What happens when you start saying yes

As soon as my daughter hears the jingle of my keys and the clicking of my heel as I walk home, an overly enthusiastic voice emerges, Mummmmmy!!! I’m greeted with high pitched laughter as she bounces up and down like a bunny who just had red bull.

It’s a very zealous welcome no doubt, but her eagerness makes me nervous. I can never fathom where Sophie gets her boundless energy from every single day, because by the time I knock off, I’m just looking forward to get home, kick off my heels and collapse on the sofa. But Sophie has other plans on her mind.

 

“Mummy, I’m playing school with my babies (an affectionate term for her soft toys) today. Can you be my assistant teacher?”

“My friends are at the playground now. Can you take me down so I can join them?”

“I just borrowed a new book from the library, lets read it.”

 

Whenever she asks me to do something with her the moment I step home, my first response is often, “No, I’m tired and I want to rest.”

I know that sounds horribly mean but mama also needs a mental break you know. The kind of break that dads often enjoy when they zone out with their eyes glue to their mobile phone, computer or TV (pick one).

Sure, I love Sophie very much and would love to hear all about her day, who she sat and ate with at recess, funny stories that happened in class, the new titles she borrowed from the school library. But to put in extra effort to play or to go to the playground is quite another story.

 

“Why do you always say no when I ask you to play with me? I waited for you all day…”

 

And that’s when the working mummy’s guilt hits me like a tidal wave. If you’re wondering, mummy’s guilt never quite goes away even when your child gets older because you’ll always feel a pang of guilt for missing out something in their lives.

So to redeem myself, I surprise her with a Yes. Not everyday, but some days and it’s enough to keep her happy. And oh how her eyes light up and her love tank gets filled when I say the magic word, Yes. And I’ve come to realise that when yes is said genuinely, not the halfhearted, lets get this over and done with, patronizing kind of attitude, I have to admit that the experience is usually fun for both of us.

Saying Yes

So these are 5 areas that Sophie wants me to say yes to.

  1. When she asks me to play with her
  2. When she asks me to read to her (you’ll be surprised that they still enjoy be read to at 7)
  3. When she wants me to tuck her to bed
  4. When she wants me to monkey around with her
  5. When she wants me to be crazy (oh yes, she’s a little wild one)

I think I might just think twice about point 5 for now…

 

When we say yes, we are opening an opportunity to make connection with our kids.

 

And I need to remind myself that saying yes does not mean that I’m bending backwards for her. I say yes more often now so I know that even if I have to say no sometimes, Sophie will be more understanding because she’s assured and her love tank is filled by the many times I said yes to.

And look how much joy and happiness it gives her when I turn a no to yes.

Bubbling with happiness

A game of badminton before dinner

 

This post was inspired after watching this TEDTalks video by Shonda Rhimes, the incredible titan behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, and who I suspects never ever sleeps. She made a bold move to say yes to everything for a year.

 

So the next time your child asks you to play or read with them, what’s your response gonna be?
I hope it’s going to be a yes.

 

 

If saying yes is too big a step, then how about starting with, Why Not.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like this article about filling my child’s emotional love tank.

 

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more parenting posts updates. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for parenting, travel and family friendly activity and learning posts.

 

Teaching Writing to Lower Primary

With Sophie in Primary 2 this year, I decided to put in more effort to teach her English writing while she’s in lower primary. Unlike what most people assume, being an avid reader does not automatically make one a good writer. Though I would argue that it certainly helps to lay a good foundation for writing.

While there are many enrichment centres in Singapore that focuses on writing, I decided to take on a more hands on approach to teach her myself. After all, as a marketer and blogger, I know first-hand that writing has to come from a place of passion if you want to produce a good piece of writing that connects with your readers. Personally, it’s also a way for me to spend time with Sophie as I have to intentionally set aside time to coach her and it’s a way of sharing with her what I do at work and blog about.

As I was surfing for techniques on how to teach writing, one thing that struck me was how we often fail to show our kids what good writing look like. It’s easy to fall into the trap to pepper one’s writing with bombastic words with lots of cheemanology terms, thinking that it makes ones’ composition more impressive. However,  a colourful composition should first and foremost have rich content and substance, otherwise it will simply be passed off as all fluff with no stuff.

Previously, I thought that model compositions were a horrible idea. After all, what good is it for students to regurgitate every single word they memorised just because it was well written leaving them with no room to exercise their creativity?

But now I see how they can be a useful guide especially when kids are just starting to write compositions as we could all do with some reference and guidance at the beginning to see how a well written composition can be attention grabbing.

English writing study guides

Here are some study guides that I’m using with Sophie to work on her writing and they are both published by Casco.

English study guides by Casco

One uses picture composition and introduces new phrases with explanation and examples.

