Photo *Heart* Friday: Just Take My Hand.

Friday, 31 August 2012

She eyes him from afar...
Wondering if he would like to play -
Perhaps,
even a little tad wary.


He comes to her,
But she takes a moment to respond.
She assesses the situation -
And the stranger boy.

He pretends not to care...
(the way all men do!)
He walks away,
With exaggerated aplomb.


He turns back,
and takes her hand.
Don't ask where we're going,
Don't question where we've been.

Just take my hand,
and walk with me.

***

They have not learnt to suspect, therefore they are not suspicious.
They have not learnt deception, and thus they are true.


Fabulous shots by Rachel Teo of Catch Forty Winks.

Wordless Wednesday: A Fabulous Day!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

BabyMoo and I had so much fun at an outdoor photo shoot today, along with 3 other Mums and their kids. The company was great, the weather was fabulous and we had an awesome photographer who really knows how to make the kids comply and smile. 

Now that BabyMoo is more expressive and can understand 'instructions', the photo shoot was really a wonderful experience for the both of us!



... and while we were busy doing the GlamaMamas Sex In The City poses, there were two toddlers busy getting acquainted!




It was easy to look happy when we are happy :)
Girls... thanks for such being great company!


Linking up with:


   My Little Drummer Boys   

Words, Thoughts and Consequences.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Have we ever stopped to think of what may be the consequences of our thoughts, actions or the things we say?

Not many of us do, for often, the words leap out of our mouths faster than we can even think about the resultant action, for far too many times, our hearts completely rule our heads.

We make far too many decisions in life. Even being undecided is a decision, by its own derivative. We are often faced with things that would require a response, or a thought. How many times do we actually have time to think about the effects and consequences of what we do?

Many times we just follow what comes into our minds, neglecting to worry about what and how another person would feel as a result of our words and actions.

Harsh words, once unleashed, can never be retracted. It may be forgotten over time, but some things said which are cutting and hurtful - will never be completely diminished.

For example, your child confides in you, and you simply say what you feel at that moment, without any thought of your his / her feelings, and how they may take it upon themselves. You don’t bother ’sugarcoating’ your words, perhaps only realising that your opinions and what you think matters more than you think - only after the words were uttered. 

"I told you nothing will come out of it. You still want to go against me!"
"How many times have I told you to listen? You really deserve whatever your're facing now."
or worse:
"I'm tired of talking to you. You get upset, you do it all over again. You never learn!"
"Don't talk to me now. I can't be bothered to listen to you!"

Perhaps you were upset. Maybe you were sick and tired of repeating the same thing over and over again, only to have them defy you. It could be a bad day in Motherland... when everything seems bleak and tiring, because despite all your efforts, the kids just seem to go against you for the sake of doing so.

But do you stop to think about what may be the consequence of your seemingly straightforward words?

It's not about being honest, or hiding behind the statement: "They have to learn, even if they do so the hard way. I would rather have them hear it from me than have others whisper behind their backs."

As a toddler, they run about, despite being told to walk properly and not run.
They fall, bust their lip, or get a huge booboo on their foreheads.
You shriek, and in the same breath, question their listening and understanding abilities as to what you always remind them to be mindful about.

As a teen, they seem to develop this "Going out with my parents is uncool, I would rather hang out with my mates till odd hours and to hell with the curfew" attitude.
They neglect to study, and perhaps get lower than usual marks.
You nag, going on and on about bad company and how if they continue their 'lifestyle' they are bound to be in some menial job or serving tables (I resent that, by the way). Or worse, they get caught breaking the law and get sent to a juvenile home. You create worse case scenarios even before they happen, plunging the child into a chasm of negativity and despair.

Perhaps I may be that way in the future, when BabyMoo is older - when I'm at the end of my tethers and he still tries my patience. However, I'm still going to try to constantly remind myself to calm down and remember that I have been there before. I have been at that stage where I questioned all my mothers's advice, despite being proven time and time again that she's right. Where I learned things the hard way, and learned to solve problems on my own, because I had no one else to blame but myself.

