updated 24 Dec 2011, 20:17
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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
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Till we meet again, in 2015
by Clara Chow

IN 2007, acting on a whim, I rounded up all the young mothers I worked with in the newsroom as an arts reporter, and organised a mega mummies' outing.

Back then, there was only a handful of us in the features section, trying to balance the irregular hours of journalism with first-time motherhood. My son Julian was not yet two years old, and a couple of close colleagues had just given birth.

In particular, our gamine friend, Ms T, had complained of being cooped up at home during her maternity leave. Together, we had hatched the idea of a gathering over brunch, so that she could put on something chic and pretty, and leave the house to preserve her sanity.

And so it was that five mothers - with infants, toddlers and husbands in tow - descended upon the then newly opened Mimolette restaurant in Green Fairways. While the dads ably jiggled the tots on their knees, while swopping burping tips, the mums relaxed over drinks and cooed over one another's babies.

It's a moment in time we all treasure. I have the pictures of us - stylish, smiling and proudly holding up our kids - on FaceBook to prove it.

So, recently, when I heard that Mimolette has been made over into a Marmalade Pantry, I decided to organise a reunion. We invited the girls in our work circle who had become mothers in the intervening years, too. I sent out the e-invites months in advance. It's no joke trying to coordinate the schedules of half a dozen families.

Finally, the day of the reunion rolled around. And the heavens opened. Trying to wrestle two umbrellas and two sons from the muddy open-air carpark into the restaurant, I despaired that anyone would turn up. For a while, I sat alone at the long table for 18 I had reserved and felt a little foolish.

Then, Y, uber-mum of two, arrived. Four years ago, at the first mummies' outing, her newborn daughter had been asleep throughout in her pram in a corner. Now, the precocious nursery kid dangled gymnastically from the back of chairs a la the well-loved children's-book character Eloise.

And four years ago, K had been telling me how much she hated kids and wanted to swat them when they irritated her in public. But there she was, hugging her 22-month-old son as he sat excitedly in a high chair.

Ms T, who has added a 20-month-old daughter to her accomplishments a few years after hankering to be liberated from maternity house arrest, was sitting with infinite poise next to the little girl.

Her daughter is the spitting image of her handsome husband - only with super-long eyelashes.

And the little man whom we all met for the first time four years ago? Despite the long absence, Ms T's son is now my new best friend. We sat next to each other eating rainbow-sprinkles cupcakes, chatted on and on in Mandarin (refreshing for me, as my son is not yet proficient in his mother tongue), and giggled over photos and videos on his mum's iPhone.

Meanwhile, the older kids were running wild outside the eatery. My Julian was with Y's kids, and they were deliberately getting drenched in the alfresco area, putting their heads under a gushing rain gutter.

My younger son, Lucien, two, was sharing fries with his "milk brother" - that's what we call K's son, as she had kindly supplied me with her surplus milk for Lucien when I needed it. The kids' mannerisms are uncannily alike, right down to the way they munch their food.

We all said goodbye after a few hours, but not before I realised I wasn't just having lunch with my dear friends; I was bonding with their beloved offspring, too.

A baby in my arms later, I squashed the older boys to my side and made them promise to come and see me again at the same place, in a few years.

Catching up with other people's kids is therapeutic. And I hope they enjoyed the fuss us aunties made over them. Until 2015, then.

For more my paper stories click here.

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