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Milestones and growing up Mommy guilt Nat Kao The Kao Kids

What my children prayed

May 12, 2016

Every night during tuck-ins, the kids and I would pray. Sometimes I would pray and they would say “Amen”; some nights they would repeat a prayer after me. A while ago, I invited the children to pray for me and Fatherkao.

This was what transpired…

Ben: Dear Lord, I pray that you protect my Mama and Dada from harm and danger. Keep them safe. Amen.

Me: Thank you, Ben. I say ‘Amen’ too.


Nat: Dear God, make my Mama eat a lot. So she can be fat.

Me: Ugh! Nat! Did you just ask God to make me fat? Why?

Nat: If she eat a lot, she will grow and grow so she can be as tall as Dada. Amen.

Me: Mama doesn’t want to be fat, Nat!

Nat: *silence*


Becks: Dear Lord, make my daddy strong. Give him a strong back. And make my Mama not angry so she won’t be angry with us. Amen.

Me: That’s nice, Becks. You know Dada’s back has been acting up, and Mama’s patience has been running low every day, huh? Thank you for your prayer.

And then a loud wail happened…

Nat: *crying loudly*

Me: Why are you crying?

Nat: Why you like Becky’s prayer and korkor‘s prayer but you don’t like mine??? WAAAAAA!


That night, a selfish mother happened. I had heard my youngest child’s words of prayer but not listened to his heart. In his world, my four-year-old saw that his mother was smaller in size than his father and felt that she should be as grown as he was, and went on to pray that his mother – his world, his everything – would never be at a disadvantage in size, ever.

After all, she was the centre of his universe.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Out of a gentle heart and the kindest spirit, Nat prayed. For me.

That night, I held him tight and thanked him for his prayer.

That night, apart from needing to smack myself in the head, I thanked God that I received from all three of my children who’s made me everything in their world, and that I received most from my littlest whose heart has remained so pure he just genuinely wanted his mother to eat well and grow.

May I learn to be a mother who listens and not judge, and one who receives when her children give.


My children, my world, my everything

My children, my world, my everything

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

This too shall pass

January 8, 2016

When I had a baby who fell sick pretty often, having suffered HFMD twice, needing to draw blood for running high fevers every week, I thought I hit the rock bottom of motherhood.

But that eventually passed.

When I had an infant and a toddler – oh, correction: a screaming infant and a needy toddler – and my husband very unfortunately broke his leg and was wheelchair bound for 6 months and I had a full-time job to do, I thought I hit rock bottom again in this arduous journey called motherhood.

But that eventually passed as well.

When I was pregnant with a bigger-than-his-siblings baby who made me breathless all the time and gave me an almost hip dislocation which caused the doctor to order bed rest, and I was towing a screamy toddler who was tantrum-prone and an inquisitive, chatty and eager-to-learn preschooler who needed to field questions at his mother almost every waking minute and still at a full-time job, I thought I was stretched beyond thin in this motherhood gig.

Well, that too, eventually passed.

And then soon enough I had a nursing infant in my arms (who needed to nurse all!the!time!) and two preschoolers; and as if that wasn’t already crazy enough, I made the insane decision to stay home, living those years thinking that I could very well have gone mad with having to cope with 3 kids with such close age differences.

But that eventually passed and although I had lost my sanity again and again, my screw’s pretty tight right now thankfully, so phew.

This is 2016 and there are now 2 preschoolers and a primary school goer in the house. There’s now, in addition to the neediness from the younger ones (because Mama’s back to full time work launching something exciting and can no longer send them to school so they take the school bus), insecurity and uncertainty from the primary one goer who has homework, bag-packing, sorting out pocket money and spelling to do and learn. Add to that also – the new kindergarten is pushing my middle child in typical P1-ready fashion from Day One already, which is totally stressing me out. I saw the words ‘canopy’, ’emergent layer’, ‘understory’ and ‘rainforest’ in my K2’s spelling list for Week 6 which left me FLABBERGASTED beyond words because my dear girl can barely read, let alone spell.

For the first week of the year, I felt nothing but stress to have to rush home in time to make sure everyone is in bed by 8.30pm (which still ended up to be 9ish, 10pm – my poor, sleep-deprived children!) and making sure all 3 bags are packed, that spelling is learned, homework is done and everyone gets some air time to share their day at school. I feel guilty for leaving them in the hands of my helper for most parts of my working day and having to turn on the TV for them so the helper can cook and they would not be up to any mischief shooting catapults at birds from the window or drawing on the walls or making 1000 calls to me. With three of them at different developmental milestones in learning and always wanting to play and be their active selves, it is impossible to implement a self-directed learning routine.

