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Bolster

This is what happens when your brother thinks you are cute and cuddly.

Ellery: "Mummy! Why is my bolster moving?"

Ellery: “Mummy! Why is my bolster moving?”

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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

—————————————————————————————

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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We’ve been in our new place for 2 weeks now, but we’re still not quite settled yet. To be honest, it’s been a challenging couple of weeks.

For starters, Alyssa fell ill the night before we moved. She developed a fever in the middle of the night that lasted for the next five days, and a bad cough too. The cough got progressively worse in the morning and we decided that rather than keeping her with me for the move and exposing her to all the dust which aggravated her cough, that my parents would bring her home for a couple of hours.

What a milestone for her. She’s never been taken care of by anyone outside of my home, nor for that many hours. That was the day she was started on formula as well. We had emptied out the freezer, so all the stored expressed breastmilk was finished. I had planned on nursing her during the day. So all of a sudden she had to try formula. Thankfully she took well to it!

What a change. For Asher and Ellery I had planned exactly when they would try formula milk, bought a small tin several days in advance, introduced it slowly with half-and-half breastmilk and formula milk, slowly increasing the amount of formula until it was just formula milk. For Alyssa, we just decided that very morning, told my mum which brand and she hurried to the supermarket to get a tin :) And the best part was, I was totally ok with it. Definitely third child laissez-faire-ness.

The movers were great. We hired Alliance Movers on recommendation from a friend and they were excellent! The guy who came around to give the quote was friendly and reassuring. The movers themselves were super efficient, professional, helpful, and despite all the work, cheerful! I loved seeing the movers chatting and joking with each other even as they worked. It made moving a less stressful affair. And there seemed to be nothing they couldn’t do. They helped to disassemble and reassemble our bed, dismounted then mounted some shelves, wrapped up everything quickly and properly (sofas, tables, computers, etc), provided 2 large clothes rack for moving clothes (fantastic! No need to re-iron Jon’s shirts!) and helped with packing our stray items. And they were so fast. I spent weeks packing, and in just a few hours the entire house was empty. The only things left were some items in the storeroom that we hadn’t had the chance to run through yet so told them to leave it behind.

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Filling the truck with our stuff

 

With Alyssa ill I couldn’t unpack much though. So for days the boxes just sat there. I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I don’t like mess. I’m actually quite OCD about cleanliness and having everything in its place (even though I’ve lowered my expectations since the kids came along). When the house is messy, my internal life feels messy. So living in a house full of boxes before moving, and then still living in a house full of boxes after moving, plus the dust that inevitably plagues new houses, and noticing the rectifications missed out by the interior designers, and finding new things that needed rectification, and scuttling back to the old house to clear it out for the new tenant, and a sick baby that was quite literally stuck to me the whole time…all this really drove me crazy. Everything felt grimy and dusty. Everything seemed to be going wrong.

The boys and the husband were perfectly happy though. In fact, the boys settled right in as if they lived here all along! It was a real blessing, but in my stressed state I failed to be more grateful for it. Even though we now have a view to die for outside our window, I was grumpy and focusing on the mess.

Until one afternoon, as I sat glumly staring out the upper windows at the dust encrusted on the outside, cursing to myself at how the interior designers didn’t clean it up as they were supposed to, I found my eyes refocusing from the glass of the window, to the clouds that were framed by the window. Beautiful, white fluffy clouds set against a gorgeous blue sky. And then it hit me that, like my eyes just a moment before, I was focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of looking at the dirt on the window, I should be looking at the clouds outside the window.

I felt lighter. I wouldn’t say completely at ease, but lighter and less stressed. I can do this, I thought. And prayed.

And the change in attitude came not a moment too soon, because the day after, I somehow found myself with a sprained back. I couldn’t stand upright. Walking was painful. Sitting was painful. Sigh. But I’m grateful for the people who prayed for me, and that my back is better now. Not perfect, but better.

And in spite of the back I kept trying to unpack. Now the house is less cluttered even though there are still boxes that need to be unpacked. It’s reaching the point where I can’t see how it’s all going to fit into the cupboards. Might need to do another round of throwing out things. I grumbled to my husband about how we should have made more cabinets. We have planned some things to be built in a second phase to save on costs for now, but I felt we needed it now. But his position is that we should just throw out more stuff. I suppose he’s right too. I probably hang on to too much stuff. Overly sentimental about so many things.

So, the unpacking is not done yet.

In the meantime, the boys have been having a blast here. They love going downstairs to play, they’ve been enjoying playing with boxes, and they’ve been rediscovering a lot of our books. Previously they were kept on a shelf that wasn’t so conducive for browsing. Now they are pulling out all the old books and reading through them. I reminded myself to be thankful that they could entertain themselves this way while I handled Alyssa.

And yes, as for Alyssa, she’s better now. She’s finally not coughing all the time, at night her coughing is much better too (it was worst at night). She’s back to being a smiley, happy baby. For those five days that she was feverish, she barely smiled. It was so unlike her. I had to scramble to find a paediatrician near our house to attend to her after we moved. Thankfully I have some friends with kids in the east who could recommend me their doctor. She hated the nasal spray and didn’t like her medicine. She also lost her appetite and didn’t eat anything, only drank milk, and even then not that much. As a result she lost quite a bit of weight. But she’s regained her appetite again, thankfully.

