When Mama isn’t enough

Piglet: Mama, do you love me?

Me: Why yes, Piglet.

Piglet: Are you sure?

Me: Oh yes, with all my heart.

Piglet: Really? Really?

Me: Yes, dear. Really.

Piglet: How much do you love me?

Me: One hundred and ten percent!

Piglet: What’s that?

Me: I love you. One. hundred. and. ten. percent.

Piglet: What does that mean, Mama?

Me: It means, “More than more.”

He pauses. Then smiles. Then runs off to do what four year old boys do best.

That’s right, Piglet. I love you more than more.

 

 

****

Like any other four year old, Piglet loves extra cuddles at bedtime.

But every child is different just as no two snowflakes are identical, and when Piglet was only three years old he surprised me with an endearing goodnight greeting as I tucked him in.

It was this:

Piglet (to me): Goodnight, palak paneer.

(Palak paneer is a vegetarian North Indian dish consisting of spinach and paneer in a thick sauce made from puréed spinach and seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices – Wikipedia.)

Me (to him): Goodnight, roti canai.

(Roti canai or roti prata is a type of Indian-influenced flatbread found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – Wikipedia.)

Needless to say, Piglet was delighted with my response and this special goodnight exchange still features occasionally on some evenings with a few winks thrown in for good measure.

But this week another recurrence of palak paneer and roti canai during our bedtime circuit made me reflect on Piglet’s recent question, “Do you love me?” and our conversation that followed.

It struck me suddenly how my answer was both true and false.

True, because I really do love Piglet more than he can imagine. More and more.

False, because every day I can recount instances in which my love for him has been far from perfect, muddied here and there with the likes of a glare for dilly-dallying over dinner or when my patience is worn thin stretched out by other needs.

And so one morning during our breakfast of oats and cranberries and honey I fessed up to Piglet.

I told him how much I really do TRY to love him one hundred and ten percent but there was no way I could do it perfectly no matter how hard I tried.

He looked at me, not quite comprehending.

So I said again, “Piglet, you know I love you.”

He nodded.

“But I’m like you,” I went on. “I make mistakes. Like the time you spilled the water and I got angry? You know, I wish I didn’t make mistakes. But I do and I always will. You make mistakes, don’t you? But that doesn’t mean you don’t love me, right?”

He got that.

This only-four-year-old got that.

And we got on to talking about what really mattered.

Because what REALLY matters in the big scheme of things is not so much Piglet or me or our failures, but the God Who Is Above It All.

Not that our mistakes don’t matter, but that God can redeem them.

He can help us make it right.

He is a God of second chances.

And you know what, Piglet? God our heavenly Father never makes mistakes.

He will always love you perfectly. One hundred and ten percent perfectly.

I’m trying my level best, Piglet. You don’t know how much it hurts to think of the ways I’ve let you down. But when I’m in that place that makes you feel you can’t make me understand what you need, you can cry to God and ask Him to help me understand.

You can tell Him how mad and sad you feel.

You can always be sure He will do the best for you.

Oh, I’m so glad God is carrying you in His everlasting arms.

He can do what I cannot.

He can go where I cannot go.

His hand is upon you day and night.

He can make all things work together for good for those who love Him.

He will never leave you or forsake you. EVER.

His plans for you are perfect.

Know my God, Piglet.

And walk with Him.

 

“And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

(Piglet: 4yo 4mos.)

 

Review: Happikiddo at Quill City Mall

I am not a shopping fan.

The very thought of going shopping with four kids and then not finding what I need puts me off.

So when Happikiddo invited me to the launch of their biggest store in Malaysia on 15 April 2015 and to write a review, I obliged with more than average expectations.

Apart from my personal considerations of time and logistics of traveling with a large family, there are a number of points on my checklist when it comes to shopping – store location, size and layout, product range and budget (because, four kids!).

Location

Photo source: Happikiddo

Photo source: Happikiddo

The brand new Happikiddo store is conveniently located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at Quill City Mall. Just a short drive along Jalan Sultan Ismail and you’re there. I was there on a Wednesday afternoon after lunch and parking was a breeze. No hassles or confusing turns upon entry and exit.

Size and layout

The new store has a floor space of over 6,000 square feet. That’s good because the bigger the size, the bigger the possibilities. It’s brightly lit, with well organised aisles. Apart from only a few tight corners, there’s sufficient space overall for a small-sized stroller to move about and in between.

