The day before NDP presents an emergency. Kids need to attend school for a couple of hours only, clad in red / white (optional). Needless to say, when you have 2 girls, hunting for occasions to dress up and fishing for compliments forms part of DNA. Throw in COVID restrictions, and NDP is nothing short of an opportunity to ramp-walk. But this time, the man of the house has renewed his vows with his principles and resorted to a ‘clutter-free haven’. But the word mortals like you and me look for is ‘home’. He refuses point blank on spending hours at the mall hunting for some cheap red-coloured t-shirt that will see daylight only once a year.
But the little rat has outgrown her tee from the previous year. She will need a new one. The teen however, receives a clear verdict from the father on indulging in other ways to display her affection for the little red dot. Her face drops like a wilted wildflower waiting to be watered. She, who is exposed to hundreds of eyeballs daily during her hour-long commute to school; she who spends a good 9 hours from her precious 24 learning; she who is fashion personified and deserving of a splash of red to show off, is now at the mercy of some authoritative minimalist calling the shots.
She puts on her cutest puppy face to melt the dad. But she is too naïve to know the real meaning of ‘once bitten, twice shy’. Her father on the contrary is living proof of the many pitfalls feminine puppy faces can lead to. And he is determined not to budge over these baits; the most original of which rendered him married for eternity. But our teen comes loaded with grit. She asks him for a plain white instead. She reasons on heavy usage. But men with a moustache are tough to nudge. The teen finally closes in like the touch me not plant and resorts to a good book to do away with much sentimental damage.
And so, contrary to the custom, the father heads out to the mall, solo. To his shock, there are tons of other parents hustling their way into last minute bargains. Quick as a chameleon to catch the last piece in the needed size after half a dozen calls to the headquarters with designs options while exhausting his patience and stamina running from pillar to post, when the man finally queues up to pay for his daughter’s public display of patriotism, a woman approaches him and convinces him to pay together in order to enjoy a one-one discount. She even offers to pay her share via paylah.
At this is point in the story, I roll my eyes and cast my serious doubts on this suspicious female character who goes around asking random men to partner to pay. It also makes me wonder, is my husband still hot property that women are trying to get his number under the pretext of a 6 dollar discount?
Okay, I need to clean my eyes, maybe with sanitizer and spot him accidentally at some mall. Unfortunately, when inside a mall, I have neither time nor inclination to look at people – I mean men! I am too busy checking out stuff I like or other women who are by the way doing the exact same thing – scanning me from head to toe!
And that can be the most disgusting feeling, especially if you have walked out in shorts and sneakers or haven’t paid attention to your hair that could look civil with some brushing or you look like some plain Jane hungry to get some mall-time aka me-time.
Okay, so I digressed. Coming back to NDP. After the father gets home, there is excitement over the new red tee and a huge discussion over school ending timings. I find myself penduluming between 9.50 and 10.30am, my eyes following the one that speaks, only to realise I do not know which school dismisses first.
The 9-yo is ready to sleep in anticipation of a long weekend post celebration while her brand new tee is washed and hanging out alone for the night. But the teen is bothered – She hates the idea that her school ends sooner and yet she cannot have the pleasure of reaching home before the 4th grader, wiling away time only to turn the little sister green with envy. The younger one gets to return home sooner despite leaving school later. What stings more is that she isn’t the recipient of the brand new tee award. What injustice! The wrath needs to trickle down to the younger sibling. Whoever said life would be fair when rules of the game always favour the young and foolish!
Before I can comprehend the 1069th reason that can upset siblings and lead to a showdown, a fight already presents its finest brew before bedtime. And in that moment, I smile. I don’t stop them, I don’t lecture them; I let them be. Just like I don’t interfere with the better half’s stand on minimalism. As long as he doesn’t step on my toes, that is. No matter how old or mature I think they get, there will always be an innocence crowning my girls. They will sleep together no matter what, as long as they live with us. And they will make faces when they don’t have it their way.
P.S. I have original copies of sibling contracts duly signed by both my monsters when they chose this family. And the papers state in black and white, sibling code must be adhered to at all times – ‘to irritate and annoy the hell out of the so called other sibling at all costs’. There is also a disclaimer that reads in the tiniest font size – ‘No matter what you do, your parents will be there for you. So go ahead, show those pests what they signed up for!’
Happy National Day. I know I am couple of days too late this time, Blame it on my second jab.