Happiness is... finding joy in staying home

Posted by ~Summer~ on June 28, 2021

The month of May was when we entered Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). Schools closed a week before the June holidays hit and the kids switched to Home Based Learning. Social gatherings were limited to two persons instead of five. Once again, dining in was not allowed for four weeks, meaning that we either had to cook, dabao or order food delivery.

To be frank, it all sounds kind of familiar since we've already been through the Circuit Breaker last year, right? I guess that is why despite being saddened to hear the announcement, many of us were more at ease and less panicky this time round, knowing that we had to play our part to reduce the number of community cases. 

For us, we stayed home most of the time except for taking occasional walks in the nature parks, which were kind of the only places we were comfortable to visit since there would be no crowd. While having a baby and three older siblings means it was basically mayhem at home all day long, it was also the reason why we never had a dull moment and every day brought with it a new set of surprises.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about finding joy in staying home. This joy usually comes in the small things and the fleeting moments, but all you need to do is to open your heart and you will not just see it, but feel it too.


The good thing about having a baby in the house is that I am kept busy but happy 24/7! Honestly, I wasn't sure if I could manage another kid before I gave birth but looking at his angelic face, I am just so thankful to be given a chance to be a mum once more. Sure, this means I am breastfeeding every couple of hours, I am wiping off drool and puke non-stop, I have to change him half a dozen times a day, I need to bathe him, soothe him, talk to him, pacify him, entertain him, clean him, sing to him and make sure all his needs are met. 很忙咯. Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way and I am in fact happy to do these mundane tasks which bring smiles onto my face. 有宝宝的家,是充满劳累却又无比幸福的。

It's like what the big girl - who is my little helper - and I always say to each other when we see our precious little baby, even when we are exhausted and sleepy. "He's worth it, right?" Yup, he definitely is.

In the first two weeks of May before the rules kicked in, we managed to have some outdoor fun as a family. This included our latest tea party photoshoot that we did with Bloom Photography which has never failed to exceed our expectations. This was such a cute and unique concept and the amazing thing was we completed it in less than half an hour!

The kids were also happy to get to play with bubbles and these were the most gigantic ones we had ever tried. I don't know why but there is just something magical about bubbles that has the power to make everyone laugh and be happy. If anything, they also remind me just how the best things in life don't last long and it's up to us to make the most of them while we still can.

It's just like growing up years, isn't it? We always marvel at how quickly our kids grow up and whether or not we have done the most to cherish the short years, it is something we can all work towards doing better.

You know what I love about HBL? It means we can all sleep in a little longer, even half an hour means a lot because at least we don't have to get up before the sun rises. I am thankful that the girls can more or less handle their assignments on their own and only look for me when they are stumped by some difficult questions. That gives me more time to concentrate on the K2 boy who switched to online lessons earlier than the sisters and needed me to be by his side. Well, I usually have the baby with me too but I guess we've kind of gotten used to it.

Other than HBL, the kids also continued with their art classes online and they were reminded (by me!) that they had to help out with chores too. Haha. While having all the kids home meant it was noiser and messier, it also meant that I had extra pairs of helps to help out and if I needed a breather, I could just pass the baby to one of the girls and I got to go to the loo or take a bath in peace - which means a great deal, you know.

We managed to celebrate Mother's Day on the weekend before entering P2HA and it was awesome having a nice celebration with my mum, mum-in-law and sister-in-law too. Who prepared all the food? Well, of course, the men aka the best chefs in the house. My dad was also so sweet as to bring over my favourite cake - Coco Exotic, anyone - so that we could have cake cutting ceremony too. Family celebrations are the best and ours are always done in the comfort of our home with home cooked food instead of in a fancy restaurant.

The kids also made me tear when they sang this very sweet song called 妈妈的宝贝 for me. Watch their Mother's Day dedication here. The story was the K2 boy was the one who learnt the song in school and did a dance with his classmates to wish all the mums. Yup, so sweet of his teachers, right? The song was so heartwarming and catchy that the sisters picked up in no time at all so I made all of them sing together for me lor, haha. This is a precious memory I will hold dear in my heart always, thank you kiddos! I love that Ansel was featured in the video too, awwww.

