From my observations, parents start getting impatient or even irritated with their 4 year olds on regular basis. Gone were the days where parents talk cutesy with their toddlers or babies. It used to be a thrill to witness them do something for the first time. Then we reward our cuteness overdose with hugs and kisses. As the babies grow up, the niceties gradually turn in short, curt remarks, sometimes even an injection of sarcasm.  Attention showers are no more. Often instead, 4 year olds have to tell or even yell at their parents to, "Look (at what I'm doing) mummy!" The chances of getting snapped at are probably higher than a sign of approval. They simply do not get the same adoration from adults for doing anything anymore. Parents and adults are fickle minded bastards, the growing kid learns that quickly.

4 years is an interesting age for a clueless dad like me. Albany still behave like a two year old at times, mewing and sprawling around. The next minute, she would be telling me what she thought of my behavior in a dead serious tone in an accent unrecognisable from her parents. She has passed the stage of mimicking words and phrases she heard before. It is the stage when she is beginning to express her original thoughts and feelings. I found myself often staring at her idiotically after she said something that caught me by surprise. Then I found myself paying a lot more attention to her whenever she speaks. I am no longer just hearing her babbling along during her toddler days but listening to her intently. I think this is a phase where I can go a level beyond observing her personality and habits. It is a stage where I can understand her by having meaningful conversations.

This morning, I woke early at 4:50am with an aching body. It had been a busy week at work, always a great thing because it didn't feel like I would have to look for the next job soon like how it felt during the quieter months last year. Since I dozed off with Albany at 7pm, I had adequate sleep despite how the body aches seemed to suggest otherwise. It was my birthday after all and very rarely, I could hardly recall the last time, it fell on a Saturday. I am not one who thinks birthday is a big deal but I do cherish it like a personal identity, as opposed to the NRIC number I was given - which seems more like a mark of a cog.

Then here I am, having breakfast with little Albany at 7am, who is the only one up at this time. We are actually having a chat, just like Jen and I used to do during breakfasts. Before long, Albany brushed her teeth and got dressed by herself. Then she woke her mummy and started helping out in chores such as bringing out a bag of soiled nappies and clearing her dishes she had her breakfast with earlier. I am beginning to think being a parent is not as bad as I always think.

"Ok!" shouted Albany with two hands in the air. I think it is time to bring the family out. 7:40am. This day should be good.