life with a 21mo toddler

Sooo Watermelon is now 21 months, and life is getting comfortable again. There’s less stress than the first 18 months or so when everything’s changing all of the time. Things are more stable, and I’m feeling more like my old self in some ways.

Of course there are some things that I haven’t gotten back, like computer privileges. Every time I try to use my PC, Watermelon wants to climb onto my lap, hit the caps lock button on my keyboard, move my mouse, ask to draw… ahhh I miss surfing aimlessly on my computer 😦

3 Things That I’m Currently Learning

1. To wake up at 5.00am for some me time. It’s hit and miss, some morning I snooze because I’m too tired. But I’ve learnt to squeeze in a short exercise before 6.00am. It makes me feel good (am still trying to lose weight – what’s new. Keyword: TRYING) and reminds me of my pregnancy days when I used to do short exercises. Life was good and sweet back then!

2. To adjust my communication style to be more respectful and gentle. For instance, learning to acknowledge Watermelon’s feelings. “You’re upset because you want to play some more!” Learning to state facts and without judgment. And without inadvertently dismissing feelings. “You fell down! Are you okay?” (Instead of “you’re okay!”) And learning to praise effort rather than results. Though so far I’ve only practised this on my sister’s kids, and on a mama who scored an Oscha Treasure Tote via FFF lulz.

3. To be kinder to myself. Telling myself that it’s okay to choose sleep over certain household tasks, because my rest is important too.

It’s such a joy watching Watermelon grow and learn new things. She’s adding new words to her vocabulary, teaching herself to jump (very slow but cute progression here) and being more confident – and even insisting – of going up and down staircases by herself. I feel like I can’t help but love her more as she develops more antics and reveals a little more of her personality over the weeks.

Tantrums abound, of course. She likes to throw herself back, kneel down in a dramatic plea, or throw the very thing we ask back from her onto the ground. The extra annoying part is when she pretends to not understand me when I ask her to pick them up 😒

3 Recent Memories

1. Went out for a zoo outing with 3 other mummies. It was fun! They’ve gone out together before, but it was my first time joining them. One of them came alone with her 14mo twins. You could tell it was pretty challenging for her to manage both. I thought it was most amazing when her mum came down to the zoo to join us and help her. After bringing food to her own mum. Like wow, she’s a super dedicated woman. First she attended to her own mum, then she rushed down to help her daughter and to serve her grandchildren. I was like whoa this is the every day sacrifice of a woman. Things we don’t shout about because we take them for granted. Our mums are so amazing, eh. N’s mum was super friendly and even helped another mama push her stroller. It was really touching to see their sweet group dynamics.

2. Cycling has been our latest family thing lately. My BIL started it. He got a bike, then my sister got a bike, then their two kids got bikes and had to learn how to cycle. Then NG got a bike, and then I got a bike. All this within a span of one month or so. Haha. So anyway last week we cycled to dinner. On the way back, my bike and Watermelon fell down when I lost my balance trying to cycle beside someone burning incense on the pavement. It was super scary kay. Watermelon whinged for a short while, eeps. And then we got caught in the rain! Lightning, thunder, heavy showers. Poor Watermelon was drenched to the skin. But she remained in fairly good spirit. One time I heard her shout “broom broom!” ahahaha. And she was quite nonchalant about the thunders that night. Yay, proud of her. It was quite fun, and I kinda wouldn’t mind cycling in the rain again as long as traffic is not heavy and I’m homebound!

3. We were at a cafe which provided a small play area and some Lego blocks for kids. There was a preschooler who was building something before her mum (?) summoned her to the table to eat. When we were about to leave, Watermelon sat down at the corner once more and touched that Lego structure that the girl had built. The girl started whining, and the mum came up to us, smiled apologetically and took the structure back to their table. Since we were about to leave the cafe, I shrugged it off. But as I thought about it, I realised that I felt very uneasy about what the mum did. At first I thought, “it’s a communal toy. It’s not very nice to think of it as her daughter’s.” I probed a little deeper. “Plus there was a notice requesting for the toys not to be brought out of the play area and into the dining tables.” I talked about it with NG and came to the realisation that what bothered me most was the fact that she took the toy out of Watermelon’s hands. I don’t think it was very nice or fair of her to do that. If she had waited for just a minute more, we would have been out of the door already. Meh.

