Mustela STELATOPIA and Eczema

August 2016

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Mustela would be one of my favourite brands to introduce to any new Mummy friends. For the past 5 years, it has been a staple in our family and you will always see these white and blue bottles in our bathroom. There is this unique smell of Mustela that Mummies love on there babies, which I subconsciously associate with a freshly cleaned baby, who is just cooing and smiling at me.

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Baby Megan’s Skin Condition

In fact, I have dedicated two lengthy blog posts(Mustela Bebe, Mustela Bebe 2)  on Mustela products before. But there is something new that I would like to share- Mustela Stelatopia, which is a range of skincare that Mustela came with up with for babies or adults who have eczema.

Among my children, Ryan has the best skin. He is usually fair(because of the lack of sun in London) and his skin is so supple and soft. He rarely has any sort of skin irritation. Gillian, on the other hand, has pretty dry skin but it is still manageable. We just need to slather lots of cream for her before she sleeps at night. Baby Megan, who is my youngest, has eczema, which is a medical condition where patches of skin becomes rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding.

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(I must apologise if these photos look unpleasant but I needed to share how eczema affects young babies. This happened to Megan when I tried organic coconut oil on her. Obviously, her skin did not react well to it. While it may work wonders for many, it was not suitable for her.)

Ryan and Gillian had this eczema condition when they were really young but they went off just as quickly. With Baby Megan, it seems to be more persistent and heart breaking. There are mornings when we wake up finding spots of blood on the bed, near her head area because she has been scratching through the night. When Baby Megan gets upset(because she does not see me), she will end up crying and scratching herself. This further aggravates the her eczema-prone skin. Inevitably, there are occasions where she scratched off the top layer of her skin. This probably sound unimaginable and unfathomable to some of you but babies with this eczema condition have it hard as they are so young and are unable to control their scratching strength.

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What we found out about Eczema

Given Megan’s condition, it is only natural that her GPs took note of it and she was referred to the dermatologists in London. On both occasions, they gave her topical steroids and moisturisers(which main ingredients are usually paraffin). Usually, after any steroids, Megan’s eczema will slowly go off and it usually takes about 3 weeks because her skin clears.

The thing is that this is the first time I am encountering such serious eczema in babies and I am learning every step of this journey and here are what I have understood:

  • Eczema is a very painful condition. One of my doctors who suffers from eczema told me that the itch that comes with eczema is way more awful than a mosquito bite. As an adult with understanding of the condition, it would be more possible to control. However, babies would be going through so much more pain.
  • Steroids. I know there are a number of well-meaning people who tell me that steroid is bad for the skin as it thins it. I know this as well and have listened to many advice- to choose alternative skin care products like organic coconut oil and organic extra-virgin olive oil. The thing is that when I stop the topical steroids and commit myself to these alternative choices, it will only make sense if I persist on the trials for at least 3-4 weeks. By then, Baby Megan’s skin would have worsened because the other options did not work out and the doctors have to prescribe a stronger steroid to treat the skin.
  • For both consultations with the dermatologists, they are assured me repeatedly that the steroids are okay to be used to treat the eczema. Yes, steroid will thin the skin when used over a long period of time- but this will only happen on good skin. So, once the eczema goes off and the good skin appears, the treatment of steroids will stop as well. So yes to steroids for treating the eczema. It is akin to having to take antibiotics to cure a bacterial infection in the body.
  • If possible, dress the baby who has eczema condition in cotton clothes. If the mother is nursing, it would be also beneficial to wear cotton clothes since the baby’s skin will be in frequent contact with the mother.

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How did  Mustela Stelatopia come into our lives…

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Here comes my main point on Mustela Stelatopia Lipid-Replenishing Balm. Because of Megan’s skin condition, I signed up with Mustela UK to be on their testing team for Mustela Stelatopia.

I have been using it for at least 2 months consistently. On occasions when Baby Megan’s skin flares up, I will apply the steroid first and wait for 15 minutes before I put on the  lipid-replenishing balm. You can do it the other way as well- lipid replenishing balm first, wait for 15 minutes and then the steroids to be applied. It sounds very troublesome but parents with children suffering from eczema will eventually get used to this routine. On a daily basis, I definitely spend between 45 minutes to 1 hour just moisturising my children. Sometimes, it can be a chore but just like most thing in life, I can see that my children enjoy this daily massage experience with me. As they get older and more independent, they will be learning to do it themselves. For now, I am happy to be having these moments of servitude.

