AudSlave

My fitness journey

For most of my blogging career I had been known as the girl who hates HATES exercise.

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During a filming of a blogger focused TV show called Project Alpha, there was even a whole gag revolving bringing me to the gym since my hate of exercise was well known wtf.

The first regular exercise I ever did was during my pregnancy with Fighter actually.  My doctor recommended light exercise so I joined some pregnancy yoga and pilates classes.  They were extremely light though – even for a noob like me – and mostly consisted of gentle stretches and sitting cross legged wtf.

I didn’t do anything beyond that though.  With the craziness of raising two babies born within 1.5 years of each other and breastfeeding, I rapidly lost my pregnancy weight and didn’t think too much of it.  After all, my limbs were still skinny and I fit into all my old clothes.

How did I get started on my “fitness journey”?

It definitely didn’t feel like a fitness journey when I started!

It was only when Penny turned two, four years later, that I got more serious about fitness.  It was a bunch of factors really, that triggered me to do something.

One, my weight was slowly creeping up.  I was nowhere overweight la, but since even slight weight gain is obvious on my small frame, I noticed.  My arms were slowly getting meatier, my face a bit rounder and my waist definitely bigger.  I had a definite muffin top wtf.  But overall my clothes still fit (albeit snugly) and people still always referred to me as ‘small’ or ‘skinny’ so this didn’t really bother me.

Two, I noticed my stamina was getting increasingly worse.  I had never exercised in my life beyond mandatory PE classes so I don’t know why – maybe age catching up?  I was thirty two then.  But even walking up one flight of stairs, I would get out of breath.  Don’t say run, I would even get winded walking around a shopping mall fast wtf.  This bothered me quite a bit cos it was affecting my day to day!

But the biggest catalyst (factor number three) was the fact that my gynae would nag me on my regular checks to do some sort of cardio exercise to strengthen my heart.  She was very worried seeing as I’d already had preeclampsia twice, which is a key indicator of future cardiovascular problems FML.  She told me to run, which I always dismissed, but at some point it hit me that I’d better do something seriously.  I don’t want to die before my kids are grown up wtf.

Here’s some before photos.

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Waist a bit wide so my shape was more like toilet roll than hourglass.  I did have some fat sitting on my hips that would form a muffin top depending on what I wore.

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Side view

How I started

Along with some mommy friends, I started Bodytone classes, which is a sort of cardio/HIIT workout on a power plate machine that vibrated.  It was meant to make my muscles work harder and therefore burn more fat/calories and/or tone up faster.

I hated every minute of it.

It’s just like lifting weights, burpees, push ups, squats etc done on the vibrating plate.  I did Kayla Itsines’s BBG workout before and it’s similar and I hated both lol.  I think I get very easily bored with exercise so I didn’t like the repetitive nature of these workouts.

I also started Muay Thai classes.  I had a very sweet teacher who would travel to my apartment and we’d do the class in my condo gym.  We alternated between practicing Muay Thai moves – punches and kicks – and strength training.  I got bored of this soon enough too.

 

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No peace even when exercising hahahaha

I’d never liked exercise so I low key dreaded every time I did a class.  I usually found it boring or tedious or just plain didn’t enjoy myself.  So my advice to you is if you’re just starting out, it’s okay if you don’t like the workout you’re doing.  Try different kinds and find one that suits your goals and preference!

Eventually I settled on three workouts I could live with – spinning, yoga and reformer pilates.  And it took me a couple of years so seriously don’t give up!

Spin

 

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I only started this cos one of my friends jio me wtf.  It’s basically 45 minutes of intense cardio, where you cycle standing up most of the time, combined with upper body moves to work out the entire body.  The first time I tried it, I was tired within ten seconds and couldn’t walk properly for two weeks after LOL.  I couldn’t even get out of bed properly wtf.  For 2 weeks I had to crab walk sideways up and down the stairs ok hahaha.  I dreaded going back and the second time was almost equally terrible.  But the third time, a miracle happened – I found I could do significantly more and cos of that, I felt very encouraged and persevered!

I don’t like cardio but I made a commitment to myself to do at least one cardio session a week for my heart and cardio health.  Spin class is the only form of cardio that I felt okay with, plus it was only 45 minutes a class.  I also liked that the routines are varied so I’m not always doing the same repetitive thing.  And I can feel myself improving and getting stronger, which is super good motivation. 🙂

Yoga

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This was sometime last year on a Babor media trip – there was a yoga class.  I miraculously did a crow’s pose and never managed it again until during MCO wtf

Yoga is my favorite non sedentary activity ever (next to walking in shopping malls wtf).  I’ve always been quite flexible even as a kid so I already felt I’m quite good when I got started LOL.  And I felt like I wanna try more hahahaha.  I like the challenge of perfecting poses and for someone who doesn’t usually push herself very hard, I found myself pushing myself further and further each time to reach a bit more, stretch a little more, bend a bit more.  So maybe yoga is really a mind thing?  But I figure all workouts are to some extent.

I’m really bad at the mind body connection thing though and living the zen yoga life lolol.  I just like the workout so not a true yogi wtf.

Pilates

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Suffering face lolol

Again, I started reformer pilates because my friends asked me to *sheep* hahaha.  But I also heard that pilates was good for migraines and as a migraine sufferer, I was up for it wtf.  Pilates is supposed to be very beneficial for health and rehab or as physio, I think.  I did classical pilates on a reformer for about two years before I got bored again and quit hahaha.  Classical pilates moves are all already set and they don’t change much so again, I got bored of repetitive movement.  Besides, my migraines didn’t improve but I think it was because I joined a group class, not one specially tailored to my needs.

After I quit the group class, I did take up with my Pilates teacher for private classes where she taught me how to do specific exercises to strengthen my neck and back which was where my migraines originated.  (Incidentally this together with regular chiro sessions worked for my migraine!)

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I stopped my private package (cos too expensive wtf) and settled on fitness focused reformer pilates which is more about getting a good sweat on and toning up on the reformer.  This is super hard and every time I do it, it feels like my first class cos of the variety of its routines!  It works out muscles I never knew I had so I always feel damn weak on it hahaha.

Boxing

Once in a while when I feel like it and have extra time, I might join a boxing class too.  These classes are quite fun — usually a mix of boxing moves with a punching bag, some HIIT and strength training.  The reason why I don’t do it more often is cos it’s also cardio, and if I only have time for cardio once a week, I’d rather it be spin cos it feels more efficient lol.  Also like I mentioned, I have migraines and tennis elbow fml and boxing sometimes makes it worse.  I do quite enjoy it though.  Especially after quarantine where I followed a lot of online shadow boxing classes!  I feel like I would definitely go back to a boxing studio more often.

What about my diet?

They say for health and weight loss, diet is like 80% in place of importance to only 20% of exercise and I believe it.  Think about it — it only takes a fast food burger to add 500 calories to your intake, but it’s much harder to burn those 500 calories off.  A great book about this is called How Not To Diet by Michael Greger if you wanna read more (although it’s quite vegan focused)!

I went through phases.  I went through a low carb period where I avoided refined carbs, white rice, pasta and bread, although I did eat fruits. This lasted maybe three weeks before I decided it’s a terrible way to live LOL.  I don’t really snack or eat dessert or sweet stuff, but I love rice and bread.  I was so miserable lol.

I do intermittent fasting though — I think it’s been two or three years.  I fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window which basically means not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast.  It’s not a huge change from my usual lifestyle cos like I said, I don’t have a snacking habit and I don’t usually have an appetite in the morning.  I didn’t lose weight from this but Fatty did!  Maybe cos if not he snacks like a monster at night wtf.  But my weight is pretty constant so maybe the intermittent fasting does help to maintain my weight.

My weight never shifted though.  Worse, one year after I started pilates, I did that machine reading thing and found that my body fat percentage is 31% WTF.  That’s 1% away from obese HAHAHA.  I don’t know why also cos I didn’t think I had that much fat to begin with!

I didn’t test since then (and this was before I started spinning seriously) so I don’t know what my body fat percentage is now, but I do feel leaner.

Ironically, during MCO is when I started to see a lot of difference in my body.  I will never know for sure, but I attribute it to a few things:

  • I was so scared of losing my spin stamina — cos my stamina is usually very weak and I worked for a year to build it up and didn’t want to waste it wtf — that I started exercising every day during MCO.  I was doing a HIIT workout or a spin session every other day, and alternating with a low impact, low intensity workout like yoga and pilates.  I still lost my cycling stamina btw lolol but daily exercise is still a good thing!
  • Eating at home is a lot cleaner — less salt and oil and additives I guess. I generally prefer very simple and light foods too, so I think we generally ate healthier.  And even though we all continued to eat as much as usual (or even more rice wtf) I somehow still lost weight.  I used to eat out a lot so it’s crazy how much fats and oils we must be eating outside then.

