Tuesday, November 30, 2004
I learn a lot from my children, everyday. Having kids is fun! Its like being a kid again seeing the world through their eyes. Right now, my daughter is giving me lessons on how to be a good listener.
Rule #1. Look the other person in the eye.
My daughter teaches me that to be a good listener you have to look the other person in the eyes when they are talking. If I just nod when she is speaking, she will think that I am not listening (which is true half of the time). So she will call me again and again and again till I look at her right in the eye before she starts speaking.
Rule #2. Give the other person you're listening to your undivided attention
Then I have to wait patiently until she completes her sentence which goes something like this "Mummy, mummy, mummy, ummh, err, ahh, ummph, err," (Actually she can speak a lot more than this but usually by the time she gets mummy's attention she has forgotten what she wanted to say so she mumbles.) Poor thing.
Rule #3. Validate, validate, validate
If I tell my daughter, "Oh yes, I see, you want me to take the balloon for you from the playpen." Now if that was what she was trying to tell me and I had listened correctly, my validation will leave her beaming with pride and happiness at being able to communicate this to mummy so effectively.
I have also taught daugther that she can't get what she wants by whining. I tell her to "talk properly", "tell mummy what you want, when you whine mummy cannnot understand what you're saying." She understands this so she will go "mummy, mummy, mummy" and then "maaaa...........mmmmyyy" (when she realises that she has been whining and cannot get my attention she will switch to talking very slowly and patiently just like mummy taught). So now mummy who is right in the middle of a task have to stop patiently (and count to ten) to listen.
I think its my daughter who is teaching me how to be patient not the other way around.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Once upon a time, when I was single and had a lot of time, I even took singing lessons at the Singing Shop together with my girlfriend. It was very much like going for weekly expensive karaoke sessions but it was a lot of fun to have a tape recording of your own singing to laugh at afterwards. We were taught how to breathe and pronounce the words so that we would sound more melodius. Eventually we sat for a singing test.
My singing instructor, a Filipino with a beautiful voice chose a rather difficult broadway number for me called "On My Own". Yah, it was a difficult number and I felt all "on my own" during the test singing in front of several instructors and students. In my mind, I did not look like I was enjoying singing at all. I looked like I was being tortured being made to stand there quivering in my small voice. Ha ha. Its a wonder I passed. Anyway, my girlfriend and I dropped out before we got to the stage where we had to perform in front of a real audience. Its a pity as I often wondered how I would do trying to overcome my fright singing on stage in front of a big audience.
These days, I have my very own audience at home. They love my singing. My singing makes baby smile and smile and sometimes fall asleep and it never fails to make my toddler sing along. I can sing and dance with my babies and they love it and so do I. The more expressive I become, the more they love it. I must have passed on my love of singing to toddler as she is always singing at the top of her voice. My favourite is toddler's rendition of Barney's "I love you".
Lyrics from Barney's version
I love you, you love me, we're a happy family,
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you,
Won't you say you love ... me.... too.....
Lyrics from Toddler's version
Mummy Ma, Myy Mummy, Mummy mummy, myy mummy,
Mummy ma mmy, ma myy, myy ma mmy, mummy,
Mummy, mummy, myy.... maa........mmy....
She would apply her own lyrics like this or sometimes replace it with 'daddy' or 'baby' etc to any other music that she knew well. Cute!
So we took her "swimming" all dressed up like a little balerina in her sweet pink swimsuit. Baby came along too and sat on mummy's lap kicking his legs in the water. In the pool I noticed two other kids accompanied by their fathers. So where are the mothers? Probably busy catching up on sleep or cooking in the kitchen or mopping the floor or looking after baby and missing all the fun!
Mummies are often too caught up with all the "this and that has to be done" they forget to enjoy themselves (yours truly included). I would often worry about, baby getting too much sun, the washing that needs be done afterwards, baby needs to be fed porridge after the swim, I have to cook etc etc the list is very long. Oh yes, I also worried about not being able to get into my swim suit and the bulges everywhere but then I remembered my fellow blogger(5XMom)'s blog about the mummy who had only one leg enjoying herself. Shame on me!