The Stelatopia range with Mustela is solely manufactured with babies and adults with the eczema condition. I find it comforting to know that a big brand like Mustela knows the needs of the market and they are researching on the best products to launch to help their consumers. Here are some reasons why I like it:

  • The range is made exclusively for eczema skin and is baby-friendly. In fact, there was a clinical study done on it.
  • The Mustela Stelatopia Lipid-Replenishing Balm is easy to apply and it seems to absorb easily into the skin without that ‘icky’ feeling.
  • The texture is rich and creamy. Whenever Megan starts scratching, I will apply the balm on her and it seems to ease her itching.
  • I think the one tube of the balm is able to last relatively long. We use it everyday, after everyday nappy change, which amounts to 7-8 times a day on Baby Megan’s body and we are still at our first tube. (Yes, if it would be good to moisturise the skin as frequent as possible, given Baby Megan’s skin condition.)

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Do check our video with Mustela where I share more about our journey with eczema. I was surprised that Mustela Singapore had us on the video. Baby Megan’s skin was much better then, no bleeding or open wounds but still there are some redness on her face, and ankles. It touches me to know because Mustela acknowledges that there are some babies may have this eczema skin condition and they are still perfect to be on a corporate video. (Well, they could be using a baby with great skin, promoting the same product.)

Okay…okay, maybe I am very ’emo’ about this but it can be quite hurting(even though I just laugh it off) when Megan and I get insensitive comments from people about her skin condition. (Erhm… but I don’t think Megan takes offence since she is still a baby.) Objectively, when her skin flares up, it can be uncomfortable to look at. Ohwell…So in this light, I am so thankful that the Mustela understand that treating eczema is going to be a journey and products are develop to to ease the discomfort as much as possible.

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Disclaimer: We were given two tubes of Mustela Stelatopia(one from Mustela UK and one from Mustela Sg). Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience with the product.

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‘You are talking too softly, Mummy…’

August 2016

Last November, Ryan failed his hearing test in school. It was only then when E and I started noticing how Ryan often needed us to repeat instructions and how he always complained that I talked too softly (Anyone who knows me, soft spoken is rarely a trait used to describe me). Thereafter, we went for two hearing tests in the UK with the audiologists and the latest one was in July 2016. By then, the audiologists confirmed that his hearing was still flat(25 percent of a normal child) and required grommets in his ears. The specialist informed us that it would be a day surgery and fairly uncomplicated.

By then, I was anxious about his condition, hoping that his hearing would just miraculously improve. I noticed how his response was slower in sports and activities. While the difference may be minute, the major concern was that his hearing may deteriorate over time and this may impact his learning.

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When we got to Singapore, my mother advised that I should bring Ryan to the polyclinic to seek for a second opinion and perhaps there could be a treatment to remove the ear wax. We saw the GP at the polyclinic and he referred us to see a ENT pediatric specialist at KKH. The initial appointment was in October, which was not possible for us as we would have returned to London. Fortunately, when I called KKH to ask for an earlier slot, the nurse managed to get one for me on the 5th of August.

For our appointment on the 5th of August, the doctor removed the ear wax from Ryan’s ear with a micro suction. Thereafter, he went for another hearing test and this time round, it seemed that his hearing remains the same, still rather flat. The doctor confirmed that Ryan’s hearing was considered mild-moderate. When asked if Ryan suffered from speech delay, he was surprised that Ryan’s speech was okay. Still, he advised two procedures for Ryan to improve his hearing since Ryan is still young and hearing is essential for his learning. The first procedure being, removing his tonsils and adenoids. Ryan’s tonsils looked large, which is causing him to snore. Snoring may lead to fluid building up in the middle ear and affect hearing. The second procedure is what the UK specialist advised as well- to put grommets in Ryan’s ear. Grommets are small plastic tubes instilled in the ear drums and they allow air into the middle ear which reduces the risk of fluid building up.

