Saturday, August 28, 2010

When planets collide

Thursday was my Friday the 13th, or a Black Monday, or whatever day in whatever culture that is used to describe a day that everything just went wrong. Ok, not everything, just some major mishaps/misadventures that I’d rather do without. Our girl woke up early enough and was cooperative enough to finish her breakfast quickly so we could keep to our 10am appointment with some of the rest of the folks in the yard to go to The Place, Yu Island, again in the morning.

But just when she was eating her breakfast, I started my day off on a wrong foot – literally. As I was shifting the fan out of the bedroom, I accidentally kicked my left foot against the base of the fan, the foot which had my third toenail already slightly splintered at the left edge. And so the impact almost ripped off my whole toenail – all I could see was blood oozing out from the sides from maybe whatever exposed flesh on the nailbed. I half-expected to see my nail on the floor (nope…), and quickly dabbed the nail dry of blood and put a plaster on it. Luckily I had a pair of soft, cloth-like Puma shoes (I did not dare to wear heels nor open-toe shoes that day!) to wear, and thankfully the pain subsided enough for me to bring her out, sans Nainai, with the rest of them.

Thinking that was the worst thing that could happen, I shared a cab with Xinran meimei and her mum, meeting three other children there. Xinran does not take well to car rides, wanting to get off only about 5 minutes into our ride, and she was fussing so much her mum had to take out a Sachima snack for her to eat. At this point, she kept wanting to offer Rosabelle, who obviously wanted and started crying when I declined it vehemently. Xinran’s mother felt I was too strict, but I was quite irritated with her for insisting that Rosabelle can have it – who is she to judge what goes into my daughter’s stomach? Luckily Rosabelle got distracted quickly by other things. When we got off, Rosabelle got waylaid by other sights on the way into the shopping complex, so I let her hang outside and enjoy the cool breeze, as well as the company of some of the other children there.
After that, we headed to Yu Island, where after seeing her skirt cause friction on the slide (and she had trouble sliding down), and getting trapped under her knees when she climbed, removed it after we visited the washroom. I decided to let her eat her grapes outside first before I had to run around (or worse, have her run around with the grapes in her mouth) feeding them to her.
And so she enjoyed her usual stations of the water bed, hamster’s wheel, and animal kiddy rides (the animal kiddy rides were suspiciously ill-maintained, with at least two of the animals’ spines broken – i.e. not upright…).
Strangely enough, Rosabelle then mentioned that she wanted to 吃饭, but seeing that it wasn’t even 12 noon yet, and she had just finished her grapes, I decided to whip out some旺仔小馒头biscuits for her to eat. She was so happy, as she enjoys this snack, but I only give her to her like once every month or so (way too sweet, I think), and encouraged her to go share the box with the other kids (so she would not gobble up everything in the box). Luckily, she fell for my ‘trick’ and nicely walked over to the foam blocks area and sat with the rest of them as she offered them the biscuits. After finishing up the box, she walked off with a triangular foam as I kept the box and prepared to take out her water bottle to rinse her mouth and that was when it happened.

I heard her crying and before I knew it, saw Baobao’s mother carrying her to a side as she held onto Rosabelle’s hand. I ran over quickly and saw that the tip of my poor girl’s right index finger was bitten badly near the nailbed. Two deep canine-like wounds that made the little finger turn purplish-black at the edges. Of course she was crying ‘painful’ and I quickly comforted her as I assessed the situation. Another mother was holding onto a younger boy, who was in turn holding onto the triangular foam that Rosabelle was walking away with. The mother apologized, but claimed that my daughter was trying to snatch her son’s foam, and thus he bit her. She said that she assumed the lady next to Rosabelle was the mother and would stop their dispute, so she did not run over to control her son. I was outraged and told her point blank, ‘我刚才明明看见是我女儿拿着这个东西的。但是那个不重要。小孩子这种东西肯定得两个大人看着,你哪里可以让别让帮你看?你又不是不知道你孩子会咬人?肯定不是第一次!' I think she was quite apologetic, and I must admit her attitude was quite good, and kept asking me if we needed to get it checked. I was feeling very angry, but had the mind to quickly whip out a Zappy Boy sanitizer wet wipe from my bag to wipe the wound – who knows what sickness the sick boy had if he could bite like a rabid dog?

