Dear Xander,  Playing

And Justice For Dad

Dear Xander,

Your mother was invited to a mommy blogger gathering which I was allowed to tag along, if anything, to keep an eye on you while your mother mingled with the other mommies.

It was decided that we would meet up at Fusionopolis, where a new indoor playground called Happy Willow opened 6 weeks ago. I was heartened to find that adults were allowed into the playground which boasted a large ball-pit, to ensure the safety of their playing children. In my head, this effectively meant I was paying $18 for your entry, and I got to play for free, and when your father is pushing 35 years of age and he’s told he can go into a ball-pit, he isn’t going to waste any time.

20120502-011303.jpgAs we entered, the ball-pit was filled with kids of various ages, doing target practice on a couple of hapless domestic helpers. Being a former kid with experience in ball pits of varying sizes, I knew some of these kids might play rough, so a little way into the ball-pelting, I had the idea of drawing the kids’ attacks on me so you wouldn’t really be harmed during the play.

The last time I played so hard in a pool of plastic balls, I was 12 years old.

K (Catch Forty Winks), Isaac (Tan Family Chronicles) and Xander going all Hunger Games on a poor maid.

And those kids were rough. They dished out everything they could on me; from ball pelting to shirt and limb tugging, and at one point they even orchestrated a 6-kid pile-up on top of me to keep me from getting up when I was fell flat in the ball-pit from trying to get away from everyone. It was a riot, and you had fun following the crowd, attacking daddy in good fun.

But then it got rougher. In the midst of playing, 3 of the larger boys got carried away and decided to corner me, then started hitting me on the head with their hands, kicking me and even grabbing at me and scratching me.

While I was shielding myself from the over-enthusiastic onslaught, I managed to see you suddenly position yourself between me and the boys, arms raised and hands open wide, shouting, “Stop! No more beating! Cannot beat!”

There was a little pause, and I placed my hand on your shoulder. You turned around and I could see the brave, determined look on your face, accentuated by your furrowed brow and angry 3-year-old pout. There was also a hint of fear in your eyes; I realized then that you were instigating a stand-off with the boys, in an effort to protect me.

I said, “Don’t worry, Xan. Daddy’s okay. You want to help Daddy chase away the boys? Grab some balls.”

This was before you decided to switch allegiance.

And you did (just the plastic ones, though, thank goodness). You threw those balls at the boys as fast and heavy as your body allowed, and together, we managed to force the boys further from us.

Eventually, we won the battle, together. The boys scampered off to seek shelter from the shower of blue balls that you and I blasted on them, and every time they creeped towards us, we’d make sure they didn’t get close enough to get physical with Daddy again. Your mother had to call a timeout – on me – when she couldn’t decide if I was capable of taking care of myself, much less you, and the battle of the balls was called off after about an hour.

It’s times like this – when you gave me a chance to relive my childhood in a ball-pit – that make me so glad I am taking every opportunity I can to spend time with you.

It’s times like this – when you stood up to protect me, when you stood up for what was right, and when you stood up for justice – make me feel your mother and I must be doing something right.

It’s times like this – when you fought alongside me through the rest of that fun-filled evening – that make me so proud to be your father.



This story being the product of a Singapore Mommy Bloggers FB group event, I’d like to thank Susan of A Juggling Mom with her husband and daughter Sophie, for organizing this meet-up and inviting my wife. Also, a shoutout to the following mommy bloggers I’ve had the privilege of meeting:

  • Pamela of Tan Family Chronicles with her smiling husband and 3 beautiful children, Isaac, Asher and Shawna;
  • Regina of Mummy Moo and BabyMoo (special thanks to Mr Moo for helping me find my lost iPhone in the ball-pit after the fracas);
  • Rachel of Catch Forty Winks, who came with her bright son K and her husband; and
  • Joce of sliceofadventure together with her husband and kids E and C.

Not to mention Jesse, Marcus and Shane (if I got all your names correctly), the 3 boys who inadvertently made my son a hero in my eyes.

If I missed out anyone, sorry. I blame the boys in the ball-pit.


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