Tuesday, 26 June 2012

All you need is LOVE

My three lovely kidzes ~ February 2012 | Isaac @ 4 yrs 6 mths | Asher & Shawna @ 2 yrs 1 mth
Love is a many splendoured thing.
Love lifts us up where we belong.
All you need is love!
I was made for loving you baby, you were made for loving me!

I love the Elephant Love Medley from the movie Moulin Rouge. I often sing to the kidzes bits of the song, amended as appropriate, of course! :) (Elephant Medley Originals Mix!)

I have this theory that kids understand more than you think they do. So, from the point when they were conceived, I would make it a point to talk to them like they understand, like adults, rather than baby-talk them with goo goo gaa gaas. This theory runs along closely with the "subliminal messaging" theory. Or perhaps, I should not call it "subliminal" but the "psychoing" theory of "Tell the kids something often enough, and they will believe it." Hmmm, actually, hubbs calls it "nagging". Bah! What does he know :p (lots!!!)

Another theory I have, is that siblings should grow up close, and loving each other. Life is too short to spend the first 20 years of your life hating your siblings, and spend another 5 to 10 years building a relationship with your very own siblings and parents - and that is great if you do. If you don't, it's sad, just sad. I should know, I lived like that. It wasn't only in the past five to ten years that I got closer to my sister and my parents. There are no grotesque skeletons of any sort in our pasts. Things simply were the way they were because of the usual circumstances of a combination of factors: full time working parents, sister and I got distributed to the the paternal and maternal grandparents for them to take care of, coupled with the growing pains of puberty. My parents were also the typical Asian stereotype of their generation where they were not into hugging nor saying "I love you"s, at all.

Hence, I formulated my plan even before I had kids.
My objectives were simple:
  • To let the kidzes know that hubbs and I would love them, always. (Even when we scold them, or beat them, or say NO to everything they want.)
  • To have the kidzes love each other, always. (Even if they annoy and irritate each other, and quarrel and fight - they should still love each other.)
Isaac with Papa & Mummy circa November 2007 | Isaac @ 3 months
With all my theories and my plan in mind, I started with Isaac. I started from the day he was conceived. In my tummy, when I spoke to him, I told him that I loved him. When he was an infant,  I would constantly hold him close, hug him, sniff him, kiss him and tell him that I loved him. When he was a baby, I started singing to him songs with lyrics that I made up, telling him that I loved him. I once told myself that I must kiss him at least 50 times a day and say "I love you, Isaac" to him at least 10 times a day. I don't think I hit this quota everyday, but I certainly tried my best.

There's this exchange I used to have with Isaac very often. It still happens every now and then. It used to be a daily affair though... Here's how it started:

Me: "I love you Isaac. Can I have a hug and a kiss, please?"
Isaac:"Okay" He hugs and kisses me once.
Me:"Thank you! I love your hugs and kisses! I'm gonna kiss you back! I'd give you... 5 kisses!"  and I proceed to peck him on his cheek 5 times in a row.
Isaac:"I also give you 5 kisses!" then he kisses me, like, 8 times. (he miscount - at that time, he was very young, like two and half years old)
Me:"Wow! You gave me 5 kisses plus 3 bonus kisses! I'm going to give you 10 kisses!" and I give him 10 kisses.
Isaac:"I also give you 10 kisses!"then he kisses me like 12 times...

After Isaac learnt the concept of "Bonus kisses" he was very amused by it and often used it. His counting also got better so that he doesn't miscount...

