“we need to Lemon Pledge the table, daddy. can you please Pledge?” i’d asked the husband, in hopes of getting the ball rolling for the inevitable, inescapable, not-looking-forward-to-it Raya spring cleaning by polishing the dining table.
the girl looked up at me earnestly and flung her right fist to her left chest.
suddenly she had a list of names written on a piece of paper and we got called into the room for a check-up. “patient, please take a seat!” she ordered. “waiter, wait at the waiting room!” she bossed. despite her dodgy qualifications and prescriptions (or because of it), the doctor was generous with issuing MC. “do not go to work tomorrow,” she types on her laptop. yes, doctor.
i am possibly one of the most unadventurous shoe-buyers in the history of womankind. my decisions are usually based on:
1) price – nothing above $50. the most i ever paid for a pair was $99, which promptly peeled at the pointy tips after a few wears, which made me regret the breach in my price policy.
2) practicality – i think hard whether i’ll wear them often, are comfortable to walk in, and whether they’ll match most or at least a few outfits in my wardrobe. so you won’t find me getting crazy sky-high stilletos or fancy boots on a whim or “just because”. besides, who has space for them? (i don’t.)
gawd, the number of cheap, thoughtful black shoes i’ve purchased in my life.
i tend to treat my shoes a little too roughly; i’d carelessly step on puddles and mushy grass, clumsily snub on pavements and metal grille, fling them off and toss them into the shoe cabinet when i’m done. scuffs and scratches and scraped soles galore, without me meaning to subject them to such suffering.
(man, i hope psychologists out there won’t read too much into that.)
i may have mentioned before that the girl has her own opinions about what she wears. and shoes, omg – she’s ALWAYS the last to step out of the house, especially when we’re in a mighty hurry. (because those ARE after all always the best times to have a meltdown, right?!) usually, the dramatic face-off (or rather, feet-off) would involve:
1) insisting on wearing her pink/purple shoes, which do not match any parts of her clothes. and you should know by now that non-colour-coordination in my world is considered a sin.
2) refusing to wear what i suggest without making a fuss over how: a) tight/loose they are (she seems to be perpetually in between sizes, i’m beginning to suspect she has freak feet), b) itchy they made her feet, c) she doesn’t like them.
many a times, we’ve had to threaten to leave her home. seriously, who has time for primadonna dramas? (i don’t.)
there are these little girl heels at Payless that she eyes every time we go in there (in the hopes of finding shoes that fit her – feet and sensibility). they’re so… Suri Cruise. but the smallest size they come in is still to big for her (freak) feet so i told her she’ll just have to wait till she grows a bit more. (which then unleashes the primadonna drama, in the aisles of Payless. i’m sure Suri does the same to poor ol’ mommy Katie.)
i told her she can choose all the shoes she likes and wear all the high heels she wants when she’s grown up. see if i care when she mismatches them then.
found the girl at the sofa making her Barbie dolls prance around while animating imagined dialogues between them.
“i want you to play with me,” she demanded upon my arrival.
so i picked up one skimpily-clothed doll and turned on my inner Barbie. “hiiiii, i’m Barbieee…”
“noo, her name is Tecna.”
“… Techna? *blinks* what kind of a name is Tecna??”
“her name is Tecna because her special power is Technology.” (this, explained to me matter-of-factly, while i exploded in mirth at the fact that she said ‘Technology’ in the most ‘macam-paham’ of manner.)
“her super power is Technology?!! *splutters*”
“yes. and she has a friend, her name is Musa (pronounced very pronouncedly as ‘Miu-za’).”
“yes. her special power is Music.” (well, but of course.)
she then proceeded to educate me, in feverish seriousness, about the wondrous world of Winx – these candy-coloured, rainbow-sparkled teen-ish fairies, all of whom apparently, at some points in time, have romantic entanglements with boys and relationship ups and downs, in between err, saving worlds. i think.
i don’t know if this early exposure to and fascination with BGR perpetuates a girl’s predisposition to precocity and sensitivity to social dynamics, but she does show particular understanding of and interest in concepts like ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ and ‘breaking up’ (again, thanks, taylor swift). well, even more than her brother does, for sure.
sure, they both generally go “eeww!” and vehemently deny when we suggest they like somebody of the opposite sex, and would cover their eyes should there be a potential ‘kissing’ scene on the screen (even in cartoons). but the difference is, the girl will cringe even more AND blush and go all shy at the same time, whereas the boy is less reactive, like ‘whatevs, gross’. i can’t tell you how stereotypical they are as far as gender differences go.
