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

Parenting at 8, 7 and 5 – Year-end reflections of a mother

December 24, 2017

The last time I reflected on a milestone of parenting was when the Kao kids were at age 5, 3-half and 2. I wrote about the exasperation and the growing pains and that new season of mothering where I had to be attuned to needs like potty training, mealtime routines, sleep training and weaning and the fact that I became conscious that I was the role model and chief influencer for three very young minds who needed to be taught values and guided in every way.

Well, all those are over, and yet again a new season of mothering is here.

These days, there is no baby nursing, no potty training to do, and no bums to clean. My kids can feed themselves, help with household chores, write me love notes and paint me beautiful pictures. They can also sing, dance and clown around for me – very much the reverse about three years ago where I was the one singing and dancing and clowning around to make them laugh and tickle them silly.

These days too, the eight-year-old dishes out advice on more occasions than not, telling me to sit up straight, eat my meals on time and come back early before bedtime.

These days, my seven-year-old can very much hold in her emotions, resist a tantrum and be taken in by reason and logic. She has a reservoir of emotions but unlike what she was like at 3-half with the crazy tantrums and hair-tearing, she draws, writes notes and paints them out.

These days, the baby in the family is baby no more. He is tall, dashing, super cheeky and full of humor. He can buddy up with bro anytime, and become best friends with his sister the next minute, and is an awesome team player who binds the siblings together. He helps Mama when her hands are full, he holds lift doors and orders his own food.

Oh gosh, how much they have grown.

Kao kids at Snow City, November 2017

What I hear these days isn’t the sound of whining, crying or babbling. What I hear these days at home are long conversations, silly banters and lots and lots of opinions and feelings flowing freely.

As I look back on these years my kids have grown and have become so close and dependent on one another, I am often glad for those years of “hardship” and the frazzled-ness I suffered doing these kids back to back without taking a break. My break is happening now, and while there are still needs to fulfill, I can now do a host of so many things, from pursuing entrepreneurship and taking nights out to learning a new language and getting couple- and me-time for my sanity.

And as I move forward to this new season where the needs are vastly different from a couple of years ago, I must remember to do well in these two things:

Find time to get to know each child one-to-one

Every pocket of time spent with each child has become so precious in having one-to-one conversations with each of them. The drive home with Ben on Wednesday night for English class, the bus ride with Nat every morning to school, the pedicure sessions with Becks once a month, running errands with whichever kid that wants to join me… — those times let me chit chat with them and get to know them better. They tell me what’s on their mind and things that are for my ears only.

More pockets of one-to-one time next year, we must find.

Find time to just watch and listen to them

I really sometimes have a lot to do. I’ll be honest: I can’t say no to screen time all the time myself. But I’d always make it a point to watch them for a while. Or listen in to some parts of their conversations. Just today, the three of them lay on my bed and sang Uptown Funk three times. It’s amazing how they have memorised the lyrics just by listening and I never knew that they loved this song to bits. I did whip out the phone to take a photo and some vids. But I watched them. And laughed at them. It was funny. I also love listening in to their squabbles and wait out how they would negotiate their way around each other’s demands and expectations.

And I need to do more watching and listening. Much much more in the days to come.

Bring it on 2018, I can’t get to know these kids more, and I can’t wait to relish this motherhood season.

 

All this blog's PR Stuff Everyday fun! Food, glorious food! Happy days The Kao Kids

This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner by the Kao kids’ (ft. kids-friendly recipes)

November 28, 2017

[Sponsored – this post is IKEA-inspired]

Now that the kids are older, I have every plan to work them hard. I mean, why not? They are bursting with so much creativity, so much energy, and so many ideas it would be such a waste if I don’t tap on all these while they are still willing.

So I told the kids that in November, they’ll have to cook up a Thanksgiving dinner for the family.

I was surprised there was absolutely no protest and zero whining. In fact, they were excited. They started talking about what they could do – should we make sunny side ups, Mama? shall we bake a big cake? maybe we can make some pasta? hmm, how about some cookies? ok,  let’s make chicken wings!

