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Preview: Life after Work

Life after "Life after Work"

... now just another struggling parent ...

Updated: 2017-12-14T19:10:08.246-06:00


It's been a while...


It's been so long.

Here's what's been going on. I had one kid, then another. Thing One / Nova was my first ever exposure to a kid. I'd never changed a diaper until he came along, and even then I deferred to the hubs or the NICU nurses before I forced myself to overcome that ?fear?.

He is my first. So I always wondered during tough times, was it just me? Or was it also him?

Turns out, it was us both.

Thing One and mommy, about a week ago

He starts First Grade this August. He's currently being (re-)evaluated for an IEP (Individualised Education Plan). ADHD. ODD. ASD. SPD. The journey to these labels was a long one. And still ongoing because I don't think we have it quite right yet. But the labels help. I fought against getting labels. But now I seek them. Anything to help understand. Never in a million years would I have foreseen me medicating my kids. Yet here I am, seeking new meds, getting him a genetic test that should help identify which medications should help him, since the usual suspects seem to lose effectiveness.

So we can help him figure himself out.
So I don't keep reacting to him.
So I can be calm and supportive and nurturing.

Instead of the momster I found myself to be.

Turns out, if you have unresolved issues from childhood, and you have kids, well, those issues are going to make themselves known. 

me today, crying on the kitchen floor

Long story short: I suspect I too have some of his labels. And that they were beaten out of me and/or slapped into submission. I now accept my own labels of depression and anxiety. I have been seeking help. I know I am healing.

But I sure wish healing could take place in a vacuum.

I have missed writing/blogging. It kept me sane(r) way back when. Been trying to get back into it. Damn Facebook gets most of my thoughts.

Today I will try to shift my attention here more.

I hope to see you again.


A scare!


That was so weird.

There was an email from Blogorama saying they indexed my recent post ""Morning Joe" cuts off painful interview with Florida Governor for avoiding questions about Trump and Muslims" - wha?

So I check this blog, and mis-type the address. It doesn't load, and the anti-virus program is flagging the site, and I am in So. Much. Anguish thinking I've lost my blog to hijackers..

Then I notice the typo!

PHEW it still exists (not used since August last year? Oooops!!!)

Deep breath.

I head over to Blogorama and find out the blogs they have associated with that email were the today dot com ones that don't exist anymore, and haven't existed for many years. So told them to delete me/them from their directory.

All should be fine now.

.... but sheesh. That scared me.

Once upon a time I juggled another personality -- or rather, I allowed a part of me out more. The "writer/alter ego" part of me. The one who published deeply personal look-backs on my past (well before I ever started therapy and found out I needed to work through many suppressed emotions, memories of my childhood). The one who was as creative as could be, and had fun with a Tooth Fairy peeing on kids' mouths (seriously) in order to make their teeth rot. The one who had a great book idea, but realised she was actually rewriting her childhood and whatever did get written was never going to be published. Peeks into peeks into my creativity when those juices were flowing pretty well and I dared entertain the idea of being a writer. A while back, in order to consolidate/reduce number of things in general, whatever I posted as that persona, I unpublished, saved as draft to THIS blog, and deleted her home.

So if I had lost THIS blog, I would have lost HER work.
My work.
Her work.
I've not thought about her in a long time.

Hi Willow.(image)

Frozen, Inc


We are totally late to the fandom. On purpose. Only introduced the kids (3 & 4 yo now) to Frozen maybe 6 weeks ago.

Of course, they are now Anna and Elsa.
Last weekend, they got a fantastic treat -- they acually got to MEET Anna and Elsa :)

Then we introduced them to Monsters, Inc because, well, let's not keep watching Frozen, right??

So now they are *also* Kitty and Boo. Today Nova built a "door" (more like doorWAY), for Kitty and Boo to go through.
Gotta love their imaginations!



How the ideal evening has to go, for all our sanity's sake:

By 4.30: pick up Nev

By 5: home, potty

5.30/6pm : dinner

7pm: potty, jammies

7.30: storytime

7.50: last call (water, potty)/ last book

8pm: close the door 

Hard-learned schedule, that one. Leave a LOT of buffer. But try to have a good half hour of stories.

