This Too Shall Pass.

Last night, as I lay in bed eating gummi bears while watching Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, exhausted beyond belief and wondering when Tiny Boss #2 would wake up next for a feed, I had to remind myself: this, too, shall pass.

There are a lot of things I forgot about having a newborn.

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Those first few weeks can truly be the most exhausting, the most challenging, the most painful and the most terrifying as you think to yourself how your world has been turned on its head and will never be the same again.

Repeat after me, mama: this, too, shall pass.

Last night, I spent two hours solely dedicated to trying to settle my fussy 20-day-old, while her father got her almost two-year-old sister ready for bed. I envied his task a little; its predictability, its dependable routine, its lack of screams and cries, and lack of moments of self-doubt and desperation. Those moments of “what do you want me to do?!” as you try and figure out what this little person needs from you. Continue reading

I’m a mother of two, and I get it now.

I get it now.

A week after giving birth to my second child, I get it now.

They said I would be overwhelmed with a combination of emotions I couldn’t comprehend – I get it now.

That I will feel immense love beyond anything I could ever have imagined, but at the same time feel fear that maybe I’m not going to be able to ever handle both kids on my own.

That I can look at my toddler and marvel at how she seems to have grown up overnight,  but at the same time feel like she’s my little baby who still needs so much from me and worry about whether I am going to be enough for her now that my attention is divided.

That I can look at my newborn and almost literally feel my heart explode with a love so mind-blowingly powerful that it totally consumes me, and also feel guilt in knowing that there are some things I was able to do for her older sister which I can’t do for her.

I get it now.

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9 years ago, I met a boy.

22 November 2006. I was 21. I was in a new and exciting country, visiting my sister who had been doing volunteer work for almost a year. She’d convinced me to come along to one of her friends’ farewell barbecue celebration. I was reluctant. Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for small talk and meeting new people. But I went anyway. Heck, I like my sister’s company and I was only there for a few more days so didn’t want to miss out on precious time together.

We arrived. I did the smiles, the hand shakes, the spiel about what I “did” and how long I was staying; a spiel which I’d perfected due to repeating it so many times, and the “yes, we don’t look alike at all, you’re right!” And repeat.

I have to say, I met a lot of cool people. One of them was a golden-haired, aqua-eyed fella with a sense of humour and impeccable taste in music. Once he started playing the album Things Fall Apart by The Roots, he caught my attention, as did the fact that when we arrived, he was, being the Australian-raised man that he is, expertly putting the proverbial shrimp on the barbie (I think it was actually lamb chops this time, but hey). 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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YES. It’s time for a giveaway!

Tuna has decided that you’re such a lovely, loyal bunch that she wants to say thank you by running her very first giveaway through her computer literate proxy, yours truly. Everyone is eligible, not just those of you in Singapore! The details on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.

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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

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

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