Monthly Archives

April 2013

Homelearning fun Learning fun!

Befriending the letters D and E

April 30, 2013

We had more learning fun this April with the letters D and E.


E tracers

We did the usual tracers from our homeschool package and printables from Kids Learning Station. Ben also started a letter book this month. It’s like a scrapbook with pictures from magazines that is categorised alphabetically. I had him recap the things beginning with the letters A, B, C, and also got him to look for pictures of things beginning with the letter D. He managed to find some dinosaurs, deer, dog and dolphins from a few of my old Nat Geo magazines.

Letter book

For the notice board, I printed the pictures of things beginning with the letter D and E from this wonderful website called Homeschool Creations, which has an immensely rich resource bank of printables and activity sheets. I also introduced the sight words “eat” and “egg” from my Level A Sight Words Pocket Flashcards to them because that’s what they love to eat for breakfast!

What was hilarious was when I was going through things beginning with the letter E, Ben pointed to the picture of the envelope, asked me what that was and corrected me, saying, “Mama, this is not envelope lah, it’s EMAIL!” This is the world our children are growing up in. They don’t see envelopes much these days, but they certainly do see their mums and dads clicking on the envelope icon a lot, checking their emails!

Letters D & E

Outdoor learning

We were invited to Breeze Singapore’s Today I Am roadshow earlier this month, and the kids got acquainted with the letter D again. They got a chance to play Dress Up. My favourite is the doctor and chef combo, hurhurhur. Please choose either of these professions when you grow up, guys!

The hunter and the firewoman

The firechief and the doctor

The doctor and the chef

They then went on to make some play-Dough.

Recipe for playdough

Making playdough

And also got Dirty playing with paint pingpong and eating chocolate fondue.

Chocolate fondue

Paint pingpong
D is for Dental health, at HealthZone

I read about HealthZone from one of my favourite blogreads, The Gingerbread Mum, and carted the kids there one rainy weekday. The kids got to skip kindy that day and learned about the importance of dental hygiene, eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle at this exhibition located inside Health Promotion Board at Singapore General Hospital. It costs $3 for an adult and $1.50 for kids aged 3 to 18, and is open Mondays (1 – 5 pm), Tuesdays to Saturdays (9 am – 5 pm).

The section on dental health has this giant mouth with a cushy tongue and a full set of adult teeth, with two black, decaying molars, and two missing front teeth. It was an awesome sight for the kids to behold. They were initially quite frightened, but soon warmed up to the set of teeth, and started touching the gums and sitting on the tongue.

Dental section at HealthZone

The message was preached loud and clear by the videos they were showing at this section: brush your teeth twice a day with a good toothbrush and toothpaste, floss regularly, see the dentist twice a year.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay again

Nat on the tongue

The kids particularly enjoyed the activity station where they could press giant buttons with food inside them to find out if the food is good for their teeth. The good tooth and bad tooth would then light up correspondingly.

Good tooth bad tooth

That day, I dramatised how eating sweets and chocolates, and drinking sodas would give them “teeth so black nobody wants to look at you”. I am secretly very pleased at myself for brainwashing them. Hurhurhur.

Dental Printables

To reinforce what we learned, I downloaded some activity sheets found in KidsSoup which has plenty of dental health activities, crafts, and other resources for children to learn how to keep their teeth healthy (thanks again, Gingerbread Mum!).

We helped EarTwiggle get to his toothbrush by identifying the food that’s good (and not good) for our teeth.

Tooth activity from Kids Soup

We also learned to brush a tooth! Using this printable of a tooth, I coloured two sheets with random spots representing food bits and plaque.

Tooth printable

I then gave the kids some white poster colour, told them to brush away all the dirty bits using this “toothpaste” and had them painting away.

Brushing a tooth

With this learning trip to HealthZone and the follow-up activities, whenever Ben and Becks hem and haw when it’s time to brush their teeth, I’d start reminding them of the gross black tooth and the tooth with food bits which they painted. It’s been working so far!

