Wake up call at 6:45am, help kids with breakfast, lay out their uniforms, figure out which shoes Eliot wants to put on, tie shoelaces, fix ponytails. Walk with the kids to the bus stop, past all the construction workers building the new MRT stop, get on a bus while Alexander panics because Eliot is sitting next to a stranger (one of the many Bangladeshi workers headed for a site) or because I might leave Eliot on the bus when we get off (he worries a lot). Then we cross over the suspended bridge and walk into the school. Alexander runs off to his class ("Don't hug me here") while Eliot has me come with her to explain to the Chinese teacher that she doesn't like IT class and that she can't do water play yet because she has a bandaid covering her stitches. "Zai chen," she yells and comes for one last big hug. Then I'm off, speed walking down Bukit Timah rd, my one and only excercise of the day. About 2o min later, I arrive home feeling as crisp as, well, a crisp, and my hair isn't the better for walking in the sweet humidity of Singapore. If it weren't tied in a bun it would probably reach the heights of Marge Simpson. Not pretty. I'm not teaching today so, after a quick shower and checking my email, I'm ready to take some girlfriends to my friend Belle's cool and funky vintage furniture store. It's quite faraway (by my parameters) so I joke: "You didn't tell me we needed our passports to get here...are we in Malaysia?" She has delicious coffee and home baked scones and we get to browse around. I pick up a small, glass painting with butterflies inside. It's for the kids. They just saw Tinkerbell 3 and the Dad was a butterfly collector. In fact, the movie inspired Alexander to strongly request field journals where he could record important stuff ("like warrior swords...").
Lunch and then it's back to the school. I pick up the kids in a taxi and we race off to Eliot's ballet lesson which happens to be open door so Alexander and I get to watch her. Then one small Japanese pancake later and we're back home. Me, convincing Alexander that unless he does his homework (memorizing a Chinese poem) he can't play downstairs in his dugout. And Eliot and her ballet friend watching Dinotopia and playing with their Build-a-Bears. Pizza for dinner and Alexander brings upstairs both his friends, that totals 5 kids. I love it, but am glad their Dad is away in Bangalore (so is he). Then impromptu game of hide and seek. Everybody home before things get ugly and it's time to show the kids their surprise butterfly glass painting. 5 minutes later and they are hunched over it sketching inside their field journals. Moment of peace. Time to go to sleep. Alexander reads Naruto and I read Eliot Grimm's Fairy Tales until she falls asleep with her bear tucked under her arm.
Finally, the house is silent. Bliss.