Ok lah, good or bad, sweet or painful, alhamdulillah for motherhood ❤️

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18 months update

Watermelon turns 18 months this week, I can’t believe it! My baby is not a baby anymore, but legally a toddler who qualifies for the much-more-affordable childcare fees compared to the relatively exorbitant infantcare rates.

I was reading back my old milestone-ish updates and hardly remembered any of it. That’s very telling of motherhood I think, things move so fast, so hard to keep up, gotta purge old memories to make space for new things to remember, or you’ll burst at the seams. Not enough RAM!

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4 Aug Play Date – It’s ONZ!

Salam all! The play date that Mrs F and I are planning on 4 Aug, 2.00pm to 4.00pm is still onzzz insyaAllah.

We would love for mummies to get together with us and let our LOs play while we ladies chat 🙂 It’ll be hosted at either one of our houses in the north (Yishun or Woodlands) — we’re planning to see the turnout before deciding where. We’re not professional play date organisers so this sesh is free! (In case anyone is wondering)

Here’s the sign up link if you’re interested! Hope to see you there 🤗

Pic of my silly milkmaid for attention!

mums & babies qiyam + aug playdate?

alhamdulillah, over the weekend i attended the mums & babies qiyam session organised by the breastfeeding muslim mothers support group at masjid muhajirin.

it was my first qiyam ever. i was a little lost on the logistics, and had all sorts of questions like:

• do people sleep in their jubahs or PJs (jubah)
• do we pray all night (no, there’s scheduled lights off and then we wake up at 4.00am for tahajjud prayers)
• is it ok to bring my bed pillow (it’s not common but HENCEFORTH IT SHOULD BE!)

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no shopping goal 2018: Q1 update

hello! hard to believe March has ended which means … time to do a quarterly update on my No Shopping Goal.

oh … i’ve been bad. and good. but mostly bad 🙈

wraps/carriers i bought

⁃ Carry Om Phoenix Fire: i’ve been admiring this purple to orange colourway for a long time. so when the weaver opened a draw for a right to buy this wrap, i entered my name. why? i don’t know. i didn’t think i would win but … i did. omg, panic. ha ha. the consolation is that i looove the wrap: the colours, the weave, and the wrap qualities. and i have been wanting to try her tencel so ok lah, happy jugak.

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staycay at The Residence in Bintan

we did a one night staycay earlier this month at Bintan’s The Residence to celebrate NG’s birthday. the hotel opened in Feb and is still a work in progress: there’s plenty of landscaping that’s not completed, and also the pathways have not been tarred. many activities were also not operating yet.

it was pretty empty when we checked in. most of our the neighbouring units were unoccupied, and we were pretty much the only guests for dinner that night at the “halal” restaurant. by that i mean the restaurant that also offers dishes with wine in it 🤦🏻‍♀️ ok takpe, moving on.

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Watermelon is one!

Watermelon turned one without much fanfare. I was excited in the days leading up to it, but the day came and went, and she was still the Watermelon that we knew.

Chey. With all the hype I’d allowed myself to build, I thought she would transform overnight but no leh, never.

A birthday party was never on the cards because I think they look more stressful than enjoyable for the parents, and my plan is to throw one on her 5th birthday instead. InsyaAllah. I had a 5th birthday party myself and to this day I still remember some details of that day and still think of it as one of my happier childhood memories, alhamdulillah.

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umrah with baby

alhamdulillah, we fulfilled our intention to perform umrah with NG’s parents and Watermelon earlier this month.

i was anxious about what the experience with Watermelon was going to be like, but now that it’s over, i realise i need not have worried so much. alhamdulillah with God’s grace she was easy on us. save for a handful of cranky episodes, she was generally cheerful and slept well. bringing her to the mosque for congregational prayers was not too difficult — though Baby Bites (biscuits) quickly became the standard bribe 🤣

she had plenty of fans (“mashallah mashallah!”) and received a lot of kisses and sweets from strangers. the kisses, i mentally prepared myself that they might happen. so i made plenty of doa that Allah swt protects her from illnesses 😬 the sweet treats, i sacrificed myself and ate them on her behalf. you’re very welcome, Watermelon! mmyum.

