Monday, May 27, 2013

"I Play Piano...My Hair Plays Rock."

My little bro Julian has arrived from Cambodia. The good news is he didn't have to check in his hair.
As we walked Eliot to school this morning along Bukit Timah, children stared, workers paused, bikers this hair even legal in Singapore?
If you are in the Lion City this Saturday check it out (the music and the hair).
Head over to the Botanic Gardens for his concert. You can bring the kids, some wine (lots if you're bringing the kids), and enjoy some music under the stars. Entrance is free and everyone is welcome.
You can't miss him. He's the one with the hair.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back From Tioman Island

"It says: I missed you, Alexander."

We picked up Alexander on Friday after his 5 day school expedition to Tioman Island. I don't know who was more excited: Alexander, recounting his amazing adventure in the Malaysian jungle, or his little sister, who had prepared a welcome card to give him on his return (see photo above)?
Here, are just a few of the trip's highlights that he told us about on the car ride home:

1) It was awesome, Mom. We had a 4 hr bus ride, a 2 hr boat ride, and a 10 km trek through the jungle.

2) We couldn't always see sunlight and had to walk over branches. Luckily I brought water.

3) My cabin mate had something called conjunctivitis. I don't think it's contagious.

4) It was nice to chat late at night even though our beds were filled with sand.

5) There was a cool bouncing two hour boat ride. It made me feel a little sick but not too bad.

6) The ocean was beautiful but there were these sharp and pointy bones in it.

7) We had a talent show and us boys did a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It was so funny.

8) Snorkeling was super fun. Except for the small stings from the sea lice.

9) I got 20 mosquito bites on my first night.

10) They left us for 30 minutes in the jungle on our own for solo time. I may have seen a snake.

Yes, Alexander has always been this enthusiastic. On his first day of school this year, even after he discovered his two best friends had been moved to another class together, he still returned home and announced: "I have a feeling this is going to be the best year ever!"
At the pick-up location, his teacher and other supervisors all made a thumbs up sign in his direction and congratulated me on his great attitude during the trip.
I really felt like I should come clean and said: "Thanks, but that's all him." Not really an outdoorsy person, here. You wouldn't have gotten that much enthusiasm from me. Especially not during the long trek to the cabins. My high school gym teacher told me I was part of the No Sweat Society. My college roommates asked me (within hours of meeting me): "You've never been to camp have you?" I guess, asking them to leave the room so I could change was a dead giveaway.
Anyway, as Alexander told me all about his unforgettable foray into the wild, I realized just how different our perception of what constitutes an amazing holiday is (Aqua di Parma toiletries and espresso machines figure prominently in mine).
More importantly, I want him to stay this way. An unbelievably excited, unjaded eleven year old boy. I want to quote Federico Fellini and tell him: "Never lose your childish enthusiasm..."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Don't Be Your Own Worst "Emeny!"

"He's my bruder."
Yesterday, Alexander left for a 5 day school expedition to Tioman Island in Malaysia (4 hr bus ride, 2hr ferry ride, and an 10 km trek through the jungle to get there... seriously?) I can't wait to find out how his clothing choice for a trek in the jungle (let's call it casual chic) worked out after he rejected my t-shirt suggestion. That will have to be another post but in the meantime, you can check out his trip from last year here:

Eliot took her big brother's departure much better than the first time he ever went away. She was only four at the time and it was brutal. As he left, she cried out desperately: "But he's my bruder and I love him." Now that Eliot is seven, things are a bit different. She still misses him but she is also basking in the glory of our undivided attention. And since she's home with a fever, it's normal attention multiplied by ten. Which is probably why I ended up doing what I usually refuse to do: voices. Let me explain.
All parents have some hidden talent. That secret thing they reserve for rainy days, emergency situations, visits with other children they are never going to see again. Magic tricks, baking cookies, crafts...I'm not good at any of these. If you hand me a paper and a crayon you are guaranteed a stick figure. Not surprisingly, the kids never ask me to draw anything for them.
What I am pretty decent at is voicing inanimate objects and making up stories. My children find this very entertaining (they don't get out a lot). I also do accents. The problem is that, even after two hours, they want more: "Do it again." Even after it's not funny anymore: "Do it again. Like you did before. Make it funnier."

There's really no point here (see mental exhaustion) except for this: wait till the child is at least 18 to unveil that special talent you may have. Preferably on his way to college. That may sound cruel but if you're a parent you'll understand. "Kid, people get paid to make jokes. It's called stand up comedy."
On the plus side, when the laughter subsides, you may finally get answers to some burning questions:
"So Eliot, this boy you are always you like  him?"
What? He's my worst emeny!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

"Mommy, you are way prettier than Cruella De Vil."

Wow, thanks. Way prettier than Cruella De Vil...that's awesome.
Just so you know, kid, that's not exactly the type of compliment I was aiming for. Nor is it going to help you get a new puppy. I don't care how cute those dalmatians look.
But maybe I'm too sensitive. To be way prettier than Cruella de Vil, is really not so bad.
Especially considering that just moments before Eliot was asking me: "Mommy, are you Santa?" (I see why Eliot might be thinking of Christmas, it being 100 degrees and all.)

At first, like all cunning parents suddenly faced with a child's doubt about the man in red, I panic. I guess it had to happen one day, but she's only seven. What was it that gave me away? Did she find her old Dear Santa letters stashed away at the bottom of my closet...was it something I said?
Why do you ask?
"Well, Mommy, it's just that I never get what I want."
Now, wait a minute here. You think I'm Santa because you don't get what you want. Seriously, who needs enemies when you have kids? This could be my lowest point as a parent (no, I'm not counting the time she got lost on an island).

"Last summer I saw a heart locket in a store in Verona so I put it on my list to Santa but never got it. I know Santa would have just gotten it for me because he could fly there and then come back and put it under our tree here in Singapore. But you can't just fly back and you're Santa, right?"

Is this a trick question? Do you have any idea how many air miles Santa has?