so back to my lesson on Winx. from the bits of her excitable chatter i gathered something about the fairies coming together to live in the ocean (at which point i sought clarification on whether the mermaids minded this transgression into their territory, to which i was informed that the mermaids were in fact the ocean’s “gatekeepers” – say whuut…); some “evil” guy called Tritannus (i do not want to know what his special power is); something called Dragon Fire (i don’t suppose that has to do with bad breath); another fairy called Stella who likes “fashion” and wants to be a “fashion designer” (i wonder if her last name is McCartney)… and the prattle went on and on. i tried a few times to interject with questions but got her frustrated at my sheer ignorance, which was very funny and made me laugh even more, which in turn made her even madder haha ha! i should call her Angstyna.
anyway, speaking of things that make the kids go “eeww” yet still delight them, here’s one of their favourite picture books, Spells by Emily Gravett. why do they like it? because there’s an illustration of a man’s bare bum in it.
i swear from the moment they first opened up this page till now after repeated reading (and flipping – this book is brilliant, btw; it plays on the concept of magic ‘spells’ and ‘spelling’, and actually teaches them to blend letters to form funny words as a romantically-inclined frog blunders his way through various incantations), this princely pale derriere never fails to (butt)crack them up. i don’t know what it is about behinds but they make children go crazy, it’s practically perverted. in fact, if ever i were to write a children’s book and ensure it becomes wildly successful, all i need to do is insert a drawing of a man’s bottom in it somewhere, just for shit and giggles (literally).
they’re generally gentle and patient with babies and toddlers; they’ll kiss them and make googly eyes at them and laugh at their reactions (and yes, hold their hands while they totter), and go “aww” whenever i show them pictures of their chubby-cheeked little cousins.
i find it fascinating, the way their dynamics change with a younger kid around, it’s like their protective/nurturing nature instinctively turns on.
but nah. if you’re thinking i’d be swayed into actively trying for another, don’t hold your breath.
the girl asked, out of the blue (and i mean really randomly), if she could read to me her brother’s old Peter & Jane books (which were happily collecting dust on the bookshelf), and i said suuuuuure, by all means.
and so she skipped away, found books 1a & b, breezed through them, then moved on to 2a & b, and well… i guess i’m pleased as peach but not too surprised, because she’s already picked up on reading for a while now. some sight words, some phonic attempts – and i thank god above she’s saving me from shelling out any money for reading classes (unlike her brother at her age).
yes, yes, rule #1 in parenting: ‘thou shalt not compare among siblings’. i don’t consciously mean to, but it’s fascinating to observe their differences; if anything, it reinforces my theories on boys vs girls/first child vs second child – that they each pick up certain skills at different rates.
this was aniq reading book 1b at 4 years 11 months:
this is auni reading book 2b at 4 years 9 months:
their differences in pace, flow, intonation, diction, and even focus, are quite interesting. well, TO ME anyway.
but otherwise, by golly, ‘peter and jane’ is STILL, like, THE MOST INSUFFERABLE READ EVER. :D
we’re quickly running out of ideas where to bring the chilllren… so we ended up pretending to be tourists on the sunny (then rainy) island of sentosa. except that (other than the $8-per-kid entry to the Port of Lost Wonder where we stayed put for three hours) we refused to spend on any of the rides, shows, exhibitions, or even snacks, drinks or food there. “so expensive!” we’d cry out to the kids when they asked for something, and proceeded to shove our containers of homemade sandwiches, curry puffs, jemput-jemputs and nasi lemak under their noses, and promised to come again when we get good deals from groupon (yeah right).
i don’t know about you but we wouldn’t think twice to spend on an overpriced souvenir photo or fancy ride if we were in another country; however, in our own backyard, we’d rather get it at a discounted price, if at all. i mean, it’s just singapore whaaaat, any time also can come again and see the same views and do the same things, right? (unless you’re on a first date or something, then it’s totally justified to splurge and impress the chicks, of course. :p)
(please pardon my overly-expressive chilllren, they can be a bit drama i’m afraid. i don’t know where they get it from.)
i would be lying prone, say, on the sofa, fully-clothed i might add, just minding my own business reading a book or something, and within minutes i’d have my bum inevitably patted by at least 3 different hands. it’s like a magnet inviting grubby paws around this house, i swear.
“what is UP with you all and my butt?! i feel so violated, arrgh!” i cried in exasperation the other day.
