The shittiest Mothers’ Day, and why this too shall pass

Did the title of the blog catch your attention? Good, because that’s NOT the content of this blog post. LOL. But it is, however, a post for Mother’s Day. It’s a special day, so I thought it deserves a special once in a blue moon post. And just a heads up, things were honestly a little shitty, but definitely not the shittiest. Hahahaha

Not that I don’t enjoy blogging anymore, I do, but I can’t exactly justify why I would want to work my brain cells more when I could actually maybe perhaps hopefully get a tiny weeny bit of shut eye for that 30 minutes, which is how long I hope it will take me to finish this post.

 

The girls had a playmate over for dinner so they are quite entertained at the moment. Phew! So while I peacefully nurse Littlest Warrior to sleep in my room, I thought why the heck not post an update on my blog. I really have no idea how the blogger moms do it, I mean how do they find time?! Remember, this happened earlier, it’s not happening in real time.

 

So this happened. We had a whole day out visiting a friend, celebrated a birthday, came back to a toddler melt down session (and have no inkling whatsoever what she wanted), and a baby who is just wailing for you to put her to sleep, like right now. BREATHE IN….. ohmmmmmmm… BREATHE OUT. Yes I can totally handle this, no problem. It’s no big deal really, it happens almost every few days, some days more often than the others. So yeah, I got this. This too shall pass.

thistooshallpass

Image credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/thistooshallpass

 

Soooooo I quickly nursed Littlest Warrior and while she’s groggy, I gently put her down and pray that she would soothe herself to sleep. Hah! Fat chance. But okay nevermind, she did eventually get to sleep after that. So I dash to Little Warrior who is just having a melt down outside the room. She’s just over exhausted from the long day out (I know, bad bad mommy), and she’s just woken up from a nap in the car and is cranky. She’s so worked up that she doesn’t know what she wants anymore. But hey, that’s okay because let’s remind ourselves that toddlers are still trying to control their emotions, and obviously this one here hasn’t exactly found a way to keep it under control yet. But mommy’s here so everything will be okay. Somehow I am calm and collected. I embraced her, and held her for a whole freaking 20 minutes, just staying there silently while whispering “I love you, mommy’s right here” and hugging her tight while she bawled her eyes out. And while I was consoling her, I smelt it. But try telling a cranky toddler that mommy is about to pass out from smelling her poo for 20 minutes, most likely she isn’t going to get it. So I decided to man it up, hugged her for as long as she needed to calm down, and just pray I don’t faint from the pungeant smell that was filling my nose. This too shall pass, I tell myself.

 

20 minutes finally passed and she was just down to hiccups. So I gently told her that we had to go wash her bum bum, otherwise there might be worms there that’s going to crawl into her bum (I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures). So she goes but she still cries, like she wants to go wash it but she’s too cranky to go get it wash. Toddlers, they are really a totally different ballgame from you and I). But we did get there in the end, all washed and cleaned. 😊

 

We go to the room, because we both knew that she was overstimulated, but tired. Of course sleep was the last thing on her mind. So like any sane mother, I gave her a dose of homeopathic Chamomile, and hope that will help her to settle. She whines and wakes her littlest sister up. Great, now I have to place Littlest Warrior on to my chest and hold her with my left arm, and cuddle Little Warrior with the other arm. Half way through trying to put both to bed, she looks up to me with puffy puppy eyes and said, “mommy, can we go out? I want to eat the noodles [Big Warrior] was eating.” So, off we went, out to the dining hall for dinner, and you know what? By the end of it all, my beautiful sunshine of a daughter did finally got herself together. She finished her dinner and went on to play with her eldest sister Big Warrior, and her friend Harry, whom I am so grateful for being with us tonight, because at least he kept Big Warrior occupied. One less kid to worry about 😅😅

 

It might have been the chamomile, it might have been the calm, gentle and constant cuddles that helped. Either way, I’m glad it’s finally past.

 

And that’s how I spend Mothers’ Day eve, folks! And truth be told, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because days like these ground me as a mother. It makes me believe in my capabilities of mothering my children and being superwoman at the same time. Let’s face it, balancing a baby on your chest with one arm, making sure she is suckling the boobs without falling off, and cuddling your other octopus, oops I mean cranky toddler with the other, is no joke  I seriously thought I was superwoman. And to top it off, I was calm! Woo hoo, I’m awesome! *yes I’m feeling crazy at the moment*

 

Don’t get me wrong, most days my warriors are absolutely wonderful and just amazing little human beings. But I just wanted to share with fellow mommies (especially the new moms) some of my moments where not everything is perfect, and that it is okay that your Mother’s Day hasn’t been perfect. Mine wasn’t perfect on so many levels, but it was still perfect to me because although it was kinda shitty, I learned how to love my children even more through these imperfect times. And because I’m at peace with it, it is somehow a perfect Mothers’ Day eve for me. Oh, not to forget, getting showered with gifts from the children helped make it perfect too. ;p

 

IMG_6507

 

Remember, this too shall pass. They will grow up, move out and have a family of their own. And then, you’d wish to have more shitty days like these than none at all.

 

Well, that’s all for now, happy Mother’s Day to us mom! 😊

 

2030287696155814270116

 

P/s: for the record, this post took 38 minutes to finish so please excuse my grammatical errors, as I have no intentions to reread it and amend anything  😝

 

18425197_415458052154086_7806990224457192980_n

Side note: Head over to SedapPlace to see how you can support for a good cause this Mothers’ Day in Perth!

Confession of baby wrapaholic

I have a confession: I’m addicted to babywearing. Okay, so maybe I have more than one confession to make. I’m also addicted to the wraps and carriers that come with love for baby wearing.

