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What to Expect… As a Mother

(Self) Examination Thunderstorm days What to Expect... As a Mother

The aftermath of the ‘I-hate-you-Mama’ blow up & the need for a village

July 14, 2016

So I wrote a post about Becks’ telling me she hates me and wished me dead for the haircut gone wrong and I was so surprised to receive encouragement from the blog’s FB page and private messages from readers and friends who told me stories about their own childhood (telling their mums the same thing!) and tantrums their own children threw.

What I learned from our sharing with each other was that motherhood’s a tough business to be in and that however tough it was, I am never meant to soldier this alone.

It subsequently inspired me to write this post for the Trehaus Blog titled ‘It Takes a Village’.

“It takes a village to raise a child and a community to keep parents sane.” It’s a quote I read somewhere recently and that became so true in my life, post the I-hate-you-Mama tantrum. My virtual village rallied around me to provide support so I don’t live with mom guilt and discouragement. We all need to create a village for ourselves as parents so that parenting would never be a depressing and lonely job.

And I am so glad that a community has always been around for me to offer that kind of encouragement and pat on the back because of this blog.

For this I thank you.

It takes a community to keep a mom sane

P/S: I am going to get a new look soon. Becks is holding me hostage to the offer I made her (out of panic, I did) at the hair salon the other day. I asked, “Should I cut my hair too to keep you company?” to which she said a resounding yes.

Becks Kao Milestones and growing up What to Expect... As a Mother

The day my little girl said she hates me

July 11, 2016

PROLOGUE

I had never expected this day to come so soon. At some point in motherhood, I had imagined that my daughter might throw one huge tantrum and scream hurtful things at me but that would be the part when I am raising her in her adolescence and NOT NOW.

This episode takes the cake of all the tantrums she’s ever thrown and is making me rethink about preparing my heart for more epic tantrums sooner than later.

~~~

So it was a typical Sunday like all other Sundays yesterday. We spent time together as a family and made plans for dinner. And since it was an evening where we were going to get a rare treat from a chef friend who was going to cook us a meal at our place, I thought I’d better bring Ben to the hair salon for an overdue hair cut (and before the discipline master in school charges me for neglect – it’s been 2 months!) while dinner was being prepped.

And when I asked aloud in the car if anyone wanted to follow, I was surprised to hear Becks chimed a loud ‘ME!‘. This girl would never let anyone touch her hair, let alone cut it. She was quick to make her conditions known though – a trim will do, thank you very much; I’d still like to tie up my hair and braid it like Rapunzel ok, Mama?!

When we got to the salon we frequented, I gave instructions to the stylist for both kids who wanted their haircut.

For Ben, short, please. As short as possible.

For Becks, I pointed to where her shoulder blade was and told the guy in Mandarin that this little customer of his would expect to still tie her hair up after her haircut.

But I – very unfortunately – also did the following:

– used the word ‘chop’ in my mix of spoken Mandarin and English

– convinced Becks that the back of her hair looks nicer layered and subsequently agreed that it should be layered (which contributed to the short length)

– agreed that he should do whatever that’s needed to get rid to that tension wave that’s looking pretty obvious on her long tresses due to excessive tying

– read HER WORLD and not hover around the hairdresser and breathe down his neck to make sure the haircut was done to her requirements

Bad, bad Mama, I was. Catching up on all my magazine flipping

Becks must have sat there feeling extremely horrified as the cutting went on as her hair got shorter and shorter. To her credit, she stayed composed until we left the salon. I could tell my little girl was terribly upset with this haircut but she kept a straight face.

It didn’t help that her brothers called her ‘mushroom head’ (ugh, boys!) and everyone (my helper, me and the two hair stylists at the salon) exclaimed that she looked great with short hair after the cut was over.

She asked me in private after we’ve left to tie her hair up, and when I couldn’t, I knew a storm was looming.

I frantically took this photo and sent it to my family group chat so she could hear assuring praises from her yeeyee and grandparents that she had a fantastic haircut, but that didn’t quite work out because she kept insisting on our walk home that I tie up her hair.

The smile she couldn't fake

The smile she couldn’t fake

I quickly texted her dad who was with our chef friend at home and warned him that Becks was unhappy about a haircut gone wrong. I made sure that he knew what happened and told him to assure her when he sees her later.

And when we finally got home, her father gave her hug and told her she was the most beautiful in his world, and that was when she burst into tears and screamed at the top of her lungs saying:

“I HATE YOU MAMA. I DON’T LIKE YOU! I HATE YOU, MAMA” with the deadliest glare I have ever seen.

She then walked across to where I sat and hit me profusely, hissing at me to give her her long hair back, and when I said I couldn’t, she did the unthinkable.

“Then I wish you would die, Mama. I hate you,” she sobbed.

All because of a haircut

