Nuffnang

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Embracing our Femininity

Femininity. Such a cringe worthy word that for the longest time I used to hate the word. You see I always associated Femininity with weakness. I always thought being born a female meant that I would forever be plagued with this "femininity" and always seen as weak, unable, sensitive and just the "weaker" of the sex. I watched Disney cartoons and hate how princesses are always seen as needing help or a prince, how they're always in pastel colours, puffy princess dresses and sweet sing-song voices. I hated it because again, it depicted "softness" and also because I was none of those things. I wasn't sweet or sensitive or overly kind and I certainly could not sing even if I was offered a million dollars. That was me and I was not what would be typically defined as "feminine".

It wasn't until much later when I really realised that femininity isn't so "taboo". I grew up in an era where women fight to be just like the men, to behave like men, to dress like men and whatever men were "defined" as, women wanted to be "defined" the same way as well. I find this way of thinking so flawed because we are not men. If we were men, we would have been born with a dick (excuse the crass) but we aren't. And so, we take it one step further. If we can't be the men, we try to make ourselves more superior than the men. We make boost ourselves up, say things like "girls are better" or "we don't need men", we belittle our men, we look down on them and we return the "favour" men has given us just so that they "get a taste of their own medicine" which again is so flawed. Because men were born a certain way, just as women are born a certain way. 

In our case, we were born with femininity. So what is femininity? This thing I used to think as a weakness, is actually the furthest from the truth. Maybe Disney may portray femininity as a damsel in distress but the bible portrays femininity as strength. Hannah, Esther, Mary and the list goes on. Women who has grace, kindness, gentleness and a different kind of strength from men. An inner strength, the way we are able to show grace and forgiveness, the way we are able to mother kids and build them up, the way we have the ability to encourage our men or tear them down, the way we have persistence and desire, and of course the power of seduction. It was then I realised that femininity isn't a behaviour, it's a characteristic - our soul. It's there from birth and it's something that we have that men don't. 

The fact is, we ARE different from men. From the obvious physical differences right down to our psyche. We were never meant to be "the man". We were never meant to be them. Yes, we deserve to be treated equal, to be heard, to be respected, to be treasured but we don't have to tear down our men to get to where we want to be. We don't have to belittle them until they lose their voice and their ego.  

But most of all, in the race to achieve equality, we don't have to lose our femininity. If you can't be feminine, the one thing that really defines your "woman"- title, then what gives you the right to fight for women when you can't even accept your own self? 

-Ally 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Thankful For This Body


The other day I was scrolling on Facebook and was met with an advert from a cosmetic clinic. To say I wasn't affected by it would be a lie. Those ads made me nitpick my flaws - the lack of a V-shape face, the craters called pores on my nose and chin, the flab of skin that did not shrink back on my lower tummy after two pregnancies, the stretch marks on my thighs from countless years of weight gain and loss and gain and loss... the list goes on. To say that I wasn't tempted to go ahead with a quick nip and tuck would also be a lie because I was. I was now in a position where I could afford such procedures without having to ask for parental funding which meant I could also bypass parental permission and as for the hubs... I would have figured something out if I really wanted to.

As tempting as it was and getting more convinced with each "before and after" photo of other successful stories that I needed to fix my "flaws", I looked up and saw my daughter watching me. Instant guilt. I keep telling my daughter she's beautiful the way she is, how her "imperfections" make her gorgeous, how she doesn't have to change anything about herself and how she must always love herself. Here I am not feeling happy about myself and all these "imperfections".

I shut my Facebook and came to a realisation these "flaws" are the result of something beautiful. These flaws are my stories on my body and in my skin. The sun spots from my highschool days of high jumps, long jumps and relay races, the scars on my legs from the many years of ice-skating and falling and getting up again just to nail that one element, the stretch marks and flabby skin from carrying two beautiful babies inside me, the eye bags from the many sleepless nights of feeding and comforting two babies back to sleep when they wake up in hunger or fear and how this body of mine has taken care of me when I had let it down. When I starved myself because I thought I was fat, when I stayed up 4 days straight to "study", when I wore contact lenses for 7 days straight because I was too lazy to remove them and many other "stupid" things I did to it, it still took care of me, still protected me and still worked hard for me. 

