Thankful… for my mum-in-law

We live with my in-laws and my mum-in-law wakes up the earliest. When the kids were young, we didn’t know much about children and their sleep patterns. We used to let them sleep around 9pm and they would wake up at 6am. The hubs thought why not let them sleep later so they would wake up later. We allowed them to fall asleep naturally at around 10pm but they woke up even earlier, sometimes at 5 or 5.30am! Now I know that sleep begets sleep and I’ve learnt so much more about proper sleep patterns. My MIL would put the child in the stroller and push her around our condo at that early hour so that the rest of us can continue sleeping for a bit longer.

Kate and her cousin on their morning walk

Even till now, my MIL would take Kate for a stroll every morning. That frees up some time for me and I can have my breakfast and read the newspaper in peace. Something simple like that allows me to start my day nice and slow, and I would be ready to tackle the long day ahead. Now that my sis-in-law has a child the same age as Kate, they would play together and my MIL would watch over them.

There’s also another thing I’m really thankful to her for. My own parents seriously spoil my kids by buying them too many toys and giving them whatever they ask for. When the 5 of them were younger, my dad used to buy 5 of the same toy just to prevent any disagreements! He gets very stressed when they start to bicker and that was his way of handling the situation. My MIL on the other hand, frowns on waste and excessive consumption. She does not buy them any toys and instead puts a sum of money each month into their bank accounts from the time they enter primary 1, for their future tertiary education. Extremely practical and wise. Well I guess both sets of grandparents balances things out. One makes them feel loved and doted on, while the other teaches them thrift and planning for their future. Aren’t they lucky.

Thankful Tuesdays:

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has” – Epictetus


Thankful… for the hub’s cooking
Thankful… for #5’s cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1

Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law

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~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Discipline #4: 6 common sleep mistakes for babies

One of the biggest parenting mistakes we made was not knowing anything about babies and their sleep. I did read a few books such as Babywise and What to Expect in the First year and knew about routines and bedtimes. However, I didn’t know just how absolutely important this whole business of sleep is. It was only after I had #5 and a close friend pointed out a very good book to me that I was enlightened.

I went on to read a few more books on the subject, and have come to thoroughly respect a child’s need for good, proper sleep. There is a lot of information to digest, so I’ll start with the 6 most common sleep mistakes for babies that parents unintentionally make.

1. Keeping them awake for too long

Babies can only tolerate a very short amount of awake time when they are young. Once you pass this time, they will start to get cranky and it will be harder to get them to sleep. There is a ‘magic’ window of opportunity when it is easiest for baby to sleep. You have to catch that window before they get over-tired. You know how it is that sometimes we feel drowsy, and suddenly our eyelids start to droop and we really feel like sleeping? That’s the window period where baby will easily fall asleep. If you ignore this time frame and keep baby up, she will start to fuss and get cranky. If you continue to ignore it and baby is not put to sleep, hormones will kick in and it becomes even harder for baby to get to sleep because the hormones drive her into a hyperactive state.


So how long should babies be awake for? Here is a general guide, but observe your own baby for their sleepy signs.

Birth – 6 weeks  : 45 mins
2 – 3 months     : 1 hour
4 – 5 months     : 1.5 hours
6 – 7 months     : 2 hours
8 – 9 months     : 2.5 hours
10 – 12 months  : 3 hours


2. Not watching out for sleepy signs e.g. yawning

I didn’t know about these signs to watch for until I had #5. Well, nobody told me, so how was I supposed to know right? All babies have a signal that it’s time to hit the cot. It could be rubbing their eyes, swiping their ear or pulling at their hair. Watch your baby. You will notice a pattern they display just before they are ready to sleep. Once you identify it, put them straight to bed when you see it displayed.

3. Going to them between sleep cycles

Babies’ sleep cycles last for one and a half hours with a little break at 45 minutes. They will stir, cry or make a bit of noise at this juncture. DO NOT go in to your baby. Give them the opportunity to fall back asleep by themselves. If you go in, they will be disturbed by your presence and will not want to go back to sleep. And it will likely result in a bad habit of wanting you to go in and carry or rock them back to sleep. After about 5 – 10 minutes of fussing, they will fall asleep again for the next cycle.
Kate woke up very early to send us off
4. Too late bedtime

Most people think that by keeping the baby awake later, she will sleep better at night. We thought that too, and our babies used to go to bed around 8 or 9pm. When they were waking up in the middle of the night or waking up too early, the hubs suggested putting them to bed even later so that they would be so tired they would sleep properly. What happened was that they woke up even earlier! I remember #4 used to sleep at 10pm and began her day at 5.30am. It seems like an illogical explanation, but sleep begets sleep, and the later the baby sleeps at night, the earlier she will wake up. After I read about sleep, I shared the information with friends who had babies the same age, and all our babies (from the time they were 6 months to around 4 or 5 years old) went to bed at 7pm and woke up slightly before 7am! We are now firm believers of giving our kids adequate sleep.

