AudEmo AudVerbalDiarrhea

The pursuit of happiness

 

It’s quite hard for me to confess this but I think it needs to be said.

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling unhappy.

I didn’t notice it right away. But over time, I noticed that there was something strange happening.  Me in default mode would wake up every morning excited to start the day, and then working around my schedule time with the kids, playing and just hanging out with them and Fatty.

But lately, a change had come over me.  I became irritable, even retreating into tears when Fatty and I bickered over petty issues, completely out of character for me.  Every negative thing that happened, I took as a personal slight, becoming over sensitive and defensive.  I started playing more Candy Crush WTF.  My Dayre entries became half hearted and half complete, cos I no longer felt the energy to update to the end of what I did that day. Instead of playing with the kids, I preferred to sit in a corner of the house and scroll through Facebook and Reddit.  If our helper was around, I’d frequently escape to my room to lie in bed and read more Reddit.

One day I finally collected my courage and told Fatty.  I didn’t even know what I was feeling, only that I wasn’t happy.  It was like, to put it very cornily, I’d lost my “spark” for life. I was either indifferent or resentful towards everything around me, even the kids; sure, I played the part on the surface but deep inside I didn’t want to even think about them.  And that scared me, more than anything else.

Fatty and I had a long talk, during which I cried a few more times wtf.  But he helped me discern a few truths: mainly that I was burnt out.  I kept using the word tired which made me realize  that was it – I was emotionally exhausted.

A bunch of factors came into play – the kids are older and while physically more independent, they’re also full blown toddlers.  Anyone who has had kids will know this – they take so much energy! Besides tending to their physical needs, every day I am mediating fights, admonishing or disciplining, carrying out punishment, answering questions, comforting, telling stories, teaching.  Especially the fights.  Those two squabble (if not outright brawl) at least five times a day wtf.  And Penny turns out to have a terribly strong willed character, and hardly a day goes by that I’m not grappling with her or disciplining her over something or other. I’m not a fierce kind of person and it took another kind of strength to stand my ground and discipline her.

Fatty on the other hand has been going through a pretty tumultuous period of his own.  He left his job at Netccentric, a company which he founded and grew for ten years. He suffered a phase of soul searching and other personal issues.  And now he’s rallied and has thrown himself into a completely new venture, with which I’m involved.  That was what consumed our marriage for the better part of the year, talking and figuring things out, analyzing, or just listening to him.

Frankly, between Fatty and the kids, I was exhausted. I still am. One of my goals in life is to be a pillar for my family but right now my emotional resources are depleted. I was giving half my energy to my baby energy vampires wtf, and the rest I used to support Fatty during this vulnerable period.  But I wasn’t really getting any of it back.  It’s not any of their faults of course – kids will be kids, and Fatty faced some pretty turbulent times.  It was just how it was.

Add that to the fact that I’d been feeling a little lost. I put something I’d wanted to do  on the back burner to help Fatty cos it seemed like we’d have a better chance at success.  But in doing that I realized I didn’t have anything left for myself.  What used to make me happy was my family and blogging.  But it got to a point that blogging felt too much like work and the kids felt like a weight.

Fatty asked if I was tired of being a mom. I shamefacedly said yes. He asked if I was tired of being a wife. Sometimes.

This is where shit really piled on. I had a great life! A responsible, caring husband and clever, beautiful children. We are stable financially and I don’t even need a full time job. What right do I have to be unhappy? I felt so ashamed of even feeling this way. And worse, I was wracked with guilt. That I was ungrateful even though I have a life that many would drool for. That I didn’t deserve anything I had.

The weird thing though is that when I think about what kind of life I would rather have, I don’t have anything else.  I would not give up caring for my family for anything in the world. I just didn’t want to care for them at the moment.

Dude, what was my problem?

It’s taken months but I think my problem is this….. Did you guys read this article?  Here’s a quote from it.

Pluck, sex appeal, power, kindness, persistence: We admire and celebrate these characteristics, and we long for the past versions of our moms to embody them. But if these characteristics are a prerequisite for a properly executed womanhood, does becoming a mother divest a woman of such qualities? In studying these photos, and each daughter’s interpretation of them, I’ve come to wonder what traits we allow our mothers to have, and which ones we view as temporary, expiring with age and the beginning of motherhood. Can a woman be both sexual and maternal, daring and responsible, innocent and wise? Mothers are either held up as paragons of selflessness, or they’re discounted and parodied. We often don’t see them in all their complexity.

   I don’t know about you. But my YouTube app is full of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly videos. My Spotify playlists are also stuffed with PSY tracks and they’re all set to loop. My meal choices are frequently non-spicy kid friendly foods cos they always want to eat off my plate. Dinner appointments are always set late so I can put the kids to bed first. My makeup is done in staggered phases – draw my eyebrows, play some Play Doh; do my eyeliner, feed them dinner; put them to bed, then hurriedly change to go out. And et cetera.

All these things, I was always okay with.  But somehow they’ve come to a head at this point because I am missing an identity besides being a wife and a mom. Somehow along the way, I forgot about being Audrey Ooi because I was focusing on being Jude and Penelope’s mommy, Tim’s wife, and Fourfeetnine.

Once I followed Fatty to Taipei for work. He left our hotel for meetings while I stayed back and leisurely applied my makeup while listening to YouTube. At this point I hadn’t played any music that I liked for years, always giving way to the kids’ preference. And I thought, how I’ve missed this. Some Ayumi Hamasaki song had the power to transport me back ten years and I felt more myself than I had in years.

I can’t be the only mom who feels this way.  Somewhere in the midst of school runs, packing lunches, bedtime routines, and making sure the husband has enough clean, ironed shirts, we forget about ourselves. Who were we before we became moms, wives, keepers of the family? Were we daring? Were we foolish? Were we funny? Were we sexy?

I’m not saying that there are no funny or fun loving mothers. That all mothers are not daring or brave or sexy. But I understand what the writer above meant: that most of us have put aside facets of ourselves when we become mothers.

