Things Amy Says

Amy is now at the age where she begins to say the funniest things.

Example #1: 

She plays and laughs and everyone laughs with her.

Amy: Amy soooooo happy!!!

Me: You’re so happy?

Amy: The end!

Me: The end?

Amy: Correct!

Me: …

Background commentary: My bedtime stories to her always end with “Amy / so-and-so is soooo happy! The end!”. So now every time she hears “so happy” she says “the end”. 

Example #2: 

Since Amy was born, I made it a point not to say things like “shame shame” when she’s naked, because I didn’t want her to start yelling “shame shame” whenever she sees me naked.

Unfortunately, she has learned to say “bogel” (naked in Malay).

So now, whenever she is naked:

Amy: Amy bogel!!!!!

Or when her papa is changing:

Amy: Papa bogel!!!!

Or when I am changing:

Amy: Mama bogel!!!!!

And if I ignore, she would repeat that 10 times and it gets louder each time.

Note to self: It may not be a good idea to bring her into fitting rooms with me at the malls.

Parents, stop blaming and shaming

Featured image sourced from foxcarolina.com

I have been deeply affected by the recent news of a two-year-old boy who was grabbed by an alligator at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The hubby told me not to read such news, but I couldn’t help it.

Amy is also turning two soon. It is my dream to bring her to Disney World. If we had gone, we might have been staying in such a resort. We might have been playing near the waters too. As tourists, we would have been clueless about alligators. In fact, the hubby and I were at Disney World, Florida a few years ago, and trust me, alligators were never in my mind.

It could have been us.

I simply cannot imagine what the parents must have gone through and are still going through, to have witnessed such a horrific event, to have lost their child. When it was supposed to be their happiest vacation at the happiest place in the world. Their lives are now living hell.

As if not bad enough, comments are once again pouring in. And a large chunk of them are not of grief and support mind you. They are of blame and shame. From perfect parents. Who “would never be negligent with their kids.”  Who “would never let something like this happen to their kids.” Who suddenly are experts about Florida and alligators.

I don’t understand, how can these people have the heart to lay more hurt on the parents who have lost their world?

Do they know how it feels like to lose a child? Have they ever had to carry the body of their lifeless child? Have they ever had to make funeral arrangements for their child? Put their child in the casket? Bury their child? And then live the rest of the days in guilt and regret, wishing that they could have done something differently to ensure their child lived?

No of course they haven’t. Because they could do no wrong. But that’s where they are wrong.

Look at me in the eye and tell me that your kid has never fallen under your watch. That your kid has never injured himself or herself.

Maybe you would say that the fall was harmless, the injury light. That’s because you were lucky.

Oh, and if you tell me that your kid only injured himself when he was under another person’s watch, then hear the echo of the blamers and shamers: “Where were his parents at that time?” 

The fact of the matter is that sometimes, despite the parents’ best intentions and actions, tragedies happen. Like in this alligator case. So many kids played at the same area before the boy. For over 4 decades. No attack has ever happened. Until this time. The parents wrestled the alligator, but could not free the boy.

And other times, parents make mistakes. We all make mistakes. We are not robots. In fact, even robots fail.

It could have been you. It could have been me.

Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean that you are a perfect parent. It simply means that you have been fortunate. Give thanks.

p.s.: As for those who are not even parents yet and who are giving loads of comments, I don’t even want to address you. Wait till you have your own children. Then we’ll see.

Dangers to our children

The news of paedophile Richard Huckle has recently rocked Malaysia. But in all honesty, it is not the only case going on. There are tonnes of predators of children, whether sexual abusers or kidnappers or even torturers and murderers.

Before I became a parent, stories like this sickened me. But now that I am a mother, it more than disgusts me. It grips me to the core and reminds me that I have to do all I can to protect my child. I came across this video of a social experiment a few years ago, and it left a strong imprint on me – on how easy it is for someone to get hold of a child.

I have also heard of horror stories from friends, one being a friend’s friend who held a full moon party for her baby at a restaurant, and as usual, the baby was being passed around to be carried by guests. Should be safe right? I mean, all those who were there were friends and family. But at the end of the party, the baby was no where to be found. The baby was gone.

Sometimes stories like this make me feel so paranoid. On one hand, I really do not want to be a paranoid mom. I want to be relaxed and chill and give my child(ren) space. Yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel that the world is becoming such a scary place, and that it is better to be safe than sorry.

But I can’t be there for Amy forever. When she’s older, I need to equip her with the ability to protect and fend for herself from people like Richard Huckle. How do I do it?

This is another video, recently produced by The Star’s R.AGE journalists. It sent chills through me! In this world of social media, our girls are even more vulnerable to predators. We cannot change the fact that our kids will grow under the influence of social media.

I do not believe that taking away or restricting their freedom is the answer, because, admit it, you and I were kids once, and we know all too well how to go behind our parents’ backs if we wanted to. Plus, the rebellious streak in us would probably push us to do even more foolish things.

I pray that I will be able to build such a strong relationship with my kid(s), that I would be able to teach them and equip them well to face the world. At the same time, I pray that I will also be able to raise my child(ren) to respect others and treat people with dignity and love.

