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Everyday fun! Family life as we know it Learning fun! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids The real supermom

How’s it looking, now that it’s April

April 14, 2015

I’ve been running round with a cape trying my best to be supermom ever since the year started and I can only say the road ahead will only get tougher for this super-tired mom. At this point of my life I am trying to do the entrepreneur-working-mom-slash-do-my-best-to-be-as-much-a-hands-on-mom but it’s one heck of an ambition and everyone around me tells me I am crazy / ambitious / crazily ambitious / ambitiously crazy / impossible.

I think so too.

My children are growing up so quickly before my eyes and if there’s only one consolation of being away so often now is the consolation that I did three kids back to back with only an 18-month gap in between each kids, and today Ben, Becks and Nat are BFFs. They entertain one another, help each other, and do everything after kindergarten hours together I now wear the back-to-back pregnancies like my badge of honour.

So if anyone reading this is looking for a reason to do their kids with a close age gap, I have just sold you one.

So how is it like to juggle the demands of running a business and being a mom? How does this mothering thing actually work now that I have a business to run?

Well, apart from not being able to do much meal planning and cooking (which my wonderful husband has kindly offered to step in to do) and having to outsource the mundane tasks like packing bags, showering and diapering (oh wait, it’s not a biggie anymore, with all the kids toilet trained, except for Becks and Nat for the night), and not hovering over and all around like the helicopter mom I always am, everything is still quite fine because we don’t take one another’s presence for granted now.

We now ask this question every day: how do we make the best of the time we have? 

My kids are gradually realising that being with Mama is precious; she doesn’t have all day to nag and wait for them like she used to when she stayed home for two years. We make the best of every moment we spend, and every short burst of activity we do becomes purposeful and meaningful.

So when it’s time for Mama School, the learning is differentiated. My helper supervises the work I prepare for the kids if I can’t be around…

Here’s sharing something I did with the kids earlier, when the boys were in the dinosaur craze:

Ladies and Gents, I need you all to meet Beth Gorden, one supermom who runs 123 Homeschool 4 Me, which has 300+ free printables and teaching ideas. She's got awesome theme packs to use, and here, I created a differentiated set from her free Dinosaur pack for my kids aged 6, 4.5 and 3

Ladies and Gents, I need you all to meet Beth Gorden, one supermom who runs 123 Homeschool 4 Me, which has 300+ free printables and teaching ideas.
She’s got awesome theme packs to use, and here, I created a differentiated set from her free Dinosaur pack for my kids aged 6, 4.5 and 3

I first made booklets with a cool cover page for each of them...

I first made booklets with a cool cover page for each of them…

Dino Work 03

I then culled what I felt was appropriate for each of my kid at his / her developmental level, sourced for more printables from the Internet and put them all together

For Ben, I made him learning bigger words

For Ben, I made him learn bigger words by creating my own set of worksheets for spelling

It's at least half an hour of engaged learning for the Kao kids

It’s at least half an hour of engaged learning for the Kao kids

And then they also come to Mama’s  actual “school” for their lessons. They interact with other children, and have lots of fun learning with Mama as their teacher…

This a Logic & Literacy class I run

This is a Logic & Literacy class I run

Learning at BlueTree 02

And another one for pre-primary children

My husband also takes them out to the amazing farms that are around us on some week days. We are living close to Seletar Farmway where the Animal Resort, Seaview Aquarium and Mycofarm (mushrooms!) are, and so they pop in and out like regular troopers on mini field trips…

Learning about fungi at Mycofarm (9 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798057), where you can buy mushrooms cheaper here

Learning about fungi at Mycofarm (9 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798057), where you can buy mushrooms cheaper here

Mycofarm 02

Just observing and exploring is meaningful time spent!

Sometimes, I schedule a quick bake break (especially when the bananas are turning black faster than we can say ‘bananas’), and they get involved…

The tasks are pretty much assigned for a banana cake. Ben mashes the bananas, Becks sieves flour and Nat whisks eggs

The tasks are pretty much assigned for a banana cake. Ben mashes the bananas, Becks sieves flour and Nat whisks eggs!

