Nuffnang

Friday, 27 April 2018

When She's Ready - Our Toilet Story



This story, I want to remember always. Not because it is a huge milestone, which it is, toilet training is a huge deal. I want to remember this because of how we got to this stage where LittleLim is able to go diaperless without any dramas. 

Baby Ally spoils market. Baby Ally was potty trained at 9 months old. Baby Ally did not wet the bed. Baby Ally was reallllly good. Or that's what my mother, grandmother and aunty tells me. Baby Ally has set the standard really high. When LittleLim was 9 months old, LittleLim was still in diapers. Many people tell me that she is ready to learn how to use the toilet with many tips and advice thrown in. 

"Just spank her and she will know how to use the toilet."
"Reward her! Give her stars when she uses the potty."
"Just take off her diaper." 
"9 Months is too late to learn already! Better start now."

Reaaaally helpful. Of course, me being me who loves to do things MY way, I turned a deaf ear and ignored it. My motto to everything "Eventually she'll learn (insert skill)". Of course at 18 months when she was still in diapers, people frowned. At 24 months still in diapers, everyone had something to say about my "failure" but hey, one ear in one ear out. You do you, I'll do me. 

I did get over excited and tried to force her to use the toilet. I bought a kids potty to encourage her to not use the diaper, I got her training pants and I even read her books and let her watch videos on toilet training to inspire her. It all failed. She hated the mini toilet and even more so the kid seat attachment. But the worst was when she would wake up in the middle of the night and cry because she peed in her diaper and felt like she made a mistake. That was the worst feeling I've ever felt as a mother because I caused the fear and paranoia she was feeling. After that, I stopped trying and told myself "When she's ready". We continued to let her wear her diaper. 

When LittleLim hit 2.5 years old, one day, she told me "Mummy, LittleLim wants to peepee". I was so happy she could tell me. Then she told me she wanted to go to the toilet. Quickly took out the potty which she flat out refused. "No, I want the big toilet!" Okay, took out the kid toilet seat attachment and put it on. "NO! I don't want this mommy!" and then took it off herself. I carried her on to the toilet seat and held on to her so afraid she would drop in. She did her job and jumped off. 

Then it happened again and again and again. Soon she was going to the toilet everytime she needed to pee and poo. And then she just went diaperless and that was it. She was potty trained. Just like weaning, walking, self feeding - she learnt everything on her own time. Little Miss Independent will figure it out "When She's Ready" and that has been our motto. I very rarely force her to learn new skills because to me, she will get there eventually. In the meantime, I try to enjoy her childness a bit more. I try to enjoy being needed a bit more. I try to enjoy it before she becomes so grown up and tells me "Mommy go outside and wait!" while she does her business. 

Then suddenly I'm the one not ready to let her go *cries*. 
-Ally

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Pain You Don't Feel, The Tears You Don't See


The word "STRONG" has many meanings to me. If there's one thing I know, I know that I'm strong. Even when my eyes are swollen from hours of crying, heart ripped out of my chest, breath caught in my throat, hands clammy and  and all that - I know I am strong. I know I am strong because I don't have a choice. Strength is the only thing that will keep me alive, it is the only thing that will drive me to survive, it is the one thing that tells my brain to work, my body to move and my hope to not fail. Strength is the only option left and without strength, I die. That being said, I also know I have moments of weakness. Moments when death sounds better than being strong. When I think of ending everything because the pain is too intense and life is just too hard. During these moments of weakness, I don't need someone to tell me to be strong. I need someone to remind me I matter, remind me it's going to be okay, remind me that one day I will feel like myself again. I don't need someone reminding me of my weakness and as if being strong is something I can choose to be. 

I used to think strength are for the people in the forefront fighting for us, that strength is loud and resolve, that strength is reserved for the fighters who make their fight public, who smile in the face of danger and trouble, who stand up loud and proud and for people who are brave enough to say that they are not okay. I am wrong. 

