Monday, January 03, 2011

The Year in Review- 2010

This comes a bit late seeing that it is 3 days into the new year but I've been doing with food poisoning and I've had a cold that I haven't been able to shake off since getting off the plane from the US a week ago.

I like lists. And I like making a list of things. So, here are the 10 big things of 2010 for us and the kids.

1. Muffin is born.
Our third and hopefully (if I have anything to do about it, definitely) our last child. And charting the year by how much he has grown just made the year go extra quickly.

The boy sure lives up to his Chinese name. We aptly bestowed on him the characteristic of speed for his Chinese name and he sure is making a speedy exit out of infant hood into toddler-hood. Gone is the good natured cooing baby and enter the assertive, fierce little munchkin who fights his siblings for toys, is territorial and makes no qualms about telling his siblings off and hates being left at home when his older siblings go off on their early morning adventures with Mommy. For the record, that coincides with his nap time and in my book, naps are more important than outings.

2. A great big family vacation.

With grandparents in tow, we ventured out of the country with the three tikes under three. Well, technically speaking, the older two were about 3 years 3 months. It was mostly stress free except when Jordan fell from the height of her father and hit the back of her head. But apart from that, it gave us confidence to look forward to the grand Tan vacation at the end of this year to the US with the three tikes plus two more compliments of Packrat's brother.

3. The twins are growing up right before my eyes.

They speak in complete sentences, often spout logic that astounds me and have begun to lose some of their baby features. Evan looks like a lanky big boy now. Jordan looks like a girly girl who loves everything pretty and pink. My mother used to lament that I wanted to grow up faster than she would have liked me to. I feel the same way with my kids and they aren't even asking for nail polish or rebonded hair yet.

4. Learning their ABCs.

I chalk this up as a big deal because this marks the beginning of their ability to read. And reading is a big thing to us. I would like to spend more time teaching them to read. But truly, just keeping up with their needs leaves me running on fumes as is. But we do make it a point, regardless of how exhausted and how late it is to read to them. Their current favourite book is "We are going on a Bear Hunt" courtesy of Aunty Ru in the UK and they tell poor unsuspecting souls totally out of context not to enter caves or that they have to lock their doors (because the bear went a-chasing).

5. I will never breastfeed again. God willing.

Muffin decided during a bout of extremely painful teething that nursing hurt too much. And he hasn't looked back from that point. I felt massively sad about it because I loved that quiet time with Muffin and it was the one thing I could do for him that no one else could. I was also sad because I knew that I would never nurse again. This was the last time. But I must state categorically that no matter how saddened I am and how much I miss it, I will not want to have another baby just to be able to nurse again. I guess the benefit is my boobs will return to being mine after I stop expressing milk for him.

6. Muffin walks.

In the same year that he is born, he stands up and takes steps without help. More accurately, 9 1/2 months after he was born. Earlier than his siblings. I suspect it has a lot to do with wanting, like I say, desperately to grow up and catch up with his mobile, verbal siblings.

7. Couple Time

Packrat and I take off for 2 weeks, away from the kids. It's the longest we've ever been away from them. We've really needed it because our lives are a rigmarole of nuts. I felt guilty because Muffin was sick and Jordan had temporarily regressed into being a baby to get attention. But as Packrat so aptly pointed out, even if everyone were healthy and happy, I would have found a reason to be guilty anyway. And it didn't detract from that fact that I loved the time I spent with Packrat and it was great to just concentrate on him and us for a change. Plus the shopping and food were phenomenal.

8. Packrat moves.

Packrat leaves his work comfort zone and moves to a new work place. It's different. For one, it's smack in the middle of town and there are areas of areas in the school that are high security because of its proximity to the Istana. Hopefully, it is a great place intellectually for him and he grows professionally.

9. Professional Wilderness and Schizophrenia.

I, on the other hand, have been wandering around in the wilderness professionally. I work 4 days a week and most of the time I am at work, I miss the kids and I hate the stress and demands that my job puts on me. I want to be able to take the kids to the beach, to play with them, to teach them to read and do fun things with them. But yet, I cannot leave it because it is necessary financially. On the other hand, part of me aches to do more with my life professionally. To have a career again, to achieve things, to contribute meaningfully and to be Someone. I am not trivializing the time this stop-gap measure has afforded me. It is better than nothing. I get to see my kids in the morning before I go to work. I am home before their dinner. I get to tuck them to bed and read to them and I have more time than most to take them to the park, take them for ice cream or to just play with them at home. But my brother once told me I was destined for greatness. Naive me then believed him then and the little naive bit of me still does. Perhaps, what I am doing now does amount to some sort of greatness. After all, isn't a mother's job to nurture her children? But then, I did go to school for many many years. I made a promise to my father that I would succeed professionally in exchange for giving me the opportunity to be in uni for more years than necessary. All this leads to much dissonance and it's something that hasn't been entirely resolved. But I think in all honesty, if I were to peel off the layers of expectations, gender enlightenment and what not, I think I'm okay with this just being a mom for now and my job being shoved unceremoniously onto the back burner. I know my nature will not allow this to be the situation for long, but for now, it'll do and I have come to be at peace with it.

10. Happy family

We are now an above average sized family. Not many people I know have 3 kids. And it's difficult. We struggle to find time to parent all of them equally. We are constantly counting our dollars and cents and lamenting true Singaporean parent problems like school fees and bus fares. We go for days without finding time to talk to one another because there's so much to juggle. We spend our weekends making up for the time we don't see them during the week and being even more exhausted by the time the new week comes round. We never get off the merry-go-round. But when I look at the kids in their happy-non fighting moments, I am in awe and I whisper to myself "We made this". That's when I know I'm more than happy with my lot in life and I sure have a lot to be thankful for.

May 2011 be even more exciting and even more peaceful.

Happy New Year !

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