These days I still eat as much carbs as I want but I don’t take sugar.  I don’t like dessert (besides maybe some ice cream and chocolate) but I loved soda.  Staying away from sugary drinks has reduced my sugar tolerance so much that even when I want to drink now, too much tastes gross to me now – I can only take the same amount as normal people take for like whiskey wtf.  Like two fingers in a glass wtf.

And I eat more veggies and fruits now!  Some meals I don’t even eat meat so I can eat more veggies.  And I try to aim for at least one serving of fruit a day.  (I actually like fruits but before this never eat so much cos lazy to cut wtf)

Here are some before and after shots, some of which I’ve posted on Instagram!  Show you again wtf.

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Waist is smaller and more defined.  I used to have more excess skin around my middle post babies too and I think my skin has tightened up.

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I could have sworn my muffin top was here to stay hahaha.  It was as stubborn as pi sai on your finger wtf.  It finally shifted though but it happened so gradually I only realized when I stumbled upon this old photo (taken in 2017)

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I used to have a ‘shelf’ over my C section scar which was a layer of fat and skin bulging over where my scar is wtf.  My scar is still there but someone moved the shelf  lolol *lame

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Maybe butt is the biggest difference wtf.  I’ve heard of this floppy butt thing that sometimes comes post baby which supposedly comes from inactivity when you’re pregnant and rapid weight gain and loss.  I had it! Hahahaha.  

Any quick tips?

A lot of people asked me how I slimmed down and got toned etc post kids which is why I decided to write this blog post.  And my answer is that I don’t totally know hahahaha sorry waste your time wtf.  I didn’t have any clear goals in mind when I started working out, besides to literally (1) strengthen my heart wtf (2) increase my stamina (3) vaguely lose some weight

I tried and stumbled through a bunch of things.  But what I think I learned is this.  And mind you, I’m not a health or fitness expert so these may only apply to me seeing as everyone is different.

  • There were no shortcuts for me.  I started exercising in 2017.  It’s been three years lolol.  Of course I didn’t change my eating habits much so I assume if you did, it would probably move faster for you.
  • Fad diets don’t work for me.  I did lose weight when I did the low carb thing, but I was really grumpy and didn’t enjoy eating wtf.  Cos I really really love rice hahahaha.  If you’re not happy doing it, chances are you won’t last so what’s the point.
  • Cut sugar wtf.  I feel like sugar really adds to muffin top easily lol.  Trust me, after you’re done with sugar you won’t crave for it again.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit wtf.  And drink more water wtf.  It’s been said over and over again but it’s true!  Bonus: fruit gives you the sugar if you want something sweet, and if like me you miss soda at first, drink sparkling water hahaha.
  • Find an exercise (or exercises) that you like!  Experiment and try different things — you don’t have to settle on something immediately.  Use Classpass to trial new classes.  It will really help you stick with a routine and feel less like work.
  • Find a good motivation to stick to your new routine! My motivation was I hate wasting money and effort wtf.  So I purposely signed up for paid classes (instead of going for a run or something) – I’m paying money I’d be less likely to skip it hahaha.  And with an instructor yelling at me, I’m also more likely to push myself cos I’m inherently a sloth wtf.  On the flip side, if you find it too much work to leave the house just to exercise, find a routine that you can do at home instead.

I think that’s about it!  It really feels surreal to be writing about this cos really not an expert leh and also last person I’d expect myself to talk about fitness hahaha.  But if I can do it so can you!!!

 

AudEveryday

Lockdown life

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(lockdown look: no lashes and no contact lenses wtf)

So I got several suggestions on Instagram that I blog about life during our MCO (Movement Control Order or lockdown in Malaysia) and yea I really should, if only to document how we spend our days.

So the MCO  in Malaysia has been going on for a little more than two months now.  To be technical, we are on CMCO orders at the moment (Conditional Movement Control Order) so some minimal movement is now allowed and going back to work (in certain sectors) is also allowed!

My days haven’t changed that much though besides occasionally popping in to office when I need to.  And that’s cos school hasn’t restarted and the kids are still home.  Which I’m sure is the case for most parents hahahaah hope you guys are keeping safe and allowed some work flexibility!

So our daily routine goes like this.

In the morning, the kids wake us up by running into our bedroom, jumping on the bed, slapping us around a bit and yelling in our ears wtf.  Cos it’s time for breakfast!

We head downstairs blearily.  Fatty and I don’t eat breakfast because er intermittent fasting wtf.  So breakfast is usually us sitting down as a family and talking while the kids eat their breakfast.  I also nag a bit to make sure they finish their breakfast, milk and supplements.

After breakfast I look at the fridge and think of what to tell Sasi to make for lunch wtf.  We usually eat very simple for lunch – either one pot meals, or sandwiches or easily assembled food.
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Then I go essersai!  I got a lot of questions about my exercise routine too (wowowowow I don’t know this person talking about exercise on her blog). I made it a point to workout every day mostly cos I was very worried I’d lose my stamina that I’d built from spin classes!  I still lost my leg stamina la hahaha but that’s another story.

 

I alternate between some form of cardio or HIIT one day, and either yoga or pilates the next.  My logic is that I can do HIIT one day then stretch out the next.  Also I only wanna wash my hair every 2 days so I’ll wash my hair after HIIT but not after yoga LOL.

Before I bought my indoor bike, I followed some IG accounts for Tabata or HIIT stuff for a while but then got hooked on shadow boxing from Tribe.  I used to go here but stopped cos er I terminated my Classpass wtf.  And for yoga and pilates stuff I subscribe to The Flow.  But now I have my bike I just spin every other day.

After my workout is done, I’ll go and shower and freshen up.  At this point the kids would also have showered and started on their usual day of play wtf.  They’ve been playing Barbie house and doll houses for two months straight already who said kids have no attention span wtf.

Then we have lunch!

After lunch, it’s learning time wtf.  We do a variety of stuff actually.  We’ll check Google Classroom to see if Fighter’s teachers have uploaded any new homework.  Sometimes we do worksheets assigned from school; if we’ve finished, sometimes if they’re in the mood I can coax them into doing some pages from workbooks I’ve bought or printables I printed.

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If not, we do art projects or science experiments!  We also play a lot of games that are hopefully educational, eg counting games or Pictionary.  Even board games like Monopoly counts as learning to me hahahaha.  Cos they learn about math and strategy what wtf.

We also bake in the afternoons!  This is if they have no Zoom classes.  If we finish early they might go downstairs to cycle, or watch TV or do iPad time.  Then I have time to check emails, do some work, play some Candy Crush, update IG, practice ukelele wtf.

Since I don’t cook Nancy would be cooking whatever I planned and I’ll just kepoh her in the kitchen as well lol.

Then we have dinner.
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We never used to but during MCO we set a rule that dinner time is family time, where we sit down and eat as a family.  When there was school, the kids slept earlier so they ate dinner earlier than us and we never had family dinners besides weekends when we go out.  But now with no school and no social dinners for us adults, we have dinner together and it’s actually been very nice!  The kids are at the age where we can have proper discussions and it’s fun la.  It feels like our relationship with them is moving into a slightly different dimension.  They’re not just babies to be taken care of and spoken to, but real little people with opinions and ideas and different experiences from me.  It’s fascinating.

After dinner I open Tiktok and we watch together for a bit LOL omg sounds so loser hahahaha.  Then we might call the grandparents to wish them goodnight, and wash up for bed.  I read them a story each so they both can choose their own books.  They drink their milk, I turn off the lights and I’m done with mama duty!

I have me time at night which is when I take a shower, procrastinate or continue doing work or plan a project for the kids the next day.  Then it’s Netflix time with the fat one before we go to sleep wtf.

And it starts all over again the next day. ^^

What I learned about myself during the lockdown

Here’s where I check my privilege.  Life during MCO hasn’t been hard at all.  It felt strange to not be allowed out except for groceries of course, and after two weeks of staying in, I experienced slight agoraphobia at the thought of going out.

But honestly it’s been a blast.  I’ve been experimenting with different recipes nearly every day and realizing that anything I want to eat, I can just buy the ingredients and make it why are we going out to eat wtf.  Sure it may not taste that nice LOL but it’s empowering okay.

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Omuraisu!

I started baking again!

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I first started when I was pregnant with Penny and craving desserts but then she was born and life happened and I never had the time.  Because of the lockdown, I, like everyone else in Malaysia, found the time to bake until now the whole country got shortage of cream cheese and chocolate chips lol.  But I rediscovered an old hobby!

I also discovered that I am actually pretty good with kids and teaching them!  I didn’t think I would be cos I’m not a kid person to be honest, and the only kids I really like are my own LOL.

