Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pretty in Purple

My dearest E.,

Purple is the new pink- and for little girls, it's hot, hot, hot! Here you are looking like the perfect vision of loveliness in your new chiffon & silk dress. Auntie Josephine from L.A. bought this for you. Slip on your black patent leather shoes, and you're ready for a party or a fun-filled afternoon of joy & dancing!

A family portrait- but you don't look too pleased here..

You're not amused by my antics

I wonder what goes through your mind when you look like this

Here you are, looking for your Barney plush toy

Your Daddy and you- isn't he gorgeous, sweetie?

Here you are, giving us some sexy eyes

Another family portrait- sorry, I may have squeezed you too close to me!

New Shoes

A woman can never have too many shoes ~ Lau Pin Lean

My dearest E.,

Hahaha, that was my quote. And I still do believe in it. Look at your new shoe collection below.

Real leather T-bar Mary Jane buckle shoes

Adidas for kiddies- gorgeous!

The side view of the famous 3 stripes

The Adidas logo

Birkenstock's for kids- from your Godma!

Another pair of dark pink Mary-Janes from your Godma

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Radiantly intelligent

What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult. ~Sigmund Freud

My dearest E.,

Yes. You are radiantly intelligent. Your father and I marvel at your developmental rate each day. You surprise us with your radiance, taunt us with your intelligence. We are dumbfounded at times; gleeful and proud at other times.

You recognise sounds. Associate "woof" with a dog (particularly, our 4-year old Rottweiler, Roxy); "meow" with a cat. Sounds of cars and motorbikes passing by. You recognise displeasure in your father's voice when he clears his throat very loudly, or just say "Emilie!" in his booming, stern voice. You love "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (your grandfather loves to sing you this song when you're sleepy and ready for beddy-bye)- and can sing almost in tune to it, except that you can't say "black sheep" yet, and substitute everything with "Baa baa baa baa". It's too delightful to hear. Your eyes light up when you hear "Twinkle twinkle little star", instrumental or otherwise- you shake your little tush, regardless of whether you're sitting or standing, and you clench and unclench your fists high in the air, mimicking blinking stars. Your grandparents taught you how to do that.

You interact with your grandmother with such ease and fluidness, even if she speaks to you completely in Thai. I marvel at that. You're certainly turning into a gracious princess. But only when you're spoken to in Thai.

Otherwise, you're a terror around the house. Your toys and games are constantly littered all over our living room floor. You don't spare our remote controls (TV, DVD player, ASTRO & fan) as well. No cup is left unturned. No tissue paper is left unshredded to bits. You squeeze out my brand-new facial foam from its squeeze tube. You pick at my wallet and credit cards. You throw a few building blocks in a paper bag that I've given you, with an assortment of things like a key chain, a small figurine, my empty powder compact case, and you sashay around like a socialite out to tea. I have since stopped picking things up after you, mainly because you're so energetic now that I can hardly keep up.

My little Einstein. "The Little Einsteins" is, incidentally, one of your favourite TV programs. You've learnt to twist your parents around your little finger. Feign innocence. Pretend to cry. You're adorably manipulative in your baby ways. I'm worried it will shape you as a person- being too manipulative is cruel and unkind. Uncle Calvin has predicted that you'll break some boys' hearts when you grow up, because you'll be so beautiful and self-possessed and they won't be quick enough to keep up with you, and your intelligence. But that's a long time away, sweetcakes, so let's not think of such unpleasantries.

So I sit in the hall long after you've gone to bed, picking your toys and cleaning up the hurricane-like mess you've created, smiling to myself in a dream-like state, yet marvelling at the angel that you are that God has sent to us.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sexy Eyes

My dearest E.,

You're super cute. Super funny, too. Did you know that?
When we say, "Sexy Eyes!", you start grinning, and bat your eyelashes. Or blink your eyes in quick succession. One, two, three. Blink, blink, blink. Bat, bat, bat.

You also respond to "Sexy Eyes" in Thai, which is "Ta Wan". I'm still amazed that you can understand two languages. But then again, you're an intelligent little girl. Smart, clever and oh-so-perceptive.

Sexy Eyes.