My self identity today is supportive wife to a successful, loving man, full time mother to two critters, and part time blogger wtf. But ten years ago I was other things. I was an honors student, incensed by local politics.  I was funny, maybe even hilarious. I was flirtatious. I was smart and engaging and great at forging connections with people. I traveled on whims, taking up extra part time jobs to make the cash. I don’t even know if I’m any of these things anymore. Have they dissipated from me? Or are they just in hiding, blocked out by more appropriate “Mother” qualities?

Which is why I am going to take the time to discover what fulfills me. Away from family, from husband, from work and social obligations. Is it traveling, with friends or by myself? Is it looking for a social cause to uphold? Is it getting drunk WTF kidding kidding I hate alcohol wtf. I have no idea what makes me happy right now to be honest but even figuring out the problem is already making me feel better. And I’m grateful for a Fatty who coached me through this, and told me that “my happiness is his responsibility”. He’s the real hero in this story.

Comments and thoughts from you guys are much valued. 🙂


 

AudBaby

Things Fighter and Penny say #4

Fighter was cuddling up to me and telling me I was his ‘sleeping bag’ wtf.  A short while later he spilled a toy pot of uncooked rice (one of his obsessions). He gets very lazy about cleaning up the rice so I’ve been nagging him and threatening to sweep up the rice and throw away.

Me: Remember what I said? You have to be responsible for your own mistakes. Which means I’m not going to help you pick up the rice. You pick it up yourself or else I’m sweeping it away.
Fighter: *stares at me for a while then raises his finger* Ding! I use my magic to turn you into a non talking sleeping bag.

*

While playing on the slide. Fighter was coming down the slide and Penny chose to stand at the foot of it with her back facing the slide.

Penny: (yelling) BABY BACKSIDE CATCH KOKO!!!

Fighter slides down and his legs slam into her butt, and she falls over.

Penny: (wailing) Koko leg push me!!!

*

Fighter: Mommy who’s your boyfriend?
Me: I don’t have a boyfriend
Fighter: Only girlfriends?
Me: Yea. Well Daddy was my boyfriend and then I married him so now he’s my husband.
Fighter: Oh? And where was me?
Me: You were in my tummy.
Fighter: And Baby was in whose tummy?
Me: Baby was in my tummy too. First you were in it, then you came out and became Mommy’s baby. Then Baby was in it then she also came out!
Fighter: HAHAHAHAHAHHA

*

Fighter: I eat so much in school that’s why I burped
Me: What did you eat?
Fighter: I ate sandwich… and cake…
Me: Oh that’s right. It’s G’s (his classmate) birthday today right?
Fighter: Yea!
Me: Did you say ‘excuse me’ when you burped?
Fighter: Shit I forgot.
Me: (ignoring the S word) Ew you didn’t say ‘excuse me’? Was it smelly?
Fighter: Yea it was smelly. That’s why I didn’t say excuse me.

*

While in KLCC.

Fighter: Oh! I think I’ve been here before
Me: Yes this is KLCC
Fighter: Is it fried chicken?
Me: …. Er no. It’s KLCC, not KFC.

*

IMG_20170511_180431

Me: Baby, are you pregnant?
Penny: Yea.

*

Penny has a sweaty head problem FHL. When she sweats (which is often) her head becomes damn smelly wtf.

Me: Eee baby! Why your head so smelly?
Penny *thinks hard* Baby head got poo poo.

 

*

Play Doh drops on the floor.

Penny: Koko why Play Doh fall down?
Fighter: You dropped it.
Penny: Why?
Penny: Why?
Fighter: (frustrated) There’s no why. It’s just like that.

*

Fighter was sitting like an ah pek with his shirt pulled up.

Me: Why is your shirt like this Koko?
Penny: (quickly pulls up own shirt) How ’bout me mommy? How ’bout me?

IMG_20170511_180533

*

Both critters are playing with their swim floats and Penny wants to exchange with Fighter.

Penny: Koko? Ek-chay? Pwease?
Fighter: No.
Penny: No! I want ek-chay!
Fighter: No.
Penny: Urghhhhh. *rushes at Koko in anger, arms flailing*
Fighter: NO BABY DON’T BEAT ME

*

Fighter: I want to pee in the toilet. Because my bird very long.

*
Penny is pulling off the heads off her Peppa Pig, George, and Mommy and Daddy Pig.

Penny: I take off my head! *tries to pull own head away from her neck*

*

In school in Mandarin drama class. The children are pretending to get on bicycles to cycle to somewhere.

Fighter: Wait! *takes out toy cell phone* I need to check Waze. Because I don’t know how to go.

*

IMG_20170511_180505

Fighter: Mommy I don’t want you *proceeds to climb on my lap*
Me: Uh ok. Then why are you hugging me?
Fighter: I don’t want you. I just want to hug you. Because you’re so soft and cute!

AudDomestic Audvertorial

What I made myself for Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day Ooib and I took Mummy Ooi out for a nice lunch. ^^

2017-05-08_03-24-32

Here’s a family photo wtf. But…. my kids are 3.5 and two respectively. I asked them for a Mother’s Day meal and Fighter gave me a plate of carefully hand pulled Play Doh. While Penny meowed and tried to lick my arm. >_> So I gotta make my own Mother’s Day meal la until they’re old enough to handle fire hahaha.   IMG_20170504_171634-01

So I decided on the simplest meal possible – that’s also guaranteed the kids will love. 😀  Prego recently launched a new chicken mushroom sauce so that’s what we’re working with today! I prepared some chopped onion, chopped garlic, sliced mushrooms and minced chicken.

IMG_20170504_172132-01

Salted and oiled a pot of water and put the pasta to boil.

IMG_20170504_171940-01

Mommy’s little helpers wtf. All decked out in aprons some more hahaha.

2017-05-08_03-05-13

But honestly not very helpful. Hahaha.

IMG_20170504_173804-01

Really not helpful at all.  In fact, I have to carry this fella and still handle the pan! And honestly I am the worst at cooking hahaha. 

