The Impossible Affair

16 November 2016, Wednesday

7:20pm. My mobile rings. It’s A2, asking where I was. … What transpired was so endearingly typical of A2 and so amusing I just had to WhatsApp S about it.

Musings

It’s impossible to have an affair when you have four kids that can check up on you anytime, anywhere!

Then again, it’s a privilege to have close relationship with one’s teens, pre-teen and learner-teen.

Earlier on, after school & stayback

4pm+. The kids’ friends I and H visited for a short impromptu playdate. Cos I offered to take them with me when I took A4 to English tuition at LitPlus, and walk them home (nearby) from there. This would give YY a bit of peace and quiet at home, without anymore send-&-pick duties.

The plan for after the playdate was to just send I and H home, and head home right away. So the boys’ pleas to continue their playdate at I and H’s flat were overridden by YY (I and H’s mom) and me. YY’s rationale that there was school the next day stopped all arguments.

So A2 decided to turn back home, instead of walking with us to the busstop. A3 came with us, and then decided to join me on the entire journey. I did phone A2 to let him know the change of plans, but he still preferred to stay home.

~7:18pm. (I remember it was around 7:15-7:18pm only cos we were looking for the 3rd-night super moon, and A3 figured it was too early to spot the moon) It was after all these drop-offs, after the bus ride home, as A3 and I were walking the last stretch home that A2 phoned.

Stand Behind the Yellow Line

6 December 2014, Saturday

When you give instructions, better be sure to cover all perspectives!

The Context

Back in the days when Singapore MRT stations’ train platforms did not have glass walls for safety, the automated announcement would ask people to “Please stand behind the yellow line” whenever a train is about to pull into the station? Today, with the glass walls erected, they’ve done away with the announcement, but the yellow lines remain.

The Story Trigger

9:03am. Buona Vista MRT Station. Waiting for train, taking A2 and A3 to a one-off Scuba Diving for Kids workshop.

My Mr Smarty Pants A3 tells me with a straight face, “Stand behind the yellow line.”

Blur mommy didn’t catch the drift. So, A3 repeated it several times, facing me with a serious look.

IMG_3343.JPG
The Punchline

For those who still don’t catch the drift … Which side of the yellow line is behind?

Talks Even When Sleepibg

3 October 2014, Friday

Wee hours. I had showered and was unable to sleep then. So I continued working.

Around 1am+ (I think) rustling sounds were heard coming from the floor, off the edge of the bed on S’s side. It was A4, shifting about while asleep. Something was said then, but I couldn’t make out what it was. (I think this episode was after I showered for the night. Can’t recall for sure)

She quietened soon after. I thought I had peace for the night now.

But then, after some time, the next voice from behind me. A3. He was sleeping in our bed, on my side, which was right behind me as I worked at my laptop. He was so loud I thought he had woken up.

“Ann, Ann, Ann …
… Ann, wait …
Wait, Ann, wait …”

Wonder what his dream was.

It was I think 1:29am then.

Sweet Meat Up in Smoke

16 September 2014, Tuesday

6:37am. I was about to bite into a succulent slice of bak kwa (BBQed sweet meat) when I was rudely yanked from the tantalising moment.

A2 had barged into our bedroom, exclaiming, “Mom, urgent! I don’t have any PE T-shirt to wear to school today!”

Apparently, a bit of a shoulder seam had come loose on A2’s second PE T-shirt, and it had been put aside for Mom to sew at a later date. And his other one is in the wash.

Bye bye fattening dream, hello another day of helter skelter!

Postscript:

If you have not guessed by now, I was about to bite into that slice of bak kwa … In my dream!

And in the end, the easiest solution to A2’s problem was to have him wear one of A3’s two PE T-shirts. Never mind the wrong-coloured name tag, never mind the wrong name!

IMG_1856.JPG
Image of bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang.

Definitely male

12 September 2014, Friday

Who cares what message is sent by what is said, how it’s said? As long as it produces the same desired result, the goal is achieved!

How more male can one get than this? A3 is definitely male!

A need quite easily solved

10/11pm. A3 emerges from watching “How to Train Your Dragon” in our bedroom. He comes to me in the kitchen where I am baking belated Teachers’ Day cookies for the kids to take to their various teachers in the coming week. He says, “Mom, remember to wake me up for badminton tomorrow morning.”

I agree, but that doesn’t reassure him as we have been late before, due to my staying up late to get things done and not being able to wake up in the morning.

A complication almost overlooked

Then I remember: A4 has make-up Chinese enrichment class tomorrow. I’d be cutting timing too fine if I took both kids along to drop A3 at school for badminton, and then hop straight onto a bus – perhaps with a transfer – to get A4 to Chinese class.

A (kinda) quick fix

I further recall: Dad has his off-day tomorrow I think.

“A3, go ask Kong Kong (ie Granddad) if he can take you to badminton tomorrow,” says I.

“Why must I? … You ask!” A3 whines.

“Just go ask! You have to learn to open your mouth and ask,” I goad (threatened), hinting at an ultimatum.

A few more exchanges and I hear A3 reluctantly (I sense Mr Mature-&-Independent is shy about asking for help) saying something to his Kong Kong.

