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Author: Zhiwei

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

小小宝贝 brought home a book from school for his weekend reading. Children’s book, how exciting could it get? He picked this book – “Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” from the little library in his classroom.

It’s a very simple children’s book about the author’s childhood which he spent with his Nana Upstairs – his great-grandmother and Nana Downstairs – his grandmother. It was beautifully drawn with short, easily comprehensible sentences that described the activities he had indulged in with his grandmothers, down to poignant little details, that seemed a great deal to a child like the sharing of mint candies, sitting tied to chairs so that they didn’t fall off. All these would have been very mundane activities to adults.

Then one day, his Nana Upstairs died and she was no longer sitting in her usual position in her bed. The drawing of the bed took up a whole page, the void was amplified.

Tommy began to cry.

“Won’t she ever come back?” he asked.

“No, dear,” Mother said softly. “Except in your memory. She will come back in your memory whenever you think about her.”

From then on, he called Nana Downstairs just plain Nana.

And then Tommy grew up, Nana Downstairs also grew old and moved upstairs and then she, too, joined Nana Upstairs with the stars.

With its simple sentences and beautiful drawings, it tugs at the heartstrings of both adults (me) and children, while reminding us that passage of time spares no one, even our parents who have grown old without us realising it. Cherish the time with them if you are lucky enough to still have them with you.

What Kind of Life Do I Want?

What Kind of Life Do I Want?

I consider myself a very, very lucky person. I had wonderful, nurturing parents, who loved me a lot and had been very supportive of everything I have done (for better or for worse). Friends have been very helpful and have stuck with me through thick and seldom thin (like what I said, my life has been very smooth sailing). Of course, there are a handful (not many, thank goodness), whom I wish that I have never met. Then again, they had taught me valuable lessons in life.

But nothing had prepared me for what I went through recently. This is the worst year of my life and the last few months the most agonising, for nothing can ever prepare one for death, especially deaths of loved ones, closest to heart. It’s unbelievable that there were numerous other small things that happened almost on a daily basis in between the 2 life altering events. These include car accidents (yes, 2 in fact!), a huge theft (this is an incredible tale that warrants a blog post by itself). There must have been a bad luck magnet stuck to my forehead at that time.

Losing 2 parents within 1.5 months was excruciating painful, for every little sound I hear, everything I see, carries the images and memories of them. There are a lot of “what ifs”, “could haves”,”if onlys” and regrets. But, no one knows if the outcomes would have been different if we had done things differently.

This chain of events sets me thinking, is this what I really want? What do I want? I have lost sight of what I really want in the midst of busyness. There was not enough time for myself, to take stock of what I want, no time to spend with my family, Heck! I don’t even have time to visit the dentist, or even get a haircut! I hardly have time to be with everyone I care for.

It’s time to slow down, take stock of my life, set my priorities right and yes, smell the roses, watch the clouds go by…. and play silly games with my kids and do things that I have always wanted to do, but haven’t have the chance to.

My Father

My Father

On the 49th day after my beloved grandmother’s death, I had to send away another parent, my father.

This probably doesn’t mean much to anyone, but I just have to pen it down, because my heart is bursting with grief.

As a son, he is the epitome of filial piety. My grandmother was widowed at a tender age of 20, when he was barely 3 years old and my uncle, a wee babe of 18 months old. From a very young age, he was mature beyond his years and took care of his family. He had excellent grades, but chose to give up the opportunity to enroll in the university to take up a job and ease the financial burden of my grandmother and to send his younger brother to university instead. He worked in the day and put himself into night school through an accountancy certificate.

He treated my grandmother with utmost respect and love and spent the last 3 years of his life taking care of her when she was bedridden and in her most aggressive dementia period before she eventually mellowed down. He carried her, changed her, took care of her every needs with utmost patience. He was a man of few words, yet he would coax her to eat in his gentlest tone.

