Two of Us

Hello, sixteen years

We were out shopping a couple of weeks back and I stopped by the window of H&M Men’s, thinking to myself, Wow, those are some really spiffy outfits. Too bad my husband can’t fit into these clothes.


Now, back when I was a young and naive and pretty silly girl, I thought I was going to marry a guy who was tall like my papa, sporty like my papa and pretty damn good looking. Would he have brains? Dunno. Would he treat me like an equal? Never thought of it. I wanted the guy who would fit into those clothes at H&M, I wanted the jock, never mind if he had any grey matter between his ears. WHO CARES AS LONG AS HE IS CUTE.

And then when I was 18, I met this guy who was NOTHING like the boyfriend that I had imagined. He was this fat chap who did not care to exercise, who preferred tinkering with computers to playing ball, who had a good set of pipes but refused to sing TO me. He was, frankly speaking, a GEEK back when geeks weren’t exactly in.

Oddly enough, he and I got together. I say oddly enough because I think we confounded everyone else around us. We probably confounded me too. I mean, he did not exactly check all the boxes that I had. And then we were together, we fought, we had cold wars, we broke up, we realised we didn’t like being away from each other and then we were together again. AH, YOUNG LOVE.

Here we are today, 16 years from the night when we said, okay let’s do us. We stood at Sheares Bridge, watching as flares burst across the night sky when the countdown ended. It hasn’t been easy but you know, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be half as fun.

And boy do we have fun. Ridiculous amount of fun, in all the stupidest of ways. Like, when we poke at Aidan verbally, deliberately eliciting a reaction from him and driving him to say “NOOOOOOOO!”. Like, when we shamelessly eavesdrop on others and their colourful conversations. Like, when I coloured part of my lips with bright red lipstick and shouted “PADME!” and he totally got it. And he even laughed.

Do I not regret never dating a H&M model and thereby giving up all rights to ever laying a hand on a six-pack? Nah. Well, okay, sometimes. But, nah. I mean, Six-Pack may not love me the way my husband loves me. And Six-Pack may not be as hands-on a father as my husband. And Six-Pack may not treat me with the respect that my husband does.

So, yes, I’ll take him for life. Him and all his jelly belly goodness and all the love that he has in the world for me.

Sixteen years of my life spent with him, and I am looking forward to the next 60.

Happy anniversary, my love.

10 years ago, after ringing in the new year
The organised chaos

2015, in retrospect

As I sit here, on the penultimate day of 2015, typing this, I find myself hard pressed to find the right words to describe the year. Not sure if it’s my faulty mummy memory, or the fact that the year has seemingly zoomed by, there is a sense that I don’t have much feeling for 2015.

Was it a good year? Well, yes and no. It certainly has its challenges. The husband was still navigating his way around some changes that cropped up on the work front. On my work front, I was given more and more responsibilities to handle, tasks that mostly worked my weaker muscles (and hence frustrating me to no end). The jump from parenting one child to two was also intensely apparent to me and there were times when I felt like I was constantly stretching myself, trying to be the best at everything I did.

Somewhere in the middle of the year, I thought I was swimming against the currents – I was perpetually chasing deadlines at the seat of my pants at work and then I had to drop everything at work to put on my mothering hat at the end of the day. It didn’t help that my two were constantly falling sick, picking up virus after virus. I’d be lying if I said that I was not resentful of the husband for his long hours at work – but that’s mostly my tired self rearing its ugly side.

So it wasn’t like I was shitting unicorns and rainbows, if you know what I mean.

And YET. I can’t say that it was a bad year. It was challenging, yes. But it was not bad. Because I have seen bad happening to the people around me and I know what bad is. Ours isn’t bad, no, not by a mile. At the end of the day, we still have it better than most.

But that still doesn’t sum up 2015 in any way. How does one sum up a year that seems so…grey? Oh speaking of grey, maybe I will always remember 2015 to be the year that Dr Shepherd died. Hah! Okay, lame joke. Although I will admit that I was really, really gutted. Still am, actually. BOO HOO HATES SHONDA RHIMES.

So, 2015. I’m not particularly sad to see it end. It was not a great year, nay, it was a strange year. Terrorist attacks, downed planes, Orchard Road in flames, abused cats, social media lynching, deaths, illnesses…all horribly confounding.

What am I looking forward to in 2016? Slowing down my pace, enjoying watching my children grow up. Gritting my teeth and getting work done. Squeezing in more yoga and gym sessions. Cooking more. Being less emotional and having greater clarity of mind. Figuring out what I want to do with my life. Sleep earlier. Stop stretching myself in all directions. Accepting me for who I am and understanding that the mum me is still me, with some variances in priorities.

Wherever you are, I hope you will have a wonderful 2016. May it bring you bags of blessings and may we all stay safe, healthy and happy.

