27 June 2007

Fetching the kids

We have 2 girls studying in a local public school. Thankfully we lived within walking distance (5 minutes of walking) from their school, but we have to do it 4 times a day. To be precise, Mummy does it 4 times a day. For me, I get to fetch them only during my school vacation time, which is like 84 days per year, theoretically (as there will be many days that i have to go back to the office).

My other friends have this unenviable task of fetching their kids every morning and evening, beating the morning ERP and other cars to reach school before 7:30am. Mine is just a nice morning stroll away. Thank God.

For the past 4 years, we have been doing that. It started with the elder child, and then this year, the younger girl joined in this national parents' routine. It is quite an interesting sight every time that I am there. Usually we see only the mummies, maids and grandparents doing the fetching. Daddies are seldom seen, I guess maybe they are supposed to be in the offices working hard to close their deals. Hence whenever I am there, the other ladies will give me the eye over, "Wah, so free?" or "Why this guy got no work to do?" My skin has since grown thicker by a few millimetres.

I am not a good 'auntie' yet. The real aunties come with umbrellas, the pros - 2 umbrellas. They are always equipped with plastic bag for the unexpected, and something to munch, or drink. These ladies are very good at chatting away. They always seemed to have friends to chat and share information on the latest test or tuition class programs. The 'uncles' are always alone by themselves, even after a few years together waiting for their kids.

Recently, I began to notice some of my elder girl's classmates were beginning to go to school on their own. Their parents have decided to let them be independent to take the lift down and walk the road by themselves. They have conquered the fear of the foreign worker sneaking behind the pillar waiting to attack their child.

As I discussed this with my wife, she hesitated and postponed it to a few months later. Why not, when our daughter is already able to take the public bus on her own to go to her granny's place? Sigh, at times it is better to be safe and give in to a woman's intuition.

Anyway, this will be a good time to bond with my daughter as she will not want me to be around soon. Already she does not want to hold my hand in public. Next, will be 'nothing to do with me' except more pocket money ;-).

Yesterday, I happened to be at the school gate to pick up my elder girl from her supplementary class when my younger girl called me. She was having her recess time alone. "Where are your friends?", I asked. "No, I always eat alone". My heart actually sank when she said that she was eating by herself without friends. What a lonely way to spend her recess! This girl was always the 'disturber' of her elder sister at home, but is the timid mouse in school. We chatted for a while before the elder girl appeared and informed her it is time to go back to her class. She gave us a brave smile and waved goodbye. At times she is cute and so adorable, other times, she can turn the whole house upside down and leave us fuming mad. But that's children.

And we only have a few more years left with them before they turn into teens.

Lord, grant us much wisdom to parent them and love them.


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