Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jump Right In...

Alexander's DS just arrived from New York together with the new Pokemon game compliments of his grandparents. He had been checking the mailbox at least three times a day since he heard it might be coming. Eliot and I intercepted the mailman and, lo and behold, it had arrived. Eliot brought it upstairs as though she were carrying the keys to the palace.
I haven't seen Alexander that thrilled in a very long time. He wanted me to film him so that he could always remember how happy he was when he opened the package. I couldn't find the camera and when I did it needed to be re-charged. So I figured it was a good time to explain what a mental picture was. Eliot was his personal assistant, jumping up to get scissors, throw away wrapping. Then she was accorded the dubious honor of watching him play. A role she didn't take lightly.
The funny part came at night when he had to turn off the game to go to sleep and realized he hadn't learned how/if he could save the points accumulated during this one hour long game. Watching his frantic worry, Eliot voiced her concerns: "I hope he doesn't get 'dicted."
On our way to school this morning, Alexander said: "My ultimate goal is getting every Pokemon game there is."
That's your ultimate goal? That really shouldn't be what you are striving for in life."
No, just joking, Mommy. Of course, I want to get married, have a wife and children.
(Help, you're only nine.) About that Pokemon collection...I say, good plan, jump right in...
(Alexander in Ubud, Bali)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring in Singapore

Spring is in the air, la la la la la la la! "What does spring mean?" my daugher inquires. That's the thing about living in a country that boasts sunny, tropical weather from January to December. It gets kind of hard to explain seasons to your kids. We were just through this. "What is winter?" Let's see, winter is very cold. "Really, then why is it so hot? Is it going to snow?"
Not likely. I know it's an expat cliche to complain about missing the seasons, but that's the thing about cliches. They're usually true. And so I reminisce about the colors of the autumn foliage at Vassar, the winter fog outside my window overlooking the river in Verona, that smell of fresh flowers in spring when everything seems possible.
Then again, where else can you swim outdoors all year round? You win some, you lose some.
Kids, about that snowball fight...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Which Winx should I be?

Oh no, Eliot has discovered the Winx. (An animated series consisting of five glamorous fairies with magical powers and super short skirts. They're so sexy they make Barbie look like a nun.) I googled them and found out that this global phenomenon is actually Italian (that explains the fashionable look)...but still. A friend brought over the films and Eliot watched back to back Winx. Now, she's hooked.
Just yesterday I was ever so lightly nudging her toward medical school: "Wouldn't it be great to cure people?" But now she's thinking: "Wouldn't it be great to wear short, glittery skirts?"
Last night in bed Eliot pondered about her future movie career as one of the Winx: "When I get taller I'm going to be in the Winx movie, I can be Bloom even though I don't have the right hair but that's my favorite one..."
Alexander looks up from his How to Design Manga Comics to ask: "What? Eliot is going to be in a movie?"
"Yes, when I'm big. But Mommy I'll have to show my belly button like she does..."
What? No, I don't like it. I mean (trying to cover my ultra-conservative stance), well, sometimes you can but not always.
I can be really tough when I have to...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eliot: "I wish I could fly."
"So I could visit God."
(Italian nun looks on approvingly)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"What do you like best about Singapore?"

So kids, now that we've been here five years, tell me what you like best about living in Singapore?
Alexander: "It's predictable. Always nice and sunny."
And what do you like least? "It's always so hot." (Interesting. Not contradictory at all.)
And what about you, Eliot?
Could you be more specific?
"Cold Storage."
The grocery store?
Expanding my children's horizens...that's what it's all about.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five Years In Singapore...who's counting?

"Singapore? Well, okay, but one more than that."
That was five years ago. Who would've thought? Certainly not my mother who still ends almost every conversation with a tentative inquiry: "So, when are you coming back to Verona?"
Time flies when you're having fun...or when you live in a country with no seasons. You choose. I did bring a sweater with me this morning. And that's not just because the air con can get pretty nippy at times. Maybe I am becoming a local after all.
(Eliot and Alexander's first friends in

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eliot At Five

Eliot and bear
1. "Why did you make Alexander before me?"
2. "The boys in my class run after me at the playground and try to kiss me." (Big brother's advice: 'Run fast.")
2. "Show and Tell is very important." (Aka: it is vital to bring something new, perfect, and that every other kid will want...every single time.)
3. "I might try riding the school bus again," (after noticing that kids who do ride the bus get to wear a tag).
4. "If 'Alezander' never does his homework, are you going to send him to the orphanage?" (Boarding school. I said, boarding school.)
5. "Are there witches in Singapore?" "Can they fly through glass windows?"
6. "If Alezander likes Naruto, I like Naruto. If he wants Pokemon cards, then I want Pokemon cards. That's because he's my bruder."
7. "We can play with dolls and princess dresses, but first, we have to pretend we're puppies." (Little Miss Bossy on playdates.)
8. "I like what you did with the house, Daddy. Good job."
9. "Is God here right now?"
10. "You're my best Mommy in the world." Alexander: "She's your only Mommy." (But still, I'll take it where I can.)
(Eliot with Bear)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alexander At Nine

1) "I can't wait till I'm an adult. Then I can do whatever I want. Like eating chips in front of the television late at night." (The boy does have a point.)
2) "I can't speak to him in Mandarin, Mom. He won't understand. He's Korean." (How many Korean taxi drivers are there, realistically speaking, in Singapore?)
3) "I'm really good at saying things in a very convincing manner, even if they're not true. That's my super power." (Okay...)
4) "If my best friend is still my best
friend when I get married, then he can be my best man. It's a very big responsability." (Thinking ahead, I like that.)
5) "My teacher said we should just focus on our spelling list for this week and not do any other homework," (as he puts his spelling list aside and takes out a book to read. Is it even worth the battle?)
6)"This is amazing," (the discovery that the show 'Mythbusters' is on the Ipad).
7) "Please, let me keep reading in bed even though it's way past my bedtime. It's my only joy in life." (Uncannily similar to the way I felt as a child).
8) "The reason I like reading so much is I don't have to think of anything else when I'm reading." (Wow, finally expressed in words what I've felt all these years.)
9) "Is there any college where I don't have to do Math? That's where I want to go." (I guess that's where the DNA kicks in.)
10) "I never want to go to Venice again. We might lose Eliot."