Me:"I love you, Isaac! Can I have 10 kisses pleeeeaase?"
Isaac:"I love you, Mummy. I will only give you 5 kisses."
Me:"5 only? Not 10?"
Isaac:"No, 5 only."
Me:"Okay, 5 kisses is good too." Isaac proceeds to kiss me 5 times.
Isaac:"Now, I will give you 10 bonus kisses!!!"
Me:"Wow!!! 10 bonus kisses!!! yay!!!" and he proceeds to kiss me 10 more times :)

Isaac was exactly 2 years and 5 months old when Asher & Shawna were born. He loved them, but he also begrudged them for "taking me away from him" for I had to spend a lot of time breastfeeding the twins. I knew that I had to work doubly hard with Isaac and the twins, to get them to consciously love one another. I did not want Isaac to be jealous of Asher & Shawna.
Isaac, Asher & Shawna circa January 2010 - twins were just born! Isaac @ 2 yrs 5 months
We often placed the twins on a single mattress that was placed beside our king sized mattress. Isaac loved to lie down on the mattress with them. But everytime he did, something like the following conversation would ensue...

When the twins were just a few months old...
Isaac:"Mummy, Asher kick me."
Me:"Isaac, it's okay, he didn't do it on purpose, it was accidental."
Isaac:"You say accidental also must say 'sorry', right?"
Me:"Yes, but he's a baby, he can't talk yet. I'd say sorry for him okay?"
Me:"Sorry, kor kor."
Isaac:"Mummy! Shawna beat me!"
Me:"She didn't beat you. She's just touching you. She wants to sayang ("love" in Malay) you, that's all."
Isaac:"Mummy, Asher kick me again!"
Me:"Isaac, the babies are not doing anything, they are just moving. If you don't want them to touch you at all, don't lie down next to them. Now you're lying in between them, they're sure to touch you."
Isaac:"But I like to lie down with them."
Me:"Oh, that's nice. You're right, I like to lie down with them too. But see, when they touch me or accidentally kick me, I know they did not intend to hurt me, so I'm not complaining. Also, it wasn't even painful at all when they kicked, coz they're so small! Were you hurt when Asher accidentally kicked you? Is it painful?"
Isaac:"No. Not pain."
Me:"Ah, that's good. So, don't be angry with Asher and Shawna okay? They just want to love you."

Soon, Isaac got used to the twins, and them moving around touching him, and accidentally kicking or hitting sometimes, but he didn't complain much anymore (only when it really hurt). Then we started to have conversations like those below...

Isaac:"Mummy, why Shawna keep touching my face?"
Me:"Because she loves her kor kor Isaac. She wants to sayang you. She loves you so much, so she wants to get to know you. She does this by touching your face."
Isaac:"Mummy, Asher keep pulling my shirt. And he climb on me!"
Me:"*laugh* Yes! wow! He loves you so much, isn't it? He wants to play with you coz he loves you."
Isaac:"Mummy, Shawna pull my hair and poke my eyes!"
Me:"Oh no! Shawna, please be gentle! I know you love kor kor Isaac and want to play with him, but you must learn to be gentle with kor kor, you can hurt him when you poke his eyes and pull his hair, so please don't do that. Isaac, are you okay?"
Isaac:"Yes. She just loves me so much, right?"
Me:"Yes she does. Coz you're such a good kor kor. And Asher loves you too."

Nowadays, one of the favourite activities of the kidzes is: body pile! They love to climb on top of each other and just pile onto each other, laughing away. Though sometimes the twins are a bit rough on Isaac coz they don't know they strength. So usually, once I see a body pile coming on and one of the twins go pile on Isaac, I quickly go "See Asher so love you, Isaac! He loves to play with you... Oh and Shawna too! They love you so much!!! Be gentle!!! Take care of kor kor! Love him! Don't hurt him!!!"
Isaac, Asher & Shawna July 2010 | Asher & Shawna @ 7 months | Isaac @ almost 3 yrs old

I would constantly talk to Isaac this way; I still do. Though, of course, we adapt as we go along. When the twins were old enough to start snatching things from Isaac, he got very frustrated. This is how our conversations go...

