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Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

A couple of months ago I read on the internet about how some mums got their kids to choose their outfits for a week. They’d wear whatever the kids chose no matter how whacky. I was immediately taken by the idea and wanted to let the boys have a go at picking my outfits for the day. Just for fun. Just to see what they’d come up with! In the end I learned a thing or two about what they think looks nice on a girl.

I wasn’t so brave as to give each boy an entire week (just in case they went really nuts). Instead I had them take turns to choose my clothes. Initially they were really excited by the prospect, but they completely lost interest after day 6 haha! I should try this again with Alyssa when she’s older just to see what she comes up with, and if her interest is sustained. Maybe it’s a girl/boy thing.

In the end it wasn’t so bad. I psyched myself up to wear whatever they chose, but I didn’t have to be too worried. In fact, after this little exercise, it made me realise that I was sticking to the same old footwear and clothes. They helped me see I could ‘dress up’a bit more rather than just wear the standard stay-home-mum garb of t-shirts and shorts (well, that’s my usual attire anyway). There was only one outfit that Jon vetoed, and insisted on a tweak. Other than that, Jon just gave me weird looks because he was very skeptical about some of the combinations. I was just thankful they didn’t make we wear underwear on the outside or something strange like that!

So, what did they pick? Take a look below. Pictures were taken by the kids so it’s all a bit off.

Day 1 (Asher): T-shirt and jeans, with dangly owl earrings and red & white stripey shoes. A very sensible, practical choice of clothes I thought. I didn’t expect the shoes though. I hadn’t worn those in months!

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Day 2 (Ellery): Black & white skirt, green top (which has a low back, so Jon insisted Ellery add in a tank top), red & white stripey shoes. The boys sure liked those shoes! Ellery always says I look nice when I wear skirts, so I wasn’t surprised he picked a skirt out for me. He liked the green top very much, and he was against the idea of adding a tank top inside and needed quite a bit of coaxing. I would never have thought of this combination of clothes. It was surprisingly comfortable though. I’m generally not a skirt person as I have the impression they are more fussy and troublesome to wear on a day-to-day basis. But this mid-length skirt was actually ok for running around with the kids. Ellery’s choice made me realise that wearing skirts can be as comfortable as wearing shorts sometimes.

Day 3 (Asher): Floral chiffon top, denim shorts, skin-coloured shoes. Asher, it seems, makes very practical choices but with a twist. Whether it’s what he prefers a girl to wear, or it’s what he thinks best suits me I’m not sure. But it was a comfortable and practical outfit for the day.

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Day 4 (Ellery): Blue chiffon dress with a green top over it, and those red & white striped shoes. I totally would not have thought of this outfit. This was probably the strangest outfit of the lot. I had to tell myself to just wear it and not think too much about it. It turned out to be very comfortable because there was nothing cinching at the waist, even though it does look kinda frumpy. And whats up with those shoes??

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Day 5 (Asher): Black top with white bermudas, black & white houndstooth-print pointy-toed shoes. You are starting to see a pattern here right? Asher and practical clothing. I like hahaha. This is most like what I normally wear, except for the shoes. I hadn’t worn those in months too! I really should take them out more often.

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Day 6 (Ellery): And for the finale, a long deep navy blue halter dress. Yes, Ellery picked a skirt again. It felt quite strange wearing this dress when bringing them for their Saturday capoeria class (where everyone else is in shorts), but I was just happy with the thought that Ellery picked it. That, and he kept saying I looked pretty the whole day haha! Actually, he did that on all the days he picked my clothes :) That boy has a sweet tongue.

Anyway, it’s quite clear from their choices that Asher picks sensible clothes with a feminine touch, while Ellery tends towards the all out girly look. I wonder…I wonder if this will be reflected in their choice of girlfriend in future :) Hmmm….

Come to think of it, maybe Alyssa should dress Daddy instead, then I can see what kind of man she tends towards!

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Day 6: Alyssa and I (this was taken a couple of months back so she looks quite a bit younger)

Anyway it was fun, but I was quite happy to go back to wearing my usual stuff. I did consciously make some changes though. I wore my other shoes more often, tried to mix things up a little more with the clothes choices as well. I guess the boys helped me see that I’m really a bit too practical in my dressing, and I could spice things up a little bit :)

Have you tried something similar? What did your kids pick?

