When Jus first approached me in July (yes, July) to blog about a typical day, ideas started flowing at once. But I had to keep changing them because you know, first I had a newborn and now I have a 5 month-old and these little fellas, they change so fast that you have no choice but to keep up. Also, Max has been through very different work days for the past couple of months, and of course, his presence at home affects my day as well. So in actual fact, there hasn't been a very 'typical' day for me, but I suppose this is as close as it gets. So here we go, my kinda sorta typical day.
It's still dark. I'm still asleep and dreaming of whatever characters I used in a story the evening before (so either fairies or princesses or giants or trains). I'm rudely awakened by a couple of kicks in my stomach. Calla wants to be nursed and can't really tell the time yet so she thinks it's OK to wake me at X o'clock.
A few hours later, sunrays start sneaking into my bedroom through the blinds. I hear the sound of machine guns but my eyes are too tired to shoot open. There go the guns again, wait, they kind of sound like the National Day 21-gun salute. But before I peep out to make sure the coast is clear, my nose confirms that it's just Calla giving off a string of farts. And so I wake up for real to this:
This is the first sight that greets my near-sighted eyes every morning. My little baby smiling sweetly up at me and waiting patiently for her breakfast.
Very shortly after, Max bustles around as quietly as he can and gets dressed for work. I can sometimes hear Poppy's voice in the living room where she's having her morning glass of milk. These days I also hear the sound of her wooden train tracks. Very soon after, she comes bursting into the room and whispering very loudly "Is Calla awake? Can you tell me a story?". All this happens before my eyes can fully open, and my brain fully registers that I have to get up.
Sometimes we bargain.
"Poppy, Mama is still sleeping."
"But you are talking to me! That means you are awake!"
"But my brain is still asleep"
"Ok.... And then? The story?"
"At least let me go peepee first?"
"Mama, once upon a time...."
I always lose. I always end up telling a story. But I don't always tell a good one. Sometimes I drift back into sleep mid-story. The beauty of telling stories to little kids is that it can be nonsensical and yet it all makes sense to them. So I can pick up wherever I've left off without her even noticing. And in case you're wondering, I can no longer get away with "Once upon a time, the end".
Then Poppy hears Max say "Bye girls!" and she runs off to do her usual high fives with him at the gate. This is where I can catch 20 more seconds of sleep.
|The sequence is: High five, low five, baby five, Gruffalo five, magic five, tie five, gate five.|
Poppy comes back to bed after and this is pretty much what we look like for the next half hour or so (me: really wanting to sleep, Calla: wouldn't mind sleeping but since Jiejie is around so that means it's play time, Poppy: sleep? No way!) :
|I am bursting with energy as you can see|
Then I finish the story, and realise that Poppy still can't make her own breakfast. So I drag myself out of bed and put Calla in the cot. She will wait there while I make breakfast for Poppy and I, and prepare her bath.
Poppy asks for french toast. So I make her make it herself. Well no, she merely gets the bread out of the fridge, cracks and beats the eggs, adds the cinnamon, presses out gingerbreadmen shapes from the slices of bread and throws them in the egg mix. So yeah, technically I only fry them.
|She eats the fun shapes and I eat the crusts|
We never have breakfast at the table unless Max is home. On weekdays, Poppy and I eat everywhere. Sometimes we have breakfast in bed, sometimes in her room, sometimes in the living room. This is just so we can multitask.
She is usually eating and playing at the same time, and I usually shove a few bites in my mouth while I do stuff like boil water or prepare her school bag, prepare Calla's bath or keep the clothes that were folded the night before. Poppy helps to keep Calla's clothes and hers. There are times when I also have to continue a story at this point.
So I bathe Calla and Poppy asks to help too. She's in charge of washing Calla's legs. And she plays with the water in the tub after the bath is done. By this time, I would have finished most of my breakfast and Poppy would be about halfway through with lots of reminding from me. I add the bath water into the washing machine and start a wash.
I really want a coffee but I should only take decaf and have no idea where Max has kept the beans. I also really don't want to wash the coffee machine so I figure I'll wait till Max gets home and he offers to make me a cup.
Then we play games. The little one has to be part of the action and gets frustrated when she's left out. So she's on my lap when big sister and I play. But when we're on the playmat and pretending to be Aladdin and Jasmine on the flying carpet (where I get conned into telling another story), she's quite contented to be rolling around on the mat next to us.
We have to be very careful not to get too lost in our story though, cos the little one is moving around a little these days so we have to keep and eye on her to make sure she doesn't move too quick and bump her head on the wall or roll off the mat.
If she chooses to stay out in the living room by herself, she occupies herself with noisier games. Like her tool set, or these days, she's back to trains. Once in a while, I let her watch some tv by herself. It's a safer way to ensure she won't want to play the "Is Calla asleep?" game. That's when she opens the door at the crucial moment when Calla's eyes get droopy and asks in a loud whisper "Is Calla asleep?", to which, Calla responds by greeting her with great big eyes and a huge grin to match.
When Calla finally falls asleep, Poppy and I read. Or continue playing. I prefer reading. It's less taxing on my brain, the organ that is slowly counting down to that cup of coffee.
|This is my old treasure. I've had it since I was 8 years old. I have read more in the last couple of months than over the past 26 years|
Very soon after, it's time to get ready for school. Teeth brushing is the most taxing bit for me. Rather, the getting of Poppy to the bathroom bit is. After that ordeal, Poppy gets changed into her school clothes and we hear the beep of the washing machine signalling that laundry's done. She'll help me if she's in a good mood. There are many times that the load gets hung out in batches because I get summoned for boobie duty occasionally.
