Making memories, simply

We’ve entered June and the weather’s officially turned. Which means it’s hello to scorching days and sweaty humidity, hello to shorts and tanks and sandals, hello to escaping to air-conditioning.

We marked the first day of June by going on a ride down Lorong Halus to Punggol. Crazy, really, considering that we started so late (the littles took a late nap) and it was blazing hot. When we first started pedalling, I thought to myself, this is going down as one of those mistakes. Yup, we have had plenty of those. You know, when you do something which you thought was a good idea and then once you are in it, you kinda go, Hmm, yeah, NO.

Like when we thought it was a good idea to nap the boys in the car and go check out Some Random Place but the boys didn’t nap and they ended up overtired wrecks once we were out of the car. Or when we decided to go Somewhere Nice for dinner and they were slaying us with their worst behaviour.

I really thought it was going to be a disaster. Plus, Zac was screaming the entire way to Punggol. Don’t ask me why, I think he was just in a snitch. Sort of like, Dude, I was perfectly happy to toss toys all over the house and you strap me into this thing for what?! He wanted me to carry him but clearly, I had my hands full.

So there we were, pedalling furiously and there he was, yelling his lungs out, equally furiously. It was HILARIOUS. I was cycling behind husband, who had him in the bike seat, and I could see the heads of the passersby swivelling towards us to check out the screaming baby.

But other than Zac’s vocal exertion, it was a pretty fab ride. The moon was hanging low in the bright, clear blue sky, which thrilled the three-year-old to no end. And then on the other side was the setting sun: a glorious, majestic ball of fire. We quickly made our way to the beach, just in time to see it disappear over the horizon. The boys ate some banana pancakes that I had whipped up just before we set off, we rested our aching legs and we were quietly relishing the moment.

As the sky darkened, we made our way home. By this time, the heat had dissipated and the wind was rushing in our ears. Our legs worked extra hard so that we can get back as quickly as we could, since Zac had resumed his pissed off yelling. To placate him, we started singing as we cycled and so we became the band of singing cyclists. Only, our choice of songs were limited to Aidan’s repertoire and we were warbling, loudly, tunes about children rolling out of bed and Old MacDonald’s farm. And once we were home, the littlest one was quickly put to bed while the rest of us feasted on frozen pizza while catching the SEA Games on the telly.

So it didn’t turn out to be a disaster after all. And as I rode, all I could think of was how this is home and how these are the memories that I want my kids to have. We may not own anything fancy but these rides with mama and papa, these are the things that they will remember. Not the expensive toys or beautiful clothes.

I hope that one day, when my boys are all grown up and perhaps fathers themselves, they will recall that once upon a time, their parents took them cycling and they caught beautiful sunsets and they felt free, happy, contented and so, so loved.

(Okay, maybe Zac won’t remember that he screamed for most of the ride. He did feel loved and happy and free after we took him out of the seat.)

Only happy when it rains

After our 7D6N “staycation” at Mount Alvernia Hospital, I said a silent prayer to the Big Guy Up There.

Please, I whispered in my head, let this cycle of mad illnesses end here now.

Three days later, Aidan was diagnosed with HFMD.

So yeah, there is a sense of WHAT THE FUCKERY lingering around here. When we heard the dreaded four letters from the GP’s mouth (that’s HFMD and not TOTO), Mr Thick and I visibly sank in our Birkenstocks. Back home, he looked at me in despair and said, “When are we ever going to catch a break?”

Because, poor man. He had a 10-day sabbatical leave and we were meant to do all sorts of romantic and sexxxxay things together. Like clear out the storeroom. Redo the boys’ room. Clean our study table. Install the invisible grilles in our balcony. Repair our aircon. Have coffee every single day. Have a meal here and there. Sleep. Go for a family vacation. But he ended up shuttling between our parents’ homes, our home and the hospital everyday. Not only that, he was also permanently attached to his work laptop during those 10 days because, obviously, the company would absolutely DIE without him.

But you know what, there are little things to be thankful for in life and I am not going to sit here and whine about how crappy and sucky it has been. I mean, it HAS been ridiculously crappy and sucky around here.

It’s also been good.

Aidan turned 2.5 years old and his verbal and comprehension abilities astound us so. (His toddler angst astound us too, though on another end of the spectrum.) He says the funniest things and has an amazing memory. Zac, oddly enough, is now three months old. I say oddly enough because I look at the itty bitty babies snuggled in the arms of their mothers at the hospital and wonder where my little squish has gone. He now resembles, in my very unbiased opinion, a garden gnome. Mr Thick and I still make each other laugh and we have not harboured thoughts of stabbing the other with a fork. Yet.

At the end of the day, we are going through this together as a family. Hopefully, nobody will need therapy in time to come.

Photo by The Beautiful Moments Photography

Photo by The Beautiful Moments Photography

iwannagohome

For the past three nights, I have called the hospital home.

I lay on the chair-bed that’s hard as stone and go to sleep to the sound of my baby’s oxygen mask. I wake up whenever the nurses come in to take his temperature, feed him his medicine or nebulise him. Inevitably, I will have to carry him to soothe him or, if he allows, nurse him.

Every evening, I bid farewell to my toddler and my husband. I know my son well – he says goodbye to me cheerily and kisses me. But once home, the notion that mama isn’t home with him sinks in and he cries for me. I so long to be there for him when he wakes, to kiss his sweaty forehead and say goodnight to him.

It’s so hard.

I miss my family, whole and healthy. I miss my home. I miss our daily routine, as mundane as it seems.

And yet I have to stay here so that my littlest can recover from that nasty virus.

It’s been a difficult, challenging month. Enough already, please?

Get well soon, bubba.

Of beautiful moments perfectly captured

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!

Keep calm and parent on

Second time around, things are admittedly easier than before.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, we are all exhausted. A typical night looks like this: bathe both boys, put both boys to sleep and then concuss at 10pm, wake up at 2am in alarm because I had forgotten to set the timer for my three-hourly wake up call to feed the baby, feed the baby, change his diaper, feed the baby again, place baby gingerly into his cot, sleep, wake up at 5am when baby fusses, feed baby, change baby’s diaper, feed baby again, place baby gingerly into his cot, sleep, wake up at 7am because toddler is up.

Some nights, Zac will not go back to sleep after his feed. Which means that we will be staring at each other for a good hour (or two, or three) before he conks out. If I am lucky, he doesn’t cry much. If I am not, he will be fussing and whinging and I will be all WHAT DO YOU WANT, KID.

But it’s cool. One night, both Mr Thick and I collapsed in our bed and laid there in silence for a little bit. And then I said, “Good thing we know that it is not going to be like this for too long.” He nodded and we shared a quiet laugh.

With two littles, there is no time for us to sit there shell-shocked, wondering what the heck is going on and how do we do it. We just roll up our sleeves and do. And having experience on our side helps, we know that eventually, things will get easier.

Admittedly, it’s tough during the day when I need to juggle the needs of Zac and Aidan at the same time. Thankfully, I have my mother over and she’s been a gem at helping me with the boys. She adores Zac and will put him down for his nap while I give Aidan some one-on-one attention that he craves. And when I am nursing Zac, she will feed Aidan, bring him to the potty and keep an eye on him.

And let’s not forget that I get all my meals prepared for me for a month. I have no idea how I will survive without her after this but mmm, let’s take it one day at a time.

So yes, having two kids has been great so far. Extremely tiring, but also extremely joyful.

(But no, this family is going to be a family of four for a long, long, long time.)

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