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On the actual day of Alyssa’s birthday things went pretty much the same as usual except we indulged in some flower shopping in advance for Mother’s Day. The cold rooms were…cold, and I hurried in and out a few times with Alyssa to get what I wanted. I gave her a little stalk of her own, and she was so so happy with it :) I suppose girls and flowers really could be an innate thing, huh?

So happy with her flower :)

So happy with her flower :)

My little girl is one!

My little girl is one!

We hurried home so that I could get started on baking her birthday cake. My mum came over to play with her and chipped in to help me cut the triangles for the bunting. My Mummy is the best! How apt that Mothers’ Day was just around the corner. Her actions showed me motherhood really never ends. Your kids can be all grown up, but you’ll still love them and want to help them as much as you can.

I decided on a whim to make a marble cake, and with some leftover batter made a little cupcake for us to cut after dinner as Alyssa’s birthday cake. It was moist, appropriately dense, rich and chocolaty, and just perfect, I thought! I was really pleased and had high hopes for the cake. Alas, the actual cake somehow turned out really really dense. Too dense. I don’t know if it’s because the batter wasn’t very thick in the pans, there was too much mixing, the refrigeration, the pressing down the fondant on the cake, or…I have no idea! At the party the next day, it was so dense it was difficult to cut through the cake! How embarrassing! There were a few guests who claimed they really liked the cake, but I did wonder if those guest were just being nice :)

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

blowing out the candle

blowing out the candle

Cutting her little cupcake

Cutting her little cupcake

I also have a new found respect for cake makers who use fondant. It is so difficult to use! Honestly, my cake was so shabby! There were cracks in the fondant, some parts weren’t covered properly. Gosh. Just getting the fondant off the table was a nightmare because I kept breaking it. It was so nightmarish it was funny! I was laughing to myself at just how ridiculous the cake looked :) I think I made the fondant too thin. The instructions were to make it as thin as possible, but that makes it near impossible to lift up without breaking. I also realised too late that I shouldn’t have put the cake in the fridge because when it’s taken out there’d be condensation on it. It also got sticky when I was working with it, and it was only later on at the party that someone told me I had to work in an air-conditioned room. So….I tried my best. Tried to cover up the cracks with little fondant cats since Alyssa likes cats (though Jon said they looked like pigs :) ). It was a simple looking case, but I really put in a lot of effort so was quite pleased anyway. If Alyssa ever asks why I made her such a simple looking cake, I’ll just ask her to make a fondant cake herself so she knows how difficult it is to work it! I’ll stick to using icing and chocolate ganache. If I’m feeling brave I’ll try fondant again.

Cracking fondant!!!

Cracking fondant!!!

Creases and cracks. Ahhh!!

Creases and cracks. Ahhh!!

Cats lounging on the cake

Cats lounging on the cake

Whoops! Little kitty falling off the cake!

Whoops! Little kitty falling off the cake!

Snuggling cats

Snuggling cats

The end result! Kitty cat cake for Alyssa :)

The end result! Kitty cat cake for Alyssa :)

More on the party in another post!

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Alyssa continues to be a happy little baby. And she sure is a charmer. She has started to wave at everyone who passes by. So we often have kids and teenagers, delivery men, hawkers, and basically anyone, just stopping by to say hello to her.

She’s standing steadily now, but hasn’t shown much inclination to cruise or walk. I think it’s because I carry her around most of the time. I was thinking about it and realised that she barely gets any playground time compared to the boys, for two reasons. First, we are usually running around settling the boys or running errands. Second, the playgrounds at our new place are so hot in the day time! At our old house the playground was shady in the afternoon so I often brought Asher and Ellery to play there, even before they could walk. It’s a bit of a pity she hasn’t had that opportunity.

She’s got 3 teeth now! But she thinks she has a full set and wants to eat everything. I’m really quite amazed at how the human body develops. How is it that our teeth all end up sticking out about the same amount, but yet they can sprout one at a time?

I don’t know where her food goes. She eats, but doesn’t get heavier. She just gets taller and stays the same weight. She’s not even 8kg! But as she appears happy I think she’s ok.