So many times, I miss out on the fun at the park because of my worry about feeling rushed after returning because there is so much to do. Of course after the short "swim" there were loads to be done and the two of them had to be bathed and fed etc but the joy of playing with them in the pool and watching their happy faces cannot be replaced.
I must remember to enjoy myself more often and just do the chores afterwards matter of factly without worry or strive.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Toddler first started to play "cooking" like mummy by stirring into the empty pot with her wooden ladle, then she tried to feed her teddy bears with her "porridge". (Of course she tried to feed the baby first but I stopped her.) She gave baby the cover which was shining and resembled a mirror. Baby held the cover and stared at it with such intensity it was funny to watch him. Maybe he was thinking what a handsome little fella he was.
Then toddler decided it was more fun to turn her pot over and beat it with the ladle. Now it had become a drum. She began banging on the pot very loudly and singing "do, re, mi" at the top of her voice. Soon, she discovered that if she held the pot in front of her face as she sang, she could hear her voice better with all the echos, so it was more singing at the top of her voice. Now baby can't decide whether to continue staring at the pot cover or at toddler having such fun.
Lunch was prepared and served in no time at all to my little scientist (toddler) and explorer (baby). :-))
Thursday, November 25, 2004
I do not remember my mother very much. Only flashes here and there. Mostly of time spent helping mum around the house. Mum loved to cook and bake. We always had fresh nonya kuih and cakes for tea. Dad would complain about the mess mum made in the kitchen but he enjoyed the tea anyway. My memories of mum centred around helping mum cook. Mum taught me how to wash and cook rice. I was very proud of my abilities and happy to learn. I remember:
- peeling small onions till there were tears in my eyes and giving them to mum one by one as she pounded onions and chilies to make sambal, the smell of toasted belachan in the air
- helping mum wring out the water from towels, mum holding on to one end and me the other (back then there were no washing machines and mum had to sit on the floor to scrub the clothes). I enjoyed it because it gave me a chance to play with water
- watching mum wrap dumplings as she formed the "bak chang" for mid autumn festival
- eagerly putting on little red drops of colouring for eyes on the rabbit, fish and other shaped "kuih bangkit" after mum popped them out of the mold for Chinese New Year
- helping mum roll the multi coloured "kuih ee" (glutinous rice balls) as mum explained to me the significance of the "tang chek" festival
- threading the needle for mum's sewing machine. Mum thought me to wet the ends of the thread so it would be easier. Mum loved to sew. We had beautiful homemade embroided dresses to wear when we were kids.
- helping mum fold away clothes she had just ironed. We did not have an ironing board back then and mum would sit on the floor to iron on layers of cloth with dad's old sarong as the top layer.
I remember watching mum push away the numerous pills she had to take for her pain, her face filled with fear and disgust as she said "No more, they taste awful, no more, please." Mum was at home in her final days because she wanted to be. Luckily, there was a kind and gentle doctor who lived only two doors away who would come and change mum's drips etc. The day before she went away she was much better and could chat with the older relatives.
After she was gone, there was a flurry of activities as relatives arrived from far away. We were given a plastic bag of old black clothes of various sizes which everyone had to wear and pin what looked like white badges to me on our arms/sleeves. I remember feeling confused and must have smiled in my confusion because all of a sudden I felt the pitying looks of the relatives who said "Does she know what is happening?" "Of course I knew what was happening. Only I didn't know how to express it." Perhaps they wanted me to cry. No one bothered to explain anything to me or to talk to me. They were all too busy preparing the rituals.
We walked in a circle around the coffin and someone picked me up to look at mum for the last time. I saw mum's white face with tiny insects already flying around her open mouth. Perhaps someone should have thought of sparing me this last memory of mum.
