E is for Embarrassment!

Having kids is great therapy. They are free souls and ensure you become one too, whether you like it or not. It's quite a journey - this transformation from a self-conscious person to a free soul. Along the way there are scores of moments when you crave Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, when you wish you were anywhere but there, when you wish you were anyone but their mum.. But does that happen? Nah never. So you grin and bear it.

That's what I did.

From my early days as a parent, here are my top five May-the-earth-open-up-and-swallow-me moments.

1. When N was barely two she got into a brawl with a shopkeeper. She tottered into a shoe shop and took a fancy to one of their footstools. Without so much as a 'May I' (she could barely talk.. so one may consider that as an excuse) she decided she had to have it. When I reached the crime scene the gentle shopkeeper was trying to wrest it out of her grasp, while she hung on, babbling profanities (I presume). It took some serious persuasion before she let go.

2. Then there was the time she had a tantrum in a mall. She lay down on the floor screaming. I was trying to wean her out of her tantrum throwing so I pretended to walk off, then stood at a distance watching the drama. Within minutes a crowd gathered. Before I could go claim her there were about 20 people looking on and wondering which heartless mother had abandoned her thus. Yeah.. this round went to her completely!

3. Then once H started craving pineapple. What with my crazy schedule, I kept putting him off. One day he spotted it at a juice stall. Before I could say 'pineapple' he had picked up the huge fruit and sprinted off followed by the stall owner, followed by me with all my post pregnancy weight, followed by N who thought I was deserting her. Phew! Quite a race that was.

4. Another time at the mall while playing hide and seek among the clothes, H discovered the accessories stand. I presume he took it to be a tiny merry go round of sorts with girly jewellery as its boring occupants. So he decided to perk things a bit and give them a memorable ride. He spun it so hard hairbands and earrings went flying out in all directions. That was perhaps the last nail in the coffin of my self-consciousness.

5. Oops did I say last? Correction! The last nail was the day they discovered the lingerie section. See the possibilities? That day the kids, all of three, discovered more ways to work with those wares than you and I can ever imagine. Trying to figure out how/where they were worn, coolly discussing which was a better colour - Turquoise or pink - and even calling out to my sister.. Masi which colour do you want? My sister vowed never to go out with them.

They scarred me for life. For years 'MALLS' meant 'DANGER' not that they needed to be in a mall to embarrass us. They were pretty flexible that way and could work with any situation.

And I'm not even counting everyday stuff like peeking under changing rooms (Mama do you need help?) or holding conversations while you're in a public loo (Mama how long will you take? Mam come out now. Mama we're getting bored... all in the space of two minutes), or kicking co-passengers' seats during flights (Don't even get me started on that one).

However, this is in no way meant to deter my yet kid-less friends. Learn from them, I say. Keep an arsenal of apology and a winning smile at the ready even if in your head you're going 'oh shit, oh shit oh shit'. (Nope you CANNOT say that aloud, kids are listening, remember?)

One thing I can promise, you never will have a dull moment.

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