And then every night, we choose between catching past episodes of Running Man (which I believe greatly fuels their creativity) or reading bedtime stories. If they choose the latter, each of them gets to choose a book for me to read aloud. I bought all 50 books in this list so these titles (plus our Bible stories) are our bedtime staples.

And then it’s intense oiling and foot massage (if I still have the energy left) and time for bed.

I dish out like a million hugs and kisses at bedtime too. It’s to make up for not being around.

And when they go to bed, I start working again.

And the cycle goes on like this.

So.

I think it’s extremely doable – if you have an itchy backside like me and want to do things out there. You just need to make sure you have children who can keep each other company and be best friends and best enemies with, and then schedule in short bursts of fun and learning. Oh yes, that plus a really trusty right-hand aide (like a good helper whom you can outsource everything that is time-consuming to from ironing to steaming mantou for breakfast) and being able to reserve your last ounce of energy for a heartwarming tuck-in at bedtime every night.

You’ll be tired, I’m so sure you would; but nothing beats a healthy dose of ‘We-miss-Mama-we-will-treasure-her’ and ‘I-miss-my-kids-I-am-going-to-choose-my-battles’ every day.

Nobody’s gonna be taking nobody for granted these days, that’s for sure.

My babies and their Mama in a huddle

Wefie: My babies and their Mama in a huddle

***

P/S: If you’re all ready to start something and get entrepreneurial, you have a friend here. Hook up with me and we can give each other friendly, mommy support! 🙂

Family life as we know it Happy days Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Birthday ramblings

April 2, 2015

I turn a year older today, and as usual, birthdays put me in a pensive mode.

Turning a year older when you were younger was always an exciting affair. Who’ll remember my birthday? Am I going to get cake? Oooh, presents! Oh yes, party! Let the feasting begin!

But turning a year older when you are now older always makes you think about where you are in life, what you have done these few decades you’ve been living on earth, and how do you move on and age better from here.

At least that’s what I think about.

I take stock of the time I have wasted being immature and willful. I remind myself that I can improve as a human being and be better – in and at where I am. I tell myself that I am now 34, and for crying out loud, not 14 or 24 any more, and I’ve got to take responsibility for the words I say, the emotions I feel and the choices I have made. Which mostly means I need to lower my expectations when it comes to mothering my children, and increase the expectations I have of myself being a better mate, a better colleague, a better friend, a better daughter and a better human being.

Because time gets more precious from this point forward.

And most of all, on birthdays, I take some time making wishes. And every year, I wish for more of God and less of strife; more of plenty and less of lack; more of love and laughter in my home and heart; and to live for others more than myself.

I have done nothing to deserve this, but this year, I’ve received some of the best presents I ever had all the three decades of my life put together.

Happy Birthday to Mama, Becks says, and she drew me like 5 of these girls on a card,"because that's you, Mama!".

Happy Birthday to Mama, Becks says, and she drew me like 5 of these girls on a card,”because that’s you, Mama!”.

Ben writes me many sweet notes, while Nat draws me eggs (his favourite shape right now)

Ben writes me many sweet notes, while Nat draws me eggs (his favourite shape right now)

My three-year-old and his 'ovals'

My three-year-old and his ‘ovals’

My coolest present ever: cards from my eldest son which I can use to redeem free hugs, kisses, hugs AND kisses, drawings, and check-this-out - free money!

My coolest present ever: cards from my eldest son which I can use to redeem free hugs, kisses, hugs AND kisses, drawings, and check-this-out – free money!

All this blog's PR Stuff Family life as we know it Happy days Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

Getting matched in matchy ways this CNY

January 20, 2015

My husband and I have NEVER worn anything matching. Ever.

Too corny. Too cheesy. Too gaudy. Too attention seeking. Is what we say to ourselves.

Until this year. Where we did this.

Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 1Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 2Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 6Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 5Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 4Midouceur Kao Family Shoot 3

Yes, go matchy matchy on ourselves, together with the kids. We decided we only live once, our children are only young once, and soon enough they are going to be declaring their own fashion manifesto which we probably have no control over. So we modelled for MidouCeur, just for the fun of it.

Ok, now you know what we’ll probably be turning up in at visitations during Chinese New Year.  If we catch your attention, remember to say hi!

Photo Source: Midouceur

Photo Source: Midouceur

You can see the entire collection we modelled for, here at MidouCeur’s website.

From now till 22 January 2015, enter the promo code CNY8off to get 8% discount off at MidouCeur for purchases above SGD100 net. If sizing and fit is always a big question mark for you, MidouCeur will be having a pop-up stall for 2 days on 24 & 25 January 2015 from 10am to 9pm at Chinatown Bazaar. Connect with them on their Facebook page  or IG account to get updated details of the location and other collections.

Disclosure: We received 2 family sets of 2 designs from MidouCeur for helping them out in this modelling shoot. For details of sizing, please contact MidouCeur direct. All opinions here are our own, and are not in any way representative of anyone else. We’ve changed our mind about wearing couple / family / matching clothes. You’ll see us turn up all matched this CNY, yes, you will!

Becks Kao Family life as we know it Happy days Motherkao loves...

This Thing About Essential Oils, Part 2: All about the Zyto Scan

November 29, 2014

I shared in an earlier post about how we’ve grown to love the therapeutic essential oils from Young Living.

I don’t earn any commission (I have no downlines, by the way) for sharing this but as a mom, I just want to shout it out loud on my blog that MY KIDS HAVE BEEN MEDICATION-FREE for the longest time, and it’s worth doing a thousand happy dances for!

And if they ever do start sniffling or coughing, with these unadulterated, pure goodness from plants, they recover very, very fast. What usually takes them five days at least with medication now takes them two to three days with regular oiling on their soles and lots of TLC massages on their backs and chest.

I recently met a mom blogger friend, who also loves her essential oils. So much that she bought a Zyto Scan.

Say what?

Apparently, this healthcare device in something that healthcare professionals use all over the world. It’s a simple and painless process of putting your hand on the hand cradle and have subtle energetic impulses go into your body. The software records the responses and in as fast as 3 minutes churn out a biosurvey which records the change in the electrical properties of your skin.

And the Zyto Scan that Mom Blogger Serene from Xavvylicious brought to show me, was linked to the Young Living Essential Oils software (Zyto Compass), whereby the scan would address 76 biomarkers (a biomarker is a naturally occurring molecule, gene, or characteristic by which a particular pathological or physiological process, disease, etc. can be identified) in the body through the hand and tell you how many biomarkers are out of range and what are the oils that can benefit your body to adjust the biomarkers back accordingly.

Besides the whole process being so cool and state-of-the-art, the best thing about the scan is that it takes the guesswork out of supplements and essential oils.

Zyto_1

Zyto_2

Zyto_3

In other words, you don’t anyhow anyhow buy essential oils. There are things you know you can fix with the choices of essential oils we have just by using this scan.

So I made everyone – big and small – in the family go through it. And yep, the adults have tense muscles, no doubt about it.

Zyto_4

Zyto_5

And I’m sure you can tell my husband’s default way to soothe those tense muscles is always through a glass of wine.

What was surprisingly spot-on accurate was the bio-survey for Becks. She had the most out of range markers in the family, and her greatest need could be fixed by this essential oil blend called Gentle Baby.  It’s been formulated with rosewood, geranium, palmarosa, lavender, Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, lemon, jasmine, bergamot and rose to calm emotions. Becks out of range markers all pointed to how unsettled and unrested she was. And it was so, so true. She had been stirring and waking from bad dreams almost every night, and I was reminded that I needed to apply some essential oils behind her earlobes and give her some tender strokes on her hair and scalp to help her relax before bed. Gentle Baby is out of stock in Singapore, so I am now diligently using Peace & Calming, lavender and Citrus Fresh.

Zyto_7

Zyto_6

And thank God for the Zyto Compass that reminded me this little baby needs a lot more TLC.