Although I don’t own as many as I would like, and definitely not as many as other addicts I know from the babywearing mommy groups that I’m part of, I still own more than one, which in my hubby’s opinion makes me an addict. The real addicts probably have close to 20 wraps or carrier per mom, whereas I only have 5. LOL. Yes, Mr husband is rolling his eyes at me now. Apparently it’s a hard thing to grasp as to why I need more than a wrap/ carrier. (What? I need different ones to match my clothes, of course. 😝)

Well, he can roll his eyes all he wants. We both know that he loves babywearing his babies too, so I think that’s why he lets me get away with my babywear indulgence. Haha. (Btw, I love you hubby 😊)

img_4638

That;s him babywearing Big Warrior in Taiwan when she was 9 months old

There are are so many reasons to love babywearing. Here’s my top 10:

 

#1. Your baby gets to stay close to you

They don’t call it the fourth trimester for no reason. Infants are meant to stay close to their parents, and be held or carried as often as possible. No, carrying them all the time isn’t going to spoil them (Little Warrior weaned herself off the carrier by 1 1/2). Babywearing gives you the perks of being able to kiss and smell your baby as frequently as you like. Definitely a plus point for me as I LOVE to kiss and smell my babies. It’s like my Rescue Remedy, the act of it calms me down.

img_4475

Littlest Warrior in a Soul Sling Lotus Ring Sling at 4 weeks old [Photo credit: Collaboration with Light]

#2. Freedom!

Need to cook dinner? Go to the toilet while at the mall? Go mountain hiking? No worries, just wear your baby and you’re hands free and good to go! I can’t recall how many times babywearing saved my sanity. I’m literally on the go with all my kids because I would go insane staying at home the whole day. I also get to breastfeed while attending to my older kids or when I’m out and about. And the best thing about it, usually no one notices you breastfeeding your child when they’re in a wrap or carrier.

My 5 year old trusty Jumpsac Baby Ballerina Carrier for my all my travels (first pic: Big Warrior at 10 months old in Taiwan/ second pic: Little Warrior at 6 months Perth)

#3. Babywearing = peace & quiet

I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have asked me why I have such quiet and wonderful babies who sleep through dinner dates and shopping trips. I’ll let you in on a secret. Babywearing. Simple as that. The rocking motion that the baby gets from being carried while you walk lulls them to sleep. The tightness of the wrap around their little bodies gives them security and reminds them of their time in the womb where they’re safe and sound. Even if they aren’t asleep, they’d be happily exploring the world quietly and contentedly in the comfort of a wrap.

img_4621

Littlest Warrior at 6 weeks old in one of the prettiest wrap I’ve ever owned, the Kokadi Marie Im Wunderland 

#4. Babies are cuter in a wrap

I’ve lost count on the times I get stopped by a passerby commenting on how adorable and lovely my babies look all snuggled in a wrap. Let’s face it. Babywearing turns heads. Babies look almost angelic when in a wrap because they’re calm and happy. And sometimes their lips are “squished” in such a way that make them irresistibly cute, like literally Anne Geddes babies kinda cute. LOL

img_4631

Please ignore the less than appetising public toilet background. LOL. But doesn’t Littlest Warrior look simply divine?? *cue in the “aaahhhhhhhh*

#5. Babywearing moms are absolutely beautiful and babywearing dads totally rock

Maybe I’m bias, maybe I’m not. LOL. Babywearing parents look absolutely amazing wearing their babies. More so when you have a beautiful carrier on. I reckon there’s nothing more manly than a babywearing dad. They portray confidence because they aren’t afraid of how society might judge them for sporting a baby wrapped around their chest. And that’s one of the reason’s why I adore my husband. He isn’t one to shy away wearing his babies in public just because the carriers and wraps I have aren’t exactly in manly colours.

 

 

#6. It prevents kidnapping! (and secretly keeps Aunty Petunia from smothering the baby with slobbery kisses)

I’m not kidding with this one. There’s absolutely zero chances of anyone kidnapping your child when they’re literally strapped up onto your body. Well, they technically could still kidnap you, if they were willing to kidnap you together with the baby. But I doubt anyone would want to go to that extend. It makes more sense for them to move to their next little target who might be laying down quietly in a pram. Having a baby wrapped closely on to your chest also helps prevent unwanted hands, mouths, and breaths away from your precious little one. I always make sure to wear my babies when attending family functions and social gatherings. You’ll never know when some inconsiderate person with no common sense might just think it’s okay to carry your babies or kiss them right after a cigarette puffing session. Trust me, even people with a PHD, or doctor’s degree can forget their common sense when there’s a baby involved. *roll eyes*

img_5923-copy

My first experience with babywearing was with a Peanut Shell sling. I noticed people tend to be less invasive with the baby when she’s being carried in a wrap/carrier/sling. 

#8. It’s indirectly a workout for your whole body

It’s like doing squats or crunches while standing up. Why? Because you’re constantly carrying weight, and are forced to tuck in your tummy all the time. The weight of the baby is more balanced throughout your body if you wear a carrier or a wrap, compared to a one-sided sling.

 

#9. No bulky strollers. Yay!

Have you ever noticed how much preparation goes into bringing a baby out? Nappies, extra clothes, bottles and what not if you’re using formula or expressed milk, wet wipes, change mats, etc. Those would have taken up the size of a decently huge baby bag. And then there’s the stroller. Once you’ve parked your car, you’d have to open the boot, lug out the stroller, open it, open the car door, take the baby out and strap the baby on. Oh, don’t forget to put a blankie for the baby. Now imagine you’re a babywearing mama. Once you’ve parked the car, you’d open the car door, put on your carrier or wrap (which is really lightweight), and put your baby in. You’re hands free! And you’d have hands to push a shopping trolley for groceries, a task which would prove to be quite difficult for a stroller mom. You can’t well be pushing a stroller and a shopping cart with just 2 hands, can you?

img_4633

Little Warrior in my first woven wrap, the Ellevil Paisley in Blue

 

#10. Babies get to see the world from a better angle

Have you ever stopped and imagine how a child feels being so small? If you haven’t, try squatting down while talking to your partner. You’ll understand how belittle and frustrating it gets sometimes to have to constantly look up at someone while talking. That’s how children feel, especially when they are being lectured at or talked to. It makes a big difference if we were to stoop down to their level when talking to them, or bring them up to our eye level when we engage with them. So instead of exploring the world from below (where it’s usually a sea of legs and feet and toes, and dogs), they get to appreciate their surroundings through your angle.

