30 reasons why my kid loves me

I was overjoyed to receive very sincere gifts from my kids for my birthday. #3 gave me a jar which read, “A bunch of reasons why I love you”, and she filled it with 30 little slips of paper stating why. Such a darling.

You made me who I am today.

You always let us go out with our friends.

You are very kiddy. (I’ll take it as I’m FUN)

You have cool friends.


You let us do things daddy doesn’t. (uh-oh)


You didn’t stress much on studies.


You are not a typical Singaporean mum.

You don’t care about our results. (It’s the process and progress, no?)

You raised us with proper morals.


Your cooking is still edible.


You raised an amazing kid, which is me.

I came out pretty, so obviously you must be. (woah, what a one-liner)

You are better than most mums.


You let us do a lot of crazy things.


You have nice clothes, which you don’t wear.


You raised me to be independent.

You are a cool mum (ahem. taking a bow)

You made me.

Wow. I was flabbergasted.

Have my girls really grown up? 

They attempted to create an art piece with Kate, although it did not turn out as expected. They glued the crayon sticks onto the canvass and blasted the hair dryer over it. Somehow, the crayons didn’t melt as it should. In the end, they got Kate to draw some squiggly lines. Still, I like it!

When #2 presented me her gift, I was so impressed. She made the effort to print out our photos over the years, cut them all nicely, categorise them, and stick them onto the strip. She did it on both sides and it unravels beautifully.

Handmade photo album

She went the extra mile by decorating the box, drawing on every inch of the paper and gluing it on. Can you spot the ‘happy birthday’ written on it? She folded paper hearts as a cushion for the photo roll. 100% for effort!


Personalised box

So heartening to see that all the sacrifices I have made in raising them is being appreciated.

Isn’t that all we wish for as mums?


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

Thankful for… the gift of Easter

On Easter Sunday, I was remarking to the kids that despite being a more significant day than Christmas, there isn’t the atmosphere of great rejoicing and ‘feel-good’ happy feelings associated with Christmas. How ironic. #1 sagely replied that it was the secularism of Christmas, the beautiful lights, carols, and presents which added to the mood.

After the service on Good Friday, one of them asked me a question I had never thought about. She understood the part about Jesus having to die for us, but why did he have to die such a horrible death? Couldn’t it be quick and easy? All I could say was that sadly, people could be extremely cruel and heartless.

It brought us back to what is happening today, all the brutality and hatred in the world that we have been reading about. It is indeed a difficult world for children to comprehend.

So what is Easter really about? Yes, the kids know the whole story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the promise of eternal salvation for us Christians. But the significance is as vague to them as chocolate eggs and Easter egg hunts.

I shared with them an experience I had volunteering in the hospice.

One of the patients had been getting weaker and one day, I fed him his lunch. I was surprised that such a simple experience had a profound impact on me.

It was not as easy as I thought it would be. It was literally a dance to fit your pace to his swallowing, to put the right amount of food on the spoon and to ensure he doesn’t choke. As he finished the last bit of porridge, I exclaimed, “Good boy!”

He managed a slight smile and gestured with his fingers. Me, 6. Him, 7.

Ah! He said he was my 7th child.

At that instant, something struck me.

Here was a stranger I have only recently met, a grandpa to his grandchildren. And yes, in many ways, he was like a child. Dependent, needing to be protected, loved.

Outwardly, we may look different. But we are all the same. If we but look to make that connection with others, our families, our friends, other people’s children, neighbors, colleagues, even strangers, then Easter is not just an event or a season. It is more than that.

I guess the gift of Easter is a time to contemplate the deeper meaning of Christ’s love for us and how we can go out to love and serve one another. To touch more lives. To use our God-given talents to uplift others.

We should be proud to be joyful Easter people.


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


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

Life Lesson #16: Do our kids even know we love them?

A reader wrote in telling me that she was inspired by my Life Lesson #14: To measure our lives in love. She said that it was inspiring but hard to do and asked if I could write about how to handle stressful situations, and how to lovingly set firm boundaries for her 2 kids.

I won’t go into details on how to do that as there are too many scenarios. I’m sure as mums, setting boundaries is something we all know how to do. The question is how to do it lovingly.

 
I will attempt to answer her question by sharing 2 things I think of to calm myself down whenever I am starting to get really angry with them.

One is to imagine them as teenagers. Well, I don’t have to imagine, as my 3 older girls are firmly ensconced in the ‘teenage phase’. I can tell you that this is the real litmus test of whether you have done your job well as a parent. They will be faced with peer pressures and negative influences and have to make many choices. What do you want them to be able to draw from? Many happy memories with the family? Being able to easily remember times when you loved them, cuddled them, showed them that you care? Or will they find it hard to picture such memories, and instead only remember that you were constantly shouting at them or barking orders and instructions to them?

