My Faith turned eight last month. It was a sobering thought, my firstborn turning eight. Many thoughts run through your mind when you have a kid with autism.
Like, "If she didn't have autism, she'd be in Primary 2 by now."
You feel a mixed bag of sadness at her slow progress and pride that she has grown so big.
When I got home from my recent trip, she was the first to see me. She had just woken up from her nap and she jumped on me when she saw me, offering me her cheeks immediately when I said, "Give Papa a kiss?"
Today, she gave me something new to be proud about.
I noticed that she had three new favourite books. And she was flipping through them intently. Two were the My First Numbers kind of board books.
When she saw me, she grabbed my finger and made me read out the numbers on the board books. She seemed to know all the numbers from 1 to 10.
One of the three books was not really a numbers book but a book about the alphabet. At the page, N is for Numbers, there were the numbers 1 to 10. That was the only page she liked in that book.
We spent the morning "reading" the three books she took out, until my finger got a little cramped. I found out she really likes the numbers 7 and 3.
I think her Special School teachers have been working on numbers with her recently. I have to thank them when I see them.
Maybe she isn't ready for Primary 2 yet. Maybe she may never be. But she now knows 1 to 10 and loves 7 and 3.
The coup at Dover Crescent centre, where the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) held its annual general meeting on March 28, was flawlessly executed with military precision. Instead of the usual turnout of 30 or 40, a record 102 showed up, 80 of which were new members who had just joined between January and March. Out numbered and out gunned, the old guard was unceremonioulsy chucked out, including the vice president veteran of 15 years who was ignominiously defeated by newbie Charlotte Wong Hock Soon.
Former President Dana Lam said it was hard not to imagine the takeover was not a planned effort: “It could not be a pure coincidence.”
Older members tried to ask if the newcomers shared AWARE’s vision and values, including equality for all regardless of race, religion or sexuality. Mimicking the stonewalling tactics of Mindef (Allan Ooi’s unfortunate demise) and NTU (David Widjaja’s disputed termination), the newcomers flatly refused to elaborate on their plans for AWARE. The only clue came from newcomer Angela Thiang, who told the floor that questions about the new office bearers’ religion and their stand on homosexuality were not relevant.
I spent the evening having dinner with a fellow folding bicycle riding friend I met on a bike forum. Neil is a really nice guy who lives in Jersey. We were supposed to meet up and ride but it was raining in New York and we decided to have pizzas instead, near Penn Station.
I left for Grand Central Terminal pedaling the wet streets. It was a cold, cold drizzle. I was so glad for the biking gloves I picked up earlier. No more blue hands.
When I got on my train from Grand Central to Springdale CT, let's just say I learned a few American suburban train commuting lessons:
1. Do not sleep too soundly. You may miss your station.
2. Off-peak trains are not like peak trains that go straight from Grand Central station to your suburban station. Often you need to get off and switch to, say, the New Canaan branch.
3. Many suburban stations are almost dead as a door nail at night. That means no cabs. So there I was, at Darien station, 4 stations away from my actual stop, Springdale on the New Canaan branch, not knowing how to get back to my actual station and having no one to ask. Oh and it was raining and dark.
4. Trains during off-peak in many suburbs operate in ONE HOUR INTERVALS. So once I crossed over to the opposite track of Darien station, a long walk due to construction, I had to wait a full hour for the train going back to the Stamford interchange station.
5. It helps to be in a nice neighbourhood if you are stuck at wrong suburban station at night.
6. A five minute late train can mean you miss your connecting train, which means, yes, you guessed it, One Hour Wait Hell.
7. Listen to track change announcements even when the arrival/departure screen says nothing has changed. Or you will be standing on Track 3 while your train pulls into Track 5. And you have no time to climb the stairs to cross over before it pulls away, thereby sending you into, uh-huh, One Hour Wait Hell.
8. Your watch says 12.07am. The station clock says 12.10am. The station clock is what the train follows, and yes, it's almost pulling away. Run.
9. It is okay to tap into your inner Singaporean kiasu-ness and wait at the track earlier by five to ten minutes. Not doing so can mean OHWH.
That is how a one-hour train ride becomes a three-hour adventure. Oh, just so you know, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, that runs these trains? They are raising fares by as much as 25% and cutting routes soon, unless they get a government bailout.
Update: According to @wintay: "It's pronounced 'da-ri-anne'. I've lived in Fairfield, Connecticut for 2 yrs before. Your train descriptions brings back memories."