In that moment I realised that my body is amazing. I won't say never to plastic surgery because who knows one day my body will need help to look and feel like me but for now, I'm comfortable and accept these "flaws" about myself. One thing is for sure, I will always be thankful for this body. For the many stories it has allowed me to write so that I can share them to you. 

-Ally

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

I. Don't. Know. How. To. Do. This.

"You make being a mom of two look easy!"

Oh, if only I could make anything related to motherhood easy. Reality is nothing about being a mom is easy. NOTHING. Even the simple things like getting dressed in the morning is crazy with two kids wanting your attention! What does a mom have to do to get two minutes alone so that she can have even eyebrows?!!! #thestruggleisreal guys, it really is.

Right from the moment you find that "+", you are faced with the daunting task of carrying a life for nine months. On top of worrying about weight gain, stretch marks, water retention and blood pressure among many other health concerns, the whole time you're awake you're wondering if that thing inside you leeching whatever energy and nutrients you have is getting enough of what it needs to grow. You're concerned with the number of kicks and all that pregnancy stuff right up to the moment you have to push that thing with a 25cm diameter of a head out of a 10cm hole.... and then they tell you that's the easy part. It's at that moment you realise nothing about being a mom is easy. 

I was naive the first time I became a mother. I thought it would be a breeze in the park. I thought babies were easy thinking that they would sleep all the time except when to eat and poop, oh how wrong I was. I laugh at my naivety and innocence. I laugh at how I thought I got this mother gig down. I laugh at how I thought I could do everything I had planned while being a mama without help. Oh, superwoman I am not. I learnt a very humbling lesson when I had LittleLim. I did not have any of this down. In fact for the very first time I was alone with this tiny human being I call my daughter, I realised that I don't know how to do this. Almost 3 years later and today as I stare at my daughter having a meltdown, I realised again, I don't know how to do this. 

But I also know that I am responsible for this life I have brought to this world. I am responsible for these two precious beings. So what do you do when you don't know how to do this - you wing it. Some days you win and some days you lose. Some days you get your "techniques" challenged and proven wrong, other days you win. And when it really gets too much, call for help. That's what I did with my second child. I am very very very lucky that I have so many people on speed dial. I am also very lucky my mother in law is so kind and generous to come and help me and is still helping me almost 7 months later. 

I don't know how to be a mom of two. I have not figured it out. I don't know how to split my attention and focus to two kids. I don't know how to let one cry while I tend to the other. I don't know how to wake up each night and tend to two kids. I just don't know. Till today, I have not ventured out of the house with the two kids all by myself. I tried when BabyJ was 2 months and freaked out. I got as far as buckling two kids in the car seat, all prepared to drive out when fear crippled me. I chickened out and cancelled our outing. Today, if I ever go out with two kids, I have help. I tell myself maybe when BabyJ is older, I'll be able to handle both. Maybe. 

So really, if you're going to judge my motherhood journey on a bunch of squares or this blog... it's definitely going to sound and look easy because there's only so much pictures and a few hundred words can tell. But the reality is, so much more happens in the real world. I'm want to be as honest as I can here and I feel that it's not fair to me or you when you think I'm winning this motherhood gig because the truth is far from it. 

All I can tell you is that if it's not for all the help I have on hand, I wouldn't survive this mom of two thing because most of the time, I'm just screaming I don't know how to do this in my head while smiling on the outside because I don't want my kids to know that I'm losing it. 

But hey, I also know of moms who are totally winning it and they are my heroes and inspiration. Maybe one day, I'll be just like these amazing moms.

-Ally

Monday, 8 January 2018

LittleLim First Day Of School 2018



I couldn't sleep the night before, running through checklists in my head. Does she have her water bottle? Does she have extra clothes? Did I put her comfort bunny in her school bag? While mommy is stressing out on the first day of school, the girl who is returning to school snores away oblivious to the over worried mommy. Of course, that extra kaw cup of Old Town White Coffee didn't help.

