It irks me that blogging about my kids has been on the back burner
in the last 3 months since I starting working full time. With most of my time after official work hours spent doing overtime on interim reports, researching to put together a weekly trade plan for practice, ensuring that I spend quality time with both boys on days I’m fortunate enough to be home before they hit the sheets; where do I even find time to blog?
Yet once in a while, my growing-up-too-quickly kids stop me in my tracks with their witty comebacks which humour and guilt-trip me at the same time. It somehow leads me to force myself to put away everything else and focus on what really matters. The present.
Case in point: this is most recent photo I have of both boys taken beautifully & professionally, which Liam caught a glimpse of while I was on my laptop this evening. He then went on recounting how we went to ‘someone’s home’ at Dakota (he’s very good at remembering places with train stations nearby) to get these photos taken and that he enjoyed that day because mummy took him and Ollie to a fun playground (Dakota Crescent Dove Playground) after that and we had fries. “Isn’t it so, mummy?” he quipped.
See what I mean? How could I not put aside my aimless surfing for new work clothes online (as a poor excuse to de-stress), and continue that conversation with my 4-year-old? After all, their growing years will be fleeting, while work…will always be there.
At 4, Liam continues to surprise us with his chattiness. He likes to share his opinions on any and everything and is never shy to express how he feels. “I feel very upset that you always come back so late from work, mommy”, grunting at me one night as I walked through the door at 11.45pm, sitting at a spot facing the front door. I had no idea how long he had been there or if the husband or helper knew that he had got out of bed just to show his mother his disappointment, but his actions and words sure packed a punch. Suffice to say I made an effort to be home early to spend time with the boys over the next few days, and when necessary, continued working only after they slept.
His love for trains and buses continues, and as much as we can, we take him on his specially requested routes whenever time permits. Skate scooting on his micro is still one of his favourite activities and whenever he hears catchy music comes on, he won’t hesitate to break into dance. His Chinese sight reading has improved leaps and bounds after the husband started spending 5 minutes every night going through the flash cards he receives from Berries class, and he even takes the initiative to converse with his tai-por in Mandarin whenever we’r over to visit. Beneath that mischievous exterior, Liam continues to amaze me with his civic mindedness. Whenever we’re out together with his tai-por (great grandma), he would often remind us “slow down guys, tai-por has to walk slowly so she won’t fall”, while holding on to her hand as if to steady her.
Liam’s favourite YouTube shows of the moment (or at least for the last 6 months): PJ Masks and toy videos featuring Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. However, he’s a lot better these days with limited or no screen time, sometimes opting to write and draw instead. He does also have a rather interesting way of writing alphabets and numbers and few days ago, surprised me & the husband by spelling out the days of the week on his own and telling us which was his favourite day of the week.
Liam is quite the expressive boy. “I love you so very much, mommy!”, he’ll never fail to remind me everyday with tight hugs and kisses. And while sibling conflicts with his little brother Ollie are inevitable, he seems to have mature quite a bit in his role as big brother through thoughtful actions such as ensuring that Ollie an equal share of whatever he gets.
One recent, fond memory I have of Liam’s cheekiness was when the husband was away for a stag night/wedding event in Bali and we had just sent him off at the airport. I ask Liam if he would like to have a bite to which he says “yes, that’s a very good idea” and then tells me “mummy, papa is not around so why don’t you take the car and we drive to somewhere special to eat” as I walked into Kiliney Kopitiam looking at the menu. Tsk, this boy!
At 2, our little Ollie is daring, ambitious, loves to car karaoke, adores his older brother to bits and knows how to get his way most of the time (mama here is finally putting an end to all the out-of-control shrieks and screams), and STILL doesn’t want to let go of his dummy unless he’s being asked nicely to put it away. He smiles a lot, chuckles a lot, is absolutely cheeky in knowing how to push boundaries, and is very quick in copying whatever his brother says and does. My guilt towards him is often not having the time, energy and resources to put him in as many fun classes as I used to with Liam. Then again unlike Liam, he’s always had a playmate 24/7 since day 1.
Ollie enjoys a lot of physical affection (cheek to cheek), giving & receiving and one key trait about Ollie which always stands out is his gentleness. “Papa!”, he would coo gently, “read book please”, as he brings a book he chooses for us to read every morning and evening. Unlike his older brother, this little boy tends to choose books over toys most of the time.
Ollie has a love for fishes too! He enjoys outings to River Safari more than the Zoo and will never fail to use all of his 12kg weight to tug either the husband of myself over to the seafood counter whenever we do our weekly grocery shopping to have a look at both live and dead fishes on display for a good 10-15 minutes.
The other thing which always amuses us about Ollie is how he will always find a way to rest his fleshy bum whenever he can (i.e.: on a kerb, on someone’s lap/knee, on a makeshift platform etc.). Quite the opposite from his brother, who’ll find every chance to stand/jump/dance! He’s quite the water baby too and enjoys splashing in the pool lots.
I thought we had it easy with Liam’s hearty appetite when it comes to food, but Ollie oh Ollie, this little fella eats everything! Even the leafiest of veggies, stems and root vegetables. Like Liam, he loves the bus and trains as well although the dilemma we’re currently facing is that Ollie wants to play exactly what his big brother plays with which means…more sibling fights!
We had quite the scare from Ollie TWICE this year when he was admitted to hospital for a few days due to viral infection and when his fingers got caught by our heavy wooden room door for a few minutes which resulted in a fracture. Yet both times this little boy was such a fighter, showing such resilience despite having to administer IV or when doc had to remove his damaged nail.
Just looking at these recent family photos from one of my favourite photographers – Steph Tan – which was taken as part of her very meaningful Pass It On project where proceeds from these photo sessions goes to support several children’s education under WorldVision Sponsor a Child Programme; and my heart is full. How did I get so blessed with such a beautiful family who loves me so much, despite my shortcomings?
And this is why I will continue the tradition of having our family photos taken year on year for as long as I can, because some day, when my kids are dating or married and my husband rather be at the coffeeshop drinking coffee with his buddies than hear me reminisce about “those were the days” for the nth time, I will have these photos to hold on to, smile at and have sweet daydreams about.