Throughout this minute or so, poor Rosabelle was crying as I held her, but otherwise she was very brave. Luckily there was no blood, but to put it in mushy terms, my heart did bleed to see her suffer for nothing over some silly inept parent’s oblivion to her own child’s bad behavior. I did not want to blow things up, and just walked away with a ‘拜托你了,你是养个孩儿,又不是一条狗。' I think I was mean in saying that, but I felt such a strong surge of fierceness erupt in me during that episode that I was really very angry. Maybe the boy snatched the foam away, Rosabelle hit him, and he then decided to bite her. Even still… she did not deserve to get bitten!

Thank goodness the two punctures subsided after some time, and when I purposely pressed on the finger a few hours later, she did not say ‘painful’ anymore. Our brave, strong girl stopped crying very soon after as she rested on the waterbed, and even Baobao’s mother said that she almost cried seeing the deep teeth marks on Rosabelle.
I did not cry then, nor later, but have learnt another lesson (other than teaching Rosabelle to never bite people) – Wayne told me other than telling Rosabelle the ‘not tos’, I have to teach her the ‘to dos’, as in this case, to defend herself and not let other children bite her, like pulling her fingers away quickly. For example, whenever she wants to get friendly with people, and they are not as welcoming and even hit her, or if she wants to borrow a toy and the boy/girl retaliates, I tell her to move away and look for somebody/thing else to play with instead of standing there getting hit, or worse still, fighting with each other.

And then, just when I was telling myself to keep an eye on her all the time (I worry about her hitting others, as well as getting hit), she was climbing to the top of the rotating tower on her own (I obviously can’t get it but can still peep at her from the netting on the sides). As she was preparing to climb from the second to the top level, and had her hands on the floor of the third level, I saw a much older boy stomping on her little fingers from the top level. My friggin’ goodness! I unleashed my anger and went ‘喂!你干嘛踩她?你给我下来!你妈妈在哪里?' and bullies being bullies, are ALWAYS cowards. He quickly scrambled down, falling over a younger boy and making the latter cry in the process, and ran off. I later saw him run to a lady and I went up to her and asked ‘这是你儿子?刚才他故意踩我女儿的手指,你好好教训他吧。' I just walked off after that – if she wants to scold him, so be it. If she wants to close an eye, then fine. It’s up to other parents how they bring up their child – I have done enough for my daughter, and myself, by informing the idiotic child’s guardian of his behavior.
After that, I went back to Rosabelle and she did not mention anything about getting her fingers being stomped on. Instead, she just went concernedly, ‘哥哥摔倒了', referring to how the scaredy-cat bully tumbled down. Haha, so sweet of her… By that time, it was almost time for lunch but some of the others were heading home to eat, whilst the others were not hungry yet, so I decided to bring Rosabelle downstairs alone to eat.

Hmmm… it was actually my FIRST time out alone for a meal with her. I’ve brought her out alone, but never had a meal where I had to cope with feeding her/myself, but I thought it shouldn’t be so bad, right? And so we ended up in this Vietnamese restaurant (I can’t even remember the name) that I’ve always been wanting to try every time I’m there since I quite like Vietnamese. We got ourselves a nice seat at the front of the restaurant and she had a nice ratten, high chair to sit in. Just as I was placing my order with the waitress, Rosabelle said she needed to pee, and since she was wearing her diaper, I asked her to just do so. And then she stood up in the chair – I did not adjust the diaper properly and it had apparently leaked at the side onto the high chair and her legs. Eeeks! I quickly cleaned up her legs and the chair and changed her into a clean diaper as we waited for the food.

The Hakka tofu came first, which she liked as she fed herself a huge piece as I cut up the noodles, beef, and vegetables for her. I managed to sneak in a few bites as she fed herself quite well, until I had to come in to make sure she also scooped up the vegetables. I also decided to give my girl a treat, probably to make up for her bite-on-finger ordeal, so had pre-ordered a banana pancake (with strawberry ice cream on top, from the looks of it on the menu) to come after our meal.