But with schools shut and home schooling on the horizon, I found I make a pretty good teacher *smug wtf*.  I wrote in a previous blog post about how my kids are learning at home so you can refer to that for why I started planning activities for them.  I learned that I really enjoy planning projects and learning activities for them.  I love when something clicks for them or the awe that appears in their eyes when I unveil some science experiment. I’m also quite patient and talented in closing one eye when they paint on my floor and spill flour and eggs lol.

I learned that I miss music wtf.  With the extra time on my hands from not going to work and not driving around sending the kids, I bought this online wtf.

LOL.

Ten years of electone lessons save me wtf.  I used to hate learning electone/organ so much and resented my mom for making me go all the way to grade 8.  But now I find myself wishing I had an instrument at home to play whenever.  So I got a ukelele.  It’s my new hobby now.  Watch out Israel Kamakawiwo’ole hahahaha. (totally had to google his name) And watch out guys one day I unveil my terrible strumming to the world.

What I learned about the kids (and what they learned)

Now it’s interesting.  I see so many articles about anticipating the discomfort and uncertainty kids may experience in these strange times.

Mine?  They’re super duper happy (I cannot emphasize this enough) about staying home for weeks and weeks.  Either the world outside sucks so bad or we did a fantastic job creating a home they love so much they don’t want to leave lol.  But truly, they’re content to just be home with each other, their toys and games, and us.

One unexpected development though is that from fighting every day, they hardly fight now.  Well I asked them and they said they still do, but apparently over this lockdown, from playing with each other constantly, they’ve learned to resolve conflicts on their own without running to me.  O_O  I remember early on they had a huge fight over what I forgot, but Fighter was raging and holding a grudge and Baby was sobbing her heart out.  Fighter has issues letting go of grudges sometimes but since then, it looks like he’s sorted it out on his own.  Penny on the other hand, was crying cos she was feeling remorseful over something she did to Fighter, and that too is a first.

They’re even closer now than before.  They choose to sleep in the same room every night.  They even go shower together and Fighter washes Penny’s hair.  While Penny has decided it’s her job to make their nightly milk for both of them.  It’s pretty amazing the way they love each other.

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Baby learned how to read!  We’ve been doing zoom classes with her phonics teacher and playing Pictionary and just various activities and I think it’s finally clicking for her.  Today I showed her a worksheet and she circled the words correctly.  I said “see you’re reading!” She said, “No, I just see the letters.”  Not knowing that is reading hahahaha.

And Fighter learned long addition and long subtraction.  I’m particularly proud of this cos Standard 1 level math is only counting and comparing which number is bigger wtf.  At least when he goes back to school he’ll be advanced, which is more than I can say for his Mandarin and Malay wtf.

What else?  I realized the kids are growing up even as we stay at home.  Our dinner table conversations hit home that they’re so articulate now and full of their little opinions and their own sense of humors and it’s a joy listening to them.

Life has been reduced to the simplest things now – making home cooked food, spending more time with my family and being there for the kids to a greater extent, keeping in touch with friends via lovingly sent food and gifts.  Honing old skills and picking up new hobbies.

Now that the MCO has been conditionally lifted and I get a bit busier with meetings and work, I feel the loss. Of time to pursue cherished projects and interests.  And even Tiktok LOL.

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The kids thoroughly enjoy MCO and actually so do I hehe.  Even now I look back on this time with fondness. 🙂

OK back to my Tiktok wtf.  Of which I have no followers cos I am an ancient uncool relic on it wtf.

 

 

AudParenting

Home learning activities to do with your kids and where learning really takes place. Also you’re not a shit parent if they watch TV whole day.

Hello fellow MCO/circuit breaker buddies!

This blog post is gonna be very parenting focused ok so for those who are not parents and are not interested, sorry. D:

So you know how due to stay-at-home orders, parents are now also teachers?  Yes. *prays for our lives

Fighter and Penny’s schools have been sending out quizzes and worksheets, and videos and activity suggestions – on Google Classroom, on Whatsapp wherever.  Even Penny’s ballet teacher is sending us music and assignments to practice at home.

Some kindergartens and private schools have taken it a step further – by holding Zoom classes, where teachers and students gather to …well, have class.

Fighter and Penny’s schools haven’t gone to that extent, and the other day, some of the parents from Penny’s class decided to take it up in our group chat.  They talked about other schools doing it and why weren’t we doing it?  It would be better if the kids had engagement with their teacher and friends, even if it was through a Zoom call.

If this was Instagram Stories, I’d put a poll right here wtf.  Would you want a Zoom class for your five year old? Hahahaha.

I’m not against Zoom classes in general.  I think it should work very well for older children, or if the teacher is demonstrating a dance or a song or something very visual.

But Penny and her friends are four or five years old.  Don’t even say attention span, if they say they want engagement, what is so engaging about a Zoom call with their teacher?  Mind you, those parents demanding online classes want a class, not just social engagement and chatting with the teacher and friends yo.

Our teacher has already sent over activity sheets and project suggestions.  If the kids were actually in school, Teacher would be going around guiding and working with them personally.  That’s not going to happen on a Zoom call.  Us parents will still need to be there to guide them and watch over them, so what difference will the teacher make on a kindergarten level?

Now there are lots of schools currently running online classes and I applaud them because a Zoom class can’t be easy!  It’s a different way of teaching and different planning and techniques are involved I’m sure.  If schools are running video classes because they believe the value they carry is substantial, then yes by all means.

But if schools are doing it because they feel pressured by demanding parents who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth, well, that’s not the right reason to do it then is it?  Are we then doing something that  has negligible benefit, for no other reason than for the sake it?

If schools are running online classes because they feel the need to justify their fees to parents, that’s a whole other debate.  Schools come with its own costs, not least teacher’s salaries.  I recognize the dilemma behind it; teachers are workers who need their wages after all.  They wish to earn their worth, and if online classes is a means for teachers to engage and teach effectively, why not right.

But for our family, personally I don’t believe that a Zoom class is necessary, or even especially important.

A “formal classroom setting”, which is what our school parents were asking for (O_O), is not the only way to learn.   Zoom class is not the only way to learn either in this stay-home environment, and definitely nowhere near the best.

Learning literally can take place anywhere!

It can happen during play time, during chore time, and yes it can definitely take place at home.

Okay so during the first week of MCO, I whipped out their activity books.  I printed out additional worksheets that I’d found on the Internet cos you know, I’m all about learning wtf.

Fighter is an extremely obedient and focused child so it went brilliantly.  He knocked off worksheet after worksheet, even completing whole activity books. Concepts clicked so easily for him.  I was so impressed.  I patted myself on the back for having birthed such a committed, high achieving child.

Then I looked to my right.  And there Penny sat, in full concentration with her pencil gripped in her right hand.  Her tongue was sticking out, she was focusing so hard.  Focusing on the very very crucial job of…. rolling the corner of her paper.

She looked up and saw me staring at her in consternation.  Her eyes alert, she opened her mouth and said, “Mommy, can I do only one line and do the rest tomorrow?”

And it went like that for the rest of the week T____T hahahahaha.  Me struggling with Penny every damn day.  She got increasingly resistant to the idea of activity sheets, and “activity time” became a daily tug of war between us where she would try negotiate her workload, come up with excuses not to work, and basically just whined and grumbled her way through.  Meanwhile, I’d alternate between threats and bribes.

After a week, I realized that we couldn’t go on this way!  Our relationship was getting affected, and I didn’t want her to sour on the idea of school and learning.

So instead of focusing on learning using only books and pencils, I decided to “cheat” her into it.  Over the next few days, I researched and pinned printables online.

 

I thought hard about what the kids liked to do in their free time, and how they played.  Even coloring pages and connect the dots wasn’t going to cut it – by now she had identified those with work already cos they came in books and on sheets of paper.

Here are the “activities” I’ve come up with so far:

Pictionary

 

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This was the most obvious idea!  Penny is just only learning how to read, so for this I made two sets of words – simple three letter CVC words for her, and a longer, more difficult batch for Fighter.

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Guess which pile is Penny’s wtf.

They had to read each word they were given and draw it out.  If the other one guessed correctly, they would win the point.

We’ve played three rounds of this so far, and Penny’s reading has actually become quicker!  She used to sound out each individual letter, now she can at least combine the first two quite quickly before stopping at the third letter lol.

Fighter on the other hand demanded for “harder words that are easier to draw”. Okayyy.

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Their drawing definitely improved though wtf.  Although that green animal near the top is Fighter’s rendition of a horse HAHAHAHA.

Penny’s drawings are all on the right and she really nailed them all.  Especially the pic of the chicken, lower right!

Skills they worked on: Reading, art, math (cos they add their points up)

Bakery Game

They call it Bakery Game, but really it’s more like Bakery slash Restaurant slash Cafe.

