Growing up…

Growing up…

As a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up, be independent, start doing and thinking about the things that adults do and think about. I see that in my children these days, as they take bigger and bolder steps in achieving milestones.

J1 outgrew many of his toy cars and is well on his way to create new craft from various art materials. He finds thrill in drawing the trains and cranes he previously read about from Thomas and Friends and excitedly shows his drawings to the rest of the family, asking us to identify one vehicle from the other. 😆

On the other hand, there’s J2 trying to take over grocery shopping and disallowing me to carry the basket. When the items inside the basket got too heavy, he would improvise by dragging the basket on the floor. 😊

As I tapped both boys to sleep last night, amidst the thunderstorm, it occurred to me how many more times I’ll be doing that, before they grow up to be independent on ‘Mummy-ing’. By then, I hope I’ll be ready to let go and let them explore greater heights with the gifts and talents they have been blessed with.

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Managing cravings and treats as a family

Managing cravings and treats as a family

I cringe at the sight of J1 returning home with a goodie bag full of sweet treats. 😅 Next thing that comes to mind is how to manage the sugar rush, the crave for more sugary food, a withdrawal from real food and perhaps, even to deal with cough and phlegm, and obesity (along the way).

Both my children have the sweet tooth, and since the time they can put food into their mouths, it’s not been easy encouraging them to choose wisely between various treats.

I recognise that I cannot fight this battle since the lure of unhealthy treats is also a struggle for adults. So I resort to two approaches, in the hope of raising awareness in my children on how to manage their intake of these food.

1) Educate them

As children, they are naturally curious. They ask endless ‘why’s and I thought I’d capitalise on that to their health benefit by sharing interesting facts about food and nutrition with them. It need not be intentional, but coming from an angle of feeding their interest in how things work, and why it is so.

Over at breakfast today, J1 was eating a strawberry yoghurt muesli bar as well as half a cup of less sweetened soy drink. Not to mention, the yoghurt bar was a sweet treat indeed and he takes it once in a blue moon. Anyway, I resisted restraining him from this request of eating a bar at breakfast. His face crumpled into disgust after he took a sip of the soy drink halfway into the yoghurt bar.

I asked him, “Doesn’t it taste yucky?” He nodded. I went on to explain why food that was supposed to be great tasting would suddenly turn yucky after a really sweet snack. His eyes widened.

We concluded that perhaps his yoghurt muesli bar may sound like a healthy snack, but was in actual fact too sweet a food item for him, and that he could consider consuming less of it from time to time. After the chit chat, he seemed hesitant to finish up his soy drink. I told him that since he had stopped eating his bar for quite awhile, the soy drink would not taste yucky anymore. Reluctantly, he tried the drink and was surprised that the drink tasted normal now. 😁

2) Replace processed sweet treats or provide snacks that are healthier options. I find this sustainable and also gives alternatives to feed that sweet tooth… 😆 Examples include wolfberries, cranberries, cut fruit (apples, pears), with dressings such as Greek yoghurt and cinnamon to spice it up. These days, we try jam made from fruit as well, with less added sugars and peanut butter, which does not spike blood sugar levels.

Of course these go a long way, and I look forward to seeing my children make more informed decisions as they grow up. What heartens me is that these changes don’t come overnight. When they come, it simply brightens your day to know that they are a step more aware of the implications of eating different types of food.

I have a lot to learn as well, and every time a discovery is made, it helps to apply it so that the knowledge sticks better in memory. ☺️

We don’t necessarily need a health scare, or a diet restriction by the doctor, in order to change our lifestyle. Try that better lifestyle every now and then, where there lies a choice to. You’d be surprise of the benefits that they bring you (and your family).

Cheers to a healthier living!

P/S: My heart skipped a beat when J1 told me to fill his water bottle a little fuller today, before he went to school. His reason?

“Mummy, today my snack in school is a bit more unhealthy. It’s char kuey teow… so I’d like to drink more water with it.” 🤗

No, I do not pity myself

No, I do not pity myself

A fellow Mum who found out my previous vocation rolled her eyes and gave me the most indignant look, and the conversation went:

Her: So when will you be returning back to the workforce?