~~~

EPILOGUE

I watched in disbelief as my daughter cursed me with such anger. I even let her hit me to vent her frustrations, only to realise that she was reveling in the hysteria more and more as she hit and cursed and glared.

So I walked out of the house to remove myself from this hysteria and went downstairs. I sat alone at the playground for 15 minutes, thinking about those times I hurt my mother with the words I said and wondering if my mom would be in stitches right now, thinking: is this what they call karma?

When I returned, Becks was all showered and clean and lying in bed, sobbing, AND COMBING HER HAIR like there was no tomorrow. She managed to whimper a soft ‘Sorry Mama’ when she saw me and I made it known that whilst the apology was accepted, I was deeply hurt.

“All because of a haircut, Becks, and I cannot believe you wished I die because of this. Your hair would grow and you’ll have your long hair back but if I were to be gone, I’ll be gone forever” was what I said to her.

Life quickly resumed after we both calmed down (thank God for my boys who hugged me and made it all better). We had a lovely dinner with the most awesome steak and aglio olio and grilled corn linguine, thanks for our private chef friend.

While we were eating, my daughter disappeared every now and then to comb her hair.

~~~

POSTSCRIPT

Last night before we went to bed, I held my little girl tight and assured her that I would never hurt her or harm her. It was only a haircut, and I was sorry I didn’t control the process of her hair being cut more strictly than I should.

I told her she should never ever say those horrible things to me ever again and she made me a promise she wouldn’t.

-THE END-

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao What to Expect... As a Mother

Terrible Twos, delayed

March 8, 2015

It’s finally here.

I had thought this was a child who would breeze through toddlerhood with a wonderfully perfect disposition and personality. He was cute, endearing, charming and affectionate at one and for a good part of the second year. He ate when it was time to, slept when it was time to, and although there was the occasional tug-of-war when it came to the battling of wills, it was usually easy to distract him and win each battle.

Until now.

Nat, my littlest, has got his Terrible Twos way, way delayed. And man, am I so exhausted now having to deal with the hugest streak of stubbornness yet. Cos’ even Ben and Becks weren’t like that.

Think sitting on ground (any ground – wet, muddy, flat, hilly) kicking his slippers off his feet and throwing the hissiest of fits. Think grabbing onto your leg and not letting you budge an inch when you refuse to do what he wants. Think shouting into your face and pinching you with all the might his little fingers can muster until he gets his way. And throwing things out and away when he doesn’t want them, screaming the moment you start scolding him and creating a scene everywhere  – at home, at  restaurants, inside the wet market, on the escalators of shopping malls, in the carpark – when he is that mood.

Yep, that’s what we’re looking at now. A three-year-old who’s testing every boundary, challenging authority and showing us what he’s made of.

Someone's throwing a tantrum here because he wants to go swimming but it's time to go to school

Someone’s throwing a tantrum here because he wants to go swimming but it’s time to go to school

I do now know. Nat’s personality, that is. Much is revealed when every child goes through this stage – what kind of a person he is when he’s tired, stressed, hungry, bullied, which is a pretty accurate gauge of the personality he would possess when he’s older.

He’s one helluva feisty, persistent and obstinate boy, I tell you.

Every day he needs to be with his scooter. And we have to lug it everywhere for him, or risk a meltdown

Every day he needs to be with his scooter. And we have to lug it everywhere for him, or risk a meltdown

But even so, there are moments of tenderness. He is quick to apologise and move on, and clever enough to use his charm to sweetly ask for things and plead with you. He’s extremely intelligent and would use all that wit to say something silly to make you laugh in your anger. And he would cry the piteous of cries, complete with those tears flowing freely.

Charming pose #14567

Charming pose #14567

Nat Kao_TT_04

Showing you the contents of his mouth so he can laugh when you feel grossed out!

Nat Kao_TT_03

Giving his cheeriest grin because he is eating his favourite… EGG!

Nat Kao_TT_07

And another charming smile with those huge eyes

Ah, Nat…

This boy’s just turned three and it looks like I am not seeing the end of the tunnel yet. So I’m going to be brainwashing myself with the “this too shall pass” chant a great deal to soldier on in this delayed phase of the Terribles.