Isaac:"Mummy!!! Why every time I have something, Asher or Shawna will want it?!"
Me:"That's because they love you, Isaac. They are curious to see what you have. They know that if you have something, it must be good coz they think you are very good. That's why they want it."
Isaac:"But every time also they snatch from me!"
Me:"Asher and Shawna shouldn't snatch, they should ask nicely from you. But they really love you, it is just that they are so young, so they don't know how to ask. So we must teach them how to ask properly, and not to snatch."
Isaac:"Then why every time I do something, Asher and Shawna also wants to do?!"
Me:"That's because they love you so much. They love you so much, they want to be just like you. Just like how you love Mummy and Papa so much, that every time we do something or have something, you also want. Right?"
=> This comparison drives home the point so strongly that Isaac is dumbfounded. So now he understands why the twins always wants whatever he has, and wants to do whatever he does. He still gets frustrated sometimes, but at least he understands. Now, sometimes, he says to me

Isaac:"Mummy, I know Asher and Shawna love me so much that's why they always want to do what I do - so I let them try."
Me:"That's great, Isaac! You're such a good kor kor! No wonder they love you so much! I love it when you're such a good boy!"
Isaac BEAMS :)
Isaac, Asher & Shawna circa second half of 2010 | Isaac @ 3 yrs plus | Asher & Shawna @ 6 to 12 months
And Isaac really is such a great kor kor (Teochew for "older brother"). Most of the time he is very sweet and patient with Asher and Shawna. He talks to them, he plays with them, he shares with them, he teaches them... though some times I know he does it to elicit praise from me, but there are also many many times I have seen him been loving and kind to his brother and sister even though he didn't know I was looking. Certainly, there are also times where he gets frustrated with them and screams at them, or refuses to share with them, but Isaac is as human as the rest of us, he has his down times too. On the whole, the three of them get along most of the time and play well together.

I'm glad my plan worked. I also know that this is an ongoing project, and I hope and pray it would continue to work. I am confident it will, coz we need is love. To (sorta) quote Jesus and JK Rowling:"The greatest power in the universe, is Love." Fortunately, we have that in abundance.Do you?


  1. Love is an abstract noun. So complex, yet is so essential.

    Some will understand and feel love at its very core... and your family is fortunate to be able to know Love.

    'Love' the pics of Love!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, couldn't resist dragging out old pix :) Abstract noun, indeed!

  2. Hey Pam. Joan here. Just read this post. I am so impressed at the way you bring your kids up and teach them. I dont know Isaac but I can already tell that I will love him when I meet him.

    1. Hey Joan, thanks for compliments :) Yes, we really ought to organise a proper gathering sometime!

  3. Lol on body pile!!!! Love this post and love the pics!:)

    1. Yeah they love body pile and Isaac's invariably at the bottom of it! :) Thanks!

  4. Love all the pictures and the post! Wah lau! This post make me want to have a herd of kids! You remind me so much of my 2nd sister. Always manage to turn a child's negative behaviour into something so loving and positive. Teach me leh!

    1. Yes, heard you're working hard on making #2! Wooohooo!!! Way to go!!! I'd go work on more posts like these! :)

  5. Love is contagious too, I'm smiling already!

    1. Smile and the whole world smiles with you! yay! :)

  6. hello.. i used to be in NCC in tanglin secondary and i think your husband (mr tan) remembers me. hahaha. does he remember a saleha? :) anyway, it may come as a great surprise but i actually occasionally read your blog! i don't know why but i enjoy reading it!

    1. Hi Saleha, thanks for reading our blog. Happy to know you enjoy reading it. He may or may not remember your name, but he'd definitely remember you face when he sees you, I'm sure! :) Will let him know you commented on this post :)

  7. Really well done and good effort. I like the improvisations. P it really is not easy and I am very happy to see that Isaac is turning out to be such a gor gor.

    Will file it somewhere in my brain in the event if I end up having #2.

    1. Yeah, Isaac's doing very well as a big brother - other than during the times when he's tired and cranky hahaha. Have #2!!!

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