The funeral was a long procession to somewhere very far away (to me). It was mum's wish to be cremated. The cremation back then was a bit crude, mum was placed on piles of logs and I watched mum go as they lit the fire. Perhaps I should have been spared that too. Mum had confided in eldest sis that she did not want us (her children) to walk through tall "lalang" and overgrown grass to visit her grave. So she chose to be cremated. Her ashes are kept in a beautiful urn in a temple in Penang, now a famous tourist attraction. Whenever we pay our respects to mum it is in a nice, clean environment as she wanted. Mum said to bring orchids when we visit as those are her favourite flowers. Mum was smart and she loved us and thought about us even when dying. Now a mum myself, I know how difficult it must have been for mum to leave us behind.
After mum left, I became dad's favourite. I suppose it was by default. The others had grown up and dad was lonely now that mum was gone so I was the only one he could still dote on. This in itself created some sibling rivalry occassionally. Its not that much fun to be a favourite under these circumstances.
These childhood memories have thought me to:
- let my children help in my chores. These are what memories are made of.
- never talk down to kids. They understand more than we realize. Always try to explain things to them
- give your children your time, its irreplaceable
- never favour one child over another, this creates unhealthy sibbling rivalry
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Her latest “sentences” are : “What’s happening?” when something isn’t going as planned accompanied by the cutest questioning look and she will raise her eyebrows just like mummy. I will then tell her “What you are doing is raising your eyebrows” and then we would have a little eyebrow game where mummy raises her eyebrows then she raises her eyebrows and we go back and forth and back and forth until she bursts with hilarious laughter.
Her second favourite sentence is “toys all over the floor” right after she has thrown them all over the house. The latter is of course is in imitation of mummy, only mummy has an expression of displeasure while hers is full of delight as she says “toys all over the floor!”
She is also learning to express various emotions. Often when I am scolding her, she will call me “mummy, mummy, mummy” to stop me in my tracks. Then she smiles at me rather nervously as though seeking approval or hoping I will smile back at her and recently right after smiling that nervous put on smile (very different from her sunshine smile) she will say “happy..” ie telling mummy to stop being angry at her. Now how can anyone stay angry?
When she cries after being scolded she would look at me through the tears in her eyes and ask “why girl-girl cry?” I would then explain to her “You cried because you were being naughty and got scolded by mummy but don’t worry “Mummy scold only when girl-girl is naughty because mummy sayang.”
One day, I saw her sitting next to baby as baby was crying and she was “scolding” baby “baby naughty” “beat, beat” and she proceeded to hit baby softly on his thighs. OMG the things she picks up from her parents!!
Quickly change baby’s clothes and cot sheets then breastfeed baby.
6.00 am Repeat of scene at 3 am. Only this time, did not change baby clothes
or cot sheets. Just used tissue to soak up wet parts of baby’s clothing
while breastfeeding half asleep. (Its only a small spot after all!!!!)
7.30am Woken up by toddler’s “Mummy! Read book.” “Mummy! Go outside”.
Grabs some books on the bedside table and hands over to toddler
“Here, read yourself, mummy is sleeping” and roles over for another
five minutes of zzzzzz.
8.00 am Cooks baby’s porridge, feed toddler breakfast and throws some clothes
in the washer whilst having a cup of hot Milo and stuffing some bread
into mouth all at the same time.
9.00 am Baby screaming for mummy. Tries to breastfeed baby but baby prefers
to look at toddler. So feed baby cereals and expressed some breastmilk
for next day’s cereal.
10.00am Blend baby’s porridge and hang up clothes.
11.00am Entertain toddler with some building blocks while checking email.
11.30am Baby crying for pacifier (Me!) and a nap.
12.30pm Feed baby his porridge.
1.00 pm Feeds toddler mashed potato (prepared the day before).
1.30 pm Eat lunch (“Chap fun” “ta pau” the night before) while doing the dishes.
2.00 pm Bathe toddler (Baby crying in the background)
2.30 pm Toddler’s tea time
3.00 pm Tries to get baby and toddler to sleep at the same time.
4.00 pm Aah. Everyone asleep at last
4.30 pm Baby wakes up crying.
5.00 pm Toddler wakes up crying.