With these information, I decided to book a surgery date first and thankfully, the team at KKH managed to get a slot for Ryan on the 16th of August. That was the best timing for us as we were due to return to London in September. This would give us sufficient time to recuperate and go for a review with the doctor. Despite having the surgery date, I was feeling nervous and hesitant about the surgery when I got home. As E would not be back in time for Ryan’s operation, it meant that I had to be the lone parent, accompanying Ryan and we had to stay overnight as well. It possibly sound easy to some of you but there was the consideration of Ryan’s recovery(and how he had to avoid water after the operation. He loves swimming! :() and the logistics for Baby Megan who is very attached to me. The operation sounded invasive. When I explained to Ryan the entire procedure, he was in tears!

Just when I wanted to back out of the operation, the doctor at KKH called me to check on Ryan and I voiced out my concerns. He repeatedly told me that he stood by his opinion and I should not worry unduly about the recovery. I talked to some of my mummy friends and they also shared on how they would have done in my shoes. It also helped that my sister-in-law is in the insurance line and she told me that the removal of tonsils is common operation, even for kids. Somehow, I managed to pluck up the courage and made the decision to go ahead with the surgery. There is this nagging feeling in me that his hearing condition might worsen without operation and I did not want his poor hearing to be an excuse for his behavior and learning. The plus points of getting the operation done in Singapore would be how my family could help me with the girls while I head off the the hospital with Ryan.

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The day of the operation arrived and we cabbed to KKH. Ryan was to be admitted at 7 in the morning and his operation was the first that day. I was feeling all right all the way, just abit jittery but between Ryan and myself, I need to be the adult and behave in a calm and composed manner even when I felt a lump at the back of throat when we were getting ready to go to the OT.

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Ryan is a great kid. I don’t usually praise him but he is really good. Prior to the surgery day, he started off being teary and reluctant about undergoing the procedures. However, things took a turn for the better. The week when he was due for operation, he behaved well and on the day of the surgery, he sounded so sensible about the operation. (Sometimes I feel so bad that I don’t spend enough ‘alone’ time with him and the one day of being alone with him was the trip to the hospital. *sigh*)

Ryan was given anaesthetic gas when we were in the OT. He was restrained by me and the doctor while he was taking in the gas. Halfway, he started struggling and yet, we had to continue to hold me. He then gave me the look of betrayal before closing his eyes. It sounds very dramatic but I think that moment, I really wanted to cry but I suppose crying is not very productive. I left the OT with Ryan in it, feeling very, very heart-broken and alone. I sat outside the OT.

With 3 kids and sometimes, they get ill and hospitalised, I am not sure how other parents cope but I find it easier when I emotionally detach myself from the condition and the treatments that they have to undergo. My heart aches and I do want to indulge in crying but I have responsibilities towards the other two children, so maybe crying have to wait. Not today, or any day for now. I highly doubt the 25 year old me would be able to deal with any of what I go through these days. Such experiences are painful and sometimes, they harden me, both in good and bad ways.

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Ryan’s operation was done in 2.5 hours. The surgeon told me that he removed Ryan’s tonsils and was able to vacuum out the fluids in Ryan’s middle ear. The liquid removed was unlike water form, and thicker and similar to mucus. The doctor also mentioned that it was good that Ryan removed the fluid in the middle ear as any build up would cause him to lose more hearing.

I met Ryan in the recovery, bawling, with a nurse restraining him. His tonsils were removed and I imagine it was immensely painful and traumatic experience for anyone, what more a 5 year old boy. He was complaining of great discomfort in his throat and could not speak properly. He kept coughing between crying. The nurses had to give him some drug to calm him down and he slept while he was pushed to the ward.

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The entire afternoon in the ward passed quickly- alternating with Ryan sleeping, and eating/drinking and crying. My family came down to visit him in the evening and Kimberly(major love!) kindly offered to take care of Ryan in the night while I went home to care for Megan. By 10 the next morning, the doctor was happy with Ryan’s progress and he could be discharged.

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Today marks Day 3 since his surgery and he seem to be happy, requiring painkillers at least twice a day before he eats. We will be returning to KKH for a review next week. *Fingers crossed!*

Somehow, I think everything happens for a reason and this episode just reminds me to trust in God and his plans. It is very timely how Ryan’s latest Bible memory verse is from Proverbs 3:1- Trust in the Lord with All your Heart.