The bad part is, her routine is completely messed up. I never enforced a routine. She kind of fell into one naturally. She used to nap around 10am, then barely slept, taking maybe 5 to 15 minute naps here and there, before knocking out around 7/730pm. She’d then sleep for several hours without waking up until around midnight or 1am. Now, she sleeps around 8pm and she’s up every hour or so. Less sleep is no fun. Am hoping she somehow falls back into her usual routine again.

So, yes. It’s been a tough 2 weeks.

Hope to make the house look more presentable soon and have some semblance of a Christmassy home before Christmas arrives!

How many boys fit into a box? The boys packing themselves away before we moved

How many boys fit into a box?

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The boys packing themselves away before we moved

Saying goodbye to our first home

Saying goodbye to our first home

Empty!

Empty!

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

Bookish boys

Bookish boys

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

It's a tie!

It’s a tie!

 

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After we came back from Hong Kong (posts on this coming up eventually…) Ellery kept asking to play with sand. So we headed to East Coast Park one Saturday evening to make good on our promise to him. It’s been a long time since we just relaxed by the beach like that, and it was Alyssa’s first time at the beach too. A gorgeous, windy day, we had a nice time playing before joining some friends for dinner.

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This 4th month Alyssa started laughing for real. I still remember that date exactly – 14 Aug – because Asher and I had gone to attend an event together. It was after the event that she suddenly found Asher very funny and kept laughing whenever he brought leaned in towards her.

First laughs!

First laughs!

In the last few days she also started to flip over, usually to her right side, and on two occasions even tried to push up a bit with her left arm. Definitely need to surround her with pillows now when she’s on our bed at night sometimes. Don’t want her to fall off the bed! Both Asher and Ellery fell of the bed as babies *sigh*, with Ellery having the dubious honour of falling off it more than 3 times since birth (he last was when he was almost 3 years old), always head first *SIGH*. Jon and I are hoping it’s not some rite of passage for Nair babies. Hoping it’s a boy thing.

She’s putting on weight, looking chubbier, and has broken the 6kg mark. Haven’t seen the PD yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s still going to tell me she’s gaining weight slowly. But she certainly doesn’t look it. She seems quite tall, and people tend to over-estimate her age.

She’s awake most of the day now. I’m kept very busy with her these days, but I confess I talk to her less than I did with the boys. With Ellery I already found myself talking less with him, with her even less. I find that I get lost in my own thoughts a lot, mostly because once the boys and Jon are around I have to chat with them so much. I like it of course, don’t get me wrong, but I suppose because I’m the kind that needs alone time to recharge, I end up being quiet with her. I have to consciously tell myself to snap out of it. Ironically, she doesn’t help herself by being such a good, generally quiet, little girl.

But she has been crying a lot more this past month. When she gets upset, oh man, she can really cry down the house. There were a couple of weeks where she was extremely sticky and would cry piteously if anyone else tried to carry her. Surprisingly it’s toned down this past week, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

She’s also doing the little girl thing. She can sometimes be quite tneh/tgneh (how in the world do you spell that?) It’s Singlish for (how in the world do you explain it?) trying to get attention by making little girlish whines…I suppose that’s a decent explanation. There were a couple of times I was carrying her, and when I put her down she complained (I don’t know how I should spell that either – “nnnngggggg”?? Singlish is clearly a spoken, not written thing…)

It could also be a girl thing that the toys she likes best are those with faces. Her favourite toy so far is Lionel the Lion that one of my aunts gave Asher when he was a baby. Both Asher and Ellery were cool towards it, but it’s Alyssa best friend. When she’s upset, I just need to get Lionel to talk to her and she’d smile. There was once she seemed to even roar back at him, but I could be imagining things.

Alyssa and Lionel

Alyssa and Lionel

She’s become very grabby, and everything she grabs goes in her mouth. She seems to need to chew on something a lot more now – teething? Seems a bit early. But it’s really no fun being her chew toy when I’m breastfeeding her. And when I yelp, she just looks at me and smiles her sweet smile.

8 Sep 2014

8 Sep 2014: Je M’appelle Comparison

8 Sep 2014: Taller

8 Sep 2014: Taller

8 Sep 2014: Sitting more steadily now

8 Sep 2014: Sitting more steadily now

Big hugs from Kor Kor Ellery! I love this series of pictures!

Big hugs from Kor Kor Ellery! I love this series of pictures!

She's so happy to be cuddled!

She’s so happy to be cuddled!

Yeah, me and my Kor Kor

Yeah, me and my Kor Kor

13 Sep: First time on the Bumbo

13 Sep: First time on the Bumbo

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Sweetness

These were taken in July, but I never got around to posting it!

I just love this picture!

I just love this picture :)

The boys often say their sister is “so cute and funny”, and they love to prod her cheeks. Brotherly love is not always so dainty :)

xx

Love Alyssa’s expression here, haha! “Ack, what are they doing?!?”

 

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Took this picture a few days ago and it reminded me of this picture (of Asher ‘reading’ to Ellery) when Ellery was a baby, except there’s three of them now!

Bonding over books

Bonding over books

Alyssa is usually asleep when the boys read a bit before bedtime, but her schedule is not settled yet and that night she was still awake. I hope she’ll grow up to love books as much as her brothers!

Asher being the big Kor Kor and reading to his little sister

Asher being the big Kor Kor and reading to his little sister

We're going for a bear hunt!

We’re going for a bear hunt!

 

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