Monday, May 10, 2010

The Day after Mother's Day

I am sure I have told my three children already (now 24, 21 and 16 years old), but it doesn't hurt to have it down on paper (is this paper?) before it all starts to memory that is.

What a joy it was to have all three of you. None of you was an accident, a mistake, or a regret.

Joni - how your Daddy wanted a girl for a first child! And there you were, all 8pounds 6 ounces of you. As red as a lobster you were.

No....that doesn't look like you...hmmmm.. See why I have to put all this down on record somewhere as my memory starts to go?

Actually, you were all red and crumpled up like the lasagna we had last night.

And how you turned our world upside down! How any first-born turns an adult's world upside down! Joni, at probably a couple of months old.
We actually do not have a good close-up photo of newborn Joni.

As I was nursing you, I remember being overwhelmed with the idea that this little bundle of a living thing was totally dependent on me to give it sustenance. That was scary! And I remember waking up several times in the middle of the night just to check if you were still breathing.

I remember how two weeks short of your three year old birthday, you won 2nd prize in a kids' singing competition in church.

One of the three judges nearly fell off his seat, all teary-eyed, flushed and holding on to his tummy for dear life cos he was tickled pink as you sang:

In the house and out of doors
Washing shoes and scrubbing floors

Cleaning, ironing, brewing tea
Sometimes making cha-pa-ti

I do it all for Jesus

I do it all for Jesus

I do it all for Jesus

He did so much for me!

And two and a half years after you were born, came Darren - oh my! It's a boy!

How perfect! I know I tease that I wondered if you were really mine, what with all the horror baby-exchange stories that we'd heard happening in hospitals. But those eyes that you inherited from your Chinese does make one unsure.

Darren, a couple of days old

How Joni was thrilled to bits when we brought you home from the hospital. She sang "One little Indian bo-o-oy, one little Indian boy!" (to the tune of Ten Little Indian Boys) all the way home!

Joni, with her precious little brother (see that protective hand there?)

And how innovative she was to open up the wardrobe drawers so she could climb up each drawer using it as a step so she could get a clean diaper for you.

Joni and Darren (see that protective hand there?)

Joni and Darren (see that protec......ok, ok, you get the picture)

How you loved/love to eat, young man. Feeding you was no problem at all as you'd wildly flail your arms about for me to feed you faster and you'd be done with your porridge within five minutes.

And six years after Darren,

oops. wrong pictures.


A cutie pie girl! The easiest baby of all, in terms of caring for. My alarm-clock baby who'd wake up on the dot for feeds and no in-between stirrings. At least that's what I remember.

How Joni and Darren wanted to feed you from the first day you got home. "Just a little bit of bread, Mommy, can, just a beeeeeet?" And you were carefully transferred from one to the other cos they couldn't have enough of you!

Yeah, Mother's Day is a good day to reminisce. A great day to ponder, observe, be in awe.

Has it been a joy all the way? Nope. It has been many nights crying in the darkness, too.

At one ladies' gathering, as the speaker, I shared how sometimes you make me so frustrated I'd harboured thoughts (not seriously, of course) of selling you off to the glass-bottle recycling man on his bicycle.

And that started an avalanche! The other ladies started to tell of how sometimes they'd had similar horrible thoughts, too. And how relieved they were to hear they were not alone.
Let's just say I didn't feel so bad after that either (especially when one mother said her thoughts had had been to flush her kid down the toilet! ummmm...not very maternal thoughts, huh?)

Have you grown up to be the best kids? No. But I'm not exactly the best mother, either.
Do you sometimes hurt me with your words and actions? Yes. But I do that to you, too.
But forgiveness has to reign. And unconditional love. And longsuffering. See that protective hand there? Yep, that's what it's about. Kids always teach us.

Little Joni:

Aunty Wei Ling: Joanna, your baby brother is so cute! I'll take him home, ok?

Joni, to Mum, indignantly: Mummy, put Darren back into your stomach lah!

Joni, helping to wipe the windows..

Mum, did God make DIRT?

(Joni, fashion guru. Even way back then)

Joni: Mummy, you shouldn't wear that brown dress with the squares, you know.

Me: Why?

Joni: Because that one is only for old ladies - like Granny.

(Dad, giving Joni a bath)

Joni: cold lah, Daddy.

Dad: Yes, it's chilly today.

Joni: But chilli is hot!

Dad: No, chilly is cold.

Joni: No, chilli is hot!

Little Darren

Darren, concentrating hard while 'changing ' chords on guitar:

Darren (to himself): C!

Fingers move, then: C1! (meantime, Mum's starting to wonder if there's such a chord)

A little later: C2! (now Mum's sure there isn't)

Then looks around and exclaims:

No wonder! Mummmmmmmm....where's the pickle?* *pick

Darren: Mum, ants are very hardworking, right?

Mum: Yes, they are.

Darren: Then why do we kill them?

Darren: Mum, Lionel doesn't know the name of the thing where the dead person is put into, you
know. He said 'box'.

