And just like that, my first-born is fast approaching his third birthday. I know, I know, we all say the same thing but honestly, where did the time go? How did he go from a pipe dream to a newborn to a chubby baby to a funny toddler to a precocious preschooler in so short a time? I look at photos of him when he was littler and my heart goes all funny: a mix of intense love and bittersweet wrench.
If Zac is my redemption at motherhood, then Aidan is my miracle. He is the child that almost never was, the one who came into our lives so shockingly when we were expecting nothing. And he is the child who made me a mother, who taught me what this motherhood gig is all about.
He amazes us every single day. He says the darnest things, this boy, and every so often, husband and I would exchange incredulous looks of “did you hear that?!” over his head. We are just so fascinated by his development and personality. I mean, when he was a baby, he was a happy, chubby little thing (we are very blessed in that both our babies are happy babies) who was so very easily loved. But now, the nuances of his personality are slowly emerging and it’s pretty exciting to witness it.
For instance, he is not very good with new people. When we go to birthday parties, he’s the kid who hangs with his parents and doesn’t want to join the other kids initially. He’d rather play by himself, which is exactly like me. I hate parties and I hate being in an environment where I am the new kid. But, like me, once he warms up, he becomes the ringleader, everyone’s friend. That’s pretty evident from his progress in school. According to his teacher, he loves to chat with his friends, even if his friends are not capable of responding verbally to him yet! And everyone knows Aidan – whenever I pick him up from school, I always get little kids pointing and shouting his name at me. It’s hilarious!
He’s mostly a happy chappy who loves to sing – just like papa and mama. He comes home warbling new songs, which are mostly tunes that we know, and he loves it when we sing along with him. We’ve been meaning to enrol him in music classes, hopefully once the transitions at home have settled.
One thing that we are so very thankful for is his acceptance of his little brother. The first few weeks were tough, undoubtedly, as he struggles with the knowledge that the attention of his parents are being diverted. But now, he is a loving brother who is just as affectionate with Zac as he is with us. He would reach for Zac’s hand and say, “Zac, hold hands, Zac.” Or he would pat Zac when the latter is crying. Or he would console Zac in the car seat with “don’t cry! We are going to NTUC, Zac.”
There are times when he drives us absolutely nuts, of course. But it’s your typical toddler will, trying to assert his independence. And we get that, so we try to remain patient and calm. It doesn’t always work, of course, but these incidents are far and few these days. (Let’s talk when he enters disequilibrium again.)
So there you have it, my almost three-year-old in a nutshell. There’s a whole lot more, of course, but these days I find myself writing less and less about him. Well, I am just writing less and less in general but I am also a little more mindful about putting my kid out on the inter webs now that he’s no longer an itty bitty baby. There are some things that we can share and then there’s stuff that should firmly remain offline.
We are still not too sure how we are going to celebrate his birthday, to be honest. Big parties with fancy food and entertainment are not quite our thing. But one thing’s for sure, we will be celebrating as a family of four.
I love my little man.
At age 2.5, Aidan is right smack in the middle of the disequilibrium stage. Oh, the meltdowns! It’s amazing how much angst a toddler can have. I mean, he’s only 2.5 years old and it’s like the world is ending if mama does not give him his crayons in the car.
Luckily for my first-born, he is rather amusing and highly entertaining so I haven’t harboured the thought of selling him to his grandparents. Yet.
Just the other day, my mum made curry chicken for the adults for dinner. She especially made a pot of porridge for my little man because he was nursing a cough and a fever. As Aidan and I sat down for dinner together, he insisted on spooning the curry gravy from the bowl into my plate of rice. Well, it’s good for his motor skills and all so I let him. But before I could stop him, he had conveniently dumped a spoonful of the gravy onto his porridge. Urghs!
I exclaimed loudly because, man, what a waste of food. Now he wouldn’t be able to eat the porridge, right?
He kicked up such a stink when I tried to stop him from eating the curry-laden porridge – and this was curry that had an extra spicy kick to it, mind you – that I decided to just let him do what he wanted. Because, TODDLER ANGST.
He proceeded to stick the porridge into his mouth as I sat there, watching him. IT WAS HILARIOUS. His face changed as he swallowed the porridge and without making a peep, he started to feed himself soup as fast as he could.
I quickly fed him some water and gave him a little “I told you so” spiel. But did our friend learn his lesson? NOOOOOOOOO.
