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Mon, Dec 07, 2009
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Never mind Julian's rockstar antics
by Clara Chow

ON THE day my elder son performed in his first school concert, there was melodrama, high jinks and roller-coaster emotions. And that’s before he even left the house.

For weeks, Julian had been showing the Supportive Spouse and me the moves his nursery class had been rehearsing for the item they were putting up for their parents.

There were these extremely cute dance steps that never failed to crack us up whenever our three-year-old busted them out: He would jam his hands on his hips and then rapidly wriggle his knees together and apart, like a spasmodic chicken with knock-knees.

So when the big day arrived, on a Thursday last month, I armed myself with a video camera and left our month-old baby at home so that I could rah-rah Big Brother on at his stage debut.

Unfortunately, trouble soon reared its ugly head. Grumpy, as he is wont to be in the morning, Julian was being uncooperative, ignoring my entreaties to get out of bed and ready himself for his pre-school close-up.

Then, as I tried to coax him into his costume – a red polo shirt and blue jeans – he decided that he was having none of my sartorial intervention. I tried to reason with him, pointing out that people would be wondering why he was the odd one not in costume. But, with characteristic stubbornness, he refused. We were soon both seething and pouting like two divas fighting over the only microphone. Finally, this Mummy (I’m ashamed to say) gave in to the temptation to stage a scene-chewing finale herself.

Flinging his jeans to the floor, I shrilled exasperatedly at him: “Fine! Don’t wear! If you’re so naughty, I don’t want to go watch your concert anymore!” I pushed him out the door and huffed away, leaving Grandma – my patient and doting mother – to ferry him to his concert and be his No. 1 fan.

With Julian gone, I banged around the house petulantly for five minutes, and then decided to take a nice, relaxing shower.

I then shot off an indignant SMS to the Supportive Spouse, who was at work, about Julian’s rockstar pre-show antics, filled with threats about not wanting to see the pint-sized prima donna ever again.

Then, as I sat alone in my bedroom, it dawned on me that I was about to miss seeing my son clock a milestone in his life.

Images of my parents watching proudly in the audience through the school concerts and graduations in my life flashed before my eyes.

You know those drama-serial sequences, in which the hero or heroine dashes out to catch the love of their lives before they take a plane/train/car to leave forever, all in slow-mo and with a rousing instrumental soundtrack or warbling theme song?

That was me, pulling on a dress, combing my hair hastily, and leaping into my car to make it to Julian’s pre-school in under five minutes, while hoping that my young star hadn’t already performed his chicken dance.

I made it there right on time.

I sidled into a seat with my camera and proceeded to tape Julian surreptitiously as he segued into the dance actions he had been practising with his classmates.

Later, as I stood at the back, craning my neck along with all the other proud mums and dads, my son came offstage in a choo-choo train formation. As the line of kids snaked past me, I suddenly felt teary.

The next moment, my son caught sight of me, waving meekly at him. He said with a straight face: “I thought you said you are not coming?”

I still can’t decide if he was being sarcastic, defiant, or merely stating a fact. But, that night, as we watched the video of his concert together with his dad, I was glad I didn’t skip out on the concert.

Even if I got sassed before and after for my efforts. No, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

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