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.


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.


I Can Run, But Cannot Hide

6 August 2016, Saturday

My herd is already between seven and almost-15 years old. Yet, I continue to not have toilet privacy. Within the five to 10 minutes that I was holed up, I’ve been paid not one but two visits. And by the two oldest too!

A1 wanted to know if the hair salon was opened today for her to cut her hair. “Yes. But, this being a Saturday, it may be crowded.”

A2 wanted to know when he could have his escape room-style outing with best friends JQ, J and JW (and maybe another new friend from school) for his belated birthday celebration. “I dunno. Maybe next Saturday? You go arrange and confirm with your friends when they can make it.”

In that short time, two “major” tasks were achieved. The throne’s the best place to make decisions from.

Love Unspoken

15 April 2014, Tuesday

Had breakfast with three close friends (DO, YY and MC) from the kids’ kindy and primary school. We had a great long morning. Parting began only as one by one of us had to leave for various schools to pick our respective kids.

We were down to just one friend DO and I when she received a call to pick one of her twins early from school. I didn’t have any kid to pick up then, so she gave me a lift home on her way.

Love unspoken spotted

As I alighted from her car, YY (the second friend to have taken leave from our gathering) WhatsApped me from our kids’ primary school. (See her message appended at the end of this blog entry)

Apparently, our younger boy was spotted kneeling down to help his older brother tie his shoelace which had come undone.

Sibling love exists

Like all siblings, our boys (in fact all four of our kids) play together and fight each other all the time. And like all parents, I wish they’d just get along and save me the trouble of fighting with them to stop fighting and of worrying about the state of their sibling relations. … But moments like this today give me a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Our boys love each other after all.

Our four love one another after all!


A Hilarious Exercise on Idioms

16 February 2014, Sunday

8:15pm. A2 had finished his school English homework on idioms a while ago.

Checking his work, I finally got to the last question …

Teacher must be just like mommy when stressed!

(I was tempted not to guide A2 in correcting this one, just so his teacher gets a laugh. … In the end, I did guide him through all the errors he made (which was almost the entire exercise), but not before I took these pix. Will WhatsApp his English teacher so he gets a kick(start on a Monday morning))

Enchanted with Roald Dahl (Part 2)

3 January 2014, Friday

A2’s Science tuition at Jurong East began today. I had intended to shop at Popular bookstore after his class. A3 had not wanted to come along, preferring to stay at home to play.

I took A2 to class, dragging A3 with me. A3 had to come cos he had been stirring A4 up and would only continue to do so which would drive Mom up the wall amid her elaborate Chinese New Year food preparation.

After-class shopping

We were supposed to buy essentials at Popular, including plastic book covers for the series of Roald Dahl books I had bought in December. Taking the same books to fit and pick the right-size covers, A2’s eyes grew wide at the sight of even more Roald Dahl books.

In the end, I got him two more books which he had in the past borrowed from somewhere but had not managed to finish reading before returning them (“The BFG” was borrowed from LitPlus library). I had wanted him to re-borrow to finish reading those books, but I relented so complete our Roald Dahl collection and cos the “25% for 2 or more” offer was still on.

Daddy reads

A2 said S will continue reading “The BFG” with him.

Apparently, they had been in the midst of co-reading when A2 had to return the overdue book to LitPlus.


Smoking out Santa Claus

28 December 2013, Saturday

About 12:35pm, thereabouts. Dad, away on Christmas and busy on Boxing Day, wrapped and brought out a couple of Christmas presents. One for the two granddaughters to share, the other for the two grandsons to share.


A4, yet to be fully trained in recipient etiquette, blurted (twice or more too!)as she accepted the girls’ gift, “Why so small?”

The two pairs of kids immediately set about removing the gift wrappers to get to their gifts. The boys got a remote-controlled helicopter and the girls got a remote-controlled car, both with signaling devices that attach to iPhones for control by the latter.

Getting to the truth

2pm. The kids, seated on the couch, contemplated on how they’d play with their new toys which they had by then agreed to share between the genders (Not playing with the toys yet as they had been put to charge). … Their conversation soon turned to discussing whether Santa Claus is real.

I walked in on their conversation at some point. When the Santa debate came up, the kids tried to fish hints from me.

A3 did most, if not all, the dirty work. A1 might have instigated this discussion. A2 was just taking it all in, happy to leave the others conduct the investigation. I forget whether A4 was there among them or not.

The interrogation

“Parents are Santa Claus, right, mom?”

“And where do I get that kind of money to get?” was my standard reply.

“Then it must be Dad; Dad’s rich.”

“Dad’s not rich; definitely not! If we were rich, we’d already have / be …” (I gave them the usual spiel. We give them great education, enrichment, enjoyable experiences and some of the things they want (within reason / budget), but we are most definitely not rich; and they had better recognise that fast!)

At wit’s end as to how to get the truth out of me, A3 immediately devised a plan. A clever one too! But one that the kids can only carry out in 20 years’ time! I was impressed he could think that far!

The plan

With a deviant glint in his eyes and hint of a grin on his face, A3 says to me, “It’s OK if you don’t wanna tell. Since Santa is not the parents … as you say [deliberately dragging his words, plus strongest glint and grin at this point], … then when we become parents, we won’t give our kids any presents; we will see if they still get any presents or not from Santa. If they don’t get any presents, then Santa is not real.”

Immediately following that, A3 used guilt as a tool to try, just one more time, to dig out the truth from me. He said, “And if Santa is not real and is supposed to be the parents, the kids won’t get their Christmas presents. And it will be all your fault!”

For a deeper effect, the last phrase was emphasised with a cheeky accusing facial expression!

The panic

I smiled and didn’t continue the conversation except for “OK, you wait and see then.” By then, they’d already know the truth.

On the off-chance that they still don’t know the truth then, we would have pulled off the greatest hoax in the history of parenting. And I am thinking …

Oh, no! We’d have to keep up the clandestine way-past-midnight activities. Late supper of cookies and milk. Wrapping presents, if not done yet. Coming up with meaningful and using alien handwriting to pen replies to each of the grandkids who writes a note to Santa. Jumping out of my skin whenever something stirs (One or more of the kids might still be awake. Quick! Hide the evidence. Say something natural. Divert attention.

We’d better be as energetic, agile and quick-witted in our golden years!

Enchanted with Roald Dahl

On way home from picking A1 up from babysitting at a church friend’s apartment, A3, A1 and I walked over to a nearby mall with a Popular, a bookstore that is popular for school textbooks, educational assessment books, stationery, IT accessories and toys. I wanted to try and get the textbooks that were unavailable from the boys’ primary school’s bookshop.

The detour

A little into the store, I was distracted by the attractive covers of Roald Dahl’s series that blanketed one display platform like a pretty quilt.

Then I got attracted by a distracting promotional sign.

“2 or more @ 25% off
1 @ 10% off”

The push

About a month ago, Mom holidayed with some friends in Indonesia. Her friends went nuts buying as many Roald Dahl’s books as they could. The books were cheap there (IDR87000, which is at this point in time SGD9.02). Mom followed quit. However, unaware that the writer is famous and good, she only got one book, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More”.

The strings

It’s a pity since A2 loves this series. He has already read three of the author’s books. I am so glad he is reading quality classics.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
“James and the Giant Peach”
“The BFG”

A1 was given “Matilda” by her Aunty N and Uncle G about five years ago when we spent Christmas in Australia. I must remember to let A2 know.

The pull

25% off. I was most tempted to buy all that were displayed in the series. But it would cost more than $100!

The approval

A quick WhatsApp message to S confirmed things for me.

“Buy. Something to be encouraged.”