I learnt an important lesson this month.
It all began when I was left phoneless for nearly two days. It so happened that the LCD screen cracked and the phone could not be started after my mum-in-law accidentally dropped it. Yup, I must have been quite unlucky because this phone was rather new and I switched to it after dropping my old phone into the toilet bowl. Right, don't ask. Anyway, after that incident, I learnt not to use phones when in the loo too.
Back to the spoilt phone, I initially thought it would be a small problem and could be fixed instantly. I made a trip to the service centre, alas to be informed that it wasn't that small a problem after all. After much frustration followed by hesitation, I ended up sending it for repair, paid $311 and had all my data wiped out. Yes, all of it. I was helpless, dismayed and annoyed.
On hindsight, I really don't know why I felt that bad about it.
Was it because my hubby, and no one else, could contact me that day? Was it because the huge cost was a damage to my pockets? Was it because I was saddened over the loss of the data? Was I grumbling because I had to make my way to Plaza Sing with a baby in tow, not just once but twice? Or was it because I was horrified at the thought that I couldn't go on Instagram, Facebook or read news, blogs and friends' updates on the go? C'mon, I'm just a stay-at-home mum blogger, not a CEO negotiating a billionaire dollar deal who might have lots of confidential and important stuff in my phone. Yes, I had the right to be sad over losing some pictures or videos of my kids (thankfully I had uploaded the bulk of them previously), but does this suffice to make me feel the way I did?
I don't think so.
It's ironic how technology strives to bring people closer yet make us drift further unknowingly, right? I concluded that the phone was indeed a distraction in my life, a distraction that has been deemed as more important than it should be, a distraction that helps me keep up with what is happening in the world, what my friends are doing but does nothing to strengthen my bond with my kids.
Anyway, I managed to come to peace with it shortly and called up the hubby to tell him that I could not be contacted for the day. In wanting to make the most of my phoneless situation, I decided to bring the kids out so that I can, for once in a long time, concentrate on them totally, entirely, wholeheartedly. Yes, I gave them my 100%. We went to Waterway Point for dinner, chatted with each other while we were in the queue, looked at each other throughout the whole meal, went shopping for a birthday gift after that, and ended the night with a sweet, yummy frozen yoghurt dessert. Just me, my girls and my baby. I didn't feel the itch to take any pictures to post on Instagram, I didn't surf online or read anyone's social media updates, I didn't have to care about how many views or likes or shares - I could only see my kids and they made up my world that night.
Did it feel good? Absolutely. In fact, I think we should have a phoneless night every week. In this month's "Happiness is...", I share with you about the long list of things we did in March. I honestly think we should all learn to focus and not be distracted whenever we are with the kids. Why? Simple. Life is just too short to waste on distractions.
It's amazing how the kids simply love to visit any place with animals and are excited to be there even if it's for the umpteenth time. Anyway, it was Asher's first visit to Jurong Bird Park and also the first time we fed the flamingos so that was definitely an outing to remember!
It was a Friday night and though the hubby was not free, we went out for some fun on our own. After having to deal with a crying baby and tantrums from the girls, we finally got it together and went for some splashing fun at the water fountain. It was a relief to see how happy they were just playing with jets of water and it warmed my heart when Ariel was generous enough to share her toys with a stranger.
City Square Mall has become one of our favourite shopping malls because it is accessible by MRT and offers many kid-friendly facilities. Sometimes, I bring the kids there not just to let the elder two have fun at the indoor playgrounds but also to let me have a breather by just having one kid to look after. Technically. Well, I always need to keep an eye out for them too but the good thing is the sisters have generally learnt to take care of each other pretty well.
On a side note, we were playing at the bouncy castle at a carnival located outside the mall. Each kid had to pay $4 for 5 minutes of play and there was another pair of sisters around the same age as my girls and we went in at the same time. For the whole time, this other pair of sisters did not hold hands, did not help each other and were basically playing on their own instead of together. I took a look at mine and was secretly very pleased to see them helping each other, be it jiejie pushing meimei's butt to get her up the slope, hurling her over a obstacle and then falling over each other in incessant laughter.
