Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Side Tracked Father's Day Post

A couple of weeks ago, I was patronizing the Starbucks Cafe near my house. The Starbucks at Civic Centre would be my regular haunt whenever I needed some caffeinated aromatic therapy. The baristas spinning blended coffees and the long list of high class kopi blends knew me by my ang moh name "Ken". Forget "regular", you can say I am almost a "day-gular".

A specky barista had her jaw wide opened when I ordered my Ice Caramel Macchiato lugging baby Angel with one hand and attempting to pull out a fifty dollar note from my wallet using my other hand.

"BABY??" she asked, almost stunned.

"Yeah. She's my daughter, isn't she cute. Say 'Hi' Angel," I replied proudly.

"I thought you are still single!" she exclaimed.

Oh, that startled me a little. Oh yes, I had my coffee breaks after lunch during workdays, I had my 2nd cuppa in the evenings some nights, I had ice grande mochas after my swim, I had the 'croque monsier' on the go for breakfast before heading to the office, but was never seen with baby Angel tugged under my arm, not to mention the missus and my 10 year old niece who tagged along.

"You are a father...", her braces beaming under the chic yellowish interior lighting, the green leafy veggie stucked in her braces was beginning to bother me a little.

"Yeah... well... yah..." (I didn't know what to say)

"So... father of... TWO...??" she asked, pointing her finger at my overweight 10 year old niece.

That triggered a laugh from me. I almost choked on my saliva, but luckily I grabbed Angel tight with my arm.

"Hahahaha. NO!! One lah!", I replied. And then both of us blurted loud laughters. I had no idea why she laughed, but I laughed because the idea of fathering another 10 year old daughter mused me. She probably might had snapped her braces should I proclaim my other daughter a ten year old primary 5 kid. How possibly is that? I know my wrinkles cut like MRT tracks but surely I don't look that old?

I realized I am used to acknowledging myself as a dad, but not used to someone seeing me as a father. It was the same when I just got married. The word "husband" rather than "boyfriend" needs getting used to.

But "Father" is a big word. Father means responsibility, means bringing rice to the table and more. If "husband" is a rank higher than "boyfriend", I suppose "father" outrank "husband". My self denial on being older each year and my remaining youth slipping away might have done some tricks on me, I am not sure. But this only apply when I am being seen as a father by outsiders. When spending time alone with my daughter and wife, I feel perfectly like a dad.

Three days ago was Father's Day. I told my wife I have yet earned my place as a father because I have only been one for less than 8 months. I don't think I deserve Father's Day. My dad deserved it, he had been a father for 35 years. He had slogged and tolled all his life for us. My wife then explained it doesn't work like that, if you are a dad, you are. I had a pleasant surprise when she got me an Armani Exchange black Polo Tee for Father's Day. So I guess she meant what she said, and definitely no excuses for not feeding my daughter in the middle of the night.

So I'll take her word for it. I have got to fit this role better. Drive carefully with my baby in the car, spend money wisely, be less vain and dress like an uncle, buy John Little's oversized checkered short sleeves at $15 each instead of that DKNY's spring summer $289 trendy city-print shirt (BULLSHIT of course, everyone knows I am a vain bastard, but well, but I'll spend less) , forget parties and bars, stop being nonsensical, quit being silly, swear less (I can't possibly not swear, I drive in Singapore), alright... it may get gloomier and doomier as I typed... but I guess seeing Angel's peaceful face while she is engrossing in dreamland is more than worth it (I am sitting with her, typing, while she sleeps in front of me on the bed right now).

8 months 1 day old today. Never less demanding since day 1, but more adorable each day. My personal favourite though a little cruel is that she will laugh, kick in the air, and clap her hands whenever she see me coming, but cry if I stop a few metres away without carrying her. That is how much she is attached to me and wifey. She has also grown up to be a jovial gal. She laughs, every single day. She scream with excitement when played rough. A very interesting act worth mentioning is how she engaged in a coughing competition with my wife. Angel coughs (she's faking it
so that we would carry her), then wifey coughs, then Angel coughs again, then wifey, then Angel, then she chuckles out loud. Then all three of us have a good laugh. I wonder why she finds it amusing and fun, but as long as she is happy, we'll play this game with her, over and over again.

