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American Boy — The Version NOT Featuring Kanye

, , , , | Related | June 27, 2022

Back when I was in primary school, I was relentlessly teased for my accent. They kept calling me “American Boy” even though I’d lived in Singapore my whole life. Even showing my classmates my birth certificate (which clearly showed I was born in Singapore) didn’t stop them.

And for the record, my accent was Canadian. My best friend was Canadian, and I had been neighbours with him since I was three. Guess who I learnt most of my vocabulary from?

My Canadian accent grew a lot less pronounced over my teenage years, and the whole “American Boy” thing got forgotten… at least until my mother dug out an old portrait of me my father had been given when I was born.

Me: “Why am I beside the American flag in that portrait?”

Mom: “Oh, it’s because you were conceived in America. Your father spent a year there for a sabbatical, and I visited him while he was there. I realised I was pregnant once I got back home.”

Me: “Really?”

Mom: “Oh, yeah. What was it those kids used to call you in primary school? American Kid?”

Me: “American Boy.”

Mom: “I guess they were somewhat correct. You are my American Boy.” *laughs* “Maybe I should get a ‘Made in America’ T-shirt for you.”

I muttered some choice Malay swear words under my breath.

Fathers Aren’t Left Out To Sea

, , , , , , | Right | June 27, 2022

I work for a cruise line helping with a children’s activity area. Parents are allowed to drop children off to be watched by us for a little while. One day, a man dropped off his young son with us. It was close to Mother’s Day, so we had little Mother’s Day cards to color, and my coworker tried getting the boy to make one.

Boy: “Does it say Mommy?”

Coworker: “It says Mom right here.”

Boy: “Do you have a Daddy one?”

Coworker: “You mean for Father’s Day?”

Boy: “Yes, please.”

Coworker: “But Father’s Day is a long way away. Mother’s Day is soon so maybe you should make something for your mom first.”

Boy: “I don’t have a mommy.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Boy: “I have two daddies instead of a mommy. Aunt [Name] was pregnant for my daddies, but she is my aunt not a mommy.”

Coworker: “Oh, umm…”

Me: “Oh. It was nice of your aunt to help your dads, and it is nice of you to want to make something for them. Just give me a minute and I’ll get a special Father’s Day card you can color for them.”

We have similar cards we used for Father’s Day, so I printed out one for the child. Then, using a thick pen so it would hopefully stand out against kid coloring, I put an apostrophe after the S in “father’s” and tried my best to turn the apostrophe in front of the S into a tilted heart, so it would read as “Fathers’ Day” instead. The kid happily decorated it before moving on to other activities.

I’d mostly forgotten about the exchange until the man who dropped the boy off and another man walked into the center. The kid immediately shouted, “Dad!” and got up to run to them. I was busy with some other kids, but I did notice the kid proudly presenting the card to his dads while talking animatedly.

A little while later, one of the men came up to me.

Man: “My son told me you made a special Fathers’ Day card just for him. I just wanted to say that my husband and I really appreciate your doing that for him. We’re going to hang this card up as soon as we get home. Thank you.”

It really was nothing special on my part; it only took a few minutes. But his thanks warmed me anyway.

Sing A Little Softer, Daddy-O

, , , , | Related | June 26, 2022

My family has gone to a karaoke night at a pub because my sister is a very talented singer and my dad wants to show off. The little one and I get our duet out of the way first, and then it’s her time to shine. Almost every time she gets up to sing, the pub noticeably quietens.

Later into the night, my dad is tipsily boasting to the bartender about how great my sister is. She’s in this orchestra and did this music exam, and so on and so forth. However, he’s sober enough to notice the very drunk guy who starts trying to hit on my sister.

Dad: “Oi, knock it off. She’s only sixteen!”

Drunk Guy: “Huh? No, no.”

Dad: “Get lost.”

The drunk guy gets lost to a table a bit away and thankfully doesn’t come back to bother my sister again. Since my dad has that sorted, I’m not paying too much attention to the drunk guy and notice that the bartender seems to be studiously not paying attention. My dad goes back to his boasting, though, and the bartender chats with him some more.

Dad: “And can you believe that she’s only sixteen?”