You have your Daddy's long, curly eyelashes. Bat, bat, bat.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Spitfire Grill

My dearest E.,

I watched part of an old movie (old, as in from 1996) over the weekend. It was called "The Spitfire Grill". It was quite beautiful and poignant, and tells the story of a girl named Percy Talbott, who serves prison time for manslaughter, and relocates to a small town called Gilead in Maine to start afresh, with great hopes for a new beginning. She works in a restaurant/grill called "The Spitfire Grill", whose owner is an old lady named Hannah Ferguson, who really has a soft heart beneath her gruff exterior. Percy also makes friends with a lady named Shelby (who is married to Hannah's newphew, Nahum Goddard), and the three of them become fast friends. Percy's arrival, though, is met with mixed feelings: by distrust and negativity from Nahum Goddard, - and by a vigour of passion and sweet love from Joe. As the plot unfolds, so, too does a new character in the form of a person living in the mountains, whom Percy calls "Johnny B."

When Hannah has a bad fall, Percy and Shelby pitch in to help her, and Hannah thinks she is getting too old to run the grill by herself. When Hannah, however, fails to find a buyer for "The Spitfire Grill", Percy comes up with a brilliant idea: Hannah runs a $100-per entry essay writing contest in a newspaper for contestants to write in and tell her why she should give them the grill and why they would make good owners of the grill. The contest generates a flurry of letters moving into the small town, generally quiet and docile, and eventually creates a positive change in the relationships of the town's inhabitants.

When Hannah's pot of money grows from the $100 per-entry submitted by numerous contestants, so too does Nahum Goddard's distrust and hatred of Percy. We see Percy being judged cruelly because of her background, and of her growing relationship with Johnny B. who is believed to be none other than Hannah's shell-shocked Vietnam veteran son, Eli.

It wasn't so much the film that captured my heart. What did was Percy's declaration of love for her unborn child, growing within her womb when she was a teenager, which she recounts to Shelby. The unborn child, a product of rape by her abusive step-father, was Percy's salvation in a cruel world, and she vowed to herself, to God and to her child that she would do all within her power to shield her baby from the cruelties in life, from her abusive step-father. However, it was not to be, because Percy lost her baby when her step-father abused her during her pregnancy, and she lost faith in her life, certain that God would punish her for failing to protect her unborn child. When Percy told this sad story to Shelby in a scene from the film, I felt my heart melt and I thought of you. Of how much of Percy I saw in myself in her promise to keep her child from harm. I cried.

When the film ended and introduced the new owner of the Spitfire Grill, a young single mother named Claire, another declaration of love for a child was yet again presented. Claire's essay won her the grill, simply because of her promise and declaration to protect her young boy, Charlie and to give him a wonderful start in life in Gilead. This made me cry again.

Do you know, my sweet E., why this touched me so? The film dealt with powerful themes of redemption, hatred and compassion- but what I saw most was love, love for a child. It is amazing that the universal theme of love was presented the way it was in this film, and with such great depth, that I could visualize myself saying the same things as Percy and Claire.

I promised you this, E., when you were growing within me. I promised you this when you opened your eyes and entered this beautiful world. And I promise you this, which I will carry for the rest of my life: that I will be your rock, the tree that shields you from the hot sun, the house that shelters you from storms and rain. I will be your protector from all bad, evil and harm.

I am your greatest worshipper and I love you.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Senior Associate

My dearest E.,

I have been promoted: I am now a Senior Associate in this firm I work in. I'm proud and happy. I've been awarded a generous bonus and increment. Many years ago, I thought I could not cut it in the legal profession. Today, I still don't know if I can cut it- but I am certainly much happier and more content. After almost five years, I am now Senior Associate. It makes me happy that I have reached this milestone.

Perhaps someday, I'll make Partner. And we'll have a better life then surely?

Let's go shopping together, sweetie pie- and we shall spend my bonus on some new things for you- on whatever you wish!

Ushering in a new year

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

My dearest E.,

Celebrating a new year is a significant event for most people. On New Year's Eve, the very last day of a year, celebrations are rife. Fireworks, drinking and merry-making, traffic jams, large crowds. I remember when I used to be a part of that crowd, years ago when I was young and full of energy. These days, I reserve my energy for a quieter New Year's Eve. I also attribute this lack of interest in the new year to aging. Besides, one year is no different from another. We are capable of effecting change on a constant basis, new year or not. I have done away with new year's resolutions: after all, one can make a resolution at any time and at any place.

