Showing posts with label Parenthood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenthood. Show all posts

12 June 2024

Why Parents Should Go For Date Nights?

Why not?

Ever since both Adrian and I leveled up and became parents, we quickly realized the importance of having 'date nights' - us time, without the children.

It is very easy to get caught up with work, and trying to juggle the parent and spouse hat at the same time. 

We realized that when we don't prioritize having date-time, we let out on each other subconsciously. It can be via mean words, absent body language, and minimal eye contacts. We could become very rude to each other without realizing them. This is a true story for both Adrian and I. 

It is usually really hard to plan for date nights unless we have family and friends volunteering to help us watch the kids for a few hours, which we are always so thankful for. If it's going on a short trip without the children, that's the cherry on top of the cake. Hah. 

The reality is that we also don't want to trouble people so often to take care of our kids just so we can have 'quiet time' with each other. So one of the things we try to do is squeezing in 15-30 minutes for a quick breakfast before work or trying to intentionally do something together at night after they go to bed - like watching a movie together. 

The problem with the movie idea is that we both like completely different kind of genres! So, it's a lot of compromising. In the end, we realized watching movie is not very effective for us. We rather watch it on our own. Hah. 

We do other things like, going to the gym at night (rare), or go night swimming (one of our fav but lesser now because the chlorine may make me itch after), or go supper down the street (trying not to supper anymore), or meeting up for lunch (when he comes to the area) or like anything else that works - even if it's for only 10 minutes. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS IN 10 MINUTES WHEN THERE IS NO NOISE AND DISTRACTION - 100%.  

We haven't had a consistent thing that we always do, other than winding down before bedtime on our bed - but these days, it was either he will sleep first or I would be in dreamland already. 

I guess this post isn't saying anything, except that every couple (especially ones with children) MUST go on date nights intentionally

It is okay to ask your family or friends to help you with your children for a few hours so you both can have a nice, uninterrupted mealtime to focus on you two. It's healthy and it will strengthen your bond - which is so important for children's growth.

We truly believe that amazing things happen when you have quality time with your other half and your children (especially) will get to experience that kind of love and commitment. 

Every time Adrian and I get to have a longer date nights/trips, we always come home with something new, something good. During these dates, we usually share about our struggles (in details) at work, and at home and the things that makes us happy and drives us. We put ourselves in each other's shoes, and think of ways we can be better - together. 

It's like re-calibrating both our goals and wants and how we gonna get there. Same thing as checking our car's alignments after a few months or something right. 

Our most talked about topic is parenting (surprise surprise). If you don't already know, we love being parents to our three doremi. LOVE IT TOO MUCH. Parenting has taught us a lot about ourselves, and how we work as a pair. 

We would bring up incidents that happened, and discuss how to respond better in similar situations. We also try to think of ways to affirm the kids differently because of how the 3 of them are just so different. So yeah, it is just a constant checking in with each other and believe it or not. Even though we live in the same house, and sleep on the same bed, it is actually very difficult to have these kind of conversations. 

First, because the children are always listening and looking. Second, because after every 2 sentences we say, there will be "Mamy! Dady!" or "Mamy! Adam eating my rice!" or "Dady! Play ball with me!" or "Mam maam maaaammm"

We love our kids to the ends of the world, but hello, it is impossible to think straight or hear your own thoughts when they are constantly asking for your attentions. It's cute but when it's too much - it's too much! Heh. 

Anyways, I thought to share this here, because you are not selfish for wanting to have quiet time with your spouse, and time away from your children. In our case, date nights are one of the things that made us better partners and parents. So, we really do try to make it happen. 

If you ask us, we highly recommend it. If it's difficult to get someone to watch the kids, start with once a month. Set the date and put it in the calendar. Ask a fellow parents friend to help babysit for a few hours. They would be more than happy to do so, because it takes a village. 

Trust your village, and let's be better spouse and parent together :) 

P.S. Please never hesitate to ask us for help. My children will especially love it if they could have playdates with humans their age and size! I'm serious. 

Go get your deserved date nights, please. 

16 April 2024

Adam's First Safari Party!

It's been more than 4 months since Adam turned one, and I totally forgot about writing this post about it and for him. Oopsie hehe. 