It has to involve me and me setting the routines with them, and helping them follow a schedule while instilling discipline, which I unfortunately can’t do; because this year, I’ve gone back to vesting my time fully at work.

Which leaves me again with three needy kids whose love language of quality time I can’t speak on week days  – well, at least this first week of school – and a definitive surge of suckiness all round.

I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes. This sucky, yucky feeling.

And this too, shall eventually pass.


Back to school in new environments!

Back to school in new environments! My big babies!

(Self) Examination Ben Kao Milestones and growing up Mommy guilt

Great expectations

April 19, 2015

Being the firstborn almost always automatically means that there are more expectations of you than your siblings.

You are expected to share.

To be obedient.

To set an example.

To be sensible.

To understand.

At least that’s what I went through as a firstborn. And it’s something I have unconsciously put my firstborn through.

Six seems to be the age of meltdowns, emo-ing and lots of scowls. I get these almost on an hourly basis with my firstborn who turned six earlier this year.

He gets hurt easily by unkind words yet sometimes say the unkindest things without realising it; he polices everyone around with that tremendous sense of right and wrong; he balks at injustice and asks the most existential questions. He’s growing from baby thoughts and talk to being a boy, and is beginning to develop a personality and flair of his own, complete with warts and quirks.

And sometimes this mother is many steps behind in understanding what is happening to the child she first rocked in her arms.

Tonight I received a timely reminder to grow and change as my firstborn grows and changes.


It was time for bed. Our bedtime routine usually consists of a bedtime story before tuck in. Ben asked me while I was brushing my teeth if we could have one. I mentioned I was quite tired and joked, “Hey, why don’t YOU read us one?”

Excited at the thought, he went to choose a book – 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle (for the tenth time now, maybe) – and waved it at me. To his disappointment, his sister had fallen asleep and Nat has chosen another story and refused to listen to any more of 10 Little Rubber Ducks again.

I tried to get the brothers to compromise. Look, let me take you all to Paris with Everybody Bonjours and then in the morning, when Becks is awake, Korkor can read ALL OF US his Ten Little Rubber Ducks! Nat was pleased but my eldest was starting to sulk.

By the time I finished reading Everybody Bonjours and declared it was time for bed, I had a full meltdown from a certain somebody. There was a scowl on his face, a high pitched ‘I DON”T WANT TO SLEEP, I WANT TO REAAADDDD, PULEEAASSEE…’, complete with some foot stamping.

That was when I lost it.

This is what happens every day. Things don’t go your way and you throw a tantrum. You don’t get to go somewhere, you whine. You don’t get to buy something, you whine. What happened to my sensible boy, my eldest child, who’s older than everyone else and should be able to understand things more? Why can’t you just try to see what I’m getting you to see? Your sister is left out here and she hasn’t had her story. And it’s 9 and it’s bedtime. Just understand that, say, ‘Yes, Mama’ and go to sleep. Simple, right? We can do a story tomorrow, with all of us, that’s fair, isn’t it? Why can’t you just listen and understand? Why can’t you just behave like a six year old should?  

And then there was the sound of silence and gentle sobbing under the blanket.

Was I being too harsh? Every child would want a gazillion stories at bedtime, but if we can’t, we just can’t, right?

Wrong. I was so wrong.

I asked Ben who was sobbing under his covers to get up and talk to me.

Me: Tell me, why was it so important that YOU had to read the story tonight and not tomorrow that you had to throw a tantrum?

Ben: Nothing.

Me: Don’t tell me nothing. You never say nothing if you feel something. Please think about it and tell me.

– Silence –

Me: Please, tell me. Don’t keep things inside you.

Ben: I wanted to show you love, Mama. I wanted to read to you to show you love.

Me: (I am choking by now) You wanted to show me love by reading me a book?

Ben: (in between sobs) I don’t know what else to do to show you I love you.


I held my firstborn close tonight. And after he fell asleep, I cried.

Because I was a fool of a mom to be always correcting behaviour but never tuning in to my child’s heartbeat, never once sensitising myself to his feelings as he grows.

Because I am doing what I’ve always known to do as I’ve been raised, never once stopping to listen to what my son is really telling me, always just expecting him to be the one that understands.