E is for Eating right and doing lots of Exercise, at HealthZone

Another section in HealthZone is called Exciting Eatery, which featured exhibits to educate us about healthy eating – the types of food to choose when we cook, eat out, and the types of food to avoid.

Eating right pyramid

The kids got a chance to learn the different food groups and what they do for our bodies. Bread, rice and noodles give us energy. Pork, beef, chicken and fish make us strong and help us build muscles. And the veggies and fruits – Becks will tell you “You must eat them cos they make your poo poo soft!” Well said, my girl!

Eating right

Making good food choices

The kids also got to exercise at the fitness corner where there was a small indoor play structure, a rock climbing wall, exercise machines, balls and an interactive running game by Milo. I was really glad to have only paid $7.50 (for 2 adults and Ben; Becks and Nat went in free) for a few hours of learning fun and a good workout for the kids.

Anything for them to expend their energy!

Bouncing ball

Climbing and sliding

Rock climbing

The only thing I have yet to do with them to wrap up the letter E is to bring them for an elephant ride at the zoo. I hope to bring them sooner, cos we are moving on to other exciting letters next month!

Here’s a tip to teach kids to differentiate between lowercase letter b and d:

This month, I learned this tip from watching Word World with the kids. You can sing this song (to the tune of Happy Birthday, or any tune that fits) to drill it in, so the kids can sing it to themselves when they have trouble distinguishing! Here goes:

“Line and circle is the letter b
Circle and line is the letter d
Line and circle is the letter b
Circle and line is the letter d”
Homelearning fun Product Reviews

Castle painting fun with CraftPlay [+Giveaway]

April 26, 2013

The kids don’t do much art and craft, thanks to their not-so-artsy mother that is me.  I know they love to, and want to paint, draw, craft, and make a mess without needing to hear much nagging and screaming from their mother who has some obsessive compulsion to keep everything clean.

So I introduced them to their Art Buddy, whom the affectionately call QX jie jie. She comes occasionally to do art with them, while I hide in a corner and bite my tongue, and refrain from taking out the broom and mop to clean up the mess they are making while they are at it.

Last week, the kids had a CraftPlay date with QX jie jie . The folks at CraftPlay kindly sent over their Out of the Box Castle so the kids can have some painting and decorating fun. It was supposed to be a project with their new BFFs from kindergarten, but the other kids haven’t been feeling too well, so we thought we’d just go ahead on our own.

CraftPlay Out of the Box Castle Instructions

Instructions for Out of the Box Castle

The package came together with packets of paintbrushes and roller sponges, and the kids couldn’t wait to start working on the castle made of recycled box materials. I decided that they should each take individual pieces of the castle tower, walls and gates to paint, instead of assembling the castle first, and paint away they did, with the help of QX jie jie.

CraftPlay_Painting away

Let’s start painting!

And of course, at four and two half (and the baby at 14 months), you wouldn’t expect these kids to stay focused painting nor expect that they decorate the castle with funky designs and patterns. They were up clowning about after five minutes of serious painting, and started rolling paint on each other’s legs, toes and hair. That is the fun of art and craft to them.

CraftPlay_Painting themselves too

Painting legs and toes is fun too!

When the paint dried up, I tried to assemble the castle but to my dismay, it was not as easy as I thought. We probably used the wrong type of paint and some parts of the cardboard were too wet when the paint went on initially, that the corners were torn even when the paint dried.

CraftPlay_Wrong paint we used

The paint was initially too watery!

CraftPlay_Painting completed

Painting completed!

I spent a good hour trying to put the pieces together but the “tongues” that I inserted into the different slots kept coming out. I got desperate after getting nowhere near to assembling it after half an hour, I started taping the folded parts so they don’t come off. The kids only hung around to watch for a grand total of 7 minutes, and then got very impatient and kept singing me the same refrain,“Why the castle still not ok, huh? 

So after one trying hour of putting it together, I gave up and told them, “Nah, this is the castle. It’s supposed to look pretty and all, but well, Mama just can’t assemble it without getting frustrated.” Now you know why art and craft is my least favourite subject in school. I’m totally NOT good at this at all!

