I struggled to open up my eyelids as my body squirmed beneath the cozy comforter, facing the teal-colored blackout curtains with a ray of light filtering through a little gap between the panels. It was a brand new day. A kiss was planted on my forehead before my husband walked out the door. My right arm reached out to the iPhone and it read 8:10AM.
There was no sign of Annakate being awake; I love quiet and calm mornings. Deep inside my heart I knew she was about to wake up at any minute. I contemplated whether I should kick myself out of bed but I kept hugging onto my body pillow while browsing through the notifications on my iPhone.
8:18AM. “God, thank you for a good night sleep. I need more patience and fortitude to deal with my toddler today. Grant me wisdom in raising this child.” Before I could end the simple prayer, there were cries coming out from the other bedroom. “God, be with me today! Amen!”
I jumped out of bed and dashed into Annakate’s bedroom to find her with a stream of tears rolling down those chubby cheeks. With a big hug and a tight grip around my neck, she continued sobbing and I figured that my little toddler was complaining about how I did not come to her rescue as quick as lightning.
“Good morning, my dear girl. Don’t cry. Mommy’s here. Mommy’s not going anywhere without you,” I comforted her as I carried the 23-lb toddler in my arms.
Without any further delay, she pointed at my chest and said “Neh! Neh! Neh!” It was her way of saying Please. I sat down in the armchair in her room, and there, she was happily having her breakfast in my embrace. It was just a sweet moment of unbreakable connection between a mother and her daughter. Her almond-shaped eyes amaze me each time I breastfeed her.
“God, thank you for this amazing child that You have blessed me with. Annakate is a gem and she has brought me boundless joy. I have watched her grow strong and healthy each day. Thank You, Lord, for your guardian angels. Help me to raise her right in Your eyes. Ouchhhhhhh!” My prayer was interrupted. Her tiny little hand pinched my love handles while she was still being nursed. “That hurts, KK! Don’t pinch me, please!” I said as I patted her head gently.
The very second she emptied out my milk factory, she wriggled away from my arms and headed straight to her basket of toys at the hallway. Watching her play with the teapot and the teacups pretending to sip-and-aah put a smile on my face. Her high level of imagination was something I did not expect.
As I drew the curtains apart with my outstretched arms, the rays of brightness cast in and the master bedroom was once again filled with illuminating freshness. It did not take me long for me to realize that there was a monster growling in my tummy.
Breakfast was served to the excited little one who was buckled up in the high chair. Praying that she would not waste the bowl of oatmeal cereal, I gulped down my protein shake and began to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher. Just as the last plate was placed in the cabinet, I heard a thump. Something had dropped onto the floor. I turned around and the sweet angel said, “Uh oh!” Her bowl was face down on the carpeted floor.
“Annakate!! How many times have I told you not to throw your food and your bowl onto the floor? Mommy doesn’t like…” Before I could even finish my sentence, she pushed the sippy cup off her tray onto the floor.
“Annakate!! Stop that! We do not throw things on to the floor!” My tone of speech was definitely unfriendly along with the stern look given to her.
She looked at me innocently and babbled something. I wished I could understand every bla-bla-bla that comes out of her mouth. My rage instantly disappeared. How could I ever be furious at this girl? This would be my 185th time that I am telling her that it is not acceptable to behave like this as I picked up every mess on the floor. Toddlers. *Breathes hard*
9:50am. She was tossing away the books that she least favors and then flipped page by page on her favorites. It worked out best for me when she learned how to be self-entertained at 11 months old. The only problem is after I put away her toys, drawing papers, and books neatly, without even ten minutes passed, they are all over the living room again. Isn’t that frustrating?
Annakate picked up a purple-colored crayon and scribbled on the paper while I was transferring the clothes from the washer to the dryer. She walked towards the safety gate, smiling at me, and five seconds later she shook the gate vigorously and demanded for dedicated attention.
“Calm down, girl. I’ll be right there with you. Give mommy a minute to finish this laundry.” I hate being rushed. Period. My elbow accidentally knocked onto the side of the washer while I tried to get the clothes out as fast as I could. Argh! I just bruised my funny bone.
“Alright, girl. What do you want?” I came out of the kitchen and sat down next to her easel. She placed a crayon in my hand and babbled. I assumed that she wanted me to draw so I started drawing an apple and a banana on the piece of paper which were half scribbled by her earlier. She pointed out at the banana and said “Nah-nah-nahhh!”. I kissed her forehead immediately and said “That’s right, baby!”
“What’s this, KK?” I asked as I finished drawing the duck. “Ekk! Ekk!” She pronounced it loud and clear. She pointed out to the duck which I had just drawn for her and repeated “Ekk! Ekk!” a few times. She was still reluctant to say the word “duck” and has always referred to it as Ekk-Ekk since she was 13 months old. However, I was extremely proud of her when she recognized the A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s.
I replied to a few text messages and Annakate was out of my sight. The moment I saw the bedroom door was pushed wide open, I knew she was definitely up to something. True enough, she was fiddling with my bible at the nightstand. I reproached her not to mess with my things. I would be devastated if she were to tear those fragile pages.
“Annakate, you have your own bible. Don’t play with mommy’s bible. Go get your bible and mommy will read it to you.”
Those little feet sprinted out of the bedroom and she reappeared 5 seconds later with a toddler bible in her hand. She handed it to me and sat on my seated position of crossed-legs, anticipating for some good bible stories.
