Happiness is... enjoying the fruits of your labour

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 07, 2018
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October is always a busy month for us because of the final year examinations for the big girl and all the party planning I have to do for all three kids. Since we don't go for any tuition and hope to remain tuition free for the coming years, it means I have to try my best in my limited free time to do some revision with the firstborn and hope that she finds her own motivation to keep working hard and strive to do her best in not just schoolwork, but in everything she does.

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to scream out loud or lose my cool, especially when we go through things like oral and compo revision, when she can't seem to read a good number of Chinese words that she has learnt before, when she gives up on a Math question and asks me for the answer before she even attempts it, or when she repeats the same mistakes that we have already gone through. It's not easy, really not easy, trying to teach your own kid and I totally understand the frustration. That said, it's also a learning journey for me because not only have I given back much of my knowledge to my teachers and need to relearn many things, I also realised I have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to being a patient, encouraging and supportive mum. I'm very thankful for this girl who has proven herself to be responsible, mature and sensible and it's also heartening to see how she takes charge of packing her schoolbag, revises her weekly spellings, jots down her exam dates, takes the initiative to do her assessment books in her free time and is always finding opportunities to pick up a book to read.

On the other hand, I'm also planning for the year end birthday parties for each of the kiddos and even though I try to keep them on a small scale, I'm still very much into coming up with themes, doing DIY decor and inventing our own games to play too - and there's always the food and dessert table to think about. For now, I'm in the midst of doing a spy party for the big girl and her friends because she wanted this theme and I must say it's tiring yet very fun to do too! Will share more about that soon!

Like what I always tell her nowadays, you reap what you sow and for all the efforts you put into doing what you do, you will get to enjoy the reward and that immeasurable sense of achievement at the end of the day. In October's "Happiness is...", it's about enjoying the fruits of our labour and looking forward to the exciting year end.

During her exam period, I made her special 'animal' sandwiches, printed cards and wrote her good luck messages every day to encourage her. I could see how much she looked forward to opening her bag to find these surprise cards and they helped to make her feel that everything was gonna be okay and all I ask is for her to try her best. Yup, I kept repeating the same things, "Try your best", "You can do it", "Believe in yourself", "We are in this together", "Never give up" and so on because I really want her to know that she is not alone and that while grades are important, they are not everything and will never be.

Back at home, chores have to be done no matter if we are in the midst of exams or not. So, the big girl still has to help out with the laundry and in the kitchen too no matter how busy she may be. It might be unfair but I find it imperative that the firstborn sets a good example for the rest because they have a tendency to follow whatever she does, so I always remind her just how important she is to me and also try to spend a little more time to teach her and praise her too.

While the two younger ones have been fighting and bickering quite a lot recently, the good thing is that they get over it in a couple of minutes and are loving again in no time. They have also shown a willingness in helping me to cook, for instance in plucking the vegetables, peeling eggs, adding ingredients into the soup or simple frying too. Whenever we serve a dish that they had helped in the making, they will always be proud to say things like "I fried this!" or "I helped to make this!" and I guess it really makes our simple meal taste better too.

They also love making our own homemade 'pizza' and I keep reminding myself to close one eye to the mess because it's such a good thing already that they are willing to do it themselves and make their own meal. They always say the pizza tastes very yummy and I know it's because they are enjoying the fruits of their labour and understanding that nothing falls from the sky. Of course, putting in lots of ham, pineapples and extra cheese makes it very appetizing too!

Remember the 2.5kg of soy beans I bought just for their sensory play? Well, it's amazing but I survived having to pick them up and pack them nearly every night for a month! Thanks to the tent and a Daiso shower curtain for helping to make things easier though I have to tell you I still keep finding the beans everywhere in my house, including inside the toddler's diaper. Haha. Well, no pain no gain, right? I'm just so thankful to see that they had a good time playing, making a mess and just filling up buckets and bowls of beans again and again.

I don't splurge on gifts for the kids on Children's Day but I do like to make them little cards just to remind them how much they are loved. This year, we managed to carve out some quality one-on-one sessions so that definitely meant a great deal to me. We've also been interested in pop-up cards recently so I figured out they would be ecstatic to get one each from me. I sure hope they felt Mama's love for them and still feel it every day, no matter how tough things might get at times.

While we do make time for revision before the exams arrive, I don't really believe in last minute work and I don't think it is healthy to ask the child to do lots and lots of practice papers in the last couple of days too. Yup, instead, I feel consistency is the key and as long as she has been paying attention in class and keeping up with her school work, that is more important than trying to hug the Buddha's leg and cram for the exams the days before. So, we make it a point to carry on with our weekend activities and also have some time for relaxation and play on all weekdays too.

The weekend before she was going to sit for all her four written papers, we brought her to KidZania and had a Halloween celebration at SpookyTown. It was a night where we didn't talk about homework, about tests and exams, but instead we enjoyed the activities wholeheartedly and came together as a family.

The kids were totally excited to dress up for Halloween too and guess what, we eventually attended not one but FOUR halloween parties so they could do it over and over again. Haha. These lucky kids. You should see the huge box of candies we have after all the trick or treating. Still, seeing all those smiles makes it all worthwhile though I think I need to secretly stash some of the sweets away from them!

