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Amelie Family

What do we all need?

He sat across from me on the bed. A shroud of confusion and disappointment weighed heavy on his defeated shoulders. I hid my tear-soaked face in the blanket, trying hard not to make a noise.

A tired voice rang in the uncomfortable silence. Go to sleep Amelie.

I looked up and peered in the darkness to see Amelie sitting up on her mattress that was laid on the floor. She was awkwardly still for what seemed like a long moment, as if she was deep in thought, a display of her sensitivity and emotional awareness that one would nary expect from a four year old. Amelie suddenly got up from her mattress and with a hint of hesitation she took a few steps and came up against the edge of my bed. Amelie leaned in and whispered, Mama I just want to give you a hug is that OK?

And with that, she did not wait for a response but leaned in and cradled my neck fleetingly with her small arms. I felt my heart burst with love just to break into pieces all over again. What did I ever do to deserve this sweet loving child?

Amelie Family Kids Theodore

We are English

This has been a lovely evening. The kids are sound asleep, my better half has committed his presence to a much needed boys’ night (for his sanity and mine), and I get some rare time to myself to read, rest and reminisce… and roll on the bed whichever direction because it’s ALLLL MINE. When you’re three kids in like me, you’ll learn to take whatever you can get 😉

It has been some time since the last entry, not because I haven’t been as inspired because that is just not true; yet to say I have been too busy living is then simply far-fetched. Perhaps finding my center again is more apt. There has been a bit of Bread and a lot of Queen in the past months. Add a spoonful of Mark Diamond to switch things up a little. And a whole lot of Baby Shark for the kids by very specific, very repetitive demands. How did we ever survive without Spotify in the 90’s?

Amelie and Teddy are quickly growing into delightful not-so-little sprites, full of angst and joy and sugar and spice. This is them below, where we spent a lazy Sunday morning at YaKun for breakfast.

Amelie: Why are we eating here? (referring to the shop logo next to our table) Why are these words in Chinese?

Papa: We wanted to have a very ‘Chinese’ breakfast, and this is the place for it.

Amelie: I love the eggs… but I am not Chinese, I am English! 😂

Teddy bowled over by his sister’s crazy conversations
Family Kids

It’s too difficult

Our oldest boy is 6! I cannot believe that I’ve been a mom for 6 years now. Where did all that time go?

He’s such a great kid. Sociable and bubbly, he’s great at having fun, and best of all he’s motivated to learn. Recently, his home-school work has become quite challenging, and he’s having a really hard time moving past the fact that, drumroll… he does not always get the answers right on his first try. When we ask  questions about the methods he used to arrive at his answer (which is important because you want to know which part he understood and which needs work), he gets super defensive and irritated, at times even bordering on rudeness.

It was difficult to see him having so much trouble processing all that frustration and unhappiness. The look on his face when he reluctantly said, “this is too difficult!” is all too familiar because I’ve been there. We have all been there. I wish I could make this easier for him to understand but kid, you don’t have to have it all figured out from the get-go.

Your attitude and the method, the process, the fighting spirit – it’s everything. Be an explorer! Not just a conqueror. We are here to challenge you, guide you, and love you (even if you currently suck at multiplication and division) 🙂

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King

 

Family Love

私の母

My Mother

This is my mother. She is holding my 2.5 months old daughter, Amelie. I captured this photo when my mom was with my baby girl at our balcony, cajoling her to look at the passing vehicles on the road. It warms the cockles of my heart to revisit this beautiful moment. Amelie, you must know that you are so very blessed to have Grandmama present from your birth and she watches you grow everyday. Your first smile, every coo and fart.

This is my mother. And I love her so.

♥︎

Family

想念

恺希,这个星期六你会在爷爷家睡觉。
星期天爸爸妈妈会很早去接你,应为爷爷需要去庙里拜拜。

知道了妈妈。爷爷是要去给婆婆拜拜对吗?

这个孩子懂事了,也会记念去年去世的婆婆。。。

Family Kids Life

Being a self-employed SAHM

Being a stay at home mom has its perks – I get unlimited cuddles with the kids, bras are optional, and if I should choose to remain in my pyjamas all day no one could care less. But I guess every mom is different. I know some mommies who are super hands on with their kids – a fixed time table, self-created learning materials, pre-prepared meals…the full works.

Me? I’ll probably go cray cray if it is just me, the kids, four walls, 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

Hence Aidan goes to childcare, and Amelie will start infant care when she turns 3 months old. It is hard to let her go so soon, but hey, I comfort myself with this premature quote:

Wings

Anyhow, knowing the kids are safely cared for at the childcare frees up time for mommy to get work done around the house and to generate some much-needed income from my home-based web design studio.