So one game my kids love is playing shop.  They’re always trying to make me their customer and they take my order and run back to their toy kitchen to whip up whatever food and bring it to me.  So I thought I’d take it a step further.

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To begin with, I drew out a menu of food items that I thought they would be able to make with play doh.  I illustrated the foods to help Penny decipher them.

From here, there’s several ways to get them to work on their reading and writing.

With Fighter, I read out what I wanted to eat to him and he practiced writing them down from memory.

With Penny, I also read out my food.  If I said ‘sandwich’, she would know which word was sandwich based on the picture I’d drawn.  Then her job was to then write out the word ‘sandwich’; she can’t read the word yet but she’s practicing her writing.

And if a food was a composite of several things, for eg a sandwich would be bread + cheese + beef + tomato, they would have to write out the ingredients too.

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Then using play doh, they would have to make the food I ordered, referring to the order sheets they wrote lol.

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My spaghetti is done! Looks more like risotto but I’ll take it wtf.  I told them spaghetti comes up with tomato and cheese so they made those too.

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For dessert I ordered ice cream with a cherry on top.

To create more learning, I asked Fighter to set prices for each of the foods.  Then he had to add up all the prices to tell me my total.  We have toy money, so I would give him a bunch of money and he had to figure out my change.

We only played this once cos it does take quite long, between copying down ingredients to actually shaping the dough to charging money wtf.

Skills worked on: Reading, writing, math, fine motor skills

Fluency to 6

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This is a game I got online.  You roll a dice and the number you get, you need to find the next space that equates to that number.  It lets children practice addition and subtraction, naturally.  The version online is called Fluency to 5 and I think it’s meant to be played with a spinner that goes up to 5.

I planned to play this with a dice so I drew my version where the sums go up to 6 and changed it to Fluency to 6.

Skills worked on: Math

Baking

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This one is a no brainer!  I see parents everywhere baking with their kids this lockdown and making delicious looking things.  But if you just put a little thought into it, you can really accelerate their learning.

For yesterday’s project I discussed with the kids what we could make.  I thought baking cookies would be the easiest and most fun cos they could also play with cookie cutters.  So I googled for simple cookie cutter dough recipes and found this sugar vanilla cookie recipe.

I rewrote the recipe in simpler language, and also reduced the ingredients a bit cos I didn’t want to make so much dough wtf.

I gave it to them and asked Fighter to read and understand it.  He hasn’t learned measurement units so I explained it to him.  He still didn’t really understand wtf so I had to guide them and tell them which cup or which spoon to use to measure la.

But after that, they were all on their own!  They had to scoop and measure out the butter, sugar and other ingredients themselves (based on the cups I handed them).  Then by reading the instructions, they figured out what order to add the ingredients.

We chilled the dough for a while then rolled it out and the kids had a lot of fun cutting out cookies!

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Ok this part I totally interfered.  With this cookie dough, the warmer it got the stickier and less cut-able it became.   So I became Asian mom here and started yelling at them to hurry up before the dough melts wtf.  They did a good job though!

Cookies came out pretty nice!

Skills worked on: Math (measuring units), reading and comprehension, patience wtf

Going with the flow

Like I’d mentioned earlier in Baking, with just a little thought, learning can really happen anywhere.

The kids are completely addicted to this cartoon called Ben & Holly.  It’s by the same creator as Peppa Pig and when I asked them why, they said cos it’s for bigger kids like them, Peppa Pig is for babies. Lol okay guys.

Anyway there’s a ladybug called Gaston in it and one day Fighter asked me what a real ladybug looks like.  So I took the opportunity to search up a children’s video on ladybugs’ life cycle wtf and we watched it together.

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After that I asked them to draw ladybugs and their natural habitat (among plants) to sort of reinforce what they learned.

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But Penny decided to draw her ladybug next to a house cos Gaston apparently lives in a house. *rubs temples wtf.

Skills worked on: Science, art

The point is!  Everything can be a learning experience, and while teachers and books are very important, they are not our only learning resource when we are at home.  First of all, there’s tons of educational videos and apps online.  Or just even google “printables for whatever age group” and Google gives you a treasure trove of printables and ideas .

I know everyone’s situation is different, and that other people may not have the time I have to do these activities with the kids.  They may have less flexible jobs even when wfh, or more housework to deal with.  But I guess being on (semantics) lockdown is as good a time to try than any other.

If you insist on Zoom classes, sure it’s your choice.  But even with a Zoom class, you as a parent or guardian will still have to be there to help if your child is younger.  You will still have to guide or assist them with their work.  A Zoom call isn’t going to babysit your kids wtf.

So even if your school doesn’t set up Zoom classes for you, it’s really okay.  There are so many ways for you to keep your child’s mind active.  It doesn’t even need to be anything elaborate like the activities I listed above although you can certainly try!  You just need to keep an open mind and go with the flow when your kids ask you questions.  Ask them back what they think.  Get them to imagine further than what you guys have talked about.  If you need a fact check, there’s always Google and Youtube.  Get them to write or draw based on whatever topic of interest is at hand.

And even if you don’t do anything and they spend the whole MCO playing with toys or on TikTok, trust me.  They’ve learned new skills.  (Yes, editing videos on Tiktok and creating content are legit skills wtf.)

And you are not a bad mom/dad/grandpa/grandma/legal guardian!

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*

If you’re looking for printables suitable for kids aged 2-12, here’s a handy site to check out from HP Malaysia!  They have a nice range of printable activities for different sorts of skills.

AudVerbalDiarrhea

Hello from the era of the coronavirus wtf.

This is gonna be the first blog post in years on this blog that’s going to sound like a proper journal entry.  I know that was how I used to blog, very personally, years ago and I haven’t done that in a while but tonight I will.  There will be no conclusion, no careful craftmanship of my article, just word vomit wtf.

So if you’re Malaysian, you’d probably have at least an inkling of the controversy that Vivy Yusof of Fashion Valet and Duck has been embroiled in recently.  I’m not going to recap the details here but she basically gave her opinion on Malaysia’s economic stimulus package in the face of Covid-19, and it wasn’t received very well wtf.

I agree with what I believe she was trying to say though (although she maybe didn’t word it very well la).  When the stimulus package was announced, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and peace that the government was aware that the B40 (the bottom 40% of the country in economic terms) urgently needed help and the package served to ease that burden in terms of cash handouts.

What a lot of people were unhappy with though – and I feel the same way – was that the package is doing very little to help the SMEs, who employ a large chunk of B40 and M40.  SMEs are very threatened by the virus and the restricted movement, and if these small companies go down, what’s going to happen to their employees?  They will no longer be employees.  Mass unemployment will prevail, and all those people we’re trying to help today will go back to square one, with no jobs and no money.  I commend the government for taking care of the B40’s present needs, but they could have done more to also take care B40’s future needs and economic sustainability.

I understood that as Vivy’s POV as well and I left a supportive comment on her Instagram post.  Didn’t even expect to get replies on it but I did – all disagreeing with me, some calm and thoughtful, others just troll-like.  One fella even said, “you’re rich too so you won’t understand the misfortunes of the B40” lol.

I stand by my point of view – that the government should have come up with a double pronged approach to help people now, and plan and prepare for the future, and they failed in that.  As I scrolled through my replies, I was annoyed: why couldn’t they see that we are also looking out for them?  But as I read more, I began to see that it was *I*who was ignorant.

I see what people are really so emotional about.  People are stressed, worried about where their next meal is going to come from.  About how long their savings can last in this climate.  The possibility of losing jobs.  Their kids going hungry.  Their kids not having proper nutrition.  Losing their homes.  These are real problems that affect lives and futures.  I don’t blame them for being emotional and sensitive in this time; I’d be too.

What are we in the Top 20 worried about?  Of course I’m worried about Colony and our team.  But personally, Fatty and I have enough cushion to make it through this without any big changes in our lifestyle.  But beyond that what do we worry about?  Losing muscle mass from not being able to exercise?  Our children’s formal education taking a slow down?  Being bored?  Running out of Netflix to watch?  Literally #firstworldproblems #top1percentproblems dude.

Contrary to what that commenter said, I didn’t grow up rich.  Of course I didn’t grow up poor either. I would think we were strictly middle class.  I went to a government school my whole life, although I did go to a private college for pre-university.  My dad did okay but the economic crash of 1997 threw us off for at least a few years; my parents didn’t tell me much but I was aware they were worried about our financial situation.  We never went hungry of course, but we didn’t have a lot of spare cash to splash around.

If I hadn’t applied for and received a huge financial aid package to go to university in the US, I don’t think I’d have an overseas education at all. Some of the aid was in grants, but the rest was in loans, and when I graduated, I had USD 100,000 (RM380,000 at that time) worth of student loans over my head.  I eventually paid this off using blogging money.