***

And this post is going to end with this photo, which pretty much sums up my life right now, with him.

Nat Kao_TT_05

At the count of three, he decided to grab my hair! Oh well, gong xi fa cai!

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 Nat Kao Parenting 101 What to Expect... As a Mother

The last feed ever

December 20, 2014
Nat_Turning 3

Nat turning three in Feb

Warning: this is a post about boobs and breastfeeding

About a month ago, I stopped nursing Nat. He turns 3 years old in two months, so I guess I breastfed my youngest on demand, water-cooler style, for two years and ten months.

It didn’t happen just like that. I have been struggling to stop. have been hoping to nurse him for a long while more. Yes, you heard that right. I was the one who couldn’t let go.

After he turned two, I have been repeatedly telling him that he’s now a big boy and he should start drinking from the bottle. He’s been extremely dependent on those boobies (mine, of course) to calm him, soothe him and help him fall asleep. I also have been repeatedly chided by the older folks in my life who would give me the biggest scrunch on their faces when they heard he was still nursing. They would warn me to stop and put images of a six-year-old Nat walking up to me demanding to be nursed in my head and instill the fear in me that if I didn’t try to stop him from latching, I never will.

And so I did. Believe me, I tried staying away and not tucking him in, applying essential oils on his milk source and putting a huge bolster in between us. And every time he cried my heart would shatter into a million pieces.

And every time he said “Mama Milk so spicy, GO AWAY MAMA”, I would burst into tears and feel the wrench in my heart that gave me even greater resolve NOT to stop breastfeeding.

He is my last baby, you know. And the miracle of motherhood is that first feeling of exhilaration of being able to produce milk for the child born of your loins. And continue doing so as often as he wants or as much as you can. I liked that feeling very much, and the thought that he’s the last one makes me want to savour every minute of the exhilaration for as long as possible.

So Nat and I. We constantly did the “Ok, you’re a big boy now so no more Mama Milk” thing and the “Mama missed you so bad, come let me feed you some milk”  dance on alternate days for another ten months from the time he turned two, and whilst it was fun, he was going to be turning three.

And the images of a six-year-old Nat walking up to me demanding to be nursed started to frighten me more often than usual, and I thought I’d better have a talk with Nat before he turned three.

So for many nights in November, we started dreaming up his third birthday party and singing songs, and that was how I put him to bed nightly – yes, without the boobs. He would tell me he wants a Ninja Turtle cake one night, and then a triceratops on another, a Diego cake on another, and yak about his favourite things, and then sing himself birthday songs in English and Mandarin.

I guess doing this every night for a while made him realise he was a big boy. He didn’t even noticed he didn’t need to nurse to fall asleep.

And just like that, I didn’t even know when that was, I did my last feed on my last feed.

And just like that, this boy just hugs Mama after his Milo in a bottle, says his prayer and falls asleep.

And just like that, the boobies stopped milk production and there was no more supply.

Last afternoon, feeling a little sentimental, I offered Nat my boobs instead of his bottle.

Me: You want Mama Milk? (he fondly says this when he wants to be nursed)

Nat: Em, nope!

Me: Why? Come la, try!

Nat: Mama has no more milk. Last time I try. No more.

Me: Oh no. Mama has no more milk. Mama’s so sad. Mama has no more baby.

Nat: You lend other people’s baby la, Mama. (He meant borrow people’s baby to drink my milk!)

Me: Other people’s babies drink their own mother’s milk, dear. Where’s my baby?

Nat: No more baby.

Me: Then what are you? You’re Mama’s what?

Nat: I’m a boy.

Yep, my last feed was really my last feed ever. And just like that, this boy is sure he doesn’t want Mama Milk anymore.

Nat and Mama on the Carousel

Nat, my big boy

(Self) Examination Becks Kao Love language Milestones and growing up What to Expect... As a Mother

The day she asked for polished nails: a sober lesson in motherhood

December 12, 2014

When I was expecting a girl, I laid a few rules (for her) I was determined not to break.

She is to wear no makeup before she turns 16; she will not be allowed in high heels until her growth is complete; and there must be no nail polish found on her nails – both toes and fingers – at least before 16 years of age.

