Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Of Giants, Stones, and Little Girls Who Bite

One of my main quests on my journey of motherhood is figuring out a way to reach the hearts of my boys. Mark and I believe that winning their hearts is the only way to ensure that we will be their first line of defence as they get older and face a world which is confusing yet alluring; we pray that we will always be one of the first voices they seek in the midst of relativism and blurred points of view. As Christians, we believe that knowing their hearts will pave the way for them to know the most important heart of all, their heavenly Father's heart.

I have been pondering a great deal about the centrality of relationships in parenting, largely due to our very feisty 3-year-old who has been a completely different kettle of fish to parent as compared with his big Kor Kor. Our spirited one who does everything with thrice the amount of energy and enthusiasm as the rest of us; whose emotions are as fickle as the weather in England; whose main struggle at the moment is expressing how he feels in words, though he is extremely capable of being verbal when he is calm and having a good day. He delights us daily with his insight, wit and fascinating explorations, and also leaves us flat out at the end of each day, having been hit by the whirlwind of emotions, words and ideas that come with the privilege of parenting him.
The energy & enthusiasm of little E!
His fears are as large as his very active imagination, and when he is able to express them, he talks of soldiers with swords, scary monsters in the darkness, and bad men coming to take him away. All that most people see, though, at these points of insecurity, are a small but furious little fellow with a big temper and angry words to go with it.

As parents, we often make the illogical leap from Point A (He/ She is my child) to Point B (I of course would know everything about him/ her.) If we think really hard about it, parenting is just like any other relationship. Just because they are our own doesn't mean anything, really, at the start. In any relationship, be it a courtship or marriage or a business relationship, getting to know the other person takes time and effort. 

When a baby is born, it takes a while for the parents to begin to discern its different cries for hunger, a wet diaper, or just to be picked up. We spend a lot of time listening out for their cries and trying to read the meanings behind their behaviour. Yet we forget when the kids become "tantruming" toddlers and whiny preschoolers, or angsty adolescents, to continue to listen out for the cries of their hearts and the meanings behind the words that they say.
The only way to get to know our children is to spend time with them; to
play with them; to laugh with them; to cry with them. It's when we journey through
life's ups and downs - that's when we truly get to know them.
I was telling Mark at dinner one night that I still felt I had not truly gotten a grasp of how to parent our little E, having only been acquainted with him for 3 years (the length of time he's been on this earth), and that I was praying for insight into his little heart. I want to know what makes him respond the way that he does, and I want to see these things from a divine perspective rather than that of a human onlooker who might come to a very different conclusion when viewing his feistiness of character and tendency to dig in his heels no matter what the circumstance. I prayed that we might find a way to be that bedrock for him amidst the many insecurities and fears which others might not see, hidden beneath his bravado and seemingly confident exterior.

Our spirited one often chooses to jump barefooted into whatever activities he chooses.
But sometimes what we see is not always what is deep inside...
God somehow provided a way in, when after dinner at the playground that evening, our little one came running up to me and said, "Mummy, I'm scared. Jesus will protect me from the scary monsters in the darkness?" 

"Yes, He will, E."

Another round up and down the slides, and back again. 

"And God will protect me from the soldiers with swords? And the bad men who will come and take me away?"

"Yes, E. He promises to keep you safe."

Another round, and he doubles back and asks, "How about the small girls who bite?"

We all burst into laughter. E's fears are assuaged and he runs back to join his brother in play. While we ponder in amusement at his final question, on a more serious note, I have been reminded that the way to get to his heart is to show him the heart of a Father who loves and protects him.
Our spirited son always enjoys a good story - especially when he can spice it up
with lots of embellishments! 
At bedtime, when I go into his room to give him his milk, he says, "Mummy, will you pray for me? That Jesus will protect me from the monsters and enormous giants?" I do. He asks for his favourite Bible story at the moment, that of the young shepherd boy David who fights lions and bears, and finally his biggest enemy of all, the giant Goliath, whom he takes down with a single pebble from his sling.

E peppers the story with his own commentary, adding in details from the Bible stories which Mark tells the boys every night. "David was a brave boy, Mummy. God protected David from the bad enormous giant," he declares with gusto, before we end the night with the all-time favourite Sunday School song about David. "... And the giant came tumbling down!"

E beams in the darkness and lies down, happy and assured. I know I still have a long way towards knowing and understanding his little heart, but thank God that the battle is not mine to fight, for the battle for his heart belongs to our God - and it's not mine to win, because it's already been won by a Mighty God.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Pocket Full of Oils: Essential Oils for the Weary Mom

Essential oils have become part of our family's everyday routine.
We diffuse Lavender in the boys' room at bedtime
for a good night's sleep. 
It's been a few months since we first began our journey into the world of essential oils by Young Living. Although I haven't had the time to blog much about the oils, they've pretty much become part of our family's life since then, and our go-to remedy for almost every ailment our family encounters. 

I'm actually very happy with the way it's turned out, as it's much more appealing a thought to be applying some therapeutic-grade Lavender or Thieves to counter a headache or soothe a sore back than to be popping a Panadol or some other pain-relief medication. 

And, believe me, as a tired mother of two extremely active and precocious boys, I have been needing all the help I can get!