Eventually I did get some 3 hour sleep and bounced right out of bed at 7.30am. I was definitely more excited of LittleLim's first day than she was, anticipating the next 4 hours kid free. "Gooooooood morning Sunshine!" I sang as I nudged Sleeping Beauty out of bed. Groggily she opened one eye and flopped back under the covers. Such a morning person this one *roll eyes*

Milo and crackers. That's what LittleLim had that morning for brekkie. Soon the excitement crept in and she was bouncing out the door like a champ. I had to capture this photo, the moment my baby girl isn't a helpless toddler anymore but a young girl heading to school. Carrying her own bag and walking on her own.

I turned to Hubbycat and saw the same expression I had on his face. I understood. Our girl has grown up into a fine independent young lady. A part of us still in denial of that fact.

"Come on Mommy! Come on Daddy!" she screams as she runs into the lift. Ah, first day of school.

My darling, as you head in to school for the first time this year, new class, new teachers, new friends always remember our words:

1. Be kind to everyone. Even the ones who are a little bit weird and unfriendly. Be kind to your teachers and even Uncle Guard. Be kind.

2. Have fun learning. It's not about the grades or how you compare with everyone else. Mommy and daddy don't focus on those things but on your journey. Try your best, always participate, ask questions, keep learning, be open to new things and opinions and find yourself.

3. Always be you. Be confident and never limit yourself. Remember my saying "you can do it!" and always be your own cheerleader!

We love you always.

-Mommy

Friday, 5 January 2018

I Am Mommy


It's 2018, 5 days into January. What have you been doing? For me, the most part of it, was and still is a blur. It still hasn't sunk in yet that it's 2018. But that being said, it's never too early or late for personal reflections. I try, try, to figure out what makes me, me. It's funny because I worked so hard to not let things define me. I refuse to get tied down to a type or get too attached to things. I like to feel like I'm a river, flowing freely, moving with the tide and being anyone or anything I feel like at that moment. I pride the fact that I am not easy to read and that element of surprise, my strength.

Ever since I became a mom, I felt like a huge chunk of my identity was robbed. I felt like I had to find something I could call my own. I clung on to the past and would feel sad that I could no longer go back to who I was pre-kids. It didn't help when people tell me to find something that is me, away from the mommy identity. They tell me that I need to have something that's mine, away from the kids, so that when the time comes for them to leave, I still have me. That thought does play a lot in my head, but the more that I think about it,  about defining me, the more I come closer to my identity as a mom. 

That's a scary thought. Scary because I never really dreamt of being a mommy. In fact for the most part of my youth, I disliked kids. A LOT. I would stay away from these snot nosed, dirty fingers, always crying tiny humans. Sometimes I wonder if I really do like kids now... I do. At least my kids and the kids I have the privilege of getting to know. But liking kids is one thing, to have them be your identity was something I had to ponder a while. 

It's funny, I love my me-time. I love doing things by myself. I love that I'm now at a Starbucks alone, hashing this out without having to look over my shoulder and see if my kids are being a nuisance or attempting to kill themselves. I love it but there's a part of me that misses them. That can't wait for it to be 12.45PM so I can go pick my LittleLim up from school. A part of me that wants to go back and hear their screaming and crying, to clean poop and mop spit up, to sing to my babies and play pretend - a part of me that can't wait to be mommy. As crazy as that sounds, I miss them.  




And then it clicks. I am a mommy. I will always be mommy. There's nothing in this world that can take that away from me even when the kids grow up and leave the nest to make their own, I will still be their mommy. While I like all the things I can do by myself and find ways to focus and build my own identity away from the kids, for the rest of my life, mommy will be my identity.

If given a choice to choose what truly defines who I am - business, hobbies, leisure, people - I will always go back to being mommy. At the end of the day, even if I become some recluse, unknown to the world, as long as my kids know who their mommy is, I would die happy. That is a pretty liberating thought. 

In 2018, less struggling more accepting. Maybe then I won't be so hard on myself and my kids. Also, more mommy stories on this blog. Hopefully.

-Ally

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Ditch It.