She is starting to vocalise more, but still not that many words. I wonder if in our family the stereotypes will be turned on its head. Normally girls speak faster than boys, but Asher and Ellery both were quite vocal from young. She’s seems to be less so. And normally boys are more active than girls, but she seems to be more so! She is a real monkey, I tell you. Though I suspect she inherited that from me (my Mum told me I’ve climbed out of my cot before…).

Time flies, and suddenly you are almost 1 year old! I can’t believe it.

That's how much you respect Je M'appelle now.

That’s how much you respect Je M’appelle now.

Taller, but not heavier

Taller, but not heavier

Standing steadily, even on the bed

Standing steadily, even on the soft bed

With her new Peppa Pig toy that my Mum bought for her

With her new Peppa Pig toy that my Mum bought for her

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

Messy girls :)

:)

With Daddy after church

With Daddy after church

So matchy-matchy with Popo

So matchy-matchy with Popo

Big eyed

With cousin David at Leah's 1st birthday party

With cousin David at Leah’s 1st birthday party

Aunty and niece born 2 weeks apart :)

Aunty and niece born 2 weeks apart :)

Discovered the joys of bouncing. She was sooo happy

Discovered the joys of bouncing. She was sooo happy

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This greedy little girl has eaten roti prata!

Really, I caved cos she was just so persistent! She utterly refused to eat her own breakfast and kept pointing at my prata and asking for it “DER!!”

The third kid…anything goes huh?
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My little girl is growing!

This last month has seen her do quite a few new things. She’s started sitting up on her own, can creep forward on her belly (with some combination of stretching and butt lifting), and she’s now progressed to trying to crawl forward, though not very successfully. Getting there.

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Starting to move forward on her knees

Starting to move forward on her knees

She’s also got 2 teeth! On the day she turned 9 months she only had one tooth, but two days ago the second tooth erupted.

She’s developed her pincer grasp and now loves feeding herself, to the point that I often struggle to feed her porridge. She doesn’t want to eat from the spoon! So I resort to putting fingerfood on the table, and stuffing the spoon in her mouth when she opens it to eat the fingerfood she’s feeding herself. Some might say I could try to let her self-feed the porridge, but I can’t bear the thought of the mess!

Like Ellery, she likes savoury food. And they currently share the same favourite breakfast food- cheese toast! If her main course is too sweet, she doesn’t eat that much of it. I discovered this through observing her preferences on ready-made meals (yep…3rd kid eats ready-made meals when we go out sometimes). The sweetish flavours (the kind sweetened with a lot of fruit), she barely touches, but the more savoury concoctions she eats quite a lot of. The exception is when it’s fresh fruit, especially blueberries, apples, pears, and bananas.

I’ve stopped feeding her baby cereal because she almost always rejects that. Guess she thinks she’s all grown up now. In fact, the other day she managed to gnaw through half a peach with her one tiny tooth stub. Goodness. I was so amazed by that feat.

Self-feeding

Self-feeding

Slowly making her way through the peach

Slowly making her way through the peach

She’s getting more vocal. She started to make noises that have all the intonations of proper speech, but are made up entirely of nonsense. It’s really cute to see her point at something and say meaningfully, “ahbangngngngmagemawada!” “Mmm, yes!” I’d reply.

The one word she’s got down pat is “der!” (there). She sometimes uses it correctly, like when you ask her a ‘where’ question, but she doesn’t point in the correct direction hahaha. “Where’s the cat?” “der!” (pointing at the sky). The only time she gets it right is when it comes to Asher and Ellery. “Where is Kor Kor?” She’ll look around first, then point at them while wearing a big smile and saying in an excited, high-pitched tone, “DER!” She loves her brothers, that’s for sure :)

She still falls sleeps between 7 to 730pm, and I’m very grateful for that. I didn’t sleep train her. She just fell into this routine on her own. So I find that I’m now able to have a bit of time with just the boys before they go to bed.

Another rite of passage she has gone through – falling off the bed. All three of them have done it now. Ellery still holds the record for the most falls off the bed, but let’s hope none of them add to their count. It happened in the middle of the night. I suddenly woke to a thud. I had nursed her to sleep and didn’t pad the space between her and the edge of the bed enough. I woke to find her sprawled on the floor. I’m so very grateful that she didn’t land awkwardly and injure herself. Having said that, I must confess that it didn’t bother me that much. I picked her up, saw she was ok, could still say something, and put her back to bed and went back to sleep myself. I remember freaking out the first time Asher fell off the bed. Fast forward 6 years, look at me now.