May also marked the hubby's birthday and in wanting to make a gift that cost no money (since my money comes from him, lol), we decided to do a special art piece. Yup, we did a new hand painted family tree which turned out to be colourful, meaningful and simply awesome. It was fun getting the kids to join and we even included the baby too (of course we had to, right? Even if he wasn't very willing, haha). Check out our masterpiece below! I also wrote a quote on family which spoke volumes to me and after presenting it to the hubby on his special day, this final artwork is now proudly displayed in our living room.

For his actual birthday, we had a cosy but nice family steamboat and what made it so special was that for the first time in a long time, the hubby didn't need to do anything! Yup, you have to know that he is always the one cooking and preparing when we have family gatherings but we wanted him to be able to rest this time round. So, I did a near impossible task by taking all the four kids out with me to the supermarket to buy the ingredients and carry everything back. Haha. We had to split into two groups since there were so many of us and thank to the help of each and every kid (well, except the baby), we carried a huge load back home that night. Phew! The kids even managed to scan and pay for the items themselves while I waited outside the supermarket. Good job, my dears! To the hubby, hope you liked the simple celebration and all the handmade cards the kids did just for you.

Back to the baby, who gets the most attention these days as the siblings dash to kiss, hug and carry him at every opportunity, he turned three months old and achieved quite a few milestones! Check out his 3rd month video and my letter to him here. Let's see, he tried a teether for the first time, we started playing Super Baby by lifting him into the air to and fro and he also got promoted to the big tub!

Can you believe it? This bathtub was bought in Sweden 12 years ago before the big girl was born and has been shared by all the siblings. Awwww, how awesome it is that it is used by dearest Ansel now, who seems really happy to be able to stretch his legs and kick in the water when he lies in it. Bath times have become so enjoyable now and it's something I look forward to each day.

We make it a point to visit a nature park whenever we have time on weekends. In the month of May, we visited Chestnut Nature Park, Thomson Nature Park and MacRitchie Reservoir. That's quite an accomplishment, right? This is especially so considering we have a three-month-old infant, who seems happy to sleep in the carrier snug on my chest every time we go hiking. 

The kids are always so fascinated by all the animals we see, including all the creepy crawlies or weird-looking bugs. One of the biggest highlights this month was spotting an Oriental Whip Snake and it was our first encounter with a real snake in a nature reserve. I'm happy to see how they enjoy such walks and hope that we can keep this up for years to come. It's such a great way to explore, work out and stay fit as a family while being away from the crowd too. And yes, while I love staying home, it helps to take a breath of fresh air from time to time too!

You know, I still receive plenty of DMs which revolve around the question of how do I cope when I don't have a helper and I am solo parenting on most days since the hubby is often away for work. It all boils down to how I am good at closing one eye, meaning I don't beat myself up over a messy home, unfolded laundry or having to order takeaways, AND more importantly, how I make the kids chip in with the housework from young. That is something which I can't emphasise enough and you have read about it in my 快乐妈咪 column, my interview with Zaobao and on the blog from time to time too.

I dare say these kids have improved my leaps and bounds, even though we still have a long way to go. At least, they are now experts in doing the laundry, they can clean the house, they can cook a little, and they also make the best babysitters. Yup, the girls can even help me change the baby's diaper, set up his bath and clean him up too. Not bad, right? Asher, on the other hand, is the most patient big brother who sings tune after tune to the baby, who shows him his toys and explains it one by one, who tries his best to pacify the baby when he cries and I appreciate that very much too.

They are also the best cheerleaders and I must say Ansel is indeed blessed to have this rowdy bunch who gets excited at his every milestone. Even a simple head lift will make them start chanting "Go, Ansel, go!" and a goo goo ga ga will make them so happy that they will go around exclaiming "Ansel just said MAMA!" Haha.

Awww, it's really nice growing up with a bunch of siblings, isn't it? I didn't get a chance to do that but I am glad that my kids can now do so. 很吵闹,却很温馨。It's plain to see how much they love each other despite the frequent bickers and it makes me relieved to see that they have each other's back.

Yup, I guess it wasn't an eventful month of May yet we still had a most fantastic time. Simply because we were together as a family. 一家人在一起最重要 Till more updates next month!


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