“nice what,” said big bear. (bad role model, papa bear, tsk. *swipes paw away*)
“yah lah, soft-soft, like pillow,” said medium bear. (so much for yoga giving you buns of steel, gah!)
“yah, like a smelly pillow,” said little bear, proceeding to sniff my behind.
it took me a few seconds to realise she’d remembered the word ‘bantal busuk’ (which is the malay equivalent to ‘comfort blanket’ – saliva-sodden and worn pillows often clung by many small children who cannot go to sleep without them) from a certain aunty she’d met earlier that day who regaled her with a story describing her fat cat as a substitute for a ‘bantal busuk’. and little bear, well, literally translated it.
yes, make me the butt of your smelly jokes, fine.
and that’s the story for tonight. sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite (your butt)….
“so, have you thought of what to give me on my birthday?” i asked the boy and girl some time last week. (because mummy is shameless like that.)
“i know, i know! on your birthday, we can, like, send you to an island, and then we leave you there. so then you won’t have us to annoy you all the time lah. simple,” said the boy. the girl nodded at her brother’s plan.
“OMG that sounds AWESOME! that would be like the PERFECT gift, ever!! thank you for thinking of it!!” i exclaimed in excitement. (hey, i’d get quiet time alone to read AND another tan. win.)
they know me so well, my kids.
(it beats breakfast in bed, for sure. who eats in bed anyway?! seriously!)
these days, i actually wish for a new nasal passage or a sinus surgery, something, anything to get rid of my morning sinus for good. coz it really sucks waking up to a blocked-and-dripping nose, or trying to wake up early at all because the blocked-and-drippy nose had woken me up in the middle of the night to stuff wads of tissue up my schnozzle, thus disturbing my REM.
and as i was typing this, someone just wished me happy bustday. as in literally because she was sharing with me on a bust cream that works and yeah turning 35 after having kids has not been kind to our boobs, sad and trite and cruel but oh so true.
but let’s not dwell on the imperfections of our bodies, and instead celebrate them, yes?
and to do that, i have resolved to wake up early tomorrow on my birthday and, err, work out some more. (well, i expect a lot of eating to take place the rest of the day, so…)
mad about purple, didn’t i mention? especially this purple cardigan she goes everywhere with now, even in 32 degrees heat.
do you know that she can bawl her eyes out if she doesn’t get to wear something she likes (or made to wear something she doesn’t)? i’d stuffed a pair of her brother’s old jeans (which fits her perfectly fine, btw) in her ballet bag to change after class and when she discovered it instead of her own pair with the inner purple flowers or the one with the sparkly purple star embellishment, she cried all the way in the car as if i’d killed her favourite pet cat, SO annoying.
but all is well the moment we reached home and she got to change her outfit. even when all we were going to do the rest of the day was stay home…
had some buttermilk left over from the previous kitchen experiment, so tried making nutella pancakes for teatime. she was happy to lick the nutella spoon; i just wanted an excuse to smell nutella.
can’t wait for monday, ie. the start of another week of working out on the mat. i may or may not be slightly addicted to the smell of sweat and rubber. (i know what that sounds like but no, don’t even think it….)
meanwhile, here’s the girl demonstrating a few yoga poses. she calls the last one the “die pose”. (please ignore her brother who’s pretending he’s in a crime scene.)
the kids’ breakfast of choice is, more often than not, eggs. scrambled, omellete, bulls-eye, hard-boiled – they sure like their eggs. i tell them they cannot eat eggs every day, but we always end up going through a carton within days. (what more with my recent ‘experiments’, they get used up even faster.)
anyway, the girl’s seen me make scrambled eggs enough times to remember the steps and was adamant about doing it herself. well, i don’t see why she shouldn’t…
i had yet another ‘fashion’ struggle with the girl while getting ready for the birthday party last weekend. it was a ‘boy’ party and the theme was ‘football’, and as you may know, i take themes quite seriously. the daddies and the denizen of boy cousins had no problem with this, obviously, football jerseys being the number one wardrobe must-haves for every Mat in the universe.
luckily, the girl is currently into jeans, so that was half the battle won. (something about the flowers or glitters on the hems/waists/pockets of the pairs i got her, but still, jeans! when previously she’d want nothing but skirts.)
but, she’d insisted on wearing it with one of her pink t-shirts, in particular, the polka-dotted one. (yes, like mummy, she too is in a polka-phase.) i showed her a blue shirt instead, and she went ball-istic (pardon the pun). it took some reasoning, that it was a boy’s party, and everyone will be wearing boy colours or football shirts, and if it were a girl’s party, she can wear all the pink she wants, and we should respect the party host’s wishes. (ok, so i exaggerated; i just wanted to have it my way.)
anyway, she eventually saw my (admittedly twisted) logic, and allowed herself to be donned in an old football jersey that used to be her brother’s. yeah, that’ll do.