I also held multiple jobs in college to earn money for textbooks and spending.  I worked in the kitchen preparing lunch and doing clean up, as a Japanese tutor, even as a garbage collector hahahaha (it was good money ok).

I am aware of my privilege – while we weren’t wealthy, my background was such that my parents were  wise enough to know that education was everything, secure enough to provide me the stability and support needed to focus on my studies (and grow up well enough wtf), and educated enough to explore school options and support me all the way to graduation (and beyond).

How many people are lucky enough to have what me and my brother had?

I confess that I will never fully understand what B40 go through because I’ve never been in that position. So then who am I to judge other people’s lives and decisions right.

Since the MCO started, I have been making small donations every week to food banks but I also heard that all food deliveries to charity have to go through RELA and the army for disbursement, for movement restriction purposes I suppose.  I’m concerned that this is not fast enough and may not reach lesser known groups of the needy.  This has been really bugging me and I feel like if I sit at home and do nothing I’ll go crazy wtf.

So if anyone knows any group of the needy that need help and we could contribute directly – senior citizen homes, refugee groups, even individual families… let me know?  You can email me or DM me on Instagram even! Thank youuuu.

 

AudSlave

Glamping in the city with Castra

I feel like I’m giving a media interview writing this blog post cos I’ve answered the questions so many times! hahaha.

But like all Colony spaces we build, it’s become a tradition for me to blog about the story behind it, and the process.

So a glamping site on our rooftop is an idea that came out of nowhere wtf.  It had a few mothers actually – reasons that gave birth to the idea hahaha.  Firstly is that part of our space at Star Boulevard came with the entire rooftop.

And the rooftop is nice one ok!  No concrete and metal things sticking out anywhere.  Unless you count the pergolas lolol.

When we were first building the offices below, we already wondered what we could do with the rooftop.  We toyed with the idea of building a rooftop bar (too done, and we were too low for the view to be outstanding anyway and a glass domed ballroom (too expensive, too heavy cos gotta build foundation for the glass roof and walls) among others.

In the end we left it but Fatty was always thinking of ways to maximize the rooftop space.  We already kept one section of the rooftop (the one with the view of the Petronas Twin Towers!) specially for small events like ROMs but the rest of it how??

One day, Fatty just randomly came up with the idea of a glamping site on the roof wtf.  I honestly don’t even remember how he even said it already.  But I know that there were many things we were pondering and this idea seemed to solve everything.

One, we were looking for ways to up our game.  We always go back to our mission which is to give people new and wow experiences when it came to work.

Two, we wanted to use up the space in a relatively light and easy way in case we had to reinstate everything at the end of our lease.

Three, we had received feedback from our guests and friends, one from Vivy who told me that while our meeting rooms are awesome, they can be a tad too formal especially when she wanted her team to break out and brainstorm between discussions.  So…. an informal, relaxed, yet private area that can be used for hanging out or work discussions?

Say no more.

As the idea of glamping in the city formed amongst us, I googled for ideas and got to the New York W Hotel rooftop glamping site.

I had seen travel bloggers post this before and I was very inspired to come up with something equally wow.

Hui Wen’s (of Soiree Lab!) idea was for our glamping site was to not be the same, but to complement the look and feel of what we had downstairs.  Our theme of New York Tribeca incorporated lots of rich, tactile materials, and we wanted to evoke that same luxurious feeling on the roof.

So we played around with different patterns and textures of fabrics.  We focused on soft, light furnishings because after all it’s a tent wtf and we wanted the space to be flexible to suit different uses of the space.  So think lots of cushions and poofs, cozy rugs and wicker furniture.  Everything would be easy to lift and move at a moment’s notice.

To bring the outdoors feel into the tents, we selected rich, earth toned colors.  Shades of browns, reds and cream, interspersed with pops of green in potted plants.  All to evoke a rich warm feeling hehehe.

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This was the space before we built it up!

Quite nice already right?

But see the low grey brick wall ahead?  It was dividing the space into two units actually damn inconvenient wtf.  Also the ground level there was split so it’s lower than the grassy area.  We had to knock down the wall, fill up the ground so it’s level, and hack the bushes away. :X

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Tadah!  We cleared away the vegetation, redid the landscaping and built a little paved pathway to connect the two “units”.  And installed our two beautiful white tents!

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This is the BBQ area.  Yes we have a stone sink, a proper BBQ grill and even a curved stone bench!  All grilling tools and dining ware are provided.  So if you choose to do barbecues here, all you gotta do is bring your meat wtf. Hahahaha

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One of our tents!  So we have two tents which are laid out for slightly different purposes.  This is the baby making bedroom tent!  The other tent is laid out more like a lounge, for hanging out or holding discussions.  However, both tents can be adapted quickly to sleep 5 people a tent!

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A peek into the bedroom tent.

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Here’s what it looks like inside!

See that tall wooden box?  The aircon unit is inside lolol.  When we came, we were all stunned cos we didn’t realize just how jarring it would look in our beautiful tent.  It was plastic white and black lol.  So Jason from Jarsche Design Studio constructed a wooden box to hide it.  It doesn’t block the cool air! lol.

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Mirror and clothes rack (not shown) to style yourself and hang your clothes for stay overs!

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The devil is in the details.

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I love all the different textured cushions Hui Wen found!

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Another view of the stone bench.

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These metal pergolas came existing with the space so we repurposed them to fit hammocks (and deck chairs)!

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On the lawn we placed crates and cushions for a picnic style dining table.

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And this is the lounge tent!  Personally this is my favorite tent but I can’t tell why hahahaha.

Note the poofs and movable furniture pieces.

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An aerial view.  The low couch on the right can be converted into a bed!

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Another view.

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Details~

Anyway there were lots of mistakes we made la, it being the first outdoor space I’ve worked on.  Everything is at the mercy of weather elements so we had to be very careful.  The tents are 100% waterproof but once I left the tent without sealing it off properly, and the next morning it was flooded cos of the rain. :X

Another time the umbrellas fixed to the little cafe tables blew off in the wind, and one of its spokes snapped. :X  It comes with a weight to weigh it down and we chose a 7 kg weight, thinking it would be enough.  It wasn’t lolol.

Since we built a bathroom up from scratch – yes got hot water and a comfy, lux shower lolol – we forgot important things like an air vent hahahaha.  Also a latch for the door which would keep swinging in the breeze.

It was also our first time installing Wifi routers and electrical cables outdoors!  We also installed strings of fairy lights across the whole area which are beautiful but also gave me a minor heart attack once when they shorted during an event wtf.

Being an outdoors space, maintenance is much higher.  Before we run tours or events, the team runs up to set up the space, put out the cushions and open the tents.  The hammock and cushions, while waterproof need to be cleaned very regularly to avoid dirt or mold gathering.  The Star Boulevard team have taken to keeping a change of clothes at work in case they get caught in the rain while on duty at Castra. :X  It’s a way more tedious job than maintaining our usual coworking spaces for sure.

But it was very interesting building the space la!  I think everyone agrees cos so many people turned up for our launch party cos they wanted to check it out and the response has been amazing. T____T

If you wanna check it out, you can too!  You can just walk in to Colony @ Star Boulevard and ask for a kepoh tour we don’t mind hahaha.

And if you’re looking to book the space for a party with your friends and family, or for company events sure! (Even more suitable now with covid 19 cos open air, hot so virus cannot live wtf, and don’t need to travel out of KL to get here hahaha.)  We are running an early bird 50% off promo for the first 10 bookings.  Last I heard 5 have been taken up.  Our website is HERE.

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I

AudAngry AudBirthdays

On turning 35

Yesterday I reached peak auntie-dom.

(I tried for five minutes to think how to describe what a Malaysian/Singaporean “auntie” is to people who aren’t from here and couldn’t wtf.  The best way to describe an “auntie” is I guess a slightly older woman, but age matters less than the behavior wtf.  An auntie is usually good at life hacks, especially related to household or budget related matters.  They are especially good at finding shopping deals, maximizing discounts, manuevering their way around supermarkets, cutting lines, and prone to scolding and nagging wtf.)

So as I grow older, I notice myself picking up some auntie tricks here and there (except cut lines omg I would never do that).  And yesterday I must have peaked because I “out-auntied” a 60 year old auntie.

I was waiting in my car at Fighter’s school with a couple of my friends and our kids for Fighter to finish school to pick him up.  Suddenly, as is usual with my stomach, cramps kicked in and I realized I really needed to go.

My friend Michelle told me there was a toilet next to the school guardhouse that I could use.  I hurried over to the friendly guard who told me I was welcome to use the toilet.  There was someone inside the bathroom so I waited until a man in a blue shirt exited the toilet, and I rushed in.

I hadn’t been in there for long when I heard a lady’s voice holler, “HELLO!”