CraftPlay_Not too nicely assembled

Assembled with the help of tape!

This is how it should look! Image from CraftPlay.

This is how it should look! Image from CraftPlay.

Still, the kids were happy and started to find uses for this piece of artwork they’ve created – they started throwing their baby brother’s balls into the castle towers like those Uncle Ringo games they play at pasar malam. And then they went on to spend an evening with the cardboard castle, perfecting their aiming and laughing away.

Ready, aim, throw!

Ready, aim, throw!

Thank you, CraftPlay, for those few hours of fun. Though it wasn’t too much fun for me putting everything together (ok, it’s me and my fat fingers!), my kids had a good time painting and playing!

Here’s a giveaway, so you can have some painting fun too!

I’m sure you can do a better job than me assembling the castle – how idiot-proof is that, right? –  so here’s a chance to win an Out of the Castle (more castle types here) worth $17 for some hours of crafting and painting fun. Simply LIKE CraftPlay’s Facebook Page and leave me a comment with your name and email address. It’s that simple! Giveaway ends 1 May 2013.

UPDATE: Congrats, Chuyan! You won the Out of the Box Castle! Happy painting and crafting! A big thank you to all who took part!

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao

The distance that is 5 cm away

April 24, 2013
The distance that is 5 cm away
Is the distance that you can sometimes be comfortably away from me
Any farther than that
I’ll have to see you stomp your feet 
Show me a pitiful face
With hot tears rolling down your cheeks
This is the distance that is more than 5 cm away

This is the distance that is more than 5 cm away

And this is really pushing it...

And this is really pushing it…

The distance that is 5 cm away
Is the distance that you would never go
If you were given a choice
For you’d much prefer
To cuddle me tight 
Hold me close
Have me babywear you every single waking minute
So in order to keep you less than 5 cm away
I pee with you sitting on my lap (trust me, I have perfected this skill)
I bring you along on the bus to kindy with kor kor and jie jie
I walk you wearing you
I sleep hugging you tight
So that you know
Whenever I have to be more than the distance that is 5 cm away
It’s because I really 
Need to
Have to
Take a break
And not because 
I don’t want you closer 
Than the distance that is 5 cm away

Dedicated to Nat – the love of my life, my Glutinous Rice Ball

Nat with Mama
Learning fun!

Lights, sound & action on Gymnademics’ Big Day Out [Giveaway]

April 23, 2013

Fancy a day out with your kids to explore the world of theatre?

Gymnademics will be having their annual Big Day Out this year on the 5th May 2013 (Sunday), and this year’s event will feature a play and some experiential learning fun on theatre grounds.

Titled Lights! Sound! Action! An Adaptation of a Classic Fairytale, the 20-minute play will be staged at The Substation and is set to be an interactive one with lots of music and movement, and of course, one with a classic fairytale twist. After the show, parents will be given an activity booklet to help them explore the various learning stations within the theatre with their little ones.

The play and the various stations have been specially designed for children from 1 to 5 years old. This event also helps children revisit March’s Arts and Culture theme, where they learned about famous artists, composers and dance forms during their Gymnademics lessons.

Gymnademics Big Day Out Poster

The last I heard, the 10am show is fully sold, and tickets are selling fast for the other four timeslots at 11.30am, 2pm, 3.30pm and 5pm. You can purchase your tickets online or head down to Gymnademics at SAFRA Toa Payoh to get your tickets personally. Tickets are priced at $15 per child and $18 for one adult.

And just so you can come and join in the fun, we’re doing a GIVEAWAY here!

Gymnademics is giving away a set of family tickets of 2 adults and 1 child (worth $51) for their Big Day Out happening on 5 May 2013 to ONE reader of this blog. The winner can choose either the 2pm or 5pm show.

Here’s what you can do to take part:

1. Like Motherkao’s Facebook Page (thank you, if you’ve already done so)

2. Like Gymnademics Facebook Page

3. Leave me a comment here (with your email address) to share a fairytale twist you’ve ever read / heard (or a fairytale you’d like to see a twist in!)

