Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Because a birthday rolls around only once a year. Because a birthday is a time to overturn all rules banning sugar.

You comply: Party bags. Cake. Balloons. And a fourth resurrected pony.

We made our way to Shane's nursery to celebrate his birthday with his friends. When I heard there were 27, I anticipated disorder but what I witnessed was order and obedience from everyone.

First item on the agenda - cutting the cake. Shane served the slices to everyone who waited in their seats patiently. When they each received their slice, they said "thank you Shane!". So this is the good behaviour in childcare that I never see at home.

When it was time for the pony, I couldn't control the horde so the teacher did the GLARE and all 27 of them settled down for a while. I am so going to acquire a GLARE too.

They each took turns to beat the pony until its outer skin burst. And as the innards of sweets sprinkled over their heads, there were squeals of delight and laughter uninhibited. I memorised that sound in my head because long after Shane tires from paper ponies, I never want to forget what it was like at this moment and time. That sound of all 27 of them when the pinata cracked open will bring it back.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Let them eat cake

2 weeks away from the real thing I told Shane that we will be celebrating his birthday soon. BAD IDEA. Every morning, he wakes up asking "Is it my birthday?" And I go "Not yet not yet". It is hard explaing the concept of waiting to someone whose concept of gratification consists of having his birthday presents and cake like-right-now. He has been telling everyone in advance that he is four! four! four!

About to be four has gotten specific about his birthday requests. These are:

a) papa and mommy to go to his nursery classroom
b) bearing cake
c) party bags for his friend
d) balloons

I have been fending non stop birthday related requests (CAKE! BALLOONS! ICE CREAM) so when G told me that we had been invited to his friend's birthday party, never mind that it was in swanky Orchard road apartment with lots of grown up genteel adults...this was a good chance to quench Shane's burning birthday desires. There will be CAKE right?

We pulled up at the Colonade. I've always marvelled at the architecture of the building and now I finally get a chance to go inside. We took the lift up 20 over stories. This was my first time meeting the host and birthday girl, Cheryl. The first thing I saw were cupcakes and cookies which Cheryl had baked herself. Not only do they look good, they taste good too. The crayolas stuffed themselves with cupcakes and went crazy on the sugar overload.

I noticed that Cheryl's boyfriend was relocating the wine glasses from the coffee table to locations impenetrable to the small people. Wise move. The loud music didn't bother Alix. She was busy weaving her way in and out of the large sofas looking for an electrical socket that she could play with.

By the time we had to go, fellow January birthday babes had connected. Cheryl read Shane's innermost desires and gave him more cake to go.

Happy birthday Cheryl! For someone to open that gorgeous apartment to us and the little people must be a) out of their mind b) doing it for the first time c) incredibily generous and big hearted. You made a little boy very happy. May the creamy goodness and sweetness of a thousand cupcakes follow you always.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Betel Box

is a backpacker's hostel in Joo Chiat. Walking by, I always wondered what went on in there. I heard good things about Tony, the owner. Apart from running this 24 hr operation, he finds the energy to personally conduct foodwalks for his overseas visitors and brings them out for tours in exotic parts of Singapore. With no business going in there, I've never gone in. Gary and I got to know Tony recently and he invited us to join him for his 43 km cycle ride around Singapore which happens on Sundays. Gary wanted to try out his new bicycle so off we went. Me, I just wanted to imbibe the energy of a backpacker's hostel on a lazy Sunday morning.

The briefing for the cycle tour started once we popped in. An international assortment of young people, bleary eyed but ready to adventure out for the 43 km cycle ride.

More interested in lazing, I cozied up to the surroundings.

Alix fitting right in.

We got a chance to hang out with Lucky the resident cat and Xuelun, a 23 year old who recently graduated from university but works at the Betel Box part time.

I asked Xuelun what life is like working in a place like the Betel Box. What is the first thing she does in the morning? She gamely answered "In the morning, guests look for three things. Internet, breakfast and laundry. Oh and clean toilets too."

And just as I was thinking of how cool it is working in a place like the Betel Box, I saw the future. The crayolas will become teens and one day, home will perform this function to them too. Internet. Meals. Laundry. Toilets. That didn't seem so cool. I am not sure that when the time comes, I will find it in me to have the good spirit of the people who run the Betel Box. Apart from tending to internet, meals, laundry and toilets....they are hospitable, maintain an open mind and find the energy to do fun stuff and go for explorations with their guests.

When the time comes, I certainly will remember the Betel Box and remind myself to be more like Tony and Xuelun and less like a grumpy old woman. Maybe we can even go backpacking together.

Monday, January 01, 2007

car fumes and fireworks

This is what alone on New Year makes you do.

After the crayolas fell asleep, I tip toed into the kitchen and made a load of ham sandwiches (ham leftover from Christmas) and made my way to Sentosa. My east coast massage buds were ringing in the new year on siloso beach. G was away working.

The jam started once the van hit the ECP and we snail crawled up benjamin sheares bridge. We ended up on the top of the bridge at midnight. Without planning, I got front row seats to the fireworks display. The jam made it happen. The cars started horning loudly and continuously at 12. There was an open-top lorry which held a family of more than ten next to us. Their cheers when the fireworks started was the opposite of my fouling mood. I rolled down the windows off the van to yell happy new year. After that the window mechanism went kaput so the window wouldn't roll up. I inhaled the collective fumes of 10,000 cars jammed on the bridge. I was feeling pretty ill and I wasn't sure which factor was contributing more to it a) fireworks and car horns b) car fumes inhalation c) van starting and stopping in the jam and d) being thousands of miles away from the person I really want to ring in the new year with.

On Siloso, massage beds and the company of Ivan.

He does massage with angel wings.

There were foam pits but I stayed far away. I made my way to a bunch of people dancing to brazillian samba drums and danced ackwardly. It felt ackward too. Assured myself I am much cooler like, when I am not dancing and trying to be a beach partygoer.

After watching the weird and wonderful sights for 2 hours, I headed back. Alix had woken up and was still crying when I got in. As I raced up and picked her up warm as a puppy, I thanked God for the normal in my life and Grace who kept watch while I went dancing in my beach slippers. Sometimes it takes an escape so that you can could honestly know, I am much better off at home.