I’m the one that needs to understand tonight. That my firstborn’s heart is searching for ways to love his mother as he realises he is no longer that baby in her arms. That when I do peel away all the layers of tantrums and meltdowns, I see a child growing up because he is beginning to understand that love is no longer taking but giving of himself.


Post Script: 

Me: I’m sorry that I’m the one not understanding things. I’m really sorry.

Ben: It’s ok, Mama. (kisses me on the cheek)

(Self) Examination Milestones and growing up Mommy guilt The Kao Kids Thunderstorm days

Three changes to make starting today

May 26, 2014

There are three things I’d like to change in this house to keep tempers from flaring, fights from starting and resentment from building.

So I’ve told the kids that starting from today we are going to…

#1 Look at each other’s eyes when we speak

#2 Hug A LOT, like ten times a day

#3 Change our understanding of what a time-out means in this house

I realised that amongst the kids they don’t look at each other much when they talk. And between me and the kids, we don’t make much eye contact anymore. I bark a lot of orders from a distance, and even when I say goodnight, I’m practically just spacing out with my back turned against them, facing the littlest whom I’m almost always nursing at bedtime. Their father, on the other hand, constantly reminds them to look at him when he is talking to them, and from what I am observing, the dynamics between them and their father is one of greater respect and better communication.

It took me a while before it finally dawned on me that I have allowed familiarity to set in to breed a good deal of contempt, that we’re taking each other’s presence for granted, and that I have forgotten that one of the many ways to show love to children is to give them lots and lots of eye contact.

Yep, no excuse here. So you can ahead and smack me on the head.

Also, recently I came across this on FB which made me re-evaluate the ‘when’ in giving my hugs.

4 Hugs a Day Quote

I hug the kids when I send them off to school. So that’s about only once a day for Ben and Becks and twice a week for Nat. They go for enrichment lessons twice a week, and so that’s another two more hugs. Within a day, I hardly hug them. Ben is so tall now and sometimes when he pounces on me as if to give me a hug, I get annoyed. Nat makes me carry him all the time when we are out and I “hug” him almost reluctantly. Becks hug me from behind on occasions like this – like now when I’m sitting at a desk with my laptop typing this post – and she takes every chance to play hairdresser and I get irritated when she yanks too much hair out while combing.

So these poor children don’t get enough hugs for survival and are even deprived of opportunities to show love.

What a terrible Mommy they have – is what you must say. Go ahead, you can smack me on the head again.

So I’m going to fulfil their hugs quota everyday from today onwards. I don’t care if I need to do this religiously like a Mommy rule to follow – I will have to do it. And I told the kids to give one another as many hugs as they can too. Instead of fighting and pushing and getting angry with one another – which occurs often – let’s try hugging.

I gave them permission to shout ‘group hug’ whenever they need it and we’ll all try to  drop whatever we’re doing and come from where we are to give it.

We need to hug at least four times and ideally ten times a day.

Lastly, I’ve going to elevate the status of time-outs at home. No, it WILL NO LONGER be a form of punishment. It will not be about isolating you from the rest of the family because you’re misbehaving. I’m not going to use the cane at a time-out too. I told the kids that whenever I see them losing control, they go for a time-out. And no, it’s not a punishment. It’s not something bad. It’s not even because you’ve done wrong although you might have been wrong. It’s just because you lost control and you need to breathe and calm down. That’s all.

And when they see Mama lose control, they can also ask Mama to go for a time-out because she needs to breathe and calm down and stop hyperventilating, yelling and flailing her arms.

Yea, we’ll be as open as we can that way from now on.

Let’s hope these little changes would improve some things at home, fill their love tanks up and make our home a lovelier one than it already is.

(Self) Examination Ben Kao Mommy guilt Re: learning and child training

Four is a tricky number

August 29, 2013

The fourth birthday brings with it a whole new set of challenges to parenting. Raising a four-year-old is tiring business in motherhood.

The tantrums and meltdowns have returned, but unlike those tantrums that we’ve seen and heard during the Terrible Twos – they are now “emo” tantrums, which are much much more easily triggered by small, insignificant things.

Ben has become the resident “emo” guy in the house. When things don’t go his way, when he perceived that he’s being bullied, when he feels a sense of unfairness – he goes to a corner of the house, folds his arms, and sulks. Sometimes in his sulking, he mumbles gibberish to himself. When I check on him and ask what he’s saying, he tells me with resentment in his face, “Nothing.”

