33 weeks and counting

Dear Vera and JJ,

Mummy is now 33 weeks pregnant. Walking around and going on bus-rides with you guys in tow is starting to be a laborious and somewhat hair-raising affair.

But thankfully, on most days, we receive the help of kind strangers who give up their seats for you guys, and we’ve managed to enjoy most of our gallivanting without too much ado.

I’m still quite determined to hang out with you both on my days off. Seeing the both of you have fun at the pool or playing with your friends at the playground or heartily tucking into our mid-day snack (which on good days consists of something chocolaty) makes my day.

I’m kinda thinking ahead and already feeling a sense of loss for such days. And am wondering how we are gonna cope after baby Joshua’s arrival, and when I will be able to take you out alone again.

It’ll be tough at the start, and I need to find out from other mummies how they do it. But though I may not be hanging out with you kids outside as much and have to do boob duty for most part of the day, please know that I am always loving you, and will still be around to play / mediate quarrels / comfort / pray okay?

I promise not to hide behind my phone when you come traipsing down the hallway, excited to share with me your news of the day.

I promise to let go of my need to write, vent and express through my blog, and to give you more one-on-one time wherever I can.

I promise to involve you both in the caring and loving of Joshua. Because we are one family, and we’ll all in this together.

Meanwhile, I am amazed at how the both of you have grown. (Just look at this 1 year ago photo I dug up.)

Vera, you’re so grown up now, and JJ, you’re no longer the little baby I once knew.

You both have your own little minds about how the world should work, and about when you get to eat your favourite things like ice-cream (ideally every day of course…)

Time is racing speedily by, and I realise you won’t remain so little for very long. I count these moments precious…before the whirlwind of change hits us.

So, I am thankful.

Thankful that I can still keep up with you guys.

Thankful that daddy and I can still find the time to go for couple pilates classes (at Pilates Fitness) on the weekends.

Thankful that baby Joshua is well and extremely active in the womb. (Sometimes I fear that he’s gonna kick himself outta there somehow. I know…crazy paranoid preggie mum talking.)

Thankful that whatever storms come our way, we know we will go sailing home safe and sound. Because we know that Jesus is in the boat, and he calms all our storms…Right guys?

Love you always and always,

Even when it’s tough.

mummee.


Anger Management 102: Coping strategies and self-care

In my earlier post on anger management, I shared a bit about anger management and its effects on children. Today, I will be touching on the two main ingredients of anger: stress and trigger thoughts, and how to manage them. (Information courtesy of the NUH Women’s Emotional Health Service’s anger management workshop.)

stress

Stress predisposes us to anger. It sets the scene for anger. Ever wonder why sometimes you react differently towards the same behaviour in your child? Stress is the main reason. Your state of mind, or more specifically, how stressed you feel at the time is a key determining factor.

A trigger thought is the automatic thought that pops into your head, interpreting the situation. It happens in a split second, and often you don’t even know you’re thinking it until you sit down and reflect after the incident.

That thought (usually something about your child) sets off an angry response, converting that internal stress into something expressed externally: anger / frustration / crying / yelling / hitting.

If we want to better manage our emotions, we need to deal with both fronts.

Self-care for Stress

To help keep stress levels in check, take care of your needs. Self-care is important, especially as a modern, multi-tasker mum. Watch over your basic needs; have sufficient rest, exercise, maintain a healthy diet. Also, watch your emotional needs. Keep communication lines open with your spouse, schedule couple time, and even some me-time. Go ahead, you deserve it.

Basically, anything that can help you be in the best state of mind, is beneficial to your family too.

Talk back to trigger thoughts

In my earlier post, some of the readers already identified the thoughts that were in their minds at the point of an angry outburst. These could be: ‘You never listen’ or ‘You’re being difficult’, or ‘He’s driving me crazy!’

One way to combat these negative and often extreme thoughts is to talk back to them. Try these talk-back thoughts instead:

  • It’s just a stage. Kids have to go through these stages.
  • This is how he’s coping with his feelings and needs. It’s not about me.
  • I can cope with this. I don’t have to get angry.

These thoughts help to offer a more realistic view of the situation and your child, as opposed to than the emotional-charged trigger thoughts. The next time you find yourself in a tense situation, take a step back and see what is going through your head at the moment, and then try and see if you can come up with your own talk-back thought. I know it helps because I’ve tried it too, though it might take a while to get used to, and changes may not occur overnight.

Here are some other ideas that I took home from the workshop:

  • Understand your child’s developmental stage – certain traits can be expected at different developmental stages, and it’s helpful to understand what these are before concluding that the child is deliberately misbehaving. For example, around age 2-3 years old, a child tends to blur fantasy and reality, so when she says something that is untrue, it’s not that she’s trying to lie to you.
  • Anticipate your child’s needs – for instance, he may need food, water, rest, sleep, security, attention, etc, so if you can see it coming, then try to prepare what you can to avoid potential tantrums and crankiness.
  • Practise calming techniques – such as deep breathing, walking off your anger, and telling yourself “I can calm down”, etc
  • Communicate assertively – Use “I feel ____ when you _____”, e.g., “I feel frustrated when you don’t listen to me.” Then set clear boundaries for behaviour, such as “I want you to pick up your toys every evening before bedtime.”

I’ve found some of these coping strategies useful in helping me to stay calm in tense situations. And I certainly hope they work for you too.

What’s a common issue that you face with your child, at his/her current development stage? How do you manage your emotions when conflict arises? 

Conversations with a sand surfer dude

Finally, after like what, 10 months outta the womb, and NOW I get to play with some sand?

Seriously, mama, couldn’t you have gotten me some of this stuff earlier?

Geez, you urban parents are really party-poopers. I mean, what are toys when you can give me the whole world??

sand dude

Are you sure you don’t wanna play with me?

Where’s jie-jie [big sister] by the way? What?! She thinks the sand is too dirty? I can’t believe it! She’s such a princess!

Man, I really dig this (pardon the pun). Hmm, I wonder how deep this stuff goes…

I sure hope I can find my treasure before the sun goes down. (Come dig with me, mama!)

hole in the sand

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