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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So just because you have kids, you get rights?

I experienced two incidents over the past week which have made me really think about this question.

Gather round, my friends, and let me tell you a little story about an exhausted pregnant woman with an overtired toddler who just wanted to get the hell out of the supermarket.

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You’ve been there, right? You’d rather be doing a billion other unpleasant things than stand there any longer while your kid screams at you for more sushi (which you’ve had the audacity to open before paying), you’re carrying a basket which was only meant to contain a couple of lightweight items but now makes it look like you’re stockpiling for Y2K all over again, and your womb-mate is creating all kinds of crazy havoc up in your pelvic floor muscles.

Get me out of here. Please. 

I frantically scan the checkout aisles for the one that, in my estimation, will end this torture the quickest. Ah! There it is, almost too bright for me to look at directly due to what I perceive as a glow of hope surrounding it. A moderately empty, moving checkout line. I hauled the stroller with its yelling, hungry occupant and my gigantic belly over to that blessed lane as quickly as possible. Continue reading

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

Taking life at a toddler’s pace

I’ve always been a pro-efficiency kinda gal.

The type that walks quickly even when there’s no rush to get anywhere. My darling husband A always makes fun of the fact that I’m “racing” him whenever we’re out for a walk, while I feel like I’m merely sauntering at a leisurely pace.  I like ordering my Starbucks coffee by specifying every possible variable I would like in order to minimise the number of questions the barista has to ask me – I even stipulate whether or not I require a receipt. I will group all of my grocery items according to category on the conveyor belt so that the checkout operator can get them packed properly quick fast. So essentially, it would seem apparent that I also like imposing my efficiency on others.

Being accompanied by a toddler for approximately 97% of your errands does not make for an efficient use of time. This staggering truth horrified me upon becoming a new mother. Continue reading

Co-sleep? More like no-sleep. 

You never really fully appreciate the extent of your toddler’s in-sleep acrobatics until you get the joy of sharing a bed with them.

Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against co-sleeping. I’ve just come to terms with the fact that for all my pro-breastfeeding, pro-babywearing tendencies, I simply can’t do it. I’ve tried. And speaking truthfully, my daughter coerces me into it from time to time because she has very cleverly figured out that I value a {below-par} night’s sleep above the desire to {be awake at 4am and} teach her to consistently sleep in her own bed.

Maybe I just don’t like intermittently getting kicked in the face as much as the next guy. Sure, it keeps you on your toes and sharpens your ”unagi” (à la Ross from that episode of Friends), but getting a soft little squishy foot with quite a lot of force behind it, in your eye more than once a night, doesn’t allow for the most restful sleep. Continue reading

Debunking common myths about flying with a small child

Ah, travel. How my perspective of you has changed over the last few years.

There were those exciting trips to unknown and faraway places as a student; then there were the long-haul flights to visit my parents once a year; then there was that year or so during my job before Tuna was born where I started spending more time in planes than in any other mode of transport.

I have a confession to make. At that particular stage, I was 100%, through-and-through, one of those awful irritable passengers that saw a family travelling with anyone under the age of 12 as a threat to my in-flight serenity. Heaven forbid your child (a) sits behind me and kicks my seat mercilessly and/or seems to constantly have his/her tiny little hands rummaging through the back pocket; (b) makes a single noise that disturbs my in-flight entertainment zen, or worse, screams and is inconsolable (“are you going to do something?! Kids don’t cry for no reason, you know!“); or (c) generally does not behave. Like an adult, that is. Because that’s what cranky passengers like ex-me seem to expect. Continue reading

5 ways a sick toddler puts life into perspective

We were hit with the trifecta this weekend: sick daddy, sick Tuna and…”The Haze”.

The last of these, while sounding more like a cheesy horror/sorority movie, is an actual thing with which those of us living in Singapore have become all too familiar. Essentially, the air outside becomes horrible to breathe due to forest fires in Indonesia and the winds that very kindly blow them our way. You’ll recognise the more paranoid amongst us as we constantly refresh the same trusty website on our smartphones – “how high are the PM2.5 levels now?!” So what ends up happening is we all stay indoors, cooped up, with our air conditioners and purifiers on maximum levels.

That sounds like exactly how toddlers, and their respective parents, would probably love to spend their weekends! I hear you saying. Yep. No really. It’s a dream. The minute you hear whisperings of “The Haze is back…” you genuinely start to fear for your and your child(ren)’s sanity because all usually viable options for getting energy out, and keeping cabin fever at bay, are limited, nay, destroyed. Continue reading