Firstly, lemme say this post will not do Rockstar’s school sports day justice… Something to do with approaching 8 months pregnant and trying to still follow your child everywhere on a hot (because it was rescheduled weeks later after a lightning and rainstorm warning) day as he does the various stations making it a little harder than usual to pay attention…
As “hot” days go, it wasn’t too sunny (just occasionally) and in fact, the weather forecast was for a light drizzle. But that did not stop me from feeling like I would pass out early on when I suddenly caught a case of the hormones – while I was still sitting in the stands waiting for the darn event to start.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, I always say <mock pleased with self>. Had our driver drop by (his daughter, he tells me, works nearby so he was hanging at her office not two mins away anyway) so I could sit in the air conditioned car til the worst of it was over. Twice. Where there’s a will, and someone to drive the car to pick you up right outside so you can sit in air-conditioned luxury to cool down, there’s a way, I always say. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have made it through the whole event otherwise without embarrassing myself by maybe passing out or throwing up – and I was determined to.
(What? I’ve had working mums tell me they keep plastic bags in their desks for when overwork makes them throw up. I’m an SAHM who doesn’t have to follow office timings (albeit Rockstar is running circles round me), I thought the least I could do is push myself for a Sports Day (and vow to absolve the school of all responsibility if I pass out and scare the crap out of someone)).
There are a couple events like the sack race, that Rockstar attempts, but doesn’t quite complete. Partly because he’s last in line and other kids have already finished everything, partly well, he doesn’t want to. It’s one of those times when I’m reminded Rockstar isn’t an “easy” child. People keep marveling that he can sit and do wildly un-age-appropriate Lego, spit half-eaten sweets in tissue if he thinks he’s had too much sugar, choose to switch the tv off if he thinks the program is “mindless” - he’s chosen Lego and I Wonder Why or National Geographic books over tv for weeks unless it’s something really educational like Nina and the Neurons discovering how things work….. But the flip side is he’s dropped out of external Putonghua classes or swimming lessons after deliberately (and politely – he learned early on that he wouldn’t be taken seriously if he threw a tantrum) frustrating tutors.
It was partly why I didn’t bring him to Sports Day last year – ahead of school interview season, I didn’t want him to have a chance to form any impression that “school” might not be fun. (Partly my mistake – I was afraid it was too competitive and my son too tiny, thereby being discouraging (for him, because he takes himself wayy too seriously as is); it is none of this, the kids all have a really good time). But well, Rockstar is often one of two extremes – he either does really well or not at all – I’m never completely sure safe isn’t better than sorry, with him.
(In case you’re wondering why I don’t just “cane him into compliance,” it’s because I got much better results from the Lego and Artjamming etc by nudging him into deciding he wanted to do it. And I do often still get comments from other mums urging me to cane… Obviously my confidence gets shaken and I constantly check myself and Rockstar that he’s actually doing better than the kids getting caned – and is happy about it to boot…)
So yes that’s partly why I was pushing myself to be there at Sports Day despite being due in a little over a month. I wanted to see what Rockstar’d be like. (I’m finally eye-ing ESF Sports Camp this year – I don’t know any ESF mummy friends who have any complaints, interview season is over, and I will have to get my talking to Rockstar about activities done before the baby comes out. And yes we are having the same conversations about music because his ABC Music at school will also be winding up. Time to consider an instrument. If at all.)
So the classes move around in very organized fashion to each of 8 stations, collecting a stamp on their certificate of participation for each. “Track and field” is basically What’s The Time Mr Wolf where the kids practice counting steps and then of course all run from the wolf. Rockstar……. doesn’t want to stop running (wolf incidental) and ends up almost into the home straight before we yell him back.
Other activities were a soccer goal-scoring station, obstacle courses along the track and in the field, parachute games, duck-duck goose… All fun, all very encouraging, no crazy competition, with the added advantage that when it’s all over before noon your child will probably pass out for a couple hours, leaving you some blissfully peaceful alone time. Yippee. (Though it would take several more hours and a back rub to get Rockstar to nap).
I sneak away with Rockstar when the kiddie events are over and parents are doing an egg-and-spoon race. We’re hot and uncomfortable (me very regrettably so – I’m otherwise a hot weather person), Rockstar btw does better in cooler weather (won’t stop about going back to Thredbo or other ski resort; the beach is a consolation prize) like the father. And dog. How very “un-Malaysian” of them. Kings used to leave his window open to sleep in the dead of London winter – and wake to a frost-covered desk. Chee freaking seen.
Not for the first time, after watching the erm, strapping young men Rockstar has for classmates (one of whom, possibly second youngest in class after Rockstar, is just 3 weeks older – and maybe a good 12 inches taller), I tell Kings: “Your son’s a nerd.” No surprises, Kings is fine with that. “I was a nerd too….” Funny I grew up with jocks on a boys’ taekwondo team and even in uni I somehow ended up in the “Sports Hall” at NTU. (And anyway “Singapore Army Boys” are in general all super fit). I lived above varsity star athletes, one of whom was also an underwear model for (if I recall correctly) Calvin Klein. Getting back to my dorm room was often to the background clink of iron being pumped. I’m still alumni. I still go for bookish nerds. How strange is that?
Idly, I remark to another mum friend that it would be quite funny if the two males in our household are bookish nerds (no one can study like Kings can seriously study for an exam when he wants to, when he is not inhaling potato chips and watching Stephen Chow), albeit with really hot tempers, and then I go back to my wakeboarding, border collie- training, punching bag-ing former ways with the baby girl along (well one can dream).
Though… When I try to praise him for at least completing the day, Rockstar will say rather reproachfully, “Everyone got one, Mum.” Not if you didn’t show up or finish, I say. Rockstar still not totally convinced.
<mild exasperation – there people are worried he will feel left behind, there he wants to go this way> “Well then you understand how much better it feels to one day win a medal not everyone can get – ok?” Solemn nod. “The harder it is to achieve, the more special it feels when you get it. And that’s why you work hard to do well in stuff.” Another nod.
Humph. I wasn’t going for that lesson. But sigh. He started it. So may as well.
“And I suppose you know why cheating to win makes the win not special? Because cheaters don’t believe they’re good enough to win without cheating…..”
I don’t like over-competitiveness. Winning is nothing if you don’t “win clean.”
Ps: And if you wanted to know what Rockstar’s response to that was, he said, “I know, Mu-um. We read the (Lightning Mcqueen)* story already…”
*If your child likes Disney Cars, several stories deal with cheating and how no one respects cheaters… And then one of the stories mentions when Lightning Mcqueen is warned that his opponent is going to try to cheat to win the race, he responds that she can’t have much confidence in her own abilities if she has to cheat, but he has confidence in his… I thought those were pretty useful lessons…..
(Honestly, even if you don’t buy the moral argument, there’s the fact that if you are caught cheating, it’s really no fun. May as well save the effort in trying to cheat and use the energy to get to a point you can seriously kick butt without it…..)