I had to source and tweak some recipes in order for a few things to happen: one, the family gets a complete meal; and two, the meal prep and work is something that an eight-year-old, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old can manage on his/her own individually.

I needed more tools in the kitchen to assist their meal prep, and so also we headed to IKEA to get some shopping done.

This was what we did. This was Thanksgiving dinner, prepped by the Kao Kids. #iamaproudmama

~~~

First to enter the kitchen last Saturday afternoon (which we dedicated as our very own Kao family’s Thanksgiving Day) was Becks. She loves to bake. She love treats. And she is all ready to make us an orange pound cake.

Chef Becks is pictured here in her best festive garb, the VINTER 2017 children’s apron, complete with a chef’s hat. Fits her to a tee, and gets her in the mood for baking. I think this girl takes after me – we both love to bake!

Before she started work, I laid out the ingredients and utensils she might need and did a run through of the steps and what she would be doing with what (equipment / utensils).  Becks is an auditory learner, and she functions better being told verbally what to expect. I followed this really easy recipe here from Del’s Cooking Twist and ran through the steps with her, all while pointing to the equipment and tools she would use:

First, the eggs and sugar that Mama’s prepared and measured go into the KitchenAid; second, the flour and baking powder will be sifted with the IDEALISK Flour Sifter; third, the butter needs to be melted in the saucepan; fourth, the orange needs to be juiced with the SPRITTA Citrus Squeezer,and lastly, the batter needs to mixed well and poured into the moulds on the baking tray to be popped into the oven.

Step 1: Eggs and sugar gets beaten well

Step 2: Sifting the flour & baking powder (actually just clicking away!) with IDEALISK

Steps 3 & 4: While the butter is slowly melting in the saucepan, use SPRITTA to squeeze juice out of one large orange

Step 5: Mix the batter well and pour into baking moulds – we used the BAKGLAD baking moulds to give us 2 cute foxes & 2 bears

Of course, Mama hovered around the kitchen as her assistant and preheated the oven, handled all electrical appliances (I helped with the melted butter, for sure!) and doubled up as sous chef when she needed me to. But these 5 steps were more than doable for this seven-year-old, and Becks was more than able to rise to the occasion in making four mini orange pound cakes for our Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, [spoiler alert], they turned out so well, that a friend tried (she came by while we had dinner and sampled some) and wanted to order from Chef Becks so she could give away as gifts for Christmas.

~~~

Next to enter the kitchen was Ben, all ready to handle some protein.

I modified this recipe by Ina Garten, by tweaking some of the things to our liking (no thyme, 1 lemon instead of 4) and making it less daunting for Ben. Actually, to prep this dish, in my opinion was the easiest to do, just ’cause the chicken spends more time in the oven than anything else. But preparing this dish takes the most guts to do – as it requires massaging the cavity and every bit of the chicken – and so it was tasked to the oldest kid among my three.

You don’t see his disgusted look here, but he was basically squealing for the first minute of touching the chicken.

How cool is my eight-year-old chef in his TOPPKLOCKA apron and chef hat, touching protein for the first time in his life

After he became familiar with how cold and slimy the skin of the chicken and cavity felt, he was all ready to stuff and rub ’em all in. In went the garlic cloves and quartered lemon, some butter, salt and pepper.

