Health Goddess

Bad back

Another day, another physio visit.

I’ve been feeling pain when I walk for the longest time, so long that I cannot remember a time when I could walk and run normally. A few years back, a sports doctor had diagnosed me with leg length discrepancy, with my right leg longer than the left by an inch. The physiotherapist that I had seen subsequently confirmed that and taught me a set of exercises that, she said, would help to strengthen the weaker muscles and even out the workload between the legs.

Well, fast forward to now and the pain hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s worse. I suppose it doesn’t help that I am constantly running and chasing and carrying a sack of rice, err, I mean my one-year-old toddler. My right knee hurts and my lower back hurts and it just feels like this old body is falling apart bit by bit.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking of seeing a physiotherapist for a while now but as usual, it keeps slipping my mind. (I blame it on the sleep deprivation!) Until earlier this week, when I sprained my thumb in the middle of the night.


Yeah. I sprained my thumb. The little man woke up at some ungodly hour and was bitching about it quite loudly. Somehow, he had ended up at the foot of the bed and I had to carry him back to where we were. As my hands swept across the bed, my right thumb got caught between the duvet and was left behind. In short, I twisted it backward.


Don’t ask me how I did it. I just did. I don’t remember the details.

The next day, I realised just how badly I had hurt it when I couldn’t even hold my mobile phone in my right hand. I simply could not grasp anything without being in pain. And I decided that it was due time to see a physiotherapist.

I know, right. I have been walking in pain and that wasn’t enough to make me get off my butt to make the appointment BUT A SPRAINED THUMB DID. Priorities, priorities.

Well, the good news is, the thumb is just fine, it will heal on its own, provided I leave it alone. Well, try doing stuff without your thumb. It’s been an interesting experience so far.

The not so good news is that the physiotherapist is pretty certain that I don’t have uneven legs but I do have a curved spine. Also, she suspects that the soft, central portion of my spinal disc is bulging out, affecting the nerves around it and hence causing the intermittent pain. I’m now under strict orders to go for swims and do the upward dog pose everyday, to try to “squeeze” the soft tissue back into place.

Thankfully, the curvature is mild and so is the protrusion. I just need to be diligent with the exercise and be aware of my posture all the time.

You know what? This just tells me that I am no longer young. I feel it in my body, in all the aches that I keep feeling, in the wrinkles that stay put on my face, in the exhaustion that I feel.

Ah, to be young again.

Foodnotes, Friends

Coffee with friends

I love meeting up with friends over coffee.

We enjoy the coffee, catch up on each others’ lives and keep an eye on the littles, all at the same time. Sometimes, a cake (or croissant) will sit on a plate on the table as we nibble while listening to the other speak. The afternoon sun will stream in, lighting up the place with its magical sparkle.

Every time I meet up with Y and her lil Missy, the conversation seems endless. We may not have seen each other for a while but there’s always something to say. And she is always taking me to new places to check out the coffee. Missy, on the other hand, will tell us stories and draw pictures and – in a recent development – send me Whatsapp messages, alternating between declarations of love and images of cupcakes.

This was exactly what I needed, a leisurely afternoon away from work. Forget about deadlines and that pile of marking, forget about the very little sleep that I had had the night before.

Coffee. And friends. A most enchanting combination.


Every day is my day

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade but I’m not really into Mothers’ Day.

While my Twitter and Instagram feeds are filled with pictures of carnations and gifts and tales of husbands/kids behaving themselves, I have none of it. Instead, we had breakfast at Tiong Bahru market and headed off to the beach to spend the afternoon with my mother and sister’s family. The day ended with dinner at my brother-in-law’s.

It was…ordinary.

You see, to me, every day is Mothers’ Day. Every day that I get to be mom to the most awesome kid in the world is Mothers’ Day. And every day, I know that husband appreciates me and all that I do for the little man.

My lifetime of Mothers’ Day gift was handed to me more than 14 months ago, when the little man was born. Having battled most of the previous two years to be a mom, his birth was like a present handed to me on a silver platter. And since then, I don’t take any moment for granted.

Sure, it’s not like my life as a mother is a bed of roses and OMG AM SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY THAT RAINBOWS ARE SHOOTING OUT OF MY ARSE. (Can you just PICTURE IT! Hilarious and slightly disturbing image.) There are days when I am flat out tired or when I find it difficult to manage the kid or when the lack of sleep gets me down. There are days when I slump on the sofa, drained of every ounce of energy that I possess, or when I lose patience with him.

And yet.

Watching him grow is the greatest gift on earth, it’s the most amazing PRIVILEGE. To see him develop from this orange-skinned, frowny little fellow into a toddler who is ready to walk and conquer the world with his favourite things – banana, ball and that bee night light – is nothing short of MAGICAL. His hugs and smiles and love for me warms me everyday and brings me so much joy.

And so, every day is Mothers’ Day to me.

