How my toddler taught me to love my body

Today, I came across an old photo of myself in an album that my mother meticulously put together about twenty years ago. I remember when she undertook this project. She wanted to have a dedicated album for each of her three daughters, and it involved hours of lovingly sorting, arranging and reminiscing over every single photograph. She gave me my album to keep when she came for the birth of my first daughter.

In that photo, I’m about eight years old. I’m standing at the shore of the ocean with my youngest sister, aged three at the time. She has a delighted grin on her face as she gingerly treads the golden sand, but you can’t see mine as it’s covered by my windswept, thick, brown curls with copper-tinged ends due to being in the sun for days on end. I’m wearing a bathing suit. My long, strong legs show that I was tall for my age.

All I can remember when I see this photo is the time my preteen self saw it in the album, self-consciously extracted it and hid it away from view.

I look so fat,” I remember thinking to myself. I hated seeing it and certainly didn’t want anyone else to see it. I remember my other sister, two years younger than me, asking me at some point why I hated that photograph so much. I don’t remember how I answered her.

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“Are you eating a lot of carbs?” she bravely asked the pregnant woman.

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This well-meaning query came from my obstetrician at my 32-week check-up about a week and a half ago, upon completing her estimation that I was carrying an {already!} 2.2kg baby.

She’s a lovely lady, and I like her a lot. But girlfriend is not afraid to be blunt. She’s obviously dealt with enough pregnant women in her long and illustrious career such that she is no longer threatened by the potential wrath of a gigantic woman incubating another, apparently gigantic, baby human, who has effectively just been called fat. Continue reading

I’m sorry that you’re not going to be an only child anymore.

The countdown is on. We have about six weeks until baby #2’s expected arrival.

Of course, I’m ridiculously excited to meet this new little person, but so much of it is still surreal. The fact that a second pregnancy goes by so much faster than the first makes it difficult for the whole thing to sink in properly. Every day, it registers a tiny bit more that we’re headed to Newbornville very, very soon.

And with each passing day, all I can do is feel my heart break a little bit more for Tuna. Continue reading

How my toddler taught me to love my body

Today, I came across an old photo of myself in an album that my mother meticulously put together about twenty years ago. I remember when she undertook this project. She wanted to have a dedicated album for each of her three daughters, and it involved hours of lovingly sorting, arranging and reminiscing over every single photograph. She gave me my album to keep when she came for the birth of my first daughter.

In that photo, I’m about eight years old. I’m standing at the shore of the ocean with my youngest sister, aged three at the time. She has a delighted grin on her face as she gingerly treads the golden sand, but you can’t see mine as it’s covered by my windswept, thick, brown curls with copper-tinged ends due to being in the sun for days on end. I’m wearing a bathing suit. My long, strong legs show that I was tall for my age.

All I can remember when I see this photo is the time my preteen self saw it in the album, self-consciously extracted it and hid it away from view.

I look so fat,” I remember thinking to myself. I hated seeing it and certainly didn’t want anyone else to see it. I remember my other sister, two years younger than me, asking me at some point why I hated that photograph so much. I don’t remember how I answered her.

D98A1272

Continue reading

How to spot a veteran preggers from miles away

Pregnant mothers of more than one: you know how when you get the rare chance to go somewhere sans your offspring outside the womb, you get all those sweet, knowing looks from people who think this is your first pregnancy? I’ve been getting those a lot lately. It’s almost a look of reverence. Of respect. But not without a hint of “oh…sweetie. She has no idea what’s coming!” But we know, sunshine. Boy, do we know.

The sharper belly observers will very quickly realise that this ain’t my first rodeo. Here are five surefire ways to know, without a quiver of doubt in your heart, that this mama has done it before.

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Social Graces for Babies, Toddlers and Parents: The Dos and Don’ts of Play Dates in Singapore

Hi readers! I wrote this article for the lovely team at Sassy Mama Singapore on play date “etiquette”. Thanks for sharing the love, you sassy ladies!

When that precious little bundle of joy arrives into your life, the social building block known as “The Play Date” will become a regular feature on your agenda, mama. These little meet-and-greets of tiny humans and their respective caregivers tend to start happening once the shell-shock of your tiny human’s birth has worn off, and the first few weeks of what I like to call The Newborn Blur have…well…not passed, but have become an acceptable part of your outlook on the world.