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keeping up with this changing life

hola! it’s been 3 months of being a working mum — oh wow, how time flies. it really does get easier with time, though the hard times were genuinely tough at that point in time.

some things have become so natural, like heading home straight. it’s not even a thought anymore about how sad it is that i can’t singgah shops at say, Bedok Mall on the way home. i’ve found a regular grab hitch driver that i engage maybe 1-3x a week. we chat a lot during the drive home, so it’s really nice.

pumping is also a tad better now. i generally have a better yield after a hearty meal although i don’t take chances and have some milk boosters at my desk. for now i’m relying on @mamalait’s brownies and Milo with oats, brown rice wheat and barley. i still have one pack of cookies from my earlier order from another baker but to be honest i’m dreading eating them because they’re bitter 🙊 i also have @bymommadee’s nursing aid and mother’s milk supplements, but i’ve not been actively using these two recently. heh.

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7 months is my favourite month

it’s kinda funny how my state of mind can change drastically over a few weeks. 3-4 weeks ago i was extremely unhappy with life, unmotivated at work, and wishing hard that things were different.

well, i still do. i wish some things are different, but now that i’m in a better mental space, i’m trying to reflect whether these wants are warranted and fair, or me being overly idealistic and/or greedy.

but yes, it feels so good to snap out of a dark phase.

anyhoos, updates. Watermelon is 7 months old and likes to kangkang (spread her legs wide open). good lord. one time we put her in the stroller and her legs immediately bent into an L shape, kind of like a cat. other times she could be waving her legs open, as though to show off her flexibility. well good on ya, girl.

we recently embarked on her solids journey, through baby led weaning (blw). we were off to a late start because until last week or so, Watermelon couldn’t sit well unassisted. now she does better, albeit in tripod position (i.e. hands in front on the floor). BLW requires for babies to be at least 6 months old and be able to sit unassisted. i was tempted to rush into it, but the name is called “baby led weaning” which means i’m supposed to follow her cues and not impose my standards on her. sounds logical on paper but gosh it can be really hard to practise in real life!

also, some babies are real natural at picking up food and feeding themselves.

unfortunately, Watermelon is not. hah.

there’s been some sessions where all the food ends up on the floor. she’s happy to suck on the food if i hold it for her, but that kinda defeats the purpose of getting her to self-feed. BLW groups say this calls for perseverance, so insyaAllah i will tryyy to keep offering food even if all she wants to do is push them around the table or within the plate … y’know, anything but lift them to her mouth 😒

backtrack to the agonising 2-3 weeks around her 6 months mark and slightly after:

i was more anxious that i like to admit about her progress in sitting up. previously she seemed to hit her milestones fairly early or on time, but somehow sitting up was one thing she didn’t seem to progress into. i was imagining that she would only be like 8 or 9 months before she started on solids, which my head says is fine but my heart cannot take the fact that she might be left behind by her peers… chey so young got peers already.

now that she’s passed it, i feel part relieved, part silly for having worried so much. but really at that moment, it mattered so, so much.

on top of this, mama kraken was giving me a LOT of pressure to feed solids to Watermelon. every time we met her, she would bring up the topic on solids: when we were going to start, puree is the way, how pitiful it is that her cucu (grandchild) had only been allowed to try timun (cucumber — sounds more pitiful in Malay, y’know?), if we fed her then she would be more full then maybe she wouldn’t cry so often … yadda yadda yadda. coupled with the unhappy phase i was going through, i intentionally avoided her for two weeks or so cos ugh, i really didn’t need the pressure.

alhamdulillah all is good now. although mama kraken still makes stabs at me, like ohhh so poor thing my grandchild sleeps while sucking on her finger, luckily her finger hasn’t worn out. grandmothers! lovely people but oh so dramatic 🙄

on a more positive note

i think 7 months is my favourite phase so far. as my friend pointed out, Watermelon is starting to look more like a baby and less like a wrinkly tiny unexpressive newborn.

she interacts more with her surroundings. smile and giggles more often. even i can make her laugh now, not just her father! likes to stick out her tongue for fun. can rotate on the mat and do a bit of commando crawling towards objects of interest, such as our handphones or cloth tags on toys/pillows/clothes.

best of all, i have found a rabid fan in her. haha. she starts panting and smiling widely when she sees me, which can be quite heart melting and flattering. some of the time, at least. regardless, lovelovelove! ❤