Ayah and I used to come up with our own mock exam papers for all of our kids every time they had their tests or exams before this - with Ayah taking charge of their Maths and Science, while I handled their English and Bahasa Malaysia papers. We would look through all their school text, exercise and activity books and would guess the types of questions which would probably be asked, and we would come up with a set of exam papers for all of their subjects for them to attempt within a specified time. The kids actually looked forward to all these, even though during these period I must admit their Mommy would most of the time be in quite a foul mood if they did not get 100%. Crazy, huh?!
Anyway, they'll be having their first tests for this year next week, but this time around Mommy and Ayah just could not find the time to sit down and work on their mock papers! So, yours truly decided to just get some activity books for them to practice on, in preparation for their tests instead.
So, right after Maghrib, the kids and I went to OneU and we headed straight to M*H. Hasya and Hilman chose 2 books for each subject while Hanna just went for a Science Revision/Activity book. Apparently her Tuition teachers had given her loads of exercises to do over the weekend yesterday. On top of these books, Hanna also bought two books by Stephenie Meyer - "New Moon" and "Eclipse", and Hilman bought his normal must-haves every time we go to M*H, i.e. an encyclopedia, and this time he chose one entitled "Tell Me Everything".
Just to make sure that the books Hanna bought were actually suitable for teenagers, I went to the Customer Service Counter to inquire. The girl at the counter seemed a bit annoyed with me when I asked her -
Me : Excuse me, adek...Could you just check if these books are suitable for my daughter, please? She's 12 years old.
The Girl : Errr....Buku ni memang pun untuk teenagers la Kak (with somewhat a disbelief look on her face as to why I asked her that question!)
Me : (Errrrr...excuse me?!! like I should know about all the books published for teenagers all over the world?!) Errr...okay, thanks.
All these while the kids were holding their own books (including the revision books) and I only asked them to put everything on the counter just as I was about to pay for them. Then only I realized that Hasya did not get anything at all for herself (apart from the activity books) which was rather strange as amongst the three, she's the one who's always with a book in her hands all the time everywhere she goes. And I asked her -
Me : You're not getting anything for yourself, Hasya?
Hasya : (A pause...) Hmmmmm....No...
Me : Why not?
Hasya : Mommy, can we go home now?
Me : ???? Why? You're not feeling well?
Hasya : No, I'm just tired. I wanna go home.
Me : Okay...but, we'll have our dinner first, okay?
Hasya : Okay (but, she was unusually and frighteningly VERY quiet. Definitely NOT her usual chirpy, choleric self)
We made a visit to Big Apple Donuts for some takeaway en route to TCRS. And Hasya did not request for any of her favourite donuts!
Upon reaching TCRS, and after ordering the food, Hanna and Hilman immediately started reading their new books while waiting for the food to come. And Hasya was still VERY quiet. I started feeling her forehead thinking that she might be coming down with something, but she was fine. No temperature whatsoever!
She suddenly put her hands across the table and rested her head on them, looking the other way. And I was asking Hilman about some of the things he was reading from his new encyclopedia when I noticed tears coming down Hasya's cheeks (and she was trying very hard to hide them from me!)
Now - those who know our Hasya would know that crying was NEVER in her vocabulary. She's one TOUGH cookie to crack. Even when she used to get REALLY SERIOUS scoldings here and there from her Ayah and myself, or when she's involved in fights with Hilman, it would be her lil' brother who would end up bawling! And when she was a baby, not even ONCE did she cry when she was having all her jabs. That's Hasya for you. So much so, I sometimes get SO frustrated when I do not get any reaction AT ALL from her when she gets a telling-off from me...
Anyway, seeing the tears on her cheeks, I immediately asked her what was wrong and she kept looking the other way and shook her head a few times. And I continued asking her.
Me : What's wrong Hasya? Do you have a tummy ache? Hasya pening ke? etc...
And THEN it hit me.
Me : Is it because you didn't get a book for yourself tadi?
I asked this a few times and she kept shaking her head.
And I asked her again.
Me : Hasya, please look at me, and tell me. Are you crying because you didn't get any books tadi?
Hasya : (Pause...and she slowly nodded her head)
Me : Why didn't you choose one or two just now when K.Long and Hilman were choosing theirs?
Hasya : (Tears still trickling down her cheeks -) ...You...didn't let me...
Me : What do you mean I didn't let you?!
Hasya : You told me that day that I could not buy anymore books because I lost my book at school hari tu...
Did I?! Did I really?!
Then it all came back to me. It was about three weeks ago. Hasya had brought one of her Enid Blyton's O'Sullivan Twins Series to read in school, and she accidentally left it on one of the benches while she was waiting for me to fetch her and Hilman. And when she told me that she could not find it, I told her -
Me : Hasya, if you cannot take care of your books, I don't see any reason why I should be buying you anymore books. You should love and take good care of them! NO MORE BOOKS FOR YOU FROM NOW ON!!! (I must have had a REALLY bad time at work that day...)
So, for the last three weeks she had been reading whatever books there were around the house and she had also finished ALL of the Harry Potter series. She now does not have anything interesting that she wants to read or re-read anymore. And that was why, she felt VERY sad and upset when we were at M*H just now, and she could not buy anything for herself!
But, I for the life of me just did not remember punishing her with that VERY cruel punishment for an 8-year-old girl who can't survive a day without a good book in her hands every single second of her waking time...
And I felt REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BAD...
And I felt like going back to M*H there and then to get some books for her!
But, of course, I could not just leave TCRS as we have just ordered our food!
How could I have done that to her???!!!
And I spoke to her softly -
Me : Okay...we'll go back to M*H after this, okay? That is, if it's still open, okay?
Hasya : (Nodding her head slowly, tears still trickling down her cheeks...) Okay...
After dinner and after settling the bill, we walked back towards M*H on the way to the parking lot, and just as we reached The Oval, I looked at my watch. It was 10:15p.m. I wasn't sure if M*H was still open, but, I asked Hasya -
Me : Shall we go and check if M*H is still open? We can get your books tonight if you want.
Hasya : Naaaaah...no thank you. We can come again tomorrow.
(Smart girl. She knows that she would not have had the chance to REALLY browse through and choose her books if we were to rush ourselves there tonight!)
So, tomorrow it is then...
But, I could not stop feeling so guilty, and I kept telling myself - "Oh No...What have I done?! What was I thinking?! Or rather, WHY wasn't I thinking?! I'm such a BAD Mommy...
I'm so sorry, my dear...