As a husband, he took care of my mother’s every need, and in every little way he could. Until now, my mom just needed to sign on every filled form (luckily my brother took over my father’s OCD details on form filling). He was the head of the house and insisted on paying for every single cent out of his own pocket. His work was unenviable. He had to work long hours and even over the weekends. He bought a car for my mother to drive to work and he would walk and take the crowded public transport to work. I remembered that the car was pink. He must have loved my mom a lot. Even I won’t be caught dead with a pink car, not to mention a macho man like my father.

As a father, he stinged on himself and saved every single cent, so that he could spend it all on us. He gave us the best he could, the things he had wanted but never had when he was a child. I remember him as a stern father, who whipped me when I was insolent and that was very often. Yet, he was the proudest father when I received my degree from NUS because it was what he desired and yet couldn’t achieve due to lack of funds. He taught me about savings from a very young age and the worth of money. Yet, he also showed me that when friends or relatives came to him in need, he generously gave them the money that he had painstakingly saved up, cent by cent, over the years.

He had ferried me to school for years and years, yet we never spoke in the car. He was a man of few words and I took him for granted. Why didn’t I chat with him over all these years? He was the happiest grandfather when my children were born. He gave my children, the time that he didn’t had for us when we were children. He was the doting grandfather and my son was especially close to him. He read bedtime stories to them every night, something that he never had the chance to do for us. He hugged and kissed them, while I sometimes looked on enviably because he was an unapproachable figure to me.

In the face of death, he was the calmest of us all. He said, “我想死。” My heart broke into a million pieces. He didn’t fuss, he didn’t go into a rage, it was just calmness. Yesterday, I confessed to him, “爸爸,对不起。我一直跟你吵架,一直让你生气。“ He just held my hand and gave me a few gentle squeezes. I hugged him and cried. He took me in his arms as though I was still a little girl and gave me a bear hug, as much as he could in his weakened state, patted me and told me, “不要哭。不要哭。” I sat up and asked him, “我弄痛你了。”“不会,不会。”Then folded me in his arms and continued patting me as though I was a baby, while I was bawling in his arms. He patted my hair lovingly while I cried my eyes out.

Yesterday night, I held his hand when he’s slipped into unconsciousness, praying that the IVIG, pembro and whatever stuff was injected into him worked, something, just a miracle. I watched him as his breaths got shallower, his heartbeat got slower, and his body got colder until finally the beep was a long line. He went peacefully, severed of his mundane ties and pain. I told him when he was still conscious, “你见到奶奶,记得告诉她我很想念她。你们又可以在一起了。” I just wish that I had more time with him.

2 days ago, I heard this from the audio book of the deathly Hallows.

“You’ll stay with me?

“Until the very end,” said James.

“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.

“We are part of you,” said Sirius. “Invisible to anyone else.”

My father is part of me, invisible to anyone else. I have him with me and in me always. Til we meet again, my father.

Mommy, I’ve 2 Girlfriends!

Mommy, I’ve 2 Girlfriends!

It’s the favourite time of my day! After lights out, we have our little chit chat in the dark.

小小宝贝 :Mommy! I’ve 2 girlfriends! 👧🏻 👧🏻

宝贝口水妹:What?! I don’t even have a boyfriend and you have TWO girlfriends??

Me : Are you sure they are your girlfriends!?

小小宝贝:Yes! (He insisted) Both of them said they liked me! ☺️ And I like them too!

Me : Erm, Lezen and Clara?

小小宝贝 :(giggled) Yes!

Me : Didn’t you say that Elijah (his bff) likes Lezen?

小小宝贝:Since I’ve 2 girlfriends, I can give him one. (So generous of him 🤦🏻‍♀️)

宝贝口水妹:How can you give girlfriends away???

小小宝贝: Because Lezen told him that she liked him too! So I’ll give him Lezen and we can both have girlfriends.

宝贝口水妹:Do you know what’s a girlfriend??? Not just any girl who is your friend ok!!

小小宝贝:Of course I know! All the girls in my class like me, but I only like 2!

Gosh! I’ve a Casanova in the household… 🙄

Orange 🍊 Famine!

Orange 🍊 Famine!