Enter Transporter Auntie.

Now Transporter Auntie is one of the supporting cast in the daily ongoings of our Big Little Liars-esque lives lolol.  You know the school drop offs and pickups, the friendships with other moms, the play dates…. minus the domestic abuse la hahaha.

So our usual routine is to go to school early and park and wait, cos parking is really tight there.  We park in a little lot and Transporter Auntie goes there as well.  She’s known for shouting at people especially drivers wtf and for claiming a certain spot under a tree is hers cos “she always parks there”. Hello Auntie, you pay for the space meh? Got your name there meh? Anyway, I digress.

I didn’t reply because she didn’t knock on the door so I didn’t know who she was shouting at.

She hollered again, “HELLO! WHO IS INSIDE?”

WTF.  I replied calmly that I’m using the toilet.

“WHY SO LONG ONE!?”

Can you believe she started shouting at me from then, forcing me to answer to defend my dignity wtf.

She asked what I was doing inside WTF.  What else! Eating lunch meh.  I didn’t reply cos it was none of her business???

Then I heard her telling people outside, “She’s doing big business. Big business” WTF seriously I don’t know whether wanna laugh or cry wtf.

I could hear a man reply, “what to do, people gotta use, they gotta use la.”

I was so indignant that she went around telling people I’m pooping that I shouted back (while I was still on the toilet bowl ok), “Auntie! What I’m doing is my business but if I’m not out means I’m not done la!”

I then overheard her telling someone that I cut her line WTF.  That she was queuing up when someone talked to her so she went over, and then I entered and cut her.  Dude, it’s not cutting a line when you’re not even lining up for god’s sake.  I was so offended that she was falsely accusing me I yelled back that I didn’t cut her line and she wasn’t even there when I was.

She continued shouting at me!  She shouted that there’s a long line of people waiting, the bell is going to ring any minute now and the toilet is not only mine to use.  I shouted back that if she kept going, I’m going to stay inside longer WTF.  I was burning up then, I was so mad.  She shouted, ok good then you’ll be late to pick up you kids (wtf damn childish) and I shouted back equally childishly, so what if I’m late at least it’s not my job, unlike her wtf.

I furiously scrubbed my hands at the sink and yanked open the door.  Outside I saw a short line of people with the auntie at the front.  She turned when she saw me and said triumphantly, “There, there.  Come out already.” OMG the nerve.

I marched up to her, jabbed a finger in her direction and yelled, “Auntie, you are the rudest old woman I have ever met!  What’s wrong with you?  Why do you need to keep shouting at me when I’m in the toilet!? What do you think I’m doing inside? Sleeping?  Obviously I will come out when I’m done la!”

I must have been really angry because an older man, third in line, threw his hands up, and said, “Sorry sorry.”  Hahahahahaha.  I said, “I’m not talking to you, uncle! I’m talking to that rude auntie!”  I think maybe he was the man who replied her but he didn’t really say anything terrible.

I stormed off to my car to get Penny and told Sieu Ee and Michelle what happened.  School was out by then so we took the girls and walked back towards the school gate.  I passed the auntie again, now talking to another mother and I was still raging.  I went up to her again and repeated angrily, “Auntie, I’ll say it again.  You are really the rudest old lady ever.  I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

Something changed though, and she turned to me with her hands up and said “Sorry sorry, it’s just that my urine was coming out’ WTF dude.  I was slightly mollified so I said “Please don’t ever do this to anyone else again.”

After I picked Fighter up at the gate, I had to pass her again.  This time she came up to me and put her arm around my shoulder and said, “Young mommy, don’t be angry okay. Auntie didn’t mean it.”  By then I had completely calmed down and was feeling slightly bad about scolding her the second time so I said okay okay.  And in the few days since then, we’ve been friendly saying hello to each other hahaha.

I don’t know why she changed so quickly from antagonistic and rude to apologetic and friendly.  Maybe she realized she was wrong.  Maybe nobody had ever spoken to her that way before and it got through to her.  For someone who used to scold other parents and drivers for even the smallest things, it was a huge improvement.

But that was the story of how I’m so auntie, I “out-auntied” a more senior, experienced auntie lolol.

I wrote this post because this week I turned 35.  Some of you have been reading this blog since I was… 19 and that’s insane.  That’s 16 years ago and nearly half of my life!

Age is catching up.  So many things I used to take for granted in my youth I noticed the differences today.

A month ago, I found my first silver hair (!!!)

My thinning hair problem was probably caused by age as well.

I have sun spots (small but they’re there).

I have crow’s feet at the corner of my eyes when I laugh.

Double eye bags appear under my left eye when I smile.

My ankle sometimes pops when I turn it a certain way.

I’m still quite thin but my arms have lost the certain gangly, coltish look that accompanies teenage limbs.

My cheekbones are sharper and my face slightly more angular.  My cheeks are less round.

I had migraines (but not anymore since I’ve been going to a chiro)

I now visit a chiropractor regularly wtf.

I have occasional pains and aches – wrist pain, neck pain, dunno what pain.  Some of it is due to my bad habits no doubt, but mostly due to age.

McDonald’s is still comfort food to me, but I don’t love it the way I did 15 years ago.

I have newfound appreciation for vegetables even more than lot of other foods now.

I read way more non fiction now, because I do like learning new different things.

I used to sleep till 12 pm every chance I got.  Now I prefer waking up early so I have more time for stuff.

I am more confident of my opinions and my values.

I am better at asserting myself.  See scolding Transporter Auntie incident wtf.

I have a clearer sense of myself.  What I’m good at, what I like, what looks good on me.  (and I have more $$$ to buy the things I like hahaha.)

All these little physical, mental and emotional changes add up to make 35 year old me today.  I may have aches and fine lines, but I am also the fittest I’ve ever been in my life.  I who never exercised finally gave in after too many naggings from my gynae (cos I will apparently be at risk of heart disease due to my preeclampsia) and I realized I like it.  I am taking care of myself much more than I ever did in my 20s, partly because I know I don’t have youth to fall back on anymore, but it’s so worth fixing whatever physical ailments I have.

I am older now, but I’m still pretty young and healthy.  I have no major health issues or chronic diseases.  Maybe how I feel will change as I age even more and start getting weaker but I have to say, I like being 35.  I used to be so scared of getting old because I’m very vain wtf.  But I’ve hit what I used to think of as “old” and I don’t feel half bad. 🙂  What I may have lost in sheer youth I make up in joyous experiences, new knowledge, self assurance, and even some wisdom. It also helps that I don’t look my age I guess LOL.

Bring it on, time!

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Audvertorial

How I got my hair back with Beaulife Clinic

A lot of people have been DM-ing me about my hair loss journey (actually should be called hair gain journey la wtf) cos I’ve been mentioning that I’m doing a hair loss treatment with my aesthetics sponsor Beaulife Clinic.

I didn’t want to post anything much until I completed the treatment which for me took about six months!  I’m guessing everyone’s treatment would take different amounts of time depending on the treatment and the seriousness of the case.

So I completed mine sometime late last year and just didn’t have time to sit down and write until now!  So here it is.

So long time followers would know that I’ve always had fine and thin hair; it’s a genetic trait from my mom and my brother Ooib has it too FHL.

It probably doesn’t help that I color my hair very frequently too wtf.

Sometimes people would ask me (luckily I’m not too thin skinned wtf) if I was experiencing hair loss problems just cos my hair was so fine.  My answer would always be no, I just have very fine hair.  Because it was true, I never noticed any drastic hair loss or changes in my hair, it had been flat and fine my whole life.

Until about a year ago.

Until now I’ve never noticed any distinct hair fall, so it must have happened very gradually.  To this day I don’t know the reason but very very slowly, my hair started to thin.  It got to a point that even I noticed it, although I was in denial for a while.

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Especially obvious in this damn Colony toilet hahahahah.  My hair was short so there was nothing to weigh it down but it remained flat.  And if you look at my parting, it was HUGE.  I had already flipped my hair around a bit here so my parting is not a straight line (volume trick wtf) but you can still see it.

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Another pic from my dark days wtf.  You can see that I styled my hair and curled it and everything — yet it remains super flat on top hahaha.  I compensated by taking pics from angles where it wasn’t so obvious.

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But boh pian when people take candids lolol.  I was at orientation in kindergarten here and you can see the light shining off my bald spot wtf.

By now my bald spot/big parting/lack of volume was really bothering me.  So to hide the fact that I was balding…. by getting hair extensions.

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Looks nice right!

There is nothing wrong with extensions; in fact, Number 76 and Hikky do a fantastic job and their extension quality is 100.  But extensions may not have been the best idea for the problem I was facing.

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See?  My bald spot was still shining and glorious wtf.

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The lighting here is better but trust me, it’s still there celebrating. wtf.