When we had almost finished up, the waitress asked if they could prepare the dessert already, and just as I was going to feed Rosabelle her kiwi (first get her to eat the fruit, or she would be too distracted by dessert to want to eat anything healthy!), the banana pancake with ‘strawberry’ ice cream came – the ice cream was green in color. When I asked the waiter what ice cream that was, he had to ask the same waitress who took my order, and they said that it was green tea ice cream. Now, I did not want to start introducing any caffeine-related foodstuff to Rosabelle at this stage, no matter what kind of artificial green tea they had in the ice cream, so requested that they change it to strawberry-flavored one, just as they had shown in the picture in their menu.

The clueless waiter replied ‘怎么换啊?', since they had already prepared the dessert. At this point, the ice cream was melting into an alien blood goo-like mess onto the pancake, making it look highly unappetizing. And Rosabelle was clamouring, almost crying pitifully, ‘要ice cream, 要ice cream’ at one side. I was seriously pissed and told him, ‘怎么换?你们有草莓冰欺凌对吗?把这盘子拿进去,把绿茶冰欺凌换成草莓冰欺凌,就这么换。我的女儿在闹了,你赶紧换,要不这个没法吃了。'. But he was adamant, and I demanded to speak to either the manager or somebody who could make a decision. I then requested for the bill and said I was not going to eat the pancake anymore since it had by now become a green mess.

After a few minutes, the waitress who took my order came with the bill, charging me for the dessert, and explained that the pictures in the menu are for reference only, and the ice cream flavor can change. I explained that I ordered because I was misled into thinking it was strawberry ice cream, and that we do not want green tea ice cream. She stubbornly refused to admit it was her fault in not telling me, and even rebuked that she asked if we had any忌口 (things we do not eat). I was really angry by now and went ‘冰欺凌这种东西需要说什么忌口的吗?炒菜才得说!那就这东西跟图不一样,算是我倒霉,点错东西了啊!' I said she has to cancel the order or I would not pay.

Thankfully our good girl Rosabelle wasn’t making any fuss about the ice cream and even obediently finished up the kiwi during all these commotion. A few minutes later, the manager came (just where the hell was she all this while???) and apologized, saying that they will waive the dessert charges and said that ‘这个冰欺凌是我们赠送您的。' I was still pissed and said outright ‘这哪是赠送的?我都不吃,是我不要,你可别说是你们送我的!' until she retracted and said ‘好,这是你退的。' When she came with my change, she was once again very apologetic and thanked me for the feedback, but no way will I come back again – the food wasn’t even that good nor authentic to begin with!

And then we set off for home, taking a taxi as I called home to ask Nainai to prepare the bath. Now, our apartments have intermittent stoppage of hot water at times, to repair or check don’t-know-whatever like once every few months, and there was a notice going up to say that there would be no hot water on 25th till 26th August. It meant that we were going to have hot water that night, and that we were boiling water the day before already to mix a bath for Rosabelle (and for adults too). However, Nainai told me there wasn’t even cold water, from 1+pm that day. Hmmm… strange. So on the way back, I called the management office, who said that as they were repairing the hot water thingey, something got spoilt, so even cold water has stopped.

My goodness! Can anything be more messed-up than that day??? Luckily Nainai was clever enough to prepare a steamer-full of water to prepare to boil, and poor Rosabelle needed to cut short her bath time as she bathed in whatever shallow water that afternoon.

And so we did not even have water for washing hands or flushing the toilet (we saved some from her bath water, haha…)– we washed dishes with potable water from our drinking tap – how lavish…

Water did not resume till around 7pm, and by then, Nainai had already gone down to cart up two pailfuls of water as the management had sent men down to set up a water station. So like 1970s Singapore water rationing… hot water also came as promised that night as I had to bathe with my left foot raised (for a few days at least) as I kept my wound dry and wrapped a shower cap around it. Upon closer inspection, my nail is like 4/5ths split low down the middle, and it will probably take at least two months to grow out, but luckily it has not dropped. But herein lies my dilemma – I cannot apply medicine on the wound (i.e. the bleeding nailbed) since my nail is only semi-detached, so I can only apply Zam Bak on and around the nail. Sigh… probably no pedicures or open shoes (can’t imagine getting the whole nail ripped off!) in a long while to come (luckily I just had a mani/pedicure the day before, which unfortunately left me with about 6 small sores on my right sole as the over-zealous pedicurist was picking away at my dead skin and probably cut too deep in – ouch!).

And so marked the end of a lousy day, for which I am only grateful for such an obedient and sweet daughter… everybody go ‘Awwwww….'...

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