The Birds, The Bees And The Apple Tree

Seven years old
On many accounts, seven is a magical age

You start going to school
You get pocket money to buy food in school.
You start to have real friends, not just playmates
You get to get a cell phone to call mum, just in case
You may even get one of those early generation iPhone thingies
And you don’t have to ask mummy again for permission
to get angry with pigs and start hurling birds at them

But seven can also be a confusing age
as it coincides with awakening sexuality
where you are banned from public toilets of the opposite sex

So how should we teach them the birds and the bees?
Obviously, a demonstration is out of the question

So what about books?
Are there books that explain all these things?
And save us parents from the embarrassment and awkwardness?

Or should we just bite the bullet and do it ourselves?
With a face straighter than straight
and tell the facts as simply as they are

Where penises are penises
and vaginas are vaginas
and breasts are breasts

And all these body parts are dual use
and serve the critical functions of procreation
and the continuation of the human race
and civilization as we know it today

Yet, who should talk to the kids?
Should it be mum? Or should it be dad?
Does it matter if the kid is a boy or a girl?

How do we break the ice on this kind of topic?
Should we pull Malcolm aside on a weekday?
Or on a weekend evening?

Will he even be interested?
What do we want to tell him?
What values are we trying to impart?

Should we tell him about safe sex and condoms?
Sex before marriage is ok?
Having girlfriends in school is ok?

Will he become even more curious and start experimenting?
Should we even start discussing all these with him now?
Or should we wait till later when he is older?

So you see, it is not just about the birds and the bees.
It is about the apple tree as well, and the thousands of apples the tree will bear over its lifetime

Complicated and heady?
Sure it is, and we got no idea where to start




Speaking Chess : N D5-C7 x B

It was his Dad’s turn
Nope, Malcolm didn’t see that one coming
Careless as usual
But his response was atypical and several moves later

His Dad was caught by surprise
whilst Mal was beaming from ear to ear

At the cost of a rook, he managed to capture Dad’s queen and a bishop
Seemed like a good deal to him
Maybe he wasn’t really that careless after all

However, age, experience, pride and sheer willpower to not lose prevailed in the end
His Dad won after all and didn’t have to beat a hasty retreat
with his tail between his legs

But the point was crystal clear
Malcolm will kick his butt in chess if he isn’t paying attention

But just two weeks ago, the sight picture would have been entirely different
We used to chide Malcolm for being a lousy sport
Every time he loses his queen, he would kick up a big fuss
and insist on “undoing” the moves and getting his queen back
But all this seem to have changed after some training this holiday

The chess pieces suddenly became compromises and tradeoff decisions
They became a means to an end
Losing a prized possession is now ok
as long as favourable exchange ratios were met in the strategy of attrition
or even better, if positional advantage were gained or critical terrain captured in the strategy of manoeuvre

From this perspective, sacrificing a knight to prevent a castling is not incontemplatable

Forks, discovered attacks, pins, skewers and sacrifices have nothing to do with cutlery or pagan worship
I am learning a new language
Indeed they are chess tactics designed to maintain strategic ambiguity while exacting punishment on the adversary

For now,  his Dad is still keeping up, albeit barely
But at the rate that we are going, it is only a matter of time before his son starts beating him all comprehensively





A Walk In The Park

Because of the sniffle I caught
We have been avoiding crowded places that are air conditioned these days
(which is about EVERYWHERE on our tiny little island)

So come weekends, you can probably find us trudging through the forest
making our way through tall shrubs and ferns
reeking from our own sweat in the hot and humid weather
and finally emerging from under the thick foliage
with our boots caked in mud and pants soiled from our labour

It is messy

Given my penchant for hygiene and cleanliness
It is amazing how good I feel even in all this mess

It is liberating to break out of our urban jungle
to feel hot, sweaty, muddy and itching from all the bug and mosquito bites

It is rejuvenating
It is pure joy
I feel revitalized even amid coughs and croaks

All these lasted for a glorious five minutes
till I took off my boots
and gagged my own screams when I discovered
my ruined pedicure



Hey, but seriously

Weekends are so much better with
Pink trekking pants and tough hiking boots


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