IMG_20170504_174034-01

Anyway the steps to making pasta are easy peasy la (although this dish got no peas wtf #dadjokes)

    • Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and heat up
    • Fry chopped garlic until lightly brown
    • Fry chopped onions
    • Add minced chicken and fry until cooked
    • Add mushrooms and keep stirring pan wtf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170504_173252-01 IMG_20170504_174051-01

  • Last step is to add the Prego sauce. If you’re serving 4, the recommended is two cans but since it’s just me and the kids, one can sufficed.

IMG_20170504_174219-01

Mix well until the sauce is piping hot.

IMG_20170504_174757-01

And that’s it really. Plate it over the pasta and serve!

IMG_20170504_175055-01

Wah these two monsters must be really hungry hahahaha.

IMG_20170504_175120_1-01

Hehehe they’re loving their dinner.

Anyway, Prego is having a Mother’s Day contest.  Just cook a Prego Meal for your mom and win her a custom made dress worth up to RM1,000 on this Mother’s Day.  More details on their Facebook here.

IMG_20170504_174712-01

This post was written in collaboration with Prego Malaysia.

AudTourist

Where to go in Bali with two critters

Hello everyone!

So two weeks ago we were living it up in Bali wtf.  We were thinking of going for a holiday before Fatty’s new venture really revs up but we couldn’t decide where to go yet.  We knew that going with two kids, we wanted a more chill experience.  Somewhere with not too many crowds or rushing around. Where we could chill and take our time and go back to the room if one of the kids needed to nap.

Also I was quite lazy to research and plan a trip la hahahaha so nothing was concrete.

Then like a wish granted, Holiday Inn Bali Benoa emailed and invited us to go over for a stay!  They’re located in Nusa Dua, and they’re basically a full fledged resort with beach access, all the amenities you need…. and very child friendly. 😀

IMG_20170412_105816-01

Bye bye KL hello Bali!

IMG_20170412_151925-01

The lobby when we just arrived. 😀 The hotel is actually not too big, and while it’s compact it doesn’t feel cramped.  I really like the size of it cos it means I don’t have to drag around the two critters too much lolol and everything is within easy reach!

IMG_20170412_152448-01

First thing, we received two kids activity packs. Filled with activity books and color pencils to keep them busy. You know this is a kid friendly hotel already . 😀

Our first night, we stayed in the Tanjung Family Adventure Suite.  It’s a proper suite with two bedrooms – the master bedroom and a kids’ room.

IMG_20170412_153426-01

This is the kids room. It’s done up in a underwater theme!

IMG_20170412_153504-01

These two hahahaha. So happy with their new room that they fasterly pretended to sleep in the middle of the afternoon hahahaha.

IMG_20170412_153500-01

Even the kids bathroom is oceaen themed! Check out the showerhead hahahaha it’s a rubber duckie ok.

IMG_20170412_153454-01

Bathroom came supplied with baby toiletries too which makes traveling with kids easier! Normally I’ll bring travel sized baby wash and shampoo all one.

This is the other room that we stayed in! The Tanjung Kids Adventure Suite.  I actually preferred the layout of this room more although it’s a bit smaller. The kids room is not a room but an adjoining space separated by sliding doors.  I like cos cosy la hehe good to know the kids are right there but we still have some privacy.

IMG_20170413_181513-01

They get bunk beds! Fighter gets the top bunk cos he’s older.  The beds are really solid so don’t need to worry about them collapsing hahaha. The side barrier is tall too and we barricaded the ladder with pillows.

Told the kids which bed was theirs and as usual, they started fighting. Over who gets to sleep on the top bunk. -_-

Fighter: This is my bed! *points at top bunk* This is baby’s bed! *points at bottom bunk*
Penny: Nuh! Dis mah bed *points at top bunk* Dis Koko bed! *points at bottom bunk*

But the hilarious thing is, after she designated the bottom bunk as “Dis Koko bed!” she still like muttered under her breath, “mah bed.”

Hahahahahahahah. Hahahahahaha I laughed die. Wanna tell lies to claim top bed as her own but still cannot bring herself to lie outright LOLOL. That’s why must whisper disclaimer that the bottom is actually hers hahaha.

Somehow Daddy convinced her to take the bottom bunk though.

IMG_20170413_161943-01

Daddy and baby love.

Luckily she did too, cos she fell off her bed anyway. -_- Thank goodness we propped up Dada’s bed next to hers so her fall wasn’t too bad.

(she fell off in the middle of the night wtf. She screamed when she fell and I jerked up screaming too cos I thought Fighter fell off the top!!! I swear I jumped out of bed like … I dunno the Tasmanian Devil maybe and ran screaming into their room. Poor baby T____T But she’s fine la wtf.

IMG_20170412_153707-01

Bathroom pic!

IMG_20170412_164629-01

The view at the beach!
IMG_20170412_164829-01

These two getting busy wtf.

Asked them if they want to go play where the sand is wet cos it sticks better they said no wtf. Cos dirty lolol.

IMG_20170412_165957-01

Finally getting their feet wet! 

IMG-20170414-WA0011-01

Drone shot of the family! We spent every single afternoon by the beach! It became the kids’ favorite thing to do and we got to sit by and have fries and cold drinks and just watch them play. ^^

IMG_20170413_085805-01

Mornings we spent at the Kids’ Club! These two kancheong spiders waiting for the staff to open it for the day lolol.

IMG_20170413_090523-01The Kids Club is so well equipped! Comes with a trampoline (which Penny just fell on lolol), a squishy climbing slope, a slide, and a ball pit.

IMG_20170413_094132-01

Also a cosy corner for TV! IMG_20170413_090534-01

The TV area is on the left and the entrance to the ball pit is on the left.

IMG_20170413_090552-01

Ball pit and slide.

Parents can leave their kids in the Kids Club cos security is tight – locked doors, sign in sheets, sweet staff and basically the place is small enough that it’s easy to keep track of the kids la. And there’s a bunch of activities for kids to choose from!