Sometimes maybe the kids have to learn the hard way.
Sometimes, all they need is just someone to extend a hand when they fall.
To help them up, hug them and tell them that failing is part of life's lessons.
Not someone to tell them off, to judge their actions, or to point an accusing finger at them.
Just someone to still run to, and provide sanctuary in their life's journey despite everything else.

They can hurt more from the words than the results of their wrongdoing.

Maybe the only thing that would never heal - is the fact that person whom they believe understands them and loves them as they are - was the one who uttered those words. Harsh words are never all that necessary, because the impact can be as lasting as a hundred serrated knives, especially if it comes from someone close, or someone whom they expect to always be there.

I have to always remind myself of this given my quick temper and low tolerance for silly antics - because parenting is a lot harder than they make it seem in books.

BabyMOO with a Big BooBoo on his forehead. He was jumping on the bed despite being told not to - and fell. He didn't dare to run to me and cry, because he knows that I have told him repeatedly
that he shouldn't jump around.
I caught myself  starting to say: "Why you so naughty?!!"... and stopped myself, because I think he's learned his lesson enough without me adding more hurt to his pain.

MummyMOO

We went for a 'makeover'!

Monday, 27 August 2012

I decided that MummyMOO.com needed a brand new look!


I think my Mummeh looks great up there, don't you?


I couldn't have done it without the expertise and assistance of Patricia Alix-Villa of Fancy Girl Design Studio.

She has been nothing short of wonderful in terms of customer service, and it has been such a pleasure to have worked with her. She is fast, and responds promptly with every query and update.

This blog makeover took just a little over 10 working days from the day I sent in my query till the day the final design went 'live', and would have taken a lot faster if I wasn't such a blogzilla and wanted to try out so many different options and colours! Patricia helped me in every aspect of the step-by-step design concept, and was extremely patient in explaining all the coding and design requirements to a tech-ignorant me.

Leave me a note and let me know what you think.

I'm really digging the new look... and I'm sure that this motivates me to churn out more thoughts in this space!


www.ajugglingmom.com
  

NUOC: An oasis in the heart of town.

Friday, 24 August 2012

With Orchard Road becoming as busy as it does on weekends and in the evenings, sometimes its hard to find a restaurant which we can adjourn to without being too frazzled by the crowds and bright lights of the city. I've often bemoaned the queues and mediocre offerings of some of the restaurants in town and we are usually hard pressed to find dining options which welcome families as well.

This is one of the main reasons why we frequent NUOC, a Vietnamese restaurant situated on the Roof Garden of Orchard Central. With magnificent views of bustling Orchard Road, lovely landscape, water hyacinth filled pond and an abundance of space, BabyMoo is always entertained and looks forward to his visits there.

Outdoor view of the restaurant.
Photo courtesy of NUOC.
Indoor view
Photo courtesy of NUOC
Vietnamese food has to be among the healthiest on the planet - with its heavy reliance on wheat, minimal use of oil, legumes and an abundance of fresh herbs and spices. We normally come here when we have had too much 'heavy' stuff over the course of the week, and are looking for a healthier and lighter dining option.

Here's what DaddyMoo and I usually opt for:

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Photo courtesy of NUOC

Tri-Season salad with Prawn and Pork
Photo courtesy of NUOC
Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Seafood Hotpot
BabyMoo loves the hotpot soup, and he usually has it with his favourite Seafood Fried rice. There have been many occasions when I have ordered something for BabyMoo which came either too spicy or savoury due to the lack of information on the menu, and at NUOC, it certainly helps that condiments and ingredients are listed in the menu description. Furthermore, spice is usually given as an option in Vietnamese dishes (no doubt thanks to the French influence!), so the kids can actually enjoy what the adults order as well.

