Going solo

February 28, 2007 at 12:16 am | Posted in All in a day's work | Leave a comment

After a long break from CNY last week, Mr Gua Gua’s back to work and today’s the first day in quite a while that it will just be me and little boy at home. I did the laundry, from the washing to the drying and folding, but aside from that and of cos cooking little boy’s porridge for his lunch and dinner, the rest of my time was seriously spent just taking care of little boy. Changing his diapers, nursing him to sleep, keeping an eye on him while he plays to make sure he doesn’t get into any mischief. He’s such an inquisitive fella… these days the only places in the house that he has not roamed yet are the toilet, bathroom and the inner half of our bedroom. But today he’s already starting to explore the bathroom though i stopped him before he could crawl in. Little boy is definitely getting more and more adventurous with his exploration day by day.

Still, i let him do whatever he wants, as long as i don’t see any danger in it. Today he managed to open the last drawer in the kitchen. Since it only contained plasticware (and containers happened to be one of his fave thingys too), i decided to let him occupy himself with these for a while so i can finally sit down in the living room and take a break. I hardly got through a few sips of water before little boy came crawling from the kitchen to find me. No rest for the tired mummy!

But honestly, it wasn’t that bad since i didn’t do other chores besides the laundry. I decided to work fewer hours to spend more time with little boy, so isn’t that what i shld be doing? Surprisingly it was quite an enjoyable day. Little boy is getting good at expressing his wants – or maybe i’m getting good at understanding his communications. He reaches out for something, i try to find out what it is and bring to him if possible, and he’s mostly happy. He’s pretty happy today… no tantrums of any sort, thank gawd. But then he seldom has any tantrums. It’s more like when he fusses or insist on not coorporating and if i was already in an irritable mood, then i wld respond in a way that wld make him prob even crosser. As they say, when the mummy’s happy, everyone’s happy, and tt includes the baby!

He really loves playing with water. More than once, when he chances upon someone’s cup or my waterbottle left unopened, he would grab the opportunity to dip his hand into it and do some splashing. So today as i was busy in the kitchen and he insisted on being there as well, i gave him a small pail with just a little bit of water for him to play with. That kept him occupied for at least 10 min… and then he tipped the pail and all the water spilled out. Of cos, i expected that, that’s why i only put a little bit of water! Still, the floor was all wet, including him as well, but he didn’t mind at all, and even chuckled when i used the floor rug to wipe his legs a little. One of these days, i’ll prob put him in his old bathtub with some water and floatable toys and let him indulge in some real water play. 😛

I was planning on trying out taking him out with the stroller using public transport this afternoon. Turns out he was banging his head (his way of keeping himself awake) in mid afternoon despite his morning 1.5 hr nap so i tried to get him to sleep. Ok, i wasn’t very serious in my efforts and played with him here and there, so by 4 pm, he was still holding up against the sleep monster. I decided to take him out anyway. Who knows, after i got both of us dressed, he gave a big yawn. Awww… that means he’s really sleepy and there’s no way he cld forgo his nap and last till his bedtime… and i didn’t want to feed a crabby baby at dinner time. Sigh, so it’s back to bed again.

In the end, he fell asleep within the next 10 min, but woke up before 5 pm, so the outing was still on! I made sure his diaper bag was emptied out of all unnecessary stuff, and off we went. After his power nap, little boy was looking pretty refreshed and i think he must have been surprised by this unexpected gai gai with just mummy alone.

After some time of practice by now, i had no trouble unfolding the stroller at the void deck while carrying little boy, and he didn’t complain when i put him in the stroller. That was a smooth start to our outing and i was in pretty gd spirits, esp when the air smelled so good and nature-fresh on our way to the bus stop. I chose the ulu path that was next to Mt Faber, not only cos there weren’t stairs, but also cos it was so close to nature and is a joy to walk on. At the bus stop, i was on the phone when the bus came and didn’t have time to fold up the stroller. So i just carried the stroller, little boy and all, and boarded the bus. The Volo was so light (and so was little boy!) tt it was pretty manageable, and when on the bus, i managed to fold it with one hand while sitting down , and tt too was manageable. I *LUV* my Volo! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Little boy was pretty excited on the bus. It wasn’t his first time, but i guess it’s still a rare occurrence for him as we usually take Mr Gua Gua’s parents’ car or cabs. When we reached GWC, i had to put him back on the stroller. Thank gdness, still no complaints. But at the organic store, guess i was taking too long browsing the shelves, little boy started fussing and wanted to be carried. Oh well, so i paid for my stuff (his food rather), and carried him, while pushing the stroller with one hand. Volo rose up to the occasion once more, being so light and easily maneuvable.

The quick shopping trip ended before 6 pm, less than half an hour, cos we had to return before his dinner. You guys must think i’m crazy to go to all this trouble, just for such a short outing. Actually i just wanted to give it a shot, to see if i could really handle little boy and the stroller all by myself, and using public transport. Mr Gua Gua was worried of cos, and asked me to take cab. His excuse? The bus would be crowded at this hour (5 – 6 pm). I assured him that if the bus is really too crowded, i wld definitely take the cab. Well, it wasn’t, and i took the bus back as well. Unfortunately, it was a bus with the aircon broken down. I didn’t really mind, since the journey is pretty short. However, some old uncle did and went to the bus driver to complain.

Sigh… that’s when the outing got a little… challenging. The driver just couldn’t handle the situation and the bus stalled, while the uncle kept going on and on about the aircom being spoilt. Then another uncle came along and tried to reason with the first uncle (and also wanted the driver to proceed) but the latter ended up complaining to him as well, and the driver was STILL not moving on. Then the driver, in my opinion, tried to be smart aleck and asked whoever is uncomfortable to alight with a refund of their money. But he didn’t know how to operate the machine for a refund, so half of the passengers were standing there waiting while he called for SOS. In the meantime, the rest of the passengers were still sitting there, waiting for the @#U($ bus to carry on with its journey, and that included me!

After at least 10 min, the machine was finally working, and by this time almost all of the passengers were ready to alight, i think with or without refund. I didn’t alight cos my stop was just a few stops away and the driver said he would continue the journey. When we were finally on our way, there were fewer than 6 of us left, all looking kinda irked, but at least it was slightly less stuffy. Little boy was taking it all very well… in fact he was even waving and doing gong xi gong xi to another elderly passenger. But just before we alighted, he began to fuss cos i think he was hungry, not to mention the stuffiness and heat. When we alighted, he cried the moment i put him in the stroller, and when i continued strolling him, he cried even louder. Sigh… i didn’t want the outing to end too badly for him, so i had no choice but to carry him out and push the stroller the rest of the journey back home. Didn’t even point things out to him as i normally would, cos i was huffing and puffing, and trying to get home asap!

The good news was i managed to feed him dinner at 6.45 pm, which was later than usual but not too bad, and he was hungry enough to wallop up almost the entire thing in 15 min, which was excellent! Of cos, the food was really good too, which i realised when i finished the last couple spoonfuls. Or maybe i was hungry since i only had a friend’s home baked carrot cake (which was really really gd!), but seriously, his porridge tasted good. And it shld…. got lots of gd stuff in it! 

Well… and that was our little outing today. Upon 10, i rate it a 7.5… started out nice, ended in a slightly stressful way, but hey, we got back in one piece, and now i know i can manage by myself after all. Yeh! Now let me think abt where i’m going to take little boy on our next outing….

Being tai tai?

February 27, 2007 at 12:52 am | Posted in All in a day's work, The journey within | Leave a comment

My 2 guy colleagues was telling me today how tai-tai i looked. Perhaps it’s the cross-legged posture, or the glam-turned-aunty perm that i now regret slightly, or my relaxed unperturbed air (after all, i’m only part timing 12 hrs a week!). One of them said i had this air of sophistication. Well well… i dunno whether it’s a compliment or an insult since tai tais don’t really have a very positive reputation. I have never felt flattered whenever pple say i look like a tai tai, and i have received this comment more than once before. :/

But it’s interesting, cos since young, i had this strange ambition of being a tai tai. In fact, i still remember when my mum asked me when i was a little girl what i wanted to be when i grew up, my answer was to be a housewife. Gee… what kind of shows or books have i been brainwashed by back then to be thinking of such warped stuff?

Anyway, turns out my childhood ambition came true since i’m more or less a SAHM, or tai tai if you wanna call it, whereas my work has become more of a hobby than anything else. At the risk of having another bragging entry, i have to admit that i’m in a lucky position of having so few work hours in a week that i actually look forward to work as a refreshing break from being at home. And that’s only one of the reasons why work doesn’t seem like work. I mostly work with these 2 guys, one of whom i knew before he joined SY and have gd rapport with, the other someone i feel so close towards almost from the start, that it’s as if he’s a brother or gd pal from some previous lifetime. And according to the latter, the first guy seems to turn into a siao ding dong whenever i’m in office cos from a serious non-smiling guy, he turns into a clown who makes the crappiest jokes (and then cackles over his own jokes afterwards). I have no idea why i have this kind of effect on him… the other colleague wonders abt it too, though he is certain the effect is there!

Today our so-called meeting was really half work, half party. Sometimes i feel like one of my unofficial duties is to provide them with some kind of relief from work, just by sitting there to laugh at their jokes. Another unofficial duty is to prob also be some kind of moderator, to prevent one of them from going into another emotional eruption… i guess i have some kind of calming effect on him. Anyway we started the meeting at 2.30 pm, and time just flew. Suddenly, my brother colleague turned to me and was like, oops… are you supposed to leave at 6 or 5? It was 5, and it was already 5.30 pm. But then, i was enjoying the meeting sufficiently enough not to mind, although this meant that i wldn’t be able to go for my swim. I did in the end… thought even a few laps was better than nothing. Feeling fat after the CNY indulgences!

I really don’t know what more i can ask for, having such flexible and enjoyable working hours. This Thurs we are going to recce Botanic Gardens – again! I think we are almost making excuses to go. Well, we do need to know the place like the back of our hand since we may have to rescue lost participants during next Sat’s event, or at least know where the toilets are to be able to direct those with urgent bladders. Can’t possibly ask them to do it behind the trees! Hmm….

Perhaps for now, this kind of work would be good so i can focus more energy and time on little boy. When he becomes more independent, hopefully i would have already been guided to somewhere i can be more… useful to others? Useful is a subjective term, perhaps what i really mean is to be doing something that i feel genuinely passionate about. Watching Academy Awards now, and i almost feel envious of the pple on stage. Not cos they are famous or beautiful, but cos they are all living their passions, to direct, to sing, to act. Perhaps some of them are doing it for the money and fame, but i’m sure that most of them are doing it out of a true love for the artistry. And while some misuse their power and wealth for selfish desires, there are many who use their fame and wealth to support worthy causes.

Well, counselling is a passion of mine and it is what i get to do right now, except that my clients are few, so i seem to be seeing only about 2 at one time. But what i would like, and also envision for myself, is to be equipped with and utilising skills and gifts that are of such value that pple would be coming to me in streams, and i would be able to help them exactly in the way that is needed for them at that moment.

I’m not sure if that’s just my ego, wanting to be seen as special and “better” or what. Guess i’m still stuck in this paradigm of “doing” rather than “being”. It’s supposed to be enough to just be. Just to be my natural and powerful self – that alone will increase my vibration so that even being around me would have an effect on others. I get it theoretically but i don’t quite get it yet. I still think, if i’m not exactly doing much to help others, then how can i be helping others? Nope… don’t get it at all.

Maybe i shld just manifest for my vision to come true. I really see myself as having some really unique and powerful gift (not sure what it is yet) that people come to me for that gift to be used on them. Perhaps it could be my ego speaking, but there is also a part of me who knows that when i’m in that position, that would not be feelings of arrogance or desire for fame, power or wealth. Just the knowledge alone that i’m using my gift/s in the right way for pple who would benefit from it would give me such joy, that i wldn’t even need anything else. In any case, i believe that the universe provides for everyone who are fully utilising their gifts, no matter what gifts they are…

Well, my childhood dream of being a housewife/tai-tai kinda came true… guess i’ll wait for this dream of mine to come true as well. Who knows, it may be just round the corner. I guess if i believe hard enough, it will happen. 🙂


February 24, 2007 at 1:10 am | Posted in All in a day's work, The Miracles | Leave a comment

I have been wanting to blog about my most recent counselling case but didn’t get the chance to. Actually these kinds of things shld be kept confidential, though i think as long as i don’t reveal any personal info that would allow anyone to be able to identify my clients, i wldn’t be breaching it. This case was my most challenging so far. Firstly, it’s a marital case and i’ll be seeing the couple which is always more “interesting” and definitely a lot more dynamic than seeing just an individual. Secondly, i only have 3 sessions within a week with them due to their tight scheduling. Thirdly, the marriage is on the brink of divorce, and although my supervisor advised that i shldn’t allow myself to think that the fate of their marriage rests on my hands, it’s still a bit overwhelming to know that any insensitive, unthoughtful word from me might indirectly lead to them choosing to divorce. Whew!

Well, there were positives as well. The couple were highly educated, very motivated to come for counselling to save their marriage, and also very open. I also got to exchange a few emails them beforehand so i can get more info first, and this allowed me to get a “crash course” in marital counselling from my supervisors. Wonder what the couple wld have said if they had known that they were coming to a greenhorn!

The other good thing was that we first corresponded abt 2 weeks before the actual sessions, and i met my supervisors 1 week before. They recommended me a book Divorce busting, which i spent the entire following week burying my head in. Thank goodness it was a rather fascinating and well written book, full of creative ideas and suggestions. Who knows, it might even come in useful for my personal life one day. Mr Gua Gua was asking me rather suspiciously and also in a dismayed manner, why i was reading this book. I told him for work, and added, for personal as well (just to provoke him!). He was like, WHAT? And my matter-of-fact reply was, it’s only right that everyone (married persons that is) shld be reading such self-help books for themselves, including him! And Mr Gua Gua was like, oh….  😛

I was really nervous before the first session and prayed to Green Tara for help. I was actually quite satisfied with the way i handled the first session, cos i managed to gain pretty gd rapport with them, especially the guy, and didn’t run too far ahead of time, so i was disappointed when i saw my feedback forms. The guy gave all 4s (4 is good, 5 is very good), which to me means nothing, cos that’s just the response of an obliging but unthoughtful client. The lady on the other hand, who is the one dissatisfied with the marriage, gave me abt the same no. of 4s and 3s (neutral), and one of the 3s, was on her level of comfort with the counsellor’s approach. Awww….

Well i did a lot of self-assessment of the case in between the first and 2nd session, which i gotta admit is not part of my usual routine. Just that the challenge and stress of this case plus the mediocre feedback really upped my motivation level to do really well. Consider it at 20% professionalism, 20% wanting to serve, and 60% my ego!! And this time, i made sure i wore the “ren yuan” amulet Mr Gua Gua gave, to increase my affinity with my clients and communication skills. So far it seems like my sessions usually go quite well whenever i wore the amulet, but it made my ego feel better to think the amulet had nothing to do with it (or maybe only a teeny weeny!), sometimes i purposely choose not to wear it so i know it’s me who’s doing well, and not cos of the amulet.

But i didn’t want to leave anything to chance for this couple, so i made sure i wore it. And this time round, i tried to give the lady more time to speak than the previous session, which made sense since she’s the dissatisfied one. It got rather heated and emotional halfway during the session, but thank gawd, i managed to grab onto one of seemingly more significant problems in the relationship, which was the lack of quality time the couple spent with each other due to the guy’s work, and from there on, it all went smoothly and i got them to agree on a plan to spend more time with each other.

Again, the guy’s feedback was all 4s. The lady’s, slightly better. I got 1 more 4, but the 3s was a bit different. This time, the lady gave me 4 for approach, and 3 for feeling that she was being helped (she gave 4 previously). Darn…

I was lucky that my supervisor was really concerned abt this case, given the challenge, time constraint and my inexperience so she squeezed in half an hour for a quick consultation with me. One interesting thing that came up was my sharing about not really being able to empathise much with the lady. We actually share the same birthdate, so she’s a Virgo too, and i actually share some of the same complaints she has, such as with regards to housekeeping. Virgos are generally perfectionists and cleanliness freaks, so put them in the same house with guys who are more on the sloppy side, beware of war! So it’s ironic that i feel more sympathetic with the guy than the lady. Perhaps i don’t like the naggy, discontented, demanding side of me, and i see myself in her, that’s why. I think one useful tip i got from the quick consultation was to make it my goal, for my professional devt, to focus on developing more rapport with the lady in the 3rd session.

That’s what i did! In fact i spent most of the session, a gd hour plus, with just the lady. I revealed to her that we had the same birthdate and i was also just married. After that, we practically got on like fire. I actually wanted to disclose these personal things in the 2nd session but didn’t cos i was worried that it would only be a distraction and not help the couple in their problems. However from the 3rd session, i realised that appropriate self-disclosure can actually increase the trust the client has in you, as the client realises that you can genuinely see things from their perspective. Secondly, i was also more comfortable with helping the client gain self-awareness by pointing out to her that Virgos can be critical, nitpicking and all that… previously, i wldn’t have done that as i didn’t want the client to feel offended, but since she knows that i’m a Virgo myself, then these are traits that i myself have too.

Perhaps by being so open about the common things we do share, the barrier was lifted and i found myself starting to pay real close attention to what she was saying, instead of dismissing them as rantings of someone who just has too high expectations. Who knows, the previously mediocre feedback could be her sensing that i didn’t really take her seriously. Anyway, I was chatting with her in a more natural way, rather than my usual professional kinda way, and i was actually enjoying it. Come to think of it, in my past experiences of being counselled, i tend to like those whom i could feel genuinely liked me, had a real curiosity about me, and was being their natural self. So this case turned out to be a wonderful lesson for me… to be professional, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be your true self at the same time!

What made me know for sure that i was on the right track with this couple was at the last part, when i could give both of them very sincere compliments and the atmosphere was lighthearted and positive. And when i saw the feedback forms, i was elated cos the lady gave me 2 5s (including feeling that she has been helped) and 4s for all the rest! Talk about receiving affirmation.

I seriously don’t know how much i really helped this couple, as it was just 3 sessions, and i hope that they will email me as they had promised in a few weeks time to tell me how things have been going. However i do know that handling this case has helped me a lot as a counsellor, and i’m very grateful to them for being my teachers in this sense. Definitely very grateful to my supervisors too, for their generosity in their time and wise teachings. Last but not least, thank you to the universe for providing me with all these conditions to keep on learning and growing, so that i can be a more skilful counsellor. May i continue meeting those that i wld be able to help, as well as those whom i wld be learning much from!

PS: Ooops, Mr Gua Gua wld prob kill me for almost forgetting him. Yes, thank you Mr Gua Gua for your never ending support and of course, your miraculous “ren yuan” amulet which i guess might have helped more than a teeny weeny bit…. just a teeny weeny more… 🙂

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