Left pic: My failed selfie with Little Warrior in my Ergo Petunia Picklebottom Carrier/ Right pic: Little Warrior in my Jumpcsac baby

Babywearing has been an extremely amazing experience for me, so much so that I’m now a proud babywearing advocate. It played such an important role in my attachment parenting journey. Gone were the days of insecurity as a first time mom, where I was constantly told to ignore my baby’s cry, and to not hold them so often for the fear of overdependency. Call me a hippie mom for all you like, I now co-sleep with all my children, I wear my newborn all the time, I hold them close whenever they need me to. Babywearing has taught me so much. I’m sure I will still find new things to learn as a parent of three, but one thing I’ve learnt that has proven to be invaluable, is that babywearing is the best thing you could ever do for your child. They get to feel you close and hear your heartbeat, that’s all a newborn wants, and that’s the best gift you could ever give them – YOU.

2030287696155814270116

My 2 year old won’t be learning her ABCs and 123s yet, and I’m perfectly okay with it

img_4460

Today is the first day of playgroup at Steiner for Little Warrior. She’s been waiting forever for this day. Having seen Big Warrior go in to class day in and day out, she’s often asked me when it would be her turn to be a big girl and go to school. Well, today is the day. 😊

 

While other kids are learning their ABCs and 123s, Little Warrior is learning about the world, through interacting with Mother Nature and listening to story time. And that’s perfectly okay. She’s busy learning the necessary human survival skills, that she might not necessarily use per se, but those traits are what will set her apart from the rest of her robotic peers. She gets to plant gardens and pick flowers, and find out how to work with Mother Nature and appreciate her beauty and resources. She gets to walk barefooted, climb trees, and occasionally get a glimpse of wildlife in the school’s backyard as we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by bushland. Like today, we had a beautiful owl visit us at the playgroup garden. It’s not everyday that one gets to see a wild owl upclose and personal. What an amazing experience for us!

img_4461

 

She doesn’t know her multiplication times table, nor can she write her own name yet, but that’s perfectly okay. She’s busy playing and learning more relevant things like how society works by interacting freely with her peers. They engage in a world of free play where they dictate how the playing goes, where it happens, and who gets to be involved in it. There’s no social pressure on how she’s suppose to be, what she’s suppose to say, or who’s she suppose to maintain good relationships with. She learns how to socialise and be part of a community without unnecessary social influences. She does chores, and learn how to work as a team with her playmates. She gets to learn how to make decisions pertaining to her life from an early age, instead of being helicoptered and told what to do all the time. She gets to learn that every action comes with a reaction, so the next time she knows what to expect when she does something.

img_4459

 

She doesn’t know her written ABCs yet, and she can’t recognise 123s, even though she can communicate as fluently as a 2 year old should. And that’s okay too. She learns how to express herself and be confident with her voice. She sings and says blessings. She learns about empathy and sees the goodness in the world. She will learn to appreciate mothers, fathers, and educators alike, because she will see with her own eyes how everyone respects each other at playgroup despite their age, financial background, and race differences.

 

img_4458

 

Sure, academic education is important. However, I think education about the self and play is equally important. If you don’t know how to be comfortable with your own skin, and be confident with your ability to make decisions, then you won’t go far. So many of our younger generations aren’t equipped enough to go against the tide and think outside the box, and just be different. Our current society is raising a future generation of robots, teens and young adults who follow the herd and do not question what is being taught. Do we really want that for our children? I don’t. I really don’t.

 

I’m prepared to face the insanity of having to reason with my 2 year old on why we don’t run around naked when outside the house, or teach my 5 year old all the proper names of her body so that she’s aware that nobody is allowed to touch her sacred body parts without her consent. I teach them to say no to hugs or kisses when they’re not up for it, even if it’s us or the grandparents asking. I teach them that it’s okay to say they don’t like certain food, as long as they’ve tried at least once. And I tell them it’s okay to reason with us if they feel the need to voice out their opinions.

 

There are so many things worthy of learning that aren’t academic. Little Warrior, like her sister Big Warrior, will not be officially educated in the academic sense until she turns 7 according to the Steiner system. I’m totally okay with it, proud even, because I know that like her sister, she will thrive and blossom into a wonderful little human being when the time comes.

 

2030287696155814270116

 

 

 

 

 