I wrote 1 each for Alex and Sofia, so here goes for our third-born son. 

It was hard trying to choose a theme, because obviously he doesn't know what he likes (yet) and I also need a theme that is like easy. So, in the end we went with animal theme again, like Alex's - which is quite sentimental because 2 of our boys have the same kind of first birthdays.

Rachel and Vanessa (by default yeah) were put in-charged for the decorations and all things beautiful. Most things were ordered online because cheap and save time. Heh. 

Rachel also baked a smash cake (by default because she did for Alex and Sofia). Heh. 

Vanessa also helped with the e-invites and it was super cute. It was not very difficult to 'assemble' the guest's list, because like Alex and Sofia's party, our max number has always been set at 100 people, so yeah. 

We have close to 80 adults and 20 children. Finding a place to have this party was a bit more tricky. We also were determined to keep our budget at the same level with Alex, which was like 5 years ago. I thought it was going to be an impossible task, and we may end up paying more than we had planned. 

But I am a good, never-give-up-easily-planner, so you bet I managed to organize and have the party go as planned. We actually paid lower than we did for Alex and Sofia. Heh. I'm taking this huge win ya please. 

So, we booked James Foo Restaurant for a few hours on a Saturday noon, and have the whole place to ourselves, which was ideal because we were very noisy please. 

We didn't do buffet this time, because we want our guests to have their meals hot and whenever they are ready to eat. So, it's like course-meal with unlimited servings of mushroom soup and drinks. 

Another secret to a happy marriage is letting your wife plan and decide on the party entirely, as long as you don't go over budget. Clever Adrian Koay. Heh. 

But we did have a few discussions on this party and we both were agreeing on similar things, so yay. 

There was no discussion to whether we were going to have Adam's one year old party, because he knew that I got to have them for sure. Need to be fair for all children ya. Heh. That is also why we never had any maternity photoshoots, because I knew that if I took one with Alex, I need to take one more with Sofia and Adam. So, no thanks. 

I cannot believe, Adam is already one year old plus. Like, serious I need him to slow down and let me enjoy every baby-era of him pleaseee. 

His photos are a lot lesser than his two siblings' because we were so busy with everything else. But thank you guys for helping us capture some photos here and there.

Hello Adam Koay, 

You already knew (from the many mentions), that it was really hard when I was pregnant with you. It was physically and emotionally unreal, but when the doctor took you out of my body, I fell in love immediately. It was worth it. The pain, blood, sweat and tears. 

You are growing to become such a sweet loveable person. You have got some temper in you (at such a young age), but hey, we love you the same. 

I love how you enjoy your food, and how you copy us so well. I saw you today using a fork to get the roti canai, and boy, that made me so happy. It's really the smallest things. I love how you are so playful and cheeky in your own ways. 

I love your little walk to the bedroom when the clock hits 8pm, and I start calling you over. Sometimes, you would let out a cry (with real tears) while walking to the room, and other times you would wave and smile or whined a little. 

I love how you stand in your crib, asking me to wake up so I could make you milk or change your diaper. I have seen you see me still asleep, and then you just plopped yourself on your bed and stare into the ceiling quietly so I could sleep longer. You're a sweet boy. 

When you started walking, my heart broke a little, because it felt like you are growing out of me, and no longer need me to carry you everywhere. Yet, I like that you are now independent, because now I got to move around freelier for a bit. (Is freelier a word?). Oh wells. 

I love you, and I wouldn't change anything in our story even if I got a chance to. I would go through the pain again and again for you. Thank you for being ours, Adam. 

I love you with every piece of me. 

Till next time, bye now. 

03 March 2024

Can I apply leave as a mom?

I don't think I have ever been stretched like that as a mother. 

It has been such a week. That kind of week where I wanted it to end faster. I wanted Monday to come fast so we could reset. 

The kids were behaving poorly. They were impatient, rude (in our definition) and very demanding. I was not okay with all of it. I was a bit surprised to how they behaved this week, and wondered if it was a reflection of how Adrian and I talk to each other and to them. 

I don't think that was how we are with them, or like ever with anyone. 

They were taking turns in throwing tantrums, and demanding for certain things to be according to what they want, and they want it now. If not, they go crazy, and they did went crazy, and loud. 