We’re still oiling, oiling away, but this time round, we’re getting oily more accurately, thanks to the Zyto Compass!

~~~

If you’d like Serene from Xavvylicious to bring the Zyto Scan to you, you can contact her at 9652 9653 or serene_seah@hotmail.com. For a token sum of SGD10 per scan (valid till 31 Dec 2014), she would get the scan performed at the place of your convenience and let you have the full bio-report for your reference.

Read about Part 1 here.

Disclosure: I believe good things must share, so here it is! Motherkao received no monetary compensation for writing this post and neither is she getting any commission for writing about Young Living Essential Oils. Her family is very happy to be oily, and she hopes yours would be too!

Becks Kao Ben Kao Family life as we know it Getting all sentimental now Nat Kao The Kao Kids

Letters sealed with love and just a little more

November 26, 2014

I wrote these to my children tonight.

Love letters to my children

Because?

Because one is learning to read, one is learning to identify simple sight words and one is learning to identify the letters of the alphabet and his favourite things.

Because they never fail to show me how disappointed they are whenever we open the mailbox and nothing is for them.

Because we just read Colin McNaughton’s S.W.A.L.K (Sealed With A Loving Kiss) at bedtime.

Because I know Nat would love to have me draw him a million green triceratops; Becks would love to colour some pretty flowers and Ben would love to be affirmed by my words.

And…

Because Mama has been missing in action this whole week being at work, and she badly needs to tell them how much she loves them.

In a way that means most to them.

Love envelopes

(Self) Examination Family life as we know it Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Words.

November 22, 2014

To my dearest children,

These days on some mornings, what I see sometimes breaks my heart.

Have I been too harsh? Too unkind? Are you picking up this unkindness from me?

You are all waiting for a chance to pounce on one another.

Go away! Don’t disturb me! Get out! I don’t like you! Why?! What?! I don’t like you! I don’t love you! Ugh! Shut up!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At so young, all of you seem so agitated when things don’t go your way.

I know I have to give all of you room to resolve your conflicts and learn how to navigate your way through friction that’s experienced because you have siblings.

I know I need to give all of you room to grow and understand what one another is like. And to accept one another for who he or she is. Every one is different. How everyone relates to everyone is different. And you have to live everyday learning that the world doesn’t resolve around you, and that there are people around your age here in this family that you would have to live with for a long time.

Kao Kids eating ice cream

The moment you wake up, you’re with a brother or a sister, or two brothers for you, Becks. You’re never alone.

And you start your day everyday just learning to share, negotiate, speak up and get along. Yes, I do also know you don’t have a choice.

May I suggest something, my babies? The world is already harsh, cruel and unkind out there. Let’s speak kindness. Let’s choose to love here, at home.

Don’t be too eager to pour out on your siblings what you hear outside or from the adults in your life – we have not been good examples and always wished we could be better. We have been busy, flustered and tired to the bones.

And deep down, we wished we could always have a kind word for you.

So my dears, love one another with your words always. Because one another is all you’ve got. Play together, learn together, navigate through the course of this life together. And if there are disagreements and when things go your way, choose the way of love.

Don’t ever say you don’t love one another, ok? 

Let’s not break each other’s hearts here in this family.

Kao Kids and Me Huddle

Loving all three of you to the moon and back,

Mama

Family life as we know it Milestones and growing up Reviews The Kao Kids

This Thing About Essential Oils, Part 1: Loving every minute of being oily

November 20, 2014

So this thing about essential oils is quite something. I’ve always had problems inhaling and using store-bought essential oils and aromatherapy products. I’d feel nauseous and get headaches, so you can imagine what a wreck I would be standing in front of those aromatherapy push carts that have multiple diffusers emitting all sorts of vapours. Same goes for entering the fragrance level of departmental stores.

Until I used therapeutic grade essential oils, and the ones from Young Living.