5. Sleeping in motion during naps

Sleeping while in the stroller when you are shopping, or in a carrier does not allow the baby to have the necessary deep sleep she needs. Babies have to be placed in the cot or bed to sleep properly. It is akin to us sleeping on the public bus vs sleeping on our own beds. Having said that, we have to balance this with living our lives. We shouldn’t be a ‘slave’ to their schedule and end up being stuck at home all the time and being resentful of it. It’s just to have an awareness of what is happening. I didn’t know all this in the early years and I deliberately took the baby out in the stroller at nap time as it was easiest to put them to sleep that way.
Sleeping like a baby
6. Attributing the crying to colic or other reasons

Many people simply attribute their baby’s constant crying to having colic, being night owls, or that their baby is very naughty. I suggest you try your very best to implement the strategies and allow your baby the opportunity to have adequate sleep before you come to such a conclusion. In most cases, your baby will surprise you. And you’ll have your nights back! 🙂

Do read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr Marc Weissbluth for a better understanding and some case studies of babies. 



~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Don’t babies naturally fall asleep when they are tired?

When my eldest was 3 days old, the midwife came over for a home visit to check her weight and height and to see if I needed any help with breastfeeding. My baby yawned a few times, which I thought was completely normal. I mean, how many times have we seen cute pictures of babies yawning, right? The midwife said ‘poor baby, she is so tired’ and she looked very concerned. My hubby and I exchanged looks and we were thinking ‘What’s the problem? When she’s tired she will just sleep. She is sleeping most of the time anyway!’ We didn’t know about bedtimes, routines or sleepy signs. Some days she would cry incessantly and we had to put her in the car seat and drive around. She would promptly fall asleep. However when we carried her out of the car she would wake up and cry again! When she was 1+, she would sit and do jigsaw puzzles till 10 or 11pm while I did my assignments and she would just take her bear, get into bed and fall asleep almost immediately.

Her first pair of sandals

When she started to walk, I went to the mall to get her some shoes. I couldn’t believe it when the saleslady told me that the cheapest pair of sandals cost $50! Made of leather. Leather? Why in the world would kids need leather shoes? Mummy needs a new leather handbag… In the end, she convinced me how important it was for toddlers to wear the proper footwear with good support.

What a great fashion sense… red socks with sandals!

During winter, I just pulled on a pair of socks with the sandals as I was definitely going to let her wear that pair of sandals till she outgrew it! I honestly didn’t notice that the other toddlers were togged out in closed-toe shoes and some even in boots. Her toes must have been freezing most of the time. Oh and our pram was a $40 one which my mum got from OG and brought over to us, and I used to wonder how come the other babies looked so snug in their ultra bulky and comfortable strollers which were covered on all 4 sides, while my baby looked so exposed in her flimsy pram.

Her favourite toy

She used to play with our phones, the remote controls (don’t ask me what it is with babies and the most important gadgets in the house) and even my spectacles. Of course we told her not to touch those things but we were not consistent or firm enough and many gadgets were spoilt by her. As she grew up, I thought she would just know how to behave and how to be a good girl. Ok, I must have been the most naïve parent in the world. But of course she didn’t, and the other kids just followed suit, both the bad and the good.

Her next favourite toy

I have since come a long, long way. I now know how important sleep is for children (and mummies too!) and I know for certain that babies or children will not just go to sleep when they are tired. In fact, when they are over-tired, they become hyperactive (as some hormones are released) and will find it even harder to sleep. Kate goes to bed at 7pm, and the 3 other kids in primary school go to bed by 8.30pm. I also know for certain that we definitely, positively, without a doubt, have to discipline children. And it should be done as early as possible. With Kate, from the time she was 6 months, when she wanted to take our phones to play, we will say no and take it away from her. Consistently. It saves us a lot of money on replacement specs, phones and whatever else that she may decide to destroy. I will share with you my journey on all the different aspects of parenting in my million mistakes as we trail Kate’s development.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~