Yes, our two boys who keep us on our toes from dawn to dusk, 24/7!
It was of great interest to me that essential oils were featured in the papers today as being used by parents to help with various health conditions in their children, ranging from sleep challenges to the common cold.
Ms Faith Teo, 38, an independent distributor for Young Living Singapore and a mother of two, sees the trend as part of a bigger movement among parents towards feeding their children organic food and using chemical-free products at home.

She says the oils can be used on babies for conditions such as colic and gas. She adds that they also help them sleep better, regulate their bowel movements, relieve discomfort during teething and calm them.

For older children, the oils can reportedly be used to support their immune, respiratory, musculo- skeletal and other body functions and systems.

The oils can be applied on the skin or diffused into the air. For children under two, the oil is best diluted before use.

Some parents apparently use these oils to relieve symptoms of common ailments such as cough and cold and to bring down the temperature in a feverish child and for chronic conditions such as asthma and eczema.

- "Feeling Poorly? Dab Some Essential Oil" in The Straits Times, 8 November 2015
The oils have indeed been of benefit to the health of our children, and we have been grateful for these natural remedies which complement the traditional methods of dealing with coughs, colds and tummy aches. However, my husband and I have also found them to be helpful for us both as we face packed schedules and long days at work and at home.
Oils for the Weary Mum: Some of my favourites!
It was a challenging period for me during the recent haze period, as the pollutants in the air triggered asthmatic attacks which I had not had for several years. One by one, each family member came down with a nasty phlegmy cough and a sore throat which seemed to take ages to subside. I was exhausted caring for my sick kids while operating at less than ideal breathing conditions. How we take for granted each breath that we breathe!
Anyway, I have decided to do a short rundown on the Young Living oils that have helped us as a family, both in the period when we battled the haze, as well as on a daily basis. These are some of my favourite choices for busy and tired moms!
1) Lavender 
Lavender is also known as the "swiss army knife" of oils. It can be used for all sorts of things, and because of its mild nature, it's safe for use with children as well, though be sure to dilute it 1:1 with V6 oil (or an alternative vegetable oil) when used for the first time. We diffuse it in the boys' room every night for a calm and restful sleep. I also tend to use it for mosquito bites, or any minor grazes and cuts. It also helps ease tired muscles and tension headaches.

2) Peppermint

Peppermint is my favourite oil. It is refreshing and the only oil which worked during the haze when I was congested and needed some immediate relief. I also inhale a drop of it on the days when I have work and am feeling fatigued. I love the scent, and so does everyone else whom I have offered it to! I offer a drop to Mark when he is feeling fatigued while driving. It helps him to stay alert on the road, which is of utmost importance to our safety as a family.

3) Thieves

Thieves is a natural antiseptic. Legend has it that it was a remedy which grave robbers came up with for protection against the nasty bacteria they would have encountered as an occupational hazard. It is potent! My hubby ingests a drop of it under his tongue when nursing a sore throat. The effect, shall we say, is immediate, though be warned that the long term benefits require some short-term endurance as the Thieves oil does it sterilising work in one's throat. I am more cowardly and prefer to rub a drop or two on my hands and inhale it. Studies have shown that a drop of Thieves kills more bacteria than some hand sanitisers.

4) DiGize

DiGize stands for "Digestive Energizer". It is the replacement for the Chinese medicated oil I used to use when having a tummy upset or suffering from food poisoning. Interestingly, it also kind of smells the same! I find that just rubbing a drop on my stomach brings instant relief. It eases the pain, aids digestion and helps with nausea. It also has been helping my kids with their tummy aches and constipation.

5) R.C.

R.C. is milder than Thieves. When I ran out of Thieves during the haze, I tried R.C. instead. Because of its mild nature, it was suitable for application on my kids as well, and tided us through the period when they had nasty coughs. I applied a drop on our N95 masks before putting them on, which made the wearing of the masks much more pleasant for all of us. It clears sinuses effectively.

We are now under the Essential Rewards Program for Young Living Oils. It seems as if they have become a part of our family's wellness regime. They are certainly not cheap, but we have decided to continue with the oils for now as they have been of benefit not just to the boys, but have helped Mark and myself cope with the fatigue and tiredness which can come with being parents to two active boys and dealing with the demands of work.

If you would like to find out more about the Young Living Oils, do drop an email at, or leave a comment on our blog. This post  explains very clearly what the various options for purchasing the oils are.

We are offering a promotion for the month of November - the first 2 blog readers to sign up with us* for the Essential Rewards Program will receive a free special Relax & Rejuvenation Package (total value of $101)!

The package comprises a 15 ml bottle of Lemon Essential Oil, a "Brain Break" Kit from our sister store, Sensational Play, and a Basic Starter Kit from Young Living Oils.**

*Do quote our Young Living Membership #2948003 should you decide to sign up directly with Young Living :)

**You will receive the Basic Starter Kit when you sign up as an Essential Rewards Member with Young Living Oils

(The Basic Starter Kit has a retail value of $63 and comes with 1 5ml Stress Away oil, 10 sampler packets of the popular oils and blends, 10 1 ml sample bottles, 4 Slique Tea sachets, a Slique bar, and a roller fitment to transform a Young Living bottle into a convenient roll-on. We remember fondly our first Basic Starter Kit and how much we enjoyed using the oils!)
Young Living Basic Starter Kit