Thursday, July 07, 2011

Taking the bad with the good.

I've been at home from work for the past two weeks.

It has been a strange sensation.

The good things about it.
1. I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. I am often mercifully left alone till about 0630 when the onslaught of children descend upon Packrat and myself. If it's been a really bad night, meaning it was so hot I didn't sleep well, I snap at them grumpily and try to snooze for another half an hour. Most of the time, I try to allow myself to lie around till close to 7. I am in the midst of training the twins to only come into the room when it is light out. So far, not to very much success. But still, it is better than 0530.

2. I get to hang with the kids when they are at their best of moods, well, most of the time anyway. They are happy, rested and chatty in the morning. We have breakfast where I end up serving them a buffet of food. I am constantly amazed how much my below average to average 4 year olds consume. On a typical morning, Jordan requests for one to two soft boiled eggs, a cup of milk and fruit. If she is hungrier, a slice of cheese toast and some cheese cubes on top of that. Evan eats at least 2 slices of cheese toast, another slice of cheese on its own, a pot of yogurt, an apple and a bunch of grapes. Sometimes, he tops that off with a cup of milk as well. I stare in wonderment at my fruit bill. It comes up to as much as my meat bill every week. But there is great joy in seeing the twins scarf down everything I set before them. Now, if only Muffin ate the same way.

Most of the time after breakfast, we head down to the playground. There are many reasons for this.
a. To get out of my helper's hair. If I am stressed by having 3 kids within an apartment, she must feel worse.
b. To expend some of the energy of the littlest. Muffin is a mixture of Lightning McQueen from Cars and Dash from the Incredibles. Either of which spell destruction in a small apartment. Combine the two, that's why the playground time is important. And often, after that, he goes down for his morning nap, no problem.
c. The twins get playground time in school but not everyday. Call me old-fashioned but I think kids should be out in the open and climbing and chasing one another round most of the time.
d. It's a non-threatening environment for all three kids. Their inhibitions are down and they are not trying to compete for Mommy's attention. It is then that I can really see the older two looking out for Muffin and taking care of him. Of course, this doesn't come without instruction and orders from me. But they willingly include him while playing catch, wait at the bottom of the slide for him and take his hand when they are walking. When I have to tend to one in the event of a fall, crash or stumble, I am able to order the other older sibling to stay by Muffin's side and they obey.

3. I get to schedule some sort of routine that doesn't revolve around the television. At their grandparents, the easiest way to sedate the children was to switch on the television. It meant feeding, clothing and medicating them was a breeze. I don't say very much because I know it is already to great inconvenience that my children are at their grandparents'. But now that they are home with me, I get all the say. And the kids know I am not kidding. So we manage to find time to do a little bit of reading in English or Chinese or a little bit of Math or dough time. Once they are done with that, they get 10 minutes on youtube while I take a shower before they go down to catch the bus. It works well. They are cooperative and they know they need to keep up to their part of the bargain before they get their 10 minute iridescent fix.

4. Muffin time. Muffin time is hard to come by when the older two are constantly asking, doing and fighting. So when they are in school and he's had his nap, he hangs out with me. We sing, we play silly peekaboo games and I try to encourage him to speak. He's not cooperative there but he does have strong powers of association. Why he is wearing boots in the photograph is because he found a toy boot. When I told him what it was, he toddled up to his rain boots and brought them to me. He clomped around in them for the rest of the time I was home.

The bad things.

1. I feel slightly lost. I spend a lot of my time ferrying them around. I figure now that I am not working, why pay so much for bus fare for the twins. So on days that I can, I pick them up from school. And now that they do swimming and Chinese, I am the one that takes them about. So at the end of the day, all I often comment on is the state of traffic on the road. Not much else. At school, I would be as exhausted at the end of the day but I would know why. Now, I can't quite account for it but am similarly knackered by the time all 3 kids are asleep.

2. I worry about money. I got my last official paycheck. I suddenly understand the phrase 'eating me out of house and home'. As I said earlier, my fruit bill is equivalent to my meat bill. And the twins go through bottles of fresh milk like it were water. I don't stinge when it comes to their food but seriously, how come my 4 year olds eat so much?! On top of that, Jordan has started ballet lessons and we figured it was high time we attempt to asthma-proof our children by enrolling them in swimming. And all this adds up.

3. Because I worry about money, I try not to spend a lot of it. I yearn to go to nice tea places with my friends. I yearn to shop. I yearn to get new skin care products. I yearn to go to the spa. I yearn to restart ballet. But I dare not do any of it. But the bad thing about that is I end up feeling slightly resentful that even though I've stopped work, I haven't done much for myself.

But would I go back to work?

When I see Jordan share her food with her brother willingly, when I see Evan read his Chinese words perfectly and Muffin attempting to bunny hop in his oversized fisherman boots, the answer is clear.

Not. A. Chance.

I just gotta figure out how to get round the bad things.

Technorati Tags: ,


Post a Comment