Mum: Oh, (do enlighten me) what is it then?

Darren: I told him it's a *cafe. *coffin

So, with failing memory and before I go to my "cafe", I have found my purpose to plod on, despite great difficulty, heartache, discouragement and frustrations, to continue slogging...oops. I mean blogging.

Signing off

oops. wrong picture again. can't be me.
(cos we didn't have baby potties back then)

and I'm sure it's not one of my kids.
(cos their potty was blue)


  1. Yes, I verify all this is true.....Dad, Husband and Father to my wife and children :)

  2. sigh ... a mum's love .....

  3. Nice one Val. Made me teary eyed and i could actually see the events in my head. I am lost for words.
    (JUst in case u don't know who ... rogayah ) LOL

  4. Dad, Husband and Father to my wife and children? maybe you need to sign in with your own identity since we use the same computers?

  5. huda, yes, SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    oli, of course i know oli is rogayah.....!! thanks for faithfully following my blog, like huda. hope it makes your day and blesses your heart.

  6. Remember when Darlene and I used to correspond with you guys through snail mail when we were kids when ya'll were in Kuching? I remember how obsessed I was with the Anne of Green Gables books at one time and suggesting all the girls names from the books to you and uncle for Tammy's name before she was born! idea why I still remember that. Sheila.

  7. That was a blast, aunt val! Joni was a funny 1; singing the song and saying that chilli is hot. LOL..


  8. comment from facebook:

    Darren Ashley May 12 at 3:27pm
    HHaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! nice :D

  9. comment from facebook:

    Jell Pbuen Cheepsuksai May 12 at 9:37am
    It's so great. Your luuk sao is so beautiful jing jing kha :)

  10. comment from facebook:

    Merlvyn Kho May 12 at 1:01pm
    Nice post aunty!

  11. comment from facebook:

    Phoebe T. Lim May 12 at 11:19am
    Love your post, Valerene =)
    It's very touching and really heart warming!
    GOD bless U and all at home always!! :D

  12. comment from facebook:

    Panthakan Phanon May 12 at 8:10am
    hello, how are you doing? I like the pictures especially the one that you were in the balloon.

  13. comment from facebook:
    Zahara Manan May 12 at 7:49am
    lucky children to have such a loving mum, happy mother's day

  14. comment from facebook:

    Gabriela Adeleine May 12 at 7:07am
    thanks aunty... :)
    saw it last night, very cute laaa... :)

  15. thanks so much you guys for your comments! please do try to leave comments directly here so i dont have to transfer from facebook. i'd love to keep these comments as memories, too.

  16. sheila, i vaguely remember that anne of green gables stage. i also remember the final three names we had for tamara were kimberly, petrina and tamara. we didnt want kimberly cos we didnt want people calling her campbell's soup. we didnt want petrina - Petronas etc. now that she is tamara, they STILL manage to find her a nickname - Camera! sigh.

  17. comment from facebook:

    Trish-Con Jayallen-Jayatilaka Cuz, we thought we were bad in OZ, you take the cake. Happy belated Mothers day Val, Love Trish and Con xxx
    Yesterday at 8:25am

  18. from gmail:

    You are a wonderful writer, your wit and humor all rolled together
    makes your writing fun to read. You have lovely children and so
    do I, we are truly blessed.

    Looking forward to more.....................


  19. Such an engaging and lovely piece... Salute!
    Your kids are gorgeous! ;)

  20. Lovely post , great reminiscences and lovely kids.

  21. hehe u can always expect something different on the third one. lol.. funny cute charming and realistic post. i always thought you were a cool mom and that your kids are a privileged bunch to have you as their mom. mmhmm.

  22. hey guys, i've replied most of you personally and thanks again.

    thanga and pattie boo, appreciate your comments and awaiting YOUR posts!

    trish and con - it was great meeting up with my long lost relatives in aussie land. when are you coming back again?

    keats the sunshine girl - thank you! aren't our kids our blessings?

    sarah - well, i'm not saying EVERYTHING that goes on here at home, am i?

  23. What an amazing post! Awwwww!!! So wonderfully said straight from the heart. x

  24. message from facebook:

    I've been reading your blog and I particularly like the one entitled "The Day After Mother's Day" - your 3 babies Joni, Darren & Tammy were all soo.... cute and chubby - feel like pinching their cheeks!

    lilian low

    nice to know you have been reading my blog, lilian...and great to be in touch,too!

  25. aunty,
    i'm reading it again and honestly i can't help myself to laugh whenever it comes to the pickle part... :)

  26. gaby....make sure you record all the funny things your kids say in the future! have you seen their 21st birthday scrapbooks?

  27. What a relief to know that I'm not the only mum who is not perfect and have children who give me grief. Sigh. You're so right, forgiveness and unconditional love reigns.

  28. Shirley, thank you! sometimes we fall into a trap of wrongly believing we're alone. plus we mothers usually beat ourselves up for anything not right in the family. (men rarely think of doing that!)