I actually wanted this post to be about Father's Day, but obviously I have side tracked a little. I could probably carry on rattering and rattering about the 3 of us, about our little baby, but I should stop now, its getting lengthy. Besides, it is about time for a father's job, feeding time.

Happy Father's Day, belated, well... I am such an expired blogger, waddoya expect? Hee.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Simple Moments in Life

The couple of weeks haven't been too taxing for me. My designers in the office slogged day and night currently though (it was their turn after mine hahaha I am the evil boss from hell lah), I had a much more paced out working schedule. In light of that, I found myself slowing down to enjoy some very simple happenings lately.

1) The Physiotherapist

Peter is about twice my shoulder width, add another 2 heads above mine, and factor in that biceps that could probably cover my face, you get one menacing trainer from Finland. Peter is my physiotherapist. My slipped discs brought me to him. 2 unhealthy discs from the spine and an arthritic knee plus a 8 kg daughter is too much for me to bear. So I undergo a back strengthening program.

Peter is a nice guy. Because he jokes with you.

“Okay, you do 3 minutes. Pull forward and let go, lengthen your spine as you bring your back down” He said in his Finnish English accent and then pressed the 3 min timer button.

“Huh? I just finished 10 of those,” I protested.

“That was a warm up”, he grinned.

I could have cursed but it made me laughed. It was a short moment, but it was a light hearted moment. It took the tension out of me. Of course there were many jokes he would cracked. Because this was the first one when I met him, I thought it made an impression.

2) The “Sian Tao Uncle”

I was reading a book, “Dark Alchemy”. The title suggest a dark tale adventure with intense battles and wizardry. It is a fantasy book. I was immersed, almost.

“All succshessfoo women hadth the soopport ofth a man behindth her”

Where did that come from? My eavesdropping ear searching for a soundwave direction.

“Why?” returned a female voice.

“Becoth I amth behindth you mah...”

Then some giggles...

I turned around and saw an uncle holding his swollen jaw with his left hand, and with his right hand, supporting a woman, the woman was leaning on his body. They looked past 45 years of age.

And then more giggles...

I almost dropped my book. All of us were patients in the dental clinic waiting for our turn. It was a mild joke, but it was funny one to me. The uneasiness heightened by the fact that the sweet talk came from an elderly uncle. Even at his age, he was clearly a sweet talker. The women, whom I am not sure would it be his wife or mistress, glued to him like chewing gum.

Wah lao eh, I was almost electrified after hearing that. He is one big “Sian Tao” lor! (Sweet Talker in hokkien)

3) The Daily Jogger

Despite my screwed up back and knee, I still jog regularly. I jogged much lesser now though, but added swimming to my routine to make up for it. My evening runs around the sport stadium a stone's throw away from my house exposed me to some very unique characters. There was this uncle, whom I deem almost 70 years of age or perhaps more, who would be running at the stadium whenever I was there. That concluded to me he ran everyday.

But he is no fit uncle. The way he walked, twisting his neck and limping on every step as his roamed every 400m around the stadium suggested I would be the future him, a old skinny man with a crushed knee and back. My prospective future looked bleak. But on a positive note, he still manages to keep up with his activity despite his physical shortfall. It was most commendable. Regulars in the stadium knew him, waving at him whenever they see him. So you can say he was never alone, although he came alone.

I bumped onto him again after an evening swim. On my way back to the car my eyes met him in a distance. He was twisting his neck and swaying his arms back and forth walking with a limp. He became my instant idol. I would have left myself to rot in a condition like his. But none of those deterred him, he was walking towards the stadium for his regular jog.

It warmed me, and naturally I smiled at him, giving him an assured nod in the event of it.

His returned smile made my day. It was fantastic and I realized I had forgotten to smile in recent years. I had re-explored the magic of smiling, it brings people closer, it is so simple yet it is magic.

