Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A touching story on single parenthood


Here is a touching story I had read off my friend's facebook posting.  The moral of the story are right at the end of it....

4 years ago, an accident took away my beloved and very often I wonder, “How does my wife, who is in heaven feel right now?” She must be feeling extremely sad for leaving a husband who is incapable of taking care of the house and the kid. That is the exact feeling that I have, as I have failed to provide for the physical and emotional needs of my child.

There was one particular day, when I had an emergency at work. I had to leave home whilst my child was still sleeping. So thinking that there was still some rice leftovers, I hastily cooked an egg and left after informing my sleepy child.
As a single father, I am often exhausted at work as well as when I am home. So after a long day, I will come home, totally drained of all energy. So with just a brief hug and kiss for my child, I went straight into the room, skipping dinner. However, when I jumped into my bed with intention of just having a well-deserved sleep, all I heard and felt was broken porcelain and warm liquid! I flipped open my blanket, and there lies the source of it… a broken bowl with instant noodles and a mess on the bed sheet and blanket!

Boy, was I mad! I was so furious that I took a clothes hanger, charged straight at my child who was happily playing with his toy, and give him a good spanking! He merely cried but not asking for mercy, except a short explanation:
“Dad, I was hungry and there wasn’t anymore leftover rice. But you were not back yet, so I went to cook some instant noodles. But I remembered you reminding me not to touch or use the gas stove without any adults around, so I turned on the shower and used the hot water from the bathroom to cook the noodles. One is for you and the other is for me. I was afraid that the noodles will turn cold, so I hid it under the blanket to keep it warm till you return. But I forgot to remind you because I was playing with my toys. I am sorry Dad…”
At that moment, tears were starting to run down my cheeks…but I didn’t want my son to see his dad crying so I dashed into the bathroom and cried with the shower head on to mask my cries.

After that episode, I went towards my son to give him a tight hug and applied medication on him, while coaxing him to sleep. Then, it was time to clear up the mess on the bed. When everything was done and well past midnight, I passed my son’s room, and saw that he was still crying, not from the pain on his little buttock, but from looking at the photograph of his beloved mummy.
A year has passed since the episode, I have tried, in this period, to focus on giving him both the love of a mother and father, and to attend to most of his needs. Soon, he will be turning seven and be graduating from Kindergarten. Fortunately, the incident did not leave a lasting impression on his memory and he is still happily growing up.
However, not so long ago, I hit my boy again, with much regret. This time, his Kindergarten teacher called, informing me of my son’s absence from school. I took off early from work and went home, expecting him to explain. But he wasn’t to be found, so I went around our house, calling out his name and eventually found him outside a stationery shop, happily playing computer games.

I was fuming, brought him home and whack the hell out of him. He did not retaliate, except to say, ‘I am sorry, Dad’. But after much probing, I realized that it was a ‘Talent Show’ organized by his school and the invite is for every student’s mummy. And the reason for his absence was because he has no mummy…
Few days after that incident, my son came home to tell me that the school has recently taught him how to read and write. Since then, he has kept to himself and stayed in his room to practise his writing, which I am sure, would make my wife proud, if she was still around, because he makes me proud too!
Time passes by very quickly, and soon another year has passed. It’s winter, and its Christmas time. Everywhere the Christmas spirit is in every passer-by…Christmas carols and frantic shoppers….but alas, my son got into another trouble. When I was about to knock off from work, the post office called. Due to the peak season, the post master was also on an edgy mood. He called to tell me that my son has attempted to post several letters with no addressee. Although I did make a promise never to hit my son again, I couldn’t help but to hit him as I feel that this child of mine is really beyond control.

Once again, as before, he apologized, ‘ I’m sorry, Dad’ and no additional reason to explain. I pushed him towards a corner, went to the post office to collect the letters with no addressee and came home, and angrily questioned my son on his prank, during this time of the year.
His answer, amidst his sobbing was, “The letters were for Mummy.”
My eyes grew teary, but I tried to control my emotions and continued to ask him: ” But why did you post so many letters, at one time?” My son’s reply was: ” I have been writing to mummy for a long time, but each time I reach out for the post box, it was too high for me, hence I was not able to post the letters. But recently, when I went back to the postbox, I could reach it and I sent it all at once….”
After hearing this, I was lost. Lost at not knowing what to do, what to say….
I told my son, ” Son, mummy is in heaven now, so in future, if you have anything to tell her, just burn the letter and it will reach mummy. My son, on hearing this, was much pacified and calm, and soon after, he was sleeping soundly. On promising that I will burn the letters on his behalf, I brought the letters outside, but couldn’t help opening the letter before they turn to ash.
And one of the letters broke my heart….