3 more days till 2017 comes to an end and 2018 begins. I'm faced again with another blank page to write about how my year was and my plans for 2018 and to be honest, I'm a bit at a lost. Not lost because I don't have anything to look forward to or lost because nothing great happened, but lost because there's just too much to write, to be thankful and grateful for and too much to appreciate. 

I started the year with one goal, that is to survive 2017. I chose survive because I was afraid of sinking again with the birth of BabyJ. I was afraid of the black cloud that happens with newborns, the zombie modes, the loss of free time and identity and as I prepared myself for the happiest day of my life, I also prepared for the hardest part of it. Today, I am proud to say that I more than survived. I am kind of thriving as well. Motherhood round two has been going really well and smooth. Not only did I survive the not-so-gloomy days of having a newborn, I am enjoying it more and enjoying being a mom of two. 

But that is not all. In the midst of juggling two kids and a newborn, I managed to expand myself and not lose myself. I pushed myself harder and made time for other things besides my children. It was difficult because any mom knows you really don't stop being a mother. Thank God for flexible people and time. As I started doing other things, I found myself becoming vibrant, sharper and more myself. This year I not only became a mom of two, I also became my husband's business partner and my father's shadow. I wasn't sure in the beginning if I was cut out for it but I decided to take the leap. Afterall one is my hubbycat and one is my father, if anything I could always say enough if it wasn't working out. Again, survive was my goal and took it one day at a time. 

Initially it wasn't easy going into office and having to leave BabyJ at home with my mil but my mil has been so amazing and I am so thankful for her stepping in to help me out. It was because of her, I was able to do everything I wanted to without having to worry about the kids. I'm not a supermama, I have plenty of help. 

It's true that with all these things filling up my time, I do get stretched but it doesn't feel impossible. I wake up with a 1001 things on my mind but never once do I feel overwhelmed or tired. That is when I knew I am where I am supposed to be. Waking up at 8am, cleaning diapers, attending meetings, looking at accounts (and I hate accounts), meeting new people, catching up with friends, putting kids to sleep - it never feels like a chore. 

The biggest change I had to make was managing my time. I've always been an overachiever and I always try to do EVERYTHING. Too many balls in the air doesn't help anybody. It was challenging for me initially to switch between my roles but I learnt that if I help on to all my roles, I wasn't being efficient and was hurting not only myself but the others who need my full attention. So I learnt to turn off and just be present. Again, survival. It was uncomfortable and it did make me feel guilty especially when I had to turn mom-mode off but I saw the rewards. On top of that, I knew I had to make time to be there for my husband and my friends as well. That's why I never take for granted any time spent with the people who loves me. 

In my surviving, I learnt 3 things:

1. It's okay to be selfish. It's okay to focus on yourself, your family, your work because if you don't value yourself to take care of yourself, no one else will. 

2. Never let someone else's problem become your problem. Unless you have no problems in life then by all means go ahead. But if you're like me juggling so many people, responsibilities and tasks - then don't be hero and take on more problems. Never let someone else guilt you into walking their valleys with them. It's okay to say no because you have your own valley. That being said, always help when you can, always give kindness and always be understanding. 

3. Trust yourself to know you. I always am faced with this whenever I embark on a journey - people, well meaning or not, will tell me I'm taking on too much, share their negative experience, doubt me or just straight on tell me I'm wrong. I've learnt to take everything with a pinch of salt and always trust yourself to know you. 

And one very important trait to have - the "Ditch it" mentality. 

If a person, plan or advice isn't working for you - ditch it. Don't let it hold you ransom, don't let it rob you of your confidence and most of all, don't let it mess with your peace. 

For 2018, I am not sure what to expect or what I want to achieve. As always I don't really have a goal or a resolution - I just want to be thankful, at peace and expanding. Always expanding... just not sideways or on the scale >.< 

-Ally


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Malaysian Made : Kids Edition



"Buatan Malaysia" used to give me a negative perception because just like how China goods have a reputation for not being long lasting, I had a perception that Malaysian made goods were of poor quality and had no standards. I mean compared to brands like Zara, Crabtree & Evelyn, Keihls, Sephora, Gap and the likes where I usually do my shopping, I did have my reservations on things produced in Malaysia. Yes clearly not a very proud Malaysian back then. 

