Whoever coined the term “ Terrible Twos” might have used the wrong “T” word. My little boy is not as much terrible as he is tyrannical, and not always in the bad way either. Thinking back now, I actually could spot his key behavioral changes and our responses that led to change of regime in the Kingdom of Yap. From the downfall of the Queen Dowager and the chief eunuch to a pseudo democracy flippantly controlled by a young tyrant.
Yes, in case you thought you misread, that was the previous axis of power. The wife instructs and the hubby obeys. Pretty sure I will face a barrage of complaints saying how I misrepresented the facts and tarnished the sanctity of fatherhood, blah blah blah. Let’s face it, people. Once the kid pops out, the guys will start their MS ( Maternity Service: full-fledged serfdom to start from birth to age of three or when fully potty trained, whichever comes first. )
Come to think of it, being exposed to two years of national service (NS) and particularly the basic military training has prepped me well for MS. There are so many commonalities I can think of now that I am astounded no one bothered to laud its merits on the entire grand plan of nation building. Off the top of my head are these BMT experiences that are re-enacted:
1) “Sir Yes Sir!”: the stirring realization once you start the new chapter in your life that there are two groups of people: the ones who give instructions ( In NS,the enciks, officers and sergeants. In MS, the mothers) and the ones who obey ( In NS, the sucker enlistees. In MS, the newly-minted dads) And no matter how awesome and “gilat” you were prior, everyone is automatically reset to the base rank of serf to start the arduous journey.
2) ” Strip Rifle!”: The relentless honing of military drills to dissemble a 3-4 kg precious something, lay the stripped parts sequentially, clean every crevice thoroughly before reassembling it again, all with speed, efficiency and utmost care. ( In NS, a rifle: In MS, a newborn)
3) “Road March”: The behind-the-scenes packing to ensure every essential item is packed in triplicate with backup to spare (In NS, a full pack: In MS, a diaper bag). The topping up of containers to ensure enough hydration to last the trip (In NS, water bottles: In MS, milk bottles). The lugging of the full gear across challenging terrains to train up your mental and physical toughness (In NS, road marches happening 3 times during BMT. In MS, baby fair trips happening every other freaking weekend)
4) “Canteen Bonding”: The constant comparisons among the instructors on which newbie is slacking off and which one can be used as lecturing material ( In NS: ” Wah lau, my platoon got one guy, every other day attend B, sibei chao keng!” In MS: ” Wah lau, my hubby, ask him to clean up the baby, and there are still skit marks to be found! tsk tsk!”)
( Did I miss out any other scenarios? lol, do post the missing ones.)
Full credit to the awesome mummies out there who are also deep in the trenches pulling way above their weight but when you ladies instruct us serfs to “jump”, our automatic full response ( when competently trained) is to:
a) ensure we don’t land loudly to wake the kids,
b) do a quick roll to the side to fetch warm milk and diapers, crawl back to the sleeping Buddha of a baby to keep them well-fed and clean,
c) do a ninja-back flip to the laundry room to hand wash the kiddie clothes to death
d) then close out with a maniac-like rush around the immediate environment to ensure dirt particles bigger than 3 microns are thoroughly vanquished.
And if we are lucky, we get around 15 minutes of respite before the next “jump”.
Pretty obvious why the before-enlistment and after-POP pictures of new serfs can differ so much. The bright and naive sparks in the new enlistee’s spirit are replaced by the jaded, drone aura of resignation knowing that they are to serve out the remaining term of service, with many many more nights and days of “duty” left.
The luckier dudes will get downgraded by nominating unsuspecting grandparents to cover the duties ( normally achieved by promising illusions of grandeur on how the grand parenting is the most awesome job in the world or by alluding to airy-fairy themes like tradition, 3G bonding, thick blood theory) The richer ones will buy themselves out of servitude and use domestic helpers to cover the hard labour aspect. Too bad that option is not valid for NS duties. ( or should it? hmm, where is that NS survey hotline number again?)
Wow, I really know how to digress.
The next post: a history lesson depicting the rise and fall of Generalissimo Ryan.