Looking forward to read your responses! Giveaway ends 30 April. We’ll randomly pick a winner from the responses!

P/S: My favourite fairytale twist is the one I’ve been reading to my kids lately – the one with the Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.

Disclosure: Nat and I are attending Gymnademics classes which I’ve shared in an earlier post. We received complimentary tickets to the Big Day Out, so see you there!


UPDATE: Thank you for sharing your twisted fairy tale versions with me! Our random number generator picked Connie as the winner for the tickets! Congrats! And thanks to all who took part!

Food, glorious food! Going Out! Motherkao loves...

The kids, me and Lipton tea

April 19, 2013

On the day I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I went cold turkey and gave up one of the best things in my life – coffee.

That was also when I discovered the wonderful world of tea. I became an avid tea drinker after I gave up coffee, and fell in love with chamomile, rose, and lavender tea. These kept the terribleness of each first trimester at bay, and have helped calm me in many a frenzied moment in motherhood.

So when the kids and I were invited to Lipton’s world-first pop-up High Tea Bar at Plaza Singapura last night, I was especially thrilled. Lipton, the largest tea brand in the world (and the first brand of tea I ever tried as a kid!) is introducing its first ever High Tea Bar to bring the art and science of tea-pairing and quality tea choices closer to consumers and their lifestyles.

Lipton's first pop up high tea bar

Lipton’s first pop up High Tea Bar at Plaza Singapura

I don’t usually think hard if the dessert or food I order goes well with the tea I drink, so I thought I might learn a thing or two from the event. The High Tea Bar features 6 tea sets paired with Canelé’s Pâtisserie Chocolaterie’s sweet and savoury items, three of which have been specially customised by Canelé’s Executive Pastry Chef, Chef Christophe Grilo, and Unilever’s Food Technologist for Lipton, Miss Wong May Chee, for the Lipton High Tea Bar. At the event, these two experts also shared how tea-pairing with food is done.

One of the 6: Lipton Yellow Label Tea with Lemon Macarons

One of the 6: Lipton Yellow Label Tea with Lemon Macarons

One of the 6: Lipton Asian White Tea with Chestnut Cassis Sponge Cake

One of the 6: Lipton Asian White Tea with Chestnut Cassis Sponge Cake

Unfortunately for me, I got nothing out of their sharing because the two kids I brought along to drink tea with kept bouncing and prancing around me, asking incessantly, “Can we drink tea now? Can we? Are we going to have tea now? Why aren’t we drinking any tea? Why?” and I had to constantly get them to hold their excitement in. I can’t imagine what the rest of the night would be like if we ever tried all 6 sets of tea!

Very excited children who are trying to entertain themselves

Very excited children who are trying to entertain themselves

Thankfully, the good folks from Golin Harris prepared a special non-caffeinated herbal infusion of cranberry, raspberry and strawberry for Ben, Becks and the nursing mother that is me. It was paired with the Chicken Mini Burger, which Ben devoured in minutes because “the sauce is just so yummy”. We all loved the herbal infusion for its fruity flavour and very soothing aroma.

Lipton's Herbal Infusion: Cranberry, Raspberry & Strawberry

Lipton’s Herbal Infusion: Cranberry, Raspberry & Strawberry

Having tea with sweet and savoury treats

Having tea with sweet and savoury treats

Becks: Let me smell the tea! Ben: Let me eat the burger!

Becks: Let me smell the tea!
Ben: Let me eat the burger and macaron!

We also had Canelé’s lemon macarons and classic cheesecake to go with our herbal infusion. I also tried the Russian Earl Grey Tea made with bergamot and sweet blue flowers, paired with Canelé’s Le Chocolat Croustillant, which was a great combination, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for anything dark chocolate, so the distinct aroma of the Earl Grey with this Vanini Cocoa mousse layered cake with crispy chocolate praline was a sweet end to my very tiring day.

We dug into the cheesecake before we remembered to take a picture!

We dug into the cheesecake before we remembered to take a picture!

Oh, the decadence and deliciousness of a dark chocolate praline cake!

Oh, the decadence and deliciousness of a dark chocolate praline cake!

I think Lipton’s pairing with Canelé is such a perfect match because I can definitely appreciate the aroma and flavours of tea much better when it’s taken together with decadent confectionaries. What an indulgent experience this has been. I certainly had a good time having tea (and desserts) with my kids and I’m definitely going to replicate this experience at home. Thank you, Lipton Singapore, for having us at the High Tea Bar!

Savouring a Lipton Moment

Savouring a Lipton Moment

More details:
  • For 6 days only, members of the public can redeem and enjoy a complimentary High Tea set at the Lipton High Tea Bar with a minimum spend of $25 at Plaza Singapura or a purchase of $15 worth of Lipton products at the Bar itself.
  • The 6 Lipton High Tea Sets include: 1. Lipton Yellow Label with Lemon Macarons, 2. Lipton Forest Fruit Tea with Chicken Mini Burger, 3. Lipton Citrus Tea with Traditional Salmon and Cucumber Sandwich, 4. Lipton Asian White Tea with Chestnut Cassis Sponge Cake, 5. Lipton Blue Fruit Tea with Classic Cheesecake, 6. Lipton Russian Earl Grey Tea with Le Chocolat Croustillant
  • The Lipton High Tea Bar is at Plaza Singapura, Main Atrium. Redemption is available daily from 11 am to 8.30pm from 16 to 21 April 2013.
Parenting 101

Motherkao’s three DO NOTs

April 18, 2013

I’ve come up with three ‘DO NOTs’ for the kids.

Three golden rules

I’ve had enough of being annoyed and vexed everyday, and sounding like the naggiest nagger of the century. I’m frustrated that I’m always yelling. So today, I looked Ben and Becks in the eye and said, “From now on, every time I give instructions, you must remember the three ‘DO NOTs’.

1) Do not ask why

Both Ben and Becks have this habit of asking why for everything now, and they usually ask for the sake of asking, and not because they genuinely want to find out about things. I’m training them to ask more intelligent questions, and also throwing each ‘why’ back at them if I feel they are fully capable of giving me the answer. And I have officially declared that when it comes to instructions, they are not allowed to ask why. On a daily basis, this is what they sometimes do to me:

Me: It’s 10 o’clock. Get changed to go to school.

Ben: Why?


Me: Come here and brush your teeth now.

Becks: Why?


In these two instances, there is no ‘because’. I often make the mistake of explaining to the children why they need to do what they need to do, but that, I realized, is not training them. I mean, why should I explain the reason for holding my hand when we cross the road, or why they need to take my word for what it is and follow my instructions in times of danger? The Nazi mum in me says they need to follow without questioning. I need instant obedience.

2) Do not say no

The other bad, bad habit is their reflex response of saying no to every single thing they are asked to do. In true militant style, I’m making them learn to say ‘Yes, Mama’ and not ‘No’.

I can say, “Come and drink some barley”, and they can go, “No, I don’t want”. I mean, did I give them an option? If they don’t learn to say yes to me, how are they going to learn submission and obedience to other forms of authority later in life? Imagine the primary school teacher go, “Draw a two-finger spacing margin” and my son says “I don’t want”. Epic fail in parenting.

3) Do not make me wait

Sometimes, they don’t ask why and they don’t say no. They simply ignore an instruction or disregard what I say. And I repeat it. And I repeat it. And I repeat it. And I repeat it. THEN I HOLLER. THEN I BLOW MY TOP!! This is such a stupid trap I fall into, so I’ve given them the order not to wait to respond to me. When I count to three, things must happen. They must come if I call. They must say ‘Yes, Mama’.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Onward with more child training this week with my three golden rules!

Learning fun! Reviews

So much fun at Gymnademics!