However, this year, that all changed. It started when I had to buy for LittleLim a traditional Malay costume for her Hari Raya celebration in school. I didn't know a physical shop to get her Baju Melayu so I turned to Google and Instagram. I stumbled on POKOKS and didn't think twice about making a purchase. I found a pink and blue traditional piece which looked stunning in pictures and very reasonably priced. I prepared myself that it could be a dud and eventually had to find a physical store - but as you can tell from the picture above, I didn't need to. The quality is top notch, the skirt thick and wonderful quality, beautifully designed and most of all, made right here on our home soil. Faith in "Buatan Malaysia" restored. I've been a loyal POKOKS customer since that purchase and because of that, I've also been trying to consciously be on a look out for Malaysian made goods or to buy Malaysian. I mean why should we be sending our money out of the country when we have really fantastic companies right here at home that does amazing quality products, supports our economy and improves the lives of our fellow citizens?

Since then I have made a few purchases from kids clothing to artisan goods such as household items to food from a few local shops. But today I'm going to focus on the Kids. Below are a few of my local favourites and I stand by them as the goods I've purchased are of amazing quality both workmanship and quality. Do note that I am not paid or sponsored by any of the companies mentioned below and all opinions are my own. #notanad #notsponsored


POKOKS



Three words come to mind when I think of POKOKS : Fun, Comfort, Nature. Inspired by Malaysia - the designs are very localised and I always feel a sense of Malaysian pride when I see LittleLim donning their pieces. I also love that they are not too fitting allowing for my little explorer to explore, play and look stylish at the same time. The materials are well chosen as well as it's airy and cooling in our Malaysian heat. Definitely very practical pieces. I think I have bought almost all of their designs for LittleLim. 

Until the 9/1/2018, POKOKS is having their Year End Sales! The best time to buybuybuy!


Whimsigirl

 

When I think of Whimsigirl, I think of minimalist comfort and style. This set I bought for LittleLim is as luxurious as it looks. This was the one set that got LittleLim a lot of compliments when we went to New Zealand because it's so different from what you usually find in store. People love her crossover pants as it's so unusual for a child to don pants usually designed for adults. I also love that this set is so versatile as it's so simple and fits most occasions! They also have pieces for adults and trust me, they're on my next purchase list! 


Sereni & Shentel



Sereni & Shentel makes amazing headbands, hair clips for both adults and kids but to be completely honest, I'm only willing to spend THAT much on the kids. I mean look how cute these clips are and the colours, GORGEOUS! There are so many amazing pieces to choose from and every Monday, they have Flash Sales where you can pick up selected items for a huge discount! Each piece is very secure and feels expensive and luxurious. If gold logo hardware and the gold crocodile clips don't scream luxe, I don't know what will. 


Lucy Loves Ribbons


Lucy Loves Ribbons makes really good hair accessories as well for kids at a more reasonable price. Each design is hand crafted and the materials are locally sourced. Our favourites are the huge bows - the one LittleLim is wearing in this picture. Big bows are sooo dramatic - SO GOOD. 


Other noteable Brands that Focus on Kids: 

1. Applecrumby & Fish - I get all my baby goods from here! My favourites are their own brand Baby Wipes. 

2. Bebebundo - Handcrafted soft-soled shoes. 

I'm always on the lookout for other Malaysian brands especially for the kids! Got one you love that I don't know about? Let me know!

-Ally

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Don't Hit My Child

In light of recent news, I just wanted to share my thoughts on physical discipline. When I read the news about a teacher slapping a student in hopes of correcting an undesirable behaviour, it struck a raw nerve. You see, I grew up in the era where teachers could strike a student with a cane and not get questioned. Would I allow my children to such practices? NEVER. When I read of the news two very personal incidences came to mind.

