“Mummy, I don’t want to go to school,” the toddler whines.
Inwardly, I sigh. It’s become a daily chore to send the toddler to nursery school.
“Okay, dear, I’ll drive slowly,” I tell the boy in the back seat. Distraction is a harried parent’s penultimate resort.
“Why don’t you like going to school, Russell?” I ask, keeping my voice neutral. “You have friends to play with there.”
The toddler doesn’t reply straightaway. Pinky perches on his shoulder, nuzzling him from time to time.
“Mummy, I don’t want to go to school,” he repeats eventually.
“I know you aren’t keen about going to school,” I say. “We are taking our time to get there.”
“Let’s play ‘I Spy’, Russell,” Pinky offers.
“Okay!” the toddler perks up. “You start first.”
Pinky studies the passing traffic. “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘b’.”
The toddler giggles. “Bus!” We overtake the articulated bus to our left, his favourite vehicle.
“That’s quick, Russell!” Pinky quips. “Now, your turn!”
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’c’,” Russell continues.
“Haha! That’s easy,” Pinky laughs. “Car, of course! We are in one.”
The toddler laughs too. “Mummy’s turn!”
I smile into the rear-view mirror. I have just arrived at the preschool. “All right: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘s’.”
Pinky hops up and down, causing the toddler to squirm – he’s very ticklish. “School, school!” she cries.
Still giggling, the toddler waits as I reach back to help him with his buckle.
“You have a good day together with Pinky,” I tell him, ruffling his hair. Silently, I am giving thanks for having managed another fuss-free drop-off.
Jocelyn Lau is a Singapore-based editor and writer. Her ongoing series of flash fiction, LIFE OF PINKY, is based on an imaginary pink horse that her family owns. She’s the author of two collections of parenting verse, Hey There, Tot! and Excursion to HortPark. Visit http://www.kucintabooks.com.