6.00 pm Hubby home with “ta pau” “chap fun” for next day. Feed baby porridge
7.00 pm Serve hubby his own “ta pau” “chap fun”. Tries to have dinner while
feeding toddler dinner.
8.00 pm Play “Draw and Colour” with toddler
8.30 pm Sponge bath for baby
9.00 pm Feeds toddler milk and get toddler ready for bed.
9.30 pm Breastfeeds baby while reading to toddler.
11.00 pm Toddler falls asleep at last.
11.30 pm Baby fell asleep at 9.45pm but woke up crying for the 3rd time.
11.45 pm Ah…..time for myself. Hot Milo and typing this. Hubby tired and fallen
asleep in front of the tv. Hubby has to be up at 6am so won’t wake him.
Oh forgot to mention, had to change numerous diapers during the day (plus Aunt Flo visited today, so now there’s even more “diapers” to change) and pack away the stacks of rubbish that created. Ok ok, not everyday like this. Some days much more organised and even have time to brush teeth and have proper bath!!! At the moment not cooking because cannot cope. When baby is older will go back to cooking again. Don’t like to eat “ta pau” food and catered food too often but no choice.
Monday, November 22, 2004
One relationship book which I particularly enjoyed is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. The author suggests that there are 5 Love Languages and if your love language differs from that of your spouse, you will have a hard time understanding each other or feeling loved in the relationship. For eg. the author states that "Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other." (quoting from the book).
So what are the 5 Love Languages? They are:
Words of Affirmation (WOA)
Quality Time (QT)
Receiving Gifts (RG)
Acts of Service (AOS)
Physical Touch (PT)
After giving this some thought and analysis I've discovered that my love languages are PT and WOA and hubby's are QT and AOS. Wow, so different. We would have a hard time understanding each other.
Hubby does not speak my love language because they are not his but he speaks his own love language(LL) very well. I only have to learn to "listen" harder. To illustrate this, one of hubby's LL is AOS that means that he feels loved when I do things for him, so similarly he "speaks" his LL to me ie. by doing things for me like making sure my handphone is switched on before we leave the house and off when we return and charging my batteries for me, making sure my car is in good running order etc. Now since AOS is not my LL I do not "hear" it and this may make him feel taken for granted. He may tell me "I do all these things for you and yet you still complain!" After understanding this concept, I now realise that he is telling me in his own way that he cares about me.
When I speak hubby's LL of AOS, I can see that he truly appreciates it and is very happy. I try to make a simple sandwich lunch for him to bring to work whenever I can. It only requires a small amount of my time and very little effort but it makes him content. He says he feels happy eating the simple lunches I fix for him. Ah... my hubby is a very simple man to please indeed.
Another one of my hubby's LL is QT. He likes us to spend time doing things together. Earlier on in our relationship, I never understood this but I've come to appreciate and enjoy these moments. For eg. when hubby used to call on me to help him fix the toilet, I would be a bit irritated to be interrupted from whatever I was doing but now that I understand his enjoyment for doing things together, I've also learned to speak his LL and enjoying it too. We have:
- painted our yard together
- climbed up the roof to fix a water tank
- poked our heads into the bathroom ceiling to fix a broken pipe
- put up mosquito netting for our windows
- played addictive computer games together
- I could go on and on
One of my LL is PT. I have over the years drummed into hubby's head that I like touching and I think he's beggining to get it at last. Hehe. I like it that he puts his arm around me or lightly brushes my hair when we go shopping with the kids. I like that he hits my behind when he passes by me in the house although I always protest with a loud "Ouch".
Another one of my LL is WOA but this one hubby doesn't speak very well. I like to hear I love you's, you are a great wife etc etc but seldom get to hear it. Hubby claims he's shy but shy even to write? Grrrr... Oh well, I will just accept that this is alien language for him so it feels unnatural for him to speak it. He does however show that he appreciates me by thanking me all the time for simple things that I do for him and thats great.
