Recently our car was sent in for repair works, and we were given a Replacement Car (or Courtesy Car) to use. When Edmund and I first saw it, we gulped. It was bright yellow, and was most interesting. Look!
What I didn’t expect was the kids’ reactions! Nicole immediately went, “Oh no! So embarrassing!”, and Nathan added with his entire repertoire of sound effects. Then he said, “when you send us to school tomorrow, we will quickly dash out of the car and walk quickly away from it.” And both of them started discussing how they would pretend not to recognise the car, treat it like a stranger’s car etc.
This of course brought about a long lecture being appreciative, and if they preferred, they can take public transport to school! That shut them up quite nicely. There was a mini lecture on having a courtesy car is a bonus, not a given. Well, it’s been 2 days, and they have been good. They grew to like the car, and enjoyed spotting the car, since there’s no other like it in the car park!
All this while, Nadine didn’t really respond, she just laughed along with everything we did and said. Then this morning, after we dropped of the older two, she said something that surprised me. It was about 10 min into the journey, and we were at a traffic stop. The driver next to us was staring at our car. He was really STARING.
Me: Look meimei, the driver in the other car is looking at our car! Shall we wave at him? (I was honestly feeling quite self conscious cos he was really staring at the car and at us!)
N3: (nonchalantly) Ya, I know. Just now at Kor Kor’s and Che Che’s school also
Me: So shall we wave?
N3: (Giggled and smiled at the driver)
Woah!! What a surprise! First, I didn’t know she noticed that previous guy looking! You see, when the older kids dropped off, there was a parent walking his daughter to school. I saw him stop and look, before continuing. It happened very quickly. But she saw it! And now, she is actually giggling at this very rude driver who is staring at us!
Me: What do you think he is looking at?
N3: He is looking at the stickers on the car
Me: Do you think he is laughing at us?
N3: No! It’s not funny. (as in what’s on the car isn’t funny. She wasn’t trying to be sarcastic)
This conversation was ringing in my head the entire morning. I was thankful that Nadine wasn’t self-conscious, she knew what basic social norms, she recognised that people do stare and look, but acknowledged them as part of a consequence of being in a strange looking car. She was able to look back at the driver and giggle! In the end, I was the one who was self conscious!
As I type this, I realised I may be looking at what happened too simply. But I learnt that in parenting, it’s sometimes necessary to think simply.
Who knew that one bright yellow courtesy car can teach us so many learning points in life?