Unfortunately, ANYthing that threatens the above -- like beautiful weather that invites us to hit the park before dinner, therefore throwing it all off by an hour or so -- will make me all twitchy, even with the post-dinner buffer.

Yesterday I was prepared, so "pre-dinner" cheese, veggie pouch were part of the "get back to the car" enticement at the playground. Home at 6. Still closed the door on them at 8-ish.

Today, we have some family fun activities as Nova's school, smack in the middle of the dinner routine. Thinking to do something similar to yesterday.

May have to save my daily caffeination for the afternoon, rather than morning....!!!


Coulda been


Four years ago today, it could have been Nova's birthday. 

I was 31 weeks pregnant, only just starting to think about what we were going to need for his (its, at that point -- I'd been refusing to know) arrival, and the powers that be decided to make things ...exciting...

Thankfully he stayed put, until invited out 3 weeks later. 

Glad he wasn't this big then ;)



Really having a tough time with time outs.

Totally subscribe to its use as a "behavior interrupter" as opposed to punishment. But often times, the behavior being interrupted has a huge emotional charge too. And when "that's three: go to (your room / the [thinking chair] / etc)" gets met with "No!", there's a whole 'nother battle fought to just get the kid to where he/she is to go, and by that time the No Talking (when you're angry) and No Emotion rules for parents are totally out the window and it takes a lot not to let things spiral out of control.

Here's Nev "in her room" just a few minutes ago, doing a great job pushing boundaries, and Mommy's buttons.

There are many more aspects and nuances to these situations, of course. Just want to get this morning's incidentS out here so they are not hamster wheel fodder.

Is it Monday yet?

... of weight and salt ...


I've been eyeing the Y's Lose Big program; session two starts next week.

I joined both sessions last year. Shared progress on FB. Lost some weight, but very quickly realised that there was no way I could maintain that lifestyle -- it was taking away from even grocery shopping, and adding to the stress of kid juggling etc. 

I really started yelling/screaming at the kids all the time at this time, as I recall.

A year later.  I'm at a much better place mentally. Still struggling, though.

On one hand the exercise will help uplift me overall, no doubt about that, hello endorphins. But on the other hand, I can see the stress of just making the minimum workouts, and jumping through the figurative hoops, is not going to do me any good.

So no, Lose Big.

Instead I'll once again work on some small changes. 

Like Coke Zero. 

Haven't had any in ?months? Sometimes I miss it so much. But all we have now is Diet Coke which I won't touch (my plan was no soda at all, but hubby couldn't handle it, lol!). 

Not sure if it's related, but I'm starting to notice salty food. Took a bite of the cheese I feed the kids all the time and am aghast at how salty it tastes. Nova's fave food ever (couscous w spinach in lemon butter sauce -- you'll find it in the frozen veg section, he'll eat the entire bag in one sitting) -- I sampled that yesterday and found it way too salty too. 


Hello, stream of consciousness typing.




I stopped wearing a watch over a decade ago ... and yet now my life is littered with alarms on my phone.  Here's what my day typically looks like, as told by my alarms:

I only recently figured out how to use the snooze function to my advantage: hit snooze, and use that extra 9 mins to get Nova actually ready to go, for example. 

At 3.30 it's time to hit the potty (or, start another potty battle) before leaving to get Nev. I like to have left the apartment by 4. See the buffer? We need it. Boy do we need it.

Always always always lots and lots and lots of buffer. On one hand it could be a bit stressful having it go off every 9 minutes. But. On the other hand, if you've got the timing down well, it's actually a good way to let go the responsibility of watching the clock...

I've managed to squeeze in many 9mins of focused play with him between the first & second "ready for bus?" alarms. And that is very much needed.

I just hope I don't keep adding alarms such that I have two or three screenshots to share in another post!

(For bedtime, mealtimes, I usually use an egg timer)




You know you've had to do the pick-up/drive-through stop gap dinner solution too often recently when, as you arrive home and park the car, Nev pipes up "But, I want us to pick up food. I want you to get food through a window!"

Getting big, aren't they?

Bathroom question


"What's on my butt, mommy?" asked Nova in a very puzzled voice.

We were in the bathroom; he had just sat unproductively on the potty for 5mins to earn some tv time, and I was trying to get a new pull-up on him. He takes the opportunity to explore his nether regions during these nekkid times, and had his hands on/around his butt as he asked the question.

Kinda afraid of what I might find, I had him turn around, saw nothing unusual, and told him so. 

"Buttcheeks. I have buttcheeks on my butt, mommy," he then informed me.


I have a joker! 

:) <3


Wake up, fish!


Miss Carole was in town! A church/preschool had a MacaroniFest fundraiser that featured Carole Petersen/Stevens. I found out about it that morning, and resolved to get the kids there. We made it, but wow was it stressful.

At first, there were crafts for the kids -- I think it was Nev's first time wielding a bottle of glue -- she did it with such glee Miss Carole herself came up to me and commented laughingly on Nev's enthusiasm :)

Dinner was a frantic affair, the kids barely ate any of the pasta even the usual guaranteed mac n cheese (of course, they'd never had it from Noodles & Co, might have been to salty?). They were probably over stimulated too.

Then the concert started ... Nev and I spent most of the time watching/participating. Nova, on the other hand, kept running in and out of the room and earned himself a whole bunch of time-outs (administered by Kosh, who happened to get out of work early enough to come with -- without him I have no idea how I would have coped!).

Bottom left: their first taste of ice cream, can you tell if they liked it? ;)

Purchased Stinky Cake to complement the already-known-by-heart Sticky Bubble Gum CD we already have. It hasn't taken long for these new songs to also embed themselves into our hearts / minds / dreams.

<3 A friend's kid made a comment about being in a castle (it's a church, which can certainly seem like a castle to young'uns, definitely) -- Nova and Nev have since embraced that concept, and enthusiastically look for the castle we were at whenever we drive around town ... and are also convinced we shared that castle with Rapunzel that evening :) <3

And now for why I'm fnally prompted to blog about Miss Carole... First, watch this video:
(It's not Miss Carole nor her version in the video, but it's one of the songs that was immediately a favorite of the kids)

Then check this one out:

And finally, this one:

(I apologize for not properly embedding the videos -- I'll try to do that when I'm at a laptop/computer and not squinting at my phone!).


Weekend survival


Housebound. Nova is running a fever (nowhere near as bad as his sister on Tuesday/Wednesday, though, thankfully!). And it's cold anyway, so Mommy's gotta get the grumpy out of her system (I am *not* a fan of the cold... and it's only mid-September... ugh) before she'll willingly go out in such weather :p

So... Indoor distractions ...

Here's what occupied them for a good ten minutes: match the outline w the object.

Now to find other things to do so we won't kill each other before the day is through... :)


Books that stayed with me in some way


Making its way around FB is this list of ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Here's my stab at it.

1. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) -- amazing retelling of the Arthurian legend from a priestess' perspective.

2. Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco) -- opened my mind to the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and I seriously didn't know if this really was a work of fiction.

3. The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova) -- Dracula story within a story within a story told via letters and flashbacks

(Which reminds me of...)

4. Blood Groove (Alex Bledsoe) -- refreshing disturbingly awesome vampire tale (I so need to reread this!)

5. A Crown of Swords (Robert Jordan) -- "what? It's not over yet? How long *is* this series??!"

6. The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Mohandas Gandhi) -- I'd not actually known much about him, so reading this was eye opening, mind blowing.

7. IT (Stephen King) -- the only book that had me afraid of what might be under my bed.

8. The Stand (Stephen King) -- something about being sodomized w a gun barrel can make quite an impression on an innocent mind...

9. American Gods (Neil Gaiman) -- magnificent look at "gods" in these modern times

10. Chariots of the Gods? (Erich Von Daniken) -- read this in my very late teens, and my view of religions has never been the same.

So there you have it. 

Feel free to leave a link in comments to your own list. If I have the time I'll take a look.




Adjusting to Nova being in school daily ... on one hand he's out of my hair EVERY DAY! On the other hand it's only for 2.5 hrs total, and if you include travel to/from I barely have 2hrs each morning ...  