Another focuses on the 5 senses to write sensational phrases that stimulates all their senses while painting a vivid storyline for the readers.

Writing with the 5 senses

In the 2nd book, there are also exercises for building up their vocabulary where students learn how to swap common words with powerful words.

Replacing general terms with descriptive expressions

A method I’m using to improve Sophie’s writing is to go through what she wrote and point out areas that she can improve by replacing general terms with more descriptive expressions that engages her senses.

So instead of, the little girl cried when she lost her mummy.

It can be written as, when the little girl realised that she was lost in the shopping mall, tears began to roll down her cheeks and she sobbed uncontrollably.

Doesn’t that give you the reader a more vivid description of what’s happening to the characters in the story?

Story telling is an art

Writing or as what I like to call it, story telling, is indeed an art. And beyond just learning to write well to ace her papers, I hope that along the way Sophie will learn and discover how words can be a powerful medium to put forth our thoughts into words, to improve our communication with others and to express our thoughts in a clear and coherent manner where others can understand easily.

Hope these tips have been helpful and do let me know if you’ve any resources on writing to share too.

 

Here are some useful links on learning that you may be keen to read too.

 

Matching dresses for Chinese New Year with The Missing Piece

Chinese New Year is just round the corner and that means I get another excuse to wear matching dresses with Sophie. I mean that’s exactly why I had a daughter in the first place no?

 I know it’s going to be a matter of years before my little girl tells me it’s not cool to be seen in the same dress as her. But for now, Sophie will just have to indulge in mummy’s fashion choice for her.

But there should be no reason why she’s complaining this year because she had a hand in picking these dresses which I have been gushing about them to everyone on Instagram and Facebook and really it’s not hard to see why.

The Missing Piece 01

Kate Resort Cheongsam by The Missing Piece

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The Missing Piece 03

I’m so in love with this piece, the Kate Resort Cheongsam in red checkered print by The Missing Piece. Unlike most cheongams which are nice to look at but a pain to wear because of our hot and humid weather, this piece is an absolute breeze.

It has a flare skirt which is not only more flattering but also easier to move about or chase the kids! Plus this red checkered print is so versatile and I can definitely see myself wearing it on regular days to work too.

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The Missing Piece 05
 Here’s Sophie putting it to the easy breezy dress test.

Another piece that I adore is this whimsical print cheongsam.

It has a pastel colour combination with prints of little children and birds which is oh so kawaii! The dresses for mummies are no longer available but you can still get them in cheongsam tops which can even double up as nursing tops.

The Missing Piece 06

The Missing Piece 07

And the final piece is one that I can’t wait to wear.

Nothing spells femininity like lace and this lace cheongsam piece ticks all the boxes from sophistication to feminine and even glamorous. I like it’s unique jade side button detail which adds a classic charm which is subtle and elegant without going too overboard.

The dress has a slight stretch to it so it gives a flattering silhouette, something that I don’t mind having 🙂

The Missing Piece 08

The Missing Piece 09

 

If you’re looking for more twinning outfits ideas for Chinese New Year, do check out my other post here

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Birthday Lunch at Salt Grill and Sky Bar

Alexis birthday often goes unmentioned on my blog because he doesn’t like to get reminded that he’s getting older no matter what I tell him about men aging like fine wine. But since I took him somewhere fancy last year to celebrate his birthday, I have to make sure this goes on the blog so he’ll remember that he’s not the only one who can pull off birthday surprises. And the venue I chose, Salt Grill and Sky Bar at Ion Orchard for a sky high treat.

Located on the 55th floor of Ion, the Salt Grill and Sky Bar makes a choice location for gastronomic celebrations with a view, even with kids in tow. I was initially hesitant to have Sophie join us for lunch because the restaurant didn’t give me the impression that they were family-friendly and welcome kids. In fact, I hardly came across any blogs that did a review on a family dining experience too. But after I did my research on their website, I was delighted to find out that they have a kids menu. So yeah, Sophie gets to join in Daddy’s birthday celebration with us!

While I heard that the night scenery is breath taking, we opted for lunch because how romantic can it get when you have your daughter along, plus they serve set lunch at S$49 ++. 

To ensure we secure a window seat by the restaurant, I made an advance reservation and am so glad I did because the bird’s eye view from above was simply magnificent. 

 

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Enjoying an unparalleled view at Salt Grill and Sky Bar

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The birthday boy!

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We were promptly ushered to our table once we arrived at the restaurant and after we had our orders taken, we enjoyed some chips and bread with olive oil and dukkah.

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Sophie making herself a chip sandwich there

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The kids menu was pretty simple with just 4 options (S$25 each), and one of them was spaghetti bolognese which Sophie ordered.

For our entree, Alexis ordered the ‘glass’ Sydney crab omelette in miso mustard broth while I had the seared scallop accompanied by cauliflower puree in XO sauce, broccolini, topped with pork crackling.

