“Yes, yes, yes!!! I wanna go to Mummy’s office!”
Uh huh, I had about 200% enthusiasm from Little Foot when I asked if she would like to go to my office on Children’s Day. It’s the whole “bring your kids to work” gig that workplaces do, to prevent the office from becoming a ghost town for a day, because you know, schools are closed for Children’s Day. (Frankly, I signed up, and then kept asking myself for a 100th time, “why did I do that?!?!”)
Early in the morning, of course we overslept, and so I conveniently chickened out on her request to take the “high speed train” (seriously, where do kids learn these terms???) and booked a taxi to office, with the promise of a ride on the MRT at the end of the day.
When we turned into the porch, I was totally amused at the line up of taxis and Grab cars turning into and dropping off the big and little passengers. In my head, I was thinking, “Heyyy, so I’m not the only one who thinks bringing the kid out on public transport is as arduous as climbing Mt Kinabalu!” (nope, I haven’t ticked that off my bucket list yet). Not to mention the number of helpers that came in tow, carrying the diaper bags and pushing the prams. I silently congratulated myself for bravely signing up on my own without bringing Aunty, but then again, if I had another kid, I bet you I’ll be bringing every extra pair of hands I can grab!
To be honest, after 3 years back at work since Little Foot came into my life, the workplace has become appreciated as a place where I can be myself, and where I can sit and quietly hear my own thoughts, and also go for lunch in a sane manner, i.e. a lunch without nagging “Little Foot, eat your noodles!” while battling the 100 repeated requests for YouTube while her wriggly backside cannot sit still on the chair for the meal. You get what I mean, so the idea of bringing her to work always makes me hesitate, like asking if Day and Night should meet.
Mind you, not all women are naturals as mothers. At least I think I was never meant to be a mother, and here I am, nearly 4 years in this role that I cannot resign from.
And so, when people like me, when we bring the kids to work, we literally let the two roles converge as one for a day, which sounds like a nightmare. But of course I exaggerate. Everyone is bringing their kids, I tell myself it can’t be soooooo bad right? And so I gave myself courage and went ahead and did it for the second time in my life.
The programme for the day had a magic show, movie screening, play time at the bouncy castles, popcorn and candy floss machines, face painting and balloon sculpting, I decided to let Little Foot play whatever she wanted, but we ditched the free lunch and movie screening (Papa screens Disney and Pixar movies at home regularly anyway), so she got to have lunch with my colleagues, and then sat beside me at my workstation while I did some work. She snacked and watched Tayo the Little Bus on her Mi Note and then did some drawings and cut out her artwork after that.
If anything, my personal target that day was to show her a semblance of what Mummy really did when I say I go to work. Work isn’t all bouncy castles and playtime. Work usually involves me staring at 3 screens and getting into discussions with my colleagues.
So it was that I did complete a piece of assignment, managed to get up to speed on my emails, while she enjoyed a big bag of chips and ice cream from me, some candy floss, popcorn, a flower balloon and a good time on the bouncy castle.
And so just before 5pm, I put her into the stroller, carried my JJB BRB, packed to the brim with my laptop and her barang barang and toys, and set off for the train ride to run an errand en-route home.
It would have been easier to take a taxi home of course. But a promise is a promise.
There was the painful need to make detours on the stroller/wheelchair routes as opposed to what I would take if I were alone. Just imagine, I had to take 3 lifts at Doby Ghaut station just to change from the purple to the red line. There was also the dirty looks from the train riders who were probably silently cursing me for my pram which took up the standing space of 3 to 4 people, and they were probably wondering why my kid still needs to be in the stroller (because I cannot carry her for long distance and our house is a 10-min walk for an adult from the station).
Along the way, Little Foot fell asleep, and I patted myself on the back for a tantrum-free, temper-free day from both of us.
Bought myself a Koi along the way as reward for saving the cab fare. Sweated profusely.
At night, when Little Foot woke up from her long nap, she told her Papa very seriously – “Daddy, you know, Mummy’s office is like a cinema!”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Till the next time you follow me to work on a weekend, my big baby.