She’s been a real darling and I’m very grateful for her!

Much taller now

Much taller now

Can't get her to sit still anymore

Can’t get her to sit still anymore

Feel the lurrvvee

Feel the lurrvvee

Taking up more space on the sofa now

Taking up more space on the sofa now

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

Flexible girl

Flexible girl

Can't wait for the day she can start ballet!

Can’t wait for the day she can start ballet!

Very grabby

Very grabby

Hi!

Hi!

Enjoying a swing ride

Enjoying a swing ride

Big love from Asher

Big love from Asher

Bye!

Bye!

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Ellery started school on 2 Jan at a new kindergarten. Previously both boys were at a childcare centre, so moving to a kindergaten was a big change for us. First, the hours are much shorter, so it’s much more challenging for me now. The class size is also bigger. There’s actually a uniform where previously the kids wore anything they wanted to school.

We ended up at this school largely because there were no spaces in any other preschool. It suited us because it was in the afternoon (when Asher would also be in school), it was much much more affordable than a childcare, not too far, and apparently had a good curriculum. It’s supposedly a sought after school, so I was surprised there was a vacancy on the day I enquired.

We’ve been prepping Ellery for the change for the last few months and he was quite excited to start school. The first day went well, though I found it strange that when he entered class my usually chatty Ellery suddenly became muted. I managed to coax a smile out of him for this photo, but he stopped smiling after I took the picture.

When we first arrived

When we first arrived

From the second day onwards I noticed that he continued to become very muted when he reached class. It’s very unusual and I still don’t know why that happens. It got worse as he started pulling me away when we reached, hiding behind a pillar outside the school building, flopping on the floor inside, and refusing to join the rest of the class. Maybe it’s him adjusting to the new environment. But it worried (and still worries) me a lot, because I’ve never seen him behave this way before. Ellery has been to two schools prior to this and at both schools I didn’t see such behaviour.

Then last week I got a shock when the Mandarin teacher claimed that the teachers there do not communicate regularly with parents, and she expressed surprise that at their previous school the teachers communicated often with us. This arose because I had simply asked how Ellery was that day given his reluctance to join the class in the morning. Jon and I agreed to talk to the teachers in the hope that we can work together to help Ellery settle. So I was really not expecting this type of response. We got so worried at this that we immediately started looking for alternative schools.

I managed to talk to the main teacher this week though and she assured me a little bit. She said that she was open to communicating with parents, and that I could raise any concerns I had with her. It was a good thing she didn’t try to defend what the other teacher said, but instead said she’d be worried if she was told something similar.

So now I have one teacher saying one thing, and the other teacher saying another thing. The main teacher said to give it 3 weeks to see how Ellery settles as it could be an adjustment thing. We’ll see.

On his part, Ellery leaves school happy. He likes the playground there and we always hang around for a bit before leaving the school premises. As a church kindergarten he also has worship time and he tells me about how they all worshipped God. It’s nice to see him talking about God and singing a new worship song he learnt in school.

I’m torn. Not sure what to do.
I suppose for now observe what happens in school while I continue looking around for better alternatives, if any.

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It almost went by without us singing him a birthday song!

There were grand plans. Ellery had been asking to go to the zoo for a long time, but for various reasons we didn’t get to go. There was Legoland, which we were supposed to bring the boys to as a combined treat, but that did not materialise after our move as we got so tied up with house things (rectifications and all that).

In the end, everything was kept simple.

On Christmas day itself we had a special breakfast of pancakes cooked at the table, just like at Slappy Cakes. The boys had loved it when we ate there and my aunt had so generously bought us a crepe maker last Christmas so that we could do that same thing at home. In the end we only used it for pancakes one year later! We had became addicted to crepes and often had those for breakfast instead :)

Home style slappy cakes!

Home style slappy cakes!

Christmas pancakes!

Christmas pancakes!

After breakfast we made logcakes for our neighbours as a way to say hello. The boys had fun delivering them, and we discovered a couple of neighbours celebrate Christmas in a big way. Some others we discovered were vegetarian and couldn’t accept our cake because we used eggs. Need to look for eggless cake recipes!