Photo source: Happikiddo

Photo source: Happikiddo

Product range

Happikiddo prides itself as a one-stop parenting store – and for good reason. It offers over 100 international brands with more than 10,000 products. There’s baby food, educational toys, feeding essentials, toiletries, travel gear, apparels, books, even nursery furniture.

According to Happikiddo’s founder and Managing Director, Elaine Chew, Happikiddo’s mission is to make parenting “fun and interesting with a refreshing twist”. The store therefore offers “cool kids’ stuff” and “trend-forward products hand-picked by mums for mums”.

Touring the store, I was impressed with the wide range of products available and also at the quality of the items for sale. The store offers imported brands that are exclusively sold there such as RICE from Denmark, WABA Fun from Sweden, Steiff from Germany and more.

You’ll find all sorts of feeding items that are BPA-free, from baby chopsticks to milk storage bags to multi-function food scissors that cut, mash AND pick up food. Some of the brands I like – BEABA, Kidsme, First Years.

BEABA

Look at these cool bibs and foodie bags.

Bibs food bags

You’ll also find plush organic toys by MiYin and a wide range of lovely, lovely wooden ones by Anamalz and Hape.

MiYin Anamalz Hape

A wide range of really nice play pretend toys for babies and young children.

Play pretend toys

The nature-loving mama in me spent the longest time in the store gazing at Schleich. Beautifully crafted.

Schleich

Strollers, classy nursery furniture and other sleeping solutions.

Strollers Nursery furniture

Up-to-date sports equipment for the happy and healthy rambunctious boy and girl.

kids sports equipment

Good quality, long-lasting swim wear for kids by CHEEKAABOO.

CHEEKAABOO

As a cloth diapering mama, I was glad to see my favourite brand of cloth diapers there (GroVia) as well as a pretty range of bamboo wipes, but was a little disappointed at the limited range of cloth diaper brands available. According to Happikiddo, there will be some in-store surprises this year so I’m hoping more brands will find their way in. Any effort to reduce the usage of disposables (which aren’t really “disposable”, environmentally) helps.

GroVia

Happikiddo also offers a whole variety of carefully selected items for mothers, from trendy and comfortable nursing wear to breast pumps and organic lotions by popular brands Blue Oak Valley and Tanamera.

Mums goods

Racks of chic clothes for children, from onesies to ballerina tutus, sweet dresses to glittery shoes for girls.

WP_20150415_058

An extensive range of baby food, organic and non-organic.

Baby food

You’ll also find miscellaneous but really helpful items like nifty cleaning brushes for those hard-to-reach bottle nooks and crannies, and toilet seat covers! Get these if you think it’s too much trouble to line a public toilet seat with toilet paper before Junior sits on it. (Wait, you DO line the seat, don’t you?)

toilet seat covers

I laughed when I saw natural cockroach and lizard repellent! (These Happikiddo gals think of almost everything, don’t they?) Really helpful items to avoid poisoning the air and occupants in our homes. I’m not sure how effective these are but they might be worth a try, no?

There’s even non-toxic nail polish somewhere at the cashier but I didn’t snap a pic.

My conclusion on product range? Happikiddo is the place to go for high-end, quality and super cool products for babies, children and mothers. You natural-loving, environmentally-friendly and chic mamas will like this place. Note that their products are “trend-forward”. I didn’t find the old fashioned terry nappies (lampin) and nappy hooks I was looking for so it’s back to my regular baby shop in SS2 for those.

Budget

You pay for what you get, so prices here range from medium to high.

Family cafe

Happikiddo at Quill City Mall also features a family café with a warm and inviting atmosphere, named Big Daddy Little Chefs. After all that browsing and shopping, one can work up an appetite!

Photo source: HappikiddoPhoto source: Happikiddo

The café offers a thoughtfully-created menu comprising local and fusion dishes that cater to the needs of all ages. Check out its offerings.

Big Daddy Little Chefs menu

Porridge with blitzed kampung chicken says something good about this Cafe!

Dishes are served using pretty melamine tableware by RICE, a chic and socially-responsible Danish homeware and accessories brand.

You can choose to sit at the bar, or at the adult-sized tables, or settle down with toddlers at tables suited to their height. The high chairs are clean, comfortable and inviting too.

Our older kids love chess and checkers so I’m guessing this table will suit them just as well!

Our older kids love chess and checkers so I’m guessing this table will suit them just as well!

