Do Your Kids Use Swear Words?

Or maybe the first question ought to be, as a parent, what is your stand on your kids using swear words?

I promise this won’t be preachy – but let me first share where the inspiration for this blog came about. Two instances stand out. When Jayvon first started Kindy (this was 3 years ago, and we’d just arrived in Australia, all bright-eyed and maybe a little naive), and when I was picking him up after school, and as we were walking across the school grounds to head home, I saw one of his classmates having an angry conversation with his mother, and calling her a “f***ing b****”. And this classmate would be 6 years old – tops. But that was 3 years ago. Why bring it up now? Well, Xavier, who’s now the one in Kindy, was invited to a classmate’s birthday party, and it was a pretty informal one, held at the nearby playground. So all the kids were being their usually rowdy behaviour, all running amok at the playground. I thought I heard someone saying “f***ing b****” but quickly dismissed it. Till the hubby brought it up. It was spoken by one of Xavier’s classmates, again, 6 years old tops, and it was directed to another classmate who “dared” to invade the boys’ space. AKA a play structure that they declared to be the “boys”.

I am disturbed. Perplexed. Worried. Concerned.

Not trying to be holier-than-thou. I know of friends who can swear and cuss, and I’m a big enough girl to be able to handle swear words thrown at or around me. But while I can accept an adult using this kind of language to let off steam, hearing it from a 6-year-old is disconcerting to say the least. And since I was a distance from the particular boy (and the hubby being nearer cos he was keeping an eye on our boys who were at the structure), I could barely make out the words, but he wasn’t saying them under his breath as well!

I don’t use swear words. I would like to say I NEVER SWEAR… but I also can’t lie, and my slip-ups come especially when I am driving and particularly when someone else does something dangerously stupid. But I have a love for the English language, and a teaching instilled in me, from my pastors and leaders in church, that we should watch the words that come out of our mouths. So yes, I make the concerted effort to keep the swear words out.

It’s a tough battle, what with the Youtube and even the seemingly innocuous “Cartoon Network” which is code for cartoons that derive pleasure and laughter in being mean and obnoxious.

And my boys love it. They love these cartoons. My 8 year old enjoys watching these cartoons, he enjoys watching Youtube videos of other people playing Minecraft and all. He uses phrases like “What The!” (Which grates me), and his latest pet phrase – “idiot”. Oh and he picked up the words “shit”, and understand that “F***” is a rude word, so he spells it out to me, in the context of telling me his classmate said that in class. We make it clear to the boys that when they pick up nonsensical words and use them with glee, then it’s high time for a screen time break. But of course, they also pick it up in school. And it’s a constant tug of war.

Their friends use these words. The words sound funny and cool. But they are slowly understanding I have a low tolerance for such swear words.

“If you can’t speak in proper sentences, without using such words, then instead of watching your iPad, read the dictionary and find new words to use.” Yup, I told my 8-year-old this. I also explain what the words mean, and why the words are offensive (especially to me). It is kind of like a repeat of when they were much younger, and the words “poo poo” caused them to roll over in laughter – but I told them that words should also be used in context, and using this word to talk about something unrelated is unacceptable and silly behaviour. So it is quite the extension of what we’ve always tried to teach them.

It is an uphill battle.

I personally think it’s a lazy way to speak. And yes, I can see eyes rolling already. But that’s what I think. Rather than using words like “very”, “extremely”, “so” or other words, a simple swear word replaces it. Rather than sharing what gets you irritated, you can just spurt out little nuggets of disgust.

Simply using these words gets you in a frame of mind that is angry, frustrated, and often at a loss for words, so more such “nuggets of disgust” come rolling out.

I know of people who can’t even talk normally without peppering their speech with swear words. I may not do it, but I can take it.

But when a 6-year-old does it?

That is just so wrong. I am not judging the parents, but it is a sad thing to see.

The New ‘Kid’ On The Block – Oli6 Dairy Goat Milk Formula

Brought to you by Nuffnang and Oli6

Quiche, coffee and chit-chat with newfound friends.

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Oh, and a very informational morning spent with experts, learning more about the newest “kid” on the block – Oli6 with its brand new product line of dairy goat milk formula.