And then the skin was rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper before it was covered with streaky bacon rashers. He worked atop the KONCIS stainless steel roasting tin with grill rack, which contained the mess efficiently and let him pop the chicken straight into the preheated 220°C oven.

~~~

So there needed to be carbs for the dinner, and I decided to task the youngest for this. Doesn’t sound very easy for the youngest to be preparing the mains, but hey, the solution was pretty straightfoward. We would be skipping the pasta and mashed potatoes, and having all-day breakfast for dinner instead.

‘Cause this was the EASIEST recipe I could find for a five-year-old to do. And I thought: why not?

French toast for dinner, it is.

With this really easy recipe, you’ll pretty much get pretty carbs on a plate in three steps, and this was as easy as it gets for a fiver.

All you really need is a large stainless bowl and a whisk and uber large pie dish (the BLANDA BLANK 36-cm stainless steel bowl, VARDAGEN balloon whisk and VARDAGEN 32-cm pie dish are ideal for this task), some eggs, white bread, honey, salt and single cream and you’d churn out the staple in no time.

Of course, Nat had to be heavily guided by my verbal cues. He listened and worked as I instructed: whisk together the single cream, eggs, warmed honey (so it’s more loose liquid), salt, and then pour mixture into the pie dish.

When we were ready to eat, he dipped each slice of bread into the mixture in the pie dish and let the bread soak for 30 seconds on each side. As he removed each slice onto a rack and worked with more bread, I fired up a non-stick pan with butter and cooked each slice till golden brown.

Then we’d slot the slices of french toast into the oven for another 5 minutes for that perfect crunchy bite.

~~~

Would you please have a look at the finished products after about 5 hours of labour in the kitchen? The adults helped with the plating but look at these gorgeous browns, and bursts of colours!

Serving ware really do dress up the dish: the roasted chicken sits on a VARDAGEN oven dish, the french toasts were plated with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries drizzled with maple syrup on matt-glazed DINERA plates and the cakes rest on the festive VINTER 2017 side plates.

Thanksgiving dinner by kids, for the whole family.

We couldn’t wait to tuck in.

This Thanksgiving, our hearts and bellies were full.

On this cosy dining table for our family of five, I had food prepared by my kids for the first time ever. This Thanksgiving meal wasn’t just tasty. Every bite of what I ate melted every ounce of fiber in my heart.

And I gave thanks for that.

Disclosure: This is our first of three in a series of collaborative work with IKEA. IKEA sponsored all the bakeware, cookware, utensils and tools mentioned in this post. All ideas and creativity are our own. #IKEASG#ad#sponsored#incollaborationwith

(Self) Examination Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids What to Expect... As a Mother

The sadness when you are done having babies

August 3, 2017

This always hits me around the months of August and September.

This time round it hit much earlier, and I have begun to feel this way by the end of July.

An overwhelming sense of sadness.

Recently I read this article and it described everything I’ve felt for two years now, usually at this time of the year – this time of the year when ALL birthdays are officially over. My boys celebrate their birthdays in February and Becks celebrates hers in July.

The first time I experienced this sadness was right after Nat’s third birthday. By then I already knew. I knew in my heart after he blew out his three candles, that I was really done with having babies, and that he would be my last.

My babies are officially no more and what I have in the brood right now is an 8-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old who are smarter than me, sassier than me and stronger than me.

At least this is what they think, and what I let them think.

Life every day with them is filled with both frustration and fun. Depends on the perspective you wish to adopt, hurhurhur.

You listen in to a whole load of stuff; they talk about a whole load of stuff; and a whole ginormous load of stuff is learned and picked up and discussed and explored and thought about and squabbled over every friggin’ waking minute.

It’s exhilarating and exasperating at the same time.

Now that I am done having babies, this is my area to grow as their mother – to handle the exhilaration and exasperation all at the same time and to savour it all while at it.

To cherish them as they are growing up, to tune in and work out the patience bit every single waking moment.

Yet, I can’t help but to reminisce and cry sad tears every night looking at this…

And this…

And these…

And at the gazillion photos and videos of them as little beings (thank God for technology!).

Every night while they sleep, I’ll be scrolling the hundreds and hundreds of photos we’ve taken of them since 2009, watching old videos from the family cloud drive, and planting hundreds and hundreds of kisses on every sleeping child’s cheeks, and breaking down into a childish wreck squealing ‘my baby, my baby, my baby, you’re my baby’. I know, this mother has gone bonkers.

So much so that sometimes the kids tell me to get a hold of myself and pull myself together. ‘What’s wrong, Mum?’ they’d ask. ‘I am not a baby anymore’, they’ll declare in their waking moments.

Goodbye, babies. Hello, big little people.

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

New challenges, new resolutions, new year!