Reblog: A day in the life of a Waldorf kid

The Waldorf playgroup on Thursdays morning at West Coast Steiner School starts off like this…
A small playground in the school yard
All classroon signs are beautifully handmade or drawn
We are greeted with a different scent every week – lavender, rose, etc…
All toys are made from natural materials such as wood, logs, ceramics…
Wooden instruments…
Wool and knitted soft toys…
cloth and handmade dolls…
Parents who attend playgroup are required to bring a piece of fruit each to cut them up and share it during morning tea
Playgroup is not only a place to play, but a place to bond and get lots of cuddles
How cool is this little guy’s toenails? LOL
One of our favourite moments of the day, bread making!
Our lovely Playgroup Coordinator, who’s been absolutely amazing at guiding us through playgroup with the Waldorf philosophy
Each parent is also given a task to do for the day
It’s a tradition to light a candle to give thanks…
Morning tea time outside the class garden. Table and stools all made out of wooden logs. How awesome and nature friendly!
Our share of fruits for morning tea… yums!
Little NAPB enjoying her fruits “kampung” style! 😉
 Mommy R & Little R
Thank you for being such an inspiration to me to want to be a super mom
Kids get to take part in daily chores to their interest and abilities
All in all, the Waldorf playgroup is an ideal place for parents to grow together with their children, it’s about connecting with your child as a whole. It’s very cosy and family orientated, compared to a Montessori playgroup, where independent play is more encouraged. Waldorf keeps the children’s mind opened and promotes willingness to learn through their own initiatives, which is what I’m hoping for Big Warrior. We’re already seeing some positive changes in Big Warrior’s attitude towards socialising, hopefully she will continue to blossom and flourish as time goes by.
*This was written in 2014. Fast forward 2016, Big Warrior’s been with the Waldorf School for almost 2 years. And the difference we’ve seen in her is just amazing. She may not be learning her ABCs and 123s in school at the moment, and won’t be till she’s in Year 1, but the little things that been cultivated into her as a person is undeniably valuable. Learning to share her load with house chores, being a team player, showing kindness and empathy, reaping the harvest that she helped sow, etc… these are things that the common public education do not put emphasis on. However, these are the important building block of being a successful human being. I’ve never pushed her to learn academically, but even without me (or the school) teaching her, she’s already well-versed with her alphabets and can count up to 30, which to me is a big surprise because she did her own learning through listening and observing.
I will be forever grateful to have stumble upon a Waldorf Steiner school for my children. My only hope now is that they will cherish their blessings being a Waldorf child and growing up without unnecessary social pressure.
2030287696155814270116

Reblog: A Wonderful Family Getaway: Lilly Pilly Cottage Farm Stay @Gidgegannup, Western Australia

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since we’ve been to Lilly Pilly! We’re seriously missing this little quaint cottage, and fingers crossed we’ll be able to make another trip there before Nemo is born. Anyway, here’s a recap from our wonderful experience there is 2014.
Nestled in a secluded farmland among towering Jarrah trees, the Lilly Pilly Cottage embodies the spirit of an ultimate Australian Bushland experience.
This homely, fully self contained little cottage has three comfortable cozy bedrooms, catering up to eight people. Since there were only five of us (one being a toddler), we had plenty of extra space to, well, waste. It’s a pity that in the midst of all the excitement, I actually forgot to take pictures of the rooms, but I did manage to take one of the lounge, which is equipped with a fireplace! How awesome is that?
Within the hundred-acre land, only thirty-five acre is utilised as a farm, an organic vineyard and two cottages; the rest of the sixty-five acres are kept in its natural form of Australian bushland. In the farm you will find a flock of sheep, some horses, cows, alpacas, and chickens. Patrons are encouraged to join in during feeding time every morning and evening. That particular activity quickly became Little Miss NAPB’s favourite time at the farm getaway.

 

 

 

 

 

“This is how you feed the chickens, daddy!”

Say “ahhhhhhhh”

 

“You gotta open your mouth before eating, Baa Baa Sheep”

Poor Baa Baa Sheep getting impatient while Little Miss Perfectionist attempts to sort out the hay, LOL

Such a proud moment for us that Little Miss NAPB was brave enough to be in such proximity with the animals

Being the farmhand of the day also meant that Little Miss NAPB had to help out with raking and transferring of the haystack prior to feeding the cow and bull.
A huff and a puff… Stacking the hay sure is hard work!

And some random shots of the cottage’s surrounding…

The organic vineyard
 
Overall we had an awesome and memorable experience at the cottage, and would absolutely love to return again. But perhaps not till sometime later in the future. It’s not exactly cheap at roughly AUD$550 for a two night stay, but I guess if the accommodation was shared between two to three families, it would definitely be worth it. Of course, if you were to stay for a week, the price per night would be much cheaper as well.

Thank you, Farmer Ray, for your generous hospitality. We will definitely meet again!
And thank you Goong Goong and Popo for the treat to this amazing getaway!
Lilly Pilly Cottage
Gidgegannup, Western Australia

Reblog: Great Expectations

Most parents have great expectations of their children. But many don’t expect the same from themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? Parents expect their children to treat others with respect, to know how to share, and to act accordingly during playtime and sleep time (and all the time). But the real question is, do you (as a parent) even practice what you preach?

I’m a firm believer that all children are born pure and good. It is under the guidance of their parents that will eventually lead to the flourishing of goodness in their little big hearts. If you practice what you preach, chances are your child will follow suit.

IMG_5156_1

Don’t just tell a child to be kind, sharing and all things good; show them and lead by example. If you’re always arguing with your partner on who’s right, or snatching toys away from your kid when he refuses to share, you’re indirectly telling him that it is of utmost importance who wins in the end (in an argument or a fight), and taking things by force is an acceptable thing to do when things don’t happen your way.

Actions speak louder than words. When you portray negative behaviour in front of your child, they will learn. And trust me when I say, they will learn FAST. At two years of age, my little munchkin is absorbing her surrounds like a sponge. Children learn best by imitating you, the parent. And whatever that you do on a day to day basis will indirectly be how you mould your child’s character and behaviour. As Clarence B. Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.”

Don’t expect a kid to know the meaning of respect if you don’t raise him with respect. I’ve seen parents who smack and “publicly humiliate” their kids for the littlest of things. That’s not just disrespecting your child as a small human being, that’s just uncivilised in my humble opinion. You wouldn’t smack your friend over some small issue, but you don’t hesitate to do just that to your own child, that’s just stupid.

12568334_931590570287571_1615032610_n(1)

You can’t teach a kid the concept of sharing when the first thing you do is to snatch away his toys when he refuses to share it, with a stranger. Yes, you might be good friends with a fellow mother, but don’t expect your child to naturally be long time friends with her kids. And don’t expect him to be as willing as you are to share, because heck, even you might not be that willing to share your stuff with someone you’ve just met. So no, don’t expect something from your kid when you might not even be able to live up to that expectation yourself. Or like Sarah W Caron says, “Don’t be a hypocrite, mama!