When he is disciplined – and usually for disobedience and bullying his siblings – he becomes ten times more “emo”. I hardly use the cane to discipline him; usually a time-out would suffice. And while at time-out, he does the you-don’t-love-me-anymore and pulls the wailing nobody-cares-about-me stunt on me. He whimpers and sobs in his most pathetic, and I have to admit, it sounds so pitiful that it breaks my heart. For him, the physical separation of needing to sit apart from everyone in solitude drives him nuts and he gets very emotional about it.

I have a very sensitive firstborn, I tell you.

Then there’s the incessant questioning and the unwillingness to listen. Every minute he’s thinking of questions to ask and he’s asking even while you’re answering the first question. He’s not listening to your answers; he just wants to keep asking all the questions popping in his head. I sometimes get very annoyed because he keeps asking questions for the sake of asking, and I turn Tiger Mom on him and make him repeat all my answers to all his questions just so that he would listen and not irritate the hell of out me for questioning for questioning’s sake. There are also days when I go “I don’t know” on him, and unfortunately for me, I’m now reaping what I sowed because lately, he’s been using “I don’t know” on me whenever I quiz him about what he learned in school, how he slept the night before, and all the other questions parked under the mothering-my-child category.


Four years old is an age of contradictions.

He waffles between insecurity and wanting to exert his independence. He talks about conquering the world, yet, shies away socially and loses that bravado at times. He makes up lots of stories, and stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the difference between fact and fiction – which becomes really tricky when I’m trying to teach him academically. I find it very hard to teach him Science stuff cos’ he’ll insist what he imagines to be right – and this again frustrates me a lot. He can be very demanding (how come you don’t know all the answers, Mama?) but also eagerly cooperative and helpful, rude one moment but also very sorry and sweet the next , and incredibly selfish, yet sensitive and sympathetic at times.

I’ve been very much a ferocious Tiger Mom these days when it comes to my four-year-old. He seems to have this innate ability to push me to the outer edge of my patience. I turn into a growling and critical mother who over-reacts every time he does what he does best – being a four-year-old. I’m frustrated, angry and drained almost every day.


But I didn’t write this post to only detail the challenges of raising a four-year-old. More than that, I’m writing to remind myself to look beyond the challenges that come with raising children at every stage that I am blessed with a four-year-old who’s curious about the world, enthusiastic about life, brimming with energy and experiencing all sorts of emotions that’s part of growing up. I’m writing to remind myself that beyond wishing that this too shall pass, to remember the now – the now that I may never get to see after the fifth birthday is celebrated and the candles are blown out – and not get too caught up in the daily grind and seeing mothering my four-year-old as a big task to accomplish.

I’m writing this to remind myself because Ben feels that I don’t love him anymore. He just told me that on the bus on our way to kindergarten. He says,”I don’t know” when I asked him if he knew that I loved him very much. That broke my heart. What he feels matter, and I have, in a bid to parent him with all the challenges that come, managed to work him like a big task to accomplish and forgotten that this boy has feelings too. When I blow it, holler at him and overreact, I push him away; I forget that he’s just being four.

I have busied myself with trying to cope with him being four (and his sister being three, and the impending Terrible Two that’s approaching with Nat) for too long that I’ve forgotten to love. To love him for who he is. Just like I’ve done when he was one year old, two, and three. And to roll with life’s punches and adapt as motherhood presents new challenges. Not react all the time and alienate the ones I wish to be firmly attached to for the rest of our lives.

Six more months before he blows out five candles. Six more month to love him while he is still four.

(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:

Becks Kao Mommy guilt

Saved, and forever grateful (A story of a girl who still has happy feet)

March 26, 2013

I thought this would only happen to irresponsible mothers and badly behaved children. I’d never imagine this would happen to me.

I had just released her right hand from my grip for three seconds. I was carrying the baby on my hip and needed to adjust the 10-kg weight.

Then it happened. I heard a blood-curdling scream and the next thing I knew, Becks was without her right shoe. When we arrived at the 3rd floor of the mall, Ben picked up her right shoe from the escalator, and this was what we saw.

Shoe caught in escalator

Shoe caught in escalator - side view

Becks’ right shoe got caught in the escalator and I was expecting a gash and profuse bleeding when I checked my little girl’s sole. The babe was still wailing from the shock and I was almost prepared to call the ambulance. I was with three kids and the helper and without the hubs, and the mall was all quiet at 9.30am. We had gone to the basement for breakfast and was going to check out the enrichment centres on the top floor when the incident happened, and I might as well be on my way to crucify myself for being a negligent, terrible mother.

