The weather on the beach is nothing short of sunny with a light warm breeze in the November air (weird, given the rainy season..). Flanked by a lychee martini on my left and and a big tub of haagen daz strawberry ice cream on my right, I lay peacefully on a safari bed at the beach front that somewhat seem like Nusa Dua in Bali. Hogging my retinas is a pair of big teary eyes glued to my nose, and then a thunderstorm pursued.. a loud wide howling...
I woke up to the amplified wail of my baby daughter, and the reality of fatherhood.
Alarm clock 5am checked, baby in my wife's arm checked, martini on my left... unchecked. (You get disillusioned when you need to wake up 3 times per night every fucking night)
I am not making this up. Its bloody feeding time, the third time in the night. This is considered charity compared to some nights and particularly one when I dreamed of my daughter barely 3 weeks into her life ballooned to a 10 year old girl in a snap and started screaming at me just before I was about to test drive a red Ferrari.
Yes, the beach, the ferrari, and some occasional thrills of beating people up in dreamland... Call me deprived, still unable to snap out of a life before now. But the fact is, she has arrived. And I know I have to get myself snappily adjusted before she suddenly towers above me with her 10 year old frame demanding her iphone 10th gen simply because her peers in school has got one.
Welcome to toddler land.
I was doing an msn exchange with my friend, a proud father who has 2 girls age two and five under his belt. (pathetic sobs like me don't get much social life nowadays)
"So how, change diaper eh sai boh?" came the question.
"Aiya no problem expert already, just shove toilet paper inside when it gets too wet. Why do you ask?"
"Now you know, no life after children." (replied my perverted friend who apparently wanted me to follow suit his no-life motto)
"You wait see lah, I won't become uncle wan lah. She two year old I bring her go sing KTV." (I said determined to prove the bastard wrong)
"You tok oni lah" (He said, mockingly.. Well.. I can feel it.)
"Three years old I bring her go Starbucks lim kopi" (I continued)
"Four years old I bring her to go Pub ar." (I carried on it a desperate attempt to emphasize how determined I can be)
"Four years old you bring her to Preschool.." (He delivered the final blow)
That was it.
That silent me up. That was crucification. That nailed me. That bastard was an evil parent on vengence seeking to justify his 5 pathetic years of parenthood and forcing it on me.
I once asked him when was the last time he fancied a dining escapade with his wife during a dinner which I pestered him to come out while his wife went on a working trip overseas.
"Orr.. have have, that time her birthday." he said chewing his baby back ribs away.
"Where did you go?"
"Thai food. The one at Yishun."
"Which one?" I asked trying hard to locate a fine dining Thai restaurant in my mind, one that is in Yishun.
"That one at the canteen in the Industrial Park. This ribs is really not bad, did they put black pepper sauce in it?"
Now, I didn't take Mr Parenthood very seriously during that conversation. I was not a father then. I thought how bad could it get. I mean surely I can get 2 days off in a month and reserved the remaining 28days for my kid to nanny care for her. But its almost a month and I haven't been in Orchard road since the day my wife's water bag broke. Not to mention my weird dreams of self-indulgence and double snapping back to reality during the nights. Its been a hellish surreal ride. I would have matched Salvatore Dali in his paintings have I transferred the images of my dream on a sheet of canvass. On the top left of the painting you see Mummy clearly unimpressed with an empty feeding bottle in her hand. On the right hand corner my daughter who is still in her 10 year old self hogging a test driven Ferrari, only to demand more milk from his dad. The clock is ticking away, melting as in a Dali's painting, only to suggest you have 2 seconds to go before she wails.
Ok, snap out of it already, I know. Its not that the world is only made up of one father, me, who is living a life of sleepless nights and a sore yearning for a glass of martini. Days before me, my dad has done it, and so did his dad. The world is made up of millions of father today, they survived. I am no different. After all, ours is nothing compared to the tedious nine months of pregnancy and the intense pain the mothers have to go through during delivery. Its just a few hours short of sleep for us.
So, I have made a few resolutions as we approach this Christmas. Accept the fact that life has changed. Embrace parenthood. Feed that hungry girl everyday without complain. Be good to my wife who gave birth to the prettiest thing in the world for us. (although i suspect that LV bag is coming on top of the be good to my wife list).
Lastly, get that lychee martini someday, shaken or stirred, either way.
Also to my beloved friend, thanks for all the advices rendered on baby care. I truly appreciate it. But still, life can be good with children. If you need a suggestion for a fantastic fine Thai Dining restaurant just let me know, theres one in town, and yes, they offered ribs as well.
Merry Christmas to all fathers and Mums.
From Ken, May & Angel.