I cannot feel more thankful that Ryan is recovering well and how my family have been very supportive during this trying time. Praise the Lord!

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Lavender’s Blue Dilly Dilly

July 2016

Due to our trip in Singapore, our summer in London was relatively short. Hence, we were heading out almost every week to farms, parks and whatnots. Basically, anything that is outdoors! Summer in the UK is just fabulous.

For our past 2ish years in London, we have never visited a lavender farm despite hearing so much about the beauty of it. That being said, we decided that we should cross this off the list in our third year. We decided to check out the lavender fields at The Hop Shop because it was the closest to us and we had a good experience prior for during the apple picking season.

After an hour plus of drive, we were greeted by the breath-taking, insanely gorgeous sea of purple. If you love the smell of lavender, this is heaven for you! We also decided to go for the lavender field tour conducted by the people at the The Hop Shop. The lady who was in charge of our group was very informative and enlightening. I sure did not expect to learn so much about lavender- how they grow, what are the best conditions and what are the many uses for lavender on that day. I went there with the intention of photo-taking but ended up understanding so much more about the flower.

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These days, Ryan loves taking photos! Only when the person he is taking photos with is Megan! Just look like how happy he looks next to his baby sister!

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Here’s Gillian, all dressed up in her Sleeping Beauty costume, because she is into this ‘princess’ and dressing up thing. She does not want to wear anything that is remotely ‘un-girly’, ala shorts and God forbids, trousers!

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After all the photo taking, we went to the shop and bought some food items for a quick lunch. Not sure why no photos were taken then but Kimberly managed to do much a short video of our time at The Hop Shop on Instagram! Do take a look here – https://www.instagram.com/p/BHshrpthvsM/?taken-by=cloudee

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As you may suspect, I am trying to get back to my blogging schedule! Do yes, do look out for more updates(and be supportive and encouraging! xxx) as I am aiming for at least 2 blog posts a week again! Out!

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The Heat.

August 2016

I am currently nursing a throbbing headache as I type.It has been a while since I last blogged. Ohwells, it is the summer holidays in Singapore and my days have been so packed ever since we landed.

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The heat and humidity in Singapore is uncomfortably real. I see my fellow Singaporeans looking zen, with make-up and clothes that look more suitable in cooler climates searching for Pokemons on the streets. On the other hand, I stare at my reflection- a 30+ year old, perspiring like mad from the heat, hair tied up in a messy bun, dressed in my drabby looking shorts and tee-shirt, searching for my oasis, somewhere with a functioning AC.

Singapore is still the same ol’ bustling city, with so many things and events going on. Everyone is busy with something that is quantifiable. On more than one occasion, I found myself questioning my purpose, on whether I should be doing something more productive and maybe going back to work?

As a mother of 3, I noticed that sending children for enrichment classes and tuition is a norm. Gone are the days where arcades, game stores and shops selling unique trinkets occupied the top floors of heartland malls. These time-wasters and trivialities are replaced by purposeful learning centres, teaching art, music, academic subjects and whatnots, selling the idea of accelerated learning and success. Ryan’s peers in Singapore are attending a number of enrichment classes weekly in art, music, reading, abacus and Mandarin. In my typical knee-jerk reactions, I just want to drop everything I have in London, return to work in Singapore, so as to afford these enrichment classes for the children.

I worry so much in the past 3 weeks.

Maybe I haven’t been blogging about this because when I do blog my thoughts out, they sort of becomes ‘real’ to me? Like these are not vapid imaginations clouding my mind resulting from boredom. But maybe issues that E and I should think through more thoroughly so as to be accountable for the next 5 years of our family life with the children?

I only start to feel better when I shared my worries with E and a very smart friend of mine, Debbie who reminded me that I am possibly the best care-giver(and educator) to the children at this point in time. My training as a teacher is not in vain and I can add value to their learning. (I was even previously tutoring children at Ryan’s level to prep them for primary school!) In some way, I think I am like a trend-follower and maybe weak minded to a certain extent. If not for people like E and Debbie, it would be incredibly easy for me to get caught up in any sort of race and end up in despair because it is not what I truly want to do.

