Logistical arrangements had the kids and I bunking in with my parents for the whole month of June as the Man was away most of the month.
Of course, the kids loved their ‘holiday’ stay at GongGong’s and PoPo’s house because they got to act their ages. GongGong and PoPo dote on the kids and give in to their requests (read: demands) more readiliy than their hard-nosed parents.
They got to indulge in their favourite breakfasts and dinners by requesting for scrambled eggs, stir-fried mushrooms, pizzas, egg and tomato soups, etc. And it was gratifying to see the kids so doted on and loved in the family.
Enforcing the usual discipline, as expected, became very challenging. The kids knew whom they could run to when their MaMa started wielding Mr Cane, her choice of weapon when reprimands fell short of their intended effects. They knew whose back they could hide behind, or whose legs they could clutch on tightly so as to avoid meeting Mr Cane. Megan, with her theatrics of tears and brawling, got away the most effectively.
There was nothing I could do much about against the shield of formidable relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. And knowing the almost-negligible odds of winning, I didn’t try very hard as it would only achieve frustration of over-the-roof magnitudes for myself. So I adopted a more relaxed, live and let live attitude while enjoying some degree of pampering too, back at my own parents’ home as if I hadn’t gotten married and was still living at home. I even got to take a break from housework, went to bed earlier and woke up later than usual.
The days in June flew by. All too soon, the Friday when we would go home beckoned and arrived. The kids knew it too, and asked me on separate occasions. “MaMa, when are we staying at PoPo’s house again?” Megan asked with a tinge of sadness in her voice. “MaMa, when is BaBa going to the Army again?” Matthew asked with a tinge of hope in his voice. I had to hide the smile from my voice as I gave them the “not in a long, long time” answer which made them sigh dramatically.
The only person the kids are afraid of, and will obey with little resistance, is back. Once back home, the Man re-established house rules and expected behaviour of the kids. And the kids, amazingly, knew exactly how to behave at home. Full independence is back, and the kids fall asleep in their separate bedrooms at night, without the need to snuggle in on the left and right side of PoPo (they only wanted to sleep beside PoPo). It was as if there is a mental switch inside the kids’ heads; PoPo’s house mode, NaiNai’s house mode, school mode and home mode. And the kids know when to switch which mode on at the respective places. It never fails to amaze me how the kids manage to adapt so swiftly at the different places. Although there is some period of acclimatisation when switching modes, but the kids quickly recover and behave accordingly at the various places.
I, on the other hand, had trouble switching from the early-to-bed-later-to-rise mode at my parents’, to the late-to-bed-early-to-rise back home. I kept waking up throughout the night to check the time, and when the alarm clock screamed this morning, I groaned and had whole body aches as I struggled to get up in the darkness.
I can only hope my aging mind and body can adapt to the normal life again as quickly as I can, though I might never get used to the rigours of the ‘normal’ life…