Can you afford a hug

July 12, 2012, 2 Comments

My younger son was crying out for justice. I met a friend two weeks ago. Big brother was playing with his keychain and it fell in between the seats. We were in the restaurant. Both boys wanted to retrieve it. I was in a hurry to leave, so I bent down, retrieved his keychain with a chopsticks and handed it over to Kor kor. Little brother was not pleased, he cried afoul! He wailed and wailed all the way to the cashier and he wailed harder because he said he kept saying he wanted to take the keychain for Kor kor.

I for one, was an unjust mummy for that moment.

Mothers are often caught with thinking a million things at the call of duty. Honestly, it is all in a day’s work. Have you found yourself in one of those? Let me explain. It was raining that day, my dear friend met me, with her baby and a toddler in tow. Her baby was fussing. My two boys were close to running amok in the restaurant. We had our lunch, everyone was rather calm and respectful, but once the boys’ tummies were full, they were showing signs of being like trains without the tracks!

Mothers can spot those tell-tale signs. We know if the kids are suddenly going to spring up from their seats like jack-in-the-box or do something so out of the world thinking it would be funny. I should know, I have boys, 3 and 5 year old.

I could go for fine dining with both kids, and have them seated with me having decent dinner. By that I mean,  non-dramatic, totally predictable disposition, but I cannot say the same whenever I have friends over or when we are out with my friends. When the two boys come together it seemed, they tend to figure out ways to cross Atlantic oceans in a thousand ways. Anyways, in consideration of someone else’s time, I chose to end our lunch quickly and move on. Ok, my 3 year old is not going to comprehend this whole maze of complex decision why mummy has to go ahead and get that keychain and pass it to Kor kor, and not let him do it.

There were situations that called for immediate response. We could not afford the luxury of time because the gap between the seats were so tight, it will take forever to get to that tiny keychain.  I know, his ego must have been bruised as a result. I totally understand how he must have felt. What he was asking was not whether he could sing on top of his voice in the restaurant or if he could play pretend with disposable chopsticks . It was really an act of servanthood, to want to help. This case can be so complicated with all evidences pointing to me, guilty as charged, notwithstanding my motivations.

Anyhow, by the time my friend left, he stopped sobbing. Trust me, my mind has never stopped thinking how I could resolve this.

A mother’s mind works a 101 thoughts at any one time – ensuring safety, consideration for others, seeing things from the kids point of view, balancing opportunities for teachable moment vs frantic act-first-sooth-frazzled-nerves-later, deciding the best way we can go home, plus thinking where we can get snacks!

We do this a lot, and I say it comes with practise. I learnt to tune out chaos and focus on resolution when a crisis breaks out. That always helps me to stay calm. Yet, I sometimes wonder if this is why women multi-task? What if I can’t, maybe I don’t have to deal with such things so much?

Then I thought of something. I picked him up and hugged him. I cuddled him and kissed him and was looking straight into his pair of tiny puppy eyes, “mummy understands you wanted to help, but the gap between the seats were too small and it was hard to reach it yah, so mummy picked it up for you. Next time, I will let you do it, ok?” Hugs and kisses. He started to sob again. “I love you ok…?” Hugs, hugs, kiss, kiss.

That seemed enough for now. He wrapped his arms around my neck, visibly soothed and no longer upset. Sigh…these are some of the tough lessons growing up. Sometimes we simply  can’t have our way, no matter how noble our intentions were or no matter how incomprehensive a situation is.  What a very tough lesson for a 3 year old indeed.

I looked at the time, it was almost 2.30pm. The boys should be dozing off in awhile. I held the snacks in my bag, sheltered both boys and prayed for a cab to come along. We hoped into one and were home within minutes. My little one still clinging onto me as he fell asleep in my arms, while returning my hug.

I know I could afford a hug, anytime.  And this is why I still love being a mum.

2 Responses to “Can you afford a hug”

  1. Elisa says:

    nice response. good job. he probably reacted that way because you have always been such a just mum :)

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