When you are able to stop yourself in your tracks and picture your teen desperately needing to draw from a fountain of your loving relationship with them to navigate through the tough adolescent years, you will naturally know how to handle the situation in a more loving manner.

The second thing I think of is being on my death bed. No, I’m not being morbid but after volunteering at a hospice and seeing the realities of life at the end of our days, it has become very real to me. When I am close to death, do I want my kids to be there with me simply because it is their duty to do so? Or do I want to celebrate a life where we had a very close relationship. The older I get, the more I see that it is not a given that parent-child relationships are automatically warm and fuzzy. How will my kids see me? Will they see me as a mother who was only concerned that they went to bed on time, ate their veggies or scored good marks? Or will they see me as a mother who was patient and kind with them, who disciplined them firmly but with love?

There will definitely be days when you can’t find it within yourself to show them love. Days when you yourself are so depleted. Be gentle on yourself. If today was a bad day, leave it behind. Tomorrow will be a brand new day. Kids are such amazing beings. They forget. They forgive so easily. They have such a great capacity to love. Sometimes, we have to soften our own hearts to allow them to teach us. To teach us how to love so purely. Not to love them only after they have done what we told them to do. Not to love them only when they have achieved something great. Not to love them only when we are in a good mood.

Many times, we do things because we love them. We scold them, punish them, make them do things they don’t want to do all because we want the best for them. We tell them that one day when they are adults, they will understand that we are doing all of this precisely because we love them.

But while they are growing up, do they feel our love? Perhaps we should find ways and space to bring back love into all that we are doing with them and for them every step of the way. Let us strive to learn to love them in ways they understand. Let us not wait until they are parents themselves to realise how much we love them, but let them feel our love accompany them along their journey of life.

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

My priorities for 2015

This coming year is going to be really interesting for us. The 6 kids will be going to 5 different schools and 3 of them are entering new schools and new phases. #1 is awaiting her ‘O’ level results and will be going to JC/Poly (gasp! Already??), #3 is moving on to Secondary 1 and little Kate is starting pre-school!

Despite the madness of the year-end season and trying to get everything ready for the new school year, I managed to find time to have a peaceful lunch by myself to sit and plan what I want to focus on in the coming year. Life has a way of pulling us every which way if we don’t have our priorities clearly set out. So here’s 5 things I’m going to concentrate on in 2015.

My private planning retreat

1. To love and serve

I attended a retreat recently, and took home a very precious guiding mantra: To measure our lives in love. The more I live this way, the more life makes sense to me. I will make a conscious effort not to measure my days by what I have accomplished but by how much I have loved. Not only towards my family and friends, but to every single person I meet.

2. Do it now

I’m one of those people who don’t spring into action immediately. When we get vouchers or anything, I would put it aside to do it ONE DAY. And that day seldom comes. When the kids ask me to take them to do this or that, I’ll be excited and say, yes, lets! One day. I owe them tons of places and experiences which I said I would take them some day. I have decided that instead of putting things off, we will make it a point to do it as soon as we can.

3. Make good lunches

There’s something about food which equates with love. Especially when the kids come home from school ravenous and are greeted with a nice meal which mummy lovingly made for them, it puts them in a very jolly mood and conversation flows. Unfortunately, with my very dismal cooking skills, there were many occasions when they rushed into the house with a cheery “Hi mum! What’s for lunch?” And they took a look at the unappetising plate of food which tastes even worse than it looks, their mood literally deflated right in front of my eyes. Like a balloon. This year, I will make an effort to improve my cooking skills especially since Kate is starting pre-school which leaves me with more time on my hands.

4. Do good

Flowing from the premise of trying to show love to everyone we come into contact with, a practical way for children to put this into action is through doing good to others. I have decided that every evening at dinner, I will ask each one of them to share 1 good thing they did that day. I don’t expect them to be able to do that everyday, but we will give it a try and by listening to one another’s examples, it would open their hearts to simple ways they can show kindness to people around them and hopefully one day, it will become second nature to them.


5. Add humour to parenting

#3 heard me coming into the room and she ran into the bathroom and hid with Kate in the bathtub. I chided her with a stern tone, “Please go out now, I need to put Kate to bed”. Yes I know. I’m always the kill-joy. I could have lightened the whole situation by quipping that it was a fantastic hiding spot before asking her to leave the room and it would have changed the mood of things.

