So of course, as soon as I freak out about how I broke my kid, Arddun gives me three wonderful days of hugs, kisses, 90% obedience and overall effervescent adorableness to make the heart sing. And so I’m back to feeling that all is mostly well with the world, and perhaps Arddun isn’t going to turn into a rebellious, taciturn punk with ridiculously pierced bits. Yet.
Anyhoo… I have all these little moments with Arddun that I tell myself I should go blog about, but don’t. And because my memory is like a sieve – more so now that I have a To-Do app on my Android that I absolutely love because I don’t have to remember anything anymore – I forget most of these precious funnies long before it’s late enough for me to sit in front of the ‘puter to blog.
But thankfully, I still remember these three moments.
1. The One with the Slippers
This one happened a couple months ago in Singapore.
But first, a lesson in terminology.
In Australia, Slippers refer to bedroom slippers. They are usually fluffy, worn indoors, and are purely objects of comfort and not couture. The rubber-soled ones worn outside are called Thongs here. Not Flip-Flops, because that’s American and I get scolded a lot when I say flip-flops because it’s so UnAustralian (The fact that half of their TV programmes on their FTA channels are from the great U S of A does tend to escape my critics’ notice.)
Tangent: The fact that the outdoor ones are called Thongs is another valuable lesson in meanings getting lost in translation. It certainly gave Tony and I a good 15 minutes of Awkward in our very early dating days, when he once decided to pop into Cooleman Court after Sunday worship to “get himself a pair of thongs”. And I was left thinking, “Geez, that’s awfully forward for someone who only just started holding my hand.”
In Singapore, Slippers refer to Thongs/Flip-flops. We call the indoor ones “bedroom slippers”. We think Thongs are what people wear when they want to walk around with a wedgie.
One afternoon during a girlie Wednesday afternoon, I popped into Havaianas and got Arddun her very own pair of hot-pink slippers. And she adored them. Still does, actually. She wanted to go everywhere with them. The trouble is, these are the ones without the strap at the back to hold the slipper on. Arddun had a pretty advanced toe-grip even back then, but she also tends to Not Sit Still, and so they would always inevitably fall off.
Zip over to one morning, when my cousin and her Ben – known to Arddun as Aunty Andy and Ah-Ben – came by to take Arddun out for the day so I could stay in my mum’s house to pack and sort. In our haste that morning, I had forgotten to give them a short tutorial on stroller-folding. Stroller-folding is remarkably easy once you know the catches and the tabs… but ridiculously NOT when you’re frantically trying to fold one to shove into an impatiently waiting taxi at the side of the road.
After a fruitless time, Aunty Andy decided to get out of the taxi with toddler and nappy bag so they can all stand there at the side of the road and figure out the stroller-folding, and let the taxi driver go in peace. Arddun, meanwhile, is half-babbling and half-singing to herself. That’s good, they think to themselves. At least she’s happy.
After what feels like an eternity, Aunty Andy and Ah-Ben finally sort it all out… only to look down at their ward’s chubby bare foot and realise that Arddun is missing a slipper.
And that she’s been half-singing
“Sliiiipper! Where AAAAARE you? Where AAAARE you, Slipper?”
to the impatient taxi fast disappearing over the hill.
2. The One with the Shopping
Arddun and I usually do the week’s groceries together. I think we both love it. I’ve been reading The Educated Nanny’s blog and she had a post about how every moment is a teaching opportunity with a child. And I like to think that Arddun’s picking up concepts in our weekly shop. Since she was very little, I’ve pointed out different fruits and vegetables… even tried to teach her the Chinese words for them, when I remember to… and to understand that Fish can refer both to the live ones swimming in pretty tanks, and the yummy ones sitting on our plates. I don’t know what she thinks of that, but she understands that fish can mean both now.
Sometimes, if we’re doing a mid-week shop for a couple of loose items, we rent one of the kiddy trolleys and she gets to do the shopping. That’s when I get to teach her the concept of turning Left and Right. (“Okay… now turn left, Arddun. Yes… yes…this way… NO NO NO NO, the OTHER left! Yes… good girl…”) If it’s within her reach and if it’s not too heavy, I point out which item to get, and she happily grabs it off the shelf and puts it in the trolley.
Usually, she’s pretty good at following instructions, and only taking things when I give her permission to. This week, however, I had spent half a minute looking at toothpaste prices, only to turn around and find 184 sanitary pads in our trolley.
Within her reach. Not too heavy.
3. The One with the Smart-ass Car
One of the most brilliant and most horrible things I’ve done recently is to introduce The Wiggles in our car CD player. Since then, the moment I so much as turn the ignition, I hear this hopeful little voice at the back go, “Wiggles?” Pause. “Pease, mama? Wiggles?”
I mean, I don’t mind the Wiggles, but it is rather a waste of good technology. We have a relatively new car, and it has a 6-CD player. But we’re mostly stuck at CD 4, playing “Let’s Eat”. It keeps Arddun eerily quiet for most of the car ride. The only way I know she’s actively listening is the odd peep now and then when she knows the words and actions. Otherwise, my drive is usually smooth and whinge-proof.
Until the Wednesday just passed.
So here we are, driving along without a care in the world, and Arddun singing softly to herself. (Track 2 of this CD makes Arddun beam at you in the mirror like you just fed her chocolate for breakfast.) It’s a smooth road, and in a new automatic car, you tend to speed without meaning to. It’s a nice sunny afternoon and I’m singing in the car with my girl, so I decide to be good about speed limits and turn the cruise control on.
Except I press the wrong button on the steering wheel.
The music dies in mid-clap.
"Voice recognition is now on!"
No no no no…
“Wiggles?” Arddun asks, a note of panic in that tiny voice.
"Please enter your blah blah blah..."
I’m clicking buttons on the multi-function display console.
“WIGGLES?” Arddun implores. The word is laced with panic.
"You have not blah blah blah..."
(Translate: Entered the right command. Spoken English. Danced a Scottish jig. It’s not entirely clear, because I’m not listening.)
Now clicking any and all buttons. Wiper comes on.
“WIGGLES?!” Arddun starts to cry.
“It’s okay, Bubba. Wiggles is coming back on. Just give mummy some time, please.”
"Voice recognition is now on!"
“WEEEEGLES!” she wails, like I’ve just killed Dorothy, spooned out her brains, and replaced her with a Droid. “WEEEEEGLES! WEEEGLES!” Her devastation is palpable.
"Unable to recognise command"
"Unable to recognise command"
It took some crazy presence of mind, a hurried prayer, and plenty of suppressed cussing to finally hit the right button. Boom! Voice recognition robot dies. Wiggles come back to life. “Everybody clap…”
Never trying that again.