The first memory is of me. Primary school. Standard 3. Our class was making a ruckus because we didn't have a teacher in class. Who at 9 years old is mature enough to really sit down and behave when there is no authority figure? So naturally, no teacher meant free roam, talking with classmates, shouting across the classroom, disturbing others, laughing - in other words, noisy and chaotic. Our vice principal stormed in angrily with a cane and demanded we all return to our seats and be quiet. In the process he struck a number of the boys with his cane. I remember in the process of him berating the class, I started drinking water. I don't know why I did it. I know I should be afraid but I've always been a little bit rebellious. I guess in the middle of ignoring his temper tantrum, I forgot he was still there. The next thing I know, he slammed the cane on my table and shouted at me "MINUM APA?!" (what are you drinking?) I still remember my response, very calmly I told him, "If drinking water is wrong, talk to my parents." I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong and I knew my parents would kick up a fuss if he ever laid the cane on me. At that age, my parents have taught me that discipline should be done right and not a show of "power" and "authority". Also, my parents taught me that the teacher had no right to lay a hand on me without first telling me where I had gone wrong and also if I had misbehaved, any corporal punishment needed to get their approval. That was my parents and that empowered me. For which I am very glad and thankful for because it allowed me to go to school without fear and it was this covering of my parents that allowed me to question everything instead of blindly following the rules. It allowed me to think for myself and be independent.

The second memory happened about 3 months ago. We were at JPN making BabyJ's passport. We were waiting for about 2 hours and for any toddler, that feels like FOREVER. No toddler can sit still for 2 hours. If yours does, then tell me your secret! As far as I know, no toddler ever can. In that two hours, LittleLim had to release all her pent up energy. She started climbing the bench I was sitting on and jumping off. I made sure she wasn't a nuisance to anyone. We sat relatively far away from the crowd and I was the only one sitting on the bench. Suddenly, a lady, whom I have never met before, came up to LittleLim, raised her voice and started scolding her. LittleLim being my daughter, clearly inherited my rebellious gene and ignored the lady which agitated her more. By the second time, the lady reached out to grab LittleLim and Hubbycat stepped in, deflected her grab and told the lady "Don't touch to MY daughter." If Hubbycat had not stepped in, I certainly would have because no one manhandles my kid.

I understand the frustration of a disobedient a child. I understand the anger that comes from a child PURPOSELY disobeying a direct order. I'm a parent, do you think I not know? But I believe that the responsibility of physically disciplining a child belongs to the parents. It's simply because the act of a physical discipline leaves a permanent impression on the child's spirit that we may not see. If done wrongly, it cripples a child and breaks their spirits. I'm not saying that teachers don't have the right to discipline and correct. By all means, teachers are put in a position of authority to lead, educate and empower.

So how should teachers discipline? I like the way LittleLim's school approaches discipline. If ever a child misbehaves, the school takes the child out, calls the parents and talks to the parent. They never strike a child out of anger or to instill fear. The furthest they go is telling the child what the mistake is and then correction. I've made so many mistakes in school but the best teachers are the ones that sit me down and correct me in private. Not with threats, fear or public humiliation. But what if the parents can't control the child? Then the world will when they're an adult. But as far as things go, I firmly believe that no one other than the parent should be allowed to lay a hand on a child.

As far as the teacher goes, I think he was in the wrong by striking a child let alone in public. If he really cared for the child, he would have sat down with the child, talk to him, educate and correct. If he did try that and the child still misbehaves, he should have escalated it to the parents. If even that failed -suspension or the worst case, expulsion. He certainly did not have the right to hit the child, it wasn't his place. If that was my child, I certainly would not have let it go so easily.

-Ally 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Two Kids



Wow. 12 more days and we close 2017. In some ways I regret not writing here more. I regret not documenting my #momlife and the amazing moments that happened in 2017. I regret that I did not update this space on the two lives that has changed mine. Some part of me convinced myself that no one wanted to read about these things and that no one cares what BabyJ has accomplished or what LittleLim is going through or what mom life is for me, so I stopped writing about us forgetting that the reason I created this space was for me. But I know that life is best lived without regrets and so, I will try to to make up for the mistake I have made and try to recap on what has been happening with us. 

Today, I begin with the two kids that run our lives.


