updated 2 Jul 2011, 13:31
user id password
Mon, May 16, 2011
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
I’m stuck on you, Ju
by Clara Chow

I GREW up in a home helmed by Super Mum, who made sure that the floors were clean enough to eat off, and the toilets were sparkling.

Being extremely house- proud, my mother naturally strongly discouraged us kids getting "creative" with our crayons on the walls and furniture.

Some of that has rubbed off on me.

You should have seen me when we got a new couch a couple of years ago.

When my son, Julian, then four years old, spilt some Milo on it, I threatened to disown him, and then stayed up all night with the stain remover.

And, when he accidentally wet my new king-size, hotel-grade mattress, I emptied a whole bottle of baking soda on it to get rid of odours, and then stayed up all night sniffing the mattress to see if it worked.

So, yes, I am obsessive compulsive that way. But, of late, I have increasingly come to love some things that Julian does to "wreck" my furniture.

Like most kids, he is obsessed with stickers and likes to affix them to furniture all over the house.

A few months ago, I woke up and was aghast to see that our fire-engine red television cabinet had developed smallpox. Upon closer inspection, I realised that the "pox" was medal-shaped stickers that Julian had pasted all over the cabinet.

My first instinct was to surreptitiously peel them off.

"But why?" asked the Supportive Spouse. "He just wanted to decorate the cabinet."

I sat on my hands.

Every now and then, I mourn the pristine red skin of the cabinet that I know is underneath those polka dots.

With each passing day, however, I am learning to see those stickers not as imperfections, but as semi-permanent reminders of moments with my growing son.

"Blue, songs are like tattoos," sang Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell on the sapphire-hued track. I could argue that, instead of songs, stickers are my tattoos - serving to commemorate the everyday events that pass into family legend in our household.

There's the row of Asian superhero stickers that we got for free from repeat visits to Julian's favourite local museum - including Hanuman and Mulan - stuck on my bedroom door. They are our very own guardians to keep the sleep monsters at bay.

There's also the pink poodle Julian stuck on our shower's glass door, so as to give his bathing father a surprise. It preens there, along with some manga skull heads and magic mushrooms.

In the shower is a Goofy medical plaster. While not technically a sticker, it is a souvenir from the time Julian fell at the zoo. To make him feel better, we administered first-aid with great drama, and let him choose his own cartoon band-aid.

And our flat's entrance is peppered with tiny stars and smiley faces from his extensive stash of work-a-day stickers for arts and craft.

Even the car is not spared. The first sticker Julian gave me is there, stuck next to the steering wheel: a square one with a picture of french fries that he got as a reward from his Chinese teacher. Every time I look at it, while I'm driving, that exact mixture of pride and cheap thrill from receiving it hits me all over again.

And, should you ride in my front passenger seat, don't be alarmed if you see a monkey on the windscreen. It's just another one of Julian's relics - one that he cheekily adhered to the glass when I finally allowed him to graduate to the co-pilot seat next to me.

These stickers are better than real tattoos. When you're only five years old, anything that lasts for more than five days seems like it's there for an eternity. I remember feeling that way as a schoolgirl, in love with her Hello Kitty stickers.

And, as Mumzilla now, these little pieces of paper with glue still can make me melt.

For more my paper stories click here.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.