31 August 2012, by Jaime Teo
I have a really bad memory and I can’t even blame motherhood — I’m sure you’ve heard some people blame forgetfulness on pregnancy. Oh wait, I’m not pregnant. Ok but I’m just trying to say that at no point in my life could I have blamed my forgetfulness on anything except my poor memory.
Take the time when I was in lower primary and had to lug a big orange plastic bag full of exercise books home. Everybody was really excited about brand new exercise books because that meant that a new school term was starting so we got to write our names with our new classes on all of them. Exciting right? (But actually anything new was exciting at that time — try to remember age 10.)
I am sure I was excited too, but not enough to remember to bring them home.
The next day I stood ashamed by the curb outside school, and looked at a street littered with paper aeroplanes folded by little boys from the school opposite mine.
There’ve been many lost wallets, house keys and as I grew older, handphones. The fear of losing something is always with me, but fear is obviously not the right teacher for me cos I never learnt.
My mother used to say that if I don’t quit this habit, I might forget my baby when I become a mother.
Those words may be easily waved away when you’re a swinging single but fast forward to the “kan cheong” (anxious) mother of now and you can see how words like that are the stuff nightmares are made of.
Just the other night, I dreamt that I lost Renee in a crowd. I was running around like a crazed woman, shouting “Renee!! Renee!”. You know how it’s very difficult to run in dreams? It was like that. And when your heart has turned to lead and dropped to the pit of your stomach, running becomes impossible.
I woke up with a start and a wet face, but supremely thankful that it was just a dream and that Renee was safe in bed.
Remember the press about missing/kidnapped children earlier this year? I remember discussing with Dan about how we must be more careful. The topic of child leashes/harnesses came up. Pre-Renee, we laughed at how ridiculous it looked for a child to be on a leash. Post-Renee, (especially because Renee rejects hand holding with a fury is not very good with hand holding) we decided to buy a more subtle version of it — a cute backpack with a leash line attached to the bottom.
I have yet to get her to wear the backpack but I’ll just keep trying. Maybe a new surrounding will help — we are going to Chiangmai for the weekend so I’ll feedback in my next post.
The thing is, I really marvel at how being parents teaches us life lessons.
It is easy to laugh at/judge other parents and their methods until you learn first-hand, their problems. It is easy to think that you can find solutions to every problem, but the reality is that sometimes keeping her at home waiting it out is the only solution. It is also easy to think that you know it all until your child shows you that you do not in fact, know much.
Becoming a parent is like subscribing to a crash course in life lessons.
Oh and I’ve yet to forget Renee at a mall (choy!) so surely love is a better teacher than fear.