January 20, 2017

Twentyseventeen.

It’s a new year – and we’ve made it here. I am grateful.

I’m grateful that this year, I have – in my brood – bigger, older, more sensible children. Children that I can reason with, confide in, talk to.

Children whom I’ve never imagine to be growing this tall and talking this much, and coming this far with me in this motherhood journey.

Children who love me as I am, whom I know can watch me grow old and still hold on to me.

Children whom I love, as they are; and whom I know that I can watch grow up and hold on dear to.

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Tis‘ so true the saying; that in parenthood the days are long but the years are short, and I now have a 8-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old this year. Instead of diapers to change and tiny hands to hold, I find myself having to do so different things.

Like sitting on the swing at night with my firstborn, talking about his hopes and dreams.

Like reading the little notes my little girl leaves on my desk, filled with hearts and words spelling out, “I love you, Mama.”

Like having my littlest call me over the phone, asking me, “How was your day, Mom?”

These littles have grown up, and this year, I resolve to do three things.

I resolve to disconnect to connect.

I resolve to eat right and live life a little more balanced, so I can be a healthier, mindful mom for them.

I resolve to work a little harder at making their dreams come true – if that would mean being more efficient, more effective and more excellent.

What have you resolved to do this year? How is this year looking like for you?

I hope twentyseventeen would be a great one!

(Self) Examination Holidays! The Kao Kids

December Prologue Twentysixteen

November 30, 2016

I’m fighting a cough that wouldn’t go away for a month already and it’s terribly exhausting. Every night, my mind is filled with so much to write and reflect as the year comes to an end and the children are growing up so quickly before I can take stock of how the year has gone by for us but every night I am hacking, hacking, hacking away for the whole of November.

And so as time whizzes past me and my children are moving up one academic level in their learning milestone – Primary 2, Primary 1, K1 – gulp! OH MY! – I am making myself a promise to give them a little more of me in the December of twentysixteen.

And so away we go, back to where the warmth and love and kindness we’ve received the last time round, this time of the year, to be together.

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

This is proving to be a bit challenging though; one of them has a high high fever now and is throwing up and the other is also starting to feel ill.

Appreciate all prayers and love sent our way.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves...

The birthday party that was for My (not so) Little Pony – Celebrating Becks’ 6th

September 10, 2016

When I had to check myself into the hospital 6 years ago to deliver this 3.3kg baby, I was screaming my way all the way from the triage to the delivery suite. This girl, my gosh, is going to be a feisty one, I know. Gawd‘. The pain she was giving me kicking and shoving all my innards away and the contractions I was getting that made me scream ‘LEVEL 10!!!!!’ whenever someone asked me to rate my pain was just how I knew this girl was going to be one tough cookie.

Fast forward 6 years and look at this beautiful thing right before our eyes.

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She’s given me my fair share of heartaches with her fits and tantrums and her night terrors in her toddler years but has more than made up for it by growing up so gorgeously.

So for the princess of the house, we have granted her royal highness her wish to have a party to celebrate turning 6 with her friends.

Becks decided that for her 6th birthday, she wants My Little Pony (MLP) for the party theme. I was not ready to vest too much money with getting a crazily elaborate one to add to the many things I had to do day-to-day, so I decided to focus on her having fun and resolved to keep the party simple and fuss-free.

So here’s how I did her simple MLP 6th Birthday Party with a few phone calls and emails after deciding on the theme:

1. Venue

Where else would it be but at Trehaus, where our beautiful sun-drenched Atelier lets in the most gorgeous natural lighting and its glass windows and high ceiling make it such a simple, uncluttered space to be with family and friends on a weekend. I booked the Studio + Atelier from 3-6pm on a Sunday a month in advance, and that’s basically how fuss-free securing the venue was.

Here's the venue we chose for my little girl's 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

Here’s the venue we chose for my little girl’s 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

2. Decor

We had a simple one done up by Floral Garage SG who recently expanded to go beyond floral artistry to providing party decor services. I briefed the coordinator about the theme choice and colours, and she promptly turned up to put up pom poms, buntings, some tassels on the dessert table and letter balloons on the wall spelling ‘Becks’.

