Monday, February 22, 2010 ;
12:19 PM
12 Feb

ds2 had a steamboat lunch with teachers and friends in school to celebrate CNY. ds1 said they were shown a movie about CNY and its origins, and then about the 12 zodiac animals.

Dh spent the morning queuing for bak kwa (BBQ pork) to give relatives, business associates and our obgyn. Just so happened, my postnatal appt was for this day, at 11.40am.

It was my first outing since being home from the hospital and I was pretty excited about it. My ex-colleagues from HCI wanted to visit me that day, so I told them I'd be near the school actually, why don't we meet for lunch near the school?

They finally settled on Crystal Jade at Plaza Sing after a few changes. So it was going to be quite an exciting day.

Of course we brought dd, otherwise she won't have her milk feeds. My mom thus almost had a day off. She did come help in the afternoon to pick ds1 and ds2 up from the bus stop.

Since it would be some time before I met my dr again, we took a pic with him. Also, we gave him bak kwa to wish him a happy CNY.

Dh carried dd most of the time unless she had to feed, cos I was still nursing my tailbone injury and cannot sit for a long time, especially not on sofas. It was too painful.

How the boys at home now? Sometimes, I do feel sorry for them. I have very limited time for them now. I keep telling myself we have to stop at 3. Dh wants more, but really, it is not possible. I already feel that it is so difficult to spend time with the 3 of them, and I know it is great if I can have some 1-on-1 time with each, but it is virtually impossible now.

I have to get the boys to do so many things on their own, by themselves. They have had to grow up ever so quickly once again.

Other P1 kids still have their moms or maids or grandparents wait for them at the bus stop. Now ds1 will have to come up by himself. He doesn't mind, of course, he actually feels good about it, but I somehow feel bad to not go down and wait for him.

I don't pack ds1's bag, and I stopped checking if he did already. So many times Dh and I also forgot to give him pocket money. Fortunately he has some spare coins in his bag always, so he doesn't ever starve. He buys his own food at school, cos we have no time to prepare nice bentos for him, even if I wanted to.

He got scolded numerous times by his teachers, as he told me, because either he forgot to do his homework, forgot to bring his file or book, or didn't get his spelling all correct. And cos I never had the time to check for him. Now that dd is a little more settled, and a routine has been established, I try to ask him more Qs. My mom said while I was in the hospital, she also didn't help him at all, but she did see him take his HW out to do.

Well, I guess it just made him more independent, though sometimes I wistfully think I'd like to hold him back awhile more. In the mornings, when I am stuck nursing dd, and he is leaving for school, I so wish for him to turn back and hug me first before leaving but he is so eager to get going, he doesn't do so. Before dd arrived, I would be at the door and I'd give my hugs and goodbyes, now sometimes the timing doesn't allow me too, and I think I miss these more than he does.

For ds2, he has even more "growing up" to do. Since he had been the baby of the family for almost 5 yrs, I was willing to and able to help him do a lot more things that ds1 had been doing for himself much earlier than ds2. For example, ds1 learnt to do his big business in the toilet and wipe himself clean much much earlier but ds2 still liked me to do it for him (despite being capable of doing it himself). I always did it for him and never pushed him to do it himself, cos I was free anyway.

Now? He shouts "I'm done!" from the toilet and I have to shout back "I can't help you, I'm stuck here..." (either changing a diaper, burping dd, or feeding her). He has to do it himself. The truth it, he doesn't mind. My mom actually made him feel very proud of himself for being able to do it himself. But somehow, why do I still feel bad, that I cannot do it for him?

At night, before the kids go to bed, they'll read their own stories, then I'd read a Chinese story (simple reason: the books they choose to read themselves are always English ones, so I have to enforce a Chinese one at least), then Dh will say a prayer with them and then it is lights out and Dh goes to do his work, and I'd lie down with them on the bed, enjoy the air con and rest my feet a bit, while talking/ whispering with them.

I used to treasure this time very much. Usually because it is after their bath, they feel clean, comfy and relaxed, they tend to tell me many things about their day, their thoughts, their ambitions, their fears... And I get many golden opportunities during these times to teach them valuable lessons, to share my experience, to give my advice... And I find they are so much more receptive at these times than during the day while I nag or sometimes shout... :-)

Now, try as I might, somehow, there is always something very pressing and important and urgent to do during their bedtime. I might manage to squeeze one thing out of the routine, and do it hurriedly, but never the whole routine anymore. Eg, I might be able to tell one Chinese story but then dd cries and I have to nurse her. So I don't get to do the talking or the prayer.

I tried nursing her and lying down with them but it wouldn't work cos they kept trying to kiss her, touch her hair, tickle her feet, and she wouldn;t nurse properly and they wouldn't get into the mood to sleep. I tried reading the story while nursing before too, but I couldn't hold the book and nurse her at the same time and my tailbone hurts like mad when I try to do that.

So again, we've given up part of our daily ritual.

Many other things I've had less time for. I used to bake/ make a lot of their favourite food, and have time to play chess, a card game, look at them draw...

Fortunately, so far they seem to understand. ds2 might be expressing his emotions in other ways though. Like he cries more and has more nightmares. He'll suddenly cry over a trivial matter and then keep saying "mommy, I want you". Such episodes have surfaced. So I guess, it meant he was feeling neglected by me...

I've been hoping things will get better as dd grows up, but then my sis mentioned before that when they start to sleep less and be more mobile, it'll be even worse cos then you have to keep an eye on them all the time, or even have to follow them around!

During my confinement month now, my mom and some days my mil are helping me. When my mom takes over with dd, either to help bathe her or just carry her for a walk outside, I get the chance to spend time with the boys.

On days when I am alone with the 3 kids at home (weekends, or weekday nights when mom returns home and Dh works late or is away), I have some coping mechanisms.

1. Get them to read. If they like the book, they can read for a long long time, esp ds1, since he can read much longer stories and thicker books. I get to settle dd and finish up some chores. (So much more laundry with a baby!! Esp with a baby like dd who likes to poop messily and regurgitate a lot of milk.)

2. Get them to play together. Just keep changing their toys. They are stuck with their Megabloks for so many hours that they don't just construct stuff with the blocks now. They invent some kind of war game using the pieces as soldiers and tanks, and fight their way through levels. I saw both ds playing like that and took this pic.

ds1 explained the rules to me and I must say I think it is quite exciting. There is this element of risk also, if you choose to use the machine gun. Once you use it, you could win the battle or lose all and die. It depends on the roll of the die.

Thanks to Angeling and Mary, they have many more Megabloks to play with now and it can really occupy them.

3. Get them blank notebooks and let them draw, doodle, write their stories....
This gets them working for long periods of time too. ds2 still likes those activity books, so I'll throw him different ones regularly.

4. Get them to count their savings. This one may sound funny, but have you seen how much kids love coins? They have so many coins saved up so once they pour everything out of their piggy bank, they actually need a lot of time to go through each and every coin, not to mention the sorting into different denominations first. :-)

ds1 also invented some game with the coins and they'd play together happily for sometime, but then they always end up shouting and quarreling, so I tend to put a stop to the game after some time.

I also get them to do some chores, but now that I am usually in a rush, I actually have less patience for them to complete chores cos I do them in less time and in a more organised fashion.

If all else fails, of course, putting some snacks on the table and then putting in a DVD would naturally have them quiet and spellbound for a long time too. But with their poor eyesight, I tend to use this as the last resort.

They need a lot more outdoor time actually, and sadly, they only get to do this when DH is free now. But hopefully as dd feeds less frequently as days go by, I'll be able to bring all of them out together by myself.

Look forward to better days ahead!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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