LittleLim


This year LittleLim started her journey into toddlerhood. The first few months of her turning two was very pivotal for me as it dawned on me that my daughter isn't a baby anymore who doesn't know better. She's now a toddler who thinks she knows better but really doesn't. Each passing month, I see her personality and character make its way out. Sometimes it scares me that she's so much like me because my parents did NOT have it easy. "Mini Ally" is one we use in endearment and fear. Today she's stubborn, decisive, independent, determined, rebellious, creative, loving and not shy.

I still remember her first day of school in May2017. While Hubbycat and I were worrying about her adjusting to her new environment, she walked past the school doors without looking back. No tears. No drama. The following months, I would be told that my daughter is very independent, noisy, bossy and easily adapts to the changes around her. In school she has picked up many skills, talking being the first. She started with pointing and today communicates what she wants fluently. Other skills include learning her alphabets and numbers, singing, dancing and life skills. Some of the positive changes is learning to work with others, manners, habits such as cleaning up and meal time etiquettes, as well as having a routine. School definitely was a great decisions and we're so proud of LittleLim for doing so well. As the year ends, we looked through her crafts, worksheets and reports with a lot of joy, pride and love. 

Another major moment this year was LittleLim developing a mild Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in October2017. That was something I was not prepared for and it broke my heart when I saw LittleLim suffering from mouth ulcers. How I would have done anything to take her place and suffer for her. Again, she showed her resilience and strength. Not one to be beaten this little girl. 

Travelling has also been more interesting with LittleLim this year as she able to comprehend the things happening around her and making sense of what's going on. She fully emerges herself in the moments. Till today she talks about her travel experiences and asks me when the next holiday will be. Definitely bitten by the travel bug. 

As of June2017, she became a big sister. I was afraid that she would feel threatened by the arrival of BabyJ, but again, I was proven wrong. She is an amazing big sister - protective, kind, loving. My father loves to tell the story where she would not let him or anyone else touch her little brother because she was protecting him. That's LittleLim. She tells me to "feed didi" when he cries or when he's asleep she would tell everybody to "keep quiet! didi sleeping!". Of course, didi isn't stealing her toys now... so we'll see what happens when that happens. 

In more ways than one, LittleLim has been my companion. Whenever possible, I'd make it a choice to have her with me. Whether it's a meeting that's kid friendly, grocery shopping or just using my computer - I love having her by my side. She is amazing at keeping me company. She tells me stories and talks about her day. Sometimes she gets confused between what really happened yesterday with today, or what is video and what is real life - but she tries. I love that. 

Most of all, I'm so happy LittleLim knows how loved she is. There is no ounce of fear in this little girl. Her spirit is strong and her affection is limitless. Sometimes she just bursts into a fit of laughs, kisses and hugs. Sometimes she shouts "I LOVE YOU!" randomly. These moments make my heart swell and if there's one thing I want her to know, is that - LOVE. 


BabyJ


BabyJ. Somedays like today, I can't believe that my second child turns 6 months tomorrow. I'm in denial because didn't I just gave birth? Where did that one winky eye baby go? How is it that he is so long, so heavy, so handsome (I'm so biased) already? Some days I wished I had more time with BabyJ. More time to appreciate him, to be fully involved with his growth and to be completely present for each moment. But this time, with LittleLim and more responsibilities, it has been hard. But for the moments I was able to be around, I have watched my son grow. 

In terms of baby behaviour, he is the opposite of LittleLim. He's mostly zen. He isn't easily flustered and is easy to handle. He sleeps like a pro since birth with sleeping through the night by the 3rd week. He has been able to self soothe himself back to bed and does not require any rocking to sleep at all. I could never imagine what it would be like until it happened because till today, I'm still rocking LittleLim to sleep. 

With BabyJ, Hubbycat and I were more prepared and more experienced. That helped as we did not make the same "mistakes" we did with LittleLim. We allowed him to cry without rushing in to rescue him, we made him use the pacifier and the bottle in tandem with direct latching, he had to use the pram because LittleLim would demand to be carried and in turn, he loves the pram and is able to even fall asleep in it and most of all, we allowed him to be by himself without always being carried.

In terms of development, BabyJ is much faster. At 4 months he mastered the "roll" both ways. At 5 months, he started showing signs of sitting. As of today he can "tripod" himself. It still feels surreal to me that in a few days time, I would be preparing and giving him his first taste of solid food at 6 months. As of today, I'm still unsure if I'm going to be BLW with BabyJ or feeding him as I did with LittleLim. We'll cross that bridge when it comes. 