Now, back in Singapore, as a mom, I’ve heard about goat’s milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, and suitable for kids who are 12 months or over. But I must admit, that hearing it as newborn infant milk formula? Now that was a first for me.

Did I mention experts? Yeah, we had two of them speak to us, a dietitian and a university professor, who were expounding on the health benefits of goat’s milk. And I must confess, while I was captivated by the first speaker (who was sharing about her personal journey as both a dietitian and a foster parent, wanting to give the best to her foster children), when the professor walked on, I took an extra big gulp of my coffee, and a silent prayer that my long sleepless wrestle with my girl the night before would not rear its ugly head then.

But I was wrong. Sure, there were huge sounding, multi-syllabic words that were mentioned, but I was intrigued! Sure, we’ve heard of words like “prebiotics” and “probiotics” – even if we didn’t know what exactly they did once inside of us, but by golly, if that smoothie had it, we had to have it then! (Goat’s milk is a natural source of prebiotics too, by the way).

Breast is best – and that should be choice #1 if any mommy can do so. But in the event choice #1 isn’t available, or there’s no other choice, well, there’s a few choices that a parent can go for. One of the takeaways I had in this event was that the nutrition structure of goat’s milk is actually closer to breast milk compared to standard cow’s milk – now that’s something to think about for sure!

If you are looking for a formula milk, do check out Oli6 – a 100% Australian-manufactured product, available in Stages 1 to 3.

Oli6 Stage 1 to 3

Oh, and how about the taste test? Well, I took back a tin of the Stage 3 formula. My kids are past the age of drinking formula, but I use the milk powder & added chocolate powder for Xavier’s daily cup of hot chocolate which he asks for by reminding me, “Mummy, you said you will make me hot chocolate everyday…” Yes, I am held accountable to my promise to him, cos it’s $4 for a cup of hot chocolate outside when I can make the same yummy goodness in the house. And he couldn’t tell the difference! A winning formula, indeed!

The 3 Year Mark Recap: To Stay or Not To Stay?

My life in a photo

My life in a photo

Zoie turns 3 in just over a month’s time.

And this means we would have been in Sydney, Australia for almost 3 years (come June). It seems almost surreal, really, to think that Nic’s PhD journey is almost all done!

And the one thing I’ve not really bothered thinking too much of, has now come back to me in full force. To stay or not to stay, that is the question.

It’s a tough choice. All our family, our friends, our work, our church is back in Singapore. There in Singapore lies our ties, and the fact we can get the $1 cup of teh-tarik at the food centre and that $3 bowl of yummy bak chor mee. I miss church back home, miss the style of worship, I miss our weekly cell group meetings, I miss hanging out with the “gang” which has since about doubled in size (no) thanks to the number of kids between us!

And yet, there’s Australia. No doubt it has won our hearts… but perhaps the bigger pull factor is that it has won the hearts of our kids. Jayvon, being 8, has the most vivid memory of life back in Singapore. He misses the arcade back there, he misses the extended family, and he has told us on more than one occasion that he would LOVE to go back…. If he didn’t have to go to Primary School. Hahaha! (Like I said, he has memory – and those 2 months in Primary 1 has given him the shudders of the weekly spelling quizzes). Life here is so much simpler. Hardly any homework. He is in Year 3, which is his NAPLAN year, and in a recent meeting that his form teacher had with the parents, one asked how they could help the kid to get ready for NAPLAN… and the teacher’s reply was, “Don’t worry about it.” And then she moved on to the next question.

Yup, I can see all my Singaporean friends’ jaws dropping collectively right now. I feel you. I was flabbergasted too! Haha!

Jayvon, having struggled through his awkward Kindy start, and an equally challenging Year 1 & 2, has finally found his footing, learning how to balance work and play, how to work hard (he proudly tells me his accomplishments in the classroom) and play hard (for the FIRST time since we’ve come, he received 2 play date invites this year from 2 different classmates, and he was ecstatic!)

Xavier has started Kindy this year, and with his older brother in the same school, he has it MUCH easier. He has taken to hanging with Jayvon about every break that they have (much to Jayvon’s irritation cos Xavier “doesn’t let him have fun with his own friends”) but it’s been almost 2 months since the start, and Xavier’s breakthrough was in playing ball with his own classmate just last week – instead of running after Jayvon.