Why so strict, you ask.

Because there’s a saying in Chinese 早熟早烂.

In English, loosely translated: soon to ripen, soon to rot.

I’ve always believed that the moment a girl takes her first step towards vanity is that moment she begins to grow up.

I don’t want my little girl to grow up so fast, and I wish to bubble wrap her at least till she’s 12. Can I at least do that? She’s my only girl.

I don’t want my little girl to grow up so fast. I think I did – a little too early, in my opinion – and I lost time. Time to explore in complete childhood innocence the fun to be had and the purity in being totally girl-like. I lived every day as a child wanting to grow up and be like my mom, and now with the bi**h of hindsight, I so wished I had totally enjoyed myself running around barefoot, playing rough with my cousins and learning a sport instead of rummaging my mother’s wardrobe to apply lipstick and blush, wearing her clothes and high heels and hoping for a miracle that I would be a woman tomorrow.

I know it’s a journey for every girl, but as a mother, it is my deepest wish to delay that as much as possible.

I don’t do my fingernails at all (only my toenails when I need help with ingrown) and I don’t put on makeup in front of Becks. Still, my little girl sees her friends going to kindergarten in lipstick (some of them perpetually take out lip gloss to apply) and colourfully varnished nails. And since then, every day, she’s been longing for painted nails.

To the point that she takes my markers and paints them herself, and adds stickers for some good nail art measure.

No matter how I’ve encouraged her to play with her brothers, get involved with learning board games and play pretend to imagine a whole new world, she would naturally gravitate towards the path of vanity. I lost my blusher brush for months and found it hidden in her closet. She wanted to keep long hair and would badger me to buy her hair accessories. She also took my pearl strings and bracelets from my jewellery box and declared them hers. She started wanting to wear dresses and pretty shoes (she hasn’t asked for heels yet, thank God) and braided hair.

And this is the same girl, who at two years of age, refuses to put on anything that’s remotely a dress or skirt.

I have been saying no for many months to nail polish now, but today I decided to make her feel special, and to make her realise that Mama’s not that big an a**. And so I painted her nails, much to her surprise, delight and elation.

Why the sudden change of mind, you ask.

Because I understand that in motherhood I must be flexible. Because it is better me than anyone else to gratify that desire. Because it is more about the relationship I build with my daughter that will withstand the challenges down the road of vanity than the rules that I’ve made.

Because I intend to keep my daughter close to me for as long as I can, and to only let go when she is ready, and I need to do that with her feeling loved and not controlled.

And so she gets purple nails today.

Becks Kao and her purple nails 2

Becks Kao and her purple nails 1

Ben Kao The darndest kid quotes and antics What to Expect... As a Mother

Welcome to Ben’s world – turning 6, and spouting nonsense

November 7, 2014

Ben Kao

Is 6 the age when your child starts to say all the things you never taught him to say?

Ben is turning 6 in February, and starting to say many, many things which I have never introduced.

Like “what the…”

And “bloody hell…”

And “ne ne pok”

And “ah bu neh neh”

Best of all, he doesn’t even know what all these things mean. He tells me, “My friends say so I say lor.”

I asked him the other day when he said, “I can see your ne ne pok!” where exactly are the “ne ne pok” and he didn’t even know where to point. I asked him if he knew saying “ah bu neh neh” was derogatory and he didn’t even know it was referring to people.

He thought it was some poem.

I think he also thinks that hell is a bloody place.

*facepalm*

I think I’m going to be facepalming a lot when he goes to primary school.

jpg_PIM0110

I can't categorise such entries Nat Kao What to Expect... As a Mother

Cast Away!

October 24, 2014

It was finally time to remove the fibreglass cast on Nat’s right arm last week.

He’s had his arm wrapped in one for two weeks ever since he fell and cracked the humerus on his right arm. We’ve been making sure it didn’t get wet – it was really such a chore given how he loves to eat with his hands – and when it did on two occasions we had to use a hair-dryer (turned to the ‘cool’ function) to keep it dry.

During the two weeks when he had his cast, he lugged markers around, and collected enough autographs and drawings to fill up the cast from people who wished him well.

Graffitised and autographed

Graffitised and autographed