Bartender: “I wish you hadn’t told me that.”

Dad: “What d’you mean?”

She then explained to us that our town had a town-only law where under-eighteens weren’t allowed in pubs after 21:00. That’s the same time that the karaoke started. She wasn’t going to ID either me or my sisters, but since my dad told her the age, she had to kick us out.

Cue Dad grumbling the whole way home about how it was so unfair that my sister wasn’t allowed to join the karaoke, and how was she going to show off how talented she was if she didn’t get the chance to?

On the other hand, my fourteen-year-old sister was very happy that she wasn’t going to be forced to sit in a pub all evening again, and I was happy for the excuse to stay home and babysit her.

Who Even Says Something Like That?

, , , , | Related Romantic | June 25, 2022

The guy that I’ve gone on a few dates with introduces me to his parents. Things go well, or so I think.

He drives me home, and we end up talking and drinking a few beers. I don’t want him on the road with any alcohol in his system, and I enjoy his company, so we end up hanging out until 3:00 am.

His mom starts blowing up his phone, demanding that he comes home, so he drives himself home to find that he’s been locked out of his house.

Mom: “You can sleep outside! You shouldn’t be spending time with someone like that.”

I still don’t know what she meant by that.

Mom: “She’s just another stop on the p***y train!”

Guy: “Don’t talk about her like that!”

Mom: “When you’re under my roof, I’ll say whatever I want about whoever I want!”

So, he picked up his phone, called me, and asked if he could stay at my place for a little while.

It’s been seven years. We’re engaged, and we have a dog, a cat, and a happy life.

I also plan on throwing some subtle train themes into the wedding/celebration.

What Do You Mean, I Have To Spend Time With My Kid?!

, , , , , , | Learning Related | June 25, 2022

This happens during lunchtime in kindergarten. One of the parents calls and wants to talk to me. Apparently, both parents have gotten [contagious illness], and they tell me they’ll pick their kid up ASAP.

One hour later, the dad is finally here. Parents aren’t allowed to enter the building because of the health crisis. While his kid is getting ready, I talk to the dad. There are also other parents outside waiting for their children.

Dad: “So, now that we have [illness], what about our child?”

As he says this everyone takes a huge step back from him.

Me: “What do you mean?”

Dad: “We can still bring him, right?”

Me: “I have to talk with my boss about this, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

He stays for thirty more minutes, telling me how he’s vaccinated and he’s thinking about going grocery shopping. I say goodbye like five times because I want him to leave. I don’t have time for small talk, and I don’t want him here when he has [illness]. He finally leaves.

I ask my boss if they can bring their child, and he gets furious. Apparently, they weren’t even allowed to pick up their child at all. As soon as they got their positive test, they should have gone to quarantine. And he most definitely wasn’t allowed to stay here and talk about the weather and stuff.

I email the dad.

Me: “[Child] can come, but you’re not allowed to bring or pick him up. Someone else has to do this until you have a negative test and can leave quarantine again.”

Dad: “This is outrageous. We’re just staying outside. Can’t you make an exception? We don’t have family or friends that can do this for us. [Child] needs to go to kindergarten. And we’re vaccinated so it should be okay. We don’t even go into quarantine.”

Me: “I am sorry, sir, but there is nothing I can do. I don’t make rules and it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not. You NEED to stay at home because you got [illness]. You’re not even allowed to get groceries or mail, and if you bring your child, we won’t take him inside.”

Dad: “Then [Child] won’t attend kindergarten. Even though I don’t understand these rules. They’re dumb. It’s your fault that he’ll miss out on everything. What are we supposed to do with our child? We can’t play with him for a week or even longer.”

Me: “As I said, I don’t make the rules. Please stay home and get well soon.”

The dad never talked to me again about anything. The audacity of some people…

When the kindergarten was closed due to [health crisis], or children weren’t allowed to come to kindergarten, we got so many complaints like: “What am I supposed to do/play with my child?” “My child is bored. What should I do?” “I can’t do this anymore; when can I finally bring my child again?” “My child is driving me nuts; when are you open again?” 

Don’t have a child if you apparently don’t want one!