Winning 4D – The Parental Edition

Those of you patriotic enough to have followed our Prime Minister’s National Day Rally Speech would have noted with interest the announcement of enhanced maternity package that were to take effect 1st January 2009.

Xander’s supposed to be check out of his hotel 26th December 2008.

Those of you well-adjusted enough to follow the news last night may have also heard a report going along the lines of “maternity package backdated to August 17th 2008“.

It’s kind of like buying 4D, then realising the numbers you bought were the winning numbers for last week, and THEN after 2 days, realising your ticket was actually dated last week.

It must be an interesting time for 2nd-trimester parents-to-be around the island, as it was for us. As my wife and I were sitting in front of the TV in her parent’s home watching the first news report, her brother-in-law kept saying, “Oi, you must tell your baby, lun (?) one week ok? You keep your legs crossed for one week, then you can get more money.”

To explain that the process of going into labour is a little more complicated than spreading your legs and popping the hood would just have diminished the humour of the moment, even though he’s already got a son of his own crawling all over my in-law’s maisonette like a smiling, drooling cichak. But I digress.

For the next couple of days after that, we were working on accepting our fates as not-as-rich-as-parents-who-are-going-to-have-slightly-younger-kids-than-us parents, because we both kind of agreed that Xander should be introduced to the world in the most natural way possible. If this meant he was going to miss the mark and pop his head out on Christmas day while our gynae’s skiing in Switzerland and our car is out of petrol and I have to be the midwife in a home birth of my own son, so be it. (Fortunately our gynae has confirmed she will be around to deliver the baby, and petrol prices have dropped).

Frankly the situation isn’t that hard to accept. The current maternity package already ensured a small amount of security for starting out Xander’s life (at least for the first few months). That plus the fact that our intention for having a kid in the first place was to have a kid; anyway, it never really crossed our minds that there was a maternity package to collect while Xander was being conceived.

And then last night, while I was tidying the study and my wife was in the living room half-listening to the TV and half-reading her Facebook, I heard the words “package” and “backdated” in a news trailer (the concept of a news trailer suddenly seems strange as I type it out; it’s like predicting what will be in the news). I came out of the study and asked her if she heard anything about a package being backdated. “No, not really,” was her reply.

I went back to my work in the study, but then about 30 minutes later, I heard it again. And then the news finally came on, and the full report had answered my question: “The Tays Win 4D with a Backdated Ticket”.

I came out to the living room again, and my wife was looking up at me from the sofa, wide-eyed and hands on her currently occupied serviced mini-apartment of a belly. “So what does that mean?” she asked, not fully aware of what had happened, and even less aware that her baby was slowly taking her brain cells for his own, rendering her slightly more blonde than usual.

I said, “That means we’re getting the enhanced package after all.” She looked at me with the same beautiful wide eyes, and smiled a little. “Oh,” she quipped, and continued smiling as she started patting her belly.

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And you think we’re lucky. One of our colleagues just gave birth to a baby girl on August 18th. It’s almost like the government was backdating the new maternity package because of her.

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