Oh, and there is no need to wait until Mothers’ Day to be pampered by husband – he fetches me a glass of wine and an ice-cream whenever. Hee.

(PS I did spend it with both my mother and mother-in-law. And also bought my mama a pair of purple sparkly FitFlops. Just cos hers were old and ratty and falling apart.)

Aidan, Motherhood

A little moment

I just wanted to pen this moment down before I forget it.

Last night, I went to pick up Aidan from my in-laws’ as usual. He was sitting on his Nai Nai’s lap and wanting for me. As I got out from the car, I saw his eyes light up in recognition and delight. He started bouncing up and down, pointed at me and shouted, “Mama!”

My heart melted.

Right now, the little man’s favouritest person in the world is mama and I am relishing it. I know that one day, he is no longer going to want to be a mama’s boy. One day, holding mama’s hand will no longer be cool, and neither is kissing mama on her lips. One day, he will want to hang out with papa, because they can do boy stuff together. One day, he will prefer to have meals and watch movies with his friends. One day, his parents will no longer be the people whom his world orbits around and we will be seen as fuddy-duddies.

But right now, he loves me unconditionally. And I, him.

Geek Girl

Hello, bubsicles!

14 months after delivering my little man, I went through a lengthy process of coming up with another baby: my new site, Bubsicles.


Bubsicles was born out of my identity as a mother and it was really a desire for me to build a community of women sharing their experiences of being and becoming mothers openly, freely and without prejudice. Too often do we see “mommy wars” being ignited. If anything, parenthood has taught me that there are many different options out there and not one is better than the other.

I started toying with the idea last year but it took a while for me to get my act together and I bought the domain name in November. Then work took over my life, I was busy fighting fires in school and the little man slept so poorly. Somehow, through sleep-heavy eyelids and fuzzy brains, I managed to put together a site that looks halfway decent.

There are times when I think I must be crazy, starting a new project when I barely have the time and energy to deal with whatever is on my plate now. Call it itchy fingers or being a stubborn old mule – but once I had that idea in my head, I could not get over it without getting it done. Yannisms will still be here and I will still be writing about this little boy of mine. Bubsicles is more about life as a mother and all the tips and tricks that get me through it.

So here it is, my bubsicles. Right now there’s just me and me alone but I hope to be able to gather more women in future to share their words and lives. In the meantime, enjoy and please send any feedback or suggestion this way!

The organised chaos

Mama’s girl

As I sit here typing this, my nose is running, my hands are as cold as ice, and the back of my throat feels like sandpaper. It’s no exaggeration when I say that I FEEL LIKE CRAP. And obviously, I look like crap too.

BUT. That is not the point. I am not here to whine and whinge about my illness. Okay, maybe just a little. WHINE WHINE WHINE. Now stop.

I have never appreciated how much work my mother put into bringing me up until I became a mother myself. It’s so cliched but true. As a mother, you don’t have “off” days. Even if you are sick, you still have to haul your ass up to do whatever is necessary because your child needs you. My baby isn’t going to feed, bathe and put himself to bed just because mama is feeling ill. Even if you had a bad day at work, you still have to put on a big smile and pull on that Mama hat because you just have to.

At least I have a helper now who can take over the cleaning up, and a husband who is able to put my little man to bed while I lie on the bed for a brief respite. Back then, my mother never had any of that. It was just her and two kids, whom she had to bring up by herself.

As someone who never had the privilege of education, she had to work long hours in order to feed us two. And she missed out on so many priceless moments of our lives. Not once was she able to attend the ceremonies in which I received book prizes, neither did she attend a single choir performance of my life. And I sang for 13 YEARS.

Which is why now that I have my own child, I am absolutely insistent on letting her have at least partial care of A while I am at work. She never had the chance to be joyful about our growth, it was always about survival for her. How to make sure that we have the money to go to school and pay for textbooks, how to make enough money such that we are not deprived of little treats like renting books to read (for me). Toys were non-existent in our house but books, oh my, all the books that I read!

Now that the stress of having to bring up her own children is out of the way, she can finally relax and just be a caregiver. And it’s evident that she is enjoying it immensely. She shifted all her furniture out of the way so that the boys have a large space to run/crawl/ride their trikes, switched out pieces that had sharp corners to those without, and plays with them. She turns on music and encourages them to dance, and takes them down to the playground every evening.

Never mind that her house has been turned topsy turvy, never mind that toys line the hallway, never mind that milk bottles clutter her dining table. It’s a little house that’s full of love and warm and joy. The house speaks of laughter and tears and milestones reached.

Sure, the situation is not perfect. She gets upset with me when I refuse to feed A porridge (I mean, he gets porridge EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Surely it’s not wrong for me to offer him variety.), turns on the TV in the house even though I have said that I am limiting A’s exposure to TV, and slips some sugar into the chrysanthemum or barley drink that she feeds him.

But to see her eyes light up every time A smiles at her? And to see my little man kiss her goodbye? It’s well worth it.