I’m not going to enter into any discussion with anyone regarding the various criticisms and schools of thought with regard to the various companies in the States producing essential oils and their business practices and structures (they are usually MLM). I always think the person with the testimony triumphs over the one with the opinion.

Suffice to say, I trust Young Living because of the company’s ‘seed to seal’ promise and support the founder’s vision of harnessing the potential of essential oils for healing and wellness in unadulterated ways. Until that proves otherwise, of course. As a Christian, I do believe there’s a time and place for oils and medicine and treatment, but Jesus is still our Healer.

The oils are featuring quite a bit in the family and something we’ve all grown to like very much. The kids love a good sole massage with the essential oils before bed and I use Thieves rather regularly to support their immune system. I find Peace & Calming a wonderful blend too to settle overstimulated kids, especially if they are tossing and turning or waking suddenly after a bad dream.

I’ve also shared before here that I absolutely need to rub some Peace & Calming behind my earlobes when I need to calm down.

I caught a chill recently and it happened the day before my 5-km GE Run. Knowing that I should never medicate before going for a run, I oiled my soles regularly with Thieves throughout the day and applied R.C on my chest and throat.

I felt better the next day, completed my run, and never felt better.

I thought since I’ve been using Young Living Essential Oils for quite a while now, I’d share a list here of some of the oils I absolutely need to have in my household.

These are my must-haves in the house:

Photo Credit: Fellow Mom Blogger and "Oily" Friend - Serene Seah, who writes at Xavy-licious

Photo Credit: Fellow Mom Blogger and “Oily” Friend – Serene Seah, who writes at Xavy-licious

  • Purification – for insect bites and itch; to diffuse when the haze is bad. Nat was once bitten by some unknown insect after the kelong trip which formed a huge nodule and this oil applied neat for 3 days cleared the pus and swelling away.
  • Lavender – for burns and cuts, for my scalp to prevent excessive hair loss
  • Peace & Calmingneed I say more?
  • Valor – I used this to rub over sore muscles after the GE Run and I stopped aching after 2 days
  • Orange – I apply it over the liver area over the kids (3 drops directly below their right ribcage) after they eat processed food at parties
  • Citrus Fresh – for fresh-smelling rooms and children
  • Thieves – to support the immune system
  • Lemon – to add to our water, for detoxification
  • Lemongrasslove, love, love the smell when applied on my wrists (apparently that helps lower cholesterol levels) and when it’s diffused
  • Di-Gize – for stomach and digestion woes. It works amazing for the kids whenever they have unexplained stomachaches (those they say are painful and they can’t poop it out) and I use it to replace the Ru Yi Oil we used to use
  • R.C – to replace the way we apply Vicks VaporRub when we have a cold; to rub on the children’s chest and throat when they are sneezing and down with a chill
  • Oregano – for the husband to combine with Thieves to support his immune system
  • Frankincense – we pour a few drops on our palms, rub our palms together and cover them over our eyes; it does help relieve tired eyes and solve ‘floater’ problems
  • Peppermint – to get rid of terrible smells

The oils have been speeding up recovery and maintaining the well-being of the children, and we’ve been going medicine-free for a long time now. We’ve had many, many happy stories of the essential oils working well for us on occasions where the only known thing was to medicate or rush to the doctor. The kids now know that when they have a bruise, a cut, a rash, some sores, ulcers or pain in their body to say a prayer, and look for Mama to apply some oils.

I am really glad to have invested money in these oils because it’s way better than having to deal with the side-effects and after-effects of medication. We’re all now very oily, happy people!

Disclaimer: I’m not doing this MLM thing nor am I into this MLM thing, and I am not sharing this to get downlines. I get questions sometimes from readers and friends who ask me about the oils I use and what I use to to oil my kids for their wellness, and I’d thought this sharing might help.

Coming up in the next post: This Thing About Essential Oils, Part 2: All about the Zyto Scan

(Self) Examination Family life as we know it The Kao Kids

Loving, small human beings called children

October 22, 2014

Years ago back when I was in secondary school, at a personality profiling workshop, I surprised myself with my own results. While my friends and peers had a mix of different personality traits, mine came from only one dimension, with nary a hint of variety.