Seafood Fried Rice






We always enjoy our visits here because BabyMoo loves the view around the landscaped gardens, and it creates a (sometimes) necessary distraction for him while he sits at the table with us! 

Vietnamese cuisine is still rather new in Singapore, but it has actually garnered quite a following due to its similarities to communal Chinese cuisine without the added 'oiliness' that usually accompanies these dishes. The richness in each dish is obtained only through the usage of fresh herbs and bone stock. 

Authentic Vietnamese cuisine at breathtaking altitudes. Don't take my word for it... NUOC is worth a visit! 


NUOC - A flavour of Saigon
#12-01 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868 
(Take elevator to Level 11, followed by escalator to Level 12’s Roof Garden) 

Operation Hours: 

Mondays to Fridays - 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm 
Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays - 12pm to 11pm 
Reservations: 6884 6808



Linking up with

 

Weather Woes: Wreaking Havoc on Health.

The tropical weather in Singapore, while enabling us to enjoy almost sunny days all year round, also exposes us to high humidity and rainfall. The weather changes at a drop of a hat, more so during the the Northeast Monsoon (December – March) and Southwest Monsoon (June – September).

During these months, sunny days are marred by the sudden onset of rain, which can escalate into thundery showers... often ending as abruptly as they start. When the onset of influenza or the common cold becomes rampant in society, there are usually a number of factors involved, and one of it can be attributed to the changes in weather conditions. 

As parents, we always place great emphasis on our children’s health and well-being. There’s really nothing worse than having to deal with a child who is barely able to make his pain known, and becoming increasingly fretful because he doesn’t as yet know how to deal with the discomfort.

So often I am reminded of my grandmother’s and my mother’s warnings as I was growing up:

“Rain when the sun shines, sure sick one!"

Well... their words of cautions were not as subtle, usually accompanied by high pitched shrieks while bundling us kids away from the pelting rain. We didn’t know any better then, except to think that they were such spoilsports to take us away from outdoor play because of the rain. I even remembered thinking how unreasonable they were to always insist on us having baths and showers, and yet prevent us from getting wet from the rain. There wasn’t much of a difference - to the mind of a pre-schooler – we got wet both ways!

Now that I’m a Mum, I’m so guilty of doing what they did, and repeating the mantra. When kids fall ill during these monsoon months, I have also been quick to attribute the influenza, sniffles and coughs to the weather change.

I do realize, however, that these common ailments do not magically manifest itself in the body because of erratic changes in weather conditions. Germs multiply freely and thrive in damp and humid conditions. Rain pelting down mercilessly on hot tropical grounds makes a pretty conducive environment for bacteria to multiply... and it is these bacteria that cause us to fall ill.

Children are especially susceptible to the spread of bacteria, having lower immunity levels than we do. This makes them more prone to illnesses, especially during extreme weather changes. The spread amongst children in close proximity (schools, child care centres and playgrounds) cannot be so easily contained, as children have yet to feel the need of ‘personal space’ and they are socially pretty uninhibited.

BabyMoo has been taught (and practises) good hygiene habits since the time when we exposed him to outdoor play and encouraged him to mingle with other children. Keeping him home to be ‘safe’ from elements and illnesses just does not make much sense to me, especially since he is happiest out of doors and at play. He would also need to build up his own immunity in the meantime, and keeping him ‘Bubble Wrapped’ will not do anything for him, apart from making him (and myself!) extremely frustrated. Furthermore, there is just so much to how we can protect a child short of risking him being withdrawn and becoming socially inept.

BabyMoo knows that he should always wash his hands the moment he comes home, even though it is for a short time at the play ground near our home. He also heads to the sink to wash his hands before he climbs up to his high chair for meals, and when we forget (yes, we do!) he is apt to remind us by dragging his little stool near the kitchen sink! It also helps that BabyMoo is pretty fussy when it comes to cleanliness, so it wasn’t difficult at all to instil these habits on him. 