We met an Australian lady on one of our resort holidays and the kids had a fantastic time playing with her and her 2 year-old son. There was a sense of joy in the air and I realised that she made jokes all the time and everyone felt happy and the mood was light and jolly. We don’t have to make parenting any harder than it already is, so I’m going to try and remember to add humour instead of walking around with a grim face half the time.

I am looking forwards to 2015, simply because I have found a new perception of looking at life. Instead of dreading the challenges that will come, I will embrace whatever the journey holds, and experience everything in it’s full presence. Every emotion, every situation. And not be afraid to laugh, to cry, to hug, and to share heart to heart. For with 6 kids from 2 to 16, the days will bring with it many surprises, difficulties and heartbreaks. I cannot stop many of them. And I do not wish to anymore.

Here’s to a new and exciting 2015! 

Ask me at the end of the year if I have survived it 😉


Linking up with:

www.ajugglingmom.com


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


The Gift of Christmas

The past few weeks, we made a conscious effort to avoid the crowded malls and frenzy of the season, and instead prepared ourselves for Christmas in simple ways.

#3 and #4 have been hard at work with me making these handmade Christmas tags to raise funds for Radion International. We sincerely thank you for supporting us yet again. We also took the lovely children from Mindsville home for a fun outing at Changi airport and everyone enjoyed the extravagant Christmas light ups and decorations.

Batch 1: Sold

#1 made a trip to Shanghai to visit her aunt and spent a week volunteering at WILL home, helping to take care of the 10 children. Such an inspiring story where Pillar Tan, a lady with a big heart, adopted these children from an orphanage and are raising them as her own. More details in another post, for anyone interested in volunteering there or contributing in other ways.

Batch 2: Sold

I asked the kids what does Christmas mean to them, and they chorused unanimously, “Presents!” I shook my head and started my spiel on the significance of Christmas (yet again), and then repeated my question. There was a pause, then they hollered, “Christmas parties!”

Batch 3: Sold

The influence of the commercial world is all too great. Although I don’t like to get caught up in it and the stress that accompanies it, I like that the season brings with it routines and traditions like letting them spend a day at their por por’s place to decorate the Christmas tree and eat pizzas out of the boxes on their laps. We have been going for the same organised Christmas parties for more than a decade and all these form good memories and shared experiences for the siblings. Every year as they grow older, I ask them if the parties are getting too childish for them, but they say it’s still fun. I’m secretly glad that they have not grown up too fast.

However, we cannot lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas and all I can do is to continue giving them opportunities to show love and care to those less fortunate than themselves and hopefully as they grow up, the presents and parties will pale in comparison to the real gift of Christmas.

Batch 4: Sold

Here’s wishing you a beautifully blessed Christmas with your families and loved ones. May we, who have more, be like a star, shining brightly for others who are in need. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS !

from Kate & all of us here

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

Life Lesson #14: To measure our lives in love

Last weekend, I went for a semi-silent retreat. I finally found the answer to a question that had been bugging me for a while now. After volunteering at the hospice, I knew that at the end of the day, all that mattered in life was people, not wealth, nor status. But how to go about my day loving those around me? With Kate entering the very (and that’s an understatement) challenging ‘terrible two’s and #1 moving full swing into the unchartered teenage years, I found myself living in compartments of ‘loving them’ and ‘not loving them’ moments. I was only able to love them when they were well-behaved, showing love to one another or being really cute/looking angelic while fast asleep (that applied to Kate). And for the past few weeks, it seemed like the ‘not loving them’ moments greatly outnumbered the times when I could really look at them and feel great love for them. And our house definitely didn’t feel like a haven of love and peace.

Beautiful quiet grounds

At the retreat, I learnt to ‘measure our lives in love’. That sentence spoke to me immensely. I realised that I was measuring my life by all sorts of yardsticks, so it was no wonder that at the end of the day, I was frustrated and felt like I had been a horrible mum. Especially if the siblings fought a lot that day, or if the whole day had been ‘wasted’ and we didn’t do anything productive. And I was really drained at the end of most days.

As I was writing this post, #4 came and wanted to show me how she braided her hair in a new style which she just learnt. Normally I would be annoyed because I was interrupted, and even though I would talk to her, deep inside I wished she would hurry so that I could go back to what I was doing. However, this time, I gladly stopped what I was doing because now I saw it as another opportunity I had in that day to love. So I turned to her and gave her my full attention. She gayly demonstrated her new technique, gave me a kiss then skipped away.