IMG_20170413_100321-01

Like Balinese dress up!!! Hahahahahah this baby doesn’t know what’s going on she just blurly let us dress her up cos she’s vain like that.

IMG_20170413_100920-01

Hello Balinese princess!!!! Super cute la my ovariessssss. You make me proud wtf.

She refused to wear the headpiece though, which is a crown fashioned out of leaves by the staff omg. She was very pleased with the outfit…until she tried to bounce on the trampoline, realized she couldn’t open her legs and bounced off like a sausage HAHAHAAHAHHA.

IMG_20170413_101746_1-01

Also coloring paper and pencils are available! IMG_20170414_100115-01 As well as pottery painting!  Each child gets a clay money pot with a coin slot on top to paint and personalize.  Look at this artist reviewing his work lolol.

IMG_20170414_100008-01

Baby painting.

IMG_20170414_100902-01

Her handiwork wtf.

IMG_20170413_111406-01There’s also activities for grown ups!  This is the chef…. who conducted a private Balinese cooking class for me. 😀

IMG_20170413_113334-01

I’m a horrendous cook la wtf. Pasta also can cook wrong if my helper never stop me wtf.  But I’m always happy to learn! And the chef was super nice to guide me and still let me get hands on.

Here’s seafood soup boiling. One pot with spices for the adults, the other without for the kids.  The fishballs are handmade by lao niang!!

IMG-20170413-WA0012-01

Some of the many spices used in Balinese cooking.

IMG_20170413_114710-01

Rolled satay too yo. This takes skills wtf the chef said he took a week to master satay rolling. D: I found it pretty difficult too and ended up just squeezing the paste together lolol shh don’t tell the chef.

IMG_20170413_125715_1-01

My finished handmade fishball and seafood soup that I dumped my rice in hahahaha #stilleatslikeatoddler wtf. The soup base was made with the aforementioned Balinese spices (actually everything seemed to contain spices) and was very tasty! IMG_20170413_120314-01 Salad also got the spices lolol.

IMG_20170413_120457-01

Memanggang satay! (I don’t even know what the English word for ‘memanggang’ is?) But I look like pro or not hahahahaha.

IMG_20170413_125929-01

Finished product! This was chicken satay and it was pretty good too! But the kids didn’t like FML.

IMG_20170413_172509-01

There’s also a gorgeous baby pool complete with shallow water slide! This Penny damn brave climb up by herself and slide down repeatedly.  Once she slid down so fast she fell into the pool with a sploosh HAHAHAHAAH then hurriedly stood up with this shocked look on her face LOLOL hilarious. This blog post is turning into a post about Penny’s antics hahahaha.

IMG-20170413-WA0025-01

Family pic! Behind us is a irregularly shaped pool that takes up quite a lot of the hotel grounds. It’s like the pool is interspersed with the restaurants and other public areas and it felt awesome! As though the minute we step out of our rooms, we can immediately jump in already. ^^

IMG-20170413-WA0021-01

The baby pool featured this giant bucket on top that would slowly fill up with water and tip over at intervals! The kids loved sitting there and waiting in anticipation for the bucket to splash hahahahaha.

IMG-20170413-WA0020-01

Thar she blows!!!

It was really a lovely stay. ^^ Nice, comfortable rooms, great facilities for children, beautiful pool and right by the beach. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun as a family and didn’t come back from traveling feeling like death lolol.  Thank you Holiday Inn. <3 If you have small children and are considering a relaxing family holiday, Holiday Inn may just be what you need too.

IMG_20170415_114300-01

The kids eating lunch at the airport. It’s been two weeks but Fighter is still asking if we can go back to Bali hahahaha.

IMG-20170416-WA0017-01

But he promptly fell asleep for most of the three hour flight back lol.

IMG-20170416-WA0018-01

While Baby did some in flight shopping. Hahahahaha.

This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn Bali Benoa. Click here for more details.


AudBaby

5 times my kids won at hide and seek

Fighter and Penny have recently figured out the dynamics of hide & seek and as a result, it’s become one of their favorite games.

…… On second thought I don’t think they have it figured out 100% yet.  Here are some of their choice hiding places.

IMG_20170419_180753-01

Behind a pillow.

IMG_20170419_180755-01

Squeezed between two cushions but with the legs sticking out.

IMG_20170419_180951-01

Behind the sofa cushion.

IMG_20170419_180904-01

Handstand WTF.

IMG_20170423_165314-01

And under the table.

And that’s why I’m still winning at hide & seek. Hahahhaha.

AudBaby AudParenting

Preschool options: Why I chose the schools my kids attend

So a little bit about our kids’ school history.

When Fighter turned one, Julia Gabriel Center approached me to try out their baby class, called Play Nest, for babies aged six to eighteen months.

Fighter went through Play Nest, then Play Club (18 months to three years) then he progressed to preschool at Chiltern House, which is a sister company to JGC.  Disclaimer: I was partially sponsored for Play Nest and Play Club, but I decided to then continue with the school on my own without sponsorship cos I really liked it!

Penny was enrolled in Play Club for a while too and recently I switched her to a new program called Independent Play Club.

Now I have considered other schools for the kids as well but always decided to stick with Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House.  Of course I don’t know how other schools are run but I thought this blog post could be about the different programs offered by JGC/CH and what I like about them!

Play Nest (6-18 months)

Play Nest is an adult accompanied program for babies in this age group. It’s twice a week, for 1.5 hours each. Every baby has to come with an adult – mom, dad, grandparent or nanny – and the classroom is laid down with soft mats. Cos some babies cannot walk yet hahaha.

This class will make your ovaries sing lolol. It’s actually super adorable with the soft chubby babies rolling or crawling around the mats hahaha.  I really liked this class because it’s structured to include art (sensory and tactile art projects for the babies to experience different textures), outdoor play (in a baby sized playground), story time (complete with sound effects) and drama time (where teachers and assistants act out simple skits).

CIMG2795

As a first time mom, I was very impressed with Play Nest!  At twice a week, it wasn’t too heavy a time commitment and I loved bringing Fighter to school and letting him socialize with other babies.