And how do you define appropriate behaviour? Expecting a two year old to sit through a two hour dinner is like expecting a medical student to sit through a mathematic convention. If your kid can actually sit in his high chair quietly and obediently for two hours and not put up a fuss, that’s not normal, I’m serious, you probably need to get him checked. That maybe an appropriate behaviour for an adult, but it is not for a kid. Appropriate behaviour for a two year old is to want to run around, explore and parallel play. That’s normal. And really, even you might want to walk around to socialise with your friends during dinner functions, why would you deny your kid the same benefit?

IMG_5158_1

Seriously, parents, enlighten me will you? I know many of you aren’t like that, but I have come across some who are. Why in the world would you expect so much for a person who’s been around for less than two years, yet expect so much less for people who’ve been around for at least thirty to forty years? Cos I really don’t understand it at all. Ugh. Bleh.

2030287696155814270116

 

I’m no Tiger Mom, and that’s okay

This particular article below was taken from Jacq SunYoga’s Facebook page:

 

————————————————————————–

Parents, do read this.

My third son Jack has Sensory Integration Disorder, which is on the autistic spectrum. He went to a school that pushed him to go to University, though I fought with the head of sixth form on many occasions, telling him that Jack went to school for the socialisation and sports, not damn A’s. Anyway, Jack was influenced and wanted to go to University (because everyone else was).

I tried to make everything as smooth as possible for Jack. During exams, I made sure he had good breakfast, I made sure there was petrol in his car, I made sure he knew what he was supposed to revise, and I made sure he knew the time and date of every exam.

He scraped enough grades to get into a second rate University back in the UK.

And guess what? Because I was not there for his first year finals exam, he missed a crucial paper. And then he went on a downward spiral after missing one paper. To stay on the course, he would have to repeat the whole first year again. He dropped out, demoralised.

I had to spend a year rebuilding him and put him back on track. Today, he works for the Haywards Group and earns a six figure salary doing a job he loves without the degree that his school pushed him into just so that the school looks good on the league table. I unfortunately played my part and became a helicopter parent in Jack’s case.

Helicopter parenting does not work. Because what happens when you stop? And when will you stop? When your child is 18? 21? 25?

My 16 year old should’ve been in an exam this morning but we last saw her on the football pitch at 9.30am. Maybe in her infinite wisdom she has decided not to sit the paper. Who knows but she.

If you want to see Jack’s work, go to this website. He is the one who does the house designs.

————————————————————————–

 

Reading Jacq’s post on education prompted me to jot down my own feelings toward this subject.

 

Many people ask me why in the world would I put my children into Waldorf, my answer is simple. Mainstream education interferes with their learning. I’m no Tiger Mom, my children don’t need to know their ABCs by age 3, nor do they need to know programming by age 8. They only need to know the joys of learning, without social and peer pressure.

 

Why not let them be children? Let them climb trees, walk on balance beams, draw with a stick on the sand, or water the garden. There’s always something interesting to learn from these simple activities – watching that praying mantis camouflage among the leaves, putting your hands out can help balancing easier on a small plank, a shorter stick is easier to draw with than a ultra long stick, water helps the plant grow, etc.

 

10978513_10153215973085312_304122036851790411_n

 

Learning doesn’t have to come from books. Learning comes from the heart, it comes from what you see, hear and feel around you. There’s always something to learn about anything, anyone, and anywhere.

 

I came from a typical “mainstream” life. That includes schooling, social life, and well, life. But I won’t talk about social life and life in this post, I’ll leave that for another day. I went to mainstream education, had tuition (thankfully not all the time), studied enough to pass through all my subjects. Key word here being studied. Because quite frankly, I never really understood what I was studying. It wasn’t a requisite. I wasn’t encouraged to make sense of it, I was only programmed to memorise what I’m suppose to “learn” in order to pass my exams. It was peer pressure that I went on to Science Stream, because you were considered “smart” if you were in it. Once my exams were over, I would literally forget about them. Looking back, what was the point of learning my algebra, history, geography really? It’s something I never understood.

 

It is because of my own educational experience that has led me to parent my kids differently, to show them that there is a different route in life that they could take. They need to know that there is always a choice when it comes to life. Mainstream schooling doesn’t allow that. There is no choice. You either excel or you fail, and the ones in between just get through life doing what they hate, but don’t have the courage to pursue what they are truly passionate about.

 

B5TgS

I’m no helicopter parent either. Because if I was, Big Warrior wouldn’t be attending Waldorf, where she gets to jump on muddy puddles, plant gardens, climb trees, bake bread, and draw on the pavement with chalks. I’d be too worried about the dirt, the height, the lack of academia. But I’m not, so we’re good. Soon, Little Warrior will follow suit. I want them to enjoy the process of learning, to know that there’s more to learning than just text books. They learn how plants grow by actually witnessing the growth process from seedling to plant because they were the ones who dug the hole and placed the seed in to the ground. They learn how they reap what they sow. They learn that it’s okay to share their harvest, because they have the necessary skills and knowledge to source and grow more. They learn that it’s not the end of the world if there’s no TV or iPads, because Waldorf children are not encouraged to have any gadget or technology time during Kindy and Primary years. The earliest they can use a computer for their home work is when they reach high school. As a result of all these, my children are never dependent on technology to keep them entertained (they do get to watch movies on the weekends but they never demand for it), and they can be just as happy just playing in the garden looking for dandelions. For that, I’m forever grateful.

 

 

I get that I’m no tiger mom, and that’s okay. I don’t seem to have that urge to push my kids academically at this point (or ever, but we’ll see). I’m not so much of a helicopter parent as well, and that’s also okay. I let them fall, cry and pick themselves up, because the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and they need to understand that. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between, somewhat of a lazy parent. LOL. I let them figure out how to entertain themselves when I’m busy, but I also try to spend time with them when I can. We co-sleep because I’m too lazy to sleep train them, and because I believe that they will eventually move out into their own room in due time. I still breastfeed my 18 month old because I’m lazy to wean her. I let them eat by themselves even though my Little Warrior still makes a mess most days because I’m too lazy to chase her around to feed her.