Over the past few days, I realise that strength is also quiet and cautious. Strength is not always seen, strength is a feeling and a drive that pushes you forward. You are strong even when the world doesn't know your fight. Even when the world doesn't see your demons, when the people closest to you don't feel your pain and see the tears you cry - you are still strong. You are strong because you are still here. You are still alive. 

Not having answers to the questions is not a sign of weakness. Not being able to stop the pain is not a sign of weakness. Not being able to be okay is not a sign of weakness. Weakness is when you give up, when you choose to die. That's weakness. But strength is the choice to keep going despite everything. Strength is a drive to face tomorrow. You are not weak if you're still here. 

-Ally

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Onion Plant called "Onion"








I'm envious of LittleLim. I wished my kindie was as cool as hers. I wished my teachers were as amazing as hers. I wished my parents had put me in a Montessori School, not just any Montessori school, but more specifically HER Montessori School. Lol. Her school is amazing on so many levels. From the amazing teachers right down to the infrastructure of the school - everything is just on point. 

Every term, LittleLim's school has a theme where they do activities around the theme. This term, the theme is "A Sustainable World" where the kids learn about the environment, nature and how to preserve the world. Such a meaningful theme and one I believe is never too early to be introduced. Among the many projects that is being organised, the latest one involved us parents as well. We parents were invited to help our kids out to grow onions to teach our kids the circle of life as well as the responsibility of keeping something alive. 

We were asked to bring "pots" recycled from empty bottles / milk cartons and then decorated them. LittleLim had a lot of fun bossing me around. "Draw clouds mommy!" "Draw grass!" "Mommy, I want to scribble!" "Mommy pass the stickers!" "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" and I was all "Yes miss bossy pants. Sure!" *rolls eyes* Such a mini me this one, definitely inherited the my bossy attitude. But we make a good team! So proud of our little masterpiece. LittleLim was extremely pleased with it! She kept asking to hold it and kept reminding me to show it to her homeroom aunty. Such a showoff *laughs*. 

That morning, we were introduced to the materials to plant onions. There were dried coconut shreds, soil, sand and of course onions! It was so educational because up until that point, I had no idea how to plant onions. Definitely not a green thumb here. I mean, planting, what is that?! Can eat one ah? (shhh, I already killed 3 plants back home *gulp*. I'm so thankful I'm not required to keep this plant alive.) We were asked to layer the material in that order and LittleLim did an amazing job. I could not help but wonder when did my baby grow up. She handled the scoop and everything so well without spilling anything. Not only that, she followed the instructions so well without any talk back or "no"! It was as if she was a completely different person in school compared to at home. School, I love you! I also noticed that she has inherited my perfectionism. She made sure everything was layered perfectly and she chose exactly TWO onions because it's a pair, and she made sure both onions are perfect size. 

After she was satisfied with her work, we headed out to the garden to put her little plant with the rest. The amount of effort the aunties put in is so commendable! They had turn the playground into a garden with wooden structures where the children's plants will later be hung on. Did I mention how I wished I was in LittleLim's school when I was younger? 

After putting her plant down, I asked her "What shall we name your onion plant?" She looked at me and answered, "Mommmyyy, ONION! Silly mommy?!" 

So there we go, an onion plant named Onion. Don't ask silly questions ok. *laughs*

-Ally

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Living In The Unknowing

I used to think that I could only function when I knew the answers. I grew up asking the big questions from a very early age. I set out to search for my identity and purpose from an early age. I did not waste time or my youth. I tried to make all the mistakes early on so that I would never be 31, lost and unsure. It was a good plan, no a great plan. One I am very proud of because at 29, I've managed to achieve things that people my age are now only figuring out. Before I reach 30, I've already been to places both the good and the bad. I've seen my worst and I've also seen my best. I know what works for me and what does not. 

And yet, at 29, I found myself at another crossroad. I found myself asking another set of questions that I have no answers for. I found myself wanting to know more and I want more answers. Again, I'm at a place where I have more answers than questions. A place where I am again, very very uncomfortable at. The fear, uncertainty and insecurities start creeping in. I start doubting everything I knew, myself and what life means. 