Sprinkling on the snow

Sprinkling on the snow

As always we were double booked for Christmas lunch, so we did house-hopping and lots of eating! Usually people at these two homes would greet Ellery a happy birthday, and at the first home we’d sing a birthday song. But somehow this year all that didn’t happen. Thankfully Ellery was patient and didn’t demand or expect anything.

Being cheeky in the car and not wanting to stay still for a picture :)

Being cheeky in the car and not wanting to stay still for a picture :)

Lounging in our friend's house

Lounging in our friend’s house

We left the second house in the late evening and went to Toys R Us so that the boys could choose their own presents. But Ellery fell asleep in the car! We thought he’d wake up in the noise of Toys R Us but he didn’t. We headed for dinner and tried to wake him but he was just too tired. We were joking about how we were celebrating a birthday without the birthday boy! But just as we were finishing our meal he woke up! Just in time to eat something and enjoy some dessert :)

Birthday boy sound asleep

Birthday boy sound asleep

Finally up!

Finally up and being squished

It was back to Toys R Us again, and Ellery chose a bow and arrow set because he had played with a set in one of the houses earlier in the day and loved it!

Home, bathed, bedtime story, in bed. Then Ellery said he wanted to have a birthday song and cake cutting. Throughout the day I had wanted to do it, but there just wasn’t the opportunity. So although it was already 10pm, we pulled out a logcake that we had saved for Ellery, decorated it and sang him a song.

He loved it! Especially when we found that one of the candles was a trick candle that kept lighting up again. The boys had such a good time trying to blow it out :) I think in the end the cake was quite covered in saliva…hmm…

I was really happy to see Ellery beaming :) A simple birthday song and cake at home can be so special :)

An over decorated cake haha!

An over decorated cake haha!

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday!!

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Finally blew out the trick candle!

Finally blew out the trick candle!

Cut cut cut

Cut cut cut

Brothers :)

Playful brothers

Loving brothers :)

Loving brothers

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My dear Ellery, you have certainly grown. You have leaned out and are starting to lose your baby fat. Many people say you look thinner.

You still say the funniest things, and I have a long list of quotes from you that are just hilarious :) I laugh out loud everytime I re-read them! I must save them for you so that you can read what you said as a little boy.

You continue to be independent minded and like doing things in your own way, which is a good thing, but that same quality also makes you rather stubborn and difficult to discipline. Oh, what fights we have had this year. I have had a tough time reminding myself to model kindness and gentleness for you this year. But you can also be extremely charming and loving. You spout sweet nothings at random moments, and that always warms my heart. Whenever you say, “Mummy, I love you soooo much!” I can’t help but squeeze you tight, kiss your head, and all irritations of the day are dissolved.

It’s been a tough year for you too. On the one hand, you’ve become a very sweet and loving older brother to Alyssa. You were so happy when Alyssa was born you ran through school yelling, “I’m a Kor Kor now!!!” You play with her, hug and kiss her (even with dirty hands and oily mouth). On the other hand, I think you unconsciously feel the reduction in attention given to you and have been very whiny since your sister arrived. I have heard that middle children either become very independent, or very whiny. I think you’ve gone the whiny route. I’m hoping it’s a phase, and I’m hoping it ends soon. I try to pull out special moments with you, but it’s tough. I hope you know Mummy is trying her very best.

A new challenge has appeared this year too. One that I was anxious would come, and it did. You were an early reader and many people said to you or within hearing how “clever” they thought you were, and they praised you a lot. Too much. At that time I was thinking to myself that they really should hold back on excessive praise because it might negatively affect Asher, and more so, it might negatively affect you. Now it appears that you are only keen to try things that are easy. Anything that you think you’ll not be good at you immediately say, before even trying, that you can’t do it. I really pray that this is also a phase that will pass quickly. I pray that we’ll be able to build up your confidence to try things that at first seem difficult, and that you’ll realise you actually can do many things if you put your mind to it. Also, that we don’t expect you to be super at everything, but that you at least give things your best effort.

Mummy hasn’t had much time and attention for you this year, unfortunately. Mummy has been very stretched, but I hope you know how much I love you, how special you are to me! You are so unique, and I love you deeply!

 

 

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