Washing his hands is actually an opportunity for him to play with soap and water!
Washing hands regularly can not only protect against direct contact with someone who may have the flu virus, but it also protects against indirect contact (touching a playground apparatus which has been handled by an infected person). Since the boy plays outdoors daily, I always make sure that he at least washes his hand thoroughly, as a proactive measure in encouraging his well-being.

While we cannot control the weather conditions, I figured that I can attempt to minimise the exposure to germs and bacteria by ensuring that the entire family practise good personal hygiene, helped with an anti-bacterial soap. Sometimes it can be so tempting to ‘forget’, especially when the boy is being fretful or when I’m too tired to even walk another step – but the prospect of increasing the probability of illnesses and its consequences is enough to make me remember.

“Prevention is always better than cure” - an overused cliché, perhaps... but something that I now see the wisdom of, more than before.

Easy reading is often hard writing!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

"If I had 6 minutes left to live, I wouldn't brood. 
 I'd type a little faster." ~ Isaac Asimov

I have been asked many times why is it that I can always put the words into a certain feeling, action, or thought... and how is it that I'm usually able to place a picture of a place or an event into the mind of someone else through my writings.

Honestly - I really don't know.

I always write what I feel, what I'm going through, and how I see a certain situation. Writing for me has always been my opiate, perhaps it's like a drug that I'm addicted to, an escape of sorts from the ordinary humdrum of life.

Even when I'm doing a multitude of things, I find myself constantly thinking - it can be said that I have an overactive imagination, which is not entirely a positive thing... especially since being overly imaginative can cause one to visualize things that may not even be there. On the other hand, it allows me to explore all possibilities in relation to a subject at hand, and in many cases, this mental preparation has helped me in countless of ways.

Sometimes it's easier for me to deal with things when I'm able to churn out all these cause(s) and effect(s) and list them as a mental note to myself - it helps me assess the situation a lot more than if I were to simply keep all my thoughts and feelings bottled up inside. Many times, writing about how I feel, my worries, my elation and things that bewilder me puts these thoughts into motion. It gives me a somewhat clearer view of things, and more often than not - I would then be able to decide on my course of action thereafter.

It's my way of dealing with things, it has a calming effect when I'm down and troubled, and it's what I usually turn to when I need to describe an otherwise intangible emotion. Sometimes it makes reality more bearable.

I want my fingers to speak in cipher and symbol, in character and punctuation – I want them to speed across an empty slate, filling it with idea and passion. I want others to read it, and I want them – for a brief fleeting moment... understand the world through my eyes, to see what I see, to feel what I feel. I try to capture those lost moments of time like insects in amber, and I hold them up to the brightness and I make available that spark of mankind that is so transient in our busy lives. I write because I am happy and joyful, tired and sad, and frightened and terrible and thirsty. I write because we are all those things, all of us in our own ways.

If anyone can identify with what I write - it's usually because they have experienced the whole gamut of emotions that I have placed into words. I write about life, about how we sometimes fall along the way, and I marvel at how we can pick ourselves up with renewed vigour every time we think we aren't able to.

I try to put a mirror against reality,
in the hope that its reflection may subdue it, somehow.




Linking up with:

     Found the Marbles

Wordless Wednesday: A Slide Ride!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

We chanced upon this huge slide at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 after we had lunch there over the weekend. A slide down from the 3rd level down to the Basement is redeemable with every $10.00 spent at any outlet at T3, and so we exchanged our lunch receipt for 6 tickets, which are redeemable up to 30 days from date of issue.

BabyMoo had a slide down with Daddy... and couldn't get enough! 6 rides later - he still wanted more.

We were prompted by the server at the restaurant where we had lunch about this slide!
It's a whirlwind slide ride!

BabyMoo couldn't wait for his turn, and had to be carried firmly because he kept on running to the front of the line!

Zooming down the tube...

again... and again!


Mummy, being the chicken that she is - didn't dare ride the slide,
and ended up with both Moo boys laughing at her!