Thank you for reading me.

xx, yann

Beer in Langkawi

The organised chaos

Blessed Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

(From the other side…okay, lame joke.)

I don’t know if anyone is still around reading this, or if anyone even cares. But evidently, I will continue to write even if nobody else is reading…because that’s who I am and what I do. Just ask my husband. I can talk and talk to him even if he is obviously in shutdown mode and not bothering to process what I am saying. By George, I will talk!

Anyway, same old story of my life. Work gets in the way of pleasure, unfortunately. There is so much that I want to do and so much that I want to write about but I haven’t got the time nor energy to do so. When I am home, my two tiny tyrants take up my remaining battery life. By the time they are asleep, I am stoning on the sofa, a mini Cornetto in hand.

This year has been quite a sombre one for us. Many changes in the household, many uncertain realities. We are still trying to navigate our way, trying to see through the fog. It has not been easy, it has not been smooth-sailing. There were times when we raised our voices, when tempers flared, when we didn’t like each other (or our kids). It wasn’t pretty.

But life – and marriage – isn’t about prettiness. It’s about grit and getting through the tough times together, and emerging better and tougher than before. If we can live through those two years of crazy, heartbreaking infertility, we can live through anything.

Plus, there’ve been so many terrible things happening to good people around us. My heart aches for them, but I am also heartened and inspired by their strength.

Needless to say, Christmas this year has been a little quieter. We took time out from work to be with Aidan and Zac, and it’s been both extremely satisfying and tiring. We’ve laughed and we’ve shouted (yikes) and we’ve rolled our eyes countless times.

But that’s family for you.

So we are off to celebrate Christmas with both sides of the family. We are very, very lucky that we are loved, and that our boys are so adored. No matter what happens, no matter how tough the times may seem, we know that it’s really not that bad. It’ll all pass. We are still luckier than most and we must remember it.

Whoever you are, wherever you are: I hope that you are loved and that you are able to savour peace and joy.

Have a blessed Christmas. May 2016 be a better year for all of us.



My son danced, and I cried

Over the weekend, we attended the year-end concert put up by Aidan’s childcare operator.

It was the first time we ever attended such a concert, the first time that Aidan was involved. And we had absolutely no clue what to expect. Maybe a group of children singing and dancing?

“Wonder what they are going to do for two hours,” mused husband. We asked the star, who gave us absolutely no clue, except that he was singing “I Like to Teach the World To Sing”.

Were there dance moves? Yes, he said. Could you show us? He ignored us.

On a sizzling hot Saturday, we trooped off to the concert venue with both sets of grandparents in tow. The concert began and then we realised just why it was slated to run for two hours. First, they called all the K2 classes across the different branches onto stage, individually. Then there was a video montage of, again, all the graduating students from all the classes.


Now this sounds really boring on paper but I gotta tell you, I FREAKING CRIED!

Seriously. Those were not even my kids graduating AND I CRIED. As the video rolled and I saw pictures of smiling children flash across the screen, I thought of how proud the parents must be and, oh, how their hearts must be aching. And if their kids had been in the centre since they (the kids) were 18 months old, how bittersweet this moment must be for both the teachers and the parents.

I mean, that’s such a large part of their lives. Just like that, one chapter closes and another begins. It must mean so much to the teachers, seeing their charges grow from tiny humans who can’t talk to independent little people. And I imagined my Aidan being a strapping six-year-old boy, no longer my tiny baby, and tears welled up in my eyes.

Damn hormones.

After the montage, the first performance begun and it was my little man and his friends! So they were supposed to be performing to a Hawaiian theme and as they trooped out, my heart burst. The boys were wearing floral shorts while the girls were wearing shimmery green grass skirts. All had luau around their necks. They started their dance and MY GOSH IT WAS SO CUTE.

Imagine tiny little people clapping, twirling their hands, shaking their bums, all in two rows. They were so earnest and for three-year-olds, they DID SO GOOD.


Here’s my little fellow, after more than a year of being in daycare, performing independently with his friends. He did not miss a beat and was so, so great.

Silly me, sitting there in the dark, beaming like a monkey and wiping tears from my eyes. Silly, silly me.

But oh, what a proud mama I am.

One day, he will be that six-year-old graduating from kindy and one day, I will be proudly cheering as he goes on stage to pose with his friends. One day, I will be bawling at the thought of him being all grown up and entering primary school.

No matter what, though, I will always be his proud mama.

My Hawaiian boy//

The organised chaos

Calling the police

Once in a while, something happening in the block that we live in scares me.

Once in a while, we would hear a man shouting so loudly that it echoes across the block. There would be sounds of things – doors, cupboards, tables – being thrown or slammed. And sometimes, there would be sounds of somebody sobbing or screaming in return.