CIMG2799
Babies get to practice their motor skills and eating too during snack time hehehe. And snack time comes with baby sized chairs and tables!!

Play Club (18 months – 3 years)

Play Club is what comes after Play Nest and it’s Julia Gabriel’s most popular class, looking at the amount of kids trying to get in lol. It’s also twice a week, for two hours each time.

In Play Club, the activities are expanded from Play Nest, They explore different themes each term (animals, transportation, etc) and different letters and numbers weekly. Then they do arts and crafts, story telling, explore an object based on the theme of the day, snack time, outdoor play, and music time.

I’m not sure but I think very few programs in Klang Valley besides Play Club are adult accompanied which could be why it’s so popular. It’s a great way for parents of babies who are too young to to go school yet to bring them into a structured environment filled with stimuli and socialization, AND I think most parents love the fact that there’s this time slot to just hang out and bond with their babies without interruption, and while the program is taken care of. Lolol.

Fighter attended Play Club for a year or so before preschool I think. When he first started he couldn’t even walk wtf (ya he was that slow :X) but when he saw his peers walking around him, he actually tried to stand up and walk as well. He never had that inclination before! I think the best part of PC for me was that he got to really play and socialize with other babies, especially valuable cos he was an only child at this point).

Independent Play Club

Like its name implies, IPC is like Play Club except its three times a week, 2.5 hours each time and is unaccompanied. It’s meant to be a transition between baby classes and proper preschool.

Penny attended Play Club for a while but I didn’t feel it was as beneficial for her as it was for Fighter. For one, she has her Koko and we hang out with their BFFs Chase and Mia a lot so she didn’t really need the socialization. And another thing is while adults in class has its benefits, in Penny’s case I felt she didn’t really need it. On days when I couldn’t go and her nanny took her, she was completely independent and engaged. But if I was there, she’d be all teh and stick to me like a barnacle wtf.

I switched her over to Independent Play Club 1-2 months ago (which caters to max 10 kids, 3 teachers) and after a few weeks of crying when I left, she settled down on her birthday itself. Now I take her in to class, tell her I’m going, and receive a wave and a kiss from her. By the time I step out the door, she’s gone back to playing hahahaha.

Sensory play with beans during Independent Play Club

And she loves school so much! Fighter gave me such a tough time when he started independent school, but on days when there’s no school she’ll cry cos she wants to go lolol. Or she’ll carry toys with her and tell me she wants to show her teachers hahaha. I’m super happy with the decision to send her. ^^

Bilingual Play Club

Another version of Play Club except at least one of the teachers speaks only in Mandarin. It’s meant to increase exposure of the kids to Mandarin but I didn’t opt for this cos it’s only once a week.

Pre-Nursery

Pre-N is a very similar option to Independent Play Club. It’s a program under Chiltern House (which offers the Nursery & Kindergarten programs) and is meant for kids turning two, although they also have to be at least 18 months when they enroll.

It runs Mon-Fri from 8.30-11.30 am. I struggled for a while trying to decide whether to send Penny for this or for IPC. In the end I chose IPC cos she just turned two! I very tak sampai hati send her to school every day hahaha I guess on some days I still want my baby at home with me? It’s just different options though – while I have no experience with Pre-N, I hear it’s more structured and a more “school-like” environment. It’s a max of 10 kids with 2 teachers (1 English and 1 Mandarin).

Nursery 1 & 2

Fighter attended N1 last year and is in N2 now. Like I’ve mentioned, we don’t have experience with other schools but I had good reason to stay at Chiltern House. For N1 onwards, there are options for half or full day classes but Fighter has always attended only half day because clingy mom wtf.

All Chiltern programs are bilingual so it’s great exposure to Mandarin for the kids right away (especially if they’re like ours wtf). And what I really appreciated is that unlike most schools that require kids to be potty trained, CH teachers help or even lead the potty training. This was so useful to me as a first time mom. Fighter’s N1 teacher, with her experience, knew exactly when Fighter was mentally and physically ready and she initiated his potty training. I just followed her example and in a week he was perfectly potty trained.

I find the teachers extraordinarily caring and loving too! Fighter had terrible separation anxiety in N1 and his N1 teacher did so much to make me feel better – from sending me photos of him in school to updating me daily through whatsapp or after school. She was also so loving and motherly Fighter would only go to school if she was there wtf.

Report card day where teachers give a progress report on the child (you can see Penny crawling around on the floor hahaha).

She wasn’t the only one either! The teachers in N2 are equally caring, and I’ve heard from parents who moved their kids to other schools that they had a bit of a culture shock cos teachers at other schools seem more standoffish than the ones at Chiltern.

Fighter really blossomed at Chiltern la. From a snivelling toddler who cried half the year, and whined the other half FML, he now goes to the toilet by himself and eats independently with all his friends every day. From crying every day when I take him to class, I now drop him off at the school gate and he walks in by himself with his teachers. From not understanding a word of Mandarin, he now randomly tells me how to say phrases and words in Mandarin now (but accent very ang moh wtf).

To me academics during early childhood isn’t as important as setting the foundation for life and social skills which is what Chiltern really achieved for Fighter. I totally plan to continue Penny at Chiltern too after she completes her Julia Gabriel IPC.

So that’s my overview of Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House programs. I don’t claim my review to be balanced of course, cos I haven’t had the chance to compare to other places. But this is a standalone view of the reasons why I like Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House. ^^

I’m not saying they’re perfect ok!  But on the whole I think their education philosophy is the right direction and it gels with my own beliefs. I love how my kids have grown with their education. 🙂

Need more info on the schools? Here – Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House.

 

AudEveryday

Rubbish update

I don’t really feel the need to write AudEveryday posts now cos that’s what Dayre is for but I feel like I should blog today and my brain is fried hahaha. No energy for blog posts where I need brain juice wtf so lemme just fart out a blog post on what we’ve been up to.  Especially for you who doesn’t read my Dayre *stares wtf.