   My Little Drummer Boys   




Perfection in imperfections.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

It’s been said too many times that no one is perfect - and that perfection can never be achieved in anything. Such is life that when we achieve something, we would always think that we are capable of more… and perhaps it’s simply human nature to be on that perpetual quest for the elusive idea of ‘perfection’.

That’s just about it. Perfection is but an image, a form of perception one imposes in one’s mind. What if we are all already perfect just as we are? What we have been given, what we have learned, and what we have been blessed with; have contributed in one way or another toward the creation of this perfect being. One that exists as a single unique individual, a personality that no other can completely imitate or emulate. We are perfect as we are… only that most of us don’t realize it.

No matter how we project ourselves, and how we would like others to think about us, we can never lie to ourselves. Whatever mask we choose to don in our everyday dealings, regardless of the facade that we attempt to create to protect ourselves, I believe that none of us have any desire whatsoever to be cruel, evil, or simply do things that go against our conscience, especially when our actions can hurt others deeply. It doesn’t matter the psychological effects certain events may have brought upon us, I see every individual having to battle their own personal demons - and as we are all painfully aware, the most fearful thing to be faced with in life is fear itself.

We are all afraid to be ourselves, let our own emotions and feelings shine forth and open ourselves to being easily understood by others. We will never allow ourselves to be vulnerable, for in so doing, we run the risk of being far too easily manipulated or hurt.

There are opportunities, chances, people, events and circumstances.

Each of these elements of life are perfect all the time, but we just fail to see the perfection in them when we are faced with a problem. We only feel that everything seems perfect when that veil of doubt, shroud of mystery, and blanket of fear is lifted - and everything appears to be fine once again.

We plan our charted life course, we make our own choices and steer our own fate toward destiny’s door. Sometimes it may feel that things will never be able to get better - it may be very difficult to - given the present circumstances. However, I do believe that everything that we experience in life serves as a guiding tool, and whenever we turn over a leaf in our book or start a brand new phase in our life, every change is a step toward better and more positive things to come.

Look at it from outside the glass bubble jar we so often ensconce ourselves in… and we may find that beyond the distorted images that can often disguise the truth, it’s not hard to actually feel the perfection, magic, and wonder floating all around us. People often tend to overlook the minute details which they may never be able to find, and look for it where they will never find it.

Let the fine gold faerie dust settle, and we may find perfection, after all.

We will grow, we will become something new and grand one day - not better than who and what we are now, but perhaps a little bit different. Just as seasons change, and the sky will be azure blue in a few hours, our state of ‘perfection and completeness’, however it may look now - is definitely not deficient in any way.

We are all perfect,
look deep into your heart - and you will believe.


MummyMOO

A Big Hearted Boy.

BabyMoo has set his sights on a motorized scooter long before he could even walk, but we decided to wait for a time when he is better able to handle and steer it before getting him one. We expected that the fascination with it would not last - but surprisingly, this is the only toy which strikes his fancy enough for him to always search for it and stay contented for hours playing on it at the toy store. Even more so when he's able to walk on his own and decide exactly where he would like to go.

When DinoMama invited us to her son's birthday party / house warming celebration and told me about taking out her boy's motorized scooter so that the kids can have some entertainment during the party, I told her that BabyMoo would be thrilled to bits! She then generously informed me that since her son has outgrown the bike and doesn't play with it anymore, she would gladly give it to BabyMoo, and for us to pick it up during the party day itself. I offered to purchase it off her since the bike is in working condition, but being the kind soul that she is, she would not hear of it. I agreed to accept it only if she spoke to DinoEgg and he is fine with letting the bike go, although he hasn't played with it for a long time.