 

Being a lazy mom is tiring, and adhering to Waldorf teachings can make it even more tiring, because I can’t rely on the idiot box to babysit my kids. But this combo works for me, and the results are so worth it. My girls are happy, and that’s the most important. They are blossoming in their own way, and they are doing it beautifully.

 

Having said all that, as tiger parents, helicopter parents, lazy parents, we all just want what’s best for our children. If it feels right to you, and your children are thriving, then you’re on the right track. Have faith in your judgement and your parental instinct. After all, it is our human instincts that have allowed our species to survive for so many years.

 

 

2030287696155814270116

 

Waldorf and Montessori for Dummies

Many people have been asking me what’s the difference between Waldorf/ Steiner education and Montessori teaching. I’m no expert, but having had a go at both schools before settling down with Waldorf, this is what I know. Obviously there’s more than what I’m about to write, but consider this a summarized version.

46d8267c60ecf118fd936129268f0a2e
Pic credit: www.morguefile.com
We started Big Warrior’s “schooling” journey at Perth Montessori School when she was about 2, for playgroup. We were there for 6 months before we decided it wasn’t the system for us, well, for Big Warrior. Montessori was very focused on independence. Children were taught to rely on themselves to get their jobs done. They were treated like little adults. Sharing and teamwork were rarely encouraged (I might be wrong, but every time when Big Warrior wanted to play toys with others, the teacher told us everyone would have to wait for their turn, it didn’t seem like they were too keen on children working together). Big Warrior was reluctant to attend playgroup, she didn’t want to stay indoors doing ‘jobs’, she only wanted to go outside to play on the slide, balance beam, bikes, etc. So after 6 months of trying it out at Montessori, we went to Waldorf, which was recommended by a Japanese friend of mine whose siblings attended Waldorf schools in Japan.
When we first went to Waldorf, I never really did much researched on it. All I knew was that it was an alternative system just like Montessori, and they were child-led instead of blindly following the mainstream one-size-fits-all system.
So, first day at a Waldorf playgroup and I could see straight away that this was it. This was the school for Big Warrior. Everything, from the environment to the class setup to the teachers, were exactly what she needed, what every child needed if you were to ask for my opinion. Open space, gentle pastel coloured silks draped around the classroom, vegetable garden to plant their own kiddy crops… So needless to say, we stayed. We stayed alright. And now fast forward 2 years, Big Warrior is in Kindy 5, and she’s blossomed so much under the gentle guidance of her amazing kindy teachers.
Anyways, enough about my opinions. This post is supposed to be about the difference between Montessori and Waldorf. But I thought I’d share a little of my experience of the 2 schools.
So, below is a summary of what I know.
Similarities between the two schools:1. Both respect children as individuals and creative beings.
2. Both believe in protecting children from the stresses of modern life and the overuse of technology such as iPad, computers and television.
3. Both emphasize education as a whole and focuses on spiritual, mental, physical and psychological developments over the orthodox academic curriculum.
4. Both stress the importance of nature and the natural environment of things. such as minimal or no usage of plastic, having their educational activities within a natural surrounding (park or garden), etc.
5. Both systems were banned during the Nazi regime during WWII as they refused to teach the ideology of the state. Their beliefs are that education must be based on the needs of the child, not the state.
6. Both emphasize on a rich variety of art, music, dance and theatre, believing it to be beneficial for a child’s development.

Differences between Montessori and Waldorf:

Academic
Montessori: Children are given the opportunity to do “real work” such as cooking, cleaning, caring for themselves at a very young age (3-6 years old). Academic lessons are also offered, but as something to enjoyed by the children if they choose to participate. It is never required or forced onto the children. The real world is seen as a wonderful creation, therefore, children are introduced to the real world in all its variation beginning at a very young age. The word “work” is used to described the child’s activities instead of “play” because the children are respected as small adults.

Waldorf: Children are kept from academic subjects such as reading and writing until age 7. Academics are thought to be necessary but not especially enjoyable, and is best put off as long as possible so that children are able to explore their creativity and childhood with make-believe, fairies, art and music. The philosophy views play as the work of a young child, and make-believe fantasies of a young child is an integral part of how the teacher works with the child.

Method
Montessori: Children developed in real life situations as they are usually not kept in a group of same-aged peers (3-6 years age span). The teachers provides lessons individually to one child at a time, and often, lessons are given by one child to another. The choice of what to study is solely left to the child, and is guided by the teacher whenever necessary.This form of learning produces high academic level as the depth of concentration of the children is high when focusing on a subject of their own choice. Children also learn to make decisions at an early age. Montessori teachers believe that if children are allowed to follow their interests, they will be able to excel into greater heights.
Waldorf: Children are kept together with peers their own age, and the teacher ideally moving up each academic year with the same children so that he or she becomes the focal point in the child’s learning development. Academic subjects are taught in a more traditional way – teacher speaking at the front, and children sitting at their desks. Activities are often taught and carried out in groups, with the emphasis on art as part of the academic curriculum. Socialisation is an important part of the Waldorf system. Competitive sports and activities are absent in the school curriculum to prevent social bullying.
 Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Education System
 Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Education System

Do bear in mind that because there are many schools which piggyback on the Montessori or Waldorf name but do not follow the exact teachings of the originator. So be sure to look up the list of real Montessori or Waldorf schools from their official website or contact them to verify before signing your child up to a particular kindy or school.

Sites to visit:
http://www.montessori.edu
http://www.waldorflibrary.org

2030287696155814270116

Crunchy parenting. What?

12328234_549047675276668_1449360645_n(1)

If I had to tick off boxes based on Are You A Little Crunchy Too’s “What is Crunchy Parenting?” post, I’d say I’m preeeeeeeeeety crunchy. LOL. Want to find out what being a crunchy parent means? Read on to find out!