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Last night, E sent me photos of Ryan’s certificates that he received from the school in the mail. Ryan is awarded Outstanding Achievement in Math and the teacher did have positive things to share about his learning. This news lifted my otherwise low spirits. The school that Ryan is enrolled in is wonderful and his teachers are dedicated and enthusiastic in helping the children learn.

This holiday, I have been rather lazy and laid back in the children’s learning.. Perhaps, it is time to start the gears running again. Slowly, of course. The children have been really enjoying their time in Singapore with the family and friends. The community, the support and familiarity that we have in Singapore is just priceless.

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Family and friends have been asking when we will be returning to Singapore for good? Honestly, I don’t know. The past few years feel like the lost and amazing years. Lost because by Singaporean definition, I took time off work to dedicate my life to rearing 3 young children. I spend my days doing mundane duties, serving the family members. I lose track of time and even my appearance. Amazing because of the children, because I get to spend time with them. The children are able to read my response from my face and tone. They know that I love them even when I reprimand them. To put it simply, they get me. Sometimes, more than E does. The connection that I have with them would be different if I was a working mother, with my mother helping and a helper. It might be a good type of different since we would have more money to spend. By an equal measure, it could be disastrous especially so when the kids fall sick and I can’t be there for them.

The heat will inevitably be there upon our return to Singapore.

Is there something along the lines of letting go and letting God? Yea,  I really got to let go, worry less and trust more in God’s plans for me and my family. Maybe I should really enjoy more of these lost and amazing years before reality

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12 hours. Solo parent. 3 kids.

July 2016

Yooooo guys. We are home! For the summer holidays.

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Before we stepped into our pristine-looking Terminal 3, Changi Airport, I had the adventure of the month. I travelled with my three little ones, aged 5, 3 and 9 months on a 12 hour flight to Singapore. Maybe it might not sound much of a feat to some of you. For me, it was an achievement!

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My 12 hours on flight with them, felt like the longest 12 hours of my life. To be exact, it was not just 12 hours. It was 1.5 hour of travel to Heathrow + 2 hours of checking in and a long walk to our departure gate + 12 hours of flight + 45 minutes of getting our luggage. Cray-cray!

I suppose it did not help that the two kids were not seated next to me. They were an aisle away. Hmm…

1st hour on the flight:
Fiddled with the children’s ear pieces that SQ gave to the little ones. Tried to fit the ear muffs for the headphones. Could not put them on properly. Passed them to stewardess to help. Even they had problems putting the muffs on the head phones. After 10 minutes, they were fitted properly. Returned to the children, helped to put them on, turn on their shows… 5 minutes later…

Ryan: ‘Mummy, the muffs are off the headphones again.’

Gillian:’ Mine too…’

Me:  ‘You just got to watch your shows with the adult ear piece’

Ryan and Gillian tried to use the adult ear pieces but could not put them properly in their ear as the ear pieces were too big. Started whining again but stopped when they realised not much could be done. I decided that I could not be too considerate to all their requests as it would just be too much for me.

2nd hour on the flight:
‘Are we there yet?’ Ryan asked.
‘No, Ryan. It is another 11 more hours to go.’

Deep down, I knew it will be the start of the painful endless questioning of ‘Are we there yet?’

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Gillian fell asleep.

3 air stewardess, 1 air steward and at least 2 passengers came to me and asked if I was travelling alone with 3 kids. My affirmation seemed to be a source of consternation. They offered their assistance to me should I need them. Such wonderful people on the flight.

3rd-11th hour on the flight were a blur to me. Endless toilet trips while carrying Baby Megan. I could have asked for help from the stewardess but it seemed that Baby Megan only wanted me. Had to bend over many times to select cartoons for the children. Made 7 bottles of 4 oz milk for Baby Megan. Threw 2 bottles away. Explained to the children that we would be arriving Singapore really soon if they were good. Ate my meals while carrying Megan in one arm. Children complained that they could not sleep properly/comfortably in their seats. Comforted them and told them that it won’t be long before we reached. Tried to stay positive and felt a tinge of regret travelling alone with 3 of them. Played with Baby Megan while she was in the bassinet. The small bag of baby toys that I brought alone was helpful as it kept her entertained for short bursts. Baby Megan was very popular with the passengers on the flight, many of them remarking what a cheerful baby she was.