I guess I'll see him again on the tracks on the next running session, perhaps a chat to top it off.

These are the simple things in life that had made some days seem a breeze through.

Dear friends, as the weekend draws near, relax, unwind, and smile.

With Smiles,
Ken & Family

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Nightmare, Fret not, Some Lovely Pics to Light the Day

This is an account of what I dreamed last night. It felt so real:

I was cruising on a stretch of road. Behind in the back row, my wife and daughter were enjoying the serenity of trees and palms zooming past as I stepped on the accelerator. It was a most relaxing car ride scenario.

Our serene moment was then disturbed by a sudden jerk! Although it happened too quickly but I could feel my car swaying to the side of the road and eventually coming to a full halt. I could not recall what exactly had happened but my baby daughter seemed to have been flung out of the car, or not, but either how I was sure I had lost trace of her after the bumpy hit. And wifey seemed to have disappeared in a flash. The shock within me far out-matched the impact of the car knock. My immediate instinct was to pick myself up and raced towards the direction where I thought I saw baby Angel was heading.

I floored the gas petal and drove like a demon. I do not seem to give a fuck about any other thing except to speed off in the direction where I deem suppose to be.

Another knock.

My car came to a full halt once more on the side of the road. Everything was silent, I hear no screeching tires nor the bang of metals against metals, or perhaps metals against concrete, I do not care. It was most odd. I only recalled I recovered quickly on this one and fucking pissed. I stepped out of the car to see a man dressed in blue walking towards me shouting and demanding something from me.

It appeared I had been stopped by some sort of policeman (peculiarly, a mustached one) who claimed I had exceeded the speed limit. I fucked him and told the "George Lam" lookalike that I don't have time to explain this as I have to catch up with my missing daughter. The bastard wouldn't let it go and so instinctively I gave him a hard kick to the ground and hop right back into the car.

I floored the gas pedal again and sped off.

I think I witnessed lights, red & blue sirens from the rear view mirror. But I do not give a shit, I need to find my family.

I sped, I sped and sped.

A very obstructing cut scene later. I was among people in a recreational park environment. Parents were playing with their kids in the park and there were some see saws parked around. I was already weeping, uncontrollably. There was anguish, sadness, fear and panic all swelling inside of me. I was hunting for baby Angel among the crowd. I do not recall why Angel's mum was with me out of sudden, but there she was, following me wherever I go, searching high and low, low and high. Where was baby Angel? I had not stopped weeping, tears kept streaming down my cheeks, I kept on weeping as I searched.

I felt like shit.

After much combing from area to area, at last to my relief I spotted our baby daughter rolling on top of other toddlers in a far distance! And she's sucking her thumb for comfort, she appeared to have been a little soiled and bruised. I ran like a leopard could and pounced on her before she rolled out of the stack of babies. I caught her with my very own hands, and I wept again. This time, one loud but relief wail...!

By this time, I am absolutely sure I am a fucking big sissy because I woke up with tears still in my eyes!! And a patch of tears still lingered on my pillow. I turned around and find baby Angel sleeping by my side and eyes wide opening, she kicked and opened up her arms flapping them, and then rolled close to me and gave me that angelic smile that still melt me a like warm chocolate.

THANK GOD. It had only been a freaking horrible nightmare.

Yet it felt so realistic that I actually cried in my sleep. It was really scary, more scary than any horror show screened on any cinemas. Plus it dented my macho-ism. I WEPT, LIKE A WIMP!!

I'll end my post with some jovial pics of my 7 and half months old daughter who had already started to grow her first set of teeth. She had become so active now hopping and kicking her legs whenever I carried her. Then the rolling... she's been rolling herself over and over when placed lying on the bed. So much so that I have to place 2 pillows on both the far left and right of the bed to prevent her from tumbling on the floor.

I wonder if that's what triggered the horrific dream...

Enjoy the pics:

Mummy's Gem.

Daddy's Little Girl.