 

Love,

Nat

5 favourite books for babies

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Up pup. Cup pup. Pup cup.

Amy uttered those words when she was slightly over 1 year old, and I was completely flabbergasted. Was she reading from the book?? Already??

Of course she wasn’t. But because I had been reading that book to her so often, ever since she was a few months old, she had memorised the sequence of words. The fact that the words were so catchy helped keep her interest.

I am always on the lookout for good children books, and since some of my mummy friends have asked, here are some of Amy’s favourites from when she was younger.

(By the way, all these books are board books so it’s suitable even for newborns. As you can see, most of the books have bite marks on them. See if you can spot them :P)

#1 If I Were A Pup by Jellycat

I bought this book when I was in the States, and I seriously got it just because it reminded me of my dog, Albus, haha! Every page comes with adorable pictures as well as different textures, so it is perfect for babies to explore their sensory system.

 

#2 Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Amy fell in love with this book at first sight. There is something about peek-a-boos that captivate babies. She could watch me go through this book again and again and still be riveted. But what she looks forward to the most is the mirror at the end, where she would make faces at herself.

#3 Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss

This was the book that Amy surprised me by reading it through page by page! The clever word play and rhymes not only entertained my baby, it entertained me too. In fact, it always makes me feel like breaking into a beat while reading this haha.

#4 Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This book is often found in recommendation lists compiled by parents. So I bought it. But when I first got it, I was disappointed with the lack of words… It was basically pictures and “Good night so and so”. However, I guess the simplicity is what works best for babies because Amy again could go through this book again and again. She learned to identify animals like lions, gorillas, giraffes, elephants etc through this book. In fact, I think she learned to say good night from this book.

 

#5 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This was one of my recent purchases, which would explain why it is still in quite a good condition compared to the others! (It fortunately missed the teething months) This is also one of the more popular books that all parents seemed to recommend. According to Amazon, one is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! And it is not cheap (RM37.50!)! When I first bought it, I tried to justify it by saying, it’s good artwork haha. But Amy loves it, so it’s all good. The vibrant colours and cute pictures of food, and the design of the pages, could keep Amy occupied for quite some time. One of my favourite books to bring along whenever I take Amy out with me.

 

So there you have it! Some of Amy’s favourite books. She has quite a number of other books but these are the favourite ones that kept her company from when she was a baby till now.

I’ll keep you updated when her favourite book list changes!

 

Love,

Nat

Thou shall not lie… to your kids

A few nights ago, the hubby told me that a friend of his was telling him how exasperated she was because her young son has started lying to her. She was incredulous; where did he learn to lie at such a young age? (I think he is 3 or 4 years old) She said she and her husband never told him lies, so how did he pick up this bad habit?

My first response was that kids don’t need to be taught how to do wrong. The sinful nature is within each and every one of us and we would somehow know how to do wrong things even without being taught.

However, after thinking about it more, I turned to my hubby and said, “Actually it is not true that parents do not teach their kids how to lie.”

Think about it. How many times have your parents told you a “white lie” when you were growing up?

For example:

“If you’re naughty again, the policeman will come here and catch you.”

“If you are good, I will buy you all the toys you want.”

These lies may not be big, bad lies. But they are lies nevertheless.

And I do not blame parents (or even grandparents). Because sometimes it’s easier to throw out these white lies to get the kid to behave, rather than spend a long time explaining and disciplining.

But here’s the thing:

Your children see what you do more than they hear what you say, and they follow your actions more than obey your words.

So if you tell them “do not lie”, but they see you doing it all the time to them, guess what they would do?

They can’t differentiate a white lie and a bad lie. A lie is a lie. If you said you will get them that toy but you didn’t, it’s a lie. If you said you will let them watch the iPad if they finish their dinner but you didn’t, it’s a lie.

And once you have made that first lie, it breaks their trust in you. They will now know that your word is not your bond. They will have that feeling of “Yea whatevs, that’s what my dad or my mom said, but they always say that. Pfft.”

That is why, as far as I am able, I am determined not to bluff Amy in any way. Every reward that I dangle in front of her, or any threat that I make, I have to follow through. Which is why I do not threaten lightly, and I do not offer a reward easily.

If I tell her, “If you throw down the toy again, you cannot play with it today”, then I have to make sure I follow through if she throws it down again.

If I promise her that she “can watch iPad if you let mummy shower you now”, then I have to honour my word, even if she forgets about it after shower.

If you don’t think you can carry out a particular threat, then do not even say it! Resist all temptation and swallow it back down. For example, “If you are naughty, I will burn all your toys!”

Number one, I don’t think you would actually burn all the toys, which would then make your statement a lie, and then cause your kid to undermine you.

Number two, if you do burn all the toys, I think it’s too harsh an action and your kid would probably think you are mad. And think of all the money you just burned.

Finally, never assume that your kid doesn’t understand what you are saying anyway and therefore you don’t really have to follow through. Your kid is smarter than you think, and from as young as they are, they are already learning values and principles from you.

 

Love,

Nat