Have you ever felt like you are generating income simply to pay off childcare fees?

I recall when Aidan first started infant care, the damage to our bank account was around $1,400/month less working mother subsidy (-$300). Now that he is in Nursery 2 the fees are more manageable, ranging around $800/month less subsidy.

Just last month I was searching for infant care services (IFC) for Amelie on ECDA which showed that IFC now costs a whopping ~$1,900/month (PCF Sparkletots)!! There were the odd 1 or 2 centres whose names I have never heard of that offered their IFC at ~$800 but their location is too far from our place.

After subsidies, I will have to fork out $2,200 (Amelie $1,400 + Aidan $800). Thinking about childcare costs drives me up the wall. It seems more economical to simply hire a domestic helper (who will do the laundry and dishes, and watch the 2 kids as well), but we all know how hard it is to get a trustworthy, mature helper. Sigh. The kids need their grandparents! Unfortunately the kid’s 爷爷 and 外婆 are both working, and they plan to remain in the workforce for another few years.

To actually qualify for subsidies, you will need to be a working mom. Otherwise, be prepared to pay full rate! Since I am self-employed, I had to declare my working hours aka make a statutory declaration at the Supreme Court. If you are a freelance worker, working from home, or run your own business, make sure not to miss out on the subsidies!

How to Obtain a Statutory Declaration

  1. Download this declaration form and fill it out – don’t sign on the form yet! You will need to do this in front of the Commissioner.
  2. If you are lazy (like me) to print the form, just go to the address below and ask for a form to fill out on the spot.
  3. Bring your NRIC!
  4. You can make the statutory declaration at this address:

    Commissioner For Oaths Section New Supreme Court Building
    1 Supreme Court Lane
    Level 3M S178879

    There is no need to make an appointment. You can just walk-in to the customer service front desk and inform them that you wish to do a statutory declaration.

  5. Payment first: the statutory declaration will cost you $20. Cash and Nets only.
  6. You will be called into a room where you will verbally declare the contents on the form, sign, and you can keep the form and go.
  7. Submit statutory declaration to your child’s childcare centre for processing. I made a copy for my own safe-keeping. You should too! 😉

 

23 Jan 2019
Update: So I’ve heard from many fellow moms that the Commissioner of Oaths no longer offer statutory declaration for non-Supreme Court proceedings. As it turns out, you will now have to approach private law firms to get this done. I do not have a recommendation for private law firms but you can follow steps below on getting this done.

  1. Get a statutory declaration form — you may download a copy here from the Supreme Court website.
  2. Fill out the form with exactly what you want to declare. E.g. I am self-employed in X line of business and work X number of hours per month.
  3. Find any Commissioner of Oaths in a private law firm to affirm your statutory declaration.
  4. Bring any supporting documents, and your NRIC for verification. You will swear/affirm your declaration in front of the Commissioner of Oaths and sign the form. Your declaration is now affirmed.
  5. Note: You should be aware that knowingly making a false statutory declaration is a criminal offence under local law. Doing so may subject you to a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years and/or a fine. Don’t play play! 😱

Family Kids Life

Behind every parent…

So I was talking with the husband the other day about how life has caught up so quickly when it (suddenly) dawned on my that Aidan will be going to primary school in 2 year’s time. Think half day classes, March September November December school holidays… How do working parents juggle it?!

Husband: “Behind every set of successful working parents is a maid.”

While I had a good laugh at his matter-of-factness, it hit home uncomfortably. Unfortunately, I can’t say nay to that because most parents I know do employ domestic helpers. As the brood grow larger, or as the grandparents get more frail, the need for the extra help arises. I know my husband, he wants to be a hands-on parent as much as he can… but with his ideal number (of kids, that is) being #3, I am beginning to wonder if we can survive parenthood on our own!

Family Kids

Guilty of Baby Obsession

I was backing up my iPhone to the desktop yesterday and sheepishly found TONS of baby photos. A few snaps every day can really eat into the phone’s storage! And not to mention, out of 1192 images only a bare handful were of my husband and Aidan. New mother obsessed with photographing every newborn wail/smile/poop – guilty as charged!

So… in a bid not to neglect my better halves (or shall I say quads?), here’s a picture of my two boys about to tuck into dinner at McDonalds. They look so happy!

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imageAidan seemed to have hitched on to the “love-ketchup” wagon. He just can’t get enough of it. He is also getting better at colouring within the lines. His paintings are filled with so much more colour these days. I must remind myself to capture more of his journey into adulthood… I mean, I can only do this for how many more babies?! At most two more???

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