There's nothing more important than a cosy Sunday to cap off a working week, to prove life could still be enjoyable. It's the best time to do some much-needed soul searching, enjoying some quiet time, relaxing and recharging unless ... you have a seven-years old boy with you.
On the only day when you can sleep until the sun slides its butts westward, my little boy would invariably wake up earlier than usual. That would be fine if he keeps his Sunday to himself. But probably due to my endearing fatherly love, he would insist on sharing his Sunday with me as fully as possible.
But he doesn't send the invitation by gently waking me up. He would bang my bedroom door going in and out doing his "chores" - clearing up the messes he left behind in the room, on his table, on my table, or in the living room from last night.
Ok, Ok! Sunday morning nap is gone - I'm awake.
"Morning, son. So, what do you want to do today?"
"Baba, I want to watch TV."
That's partly my fault; but mainly my wife is to be blamed. Sunday mornings are the only mornings when my children can switch on the TV before breakfast and enjoy their cartoons, as long as they've kept their places neat and tidy, on insistence from my wife, and on apathy from me.
Ok, TV then. I can probably go back to my morning nap.
But, after spending three minutes picking up pieces left scattering by the tornado of my fury and frustration by breathing-in-breathing-out, and another ten minutes of the same even-if-you-don't-try-you-would-do-it-anyway trick to get back to sleep, I would realise that the only way to get back to total unconsciousness would be banging my head against the wall.
So, I'm up.
Well, might as well start enjoying a beautiful Sunday - with a shouting match of the children over the TV remote control.
Fine, I don't get my Sunday sleep-in, the kids don’t get their Sunday cartoon either. Breakfast.
After herding the children into the car, off to Sunday breakfast.
Being the only day I get to eat my breakfast leisurely without being hurried to work, Sunday breakfast is like wearing my favourite underpants - if I don't wear it right, I feel out of sort. So it's important to start my day with an enjoyable breakfast.
"What do you want for breakfast, kids?"
"Kopitiam!" - their favourite.
"OK, we're having wonton mee!" - my favourite.
That's democracy being practiced by a dictator. Take it or leave it, kiddos.
With that, my seven-year old throws another fit (before you go pointing finger at me, the kids do get to go to their favourite place once in a while). It's hard to imagine how I would think he's the greatest gift to me with that sulky face.
With satisfied taste buds, a full stomach and a newspaper in hand, I finally get to my quiet time. The kids? They're enjoying themselves with the second most important modern invention to keep kids away from parents after the TV - computer games.
Quiet time? Only if I live in a separate house.
I think my son plays computer games like no other kids play computer games. At least for other parents’ sake, I would like to think so.
"Die, you ugly monster!", "No, you don't!", "Take that!", "Hahaha, I told you I'll beat you!", "I'm gonna get you!", "Yes! I told you so!", "Muahahaha, you can't beat the master!"
As if the music from the games is not already noisy enough, my son would actually interact with the game verbally too. Hats off to the game programmers - Bravo, I hope your kids do the same to you too.
It's cute for a while. After half an hour of the verbal abuses, it gets annoying and I would start to wonder who’s this replica of the sweet little boy whom I hold so dear to.
After dinner, homework time. Quite time?
Not my son.
My son is slow in this area. Not that he's not bright. Just that he would keep alternating between doing his homework and other mindless drivels, like sharpening his pencil, playing with his erasers, practicing his kungfu, singing a song, or doing a dance. Eventually the carnival will draw complaints from his older sister. He'll then defend himself with a "No" and attack with a "You". Then his sister will defend with her "No" and attack with her "You" and Voila! - a shouting match.
When all else fails – cane.
With some cracking sound effect from the cane on the sofa, order would be finally restored. That's when my son is at his most efficient with his homework. Ten minutes, the record to date, and the devil within him will rise again.
But, after all that, it's still easy to get past the devil in the boy.
The devil can wreak havoc all he likes, but the angel within him will prevail eventually - when I pull the blanket over his chest, run my fingers through his soft hair and caress that angelic face of his on his bed.
Finally, at long, long last, some quiet time ...
"Baba ...will you read me a bedtime story?""