Principles and truths I thought were my foundation started to shake. Again, I am at a place where nothing makes sense again and in one too many situations, I started losing my sparkle. Life started feeling dull and uninteresting. I wondered about death and I started losing myself in my thoughts. I wandered into the darkness and my mood was a mess. The denial was the hardest part of everything and the thing that eventually broke everything.

At 29, I like to think I'm wiser to know that everything is just temporary, even this place of unknowing. I know to never settle and to never let it get the better of me. But first I had to accept that I am in a new place. A new stage of life and before anything new happens, I need to be okay with the search, I needed to live in the unknowing for a little bit. 

And so, that's where I am now. A bit here, a bit there and a lot everywhere. Thoughts split into many branches, I am stretched and pulled and the questions I have are plenty. I am now in a new search, a new stage and a new phase. I still have a lot of things to figure out and at 29, I know this is merely the beginning. I am not done yet and I don't want to be done. Not yet, not now. 

It's interesting how far you think you've gone only to realise that you really haven't gone very far. That the starting line is really just behind the horizon. You're not even 1/4 of the race yet. Sometimes it's so tiring because it feels like all you've been doing is running. It's frustrating because you realise there's still so much road ahead and you are impatient and just want to get to the end. I'm not sure if anyone has ever felt like this but I have, I am. 

But the good thing about being so far away from the end is that you can still catch up, still correct, still pace and still recollect. It's not too late to change. And maybe that's where I am at the moment. Changing again. In the process, the future is still unknown. 

One day, I'll have the answers. One of these days for sure. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

LittleLim









My darling daughter, the other day you were telling me a story you made up on the spot. It was such a creative and funny story about a princess, a pig, a sword fight and a lot of food. I was so amazed at how much you were absorbed into the storytelling that you were so unfiltered, so animated and so raw. I couldn't help but quickly grab the camera and started snapping you. Of course, you noticed it later and got annoyed because I wasn't paying attention, but looking at these pictures of you, so worth it!

My darling, you've grown so much. As I listened to you go on about your princess, a story which you completely made up yourself without any help, I am so amazed at your creativity and the ability to imagine such a fun and exciting adventure. My wish is that you never lose your ability to create stories. It will bring you far in life especially when things get hard and you need an escape. 

Your spontaneity always leaves me in wonder and it always brightens my day. I always look forward to the stories you will tell me and if you let me, I'll never stop listening to your stories. One day, the tables will turn and I will be reading posts about me from you. 

-Ally

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Missing BabyJ


My darling son, My BabyJ,

Two days ago, with a heavy heart, I sent you away to be with your grandma and grandpa. I know it was the right choice because it is not safe for you to be here at home with your sick sister. It would be even more painful if you had contracted her Chicken Pox and you at 9 months, that is something I am not prepared for you to face. While I knew it was the right choice, my heart was still burdened and heavy because it was just a few days ago that we were reunited and to be separated again from you so soon broke my heart. 

I made sure to give you an extra cuddle and a kiss before I passed you to your grandma. The longer I held on to you, the harder it was to let you go. You looked at me not knowing what was happening, eyes still groggy from sleep and still, you gave me a smile acknowledging me. As I watched you leave, I teared a little.

That night, I missed all of you. I missed you little snores that has now become my lullabye and comfort knowing that you were still breathing in your crib. I missed your little hand peeking out from behind your crib bumper as you wrestle imaginary teddy bears in your sleep. I missed your 1am and 5am milk alarms. And when morning came, I missed your 7.30am wake up calls. I miss waking up to you standing up and gripping the crib bars, I miss seeing your head peek above the bar, staring at me and then smiling at me as our eyes meet across the room. During the day, I missed your silly cooing, your smell, your smiles, your curious pitter patter as you crawl across the room - I missed you. 

I really realised how much you mean to me. How much my world has changed when you entered mine. All your routines has become mine and it was at this moment I realised how much I've grown to love you. I cannot imagine my life without you. The emptiness I feel without you here is something I hope I never have to experience again. 

Thankfully, this separation, this absence is only temporary. Thankfully your grandmother and grandfather are technology savvy and I am able to Facetime you and receive updates on you. I will see you soon my love. Till then, behave yourself and enjoy being spoilt by your grandparents. I love you my dearest son. 