Simple, clean decor by Floral Garage SG

Simple, fuss-free decor by Floral Garage SG

Putting the rainbow tassels

Putting the rainbow tassels

They threw in a unicorn piñata for good fun, and I was reminded to purchase confectionery to fill it. Which I did, easily. A supermarket run to get some marshmellows, nougat bites and chocolates did the trick!

3. Dessert table

I DIY-ed this so I didn’t need to burn a hole in my pocket. I had @qiannybakes (follow her on Instagram) to do the two tier cake in rainbow and in rosettes; and had her also make the rainbow cupcakes, lemon meringue tarts and macarons (which were super delish and snapped up within an hour of the party) for the dessert table (she’s a homebaker, so she’s really affordable for a budget-conscious mom like me).

And that really was it. The table was also supplemented by me with fruit servings of blueberries, grapes and strawberries, and mini marshmallows in pretty cups (get them all from Phoon Huat).

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

Macarons in Rarity colours

Macarons in Rarity colours

Lemon meringue tartlets

Lemon meringue tartlets

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

4. Canapes

I got a coworker turned friend who owns @WhollyVida (Instagram follow tag) to take charge of prepping canapés for the guests. Since the party was going to be at 3pm, I figured most would be in the mood for light bites instead of something heavy. My friend, who’s also a raw food chef, nutritionist and a vegan-food enthusiast prepped us devil’s eggs, mushroom tahini crostini and cherry tomatoes polenta. They were simple pop-in-the-mouth wholesome goodness, and balanced out the sweet stuff from the dessert table.

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Pretty polenta bites

Pretty polenta bites

Crotini bites for the taking

Crotini bites for the taking

5. Party activities

Ah. This was the one I scratched my head a little. How would I keep a group of 6-year-olds plus the other accompaniments ranging from toddler to much older siblings occupied?

I could get a magician – but that’s so not fitting for a party for Becks. She’s super reserved and if she gets singled out as the birthday girl all the time, she might really just hide in the toilet till the party’s over.

I could organise some painting activities; but she’ll be in white and purple and I wouldn’t want anyone well-dressed to have paint on them. (I’m considerate and practical that way, hurhur. For my helper, at least!)

So I made a call to my friends who own and run Tickle Your Senses, and asked what they could propose to do for a group of 6-year-olds and potentially some toddlers and 8 to 10-year-olds at a party. Playdough and waterbeads was the answer, and they agreed to do it as close to MLP theme as possible, with MLP colours and cookie cutters. I later found out they also threw in jewels for playdough play and the jewels kept Becks and her friends really really happy.

Water beads in Rarity colours

Water beads in Rarity colours

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Ready for little hands to play

Ready for little hands to play

Rarity - Becks' favourite pony

Rarity – Becks’ favourite pony

Pretty in play

Pretty in play

Tickle Your Senses make the best taste-safe, non-toxic playdough in the history of DIY playdough making. I assure you, you’ll never find playdough anywhere else that’s wonderful-smelling, therapeutic to mould and keeps children (and adults too) engaged for a such a long time!

Announcement: Tickle Your Senses tell me you can check out with “motherkao10off” for 10% off ALL products from now till 30 Nov 2016. Go try their playdough – you will change your mind about all other playdough!

6. Party favours

And because they were so, so kind – I’m referring to the ladies behind Tickle Your Senses – they sponsored mini playdough tubs with a Rarity ‘Thank you for coming to Becks’ 6th birthday’ sticker as the party favours, complete with moulds and cutters all nicely wrapped.

I also went online to MTRADE – The Novelty Wholesale Store to order some old school (water) games and some MLP trinkets to put in brown bags I bought from Daiso to make into little carrier bags the little guests could take away with thank-you printables from Etsy. While shopping at Mtrade, I also bought some purple disposable table cloths and an MLP themed disposable table cover.

