Happiness is... staying calm amidst the chaos

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 05, 2020
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2020 got off to a pretty crazy start.

Firstly, the kids had to settle down into their new academic year, get to know their new teachers and classmates, readjust their sleeping times and once again, wake up before the sun rises. I had to set aside many alarms every day because the kids wake at different times, go to school at different times and dismiss from school at different times every day - if you are a SAHM, you will know what I mean. It makes me really miss the holidays because those are the days when we can sleep in, be spontaneous, feel free to do anything we want and take life at a leisurely pace. Still, we managed to get into the rhythm quite swiftly and it's a good thing that these kids love and enjoy going to school

Secondly, CNY fell in the first month which means we had lots to do - decorate the house, spring clean, invite friends over for gatherings, pack ang pows to distribute and more. I didn't want to wait until the last minute so I made sure I finished all I needed to do within the first few weeks of January. Woohoo. Doing so made me look forward to the celebrations very much because CNY is still my favourite festival after all these years.

After that, it was more madness when COVID-19 got everyone panicking and let's just say during every of our CNY gathering this year, you could hear friends and relatives talking about it, from the precautionary measures and government updates to conspiracy theories and wild speculation. Every day, we were wondering "How many new cases today?", "How many have been discharged?", "How many are in the ICU?" and hoping that everyone could stay safe from the crowns. But no matter what news we heard, we refused to get into panic mode, refused to go snatch for toilet paper and refused to let fear dictate our lives. 

You might say we are just being foolish or negligent but we decided to let our lives carry on. We still went for movie after movie - we watched at least 3 this month, we went for a theatrical play, we took public transport, we went to public playgrounds, we ate in public places and we remained calm no matter how distressful the world might get. That's just it, right? The more you panick, the worse the situation gets; the more you keep cool, the better you can ride through the storm. 

In January's "Happiness is...", it's about staying calm amidst the chaos and doing what we usually do.

Don't you love visiting Chinatown during CNY? I love to bring the kids here every year just to soak in the ambience, listen to the catchy songs, try new year goodies and get ourselves in the celebratory mood. There are so many important new year traditions that I wish to preserve and educate my kids, which was what sparked my inspiration for my 快乐妈咪 column this month - read it here.

Although some people dislike crowds, I like the fact that I see many Singaporeans around us when we visit Chinatown too and it reminds me on how we are in fact one big family staying on the same island. Many of the uncles and aunties are also extra nice to the kids so that makes me feel so thankful. For instance, one of them gave the kids free 鸡蛋糕,one gave us extra jelly after we bought a bag of it, one told Ariel to take and eat more when she knew this girl loves 瓜子,and they also gave the boy high fives which made him feel happy too.

We had two babies joining our family and they are dear Lyra and Kyra! Nope, it wasn't because of this being Year of the Rat that we decided to get these pets but because the girls had been asking them for years since our first two passed away previously. I promised to get them these cute hamsters provided that they used their own ang pow money to pay for the cost and that they are able to take full charge of the cleaning and caring for them.

These first couple of weeks were great and all of us were delighted to have them running over our laps, nibbling our fingers and making squeaking noises now and then. The girls were truly happy and every day after they got home from school, the first thing they did was to run to their hamsters, take them out to sayang and say hello to them before they even went to shower. Their love for these animals was plain to see.

Alas, the blow came when Ariel's Kyra fell sick and refused to eat. I told the hubby that hopefully he could be home that weekend so we could drive down to the vet and see if there was anything we could do for it. Sadly, she decided to leave us that Thursday and I saw it take its last breath before it stopped moving. It was a moment of pain and of grief and when Ariel came home, she bawled so badly that my heart ached for her. We let her pen her last note to Kyra before giving it a burial right next to our previous hamster and it took her days to get over her tears. It's really never easy saying goodbye, isn't it?

Back at home, even though it was a busy month, the kids were still roped in to do the chores frequently as I hope to cultivate it as a good habit in them. They have to help with the laundry, cooking, tidying, mopping as well as any other chore that they are capable of - you will be surprised at how much they can achieve when given the opportunity to learn.

Seeing how his older sisters step up to help Mama at times, the boy is not spared from his duties too. In fact, he does more than them on some days because he only goes for 3 hours of school, haha. He might complain at times that he is tired but whenever I tell him that Mama is tired too if Mama does everything alone, he will always look at me and say "I help you, okay? Because I love Mama." Awww, too sweet, this boy.

Weekends are still reserved for family and we are thankful to have Papa home on most weekdays since we seldom get to see him on most days. He brings us out for good food, takes us to parks and playgrounds, joins us for movies and reminds us that quality time is as important as quantity time. We both agreed to continue our weekends as usual and didn't try to shun away from malls, cinemas, playgrounds or other public places. In other words, life went on as per normal for us.

The girls also visited Air Zone in City Square Mall for the first time and it's all thanks to a generous friend who held her kid's birthday party there. We haven't been to indoor play zones for a long time already because they are pretty costly and we prefer to go for the free outdoor ones like the one in Admiralty Park or East Coast Park. Nonetheless, the girls were so happy to have this first experience and I think the slides were very fun too!

There was also a moment of pride for us as parents when our firstborn received the coveted Character Award - we heard that only 2% of students in Singapore are awarded. It's her first non-academic award and this being one that focuses on her character, behaviour in school and disposition towards teachers and friends, it motivated me to keep going as a mum even though we will always have our bad days and heated moments. This girl honestly brings me on an emotional roller coaster ride every day and makes me feel like I still have so much to learn but I'll always be thankful that she is mine to love and to hold.

If you have seen my IG stories, you will know that I started on a slim cupping treatment! It is a home based business (IG @kappingusg) and although I initially had my share of hesitation and doubts, the fact is it is working out so well for me that I wonder why I didn't try it earlier! With the cupping and a no-carb diet, I have been feeling much healthier, better and lighter than before. I will definitely share more here at the end of it all so you can witness my transformation and read about my experience too.

The main highlight of January was of course, Chinese New Year! The kids learnt many new CNY songs and both of the girls performed on stage during the celebration in school. Ariel said "Mama, this is the first time I am dancing on stage!" but you know what, she shone and the teacher handpicked her from her class, told her "You dance very well!" and asked her to stand in the centre and be surrounded by the upper primary students. Awww, so I guess this girl, like her sister, will likely be choosing dance as her CCA at the end of this year?

It's mandatory to take a family shot every CNY so regardless of how the hubby might not see the point at times, I still make sure we take out our tripod and get our photo taken. Haha. Just one good one can already lah, okay? It helps me to see how much the kids have grown, how cute they look in their traditional costumes and how much we have come together as a family. Plus can put into nice frame and send to others to 拜年 mah, right?

Of course, we had feast after feast after feast and we were eating 好料 almost every of the entire 15 days. Thanks to my aunt, my mother-in-law, the hubby's aunts for cooking all the good food for us! In return, we hosted a BBQ for the extended family in which over 30 people came and we had a merry good time.

More than the good food, CNY is all about connecting with our family and friends, reminiscing the good old times, showing respect to our elders, making new memories and letting the people who matter know how much we love them. I think we are very lucky and blessed to have so many of our close ones still around us and I always tell the kids to cherish these moments because you never know how long they will last. 要懂得惜福,okay? I sure hope all of you had a great CNY with your loved ones too.

So as the battle continues, let's all do our part by staying calm, practicing good hygiene, being considerate, showing love and encouragement to others and spread positivity.

Life goes on. Let's all have a little more faith.

Till more updates next month!


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