SINGAPORE - On New Year's Eve, my seven-year-old son Jason was playing with some foam stickers when my four-year-old daughter Shannon came along and wanted to join in the fun.
Unfortunately, he was not in a charitable mood and shooed her away brusquely.
"Go away," he said repeatedly. "But I want to play with you," she continued to plead. This alternated with: "Mummy, gor gor (elder brother) is shouting at me." Both their voices escalated in volume.
I initially ignored their fight, hoping it would fizzle out, but it did not happen.
Before I knew it, I had, unfortunately, joined in the match - breaking every rule in the parenting book, going on a tirade and eventually silencing them with a piercing glare.
My tongue-lashing went along the lines of: "Why are you both fighting so early in the morning? Is there a need to shout at mei mei? Why are you touching gor gor's things again?" This was all at a volume which could rival theirs, and that irony did not escape me.
I've always thought of myself as a calm and collected person, but motherhood has changed me.
Before having children, I was seldom a yeller. Now, it is a rare day when I don't raise my voice at them. Is it them or is it me?
I marvel at parents who seem to be able to keep their cool, who can talk to their misbehaving child in a gentle yet firm tone.
I've decided that my New Year resolution is to be a more mellow mum, you know, the one who, upon hearing her children shriek at each other, can calmly tell them to stop their fight without having to raise a decibel.
In reality, I'm not sure how that would work. Would two screaming children be able to hear what their soft-spoken mum is saying?
I've realised that their fighting is the primary thing that sets me off. But it is not the only one.