Today was the day I lost it. 

I have tried gentle parenting - always asking and making sure I understand form their perspective, and explain to them calmly why certain behaviours are not acceptable in this household. I avoid using some trigger words and questions, and my mind is always trying to re-form words that supports gentle parenting. Maybe it's not the correct way of this parenting method. It did not work. I like how it helped me clam down and take really deep deep breaths, and talk about how they feel first and whatnots. 

But it didn't work this week. 

Today, I felt numb to their crying and shouting. I told myself, "I cannot take this anymore", and then I walked to the bathroom, and showered in cold water. I allowed myself to cry all frustration and hurt out. Yes, my children hurt me this week. I think I imploded a few times this week. 

It was a good short cry (not my first this week for sure). I didn't even got to finish my me-time, and Sofia stormed into the toilet (our lock is spoiled), and demanded for me to carry her. If not, she will not stop screaming and crying. 

At this point, I don't even know what to feel anymore. 

I carried her to her room, and hugged her, and I could not not stop my tears from coming out. She must have seen them before I wiped it away, because she said sorry twice (while she was still sobbing). My anxiety was rooftop high. 

Adrian took both the toddlers for a short swimming time, and I needed to do something to heal. So, I did some sewing. I took out my shorts, and sports bra and sewed a while. 

We had another meltdown during dinner time with Alex, and I did not handle it calmly. I could not. I tried hold it in, but I failed la okay. 

"If you don't want to eat the food that is on the table, you don't have to eat anything at all. You can stay in the room by yourself." 

Sofia cried, and insisted we don't close the door, so koko could come out and join us at the dinner table. At this point, Alex was still being stubborn and crying. 

Adrian stood up from the dinner table, and that was when Alex started to calm down. Nobody messes with dady ya. 

Anyways, he came and sat next to me, and we had a great dinner time. They all did anyways. I was suffocating inside. But I held it together of course. The kids were finally okay again. 

But today, I don't want to be a mom. I don't want to wear my mom's hat. I just want to wear Sarah Khoo's hat. Just be me, and for me. Just today. 

Before they fell asleep tonight, I whispered to the both of them, that I love them so much, and it was not okay to behave like how they did, but I still love them. 

It's been a week.

It is never easy. But we go through another day trying to be the best parents we can. And that, is a win in itself. 

28 July 2023

Life with 3 Children is Like This.

I know I am really behind the Japan's post but it is going to be a really long one. I have been typing a bit here and there, but I also need my blogging mojo to get it going good. It will come soon. 

Anyways, here's a little update on how our lives have been since we became a family of 5. 

I used to hear people saying that when you have two, getting a three would be easier. Hm, it's not entirely true.

It is easier in some things like we don't over-react easily, but man, having to manage the household things with 3 kids is hard, and exhausting. With three, both Adrian and myself really needs to be hands-on all the time. I am always really thankful that we've got help and support from our parents, sisters, cousins and friends. Every time we asked for help, most of the time, it would be a yes! Adrian and I are truly blessed. 

Here's a little routine that works for Adrian and I. 

Adrian handles all the kids' bath time, and I will put clothes on for Adam (most of the time), while Alex and Sofia put on clothes by themselves (not often though). My mom-in-law helped so much at home with the 2 older kids. They both have gotten used to going to her and Adrian for snacks and stuff, because I would usually be very occupied with Adam at home. 

I honestly don't rush my time with Adam - I know it's unfair but that's the reality. I enjoy and really slow down when I am with him because I know there is not going to be another baby of ours that I could do this with. Perhaps, I am going to do that with Vanessa's baby since Rachel is so sure they are not going to have another kid. Boo. 

Both Alex and Sofia have never showed any jealous signs, so I think they understand too, that Adam is really young and he really needs more attention. From me at least. Adrian spends more time with them because I would put Adam to bed. 

I do sometimes crave to carry him to sleep and let him sleep on me. I miss breastfeeding him for sure. But I could not restart the breastfeeding journey if I wanted to because it would set my hormones haywire again, and we all know what could happen. So, I just accept it as it is. 

I sleep-trained Adam when he was very young, because I needed to make sure I rest enough for my work the next day. He has been really easy on that which is life-changing. Sometimes, he sleeps with my mom-in-law when both Adrian and I are too tired. 

I told you that we are blessed, and I really mean it. I am not embarrassed to admit and ask for help when I need one, and I think you all shouldn't as well, especially young parents. You would be amazed to know what a 2-hours break from children can do to your mental state and marriage. 

Alex will usually play with Adrian for a while before bedtime - all sports things. It can be floorball, badminton, simply bounce ball and laugh or it can be mobile legends on Adrian's phone. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Alex doesn't know how to play (he will deny this of course), so we just let him simply shoot or something. I don't know what they do in there but yeah. 

Sofia would usually have a healthy snack before bedtime. Like apples or oats. Sometimes, she will try to ask for chips and unhealthy snacks, but she knows she will 99% get a no from me. I am the food-police at home. The kids have to ask me first everytime they want to have "snacks". If it is up to Adrian and my mom-in-law, it's 99% yes all the time. So no, I will be a bad cop on this - I don't mind. Hah. 

We will leave Adam in his cot in the living room so he can see the big boys playing, Sofia munching away and me watching the TV or watching him. Then, I would give a countdown time to the boys and bring Adam to my room so I could put him to bed first. 

Then, we get Alex and Sofia to the room and lie down with them - read bible and take turns to pray. I would leave the room to check on Adam, and most of the time, I ended up falling asleep, especially on weekdays. Adrian would continue to lie down with them. 

We also stopped buying milk for Sofia because we wanted her to change to healthier option like oat milk or soy. But she hated both, and so she stopped taking milk. Alex is still drinking his oat milk because still got stock in our house. Hah. 

I prepped the kids snack box for school, and our kai-kai bags. Adrian will clean the mess in the room after showers. I will tie Sofia's hair and Adrian would style Alex's hair. 

Adam will just watch us from his cot or walker. 

Alex and Sofia help us calm Adam down when he gets cranky in the car, or at home. They would sing to him and oh my heart. I just cannot. I envisioned them growing up together, and loving and supporting each other forever. I love it. 

So yeah. 

Our expenses are higher now, but our hearts are really full. I find myself wishing we could have 1 more kid, but who am I kidding. We are good with three okay. 

Adam is going to be 8-months old soon. Should I start planning for his first birthday already? Hah. 

I love my little family so much sometimes I feel like I am going to burst. 

Till next update (hopefully on Japan 's trip), bye now. 

02 February 2023

How Life Has Been Since Adam Came.

It has been almost two months since we became a family of five, and here are some updates that nobody asked for. Heh. 

Many people asked if it's easier now that we already have experiences with Alex and Sofia. Our answer is yes and no. 

Yes in the sense we already know what to expect and how to manage certain situations because really got experiences already with the first two. Also, the midnight feedings feel a lot easier now with Adam because we did it before and we already knew how hard and challenging it would be. It is still difficult but a lot easier now. 

What is tough is the part where we need to now handle 2 toddlers and 1 infant and they literally get our hands so full, especially when all three of them fall sick or at the cranky mode. That is when it gets really tough! 

1. Happiest I have ever been
Yes, I am confident that ever since Adam came, I am at my happiest point in my life (for as long as I can remember). 

Of course I have had many happy moments in my life (like getting married to man of my dreams), but when I see my life now - a loving, supportive husband with three healthy children, I cannot not smile and be really thankful. 

When I say happy, I don't mean that I do not still struggle in mothering them. I do, everyday. But there is joy in it somehow. 

2. The perfect night routine
We could never figure out the 'perfect' routines when it comes to who takes which shift and what works best since Adrian and myself are working parents. But we finally got it right and seems to be working so far (I hope). 

I haven't started working yet, but I like the arrangement now. Of course the ideal arrangement would be Adam sleeping through the night, from 12AM to 7AM would be perfect. Hah. 

Adrian now does the first night feeding, which is usually at 12AM, and then I will do the rest. If Adam wakes up at 7AM, then my MIL would help us feed him, while I get Alex and Sofia ready for the day. 

3. The amount of milk Adam is drinking
We started giving Adam 2oz of milk, and increased it to 3oz, and now he is drinking 4oz. 