Me: Oh, I’m not returning back any time soon.

H: Why?! That’s so wasted. It’s so much better that you are earning and the kids can be looked after by someone else.

M: I’m staying home because of my children.

H: Hiya, such a waste. Tell you what, get a helper to do the chores for you, care for your children, and then you can work. Isn’t that a good way to get around things?

M: It’s ok.

H: I know of someone who is like you… in your line of profession as well. She ah, also didn’t want to continue after some years. I don’t understand… she would rather do her own business from scratch. But then again, she’s earning so much now. Maybe you can think about something like that la.

M: We will see about that. How many more years can we be really there for our children? We don’t have that many years, to be honest, and I’ll like to be there for them, for now. As for other plans, we will take it one step at a time.

If that conversation were to take place a few years ago, I might have been upset by the caustic remarks. Today, I was surprised that I wasn’t the least depressed. I spent a day figuring out why and came to the conclusion that I’m proud of being a stay home Mum. It is not a pride that I boast about, that I get to sleep in (hardly the case!), have no deadlines (sure?) and bosses (God oversees and I cannot slack on that) to report to, and run the home in whatever way I want (that would spell disaster). Not that.

My pride stemmed from the fact that I was privileged to be around when the children and Home needed me to be around most, in place of someone else who isn’t the Parent. I recognise that not every mum has the opportunity to stay home, due to different family arrangements, financial situations, priorities and even temperament; these are valid reasons and not by no means to be faulted. Myself included, I try to stay relevant and supplement the family finances on a part time basis from Home, having to start work only after the children have slept.

While it takes a fellow stay home Mum to identify with a typical day of mine, it’s a 24/7 responsibility, with much forward planning to do and little down time for reflection and self improvement. Anything and everything falls under the scope of a stay home Mum. 🤣

Tired and never ending, it seems. Yes. It is a fact, tried and tested, everyday. Ha! Then you must be thinking that I’m insane or living in some form of a false sense of happiness to be a SAHM.

But, since the day I threw in the letter, I’ve never looked back in regret (though I absolutely love what I used to do, and still do) for this decision because of the family and children. They are never a hindrance, never to be sidelined just so that I may accomplish my dreams. And they are so precious that it would be quite impossible to do so.

What makes me happy is seeing the home personally cared for, boys’ needs personally looked into, meals being personally prepared, and having the ease of knowing that it is for the best interests for the family.

Of course finances would be more of a strain than if I had returned to work, and I’d have more opportunities to dress up and look (more) presentable, and have a social life…, the list goes on. However, connecting with the family has become priority, giving quality care is of utmost importance and nurturing the boys to be great men of worthy character is crucial. With all these, I would want to continue to be present in the home while I can, to be the best mum for my boys and the anchor at home to care for the nitty gritty when my Husband is out at work. This is my calling for now and I gladly take it on each day, rain or shine, sick or not. MCs don’t really apply to mums, do they? 😅

So, heck the remarks, and cheers to another fulfilling day tomorrow!

Water challenge!

Water challenge!

My boys have not been drinking much water lately and I’ve been wrecking my brains on how to motivate them. So there came the water challenge… not against each other, but to see if they can hit their daily ‘five half cups’ (700ml) of water, while I hit my daily ‘five full bottles’ (2.5litres) of water.

With each half cup/full cup drunk, we would be awarded 1 smiley sticker on our lids. By the end of the day, we would count the number of stickers on the lids and transfer it to a piece of paper where it is tallied and to be displayed as encouragement to hit our daily intake the following day.

Yes, upkeeping any discipline is tough initially. Hope this will gradually instil the importance of drinking water throughout the day with some element of fun. 😉

What are your methods of encouraging children to drink water?

Milestones are not just for children…

Milestones are not just for children…

Being a SAHM means I might be able to witness more milestones achieved firsthand. This is probably the biggest reward for my extended time at home.

J2 has been with me 24/7 since the day he was born, and having seen the developments and growth stages he has went through so far never fails to amaze me at how much God is working in his life.