So Fatty’s new venture is gearing up and I’m really starting to feel working mom life!  Yesterday we had a meeting that dragged on for ages D: I still had one more meeting and I asked if we could adjourn to our house instead so I could see the kids before they sleep. :X

For the first time in my life, I experienced being in a discussion while stirring milk powder into a bottle of water while Penny stared at me as though hypnotized lolol.  Ended the day exhausted but my schedule is really still very flexible so I’m just a wimp la ok hahaha.

IMG_20170405_184407

Fatty’s also been maximizing his time at home with these two leeches. Who are sticking to him like glue lol.

IMG_20170409_081537

Fatty ran his first ever half marathon recently! With his EO forum mates.

IMG_20170409_083159

So the wives came out to cheer on them as a surprise! Congrats Fatty <3

IMG_20170409_100427

Breakfast afterward. Here’s Penny and Kay watching Youtube lolol.

IMG_20170321_111022

Also cut my bangs much shorter than normal! Super love it la although now have to draw brows more evenly cannot hide behind my hair anymore wtf.

IMG_20170418_191524

Caught this fella picking her nose in her auntie Uniqlo pajamas hahahaha.

IMG_20170411_100724

My everything buddy wtf.  Our new routine is go to weekly wet market together then adjourn for hawker food brunch later oh god I am so auntie now.

IMG_20170417_120630

Lost Fighter’s permission slip for his school field trip and had to beg for another one from the teacher. On the last day to submit wtf.  Here I am hastily filling it out on the wall.

And then teacher just texted me to tell me that I haven’t paid for the school trip either cos I forgot to pay this term’s fees WTF. #uselessmother

IMG_20170405_140048

So far I’ve been keeping up with exercise pretty well! Mostly cos my Everything Buddy eggs me on, and also cos the trainer comes over so I got no excuse to escape wtf.

IMG_20170418_120502_1

Fighter and his friends. <3

IMG_20170418_123347

We’re also renovating our house!  More updates when it comes to the more fun part (not wet works or hacking)

IMG_20170418_123245

My favorite room might be the bathroom. <3

IMG_20170313_082054

Dealt with an unwanted pregnancy lolol. For some reason Fighter and Penny are obsessed with babies inside tummies. :X (Oh ya cos their auntie is pregnant so they also wanna be preggers wtf)

IMG_20170404_111515

Penny’s work of art pinned on the wall  – a paper wok of paper noodles and wantan hahaha. (and spring onions)

IMG_20170315_182014

Penny and one of her birthday presents – a doll’s crib. *cough* She’s trying to sleep next to her baby doll.

IMG_20170408_115228

Held the Aunties Flea the other day at The Front Room with the Competitive Aunties and my Everything Buddy!  Bigly success! Thanks for coming everyone we had a blast 😀

IMG-20170408-WA0035

<3

IMG_20170316_082338

One of the mornings before school hehe.

IMG_20170404_113330

Hiao po in the playground, taken by her school teacher.

IMG_20170316_160344

When we took Penny to pick out her birthday present.

IMG_20170316_155512

Decisions, decisions.

IMG_20170407_171820

Kids have been swimming a lot recently!

IMG_20170410_172346

Drinking hot Milo after their swim.

IMG_20170417_085900

And I’ve been taking the occasional selfie wtf thanks Huawei front camera. ^^

IMG_20170417_114025

Brunch with Jammie and Suet who are back!

IMG_20170411_200953

Sieu Ee and David hosted us for bak kut teh dinner! SOooo good. Which has inspired me to try making bak kut teh again tomorrow wtf. *strong arms emoji

IMG_20170316_223111

While the Front Room treated us to this beautiful waffles omg I don’t even normally like waffles.

IMG-20170403-WA0010

Took an Aussie friend around and did the obligatory stop at the Twin Towers.

IMG-20170403-WA0011

Twinned with Penny.

IMG-20170401-WA0016

Penny describing Grandpa’s face FHL.

OK that’s all folks wtf.

AudSappy

What’s in my memory box

So I’ve been Konmari-ing like mad over the past couple of months.  We’re moving into our new place soon and I didn’t wanna lug along five years worth of rubbish with me so every day I’m diligently asking myself, “does this spark joy?” lolol.

When I first heard of that phrase, I was like what is this nonsense? Where got things spark ‘joy’ one!? But after that I took it as just a way to filter out rubbish that we don’t really like or need.  The phrase ‘spark joy’ evokes high standards until must be joyful so it’s surprisingly effective for filtering out stuff we don’t actually need.

IMG_20170409_130618

So anyway the other day I tackled the storage cabinets in the nursery…. and found a box filled with…. memories! OMG I’d totally forgotten about it leh. But there it was.  A plastic drawer wrapped with cut up plastic bags filled with cards, letters, photos and random junk that all held specific memories at different points in my life.  It’s like my very own time capsule and it was damn fun going through it! And snapping photos of it and sending it to the relevant people. Cos my memory is worse than a goldfish and it really brought back a lot of memories for me.

IMG_20170409_131034

Like this clamshell phone hahaha.  Circa 2006? Sony Ericsson ok hahaha are they even around anymore wtf.  It belonged to my ex boyfriend and I was SUPER in love with clamshell phones cos it was a very Japanese thing to have and I was super in love with Japan that time hahaha.  Made my then boyfriend give this phone to me and then blinged it damn badly with pink diamantes.

My placement of the diamantes damn bad la now I look at it it reminds me of pink shiny pimples wtf.

IMG-20170409-WA0039

Went through a very long Jpop phase and until now I still listen to older Jpop.  This was one of the CDs that my brother owned when we were both in high school.  Recently one of my favorite songs from the CD, ひだまりの詩 randomly popped up in my head after years and I was reminiscing with Ooib about this some more hahaha coincidence or what.

IMG-20170409-WA0049

HAHAHAHAHA a checklist written by Fat Her Ooi before I moved to the US for college.  This is like a snapshot of all things 2000s: “DO NOT USE KAZAA” “ENOUGH BATTERIES FOR CAMERA” “ENOUGH DISKETTES” “BRING RING2 CALLING CARD” LOLOL.

