It was more than eventful.
No words could really describe the sinking feeling in the stomach. As the dust settled, the rattled nerves eased off, the realisation hit. The feeling sucked.
This was probably not the right platform to talk about what I thought happened or to speculate what happened. The key was I knew I had lots to be thankful about.
That I met with really good and helpful strangers.
That family was there.
That friends also tried to help where they could.
That our X rays turned out fine.
That I had much to learn about forgiveness.
That apart from some aches, we were still well, alive and kicking.
Thank you for this blessed life and the love that surrounded us.
I seldom post about what I cooked because I was a very functional cook, unless I bothered with plating for Valentine’s Day or the recent Seafood Noodles.
Having no live-in helper meant we were pretty much on our own for cleaning up. As such, I minimized the amount of mess created during cooking.
That also meant I refrained from using many cultery. The irony was we had a dishwasher machine but we had not used it for the last 6 years. I wondered if it was still working.
Eating in was a lot of hassle. In order to cook at home, we had to plan, buy and allocate time for grocery shopping. There was also the packing and storing of bags of food after every grocery trip. The children were part of the shopping because they got to handle bits of procurement and logistics.
Sometimes, the kids also helped with simple cooking like stirring or watching something being baked in the kitchen. The most gratifying feeling of all was when the kids immersed themselves in the aroma of cooking and ate up well.
Admittedly, cooking was a messy, hot and possibly oily affair. However, to be able to produce healthy and delicious meals from fresh and good quality ingredients for the family and to be conscientious about eating out less, I felt quite proud of the efforts both Mr H and I put in. Of course, it helped that the kids were always appreciative.
The weather cleared, we put rollerblading class on hold and that created an ideal time slot on a weekend to play tennis.
Z surprised with his “more powerful” strokes. He was finally getting the hang of coordination. X impressed me by hitting some balls.
Although it was a hot afternoon, the boys enjoyed the game.
Every now and then, I had friends commenting how sporty both boys were. I thought they were more active than sporty. Sports was just an exposure they had since young.
With practice, experience and a dose of confidence, you get a child running amok in the pitch or court even if they had very little talent. I always found sports to be beneficial in the development of young boys. They were much more cooperative when they had sufficient dose of sunshine and play.
It was always good to nurture kids to be active, less headache for tired parents.
While I packed Z’s schedule with a lot of swimming, soccer and fun, I really did not bother with academic enrichment classes. It was not because I did not care about his studies. I cared very much.
I cared so much that I made sure both Mr H and I tutored him, and that I customized his learning plan. I taught him model drawing ahead of schedule, I timed his Chinese assessment work according to his Ting Xie schedule. I tried not to over teach so that class would still be interesting for him but I trained his foundation. I drilled his grammar, promoted the love of reading, challenged his speed of reading, boosted a passion for math and and cultivated an interest in mandarin.
I also did not think there was a need to overinvest in “enriching” school knowledge. I would rather spend on experience than tuition, especially after seeing this breakdown.
Above all, I cared about his attitude towards learning. I also cared about how I portrayed myself towards him in terms of his results.
In a recent math test which Z scored 36/40, he felt bad. He misread a question and did not take the time to observe the second question, so with 2 questions down, it was 4 marks off. He was upset because he expected to score full marks, some friends did better and teased him, and he thought I was going to scold him. After I checked the paper, I told him the mistakes were reasonable and he had to recognize the exposure of questions, and haste could make waste. Then I had to comfort him that the term 1 test was not everything and road was still long ahead. His math was still very good and one evaluation wasn’t going to change that.
Since then, I saw him paying more attention to the quality of his work. Well, I hoped this could last more than a week!
With the advent of technology, some aspects of life were made easier. I would not talk about the perks of online grocery shopping and the convenience it brought.
It would actually be the Facebook businesses which offered wet marketing shopping. I had never figured out how to buy fresh seafood, despite a few induction tours by my mom.
It was sad because I was a Teochew who did not know how to select fresh fishes. As a Teochew, it did mean that I loved fishes and many species of fishes at that. In fact, I had resigned to the fact that I would never be able to buy and steam a white pomfret on my own, unless I ate out, at at my parents’ place or that my mom would buy the pomfret for me. I had tried buying white pomfret in wet markets and supermarkets. Trust me, I tried the old wives’ recommendations of pressing the fish or check the eyes. I could not figure it out.
Along came this Facebook fishmonger who would take orders on a bi-weekly basis and bring in sea produce from Malaysia. I tried threadfin and it tasted funky. I tried the white pomfret and its freshness was so sweet that it brought proud tears to my eyes. I definitely exaggerated on this bit.
The ang kar prawns were equally fabulous at $2.30 per 100g as compared to the XL black/white tiger prawns at $1.70~$2.10 per 100g. The medium sized ang kar prawns were bigger than those so-called XL prawns.
Technology had definitely some parts of our history away, but also reintroduced and revived some of our familiar memories.
Guess this was the making of a modern auntie by doing wet market shopping on Facebook.
It was just a usual day for us but given that most people seemed to do something about it, we participated by sprucing up the home-cooked menu.
The kids were pleased with having steak for dinner. To be honest, I thought both boys were very spoilt for meal choices, but at least they didn’t demand for Japanese wagyu steak. My boys would remind me how they wanted steak, prawns or squid for dinner.
I was largely impressed by how 4-yo X could wolf down a 125g wagyu ribeye steak speedily. It was lovely to cook for your loved ones and had them, especially Mr H, enjoying and complimenting the meal.
On hindsight, to be able to cook a good steak and select a good bottle of wine were life skills that helped to shave off ridiculous mark ups on this day.
The kids wondered what Valentine’s Day was about and were confused why people only picked this day to celebrate love. They thought love should be celebrated every day and they could not be more right on that!
Well, it was still a good occasion to receive a new Forever Friends bear to the army of bears at home.
It was also this day that I realized Mr H and I were Facebook friends for 8 years. I had been perplexed because the math did not add up.
The most senior love of my life went, “That’s because I joined Facebook late.”
Now that Z was in P2 and a whiz with addition and subtraction up to 4-digit sum, he had a great time counting money and adding all the dollars up.
On the other hand, I could see how X was as OCD as I could be. Whenever he opened a red packet, he would sort the notes by the denomination and ensured that all notes were facing the same way up and orientation.
Z was vastly differently. When Z was at the age, he was mixing up all denominations, let alone the orientation. Now that he was older, he sorted by denomination “piles”.
Both boys opened their red packets in total reverse orders too.
X worked on a stack while Z worked on a puddle.
I was really amused by their handling styles which also spoke volumes of the different handling styles of Mr H and mine.