And when the time came to visit the orthopaedic specialist at his clinic, this boy looked a little sad that he was going to say goodbye to his armour which he has grown to like a lot.

I said, "Nat, this is the last time you're gonna lift up your arm with the cast, k?" and he looked like he couldn't part with it.

I said, “Nat, this is the last time you’re gonna lift up your arm with the cast, k?” and he looked like he couldn’t part with it.

But the time has come.

And goodbye it was.

Sitting still and not flinching a single bit when the cast saw came to him a-roaring. Becks is pictured here behind him covering her ears!

Nat sitting still and not flinching a single bit when the cast saw came to him a-roaring. Becks is pictured here behind him covering her ears.

So it's a hard, hard thing, this cast - and Dr Wong had to spend some time sawing it off

So it’s a hard, hard thing, this cast – and Dr Wong had to spend some time sawing it off

More cast sawing

More cast sawing

And wala! We are done!

And wala! We are done!

We witnessed the entire cast removal as a family, and when Dr Wong was done and this picture was taken, we were like, Good to have your arm back, Nat, and to be able to feel your skin instead of having you whack us all with your fibreglass cast when you had it.

We all suffered quite a bit of bruising and soreness, as you can tell from our happiness.

But I think the little boy doesn’t feel this way.

The look on his face says it all. He misses it, and misses the power (of bashing someone) that came with it.

Excuse me, son. Don’t start getting ideas now of how to get a cast back on your arm again, thank you very much.

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao Parenting 101 The darndest kid quotes and antics What to Expect... As a Mother

Goodbye Spiderman, Hello (Cast) Iron Man

October 2, 2014

It was a busy day for me. I was out and about, on my feet and in the car, settling paper work and fixing administrative matters for the business in between ferrying children to kindergarten, picking them up, getting them ready for their piano lesson, plus squeezing in a two-hour private tutoring class for someone who urgently needed my help.

By the time I returned home for good without scooting off again, it was 7.30pm. I was greeted with restless children, and I swear I wasn’t hallucinating when I say they were so restless to the point they were climbing walls.

They didn’t get their movement fix that day. It was school, home, tv, toys and one another. The littlest (since he didn’t go to school) seemed the most deprived. They all looked like they needed to move around more freely beyond the confines of our humble five-room flat. After their father emerged from the study (he too was holed up in the room finishing up work), I told him that the kids needed to run, climb, jump and release the monkey trapped in their human bodies, and that he needed to bring them to the playground to do so.

The Kao kids and Fatherkao came home shortly after their playground play and I was instructed to prepare to go to the A&E immediately. Apparently, Spiderman happened, and Spiderman fell. And Spiderman, who would usually rebound quickly after a fall couldn’t grip anything with his right hand and had a trembling right arm. Spiderman was in pain, and we suspected he might have fractured his arm after falling from a climb.

If you know Nat, you would also have met Spiderman.

So four x-rays and two consultations with a junior A&E doctor later, we were told that he might have just sprained his arm and suffered a hairline fracture.

Sounds good, I thought. This boy would recover in no time.

Our night at the A&E ended up with Nat returning home in a sling. He only cried once when the doctor examined his arm and pressed at the place of injury!

Our night at the A&E ended up with Nat returning home in a sling. He only cried once when the doctor examined his arm and pressed at the place of injury!

Then we made an appointment to see our orthopaedic specialist the day after (who also saw Fatherkao through his multiple-fractured right leg in 2010) and he totally frightened me after examining Nat when he said he had sustained a crack on his right humerus (complete with swelling) and that he needed a cast for two weeks, and I was all ready to bawl my eyeballs out and ban anything Spiderman would be planning to do from now on in the house.

The orthopaedic specialist was impressed by how he endured what he thought would be great pain for a two-year-old. This boy is such a trooper. He didn't even wince and held his arm so still when it was being wrapped!

The orthopaedic specialist was impressed by how he endured what he thought would be great pain for a two-year-old. This boy was such a trooper. He didn’t even wince once and held his arm so still when it was being wrapped!