One of the things we have in common is that neither of us has the LL of Receiving Gifts. we seldom give each other Valentine's Day gifts and on certain years we even make a pact not to get each other anything on our birthdays. This may sound very unromantic but it does not bother us as much as it would bother a person whose primary love language is Receiving Gifts. Personally, I would much rather receive a homemade card with his Words of Affirmation than to receive gifts of expensive jewellery from hubby.
Why am I posting this today? I want to remind myself everyday not to take my spouse for granted especially now that we are parents of two little one's who take up so much of our time. Often, once partners become parents, they forget to nurture each other and in the process lose each other and create broken and unhappy homes for their children. So if we love our children, we must first love and care for our spouses and not give them leftovers, leftovers of our children's food, leftovers of our time and our love. :-))
For those who are interested:
One great way you can learn a different language like Spanish is to use a Spanish dictionary. For those who are tired of not learning the proper Spanish translation, find a Spanish to English dictionary to help you with all of your Spanish. Learning a second language is important these days no matter your age.
As adults we have forgotten how to smile like that. Our smiles do not reach our eyes and sometimes we can even smile with a frown on our faces. We have also forgotten how to be happy with the simple things in life. We have so much to learn from little children.
Last night after I turned off the lights, my sweetie pie took my hand in both of her little ones. Then she turned my arm around and around until she found a position that suited her (I felt like an arm contortionist) and then she flashed me that sunshine smile of hers. After that she hugged my arm like it was a little bolster and gave my hand a kiss and I got another sunshine smile.
I am ashamed to say that at the time a fleeting worrying thought that she might develop a habit of having to hold my hand before she sleeps every night did cross my mind for a brief moment. When she was younger she used to grab my sleeve and muttered to herself until she slept but has outgrown that. As if sensing my worry, she let go of my arm, then shifted to her favourite sleeping position and smiled to herself as she drifted off to sleep. She was merely enjoying my company and I should learn to enjoy these precious moments instead of worrying about this and that.
I shall add this to my treasure box of sweet memories of being a mum and try to learn the Art of Smiling from my daughter.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Help! I think I'm turning into a computer geek! The PC has become such a part of our daily lives that we feel rather lost without it. Its the first place we head to first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I feel totally lost now that I can't:
- Check my numerous email accounts every nano second
- Instant Message (IM) hubby to tell him about my day. Hey with two kids under 3 its the only way we manage to get any real conversation going without being interupted by a sweet little voice saying "daddy/mummy hug hug" or the wail of a crying baby. Besides we enjoy sending silly emoticons to one another and cracking stupid jokes. Its less damaging to argue too via the IM. You can always delete what you've said if it sounds too harsh ie "we can think before we say" unlike face to face where you can't "retrieve whats been uttered." IM is great. Only, I sometimes tend to complain too much about the kids. I'm not sure hubby needs a full blown account of "and then while I was bathing girl-girl, baby yelled at the top of his lungs, and then he pansai, and then she wanted biscuit and then she pansai..........."
- post on my favourite forum MyMomsBest (Hehe)
- check the site statistics on my personal website Mumsgather
- email my girlfriend to chit chat about "girl stuff"
The email is also great for organising get togethers. Just press one "Send" button and everyone gets the invite at the same time.
Yesterday I lost several postings and email when my computer rebooted before I was finished and boy oh boy did that make me MAD! Help. I think I AM a computer geek!
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I have won one or two but usually they are items which are of not much use to me. Like the RM1,000 watch which is not my style and sitting in my drawer somewhere in the house. I tried to sell it to a watch shop but of course they are not interested, then I thought of a pawn shop but did not know any so its still sitting there....... I also won a pretty costume jewellery pearl neckless so at least thats being used. Once I won a voucher for a wedding dinner gown AFTER my wedding.
One day my husband returned from work and when he saw me filling up yet another contest form he commented "Oh I see, now you have become a professional form filler!" Hmmrhp! He was forgiven the next day when he rushed to the post office to send off my form which worked on a first come first serve basis.
I wonder what I will win next....... that nice mpv or the RM5,000 shopping voucher? Wow! Now what shall I buy with my price money???