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Abang Shadow

He was determined to finish his homework by nightfall. Got himself a piece of sugar paper from Mommy’s office downstairs after fighting his own fear to be down there alone. It has been quiet on the ground floor since Teddy’s passing.

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“I’m learning about shadow, Mom. I need to cut out a figure of any shape. And I need two of them.”

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I helped him with the cat shape, of course, and assumed that the M was for Me, the Mommy. I wasn’t ready to hear, “No Mom, M is for Meow.” It was safer to assume, as rejection, even in a small matter like this, matters to mothers.

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It wasn’t long after that that he felt nauseous and had to run for the sink. He lost everything that he had taken today; lunch, the sandwich, the cucumber, the tomatoes, the apple snack, the lot. It all pickled down the drain. Oh my dear Little Big Man.

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I am sleeping in the living room tonight, with my eyes wide open, guarding my little Abang Sado, closer than his own shadow… one hand holding a barf bag, the other a roll of paper towels. Charcoal pills, check. Tiger balm, check. Love, check. Tenderness, check. Patience, check check!

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It has been a while since he last got ill. It was almost nostalgic tonight putting a diaper on Edrick, hosing down his soiled undies and mopping the floor after a projectile muntah. But he will be well soon. I know for sure.

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I am here.

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Some time in October…

It was just him, these two days. His sister is recovering from the battle with the haze. Today, to distract us from thinking too much and being bothered by the pollution, I asked him about the most interesting lesson he learned at school.

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Edrick: Mom, I think microbes are amazing.

Mommy: Oh yes they are.

Edrick: And it is amazing how many diseases they can cause.

Mommy: That is because they are super duper tiny, they can get into anything.

Edrick: Yeah, I know. Mom, have you ever had wumps?

Mommy: You mean, mumps or lumps?

Edrick: Hahaha sorry, not wumps. I mean mumps.

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I had a big laugh that I forgot to tell him the story of my humps.
Uh! I mean mumps!

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Mumps

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Menangguk di Ayer Keroh

Driving all the way home from Klebang Besar, Melaka, after sending items for a 6-day booth (event), I went through some thoughts. And some feelings too, honestly.

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Listening to the Monchies’ snore, I actually felt bad that I had to drag them with me on an over 300-kilometer journey like that on a week night. They brought their homework with them and they did try to work on it when we had a drink at a warung. Monchies slept almost all the way up because they were tired from school. And they slept all the way home, because it was simply bedtime.

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I felt bad, though… at some point, that life has taken us on this path. This having-to-pack-the-kids-wherever-I-go path that we’ve been on since Bibik left is sure taking some toll on Monchies’ time and energy. I felt bad that I have not been able to ask people for help in babysitting the kids, and that was because of my trust issue and my I-can-do-it-all syndrome.

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But then again, I would not have done it any other way. I am just an everyday girl, yes. With an everyday life, indeed. And this running-around-selling-tshirts business has put me where I belong, counting my blessings every day with my kids in my car, and in my arms, whenever and wherever I want.

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Ayer Keroh, Ayer Molek, or Ayer Jerneh, we are together. That’s all that matters. These little ones don’t stay little forever.

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Wrap It Up

Balut bukumu, anakku...Among the very first things I was taught by my parents when I was in grade one was how to wrap the school books. We could not afford the plastic wrapper, so my parents made do with the brown/grease paper. I didn’t know how lucky I was until I saw some other kids’ book wrapper, which was old newspapers. I still felt bad for many years for not getting plastic wrappers, but I learned to be grateful.

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Today, I finally forced Monchies to start wrapping their own school books, instead of me doing it — Kitreena is already going to grade seven, Edrick to grade five. We got 43 books wrapped under two hours, with me doing most of them, as eye-rollingly expected. I wasn’t overly pleased with the neatness, but I learned to let go.

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Kitreena asked me about my experience wrapping school books during my tender years knowing how strict my dad was. “What if you didn’t get it right, Mom?” It took me a while to answer her. Little did I expect that the question would trigger some bitter-sweet memories.

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I remember how my dad ripped off and crumpled the wrap of one thick Maths text book because I did not do it properly. It wasn’t easy for a little kid to wrap an inch-thick book without any guide, and I remember being angry at my dad. He then showed me how to do it while I was busy holding back my tears. “Wrap it like a gift! You are lucky to get text books, I never had a book when I went to school! I had to borrow and sometimes steal! Wrap it like a gift!” And so, I learned to wrap it like a gift.

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Today, I learned to teach my children to wrap it like a gift, almost like the way my dad did it. Probably a little better… we now have plastic wrappers and I didn’t have to rip or crumple any. I embraced my anger as a child when my book-wrapper was ripped and crumpled in a bitter-sweet lesson to be thankful.

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I learned to love books.
And that, to wrap it up, is the best lesson and gift my dad has given me. Ever!

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Eee Boo!

Saya tak sambut Hari Ibu.
Kalau sambut pun mungkin hanya dengan meluangkan waktu dengan anak-anak tanpa menjawap telefon selama 12 jam. Atau mungkin melakukan aktiviti di luar rutin. Contohnya Hari Ibu tahun ini saya ke Cold Storage membeli barang dapur bersama Monchies, dan membiarkan mereka memilih makanan bukan-kampung (seperti makanan biasa emak mereka). Antara pilihan anak-anak ialah keju sampai 4 jenis, yoghurt, artichoke, sauerkraut, chorizo, bagel dan ciabatta. Saya dah terbiasa membeli barang dapur di Tesco Online, lupa selera anak-anak yang tak berapa nak hidup dengan gaya kampung saya ini. Anak-anak yang separuh sana, separuh sini.

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In reality, my Mother’s Day this year and the years before was just like any other given Saturday, Sunday or school holiday. It wasn’t so much about celebrating it at a special place with a special cake wishing a special wish. In fact, this year, on Mother’s Day, I sat my kids down for a little talk about rules and discipline. I couldn’t stop being a mother just because I was celebrated. Kitreena needed some serious nudge on punctuality, while Edrick needed some slap on the wrist on homework procrastination. And me, The Mommy, needed to improve our communication. Everybody seemed to be assuming everything these days. So, it was my duty to bring things back in order immediately. So what if it was the Mother’s Day?

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But knowing me yang bukan jenis membebel ni, all I could ask from Monchies was some understanding that I am struggling with this parenting position. It is an extremely tough job. One that I can’t quit (and won’t, even if I could), and it is one that I can’t take a leave from. This year, on Mother’s Day I ended up begging Monchies to help me make it easier by keeping time, as none of us could have that May 10th of 2015 back. No rerun either. There is no way I could put back the clock. As much as I enjoy parenting, I would really like my children to cooperate with me in keeping things in order. Time, especially.

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Today and this long weekend for some reason, it has felt like Mother’s Day all over again when I finally shut down my phone, ignoring many messages and taking no calls. Somehow, my ex-husband’s birthday recently and his absence in the kids’ life has made me realize that I have only been a mother to Monchies and that is not enough. I am now learning to be a better father by engaging in physical activities more than I ever did before.

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Wish me luck on the water slides tomorrow!

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My Balanced Two Wheels

Adelaide, 2007: Two kids, two wheels and now two worlds apart.

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Traveling always reminds us of our family trips pre July 2010. When we checked in at Santa Grand East Coast last Thursday, Edrick saw a family at the lobby and as he was waiting patiently, I noticed he was staring at the ‘dad’ of that family.

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In the room, after we settled in, I asked Edrick…

Mommy: Hey Monch, do you miss Daddy?
Edrick: *smiles at me and shrugs his shoulders*
Mommy: It’s okay if you miss Daddy, you know. I miss him too, sometimes.
Edrick: But it is all his fault. He doesn’t wanna be with us.
Mommy: Hey, it’s not his fault, sweetheart. It’s nobody’s fault.
Edrick: I know. I’m sorry.
Mommy: Things happened the way they had to happen.
Edrick: What do you mean?
Mommy: I left, and took you with me so he could be happier and I could be stronger.
Edrick: Mom, if anybody asks me how my Mom is… I’m gonna say she’s amazing!
Mommy: Oh, thank you! Amazing eh? *my heart melts or swells, I could not tell*
Edrick: Yeah! Because she can drive through 5 states and 2 countries in 3 hours!
Mommy: Oh wow me! That’s scary! Hahahahaha!

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My heart swelled and salt-water welled in my eyes. I would travel the world for a love like this. And what Edrick said made me think of a line from a song

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I believe in angels
something good in everything I see.
I believe in angels
when I know the time is right for me…

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So he could be happier and I, stronger...

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Sprint Chicken

I would like to think that Kitreena is actually a long-distance runner like her Mom, not a sprinter that she would like to believe she is. And on Wednesday when she finished last in the sports practice at the stadium, I expected to pick up a sourpuss at school.

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“I finished last for the 1000 meter run, Mom.”
“But you finished. That’s all that matters.”
“Yeah, but I thought I was fast enough to not finish last.”
“Maybe all you need is more practice and a bit of energy booster.”
“My Shamrock teacher didn’t even look at me because I finished last, Mom.”

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There was a smile on her face and a little giggle when I thought she would be in tears. I was amazed at how un-sour her attitude was even though she said she was embarrassed beyond repair.

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“Ah well, I’ll practise more after this. But Mom… I think I need a pair of Nike runners like Edrick’s.”

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Now, that struck so fast from a non-sprinter, I. Did. Not. See. It. Coming.

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