Naomi made the most ingenious plans ever hatched in trying to keep two active but sick with flu kids (one 3 year old and one 4 year old) entertained throughout the Easter weekend.
Because they’ve been sick for a whole week, they weren’t able to socialize (Kai’s birthday party was cancelled), and we had no choice but to make do.
And make do Naomi did. I would never have thought of:
1. The Easter Bunny not visiting a house with crying kids.
2. Having to distract the kids by making them put a carrot (must be organic) outside the front door, so the Easter Bunny will feel welcome.
3. The Easter Bunny usually leaving Easter Eggs in the Condo’s common areas – so that the kids go hunt downstairs for half an hour while Naomi hides the eggs in the apartment, so the kids come back upstairs disappointed, and then elated that the Easter Bunny had snuck in while they were out and deposited a shitload of chocolate eggs all over the apartment.
All this in between having to dispense six kinds of medication three times a day to the kids, in between having to break up fights which occur every ten minutes between them, in between me having to visit my dad in hospital daily, in between having to do long overdue work, I’d say we’ve done pretty well as parents and babysitters this long week and weekend.
What is probably the more amazing thing is that we’ve enjoyed every mad moment of it. But that probably boils down to my wife being the most capable mother on the planet.
We triple dated this Valentine’s night – Naomi and I, our friends Laurel & Sylvain, Kai and their daughter Alaia.
If you’d asked any of the adults three years ago if we’d have imagined ourselves spending Valentine’s Day like this and enjoying every single second of it, we’d have stared at you, then ignored you and walked away because we’d have thought you were mad.
Watching Kai and his closest friend play and give each other impromptu hugs every now and then is the best Valentine’s Day gift Naomi and I can think of.
A few days ago, some work mates asked how Naomi and I met, and I’ve often answered this question by saying it was magic. After six and a half years, it still is magic, and I am blessed to be loved so much by my beautiful family.
It has been a mad year and a bit, and last night I was commenting to Naomi that I feel as if I’ve been run off my feet. It could have been tiredness from work. It could also have been the beers and wine I took trying to ameliorate the tiredness.
I decided this week to observe the traditional Chinese observation of the winter solstice because it was probably the only Chinese custom my mother observed diligently and consistently. So last night, Naomi and I went and bought rice flour to make the glutinous rice balls (tang yuan), pandan leaf for the syrup/soup and beetroot to make the coloring for pink tang yuans.
It was a double treat for Kai especially as he got to make the tang yuan himself before walloping three helpings for breakfast (Starch and sugar is an awesome combination for an active 2.5 year old, and I left for work so Naomi could experience the effects on Kai all by herself).
Naomi’s mum says that winter solstice tang yuan are special because they can automagically tell whether your age is an odd or even number by the number of tang yuans in your bowl, no matter how randomly you scoop them out of the pot.
It worked for Kai, Naomi and our helper, but I spoiled the stats by eating everything before remembering to count them.
My mother, being the Malayan-born western-educated ethnic-Chinese career woman that she was, used to tell my siblings and I when we were young, that this observance was known as “Chinese Christmas”, and that if we didn’t wake up early to roll the tang yuan and finish off the balls, the “real” Christmas wouldn’t come, which meant Santa wouldn’t deliver the goods.
This is the first Chinese Christmas without my mum. I miss her, but I think she’ll be happy her observance and special back story will have some more mileage with Kai for a while.
This morning I took my father to his quarterly cardiologist’s check-up, and while waiting our turn, I spoke to him about what I’d been up to at work – about so-and-so that was his client and now mine who called me asking a favour – and he had some difficulty remembering who I was talking about.
No big deal, since it’s been a few years since he’s been in the office.
Then he asked me where my mother was. I missed a beat, then quickly recovered to tell him as flatly as possible, for who’s benefit, I still don’t know, that Mummy passed away in February it’s been almost four months now.
In eyes dulled by the passage of Parkinson’s, you can still see shock, grief, immense sadness, and then resignation.
I do not look forward to telling him again when he forgets again.