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Your first play date will be many things: a little weird, a little new, a little “What exactly are we going to do?”, and more often than not, a little bit thrilling as you realise that this is one of the key ways you are going to survive this thing called parenthood.

In order to adequately equip you for your very first play date, or if, perhaps, you’re like me and are a play date veteran but need the occasional refresher as to what is and is not okay, I’ve put together a handy little guide of dos and don’ts to keep you and your kid from being the ones that don’t get invited the second time around (just kidding, people are usually quite forgiving; but really though, read carefully). Continue reading

Is being a stay-at-home-mom enough?

I’ve traded in my black business suits for shorts and maxi dresses.

My shiny patent high heels for flip flops and mama Crocs.

My chic over-the-shoulder handbag for a very practical, industrially-designed khaki backpack.

My sleek updo for whatever hair arrangement is quickest to achieve, all the while accompanied by a halo of frizz framing my usually flustered face.

I’ve traded in 10.30am cappuccino breaks with intellectual colleagues for a cracker and watermelon food fight with an energetic and gleefully squealing toddler.

My 20-minute, quick-fix, power lunches for lengthy negotiations with a curly-haired little girl as to which non-carbohydrate items on her plate she will begrudgingly consume.

My after-work conversations with my husband about current events and challenges I’m facing in the office for a rambling update as to how long the baby napped that day, the contents of her diapers, how tired I am, how sore my back is and seeking his take on whether oven pizzas would be okay for dinner.

My billable-hour targets for hopes as to how many hours straight my child will sleep through the night.

My evolution into a stay-at-home-mom was not an evolution at all. It was an abrupt shift from one life to another. There was no lead-in, no transition; it was like suddenly a part of me that I had known so well, for so long, had disappeared. Instead, here I was, cradling a newborn in my arms on a Tuesday morning, wondering where on earth I was supposed to start. Continue reading

Dear Haze, you are straight up irritating.

Dear Haze,

It’s time for us to have a heart-to-heart. I have a few things to literally get off my chest, not limited to your nasty little PM2.5 particles that I can feel invading my respiratory system.

You know, when I first heard about you in June 2013, I wasn’t too fazed, Haze. You were no biggie. I was on a business trip in gorgeous Auckland, New Zealand, breathing in crisp, cool, fresh air. I was newly pregnant, but didn’t know it yet. My husband would tell me over the phone how bad it was and while I tried to sympathise, I thought everything was getting just a little too OTT. Come on guys. It’s a little pollution. We’ll get through it.

Clearly, I underestimated just how bad you really are.

Haze, you are straight up irritating. In every sense of the word.

I do not appreciate the 2-month-long nasal tap you have bestowed upon my 19-month-old. We were getting to a good place sleep-wise, and you’re really messing things up for us. I miss wearing clothes sans the snot stains. The cost of tissues is going to bankrupt us.

I am not a fan of the fact that you have kept us indoors for so long. Cabin fever has been redefined. Right now, The Bunny Hop song is on for the twenty-seventh time this morning. I do not want to hop like a bunny, jump like a joey or leap like a froggie, any. more. Continue reading

Nostalgia over my almost twentysomething {month old}

It’s been a big week for Tuna.

She’s exactly 19.5 months old today, which for me, is uncomfortably close to the toddler twenties. I feel like once they hit 20 months, they’re pretty much two-year-olds, which means they’re pretty much starting school and pretty much about to pack their luggage to go off to university. Big leap, but hey. A mother’s mind will go where it goes.

I’m starting to understand why some people still refer to their three-year-olds as their “42-month-olds”. There is something still cute and baby-like about having the word “month” in your age. But as much as I am loath to admit it, our days of referring to Tuna’s age in months are numbered. We are headed very much into big girl territory. Continue reading

Sometimes, Mama needs to cry too.

You start off thinking you’re going to be the perfect parent.

You’ll never lose your patience. You’ll never raise your voice. You’ll never let your child see that – yes – they’ve gotten to you and that you’re essentially about to lose it.

I certainly started off that way.

I had grand visions of myself as the ever-calm, always-smiling and never-scary mama who would patiently and lovingly deal with everything my child threw my way. I mean, how hard can it be? They’re children, for heaven’s sake. All you have to do is make them feel “heard” and explain the rationale behind all of your parenting tactics, and they will obligingly and dutifully be the perfect child.

And then there comes the first time your 3-week-old just. won’t. sleep. Continue reading