My Lunch Date

I have to confess that the idea of sending both kids to school so that I can have half the day to myself was pretty tempting
It’s like after all these years, I am finally getting my life back !

The truth about having 2 kids is, my joy is doubled but my time is halved
This is especially so with my elder boy who used to have mom all to himself but had to grow up overnight after the birth of his little brother, which really makes me a guilty mom

So for a while, I was struggling with either having both kids in school at the same time so that I can have half the day to myself OR short changing myself but get to spend 1 on 1 time with each of them

I chose the latter mainly because I dread having to battle with a sleepy toddler every morning
And it turns out to be a decision that is more than just that

With the new routine, I now have a daily lunch date, my 9 year old to be
We have an hour of uninterrupted lunch everyday, on some days more, when he finishes school earlier
We usually end up eating the same sandwiches from our favourite fast food joint near our place

We would sit outdoor, at the usual shady spot, among old trees and warm breeze under the midday sun
He would tell me about his day in school

Sometime, we talk about the news, like the one on drug and the one on the new looks for our coins
Other times we gossip about his friends and teachers, and we concluded that his Maths teacher is not that fierce after all. She just sounds that way all the time

He tells me about the latest game he is making and the new greek god he had discovered
Once a while I would let him indulge in his favourite past time, reading

On days when we were feeling adventurous
We would wander further, wrestle with the lunch time crowd, play hike and seek with the traffic police and pay a premium to get our cravings fixed

I am enjoying this new little pocket of time we found and I wish to keep it this way for as long as possible and have him this close to me for as long as I can

And about the part on getting my life back
I realized that it is sometimes difficult to see
But life is made up of memories and moments like this
I am already living it



Me Time

This year is an exciiting year for me
For the first time, both my boys are in school
Which means, I am getting my daily dose of offically me time

It is a brief one hour or two
I could still remember how I felt on the first day of this new routine
A sense of liberation and relief
I almost felt guilty feeling what I felt

And thought of a friend’s snigger when not too long ago she discovered how I read my morning papers
At the playground, on the slide, my active toddler jumping in the background

With a toddler, a preschooler, a new maid and a new job
She was happy with her new life
not havng to face her children 24/7 and the luxury of having someone to take care of the chores at home
and thought I should have done the same

Choice is a luxury
sometimes a culprit for complicating things
clouding the focus
leaving behind confusion and unfulfillment

It takes a little tenacity
an immunity to chatter and noises
for priority to take the reins and lead the way

It can be exciting and exhilarating
It can be lonely and beautiful

The path is one to tread
the burden is one to bear
and the experience is one to savour

Foolish is the one who tries to judge
For a reflection is probably all one gets

A reminder to myself

Meanwhile, life’s good





Uniquely Singapore Chinese New Year

How has Chinese New Year been for you so far?
It has been a little crazy for us

We had guests over at our llittle space on most days
so much so that many of my new dresses haven’t been worn

I reckoned that I wouldn’t look very glamourous even in a cheong sum if I had to zip in and out of the kitchen dishing out food
I would probably end up looking more like Misfit Maria

And I am so glad I had stocked up my fridge like what my mum does every year
becuase you really don’t know when you need to whip out something to feed your guests

I had to have everything that makes up Chinese New Year
even if it meant having left overs
which essentially mean having a good year with things in abundance
This tradition thing has grown into me, gawk !

Apart from being so much of my mother’s daughter
I blame it on my brief identity crisis when I lived in foreign lands
when my cheong sum didn’t look very ‘Chinese’ next to a mainland Chinese
and my Kebaya didn’t look very traditional beside a native Indonesian
much like my Nasi Lemak and curry chicken didn’t taste very authentic to a Malaysian and an Indian

So here I am today, a Singapore Chinese mum eager to find herself
which really explains why we have to do the Lao Yusheng every Chinese New Year
because it is really one of those very few things that is unqiuely Singapore, Chinese

This year, I added another culinary skill under my belt
I learned to make Kong Bak Pau from my mother-in-law
Yes, those fatty pork belly braised in dark soya sauce and wrapped in freshly steamed bun

I made a big pot for a party last Saturday
and we had the left overs for breakfast on Sunday morning

I still am not really sure what it means to be a Singapore Chinese
The concept continues to elude me
But the idea still evokes a sense of pride
That we somehow are unique and special in this world of franchises and “Made in China” uniformity

I am far from completing that Singapore Chinese identity thingy
But with every Kong Bah Pau
Every senseless toss of the Yusheng
Every gathering of family and friends to make merry and catch up
I think we are slowly getting there
Bit by bit
Slowly but surely, we are getting there




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