No matter how busy we are, I still make it a point to go to outdoor playgrounds, indoor play areas and we usually can't help it but go on all the free bouncy castles and ball pits we see at roadshows. Haha. I keep reminding myself that there is no such thing as "We have no time to play" because it's always a matter of our perception and priorities in life. There IS always time for play, it's just whether we want to let it happen or not.

A fellow mum who daughter is in the same class as Ariel told us her kid would not be coming to the birthday party cum Christmas gathering that we are organising in early December because her daughter has a lot of tuition classes to attend on a Sunday and they are always very busy on weekends. She also questioned why I am so free to attend and host parties when I have three kids to look after, haha. Anyway, I can sense the disappointment in her girl because all the other girls are coming, and also the stress that she might feel once Primary School starts. So yup, it was just another reminder to me that schoolwork is not the most important thing. My child's happiness is.

One thing good about being a stay-at-home mum is that I am able to go on all the school excursions with my kids. Asher and I had the chance to go to the Science Centre with Ariel and since this was her last excursion before she graduates from K2, I can see how much it mattered to her and how happy she was to have us there. Awww, yes, my baby girl is going to Primary One next year and I'm still trying to accept the fact that she has grown in the blink of an eye. Well, being a year end baby means she still looks a little tiny compared to her friends and it makes me cherish every phase of her growing up even more. This girl will turn six just before Christmas and I'm keeping her party theme a surprise for the time being. Yes, I'm concurrently planning for three parties so it can get confusing at times but please wish me luck that everything goes smoothly!

Here's a sneak peek at the first party that's coming up - check out our DIY birthday invites! Oh yes, it's gonna be a spy party where the big girl and her friends will become secret agents for a day. I can't wait to see if I can pull this off and no matter what, I hope she will have a good time because she really worked hard this year and deserves a good time on her birthday. She doesn't expect me to do a lot by the way, she said she just wishes to have 4-5 friends over and play a couple of games. It's not too much, right? I think it's me who is always trying to be the ambitious one. Haha.

It warms my heart to see what a simple hand painting session and an origami camera can do to bring joy and big smiles to these kids. I love how innocent, how pure and how easily contented they are at this stage of lives. If anything, I hope they will always learn to choose happiness and see the good and beauty of life.

It's been a long while since we started our journey with heART Studio and while we see some students skipping classes during exam period, we turned up for ours even though the girl had her Science paper the very next morning. I don't want her to think that her passion matters less than her grades, you know what I mean? It's been a tedious solo parenting month in October but still, I think we survived it pretty well and I kind of look forward to enrichment class days because it means I get to dine out with the kids and don't need to cook. Haha.

The big girl, who is a bug lover, has been keeping caterpillar after caterpillar (she even names each of them) and watching them hatch from their chrysalis one by one. It has been a most fascinating learning experience for her and I must tell you, she learns so much from observing them and can now accurately tell me when they will emerge as butterflies because she notices the colour changes in the chrysalis. Incredible! We love seeing the whole metamorphosis process and the newly minted butterflies look too beautiful for words. It's also a joy releasing them from our balcony and seeing them take their first flight into the world.

On the blog front, it's been quite a busy and productive month and we've run more giveaways than usual. I'm so, so thankful for all the media drops and my wish every time is that I get to share the goodies with more readers so I always do my utmost to request for a giveaway from the sponsors. It's my little way of saying thank you for all your support and encouragement, and it helps to know that we are never alone in this parenting journey.

That said, I do work quite hard to keep up with everything and have sacrificed countless hours of sleep just to finish up my blogging assignments. The words and pictures don't just magically appear in this space or on my social media and every post I publish takes effort to put together. Not everyone understands this, but maybe you do. So, while I'm happy to keep doing what I do, I also know that it's because I worked hard for this and thus am able to enjoy the fruits of my labour every once in a while. There is no free lunch in this world, you know? I still believe in that and I strongly think that hard work pays off. So, regardless of what your passion, job and dream is in life, please don't give up on it and keep trying for you will surely succeed one day. Maybe not always through the way you envisioned it to be, but you will get there somehow.

On the day that exams were over for Angel, we celebrated it with a bang by watching The Great Moscow Circus! See my review here. It was a surprise treat for them and they didn't know what we were watching till we got there. I must say the whole show was most amazing and I am still very blown away by all the seemingly impossible, heart pounding and even death defying acts! We spoke about hard work just now and these circus stars must be some of the most hardworking people ever and it's also because they are driven by the passion they have for this job. The show runs till 23 November so if you haven't watched it yet, you must! It's one of the best shows ever and you definitely won't regret it.

Last but not least, one of the happiest things we did this month was to have our family photoshoot and I am so thankful to have these beautiful memories as keepsakes. Seeing how the kids have grown up in every photoshoot we did over the past years, it is kind of a bittersweet feeling but I know I need to cherish these years because they will never return again when they are gone. Cloud Productions captured some of our most treasured moments (read my review here) and did a most wonderful job photographing my family and I'm so glad to have these prints to keep for life.

So, I'm definitely anxious yet excited about the upcoming year end parties, school holidays and Christmas celebrations. Yup, it's time to go shopping for Christmas gifts already! How amazing time flies! I hope you are looking forward to the last leg of 2018 too. Till more updates next month!


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