I often wonder how our lives would turn out if we didn't have children. What would we do during our weekends? Would we go for a lot of road trips to explore WA? Granted that Jen's pregnancy with Albany ended up as the critical factor that pushed me to force the move, there might be a good chance we would be still in Singapore if that didn't happen. What a shame that would have been. It would be interesting to live life as a childless couple here. We would have so many options, so much flexibility to live our lives to our imagination.
Recently, a friend has been telling me how bored he is starting to feel about his life in Perth. From the conversations, it was clear something was bothering him but he couldn't figure it out himself. He mentioned how crazy it would seemed to explore the possibilities of working in New Zealand or even the UK but dreaded to imagine how his wife wouldn't tolerate a nomadic lifestyle. It was only about 8 years (or so) ago he made the uncanny decision to uproot from Singapore to move to Australia without a valid visa. He took 4 years to emerge from the despair of running into blind alleys and celebrated the approval of their PRs and Aussie citizenship shortly after. Those gave them the feasibility of building their house (which they did) as well as a stable, permanent job. From a third party's point of view, life has picked up a lot since I met them.
So why is that friend feeling the way he has been feeling? I cannot say for sure. For one day, I may well be overwhelmed with the same emotions when I reach that phrase. That is the reason why I try my best not to give my opinion to people who have done something longer than me, such as giving parenting tips to Judy, that will be neither helpful nor appropriate. Having said that, I will make a daring prediction that I will skip this 7th year itch syndrome phrase. When I first started blogging, one commentor told me I wouldn't paint such a rosy picture of Australian life after staying here for 3 years. I am about 2 months to my 5th year here and my views of my life here are still little short of splendid. Didn't turn out the way you said it would, buddy. That being said, anything can happen between now and the 7th-8th year phrase. Hang around a bit to see if you can catch me moaning about stuff here by then.
It could be parenting that has been keeping me distracted from being over-analytical about my life here. It hasn't been a bed of roses for two noob parents who had never taken care of young children prior to this. We didn't have the option of having the wisdom (and occasional help) in the household of an elder. Neither have we a Marilynn, essentially a Thermomix with built in house cleaning, kids minding functions. As expected, there were rocky situations along the way. Those took the brunt of the frustrations of a migrant to a new country. After puipui was borne, I hardly a quiet night totally free from distractions to sit down and write a blog post absolute clarity in the mind like how I did in the earlier years.
Once, a Singaporean mother living in the eastern states told me she wondered how we could cope with two kids while she was struggling with just one. It is not uncommon to meet parents (yes, even Singaporean ones) of 4 kids here. So we don't have much grounds to complain about parenting. You'll cope when it happens. Babies do not leave you any option. That is basically how it works.
Fortunately, no matter how the going gets tough, the stage usually moves on after a while. Children grow up so quickly in the earlier years. You will be amazed when you have the occasional moment to breathe and look back. Once the clingy Koala-like Albany, the big sister who offers to feed the baby of tomorrow. Moments like that gave parents some hope, and plenty of intangible happiness that only can be experienced, not described.
Every time I meet a Singaporean parent, the Singaporean in me will note how adept the kids are. There isn't a kid that I heard that couldn't write much, read or do maths at the same stage Albany is. Do I have the case to worry? To be honest, the day after hearing about the genius kids and worrying a little, too lazy to give a damn. There are more important things I want to instill in Albany's learning. The academic stuff can be picked up along the way.
In the meantime, the cold Winter has stalled whatever progress I could have made in doing up Savvy Steve's house. In a month's time, it will be dry and warm enough to restart the work outside. Perhaps when the dust settles and the kids are a little more self sufficient, who knows I will be feeling the 7th year itch when the euphoria dies down.