Thursday, June 30, 2016

Peter the Rock

Today is my first born's birthday. It's been 8 years since we embarked on this journey of parenthood. Nothing what school has taught or prepared us for, but just what we remembered from growing up with our parents.

Special birthday blessing
from Fr. Arro
Surely being parents to four kids we would have tons of advice and experiences to share. But truth of the matter is, while we might cope better with a kid than we did 8 years ago, we still continue to struggle. I always tell others that it's not that we know what to expect even with four kids, but our expectations are just lowered. In the past, I remember we would sign Audrey to classes like gym and Julia Gabriel Chinese classes, and with no 2,3, and 4, we were like "don't be silly". Now we are just glad that they could eat, sleep, breathe and poo. (Told you our expectations dropped)

Truth be told, I have no idea how we managed to survive the past 8 years with 4 kids and come out alive (I mean them not us). Throughout this time, I had moments when I had been careless with my words and actions. No they were not abused, but I know their spirits had been crushed as well. Like how I would raise my voice at Audrey when we were going through her work because she doesn't get the concept or worse forgotten about it. Fortunately, kids are equipped with forgiveness, and soon, other moments of tenderness replace that moment of doubt. 

I have had moments when I had to look out for the younger child and miss out on the growing up of the older or more independent ones which soon became a habit and after awhile they grow up so fast and they don't need me anymore or maybe prefer the helper or daddy or grandma to me. 

I have had moments of being frustrated of not knowing what to do with a tantrum throwing kid (which usually happens when you are rushing for time). If the day is good, I would let them continue to wail and make a fool out of themselves until they get tired and know that there's no way things will change. But on a bad day, I was either left with smacking the child or leaving the house and let them cry until they get tired. 

Oh! Not forgeting the moments when I got caught up and stressed by the other kids' progression compared with mine and realizing they are slower than their peers, which in turn makes me worried and stressed and suddenly I become so paranoid with their education and that makes me the not-so-fun parent.

Honestly, just because I had listed them down doesn't mean I have overcome them. With everyday I still struggle with my decisions and my parenting choices. Even with four kids, I go through the same battles as those with one… worse. I may have failed 4 times over and maybe I will never learn for some things. (That sucks)

But through these 8 years, I draw comfort from Peter. When Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, it was not because he was as solid as a rock then. He was possibly one who was really quite a "failure". (I mean, he was the only one who asked to walk on water and yet when he was given the chance he got scared and fumbled. And he was so confident that even when Jesus who obviously knew what was going to happen said that he was going to deny him three times, he said otherwise) But God saw what we don't see. He saw the future value of Peter and not his current shortcomings. 

Being a mother of four, I have to admit, I don't have all the answers and even if I do, those answers may not be perfect or right. The only consolation I have is, Christ is always here. And it's probably the best consolation I need. :) 

Image from

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When Chocolates Become a Lesson on Money

We got an email from Audrey's school yesterday telling us that her form teacher would be leaving and another teacher would be taking over the class.

On the way out for dinner, we discussed with Audrey how it would be nice to give her teacher a small present to wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Audrey agreed and thought she should get chocolates.

And who doesn't like Lindt? 
After dinner, we went to the chocolate section in the supermarket and she zoomed in to something that she thought was nice and would make a great gift. (See the picture on the right)

We agreed that it was and told her that since it was her teacher, we would be loaning her the amount and she could repay us everyday from her pocket money. Audrey was stunned. She immediately went back to check the price of the chocolates and put it back on the shelf. 

She then went through the whole chocolate section only this time she looked not just at the packaging but at the price as well. D and I smiled at each other. He of course quipped that at least she didn't pick up the $1.20 ones… but truth be told she saw a kit-kat at $0.70 and wanted to get it for the teacher which I of course told her she could get it only if she appreciates her teacher that much.. Fortunately, she put that back as well.

So here's the second choice. 

It's not too bad, but we told her, the price should not be the only factor when deciding on a gift. We got her to imagine herself as a recipient and to choose something that she actually enjoys and she would like the other person to enjoy that too. (To be fair, Audrey hasn't really eaten Dairy Milk chocolates before… I'm not sure why…

She put the chocolates back and went on looking for something she was okay with the price and something she knows she would like. (All this happen of course with the two younger boys running around the supermarket going crazy and asking us if their sister could buy them chocolates… *rolls eyes*)

Finally, she decided on something she liked and even gave some thought as to why she thought her teacher might like it.
Not too bad right????
There were three flavors - Cookies and cream, Milk chocolate with almonds and Milk chocolate. We asked her which we should get for her teacher, and she chose the plain milk chocolate since there is "more chocolate and who doesn't like more chocolate". 

In case you thought that this decision process is completed, it hasn't. She said she needed a card to give as well. We gave her two choices. One was to buy a card from the bookshop which would be another $4 or so or she could go home and make a nice one for the teacher. Without thinking, she said she will go back and make it. (D and I laughed at her decision)

On the way home, we discussed with how much would she be paying D everyday for the loan. Her pocket money is $2/day, of which $0.20 is put in her savings and another $0.20 is set aside for church offerings on Sundays, so which means she is left with $1.60. We worked on $0.40, $0.80 and $1.00. But D was a little concern if we got her to return $1/day she would not have enough to spend in school.  So we told her not to push it and choose something she was okay to part with. (Of course the boys overheard and told her to pay mummy and not daddy… HAHAHA. I am also not sure why?!?)

After doing her card and packing her bag, she agreed that she would pay $0.40 a day and worked out a repayment schedule with me. 

So every morning, when daddy fetches her to school, she will give him $0.40 and it was her responsibility to give it and not to be asked, which she agreed.

That night, we knew she must have felt the pinch when she actually had to pay for something from her own pocket and we reminded her that before she so decides to ask her grandparents for something she fancies in future to think if it was really necessary. 

After the kids had gone to bed at night, I began to reflect if I had actually taught my kids on the concept of money. Both D and I have never really involved them in our financial decisions to be honest. Something simple like when we host a dinner or even plan a holiday, the kids do not sit with us to discuss why we had paid a certain amount on our choices. Yet, these decisions, as simple and natural as we think, are never common to kids, which just means those decisions that were 5 seconds long in the past may become 5 minutes in future… but if that would make them more aware about money, that's a good investment isn't it? :)