Dear Mummy,
I miss you so much! Today, there was a ‘Talent Show’ in school, and the school invited all mothers for the show. But you are not around, so I did not want to participate as well. I did not tell Dad about it as I was afraid that Dad would start to cry and miss you all over again. Dad went around looking for me, but in order to hide my sadness, I sat in front of the computer and started playing games at one of the shops. Dad was furious, and he couldn’t help it but scolded and hit me, but I did not tell him the real reason.
Mummy, everyday I see Dad missing you and whenever he thinks of you, he is so sad and often hide and cry in his room. I think we both miss you very very much. Too much for our own good I think. But Mummy, I am starting to forget your face. Can you please appear in my dreams so that I can see your face and remember you? I heard that if you fall asleep with the photograph of the person whom you miss, you will see the person in your dreams. But mummy, why haven’t you appeared?
After reading the letter, I cant stop sobbing. I can never replace the irreplaceable gap left behind by my wife….

To all the working mothers out there:
Try to refrain from working overtime frequently. If you cannot finish your work, it must be some kind of problems within the company, and it is not your sole problem. Feedback to your boss. Endless overtime may not necessary be the answer to the problems. Take care of your health so that you can treasure and take care of your little precious.

To the married men:
Drink less, smoke less, as nothing can replace your good health, not even business nor clients. Try thinking this way, are you able to work till your clients are totally dependent on you? Or is your boss totally dependent on you? In this society, no one is indispensable. Take care of your health, so that you can take care of your little precious and your loved ones.

To all the singles out there:
Beauty lies in loving yourself first. With confidence and loving yourself, you will see the beauty in other things around you. You will be able to work better and happier. Don’t let your health be affected by your work or your boss, so nothing matters more than your well being.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Raising Boys (A Dad’s Advice for Moms)