(Prior to this, I had him in daycare three days a week) 
(very fortunate, but also, very $$ draining)
(so when the opportunity to have him in a free-to-us well-rated school came up, it was a no-brainer) 
(I just knew we'd be making quite an adjustment...)
(... and that's what we're doing this week (and beyond... This'll take us a while...!))

Yesterday I was in the middle of laundry when I realised I was going to be late getting him!!  Yeeesh!

So today I'm pretending I don't have anything to do, and am getting a pedicure to pass the time to his pickup.

Between this, and the parking hassle at dropoff/pickup, I'm wondering if I should reconsider my no-bussing stance... 

... that'll be another post for another day :p




... they keep growing!

Nova's off to pre-K today.

Next time I'll make the sign a whole lot clearer :p




"No, lellow!"

"No, yewwow!"

... Nova and Nev correcting each other's pronunciation of "yellow".

I need this on tape!!

I was moved


Today I was moved to type some supportive words to two friends, relatively new ones (SPI-based, so 5+ years), not close at all really, but I have some fondness/connection/affinity for them for one reason or another ... both sent cries for help** out on FB today ... (** okay maybe not outright cries for help... but let's just say, I empathised with both their written and unwritten words, and was moved to respond with empathy, love and support.

It felt good.

Then it turned / I turned it into something else. Judging myself of narcissism. For needing self validation. Viewing my feeling good about it as a kind of *desperate* self-validation.

Underneath it all, it felt like a small child desperately wanting acknowledgment that "See? I *can* do good. I could matter."

Because a part of me was told / came to believe that I (she) doesn't matter.
That I was never good enough.

(Too Malay.)
(Not Malay enough.)
(and so many and so much more....)

And I feel my brain and heart skitter skitter skitter away.

So today, I also will be spending time with that piece of me. Hugging. Reassuring. Showing her what we've done, what we've achieved, where we are, how we matter. At the same time acknowledging her, and her fears, her hurt, her resentment, her confusion. Her hurt. That's a huge one.

I turn 42 soon. As good an age as any to help my inner children heal, perhaps even assimilate.

I have been broken, so. long.

In some ways we are different...


The rational mind knows, in theory, that every kid is different. Yet I can't help but use Nova as an assumption/template for Nev. And of course I get reminded often how that set of assumptions/expectations do nothing except give me a sense of structure that really doesn't apply.

That's a lot of words to set up this post, haha.

With Nova, I was on the lookout for self-undressing, and poopy Picasso-ing. He never showed any inclination for this. I still kept him in onesies as long as I could. It's only now, at a little over 3 years old, he's started to Al Bundy himself.

Now, Nev ... she's been thrusting hands down her pants for a while already. There was once she did a sleep poopy Picasso -- I thought that was snot on her hand and nose when I got her that morning *shudder*. She also has taken her pants off so often already (Nova has yet to do that). 

So today she not only took off her pants, but did a valiant job putting them back on.

I <3 these kids :)




I've not properly blogged in a long long time.A huge part of it is of course, the kids. Having a 13-month gap between kids makes for a tough time. Having kids just barely that side of 40 also doesn't help. There *is* light at the end of the tunnel, though. Things are getting better. I can start to breathe again.That said ... the past six months (or year, or three) have been tough in ways I never anticipated.You know, a big reason I had no inclination for tying the knot was I grew up in an environment where ... how shall I put this ... there were huge issues simmering / stagnating between my parents, making for a very uncomfortable environment to grow up in general, what more for someone who now acknowledges she is highly sensitive / empathic? How much of my internal dialogue was shaped by trying to deal with the (negative) energy I sensed but did not understand? How much of my internalizing, my shutting down and shutting out, stems from my trying to navigate a mire of emotions not even my own? I survived because I drew a cloak of anger around myself.I also grew up protected. All-girls school. Malay/sian culture, even in the city, still is pretty prudish, conservative. I was way too unfamiliar with hormones, guys, ... and doing things for myself -- I realise I had a hard time figuring out where *i* stood because the school system along with how I was raised produced someone who was used to being told what to do, what to think. Yes, I rebelled ... but I didn't go all the way to finding my own voice. That came later. Much much later. I was raped when I went out on one of my first dates in the US. As soon as I make that statement, even in my own head (I've only said it out loud maybe twice), I always find myself downplaying it: "It was just frottage, though." Yeah. I was lucky. I'm being sarcastic, but that is also how I feel -- it could have been a lot worse. What was really bad at the time was, I was a bundle of unidentified emotions, I had NO IDEA to process what had just happened, but was also fueled by the Asian desire to not rock the boat, so I just clamped down on it all, internalized, put on a brave face, carried on. Do you know it took me a few years to figure out that I had been raped??I had continued to date the guy (I'll call him JNC) -- it was a tumultuous relationship. It ended badly. Sometime after it was over (I think - we were on again off again for a while), and I had realised what had happened was rape, and it was eating me up inside, and I got drunk enough one night at a house party* and for some reason decided to call him up and get him to agree that he had, in fact, raped me. I think he acknowledged it. I can't be sure. Alcohol sure makes things fuzzy. I don't think it helped. (it = alcohol, the "confrontation", whatever).I muddle along in life ... a trend I notice is I gravitate towards "strays" ... forgive me for the use of condescending terms - that is how I talk to myself: always with half-sneering lips and a sarcastic raised eyebrow. I gravitated towards hurt souls. People I could take care of -- because taking care of others meant I didn't need to take care of myself. I care deeply for others. Just don't cross me. Then you are dead to me. But that's another story. Tangentially.I had a significant other who was oh so jealous. So so SO so jealous. She was insecure in her status as a lesbian with a previously hetero partner, and that fear translated into a majorly green-eyed monster. Mind games. Guilt. I remember we were in the early stages of planning a trip to the US, and she asked me if, if I had the opportunity [...]

Insomnia sucks


I think we went to bed at a reasonable (to us) time ...

1.45am: jolted wide awake by Nova crying something about "Get me out" ... Kosh went to investigate ... and found Nova ~under~ his bed??!! Of course Nev woke up with all this... Kosh calmed them down, left the room ... 

Then Nev starts wailing about losing her binky (oh how I hate that thing) ... 

I intervene ... I stay a while ... I leave ...

She wails ... and wails ... and wails ... finally quietens down

.... and sleep totally eludes me the rest of the night.

I'm going to be Red Light Mommy all bloody day, looks like.

Poor kids.

It's the 4th of May


... and the kids have a message for you:

Peace out!


For Lin


I couldn't help but title this as ...

"Ball and wheels with Nev"

I hope all who celebrate it had a great Easter.


Working out


Yesterday Nova and I spent about 4 hours at the Y, for two 30min sessions. 
This hugely inefficient use of time was mainly due to having to sit in the lobby and feed him breakfast (before child watch opened, so *i* could work out), and lunch (after his swim, so he could pass out in the car w/o my having to wake him for food when we got home).
The nap didn't last as long as I would have hoped. Gotta fine tune my strategy, for both our sakes!


Another year passes by ...


... and *sneeze!* here I am brushing *cough cough* the dust *aaaacchhhooooo!* off of this blog *blows nose* ... it won't be pretty, bc I'll be posting short updates from my *aaaaaaaaahhhhhh* phone, *ccchhhhoooooooooo!* it's the only way I communicate with anyone nowadays.

.... and I *need* to write more than you need it to be pretty, methinks.

Welcome, 2014!

Bathtime Fun!


"Poooop?" he declared.

I groaned, hand on the shampoo bottle. We were more than halfway done with his bath, and I had *just* gotten him to finally sit/squat in the Tummy Tub so I could safely do his hair, which was the reason he was getting an impromptu post-dinner pre-bedtime bath in the first place.

"Argh. Please tell me you're not going to poop."

"No poop!" he exclaimed, gleefully.
But what about those rather worrying grunts??

"You sure?"

"No poop!" he repeated.

Then up pops a turd (or four) in the tub. (There were non-floaters too. Ugh.)


Silver lining: he *did* tell me before it happened. I guess potty training can start anytime.