The monster in my tummy showed no mercy at 12pm. After changing her diaper, I dashed into the kitchen and reached for the refrigerator. There were some leftovers of last night’s stir-fried ground beef with leeks and onions. Our tummies were finally satisfied.
After lunch, she climbed onto me and snuggled while I was trying to do a few things on the laptop. I can never sit at the laptop for more than five minutes. I was trying to check my emails and do some online banking but Annakate was all over me and attempted to get hold of my laptop. Knowing that it would be disastrous if she were to break my laptop, I moved away from the desk and played with her instead.
I went to the kitchen to quench my thirst and straighten things up. For the first two minutes, she played well with her toys and then she would give me heart attacks by performing perilous stunts on the TV stand, desk, stool, or climbing over the couch while I was not paying attention.
My blog posts are always half-done as of late. I can mostly type two paragraphs a day. That’s quite pathetic. I made a second attempt to work on the laptop. She jumped onto my lap and started to lift up my blouse. I knew what she was aiming for. I obliged her request and she was a happy baby. Her eyelids began to drop and as soon as she was done. I carried the drunk toddler slowly, gently, into her bed, lay her down and walked away. Score! It’s time to do something productive.
It was time to read some news and follow through my blog entries sitting in the draft section. My blog had attracted many spider webs due to the lack of effort and time dedicated to it. I told myself that I would gradually type a few words or sentences a day just to keep my momentum going. I sat in front of the laptop mentally disoriented. Blogger’s block. I hated myself for not brushing up on my vocabulary with intensive reading. Did I make any progress today? Maybe a paragraph or two. Wait a minute. I heard a faint cry. Did an hour just fly by?
Annakate does get grouchy after waking up from her nap. There is nowhere else in the world she would rather be than in my embrace. Singing nursery rhymes with her was definitely one of the perfect ways to cheer her up. She would sway according to the rhythm and hum the tune sweetly with me.
After snack time she grabbed her favorite ‘Animals’ book and held it up with an imploring, “Neh!” to which I agreed. She climbed onto the couch by my side and I proceeded to turn to the first page with enthusiasm as she babbled incoherently. I began pointing to the animal illustrations, asking her what each one was. Her pronunciations were vague but I could tell she has been absorbing these words like a sponge. Each time she gave me an emphatic Eeerrrh or Sssssss or Roar instead of their proper name, it made me want to kiss her just for being so cute. With a “the end!” the book was finished, but only for the first of three go-arounds.
In the blink of an eye it was almost 5pm. I was filled with a sense of satisfaction after cleaning the house thoroughly. I could not wait for Mike to come back from work. I slowly tricked Annakate into playing with her toys by herself and sneaked into the kitchen nonchalantly. Because of her independence and fairly well-behaved demeanor, I got to enjoy preparing and cooking a meal for my family. With the sweet aroma sipping into my nostrils, I knew my husband would definitely enjoy today’s dish: Korean Beef Bowl with Brown rice. I started making low salicylate meals for his health and well-being lately. He needed this now more than ever.
The clacking sound of the entrance door opening was heard by the both of us in the great room. Annakate raced across the hallway to welcome her daddy home with the biggest hug ever. With a kiss on the lips, I was beaming with gladness that he was home safely. Dinner is often my favorite time of the day, simply because I have my husband and my daughter on the dining table savoring home-cooked meals together. It is when we give thanks to our Heavenly Father and talk about our day.
While I was busy cleaning up the kitchen, Mike cherished his daddy-daughter time by reinforcing all of the animal names she has learned and singing the A-B-C’s with her. He is impressed and astounded at her progress every time she learns something new, as am I! She goes on to tell him all about her day, in a language that only she understands.
The clock struck bath-time-o’clock and Mike started filling the tub. Annakate knew what this meant and, as usual, decided a game of chase would be fun. She laughed and ran circles around the couch with Mike in hot pursuit. Several minutes later, with Annakate finally in the bath, the game of ‘splash daddy’ had commenced–something she is particularly adept at. Once our cheeky toddler was squeaky clean and daddy sufficiently damp, bath time was over and bed-time stories had begun. Stories of a great flood and a parting sea set the tone for dreamland.
With the day approaching to an end, we all knew that family playtime had to come to a halt. Annakate realized that it was her bedtime and she climbed into the armchair, waiting for me to nurse her. The very moment she was done with her supper, she made her way to her cozy big-girl bed and lay down. I whispered a quick prayer into her ear and kissed her forehead gently. Within minutes, she was sound asleep. Mike and I crept out of her bedroom and let out a big sigh of relief.
We could finally resume our respective duties of catching up on paperwork or housework or watching TVB dramas without the distraction of a
destroyer toddler. Mike’s lunch was packed and ready. I stared into the refrigerator and made a checklist of needed groceries. I planned out the next day’s itinerary and ensured I had everything prepared for the next day.
12:15AM. The time passed faster than any of us wished for. I crept in bed after a warm shower, feeling physically drained. “Lord, it has been a long day. I couldn’t have done this without You. Help me to be a woman of Proverbs 31 and set a good example for Annakate. Thank You for everything, Lord. Amen.” Before my mind began to wander aimlessly into dreamland, I gave Mike a goodnight kiss and a few seconds later, my visuals were absolutely pitch black.
Note: This entry alone took me more than 7 weeks to complete it due to distractions of a toddler, moms-outing-playdates, multiple times of proof-reading, continuous editing, and distractions of the ever buzzing iPhone.