But this boy, apparently, has made other career plans.

With his cast (which is so, so, so hard by the way), he’s declared himself Ninja Turtle…

Ninja Turtles have hard shells, he says. And his cast is his hard shell.

Ninja Turtles have hard shells, he says. And his cast is his hard shell.

And Iron Man…

The cast is part of the Iron Man armour, and so it looks

The cast is part of the Iron Man armour, and so it looks

And hasn’t stopped for a minute to wince and moan or cry and complain about any pain or discomfort.

It’s business as usual, and nothing’s gonna stop all that climbing, jumping and bouncing. I guess what’s assuring now is that with his “armour” and “shell” on him now, I would never have to worry that he would end up breaking a bone if he fell again (on the same arm). In fact, we all have to careful of him now – because his cast can be used as a weapon which could injure all of us instead!

(Self) Examination Milestones and growing up Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training The Kao Kids What to Expect... As a Mother

Parenting at 5, 3-half and 2 (Part 2)

June 9, 2014

It’s incredible what parenting does to you. You can feel a host of extreme emotions – like that of guilt and elation, anger and love, and fatigue and enthusiasm – all on the same day, and sometimes, almost at the same time.

That’s what parenting my 5-year-old Ben, 3-turning-4 Becks and 2-year-old Nat is doing to me.

My littlest exasperates every single day. Without fail. With his mischief and antics. Like sticking the Yakult straw in his ear and wailing non stop for ten minutes in shock and pain. Or aiming his p-part at me to do a wee on me like a rain shower while I bathe him. Or picking things up from the garbage and stuffing his mouth silly with whatever he thinks is edible and having me chase him around the house to stop him. I always feel I have a combo Speedy Gonazales, Tazmanian Devil and Bart Simpson on the loose with him.

Some people whom I recently met commented I’ve lost quite a lot of weight. I think I lost them all by sighing a hundred times a day and chasing after Nat who is thinking up mischief every waking minute of his life.

Hunky Nat

But he is also, at two years of age, the most endearing child of the three. He cries for you, laughs with you, hugs you with no restraints, and tries with all he has to bring a smile across your face. You can ask for a hug or ten kisses and you get them, with no questions asked. His clingy-ness is unbearable on days when I am exhausted but incredibly heartwarming despite that tiredness.

Sporty Nat

This is my boy at two.

***

His brother, on the other hand, is growing up a little faster than I had prepared myself for. But who am I kidding? I don’t think any mother is prepared for her child to grow up.

Ben is now often immersed in his own little world, talking and pretend playing with himself, his animal figurines, his Transformers and Lego people. His vocabulary is extensive, often a close imitation and mish mash of what he hears the adults say. He is sensitive and shows his emotions freely, and is now more a person who is eager to please and to be accepted.

It’s all about solving his own problems, working things out by himself and trying his best with him now.

Yea, that’s my eldest. My firstborn. My big darling that’s going through this phase of self-discovery right now.

Sporty Ben

***

The little girl. Ah, my princess. The one who is getting more girly as days pass. She now wants long hair. She loves dresses. She adores having hair clips and hair ties on her hair and pesters me to comb her hair every day. She has ‘babies’ and loves to play mommy. She even hides in a corner to nurse them, feed them and talk to them.

Yes, this little girl. I don’t know what happened to that tomboy.

Princess Becks

Becks is turning 4 next month and is looking quite the stunner with those pretty big eyes and icy smile. Every day, she’s discovering a whole new world and learning what it means to be her own person in it; complete with learning how to handle – and control – her emotions and tantrums. She’s learning that she’s not two anymore, and we’re not going to be accepting bratty hissy fits like we used to put up with when she was in her Terrible Twos. As she begins to understand what is expected of her as she grows up, my darling girl is also blossoming beautifully – both inside and outside.

My little girl Becks

***

We’re not so much done with growing pains and this is very much the beginning. I’m learning too that my life, as a mother and a person, must not and should not stop as I parent these children, and that I too, must grow, learn, unlearn and relearn to always be appropriate – as opposed to being redundant – in their lives.

The Kao Kids