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My parting was really obvious!  My fringe wasn’t really parted very severely but you can see my parting all the way from the back to my hairline.

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My parting was pretty messy here so there’s no straight line, but instead you can see my scalp through my hair wtf.

In looming desperation, I contacted Beaulife Clinic.  I usually do facials and the occasional Botox with Beaulife and I’ve always been very happy with the results!  But they do a whole range of other things as well, and hair problems is one of them.

I can’t find any photos taken then but I did a consultation with Dr Leong who told me that in addition to my hair loss, I was probably having a scalp fungal infection too FML.  He prescribed a medicated shampoo which fixed it pretty quickly, and then he drew out a six month PRP treatment plan for me.

PRP therapy stands for platelet rich plasma therapy.  The doc basically takes my blood, spins it in a machine, extracts the platlets out of my blood and injects it into my scalp to stimulate hair growth.  I didn’t notice any more hair fall than usual but I suspect that my strands of hair were just getting thinner and less dense?  So the PRP is supposed to address that.

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After my first session of PRP. (you can actually see my scalp all the way from my forehead to the back of my skull wtf.)

After 1 or 2 sessions I noticed that my hair fall increased!  I freaked out but Dr Leong assured me that was normal, it was my hair cycle accelerating, and my old hair was dropping out because the follicles were starting to regenerate to produce new hair.

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Because of the numbing cream that they massage into my head before the injections, my hair is damn gross hahaahha after my sessions I have to go straight home to wash it off.

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Here’s a picture of the top of my head taken right before PRP started.  I have a parting wtf but because my hair was so sparse, it looked like my parting was just branching out all to the sides.

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This photo was taken after my last session of PRP.  My parting is still pretty distinct, but at least there are no more “mini partings” branching out from it anymore.  The width of it also looks reduced.

But the biggest difference is how I look from the front.

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I think this was halfway through my treatment …. so maybe 3 months in?  My hair had grown longer so I removed my extensions.  (One thing about my hair is that although its damn thin it also grows damn fast wtf)

At this point I didn’t see a difference yet.  My hair looked bouncier here cos of the lighter weight and it was blown out, but it was still definitely thin.  If you look closely you can still see my scalp.

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This was the second half of last year, I think I had maybe 1 or 2 treatments left.  The change was very gradual so when I took this photo I didn’t think that there was a difference.  But now when I look back, my hair already looked fuller!

I did my last PRP session towards the end of the year and for a while I wondered what to do next.  My hair looked about the same to me, maybe not as sparse anymore but I felt the difference was negligible.  I wondered if I should continue the treatment for a while more.

It wasn’t until our family trip to Shanghai a month after I finished PRP that I really noticed a significant difference!

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Us in Shanghai Disneyland.  My hair definitely looked fuller and had more body now.

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Here.  In case you forgot how my hair used to look wtf.

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This was taken on our cruise off Shanghai.  There’s a direct overhead light shining on my head so the parting still looks big but look at the hair around it on the top of my head!  Due to the lack of volume, my hair was always flat against my skull, but now you can see that the hair on top is puffing up nicely just like normal people. T______T I don’t remember the last time my hair had this effect, even with a blowout.

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Another picture on the same day.

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Compare to nine months ago before I did my PRP.  I seriously had no hair LOL.

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The next few photos were taken a few weeks after I noticed the big difference. Puffy hair on top T_______T

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Under bright overhead lights.  My hair looks so voluminous already!

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Very satisfied with the results! So grateful to the Beaulife team for helping me with my hair loss and self esteem. T______T

I blogged this cos really a lot of people have been asking me.  I’m not sure what other questions you have but let me try to answer what I think people would like to know.

How do I know PRP is right for me?

The best way to know is to go for a consultation with a certified, experienced doctor.  I went to BeauLife Clinic and consulted with Dr Leong.  He said PRP for hair growth generally works very well for women with Female Pattern Hair Loss, which is what I looked like I had.  It’s basically when hair follicles weaken, so hair that grows out drops more easily, and grows out finer and shorter.

He was right. 🙂

How much is it? How long will it take?

This depends on how severe your case is and how many sessions you will need.  The figure will be RM2-3K onwards at Beaulife.  I’ve been to many different aesthetics clinics in KL and find Beaulife the most reasonably priced.

 

Does it hurt?

I’m not that good with pain and it does hurt la.  This is with numbing cream too mind you.  It usually hurts more on the sides of my head and near my hairline.  But I guess if you have higher pain tolerance you’ll be fine hahahaha.

What should I expect in terms of results?

I would say be realistic.  PRP is not a hair transplant and it will not do magic.  However, it will strengthen your hair follicles so it can reach its full potential to grow stronger, thicker and longer hair.

Do I need to repeat this treatment?

I’m not a doctor but I understand that usually female or male pattern baldness is caused by genes or hormonal imbalances, which are not problems that will necessarily go away. So I’d say there will probably be times where I’d have to go back for a booster too.  Please check with your doctor about this.

If you have any other questions you can leave me a comment or DM or just contact Beaulife!  Their Instagram is @beaulifeclinic.

AudBaby

Report: First week of primary school

Nearly wasn’t gonna blog about this but I need to!  In fifty years, my goldfish memory will thank me wtf.

So the kids have started school since the 6th of January.  First morning was a mix of excitement, apprehension and nerves…. for all of us!  Yes even Mommy wtf.

The next two years are going to be horrible for school runs cos they’re in different schools! Here’s my routine:

7:30 am Fighter starts school so I have to drop him safely before that
7:40 am Penny starts her school (so I have to rush over to her school)
11:30 am Penny finishes school
1:00 pm Fighter finishes school

It’s horrible congested with parents and their cars so instead of sending Penny home after I pick her up and driving out again, I’ve decided to just pick Penny up from school, drive over to Fighter’s school to get a good parking spot, and just wait for him to finish.  We hang out in the car, I stock it with snacks in case she’s hungry and prepared a lot of Disney movies to watch on our car TV hahaha.  We usually wait an hour but it’s less stressful and less driving time for me.

So anyway first day!

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Kids on the first morning!  Very excited….

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In the main hall before they disperse to their respective classrooms. Still all smiles~

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But once enter the classroom he started getting nervous and eyes turned red lolol.  I can imagine how nervous he was though, sitting in a new classroom with new kids around him waiting for a strange teacher.  The reason why he was reluctant to leave kindergarten was cos he wanted his old teacher, and I know how important teachers are to kids this age!

In fact, the whole class was unusually quiet for a group of six and seven year olds!  I think all of them must have been very nervous poor things hahahaha.

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On the first day they allowed the parents to stick around and check on the kids at recess.  I signed Fighter up for school meal plans so he would have a reserved seat.  It was muffins and Milo that day so he was very happy hahahaha.

It helped that Fighter’s kindergarten friends’ mothers and I booked the whole table together so they could sit with their old friends!  Fighter was delighted and exclaimed, “Mommy I got to see all my old friends!”

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He got to see his girlfriend SY (who’s in a different class this year) too hahahaha.  She saw him when school ended and dragged her mother over so she could say hi to him hahahaha.

(Oh ya let me say that I think I wracked up don’t know how many kilometers that day wtf.  After I dropped Fighter off at school, I took Penny to her school.  Made sure she was ok, then turned back round to Fighter’s school for a parents’ orientation talk.  Then I waited to check on Fighter at recess.  Then I rushed back to Penny’s school to take her home.  And then drove back to Fighter’s to pick him up. I should be an Uber driver wtf.)

At the end of the first day I asked him how it was.  He came back a bit red eyed because apparently he wanted to go to the toilet after recess and his English teacher gave him an “angry look” wtf.  And he said she’s like “CCTV cos she stands outside the class and stares inside” WTF.

Two days later though, he announced, “Me and the English teacher are getting on better” hahahahaha as if they were in a fight like that!  Cos apparently she’s been playing games with them in class so she’s in everyone’s good books now wtf.  And he said “Time passes so fast now school doesn’t feel that long anymore.” Which I take as a very good sign cos time flies when you’re having fun right!?

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Other anecdotes:

I got a call from a strange number one morning.  Picked up and it was Fighter’s teacher, Mrs P calling to tell me Fighter fell down on the way to the canteen (why am I not surprised wtf) but he’s okay and they’re putting medicine on his leg and he’s fine to continue at school.

I asked him when he came home and he told me he was fine too!  He said he didn’t even cry, although there were tears in his eyes hahahaha.  And that Mrs P said he was very brave.  I was surprised and asked him, did she say it in English or Chinese?  He said Chinese, and I was even more surprised – does he know the Chinese word for brave?  Cos that’s not a super basic word, in fact I can’t even remember how to say it in Hokkien wtf.  He said yes, it’s yong gan and I was suitably impressed wtf.  I went, “Wow you know the word for ‘brave’?” He was all casual and said, “Yea I heard someone say it a few years ago” wtf my son I am in aweeeeee.

