there was one point in time in my life, many many years ago as a young impressionable girl, when i had Dirty Dancing taped from tv, which was rewinded and replayed to death (i’m quite sure i watched it at least a hundred times), pressing the pause button at some parts to catch certain dance steps (or to swoon at the hunk that is patrick swayze, whatever) which i tried to emulate in my bedroom, in secret. GAWD i LOVED that movie.
well, maybe i still do.
i was ‘ordered’ not to rewatch the movie before watching the musical (which we just bought the tickets to, so essaited!) in case it loses its magic (i think that’s the reason) so i’ll stick to just one (or maybe two) scene(s) from youtube.
it wasn’t intentional but her fifth birthday too was rainbow-filled…
well, ok, this was technically the weekend before her birthday, and we happened to be in damansara, KL (again!), on a mission to conquer Publika, where a certain Wondermilk cafe holds residence.
we could not resist the perfect opportunity to buy one of their famous colourful Lola cakes, the sight of which in itself is so delightfully vibrant and joyful, it could make unicorns cry happy, sparkly tears.
the actual day of her birthday, i travelled many kilometres, to the other side of the island, to fulfil her wish. yes, she wanted not one pony, but many ponies, and ponies she got – on her cake.
so for those of you who know me or have been reading this blog, i’ve been on sabbatical (or just call it no-pay-leave) since last august. yes, the time is almost up for me to get back on the saddle and re-enter the workforce.
it makes me feel guilty for saying this, but… i’ve really had such a great time away from work these past few months. yes, guilty, because i got to do this with the blessing of my employers, colleagues, husband – something not everyone would have the luxury of obtaining; and i got to fulfil that much-coveted status, the SAHM – albeit impermanently.
do i look forward to going back to work? well… yes and no, for various reasons. but i’ve been given the opportunity to go back on part-time, to job-share with another colleague, which means reduced hours, reduced pay, but on the flipside, more time, precious precious time, for the kids and for myself.
a win-win situation, right?
speaking of jobs and work, the kids had a peek into working life themselves earlier in March when we went to Kidzania in KL.
i went not knowing what KidZania was all about, just that our friend Jai was now working with the company, and that it promised a fun yet educational experience for the kids.
well, i was duly impressed!
so basically, KidZania is an indoor theme park (but without the crazy rides!) that provides children between ages 4 to 12 with an environment to explore a variety of occupations, by allowing them to learn new skills, role-play, earn their ‘pay’ and choose how they want to save/spend it. imagine little people doing adult jobs, like a judge in a courthouse, a surgeon in an operation room, a flight attendant or a pilot in a simulated airplane… the list goes on!
mommies and daddies, sorry but you’re not allowed in while they’re working or making important transactions in the bank… (we mostly hovered around.)
yes, banks! they are given a start-up amount to open up a bank account. with their debit cards, they can draw out their money at any point, or deposit their ‘hard-earned’ money at the ATM. whatever they save can be used to pay for goods and services within the KidZania city. (if they’re nice, mommy and daddy might just get a treat at the sushi shop.)
the kids have to queue up at the work stations and be ‘trained’ in batches, before they go into the job. after completion of the job, they’re paid with money in the form of KidZos currency – the higher level the job, the more they are paid. same as in real life, yeah? but sorry, no CEO or Minister jobs available here. i looked.
what they DID have though, are:
firefighters and fast-food workers…
chocolate and ice-cream factory workers…
notebook and nail specialists…
window-cleaners and supermarket cashiers…
and aniq declared this his favourite ‘job’ of all: television talk-show host.
oh look, his sister is also part of the tv crew. as a producer! the moment the boys were done with their monotonous delivery of the script from the teleprompter, she and hayley came out of the production room and exclaimed with unbridled enthusiasm, “great job guys!!” complete with tiny thumbs up. i’m guessing cheerleading is part of the tv producer’s job scope…?
