It’s been a busy day.
At six, La Serpiente awoke and so we gave her lots of snacks and then she and I went down to the West Coast Park for our run. My friend Gil was there with his dog, Jack, for the inaugural round of the stroller Parkrun challenge, competitors: 2.
We both started very fast; surprising most of the other runners. After the first kilometre we were neck and neck, about fifth or sixth overall, but I began to fade. Gil, advantaged by a dog which weighs less than La Serpiente’s fifteen kilos, beat me by more than a minute (even after stopping twice to do up his shoes) but forgot his barcode, meaning I hold on to this dubious crown for one more week.
Afterwards, my wife arrived with Destroyer and we had a lot of fun in the park, before trying to walk to the MRT station at Clementi, about two miles away. This took us an hour and a half because of the expressway in between, and the lack of any way to get a stroller up five flights of stairs to cross it. Eventually we gave up and tool taxis to Clementi instead, then went for lunch.
The mall is apparently populated with grumpy aunties and uncles, most with an expression similar to a drunk who’s just lost a bet. Trying to get into a lift with your child in a stroller, when an angry person is shoving their way past you, is challenging even when your daughter hasn’t been telling at you over your poor navigational skills for the previous 90 minutes. I am used myself counting the number of if-looks-could-kill death glares my wife received for having the temerity to exist. Why is everyone in Clementi Mall so upset?
The food court is blessed with a children’s play area, at the back on the fourth floor. As we approached it I saw two children’s heads Bob up and down as they played on a seesaw. That looked fun for La Serpiente. Then there was an anguished howl and a third child’s face appeared, bleeding copiously from the forehead. This was rapidly followed by his grandfather scolding him (for titting about on the see saw) as well as his sister for jumping up and down too much. I stayed with the girls to try to keep them calm while my wife went over to help, and shortly the grandfather and the kids went off to hospital. Not a wonderful end for the year for that boy.
This didn’t dissuade La Serpiente from wanting to play on the see saw (a large piece of steel painted safety yellow,with no visible blood stains nor any clue as to how the boy had injured himself). She played for a while without getting hurt and then we took the train home and napped.
The nap must have been misconfigured because I woke up an hour later feeling worse than when I’d gone to sleep. I then had a panicked hour with Destroyer, trying to buy cupcakes for a new year celebration tonight, before we had another hour long journey to get to the Marina Barrage rooftop garden, which I’ve run around dozens of times but my wife has never visited in five years in Singapore. So that was nice; we chatted to friends, watched kites being flown and wore out La Serpiente with a very long walk. (The proof for that was when she fell asleep after less than two bedtime bears tonight, without complaint.)
Then I could rest up on the sofa, Skype my parents and scoff chocolate coated stem ginger from Fortnum and Mason, a most decadent Christmas present from my parents. Just look at the gorgeous box it came in: