Ethan (37 months) / Maya (13 months)

Dear Ethan and Maya,

This month, your father’s sister Kathy from Toronto came to visit the family for a few weeks. She also brought her 6-month old daughter, Pearlie. We offered them to stay at our house as I thought it wouldn’t be too hard for two mothers taking care of three kids. Except I overlooked the-toddler-attacking-and-traumatizing-the-baby part. During their stay, Pearlie was basically in a routine of feeding, napping and pooping. Unfortunately for the remaining time slots where she’s awake, she’s become one experimental object for you both. You took turns to yank the toy from her grip, smack her face and stick finger in her mouth in a loving, aww, look-at-that-baby-who-can’t-move kind of way. Having not prepared to face not one but two most chaotic creatures in the universe, Pearlie could only sat in that rocking chair watching in HORROR as you both were about to approach her, before she commenced the Silent Scream of Death, the scream so high and silent in pitch that could suck all the air out of the room and set the world into slow motion in ETERNITY. She may not be able to crawl, but that kid can alter the universe WITH HER THROAT. Your father called her MOUNT PEARLIE, never stopped exploding.

What really amazed me though was that the explosions never seemed to bother you both at all. Cause that could easily infuriate the beast inside you, Ethan, and it would come out roaring so furiously that my head would rupture. Hot lava and volcanic ash everywhere. PARTYYYYYYYY! But on the contrary, when Pearlie started to get upset, you lost your interest over her that you would just leave the scene. And Maya, most of the time you just sat there with this look on your face, wondering why the hell such a creature would waste all that energy on crying when it could be used for much more beneficial things like EATING.


Except food, Maya, there are a few objects in the world that you love to play with – the objects that hold your attention for what seems like forever, maybe three minutes MAX: the remote control, my iPhone and my laptop. And I believe the ultimate reason for your obsession with these objects is because they are MY things, those things that I constantly have my hands on.

Recently you’ve started to show us that in fact you are not just playing with them, because you found out that somehow these things do something seriously magical. When we hand you the phone, you will put it against your face and start babbling. And you will always make sure you are not talking to the back of the phone. I can’t believe you are smart that way! Maybe we watch too much TV, and now you know the remote control makes things on that screen change. Besides biting and licking and throwing it around the house, you also love to bring the remote control to my face and press the buttons on it before you crane your body around to see what change you have done to the television. Your father hates it that I let you play with the remote control (and the tampons). But I have to say that you know how to work the thing better than he does. Do you know how frustrating it is to watch an episode of my favorite show when the person in charge of the remote doesn’t fast forward through the commercials fast enough? I’m glad that YOU CAN’T STAND THAT.

This month we all came down with a cold. No one second we don’t hear coughing, sneezing, nose blowing in the house. We didn’t go see our doctor right away because we know she would be just rolling her eyes thinking we just get so melodramatic that we think we are all dying. Well, not that she’s not nice. She’s one professional doctor that I won’t go for anybody else. But she gave us flu shots already. And now it’s not working, that’s totally not her responsibility.

So we just kept dosing you both every several hours with Tynenol that tastes like grape juice. And here’s where I get conflicted about medicine for kids, because I clearly remember my mother having to sit on top of me to prevent me from moving, so that she could funnel a spoonful of cough syrup down my unwilling throat. It had a burning, acidic taste so foul that I thought she were trying to poison me. But now kid’s medicine tastes like candy. And Ethan, you often throw a fit when we won’t let you drink the whole bottle. I’m relieved that we don’t have to struggle with you to get you to take your damn medicine. But then, it also sounds so unfair that we didn’t have candy medicine when I was your age! Our medicine tasted like piss! Goat piss! A goat who’s been drinking another goat’s piss! KIDS TODAY!


Probably because you had a hard time breathing while asleep, Ethan, for a couple nights in a row, you started to wake up at around 3am, ran over to our room screaming, “I WANT TYNENOL!!!” For hours, your father and me took turns to bring you back to your bed because you kept waking up wanting your Tynenol. When we realized there’s no way we would ever sleep again if we didn’t give in, your father finally got out of the bed, headed to the kitchen and gave you some Tynenol. The next morning, I was so mad that you didn’t sleep in because I clearly remembered I told your father to let you drink at least half dozen bottles. And when I could feel your gigantic eyeballs rolling and repeating I AM WIDE AWAKE even in the dark, I unwillingly pulled myself up, my head so heavy that I had to hold it in both hands. I figured that those bottles of Tynenol was given to me, not you.

Maya, for two mornings straight, I came in your room only to be stunned by a crime scene of homicide – your nose was bleeding so bad that blood was graffitied all over your face, bed sheet and crib. Your father and brother ran to my scream, and saw you in my arm with giant tears on your cheeks and green and red and brown mustache of snot above your lip. I was strong enough not to pass out yet unable to stop my heart from shattering. Being abnormally quiet, your brother stood by your empty crib, astonished, probably recalling the same awful thing did happen to him not too long before, and it’s horrifying. He took a few minutes to sink in what showed in front of him, then walked over and said, “Maya is bleeding. That’s ok.” before attempting to touch your messy face. I regret that I didn’t let him because I was just……I was just TOO DUMB to not let your brother soothe his traumatized sister. And now I have a hard time choosing between letting you suffer or seeing your brother caring you this much. Only incidents this dramatic deserve your brother’s kindness towards you.

I have no idea how much longer the virus is going to live in your bodies as it never seems to be going anywhere soon. I know there is nothing dangerous, not until you both keep me awake for another night and I fall asleep driving to work the next morning. But I also know that even if it’s gone, I will still be listening to the sound of your sleep or sneaking into your rooms to make sure you are well covered. Because my instincts tell me that unknown things happen when I sleep. And I thought that this instinct would become numb with subsequent child, but no, it never turns off.


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