Zoie is enjoying herself in her childcare, having older brothers mean she enjoys playing with the older kids – and they enjoy having her too. She has her heart set on dance lessons next term, so we shall see. Haha!

They speak with an Aussie-twang (Xavier & Zoie being the most pronounced of the lot), they have the palate of Aussies (Jayvon has recently taken to asking for carrot and cucumber sticks for his recess breaks. Like… WHAT?), they can spend all day at the beach, and all in all they’ve assimilated to the Aussie way of life much, much better than Nic and me. Well, better than me anyhow. Haha!

I’ve had so many people ask me “Are you staying on in Australia?” “Are you going back to Singapore?” and if I were very honest, my answer to you then really depends on where I am in that mental battle! Hahaha! Some days I feel like we should just all go back to Singapore. It’s so much easier with friends and family around. I miss not having a regular monthly salary. I am sick of struggling with the budget all the time. I want to buy nice things for my kids. Then other days, I feel like we should just stay on in Australia. There’s so much more to offer the kids here. They have so much fun here. It’d be almost too cruel to subject them to the Primary school education back in Singapore, and to study Chinese – ohemgee, it might kill us all! Then another day, I’d be pro-Singapore once again. I would meet random strangers who gush about how they love Singapore, and I would agree. The level of security, how I can bring the kids out on my own and walk back with them at 9 p.m. without having to constantly look over my shoulder. How they would miss out on having fun with their aunties and grandparents. How they would miss out on church back home. And my job! How could I not go back to work at CHC? But then Australia tugs at my heart-strings again… and it continues.

In other words, I am still struggling. Still praying about the best decision for not just me and Nic, but for our three kids. And I know of people who’re very “for” one decision or the other, but the truth is, there is so much to weigh, that I feel it deserves a lot more thought and prayer.

I don’t envy other parents who might be in this same situation, thinking of whether or not to uproot their kids for a chance at a better life. I just think our decision was made harder – because we’ve already uprooted them once, three years ago, and if this next move is going to be easy for them.

Till then, there’s at least a year more to Nic finally graduating. A year more for me to enjoy my status as a stay at home mom, and to spend time with the trio.

Goodbye 2015… Hallo 2016!

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It’s been a while since my last post, as I get all busy with the kids and life. Before I head on to reminisce the old and welcome the new, here’s my very own, very quirky New Year greeting (taken at the Twelve Apostles)

Happy new year, and may you have the strength and grace to get through it (especially if you are a parent haha!)

Birth Story – Revisited

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The trio

Three kids. Three kids, each with their distinct personality, preference, and pointed opinions. They’ve all grown immensely since the time we packed up and left Singapore, and it’s been three long years, but yet it also seems like yesterday (as clichéd as that sounds!)

In fact, when Deborah of Owls Well invited me to post about my birth story, I readily agreed, but GOSH… it’s been a while! Haha! I had a fun time re-reading my old blog posts about Jayvon, Xavier and Zoie’s birth stories.

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Can you guess who this is? ;)

I think being my very first birth experience, Jay’s birth story holds a special place in my heart. Here’s his story with my personal edits/thoughts (in red!)

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Jayvon’s Birth Story – Looking back at 7 years ago!