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Final hour on the flight. I said a prayer of thanks. Initially, I thought I would have wanted to wait for everyone to clear the plane before leaving. But in the end, together with the children, we joined the queue, in full anticipation to leave the plane. I must have felt combination of exhaustion, desperation, excitement and claustrophobia. I was literally  running towards the baggage carousel with the children. Getting our 3 heavy luggage from belt was another challenge. Fortunately, there was a kind lady who assisted us with that.🙂

Overall, it was a successful plane ride with the kids. Megan possibly cried like 5-10 minutes of the entire journey. The kids were pretty sensible and there were no tantrums. Just multiple trips to the toilet which were disagreeable when you are carrying a baby in one of your arms. Thankfully, no one fell ill during the trip. Gillian spilled one cup of water. They ate most of their food. All three children had short naps on the flight.

Will I travel again with 3 kids? Yea, if there is a need to. I would. Anyways, this experience would not be replicated since the kids will be older when the opportunity arises again. By then, I imagine it would be easier, wouldn’t it?

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PYO at Stanhill Farm

July 2016

Now that it is summer, our weekends are just packed with these outdoor adventures. Going to PYO farms is our favourite thing to do when we are in the right season/month, it is a opportunity to show the kids the true source of their food, instead of them telling me that the strawberries are from Asda or Waitrose. For our past two years, we have been visiting Hewitts Farm(Post 1, Post 2) for strawberry picking and The Hop Shop for apples plucking(Post 1). This year, we decided to try another farm. After some quick search on Facebook, I found that Stanhill Farm is one of the more popular farms among families. It is located in Kent, which is an hour-ish journey for us. Not too bad after all.

Stanhill Farm did live up to its reputation as a visitor-friendly farm. In fact, I can imagine seeing ourselves returning to it. I like how it was a short walk from the car park to the rows and rows of strawberry plants. On a totally irrelevant note, I thought that Stanhill Farm looked abit nicer for photographic purposes. Memorably, Baby Megan had her first bite of strawberry while we we there.

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I love these photos of Baby Megan being lifted up in the air by E.

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Me and my baby boy. I cannot believe that he is 5 this year. Where did all the time go?

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Gillian, my vivacious warrior princess.

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Oh, sweet, sweet, Megan.

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Family photo!

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Cleaning Ryan’s hands with Mustela PhysiObébé after all the strawberry plucking. It is an ideal solution for clean up when we are on the go.

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We brought our PYO to be weighed at the till and it came up to £15. That was quite a good lot of strawberries and Ryan certainly enjoyed bringing these sweet snacks to school.

More shopping was to be done at Stanhill farm shop! I just love, love, love local produce! The freshness is unbeatable! We also bought sausages from a van outside the farm they were one of the best we tasted!

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After all these back-breaking labour, we treated the kids to 5 Guys at Bluewaters. It was a treat for them but the highlight that day was definitely eating our pick with vanilla ice cream.🙂

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Limbo.

July 2016

Sometimes, I feel that my life is in a limbo. There is nothing absolute or certain. This leaves me feeling fairly nervous every time when I get a chance, sitting down with a nice cuppa’ tea and my thoughts start to wander…

Having an overseas experience always have been one of the things that I would like to do in my life. Having missed this window of opportunity when I was in university, I was more than delighted when E told me that we would be relocating to London for a short period of time. United Kingdom! The birth place of Shakespeare, West End musicals, of Premier League games, Sherlock Holmes, strawberry farms, Cambridge, Oxford, Cotswold…

This is our 3rd year in this beautiful city. Ryan started his formal education in London. Gillian almost grew up in London, considering how we relocated when she was barely 9 months old. Megan is born in London. So, you can imagine my anxiety when I think about how they would have to adjust to the education system and lifestyle should we decide to head back to Singapore.

