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Wed, Oct 28, 2009
The New Paper
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When kid's genes spawn competition between parents
by S Murali

KIDS are great, aren’t they?

With their big eyes, bright smiles and large heads.

But the question many of us ask is: Whose eyes, smiles and heads are we talking about?

You see parenthood, for the spawn-less among you, is also one massive competition between husband and wife.

The playing field? The kids and the DNA they acquired from us parents.

Did the kids get my broad shoulders or the wife’s rather size-challenged ones?

Do they have natural hand-eye coordination like Daddy?

Or will they flap aimlessly at a shuttlecock?

Are their ears positioned on their heads at the same level?

Or will glasses always look a little senget (Malay for crooked) on them?

Perhaps I should stop here before my wife shows me her hand-eye coordination with a frying pan, but I’m sure you get the point.

I have been watching my two kids closely over these past few years.

For a long time, the daughter played hard to get. Triangular-shaped feet aside, she seems to be constructed almost completely from materials from the “other” team.

From the luxurious hair to the big eyes to the lovely smile, all signs pointed towards the folk from Bukit Batok.

But recently, there have been some encouraging signs.

She has started reading books like there is no tomorrow.

Now don’t get me wrong, and please put down the frying pan, honey.

My wife is a teacher and loves reading books too. But there is a difference.

In my youth, I was a book-reading fanatic. I took all the library cards in my family, so I could borrow up to 16 books every week.

I remember complaining to Ang Mo Kio librarians that they needed to get new books or I would run out of things to read (which was an exaggeration but you can see my obsession).

My daughter, I am pleased to say, is showing the same signs of madness.

After laying hands on her first Harry Potter a few months ago, she has gone on a feeding frenzy.

At age 9, she has gobbled up the entire series by J K Rowling and is taking second helpings of some of the 600-plus-page books.

Enid Blyton is for dessert while Jeff Kinney’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is a snack for car trips.

When Tara is immersed in a book, it is so difficult to get her attention we have to shout at her, but I couldn’t be prouder.

Now, I suspect she will also wield a mean racket once I pry her away from those books.

Yup, it looks as though this one’s got the right stuff.

Right, honey?


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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