Indoors

It’s still lockdown season over here.

Hopeful hubs of mine points out full house stadiums at sporting events held overseas, proof that some kind of return to normalcy exists out there and may someday be ours again.

Oh, but we are still far, far away from the return to a non-MCO setup. Country officials have set their markers/parameters/whatever you wish to call it on what needs to be achieved before we can lift lockdown restrictions and the prospects are grim yet.

While of course I wouldn’t want the restrictions of an FMCO to continue indefinitely, there are certain aspects of this lockdown lifestyle that appeal to my introverted tendencies.

Being homebound has never been a problem for me, since I am the kind that likes being indoors anyway. However, the rest of the family isn’t the same as me so the nice part about all of this is having my loved ones perpetually around me.

I know this won’t last for very long, and with a 90% male household, it’s quite likely that everyone’s going to want to bound out the door the moment they’re allowed to (or old enough to, in the case of the kids). So I guess I better savour this for as long as I can afford to.

Because my future will quite possibly entail a scenario where I’m at home alone with everyone else out and about. I’ll be happy for them then, being wherever they need to be, but my heart shall always look forward to the moment when everyone returns and is reunited in one space.

Hubs here is almost perpetually miserable with the current “just stay at home” arrangement. He’s learned to live with it, but he has made it clear he doesn’t fancy it one bit. So nope, I’m going to have to dash my hopes of him ever setting up his own business and having it operated from a home office.

There goes the possibility of a flexi work lifestyle and the chance of holidaying as and when we like, and setting our own unconventional family routines. Might as well dash hopes of homeschooling the kids too (a thought which I fleetingly return to, hoping to offer my children a chance at learning while enjoying a freedom I never had back when I was a student; a discourse of which would be lengthy enough to probably warrant an entire post of its own).

I’m still presently stuck in this restless state of indecision on whether continuing a freelance writing career is a good idea. Or whether I should completely immerse myself in the entire Stay-At-Home-Mum package. Perhaps I should have just dived right in 6 years ago and made that final. As it stands, it’s always a back-and-forth thing, teetering in between being able to devote all of my attention to the kids and being constantly distracted either by chores or work or both. That element of variety in routine can be good at times, but mostly it’s hard.

Meanwhile, the days continue to bleed into one another. It’s difficult to distinguish one from the next. They all seem the same, yet the all carry with them different permutations of moods, thoughts, events and even menu.

But the kids are the bright spot amidst all the bleakness. They are growing so fast, and they are so full of zest for life. But I suppose that’s what being young is like… And that’s something I’m not anymore, no matter how you look at it.

Mess

What do you surround yourself with? What environment defines your daily living?

I live in a home with my husband and 2 little boys. Our home is in a perpetual state of messiness. We can barely find space on our dining table to eat, and the kitchen counter is taken up with so much stuff that we have to literally move things around each time we want to cook or bake.

It isn’t ideal and it undeniably irks me.

Honestly speaking, a lot of this mess is created by me.

I’m the one who wants to save things because it’s just so sayang to throw them out just like that. The silly woman who looks at junk and sees opportunity, thinking if I could only just find the time, I can transform these seemingly worthless objects into something beautiful and breathe life into them again. (Yes, yes, I often live in denial.)

Then, of course, there is the mess left behind by my kids as they randomly select things to play with every day.

Now, I’ve been advised by a friend before to sort my children’s stuff in boxes and put them away, only allowing them to take out one or two boxes at a time to play with, thus retaining parent sanity in the process.

But hubs and I have discussed this before, and although we do organise the boys’ toys in boxes, we do not put them all out of reach and control what they have access to. Instead, we deliberately allow them to get into anything and everything they feel like just so they can get creative with how they play. It’s often surprised us, the interesting ways that toys can be combined and used to fuel imaginative play. But oh… the mess!

Well, the thing about messes is, other than the fact that it is, well, unruly and unsettling, is that it speaks so much about the life you’ve chosen for yourself.

Each and every bit of it marks the people you’ve allowed into the inner circle of your life. You see signatures of their personalities, and are constantly reminded of their comedic quirks, irksome flaws and endearing habits.

I’m looking about at the chaos in my living room as I write this.

The main lights and fans in the room are off right now, and only the corridor and entrance lights are left on. It is quiet and dawn is only just breaking. The rest of the family is still asleep (and hopefully will stay that way till I fix something for breakfast).

In this stillness and peaceful silence, I find that I am grateful. Thankful for these lovely family members who are here for me to enjoy spending time with every day amidst the making of a glorious mess.

Maybe someday I’ll be alone, and these 3 will be elsewhere, but that day is not today. I’m doing my best to cherish the time I have with them because I don’t know how long or short I have to be with them. Things can change, and sometimes, it just happens in a blink of an eye.

So if you’re wondering, I’ll take dealing with an insurmountable physical mess over being desolate any day.

But anyway, maybe it’s time to start tidying things up too. Hehe.

Come inside

Malaysia is in total lockdown starting this week. We’ve been terrible at being disciplined enough to keep this Covid-19 nonsense under control, so I guess you could say we had this coming, sooner or later.

While we weather out pandemic inconveniences, let me I invite you to step inside with me awhile into the small confines of my humble home. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to make you stay, but I’ll do my best to regale you with tales worthy of your time.

I also cannot determine at this point where we might end up as we embark in all this storytelling. But I do hope to pop in to spend time with you regularly. I think it would be good for my sanity, and maybe it will help you retain yours too.

Being confined indoors also makes this an excellent time for introspection and reflection of things that were, are and perhaps, shall be.

Perhaps we may even enjoy a fairy tale or two. Or a poem, if the climate is cool enough for my head to actually conjure creative output.

But mostly, I think, we shall end up with fiery tales instead. Stories from the pages of my life, hopefully told with the right degree of emphasis and gusto. Living, breathing and uncompromising in their reality.

The best tales are, after all, the true stories. The ones you live to tell. It’s been so hard to share mine. I hope this time around it will actually work.

Regardless of the outcome, I certainly hope you’ll stick around.

Baby Bye

You’d think it was going to last forever, this state of tinyness.

Those midnight milk-demanding cries. The lovely warm snuggles and cuddles. The cute photo opportunities and that petite wardrobe hanging out to dry on the washing line.

Those quiet eyes locked on yours, searching your soul in ways you never thought possible. Fingers small and fragile, curled around your own. Hands and feet so tiny that nearly every bootie and mitten falls off unbidden.

But nope.

It’s just 12 months, really. That’s how long you have to savour your child’s babyhood.

Then comes the one year old birthday, and before you know it, that infancy stage is all long gone.

You’ve barely got time to sigh in relief or catch your breath before the toddler phase rolls in.

No more cute and cuddly newborn, my friends. More like squirmy, screamo pint-sized adventurer.

Oh beware and be warned!

But well. Toddler times have their own set of charms.

Mostly that sense of pride you’ll feel as they reach out to take on new milestones you once never imagined they could be capable of.

And the blossoming lines of communication as gestures and language start to flood your airways.

Yes, it’s tiring. And you will certainly have your frustrations and be constantly discovering new paths leading towards your wit’s end.

But their shining eyes and laughing lips will be captivating enough that you cannot help but want to keep going.