Be it major milestones or minor ones, I make it a conscious effort to celebrate them (of J1 and J2) with the rest of the family, and more importantly, to affirm them that they are growing up normally and healthily.

Growing up should never be an embarrassing thing even though in the midst of growing up, there can be awkward moments like bed wetting. But, it is okay, and part and parcel of growing up.

J1 had such an awkward moment yesterday morning and while I was helping him clean up, he reminded me with my very words: Mummy, everyone makes mistakes, don’t we?

I can’t agree more. We are all on a journey to be better people, adults included.

J2 couldn’t settle for the potty today and ‘baked his cake’ on the toilet floor. He knew it wasn’t the right place, so took it upon himself to try to do it correctly tomorrow. For that, I applauded his effort to try, considering that today, he actually ‘baked’ it in the toilet for the first time, instead of letting it happen in his diapers. Milestone achieved anyway!

How about me?

I see myself as work in progress as well. Learning new things almost everyday, intentionally or through trial and error. We are all too human to be saints and perfect people. So we keep trying and we meet our own milestones along life’s journey.

These continue to keep me humble and down to earth.

Hands off day…

Hands off day…

What makes caring for the children more challenging is when Mummy is coping with a cough and sore throat.

As much as I really hate it when I can’t even speak a proper sentence without coughing the house down, I realised, to the naggy reminders of my hubby (I appreciate it still), that I needed to draw the line, and let the children engage in some extended time of quiet activity.

So I went ahead and busied my boys with activities of their own. Occasionally, they come to me with a book, and ‘Mama, read!’ I’d oblige, and start coughing a fit again after the fifth page. Couldn’t utter another word because I was choked in a fit. So I hand signalled for the water bottle… J1 saw that I was tearing from it and rushed to hand me a tissue. J2 reached for the water bottle. For a moment, I felt blessed that the boys took the initiative to care for me. ☺️

After regaining my composure, I told them that I could t carry on and needed to keep my mouth shut. 😆 They seemed to understand and went about their own play…

After 30 minutes or so, I found them playing Lego bricks, and here were their creations.

So glad that that gave them time to interact and explore creativity, as well as give me a much needed breather. 😊

Learning from historical recounts certainly enrich our lives…

Learning from historical recounts certainly enrich our lives…

J1 hurriedly grabbed a non-fiction book from the library prior to borrowing the rest of the books with my hubby last weekend. It was not a book we had intentionally wanted to borrow. My hubby told J1 that this was a book probably meant for older children; J1 insisted on borrowing it and so they did.

We had quite a bit of time for reading this morning before J1 went to school and I took out this particular book, not knowing what it’s contents were.

As I gathered the boys to my side to look at the photos and recount of the explosion, we then realised that the Hindenburg was an airship, or otherwise known more affectionately as the blimp. The only blimp I came across was that of the Turtles… 😂

The Hindenburg Explosion brought us back to history as they brought the unfortunate incident of its explosion alive, sharing details of its grandeur and class, only to have ended in a terrible blast, and dissolved into ashes in less than a minute. For a moment, history came alive in our little study room, as we discussed how dangerous it was to knowingly fill the airship with combustible hydrogen gas, and that also sparked discussion of whether the boys would want to ever ride on an airship if given an opportunity to.

J2 chirped in every now and then, saying that he would rather be playing with a toy blimp than be on a real one, because it was dangerous. J1 didn’t want to have anything to do with airships, except to see the modern day helium filled ones floating in the air, broadcasting advertisements.

To make the reading impactful to them, we counted on 30 seconds on the wall clock, to make it as tangible as possible, how fast the incident took place, and how frail life can be, with such a sudden turn of events.

Ending it, J1 requested if he could watch a footage of the Hindenburg incident over YouTube. I managed to find one which was narrated by a survivor…

I never expected that a book based on a historical recount could stir up so much learning in not just my boys but for myself. I see blimps in a different light now, and will remember the many incidences dated back in history that their invention simply did not pull through.

My boys and I also appreciate the advancement in engineering and technology in planes that bring us relatively safely to places in a fraction of the time that an airship could possible take.

So much for our learning for today. It was a simple but eventful time of enriching ourselves. 😊