so yeah, overall it was a damn tiring day (for them and for the parents stalking after them) but it taught them so much values (hard work, financial responsibility, independence, social participation, confidence… gawd, i could go on and risk sounding like an early childhood brochure) – it was well worth the time and experience.
see how tiring it is after a day’s work, kids?
no joke! why do you think mummy needed a whole year’s sabbatical?!
heh ok ok, so i know the june holidays are coming up, and with damansara just a few hours away, well, you know what to do… (ps: be prepared for long queues though. we went during a weekday on an off-peak period so queues were a breeze.)
thanks goes once again to the awesome Jai & family for personally bringing us around KidZania and their new home away from home, damansara.
so it’s been a while, and i’ve missed out on actively blogging about the bigger events that’s happened over the last few months.
i blame instagram, i totally do. it used to be that i blame twitter. and for a while it was i blame facebook. when i shut down both those accounts, i thought i was safe from the meanderings of social networks and get back on track with this blogging business. well, i was wrong. photo-sharing when you have an iphone5 makes you even less inclined to sit in front of an actual computer/laptop to blog properly, nevermind that the iphone also has a wordpress app, IT IS JUST NOT THE SAME, blogging on your mobile.
you know that cliche where the little rich girl asks her doting daddy for a pony for her birthday?
well, she hasn’t asked us for a real pony, of course – just some plastic ones, with bright colourful bodies and manes, some with wings and unicorn horns, and little tattoos on their flanks called ‘cutie marks’.
yes, she’s mad about these long-haired ponies. to think i used to play with the older versions when i was a kid back in the 80s. but you know, the animated series now have so much more… sophisticated and complex themes and characters, and i was surprised she’d picked up crazy-sounding things like ‘elements of harmony’ and ‘fight discord’ just from watching the shows. man, i sure did NOT have such vocabulary when i was four…
anyway, i found these simple books going at 3 for $10 recently and thought they were just the right reading level for her – and sure enough, she picked them up and rattled right off, with just a little bit of help.
one of the most satisfying things i’ve ever achieved – finding balance.
and i’m so happy i made more than a few friends get on the mat and start stretching and doing things with their bodies they never thought possible too! going on the journey together with them makes practising more meaningful and waaaay more fun for me. thank you, you guys. :)
and to the rest of you still hesitating – why?!
“allow yourself to be a beginner. no one starts off being an expert.”
i am possibly one of the most unadventurous shoe-buyers in the history of womankind. my decisions are usually based on:
1) price – nothing above $50. the most i ever paid for a pair was $99, which promptly peeled at the pointy tips after a few wears, which made me regret the breach in my price policy.
2) practicality – i think hard whether i’ll wear them often, are comfortable to walk in, and whether they’ll match most or at least a few outfits in my wardrobe. so you won’t find me getting crazy sky-high stilletos or fancy boots on a whim or “just because”. besides, who has space for them? (i don’t.)
gawd, the number of cheap, thoughtful black shoes i’ve purchased in my life.
i tend to treat my shoes a little too roughly; i’d carelessly step on puddles and mushy grass, clumsily snub on pavements and metal grille, fling them off and toss them into the shoe cabinet when i’m done. scuffs and scratches and scraped soles galore, without me meaning to subject them to such suffering.
(man, i hope psychologists out there won’t read too much into that.)
i may have mentioned before that the girl has her own opinions about what she wears. and shoes, omg – she’s ALWAYS the last to step out of the house, especially when we’re in a mighty hurry. (because those ARE after all always the best times to have a meltdown, right?!) usually, the dramatic face-off (or rather, feet-off) would involve:
1) insisting on wearing her pink/purple shoes, which do not match any parts of her clothes. and you should know by now that non-colour-coordination in my world is considered a sin.