Calla gets up from her morning nap. It's 15 minutes to the time we have to leave so I ask if Poppy wants her hair in plaits. It's her favourite hairdo these days.
When I'm grabbing my keys and checking to make sure it's not going to rain (to know if I have to bring the clothes back in - sometimes the laundry poles and I play in-and-out-the-cherry-window), I sometimes catch a sight like this and stand rooted and just have to smile. It's moments like these I wish time would stand still.
Just as we're ready to leave, Calla smiles a sly gummy smile and I know why. She has what all kids have - the "I absolutely need to poo right now just before we step out of the house" syndrome.
So of course I'm not going to put a shitty baby in a baby carrier and walk up and down those flights of stairs. Neither am I going to risk carrying her sans carrier. I already have so few clothes that fit; I'm not going to risk getting any of them decorated with poo. So I make a mad dash to get the water and cotton wool to clean her, and throughout the cleaning process, I'm yelling, "Poppy put on your socks and shoes please!"
When I emerge with Miss Fresh As A Daisy Bum, I see Poppy making faces at herself in the mirror and admiring her plaits. Without shoes. I grunt and put them on for her; it's faster than arguing about it because that might result into breakdown time, and we so don't have time for Naughty Corner time now.
Ok. NOW we're ready. Or not. Because now Poppy needs to pee. After having just gone (of course I make her go before leaving the house. What kind of rookie parent do you think I am?). And this is why, ladies and gentlemen, we have a potty at our front door.
So we rush out of the house. We always seem to have to rush out of the house, no matter what time we leave. But once we're downstairs and get some fresh air, we slow down our pace a little and can talk like civilized people. I tell Poppy I will miss her, and give her kisses for her pocket so that she can take them out if she misses me, and she gives Calla and I kisses. I say wo ai ni so much to her that on her school bus, she's been nicknamed wo ai ni. She gets buckled in and I make my fingers in the form of a heart for her and she smiles or tries to tell me something but I can't hear so I just smile back.
In the time Poppy is in school, Calla and I run errands. Some days we're at the market, some days stay home and chill, some days we go out to get my lunch and once in a while, we meet people for lunch.
|Calla chooses the freshest greens at the veggie stall|
|If we're out, Calla always chooses to fall asleep at the traffic light just before our street. Always. The girl seriously needs to work on her timing|
|Beef stew, work-in-progress|
Being the loving husband he is, Max used to buy big chunks of chocolate for me. You know, this thing:
|The hippie tattoo is a leftover from a birthday party|
I love it. But it's been about 3 months since we've had that in our home (I had to very gently tell him that while I appreciated his thoughts, he wasn't really helping my waistline much) so I had an apple instead and felt very sorry for myself.
When home with Calla, I read to her, I lie on the mat with her, I tickle her, carry her around and talk to her. This is also the time that I try to take as many pictures of her as possible. I'm trying not to let the "Oh my firstborn had so many pics but my second has so few" thing come true for us.
|She is fascinated by the hanging mobile and always tries to pull it when I pick her up from the changing station|
Sometimes, though not often, I find myself with absolutely nothing to do. So I turn on the computer with the hope that I can get some work done. Most times, before it's done loading up, she wakes up. The girl seriously needs to work on her timing. Ever since Poppy's gone to school, she's had to have her hair tied. And those pesky rubber bands keep ending up in the weirdest of places. So one thing that I do once in a while is a rubber band round-up.
Before we know it, it's time to go pick Poppy from the school bus. I love it when our eyes meet when she's on the bus. And then before she gets passed from the bus auntie's hand to mine, the words just tumble out of her mouth. About who called who which funny name, and who got scolded by the teacher in class, and who was her toilet buddy for the day. I find out the entire kindy's gossip before we cross the road.
|I love how she obediently holds my hand all the way home and that she lifts her hand so high up when we cross the road|
We're home, we shower, Calla cries, Poppy plays. Sometimes I even get a special concert.
I try to put Calla down for a nap while Poppy has her milk. By the time I'm out of the room, Max is home, and Poppy hides behind the front door or behind the sofa and I pretend I don't know where she is. I love peeping at her and seeing her putting her finger to her lips and mouthing the words "Shhh, don't tell Papa!"
Then he says the words that sound so beautiful to my ears. "You want a coffee?"
|Oh trust me, it is seriously funny to be greeted by a sight like this|
Then there is more reading, more playing, the laundry comes back in for good and finally, dinner preparation. Poppy's dinner is ready by now, and if our dinner is a long way from completion, she gets to eat first.
|Beef stew for Poppy|
|And for us it is Chan Chan Maki, a dish of salmon and miso plus mirin served with Chinese cabbage. Yum|
Max wants to talk about his day at work, and I want to tell him about my day at home, and we argue about which topic is of greater importance - me knowing about the number of nationalities represented in his classes, or the number of poos our daughters have produced in the afternoon.
During dinner, Max grabs a quick bite and gives Calla a bath while I gobble down my food and play card games with Poppy. Then he passes Calla to me and he continues his dinner. Calla and I bid the Poppy and Max goodnight and I put her to bed. By the time that is done, Poppy is usually done with her teeth brushing so I help her with her shower. Before I can dry her hair, Calla sometimes decides she wants some company after all.
It's 8.30pm and the kids are finally asleep we can finally have a hug, parent to parent, husband to wife, adult to adult. Phew.
But our day is far from over. There are still dishes in the sink to attack, and we both have work to do so we set up our laptops and work facing each other at the dining table, internet cafe style. Just before bed, we watch some TV while I do my final pump of the day and Max folds some clothes. Then we bid each other goodnight and go sleep in our respective rooms, guarding our respective daughters in our sleep.
Just another day :)
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