Parent Teacher Meeting…

All the usual niceties about him being a good boy in school (the teachers wouldn’t believe that he’s a tyrant at home. 🙄)

Teacher : By the way, is it possible to tell him to use other colours besides orange for his work?

Me : Oh, orange is his favourite colour. (Yes… for the longest time ever, orange as his fav colour seems to be sticking. His other colour fetish before orange)

Teacher : Yes, yes, we know. He uses orange colour pencils for writing and orange crayons for colouring everything. The problem is, other children (his gang of boys of whom he’s the Lao da) see him doing it and they are all doing the same thing… 🤦🏻‍♀️ so… we are running out of orange pencils and crayons in the centre…

Me : ok… let me speak to him.. he likes red too. That’s his 2nd favourite colour!

Teacher : we know… that’s the 2nd colour running out…

Ooops!

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

“Is Papa doing mindfulness??” My hub was lying on the playmat with his hands on his stomach – the typical mindfulness posture at the kindergarten. Snoring….

“I can do mindfulness for a long time!” declared Xiaoxiaobaobei!

“Right… how long??”

“14 minutes!!”

“Really??” I stared at him in disbelief.

“Let me show you!” He laid down beside his Papa, folding his hands on his tummy. “You close your eyes and think of breathing.” 2 minutes of silence…. then he sat up.

“Eh! It’s not 14 minutes yet!!”

“I want to play with my Boost!”

“Lousy! See! Papa can do it for such a long time!”

He glanced at his papa, “he’s sleeping! See! He’s snoring! I’ll do mindfulness tonight!”

Sigh… I need to speak to his teacher…

A Seat Full of Puke 🤢

A Seat Full of Puke 🤢

Too fast, too furious, it happened. Out of the blue, we heard a retching sound, then when I turned around, I could only gape in horror as brown gooey liquid gushed out, non stop, of 小小宝贝’s mouth. 

“Don’t move! Don’t touch anything! Don’t touch the car!!! This is a nuclear disaster!!”

小小宝贝 sat in his vomit, stunned, with his hands held up in the air. It’s his maiden vomiting experience. 

Hub was driving and asking, “what happened?!”

宝贝reacted the quickest, “Give Didi some tissue!!!”

(Side story : Seow told me that her student puked in the car and some fluid flew over her Dad, who was the driver and in shock, he swerved and almost caused an accident. So we had been extremely lucky that his wasn’t the explosive, fly everywhere kind. Or we may have to scrap the car!)

宝贝 : Haha! Remember the last time I vomited all over the stairs as I was going to my bedroom?? 

Images of the last puking incident appeared vividly in my mind. Yes. She threw up as she was going up the stairs to her room. It splashed everywhere at the stairwell, over the railings (you can imagine that the puke went to the lower floor as well) and I saw food lumps and stomach acid cascading down the stairs…. we spent the whole night cleaning 2 floors. 

Me : Not funny ok! 

When we got home, we unbuckled the whole car seat and lifted him along with it straight into the bathroom. Hub cleaned him up while I wiped the car down and left the windows down to air it…. 🤢

We stood and stared at the car seat, a few bowls worth of puke, a lot of undigested food and unknown (you don’t want to know) stuff pooled on it. 

Me : Can still use or not? Throw away arh? But very expensive leh…

Hub : I’ll settle it! 

Me : 😍 My hero!!! Cleaning up the aftermath of a nuclear warfare! 

Somehow he managed it. The next time I saw the car seat it was dismantled and clean and drying at the balcony. We washed the covers a few times in the washing machine and it’s good as new. 

We survived! 

Meanwhile, 小小宝贝 is stricken with probably stomach flu. 


This reminds me of another time, when he covered me with shit. 😑

I’m sure every parent out there must have experienced some form of disaster originating from one of the orifices of their children’s. But we soldier on! 💪🏼

His Favourite (Everchanging) Colour!

His Favourite (Everchanging) Colour!

