Monthly Archives

February 2015

Ben Kao Getting all sentimental now Happy days Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

6.

February 26, 2015

My firstborn occupies a special place in my heart.

He is creative, spontaneous, imaginative and curious.

He is sensible, kind-hearted, and always eager to learn and help.

For the longest time ever, I have yet to handle a meltdown or a tantrum from him. He understands and listens to reason, and always chooses to love and obey. He is affectionate all the time and hardly has a mean word for anyone.

Yet these are not the reasons why I love him so.

This boy was my very first. The very first baby I carried in my womb for 38 weeks. The very first human being I held in my arms to say, “Hello, I’m your Mama.” The very first person that my world has known that was flesh and blood.

I love him so because … just because.

He’s mine, that’s why.

Ben turns 6 today, and I am giving thanks for all these beautiful years of having him as mine.

Ben's 6th_1

Ben's 6th_2

Ben's 6th_3

Ben's 6th_4

Happy Birthday, Son! You’ll always have that special first place in my heart.

Ben at 6

(Self) Examination Happy days Milestones and growing up The darndest kid quotes and antics The Kao Kids

A lesson on beauty my children taught me

February 20, 2015

When there’s Chinese New Year, there’s always Miss Universe.

On free-to-air TV, that is.

I don’t know if anyone has realised this, but for the longest time, I’ve always caught snippets of this beauty pageant on Chinese New Year, since I was a kid.

Yesterday afternoon, after an exhausting stint of going from northeast to central to northwest and back to northeast of Singapore (also known as Chinese New Year obligations visitations), we went home to rest for the evening and I told the kids that the free-to-air channels sometimes show really hilarious Chinese movies about mahjong and kungfu during Chinese New Year.

We were curious, so we started flipping channels. And that was when we met the five finalists of the Miss Universe pageant.

Miss Universe 2015

Me: Ukraine. Miss Ukraine. She looks so perfect, like a Barbie doll.

Becks: Yucks. She’s not pretty at all.

Me: I don’t think we can even use the word ‘pretty’ to describe these women. They are beautiful. Oh, look! Miss Jamaica! Beautiful?

Ben, Becks and Nat: (in unison) No, not beautiful.

Me: How about Miss USA?

Ben: No lah, not beautiful.

Me: Miss Colombia? Oh my gosh, her teeth are so white. My goodness, such gorgeous curls.

Ben: Eeee…Why this girl doesn’t tie up her hair? So messy.

Me: Oh man, Miss Netherlands. Beautiful, right, Nat?

Nat: No. Not beautiful at all.

Me: Ok, guys, seriously. If you can’t call these women beautiful, I don’t know who you can call beautiful. These are the best in our world, you know. That’s why there’s this thing called beauty pageant. Tell me then, who is beautiful to you?

Ben, Becks and Nat: (in unison) YOU, Mama! YOU are beautiful.