We have to make a decision soon, at least before Ryan turns 7, which will mark his first year in primary school in Singapore. I love Singapore for so many things- the fact that we have strong family support, is a major plus point. Prior to living in London, E and I popped down my mum’s place for dinner on weekdays. That is like 5 out of 7 days a week! The family members were always home and hence child-rearing is really more of a village’s effort than just E and myself. E and I always could just go for date-night as and when. (Thank you, Mummy!) Don’t get me started on food because I am truly a born and bred Singaporean girl who loves her hawker fare. While going to those top-notch restaurants is a nice treat, give me my plate of Nasi Padang or my bowl Mee-Pok anytime!

There is always the other side of the coin where returning also means we will have to be more committed to the children’s learning of Mandarin. Mandarin is one of the more challenging subjects for E and myself.. *sigh* (So, if any your younger siblings are gloating about never having to do Mandarin after their A levels, you just got to wake them up from their dream-land. The pain of learning this second language returns with parenthood. It is just going to be more diabolical because parents usually have to pretend to like the language so that the kids will feel more encouraged. Wow wow!) So, I can imagine signing the children up for Berries(?!?), which I heard is real good but expensive Mandarin lessons catered to children. *sigh*

Being a SAHM in London has given me so much in these 3 years. We had our lives enriched much more compared for the first 3 years of our family life. I, fulfilled my dream to be a full-time mother to all my three children. Yes, I complain about my work as a home-maker all the time but most of the time, I feel great(in Singaporean language, ‘shiok’) about it. Anyone who knows my mother will know that she is a fantastic mother and grandmother. Being away from her and just having to do everything myself is surprisingly a blessing in disguise. I get to step out of my mom’s huge shadow, be more of a mother to my children and not just a supporting character in their early lives. Our childhood lullaby is ‘Rainbow Connection’ instead my mother’s Teochew ‘Oi ah Oi’. So, it is nice to have something of my own.

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(This is how fabulous I look everyday with 3 kids. Full make-up(brow game strong) and kids dressed in nice, decent clothes.)

Being a grouser, I imagine most of you heard of how ‘bone-shattering’ my daily life is. I don’t tell you guys about, is how Ryan tells me everyday in this tiny, boyish voice that he loves me the most. He is such a Mummy’s boy. I get to see how mischievous Gillian is first hand. These day, she is insisting that everyone calls her Mummy and how she smeared baby powder all over the toilet floor last Thursday. And there is Megan, whom I literally brought her up since Day 1, watching her every single milestone. The best thing is that I can have her waking up at nights, knowing that I possibly can snooze for a bit later in the afternoon. No work-guilt. What I have watched, experienced, the hugs, the kisses, the ‘I love you’s…. how can I put a price tag on that? If I have to describe in one word what my experience as SAHM is, it would be price-less. It is worth so much more than anyone can imagine. (Okay, maybe I would exchange these memories for £1 million.)

Another awesome thing about London would be the weekend plans. So much to do, especially in the summer. Having lived in Singapore for 28/29 years, weekends are usually limited since our country is so small. Small but still good lah! Everything is like 15 minutes away. We lived near the seaside and could always walk/cycle there with Ryan and Gillian then. Most of the time, we prefer to be indoors(e.g. shopping malls, indoor playgrounds, or just anywhere air-conditioned) since temperatures are burning outside. In London, the options are so much more varied, given the amount of space. During half-terms and holidays, we can always drive out for an extended trip without leaving the country.

This post is going to be endless if I were to list out the pros and cons- the folks back home are growing older and I would love for the kids to have close relationships with their grandparents, there is Brexit(!!!) which has implications, life in London feels more carefree than in Singapore, children’s tuition sessions are so costly and stressful for parents and children, no more baking(which I just started and am loving it) at home since I probably got to get a job when I return to Singapore, the conundrum of maid versus no maid, yay! to being able to enjoy local fare(at low, low prices) if we return, the church that we attend currently feels like it has made a positive difference in our faith beliefs and family life, education system in London feels more creative than in Singapore which I like…

*sigh*

*sigh* 

As you can see from this post, I am just rambling on since E asked the question last night on where do we see ourselves in the next 5 years. At this point in time, everything just confusing.😦 For now, I honestly do not know what the future brings but I just hope to leave it to God and He knows.

*****