Here’s a general list (found on the link above) of the things a cruncy parent would do. And I’ve put my answers (in bold and italic) next to the questions.

  • Attachment Parenting checked
  • Co-Sleeping checked
  • Baby Wearing checked
  • cloth diapering nope
  • Elimination communication barely there
  • natural birth checked
  • home birth nope, not thaaaat crunchy
  • water birth checked
  • delayed cord clamping checked
  • breastfeeding checked
  • extended breastfeeding checked
  • delayed vaccination checked
  • selective vaccination nope
  • vaccination exempt checked
  • holistic medicine checked
  • alternative health checked
  • Veg/Vegan nope
  • Tree Hugging drug free Hippy Mama 99% there
  • Homeschooling/Unschooling checked almost there with alternative schooling
  • Natural Products checked
  • Toxin Aware checked
  • Plastic Free 50% there
  • No Cry It Out checked
  • No Spanking checked
  • Peaceful parenting checked
  • Minimalist most of the time
  • Free Range Children checked
  • Child Led learning checked
  • TV Free almost there
  • Limited Media checked
  • Eco-Friendly Home 50% there
  • Buy WAHM checked
  • Buy Small Business checked
  • Buy Local checked
  • Travel Green (On foot or Bike or bus) *guilty* nope
  • Organic Gardening LOL NOPE, no green fingers here
  • Buy Organics First checked
  • Poison Free Homes almost there
  • Midwife Care checked
  • No Circumcision we have no sons but we don’t agree with circumcision
  • Handmade checked
  • Activism checked
  • Human Rights / Animal Right 50% there
  • Active Parenting checked

Now that’s quite a few “checks” there and add the “half way/ nearly there”, I realised I have somehow unknowingly fallen in to the “phenomenon” of crunchy parenting. To be honest, I never knew there was an actual term for parents like me, until I keep sighting the term in one of my parenting forums.

My parenting style has always been a “controversial” topic within my side of the family, alternative methods and mainstream ways don’t seem to get along somehow, but that’s another story for another day. Despite that, I have over time learned to trust my own maternal instinct. I didn’t just decide to jump on the crunchy parenting bandwagon, but most of what crunchy parenting depicts are what I’ve been practicing all along anyway.

I was having a meaningful conversation with a dear friend the other day and we got into the topic of parenting. She asked, “how do you know if you’re doing the best you can for your children?” If I was asked this question a couple of years back, I would have pondered on it, come up with a thousand ‘what ifs’ and begin doubting my capability as a mother. Fast forward 4 years, after numerous ups and downs in my parenting journey, I answered her without a second thought, and I said, “There is no perfect parenting, you just have to do your best to nurture them according to their natural needs, and that’s the best you can do for your children and as a parent. No one else knows your child better than you, not even your parents, your grandaunt, nor your doctor.” And I think that is exactly what crunchy parenting is about.

 12568154_774091809363678_2209485_n 11429776_1726438297584013_999482526_n
All those baby wearing, breastfeeding, no crying it out, co-sleeping, etc are really about nurturing according to nature. Babies are born to be loved, cuddle close to mom (or dad), and drink human’s milk (of course if under unfortunate circumstances a mother is unable to breastfeed, she shouldn’t feel guilty about it, because life is never perfect). I’ve been told I’d be spoiling my babies by carrying and wearing them all the time, and not giving them enough nutrients if I extend breastfeeding (apparently nutrients in breastmilk depreciates after six months according to doctors… Well then, everyone should stop drinking cow’s milk because cows are milked for more than a few years in average, and mass market milk are filled with unnecessary antibiotics, pus and what not. Ugh. Again another story for another day).

 12534450_228214147512031_317836496_n
Co-sleeping is one of the best thing we’ve decided to do
Eating organic? It’s not that we’re being hippy or OTT, it’s about going back to what is natural, what is basic. Our ancestors have always eaten organically grown produce from their own farm, it wasn’t until not-so-recently that farm crops became heavily sprayed with unnaturally harmful chemicals and pesticides (and you wonder why more and more people are dying from cancer). If you ask me, I’d rather pay the farmer for health that comes naturally than pay the doctor for health that comes in a bottle or syringe. But but but, having said that, it’s not always affordable to buy organic, we just buy whatever we can afford to, and it’s okay to not eat organic if budget is a constrain. We just do the best we can according to our own budget.
Unschooling/ homeschooling/ alternative schooling. Why do crunchy parents aim to stay away from common education systems? Reason is because our mainstream education system does NOT nurture according to nature. It’s a one size fits all, and all size fit one concept. Ken Robinson said in his famous TED talks on education, that schooling kills creativity. Why? Because mainstream schooling is about learning within a specifically set boundary. Unschooling/ homeschooling/ and some of the alternative schooling systems like Waldorf, Reggio, and Montessori offer a wider scope of learning experience. These “other” schooling methods actually nurture according to nature, embracing that each child is different and that it is best to work according to the child’s passion and interest so that they will become the best they can be in whatever they chose to be, instead of being a jack of all trades and master of none, like most mainstream school children are.
And with regards to holistic medicine or alternative health care, I find from my personal experience that alternative health care practitioners are generally more knowledgeable about your well being than medical doctors are. No offence to doctors out there (and the one in the house). It’s not that medical doctors do not care, it’s just that they are not equipped with adequate knowledge about preventive health care. They are trained to treat, not prevent. Many doctors think it’s absolutely fine to take paracetamol (acetaminophen) for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I clearly remember (when I didn’t know better) the nurses at the hospital prescribed me twenty strips of paracetamol to help me with my postpartum recovery. My father is a retired doctor, hence I grew up taking paracetamol for a lot of things and it just didn’t occur to me that twenty strips of it is actually CRAZY! Too much acetaminophen actually causes liver damage according to a Forbes article (and numerous other scientific studies). And to think that I finished almost all of it except for one strip. Sigh, if only I’d bother to read a bit more on my own instead of relying on medical professionals who almost always view our body’s natural immune system as flawed when in actual fact, it can be almost perfect if you know how to care for it.