Well, my gynae gave me the option, as I went for my last checkup on a week earlier (on 17 Jan) and asked if I wanted to WAIT (i.e. just go about my normal everyday life till my water bag bursts and the contractions really start) or INDUCE. Well, with hardly any hesitation, I chose to go for an induced birth – cos the thought of just WAITING & WAITING… and more importantly, NOT KNOWING WHEN would gnaw at me more than just doing it! So we decided to admit me into KKH on 23 Jan (which was the date of my expected delivery anyhow, a full 40 weeks!)
7 years later, and reading many horror stories about friends having their water bag burst in malls and restaurants, hearing accounts of births in cars and taxis… I stand by this decision. In fact, ALL three of my kids were induced too! Haha! Xavier was at 37 weeks, and there wasn’t much choice for my gynae to induce me cos I was admitted the night before with cramps and was ALREADY hooked up to the epidural. We had to leave for Sydney, and wanted Zoie to be at least 4 weeks old, so she too was induced at 37-38 weeks.
I had my last cell group meeting on the 19th, and I still remember before the meeting closed, Wenling led the members and prayed for me & the baby… And I recall telling her, after she finished praying… that the words “labour pains” almost brought tears to my eyes! The worst part about it was the anticipation of the pain that was to come. Have you seen those drama serials of how labouring women were SCREAMING as they rushed to the hospital in cabs? Gosh – I was seriously freaking out as I thought about the pain to come. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, I chose to go for an epidural. And even then, the pain of administering the epidural was horrifying in itself! (I told you I had a LOW threshold of pain … and an over-active imagination! Haha…)
Three kids later… that threshold of pain hasn’t increased AT ALL. Haha!
The morning itself, we had to reach KKH between 6 to 7am. My dad offered to drive us there, and we stopped by Kallang MacDonald’s… my last breakfast: Sausage MacMuffin with Egg Meal!
Then we reached KKH, and went directly to the Delivery Suite to be admitted. The mid-wife assigned to care for me (I forgot her name, unfortunately! But she was real sweet and made my time there very comfy) helped me to settle in and I waited for the anesthesiologist to come to administer my epidural.
All this while? No pain.
My gynae also came to examine me and told me for first-time mothers, labour would generally be 12-18 hours long. So she predicted I’d give birth by dinner time, or if all was smooth, by an early dinner.
I remember thinking… “What?! I can’t eat till then? Nooooooo…. Come out at lunch please Jayvon!” 
When the anesthesiologist came in, I braced myself for the PAIN to come. I half-thought I had to be pinned to the bed to prevent me from moving or squirming during the administering, so imagine my surprise when the doctor just told me to sit up on side of the bed, hug a pillow and bend forward. I thought… “What? No one to help me? Restrain me? What if I squirm???” And then my mid-wife came over and gently laid her hand on my wrist. So it was just all up to me to not move! Where was Nic all through this? The doctor dismissed him! Till now, we’re not too sure why he couldn’t see this part, cos he stayed throughout the delivery but I suspect… the doctor did it to minimize my whining! (I mean, I don’t know the doctor that well to be all whiney, so I had to keep SOME semblance of bravery) Haha!!!
The thought of the epidural still sends shivers down my spine (no pun intended), and I honestly don’t know how I managed to do it!
Anyhow by about 930am, I was nicely settled in and the inducement began… I was watching ChannelNewsAsia (saw the news of Heath Ledger’s sudden passing) (Heath Ledger!! :( ) and dozing off and chatting with Nic all throughout.
At about 3pm, my mid-wife taught me how to push and they found that my epidural was “too good”… that is, I really felt zero pain though my contractions were getting nearer and nearer, and the doctor had to reduce my dosage by half – cos they told me that I had to “feel the pain” in order to know when to push. So every 15 minutes, the mid-wife would ask me, “Got pain?” Pain, to me, was that kind of gut-wrenching, scream-out-loud kind of PAIN. All I had was stomach cramps and I could feel my stomach clenching but it was not painful at all, hardly what anyone would describe as pain. But at about 4 pm, as I learnt how to push, the top of my baby’s head could be seen and so the gynae was called in.
All it took was THREE PUSHES after that, and at 4.23 pm, I saw my little prince for the very first time. I never expected my labour to be so quick – cos *ahem* we didn’t take the time to attend any prenatal classes whatsoever…So it is really grace, grace.
Reading back, I am amazed. In Nic’s account, Jayvon literally “flew out” at that third push. Haha! He was as ready to get living as I was to get him out of my body!

Babies, babies, babies… I must admit  I have a soft spot when it comes to babies.

So I know the big question is… Number 4? Well…….

 

NO THANK YOU. ’nuff said.

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This post is part of the ‘Birth Stories’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other exciting birth stories please click on the picture below.

11866474_10153411125380202_4867820037871610566_nIf you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting birth stories, you can start with this one here by Shermeen over at Meeningfully.

At next week’s stop we will be visiting Daddy Andy who will share from a father’s perspective at SengKangBabies.com. His blog tries to share kids-friendly stuffs in Singapore and blog motto is “We bring you fun!”. Andy and spouse planned for two but ended up with four. (Yes, you read that right – they have 4 kids!)