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

7. Photography

This was a godsend because Fatherkao is usually the assigned photographer for any family event (which means he won’t be in the pictures and can’t really catch up with friends) but it turned out, through some new connections I’ve made at Trehaus this year, the photographer behind Tabledreamer Photography (follow Immanuel on IG @tabledreamerphotography), who absolutely loves photographing children in action, was available to be our photographer for the day.

I must add that our photographer for the day took on a rather challenging feat though – Becks is very used to being photographed only by her dad, and so Immanuel had to get her to warm up to him before being able to snap away. She’s terribly reserved around men, and it was very, very difficult to get her to even look at the camera.

Did he succeed, you think?

I’ll let his pictures do the talking.

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And while I left the experts to handle all the above 7 items that make a birthday party, I focused on getting to know who’s who in my daughter’s class pre-party and during the party.

I’ve been pretty much disengaged with Becks’ school life, except the occasional bed time whining about friendship woes (they start early!) with some girls in her class whom I never had a face to put the name to. And so finally, sitting down with Becks to finalise the guest list (we invited everyone in the class even though she was adamant about not having boys at the party, haha) and updating the birthday girl herself on the RSVP list helped me understand my little girl, her take on friendships and how school life was for her.

And actually spending time during the party to get to know her friends and their mums and dads during the party.

Which was really precious.

On the day itself, all we did was to show up and have a good time. And so did Becks’ friends, our close friends and family.

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And it was MOST important my birthday pony had the best time of her life.

Looking at the pictures, I think she did.

~~~

Thank you, everyone – family, friends, sponsors and partners – for all your love and for making this so very amazing for a 6-year-old who would be growing up beautifully in the year ahead and the years to come!

~~~

NOW FOR THE CREDITS *drumroll please*

Thank you, Chef Bibi and Chef CP, for prepping the food. And Fatherkao for prepping awesome pork ribs to share with everyone.

Thank you, Floral Garage SG, for putting up the decor at such short notice!

Thanks, @qiannybakes, for rushing down after baking and helping me plate those yummy desserts! And for loaning me all those pretty cake tiers and plates!

Thank you, Immanuel, for your patience in capturing many of these treasured moments which we will cherish for a long time.

Thank you, Chiao Chyi, for your patience with the girls at the playdough table, and for meticulously planning the activities for the party. I really appreciate you taking pains to prep each party favour!

Thank you, to all friends and family, who came to bless Becky with your presents and presence. Your love means a lot to us.

To Becky’s friends – you may all be parting ways after this year, but your paths may cross someday some way. She has wonderful memories with so many of you, and so thank you, for being her friend!

And lastly, THANK YOU, JESUS. I survived 6 years of that feisty baby since Day Zero at the delivery suite.

Milestones and growing up Nat Kao Thunderstorm days

The sudden case of not being able to walk

July 9, 2016

Nat has had two viral fevers over the past 3 weeks.  I’m not sure if this was a happy coincidence for him because he is now in the phase of really NOT wanting to go to school.

If you ever needed a heat pack...

If you ever needed a heat pack…

His last viral fever which ended last weekend was a pretty scary one. After three days of high fevers hitting close to 40 degrees, he woke up one day suddenly not being able to walk. He cried, clutched his calves, crawled out of bed and bawled his eyeballs out declaring that there was pain in his legs and “I CANNOT WALK!”

That was enough to frighten the s**t out of me because the last time I read about children who told their parents they can’t walk was when children were diagnosed with meningitis.

Thankfully, after the morning had passed, he gained some strength in his legs and by the time he was at the PD in the afternoon, he was all smiles. The doctor said he could have been lacking electrolytes in his body or dehydrated after an illness or perhaps going through growth spurts.

Well, whatever that’s not meningitis sounds great.

And this boy’s really just milking my anxiety and excessive mothering this entire week for as much as he can, occasionally dramatising his pain and saying he can’t walk and sniffing and coughing in more exaggerated ways than I can imagine so he can get away with not going to school.