Let’s get one thing clear from the get go: moms are generally better parents than dads. And that goes double for me. I’ve had three kids across two marriages and I am undoubtedly the weak link. My 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son trust their step-mom more than they trust me, which proves that I married well but am still getting the hang of being a dad. Most of us are.
That said, there are a few subtle nuances that I have picked up along the way as a dad that might come in handy for moms raising boys.
Ladies, here are some things to think about with your boys:
  • Think caveman. Adult women have thousands of emotional states, as do girls like my daughter. Boys, on the other hand, tend to feel one of three: mad, sad, happy. Don’t project your complex emotional life on your son. His issue of the moment might not be that complicated. He wants to eat, poop, or run. On a really bad day he wants his toy back after some other kid took it from him. He doesn’t want to stare out the window and have lengthy discussions about the meaning of life, as my eight-year-old daughter often did.
  • Watch his body not his mouth. Again, like adult men, the clues to how your son is doing will show up first in his body language. Jumping up and down with six-inch vertical leaps is the natural state of being and is good. Slumped shoulders are bad. Yelling is good. Quiet needs attention.
  • When in doubt, hug. Boys will often have a much harder time than girls verbalizing their problems. My 5-year-old son will sometimes burst out into tears after seemingly trivial events. I know there is something deeper going on, but I am not going to get it out of him, at least not at that moment (whereas my daughter would not only tell me what went wrong but in no uncertain terms why it was my fault, which was generally true enough). So the solution is physical not verbal. I spend a lot of time just hugging my boys. I usually have no idea why. But as a default cure-all, it seems to work wonders. A minute later they are all patched up and ready to rumble again. This even works pretty well with my 14-year-old, who is a 6-foot-tall linebacker at Boston College High School.
  • Yes, it really is all about poop. Girls potty train 6 to 9 months before boys, but once boys make it onto the throne, there is no stopping them. Moving their bowels is pretty much the highlight of their day (true confession: it still is for me, too), and they are going to want to talk about it. Bathroom time is a participatory sport. My five-year-old likes to head to the bathroom just as the family is sitting down to dinner, sometimesduring dinner. It’s the first time he has been still long enough to realize he has to go. And he wants me to come with him, not just to assist in the wipe but to have a leisurely conversation about the status of his poop. As much as I found this inconvenient at first, now I just go with it. Quality time is quality time.
  • Batman lives forever. Boys, even at a young age, realize the importance of super powers. They want to be good and believe in the existence of ultimate good in the world. Boys sort out their identities in relation to the mythical characters they hear about. My son is obsessed with Batman. He wears a full costume, even through the airport and down Madison Avenue. What amazes me even more than his dedication to the superhero is how the guard at LaGuardia or the guy hanging off the back of a garbage truck sees him and shouts, “Batman!” My boy nods his head just slightly, acknowledging his public before moving onto the important work at hand, like going to kindergarten.
  • Pointless physical activity is perfect. My brother and I once convinced his two sons and my older boy, when they were all around the age of 10, that they really needed to build a structure out of rocks. The rocks were on one side of a beach, but the perfect spot where the structure had to be built, according to our sage advice, was on the other side of the beach. Each stone weighed between ten and thirty pounds. The boys started moving the boulders one by one, working together to lift the heaviest ones. My brother and I set up our beach chairs midway from the rock pile to building site. We read the paper most of the morning while the boys tired themselves out moving rocks and then assembling a tremendous cathedral. By lunch they were tired and happy, and my brother and I had enjoyed a peaceful morning.
  • Winning does matter, but less than you think. Boys — perhaps even more than girls — put themselves under extreme pressure to perform in school, in sports, and in social situations. They talk about it less, so the sting of failure can run even more deeply than with girls. With boys it’s important to emphasize the lessons to be gained from failure, instead of trying to win at all costs, and to emphasize the development of the whole boy. Too often in our culture, boys are pushed to become one-dimensional robots. Goodness isn’t about winning at youth soccer or having the most friends or being the smartest kid in class; it’s also about being kind. That’s something as a mom that you can particularly help your son understand.
  • Clothes matter. I know there are way more options for dressing little girls than little boys, so the tendency might be to just throw jeans and a t-shirt on your son and forget about it. But you better make sure they are the right jeans and the right t-shirt. The only consistent battle I have had with my sons is over what they wear. It matters way more to them than I ever would have imagined. They want to look cool; they want to be comfortable (pants that are tight but not too tight, warm and yet breathable). I do draw the line with clothes that have already been worn two days in a row, but I don’t discount the importance of fashion to my kindergartener.
  • Crowds, not so much. I have noticed that my daughter lights up when she enters a crowd, whether family or strangers. Mass humanity is something that gives her energy. With my boys, and, frankly, for me too, it’s the opposite. They get shy and tend to hide behind my legs. I try to protect them from these situations and not push them beyond their limitations.
  • Bedtime is sacred. Because boys are so active, it’s hard to get them to sit still. The best time of day is the ten minutes before they go to sleep. Crawl into bed with them, read books, and hold them while they fall off to sleep. If you don’t believe in God, you will once you have lain next to your overactive son while his body goes limp next to you, and he ever so faintly begins to snore.
Originally published on Babble Here

25 Rules for Moms With Sons


Tabitha Studer knows how important it is for parents to raise boys conscientiously, and so she complied a list of 25 rules for mothers of sons.

25 Rules for Moms with Sons

Source: pre-schoolplay.blogspot.com via Tabitha on Pinterest

Your son will scream out of frustration and hide out of embarrassment.  He’ll cry from fear and bite out of excitement.  Let his body move by the emotion, but also explain to him what the emotion is and the appropriate response to that emotion for future reference.  Point out other people who are feeling the same thing and compare how they are showing that emotion.  Talk him through your emotions so that someday when he is grown, he will know the difference between angry and embarrassed; between disappointment and grief.


There is no doubt that you are the loudest person in the stands at his t-ball games.  There is no doubt that he will tell you to “stop, mom” when you sing along to his garage band’s lyrics.  There is no doubt that he will get red-faced when you show his prom date his pictures from boy scouts.  There is no doubt that he is not telling his prom date about your blog where you’ve been bragging about his life from his first time on the potty to the citizenship award he won in ninth grade.  He will tell you to stop.  He will say he’s embarrassed.  But he will know that there is at least one person that is always rooting for him.


..and load the dishwasher, and iron a shirt.  He may not always choose to do it.  He may not ever have to do it.  But someday his wife will thank you.

Emilie Buchwald said, “Children become readers on the laps of their parents.”  Offer your son the opportunity to learn new things, believe in pretend places, and imagine bigger possibilities through books.  Let him see you reading…reading the paper, reading novels, reading magazine articles.  Help him understand that writing words down is a way to be present forever.  Writers are the transcribers of history and memories.  They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important.  And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories.


Dance, rhythm, and music are cultural universals.  No matter where you go, no matter who you meet – they have some form of the three.  It doesn’t have to be good.  Just encourage your son that when he feels it, it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and bust a move.


The examples of men with big muscles and a uniform (like Batman and LaMarr Woodley) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he also knows about men who kick a$s because of their brains (Albert Einstein), and their pen (Mark Twain), and their words (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and their determination (Team Hoyt), and their ideas (The Wright Brothers), and their integrity (Officer Frank Shankwitz), and fearlessness (Neil Armstrong), and their ability to keep their mouths closed when everyone else is screaming (Jackie Robinson).


The examples of traditionally beautiful women (like Daphne BlakePrincess Jasmine, and Britney Spears) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he knows about women who are beautiful from the inside out because of their brains (Madame Marie Curie), and their pen (Harper Lee), and their words (Eleanor Roosevelt), and their determination (Anne Sullivan), and their ideas (Oprah Winfrey), and their integrity (Miep Gies), and fearlessness (Ameila Earhart), and their ability to open their mouths and take a stand when everyone else is silent (Aung San Suu Kyi).


You already are all of those things.  If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything - remember this:  If you have done any of the following:  a) grew life b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body c) taken care of a newborn d) made a pain go away with a kiss e) taught someone to read f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or i) found a way to be strong when that child is suffering...you are a superhero.  do not doubt yourself for one second.  Seriously.


Source: simplymontessori.blogspot.com via Terry-Anne on Pinterest
because its nice.  and it will make the world a little better of a place.


Source: swagbucks.com via Adriana on Pinterest

Because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won’t be able to be there.  Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone, so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never.


Source: theberry.com via Chris on Pinterest
like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people’s feelings.


Source: heatherbeadles.com via Heather on Pinterest

Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes.  You’ll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing. Don’t waste your energy being angry about something inevitable.  Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes.  Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course.


or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw panda bears (or in my case alpacas), or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference between Gryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song.  Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant.

turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away.  Just go outside and follow him around.  Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions.  It’s like magic.


Losing sucks.  Everybody isn’t always a winner.  Even if you want to say, “You’re a winner because you tried,” don’t.  He doesn’t feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed.  And that’s a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids.  This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again…..)  Instead make sure he understands that – sometimes you win – sometimes you lose.  But that doesn’t mean you never give up.


Source: None via Emma on Pinterest

There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help.  Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities.  Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together.

Source: data.whicdn.com via Meagan on Pinterest

This doesn’t just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life.  You become a better writer by writing.  You become a better listener by listening.  You become better speaker by speaking.  Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks – they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing.  Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip.  Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier.  Practice, practice, practice.


Answer him, or search for the answer together.  Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches).  Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself.  Someday, when he needs to ask questions he’s too embarrassed to ask you – he’ll know where to go to find the right answers.


Source: 1.bp.blogspot.com via Maegan on Pinterest

especially the wipes.

Source: babyhold.com via Katie on Pinterest

…without interrupting about how to do it the ‘right way.’  If you let his dad show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his dad knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his dad knows everything.  You will always be his mother, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his dad will know the answers.  And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his mom,  you will stay connected to what is happening in his life.  Because he will call his dad for answers, and his dad will secretly come and ask you.


Source: familyfun.go.com via Kate on Pinterest

drums, a pen, a punching bag, wide open space, water, a dog.  Give him something to go crazy with – or he will use your stuff.  and then you’ll be sorry.

Forts have the ability to make everyday normal stuff into magic.  Throw the couch cushions, a couple blankets, and some clothespins and you can transform your living room into the cave of wonders.  For the rest of his life, he’ll be grateful to know that everyday normal stuff has the potential to be magical.

Because it will make his brain and his heart open up wider, and the ideas and questions and memories will rush in.


Source: None via Anne on Pinterest

Any mother of sons will tell you that little boys are so loving and sweet.  They can be harsh and wild and destructive during most of the day.  But there are these moments when they are so kind and sensitive and tender.  So much so that it can cause you to look around at the inward, reserved grown men in your life and think, ‘what happens in between that made you lose that?’  Let’s try to stop the cycle by kissing them when they’re loving and kissing them even more when they’re wild.  Kissing them when they’re 2 months and kissing them when they’re 16 years old.  You’re the mom – you can go ahead and kiss him no matter how big he gets – and make sure he knows it.   p.s. (this one is just as important for dad’s too).