Just a tiny paradigm shift, but it has transformed the way I relate to the children and to everyone around me. With this sentence as my guiding principle, everything became crystal clear to me. If I could love them with all my heart each moment of the day, in all the good AND the bad, then those moments would become days, and the days become years and the years would become a life lived with love and in love.


Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.    –Humphry Davy

 

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Life Lesson #13: Confronting death teaches you about life

I’ve been volunteering at a hospice as I’ve always been drawn to palliative care from the time I was a student. This morning, I was pushing an elderly lady around the gardens and she asked me to stop to gaze at the colourful flowers. They brought a smile to her face. Then she spotted 2 little sparrows and she was delighted.

 
It struck me how alike she is to my kids when they were young. How they would stop to inspect the flowers and burst into childlike wonderment at the beauty of a flower.
 
It got me thinking. At the beginning of our lives, it’s the simplest things like having the love of mummy and daddy which is most important.
 
At the end of our lives it is again the warmth of family that we need most. 
 
How do we end up chasing after all the wrong things throughout our lives? How do we allow our priorities to shift so dramatically?

As I left the hospice, I asked myself, if I was on my deathbed what would I regret? Most likely, I would regret being overly harsh on my kids and yelling at them so much, instead of disciplining them with gentleness and love. Most likely, I would regret the many times I brushed them aside while I tend to all my seemingly more ‘important’ work. Most likely, I would regret choosing to be angry at them instead of immediately forgiving them and hugging them tightly in my arms.


And I asked myself, if I was on my deathbed, what would I be thinking about? Would I be able to easily bring up all the beautiful and happy moments with my family? Would I have uncountable memories of good times, filled with fun and laughter, tears and joy with my closest friends?

At the end of my life, what would I be left with? Things? Titles? Or People?

It takes death to put life into perspective.
 
And I know, it is the little things which make up L I F E.

However, to live life fully like there is no tomorrow, that is the hard part.


Linking up with:
mamawearpapashirt

 

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family



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

Kate’s 2nd birthday: A kampung affair

Our littlest turns 2! We had a party at home with close friends and family and I was heartened to see the older kids rally around and help out. #2 even invited her friends over and they were so sweet to come several hours earlier.

#3 was too tired to climb up to add ‘happy birthday’

They all helped to prepare the finger food for tea, decorated the cake and organised the goodie bags. #3 tried stringing some decorations from the ceiling but it didn’t turn out quite well. One of my good friends came by early and she gamely climbed up the ladder in her dress and added some finishing touches.

Initially when we asked Kate if she wanted a party she said no. You want presents? No. You want your friends to come and play? No. Finally the girls asked if she wanted a Mickey Mouse cake and she said yes. Since she’s only 2, I wanted to start small and not over-indulge her with an extravagant cake and decided to bake one ourselves.

The girls’ first attempt at working with fondant

Mickey Mouse seemed straightforward to make, with 1 large circle and 2 small circles. We bought ready-made fondant but it was pretty tricky to roll out as it was very sticky and we almost failed and ended up with a pretty miserable looking mouse. Thankfully another good friend turned up just in time to help. She had gone for cake decorating classes and was able to salvage the cake with the very limited resources we had.

We all worked hard but I think the medal for working the hardest must go to the hubs. He went to the supermarket at 9am and spent the entire day cooking. He boiled soup and made mee sua for our breakfast, then went on to cook bolognese pasta from scratch to feed the hungry troop before we started on the party preparations. As the guests arrived, he fried batches of chicken wings so they would be served piping hot. He even set up a BBQ for dinner and stood at the pit to make perfectly grilled steak. Medium? No problem. Medium well? Coming right up. He even made creme brûlée for dessert.

Some of my friends’ husbands couldn’t believe it and asked if he was a moonlighting chef. He finished off his daddy duty by showering Kate and getting her ready for bed. In case you were wondering where I was all this while, I was kept extremely busy entertaining the guests and making sure everything was running smoothly. Oh and of course, busy enjoying the food as well. He was glad her birthday comes around once a year. How I wish her birthday was every other week.

We could have gotten everything catered – the food, the cake, the decor. But this kampung style of everyone pitching in to help makes it all the more fun and something to laugh about in the years to come. Kate had a swell time and was happily singing and dancing even though it was way past her bedtime. Now she understands what a birthday means. When anyone wished her “happy birthday”, she will break into the “happy birthday” song ending with a loud “happy birthday to ME!” After all the excitement, she was totally knocked out and slept with her arms entwined with her best buddy.

K.O.!

Ah, so nice to be the 6th child.

Happy 2nd birthday, Kate!
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~