I don’t think you need to guess hard whether I was an all D or I or S or C.

Image captured from https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/overview/

Image captured from https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/overview/

Yea, I was one-track mind and one dimensional then back in school. I was a ‘D’, which means I demonstrated my emotions based on the ‘Dominance’ behaviour type. As a ‘D’, I’m task-oriented, opinionated and pushy.  As a ‘D’, my to-do list is more important than anything else in the world.

I am pretty sure I still am all that the profiling assessed me to be, even till this day.

Which makes me a really big a**hole on most days nowadays because my to-do list is almost ten miles long and my natural tendency is to put tasks before relationships and get things done at any cost, and my greatest satisfaction is to have checked something off that ten-mile long to-do list.

Which means I would ignore my kids when they come to me, whether with genuine needs or not, because I.am.so.going.to.finish.up.writing.this.curriculum.unit

AND I.so.need.to.complete.all.the.frigging.administrative.paper.work

AND I.don’t.care.what.just.handle.the.problem.on.your.own.for.crying.out.loud

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On most days, I don’t just only ignore them. I holler at them for disturbing me. I scream at them for making me lose my train of thought. I yell at them from afar to stop fighting/whining/complaining/playing a fool/acting like monkeys. I sometimes shut myself in the room for a long time so I can work.

Someone please tell me how do I make this work-at-home-motherhood gig work?  This is more insane than I thought.

But despite me being the greatest jerk of a mom these days because we’re at the final lap of ironing out the kinks of the business (and there’s just so, so, so much to do), my children – my lovely children – are still making so much room in their hearts for this domineering, dominating, overbearing task-oriented mother.

Every day they send little drawings and notes my way to tell me how much I am loved.

From Ben to Mama

From Ben to Mama

Becks says we should all be happily playing at home

Becks says we should all be happily playing at home

Nat can't write yet but he made sure the helper held his hand to make me this

Nat can’t write yet but he made sure the helper held his hand to make me this

These are beautiful children with so much to give in their hearts.

It’s amazing how a person who’s all ‘D’ married someone who is so balanced (Fatherkao is more ‘I’ but has bits of ‘D’, ‘S’ and ‘C’) and gave birth to children who are so giving and forgiving.

I think God gave us children to teach and remind us that it is in them we find balance in life.

And God gave me these angels from heaven to tell me that I am loved, and that the way to find the balance back in my life is to love them back with all that I have.

My three lovely babies

My three lovely babies

Family life as we know it The Kao Kids The real supermom

Family life as we know it

September 11, 2014

I’ve been missing this space, and missing in action on this space for a while. So much is going on at the moment, and it’s a season of change once again.

I am going back to being a full-time working mom.

After two years of staying home and incubating ideas, I’m finally going to be giving birth to what I’ve been pregnant with for the longest time (haha, not the 4th child lah!).

I’m going to return to work that’s promising to be more fun, more fulfilling and more meaningful. Best of all, it’s something which I can call my own, and it’s something that will help the family move forward.

So we’re saying goodbye to the humdrum of old routines, and welcoming change as it comes.

That also means I will be spending considerably less time with the kids. I won’t be able to hover over them as much as I would like to (like I have done for the past 2 years, hurhurhur) and while the mom duties of chauffeuring, coaching and cuddling will still remain unchanged for as long as there’s breath in me, the kids will not be having Mama around on some days and at certain parts of the day.

But boy, am I so heartened to know that even when I am not around, my all-grown-up-babies are very much able and willing to entertain themselves – and one another. I am so glad that we did 3 kids in 4 years, now on hindsight. Because in light of this new business venture I am undertaking, it is so heartwarming and assuring to be seeing this:

Picnic Together

And this:

Kao Kids Play Together

And this:

Kao Kids and Lanterns

The Kao kids play together so well now, and three’s really a crowd. A boisterous, lively and happy crowd that’s fun, funny and so entertaining to watch. Yes, there are fights and squabbles, lots of tattling and whining still but there’s also so much laughter in the house, more than ever before, which is so, so, so reassuring for me because it means that everything we’ve been doing is worth the while.