But because the angels of the Lord encamp around those who fear His name, and because the Lord Himself is our Protector and Help, Becks suffered no injury at all.

I don’t believe in luck, and never will. This isn’t because I am lucky. It is a miracle she was unhurt. God was taking care of my children, and He protected my little girl. Thank you, thank you, Jesus.

Becks Kao Ben Kao Family life as we know it Milestones and growing up Mommy guilt The Kao Kids

Mealtime woes: finding new ways to win this war

February 7, 2013

I’m officially raising the white flag in the battle of wills at mealtimes. You see, despite my efforts in making things like these…

More pretty food

…the kids still aren’t very keen to eat or feed themselves. They don’t want to sit at the dinner table and finish their food. They want to play and have me feed them while they are at it. I’ve compromised my standards of table etiquette and manners. For a while now, I’ve stopped making bentos (they didn’t care much for it anyway!) and I’ve allowed them to play with their Lego Duplo every evening while I sit next to them and feed them.

Because they run around with the Lego they construct, I’ve found it really tiring to feed them. Dinner can last as long as an hour. I’m sure if I ran along and chased them, it would take less than that but I’m too lazy and I refuse to set a precedence for that. Instead I’ve settled for the ‘you come for your next mouthful to where I’m sitting when you’re done chewing’ rule.

So I’ve restrategised to minimise my anguish at dinner time for now just so we can get through this. So yes, *gasp*… I’ve turned on the tv and am allowing tv time during dinner time. One episode of Word World every evening. For now.

Ben and Becks and TV

So far, they’re not gagging and fussing, and with their eyes peeled to the tv screen, they hardly even care what they are eating. I get to sit down without them running around and finish my job of feeding in about 30 minutes. I’ve also managed to shove a lot more “unpleasant” Chinese food into their mouths – things that they dislike – like the luffa, beef stew and chicken. Plus, they are learning how to spell watching the show.

But it’s not a strategy I’m comfortable with and I would be rethinking it as soon as the stay-home gig kicks in in March this year. Research has shown that TV interferes with the natural cues children’s bodies send them about whether they are full, and can lead them to overeat or undereat (Source:

I may have lost this battle, but the war ain’t over yet.

Family life as we know it Mommy guilt

The return of Mommy guilt

September 27, 2012

I never thought much about the middle child syndrome until I had a middle child. Yes, the one that’s born after the firstborn and before the baby. The one who would sometimes feel unloved and uncared for, being sandwiched in between. The one who feels dethroned as the baby of the family.

It’s not been easy handling my middle child. She’s one interesting babe. She plays with abandonment, laughs and cries at the same time and can go insanely wild and happy for no particular reason. But she’s also prone to tantrums, tempers and outbursts, and she bites, hits and throws things whenever she gets upset.

It’s been even tougher to deal with the realisation that what I see in my little girl is the exact replica of what I am, deep down truly. That same stubborn streak. That irrationality that doesn’t listen to logic. That strongheadedness. She’s angsty and feisty — just like me. It’s ironic that faced with a person like myself, I am at a loss as to how to handle her, train her and demonstrate love towards her. Maybe it’s because I don’t even know how to handle myself sometimes.

So last night, after an eventful evening of six tantrums from the little girl and a few whackings, some unkind words and table-banging from me, Becks announced she wanted to find her teacher at daycare and proceeded to bawl for her. She said she didn’t want any of us anymore (no, not even her father, brother and baby brother) and even put on her shoes and stood at the door. I opened the gate and she actually stepped out! I kept asking why she wanted the teacher and not us, but all she could do was cry. It was when I told her that I will not follow her because I belonged to this house, and she shouldn’t go because she belonged here as well, that she came back home and allowed me to hold her and hug her. I told her I loved her very much, but all she did was shook her head profusely.

Then, I asked her, “Becks, who does Mama love?”

Her answer to me last night was enough to send my heart into a wrenching spasm of sorts. She answered, “Kor Kor and Di Di“.

All I could think of in bed last night was what a bad, bad mother I’ve been.

My dear Becks, I really love you. You’re my little princess and you’re treasured more than you think you are. I know Mama hasn’t been all that kind and tender towards you and you have been feeling like you are always left out and unloved. It’s not true. Mama is also learning to deal with the host of intense emotions that comes with being your Mama!

Mama doesn’t only love Kor Kor and Di Di. You’re loved too and I hope you will believe that.

(Self) Examination Mommy guilt Thunderstorm days

Snappety snap!

May 21, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

Onward with the motherhood journey.