Happiness is... finding calm in the chaos

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 10, 2021

The month of September was quite a chaotic and turbulent month. 

Apart from having to look after four kids day in day out, plan activities for the one-week school holidays and help the firstborn prepare for her PSLE which has a new grading system, it was also the time when our country made the decision to open up and turn the pandemic into an endemic way of life instead.

There was plenty of disorder, confusion and panic, especially among the parents with Primary 6 kids who were due to sit for their national exams in a matter of days after the announcement. We saw cases hitting over 2,000 per day for the first time just days before the written exams, I had friends whose kids had to be put on quarantine as they were identified as close contacts to a positive case, and we heard of those who had to skip exams or go through lots of tough measures and stringent tests just to be able to sit for the papers while on QO and LOA. Every day, I was hoping with all my heart that things would go smoothly for the big girl (read my heartfelt letter to her here) and despite this being a tough year, I wish that she would be strong and resilient enough to deal with life's curveballs.

That said, I also wanted the kids to be able to relax, have fun and spend time playing since it was the school holidays after all. Every weekend was also dedicated for rest, play, hiking trips and family time, even if it was during the major exams. I don't believe in last minute work so instead of stressing the kids to cram for exams, I prefer for all of us to take a breather, take things easy and have faith that our consistency throughout the year will pay off. 

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about finding calm in the chaos and being able to focus, unwind and find peace in our hearts even when things get a little crazy around us.


We went for an impromptu picnic in East Coast Park after getting some takeaways for dinner. It was nice being surrounded by the greenery and being able to feel the sea breeze. Even though there were ants crawling over our seats, we were just happy to be able to enjoy a family meal together. Yup, it's always about seeing positivity in every situation, right?

During the weekend just before the big girl's PSLE written papers, we had a super fun online camp with Kaya and Roti which involved scavenger hunts, fun games, storytelling and singalong, and the best part was building our very own tent in the comfort of our living room! The kids said it was one of the best day ever and it was ended off on a happy note when we cooked instant noodles (I used chicken broth to cook it and added vegetables and mushrooms) to be in line with the camping theme.

The girls asked if they could really sleep in the tent - which was done using chairs, beanbags and blankets - and I said "Sure, why not?" It was so cute when they went "This is like a hotel, we no need to go for staycation!" and goes to show how kids are actually easily contented and it doesn't take much to make their day.

You know what always makes a dull day brighter? Why, chocolates and cakes, of course! Please tell me I am not the only mum who secretly snacks when the kids are in bed, haha. We are always thankful to receive media drops on our doorstep and don't take them for granted. Food always makes my day and besides the nice clients, I also have to give thanks to friends who sent over goodies to wish the big girl good luck for her exams. We were very touched by your kind gestures and the are so blessed to receive your kind thoughts! 

Friendship and kinship - these are the two things that keep us sane during the pandemic and give us hope that things will get better soon so that we can finally reunite and gather. Don't you think so too?

There are some things that never change and some traditions are just worth preserving. Just before PSLE, it was Mid Autumn Festival and I decided we all deserved a break and needed to do something fun. Having bought a pomelo that morning, I got the kids to learn how to peel it and after packing that in a container and getting some herbal tea too, we armed ourselves with lanterns and set off to our neighbourhood for an evening mum-and-kids stroll.

Of course, no celebration is complete without sparklers - actually I have no idea why it has become part of the tradition but the kids are always excited to play - so it was a surprise for them when I took out the boxes of sparklers. The kids ran around, they used the sparklers to write their names in the air, they danced and we made a wish for the big girl's PSLE while taking the chance to reassure her that come what may, we will still be very proud of her.

It's tough to dine outside during the pandemic, especially when I am usually alone with four kids, so home cooked meals are still the best. Don't get it wrong, I don't cook every day and sometimes we order takeaways too. But when we do whip up some simple dishes, there is always a sense of achievement and it's nice to enjoy a peaceful meal in our little messy but cosy paradise instead of jostling with the crowd in eateries or kopitiams. Less chaos, more calm.

Babies. No matter how turbulent it may be in the world out there, they are always so perfectly contented in their little bubbles, right? As long as they are fed, cleaned and get enough sleep, all's good in the world. Haha. On days that feel a little overwhelming, I actually like to join this little boy in his bubble and remind myself to count my blessings and take pleasure in the simply joys in life. One thing I am very thankful for is having this baby who cheers everyone up and frankly speaking, he is the happy pill that we all need.

Ariel always tells me "You made my dream come true by having another baby!", Angel says "I wanna be a mum next time too" and Asher says "It's so nice to have a Didi, thank you Mama!". Yup, how sweet, right? I wish all of them would know that they are the ones who made my dream of being a stay-at-home mum come true and I would do anything in the world for them. The good thing of having more kids is seeing how they bond, play and share secrets with one another. Sure, the bickers will never stop but the love will only run deeper and deeper too.