Do you know why keeping a new year's resolution is so difficult, for some people? Because although they possess the intention and the knowledge of that resolution, they do not possess enough readiness to carry through that resolution. When I began working, my new year's resolutions would always include making more money- but as time went by, I realised that I could live up to that resolution simply by taking a step forward to make a conscious change- work efforts, ethics, longer hours. And I would be rewarded at the end of the day. If I wasn't, I'd simply move on to an organization which would reward me for my efforts. Making money is like self-raising flour. The more flour you put into a batter to bake, the higher it will rise. Likewise, the more effort and time you put into work, the more you will be remunerated- in the right organization and with the right types of employers who can recognize your efforts.

New Year's Eve of 2006 found us all at Uncle Paul's house for a barbecue dinner. It was expected to be an intimate affair between close friends. We were late first and foremost, because I slacked too much in the afternoon (while you took a long afternoon nap) and only started preparing my much-requested for vinagrette & fresh salad (a lovely mixture of crisp green lettuce leaves, ripe cherry tomatoes, cucumber strips, carrot sticks, diced red, green and yellow peppers, quail's eggs and raw onion rings) in the evening.

It was a wantonly hot night, and the more we feasted on barbecued chicken wings, pizza, spaghetti bolognaise, grilled steaks and homemade burgers and an assortment of fish and crab balls, the more we sweated in the heat. Off came your three-quarter pink-and-white checkered pants, and you roamed Uncle Paul's house in your linen wrap-around shirt and Mamy Poko diapers. It was too cute for words.

You were in the prime of your performance, and our small crowd of friends gathered to watch you, play with you, amuse you and gave in to your every whim and fancy. Uncle Paul's mother fell in love with you. Everyone did. I was glad that my little girl had spread her love and happiness to everyone around her. I'm proud of you. I want to show you off. And show off you did. You showed off your aptitude for walking on your own at last. Gasps, oohs and ahhs- everyone thought you were so brave and grown-up. You melted hearts, dishing out a wet kiss to whoever you felt obliged to kiss.

We allowed you to stay up late that night, your Daddy and I. Uncle Paul requested that we usher in the New Year together- although I was afraid you would be cranky and too tired. Your eyes were tired by then, rimmed red with heavy sleep, but you smiled and grinned anyway and braved the slumber that was beginning to overtake you.

The New Year crept in quietly, as the Old Year slipped out and looked back at 2006. What a wonderful year it had been, my sweet. How much you've grown in 2006. And when we finally packed you into our car to leave after midnight, you fell asleep on my shoulder, clutching my hair, dreaming, no doubt, of all the wonderful things you would do in 2007.

Happy New Year, my love.


"The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another" ~ Unknown author

My dearest E.,

I know it seems strange to be writing about Christmas in January - but I didn't have the time to write about Christmas during Christmas. I had so many things in my head that I wanted to tell you about Christmas then. I've seemed to have forgotten what it was I wanted to write about. But it would be a folly to not have written anything at all!

Christmas last year (December 2006) was wonderful. Like always. The only difference was: we had you to celebrate the joy and festivities with us. Of course, you also celebrated Christmas of 2005 with us, but you were such a tiny babe then, I wonder if you remember it. But last year, it was special. You turned 14 months on Christmas Day. Visibly touched by the beautiful Christmas tree and bright lights, dancing to Christmas songs/carols, unwrapping your gaily-wrapped presents- you, the angel. Spent all day playing with Grandpa Joe, giggling and laughing with Maya & Leia. Whilst I slaved away cooking Christmas Supper: Shepherd's Pie and Devil Curry.

You enjoyed your time with our family. At Grandpa Joe's house. A small little family- Grandpa Joe and Aunt Joanne; the three of us; Uncles James & his family; and Uncle Jerry. Small and sweet. Christmas Eve had us all staying up late for supper and long talks and drinks into the wee hours of the dawn. Watching Christmas specials on TV. Your father and Grandpa Joe went for midnight mass at the church on Christmas Eve, and upon returning, we tucked into our piping hot Christmas supper. Shepherd's Pie, Devil Curry, Luncheon Meat Stew and Beef Rendang, with lots of warm soft bread rolls. What a riot.

Your presents filled the bottom of the Christmas tree. You had lots.

I settled down to sleep early Christmas morning, with you in Grandpa Joe's bedrooom. We lay together side by side on the bed, mother and daughter. I stroked your fine baby hair, kissed your cherub cheeks. And thanked God yet again that you were mine.