April 16, 2013

Ever since I stayed home with my three kids, the youngest has been getting the shorter end of the stick. There’s a whole lot of homelearning fun but the activities I planned hardly included him. Well, I did try to get Nat to do some art until he decided it was better to lick the brush than paint. I read flashcards to him every alternate days and an occasional storybook, but that’s really about it. He has about half an hour of playground fun with Ben and Becks daily, and then stays home for most parts of the day with the helper while they are at kindy; not that fun if you compared it with the things he used to do at infantcare – crafting, singing nursery rhymes, playing masak masak, cutting cheese, squeezing cold toothpaste and chasing bubbles, balls and balloons – with ten other babies his age.

So when Baby Nat was invited by Gymnademics to attend their Pre-Fellow weekly lessons for a term, I couldn’t be happier. Finally, he was going to get some engagement, stimulation and much needed physical exercise beyond the confines of our home and the playground downstairs.

Gymnademics is the first and only intellectual enrichment and gym centre in Singapore that is affiliated with the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in Philadelphia, USA. IAHP is founded by the guru of flashcards, Glenn Doman, and is a non-profit organization that does research on how to develop and enhance a child’s brain growth through a combination of physical education and intellectual stimulation.

At Gymnademics, classes are built upon the concept of purposeful play, because play is a child’s natural way of exploring the world. This sets a strong foundation for a lifetime of discovering and learning for children.

If you’re telling me that Nat would get to learn, play and exercise all at the same time, I’m saying yay all the way

The Pre-Fellow class Nat is attending now (suitable for 1-2 years old and parent-accompanied) encompasses three core components – intellectual, physical and social. Each lesson lasts 1 hour 15 minutes. The first 15 minutes is free play, getting used to the environment and warming up to teachers and friends, and the subsequent hour is packed with 10 activities, lasting 10 – 15 minutes each.

Getting used to the place

Running freely at the Gymnademics Studio

Exploring gears with friends

Exploring gears with friends

Some of the things Nat does in class include:

Reading aloud (ok, not yet, so I read aloud after Teacher Selene instead) word cards, encyclopedic cards and picture cards

These help to stimulate his visual and auditory pathways. There are also stories and music to make learning fun for both parent and child.

Learning about the different types of dance

Learning about the different types of dance

Getting acquainted with Claude Monet

Getting acquainted with Claude Monet

Getting acquainted with Pablo Picasso

Getting acquainted with Pablo Picasso

Gym activities that focus on balance and mobility, and at the same time develop his manual and tactile competencies

Nat’s favourite so far is the gym circuit. He has a skip in his step when it’s time to go on the obstacle course.

Learning to balance on a beam

Learning to balance on a beam

Flying trapeze

Swinging on a trapeze

Fruit relay: learning to run in a straight line and putting fruit and veggies from one basket to another

Fruit relay: learning to run in a straight line and putting fruit and veggies from one basket to another

Activities that teach social behaviour and encourage the development of his fine motor skills

With Teacher Selene’s help, Nat learned to tie a knot to string a bell. On another occasion, Nat learned to use his thumb to peel off tape so he could stick some shapes to make a paper plate pizza.

Tying a knot for the bell

Tying a knot for the bell

What I especially appreciate about the programme is that Gymnademics provide a Parent-Child Bonding Package after each lesson. The package includes materials used in class, as well as extra activities that parents and the whole family can engage in to reinforce what the child has learned that week. This means that I can do things with Nat without having to specially plan for it, and he gets some homelearning fun together with me as well.

It’s been two lessons so far (one trial lesson, plus his first lesson last week) and Nat has shown me that he has enjoyed every lesson thoroughly. The range of activities they do in class with children his age within that one hour is indeed impressive and tremendously engaging. At home, I sing him the songs he sings in class and he starts jiving and grooving. I show him flashcards and he readily sits himself in front of me to babble and point. I am sure he looks forward to his Gymnademics lesson every week. Do follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to find out what this little fella is learning and how he is progressing.

If you’d like more information on the programmes in Gymnademics, you could connect with them on their Facebook page or check out their website here.

More details:
  • Gymnademics Early Enrichment Centre is located at SAFRA Toa Payoh 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #02-01 Singapore 319387
  • Tel: 6259 0307 | 8518 7910 | 9651 9331

Disclosure: Nat and I were invited to attend the Pre-Fellow Class at Gymnademics for review purposes. All opinions here are Motherkao’s own.

(Self) Examination Mommy guilt Thunderstorm days

Mega meltdown, monster-style

April 16, 2013

The background

Our new routine is proving to be quite a challenge to coordinate naptimes and bedtimes with three kids reaching different milestones. Ben is now able to drop his nap and go down for 12 hours straight from 9 to 9. Becks still need at least an hour of naptime so she wouldn’t get cranky at dinnertime. And Nat practically just sleeps whenever he wants however long he wants. I’ve been trying to divide and conquer on most afternoons, and it has worked for a while, until yesterday. After returning from kindy, Becks gets tucked in first and it’s like our special time together. After she falls asleep, I tuck Nat in. Ben gets to play on his own while waiting for me, and when I emerge victorious, usually an hour later, we do a special project and some learning together.

There’s no problem except that sometimes Becks doesn’t wish to nap even though she’s tired and only falls asleep at around 4.30 and refuses to wake till 6ish in the evening. She needs that nap so she can have her dinner (she won’t eat when she’s tired). I need her to have that nap so night terror doesn’t strike at night for her (she has a history of this whenever she’s overstimulated). But if she sleeps for more than an hour in the afternoons, she has problems falling asleep at bedtime.

At night, I usually divide and conquer again. I tell Ben because he skipped his nap, he must be the first to go to bed, and I tuck in both boys, leaving the little girl to play on her own till both boys have fallen asleep. This works on days when she’s in the mood to be on her own. Some days she can be very sticky and insists on following me everywhere I go, which also means she would enter the room and yak non stop, which can be very annoying for the boys who are trying to get some rest.

The story

So yesterday, our little girl took a nap longer than she should, woke up throwing a tantrum because she wanted to sleep more, and basically ruined a lovely evening we all could have had together. When it’s time for her brothers to go to bed, she insisted that she was tired (at 9.30) and lay on her bed talking and singing, giggling and tossing (she was clearly NOT tired) and only went down after I smacked her bum 15 minutes before midnight. She made me lie next to her, pat her, massage her, pray with her, answer her questions – and sometimes drifting in and out of sleep before fighting it again – for two frigging hours.

I only managed to get some rest after midnight. I went to bed very frustrated having wasted so much precious time.

At 7 this morning, guess who sprang up first? The little girl got up quite happy, prodded her little brother who’s sleeping on the floor (with me) and they both scampered out of the room to play ball.

Half an hour later, she decided it’s no fun playing with him, and came to holler at me. It’s her way of waking me up. Now, I know a loving, gentle, ever selfless mom would spring up, give her a big hug, say “good morning” and get ready to spend some time with her little ones. I’m clearly not one. I pulled the blanket over my head and begged her to let me sleep. I told her she could go read a book, play with her toys or just hang around the baby.

Well, those options were clearly not what she wanted to do. She proceeded to sulk herself into a tantrum, yank my blanket away from me, hit me on the head and threw a fit by crying into my ears and screaming into my face.

Now, I know a loving, gentle, ever selfless mom would by now wake up, lovingly discipline the child for throwing the tantrum, give her some breakfast and a big bear hug.

No surprises here, but I’m clearly not one. I pleaded with her to let me sleep an hour more, asked her to go away and stop her screaming. When she didn’t, I left the room, shut the door to the master bedroom, and tried to go back to sleep.

But someone decided to bang the door, scream even louder and up the volume of her crying after I did that, and that was when it happened.

I lost it. I could have walked into the shower, taken a warm bath and walked out of the room a loving and gentle mom, and give her the attention she needed. But I didn’t. I flew into a rage. I opened the door, picked her up, flung her onto the bed like a big bad bully. I took the cane out, smacked her bum uncontrollably (she’s got diapers on) and yelled repeatedly, “DO YOU KNOW IF YOU DON’T LET ME SLEEP, I WILL TURN INTO A MONSTER? NOW I’M A MONSTER!” I just kept on yelling and caning the bed (she’s rolled away by now) until I was exhausted and collapsed onto the bed.