I’m now a (relatively) self sufficient adult but 13 years ago, I was this annoying thing that Fat Her and Mummy Ooi worried about incessantly lol.  Found another note from my mom reminding me to put water in my kettle before setting it to boil hahahahah they really no faith in me wtf.

IMG-20170409-WA0044

HAHAHAHAHAHAAH. Ooib and I used to be mad possessive over all our things.  Check out this super angsty hate mail I wrote to him just cos he didn’t let me read his magazine hahahahahahaha.  Pretty sure we were both in high school at this point.

IMG-20170409-WA0042

And purikura with my soulmate wtf.  I think we went a bit mad when we were studying in Japan wtf every week also must go and take sticker photos.  Often with coordinated outfits too hahahaha.

IMG-20170409-WA0037

This particular set was taken in Vancouver though, our senior year.  I stayed with Angela our whole winter break.

IMG-20170409-WA0032

My phone while I was in Kyoto.  Circa 2006-2007. Eh until now I think their design is damn nice leh!  Timeless design wtf I would totally use this phone right now.

IMG-20170409-WA0027IMG-20170409-WA0025

A Valentine’s Day card from Angela hahaha.

IMG_20170409_134401

My first diary! The precursor to Fourfeetnine.com hahahaha. It had to be Lisa Frank lol super 90s can.

IMG_20170409_134405

I was eight years old and wrote about everything under the sun hahahaha.

IMG_20170409_131320

My best friends.  (I’m the nerdiest looking one obv wtf) We were 12 and did everything together – sleepovers, boyband concerts, etc.  I and Davina, on the left wanted to be Disney animators and we’d spend hours sketching cartoon characters in school wtf.

We’re all FB friends but I only regularly talk to one of them, Hsin now. :/

IMG_20170409_131334

OMG my proudest work can. One of the major projects in Art class was making a book from scratch. I remember cutting out pages, then sewing and binding them together.  Then designing and creating a cover.  My cover was paper cut outs of the Spice Girls hahahaha I think I was 14 here.

IMG_20170409_131644

A postcard Kenny Sia sent me and my boss cos with our client, Guinness, we sent him to Dublin.

IMG_20170409_131312

Family photo with the Oois! I was five.  If you’re wondering why I look so serious, it’s because I got it into my five year old head that I’d look cooler if I don’t smile wtf.  I still remember this train of thought hahaha.

IMG_20170409_131326

Clearly forgotten about my no smiling rule in this next photo wtf.

That’s all I snapped photos of.  But I found so many greeting cards, handmade letters, notes passed in class, letters and postcards from friends who moved away. Of course, there were the usual declarations of BFF to each other (we were 12 hahaha) but what really hit me is the amount of effort inserted in making these tangible memories. All these little notes meant something to me which is why I kept them, and reading them now, they still mean something to me because they made up my childhood.

Fighter and Penny will only have text messages and Instagram comments to remember their childhood by. :/ #FTL

AudBaby AudSappy

2017-04-04_06-11-41

Why is my hair so dirty on such an important day wtf.

Few days back, Fatty signed a very important contract for his new venture.  I witnessed it (well not officially la but I witnessed it wtf) and I poured everyone cups of water hahahahaha. *useful

Congratulations Fatty!!! Very proud and excited for you.

Fatty and I will actually be officially working together! *trembles.  Since my secret project is in limbo right now (which one Rachel in my last blog post was so happy about LOL), Fatty asked me to help him with his.  Better to have both of us work on one project, then work together on the second one later, than divide and un-conquer projects lol.

So okay! Damn nervous though cos I uh don’t think I’m very smart at work maybe I should ask for less pay wtf.

Anyway because of this I’ve actually been out of the house more, and to meetings with Fatty.  And what do the kids think about it?  Well, they, especially Fighter, sometimes whine when I leave the house, but Fighter sort of settles when I explain to him why I’m going out, and Penny… Penny doesn’t really understand but thankfully she has the attention span of a worm haha.

2017-04-04_06-09-47

The other night, however, as I was putting Fighter to bed, he was talking to me like he always does.  Like he must finish his quota of words first for the day before he can sleep wtf.

Fighter: Mommy?

Me: Yea?

Fighter: Next time when Daddy goes to work can you not go?

Me: Ohh. Well, Mommy has to go to work to help Daddy more now.  

Fighter: But why?

Me: We need to earn money. So we can buy you food and toys and milk… and M&M’s.

Fighter: M&M! Yay!

Me: Yea that’s why Mommy has to go to work. Ok?

Fighter: *silence* Then can you go for a small time only?

And he held his hands up in front of him close together.

OMG this boy is like a si lai sat sau wtf. But I’m not technically a housewife anymore lolol.

I suppose I would be considered a Work From Home mom; I got to stay home most of the time and be as hands on as I wanted with Fighter and Penny.  At the same time, I had the flexibility to arrange my own time and work as and when I wanted to. The only downside was trying to fit everything into one day – basically trying to do a full time mom job + run my blog and social media platforms.

Whatever it is, I still felt like a WFHM was always the best option.  However, with my new role in Fatty’s thing, I will be out at work more regularly. I didn’t think that Fighter, at 3.5 years old would notice and ask me to come home.

There was one day where we had a meeting at 5.30 pm and to avoid the traffic we stayed out for dinner, we just asked Gaston to feed the kids and tuck them into bed.  Unless I am traveling, I have never missed a bedtime.  I always made sure to rush back to put them to bed or to only go out after they’re asleep so this was the first time.

Fighter stayed up for 1 1/2 hours waiting for me. T_____T He bravely turned down his milk bottle and even bedtime story offered by Gaston and just played with his toys and waited.  At 9 pm, he asked for his milk and went to sleep himself. T___________T

Aih you all Full Time Working Moms you are damn hero I don’t know how you do it. T_______T I’m not a FTWM yet and already I’m feeling it and getting angsty when people delay meetings lolol cos every minute counts towards seeing my babies ok.

