The organised chaos

Goodbye, 2012

This year, life, as I knew it, changed.
No, it didn’t merely change. It was turned topsy-turvy.

I had a baby.

Motherhood has been everything that I had ever imagined, and more. It’s joyous, fulfilling, crazy, disheveled, messy, humbling, exhausting, fun. It’s also incredibly amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, being a parent can be absolutely gutting. In the early weeks of his birth, I sank into a murky mix of expectations and pressure. A lot of it is due to my own doing, honestly. I thought I had to do it all: make home-cooked meals, keep the house in order, care for a baby, continue being a good wife and daughter and friend. I exerted a lot of mental weight on myself. Also, I had somehow birthed a child who despised naps. Oh, he fought naps with a vengeance. I didn’t sleep much at night and I didn’t have time in the day. I was alone and depressed.

About 10 weeks into his birth, I somehow snapped out of that misery and decided to carve my own parenting path. Screw the experts and the well-meaning advice, this is MY child and nobody knows him better than I do.

And in that defining moment, I became the mother that I was always meant to be.

In all honesty, though, that was the easy part. The road ahead is still long. Parenthood to us is about moulding my little man into a man who is a good son, and who would one day be a good husband (and father, if he should so choose). We have a little life in our hands and we have lots to do. And if the little man has a will and a temper like his mama’s, oh boy, have we got lots to do.

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But that moment when I heard his first cry?

Beyond imagination and absolutely surreal.

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So, 2013. I don’t know what is in store for me but I have a good feeling about it. After all that we have gone through, I think it’s time we sit back and enjoy ourselves.

Let the ride begin.

A happy new year to you and may you be blessed with much joy, laughter and love.

Aidan

You got me what?

Clearly, somebody wasn’t too happy with his Christmas present.

Actually, it was naptime and he was THIS.CLOSE to falling asleep when his parents rudely pulled him out to take a photo. Look, it was his first Christmas present! Surely that counts as a perfect photo opportunity, no? Afterall, how many kids can say that they received a trolley full of food for Christmas, right?

Aidan, Motherhood, The organised chaos

Christmas 2012

And just like that, another Christmas has come and gone.

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Mr Thick and I have been off from work since last week and we’ve been spending loads of quality time with the kid, hence the radio silence. There are many reasons for that, one of which is that it was a deliberate effort on my part to disconnect from social media and teh Internetz.

For a while now, I have been trying to cut down on my use of the gadgets and social media when I am with Aidan. It’s important to me that he gets my full attention whenever we are reading a book, or playing with his toys, or having our dinner together. I am trying to avoid becoming a parent who needs to ply her child with iPad videos to keep him happy or to eat his food.

Also, we have been meeting up with friends and family, people whom we have not been able to spend as much time with as we would like. No big parties, no fancy gatherings, just catching up over a cup of coffee etc. I guess I’d rather meet the people who matter and update them about our lives in person than for them to read about it here.

And so this space has been a little neglected.

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The little man has been sleeping rather poorly for a while now, which is another reason why I haven’t been able to write. I’m so tired, I can’t even remember that I have something boiling on the stove! (True story. Just ask husband. The pot is a little burnt, that’s all.) There are all sorts of reasons, I suppose, for his crappy sleep but since I don’t have the ability to read babies’ minds, I can only make guesses. It’s gotten a lot worse over the past two weeks and my best bet is that we are all muddling through a sleep regression. Or teething. Or whatever.

(I read this post on Ask Moxie A HELL LOT. Like repeatedly. It makes me feel HEAPS better! Heh. Misery loves company and all.)

I try my best not to whine about it too much. Really, I think I’ve forfeited my right to complain ever since we found out that we were expecting. After all that we have gone through, we are both happy that we have a baby to celebrate Christmas with and that he is healthy and a beautiful joy to be around.

Of course, I still rant to friends who would listen and commiserate. But at the heart of it all, we are grateful that it’s just terrible sleep.

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At the same time, I have been thinking about shutting this blog down. I used to chronicle everything down for memory’s sake, and because I love to write. It’s a creative outlet for me (since I am absolutely useless at other sorts of crafts) and a part of me also wishes for my child to see the journey of his life through my eyes in the future.

And yet, I’m beginning to feel a little wary about baring my soul so publicly. And there’s Aidan, who has no control over what I write right now. How do I draw the line between jotting down the memories of our lives together and respecting his life?

I’m still torn and debating internally about this. It may sound silly but I do feel as if part of my identity is irrevocably linked to this site. From this site grew a whole new branch in my life. It brought me new friendships, good advice and blessed encouragement.

Maybe I’ll lock it up, maybe I’ll keep it private.

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Two Christmases ago, hope filled my heart. And then my heart was broken.
One Christmas ago, hope again filled my heart. And this time, it never left.

The experience has changed me in many ways, both good and bad. I feel more grounded, more at peace. This Christmas, I baked goodies for our loved ones, late into the night after the little man had gone to bed (and woken up a gazillion times but hey, I am not whining!). We donated to animal shelters. We didn’t buy Aidan anything; instead, we had fun tossing food products into the supermarket trolley and then donating everything to The Boys’ Brigade’s Share-A-Gift in his name. I don’t desire presents, nor do I wish to gift others with thoughtless trinkets.

We may not be rich but he has our love and plenty of toys, clothes and food. He needs nothing, and neither do we.

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Wherever you are, I hope you had a blessed Christmas!

Aidan

9 months of Aidan

Dear Aidan,

This letter is a little late because, well, on the weekend that we were supposed to take this photo, your sleep was well and truly dreadful. Your dad and I woke up on both days looking and feeling like we were severely hungover, even though not a drop of alcohol had passed our lips the night before. You, on the other hand, were looking as fresh as a daisy and babbling like nothing had happened.

Hah! Little brat.

The truth is, this month has been awesomely exciting for you. And that means, it’s been wonderfully exhausting for us. How awesome as it been? Let us count the ways.

Earlier on, we had figured that you would probably be heading straight to walking because you were really contented with just rolling all over the floor. I kid you not. You roll, dude. Every time we try to tempt you with a toy or our iPhone to get you to crawl, you end up rolling your way like a short fat sausage to your destination.

Mmmkay. Whatever works.

We were so amused by your antics that we talked of capturing it all one of these days. But we never did. And then on the weekend that we were supposed to take your nine month photo, you started belly crawling.

Ah. That explained why you kept waking (us) up!

I was just counting the number of weeks that we haven’t had a proper night’s sleep. Starting from our Sydney holiday, it’s been EIGHT. straight weeks of interrupted sleep. (That’s EIGHT LADYBUGS, according to your Little Learning Library.) For the past eight weeks, you have either woken up multiple times in the night or refused to go back to sleep at 3am, 4am or 5am.

I’m amazed I’m still functioning.

We’re chalking it up to a bunch of reasons: the traveling, teething (none, so far), crawling, sitting up, mental leap. Man, that’s a lot of stuff going on in your baby brains. No wonder sleep is such an impossibility.

But with great mobility comes great danger. Uhhmm. Well. You see, you move so quickly that we sometimes lose track of you. One morning, after a particularly difficult night in which you took a very long time to go back to sleep and promptly took up all of my side of the bed, I ended up curled up at the foot of the bed while you slept. And, erm, you kinda rolled and fell off onto the hardwood floor.

My confession is not so much that you had fallen (let’s face it, you are a boy and you are far likelier to get into worse scrapes than falling off the bed) but that I had wanted to laugh! Oops. You see, after I had ascertained that you were fine and hadn’t broken anything, I found your crying and complaining cute. Bad mommy.

I LOVE YOU TOO!

Ooh, let’s talk about kissing. You’ve finally gotten the memo! These days, we’d say “KISS!” and you MIGHT bestow us with an open mouth. Baby kisses rock!

I love that you love me so very much. Every evening, I look forward to seeing that look of recognition flash across your face, followed by the biggest grin and some enthusiastic flapping of your limbs. It melts any fatigue or weariness that I carry on my shoulders and I become brand new all over again.

Today was exceptionally poignant. I had come out of the car and you were sitting on your nai nai’s lap. You stared at me for a split second before realising that HEY IT’S MAMA. A smile crossed your face and you tried to jump to your feet while shouting “MA MA MA MA PA PA!”

That made all the sacrifices and sleepless nights absolutely worth it.

Clearly ou adore me and you know what? I adore you more.

Motherhood

Every mother’s kryptonite

When I was a little girl, I was really skinny. And because I loved swimming and used to stay in the pool for hours on end (this was, clearly, before I found out about harmful UV rays!), I was also terribly tanned. In fact, I once went to a kopitiam to buy a drink and was told by the stall owner that she had wanted to speak Malay to me because she didn’t think I was Chinese.

So picture this: a tiny girl, with sticks for limbs and brown as a monkey.

Needless to say, I grew up with a lot of unnecessary comments coming to me from all quarters. People would tease me for being thin, ask if I was eating, wonder if I were suffering from an illness, and call me a “malnourished African refugee”. Suffice to say, I hated it. It was mean and sometimes cruel. But of course, they never realised just how hurtful it was to say such things to a child.

My mother, too, had to endure similar comments, except hers was in the region of “are you starving your child?”. It was strange, too, because I was so different from my normal-sized sister. She brought me to see several doctors in hopes of finding out what was wrong with me, only to be told: “As long as she is healthy and happy, she is fine. Leave her alone.”

And just like that, she decided she would ignore the naysayers and get on with our lives.

Now that I am a mother, I have come to realise that we are so easily swayed by others’ words. Of course, that is only because we love and care for our child so deeply. When Aidan was in the phase of only taking short naps, I was constantly fretting, because everyone around me was telling me that I was doing it wrong. I know there were those who blamed breastfeeding (he wasn’t full!) and me (I don’t know how to raise a child!). We went to see THREE pediatricians who told me three different things: that he was HUNGRY, that he was OVERFEEDING and therefore had REFLUX, and that it was my fault because I didn’t set a routine for him.

Confused much?

In the end, we just have to go with the flow and trust our instincts. It’s hard to block out rude and intrusive comments, especially when they come from family, but we just have to remind ourselves that the child is ours, not theirs.

And ultimately, EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT.

I still worry, of course. Even though A has now grown to take longer naps, there are other things to obsess over. His lack of interest in self-feeding, his poo (too often or too watery or too hard or too few times…you get the drift), his multiple night wakings, his delay in hitting the physical milestones, his lack of teeth. We are always hit by comments on why he is/isn’t doing something.

But we have come to realise that it is futile to worry. Simply because babies evolve and things change. If we were to fret over every single little detail and listen to every piece of advice, we would go mad.

So we just do.
We roll up our sleeves and get on with the programme.
We just do the best we can.
And as long as my little man is growing and thriving and clearly a happy little chappy, we are doing it right.