I walked into office last week and felt something was not quite right with my desk. I noticed that the CPU was angled a bit wrong but figured someone had been using my computer, which sometimes happens. I don’t really use my office computer except as a conduit for printing, which is why it was only after I had emailed my presentation to myself and switched on the desktop that I realised what was wrong – my mouse was missing. A gander around the office did not yield the missing mouse. I roped in a colleague to confirm that I was not indeed imagining that someone had made off with my mouse. Then I gave up and called ITO. The ITO guy said he would replace my mouse but never turned up and so I left. The next day – no mouse. Called ITO and the guy said: But I left it on your desk. Curiouser and curiouser. Turns out he left it on the wrong desk. But it wasn’t even there. Further questioning revealed he had left it on a desk in the wrong office! Two hours later, he turned up with a replacement. I just find the whole thing funny because a mouse is called a mouse.

***

Mimi is ready to go to school. V is not ready to send her. Or rather to pay the exorbitant fees for pre-nursery. He figures we can put it off till next year. I, on the other hand, am faced with a child who throws tantrums every morning because everyone (i.e. father, mother and brother) seem to be going somewhere but she isn’t. She will go the park later, but she can’t wait. She wants to have an agenda. She attends playgroup twice a week and she likes the idea of ‘my school’.

Suddenly, I realised I had been counting on her getting into Benji’s school and not applied anywhere else. And there had been no word from his school though I had applied months ago. Pushed the school and finally they arranged an interview today. Mimi is familiar with the school and eager to go, but she still did a meltdown while getting ready (ended up taking her in the thankfully fancy pajama set she insisted on wearing) and had to bribe her with M&Ms to sweeten her up literally.

I had been trying since yesterday to prime her with the idea of talking to someone at his school, as opposed to just playing which is what she usually does. It didn’t help that Benji went: “No you can’t come to my school because you’re small and you’ll cry.”Heh. In the end, she squeaked out a few words to the principal who quickly gave up on interviewing her and said it was fine. A whole lot of kids emerged into the area and Mimi seemed quite interested in them.

It’s interesting watching the school during the time when parents usually aren’t in. I always wondered how teachers keep and eye on that many little ones – and it appears, they don’t. Even though they had a lot of them, there were kids wandering around and kids with runny noses and kids bawling. The teachers did comfort some kids, but my takeaway is that parents should think twice before sending kids too school too early. My son’s school is one of the better ones and still it’s hard for the teachers to wipe every kid’s nose.

Mimi’s ‘interview’ was a write-off. She barely spoke to the principal, and she drew a few lines when asked. But the principal to my relief said it was fine and they’ll reserve a place for her. The cutest thing was after school, Benji rushed out and hugged and kissed her, and took her to show his teacher, who seemed a little disinterested hmph.

***

Benji has a bestie who comes from a more affluent background. This means that J’s mum is keen to organise play dates so that J has someone to play with since they’re pretty much marooned in a big house out in the boondocks. (It really is out there – seems impossible to reach by public transport which is rare in Hong Kong). Her kid doesn’t sleep in the afternoon and mine does – and while I obliged by letting Benji skip his nap one day, I did not appreciate the little lecture on how I should try to wean him from his nap. Um, why would I do that? Ironically, J sleeps at 7 pm or something, and when I suggested he come play in the evening, his mum got all angsty about him changing his timing. I don’t know how people don’t see the irony of these things.

Anyway, after Benji went to J’s house twice, I felt the need to reciprocate. The thing is, it would be fine it is just the kid and helper, but these mums are very involved in their kids lives and will come too. And since they’re coming during lunchtime, I will have to cater to not only the kid but the mum (who eats only salad). Don’t get me wrong, the lady is very sweet and has a PhD to boot, but what I realised is I’m not terribly into hosting someone in my house ever so often, especially if I have to provide lunch.

To make matters more complicated, another kid’s mum asked me for a playdate. Now, I’m pretty sure Benji is not that into her kid, but she too lives in some isolated location where presumably the kids can’t just make friends in the playground. So I said okay, and then she picked the same date as the one I had arranged with J and finally I caved and just asked her to come as well. It was kind of weird because it was obvious we had planned something without her.

Actually, I really don’t want to have more than one kid because I already feel the size of my house is going to shock them in its smallness and two kids and two mommies seems a lot, not to mention I have to cater now for two more diverse tastebuds. Ugh.

Helper suggested that I just ask helpers to come (its much easier with just helpers as they will just hang out and eat the same kind of food …at the last playdate at J’s house, Benji ate the helper’s food because he likes Filipino food).  How can I do say send your helper instead of yourself though? The thing is that I think mums tend to like these kind of get-togethers because they can get some adult interaction but I already get adult interaction. I also realised that pretty much all my close friends don’t have kids, and now more so because the people in the uni are a whole generation younger, and I feel like the things we talk about are very varied and not necessary baby or expat life in Hong Kong related. And while I could do with a few mommy friends, it is also a bit of a minefield, because the only thing you have in common is your kids.

I’m kinda dreading it to be honest.

I also realised that I need to draw some lines. Such as no more than once a week and I can do once a month at most in my house. My kids are fortunate to have easy access to friends in the building so I don’t really need to set up these things. I feel the need to do them to encourage Benji’s friendship, but I really cannot keep hosting gatherings of mums and children, because actually I do have other things to do. So after this one, I’m just going to say I’m super busy and then hopefully they will get the hint and send kid with helper.

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