“I’m going to have my own room!” Pinky is chattering to the toddler, prancing over a few taped-up boxes of belongings stacked in the bedroom, occasionally galloping along the walls around the room. She’s excited because we are moving to a bigger apartment in two months’ time, where the prospect of sharing a room – her room – with the toddler is temporarily making her forget the sadness of missing Brownie, a retired brown pony at HorseCity.
“I’m going to have my own room, you know?” she repeats, this time running up to the toddler’s shoulders and poking him repeatedly in the cheek with one hoof.
“Yes,” he says absently, but his gaze does not leave the screen of my Samsung Galaxy S3. He’s been watching, endlessly, a Sesame Street video about moving house and saying goodbye to all the familiar old places. Pinky settles on his shoulder and continues chattering in his ear, his being oblivious to her not at all discouraging.
We are up to our necks in the living room, packing. Among the challenges of moving house is deciding which books and music CDs – and whose books and music CDs – should be left behind. We are already ten boxes in and still half of our bookcases remain to be sorted.
Big Guy is insisting that every one of his books, even the stack of Chinese history references, is valuable, even if he hasn’t found the time to read them in the past ten years. “And you won’t, not in another five years,” I have tried to reason, but eventually given up. I’m a thrower – I like my things to be being actively used, and during my housekeeping I cull inactive belongings ruthlessly. He wants to keep everything – just in case. Still, some things are more difficult than others to decide on, and at the moment I’m faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the colourful Singapore Symphony Orchestra concert programme booklets that I had collected in my late teens; I could fill an entire box with them. I also have a whole box of stationery items – in particular, Post-it notepads, pens of different colours, and notebooks of all shapes.
“Do you like pink?” Pinky is now asking the toddler. “Yes,” he says, after she’s asked him the third time. I look into the bedroom and see that the toddler is nodding his head, but otherwise still fully absorbed in his video programme.
“Well, we should paint the bedroom walls pink then, okay?” Pinky continues eagerly. “What kind of pink do you like? There are so many types of pink in the world. I don’t think you have learnt any of their names in school yet, have you?”
The toddler does not reply.
“Have you?” she insists. The toddler shakes his head and reaches his hand over his shoulder to pat Pinky, absently.
“Well, let me teach you. There’s carnation, there’s lavender, there’s rose, and ruby, and mauve, and magenta. There are so many pinks. And my favourite is fuchsia. What’s yours?”
“Wow!” The toddler finally laughs. “How about we have pink everything?” he says to her. Pinky, surprised by suddenly getting her favourite human’s attention, can only grin with delight.
I look over to Big Guy and catch him smiling, too.
Jocelyn Lau runs a Singapore-based boutique publishing imprint, Kucinta Books. She has published three collections of parenting haiku, the most recent being Hey There, Tot! and Excursion to HortPark, and is preparing a third, Dear, I’m Pregnant, for printing. LIFE OF PINKY is a series of short fiction about her real imaginary pet horse.