Busy buzzy bees

Life has been busy of late. I feel like a headless queen bee on some days, and thoughts zip out of my mind as fast as they come. I feel like grabbing them and storing them in a jar.

Granted, we have had some good busy happening around here.

Such as watching Hop and Honk last week. The kids enjoyed the show, and sat through the entire 95 minutes of it (with a break in between). I think it’s more suited for the bigger kids though (erm, people like me, and maybe the primary schoolers) because the humour was pretty brilliant and the singing and acting were spot on too. The kids could follow the plot but the humour was pretty much lost on them.

Still there were scenes that stuck in their little minds (that they still replay to this day), like the one where the evil Herodias the Heron gets his pants pulled down by mama duck Anna, who was teaching him a lesson for trying to prey on her daughter. The kids howled with laughter at the sight of his bright orange legs.

(Hop and Honk is showing till 15 November, Sat, so you can still get your tickets here.)

hop_honk

JJ has started swim lessons and has been doing well. He no longer grabs at me in the water, nor climbs up the wall each time he feels uneasy. He’s been amazingly cooperative, and I’m thankful for a good swim coach.

I’m thinking of starting music lessons for him too, and recently went to MYC for a trial class. He thoroughly enjoyed himself! I was impressed by the school’s use of a wide range of props and tools, making learning music a fun and engaging experience. He got to dress up as a fireman and a rabbit. He sang the dinosaur song and learnt about the black keys on the piano.

There were lots of songs and movement incorporated in the class. He was asked to squeeze a rubber ball before getting onto the piano itself, in order to strengthen his fingers. Fun aside, I’ve heard that the school is pretty serious and that the accompanying parent will have to practise at home with their kids. (Gulp.) If you’re keen on music lessons too, do check out MYC’s website.

MYC trial class review

And little Josh has been busy practising his walking. He can manage about 5-6 steps unsupported now, and looks like a cross between the drunken kungfu master and The Mummy (with his hands raised eerily to shoulder level). At 10.5 months, I guess it’s pretty early, and while we’re all laughing, it also means that he’s now able to get into more sorts of mischief around the house.

walkababy

So the kids have been learning all sorts of things, from cycling to swimming, to learning to walk. Which is all good.

But, it also means that we’re all kinda busy. And busy isn’t always that great, although it seems to be rather fashionable these days, rushing from class to class, from activity to activity. At the end of the day though, it does make me feel quite empty inside.

And the kids aren’t even in primary school yet…

When did parenting become such busy business? And are we so busy that we’ve stopped taking walks in the park? Stopped playing at playgrounds with our children? Stopped dreaming dreams or imagining new worlds?

I don’t wanna be thattt busy.

As the year draws to a close and everyone gears up for the holiday, I have decided to keep things simple.

I’ll focus on doing just a few things each day, such as:

– Writing thank you notes to the people who have invested in my life.

– Decluttering. Give something I no longer need away to someone who might have use for it, or to The Salvation Army.

– Doing something fun with the children.

– Getting my quiet time with God back on track.

Things may have gone a little haywire during the year, but I believe that it’s how we finish it that matters. What are you focusing on these remaining weeks of 2014? 🙂

October stock-take

October is turning out to be a month of stock-taking and lessons for me, and I’m not just referring to Little Lessons.

I’ve somehow found myself enrolled in 3 different parenting seminars, spread across 3 weekends. No I didn’t suddenly decide I needed a crash course. Let’s just say it so happened that some very credible parenting experts are here in town.

At the same time due to my “happening” belly – happening in the sense of growth and size, as well as the rhythm and beat of a very active baby boy within my womb – I’ve been feeling a real need to slow down, and draw down my activities and commitments to a minimum.

We’ve had some good adventures and fun recently with the kids. I think it’s a good time for me to unwind from the grind and hustle and bustle, and refocus on my needs and the kids’.

I have some projects in mind to engage them at home.