Love,
Mommy

Friday, 16 March 2018

February 2018

I'm 16 days late but the days between February and March has been a blur of activity. The only reason this is possible is because I am suddenly faced with 10 days of nothing scheduled. Yesterday I had to cancel every plan I had because LittleLim has been diagnosed with Chicken Pox. Since I now have time, I'm going to recap February before mommy brain gets to me and I forget everything that happened in February!

February, gone too fast. Month of love, beginning of Spring and all things red and loud - February has been such a busy month with a whirlwind of activities for us.

First up the kiddies!
LittleLim




In February LittleLim has been going to school and making a lot of new friends. She is starting to adapt and adjust really well to the new routine and new classmates. She's also able to communicate more clearly now and is able to tell me how her day has been, what she and her friends have done, what she ate which is nice because I no longer have to play guessing games. I enjoy my drives with her now especially when she animatedly tells me stories about her friends. 

This month we decided to let her go out without diapers. She has been going diaperless at home and is able to tell us when she needs to go to the toilet but whenever we go out, we put her back in a diaper for good measure. She gets lazy with the diaper on and refuse to let us know when she needs to go. So one day, we decided to just go for it and she managed to be accident free! So proud of her. Since then, she has been going to school without diapers and have not had any accidents. She's almost diaper free, next up - NIGHTS! So happy that it has been a smooth journey so far without many accidents or tears. Miss Independent does it again - at her own pace and time. 

In February we also decided to be more serious with her "education". Teacher did express her concern about LittleLim's 123 and ABC recognition and asked if we practice with her at home... which we don't. She said we should because as the months go on, LittleLim's work will get more harder and complicated that if she doesn't master the basics there's a risk she might get left behind. That and also, it's good discipline for later years. So this month, I had to be more discipline as well and practice her numbers with her. It's tough. A LOT of tears and threats and compliments. Hopefully it gets easier. HOPEFULLY.

BabyJ

Hello Mr 8 Months. EIGHT. Almost as long as he has been in my womb he has been in the world. At 8 months, this boy is growing extremely well and fast. Sometimes I look at him and really miss his newborn days. Maybe because I know there is a possibility that I may never experience it again and that he may be my last baby. A bit heavy heart that in a few months I'm going to have TWO toddlers. 

At 8 months, BabyJ is able to pull himself up into a standing position with the support of things. He is able to sit by himself and get into a crawling position himself as well. He's really fast compared to LittleLim! Very curious about his surroundings and loves to go after EVERYTHING he can see and grab and eat! haha.

BabyJ is eating more now! At least 5 times a day and it's not small portions! I am amazed that the amount he is able to consume. I don't remember LittleLim eating SO MUCH at his age. I remember having to force feed her because she just wouldn't eat. So happy that BabyJ is a foodie and not fussy about his food! At 8 months he has had carrots, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, fish, broccoli and been given tasting of many "naughty" food. 

More Pics: 











CHINESE NEW YEAR

The year of the Dog. BabyJ's first Chinese New Year! Managed to keep our traditions this year and I had such a joy exposing BabyJ to our culture. LittleLim is also old enough to understand what is going on and she had such a blast this year! She loves the Lion Dance and can sing the Gong Xi Gong Xi song! 

We headed back to Ipoh to celebrate CNY eve and CNY day with my grandmother, uncles, aunties and cousins. Although this year is a little more quieter but it's nice to have met up with my cousins and hung out. Every year I always feel like I'm a child again and always so many fond memories growing up and celebrating CNY there. Ever since grandma turned 90, every year we get to celebrate with her is a miracle. This year she is 95 and still around. I feel so blessed that she's still here, well, alert and able to remember all her grandchildren and great grand children. 













Then it's down to JB to spend CNY with Hubbycat's side of the family. Again, such a joy to catch up with grandma in-law and my other in-laws. I feel so blessed to have two families who accept, love and care for us.

















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And that's our February in a nutshell. <3

-Ally