Although I’ve been so hard-pressed in every way – to learn the ropes of running a business, to plan my time more effectively, to fill love tanks and gas tanks, to keep the household in order, to exercise and stay fit for my health’s sake – it’s amazing how everyone is adapting to this change together with me – the husband, my kids, and even the helper. We’re all learning to give and love despite ourselves. We’re all learning to celebrate every little success as we go along the way.

And I’m learning that even when you’re stretched paper thin, you have this thing called family that you can always count on to give you the support and love you need.

Family life can’t get better than this.

(Self) Examination Ben Kao Family life as we know it Milestones and growing up The darndest kid quotes and antics

Police force

July 3, 2014

Five is the age of policing. I am so convinced it is. At least that’s the case for my son.

Ben has a strong sense of justice and a constant need to know if something is right or wrong. He tattles, quite often, but doesn’t do it just so his siblings get in trouble. More often, he does it because he needs to know from the adult if a behaviour or an action is acceptable or not.

Which means he takes on the role of the moral policeman in the house.

“Becks, you need to say ‘Please’ when you need something. I want to hear it before I do it for you. C’mon.”

“Nat, this is wrong. You need to say ‘sorry’. Go and say that to Mama now.”

“Mama, do not check your phone in the car. No reading in a moving vehicle, remember?”

“If it’s wrong for me to say ‘idiot’, why does Dada call some drivers ‘idiot’ when he drives? Dada should not do that.”

“Aunty A, please pronounce properly. It’s ‘prawn’,  not ‘frawn’. Say it correctly lah.”

As you can see, everyone in the house gets corrected by him all the time, almost every day. And he’s usually right 9 out of 10 times. His correction would often leave you embarrassingly speechless.

Just the other day, the police force in the house just said something that took the cake.

Ben: Mama, why is Becks so lucky?

Me: Why is she lucky?

For the record, I dislike that word. We never use it and it was the previous helper that taught him that. We tell our children it’s always God’s grace, never luck. So you can imagine the annoyance in my tone when I asked him why.

Ben: Good things always happen to her.

Me: Really? What good things have happened?

Ben: The good thing that happened to her is me. She’s so lucky to have an older brother who do everything for her. I help her, give in to her, pack for her. She can throw tantrums but I will just help her still. Aiyo... this is lucky what.

Me: *speechless*

I really didn’t know what else to say. You’re talking about me, Motherkao, Ben’s mother, who must have the last word.

See? We have the force right here, always checking to see who’s good and bad, who’s naughty and nice. There, my five-year-old for you.

***

That night I related the conversation to the husband, who, after hearing about it advised me to pay more attention to the children’s emotional needs. He saw what I didn’t. He saw that Ben in his policing was seeking our approval. It was clear to Fatherkao that Ben needed to know that we would always approve of him.

Just at that moment, Ben interrupted our conversation in the bedroom by coming in to tattle on his sister. Like I mentioned, I don’t think his intention was for us to head out to discipline her. He came and told us something she did which was not right, along the lines of her leaving her seat before her dinner was finished.

The response Fatherkao had and the subsequent exchange between father and son was pretty amazing. This was it:

Fatherkao: Ben, I don’t need to know that. I want you to tell me or show me what’s important to you.

Ben: Ok, Dada.

And my five-year-old proceeded to do a forward roll to show his father, and they all had a good belly laugh on the bed.

So. The moral of the story. The moral police in the house stops policing and starts behaving like the five-year-old he ought to be the moment he knows that he is loved and approved by the two most important people in his life. In all that he was doing, pointing out people’s mistakes and wanting to know what’s right and wrong, he was crying out for us to look at him, hold him and affirm him.

***

Motherhood has such thrills, isn’t it? It’s a steep learning curve but you learn so much. Your children teach you to love, how to love, and how to be more human every day. At least that’s the case for me.

Ben the Just

Ben, you teach me more than you can imagine. It’s really my honour and a privilege to be your mother, sweetheart.