The ruckus would go on for a bit and I would freeze in the midst of whatever I was doing – bathing my baby, or putting him down for a nap, or cooking. And then just as I resolve to do something about it, the noise dies down into a strange silence. And I am left wondering if I had imagined the entire episode.

Most of the time, it happens in the day. Sometimes, it happens at night. Each time, I would wonder what was going on.

It happened today.

The man’s voice seems louder, somehow. The crashes, too, sounded explosive. I stopped for a moment, my heart beating fast. As I tumbled into the room to ask the husband to do something, I saw that he was leaning out of the window, trying to ascertain where it was coming from.

That was it.

I told him that I was going to call the police and handed the baby to him.

“You don’t even know which floor it is,” he pointed out.

I dashed out of the room. “I don’t care. What if someone is being killed right now.”

As the shouts continued, I rang the neighbourhood police centre and a lady picked up. I explained that there seemed to be a domestic spat and I was worried. She took my name and my number, and promised to send someone over to check. As I hung up the phone, there was a sudden silence.

It was over.

I don’t know if what I did was right, I don’t know if it would help in any way. I mean, by the time the police showed up, they would have absolutely nothing to work on. Maybe I should have gone out to check, floor by floor. Maybe I should have tried to ascertain which apartment the fighting was happening in.

Oh, I don’t know. I reacted instinctively, I wasn’t thinking straight. But I knew that if we did nothing, someday, someone would get hurt.

That afternoon, Aidan asked me why I had called the police. I didn’t even realise that he had overheard our conversation. I explained that something bad was happening and I wanted the police to help. And I decided to turn it into a learning point for him.

“We need to be the people who help, if we can,” I said. “It can be simple ways. Like if your friend is crying in school, you can give him or her a hug and ask him to play with you. Or if someone is being bullied, you can step forward to help him. We help when we can.”

I don’t know how much of it went into his head but it’s a good start.

My heart is still heavy from the episode today. Whoever it happened to, I hope that he or she is fine and safe.

The organised chaos

Most wonderful time of the year

And just like that, December has descended upon us.

I love December, I really do. There’s so much to look forward to. Christmas, New Year’s, our anniversary. Taking time off from work to catch up with our friends. Family gatherings. Time to cook!

This year, I am feeling especially hopeful and excited and pensive, all at the same time. I know, what a strange mix, isn’t it.

The truth is, this year hasn’t exactly been that great. So many worries and anxieties and stress on the home front. For starters, the littles have been sick more often than not. We have spent most of this year battling colds and coughs and fevers, trying to eliminate phlegm and snotty noses. It was almost as if we were bouncing from illness to illness, with very little recovery time in between. Our paediatrician was mentioning asthma and allergies and respiratory problems. The boys were on meds and puffs and nebulisers. Every other weekend, we found ourselves at a clinic.

It was really tough. And it wasn’t just physically tough, but mentally. Seeing our babies ill is so hard on us emotionally.

Then, there is work. Some days, I feel really torn about what I do. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but there’s a lot about this job that I detest. To be honest, I often feel as if I am not cut out for public service, I am not the model employee that my company is seeking. Look, let’s just say that administrative work is NOT my strongest suit and yet it is something that is highly valued here. And yet I want to try to bring about change, to help improve the system somewhat.

It also doesn’t help that work leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. Dealing with young people for hours and hours, tackling the mountain of paperwork – I come home feeling drained and then mum guilt sets in because, hey, I expended all my energy on other children, leaving none for my two. How is that a balance? But I suspect that this will be demons that I am constantly fighting in my mind, being the kind of mother that I am (read: wants to handle everything by herself, thank you very much.)

And I feel like I have not been fulfilling what I want to do in life. Maybe it’s an existential crisis but I did wake up one morning thinking, Holy fuck, I am turning 35 and what have I done with my life? I am scared of lying on my deathbed one day, regretting my life.

Thankfully, not all is doom and gloom. It ISN’T. There’s loads to be cheerful about too. Like the fact that we are getting a brand new kitchen! Well, that’s only because our current kitchen is falling apart. Like, it is LITERALLY falling apart. We’d wake up everyday to see little sand particles on our countertop. THE CUPBOARDS ARE FALLING APART! Therefore, a new kitchen is a necessity.

So, yes. December. A time to look back at what I have or have not done. To plan ahead for 2016. And there are plans. I am determined NOT to let life go by just like that, existing day by day.

No, I want to live. And damn it, I am about to hit middle age and whatever dreams I have ever had, I had better start putting them in place. Yes, I had dreams of becoming a mother but that is not ALL. There’s more to who I am and I am trying to figure out how I can turn these dreams and ideas into a solid plan.

Clarity of mind. That shall be my goal for next year.

But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy December and all its cool weather, festivities and joy.