So what’s a mother to say to a 4-year-old who’s gone through a pretty traumatic 3 days of high high fevers and an episode of “WAAAAAA…I CANNOT WALK! SO PAINFUL, MAMA, HELP ME!” that frightened the pores out of her?

She lets him have his way.

The last child gets away with all these, I tell you.

And the best caption in Singlish would be: got fever, cannot walk, still can smile! AIYO!

And the best caption in Singlish would be: got fever, cannot walk, still can smile! AIYO!

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.

Amen.

My children, my world, my everything

My children, my world, my everything

Ben Kao Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up

7

February 29, 2016

This post essentially marks my firstborn turning 7.

S.E.V.E.N.

All five letters of it. All 7 years of it. All 2, 555 days of it.

This was the baby that started me on my journey to motherhood. He came to rock my world, and boy, did he rock it hard and shake it well.  I became acquainted with all things mum, thanks to him, from babywearing and mastitis to classical music and puree-ing food. Because of him, I could apply all the wisdom gleaned from all the mistakes made for #2 and #3. I learned how to trim nails, scrutinise the colour and smell of poo and administer medicine (which required lots of skill through a syringe, by the way). I also mastered the art of tiptoeing all around the house, dancing and clowning around and reading labels on every single thing I wish to buy from the stores. I learned how to handle mum guilt, studied how to apply reality discipline and read copiously on all things parenting. Thanks to this boy, I charged full steam ahead like I’ve been given a new lease of life in my sluggish twenties, and wore the title “MOTHER” like a badge of honour.

BenKao at One

Ben, oh, Ben. How much you have taught me. And how much I have learned because of you. All these seven years.

And every day I learn and grow, as your mother, and as a person. They say motherhood brings out the best and worst in you. It is true. I saw what I could do – in every sense of the word – good and bad, and learned above all else to manage myself in order to mother you.

BenKao at One_Kiddy Ride

Birthdays are always the toughest for me. While I sing you the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, I am always choking on the inside. Look at you, you’re a big boy now. And whilst the thought of you growing tall and strong and leaving me someday as you become independent flashes through my mind, I reminisce the days when you toddled, grinned and laughed.

How mixed my feelings are, every single year on this day.

Happy birthday, Son. You made me Mum on this day and I am proud of single minute of it.

Ben turns7_01

Ben turns7_02

 

 

Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up Nat Kao

Letter to my littlest #10

February 23, 2016

 

Nat turns 4_01To my dearest Nat,

YOU ARE FOUR! How did we get there so fast?

I can barely believe that my last baby, the one that’s destined to never grow up in my eyes, growing up. You’re almost as tall and heavy as your sister. You’re quite the chatterbox that you are and the funny bone of the family. I’ve found you singing and shaking your bum in the shower, laughing insanely like there’s not a care you have in the world (with that infectious laughter of yours) and making crazy machine gun sounds with your mouth and pretending that you are Ninjago / Transformer / Spiderman / Hulk / Batman / Green Lantern and hero of all heroes.

Boy, do you play like a boy, for sure.

You are balm to my soul and I know I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again – the apple of my eye. You make me throw all rules out of the window and become a Mama who helplessly breaks into baby-talk when she’s never ever believed in it nor done it with your older siblings.

Yes, this is your superhero ability, sweetie pie munchkin.

On your birthday, I hugged you tight and teared and asked for a hundred of those “true love’s kiss”. You must be wondering, whatssup with Mom, she’s gone mad on my birthday, making me eat cake twice and singing me the birthday song again and again and asking for hugs and kisses every single minute. Truth is, I am going through my rite of passage at a parent – letting you grow up one year at a time. And reminding myself that next time this year, you’ll grow taller, heavier, bigger, smarter, cooler and more of a superhero than you already are this time this year.

And I can’t handle it yet.

So baby boy, can I just say it again – here – which I know someday you’d read, that I love you to the moon and back and you’re the reason why my heart turns to mush every day.

Because it’s just such a happy, happy thing to be your mommy, and I wish to baby you forever.

Happy Birthday, Son. I’m glad I have you at four for a year.

Nat turns 4_02

Love,

Mama