2) refusing to wear what i suggest without making a fuss over how: a) tight/loose they are (she seems to be perpetually in between sizes, i’m beginning to suspect she has freak feet), b) itchy they made her feet, c) she doesn’t like them.
many a times, we’ve had to threaten to leave her home. seriously, who has time for primadonna dramas? (i don’t.)
there are these little girl heels at Payless that she eyes every time we go in there (in the hopes of finding shoes that fit her – feet and sensibility). they’re so… Suri Cruise. but the smallest size they come in is still to big for her (freak) feet so i told her she’ll just have to wait till she grows a bit more. (which then unleashes the primadonna drama, in the aisles of Payless. i’m sure Suri does the same to poor ol’ mommy Katie.)
i told her she can choose all the shoes she likes and wear all the high heels she wants when she’s grown up. see if i care when she mismatches them then.
so i didn’t post this earlier because… well, okay i admit, i was selfish and didn’t want to lessen my chances of getting into the venue they were performing in tonight, seeing as it was first-come-first-serve, and i was sure that if you watch them here, you’d probably fall in love with them too just as i did, and would join the long queue to watch them live. (it did turn out to be a long line and they had to turn away those at the back – we got there early.)
so who are they? ohhh, just a girl and a guy who happen to have the same last name, same racial mix, same interest in spoken word poetry… and who will never, ever date each other, because theirs is one of those rare friendships.
I will always see you for the alley-oop.
I will always save you a seat.
I will always pick you to be my partner even though you are terrible at handball.
When the fire takes all you have, my home will be your home.
When you are old and can no longer remember my face, I will meet you for the first time again and again.
When they make fun of your accent, I will take you swimming because we all sound the same underwater…
They could tell you how rare this is.
But they could tell you how rare friendship always is.
The chances are slim.
The cards are always stacked against you, the odds are always low.
But I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
I want to share every single one of your sunshines and save some for later.
I will tuck them into my pockets so I can give them back to you when the rains fall hard…
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not who you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep, and you are in California, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone, maybe love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love is older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays – maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet, whisper, “Thank you. Thank you for stopping by.”
and this, one of my favorites phil performed. (this boy is SO awww-inducing, i swear.)
they made us laugh and cry throughout the evening. SO GOOD. definitely the best $15 i ever spent.
(i promise next time they come, i’ll tell… and y’all have to go.)
i happened to flip to Project Runway yesterday while channel surfing with the kid. the impossibly skinny yet perfectly-curvy-assed models managed to make even the most half-assed outfits look haute good as they strutted their stuff.
one of them wore this ridiculous bikini top thingy with some mismatched printed skirt, showing off her silky smooth, flawlessly flat bare belly, much to everybody’s envy.
this is why i don’t watch tv much.
yet i was too enthralled to change the channel, not just by the swaying (bony) hips on screen, but also the whole drama of who’s in and who’s out (damn, they do know how to hook you right in, don’t they? like a supremely unhealthy can of Pringles, you can’t stop once you pop).
bare-belly appeared again, for appraisal.
i gave a big sigh.
“see lah, how to get my tummy to look like that? so thin, so smooth… because of you all, now become like this,” i said, glancing down dejectedly at my perpetually bloated, wrinkled state. a lumpy, sagging pouch which has resigned to permanent residence on my body.
the girl heaved her entire weight on top of me in an effort to flatten my tummy. seeing as that didn’t work, she proceeded to poke poke poke my belly, then pummel it repeatedly like a hammer with her tiny fist.
eventually giving up, she kissed my tummy in all its jiggly glory and declared, “IT’S OKAAAY…. nevermind! people know, you’re a mummy. it’s okaaaay…” she assured.
“but i cannot wear bikini…” i moaned dramatically.
“but you cannot wear bikini anyway, so malu,” she replied. “i can because i’m still small.”
as i tried to dispute her, she repeated, “IT’S OKAAAYY… people knowww… nevermindddd… i like your tummy.” then she practically french-kissed my knotty navel.
and this is what i’m giving up a model’s body for, just so you know.
was dishing out two kinds of mee soto noodles – yellow and white – and asked the girl which one she wanted. she always chooses the yellow one, but me being me, i always try to ‘sell’ her alternatives.
me: “try the white one too. it’s very delicious.”
her: “no. ok lah ok lah, just a small serving.”