The quick-fix takes a small detour

Fortunately, Dad is a little hard of hearing and A3 has to repeat his request a couple more times, so I get to hear what he is actually saying.

A3: Kong Kong, you have to take me to badminton tomorrow morning.

Kong Kong: What?

A3, a bit louder: You have to take me to badminton tomorrow.

Kong Kong: (He says something)

A3 is exasperated, so now more audible: Mommy says you have to take me to badminton tomorrow.

Fixing the distorted quick-fix in a flash

I fly out from the kitchen to explain things from the kitchen doorway.

I to Dad: What A3 mean is can you take him to badminton tomorrow morning? Cos I will be taking A4 to her make-up Berries class in town.

Dad, as usual, is more than happy to help where I am shorthanded.

Reflection

I had asked A3 to ask Kong Kong if he could send him to class. A3 told Kong Kong I said he had to.

Both approaches would have produced the same result, that is Kong Kong taking A3 to class next morning. Only the meanings behind both messages were poles apart!

A cold, demanding and ungrateful monster! That was what A3 almost made me out to be.

When Retail Isn’t Therapy

9 June 2014, Monday

Finally purchased the digital drums set for the boys to begin private drums lessons come July with A3’s inspiring first drums teacher.

The trouble with this purchase

Brand new purchases are supposed to be fun and exciting. But this one’s a big-ticket item at SGD1,049; and there’s always that fear that the kids will lose interest or act up till lessons get cancelled (It’s like childhood all over again, except this time we’re at the paying end). And the worse thing was the purchase process was wrought with … well, let’s just say distractions. My WhatsApp messages to S says it all.

Drumming it up

Deed done at 6:15pm with a lot of grief!

While at Cristofori paying, they were all driving me nuts!

A2: Mommy, it’s my turn.
A3: But mommy, A2 doesn’t want to let me play.
A4: Mommy, A3 pushed my head down; it’s very pain.

Facing the music of past hoardings

Then there is the addition pain of clearing out and cleaning up our upstairs study to accommodate the new “furniture” (drums).

All for this moment

Now, maybe the delivery next Tuesday night will be a more peaceful and enjoyable time.

20140614-002346-1426775.jpgImage of MUZA DD512 courtesy of Cristofori

From Badminton to Basketball

24 April 2014, Thursday

I have never been one for sports (unless it is dance sport like Zumba). Consequently, I have never consciously created sporting opportunities for the kids (apart from one-off free or cheap trials).

Starting sports

It wasn’t till of late (Around perhaps February) that opportunities to take up sports lessons presented themselves in the most convenient of ways (Weekend, meaning more help chauffeuring the kids; nearby, meaning walking distance) that I was game enough to load my already-packed-to-the-brim schedule with badminton for A3 and soccer for A2.

A3 now does private group badminton in the school hall on Saturday mornings; while A2 soccer Sunday afternoons under a church’s community outreach programme, joined by his best and close friends from school.

Pre-playground drama

Today, A3 wanted to play at the exercise playground. I promised him 10mins of play there when we take A2 to Science tuition in the next block. A4 insisted on coming along.

7pm or just a tiny bit past 7pm. Leaving for our destinations, A4 asked to bring along her scooter. A3 began hunting for his pink (Yes, pink!) soccer ball. A2 was running late (cos I wanted to finish up making a dress for A4’s Barbie doll), so A2, A4 and I left first.

A2 at Science tuition, A4 and I went to the exercise playground. Soon A3 arrived with A1, bringing two badminton rackets and a shuttlecock with them. I am guessing A3 couldn’t locate the pink soccer ball in the mass (mess) of toys at home.

Adventure badminton

Around 7:05pm or 7:10pm. Barely into play, the shuttlecock got lodged up in a tree. A1 and A3 began taking turns to fling their old racket up into the tree to dislodge the shuttlecock. After a few tries, just as A1 (or A3) mentioned the idea of losing the racket in the tree, the racket got lost in the tree! Roaring laughter ensued, as you can imagine.

Brick-hard slipper trial

A3 (or A1) suggested rope. I suggested basketball. A1 asked A3 for both objects. As A3 began running home to retrieve them, he paused to watch me try to dislodge the lost items with the right side of my solid chunky slippers. Alas! I was too short to make the slipper hit the target area with full impact. A3 ran home.

Mission basketball

A3 back with the basketball, A1 and A3 tried aiming it at the branches holding on to their items. A1 succeeded at dislodging the racket. … A3 noticed that a string or two had come loose, but A1 said that had always been so. … The shuttlecock was a little more tricky. A1 managed only to shift it a little in the tree, I think along the same branch.

Feeling optimistic, I had to have a go. Surprisingly, I aimed good! One shot was all it took!

It was now around 7:15pm.

Cramming sports

For a group of people unaccustomed to sports. We sure went through more sports in 10 minutes than we ever have in our lifetime!

Wisely, A1 and A3 adjourned to the nearby basketball court to commence their game of badminton.

A4 tagged along with her scooter. I was left to babysit A3’s badminton racket cover and the kids’ basketball.

20140424-203015.jpg
20140424-203708.jpg