And with that concludes my little round up with LittleLim and BabyJ. The two bosses. Life is definitely more fun, crazy and loving with them. 

Next year I will be more diligent with updating!
-Ally

Thursday, 23 November 2017

5 Years Anniversary


We've been a bit snappy at each other lately. Maybe it's the kids, maybe it's work, maybe it's us working so closely together, maybe it's the lack of sleep or maybe it's just one of those seasons where too much is happening at the same time and we're just trying to keep our head above water, learning to readjust and find our new center.  

As I got angrier thinking of what has transcended, of the things that was said and getting irritated, I stopped. I always stop whenever I'm on the verge of losing my cool to the point I want to cut you because you know, I'm crazy that way and if I keep thinking about it, eventually I'll do it. Heh. So I stopped. I questioned myself "Was it really THAT bad?!" and the answer always is no. Because it's never really THAT bad when it comes to you. Actually, you're never bad. NEVER.

As I stood over the sink, I tried to imagine a life without you. That imaginary life scared me. I don't want a life without you. I don't want a life where you're not the one annoying me, mentally challenging me, getting irritated at me, debating me, getting all up in my space, snoring so loudly and waking me up - I don't want the perfect life because this imperfect life with you doing all THOSE things is pretty perfect to me.

The truth is, I can survive on my own. I just don't want to because you complete me. I don't want to because I'm the happiest and the best when I'm with you. You make all those adult mundane things we do fun. You make doing all those frustrating life moments less nerve wrecking. You even make the fun happy moments even more amazing. With you around I'm more inspired to do better, try harder, be more and go further in life. The fact that you have never once held me back from doing whatever I wanted to and that you have never made me feel like I needed to choose between family or myself speaks volumes of how much you are constantly encouraging me to push my limits. 

And then I am reminded what marriage is. It's not a promise that we'll never get all the ugly in life. Instead it's a promise that no matter how ugly life gets, we will walk together hand-in-hand. It's a promise that you can count on me to stay even during moments of crisis (identity crisis included), during moments of heartbreak, moments of solitude, moments of pain and suffering and moments of ugliness - I'll be there. On our wedding day, I vowed that I will always protect your heart, and I will till the day I die. Because you are my person and my everything. There's no life without you.

Dear Hubbycat, 

5 years since we pledged ourselves to each other. I remember so many amazing moments with you but it's the hard, ugly moments that shows me what an amazing man I've married. Do you remember the time where we worried about money? Or the time where you and I had so little sleep and one tiny baby to take care of? Or the time where I was in a dark place and didn't know how to get out of? Those times I do wonder if you'll get frustrated with me and leave? And to be honest, if you did leave I really wouldn't blame you but you would always tell me "I signed up for this" and you would find a way to ease my burden and hold my hand while we figure things out. Thank you for always choosing me and not the fastest way out. Always.

In our five years of marriage, you never once made me feel insignificant or small. You'd never try to control me, the way I spend or the way I live. You always tell me "What's mine is yours" or "It's okay, I'll make more" or "Don't worry, be you" these words always comforts me and empowers me. Never once do I feel judged for the mistakes I've made and you never make me feel bad for all my imperfections. 

Thank you for teaching me about life, people, finance, marketing, cooking and even driving. Thank you for always coming to my  rescue whenever I get stuck or face a difficult situation. You always boost my self-esteem and you make me feel like a queen at home. Thank you for all the amazing stories I get to share with our kids, the precious moments and beautiful memories. Most of all, thank you for never being afraid of telling me you love me and the kids. Look at us now, 5 years of marriage, 2 kids and plenty of stories. 

I pray LittleLim will find a husband as amazing as you and I pray BabyJ will grow up to be just like you. I love you. I respect you. I honor you. I choose you. Always and forever. Whether it's 5 years, 15 years or 50 years - I will still be saying these words to you, God willing. 

To the love of my life, my Hubbycat, Happy 5th Anniversary. I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow. 

-Ally