(i dish out a scoop of white noodles, amused at her use of the word ‘serving’. what is this, a restaurant?!)
her: “then i can chum-pao.” *stirs her noodles gleefully*
she talks a lot, sometimes a mile a minute, so some things she says whiz by without me giving much thought to them. and from the strange sound of it, i thought that last word was perhaps a chinese word she learnt in school, complete with chinese accent, picked up from her chinese teacher or friends. something… food-related. like kung pao. or da bao.
so a few seconds pass.
then it hit me.
me: “wait, what did you say?”
her: “chum-pao… chum-pao..”
me: *looks at her action* “not chum-pao lah… CAMPUR! CAMPUR! ‘mixing’! macam mana ni melayu??”
her: “oh, chum-po.” *complete with chinese accent*
found the girl at the sofa making her Barbie dolls prance around while animating imagined dialogues between them.
“i want you to play with me,” she demanded upon my arrival.
so i picked up one skimpily-clothed doll and turned on my inner Barbie. “hiiiii, i’m Barbieee…”
“noo, her name is Tecna.”
“… Techna? *blinks* what kind of a name is Tecna??”
“her name is Tecna because her special power is Technology.” (this, explained to me matter-of-factly, while i exploded in mirth at the fact that she said ‘Technology’ in the most ‘macam-paham’ of manner.)
“her super power is Technology?!! *splutters*”
“yes. and she has a friend, her name is Musa (pronounced very pronouncedly as ‘Miu-za’).”
“yes. her special power is Music.” (well, but of course.)
she then proceeded to educate me, in feverish seriousness, about the wondrous world of Winx – these candy-coloured, rainbow-sparkled teen-ish fairies, all of whom apparently, at some points in time, have romantic entanglements with boys and relationship ups and downs, in between err, saving worlds. i think.
i don’t know if this early exposure to and fascination with BGR perpetuates a girl’s predisposition to precocity and sensitivity to social dynamics, but she does show particular understanding of and interest in concepts like ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ and ‘breaking up’ (again, thanks, taylor swift). well, even more than her brother does, for sure.
sure, they both generally go “eeww!” and vehemently deny when we suggest they like somebody of the opposite sex, and would cover their eyes should there be a potential ‘kissing’ scene on the screen (even in cartoons). but the difference is, the girl will cringe even more AND blush and go all shy at the same time, whereas the boy is less reactive, like ‘whatevs, gross’. i can’t tell you how stereotypical they are as far as gender differences go.
so back to my lesson on Winx. from the bits of her excitable chatter i gathered something about the fairies coming together to live in the ocean (at which point i sought clarification on whether the mermaids minded this transgression into their territory, to which i was informed that the mermaids were in fact the ocean’s “gatekeepers” – say whuut…); some “evil” guy called Tritannus (i do not want to know what his special power is); something called Dragon Fire (i don’t suppose that has to do with bad breath); another fairy called Stella who likes “fashion” and wants to be a “fashion designer” (i wonder if her last name is McCartney)… and the prattle went on and on. i tried a few times to interject with questions but got her frustrated at my sheer ignorance, which was very funny and made me laugh even more, which in turn made her even madder haha ha! i should call her Angstyna.
anyway, speaking of things that make the kids go “eeww” yet still delight them, here’s one of their favourite picture books, Spells by Emily Gravett. why do they like it? because there’s an illustration of a man’s bare bum in it.
i swear from the moment they first opened up this page till now after repeated reading (and flipping – this book is brilliant, btw; it plays on the concept of magic ‘spells’ and ‘spelling’, and actually teaches them to blend letters to form funny words as a romantically-inclined frog blunders his way through various incantations), this princely pale derriere never fails to (butt)crack them up. i don’t know what it is about behinds but they make children go crazy, it’s practically perverted. in fact, if ever i were to write a children’s book and ensure it becomes wildly successful, all i need to do is insert a drawing of a man’s bottom in it somewhere, just for shit and giggles (literally).