Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coming of age

My birthday and the twins' birthday are a day apart. I've been very focussed on what we're going to do for them and not so much myself. This morning, I get a text message from my brother asking what I want for my birthday and I really had no clue. I told him to either buy me a holiday or skin care products and between the two, skin care products were boring. My other brother is apparently getting me household appliances for my birthday. I really don't mind because I don't particularly care.

Packrat asked why I was wistful today. Try as I may, I just couldn't really get into planning my birthday. Gone are the days when I wanted jackets, phones, PDAs, wallets, bags and goodness knows what else for my birthday. Gone are the days where I want parties. I'm more than happy to have a party for the twins. Like our anniversary, what was funnier was how the twins celebrated it with us. Does that mean, I've sold out and have turned into one of those women who are nothing more than a mom?

I don't think so. I think it's more that I don't really feel the need to yell on top of my lungs from roof tops that I am a year older. I am well aware of that. Watching women jog down Holland Road this morning, I distinctly felt that my thighs had grown to the size of elephants. I might be exaggerating here but I am no longer as fit as I used to be and ten years ago, I think I could do a 1000 sit ups without very much problems. I haven't done a sit up since I got pregnant with the twins so that's how far down the trenches I've sunk to.

Packrat promised to make it a big deal. But I told him it wasn't necessary. He thinks I'm unenthusiastic because I'm feeling under the weather. But I think it's got to do with ageing more than malaise although the malaise is a big pain in the ass. And now, he's fallen ill so not only are the thin dreams of tomorrow being special tossed by the way side, I'm in for serious baby sitting, the kids and the husband and have to pray very hard that he hasn't fallen prey to the dreaded flu bug that threatens to very dramatically throw a spanner into the works.

So, what would I really want for my birthday? For my husband to be right as rain tomorrow. Everything else, really doesn't matter two pence.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:59

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Seasons of a woman's life

The first time I visited to Phuket, Phuket smelt of freedom. It was my first vacation without my parents. It was my first vacation with just friends. It was just after my 'A' Levels. Needless to say, the thought of the Phuket I went to then gives me a heady feeling. This is my third time in Phuket in the last 14 years. And each time, it has come to mean something entirely different. I am amazed how much my life has changed in the span of time it takes for an infant to become a rebellious teenager. And I think, in some ways, my life mirrors that analogy.

The first time, like I said, was a birth of new experiences. We went to Club Med where we ate and drank like there was no tomorrow or no weighing machine. I had no curfew (except for some strange warning from my mom to stay away from gypsies). I think I had enough alcohol for the first time to feel high and have a headache the next morning. We stayed up and lounged around because we could. We spent all day at the beach because we could although that meant lobster red shoulders and cheeks. I bought a white shift dress that I wouldn't be caught dead in today because it was short, tight, white and well, short. But for an 18 year old with a tiny waist, legs that had just won her prom night's best legs and a tan that glowed from a mile away, it seemed like the best choice.

The second time I went to Phuket, I was a fair bit older and somewhat older. I was married. I had my kids six months prior to the trip and it was my first vacation away from them. We chose luxury that time. Indulged as if on our honeymoon. The chauffeured driven Mercedes with reclining seats that took us from the airport to the resort. The villa that opened up to a pool where a chef would cook dinner for us and we dined by candlelight. It was a different type of freedom. For the first time in 6 months, Packrat and I were alone on our own, we had time for conversation, we had time to sleep and we had time to be like children carvoting in the waves, teenage surfer bums drinking mugs of cold beer (him) and coconuts (me) at the straw huts that peppered the beachline and adults dining with champagne. A divine break from reality.

This is my third time and this time, I am back in Phuket not just with Packrat but with the twins, the grandparents and a grandaunt to boot. This time, I am the twins' shadow. I'm up when they're up, I'm asleep when they're asleep (except for now). I'm in the pool when they are and any spare time I have, I'm trying to cater for their meals or wash/prepare their bottles. It defines my existence now. It could be worse I know. At least there are other people around who are able to take the twins' off my hands when I need to use the bathroom or prepare their meals. But this is the first vacation I've spent more time in the hotel room than out (except for the time when we went to Bintan and it rained 3 days straight). I'm struggling to break out, to break free, to have a moment just by myself or to talk a walk with Packrat by the water at night. I feel like a frustrated teen that is dying to break out and just break curfew for once except all I'm hankering for is some time to do my nails. And I watch these kids outside our window as they fling, flip and swing their way in space during their Trapeze School lessons and I'm wishing I could be there, soaring through the air without a care in the world.

The reality is that unlike a teenager, I am well aware of my responsibilities. And I have to carry them out. It is what propels me out of bed at the crack of dawn when the kids wake up because I cannot bring myself to fob them off or to leave others to tend to their morning needs. It is why I haven't chucked a fit about not seeing more of the resort than the children's pool and playground. I'm here for the twins and that's fine. Except, there's a little part of me, which has not sold out into Mommy mode who cries out for some air and space. That little part's not likely to get any air time soon. But I guess that's what it means to be all growed up. More than most 14 year olds would but I guess the difference is while 14 years have passed, I do not have the luxury of having the sensitivities of a 14 year old.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:37

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Travelling with the family

I'm travelling for the first time with twins, the in-laws and the extended family. This will mark one of the first school vacations where Packrat and I aren't going off anywhere on our own. That thought in itself makes me NOT A HAPPY CAMPER

What else doesn't make for a happy camper? Other people telling me what I NEED to pack for the twins and what I should do to try and make them comfortable. I think I generally hate that because it questions my authority as a Mom. So, it's not really about the travelling. It's just that this upcoming holiday seems to have everyone trampling on my delicate toes.