He also happily told me they were playing word games during Malay class where the teacher wrote words with blanks and the kids had to fill in the blanks correctly.  And Fighter got “segi tiga” correct and won points for the boys to beat the girls LOL 20 points to 10 ok hahaha.

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I’m so happy that he’s off to a good start!  And also very impressed that the class teacher was caring enough to call me and update me!  This is normal in kindy but I completely did not expect it in public primary school.

During another talk, the school also told us that not only there will be no exams for the first 3 years (as per the education ministry’s directive) but they also intend to focus not on rote memorization but in teaching the kids how to think and to develop their characters.  I’m really very pleased!  Cross fingers Fighter will do well.

And that was our first week of school!

AudParenting

Fighter doesn’t want to eat animals anymore

When your kids are four and six, you think you know them and roughly how life will be for the next fifteen years or so.  Then life throws you a curveball wtf.

This year for Christmas as usual we are back in Penang to celebrate with Fatty’s family!  On Christmas Eve, we went out to a Japanese restaurant for dinner.

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We had a nice corner of the restaurant to ourselves, the food came very quickly and was placed in pretty dishes along our table.  Everyone was chatting and eating, and we were having a nice time.

The saba shioyaki (grilled mackerel) arrived and my mother in law used her chopsticks to pluck some fish to offer to Fighter.

Suddenly, Fighter burst out wailing.  I didn’t even know how it happened, I was busy checking Penny’s bowl for fish bones.  All I knew is one moment there was peace, the other, Fighter was sobbing profusely. O_O

Between hiccups and sobs, I figured it out: He didn’t want to eat the fish because he just realized the fish was an animal that died so we could eat. T_______T

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Said fish wtf.

I was completely perplexed.  Sure, most of the time we help him cut up the food on his plate, but we also eat Asian style dishes most of the time where food is set out in its whole form – whole fish, even suckling pigs or whole ducks.  I’m very sure he’s seen it before.

So he either didn’t notice it before, or he never made the connection until now.  Whatever the reason is, he was bawling in the middle of the table, horrified and distraught at the thought that animals were dying for us.

Now this was an issue that I’d never given any thought to in my life until this year.  I gave up beef when Fighter was born cos I was praying for his recovery and return from the NICU.  For the same religious reasons, my parents and brother go Buddhist vegetarian – which is essentially vegan but without even onions and garlic – on the first and fifteenth days of every month.  I try to follow but don’t successfully nail it every time wtf.  Because garlic and onion damn hard to give up wtf.  But when I’m eating alone or I have a choice, I either grab a vegan meal or try to stick to fish… so, pescatarian?

My reasons are more to do with the impact that meat eating has on the environment though and not so much the moral impact of what humans are doing to the animals.  But here was my son, making that moral connection on his own.

Fighter was inconsolable and I could tell his grandparents were equally confused and frustrated.  So I brought him out of the restaurant and found somewhere quiet to sit down and talk to him.

“Fighter, can you tell me what you’re feeling?  You’re sad, aren’t you?”

Sniffling and hiccuping, he blurted, “I’m sad…. because…. the fish had to give up his life…..and he cannot live happily in the sea…. with his family and friends…” Then because the thought was unbearable, he started crying again.

Wowowowow out for Christmas dinner and suddenly gotta delve into deep topics like this wtf.  I can do this!

I wiped away his tears (and snot) and said, “You know, we eat meat because it gives us strength [sic] to live and protein to grow, especially for children.  But a lot of people feel the same way as you.  They don’t want to hurt animals too.  Like Grandma and Grandpa don’t eat animals on some days of the month.  That’s called being vegetarian.  We can keep talking about this.  If later on you still don’t want to eat animals, we can talk about going on a vegetarian diet.  But that means if you don’t eat animal protein, you need to get your protein from other food.  You need to learn to eat other foods you don’t normally like.  Like tofu, beans or mushrooms.  And more eggs.  Can you do that?”

He nodded earnestly.  And because I didn’t have a tissue, I wiped his nose with my fingers and wiped it on the chair WTF #shitmom

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And we went back into the restaurant.

…to find that in our absence, Penny had eaten all Fighter’s portion of the fish wtf.  Obviously not too bothered about the fish dying wtf.

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Still very upset.

He ended up eating garlic fried rice and tamagoyaki for the rest of dinner.

The next day, we had hotpot lunch where he stuck to soup, ribbon pasta (?) and vegetables.  For dinner he had rice with green beans and eggs.  Every time I ask him, he says he still feels a bit sad.

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With his egg and beans wtf.

I know if I convince him to eat meat, he will.  But I don’t want to at the moment because he’s developing his own moral compass.  I want him to figure out on his own (with some guidance from us of course) what’s right and wrong and build his own values. Children naturally have so much empathy and I believe it’s important to support and encourage it, not tamp down his empathy.  And I’m so proud!  That he made the connection, that he empathizes with the pain and suffering of other beings, and that it’s affected him enough to want to make a stand.

And since yesterday I’ve been googling for meatless recipes to make for him wtf.  It’s further complicated cos he starts primary school next week!  I’d been planning to make him simple bentos but most of my ideas involve meat of some kind wtf.  So if you have any good vegetarian recipes to share please do!  Or if you have any similar experiences, I’d love to hear from you too. <3

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Penny comforting her brother who’s “still a bit sad”. Hahahahaha.

AudBaby AudParenting AudSappy

Fighter graduates kindergarten!

It actually happened a month ago la wtf.

And it was the biggest event of November for me. T_____T

So leading up to it, Fighter would tell me now and then that he was worried he couldn’t remember the moves for his graduation performance wtf.  And I gently laughed it off each time, chalking it up to Fighter’s slightly anxious personality.

But then the day came…. and I didn’t expect to be overwhelmed with all these emotions I didn’t know I’d feel!

Photos first.

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Penny and her friend Kiesha (whose brother is Fighter’s classmate) running around like the princesses they are wtf.  This was before the ceremony started, when all the six year old graduates were in their classes, trying on their robes and caps.

After that we had to leave the very important graduates and go into the auditorium to wait for the ceremony to start.  There was a speech or two, some singing and then they started announcing the classes and giving out certificates of graduation from kindergarten!

I knew it was gonna happen – duh, why else would we be sitting in that auditorium wtf – but it still hit me right in the gut: my son is graduating kindergarten. T________T

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Look at this little boy. T3T All grown up and accepting his graduation certificate like a little man. T3T  Shaking hands with people some more.  Did I teach him how to shake hands. T3T

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He looks so proud, and if anything, I was even prouder.

And then, to my disbelief, Fighter proceeded to sweep up two prizes .  One was for ting xie/ejaan/spelling – every week they do a spelling test for either Mandarin, Malay or English and those with the best scores are awarded a trophy.  I think Fighter missed a 100% once or twice but evidently still good enough to get a trophy hahaha.

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Fighter had already told me he was getting two prizes, but he forgot what the other one was for.  His details sounded too vague to believe so I didn’t hahaha.  So yea I was so surprised when he picked up another award – for oustanding performance!  Honestly I have no idea what “outstanding performance” means cos suspiciously, they’re all boys LOL plus there’s already a top 3 in class.  This is a separate category.  I feel like “outstanding performance” actually means most improvement which I am very  happy about!

Fighter is the least naughty kid ever but I think he improved cos he used to cry a lot last year hahahaha.  His teacher Ms Ho said he got so much better this year plus he’s apparently hands down the best behaved child in class so that could be it wtf.

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Back in the classroom with his beloved Ms Ho, and Ms Photo Ruiner of the Year.

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My darling,

I am and have always been so proud of you but I didn’t know how much until I saw you walk on to that stage and receive your prizes.  I cried then, because I was so proud and honored to be your mother, and I also cried a little because every step you take feels like a step away from me (even though it shouldn’t.)

Every day I see you maturing and growing more and more independent.  You are sweet to your little sister, adore your father, and you are so forgiving of me when I am clumsy and accidentally hurt you or spoil your things wtf.  You are so independent now, going about your day, busy with your plans of play, and making your small decisions.  Yet at night when I put you to bed, you pull me close, snuggle against my arm and whisper “I like this mommy.”  And I am the center of your world again.

I didn’t have any notions when I got pregnant with you, but if I did have any, you would have blown them all wide open, the amazing little person you are.

I will cry again on the first day you start primary school, but if you ever read this, please know how much I love you and am proud of you.  It is a privilege to raise you (and Penny) and to watch you grow into the wonderful man I know you will be.

Love, Mommy.

(shit I write this own self want to cry again WTF)

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Here’s a vlog I made of that big day!  So glad I captured it — such great memories. <3