(As in the Fifth Amendment to the US Bill of rights.)
As I walked out of the mall into the bright midday sun, I put on my shades and asked Zoe, “daddy look cool not?”
I turned to Pl Lim and said, “Zoe thinks I look cool.”
“Aiyah, you ask her anything she will also say, ‘Yes’ one lah.”
I tested that hypothesis.
“Zoe, daddy look stupid not?”
She nods, smiling mischievously.
PL stiffled a laugh. But did not try too hard. She may be on to something. But should test further.
“Zoe, mommy looks cool not?”
This time Zoe shakes her head. Again, with a mischievous smile.
“Zoe doesn’t think you look cool,” I told PL (vindictively?).
Further testing. (Obviously, I didn’t know when to quit.)
“Zoe, mommy looks stupid not?”
Zoe smiled (knowingly?), but did not nod or shake her head.
I guess she’s taking the Fifth on that question.
One “milestone” for Zoe at around this age, is the ability to jump.
It is cute (and pathetic) to see Zoe trying out this new skill. She “jumps”, but her right feet hardly leaves the ground as she “jumps” on the spot.
But still, she takes great joy and sense of achievement for that half hop she accomplishes, and beams with sheer joy and satisfaction after every hop.
Then she “recruits” daddy to help her jump.
Sometimes she just squats and hangs off my arms and expect me to do all to work. So I get her to at least kick off, and I “help” her jump greater distance and height – onto platforms, chairs, etc.
I think all parents do that, and then we grow up with dreams and imaginations about leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Because we have that memory.
At Whampoa, we were having lunch with my mom, and I was getting Joo Chiat Wanton noodles for Pl and myself. PL was seated at the table with Z while I got our orders. And Z cried for some reason (who knows? She’s a baby, and she’s a girl. Will probably weep for no reason).
That attracted some older folks who tried to soothe her.
Did they think that PL was an incompetent mother? Did they find Z irresistibly cute? Were they trying to abduct Z? Who knows? They are old. Probably senile. Maybe frustrated because their sons and daughters aren’t married or haven’t produce grandchildren for them to spoil in their old age. And using Z as a surrogate grandchild to fulfill their emotional needs.
Anyway, one “grandpa” was running a sundry shop and he came up and handed Z a noise-making toy (a battery-powered electronic “rattle” with a duck figure, which played the same, soon-to-be-irritating loop of music in mandarin. Very loudly.
The “grandpa” said it was on loan to Z. PL then explained that earlier, while walking about, Z saw and wanted that rattle. Which Pl promptly said, no. and Z started to cry.
Now Z was happily pressing the little button to start the music (loud). And pressing it. And pressing it.
So my mom decided to entrench our torture and went to “grandpa” to buy the rattle.
Good sales tactic, though. On the part of grandpa.
We went to Decathlon and bought Z a new pair of shoes, because all her footwear are sandals with open toes.And also because she still insists on squeezing her feet into her old sandals because she liked them. (I have since hidden those shoes, because, out of sight, out of mind).
Her new shoes are a little larger (room to grow) – about 1 size too large, and looks like sports shoes.
I don’t know if these shoes are so comfortable that she like walking in them or she has just gotten more independent. But the evening we bought the shoes, she walked from our front door to the lifts.
I expected her to ask to be carried by then, but no. She walked into the lift.
At the ground floor, I expected her to ask to be carried, but no.
She walked. passed the coffee shop across the car park entrance, to the road.
Now, at the road, I was going to carry her because, crossing the road.
But the road was clear, so we crossed to the median – Z on her own feet. And then to the other side (road was clear too). She walked quite a bit before, giving up and asking to be carried.
We were going to the minimart.
The next day, she repeated her walking feat. And doubled the distance!
Again, she crossed the road on her own feet (with us holding onto her hands of course).
We were going to Church, and we walked there as is our usual habit. It is about 15 – 20 minutes of walking. She almost made it all the way, giving up and asking to be carried only when we were less than 100 metres away.
Towards the end, I could see her focused on walking and she was not smiling. So I played peek-a-boo just to entertain her.
This is training for when we go to Japan. We are taking Z on her first overseas trip. And she is too heavy to carry for long, so she will have to learn to appreciate long walks.