As much as it is actually nice to stay home, on some days, we just need a breath of fresh air. We've been visiting Gardens by the Bay for afternoon strollers followed by a picnic dinner, which is actually just dabao and eat on the stone benches or grass patch. We chanced into the Children's Festival and the kids were happy to run around finding answers to a quiz. It's disappointing that they couldn't bounce on any of the giant inflatables but I think we can all understand the rationale so for now, all we can do is hope that life can resume someday and we can all play merrily again.

I was writing about how I was thankful to have these two Ox babies in one of my IG posts. Even though the age gap was something I initially worried about, it turned that that being 11 years apart means the mature big sister can take care of the baby well and cutie brother has the power to bring smiles to her and cheer her up. A reader was telling me how she also has a big age gap with her little brother but he was the one who helped her through her emo teenage years and I'm hoping the same for these two too. For now, it's just so sweet to see them bond and the Jiejie still likes to go on kiddy rides because she can now take him and have a reason to do so.

The boy and I were practising for his spelling when he randomly decided to draw a rainbow and write a sweet message below. Yup, it's little actions like this that melt my heart now and then and remind me on why this motherhood journey is so worthwhile. Oh, and his handwriting has greatly improved which is a relief for me too!

Together with my two little chefs, we made pancakes one morning to surprise the big sister! Okay, she actually saw what we were doing and had to help look after the baby so we were free to do this, haha, but it was still a treat for her to wish her good luck for her exams! We made heart shaped pancakes and two of them also decorated with blueberries and strawberries to show her our love. Sweet and yummy!

Cute, right? Haha. It always makes me happy seeing this boy enjoying his food, even if it means making a huge mess. Turning six months old means we have embarked on his foodie adventures and he is trying new food every couple of days! It's fun seeing what he enjoys most or what he doesn't like so much. While having to prepare his puree or porridge daily means I am kept even busier, there is something heartening about seeing babies eat and knowing that he is growing up well is the most important thing to me.

We went shopping for school bags at Ergoworks and yup, these three are blessed to receive these cool and stylish ergonomic bags to get them ready for the next school year. It's still hard to believe that they will be starting their Secondary 1, Upper Primary and Primary 1 journeys respectively but I am hoping good things are in store for all of them. Is it just me or do fellow mums also feel that times passes by too fast and we sometimes wish that our little ones can stay little for a while longer?

Even if it gets noisy and merry at home, this one still manages to sleep when he wants to. Seeing his peaceful sleeping face is something that makes me happy and calms me down every day, especially when things get rough. It reminds me to take life a little slower, to enjoy such fleeting moments and to cherish having my loved ones besides me.

We bade my beloved Popo farewell as we scattered her ashes into the sea. It was my first time experiencing this and well, emotions got the better of me once more but I knew I wanted to do it. Yes, and I brought all the kids along with me too since it was the September holidays and they said they wanted to accompany me and have this memory to hold onto. We will always, always miss you, my dear Popo, I truly hope you are in a better place now but please know that you will live on in my heart forever.

Popo's demise and the never ending pandemic made me realise that I needed to cherish my parents more. So even though we do meet up regularly, I try to make them happen even more nowadays, even if it means we order takeaways to eat at home when the hubby aka masterchef is not around to cook for us. The kids played with my dad in the pool and he was Mr Shark, which delighted them so much as they ran around laughing and screaming ecstatically. Like how I have such fond memories of growing up and playing with my grandma, I hope my kids will have such eternal memories to hold onto too.

Last but not least, the younger siblings and I also curated a PSLE care pack for the firstborn! We did it secretly by going to Popular to get some stationery and her favourite Sumikko Gurashi stuff and then designing handmade cards for her. Ariel and Asher wrapped the present entirely on their own and they even built a fort out of blankets and pillows when doing so just to ensure that the big sister could not peek in. 

We asked her to close her eyes and then we presented the gift to her, It totally made her beam from ear to ear and she exclaimed "Best Day EVER!", She was pleasantly surprised and loved the cards that the siblings wrote for her. This was one of the sweetest moments to witness and I hope it gave her all the motivation, encouragement and assurance that she needed to navigate the rough waters ahead of her. 我们永远支持你哦!

Staying calm in the midst of chaos is never easy but I think having a closely knitted family makes all the difference. We are so blessed and thankful to have each other because come what may, as long as we stick together, I know we are gonna be all right. In fact, we will be more than all right. 

Till the next post of "Happiness is...". Stay safe and take care, everyone!


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