Big Daddy Little Chefs also has a well-equipped play area to keep children occupied while you eat. In it are assorted baby toys in a low basket, a toy cooking station, an interesting variety of toy trucks and other vehicles in a lovely sensory play area containing citrus woodchips from Korea. These woodchips have “a natural scent” and are touted to be anti-bacterial, anti-mozzie and provide healing for various ailments such as such as sinus, asthma, eczema. (Woodchips can do all that?) Perfect for natural-loving parents who shudder away from plastic-ridden play areas with TV entertainment (no screens for my toddler, thank you!)

Photo source: HappikiddoPhoto source: Happikiddo

Big Daddy Little Chefs also runs baking workshops occasionally, and caters to birthday parties and celebrations of all budgets.

Store contact details

Happikiddo currently has four stores in the Klang Valley, including Mum Over The Moon – a sister brand which offers the latest products for mums and mums-to-be.

  1. Happikiddo Citta Mall. Lot No. F23-F25, 1st Floor, Citta Mall, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.  Tel.: +603-7859 9330
  2. Happikiddo Quill City Mall. Lot No. 2.26 – 2.31, 2nd Floor, Quill City Mall, 1018 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.  Tel.: +603-2602 1596
  3. Happikiddo Publika. Lot No. 9 Level UG 1, Publika Shopping Gallery, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur.  Tel.: +603-6206 1830
  4. Mum Over The Moon. Level G3-49, Publika Shopping Gallery Tel.: +603-6211 2258

Happikiddo’s website at www.happikiddo.comis currently undergoing a revamp and will be ready soon. Check them out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Happikiddo), Instagram (@thehappikiddo) and Twitter (@happikiddo).

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

The hard work of capturing joy

She calls out to me and I glance up at her breathless giggle, forgetting the weeds momentarily.

Mama, look!

My heart stops in my throat at her girly smile all of eight years old going on nine in a few weeks, marveling at the sensation of mud oozing between her toes and the sticky smear of soft brown clay on her ankles.

Can I? May I?

I muster just enough courage to nod because she’s fast becoming a magnet for two younger sibling boys who suddenly find garden spades and sticks and worms uninteresting and look as if they’re envisioning a thousand and one possibilities presented in one gooey, mucky pit.

In that split second I can almost see mud splats being traipsed into a house I cleaned at 1.20 a.m. and a pail full of laundry I don’t want to deal with.

But in that moment it somehow seems unjust to deny three children the pleasure of just being children.

And in that moment also I see the day when this innocent allure of a mud patch will be replaced perhaps by nervy driving lessons or 17 checks in the mirror daily or hours of cramming for exams.

I bite my tongue and peer at them through glasses that now sit on the tip of my sweaty nose and turn back quickly.

I daren’t look.

Squishy sticky sounds and squeals of laughter emerge from the corner next to the young passion fruit vine and marigolds that reflect the warmth of the evening sun.

I am caught unguarded by their wonder and all of their childhood that’s going by too quickly.

Snarls of weeds, too many and with roots going in a mile long. For now, they can wait.

Their raw undisguised joy reaches out to envelope my aching arms as I sit back and I can feel the chaos of a day with four children trying to talk to me all at once spiraling away, whisked far far away along with the evening breeze.

This living playfulness day in day out has occasionally ended in tears and clocked in a considerable amount of exhausting moments in which I want to retreat to a sound proof room or pack them all up in a suitcase.

And yet it makes me pause, gifts me with what can happen when I remember to live in the extraordinary ordinary present and allow myself to stop long enough to breathe and look with eyes that see and listen with ears that hear and play with a spirit of come what may in between the homework and the cooking and the laundry and the muted phone beeps and the pile of work papers.

There is so much to treasure and gain beyond What Is Convenient To Me.

This grueling glorious work of growing young seedlings, loosening the soil so they can breathe, training them to remain as branches on a Vine, loving with warmth and firmness, this is a vocation threatened to be choked out by the stubborn weeds of personal weakness, the distractions of things that will never last for eternity and the weight of other adult responsibilities.

I heave and dig passionately into the ground again, deeper deeper and deeper until I grasp the weed bulbs and yank them out.

Overhead, the open sky and the billowing clouds sail past and I feel God watching us.

Hard at work, hard at play.

 

seedlings

 

This post was written two weeks ago on my phone in the midst of So Much Happening over the past few months. I’ve been busy with work, homeschooling, Parenting talks and doubling up at home chores while the Man has extra things on his plate. Thank you for stopping by!