Me: *speechless*

~~~

How pure the worlds of children. We all started grasping our idea of beauty through the people we love, until the media and our society defines what beauty is for us.

Last evening, I wore an invisible crown in the comfort of our home. No pageant, no competition, no gruelling Q and A, no swimsuit parade.

Just a simple declaration from the mouths of babes.

That I am the most beautiful in their universe.

Have an unbleatable Goat year, y'all! From the most beautiful mom to her kids and her three darlings

Have an unbleatable Goat year, y’all! From the most beautiful mom to her kids and her three darlings

Happy days Milestones and growing up Nat Kao The Kao Kids What to Expect... As a Mother

No party, but let’s party!

February 16, 2015

My littlest turns 3 on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year and in the midst of this apocalyptic craziness that happens once a year – cleaning, packing, stocking up, stashing food – I have almost forgotten all about it.

The older two both had a party thrown for them when they turned 3. I’m not an indulgent mom that throws a party for my kids every year, but I did tell myself that the kids should at least have a party at 1 (to thank well-meaning friends and relatives, and to celebrate making it through a year), at 3 (well, at least the kid is now aware of what’s happening and can really get excited about candle-blowing and the notion of having a party), at 6 (before P1!) and one at 12 (before the kid journeys into adolescence).

Or so I thought I would, but Nat turns 3 in 4 days’ time and Ben turns 6 next week, and I haven’t made any plans to throw them any parties.

These days running a business means working Mondays to Sundays, and every night from 10 pm to 1 am. The time I spend with my kids talking (and many times lecturing) is when we are in the car going to school and travelling home, and when we see each other again at dinner and tuck-in. What little energy that is left is spent reading bedtime stories and micro-managing all the small stuff in their lives – Consent forms for field trips! Parents’ newsletter from kindy! Mama, I need to start collecting toilet rolls for craft! Mama, my hair’s all tangled, can you tie for me? Mama, can we do colouring tomorrow?  Mama, buy strawberry milk we don’t like chocolate milk anymore, eww! – that the last thing I want to do is to think about party venue, decor, food and guest lists.

I’m feeling a little sorry for my youngest because he is the apple of my eye and the baby love to his siblings and he’s not getting a party. Three years ago, this darling was born after I had two suppositories inserted to induce my labour at 37 weeks. His arrival meant that our family is finally complete – since Fatherkao and I had always wanted to have three kids. We’ve had much more laughter ever since he came into our lives and rocked our world, and the trio of Kao kids has clocked hundreds of happy hours playing and having a blast together every day since he started joining them in all the fun.

Nat’s born with this ability of endearing himself to anyone. Those huge eyes and that innate manja-ness are the reasons why anyone would love – and give in to – him. I find my resolve always melting into nothingness when it comes to him, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that with him all those principles I followed regarding discipline and training are thrown out of the window most of the time. Thankfully, the other half is more balanced and objective and doesn’t get swayed by those charming goldfish eyes.

This baby of mine turns three in four days.

How fast he has grown.

How much he has grown.

Nat Day 1

Nat and balloons

Nat and Mama's leg

Nat brushes his teeth

Nat at 2

Nat and rockets

And even though we’re not having a party, we would definitely be spending the day having HIS idea of fun.

Which is to be together – korkor, jiejie, Mama, Dada and him – the whole day long.

Happy 3rd birthday, my Glutinous Rice Ball. You’ll always have my elbow to pinch so you can fall asleep, my tummy to blow raspberries into for a hearty laugh, and my legs to cling on to when you’re afraid.

Nat at kelong

 

(Self) Examination Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids The real supermom

Memory Lane

February 12, 2015

Recently, a reporter from the papers rang me up to ask if she could do a story about what motherhood is like, having three kids so close in age. She then asked me some routine questions so she could find the interest angle in my story. I don’t know if what I shared would end up as a feature in the papers, but talking to her sure brought back a flood of memories.

Memories – though somewhat a little hazy now – of how I discovered I was pregnant after Ben was barely nine months, and having to deal with a very horrible, terrible, no good first trimester of wretching, wretching and more wretching, always feeling so sorry that I couldn’t last longer breastfeeding Ben (and to think I even wanted to try tandem feeding!) …

Memories of how tough being pregnant in the last trimester was, with a toddling toddler in tow, and being every bit the hands-on mom that I am, doing everything for him (and refusing to let the domestic helper do what a mother should do) …

Ben at Year 1

Memories of how Becks was such a difficult baby refusing to latch, Ben graduating from infantcare to toddler class at daycare, and me breaking down like a wreck seeing how hard he cried at our separation every morning after his sister was born …

Ben with Becks at Year 1

And memories of how the road to having an infant and a toddler was made even tougher when my husband broke his leg and was out of commission for the following half of the year…

And then discovering that I was pregnant again when Becks was transiting to solids well and learning to toddle like a pro…

Becks Toddling

Becks Year 1

To realise that the moment Nat was born it was almost an automatic given that Becks would enter her Terrible Twos, albeit half a year earlier …

And then I suddenly had in my hands – gosh, not enough hands! – two toddlers and one infant …

KaoKids7

And that when they were in childcare and infantcare, and falling sick quite often with germs having a heyday in the house, I had used up all my leave, my savings, and my energy …

Nat 3 Months

Nat 6 Months

Those years were insane years.

And then I was asked the question: if I could do it all over again, would I at least try to space them further apart? Or maybe… stop at two…?

And a deluge of sentimentality hit me so hard it took me quite a while to recover. While I sounded composed and did all my polite laughs, I was choking on the inside.

Those years were hard. Those years were crazy. What was I thinking?

But these faces.

KaoKids1

KaoKids2

KaoKids3

KaoKids4

These children today, at 6, 5 and 3, and the bond that they share being each other’s best friends, is the reason I say makes everything worthwhile.

I would do three kids, 18 months apart, in a heartbeat. My world has never known otherwise, and yet my world has been made complete with the three children I have today.

It has been one hell of a mad, mad ride, but it’s totally worth it.

KaoKids6

KaoKids5

Becks Kao Happy days Milestones and growing up Re: learning and child training

This little girl of mine (and it’s got to do with nail polish again)

February 6, 2015

So you’ve read that I finally relented and relaxed my standards when it comes to nail polish for my little girl.

Last month, I did the unthinkable.

During one of our mother-and-daughter dates out, I brought Becks to a place that would satisfy her curiosity and gratify her desires.

I didn’t want to do the usual let’s go eat and walk around gig with her for our “Special Time”. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show her that Mama doesn’t go for a pedicure (or manicure) to ONLY put colour on her nails. I wanted her to see that sometimes, we pay the professionals to do some grooming for us, like scrubbing the calluses off our soles, trimming in-growns and scrubbing our elbows.

And so I let her experience that for herself.

Becks and Mama Date Night 1

The ladies there were shocked, of course. I don’t think any mom has ever brought a little girl this young to to do a full two-hour spa pedicure and manicure. They said moms bring their girls to get nail polish, and that’s it. Becks got a lot of attention that evening, since the place was located right smacked in a mall where human traffic was ongoing. People pointed, people squealed, and I am sure some moms who uphold moral perfection balked. I know I would, if it was me a month ago.

You didn’t want your daughter to be vain, and now you’re showing her how to be more vain?

No, I didn’t think I was teaching or showing her to embrace vanity more; on the contrary, besides telling her ever so often that beauty comes from a kind heart, I was teaching her on our date that we don’t just colour our nails with markers and highlighters or do nail art with stickers and stamps. We groom ourselves, and we do it right by taking care of every part with respect.

Becks and Mama Date Night 2

Becks and Mama Date Night 3

Becks and Mama Date Night 4

Becks and Mama Date Night 6

Becks and Mama Date Night 5

That night, she saw how the jie-jies cleaned and scrubbed and trim and cut, and even though she did eventually get nail polish on (which I removed the next day in time for school), she learned a precious lesson.

“Mama, we clean ourselves properly. Cannot anyhow draw on our nails.”

That’s one sensible girl, and one happy Mama.