The resolution

What else would I feel but a huge surge of mom guilt overwhelming my entire being. I felt rotten and terrible for smacking her out of anger. I held her tight and told her I was sorry for being such a nasty mother. We both sobbed ourselves to sleep. When she woke up again after 45 minutes, she gave me a huge smile and asked, “Mama, are we going to the playground first, then to kindergarten?” She didn’t seem to remember what had just happened, or maybe she did; but one thing I knew: she forgave me. I carried her to the playground and had breakfast with the kids while they played. Before I sent her off to school, I kissed her on her cheek and said, “I love you very much, you know?” She nodded and hugged me back.

I thank God for His mercies which are new every morning. And for a daughter who extends forgiveness readily to her monster mom. I am loved despite having failed, and this is truly grace.

Dear Sweetheart, may you grow and blossom to be a woman of grace – someone who’s beautiful inside and outside. I’m learning each day to be a better Mama to you and am grateful for your forgiveness and love.

Becks smiling

Also linking up with:

I ♥ lists

5 random facts about this blog (& blogger)

April 12, 2013

1. Before I started this blog, everything was journalled by pen on paper. I wrote letters to the kids, each one of them – while I was preggers with them, and after they were born. Sweet thing to do, one would say, but very tiring indeed.

2. I started blogging in 2008 at ‘Of Pancakes and Panache’. I rambled and mused, and shared some snippets of my life baking, eating and having a chinchilla. And like every first time mum, I recorded boring details of having Ben as the centre of my universe.

3. I started ‘The Musings of Motherkao’ at the encouragement of my colleague who asked me to write about my life in Comedy Central because the stories I told of my kids cracked her up everyday. When I asked my husband what he thought, he was all for making our already hilarious lives public, and so started my journey of blogging away.

4. I’m very glad to have started this blog because I no longer need to report to anyone who wants to know how the kids are doing.

5. I wanted to be able to laugh at myself, so I *finally* embraced taking on my husband’s surname that was similar to a bovine. My friends now call me Motherkao instead of my name, and I’d like to think that that’s because they envy my wild life with three in the barn.

Linking up with:

Family life as we know it Milestones and growing up

Too far moments in history

April 10, 2013

Drinking milk together

Tonight the kids shared a moment in history which may never repeat itself in the months to come.

Nat, at 14 months, is finally drinking his milk from the bottle. Not much, but 10ml is good enough for a mother who has been trying to bottle-feed him since Day 1.

And so, we lined all three of them up for a photo to remember. Because soon enough, somebody’s gotta start drinking milk from the cup, or not even have the night milk feed at all (especially when it’s time to start toilet training for the night).

Soon enough, each of them would go on to reach their age-appropriate developmental milestones as they grow in the days and months ahead.

They might not be holding the bottle like they did today – together, at the same time.

And tonight, for the first time in my life, I allowed my mind to wander yonder to think about the moments in history which would only happen once. Like…

…2015 is the only year all three children would be preschoolers. Nat would be 3 (pre-nursery), Becks 5 (Kindergarten 1) and Ben 6 (Kindergarten 2).

…2019 will be the first of the three years to follow that they would all be primary schoolers.

…2025 will be the year that they will share a moment in history again. That would be the only year all three would be in Secondary school.

As I counted their ages with each progressive year, I began to feel a lump growing in my throat.

By the time I reached 2025, the lump in my throat got way too huge to swallow.

In the short span of time thinking, I also started to have a headache. The numbers 2015, 2019 and 2025 made my head throb. It’s crazy enough to be doing those mental sums and then imagining what life would be like with my children all grown up, and having to deal with that lump that’s still growing in the throat.

So for now, in 2013 – every day this year – they will still be my babies.

Now that helped me gulp the lump away.