I’m also making a conscious choice to nourish my soul a little more. Lotsa rest, good books, great company… 😉

Come November we’ll be busy getting down to real prep work for baby’s homecoming. I will need to start on some essentials like planning my confinement menu (since we won’t be getting a confinement lady this time round), taking stock of some of the things we still need to buy, etc. (I confess. Because this is our third one, I’ve been really lax in the prepwork. I don’t even have a clear idea of whether I have sufficient newborn clothing! I guess we’ll somehow wing it and survive…)

At the same time we have been very blessed by friends who have passed our stuff back, along with lotsa new things that their babies have grown out of.

Back to my point on learning, I also need to relearn the basics of baby-ing! (And where oh where did I put my trusty Gina Ford bible for baby routines?)

I hope amidst all the workshops and learning that my brain won’t go into overdrive, that the knowledge will be applied in daily life, and prove useful as we usher our third one into this world.

Here in a nutshell are my goals for October:
– nourish my soul with good books
– engage the kids with meaningful fun projects at home
– plan confinement menu, buy cot protector (and other necessary things)
– pick up new tips from parenting workshops and  apply them to daily life
– plan some quality couple time and take stock of what we’ve done this year

Bite-sized goals. That’s my theme for the month…

It’s a privilege to have access to good information and truths. But sometimes the best lessons come through real experiences. Do you agree?

What does October have in store for you?

www.ajugglingmom.com

#ichoosejoy

As a twenty-first century parent, stress comes in myriad forms.

From worrying if junior is doing well in school, to missing your little one who’s just started childcare, to juggling work demands with kiddy demands while working from home.

Stress also comes in the form of toddler meltdowns, of which we are thick in the middle of due to JJ’s entrance into the “age of unreasonableness” (otherwise known as the terrible twos).

Or sibling fights, which we’ve also become well-acquainted with of late.

Some days, I morph into a crazy / naggy / barking /complaining / frustrated / tired mum, or all of the above.

I wish life doesn’t have to have so much drama, but I guess we all have our fair share of bad days. Where small things can suddenly take on catastrophic proportions, and I start to act like Chicken Little.

When the day’s over, I would heave a sigh of relief, make mental notes about what went wrong and what not to do again, and snuggle under my safety blanket, praying for a good night’s sleep.

Just for that day or those few hours, I am unable to think of the joys that my family and children bring.

It’s a mental block.

What amazes me is how easily the kids seem to find joy. They bounce back to their original state of happiness, even after a massive meltdown, in a wink of an eye.

Look at JJ. Even after he’s been wailing for a good 10 minutes, if we manage to turn on the “calm down” switch through various ways like a change in environment, distraction, food (which often works on this greedy fella), he’s as happy as a lark the next minute, shouting “mommee” and waving the food bribe in my face with glee and grin.

I wish I could say the same about myself. After each meltdown episode, I feel like I need a really strong cup of latte (I don’t drink beer) and a walk in the proverbial woods. Alone.

It’s a daily clamber back to joyfulness. Parenting days have their fair share of joy and goodness and love and cuddles, but on such days, boy is it a struggle…

This is why I’m embarking on #ichoosejoy, a little picture project to remind myself that happiness is a choice we need to make daily.

And I’m inviting you to join me.

How?

1) Capture life’s everyday joyful moments on instagram.

2) Hashtag your photos #ichoosejoy, and tag me @june_yong (so I know you’re on this joy project with me).

3) You can also email me a joyful photo of your family, kids, or just the little things that bring you joy. And let me know if you would like to include a caption or quote to accompany the pic.

Why?

Because some of the happiest people I know are not those with smooth-sailing lives. They are those who deliberately choose joy and gladness in spite of their circumstances.

Because you might see some of the pics featured on the blog, or on the Facebook page! (If you’re happy for me to do that of course.)

Because it would be great to build a little joyful community. And to spread some cheer around.

If you’re wearing a happy outfit, #ichoosejoy

Your baby taking his first steps, #ichoosejoy

Brother and sister walking hand-in-hand, #ichoosejoy

Catching up with an old friend, #ichoosejoy

Each time you hashtag a picture with #ichoosejoy, be sure to do just that.

Choose joy.

And let’s watch it multiply. 😉

What do you find most fulfilling about parenthood?