I enjoyed every mouthful of this as the scallops were seared to perfection and the flavours were so rich and delightful.

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Alexis dish was quite the opposite as the omelette was so light and fluffy. A simple yet well executed dish.

For our main course, Alexis choice was pan-roasted Snapper with roasted eggplant in “Sydney “spice, coconut and pickled ginger. To be honest, it didn’t sound that exciting to me but I stand corrected as I tried to get him to share his dish with me. 
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I had the kurobuta pork grilled loin with cabbage a and market greens, topped with crispy skin and roasted pear. Since pork loin has less fat, I found it a little too dry though taste wise it was still a winner.

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To end our meal, we had dessert and chose the orange sherbet with berries. I usually avoid ordering anything with orange but this had a nice balance of citrus tangy sweetness and I was hoping for more.

In between our meal, we tried to look for key landmarks in Singapore and even observed how the rain clouds shifted from one part of the island and slowly had the building enveloped in heavy rain as the grey clouds loomed over us. What a sight and it was the perfect opportunity for a teachable moment.

While Alexis’s birthday celebration was not as romantic as I envisioned with our little lightblub, we sure had a good time with her company. Her funny antics like here where she insisted on having a piece of bread in the mouth for the photo had us rolling our eyes at her after that but I know she’s secretly happy to do silly things when we’re not looking.
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After you’re done your meal, don’t forget to walk up to the 56th floor where you can see another view from the restaurant as well.

I told Alexis that we should come back another time for dinner, and this time without Sophie. Let’s hope our little lightbulb didn’t hear that and gives us a night off from our parenting duties to have more couple time 🙂

Salt Grill and Sky Bar
2 Orchard Turn, #55-01 & #56-01 ION Orchard, 238801
Tel: +65 65925118
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaltGrillSkybar/

Year in Review for 2016

With just a few days more to the end of 2016, it’s only fitting to take things a notch slower and find time to reflect about the year gone by and do a review.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’m big on being intentional and purposeful especially when it comes to my parenting journey. However, I find that I wasn’t as intentional as I hoped to be as I was often pulled in so many different directions by the demands of juggling between work and family life.

When Sophie started Pri 1, we had to make adjustments to our lives. My mum came over to stay with us on weekdays, we had to wake up early (to prepare Sophie for school), I had to be extra efficient at work so that I can knock off on time to spend time with Sophie, revise her school work before tucking her to bed. And even then it’s not the end of my day with chores waiting to be done and I’ll try to make an effort to catch up with my mum, my hubby and also squeeze out time for myself before repeating the cycle all over again from Mondays to Fridays.

I don’t know how other mums with 2 more kids do it, but it felt so exhausting and it was mentally draining, which explains why I cut down on blogging and prefer to have solitude time whenever I can.

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Teaching Sophie to play badminton, at Sophie’s Chinese drama performance in school and Music Run as a family

Work wise, even though my initial plans to work part-time this year didn’t go through as planned, I soldiered on as a full-time working mum with a mind set on making positive changes whenever and where ever I can. So despite some challenging times, work was more interesting as I felt stretched and learnt so much by being more curious and taking more initiatives to make things happen. Though work was busy with a few launch campaigns, I finally saw my work out on the streets and our work even won a couple of awards which I’m so proud to be a part of.

But more than anything, the friendship between colleagues deepened and we even went on a Malacca trip together where lil Sophie tagged along for our girly trip. She certainly brought extra vibrancy and sunshine to our getaway and she’s since been a regular at mama’s office during the school holidays too.

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Sophie tagged along for our girly trip to Malacca

This year, Alexis and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and as a walk down memory lane,  we went to Melbourne where we honeymooned. The past 10 years has been anything but easy. I told Alexis that he’s no longer the same man that I married but for good reasons as I see a more dependable, responsible man whose love speaks louder in actions than with words. 10 years later, I still do.

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Back to where we honeymooned 10 year ago and this time with Sophie in tow

This year I focused on self care by reading more, going to the gym and got settled into a cell group in church. So while some parts of me still feels like I’m in the middle of a whirlwind at times, these things helped to feed my mind, body and soul, which I will certainly continue in the new year.
Going forward into 2017, I know there are some things I’ll need to cut back and even cull from my life so that I can advance. My health is certainly no longer what it used to be as well and I can’t make it for granted so blogging will take a back seat and another reason is to give Sophie more privacy as she gets older.
And yes, it’s back to more mindful and intentional living for me  in 2017 and another one I’m adding to the list is simplifying my life.
Feeling reflective?
Here’s a list of 50 questions to help you reflect, reflect and get excited about in the new year.
Here’s a list of resources to how to be more intentional in the new year which I hope you find them helpful.

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours