Life in Singapore, Raising Children

New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made a few resolutions for this new year. Hello, 2012! Here is what I resolve to improve this year:

Earlier Bedtimes
I’ve never been one to worry too much about what time the kids get to bed. I like to sleep in, and my kids will too. It’s genetic. We are not pop tarts in our household. However, I am tired of tired cranky children, because during the school week, they need to get up at 7. If they are to get their full 10-12 hours of recommended sleep, they need to be asleep before 9 pm. Before, we let this slide, and they were usually asleep between 9 and 9:30. I am not talking about when we kissed good night, or when pajamas went on, but this is when they actually knocked out for the evening. The whole routine usually started around 8 pm. This week we started bed time at 7:30 every night, and they were both knocked out between 8:30 and 9. They were in much better moods. I am going to aim for starting bedtime at 7 tomorrow and try to make this even earlier.

Read More Books
As a youngster, I read everything I could get my hands on. I think I probably checked out every book available in our small public library at some point. Along the way I slowed down, and when I had kids my reading material consisted of titles like “The Fussy Baby” and “The Spirited Child.” Now I have a bit more time on my hands, thanks to our being in Asia and hiring a helper, so I am resolving to read more books. I joined a book club through the kids PTA. I have read more books since September for pleasure than I have in the entire first six years of Kate’s life put together. I resolve to keep it up.

Write a Novel
Everyone has a novel in them, and I know in some people that is just where it should stay. Writing comes very easily to me, and I vow to take advantage of my gift. My current project is a children’s book about fairies for the girls. Kate approves my chapters, and tonight she informed me she needs more. Hi ho, hi ho…

Be More Organized
I grew up in a disorganized household, and while I have made many improvements since first being set free to fly on my own, I am not quite there yet. Case in point: I spent the morning at the US Embassy in Singapore getting a new passport because mine is MIA. I am seriously tired of searching for things. Everything has a place and everything in its place is my new mantra. I am also hoping to create a more revolving door type of attitude as well. If something new comes in, something old has to leave. Space is too precious. To this end I have been making some serious progress. At one time, I had about 10 boxes of special treasures, as we jokingly call them in our household. Special treasures are things I am unable to part with because I am sentimental (I can’t get rid of the movie ticket from our first date!), and I am practical (I might NEED that Chemistry book from freshman year.) A few weeks ago, I whittled my boxes down to four. I tossed old work papers and law books. Things that moved from Oakland to New York to Oakland to Singapore without being opened were trashed. Notable exceptions included pictures, my degree collection, and my Barbri study guides. I could get it down to three if I parted with my Barbri collection. Now that I have some help around the house, I am hoping to organize our bills (there’s a thankless task) and do some shredding. Every month we file our bills away, and each year start a new set of files. I have boxes of files from when Joel and I first moved in together, back in 2001. Seriously, I don’t need that cable bill anymore. Buh bye! Now if only Joel could pare down his treasure boxes. Sigh.

Drop 10 Pounds Again
It’s like a roller coaster. Live in New York, lose 20 pounds. Move to Oakland, gain 20 pounds. Move to New York, lose 20 pounds. Move to Oakland, gain 20 pounds. Move to Singapore…well, I’m down 10 pounds already. Ten more to go and maybe I’ll be back in my size six clothes that I refused to throw out despite my commitment to lightening my stuff. I guess I’m intending to lighten my other stuff? What does this say about Oaktown? Is it the food? Could it be that we never walked anywhere? Perhaps it is caused by the hours spent driving in the car. All I know is Oakland does terrible things to my waistline. I don’t know about you, but I see a pattern here. Walking is key. Tomorrow morning I will swim.

I’ll check back in a few months and let you know how I’m doing with these resolutions. In the meantime I will think like Dory. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…


  1. All good goals. I’ve been working on reading one book a month, which is laughably slow by the standards of people without young kids, but it’s worked out for me — although there have been a few months where it’s been tight.

    I find writing — personal writing, not work writing — goes best if I set aside a regular time when no one else is around and I devote myself to just that. Any research required for it is done another time, so that I’m not alt-tabbing out to Firefox and getting sucked into the Internet.

  2. Jen, you have a gift for sharing! This is great, and a discipline I wish I had. Your girls will find these entries priceless, and I’ll bet you’ll have a few “what was I thinking” moments when re-reading many years from now. Nonetheless, what an amazing journal of your world as you know it right now. Much love to you, Joel and the girls!! xo

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