In the end, I gently told him, “Sometimes mommy has to work and cannot come back so soon.  But if I cannot come back quickly, I will call you and talk to you before you sleep ok?”

He nodded, and snuggled down to sleep.

Hello new chapter in my motherhood adventure. :/

AudVerbalDiarrhea

Rejected because of my blog

Recently I got rejected from a very major application that I had submitted.  Remember me mentioning #audsecretproject? Well, that was a big part of it and I was rejected, very politely, but also very firmly.

I appealed, and that got rejected as well hahaha.

To be honest, not only had I put in effort, I’d also invested a lot of heart into my application.  I think this was the most dreaming I’d allowed myself to have since my application to college.  People I talked to who were in the “in” assured me I would be a shoo-in, and so when I got my rejection I was stunned.

The reason? They did not like my “blog persona”.

It took me a while but I crafted an appeal which truthfully, I felt was even better written than my original application hahaha.

Still got turned down.

This is an excerpt of my appeal:

My online persona was born out of aspects of my personality, the community that I and my readers live in, as well as our local culture and communication style.  It is a way of connecting with my readers; those who have followed me for years know I have mantained my values and integrity over the years.  While I realize my style may be unconventional, I believe I have used my influence positively to raise awareness for issues that are important to me.
That being said, my blog is not representative of the person that I am; it is only one facet of my personality…. I mentioned my blog because I believe the skills which I have learned over the years – to market, to persuade and influence, to form bonds – would hold me well in my journey, not because I plan to tie [redacted] to my blog.
They weren’t having it though hahaha.
I have been turned down by clients who felt I was too vulgar.  But I’d never felt the loss, believing it was best to be true to myself and not change my blogging style for outside gain.
But this was the first time that I had ever been rejected by something so important to me on the basis of a blog persona that they disagreed with.
I was in disbelief for a while.  A kind of aching doubt washed over me as I wondered what exactly they disliked about me (or my blog).  For days I rewinded my blog posts in my brain. I’d find myself pulling up my blog on my phone and just scrolling back to see what could I have written that would be distasteful to an outsider.
A lot.
For starters, I do swear quite a bit.  I feel like I’ve toned down in recent years actually, but remember that awful MAS saga? That was enough to resuscitate the potty mouth in me wtf. But could swearing be a reason to exclude someone from a position? Possibly, especially if the position is say, related to children.  But I don’t know, that seems to me an extremely narrow way of looking at it — wouldn’t you expect an otherwise good candidate to be able to hold their tongue, like any other person in a professional setting? I really don’t know.
I guess I also rant a lot. I call out individuals and corporations who I feel deserve it.  Maybe that shouldn’t be up to me — by doing that, am I playing judge and juror?  On the other hand, the way I see it, I have to. In Malaysia, a lot of misdemeanours (or crimes) are unjustly swept under the carpet; it’s become a terrible culture of ours.  If the authorities aren’t doing anything, why should we submit to this culture of being afraid to speak up against injustice or rude behavior?  I’m not saying that my posts are calling out criminal activity wtf, cos they’re usually corporate injustice or social/ethical wrongs, or just people being assholes.
Should I rethink speaking out? I think I could definitely work on being more unbiased and less sensitive lolol. I would work on being less trigger happy and to take a breather first before jumping to reply to scorch someone wtf.
Would I stop calling out or “prosecuting” guilty parties? Uh not to blow own horn la but I believe that I have a pretty developed sense of justice which I use to guide my conscience.  And if I’m wrong I’d apologize or call myself out. I figure I’m as good as anyone to be a judge lol.  But I don’t think I would stop voicing my opinion on rudeness or unfairness.  I have a social media voice and I still believe that I can (and have done) good with it.
That’s the fix I find myself in today.
I got rejected from something very important to me — that would have kicked me off on my journey to achieve #audsecretproject.  Because I was rejected, I am unsure what to do next now. And I failed to gain acceptance, due to my blog which had so far given me so much joy, opportunities, money, friendships… Hell, it even gave me my husband hahahaha. Not least, it gave me a way to form bonds with people I’ve never met, to spread awareness and do more good than I could ever have done otherwise.
So would I ever stop blogging, in order to achieve something I wanted? Probably not.  Would I change the way I blog to be more ‘acceptable’? I don’t really want to either.  However my blog has been perceived, I have stayed as honest as I can throughout the years.  I’ve written about successes and happiness, sadness and failures — heck, even this blog post is about a failure.   The only hurts or grievances I haven’t written about involve people in my lives that are better left unsaid online. I think I’ve consistently maintained my integrity and values which is not what many people can even say, I think?
So no. My blog is here to stay. ^^ And what I need to show people is that while Fourfeetnine is Audrey, all of Audrey is not Fourfeetnine either.
edit:
I received some thoughtful feedback on my post and I think I should add a few more words.  I was too focused on my own thoughts while writing this that I forgot that this has been a new learning experience for me, which I should be grateful for. I think that the party who rejected me did have sound reason to, and I respect the decision and appreciate that they took their time to really review my application.  And to the people who talked to me, they deserve all my thanks for being so patient and helpful in my application journey.
*****
Uhhhh sorry super random and totally not in keeping with this blog post but here’s an announcement!
I’ve been looking for a way to sell off our stuff — as you know from Dayre, I am spring cleaning and attempting to Konmari our house. In an attempt to build a capsule wardrobe, I packed away tons of very nice clothes of mine, as well as the kids’ clothes and shoes that they’ve outgrown but are still nice.  I’ll also be selling some bags, as well as a ton of makeup and skincare that I received from various sponsors and judging for Her World Beauty Awards.  All are new, but some may be opened cos I had to test them for judging. All if used, have only been used once and can be considered new.
IMG-20170328-WA0010
So my friends and I just decided to organize our own market! It’s going to be super casual la. Just us, our stuff and a Saturday afternoon spent with cake and coffee. 😀
Come ok!