You are home to him.  When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back.  When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile.  When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you’re the only one who will listen that many times.  When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands.  When he is sick, he will call you.  When he really messes up, he will call you.  When he is grown and strong and tough and big and he feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious.  Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun.  Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.
by Tabitha Studer

Originally appeared at Tabitha Studer’s blog, Team Studer. Reprinted with permission by the author.
Inspired by a Pin I’ve recently seen about “rules for dads with daughters,” I went searching for a similar list for moms with sons.  This search was mostly fruitless, so I was inspired to write my own Rules for Moms with Sons.  Granted, my list will not be conclusive and may not be entirely uncontroversial.  So agree, or disagree, or take with a grain of salt – but I hope to inspire other moms who are loving, and struggling, and tired, and proud, and eager to support the boys in their lives.  You are the most important woman in his life, his first teacher, and the one he will look to for permission for the rest of his life.  From “Can I go play with them?” to “Should I ask her to marry me?”  Its a big job, but as the mumma, we’re up for it.

1. Teach him the words for how he feels.
2. Be a cheerleader for his life
3. Teach him how to do laundry
4. Read to him and read with him.
5. Encourage him to dance.
6. Make sure he has examples of good men who are powerful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity.
7. Make sure he has examples of women who are beautiful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity
8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity.
9. Teach him to have manners
10. Give him something to believe in
11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle
12. Let him ruin his clothes
13. Learn how to throw a football
14. Go outside with him
15. Let him lose
16. Give him opportunities to help others
17. Remind him that practice makes perfect.
18. Answer him when he asks, “Why?”
19. Always carry band-aids and wipes on you.
20. Let his dad teach him how to do things
21. Give him something to release his energy
22. Build him forts
23. Take him to new places
24. Kiss him
25. Be home base

For more from Tabitha Studer, visit her blog, Team Studer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

How to keep your kid safe on escalators


A recent accident in Singapore
Reports suggest that the injured boy, Lucas Xie, was with his maid and brother descending on the escalator when he was pushed from behind causing him to lose balance. He fell down and landed on his left hand, which got stuck in the steps travelling downwards. The poor boy’s hand was stuck for over 10 minutes.
Lucas was rushed to KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital. There was a “hairline fracture in his middle finger” causing his blood vessels to be damaged, thus this might affect the mobility of his hand in the future.
injuredboy How to keep your kid safe on escalators
Safety tips
1. Before your child gets on… the escalator, make sure there are no lose strings on your child that will get caught—mittens, ribbons, shoe laces, other clothing or dangling items.
2. Always hold on to your child’s hand. Have your kid face forward the whole time when standing on a moving escalator.
3. No play on board. Tell them to avoid the edge of the steps, and never let them play or sit on the steps.
4. Find an alternative to the escalator. When you’re using a stroller, try to use the elevator as much as possible. In a study done across several years, there were 13,000 child-related injuries and accidents on escalators and out of that number, 723 revolved around strollers and in those cases, kids actually fell out of the stroller. It’s better to take a little time waiting for the elevator and be safe.
5. Lift your kids up. Your little ones may not have enough coordination or developmental skills to step off and instantly land on the platform—it takes good timing even as an adult. If your toddler jumps off, they might lose their balance and fall. Always lift your toddler on and off the steps of the escalator. 
6. Step over the “combs”. The combs are basically where the escalator steps vanishes into the floor below when you get on or off. There is a slight gap where your kid’s toes might be trapped. Avoid it completely by stepping over it every single time.
7. Right in the centre. Stand right in the middle if possible. It could be a tangled situation on either side of the escalator.
8. The type of shoes mattersTry to avoid wearing plastic shoes that are flexible—there have been reports of Crocs or similar types of footwear that caused accidents. Your kid may slide their footwear along the side of the escalator, which will cause friction and run the risk of getting a wedged foot.
9. Scour your surroundings. Before you get on the escalator, look around you and be aware of what is going on. You might be busy attending to your kid but do take a moment to register the stuff and people around you. You have to be aware of people on a hurry; they might shove you and your kid aside to get on. So, your best bet is to leave several empty steps empty before getting on with your child.
10. Watch your kids like a hawk. Your kid may be tempted to get a little cheeky by sitting down, facing backwards or even pick up objects that may have fallen. This could be a disaster waiting to happen, especially near the end of the ride.