Oh, and he is no longer taking any breastmilk because this milk factory sudah tutup. Heh. I am currently still taking the steroid medication to fight these rashes off, so yeah. Formula milk to the rescue! 

4. Adam is a little chatterbox
At just 2-months old, he can respond to your conversation - I kid you not. 

Try talking to him and you will notice that he will try to respond to you by making sounds and smiling. Oh, he is such a smiler (is there such a word? heh). 

5. End of maternity leave
Technically, I still have a few days left, but I have decided to start work on 1-Mar because to be honest, I miss working so much. I know I will miss spending the entire day with the kids, but I need to also go to work so my sanity remains intact. Hah. 

But yes, I will miss the kids for sure. 

So fast 90 days of maternity leave is coming to an end. That also means Adam is growing up way too fast and before we know it, he is going to be a toddler, and I may want to get pregnant again with another kid - kidding! 

6. FAQ - want another kid after Adam?
The answer is a definite no. 

You may think that we will revisit the idea in the future, and to be honest with you - as of now, our answers are a 100% no because the chances for the rashes to occur again is like super high, and the frustrating part about this whole thing is I am still having it and I am no longer pregnant. 

And it's so traumatising because I still see the scars and marks all over my body and the itch is still here. So no more kids thank you. Or at least no more getting pregnant. 

If we really want more kids, we would most likely go for adoption heh. Serious wan. 

Stay tuned for a new post - confirming that we do not want to get pregnant again. 

7. Alex, Sofia and Adam's dynamic
It's really still quite hard to say, because Adam is still too young to actually spend time with Alex and Sofia. All Adam does is drink milk, sleep and poop - and repeat. 

In the beginning, Sofia has a hard time adjusting to the new change, but she is so much better now and taking really well her role as the big sister. The first place she will go to when she wakes up in the morning (everyday without fail) is to Adam's crib to say good morning. It is the sweetest thing ever. 

There was one time when Adam was still in his car seat, and Sofia wanted to give him a kiss. So, she leaned forward and put her hand on top of Adam's stomach, and when she lean towards him, she sort of "went on top" of him and Adam cried! Poor Sofia, because she just wanted to kiss him. Hah. 

8. Our favourite newborn diaper brands
If you ask me of my top favourite for diaper brands, I would still say Applecrumby - hands down. 

But they are not exactly price-friendly, at least not for newborn diapers. Newborn changes diapers so often that it does not make sense to spend that money on Applecrumby's newborn diapers. Of course I have some stocks at home for when we travel or when we go out the whole day, because it's really leak-proof and so so comfortable to the skin. 

We don't change Adam's diaper that often anymore (it used to be like 8-10 pieces per day because of hos much he poops), but now maybe about every 4-5 hours.

Our current favourite diaper brands for Adam is Drypers and Mamypoko - more affordable. Heh. 

9. Adam can sleep through noises and bright lights
Another 'criteria' in our parenting style. 

We enjoy having people over to our house at anytime of the day (usually at night), and we really want (need) our children to be able to adapt to sleeping even when it's noisy. We trained Alex and Sofia when they were newborns, so it only made sense that Adam goes through the same 'training'. 

It's a success of course. Adam can sleep through loud noises and even when it is bright, he also can sleep through wan. Actually, we didn't really have any 'training' method. 

We just intentionally place him at places with noises since newborn and let him sleep. 

We also love going out so of course this 'style' has been super useful - we love it. 

10. We don't carry Adam to sleep
Yes, you see that right. As tempting as it is, I made it a strict rule to everyone that they shall not carry Adam to sleep in their arms. I have to do this because I don't think I would have the energy to do that (especially at night) with two toddlers at home. I would crash really fast considering Alex and Sofia are still quite clingy to me. 

Carry Adam to talk and play with him - for sure please do that. But the moment he is about to fall asleep, we will put him down on the bed already. 

At first, it was tough because he would cry but I am a very persistent person (so is he actually hah), but happy to report that it has been a successful thing. Adam can now fall asleep on his on without needing to be carried. Sometimes, he still cries for a while and we would carry him for a while and then put him down. Just repeat the whole process till he gets it. Hah. 

So yeah, there it is. We have been really busy, but our hearts are so full. 

Till next update, bye now.