Besides that, their mum and grandma kept telling them "Faster, faster!", "5 minutes going to be up!", "Go slide, don't jump!" "Run faster and go one more round", which made me ponder over what their definition of fun was. To run as many rounds as you can, stop jumping because it wastes time and play on your own instead of together? To me, I was happy to let my girls spend that 5 minutes rolling around, holding hands and just relishing that moment by being who they are, doing what they want. Take it slow, my dears, take it slow. Life doesn't need to be fast-paced all the time and you miss out on what's right in front of you when you pass by too quickly.
We were thankful to be able to attend a few media events, including Disney on Ice, Easter workshop in Shangri-La and opening of Times bookstore in Waterway Point. I've made it a point to take on much less blogging commitments this year so unless they really benefit or interest us, if not we would rather keep our weekday nights and weekends free. Still, there were so many kid-friendly events due to the March school holidays and that just makes it so much easier to plan for a fun-filled week.
On the first day of the school holidays, we went for McDonalds breakfast and it's been long since I had this kind of one on one time with my big girl (sleeping baby not counted okay, he has to be with mama 24/7). We chatted about everything under the sun and I realised just how much she has grown already to be able to have this kind of adult-like conversations with me. I have also been updating her regularly about the news and things happening around the world, one thing I always remind her is how lucky we are to have a safe, healthy and happy family.
During the holiday, I also surprised them by bringing them to PIP's PLAYbox at Esplanade, which is a free for all activity space dedicated for kids and family. You can read books by local writers, play with shadow puppets, play with toys or do crafts with your little ones too. To make the surprise a bigger one, I took them to Pororo Park after that! Yup, we missed the media preview and I thought it would be nice to bring them here at least once. What they loved best was the choo choo train and to be frank, I really think we will just come here once because the pricing is way too steep! The funny thing was I bumped into a JC friend here and he was so shocked that I brought three small kids out on my own. For the whole day somemore! He had two of his own and said he couldn't have made it out without a helper. Oh well, thanks for making my day and motivating me to keep going!
Together with some fellow mummy bloggers and their lovely kids, we made it to the Singapore Zoo and the River Safari! Yes, two in a day! It was the first time we had breakfast with the orang utans and though I wished it had been a more interactive session, it was still a great memory for us to have done that. This was also the first time the girls were there with such a big group of kids (ten in total!) and I could see the look of genuine joy on their faces!
It's getting a tad challenging but I've still kept up with the Creativity 521 posts. This month, we made DIY bow and arrows and glow in the dark snowflake wands! I really hope to be able to craft more with the girls and let them have the time and freedom to use their imagination, even if it means making a mess.
Last but not least (can you believe it? This long list is not all inclusive of what we did in March), we also visited Gardens by the Bay not just once, but twice and became Friends of the Gardens. That was because we really wanted to see the sakura at the Blossom Beats floral display before it ended on the 27th. And we did! Woohoo! Without the membership card, it would have taken us over two hours just to queue to buy the tickets.
The silly me forgot to bring along my camera and my phone battery died halfway, thankfully we managed to get a few shots before it went totally flat. The hubby and I also had to deal with many unexpected twists that afternoon, including a baby who decided to cry for no reason for half an hour and refused to drink milk or sleep or be coaxed and a toddler who lay on the floor and cried under the cherry blossoms and threw ridiculous tantrums. Yup, but we survived and it was still a good, beautiful and memorable day for everyone.
I'm thankful for being able to accomplish so much in March and for now, I'm determined to learn to have more focus and get rid of the distractions when it comes to spending time with the people I love most. Hope you had a great month too!
P.S. I got my phone back and yes, it's here to stay. I just don't want to spend too much unnecessary time on it scrolling pages and reading aimlessly, especially when my kids are awake or worse, right beside me. You will still see me around on social media for sure, but I just hope that I am mostly doing it when the kids are in bed, when I'm all alone and need some me-time!