I spent the weekend bumming around with the kids.
Isaac (singing): "Shawty is an eenie, meenie, miney, mo lova!"
Me: "What’s the song about?"
Isaac: "About a girl. I think the guy is trying to catch a spider by her toe."
I wasn't convinced that those were the actual lyrics so I googled the song.
Youtube link: http://mrbrwn.co/SsE9Ku
"Eenie meenie miney mo
Catch a bad chick by her toe
If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go"
After watching the video, I decided that my 9-year-old son's version made more sense.
On Sunday afternoon, I took Isaac and his younger sister, Joy, for a short supermarket outing (had to get them out of mommy's hair). Joy wanted to make popcorn after seeing the recipe in one of her books, which was why we went to get some corn kernels. I also had to replenish Faith's XXXL diapers.
As I was paying at the cashier, Isaac came up to me asking for some money "for the little girl".
"For whom?" I said.
"The girl statue, it's for charity," he said, referring to the famous Spastic Children's Association of Singapore donation box that comes in the shape of a little girl.
"Dowan lah," I said, absentmindedly, preoccupied with paying the cashier.
"But I want to be generous!" Isaac said, with all sincerity.
That got my attention. I didn't want to discourage the spirit of giving in my kids so I dug out a 50-cent coin for him to plonk into the slot but couldn't resist quipping, "Next time be generous with your own money ah."
Before I finished that sentence, Joy skipped over too, and put out her hand. And I had to dig out another 50-cent coin from my pocket.
The cashier couldn't resist laughing, and said, "Your kids very cute."
I smiled and said the most Uncle/Auntie thing in the world, "Aiyah, take them out is very 麻烦, they are so playful."
As we walked back to the car with our groceries, Joy insisted on making me buy some buns for her autistic eldest sister. "姐姐 will like some pastries, Papa!"
Sighing, I lugged the groceries over to the confectionery and balanced a tray in one hand and tongs in the other. We walked out with eight dollars worth of pastries for next day's breakfast.
We finally made our way home and after I parked the car, I got the kids to help with the groceries.
Joy to Isaac: “Bro! Help me with the groceries, Bro!”
Me: “You call your older brother Gor Gor or 哥哥, Bro what Bro.”
I guess we’re old-fashioned in our family. My wife calls my mom 奶奶 (Lai Lai) and my mom and younger brothers call my wife 大嫂 (Dai Soh). It’s a form of respect and we've always practised this.
In fact, half the fun is figuring out what to call cousins and other extended family when we meet up for Chinese New Year or other family occasions. Using the correct title defined by the relationship of the other party to you made it easy for all to know exact family relationships.
My late father was a strict enforcer of using the proper titles to refer to kin. We were not allowed to use Uncle and Auntie if we knew the relationship and correct title (don't know must find out). I suppose I inherited this practice from him.
Thinking of all these simple yet significant little things made me suddenly miss my late father a lot. He never said very much, but his words, both the scoldings and the rare praise, dwell within me, and will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.