Sanity Check

Finding Humour In “Disasters”

[Read the Malay version]

Someone once said to me, “Anything that could go wrong will go wrong with children.” You could say this is a very negative and exaggerated way of looking at how things are with children. On the other hand, every parent knows that with kids, things often don’t happen the way we want.

Consider the first time I baked a butter cake right. It came out perfectly golden and the sight and smell of it made my mouth water as I removed it from the oven. I was just about to taste the fruits of my labor when the doorbell rang. I left the knife on the table to answer the door.

When I returned ten minutes later, Saif, then three and having a crush on the constellations, had climbed up a chair and carved a few big stars on the piping hot cake.

Did I cry because my cake was ruined? Or did I laugh because my son was adept at shaping stars? I ended up serving an irregular star-shaped cake to my parents-in-law who had just arrived.

Or consider the time I went shopping with my youngest, Siraj, when he was four. I had just acquired a new beige colored handbag, which was out of the ordinary for me. On normal occasions, I would have opted for a dark coloured piece because they don’t show shoe marks so much.

I have a habit of placing my handbag on the floor of the car each time I go out. The handbag, more often than not, gets shoved around (and yes, trampled) by several pairs of little feet eager to grab a seat.  Halfway to the supermarket, Siraj grew silent. I presumed he had fallen asleep.

As soon as I parked the car, he handed me my handbag. “Look, Mama,” he said, “Your name!” He had found a black fountain pen hidden under his seat and had scribbled “j-a-m-i-l-a-h” in bold letters on one side of the bag. Did I laugh because my son had successfully written my name for the first time?  Or did I cry because my new bag was perfect no more?

On both occasions, I chose to laugh.

I laughed when I saw that my six-year-old had slapped plenty of yellow stickers on my bedroom door with words such as “Working Room”, “Do Noc befor entering,” and “Mom and Dads room”.

I laughed when I discovered my sons had hung paper mobiles from the blades of a ceiling fan (honestly, that’s where they work best and they looked pretty, too).

I laughed when I discovered my sons had gotten their hands on a rectangular piece of material and tied the four ends to the posts of the lower bunk of a double decker bed to make a perfect indoor hammock.

I laughed, too, when my college going son burnt his favourite t-shirt in the microwave oven in an effort to dry it quick.

I laughed because no amount of distress was going to make my son’s school bag appear or put my butter cake right or bring my brand new handbag to perfection or get my son his burnt shirt back. The damage was done.

I laughed because I knew that would be the last time my son forgot his school bag and the last time his big brother dried his shirt in the microwave. The embarrassment was just too much for them. I might as well celebrate over my children’s life lessons than let them weigh me down.

Adapted from: Cool Mum Super Dad.



About Jamilah Samian

Jamilah has written 538 articles.

Jamilah Samian is an author and speaker.

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