He picked up a spoonful of curry gravy again, dunked it into his soup and TRIED TO DRINK IT UP. When I sternly told him that he should not do it because it’s spicy, his face crumpled and he started wailing dramatically.
Well, okay then. I stopped myself and let him drink the soup.
This time, the spice irritated his throat and he started coughing and sputtering until his eyes watered and his face turned red. Mama had to come to the rescue (after sniggering inwardly) and fed him water again to clear his throat. I would have felt sympathetic except, well, he kinda brought it upon himself, no? Very or bee good. After that, he didn’t attempt to ingest the curry any more.
After dinner, however, I thought about it and I realised that Aidan had really taken it like a man. He didn’t cry when he realised exactly how spicy the curry was, and he didn’t whine. He choked on the curry, drank the water and moved on. With nary a complaint.
So yes, I was sort of proud of him. Also, YAY TODDLER ATE SUPER SPICY CURRY! Atta boy!
So the kid has been in school for the past four months and we can see that he is truly thriving after the rather difficult start. He sings all the time at home now, with some hilarious and funny lyrics.
For example, Twinkle twinkle traffic light/How I wonder what you are/Red means stop/Green means go/Yellow means wait.
Then, he commands us to make up lyrics for him. “Mummy sing airplane on road,” he says. So I do: (to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus) The airplane on the road goes zoom zoom zoom/Zoom zoom zoom/Zoom zoom zoom. After that, he says, “Sing the train on the sky!” And so on and so forth. I sing whatever he asks of me and it makes him smile.
My little cutie. Love him like crazy.
You know, it’s kinda funny. Time crept up on us so stealthily that we hadn’t realised just how big you have grown so far. I mean, it’s like we have been keeping pace with you and we knew you were growing but suddenly, when we see you with your little brother, we discovered just how far we had all come together.
You, my boo boo, are an amazing little fellow. The past few months have not been easy for you but you have grown through it with such joy and unbridled love. You have shown me how strong you are and how much I really, really love you.
We started June just hanging out, you and me. Oh, we did loads of stuff together: we went to Ikea and had tea, chilled at the playground and looked at photos together. We read books and played with trains. We took naps together and woke up happy.
And then Zac came along and your world changed. Suddenly, you were thrust into the unknown and here’s a tiny human demanding so much of your parents’ attention, especially mama’s. Suddenly, all these weird big people were telling you to hug and kiss that tiny human, saying stuff like “if you don’t do XYZ, I will give your Thomas train to didi”.
Of course you acted out. You are only two years old. You are meant to act out at this age. And you did. There were loads of tears and illogical tantrums and strange demands. But those, those I could handle. What I could not handle was the sobbing: big, fat tears accompanied by cries of “mama! Mama!”. It nearly broke my heart into two, it made me wonder if I had been selfish in wanting to have a second child when clearly, my first-born was in despair. All I could do was to hold you, stroke your back, shower you with kisses and tell you that it was going to be alright and I loved you.
Three months on, you have blossomed into the loving and warm big brother that your papa and I had envisioned. You love Zac and say the funniest things to him. Like, “Zac, we go the NTUC, okay?” and “Mama give the num num to Zac”. You love to hug and kiss him, and then tell me to “take photo! Take photo!”
Of course there is still jealousy, of course you still want whichever parent is holding on to Zac. But that’s natural and to be expected. Bit by bit, you are entering the realm where you cannot remember how life was like without Zac.
You started attending school and oh boy, it was so tough in the early days. You cried your heart out when we left you in the new environment. I could not stop my own tears from falling when I saw you sitting on the teacher’s lap and sobbing. I wished I could help you to understand why we had to do this, I wished I could help you through your confusion and sadness.
But look at you now! There are still tears, true, but they go off pretty quickly. The teacher tells me that you are a happy little chappy who loves to sing, and you have a hearty appetite. Sometimes you tend to wander off and do your own thing but you know, that’s so you.
School taught you independence but it also gave you the “gift” of bugs. You caught a nasty bug and you never really recovered from it. For two months, you coughed and sneezed your way through life and we despaired of ever having you healthy again. Throughout this period, though, you remained your happy self and you never let the illnesses bring you down.
So yes, it’s been an eventful three months. Life has changed so much for you but you have been such a super trooper. I’m so proud to be your mama and so glad that you are ours to love and adore.
Don’t ever lose that wide-eyed wonder, okay?
Love you to the moon and back,
We love beautiful photographs, husband and I.
When we decided to get married, one of our priorities was photography. We knew that we didn’t want just anyone to shoot one of the best days of our lives. Oh forget about the expensive gowns and jewellery, we were willing to pay for photography. And we found it in Eadwine.
And then we got married and we decided that the fun was not over yet. Since my wedding dress was hanging in the wardrobe doing nothing much, we decided to do a trash the dress shoot with my friend Alywin.
Two years later, two (finally) became three and I thought, hey, we should update those photo albums. So Alywin came in to take photos of us and our newest addition – Aidan.
So with the birth of Zac, I could not NOT have a shoot done, couldn’t I? But then my friend Alywin had to move to Shanghai and leave me stranded without a photographer friend. I was searching for a photographer when a friend shared with me Joshua‘s crowd-funding endeavour. To help someone achieve his goal and to get a shoot out of it, why not?
Mr Thick and I are not fans of studio shoots and we never have – we find those too repetitive, too unnatural, too predictable. And, most importantly, there is no natural light. Without batting an eyelid, we decided on an outdoor shoot for this particular one as well. As the day drew closer, however, I started to panic slightly. Handling two kids on a humid summer day? What was I, insanely optimistic?
Thankfully, the weather held up and both boys were on their best behaviour. I mean, nobody cried and NOBODY POOPED. That’s like striking lottery! Plus, Josh was a very nice chap who made us feel all comfortable and the shoot went better than expected.
Even if the matching tees that I got for the boys were actually purchased from the girls department. (BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT!)
We kind of weren’t really expecting much, just a couple of pictures of the family. But what we got from Josh in return was so, so, so much more. We are so chuffed by the album. He definitely made us look more beautiful that we really are, thanks, in part, to the gorgeous light (see, natural light). You can’t even tell that I am absolutely gutted by the lack of uninterrupted sleep.
Also, Photoshop is our best friend. Here’s to being Fabulously Gorgeous forever!
I just had to do a comparison photo of my two babies side by side. And man, they look so different at the same age!
It may appear as if Aidan is more smiley than Zac but the truth is, I was alone when I was shooting Zac so that kind of explains his bewildered expression. With Aidan, Mr Thick was next to me performing all sorts of tricks to coax a smile out of him. No wonder my boo boo was grinning like a cheeky monkey.
Re-reading the post that I had written when Aidan was two months old, it just reminds me of how tough those early days were. Compare this with how I am right now with Zac, you can see how much I have grown.
Ah, my second-born. You may lack the undivided attention of your parents, which your brother received for two full years, but you get the benefit of our experience AND the affection of your sibling.
Aidan started school this week and it’s been a rocky start so far.
Oh, we expected it. There were tears and a lot of wailing. He has been extremely clingy to me. At night, he wakes up sobbing and asking for mama. In the day, he wants me to carry him and play with him and read to him and take him to the potty and wash his hands. Basically, he wants mama for everything.
It’s been hard on us too. I cried when we dropped him off on the first day. And tears rolled down my cheeks when I picked him up and saw him sitting on the lap of the teacher, crying his little heart out. On the second day, I cried at seeing his joyful smile when he realised that I was there to get him. On the third day, I cried when his face crumpled at catching sight of me peeping through the doors.
In short, I cried a lot. Even though I know that eventually, he will enjoy school and it will be a good experience for him. At the present moment, I am still feeling my heart crack at seeing my child in this state of uncertainty and confusion and sadness.
Remember that quote from Elizabeth Stone? “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
My heart wrenches when I see Aidan cry at being away from his parents at a new environment. My heart wrenches when I see Zac choke and sputter and then cry from reflux. My heart wrenches when Aidan waves goodbye and blows kisses at his teachers in the midst of his sobs. My heart wrenches when Zac wailed inconsolably on the bilibed.
It’s an awful feeling.
But then again, my parenting mantra has always been this: my role as a parent is to love them and nurture them, and then let them go. They need to learn to find their own way around in this big, bad world. I cannot hold their hands forever, nor baby them forever.
And so, in this little way, I am letting my son take his first step into the world by himself. I know, it’s only school and he is only 2 years old. But still, it’s a step towards independence and away from mama. And if I can’t even do that gracefully now, I will become that awful, controlling and overbearing mother who will insist on running my sons’ lives even when they are 50 years old.
I wish, though, that time would stand still and let me keep them so little forever. The way Aidan lets me cuddle and kiss him. The tiny newborn-ness that Zac is fast losing every single day.
Being a parent is so bittersweet, ah.