I belong to the 5am Club. Not the one that enlightens you because you read or do yoga or meditate or run. This 5am club is The Headless Chicken Club and the membership is solely restricted to Stay At Home Mommies. Those, that in effect battle slumber, dreams, desires and anything that spikes dopamine levels, in order to embrace the kitchen. You know what I am talking about. If you had to wake up at 5am every single weekday and even some weekends of your life and indulge into the kitchen to role play as Annapoorna Mata or the Goddess of Food as per Indians, I would like to do a mood check on you at 6am. Any emojis coming to mind right now?
Let’s be honest. This isn’t my favourite portfolio in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Yes, your family stays well nourished and healthy and strong and blah blah blah but so are you(overfed and over the moon tired). You don’t exactly reach out for cereals every morning. They are tasteless, full of preservatives and even garnished with beef gelatine sometimes. This knowledge is enough to kill your Strictly Vegetarian pride and principles.
So after a couple of hours of inhaling steam from freshly cooked food (you save on visiting the gym or beauty parlour for steam and sauna and still emerge with a glowing face), you ask yourself this.. “Was I exactly created only to make the fluffiest Idlys and cooked to perfection Aloo Parathas, or is this a nightmare?” And in order to interrupt your chain of thoughts that have taken the World War route, the Universe conspires and the morning silence breaks into a cacophony of laughter and cries from your offspring pinching you hard, you are indeed living your nightmares – every single day. Period.
Each day progresses exactly like the one before, with the only excitement of predictable heartaches – older one wildly gravitates towards the toilet bowl while the bus is honking downstairs and waking other distressed souls, albeit without the option of a Snooze button. Or the younger one forgets some book that the teacher asked her to carry on that very day, at gunpoint of course. Or there erupts a petty fight over the colour of hairbands because a classmate knew school rules better than my first grader. Two girls can be quite a handful when your only target is to not miss the school bus.
But like no two persons are alike, God created all days different so we could savour different flavours of life. And we do not end up living like machines with Auto Pilot Mode On. And so, that morning, in an attempt to spice up my mundane mornings, He added drama to it.
That morning, I hit the snooze button on my alarm at 5am(something I never do) and drifted back into my unfinished dreams. It was only when I witnessed the words ‘The End’ that I jumped right out of bed as though electrocuted, and sprinted straight into the kitchen. Damn the dream, I was falling in love – and not with food!!
5.45am – Already? Idly, the quickest and healthiest morning snack came to my rescue while hubby took charge of the girls. He always does. All four of us were running around frantically to get back on track. But the older one was a tad upset. We did not realise it until we heard that siren – the one that blasts in your head like ‘Trouble’. She probably came out of bed all grumpy before her fairy tale of a dream ended abruptly and was instantly forced into the weary rituals of bathing, eating and dressing up all by herself. Zero moral support. Oh, what a tragedy! Is that the price you pay for turning 10?
6.28am – Exactly two minutes to the bus arrival and I am usurped by a sea of tears marching out from the bedroom and crashing into the living room at the speed of 25 miles per second, forming a tsunami of emotions. And then, fall out the most upset words backed with perfect expressions and diction, “Nobody has time for me. Mumma is forever cooking and Baba is always babying Monu around to dress her up, make her eat and pack her off to school. And I am asked to just get ready and make it quick. No one is ever bothered about me. I was so cold this morning (apparently the winter spell that gripped Singapore for the 5 longest days in the history of this past decade is to be blamed for getting the higher primary kids all wild and wacky and still expected to go to school instead of indulging in sleep). And all Baba managed to say in his stern voice was, ‘Get ready soon’. I even sneezed twice after my bath and nobody even cared to say Bless You!!” And there, hubby and I froze for a split second. Our eyes met and we made a decision. The 6 year old was instantly left to fend for herself – bag, bottle, shoes and all. We have been exceedingly well trained by our two girls to firefight such turbulent times and restore ‘peace and harmony’. And so, we spent the last minute hugging and kissing and apologising to you know who.
And in all honesty, it was a relief to say good bye. We even laughed over the entire episode, which by the way was chiselled to perfection as always. She certainly has her way with words. On the hindsight, the mother in me was devastated. It was time to make some amends. It is a bad idea if either of your children have to grow up feeling they aren’t loved enough. Nevertheless, a distress phone call to my mother later, I was all happy to realise, we all feel upset. And children do not make a note of it in their diaries. It’s ok to take one day at a time and enjoy the little tidbits that come our way. For they are what make life full of flavours – just like the sweet and sour dip from India – ‘Khatti Meethi Chutney’.