16 August 2017, by Lim Peifen
One of the best things about being a mother is how Luke constantly makes me want to be a better person.
Whenever I lose my temper, I think back on how inappropriate my behavior was and remind myself not to set a bad example for him. Whenever I speak to him or around him, I make sure what I say is not negative, and I try my best to converse in proper sentences. Even at regular activities like eating or brushing my teeth, I think of how I want to influence him, and I fine tune every action to its best, according to what I know.
Luke is also challenging me, every day, to come up with refreshing and fun ways to communicate an otherwise mundane message.
Instead of “Keep your toys”, I sing a jingle to the tune of London Bridge Is Falling Down with the lyrics “我们一起收玩具，收玩具，收玩具” (loosely translated, the lyrics are: Let us now keep the toys, keep the toys, keep the toys), while dancing and clapping along to show him that I am seriously having so much fun packing up.
Instead of “Time to shower”, I now engage him in a race to see who gets to the bathroom first. I am grateful for a day job that has given me helpful experience in dressing up information. Be it hosting a radio or TV show, or emceeing at an event, I always have to make what I say sound interesting, even if it is not.
To be honest, I do feel like I’m hosting a kids show every day with Luke. The good thing for me is I love both my jobs as a host and a mum, so it’s perfect that doing them at the same time makes me better at both!
Another thing I am getting slowly better at is time management. I recently made changes to my work arrangements to have more time with Luke, and I am enjoying the benefits of better work-life balance. Having more time away from work also means I have more time for my own interests, one of which is baking.
There is so much joy in watching eggs and flour turn into batter, then rise and evolve into delicious beauties amidst a warm sugary buttery fragrance. I have always loved baking, but never had the time or equipment to do it properly.
These days, I get up at 5am for my morning radio show at 6am; at 10am I decide what to bake and prepare the ingredients; 12 noon is when I bring Luke home from playgroup; 1pm is Luke’s nap time and that is when I enter baking wonderland.
Curious friends and colleagues have been asking if I’m planning to open a cake bakery, but my only goal for now is to be the mum who bakes the best cotton soft cakes for Luke.
I have been doing pretty well so far as he is always excited to try my creations, and he finishes them every time.
My recent works are mostly light chiffon cakes, because they are clouds of happiness to have at teatime and I can have more without feeling too guilty! They are good for Luke to snack on too since they contain less sugar and he is not too full for a proper meal later.
I often wonder what are the best ways to teach Luke about various aspects of life.
I am still figuring it out; maybe I never will, but I do feel that a good way to educate him is to learn with him.
I am no genius, and even though I have answers for some of Luke’s questions, we actually have more fun and bond better when I involve myself in finding answers with him.
“Why does it rain?” “Let’s go look at some clouds and I’ll explain to you.” “Where is the moon?” “We’ll go look for the moon after the sun goes down.” “What is this?” “It’s a bench, shall we sit on it together?”
Through our conversations, I not only learn new knowledge or rediscover old ones, I also learn about my son. I even have surprising revelations from the kiddy things he says.
“Mummy, why can’t I see the sun?”
“Because it is cloudy.”
“The sun is blocking the rain clouds.”
“No, dear, it’s the other way round. The rain clouds are blocking out the sun. The sun will never bother about blocking the rain clouds, because the sun is huge!”
I meant it as a joke, but as I thought about whether what I said made any sense, it dawned on me that we are all suns to our loved ones. We bring light and warmth to them, just as they do for us. We should never be small like rain clouds that block out the light of others. And we will never bother with the small rain clouds that sometimes come our way and block out our light, we keep on shining until they go away.