When we arrived at the party, I suppose we weren't too surprised that he was utterly taken by DinoEgg's motorized bike! The only thing we weren't too prepared by was his 'vehement like' and strong reaction towards it, which was not a trait he usually displays when it comes to toys which are not his or those found at the store. He cried huge ploppy tears when he couldn't get to ride on it (there were other kids and everyone had a turn) and he basically got upset without screaming or throwing a tantrum, which was more heart wrenching for me because he knows that the toy isn't his, but he couldn't help himself because he loved it so.

I was pretty embarrassed that he monopolised the bike during the party!

DinoEgg, for his part, made my heart melt.

When his Mum told him to try to console BabyMoo because 'Didi (little brother) is sad that he couldn't ride on the bike - guess what the boy did? Instead of coming over to BabyMoo to talk him out of his tears, he actually went to the other bigger kids to ask them to give Didi a chance to play! The boy amazes me... perhaps in his mature 6 year old mind, he knows that BabyMoo is at an age when talking will not do much as opposed to an immediate action. Perhaps he believes that if he were at BabyMoo's age, this is exactly what he would like the adults to do. I didn't know this, and was only prompted when MamaD related this to me after the party.

When the bike was vacated, he ran to us (we were in the kitchen, where BabyMoo was taken to calm himself down) and told him "Didi don't cry!! Look! You can ride the bike already! Come... come!"

I was touched beyond words... and was so heartened by the fact that a child, at such a young age, could display so much sensitivity, care and concern for another without even being asked to. He even told me that BabyMoo can bring the bike home because he wants to give it to him!

I declined to bring the scooter back on the day itself because BabyMoo needs to be taught to understand that he cannot always get everything which his little heart desires all the time. There were tears when we left, but he understands that the bike isn't his and after some 'quiet conversation' with him, he waved a cheery goodbye and even signed 'thank you' to MamaD and family.

So last Saturday, we decided to pick up the bike from MamaD's house. Needless to say, that was the first thing he ran to when he saw it in the living room. He played with it for awhile, and there were a bit of tears when we told him that we had to go (of course, he didn't know that we were bringing the bike home). DinoEgg generously told him again that the bike is now his - and there was no need to be upset!


BabyMoo then gave a huge grin, and proceeded to try to give DinoEgg a hug! When he saw DaddyMoo carting the bike away as we left, he waved cheerfully at everyone, and thanked MamaD and DinoEgg via sign language (yes, the boy still refuses to talk!). He was a very happy boy - thanks to GorGor's generosity and kind heart.

The two boys and the bike!

I hope that when BabyMoo is older, he would be as big hearted as DinoEgg is. Even though MamaD often complains about her little 'monster', I suppose kids will always be a source of our worries as much as our pride and joy. For all the mischief that he is able to get up to, Mama and Daddy D should be so proud that they have raised a boy with a big heart, who knows how to care for others, and is even aware on how to protect the younger kids.

I am still awed by the big hearted boy even as I write this. I am thankful for friends who have been so generous and kind. I'm sure that the bike will bring BabyMoo as much joy as it has brought DinoEgg.

Dear Z - if BabyMoo could talk - he would tell you Thank You... for not only sharing with him your bike, but also for protecting and standing up for him, the way a Big Brother would.


Photo *Heart* Fridays: I love pretty things.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

One of the most important things to me is how my hands look. You can go for multiple surgeries, put on tons of make up, and with good genes - look like half your age - but your hands will always give away your age. There is no way that a woman can hide her age when her hands are scrutinised. I think that the hands are the most 'indicative' of a woman's personal habits and characteristics. Somehow, chipped nails, chewed cuticles and dry skin would totally mar my impression of a lady who can, at first glance, look good. No amount of high-end fashion is going to help mask the ten talking fingers which are constantly in view.

That's why I am very particular about how my hands and nails look. A manicure takes about an hour - and can always be done at home. There's nothing that says more about a woman than the way she carries herself, her confidence, and the state of her personal grooming.


I decided on a lavender French manicure today...

A little glitz for glam!

Some pretty rosettes as accents.

... and here's the end product! A 'pretty' perk-me-up! :)

 

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