Of course, Packrat will say I'm being uber-sensitive as I have a penchant to be these days. I pouted and sulked for half an hour because he allegedly snapped at me while we were trying to get the twins to sleep. I say allegedly because he claims he was just trying to make himself heard. Anyway, yes. There is much Mommy angst because I hate packing and I'm all over the place. Right now, I need to remember to go to the supermarket to buy the twins a loaf of bread, some floor cleaner for our helpers here, a small bottle of liquid detergent for the twins paraphenalia and I'm sure other things. As much as I am stressed, I loathe writing things down because inadvertently the scraps that I note things down on gets lost in the wind or by grubby little fingers deploying creative marker streaks all over it.

Ok, this is just a ranting post. I don't really have time for this because I need to get ready and start my day that will end with us being in Phuket. Hopefully by then, my aggro levels would have plateaued and all the voices barking at me in my head would have quieted down or tired by then. Goodness, I sound like I should be swatting imaginary flies next and need to be committed. Or the Man will just have to swoop in and take me on another holiday sans family, twins and just good food, good shopping and a good hotel room.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:54

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Friday, June 05, 2009


A hurdle is something that needs to be overcome before you get to the end point. Hurdles, metaphorically and literally come in all heights.When I started hurdling (late in my track career), the hurdles were high, even for my relatively long legs. That and my inexperience meant many bruises on my knees and a lot of stumbles and scraps.

Just when things had begun to ease up and I was beginning to get used to the demands of my race, I moved up one division and had no choice but to choose another event to compete in and what was open was the one with tall and what seemed like insurmountable hurdles. Why couldn't I go back to cruising and doing what I was doing? I didn't understand.

Did I wish this on myself? Possibly. Did I know what I was getting myself into? Probably not? Was I ready to get used to more pain, more exhaustion and less time? I don't really know if I have a choice.

Sufficed to say, tears brimmed, blood was shed occasionally, joints bruised, muscles pulled, strained and stretched all in the name of clearing those hurdles.

I find myself in the same position now with hurdles. More metaphorical ones. But with the same demands, sacrifices and consequences. Am I ready for this new event? No. Do I have what it takes? I don't know till I try. Is it going to be hard? You bet it is. Is it going to be rewarding? Probably if the toll doesn't kill me first. Am I looking forward to it? Honestly? No. Do I have a choice? No.

One word describes it all. And it rhymes pretty much with duck.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:13

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Monday, June 01, 2009

6 years post SARS

May 31st 2003 was the day Singapore was declared SARS free. 6 years down, Singapore's got a couple of cases of H1N1 that authorities fear would develop into another social catastrophe the way SARS did. 6 years ago, amidst celebration of being germ free, Packrat and I got married. 6 years after, amidst another uncertain time, we celebrated our 6th year.

Has it changed? The way we celebrated it? Yes. This year has been a lean year for us because we've bought a flat, renovated it and are in the midst of furnishing it all the while, surviving on one salary. So yes, it is lean. Usually, we spend our anniversaries overseas. Melbourne, Perth, Vancouver...or we make a big deal out of it with gifts, by going some place nice for dinner and checking into our favourite hotel, the Ritz-Carlton. But this year, we stayed in town, checked ourselves into a cheaper hotel and had breakfast at the coffee shop across the road from the hotel.

Is it true that after a couple of years, things get staid? After all, we are approaching the 7 year itch. Will it really itch? I hope not. But yes, it is different. There were no flowers, no big gifts or gestures of love. Did that mean that we were in the slammer and would have to sleep on the couch? Not really. I think after 6 years, there are more important things that overt gestures of gifts. Yes, the both of us still love gifts and still love being surprised. But I've never been big on sparkling gifts that come in pretty blue boxes with a white bow around it. They are nice, I'd be thrilled but it's not important to me.What is important to me is that Packrat is around, spends time talking to me and we can hold hands, snuggle and do silly couple things like walk about town late at night drinking bubble tea and people watching. And this weekend, was just about that.

But even with that, reality crept in. Albeit in a nice way. We took advantage of the fact that for 2 days, we had no parental responsibilities and went and got our flat furnished. As we are trying to do it on a budget, we found ourselves at our first auction. We managed to snag a dining table we wanted but lost a coffee table to a mistake and lost a storage table and a bar table/ stool set because we weren't just being too tight-fisted.

Next time, we know to be more discerning and a little bit more bold. But for a marriage that was built on a common thirst for new experiences, it was apt that on our anniversary, we ventured into buying second hand furniture. Call it making the best of a bad situation or whatever, we had fun.

Check out Diaperbag to find out how the twins celebrated our anniversary with us.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:34

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"