Monday, March 20, 2006

Can't switch them off.

No you cannot.

You have a bad day at the office. Like true professionals, your bosses throw tantrum, furniture goes flying and being the plankton that you are, you get eaten alive, raw with wasabe. And your colleagues all get some kind of promotion except for you. And you are so swamped with assignments that you miss lunch.

And you are required to stay back and finish some reports that must be faxed over like yesterday. By the time you can leave the office, it is raining so heavily the people in Shah Alam are already crying. Then your umbrella develops a huge ED problem. It just wont bloom, you know what I mean? You get to the car drenched to the bones. The traffic is exceptionally horrendous and the aircond gives one tiny cough of cool air and then it rests in peace – gas to gas. Humidity in the car reaches 100%.

Throughout the journey back, you have evolved into a huge bear with toothache and PMS.

It is past nine by the time you reach home. Sore aching body, splitting headache, mutilated bleeding heart and low sugar level, all the cranky bear wants is to have a nice huge plate of warm food, a refreshing shower and crawl into bed.

But NOOOOOOOOOO, the kids have their agenda. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. They want to play. They play and shriek and laugh. Noise noise. And they climb on things and scatter their toys all over the floor. Mess mess. And then they fight and scream and cry. And even though you buy everything in twos, exact identical cloned tissue cultured toys all in twos so they wont fight, they still fight. Because ‘his one’ is almost always better than ‘my one’. Fight fight. And the big one spills milk on the floor. And the little one have a huge poopoo mess. And they want things done their way, and they plant their feet firmly on the ground, hands on the hips and scream, I want I want I want or now now now. And the meal is still not ready.

Still, even under such circumstances, you cant make them shut down. You cant bundle them in a box and stash it under the bed. You cant scotch tape them. You cant wish or whisk them away. Make them disappear because you are not in the mood to be a parent? Not gonna happen, sweetheart. “Quiet!! Cant you see I have a headache?” No shweepea, they don’t see.

Kids are here to stay. You are the adult, so you have no choice but to be one. Your headaches, heartaches, fatigues, or all your other worries and ailments must take a temporary backseat. Just because you are too tired for the kids doesn’t mean you can just pretend they are not there. It is not fair to vent out on them. It is not fair to make them pay for your bad day. You cant want them only when you have the time. Kids are not cute all the time. They are humans too, just like you except they are littler in size. Oh and they can be very honest with their emotions. You cant make them dance to your tunes - you are no o-boy-o-boy-Barney! You cant only want them when they are dry and happy!

If you hit them everytime you get angry and you get angry often, isn’t that teaching them that it is okay to show anger by hitting people?

‘if you are angry at tokbak, do you hit him?’ asks the sister.
‘why not?’
‘you cannot hit tokbak. It is wrong to hit tokbak’
‘because he is tokbak. He is big’
‘oh, we can only hit adik? Adik is small.’
‘no, you cant hit adik either.’
‘hitting people is bad. Big or small. Don’t hit adik, don’t hit anyone, okay?’
‘but you hit me’

Remember those days early in the marriage? You feel you must have kids to perfect your life? To seal the marriage or whatever crap people have as excuses to have children?

Well, they are here now. Life doesn’t feel so perfect anymore, issit? Too bad, but you cant ctrl-alt-del them. You can however, take better control of the situation, alternate with your spouse on the chores and delete any selfish thoughts.

To my friend Yani who is pregnant with her first child and my other friend Nett who has been longing for a kid for years now, i have no authority on the subject but what i know from my three-years-plus being a mom is that a child is a huge responsibility. They can be the racun, yes, but they are the most potent of anecdote too. To expect them to perfect your life is too huge a responsibility to put on them. They are but amanah and you are merely the trustee of the amanah. I am blessed that i get chosen for the job. At the best i am still a Trainee Mom. Under probation.

All i can say is, enjoy them kids. Enjoy the fights, the mess, the poopoo, the noise, the vomit, the sleepless nights, the constant worries, oh everything. Be comforted in knowing that they will only be that age once. I have never heard of anyone being 1 year old for many years (you can be 25 for many years though but that's beside the point). And you know what, you wont have reruns too. No second chance. No one and a half chance either.

One day, when they have all left the house, and you can sleep all you want and your house is as sterile clean as a test tube and as quiet as a tomb, guess who and what you will be missing? And at the rate time seems to be flying now, that one day will arrive sooner than you thought.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Duck! Duck!

March has been a long long longggg month.

The ex-boss has been current-bossing around since the first of March. He has made compulsory to all in his department and mine to attend 50 lectures on biotech. He will be the lecturer. The lectures are spread over 25 to 30 weeks. Each lecture is 1 to 2 hours long. After each lecture there will be a test. And after completion of 50 classes there will be an exam. Now, 50 lectures are equivalent to a 3-credit hour subject in a semester. Oh, have I mentioned that there will be practical classes as well? We are all now undergrads again! I am now having nightmares about study groups, CGPA, hostel food and co-curricular activities. Groan…

And last week I had to go visit one applicant. You see, my company provides FREE aid to scientists who want to sell their inventions. By free aid, I mean consultancy AND mean money. Not five minutes through the meeting, the applicant got so agitated that he began to bang on the table to deliver his points (what point?). Not enough with the shouting and the table banging, he must throw a book at me. I swear. Throw a book at me! This in front of all the other professors in a meeting discussing the possibility of my company giving them free aid. I repeat, us giving them free aid. But I am not The Chosen One for just being able to break plastic spoons! I ducked and escaped the bullets fired at me like a good neo.

And this morning, on the way to work I had another near-death experience as well.

As usual, the train was very crowded. So crowded, faces are plastered to the windows and walls. So crowded the train bloated. Get the picture? I saw a very pregnant lady being crushed among the sardines. Everytime the train moved, she winced as her stomach got somewhat pressed. I could barely move, but craning my neck I saw sitting on the nearest seat to her was this non-needy (to my judgement) Malay lady. Sitting next to her was a Chinese girl with so many bags on her laps and around her feet as well and she was sleeping. And so, I patted the Malay lady’s knee and said politely with my best darlie smile, can you please give up your seat for this pregnant lady? Pretty please?

Oh how she scowled! And then she scolded me! She started on some racial thing, why am I asking a Malay to stand when I could have asked a Chinese? Why do I respect them so much and not my fellow Malays? Huh? And she said I should have asked someone younger to stand. Not her. I said, well, never mind the race and the age, you are nearest and looking at you, you look young. So if you are not as young as I thought you were, take it as a compliment. You see, it was 8 o’clock on a Friday morning and I was still smiling. But noooooo, she wasn’t through with me yet! I am 60 years old, she announced. And then she started about me having attitude problems yadda yadda yadda. And she mumbled and swore and cursed all the way and there I was standing right infront of her wondering what was her excuse for HER attitude problem. I know I have excuse, I am young. Grinnnn…

And last Sunday I had the most terrible of tonsillitis. Swallowing was so painful. And I had raging fever and all that. I took the medicines and felt okay again after a few days. But today, I feel it coming back again. The throat and the headache. So I have been sick as a dog twice this month!

And have I told you also the letter I received from JPA? Yes, they DO remember me after all! They sent a letter asking me to pay up the entire study loan I took during my degree those donkey years ago. To this, I am giving no excuse. I know I should have paid earlier. No excuse. Anyhoo, JPA wanted me to pay the whole amount before the month ends OR ELSE. And Yamtuan received the same letter too. And so between the two of us, from one household, we had to pay close to RM8,000!! Now that was big money to us! Caused this HUGE hole in our small burning pockets. Adoi!

And it occurs to me today that 1st March is 1st Safar and as usual, Safar delivers the ‘annual’ tests for me. Always. The month I am always reminded to remember the purpose and the reasons of my being. I am ashamed to admit that I always forget and I can be careless too. So Safar to me has always been a good but painful jolt to the system. Humbled!

I guess in a way, life is like college years. You have your classes, core subjects and extra curricular activities. You have the pop quizzes and the carry marks. And then you have the exam and final final exam. Your final accumulative points will tell the kind of degree you will be awarded with. Good grades, good manners you’ll get good jobs and after-college-life will be good. Bad grades and bad manners, oh-well, cant jolly well expect much can you?

And if life throws a book at you, duck.

10th Safar 2006.