(meanwhile, i wore a dress. a polka-dotted one. just pretend i adhered to the theme by imagining that’s what a soccer mum would wear, ok? i mean, football jerseys on hana = end of the world as we know it!)
now, please don’t think that i’m always so mean as to oppress the girl in her sartorial preferences. i’m not very good at dressing girls up in the first place, like so many fashionista mummies out there, but i do respect her wishes enough to buy what i know she’ll like. sure, i do sneak in a green shirt or a brown dress among my pink and purple purchases for her, in the hopes of tricking her into them when the occasion arises. i just want to give her… alternatives, you know?
she’s onto me though, so she’s taken to getting ready herself – from showering, to choosing her outfits, to matching her shoes. (well, that last part’s not too hard seeing as her favourite pair IS pink and purple.) and that’s fine; she generally has a good sense of coordination – which is more than i can say for her brother, who incidentally DESPISES jeans, and has a habit of pulling out the first shirt and pair of berms from the pile, never mind that the colours don’t even go together, argghhh).
anyway, there’s this new Olivia book i’d been waiting to get my hands on that i thought we could relate to, and last week, the girl plucked it right out of the library bookshelf, all shiny and new, to show to me. i was SO delighted (she has a knack for picking picture books i’ll like).
titled Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, it features our favourite porcine protagonist pondering over her identity and sense of individualism. it has Olivia’s trademark streaks of red amongst the pages and classical reference to her artistic proclivities (this time, modern dance). and of course, of her being all dramatic (those of you with little girls, you know how it is).
while the issue of individualism vs conformism may not be something little girls are wont to grapple with (Olivia is quite the precocious example), here it gives them a bit of a think, while at the same time allowing them to marvel at the beautiful and exotic alternatives out there waiting for them, if they only dare to imagine it. (auni’s quite taken by the india and china princesses. i’d googled and showed pictures of tribal african women wearing neck rings and she draws a clear line on that one!)
(THAT’S WHAT I KEEP SAYING.)
whether she imagines herself to be a princess or pro-footballer or permaisuri-melayu-terakhir (or in this case, eshan’s dayang ha ha – man, check out that iron grip on the Barbie doll; he’s got them all wrapped around his little fingers, literally), i guess the important thing is that she’s using her imagination. hopefully, for bigger things to come.
when i started my leave, i was apprehensive at the possibility of growing into bad habits, becoming lazy, and getting stuck in inertia – you know, vegetating on the sofa, watching tv in pajamas all day, eating junk food, getting out of shape, living life virtually on social networks – then basically feeling crummy by the end of each day and spiral into a dark place because i’d done nothing worthwhile with my time.
i guess it was a conscious effort to not turn into that lump, that i find myself waking up every day, thinking up things to do and accomplish. just one thing – anything, even a little thing, and on my own terms. it could be ten laps at the pool, or scoring awesome titles from the library, or guiding the girl as she progresses in her reading (yes!), or making up simple meals for the boy after school, or just ending the day with a good vacuum around the house to work up a sweat. anything to keep me from feeling like i’d wasted the day, although the temptation to just curl up on the sofa is always there. (strangely, i’ve not been very interested in tv anymore.)
i’m glad to have disconnected from the distracting world of twitter and facebook (for a year now?), because if anything, it’s given me back my time, my self-esteem, my sanity and peace of mind. it really does feel… wonderful.
it’s almost three months since my leave, but i think i feel healthier and happier already.
meanwhile, today’s accomplishment – getting into these poses. (i really like the Eight Angle pose, on the right. fun!)
(that’s the little girl’s overly-enthusiastic Corpse pose/shavasana.)
was toying with the idea of doing an instructor’s course with the yoga buddy for the heck of it, and wondered why we haven’t come across any malay instructors at all in singapore. i suppose it could be that these courses are long and costly, or generally not many care enough to immerse in it, or like us, only get interested in our mid-thirties but by now are bogged down by other commitments.
well, i’ll just keep that on my grand ‘when-i-grow-up-i-wanna’ list, along with a whole bunch of my other ambitions.
for now, i’ll stick to the little accomplishments. ;)