I asked this question “What do you find most fulfilling about parenthood?” online and offline one day, and received some insightful responses:

  • Seeing the kids grow healthily and happily.
  • When he giggles and smiles, when he responds to me and learns new words from me, when he moves with the worship music playing at the background, when I see him sleep peacefully.
  • I love the sense of bonding, being able to pour myself out for someone, and see my baby respond to me with smiles when contented. Even to see her count on me and call “mama” when she needs me, is comforting because it means she knows she can depend on me.

There’s nothing quite like parenthood that catapults you into another dimension. It changes everything, your perspective, the way you eat, change, and brush your teeth, the way you walk, talk, think…EVERYTHING. CHANGES.

Especially the way we see things.

It’s like we have a new pair of eyes. Suddenly, things around us become potential threats and dangers, people become potential helpers and baby-sitters, plans and decisions are now made with our children’s needs in mind.

New milestones are counted, and joy is found at every corner. When JJ learns a new trick or a new word. When Vera is able to control her emotions or give up her toys for her brother’s sake. All these are met with a certain sense of motherly satisfaction. Like giving myself a mental pat on the back.

Yet as the comments below show, it’s not just the healthy growth and development of our children that brings us fulfillment and joy. It’s also the change that we see in ourselves.

  • Experiencing an incredible ability to love unconditionally.
  • It’s fulfilling to see myself grow in patience and sacrificial love and know that I can live a life bigger than just meeting my own needs.

Bringing up a child is arguably the most formidable task of the 21st century. Bringing up a person-to-be, a future leader, someone’s future wife / husband. It is HUGE. It also comes with many challenges. Tantrums, manipulative tears, fighting (among siblings). There are days when everything goes wrong, when it’s your turn to cry and scream, and feel guilty afterwards.

Going through such trying moments necessarily entails some growing up on our part too. In the midst of learning to love even when we don’t feel like it, we are changed in the process. I’m now in my fourth year of parenthood, and I’ve only just realised this. Birthing a child doesn’t make us parents in the fullest sense. Bringing up a child does.

I am humbled, and a little scared, that I have been tasked with such a task. Knowing that I am the greatest influence on these little people, and probably their greatest role model too. Good habits and bad ones get learnt without me even noticing. (Never before have I been so conscious of my everyday language. Partly because the hubs gives me THE LOOK whenever I say something vaguely crass.)

Yet this giant task continues to grow. The responsibilities increase with each new developmental milestone, and the challenges too get newer and trickier.

As I look back, I see the bumpy road that we’ve been wandering on, I see the falls and bruises, the long way we’ve come. Like a baby, I learn the ropes of parenting. Like a toddler, I fall countless times. And like a child learning to persevere, I pick myself up and wobble along.

To answer the question, what I find most fulfilling about parenthood…is the growth that I see in myself and my children. Sure, mistakes will still be made, lessons learnt and re-learnt, and tears shed, but there’ll also be celebrations, success stories, and tales of grace and forgiveness. We feel the pain and sadness going through the difficult moments, but when we look back, I’m sure we’ll find that we have grown stronger, more loving and more forgiving, and ultimately a better person.

What a privilege it is to be a mum.

What do you find most fulfilling about parenthood?

Joy is…

Joy is the look of childlike wonder.

Joy is a precious memory for the toddler.

Joy is wild and wilful play.

Joy is falling asleep with a soft, cuddly pal.

Joy is going for a spin or two.

Joy is a funny moment.

Joy is a peaceful midnight snack.

Joy is taking family walks at the park.

Joy is a big bear hug.

Joy is a collection of happy, funny, heartfelt moments. Moments that are usually made up of the simplest things – the spontaneous ways in which the kids show love to each other, a Milo moment in the still of the night, and everyday things like taking walks and playing at the playground…Things that we sometimes take for granted.

Joy begins with contentment, and by appreciating what we have. It doesn’t require money or success, but it does take time and effort to be together with our families, creating happy memories.

Granted, we all have our fair share of bad days and our own battles to fight. But I’m learning that even through the valleys of life, joy is a daily choice that we make.

Don’t let anything steal this joy of yours away.

What are your most joyful moments of motherhood?

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Comfort Ultra Pure is dedicated to sharing the joy of motherhood with mums by ensuring that their little ones’ needs are well looked after.

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