lasted 45 minutes. They were first introduced to the hockey stick and puck and the technique of holding the stick properly, which was followed by a series of stretching and warm-up exercises of leap frog, galloping and zooming around like aeroplanes. They then had the opportunity to hit the puck with the hockey stick, and subsequently progressed to learning to score a goal. The lesson ended with circuit training across hoops and hurdles to make scoring fun and challenging.
The lesson was carefully and specifically designed for ages 2.5 to 4. Ben clearly enjoyed it. Although it took him some time to warm up to the coaches, he eventually got over his nervousness, and by the end of the lesson was jumping around giving high fives and tens to everyone in the room. Becks gave up halfway; she couldn’t really maneuver the puck with the stick and preferred to jump around the room and in and out of hoops instead.
All in all, they had fun. Ben asked if he could play again. I’m thinking, sure thing, since Mama would probably never play hockey or other team sports with him. Wait a minute, maybe air hockey at the arcade.
Remember Little Miss Bossy? She’s back, bossier than ever.
Ben, my eldest, loves the plaster. He loves those with cartoon animals and Disney characters, and would find every reason to use one. He usually has more bruises from knocking into things than cuts on his fingers / toes / hands / feet, so he hardly ever needs a plaster for anything. Lately, he’s been peeling skin off where his fingernails are just so he can use a plaster.
Ben: Mama, I need to use a plaster. See?
Me: Oh, you have broken skin.
Ben: So I can use one?
Becks: Mama, look, kor kor is BLOODING. Give him plaster!
Me: Yes, ok. He is not really bleeding but yes, I will give him one. Sigh.
Breast is certainly Best
The older kids know that a baby nurses from his mother’s breasts and I unapologetically explain to them how this happens. Ever since then, there’s been endless nipple and boob jokes going around the house, which usually involves them trying to feed their little stuff toy “babies” and imitating me.
Becks: Mama, you finished bathing?
Me: Yes, my dear.
Becks: You still have your breasts?
Me: Yes, my dear.
Becks: You still have milk?
Me: Yes, my dear.
Becks: GO FEED di di. He’s hungry!
Me: Yes, my dear.
My little princess is beginning to explore walking in other people’s shoes, literally. She loves to go to the shoe rack near the main door and put on footwear of every kind, from her father’s loafers to my four-inch heels.
Becks: Mama, is this correct? (referring to the way she’s worn my sandals)
Me: Yes, but these are not yours. I want to wear them out later.
Becks: Is this correct or not?
Me: Yes, they are on the correct foot, but these aren’t yours.
Becks: No, these are mine. It’s correct.
The sniffles are clearing. The laughter is back.
At three-half, two years four months, and nine months respectively, the kids are beginning to play together. They now monkey around a lot. The older kids have taken it upon themselves to entertain their baby brother. It’s like an unspoken competition between Ben and Becks; everyday they try to make Baby Nat laugh and see who can successfully do it, and who can do it more. They play catch with him, throw balls his way and prance around him with peek-a-boos and butterfly kisses. In the evenings, before they all go to bed, they would hang around the little one to cuddle him and make him laugh. They take turns to be his little pony and rocking horse. They impart their planking skills. They do the tehee giggling together. They make cacophonic sounds of merriment and glee.
Life just got better.
I’m taking stock of how my life has changed ever since I popped three kids. And since tis’ the season for some reflecting and thanksgiving (ho ho ho, the year is coming to an end!), I’d thought I make a list of the things I won’t otherwise be able to do if I ain’t have no kids.
Now for my bragging rights:
10. Picking up clothes, paper, toys (basically, anything light) with my toes
Yes, I’ve discovered that as I plod along the house with a baby in my arms, I can still keep pathways uncluttered and the house quite organised with the help of all ten toes.
9. Scrolling the iPad with my toes
During those boring days of maternity when the baby was velcroed to me almost 24/7, I was glad to be able to read blogs, e-books and digital magazines with the iPad. Brings multi-tasking to a whole new level.
8. Sleeping in a confined 6-inch space at the edge of my queen-size bed without tossing or moving
The three kids have officially taken over the master bedroom. They all congregate on the bed every night and carve out their own little space. I’m usually left with the space of my body width. It’s amazing I can still fall asleep and not fall off.
7. Using the mucus shisha
I’m getting pretty good at using this contraption to suck out my children’s gooey stuff in a totally glamorous way.
6. Planning a blog post in my head while events unfold and typing my thoughts down at breakneck speed the moment I have access to a computer
I’m able to cramp a lot more things in my head now and take them out selectively when the time calls for recall. I wouldn’t say it’s a useful skill; I’m feeling pretty cluttered up there.
5. Swallowing food with three (or fewer) counts of chewing
To say I can swallow food whole would be too incredulous but it almost feels like that every time we eat out. Someone would need to pee or poop; the baby would be whining; mischief would usually begin after four mouthfuls of food (think falling cutlery, sliding on chairs and the chicken dance). It’s no wonder I get indigestion. And piles.
4. Giving Ben and Becks the look
Like every mother, I’ve finally mastered the look which says “you had better stop what you are doing before all hell breaks loose and your mother goes certifiably nuts”. Every mother has one. If you don’t believe me, ask yours. Or better still, do something crazy and she’ll show you.
3. Doing the emotional blackmail
Not sure if every mother does it but I have, and can do it quite well. It involves some pretend-crying and pouting to get things done my way. I know, I’m a mother with issues.
2. Styling my children’s hair with soap
My favourite hairstyle for Becks is the onion.
1. Making useless lists like this and putting this up on my blog.
Need I say more? Completely useless exercise.
Does your kid have a favourite phrase he’d say to you regardless of time and place? My two older kids’ fave is “Mama, carry me”.
Of course, depending on the time and place, my replies are usually as follows:
“How am I supposed to? I’m carrying your baby brother.”
“Why don’t you walk, my dear?”
“Shall we hold hands instead?”
“You’re getting quite heavy, my love!”
“I’m really tired today and would like to rest my arms / back / legs.”
“Darling, let’s hug first. And then you can sit next to me.”
Of course, fatherkao often reminds me that we won’t be getting these requests soon enough and that we should savour every moment. I totally agree. In fact, I’d always say to myself ‘to heck with the backache and fatigue’ and try as much as I can to smother these babies, all three of them, with loads of hugs and kisses, and indulge them in a great deal of carrying. In fact, I baby the baby so much I now have a problem: he wants to be carried all the time.
At nine months, he is unable to travel in the car on the car seat. For nine months, I can never drive without witnessing moments like these:
At nine months, just like his older siblings, he’s learned to say their favourite phrase his way, “Mama, carry me”!