Crunchy parenting is, in my opinion, overrated because really, it should be the basis of all parenting practices. Why? Because crunchy parenting is what feels natural, it is a way of life according to nature. Dr Andrew Wakefield once said in a radio interview, “Trust your instincts, maternal instincts in particular. The reason we’re on this earth now, is because of maternal instinct. It is one of the most powerful forces of nature. It has equipped us for survival, far more so than any public health, medicine, or anything like that.” My maternal instinct tells me I’m on the right track being crunchy, and to see my little free-range warriors growing up healthily and happily is all the indication I need to know that I am doing the best I can for them.

11357821_435159666684169_1022814668_n
2030287696155814270116

Thank goodness for Daddies!

Both warriors have been down with the fever today, a fever that started just this morning with no prior indication whatsoever, not even at 6am when I checked since I co-sleep. This sudden onset of body temperature meant that all plans were ruined today, and that I was really in big trouble because I hadn’t thought of storing any fresh produce to cook for the warriors since they were due to go spend the night at their grandparent’s place. Worse, I just Googled and the nearest supermarket opens only at 10am. Gulp. Duke has his work appointment at 10am and needs to leave the house latest by 9.30am. Double gulp. I guess I would have to wait till the girls were up (they went back to sleep after waking up to a fever at 8.30am) then take both together with me to the supermarket for a quick run of grocery shopping.

So by 9.20am, Duke gave both girls and I a kiss on our foreheads and then left the house for work. Or so I thought. He called me at 9.45am to tell me he’s at the grocers and will get whatever I needed so I didn’t have to lug 2 sick kids together for the groceries. He’s even gotten 8 out of 10 things right in the trolley before I even had to tell him my list. Blessed him, this husband of mine! I was grateful that he postponed his appointment because it was tough enough having to tend to 2 cranky and feverish kids at home, let alone lugging them to a supermarket by myself. And it doesn’t end there. He then comes home with my dinner at 8pm, telling me how amazing I’ve been taking care of the kids, and helped me bathe them without me needing to ask. He then entertained the kids while I went to take a much needed shower.

12545427_245269525804688_565858610_n

Which brings me to the topic of my article, Thank goodness for Daddies. Seriously, sometimes I think we don’t give the daddies of the world enough credit. Parenthood or the running of a household isn’t just a mommy’s job, daddies play a huge role as well, and I think both mommies and daddies deserve equal recognition in society as “parents”.

Duke, like many daddy friends I know, are equally capable of taking care of the household and their children. He doesn’t just bring home the cash$$, he (some obviously not everyday, but many a times):

cooks, hangs up the laundry, cleans the house, washes the toilet, does gardening, goes grocery shopping, fixes the lights and whatever problems at home, solves my personal problems, keeps me stay positive and patient when I’m about to explode, protects me from physical and emotional harm, supports my breastfeeding journey (even when other friends and family members have been discouraging), watches my chick flicks with me (in return I watch action films with him), goes into the birthing pool with me just so that I didn’t have to go through the birthing process alone…

IMG_3175_1

He also (all the time):

feeds the kids, takes them out alone to the park or mall (so I can finish my chores or work at home peacefully), stays home with them while I enjoy my outing alone, reads to them, chats with them, sings with them, ties their hair, change their nappies, bathes them, babywears them in a carrier, gives them the green light to do whatever mommy says they shouldn’t be doing (not necessarily a good thing)…

And the list goes on.

Most people (mainly the older generation, and certainly society in general) would have had their mouths hanging to the ground floor just by reading the previous paragraph. A man taking the kids out ALONE? Taking care of the kids at home ALONE? Really??!! Men can do that??!! Heck, even my own father was skeptical the first few times I left the kids with him and Duke. Seriously, whoever came to a conclusion that men (2 in his case) can’t handle 2 kids?

A man is capable of many things if he’s determined and passionate enough about it. Also, if only society didn’t brainwash the male population with the male ego and chauvinism thingy, I’m pretty sure many men would actually be okay to show their, for the lack of a better word, nurturing side. Wouldn’t it be great that men are given a chance to show the world what great parents they are, without being judged by silly social norms? That it’s not unmanly to be able to laugh with your kids, or to wipe their bum, or be kissy-huggy with them in public?

Men have been stereotyped since God knows when to be the breadwinner of the house, to work long hours of the day, come home to eat dinner at the table, ask the children about their day at school, and then go to sleep. Thankfully more and more men nowadays seem to have stepped out of that “norm”, and are now more hands on with raising their children.

In fact, did you know that kids fare better in life when they’ve had constant and strong father figures throughout their childhood? As found here, here and here, it seems that children who consistent and healthy fatherly contact have higher intelligence level and psychological security (assuming the father-daughter relationship is a healthy one anyway).

What’s more, do you also realise that fathers are the first man a daughter learns about the opposite sex from, the first glimpse of what kind of man a son will endeavour to be in the future? Therefore, what a father does in front of his children, will influence them for life. Be a loving husband, his daughters will know how she should be treated by her husband, and his sons will know how to love his wife. Be a healthy person, his children will likely be the same. Be charitable, his children will learn that it’s okay to give to the needy, because what goes around comes around. Be filial to his parents, his children will appreciate his filiality and return the favour when the time comes.

IMG_5041 copy

 

Aren’t fathers just awesome? I really think we need to give more shout-outs to fathers around the world. Men need to know that we women and children appreciate their efforts in parenting, even if it means the children eats instant ramen cooked in yesterday’s left over chicken bone broth. And if I were to be very honest, I sometimes cook instant ramen cooked in yesterday’s bone broth too. LOL.

And really, thank goodness for Daddies, especially the hands-on ones. 🙂

 

2030287696155814270116