Raised the same way, but yet so different… 

During her early years, her favourite colour was green. Maybe it’s because some of our walls were green and we had lots of home decoration in that colour. And I dressed her in neutral colours and a pink or red once in a while. A few years ago, she declared that her favourite colours were pink and purple and they’ve remained since then. Sigh. There are just some things that can’t be changed. Why must little girls like pink?!

When he was very little (I mean when he was a wee babe, because he’s still very little now), he decided (yes, decided, no one could change his mind), that HIS favourite colour was PINK?!?! 


He ursuped his sister’s pink hat and wore it everywhere he went, including at home….

One fine day, he announced that his favourite colour was “rainbow”. So he started the era of putting as many different colours possible in every of his art pieces. 


A 🌈 coloured “Yang Yang De Yi”. 


His ultra colourful house. 

Then came… 


The Black Age…. he coloured his drawing in various colours, then painted over the colours in BLACK!! 🤦🏻‍♀️

He insisted that black was THE colour and wanted to be dressed in black clothes!! All his paintings were in black! Don’t ask me why a 4 year old would choose black as his favourite colour… 

Until yesterday. 

小小宝贝 : Mommy, I love orange!

Me : Eh, isn’t black your current favourite colour??

小小宝贝 : No! It’s ORANGE! Mommy, do you know why I love orange?

Me : ??

小小宝贝 : Your favourite colour is red! So mine is orange. Because that’s the closest colour to red!! BECAUSE WE ARE CLOSE!! Right, Mommy??? 

Awww…. *melting* 😍😍 

Displaced by Technology

Displaced by Technology

The hub is on an overseas business trip (yes, again!) so I am the “Tchaikovsky” for the fortnight (next week, too!). I kind of like driving the kiddos to school. All of us are stuck with one another in the car, all strapped in, no distractions like toys and all.

小小宝贝 : I like Google Home so much! (gushing over the darn machine enthusiastically)

Me : (what the…?! Ah ah.. no swearing…) (in my most gentle mommy voice) Why is that so?

宝贝 : Di di talks to it all the time!

小小宝贝 : You were not at home. So I asked Google, “Why is the sky blue? Why is the sun yellow? Why are the clouds white?” And the Google was so smart!! She knows all the answers!

Me : So what did she tell you?

小小宝贝 : Oh I have forgotten.

Me : Do you want to know the answers? (finally my chance to impress my son!)

小小宝贝 :It’s ok. I will go home and ask Google after school today. She is always there! I can always ask her! (Is he subtly trying to tell me something??!!)

I swear I’m going home to trash that gadget today!

#jealousofagadget #displacedbytechnology #ihategooglehome #machinesaretakingover #quitmyjobandstayathome #afteritrashgooglehome

Destroy and Conquer! Zhiwei 1 Google Home 0

 

My Little F1 Race Commentator

My Little F1 Race Commentator

“Mommy! The Ferrari crashed first!” Then he launched an animatedly detailed account of how Ferrari crashed its team out of the race. “And Mercedes is the best!!! It was no 1 at the F1!” 

Both his eyes lighted up as he described the entire F1 race as if he were present at the scene! 

The mystery was… “But you slept at 730pm last night and went to school this morning. When did you watch the F1 race??”

Heck! I didn’t even watch the race myself! I’m not an F1 fan. I read the account of it this morning on the news though. And at 4 years old, he couldn’t have read that. 

“Ohhh I didn’t watch it. I heard Ashton telling his friend.”

“Who’s Ashton???”

“He’s a K2 boy in the bus.”

“这么小就偷听人家讲话!” Popo remarked. (Translation : eavesdropping at such a young age! Grandma remarked.)

“NO! I didn’t!!! He said it very loudly! I was sitting in the first row and he was at the third!!” 小小宝贝 defended himself indignantly. 😡

“You cannot say I 偷听! Say sorry to me!” 🤣

This reminds me that my little man is growing up. I need to check myself when I speak to other adults when he’s around. Sometimes he sounds awfully like me when he speaks…. all phrases must be G rating from now on. No more R rated phrases anymore. 

Oh and I caught someone reading my blog on the phone during her 10 mins a day allowance. 😒 Must be careful of what I write here henceforth. 🙊