My third visit to the Marina Barrage and the kids' second time there. This time, we went without Husband who was away. Husband has been out of action for a good part of the week & this weekend--a combination of severe illness and work commitments.
During this week, I have realised SOMETHING. It takes me a while to realise something--yes, sometimes I can be very slow. But now I am realising it. Here is what I am realising: ^__^
#1: It is very fun to bring two kids out when there is you and Husband.
#2: It is very fun to bring two kids out when there is you, without Husband.
#3: BUT, it is actually quite stressful to bring the kids out when there is you, without Husband, and you are bringing them somewhere where they need to keep absolutely quiet for a long period of time.
OK--Marina Barrage fell under category #2, so it was indeed fun. There was lots of space to run around, fountains to watch, a water playground to splash in, and even a jackpot strike--a huuuge excavator on a floating platform dumping rocks into the sea. (My kids are awed by excavators and they were excited to see one up close!)
Regarding category #3, I am referring to two recent weddings we attended. The first one was a few weeks ago and Husband was (once again) working on a weekend, and I lugged the kids to the wedding by myself. It was my first time bringing them to a wedding and I was completely unprepared. Other parents had very wisely brought along lots of snacks, Nintendo games, stuffed toys and colouring pencils for their little tots. I on the other hand, brought a rather unattractive piece of brown bread as a snack and .... THAT'S IT. It's not wonder that my sons ended up eating biscuits from another Mummy's snack cup, stealing pencils and "response slips" from the pews and "colouring" them, and peering over the shoulders of a friend's Nintendo game, wanting a turn of their own to try and play.
Then, another wedding just yesterday, Husband had to "jaga" the two kids because I was upfront playing the piano the whole time. This time, like a war veteran, I wisely told Husband, "Must bring snacks. And toys. Maybe some books." We dutifully packed up some choice items.
I am not too sure what happened since I was on stage playing the piano. I was quite glad that I did not hear a single sound from my kids, from the front at least. But when I walked over to the back to see how the kids were doing, I saw Husband, looking quite deflated and harrassed. (This is not normal, since he's usually sprightly as a balloon!) Daniel was under a chair, using it as a tent (or I think that's what he was doing) and Ben was sitting on Husband clutching a book, drooling.
Husband gave me a "Thank God you're here" Look and declared, "OK, time to go home!" We swept the boys up before they could say, "I do" and left! Based on Husband's demeanour, I could tell things *did not go very well*. Cough.
The "problem" is that Daniel is irrepressibly LOUD. He's got no volume control. His voice is always at MAXIMUM and he'll tell you everything that comes to his head. "Mummy, why this fire truck got ladder? Why Mummy? Why?" If you ignore him, he'll REPEAT his question. "Mummy, why this fire truck got ladder? Why Mummy? Why? Mummy... " "Mummy, I saw an ambulance!" "Mummy, I want to PASS URINE!" "Mummy, I think I will go outside and then come inside again, then I will sit down and then I will go outside again!" "Mummy!"
Is this never ending banter part of an effervescent spiritedness that should not be squelched at such a young age? Or is it clearly improprietous behaviour that needs to be nipped in the bud, especially when the environment calls for dead silence and a reverence that clashes with a call to "PASS URINE" at maximum volume?????
I took comfort today when I spoke with another mom in church who said she understood what I was going through. She has 3 BOYS (Count em!) and she said she's stopped attending weddings with them. They're all below 7 years of age.
And this brings me to another topic that has been brewing in my mind--the different personalities that kids have. While some kids are perfectly happy to keep their thoughts to themselves, other kids have to express every thought, even if they can't really find the words to express it. Is this nature or nurture? Some kids become shy as a touched mimosa when in public. Others, LIKE MY SON, absolutely BLOSSOM in public, treating everybody like his royal subject, giving everybody the royal wave and bordering on being arrogant and presumptous, taking liberties with everybody, from hugging the senior citizen in the lift, to doing Hi-5s with the roadsweeper.
Where do kids come from? I wonder sometimes. And how to parent these strange alien creatures that are seemingly from outer space when it comes to basic manners, propriety and common sense? Yes, I have seen it all--placing dirty sandals on head (Ben), licking spider webs (Dan), hopping along the road instead of walking like a normal human being (Dan and Ben), hugging strangers (Dan and Ben), throwing toys (Dan and Ben), talking at the top of his voice one sentence after I told him to whisper (clearly Dan, since Ben can't speak in sentences yet. but oh, he'll get there), lying on a hotel carpet (Dan), splashing puddles (Dan and Ben), eating snot (Ben--his facial orifices provide much fodder!), saying "I want I want!" (Dan--only in public mind you. At home, he reverts to being a perfectly polite entity)
Tell me when can I expect my boys to be a bit more well-mannered? It's not as if I have not told them, patiently and impatiently, loudly and softly, repeatedly and after long pauses, clearly and vaguely, metaphorically and directly, coupled with spanking or just in icy withered tones. When? When?
The patience of a mother grows longer and longer.... *sigh*